“Above the Trend Line” – Your Industry Rumor Central for 8/1/2023

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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.

Let’s start off the steamy month of August with some new funding news … JuliaHub announced a $13 million strategic new investment led by AE Industrial Partners HorizonX (“AEI HorizonX”). AEI HorizonX is AE Industrial Partners’ venture capital investment platform formed in partnership with The Boeing Company … HumanFirst, a leader in low-code data productivity suite, announced $5 million CAD in Seed funding. This total amount has been accumulated over the course of three smaller safe-note financing rounds. The round was led by Panache Ventures with participation from Inovia, Real Ventures, and BoxOne Ventures a prominent group of angel investors, including Kevin Mahaffey. The new funding will drive the company’s mission to unlock the untapped potential of conversational data and turn it into business and artificial intelligence insights, fostering enterprise teams to collaborate, innovate and better understand their conversational data at scale … Colleen, the AI platform optimizing payment collections for multifamily real estate business, announced today that it has raised $3.5 million in Series Seed funding. The round was led by Wilshire Lane Capital, an early-stage venture capital firm backed by Morgan Properties (the third largest NMHC multifamily apartments owner in the U.S.), with participation from Skybox Capital, owner of residential companies Magnolia Capital and National Home Rentals. Having identified value in Colleen, Morgan Properties, Magnolia Capital, and National Home Rentals are also existing customers … FedML announced that it closed $11.5 million in seed funding to expand development and adoption for its distributed MLOps platform, which helps companies efficiently train and serve custom generative AI and large language models using proprietary data, while reducing costs through decentralized GPU cloud resources shared by the community … o9 Solutions, a leading enterprise AI software platform provider for transforming planning and decision-making for global enterprises, announced that its existing investors, led by General Atlantic’s BeyondNetZero, the inaugural companion fund for the growth equity firm’s climate investing efforts, have invested an additional $116 million in the Company. Existing investors KKR and Generation Investment Management also participated in the round. The investment values o9 at $3.7 billion, up from $2.7 billion since the Company’s last investment round in January 2022 … Hammerspace, the company orchestrating the Next Data Cycle for enterprises, announced $56.7 million in funding in its first round of institutional investment. Hammerspace launched in 2018 with the vision of making all enterprise data globally accessible, useful and indispensable, sparking the next level of business innovations. The funding round, led by Prosperity7 Ventures, also includes Pier 88 Ventures, ARK Invest, and others … Tamr, Inc., a leader in data products announced an investment from Alteryx, the analytics cloud platform company, via Alteryx Ventures. Alteryx Ventures is a strategic investor in companies that complement and expand Alteryx’s analytics and data science products. This investment will further enable Tamr’s delivery of accessible, trustworthy, and high-quality data products tailored to the needs of data consumers in the modern data-driven, analytically savvy enterprise … Teleskope, a cybersecurity startup, launched a data protection platform that automates data security, privacy, and compliance at scale, helping organizations comply with regulations like GDPR and CCPA, and reduce the manual and operation burden on security, data, and engineering teams. The company raised $2.2 million in pre-seed funding led by Lerer Hippeau … Hopsworks, the company behind the Enterprise and open-source Feature Store for AI, announced a $6.5M investment, led by Vendep with participation from Inventure and Industrifonden. Proceeds from the financing round will be used to expand the company’s commercial operations and footprint, particularly in the US market, as well as to further expand its technological lead … RoboK, a startup applying AI-powered computer vision to logistics & industrial workplaces, announced $2.1 million in funding, making it $4 million to date, for accelerating commercial expansion. The company is on a mission to deliver significant value to customers and unlock the often-overlooked potential of its existing industrial CCTV cameras. This is achieved with their proprietary computer vision solutions that are privacy-preserving and cost-effective, allowing the company to offer secure, always-on and proactive insights with deep sector operational knowledge … Runway, an applied AI research company building the next generation of creative tools, announced it has raised a $141 million extension to its Series C from Google, NVIDIA, Salesforce Ventures, and existing investors, among others. The company will leverage this new financing to further scale in-house research efforts, expand its world-class team, and continue to bring state-of-the-art multi-modal AI systems to market, while building groundbreaking and intuitive product experiences … CalypsoAI, a leader in AI Security, announced it has raised $23 million in a Series A-1 financing. Paladin Capital Group led the round, with participation from existing investors including Lockheed Martin Ventures, new investors Hakluyt Capital and Expeditions Fund, and strategic angels, including Auren Hoffman and Anne and Susan Wojcicki. CalypsoAI will use the funding to drive product development of its Large Language Model (LLM) security solutions, talent acquisition, and go-to-market investments as demand continues to skyrocket for its solutions that secure and protect organizations using LLMs across enterprises. With this new round of funding, CalypsoAI has raised a total of $38.2 million since its founding … Parabola, a collaborative data tool enabling non-technical teams to automate solutions for manual, spreadsheet-based processes, announced a $24 million Series B funding round led by OpenView, with participation from existing investors Matrix and Thrive Capital. Additional new investors include Flexport, Webflow, and the founders of Harry’s, Warby Parker, and Allbirds. With this funding, Parabola will expand its product capabilities and grow its team in pursuit of empowering everyone to leverage automation and AI in their daily work, regardless of their technical capabilities … Redpanda Data announced that it has raised $100M in Series C funding, led by returning investors Lightspeed Venture Partners, along with GV and Haystack VC. With $165M in funds secured to date, Redpanda will leverage this latest capital infusion to enable data-intensive applications with new foundational capabilities that are beyond the scope of legacy streaming data platforms … Fero Labs, an AI-driven manufacturing process optimization software company, announced the close of a $15 million growth round led by Climate Investment (‘CI’, formerly OGCI Climate Investments), with additional participation from investors Blackhorn Ventures, Innovation Endeavors, and DI Technology. This round brings Fero Labs’ total funding to date to $30 million … Acryl Data – the company driving the DataHub Project, the most widely-used open source data catalog – announced that it has secured $21M in Series A funding led by Bhaskar Ghosh, Partner at 8VC with participation from Ram Shriram at Sherpalo Ventures and Guillermo Rauch, founder and CEO of Vercel. The funds will be used to deepen investments in customer success, accelerate development of its cloud offering and extend the vision of its product towards a control plane for data … Madrona Venture Labs (MVL), a Seattle-based startup studio, announced $11 million for its fifth fund. The company will continue to partner with founders to create AI companies from the ground up, helping them to de-risk and fast-track their startup journey. Since its inception in 2014, MVL has raised $40 million and co-created and invested in 32 companies, which have collectively raised $261 million and hold a combined value of $629 million. Madrona led the financing round and was joined by a group of successful founders and operators … Akkio, the AI company delivering generative analytics and machine learning to businesses, announced that it has closed a $15M Series A with participation by Bain Capital Ventures and Pandome, Inc. The funding accelerates the commercialization of Akkio’s powerful, easy-to-use, and affordable AI platform.   

In new M&A activity we heard … Generational Equity, a leading mergers and acquisitions advisor for privately held businesses, announced the sale of its client Integrity Data Solutions, Inc. to Falx Capital LLC. Located in Phoenix, Arizona, Integrity Data Solutions (IDS) is a full-service designer/manufacturer and solution provider of data collection barcode scanner solutions, RFID data collection solutions, and warehouse management software, as well as integration support services. The Company’s automated data collection and supply chain solutions include the design and assembly of fixed barcode imagers utilizing OEM data collection scanner hardware and components. Also, IDS’ real-time, cloud-based warehouse and inventory management software solutions, RFID software solutions, and mobile computing solutions serve a wide variety of clients. Falx Capital is a Denver-based private investment firm focused on healthcare and near-adjacent businesses in the lower middle market. Falx partners with existing management teams or brings in new management to build upon the legacy of a business and provide flexible capital solutions to its owners. By leveraging their professional experience and established industry network, they are able to provide differentiated insights and best practices to create long-term value for all stakeholders … Teradata (NYSE: TDC) announced that it has acquired Stemma Technologies (“Stemma”), a cloud-native, fully managed, data catalog solution. Founded in 2020, Stemma is recognized for its innovation and adept use of AI and machine learning that helps users discover, trust, and use their data and metadata more effectively … ThoughtSpot, the AI-Powered Analytics company, announced that it has completed its acquisition of Mode Analytics, the modern Business Intelligence (BI) platform that brings data teams and business teams together to drive impact, in a $200M cash and equity transaction.

In the people movement category we learned … Cloudera, the data company for trusted enterprise AI, announced the appointment of Charles Sansbury as Chief Executive Officer. Sansbury brings to Cloudera extensive leadership experience across the software industry. Most recently he was CEO of ASG Technologies from 2015 until its 2021 sale to Rocket Software. Prior to that, he was COO of The Attachmate Group from 2011 until its 2014 sale to MicroFocus. He was CFO of The Attachmate Group from 2006 until 2011, and CFO of Vignette from 2001 until 2006 … Yellow.ai, a global leader in conversational AI, announced that it has appointed KT Prasad as the Chief Revenue Officer – International Region. In this strategic role, KT will lead the Go-to-Market teams across the International Region, including India, Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. KT joins Yellow.ai with over 25 years of experience, having successfully led high-performing teams in his previous roles at leading organizations such as Zendesk, Stripe, and Hewlett Packard, among others, driving substantial revenue generation and contributing to their growth trajectories … AHEAD, a leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions, announced the appointment of global technology veteran Tom Heiser as the first Chairman of the company’s Board of Directors. Heiser will lead AHEAD’s Board by providing strategic insight toward high-growth opportunities, advising on mergers and acquisitions, supporting executive development through coaching and mentoring and leveraging the unique experience of individual Board members … Stravito, the enterprise insights platform democratizing access to market research for the world’s largest organizations, announced the appointment of Vignesh Swaminathan to the position of Vice President of Product. Swaminathan will be responsible for overseeing product innovation and growth, with a specific focus on evolving the platform’s recently introduced generative AI capabilities … Elastic ® (NYSE: ESTC), the company behind Elasticsearch®, announced the appointment of Joanna Daly as chief human resources officer (CHRO) effective July 18, 2023. Reporting to Elastic CEO Ash Kulkarni, Daly will be responsible for Elastic’s human resources (HR) strategy and operations, talent management, and compensation and benefits, as Elastic continues to build on its global reputation as the leading search platform … As part of an evolution in its Sales leadership, Qlik® named Stephen Thompson as Senior Vice President of Americas Sales. Stephen has over 25 years of experience in technology sales and services, including 20 years at IBM where he held various sales and leadership roles. Stephen comes to Qlik from Verint, where he served as Global Vice President of Client Success. Previous to Verint, Stephen has held sales leadership positions at JDA (Blue Yonder), Sabre and Deloitte, where he served as Group Vice President responsible for driving sales and go-to-market strategies across Deloitte’s managed services portfolio … SQream, the scalable, GPU accelerated data analytics software platform built for massive data stores and AI/ML workloads, announced the appointment of Deborah Leff as Chief Revenue Officer (CRO). She will be responsible for leading the company’s global sales and go-to-market teams including global partnerships and business development, particularly in the North American market. Ms. Leff will also lead efforts to drive SQream’s growth and help achieve their goals of enabling organizations to gain maximum insights from their data/AI/ML sets at a fraction of the time and with minimum costs …  Dremio, the easy and open data lakehouse, announced the appointment of Sendur Sellakumar as its chief executive officer. Sellakumar brings with him a wealth of experience in the enterprise technology industry and will lead the company in its next phase of growth.  Sellakumar’s expertise in driving growth and innovation, particularly at the intersection of cloud, software and data worlds, will be invaluable as Dremio continues to enhance its offerings across software and cloud services … Venkat Achanta will take on the newly expanded role of Chief Technology, Data & Analytics Officer at TransUnion (NYSE: TRU). Achanta will assume leadership of the Global Technology organization in addition to the Data & Analytics organization he has led since February 2022. Along with leading a unified data strategy and data science across the organization, Achanta will be responsible for all aspects of the company’s technology, including strategy, security, product engineering, operations, infrastructure and delivery of solutions that support TransUnion’s global information systems … NeuReality, industry experts in AI-centric inference, has announced the appointment of Lynn A Comp to its Board of Directors. As a semiconductor veteran and leader with vast experience in data center infrastructure, Lynn joins NeuReality’s experienced board consisting of industry heavyweights CJ Bruno, with his wealth of experience in sales and marketing from a distinguished career at Intel, and AI luminary Naveen Rao, a leading industry voice in generative AI and deep learning. Lynn brings invaluable knowledge of the technology underpinning inference and virtual cloud, as well as the sector acumen needed to help guide NeuReality through the complex market dynamics and drive the company through its next integral period of growth … Pliops, a leading provider of data processors for cloud and enterprise data centers, announced that Ido Bukspan, who most recently served as SVP of Chip Design at NVIDIA, has joined the company as CEO and board member. Bukspan has a wealth of leadership experience in the semiconductors and accelerator industry … Mosaicx, a cloud-based conversational AI solution provider, has named Matt Whitmer its chief revenue officer and senior vice president of sales and marketing. Whitmer brings over 15 years of invaluable senior leadership experience to Mosaicx.

In the customer wins department we have … Precisely, a leader in data integrity, announced that it has been selected by Horizon Media, the largest U.S. media agency according to Ad Age Data Center 2023, as its exclusive movement and location data provider. The partnership means that Precisely PlaceIQ data will be available directly from within blu., Horizon Media’s connected marketing platform. blu. empowers brands to build deeper customer relationships by providing marketing practitioners access to real-world data and timely trends. By integrating Precisely PlaceIQ movement and location data directly within the blu. marketing platform, Horizon clients can connect online and offline activity for a new level of detail on what is driving consumers in the physical world … Sinequa announced that its Enterprise Search platform is being used to empower the NASA Science Mission Directorate’s new Beta Science Discovery Engine (SDE). Sinequa’s enterprise search solution, which leverages AI-enabled neural search and natural language processing capabilities, has been implemented by NASA to make its data more accessible and improve information discovery. The search provider has worked closely with a team of developers and researchers to formulate an infrastructure for the vast quantities of NASA science information. This work between Sinequa and NASA has led to the creation of the newly-launched SDE – a search capability that enables the discovery of data and information in a single location and which works across the SMD’s five focus areas: Astrophysics, Biological and Physical Sciences, Earth Science, Heliophysics and Planetary Science … Denodo, a leader in data management, announced that Estes Express Lines, the largest privately held freight transportation company in North America, has successfully deployed the Denodo Platform to create a data fabric-enabled Logistics Digital Twin to meet their goals of streamlining freight shipping, boosting profits, and creating a simpler and more pleasant experience for its customers, drivers, and internal business users … NTT DATA, a digital business and IT services leader, announced NTT DATA Smart Venue Technology will be used at Nationals Park, home of the Washington Nationals.  The system will be used to provide Nationals management and ballpark guests with real-time  information that uses data from multiple sources in order to improve the fan experience and streamline operations … MariaDB plc (NYSE:MRDB) announced that DealerTeam, a cloud-based dealership management system built on Salesforce®, is driving MariaDB Enterprise Server in the cloud deployed on MariaDB SkySQL running on AWS. By selecting MariaDB Enterprise Server as a fully managed cloud database service, DealerTeam aids its car dealerships with a better process and workflow management by connecting all departments with a 360-degree view of any customer … Gradient AI, a leading enterprise software provider of artificial intelligence (AI) solutions in the insurance industry, announced that American Trucking and Transportation Insurance Company, a Risk Retention Group (ATTIC, RRG) selected Gradient AI’s claims management solution to predict claim risk, triage claims, and close commercial transportation claims more quickly and cost-effectively. 

We also heard of a number of new partnerships, alignments and collaborations … Tecton, a leading machine learning (ML) feature platform company, announced a partnership with Google Cloud to make the Tecton feature platform available to Google Cloud users. Tecton’s feature platform provides the data foundation for predictive and generative AI applications, allowing organizations to build more accurate models faster and serve them in production with enterprise-grade service levels … Hitachi Vantara, the modern infrastructure, data management and digital solutions subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd. (TSE: 6501), announced the next evolution of its collaboration with Microsoft to launch Hitachi Unified Compute Platform (UCP) for Azure Stack HCI. The powerful and streamlined hybrid cloud solution increases business agility and delivers enhanced cloud management across multiple environments including data centers, branch offices and edge computing, providing businesses with greater visibility and control over how their data is stored, managed and utilized … Wallaroo.AI, a leader in scaling production machine learning (ML) from the cloud to the edge, announced a strategic collaboration with Ampere® Computing to create optimized hardware/software solutions that provide reduced energy consumption, greater efficiency, and lower cost per inference for cloud artificial intelligence (AI) … Quantitative Brokers (QB), a global leader in advanced execution algorithms and data-driven analytics for futures, options, and OTC fixed-income markets announced a strategic partnership with Genesis Global, the low-code application development platform for financial markets. The collaboration will advance algo transparency, enhance trader productivity, and deliver a customized algorithm performance monitoring platform tailored to QB’s clients’ unique requirements …  Upwork (NASDAQ: UPWK), the work marketplace, and OpenAI, a leading AI research and deployment company, announced OpenAI Experts on Upwork, giving OpenAI customers and other businesses direct access to trusted expert independent professionals deeply experienced in working with OpenAI technologies. Upwork and OpenAI co-designed the program to feature talent adept at working with the OpenAI API platform and to draw from the 250 unique AI skills available on Upwork, including GPT-4, Whisper and AI model integration.

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