“Above the Trend Line” – Your Industry Rumor Central for 6/11/2018

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Above the Trend Line: your industry rumor central is a recurring feature of insideAI News. 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, financial results, industry alignments, 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@insideAINews.com. Be sure to Tweet Above the Trend Line articles using the hashtag: #abovethetrendline.

Welcome to another installment of our Rumor Central: Above the Trend Line, where all the latest scuttlebutt bubbles up to the surface for our readers to digest. In the big data industry, there’s never a dull moment. We’re all excited to be up to our necks in all that’s happening. This is exciting!

In new funding news, we heard … Cohesity, a leader of hyperconverged secondary storage, announced it raised $250 million in an oversubscribed Series D funding round led by the SoftBank Vision Fund with strong participation from strategic investors Cisco Investments, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), and Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital, along with early investor Sequoia Capital and others. The investment is a testament to Cohesity’s leadership in transforming data center and cloud operations with web-scale simplicity for secondary data. This round brings total equity raised to $410 million, outpacing all other Series D enterprise software investments in the United States over the last 18 months. This is only the second time SoftBank Investment Advisers has invested in an enterprise software company. Cohesity is using the investment to power large-scale global expansion by attacking a problem that enterprises currently spend an estimated $60 billion each year to address using separate point solutions divided between cloud and on-premises environments … Devo, the data operations company, announced a $25 million Series C funding round led by Insight Venture Partners with participation from Kibo Ventures. This new funding and rebrand follows a momentous year for the company, formerly known as Logtrust, marked by rapid growth and market expansion … Hailo, a company developing a proprietary chip for deep learning on edge devices, announced the completion of a $12.5 million Series A round. The company’s investors include Ourcrowd.com, Maniv Mobility, the Drive accelerator fund: Next Gear; as well as angel investors, Hailo Chairman Zohar Zisapel and Delek Motors CEO Gil Agmon. The company will use the funding to further develop its deep learning processor, which will deliver datacenter processing capacity to edge devices. This latest funding round brings the total raised to date by the Tel Aviv-based company to $16 million. Hailo’s breakthrough deep learning processor, whose initial samples are expected to enter the market in H1 2019, will be able to run embedded AI applications on edge devices that are installed in autonomous vehicles, drones, and smart home appliances such as personal assistants, smart cameras and smart TVs, alongside IoT, AR and VR platforms, wearables and security products. The Hailo processor radically reduces size, power and cost, making it suitable for local processing of high-resolution sensory data in real time … Qumulo, Inc., a leader in file storage for the cloud era, announced that the company has closed $93 million in Series D funding. The oversubscribed funding round attracted participation by global investment management organizations, including the round’s lead investor, with funds managed by BlackRock Private Equity Partners. Goldman Sachs and Western Digital also participated in the round. The Series D round also included follow-on investments from all major existing investors, including Highland Capital Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB), the Madrona Venture Group, and Valhalla Partners. Qumulo is pioneering an entirely new category of enterprise storage that addresses the intersection of three important trends: the explosion of digital content impacting every aspect of our lives, the utilization of machine learning and next-generation analytics to derive value from that data, and the standardization of cloud architectures in the enterprise … SQream, developer of SQream DB, the leading GPU database for analyzing massive data stores at a fraction of the cost, announced that it has raised $26.4 million in Series B funding. The latest round was led by Alibaba Group (NYSE: BABA) with participation from existing and new investors including Hanaco Venture Capital, Sistema.vc, World Trade Ventures, Paradiso Ventures, Glory Ventures, and Silvertech Ventures. We also learned of some new M&A transactions … Fortinet (NASDAQ:FTNT), a leader in broad, integrated and automated cybersecurity solutions, completed the acquisition of Bradford Networks, further enhancing the Fortinet Security Fabric by converging access control and IoT security solutions to provide large enterprise with broader visibility and security for their complex networks … Druva, Inc., a leader in cloud data protection and management, announced it has acquired CloudRanger, a leading backup and disaster recovery (DR) solutions provider for AWS. The acquisition significantly expands Druva’s data protection footprint of the Druva Cloud Platform, making it the only company that offers cloud native unified coverage for data protection and management spanning enterprise on-premises environments to those operated within cloud environments like AWS and Microsoft Office 365 … Microsoft confirmed its $7.5 billion purchase of GitHub. We received a comment from Yaron Haviv, Co-founder and COO of continuous data platform Iguazio about the acquisition:

I’m sure that some of Microsoft’s direct competitors will re-consider the use of GitHub, just like retailers reacted by moving away from AWS when they bought Whole Foods. On the same time for the majority of us it won’t matter, Microsoft under Satya is not the same company, they are more open and developer friendly.”

The conference circuit is heating up where we learned of a number of new partnerships, alignments and collaborations … KodaCloud, Inc., the company offering AI enabled Wi-Fi as a cloud subscription service, announced a technology partnership with Extreme Networks, Inc. (Nasdaq: EXTR), the enterprise market’s only fully-automated end-to-end campus solution company. KodaCloud’s technology provides proactive networking with monitoring, detection, self-optimization, mitigation, and recommendations to deliver industry leading performance and lower operating costs … BlueData, provider of a leading Big-Data-as-a-Service (BDaaS) software platform, announced further collaboration with Hortonworks and validation through the Hortonworks QATS (Quality Assured Testing Suite) program for deploying Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP) in a containerized environment. This new development extends the company’s long-established relationship with Hortonworks and updates BlueData’s prior HDP certification. BlueData customers can now ensure compatibility and interoperability when running HDP on BlueData’s EPIC software — whether on-premises, in a private cloud, in the public cloud, or in a hybrid architecture … Atlanta-based ForecasTools has entered into a non-exclusive, partnership agreement to provide its cutting-edge, predictive analytics application WhatIf? to iVEDiX, headquartered in Pittsford, New York. iVEDiX, which promotes itself as “the Digital Platform leader in cognitive analytics, personalized workflow and intelligent Internet of Things (IoT) solutions,” says its team is excited to offer WhatIf? solutions to current and future clients … Supercomputer leader Cray Inc. (Nasdaq: CRAY) announced that it has partnered with UK Innovation Center, Digital Catapult and its Machine Intelligence Garage to help organizations of all sizes speed the development of machine intelligence systems. This partnership enables the Machine Intelligence Garage to offer companies the supercomputing power and expertise required to develop and build machine learning and AI solutions. The Machine Intelligence Garage is a program delivered by Digital Catapult, which supports and promotes advanced digital technology and transformation to drive growth in the UK economy. The effort takes its name from the mythical place garages have in the history of technology. The Machine Intelligence Garage holds an open call every six to 12 weeks to select startups that can benefit most from the computational resources the Machine Intelligence Garage can offer from within the organization or through its partners. It then selects about 30 startups and develops for each a tailored program offering supervision, feedback and a case study of each startup’s corresponding results … Virtustream, the enterprise-class cloud company and a Dell Technologies business, announced an expanded partnership with SAP, becoming one of the first global cloud providers to offer the SAP Data Hub solution on the cloud via Virtustream® Enterprise Cloud. Customers can now choose to deploy SAP Data Hub, which is a data operations management solution that enables data orchestration, pipelining, governance and agile sharing of all data across a connected data landscape, as an out-of-the-box solution … KPMG International announced an alliance with Google to help organizations transform their business and operating models with secure cloud computing, machine learning (ML), enterprise mobility and advanced analytics technologies. As part of the collaboration, KPMG is creating a portfolio of industry solutions built on Google Cloud Platform (GCP). KPMG member firms around the globe are currently engaging with clients on solutions for financial services, insurance, healthcare, manufacturing, and retail, among other industries. These solutions, including customer service solutions, contract management, cyber security, regulatory compliance and business and process performance, will benefit from GCP’s trusted security, advanced data analytics and ML … Sumo Logic, a leading cloud-native, machine data analytics platform that delivers continuous intelligence, announced a technology partnership with Mapbox, a leading location data platform for developers, that makes it easier for customers to gain business, security and operational insights to improve performance and overall experience for their end-users. By integrating Mapbox GL JS, a dynamic, interactive map that uses a JavaScript library from vector tiles via an API, into the Sumo Logic platform, users now have the ability to easily monitor and troubleshoot their modern applications and immediately turn that data into key performance indicators (KPIs) that can be shared with key stakeholders and business decision-makers … John Snow Labs, an award-winning global data operations company, announced a partnership with UiPath, a leading enterprise Robotic Process Automation (RPA) platform, to deploy an integrated and sophisticated fact-extraction technology. John Snow Labs helps accelerate the work of data scientists thanks to its turnkey AI platform and AI implementation services. The company’s advanced natural language processing (NLP) library and deep-learning models will be integrated with UiPath’s RPA technology, providing organizations with a complete software platform to automate business processes that depend on understanding human language.

Vicki Hanson

In people movement news, we heard … ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, has named ACM President Vicki L. Hanson to the position of executive director and CEO effective July 1, 2018. As ACM’s most senior staff member, Hanson will work with ACM’s volunteer community to provide strategic vision and to develop sustainable business models to ensure ACM’s continued worldwide membership, publications and revenue growth. Hanson has a long history of service to the computing community, having served ACM as President (2016 – 2018), Vice President (2014 – 2016), ACM Secretary/Treasurer (2012 – 2014), and ACM SIG Governing Board Chair (2010 – 2012), among other positions. Hanson is a former Chair of ACM’s Special Interest Group on Accessible Computing (SIGACCESS), and with Andrew Sears, was co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of ACM Transactions on Accessible Computing (TACCESS). She has been active in conference organizing and program committees for ASSETS, CHI, and several other ACM conferences … Bluzelle, the decentralized database provider, has appointed Daniel Saito and Colin Charles as strategic advisors to oversee Bluzelle’s Open Source strategy and development.  They are both well-known for their efforts in building out the MySQL and MariaDB database developer communities. Daniel Saito joins Bluzelle as an advisor to oversee Open Source initiatives and implementation. Having previously been Representative Director for MySQL K.K. He joined MySQL in 2005 as one of its first employees in the APAC region, where he was tasked with educating and expanding the open source business for the MySQL database in APAC. He has played a pivotal role in several startups globally, and was also a cryptosecurity research engineer at NTT DoCoMo R&D. He is also an active developer and advisor for various cryptocurrencies. Colin Charles advises on open source implementation and best practices. He comes with a wealth of experience from MariaDB Corporation, where he had been the Chief Evangelist for MariaDB since 2009, with work ranging from speaking engagements to consultancy and engineering. In his role at MariaDB, he was responsible for almost single-handedly growth hacking the user base to 12 million users through constant evangelism. Colin was also an early employee at MySQL … Atomic X, an experiential artificial intelligence (AI) firm and consulting business, announced the latest appointment to its leadership team. Mike Gagnon officially joins Atomic X as the company’s first Chief Financial Officer. Gagnon is charged with the planning, implementation, managing, and running of all of Atomic X’s financial activities. He reports directly to CEO and Founder, Dan Cummins … Waterline Data, a leader in data cataloging solutions and applications, announced the appointment of Kailash Ambwani as Chief Executive Officer. He succeeds Waterline Data founder Alex Gorelik who will continue to serve the company as Chief Technical Officer. Previously, Ambwani was the CEO at Actiance, a leading provider of information governance, compliance and archiving software, whose customers include the top 10 U.S., top 9 European, top 5 Canadian, and top 3 Asian banks … HP Inc. (NYSE:HPQ) announced that Steve Fieler has been named Chief Financial Officer, effective July 1. He will succeed Cathie Lesjak, who will assume the role of interim Chief Operating Officer. Fieler is a seasoned executive with more than 20 years of experience. He currently leads the treasury and corporate finance functions where he is responsible for managing cash, debt, risk management and capital structure as well as financial planning and analysis, investor relations, credit and collections, and corporate development. An 11 year HP veteran, he served in a range of finance and operational roles at the Hewlett Packard Company prior to the November 2015 separation including VP CFO for HP Software, a $4B division of the company. He left in 2014 to become CFO at Proteus Digital Health, a pioneer in digital medicine, and rejoined HP in January 2017. Fieler has a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Brown University and a Master’s of Business Administration from Harvard Business School.

In the new customer wins category we learned … Sinequa announced that Sika AG, the leading supplier of systems and products for bonding, sealing, damping, reinforcing and protecting for the construction and automotive industry, has set up a comprehensive search center for the digital workplace based on the Sinequa platform. One of the main data sources is “SikaConnect,” a cloud-based collaboration platform based on IBM Connections, which forms the backbone for the intranet and thus for the digital workplace at Sika. Sinequa indexes the content from SikaConnect and represents a comprehensive search center (SikaSearch) for the collaboration platform. With its powerful connector technology, Sinequa connects to SikaConnect as well as multiple other data sources and enables Sika to deliver relevant information for over 18,000 employees worldwide from decentralized, structured and unstructured data. The implementation partner in this project is DTI AG … Anodot, the autonomous analytics company, announced that Waze, a leading crowdsourced traffic and navigation app, will be integrating Anodot’s real-time anomaly detection platform across its system. With over 100million monthly active users worldwide, Waze is leveraging Anodot’s autonomous analytics solution to improve app performance by identifying potential pitfalls before they affect users.This ensures better suggestions for routes and faster identification of glitches that could impact to usage. Using machine learning, Anodot detects any drop in app performance, seamlessly correlating this data with other relevant metrics to present the full story for any business incident in a way that the Waze team can recognize and act upon. It’s not easy. For starters, each country and metropolitan area has its own usage patterns. Metrics are also affected by seasonal factors, the month, the day of the week, even special occasions like holidays and other events. All of these factors influence how drivers use the Waze platform, and the data that help Waze users plan their journeys … ClearDB, a pioneer in native enterprise cloud database technologies, announced that Yooture, an online job search site based in Switzerland, has selected ClearDB’s MySQL Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS) solution to power its multi-regional, cloud-agnostic, secure job search site. Yooture’s application and user base are growing fast, and its users have downloaded 250,000 instances of the application within the past 3.5 years. The job search company doubled its user base in 2017 and is on track to double again in 2018. As a result, Yooture needed a stable, resilient platform to support its growth, and chose the highly-scalable ClearDB platform to keep Yooture’s dynamic environment online, high performing and accessible … CellOS Software Limited a leading provider of real-time Big Data analytics to help operators understand their data has been awarded a contract for Analytics of Revenue Assurance and Revenue Management by AIS Thailand. AIS generates huge volumes of data every day which contains business critical information. The delivery of services and solutions from CellOS Software will combine CellOS Software’s expertise in business solutions for big data analytics and deep understanding of Value Added Services within AIS’s network environment to deliver solutions for today’s increasingly data rich world. AIS’s relevant data will be retrieved, analyzed and correlated using CellOS Software’s advanced Big Data Analytics to uncover and unlock insights. It will also be possible to create new revenue streams from the intelligence gained by AIS through the provision of the services and solutions from CellOS Software thus enabling AIS to monetize existing services and subscribers.

And finally, we received the following commentary from Emil Eifrem, co-founder and CEO of Neo4j regarding the recent general availability of Amazon Neptune, the new cloud graph database:

As creator and leader of graph databases, we’ve always been singularly focused on building connected data into a market category. As a company, Neo4j has invested heavily to ensure that our customers are successful, whatever their deployment style: on premises, hybrid or cloud. From establishing the Cypher query language – which is optimized for graph queries; to releasing new products like Neo4j Bloom, which bring graphs to every user; to optimizing our products for cloud deployment, we’re always working to innovate and expand the ways graph technology can be applied. As the world is coming to embrace graphs, it’s also very clear that it is embracing the cloud at an increasing pace. Over the last few years, as more of our customers have come to run Neo4j in different cloud environments, we’ve adapted to run better in the cloud. This runs the gamut from operability hooks to different kinds of packaging such as Docker, to forming partnerships with Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and of course Amazon Web Services, where Neo4j is an Advanced Partner. Work continues to make it even easier for customers to run Neo4j in the cloud. Amazon Neptune is great validation of the graph category, but this announcement is their version 1.0 on a long journey. We do think that Amazon’s entry into the space will bring greater exposure to the types of problems that can be solved with using graph databases, which is a very good thing for both market maturity and Neo4j.”

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