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“Above the Trend Line” – Your Industry Rumor Central for 12/8/2022

Above the Trend Line: your industry rumor central is a recurring feature of insideBIGDATA. In this column, we present a variety of short time-critical news items grouped by category such as M&A activity, people movements, funding news, industry partnerships, customer wins, rumors and general scuttlebutt floating around the big data, data science and machine learning industries including behind-the-scenes anecdotes and curious buzz. Our intent is to provide you a one-stop source of late-breaking news to help you keep abreast of this fast-paced ecosystem. We’re working hard on your behalf with our extensive vendor network to give you all the latest happenings. Heard of something yourself? Tell us! Just e-mail me at: daniel@insidebigdata.com. Be sure to Tweet Above the Trend Line articles using the hashtag: #abovethetrendline.

More rumors at year-end, so let’s start with some new funding news … Alteryx, Inc. (NYSE: AYX), the Analytics Automation company, has announced a strategic investment in MANTA, the data lineage company. MANTA enables enterprises to achieve full visibility into the most complex data environments. With this investment from Alteryx Ventures, MANTA will be able to bolster product innovation, expand its partner ecosystem, and grow in key markets. Alteryx’s investment in MANTA furthers the company’s commitment to enterprise governance, risk, and compliance and accelerates joint product integration … Runway, an applied AI research company building the next generation of creativity tools, announced it has raised a $50M Series C led by new investor, Felicis. Existing investors Amplify Partners, Coatue, Compound, and Lux Capital participated in the round including new investor Madrona, further validating Runway’s generative AI leadership position and advancing its research of multimodal AI systems for content creation … Netail, a technology that enables retailers to auto-identify competitors across the internet and track their assortments, availability and optimize prices in real time, announced the closing of $5M in seed funding. The round was co-led by Magarac Venture Partners (MVP), which provides early-stage venture capital to dynamic entrepreneurs and successful technology companies throughout the Midwest, and Dr. Andrew Ng’s AI Fund. Other investors include HKSTP Ventures … Synatic, a leader in data integration and automation, has secured an additional $2.5 million in a seed extension funding round led by Allan Gray E-Squared Ventures and UW Ventures. Synatic will use the additional funds to expand market reach in the United States in preparation for Series A funding early in 2023 … Deepgram announced that it has raised $47 million in equity funding led by Madrona, with Alkeon participating as a new investor. Prior investors also participated in the deal. This transaction completes Deepgram’s Series B round in which the company raised a total of $72 million, the largest known Series B round in the automatic speech recognition category … Sematic, an open-source continuous machine learning (ML) platform, announced it has closed a $3 million seed funding round led by Race Capital with participation from Y Combinator, Soma Capital, Leonis Capital, Pioneer Fund and renowned angel investors including Brandon Leonardo, co-founder of Instacart; Oliver Cameron, VP of Product at Cruise; and Jeremy Stanley, Former VP of Data Science at Instacart and co-founder of Anomalo … Loops.ai, a new company that has developed the first Product Growth Platform, announced its public launch with $14 million in Seed funding. Scale Venture Partners led the round, with participation from Cardumen Capital and several prominent product and growth leaders, including Brian Balfour (Founder/CEO of Reforge, former VP of Growth at Hubspot), Lenny Rachitsky (owner of Lennysnewsletter and former product lead at Airbnb), Casey Winters (Former CPO of Eventbrite and Growth Lead at Pinterest), Darius Contractor (Former Chief Product and Engineering Officer of Vnder and VP of Growth at Airtable) and Ben Shanken (VP of Product at Discord). The company will use the funds to continue refining its proprietary insights engine and scaling its team … XFactor, a new company revolutionizing go-to-market and annual operations planning, launched following a $10M seed round led by Lightspeed Venture Partners as well as family and friends. Founded by Mike Carpenter, a veteran sales leader who most recently served as President of Global Sales and Field Operations at CrowdStrike, XFactor provides technology and services for enterprises, startups, and venture capitalists to modernize annual operations planning and eliminate unwarranted go-to-market risks. Following today’s launch, the company will deliver its go-to-market platform which leverages AI to provide real-time data and intelligent modeling to enable always-on operations planning … Health-tech AI platform RedBrick AI announced a US$4.6M seed funding round to accelerate the development and adoption of artificial intelligence in clinical settings, through rapid data annotation on medical imagery. The round was led by Surge, Sequoia Capital India, and Southeast Asia’s rapid scale-up program, with participation from Y Combinator and angels … Buzz Solutions, an AI company focused on making energy infrastructure stable, smart and resilient, announces it has raised a $3.3 million funding round to continue building its technology that can accurately and efficiently inspect transmission,
distribution, and substation infrastructure helping to prevent power outages, wildfires and other
dangerous situations. Led by GoPoint Ventures with participation from MaC Venture Capital, this is the third round of funding for the company … Visionary.ai, a developer of AI for real time video enhancement, announced that it has received a multi-million-dollar investment from National Grid Partners (NGP), the venture investment and innovation arm of National Grid plc., one of world’s largest investor-owned energy companies … Astera Labs, a leader for connectivity solutions for intelligent systems, shared its progress and momentum to position the company for its next phase of growth. Astera Labs closed its Series-D funding round, expanded its board of directors, added new product lines to its portfolio, and grew its presence globally with new locations and an increased employee base. These milestones represent the strong traction for Astera Labs’ silicon, software, and system-level solutions that help its customers realize the vision of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in the Cloud. 

In new M&A activity we have … Cognizant announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire AustinCSI, a premier digital transformation consultancy specializing in enterprise cloud and data analytics advisory services. This acquisition complements Cognizant’s technology prowess and vertical industry expertise, enriching its advisory capabilities for delivering comprehensive digital strategy as well as innovative solutions to clients … Accenture (NSE: ACN) is to acquire Japanese data science company ALBERT Inc. (President and CEO: Tokyo Stock Exchange Growth Market, Securities Code: 3906), after completing a tender offer. The acquisition will add a large team of data scientists to Accenture to further strengthen its data and AI capabilities for clients. The tender offer was launched on September 29 and closed on November 14. The number of ALBERT’s common shares and stock acquisition rights tendered to Accenture significantly exceeds the threshold required for ALBERT to become part of Accenture, equal to two thirds of the ALBERT stock. Upon completion of the transaction, ALBERT will be part of Accenture. Accenture expects to purchase all remaining shares and stock acquisition rights in the coming months, after which ALBERT will be delisted from the Tokyo Stock Exchange. 

In the new customer wins department we learned … Quantum Computing Inc. (QCI) (NASDAQ: QUBT), a leader in accessible full stack quantum solutions, today announced that it will work together with Rabobank, one of the world’s largest banks in its sectors, for a project to demonstrate the application of its photonic quantum information technologies, including the Dirac 1 entropy quantum computing (EQC) system, to fraud detection … Estes Express Lines is leveraging Denodo’s data virtualization solution to take the stress out of freight shipping and create a simpler and more pleasant experience for its customers and internal business users. As the largest, privately held freight transportation company in North America, Estes Express Lines needed access to real time data to empower self-service Reporting and Analytics and provide all the important information customers and internal stakeholders need to meet their shipping requirements … Couchbase, Inc. (NASDAQ: BASE), the cloud database platform company, announced that Arthrex, a global leader in minimally invasive surgical technology, selected Couchbase on Amazon Web Services (AWS) to improve patient outcomes. Embedded in the Arthrex Synergy product family, Couchbase is used in customer hospitals and operating rooms to manage the capture, sync and storage of patient data, surgical data and media metadata, including captured images and videos from Arthrex devices. This data powers Synergy SurgeonVault, Arthrex’s cloud-based surgeon-patient communication tool, enabling surgeons to quickly create post-operative reports for ongoing patient care … Gradient AI, a leading enterprise software provider of artificial intelligence (AI) solutions in the insurance industry announced that MEMIC has adopted its underwriting solution to better identify risks and improve the underwriting accuracy of workers’ compensation policies … MariaDB® Corporation announced that Certified Power Solutions (CPS), a leader in the engineering, manufacturing and distribution of hydraulic systems and controls, is well-equipped to safely clear snowbound winter roads by choosing MariaDB SkySQL as its cloud database running on Amazon Web Services (AWS). While summer was unbearably hot around the country, winter is coming and is expected to be brutally cold with record-breaking lows, according to Farmers’ Almanac. Powered by SkySQL, CPS’s winter road maintenance system for snowplow trucks collects data every five seconds from 5,000 vehicle sensors to better inform local agencies about their salt use for de-icing roads and keeping communities safe … Qlik® announced Fujitsu has implemented Qlik to accelerate its data transformation processes and enable data-driven business operations across the entire organization. Fujitsu, one of Japan’s leading technology companies, is strengthening its data management capabilities by implementing a standardized approach to the management, collection, and use of data as part of its purpose to ‘make the world more sustainable by building trust in society through innovation. Fujitsu has deployed Qlik to 40,000 of its users, comprising approximately 33% of the company’s 120,000 employees worldwide. This is enabling an environment where employees can quickly gain insight from data and foster a data-driven culture throughout the organization. Additionally, Qlik will support Fujitsu in expanding these capabilities to enable real-time data integration … KX, maker of kdb+, the fast time series database and analytics engine, announces that B2C2, a leading crypto liquidity provider and a digital asset pioneer, has expanded its use of KX’s real-time high-performance analytics software, including the deployment of KX Dashboards, its powerful visualization tool. As more institutional firms enter the world of cryptocurrencies, the increased use of KX will enable B2C2 to offer clients tailored products and services at a level that is more akin to what is found at a tier-one investment bank … EverestLabs, developer of the AI-enabled operating system for recycling, has signed a contract to install up to eight RobotOS-powered robotics cells at the Sims Municipal Recycling (SMR) Sunset Park Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) in Brooklyn, New York. With four robotics cells installed in spring 2022 and additional units being planned in the coming months, North America’s largest commingled recycling facility is experiencing significant cost savings and increased materials recovery.

We also have a number of new partnerships, alignments, and collaborations … Q-CTRL, a global leader in quantum control infrastructure software, and Classiq, a leader in quantum algorithm development software, announced a partnership to provide an end-to-end platform for designing, executing, and analyzing quantum algorithms. The new partnership will integrate Classiq’s Quantum Algorithm Design platform with Q-CTRL’s advanced quantum control techniques designed to boost hardware performance. The collaboration combines the sector’s leading quantum product teams uniting research by expert developers, physicists and scientists … NVIDIA announced a multi-year collaboration with Microsoft to build one of the most powerful AI supercomputers in the world, powered by Microsoft Azure’s advanced supercomputing infrastructure combined with NVIDIA GPUs, networking and full stack of AI software to help enterprises train, deploy and scale AI, including large, state-of-the-art models. Azure’s cloud-based AI supercomputer includes powerful and scalable ND- and NC-series virtual machines optimized for AI distributed training and inference. It is the first public cloud to incorporate NVIDIA’s advanced AI stack, adding tens of thousands of NVIDIA A100 and H100 GPUs, NVIDIA Quantum-2 400Gb/s InfiniBand networking and the NVIDIA AI Enterprise software suite to its platform … Talend, a global leader in data integration and data management, announced a partnership with Passerelle and Snowflake, the Data Cloud company, to provide new vertical solutions for delivering healthy data to organizations worldwide. Built on Talend Data Fabric and Snowflake’s Data Cloud, Passerelle’s Data Rocket provides a scalable architecture that delivers governed data ingestion, trusted stewardship, cloud-based storage, and on-demand visual analytics based on the foundation of healthy data. New Data Rocket vertical solutions will be tailored for key vertical markets, beginning with financial services … PlainID, The Authorization Company™, a leading provider of authorization and policy-based access control, announced a strategic partnership with Dremio, the easy and open data lakehouse company. This partnership enables Dremio clients to leverage PlainID’s central access control platform to manage and control access to data via Dremio, allowing for advanced access controls as part of their overall data security strategy … Equalum, a best-in-class provider of data integration and ingestion solutions, announced a strategic partnership with Yellowbrick Data, the leading hybrid multi-cloud data warehouse vendor. The partnership leveraging the Equalum platform enables a more simple, efficient, and higher-performance migration of data from legacy environments to the Yellowbrick Data Warehouse hosted in the user’s preferred commercial cloud environment … CerebrumX Lab Inc., an AI-driven automotive data services & management platform, announced today it will incorporate Ford connected vehicle data to support its data-driven usage-based insurance (UBI)-as-a-Service  model for Insurers. This model offers a quicker and more cost-effective implementation of UBI programs by using embedded telematics for eligible Ford and Lincoln connected vehicles … A strategic alliance between EOS Data Analytics (EOSDA), a global provider of AI-powered satellite imagery analytics, and AgriProve, an Australian soil carbon leader, will transform regenerative agriculture practices for farmers. EOS Data Analytics will combine its high-detail satellite imagery, analytical expertise, and machine learning capabilities with AgriProve’s extensive on-ground and proximal data assets to generate new high-resolution, high-accuracy on-farm models and measurement approaches to boost prediction capabilities and evolve new land management practices … Jasper, the category-leading AI content platform, and Cerebras Systems, the pioneer in accelerating artificial intelligence (AI) compute, announced a partnership to accelerate adoption and improve the accuracy of generative AI across enterprise and consumer applications. Using Cerebras’ newly announced Andromeda AI supercomputer, Jasper can train its profoundly computationally intensive models in a fraction of the time and extend the reach of generative AI models to the masses.   

In people movement news we heard … REAL Messenger, the social app for real estate that puts agents back in control of their business, announced that Kamal Shaik will serve as its new chief data officer. Shaik previously served as director of data products and programs for Meta (formerly Facebook) and is a technology leader with 15 years of experience delivering business-impacting data-driven programs, products, data warehouse, data science and machine learning (ML) use cases (i.e., Customer 360 and the recommendation engine). He has also successfully launched customer-facing and revenue-generating products and programs and is highly experienced in defining strategy, visionand product roadmaps. Shaik brings a wealth of knowledge to the REAL team to help enhance the artificial intelligence (AI)-powered app, which went live this past July … Datasembly, a leading provider of real-time, hyper-local product pricing, promotions, and assortment data for retailers and CPG brands, announced it has promoted David Alan Cohen from Director of Engineering to Chief Technology Officer (CTO), effective Oct 1st. In his new position, Cohen will apply his expertise to focus on the technological requirements, opportunities, and challenges within the organization while driving growth for the company. As part of Cohen’s promotion to CTO, Dan Gallagher, a Co-Founder of Datasembly who served as the previous CTO, will continue to serve on Datasembly’s Board of Directors … Crux, which provides an end-to-end external data integration and operations solution to scale data delivery and transformation, announced that Tina Figueroa has joined the company as its first Chief People Officer (CPO). In this role, Figueroa is leading all aspects of HR and Recruiting applying her extensive talent strategy experience to help Crux advance its hypergrowth while maintaining its strong organizational culture and values … Traceable, a leading API security and observability company, announced the appointment of Dr. Jisheng Wang as Head of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning and VP of Engineering.  Dr. Wang brings over 15 years of extensive experience to Traceable in developing industry-leading enterprise software and a proven track record of scaling business-critical applications in disruptive markets. In both roles, he will oversee innovation of the company’s robust, AI-driven API Security PlatformExasol, the high-performance analytics database provider, announced the appointment of Joerg Tewes as Chief Executive Officer (CEO), effective January 1, 2023. He succeeds Aaron Auld, who stepped down from the CEO post in September at his own request. As a technology industry veteran with more than 30 years of experience in bringing innovative products to market and driving growth in the US and Europe, Tewes brings a unique perspective that will be instrumental to leading the global team while accelerating growth and innovation at Exasol … Optibrium, a leading developer of software and AI solutions for drug discovery, announced the appointment of Ian Smith as Chief Technology Officer (CTO), the latest in a number of senior-level hires for the Company. With over 25 years of biopharma experience, Ian will oversee the development of the Company’s technology portfolio and cloud services and guide the team’s growth to support the continued expansion of the Company’s global customer base. This latest hire marks a key milestone for Optibrium as it enters the next phase of commercial growth as a provider of innovative computational and AI drug discovery technologies … Panzura, LLC, a leader in hybrid multi-cloud data management, has appointed Katie McCullough to its newly created role of Chief Information Security Officer. Katie will be responsible for security and compliance for the company and customers alike as Panzura continues its ambitious growth trajectory … Siren, a leading provider of Investigative Intelligence analytics, announced that Rachel Kavanagh has been appointed as Chief Marketing Officer of Siren … AHEAD, a leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions, announced the appointment of Kristin Supancich as Chief People Officer. A Human Resources veteran, Supancich is charged with helping to accelerate AHEAD’s impact in the industry through the continued development of its people. In her role, Supancich will partner with the rest of the Executive Team to support and steward a work environment that nurtures excellence and fuels growth. With a focus on hybrid culture, people development and DEI initiatives, Supancich looks to continue to attract and retain the best talent, while unlocking their full potential with skill development … Dataiku, the platform for Everyday AI, announced Ben Taylor’s appointment as its first Chief AI Strategist. Taylor, a visionary in the advancements of AI, machine learning, and data science, joins the company to help accelerate momentum as it continues to experience soaring demand amongst enterprise organizations and business users. 

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