“Above the Trend Line” – Your Industry Rumor Central for 3/11/2021

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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.

Let’s get started with some industry news starting with some M&A activity … Talend (NASDAQ: TLND), a leader in data integration and data integrity, announced that it has entered into a memorandum of understanding with Thoma Bravo, a leading private equity investment firm focused on the software and technology-enabled services sectors, under which Thoma Bravo intends to commence a tender offer to acquire all of the outstanding ordinary shares and American Depositary Shares (“ADSs”) of Talend, for $66.00 per ordinary share and ADS (each ADS representing one ordinary share) in cash. The offer, which values Talend at approximately $2.4 billion, represents a premium of approximately 29% to Talend’s closing price on March 9 and an 81% premium to the volume weighted average price over the last twelve months. The Talend Board of Directors unanimously approved the memorandum of understanding … Sumo Logic (Nasdaq: SUMO), the pioneer of continuous intelligence, announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire DF Labs S.p.A., a provider of security orchestration, automation and response (SOAR) software. The acquisition will extend Sumo Logic’s cloud-native SIEM solution to help reduce or eliminate tedious and error-prone manual tasks and empower SOC teams to accelerate threat detection, analysis, incident response and forensic investigations. The addition of DFLabs to the Sumo Logic Continuous Intelligence Platform™ will provide customers of varying sizes and maturities with comprehensive cloud-native security intelligence solutions built for today’s digital businesses that leverage modern applications, architectures and multi-cloud infrastructures. … Today, Xactly, a leader in revenue intelligence solutions, announced the acquisition of TopOPPS, a company focused on artificial intelligence (AI), sales pipeline management and forecasting. With this strategic acquisition, Xactly is expanding beyond Sales Performance Management to deliver a first-of-its-kind, end-to-end platform for Revenue Operations (RevOps). The combination pairs Xactly’s rich empirical data set and purpose-built AI with TopOPPS’ capabilities in one platform to advance the quality and scope of data-driven decision making throughout the revenue lifecycle. By introducing behavioral data driven forecasting and pipeline management, a new standard of intelligence is redefining revenue performance and shattering status quo thinking … Precisely, a leader in data integrity, announced it has signed a definitive agreement for Clearlake Capital Group, L.P. (together with its affiliates, “Clearlake”) and TA Associates to acquire the Company. Josh Rogers, CEO of Precisely, will continue to lead the Company supported by the existing management team. Upon closing of the transaction, Clearlake and TA Associates will become majority shareholders in Precisely. Centerbridge Partners, the current majority shareholder in Precisely, will retain a minority equity stake. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed … Kalibrate, the recognized authority in fuel pricing, location planning, market data and traffic count data, has announced the acquisition of Intalytics, a leader in location-based predictive analytics.  The acquisition will bolster Kalibrate’s consulting and software capabilities in North America by adding Intalytics’ expertise in predictive analytics and location-based data, with global customers such as Tri Star Energy, United Pacific and Preem Sweden benefitting from the new capabilities.  It will also further grow Kalibrate’s offering in convenience, quick-service restaurants (QSR) and retail; and adds an expanded range of products and services into its existing fuel retail offering.  

In funding news we learned … Forma.ai, the company transforming sales performance with science, today announced that it has raised $10 million in Series A funding led by Crosslink Capital and supported by Golden Ventures, Panache Ventures, Uncork Capital, and Xfund. With 300% year-over-year company growth and rapid enterprise adoption of its unparalleled sales performance intelligence platform, Forma.ai plans to scale its engineering teams and keep pace with mid-market and enterprise demand … Flatfile, the groundbreaking data onboarding software company, announced $35 million in Series A funding. The round was led by Scale Venture Partners, with participation from Workday Ventures, and previous investors including Afore Capital, Google’s AI-focused venture fund, Gradient Ventures, and Two Sigma Ventures. Among a list of powerful angels investing in this round you’ll find founders of Box, Looker, and Segment. This brings the company’s total funding to nearly $45 million, $42.6 million of which has been raised in just the last year. This latest infusion of capital will be used to accelerate the company’s expansion of its all-remote workforce, along with continued product development … ThoughtSpot announced Snowflake is making a $20M strategic investment in the company to unlock more value from the data cloud with search and AI-driven analytics … Privacera, the cloud data governance and security leader founded by the creators of Apache Ranger™, announced that it has secured $50 million in funding to meet the unprecedented demand for its cloud-based data governance and security solution. Led by new investor Insight Partners and with participation from Sapphire Ventures,  Battery Ventures, and existing investors Accel, Cervin, and Point 72, the Series B will be used to fast-track its go-to-market strategy and further extend Privacera’s investment in its unified system for data governance and privacy across multiple cloud services such as Databricks and Snowflake. Following closely on the heels of its successful Series A, this latest round further indicates the company’s explosive growth in both revenue and customer acquisitions … Yugabyte, a leader in open source distributed SQL databases, announced a $48 million funding round led by Lightspeed Venture Partners with additional participation by Greenspring Associates, Dell Technologies Capital, Wipro Ventures and 8VC. Coming on the heels of a $30 million capital raise announced in June 2020, the round brings Yugabyte’s total funding to $103 million. The funding will be used to expand Yugabyte’s R&D, sales and customer functions in the EMEA and APAC markets. To support its aggressive expansion plans, Yugabyte will double its headcount in 2021 … The European Investment Bank (EIB) is providing $9.1 million to Cortical.io AG, an Austrian software company with offices in San Francisco, developing innovative artificial intelligence technology based on a Natural Language Understanding (NLU) approach that can interpret and process human language text. The software is capable of performing search and analysis based on meanings of words or sentences. Its current applications include smart search and classification of information in contracts and emails. Cortical.io’s technology can search, extract, annotate and analyze key information from unstructured text – even with specialized vocabulary – across multiple languages and business sectors, and the company has already started developing standardized products to speed up deployment of the technology. The EIB financing will cover research and development (R&D) as well as operational investments supporting Cortical.io’s growth … Airbyte, creators of an open-source data integration platform, announced that it has raised $5.2 million in seed funding led by Accel with others joining that include: YCombinator; 8VC; Calvin French-Owen, co-founder of Segment; Charles Zedlewski, former general manager at Cloudera; Auren Hoffman, co-founder and CEO of LiveRamp and CEO Safegraph; Travis May, co-founder and CEO at Datavant; and Alain Rossmann, president at Machinify. Airbyte helps moving and consolidating data from different sources to data warehouses, data lakes or databases in a process referred to as extract, load, and, when desired, transform (ELT). Users are able to create data pipelines from sources such as PostgreSQL, MySQL, Facebook Ads, Salesforce, Stripe, and connect to destinations that include Redshift, Snowflake, and BigQuery … Statice GmbH, the AI startup specializing in privacy-preserving synthetic data, and PwCGermany, one of the leading auditing and consulting services organizations in Germany, announced a cooperation. PwC Germany has acquired a significant minority stake of nearly 50% in Statice and will support the Berlin-based technology company’s continued expansion … TripleBlind, creator of a new rapid, efficient and cost-effective data privacy and API-driven virtual exchange solution, announced it has closed $8.2 million in seed financing led by Dolby Family Ventures with strategic investment from Okta Ventures, NextGen Venture Partners,Operator Partners, Wavemaker Three-Sixty Health,AVG Basecamp Fund, Anorak Ventures, Quiet Capital,Clocktower Technology Ventures, Parity Responsible Technology Fund andManresa Ventures. Existing investors from the first round, including Accenture Ventures, Flyover Capital and KCRise Fund exercised their pro-rata rights and participated in the round, as did several angel investors. The round was oversubscribed … Katana Graph, the high-performance scale-out graph processing, AI and analytics company, announced that it has completed a $28.5 million Series A financing round led by Intel Capital with participation from existing and new investors including WRVI Capital, Nepenthe Capital, Dell Technologies Capital, and Redline Capital. Intel Capital investment director, Vijay Reddy, will join Katana Graph’s board of directors, while Redline’s managing partner Tatiana Evtushenkova, and Dell Technologies Capital president, Scott Darling, will join as board observers. 

In new partnerships, alignments, and collaborations news we heard … Dataiku, a leading Enterprise AI and machine learning platforms, and UAVIA, the European Enterprise-Grade Robotics Data Platform leader, announced that their joint product collaboration has resulted in a groundbreaking, fully automated solution for training and deploying machine learning models for edge computing on drones. The end-to-end solution enables industrial operators to deploy neural network models on drones powered by UAVIA’s embedded intelligence, leveraging Dataiku to build and train models while automatically converting and optimizing them for use in any UAVIA Inside drone … WANdisco (LSE: WAND), the LiveData company, announced a partnership with Snowflake, the Data Cloud company, to automate, accelerate and simplify the migration of on-premises Hadoop analytics workloads to Snowflake’s data platform. WANdisco’s LiveData Migrator, the recommended Hadoop to cloud migration platform by Microsoft and Amazon Web Services, effortlessly migrates unstructured data of any scale to the cloud using a single scan, rather than costly and risky attempts to migrate data that can cause operational disruption and delay digital transformation. LiveData Migrator provides non-blocking and continuous data migration while enabling a hybrid cloud architecture for migrating production applications … Lexalytics®, a leader in “words-first” machine learning and artificial intelligence, announced it is partnering with True North Solutions and Glasshouse Health to help Medical Affairs teams better apply the latest in artificial intelligence and natural language processing (NLP) technologies and approaches to improve insights, efficiencies and patient outcomes. True North and Glasshouse bring decades of domain expertise in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries in the North American and European markets, respectively, and will work with Lexalytics to help customers understand how applied AI and machine learning (ML) solve real-world business problems … C3 AI (NYSE: AI), a leading enterprise AI software provider, and Infor, an ERP technology cloud leader, announced a wide-ranging strategic alliance designed to jointly expand enterprise-class artificial intelligence (AI) solutions across applicable industries to extend Infor’s native machine learning capabilities. This will allow Infor to explore expansion of its industry offerings into edge scenarios and analyze ways to provide deeper capabilities beyond standard Infor offerings … Apervita, the trusted platform for healthcare collaboration, and Diameter Health, a fast-growing leader in health data interoperability and optimization, announced a partnership to accelerate digital quality measurement and value-based care by providing access to clean, normalized, and enriched clinical data. The alliance will significantly increase the quality and volume of digital data available for quality measurements, which are often utilized for reimbursement as well as value-based contracts between providers and payers … Dodge Data & Analytics, a leading provider of commercial construction project data, market forecasting and analytics services, and workflow integration solutions for the construction industry, announced strategic collaboration in that it has selected Reltio Enterprise 360 as a key component of its data platform which drives the company’s suite of research, planning and bidding solutions to fuel customer growth and success … KnowledgeLake, a leading provider of content automation solutions, announced that it has formed a strategic technology partnership with ibml, a global provider of intelligent information capture solutions. KnowledgeLake and ibml will collaborate on product development, marketing, and sales initiatives, with a focus on providing legacy enterprise content management (ECM) customers a fast path to modernize their approach for capturing, classifying, and extracting data from documents in high-volume environments … The AI Infrastructure Alliance (AIIA), a non-profit organization with 25 global members officially launched with the mission to create a robust collaboration environment for companies and communities in the artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) space.This global Alliance brings together top technologists across the AI spectrum and includes a wide range of member companies. Together, these companies and communities provide a glimpse into the future where AI creates real value for everyday businesses and not just big tech powerhouses. Partnerships in the Alliance will help create a Canonical Stack for AI, by driving strong engineering standards and creating seamless integration points between various layers of the AI infrastructure ecosystem. Canonical means “a set of rules, standards and principles by which something is judged,” and a Canonical Stack (CS) for AI will set the standard for how enterprises develop and design machine learning models at scale. It will let data scientists and data engineers move up the stack to solve more complex, higher order problems, instead of reinventing the wheel on every data science project. The AI and ML space currently lacks a standard set of tools and solutions, blocking data science teams from sharing their work and collaborating across the world. Rather, there is wild proliferation of proprietary, cloud lock-in solutions that benefit individual companies, but not the data scientists and engineers building the AI applications of today and tomorrow. The Alliance came together to help those data science teams break out of lock-in so they can build on top of a standardized, open platform that works across all of their environments.  

In the people movement category we have … DataRobot, a leader in enterprise AI, has named Dan Wright as its new Chief Executive Officer as the company seeks to further accelerate its growth and adoption of its Enterprise AI Platform. Wright has served as DataRobot’s President and Chief Operating Officer since January of 2020 and succeeds co-founder Jeremy Achin … Logi Analytics, a leading provider of embedded analytics solutions for software teams, announced the appointment of Vijay Pendyala as Senior VP of Engineering and Jeff Seifert as VP of Alliances and Channels. Pendyala and Seifert bring extensive expertise that will help drive innovation for Logi Analytics’s embedded analytics development tools and accelerate global partner network growth … Heap, a pioneer in digital product analytics used by more than 6,000 companies, announced a number of changes to its executive leadership team, further cementing the company’s position as the industry’s leading provider of digital product analytics solutions. Effective April 2, Ken Fine assumes the position of Chief Executive Officer as CEO and Co-founder Matin Movassate transitions into a full-time role as Chairman of the Board. Heap has expanded its product and engineering leadership bench as well, adding Rachel Obstler as VP of Product and David Fullerton as VP of Engineering … Sisense, a leading AI-driven platform for infusing analytics everywhere, announced that Adam Towns will join the company as Chief Financial Officer to lead the company’s finance and business operations teams … Confluent, Inc., the event streaming pioneer, announced that Stephanie Buscemi will join the company as CMO. Stephanie joins Confluent from Salesforce where she most recently served as global CMO. Over her career, she has served in executive leadership and senior marketing roles within the enterprise applications, analytics and business intelligence, cloud, mobile, and database technology sectors. Stephanie’s extensive marketing and leadership experience will be instrumental to Confluent as it helps customers unlock the full power of data in motion … Collibra, the Data Intelligence company, announced the appointment of Tifenn Dano Kwan as chief marketing officer (CMO), reporting to Collibra’s CEO and co-founder, Felix Van de Maele. She joins Collibra from Dropbox, where she served as CMO … Sinequa, a leader in Enterprise Search, announced that it has appointed Mark Williams as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for the business. As CFO, Williams will be charged with driving Sinequa’s own continued growth and supporting its international expansion with a strong commercial approach … Reltio, an award-winning provider of the only master data management SaaS platform born in the cloud and used by companies worldwide to succeed in the digital economy, announced that Gordon C. Brooks has joined the company as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) …  Informatica, an enterprise cloud data management leader, announced the appointment of John Schweitzer, Executive Vice Present & Chief Revenue Office. Schweitzer joins Informatica most recently from Software AG. He brings 25-years of experience with demonstrated success in transforming enterprise SaaS companies into multi-billion dollar businesses and has held leadership positions driving go-to-market strategy at Workday, Datastax, SAP, Oracle and Hyperion, in addition to SoftwareAG … Adapdix Corporation, a leader in EdgeOps™ automation software, announced it has appointed Jean Lau as chief technology officer (CTO). Jean Lau will head up Adapdix’s world-class technology team, driving architecture, technology strategy and development of its EdgeOps™ platform. Before joining Adapdix, Lau was VP and Head of Engineering at Hitachi Vantara’s Software Digital business unit, where she was responsible for turning a multi-million-dollar product portfolio into a software-as-a-service delivery model to solve Industrial IoT challenges. 

As far as new customer wins, we learned … Julia Computing has been awarded funding by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to accelerate simulation of Analog and Mixed-Signal circuit models using state of the art machine learning and artificial intelligence techniques. Funding was awarded as part of DARPA’s Intelligent Auto-Generation and Composition of Surrogate Models (Ditto) effort … SQream, provider of a data analytics acceleration platform that enables enterprises to gain critical business insights much faster from their massive data stores, announced it has signed a strategic contract with a leading Asian mobile operator, with the purpose of enabling new use cases in support of its subscriber base of over one hundred million. The organization joins Orange, LG Uplus, AIS, Cellcom and other leading providers, cementing SQream’s growing market share in the telecom industry as digitalization and 5G implementations increase telecom data volumes to levels never seen before. SQream was selected by the carrier for its advanced data analytics acceleration platform after its outstanding performance in helping their network engineering team devise and successfully execute advanced use cases for enhancing user experience. The operator’s team were particularly impressed how SQream successfully executed a very complex, cross-join queries on a large data set, which other solutions had been unable to complete … Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) and NEC Corporation (NEC; TSE: 6701) have signed a joint collaboration agreement to extend their partnership utilizing NEC’s System Invariant Analysis Technology (SIAT). The companies are also finalizing a licensing agreement with a multi-year option. With a focus on driving speed and efficiency of system diagnostics, this partnership will continue to provide proven artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) capabilities across product lifecycles. This positively impacts design and production phases of spacecraft development, including applications on NASA’s Orion vehicle for the Artemis mission.

We also received a number of commentaries about Open Data Day:

“The freedom to access and leverage public information is a categorical right for all citizens that needs to be embraced and firmly upheld,” commented James Carder, LogRhythm CSO. “Open Data Day is a day to recognize and celebrate how open datasets have increased government transparency, reshaped social initiatives and galvanized individuals to actively partake in broader community issues. The COVID-19 pandemic has shined a light on the importance of keeping public data resources front and center, and recent cyberattacks on the U.S. federal government have further suggested that increasing disclosed intelligence may also help deter future hackers. Public data that is easily accessible and available to the masses is a vital resource for internet users across the globe. It’s an invaluable way to educate the masses with factual information on local governments, agencies and scientific councils while also holding these federal entities responsible for being publicly accountable. Over time, this has helped propel economic development, fight global crises and strengthen democracy. Shepherding and expanding open datasets will be necessary to yield a more socially active and sophisticated global community.”

“Since its inception and rise to prominence as a fundamental aspect of daily life, the internet has been a means for expanding communications and spreading knowledge across the globe,” commented Ashish Gupta, Bugcrowd CEO & President. “Today, almost sixty percent of the worldwide population are active internet users working, learning, researching and communicating online. Open data day serves as an important reminder of how this platform allows the public to tap into millions of data sets across scientific, government and non-profit organizations. By making data readily available to the public, online participation increases along with education. Further, open data keeps online institutions honest, transparent and accountable for having accurate information disseminated across the web. State and local leaders who release data on important issues such as the ongoing pandemic, climate, transportation, disaster response and other critical current events inspire online consumers to take a more active role in communities. It’s essential to keep this valuable information available and easily accessible for everyone.”

“Open Data Day is an important occasion to celebrate and encourage online transparency, accuracy, and honesty,” commented Anurag Kahol, Bitglass CTO. “Open data is inherently critical to ensuring that governments, nonprofits, and public scientific entities are rightfully presenting accurate information to help educate the public. In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, it’s never been more important to properly inform people about ongoing health and safety information. Open datasets are playing an essential role in apprising local communities about current protocols, vaccination efforts, and proper safety precautions. The increase in open data access over the past decade has empowered citizens to collaborate and take action, enabling local communities to develop innovative new services that have bolstered initiatives in health, climate, transportation, education, and social welfare. It has also dramatically increased online and public participation for marginalized groups in less developed regions. Continuing to support and advance open datasets will hold governments to a higher standard and embolden citizens to strengthen the foundations of their communities and, as a result, society as a whole.”

Deep Learning Patent Update – provided by Nelson E. (Nick) Brestoff, J.D., M.S. Exec. Manager & Chief Inventor, Intraspexion LLC. NOTE: As of March 9, 2021, the USPTO has issued 202 new patents where, in the Claims, the terms “deep learning” or “deep neural” or “multi-layer neural” appear.
At this rate, 202 new patents in 10 weeks, the projection for the year is 1,050. The total for 2020 was 726.

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  1. Delilah Xiong says

    Another one to look out for is Explorium and their data science platform, https://www.explorium.ai/, they basically leverage external data, automatically, to enhance predictive models. They have some pretty impactful features, and they operate very much as an external data platform and gallery.