“Above the Trend Line” – Your Industry Rumor Central for 8/21/2020

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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, 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@insideAINews.com. Be sure to Tweet Above the Trend Line articles using the hashtag: #abovethetrendline.

Summertime is in full-swing here in Los Angeles, my home base. I’m really not a warm weather person so what am I doing in LA? Good question, no good answer. I’m more of a Pacific Northwest type, maybe one day! One reason for my aversion to the heat is because my laptop tends to overheat on warm days while I’m running a long ML training job. Lately I’ve had to point a fan directly at my computer, not fun! But I digress … let’s take a look at some new funding news … Agiloft, a leader in no-code contract and commerce lifecycle management, announced a $45 million growth equity investment from FTV Capital, a sector-focused investor in innovative companies in enterprise technology and services, financial services, and payments and transaction processing. Bootstrapped since its inception and profitable, Agiloft’s investment from FTV is the company’s first round of external funding and will be used to build on its leadership position in the rapidly growing enterprise contract and commerce lifecycle management (CCLM) space as it accelerates its AI-based product development and expands its vertical and geographic market presence. Agiloft’s no-code platform drives industry-leading configurability and automates complex enterprise workflows through an iterative design process at a fraction of the time and cost of traditional software … Grafana Labs announced that it has raised $50 million in a Series B funding round, which will be used to aggressively accelerate its product roadmap in key areas across its leading open and composable observability platform — where customers can mix and match best-of-breed open and proprietary data sources — and nurture and invest in the wider Grafana community … Gong, the revenue intelligence platform leveraging artificial intelligence to transform revenue teams, announced it raised $200 million in a Series D funding bringing the company’s valuation to $2.2 billion. The new investment follows Gong’s $65 million Series C funding announced in December 2019. The latest funding was led by Coatue and joined by Index Ventures, Salesforce Ventures and Thrive Capital, with participation from existing investors Battery Ventures, NextWorld Capital, Norwest Venture Partners, Sequoia Capital and Wing Venture Capital. Gong’s total funding raised is now $334 million … Mode Analytics, a leader in advanced analytics, announced that it has closed a $33 million round of Series D funding led by H.I.G. Growth Partners, along with Valor Equity Partners, Foundation Capital, REV Venture Partners, and Switch Ventures.  Mode will use the funds to accelerate its leading analytics platform, which combines the best elements of Analytics and Business Intelligence (ABI), Data Science (DS) and Machine Learning (ML) to empower data teams to answer impactful questions and collaborate on analysis across a range of business functions. Mode has raised $83 million to date … PitchMe, a skills-based talent marketplace that matches candidates’ soft and professional skills with the right jobs and upskilling opportunities, today announced that it has raised a $1.2M seed round. The round was led by New York-based Starta Ventures and also includes investments from a UK-based family office and a number of angel investors. Instead of relying on time-consuming questionnaires, PitchMe harnesses proprietary big data algorithms to extract information on job candidates from more than 60 online sources. These sources are then verified for accuracy to create the candidate’s SmartMe Profile, an alternative profile that allows candidates’ real skills and experience to do the talking, which is then shared with suitable employers anonymously.

In the new partnerships, alignments and collaborations category we heard … Datadobi, a leader in unstructured data migration software, and Melillo Consulting, technology solutions integrator catering to Fortune 500 companies, announced they have joined forces to address the growing healthcare data management market. The collaboration is based on best-in-class data migration solutions from Datadobi combined with Melillo Consulting’s expertise in deploying business and technology solutions that produce cost savings and a high return on investment (ROI), while mitigating risk and ensuring compliance. Together, they have powered the migration of over 1.2 petabytes (PBs) of data for the nation’s largest faith-based healthcare institution from legacy hardware to safer, higher-performing, and dramatically more cost-effective infrastructure … Building on its commitment to providing customers with Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions that can be utilized across modalities in routine care, Canon Medical Systems USA, Inc. is partnering with Zebra Medical Vision (Zebra Medical) to offer its AI1™ automated imaging analysis solutions to help clinicians in the U.S. provide faster, accurate diagnoses for optimized patient care. Zebra Medical’s AI1™ technology provides cloud-based analysis of images through FDA-cleared AI solutions, trained on hundreds of millions of patient scans to triage acute medical conditions, detect incidental findings and stratify risk. This partnership with Canon Medical Systems USA, Inc. marks the introduction of Zebra Medical’s solution into the modality space, bringing AI analysis closer to the point of care … Pure Storage (NYSE: PSTG), a IT pioneer that delivers storage as-a-service in a multi-cloud world, and Cohesity, the modern data management company that radically simplifies the way organizations back up, manage and derive value from data, today announced a strategic partnership that brings to market Pure FlashRecover, Powered by Cohesity®. This offering is the industry’s first modern, jointly-engineered solution designed to meet the most demanding business continuity requirements and enable new opportunities for data-driven organizations. Pure and Cohesity have formed this partnership based on strong customer demand for an integrated all-flash data protection solution that empowers customers to easily, quickly, and reliably back up and recover their data at scale. The companies have also formed this partnership at a time when more customers are embracing cloud services and are seeking ransomware protection … New Relic, Inc. (NYSE: NEWR), the observability platform company, and Grafana Labs, the open source dash boarding platform, announced an ongoing partnership to drive advanced open instrumentation and visibility for developers and software teams. The companies delivered new integrations designed to empower engineering teams to solve problems even faster … In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, many medical institutions around the country have suspended or ended clinical trials. But Franciscan Health Cancer Center, in collaboration with Deep Lens, is moving forward with an initiative to rapidly and effectively match patients to precision therapies and clinical studies with an artificial intelligence-based screening and enrollment platform, VIPER™. With the upcoming integration of VIPER to the Franciscan Health system, clinical trial care teams will be able to immediately and automatically match patients based on the genetic profile of their cancers to the best precision therapies and oncology clinical trials … Informatica®, an enterprise cloud data management leader, announced an expanded strategic partnership with Google Cloud, including a new joint go-to-market initiative to accelerate analytics with BigQuery and SAP on Google Cloud. Additionally, Informatica Intelligent Cloud Services (IICS) is now available on Google Cloud Marketplace and Informatica Change Data Capture (CDC) will integrate with BigQuery … Swarm64, a leader in database acceleration solutions for the PostgreSQL open source database, announced a strategic partnership agreement with Command Prompt, Inc., the oldest and largest dedicated PostgreSQL support provider in North America. The two companies will help organizations dramatically lower the cost of analytics and database management by enabling them to use the free, open source PostgreSQL database for data warehousing, data science, and large-scale reporting applications … Emtec, Inc., a global IT consultancy, announced that they have entered into a partnership with Yellowbrick Data, a hybrid cloud data warehouse company, to help clients unlock the value in their data. Emtec helps clients across industries achieve success in their digital transformation initiatives by analyzing data from multiple heterogenous systems and uncovering deep, actionable insights for more informed decision-making. By utilizing Yellowbrick Data’s hybrid cloud data warehouse, Emtec will expand the value of its enterprise data lake services and strategic business intelligence solutions to help clients scale up their data analytics capabilities with speed and agility … STANLEY Security, a global integrator of comprehensive security solutions and the world’s second-largest electronic security company, announced its investment in Evolv Technology, a leader in artificial intelligence (AI)-based touchless security screening. This investment – backed by STANLEY Ventures, the venture capital arm of Stanley Black & Decker (NYSE: SWK) – forms a strategic partnership between the two companies … NeuTigers, a leading-edge startup that is revolutionizing the next generation of energy/latency-efficient artificial intelligence (AI), has teamed up with Rajant Corporation, to bring new solutions to the world. As a first step, both companies are addressing the global public health crisis through CovidDeep, an AI-powered monitoring and screening solution to detect the different phases of SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19, currently in validation after a promising clinical trial … FortressIQ, the company delivering end-to-end process insights for the modern enterprise, and Signavio, a leading provider of business transformation solutions, announced a strategic partnership that delivers comprehensive process intelligence across the enterprise. Process intelligence is integral to enterprises undergoing business transformation. However, it can be a significant undertaking, with organizations often not knowing where to start, what to look for, and what to prioritize. Traditionally, companies leveraged a combination of process mining, interviews, and business analysts to understand and improve their processes from multiple angles, but this approach can be costly, time-consuming, and lacking in accuracy. Together, Signavio and FortressIQ provide a top-down and bottom-up modeling, discovery, mining, governance, and monitoring framework for all processes and tasks across an organization. With this joint solution, enterprise organizations looking to successfully achieve process transformation at scale no longer have to rely on disparate tools or manual approaches to accomplish their business transformation initiatives. Organizations now have the capacity to evaluate and prioritize improvement opportunities and cost reductions quickly, leading to truly transformational outcomes … Alation Inc., a leader in enterprise data intelligence solutions, announced its partnership with Manta, a unified lineage platform, to deliver advanced data lineage for comprehensive visibility and understanding of the data lifecycle across an enterprise. The new integration, which comes on top of Alation’s core lineage functionality, offers advanced, cross-system, column-level lineage to ease regulatory compliance adherence, perform impact analysis, and notify stakeholders of upstream data changes in real-time.

In new people movement news we learned … Kazuhm, a leader in technology and tools for maximizing IT efficiency, announced that Dr. Larry Smarr will provide support to the Kazuhm leadership team as Technology Evangelist. With over 40 years of experience driving information technology innovation in academia, government agencies, and private industry, Dr. Smarr brings a practical vision for the ever broadening use of distributed computing … Magnitude Software, provider of enterprise application data management and analytics solutions to the world’s leading businesses, announced the appointment of Jeffrey Shoreman as its new chief executive officer … Syniti, an industry leading enterprise data solution provider specializing in data operations and data transformation, announced the appointment of Paula Tolliver to its Board of Directors … ChaosSearch, creator of the cloud data lake platform for scalable log analysis, announced it has named Ed Walsh Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board of Directors. Walsh most recently served as General Manager of IBM Storage division and has successfully led and sold four high-growth starts-ups as CEO … Cloudera, (NYSE: CLDR), the enterprise data cloud company, announced it has promoted Sarah Shin to the new role of Chief Diversity Officer. With 25 years of experience, Sarah will spearhead Cloudera’s commitment to addressing workplace inequality with deliberate and decisive action, and will hold the company accountable for promoting belonging in its workplaces and communities. She was previously the Head of Diversity, Inclusion, & Learning at Cloudera where she led various diversity and inclusion initiatives focused on leveling the playing field for women and underrepresented minorities.  Prior to that, Sarah held various D&I and HR leadership positions at Apple, LeapFrog, HPE, and more … TIBCO Software Inc., a global leader in enterprise data, announced the appointment of Tony Beller, the company’s new senior vice president of worldwide partner ecosystems and OEM sales. In his new role, Beller will work to build new markets with the partner ecosystem, drive revenue, and ensure customer success through partners, including service providers, resellers, system integrators, independent software vendors (ISVs), OEM partners, and technology partners.

In the customer wins department, we heard … Lexalytics®, a leader in “words-first” machine learning and artificial intelligence, announced that Zignal Labs, creator of the Impact Intelligence platform for measuring the evolution of opinion in real time, has chosen Lexalytics to extend its natural language processing (NLP) and text analytics capabilities to help marketers, communicators and analysts gain a greater understanding of perceptions across traditional and social media … TigerGraph, the scalable graph database for the enterprise, announced that Myntelligence has chosen TigerGraph to power advanced analytics within the Myntelligence Media Automation platform to deliver integrated, real-time insights to marketers. Myntelligence, with TigerGraph, is addressing a key business challenge: Marketers often struggle to manage multiple campaigns across various digital channels while analyzing integrated results in real-time – especially when working with data repositories such as Hadoop-based data lakes … Cambridge Semantics, a leading provider of modern, graph-driven data integration for the enterprise data fabric, announced that Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany and its US-based biopharmaceutical business EMD Serono, have selected Cambridge Semantics as its data fabric provider.

And finally, we received a commentary from Mark Hermeling, Senior Director and automotive software security/safety expert at GrammaTech about a new AAA study that exposes code flaws in self driving systems:

“ADAS systems consist of complex software components, some of these components interpret the driving environment using multiple sets of sensors such as video, radar and LiDAR as well as sensors inside the car. Then different software make decisions based on this information, and lastly a separate set of components take actions. Often these interconnected components have been built by different vendors. Extensive code testing must be performed during the various development phases of these individual software components to ensure that when integrated, they work as intended in real world driving conditions. Unlike traditional software applications where defects can be detected and corrected after they are released, ADAS software cannot afford to be released with bugs due to the safety implications involved and cited by the AAA Study.”

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