“Above the Trend Line” – Your Industry Rumor Central for 6/21/2023

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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.

School is out, and we’re ready for an exciting summer of big data buzz! Let’s start with some new funding news … Masthead Data, the data observability platform that relies only on logs and metadata, announced it has raised $1.3M in pre-seed funding led by focal, with participation from SMOK Ventures, DEPO Ventures, Monochrome, and Alchemist Accelerator. Angel investors from Snowflake, ex-Uber employees, ex-Googlers, privacy and security professionals also participated in the round. Software observability emphasizes log-centric monitoring of system performance, but current approaches to data observability rely on running SQL queries on the data, and therefore require at minimum read access to client data, while also contributing to compute costs. Masthead is the first observability platform that only needs to ingest log and metadata to see what is happening in the entire data warehouse to identify data anomalies and pipeline errors in real-time … AptEdge, a generative AI startup building an answer engine for customer service, raised an oversubscribed $11M seed+ round led by Stage 2 Capital with other investors (Unusual Ventures, National Grid Partners, Carya Venture Partners, Counterpart Ventures) to support momentum behind its revolutionary solution for the customer service industry … Acryl Data — the company behind DataHub, the widely-used open source data catalog – announced that it has secured $21M in Series A funding led by 8VC with participation from Sherpalo Ventures and Guillermo Rauch, founder and CEO of Vercel. The funds will be used to accelerate development of its cloud product and continue to build the industry’s first control plane for data. This round brings total funding to date to $30M … SiMa.ai, the machine learning company delivering solutions for the embedded edge, announced it is experiencing significant company-wide momentum including a rapid rise in customer demand, new innovation accolades, 30% year-over-year employee growth, the introduction of a new partner ecosystem, and new venture funding for a total of $200M raised to date … Digibee, an integration platform as a service (iPaaS) company that helps organizations build flexible, highly scalable integration architecture, announced it received $60 million in Series B funding. The Growth Equity business within Goldman Sachs Asset Management (Goldman Sachs) is the lead investor in the Series B round, which also includes Leadwind, a growth fund at K Fund, a leading venture capital firm in Southern Europe, Vivo Ventures, the corporate venture capital (CVC) arm of Brazilian telco Vivo, Kinea and G2D, two of Latin America’s largest private equity investment firms … Mosaic, the Strategic Finance Platform for real-time data analysis and collaborative financial planning, announced a $26 million Series C funding round led by OMERS Ventures, with participation from existing investors, Founders Fund, General Catalyst, and Friends and Family Capital … XONAI, a cloud optimization solution helping organizations reduce data infrastructure costs, announced it has closed $3.5 million in Seed funding. London-based Kadmos Capital led the round with participation from investors Adara Ventures, Deep Science Ventures, Nauta Capital, Notion Capital, and notable angels Mehdi Ghissassi, Director of Product Management for Google DeepMind, Martin Gould, former Head of Product for Spotify’s Content Platform, among others … MindsDB, a fast-growing open-source AI projects in the world, announced an additional $25 million financing with new lead investor Mayfield, along with participation from TQ Ventures and existing investor Benchmark Capital, bringing total seed capital raised to $41.5 million and total funds raised to $50 million … CoreWeave, a specialized cloud provider built for large-scale GPU-accelerated workloads, announced an additional $200 million in funding from Magnetar Capital, a leading alternative asset manager. The funding extension comes just one month after the company announced $221 million in Series B funding, also led by Magnetar, bringing the total for the round to $421 million. The boom in generative AI technology has accelerated demand for CoreWeave’s specialized cloud infrastructure to train, serve inference and fine-tune models. The company offers solutions purpose-built for compute-intensive workloads that are faster and less expensive than larger, more generalized cloud providers … Hyro, a leader in plug-and-play conversational artificial intelligence (AI), announced that it has finalized a $20 million Series B funding round led by Macquarie Capital, with participation from new investors Liberty Mutual Strategic Ventures, Black Opal Ventures, and K20, as well as existing investors Hanaco Ventures, Spero Ventures, and Mindset Ventures—bringing the company’s total funding to $35 million. With this capital raise, Hyro will continue to meet the healthcare sector’s critical demand for conversational AI and automation, enabling large organizations to streamline access to digital services for their patients and staff while drastically improving operational efficiencies … Lightmatter, a leader in photonics, announced that it raised a $154 million Series C investment round from SIP Global, Fidelity Management & Research Company, Viking Global Investors, GV (Google Ventures), HPE Pathfinder and existing investors. With this round, Lightmatter has raised a total of over $270 million to date. The company will leverage this new financing to arm some of the largest cloud providers, semiconductor companies, and enterprises with the power of photonic technology to bring a new level of performance and energy savings to the most advanced AI and HPC workloads … Telmai, the data observability platform company built for hybrid data environments, announced it has raised $5.5 million in oversubscribed seed funding. The round is co-led by Glasswing Ventures and .406 Ventures, with participation from current investors, including Zetta Venture Partners. Telmai will use the new funding to expand its team and meet increased demand for its AI-driven data observability platform … Parrot, the full-stack platform for transcribing and managing depositions, made its public debut announcing $11 million in Series A funding and the release of the first product specifically offering AI-generated deposition summaries to legal professionals. Amplify Partners and XYZ Venture Capital led the round bringing the total funds raised to $14 million for the tech-enabled court reporting company. Funds will be used to expand go to market, accelerate product development and deepen its investment in artificial intelligence.

In new M&A activity we heard … Claravine, The Data Standards Company, has acquired Netra, Inc, a content classification company powered by artificial intelligence. With the addition of Netra, Claravine’s platform, The Data Standards Cloud, is able to analyze, extract and search metadata from videos and images, adding to Claravine’s core strengths of standardizing data at the source and producing high quality and actionable data that is ready for use and analysis upon creation. This latest acquisition supports Claravine’s goal of taking the drama out of marketing data by putting AI in the hands of marketing teams for data classification across text, creative, audio, and video assets – which are growing dramatically with the rise of generative AI platforms … Informatica (NYSE: INFA), the enterprise cloud data management leader, announced its intent to acquire Privitar, bringing advanced access controls and remediation for data privacy and security to Informatica’s AI-powered Intelligent Data Management Cloud (IDMC) platform. Privitar is a UK-based data management access and privacy software provider that powers organizations to democratize the ethical and safe use of data across enterprises. The company’s modern data access management solution builds collaborative workflows and policy-based data privacy and access controls into data operations …. AHEAD, a leading provider of enterprise cloud and digital business platforms, announced that it has acquired MBX Systems, an advanced integrator of custom hardware systems and supplier of global logistics and supply chain orchestration software. This acquisition bolsters the business impact that AHEAD brings to its enterprise clients by adding custom-engineered platforms, deeper capabilities in edge infrastructure solutions and a proprietary software platform, known as Hatch, that enables enterprise clients and OEM partners to manage the full lifecycle of their IT assets … Blend360, a leading data science solutions provider, announced its acquisition of FutureproofAI, Inc, in a continued expansion to Blend360’s global capabilities. FutureproofAI is a specialist technology consultancy renowned for its implementation of Omnichannel decision management solutions … Publicis Sapient, a digital business transformation company, announced the acquisition of Publicis Sapient AI Labs, an innovative artificial intelligence (AI) research and development joint venture launched in 2020 in partnership between Publicis Sapient, Elder Research and Tquila.  The acquisition will further strengthen Publicis Sapient’s data & AI capabilities and enable the company to develop innovative solutions across industries for a wide range of applications, such as generative AI, natural language processing (NLP), computer vision and autonomous systems.  

We also learned of some new partnerships, alignments and collaborations … Leading MLOps platform, Comet, has announced a partnership with Snowflake, the Data Cloud company, to deliver groundbreaking solutions that will empower data scientists to build superior models with greater speed, bolstering data-driven decision-making. Reproducibility of ML models requires versioning of the code, hyperparameters, and data. Keeping data within Snowflake, instead of moving it to a different system, is imperative for eliminating data silos and complexity. Comet’s partnership with Snowflake will integrate its solutions with Snowflake’s single, unified platform so developers can track and version their Snowflake queries and datasets within their own Snowflake environment. This integration facilitates easy lineage tracing of models and performance, providing better visibility and understanding of the development process and the impact of data changes on model performance … Ascend.io, a leader in data pipeline automation, announced that it has deepened the integration of its Data Pipeline Automation platform with Databricks, the data and AI company, to further enable transparency, collaboration, and productivity. With this integration, joint customers can now take full advantage of Databricks as a cloud data compute platform in Ascend’s new second-generation remote data plane architecture, which allows users to leverage Ascend’s DataAwareTM control plane within their Databricks lakehouse. In addition, Ascend has released a new free, full-featured developer tier for Databricks so that Ascend customers can take advantage of the latest Databricks capabilities … Searce, a modern technology consulting firm that empowers businesses to be future-ready, has announced an alliance with Google Cloud to bring generative AI powered solutions to the market. This collaboration reinforces Searce’s commitment to leveraging cutting-edge technology to deliver real outcomes … Clearwater Analytics (NYSE: CWAN), a leading provider of SaaS-based investment management, accounting, reporting, and analytics solutions, and J.P. Morgan Asset Management today announced a strategic partnership that will integrate Clearwater with the MORGAN MONEY® global trading platform, allowing permissioned users to easily navigate between both systems. The joint solution will make it easier for financial professionals to have a global, connected view of their investment portfolios and empower them to make real-time investment decisions on the Clearwater and Morgan Money platforms … Wipro Limited (NYSE: WIT, BSE: 507685, NSE: WIPRO), a leading technology services and consulting company, announced an expanded partnership with Google Cloud to bring its advanced generative artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities to clients across the globe. Wipro will integrate Google Cloud’s full suite of generative AI products and services—including Vertex AI, Generative AI App Builder, and the Model Garden collection of foundation models—with its own AI intellectual property (IP), business accelerators, and pre-built industry solutions. The expanded partnership will help unlock new value within enterprises and transform how large-scale businesses operate … DataStax, the real-time AI company, announced a partnership with AI startup ThirdAI to make sophisticated large language models (LLMs) and other artificial intelligence (AI) technologies accessible to any organization, regardless of where their data resides — on-premises or in the cloud — running on massively scalable databases such as DataStax’s Astra DB. This partnership marks the launch of the DataStax AI Partner Program, which has been designed to connect enterprises with groundbreaking AI startups and accelerate the development and deployment of AI applications for customers … SADA, a leading business and technology consultancy and award-winning Google Cloud Partner, announced a new collaboration with Google Cloud to accelerate the deployment of generative AI solutions across its joint customer base. With this alliance, SADA will bolster its generative AI capabilities, help its global customer base accelerate their AI journey, and create new AI-powered features and experiences … DataRobot, a leader in Value-Driven AI, announced a partnership with Microsoft to accelerate AI adoption in the enterprise. The collaboration will include integrations with Microsoft Azure OpenAI Service, Azure Machine Learning, and Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), making it possible for data scientists to use large language models (LLMs) to assist with writing code. This will enable DataRobot and Microsoft customers to more easily build, deploy, and manage end-to-end enterprise-ready AI solutions on Microsoft Azure … To support the training and development of its  Machine Learning capabilities, Seeing Machines Limited (LSE:SEE), the advanced computer  vision technology company that designs AI-powered operator monitoring systems to improve  transport safety, announced a collaboration with Swedish startup, Devant, a leading  supplier of human centric synthetic data.

In people movement news we have … Appen Limited (ASX:APX), a global leader in providing data services for deep learning and generative artificial intelligence (AI) systems, announced the appointment of Fab Dolan as Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), effective 12 June 2023. Fab joins Appen with over 15 years of experience building iconic global brands such as Android, Google, YouTube, and Cheerios. In his most recent role, Fab served as Global Marketing Director for Android at Google, where he built a go-to-market function for the world’s largest mobile platform while overseeing investments across the US, Europe, and Asia Pacific … Fivetran, the global leader in automated data movement, announced the appointment of SaaS industry executive Rachel Thornton as the company’s new chief marketing officer (CMO). Thornton brings more than 25 years of B2B tech experience, having served in marketing and leadership roles at Amazon/AWS, Salesforce, Cisco Systems and Microsoft. She will report to COO Taylor Brown and serve as a member of the Fivetran executive team, overseeing brand, customer, partner, field and product marketing, public relations, analyst relations and events … Vectra AI, a leader in security AI-driven cyber threat detection and response for hybrid and multi-cloud enterprises, announced the appointment of Myrna Soto, founder and CEO of Apogee Executive Advisors and David Reilly, former CIO and CTO of Bank of America to its board of directors …  Foursquare, a leading independent geospatial technology platform, announced Wade Wegner as its new Senior Vice President and Global Head of Product. With over two decades of experience in developing product strategies and teams at notable technology companies, Wegner will usher in a new wave of momentum for Foursquare’s location intelligence suite … Thomas Been has joined Domino Data Lab, provider of the leading Enterprise MLOps platform, as the company’s new CMO … Opensee, which provides complete data access and real-time analytics to financial institutions, has appointed Anne-Laure Delaplace to the new role of Chief Operating Officer as it deepens its senior leadership team to drive the company on its growth trajectory …  Absci (Nasdaq: ABSI), a generative AI drug creation company, announced the appointment of Frans van Houten to its Board of Directors. With his exceptional leadership experience and deep industry knowledge in the healthcare and technology industries, van Houten will play a pivotal role in supporting Absci’s strategic vision and growth trajectory … Digital.ai, a leading enterprise platform for AI-driven software development, announced Wing To has been promoted to general manager of the Intelligent DevOps (IDO) business. He joined the company in 2020 and most recently served as vice president of R&D of Intelligent DevOps at Digital.ai. He succeeds Derek Holt, who was promoted to CEO in February …. CData Software, a leading provider of data connectivity and integration solutions, announced the appointment of Will Davis to the role of Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). A veteran technology executive with over 15 years of experience in high-growth enterprise software, Davis specializes in product marketing, demand generation, and channel marketing. He joins CData during a time of rapid innovation following the company’s $140 million Series B investment round by Updata Partners in 2021, and the latest release of its Data Connectivity-as-a-Service offering, CData Connect Cloud. 

In the customer wins department we heard … Precisely, a leader in data integrity, announced that The Mountain Rim Fire Safe Council in San Bernardino County, California, relies on its Wildfire Risk product to strengthen local wildfire protection plans and, ultimately, help manage risk to property and citizens. The county-wide data is being provided to the fire safe council via a pro bono product initiative spearheaded by the ESG (environmental, social, and governance) Commission at Precisely.

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