“Above the Trend Line” – Your Industry Rumor Central for 9/17/2018

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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.

So much happening in our fast paced industry! Let’s just dive right in with some new M&A activity … Microsoft has announced the acquisition of Lobe. Based in San Francisco, Lobe is working to make deep learning simple, understandable and accessible to everyone. Lobe’s simple visual interface empowers anyone to develop and apply deep learning and AI models quickly, without writing code. Microsoft looks forward to continuing the great work by Lobe in putting AI development into the hands of non-engineers and non-experts. The company is thrilled to have Lobe join Microsoft and are excited about their future together to simplify AI development for everyone … DataDirect Networks (DDN®), a leading supplier of high-performance data management solutions for customers at scale, announced that it has completed the acquisition of Tintri, Inc. (Tintri®) for $60 million after an extensive bidding process, which saw DDN declared as the auction winner, followed by court approval and ratification of DDN’s winning bid. DDN’s first order of business is to restart world-class service and support for Tintri’s extensive installed customer base as early as this coming week, to enhance Tintri’s product roadmap with new features to be announced within 90 days, and to staff the Tintri global engineering, support, field technical, sales and marketing teams with 100 planned new hires before year end.

The funding spigot continues to pour over the big data industry starting with … Wasabi, the hot cloud storage company, announces the closing of a Series B financing round totaling $68 million. Wasabi refrained from conventional venture capital, preferring instead to raise money from industry veterans and family offices. The investment is a testament to Wasabi’s progress in becoming a leading vendor of cheap, fast, and secure cloud storage. In just over a year, Wasabi has acquired more than 3,000 customers across a wide range of industries … StreamSets®, provider of the DataOps platform for modern data integration, announced it raised $35 million in a Series C funding round, led by Harmony Partners. Also participating in this round are new investor Tenaya Capital, and existing investors Battery Ventures and New Enterprise Associates (NEA). This round brings the firm’s total funding to over $65 million. StreamSets will use the investment to accelerate its international go-to-market, research and development efforts, and customer-facing functions. The investment underscores the growing importance of DataOps, the emerging practice of applying DevOps principles to data management and data integration. DataOps has grown in importance as companies re-architect their “data supply chain” with microservices; leverage new data sources like IoT devices, API feeds and systems logs; and adopt an array of modern data platforms such as AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, Apache Kafka, Apache Hadoop/Spark, and NoSQL … Interana announced its funding from M12, Microsoft’s venture fund. The Company also announced it has earned Microsoft Co-Sell status to engage in strategic joint sales with Microsoft. The most successful companies use event data to understand what customers do, not just in aggregate or on average, but through specific customer actions. They understand where people have problems and what transforms someone into a great customer. Interana is an event data platform that enables every enterprise employee to fully understand each customer action to do their jobs better; whether it’s to deliver better products, increase customer engagement, ensure customer renewals, or improve functionality, all to drive growth … PingCAP, a leading distributed database company that created the popular cloud-native NewSQL database TiDB, announces a $50 million Series C funding round led by FOSUN and Morningside Venture Capital. All previous investors—China Growth Capital, Yunqi Partners, Matrix Partners China, and others—have also participated in this round. PingCAP plans to use this new capital to expand the TiDB ecosystem globally, build cross-cloud product offering, and invest in innovation of its core technology.

We also learned of an ever-growing number of new partnerships, alignments and collaborations … Igloo Software, a leading provider of digital workplace solutions, announced a new partnership with California-based Lucidworks that will see Igloo’s Digital Workplace platform leverage the latest in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing technology to improve search speed and relevancy. The new partnership with Lucidworks will see Igloo augment its search capabilities with artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing to deliver personalized and more relevant search results for Igloo’s customers. Lucidworks, based in San Francisco, is a leader in AI-powered search and discovery. Its technology will power sophisticated employee experiences for Igloo customers by finding correlations across human, machine, and application generated data in real-time and at scale. Lucidworks was recently named a leader in Gartner’s 2018 Magic Quadrant for Insight Engines … Trifacta, a leader in data preparation, and Sumo Logic, a leading cloud-native machine data analytics platform that delivers continuous intelligence, announced the launch of a joint integration that drives improved business intelligence. The new integration enables business users, such as product managers, to efficiently explore and transform complex machine data and combine it with data from customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing automation solutions in order to better understand product usage and customer behavior … MapR® Technologies, Inc., a leading data platform for AI and Analytics, announced the availability of a Machine Learning-based (ML) data catalog with the MapR Data Platform. The new Waterline Data Catalog for MapR, a result of development collaboration and a reseller agreement with Waterline Data, is designed to address the speed and scale required for enterprise-wide data governance and management for next-generation Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Analytics environments … BlueData®, provider of a leading container-based software platform for AI and Big Data workloads, announced that new Dell EMC Ready Solutions for Big Data are powered by BlueData EPIC software. These integrated solutions enable a cloud-like experience for Big-Data-as-a-Service (BDaaS) while ensuring the enterprise-grade security and performance of on-premises infrastructure … Sinequa, a leader in cognitive search and analytics, announced a partnership with Infosys, a global leader in consulting, technology and next-generation services, to deliver Cognitive Search & Analytics solutions to empower large organizations to become information-driven. This partnership aims at offering joint customers a holistic solution that is capable of automatically extracting relevant insights from diverse enterprise data sets for users within a specific work context … Hortonworks (NASDAQ: HDP), IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) announced an open Hybrid Architecture Initiative, a new collaborative effort the companies will use to build a  common enterprise deployment model that enables big data workloads to run in a hybrid manner  across on-premises, multi-cloud and edge architectures. As the initial phase of the initiative, the companies plan to work together to optimize Hortonworks Data Platform, Hortonworks DataFlow, Hortonworks DataPlane and IBM Cloud Private for Data for use on Red Hat OpenShift, an industry-leading enterprise container and Kubernetes application platform. This will enable users to develop  and deploy containerized big data workloads, ultimately making it easier for customers to manage data applications across hybrid cloud deployments … Tridium Inc. announced a new Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technology solution developed in collaboration with Dell and Intel Corporation that Tridium will offer manufacturers. The IIoT solution is built on the Niagara Framework®, Tridium’s open technology platform, and combines software and consulting services to help customers begin the digital transformation of their businesses … Alation Inc., the data catalog company, and First San Francisco Partners, a business advisory and information management consultancy, announced a strategic partnership to meet the needs of Chief Data Officers (CDOs) seeking to bring trust to data-driven decisions. The partnership focuses on delivering new, field-tested methodologies for agile and modern data governance, made possible by data catalog technology.

In the new customer wins category we heard … Unit4, a leader in enterprise systems for services organizations, announces a new contract to deliver ERP software and services to the SKA Organization. The SKA Organization is responsible for coordinating the global activities of the SKA project, a unique project to explore the Universe with the world’s largest radio telescope. The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project is an international effort to build the world’s largest radio telescope, consisting of two arrays of thousands of antennas spread over hundreds of kilometres in southern Africa and Australia. Unit4’s cloud ERP solution will support the not-for-profit organization to improve data and project management, and ensure operational efficiency across its diverse teams, while also supporting its ambitious international growth objectives. Unit4 Business World will provide real-time access to consolidated global project and financial data, so teams can respond to performance information quickly to ensure the project stays on track … DataDirect Networks (DDN®) announced a new data management solution developed and deployed at the University of Michigan (U-M) that will help support an increasingly diverse set of research projects spanning machine learning, transportation, precision health, chemistry, computational flow dynamics, life sciences, physics and public policy. U-M’s Advanced Research Computing – Technology Services (ARC-TS) unit has seen demand for research storage surge. With more than 4,000 students and faculty working on approximately 370 independent data-intensive projects annually, storage needs have grown beyond 14PB. Moreover, an increase in diversified areas of study has caused demand to grow 100 percent annually over the past three years, which taxed ARC-TS’s ability to address the rise in data volume and computational complexity … Zoomdata, the company reinventing BI, announces a significant new deployment in South America with Cielo S.A., the largest Brazilian credit and debit card operator and the biggest payment system company in the continent by revenue and market value. Zoomdata is being used to monitor and explore multi-source data captured by Cielo’s extensive point of sale, electronic fund transfer, and e-commerce device transactions throughout Brazil. The Zoomdata solution, delivered by reseller partner Semantix, givesCielo S.A. the ability to provide streaming, predictive analytics to identify financial usage habits, in order to push relevant, real-time offers and promotions to their 1.7 million active users. This capability allows Cielo to further capitalize on Brazil’s burgeoning payment sector, which last year totaled 1.2 trillion Reais (approximately $308 billion U.S.) … Redis Labs, the home of Redis and provider of Redis Enterprise, announced deployment of its Database-as-a-Service offering for new use cases at Freshworks, a global leader in customer engagement software. Freshworks has realized exponential growth year over year and recently closed a funding round with a valuation of $1.5 billion. More than 150,000 organizations use Freshworks’ cloud-based suite of business software globally. This extraordinary growth, spurred by the rapid adoption of its flagship Freshdesk product and the addition of several new products, was straining the capabilities of Freshworks’ application architecture and development operations. Freshworks needed to reduce the burden on its primary MySQL database, but was finding that its current caching solution, provided by Amazon ElastiCache, and did not meet their development needs … Looker, a leading data platform company, announced that Adyen, the payments platform of choice for many of the world’s leading companies, has implemented Looker to transform its culture around data and support its rapid growth. Adyen, which provides the payments platform for high-growth businesses such as Uber, Facebook and Spotify, was looking to transform its data processes, increase staff independence and efficiency, and develop critical business insights from its data – underpinning its sustained growth. Deploying Looker has enabled the entire organization to visualize, extract and glean value from data for their own job roles and processes while ensuring one single source of truth across the business. Adyen’s account managers can now get data-informed reports on their merchants at the touch of a button. They no longer need rely on analysts with an advanced knowledge of SQL databases and can self-serve to deliver a more seamless customer service … Revulytics, Inc., a leading provider of software usage analytics for on-premise software, announced that Solibri, a provider of Building Information Modeling software, is using Revulytics® Usage Intelligence to move beyond anecdotal and fragmented customer feedback to a more quantitative and comprehensive view of customer behavior.

And finally, in people movement news we learned … Snowflake Computing, the data warehouse built for the cloud, announced that Kathy O’Driscoll has joined Snowflake as VP of People, effective immediately. She is responsible for Snowflake’s people strategy and operations on a worldwide basis, reporting to Bob Muglia, Snowflake’s CEO. O’Driscoll brings more than 20 years of global, executive-level HR experience to her new role. Most recently, she served as Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer at PATH, an international nonprofit organization and leader in global health innovation. In this role, she led a team of HR professionals covering PATH’s talent operations and impact in more than 50 countries. Prior to PATH, she held various senior people strategy roles at Microsoft, including the Server and Tools Business which consisted of more than 11,000 employees and generated $13B in revenue … Talend (Nasdaq: TLND), a leader in cloud data integration solutions, announced it has appointed Adam Meister, former Managing Director at Goldman Sachs, as Chief Financial Officer, effective September 17, 2018. Meister brings to Talend significant financial and capital markets experience including an extensive background in corporate finance, strategy, and a deep knowledge of the software industry. The appointment comes amidst significant growth for Talend with record revenue for the second quarter and 39 percent* year-over-year growth. Meister will be responsible for directing the company’s finance organization and helping to shepherd the company through its continued growth and global expansion … Looker, a leading data platform company, announced that Barbara Lawler has joined the company as Chief Privacy and Data Ethics Officer, leading Looker’s global privacy, ethics and accountability policies and practices. Barb is a globally recognized leader and innovator in shaping privacy policies across multiple industries. Previously serving as Chief Privacy Officer for Intuit, Inc. and the Hewlett-Packard Company, she brings decades of experience in implementing global privacy and ethical data innovation strategies. Barb founded Digital Stewardship Strategies where she guided organizations in setting strategies to implement ethical approaches to privacy and digital stewardship, focusing on machine learning and artificial intelligence applications.


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