“Above the Trend Line” – Your Industry Rumor Central for 6/4/2021

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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.

Another fast-paced couple of weeks while deep into the big data ecosystem. Let’s start with some new funding news … Gong, the revenue intelligence leader leveraging artificial intelligence to transform revenue teams, has raised $250 million in Series E funding.  The round is being led by Franklin Templeton, bringing Gong’s total funding to $584 million.  Existing Gong investors also participated in the round including Coatue, Salesforce Ventures, Sequoia, Thrive Capital, and Tiger Global. Today, business leaders use static reports, anecdotal evidence and self-reported information to see what is happening in their business but lack understanding of why certain outcomes are achieved and how to adapt accordingly.  With its patented Revenue Intelligence Platform, Gong captures the full range of a company’s customer interactions, surfaces insights about markets, deals and employee skills, and recommends the next best steps to progress deals, ensure customer success, and win markets. This enables customer-facing professionals to make proactive decisions informed by unfiltered business reality instead of opinions … Iterative, the MLOps company dedicated to streamlining the workflow of data scientists and Machine Learning (ML) engineers, announced that it has raised $20 million in A round funding. The round is led by 468 Capital and Florian Leibert, ex-founder of Mesosphere, an infrastructure start-up based on the open-source software Apache Mesos. The round also includes prior investors True Ventures and Afore Capital, bringing total funding to more than $25 million. The company will use the funding for development and growth … Alation Inc., a leader in enterprise data intelligence, announced it has raised a $110 million Series D round led by Riverwood Capital with participation from new investors Sanabil Investments and Snowflake Ventures. Existing investors Costanoa Ventures, Dell Technologies Capital, Icon Ventures, Salesforce Ventures, Sapphire Ventures, and Union Grove Partners also contributed to the round. Total funding raised stands at $217 million. Alation’s current market valuation is $1.2 billion. The capital will help Alation meet increasing global demand for its data intelligence platform, which is emerging as the most critical technology investment to enable the modern, data-driven enterprise. Beyond accelerating go-to-market, the financing will also fund innovation in the form of new products and capabilities, furthering the company’s position as the leader in the data intelligence market. In addition, the company continues its expansion into new geographies, verticals, and product areas … Cognigy, a global leader in omnichannel Customer and Employee Service Automation with its Conversational AI platform Cognigy.AI, announced it has raised $44 million in Series B funding led by global venture capital and private equity firm, Insight Partners, and joined by existing investors DN Capital, Global Brain, Nordic Makers, Inventures and Digital Innovation and Growth … Red Dot Analytics (RDA), a spin-off from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore, has completed a seed fund round with investment from IMO Ventures, Avior Capital, and GSR Ventures. The investment will enable RDA to commercialise its award-winning research into commercially viable services and applications. RDA has pioneered an artificial intelligence (AI) driven digital twin solution, also known as a cognitive digital twin, that helps transform data center operations and management. The technology pivots on a network of industry-grade digital twins, cross-calibrated with operational data from existing IoT devices by an AI agent. The network of twins serves two purposes to synthesize a large volume of self-labeled operational data for AI model training and validate control policies derived from well-trained AI models, in a dual cycle loop manner … Riiid Inc, a leading AI education company, announced that it has raised $175 million investment from SoftBank Vision Fund 2*. To accelerate the pace of capturing opportunities in the global education market, SoftBank Vision Fund 2 led the round as the sole investor, which brings Riiid’s total funding to $250 million. It is Riiid’s largest funding round to date … NextBillion.ai, a leading spatial data platform has received $6.25 million in investment, extending their last year’s $7 million Series A funding round from Lightspeed and Falcon Edge Capital, at a significant valuation jump. The investment from M12, Microsoft’s Venture Fund, elevates the startup’s access to global markets and is a validation of their thought leadership as an early-stage SaaS leader in geospatial technology stack … Immuta, a leading provider of cloud data access control, announced that it has secured $90 million in Series D funding. Immuta will use the investment to further its market leadership position and capture rising demand for centralized, scalable access control across cloud data sets that are increasingly diverse and distributed on multiple compute platforms. The new investment comes less than a year after Immuta’s Series C investment and brings total capital raised to $169 million … Syncari, the company behind the world’s first no-code data automation platform, has closed $17.3 million in Series A funding. Crosslink Capital led the round, with participation by seed-round investors ANIMO, NextGen Venture Partners, SignalFire, and Dig Ventures. Syncari’s total funding now stands at $26.8 million, and it will use this most recent infusion to accelerate its market rollout and lead this new category while expanding its sales, marketing, customer success, and engineering teams … Klaviyo, a leading customer data and marketing automation platform, announced that it has raised a $320 million Series D round of funding. The round was led by new investor Sands Capital. Other new investors include Counterpoint Global (Morgan Stanley), Whale Rock Capital Management, ClearBridge Investments, Lone Pine Capital, Owl Rock Capital, Glynn Capital, and Keith Block (former co-CEO of Salesforce), with participation from existing investors Accel and Summit Partners. Following the company’s $200 million Series C financing in November 2020, this new financing valued the company at $9.15 billion on a pre-money basis and brings Klaviyo’s total funding to date to over $675 million … Explorium, the External Data platform that automatically discovers thousands of relevant data signals and uses them to improve analytics and machine learning, has closed its $75M Series C funding round, led by global venture capital and private equity firm Insight Partners, with existing investors Zeev Ventures, Emerge, F2 Venture Capital, 01 Advisors and Dynamic Loop Capital also participating. The round brings Explorium’s total investment to more than $127M … Securiti, the leader in AI-powered data privacy and security, announced it has received a strategic investment from Workday Ventures and will join the Workday Software Partner Program. As a Workday Ventures software partner, Securiti will be able to create an integration with Workday to address key enterprise requirements for data privacy, security, and compliance. Global privacy regulations are evolving to address both consumer’s rights and employee’s rights on their personal data. To address these regulations and maintain brand reputation, organizations are compelled to secure employee and financial data and ensure its responsible use from a privacy perspective. Securiti provides an integrated platform across the enterprise to simplify and automate privacy, security, and governance … Most people don’t know what happens to their data online. Data exchanges are secretive and complicated, controlled by a handful of companies who reap all the financial benefits. Today, consumer data startup Datacy is announcing that it secured $2.4 million in seed funding to insert transparency into data exchanges, and give more power – and dollars – back to individuals. Investors in the round include Redhawk VC, Trend Forward Capital, TrueSight Ventures, Madrona Pioneer Fund, GFR Artists, Golden Seeds, APX, and the Female Founders Alliance. Several strategic angel investors also participated in the round, including Kat Orekhova (formerly of Facebook, Ironclad and CEO of Vareto) and Sarah Imbach (former COO of PayPal, LinkedIn and 23andMe) … Accelex, a data acquisition, analytics, and reporting solution for private markets investors and asset servicers,announced the close of a $5m seed round of venture financing co-led by Illuminate Financial and AlbionVC, with participation from Expon Capital and SixThirty Ventures. This financing will accelerate the company’s global growth ambitions through further product development, client acquisition and support … eYs3D Microelectronics, Co., a silicon-centric fabless design house enabling enhanced computer vision for edge AI, announced it has raised $7 million in Series A funding from strategic partners ARM IoT Capital, WI Harper Group and MARUBUN CORPORATION. The funding will allow eYs3D to grow its new product development for AI-based autonomous operation, including robotics, security, touchless control, autonomous vehicles and smart retail … Airbyte, creators of the fastest-growing open source data integration platform, announced that it has raised more than $26 million in Series A funding led by Benchmark, with participation from additional investors including 8VC, Accel, SV Angel, and YCombinator, as well as Shay Bannon, co-founder and CEO of Elastic, Auren Hoffman, co-founder of LiveRamp, and Dev Ittycheria, CEO of MongoDB. 

In M&A activity we heard … Cloudera, (NYSE: CLDR), the enterprise data cloud company, announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by affiliates of Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (“CD&R”) and KKR in an all cash transaction valued at approximately $5.3 billion. The transaction will result in Cloudera becoming a private company and is expected to close in the second half of 2021 … Bizzabo, a leading event success platform, announced its acquisition of x.ai, the powerful artificial intelligence scheduling tool. x.ai automates the most tedious parts of meetings by generating compatible times to meet across time zones, sending follow-ups and reminders, and managing cancellations. Bizzabo’s integration of x.ai’s scheduling engine will make it easy for event participants to make meaningful connections at virtual, in-person and hybrid events — powering both the discovery of who should meet as well as when and how … Sumo Logic (Nasdaq: SUMO), the pioneer in continuous intelligence, announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire Sensu, Inc., a leader in open source monitoring. The acquisition will accelerate Sumo Logic’s observability strategy by providing customers with an affordable, extensible, and scalable end-to-end solution for infrastructure and application monitoring. In addition, the acquisition will reinforce Sumo Logic’s commitment to open source to drive deeper engagement with the developer and DevOps communities … Relativity, a global legal and compliance technology company, announced that it has acquired Text IQ, a company applying artificial intelligence (AI) to identify sensitive data. Text IQ leverages the latest in unsupervised machine learning (ML), graphical modeling, social network analysis (SNA), natural language processing (NLP) and deep learning to create AI solutions for the world’s largest enterprises to manage and mitigate risks in enterprise data. Text IQ’s AI helps to lower the cost and risk of legal privilege review, speed up and increase the accuracy of data breach response workflows, and quickly identify and manage personally identifiable information (PII) which are often associated with Global Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Data Subject Access Requests … Sumo Logic (Nasdaq: SUMO), the pioneer incontinuous intelligence, announced it has closed its acquisition of DF Labs S.p.A., a provider of Security Orchestration, Automation and Response (SOAR) software solution. The combination of Sumo Logic’s Cloud SIEM built on the Continuous Intelligence Platform™ and DFLabs will provide customers of varying sizes and maturities with comprehensive cloud-native security intelligence solutions, that are built for today’s digital businesses leveraging modern applications, architectures and multi-cloud infrastructures … SparkCognition, a leading artificial intelligence (AI) company, announced it has acquired Ensemble Energy, a leading provider of software products and services for the renewable energy industry. Through this acquisition, SparkCognition is offering the world’s first AI-enabled asset management platform for clean energy, supporting the industry in its transition towards renewables by reducing costs and increasing energy production.

We also learned of a number of new partnerships, alignments and collaborations … Western Digital Corp. (NASDAQ: WDC) announced that it has teamed with Percona, a leader in open source database software and services, to unlock the performance benefits of Western Digital’s Ultrastar® DC ZN540 NVMe™ ZNS SSDs for MySQL® Server, one of the most popular open-source transactional databases in the world … Qlik® announced continued expansion of its strategic partnership with Databricks with support for the launch of Delta Sharing, Databricks’ open protocol for secure data sharing. Joint customers will be able to leverage the tight integration between Qlik and Databricks to more easily and securely share relevant data sets and insights with any stakeholder in their ecosystem through the cloud and platform of their choice … Sunlight.io, a developer of virtualization technology for data-intensive applications, announced an OEM partnership with Altos Computing, a subsidiary of Acer Inc., to deliver the industry’s fastest and most efficient hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) appliances. Under the agreement, Altos will embed Sunlight’s NexVisor™ Hyperconverged stack on its Brainsphere™ applicances. By combining the power of Sunlight’s NexVisor HCI stack and Altos BrainSphereTM servers, organizations can run resource-intensive workloads like AI and analytics with high density, ultra-high performance and simple scalability, from the edge to the core datacenter … Leading AI (Artificial Intelligence) chipmaker Hailo announced its partnership with Lanner Electronics, a global leader in the design and manufacturing of intelligent edge computing appliances, to launch groundbreaking AI inference solutions for real-time computer vision at the edge. Hailo has combined its Hailo-8™ AI acceleration module with Lanner’s edge computing boxes to create high-performance, compact devices to support the demands of emerging AI applications at the edge … BigID, a leading data intelligence and management platform for privacy, protection, and perspective, announced their partnership with Databricks, the data and AI company, to drive business value by bringing transformative data discovery and context for analytics and artificial intelligence (AI). Together, BigID and Databricks enable organizations to unleash the value of their enterprise data in the cloud. BigID enables customers to find and identify their sensitive and critical data in Delta Lake on Databricks and take action on it for security, privacy, and governance. Customers deploy BigID to proactively discover, manage, protect, and get more value from their regulated, sensitive, and personal data across all their data, at speed, and at scale.  As a result of the partnership, enterprises get more value from their data in Databricks Delta Lake: customers can add context to enable fast and accurate analytics, achieve compliance, and proactively protect data with BigID … Franz Inc., an early innovator in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and supplier of Graph Database technology for Knowledge Graph Solutions, and Smartlogic, a leader in Semantic AI technology, announced a collaboration aimed to help large enterprises accelerate the timeframe to deploy highly-scalable, distributed Semantic Knowledge Graph solutions. The Franz Inc. and Smartlogic combination provides organizations with end-to-end technology along with the expertise to quickly create enterprise-scale Semantic Knowledge Graphs, which serve as the underpinning for Artificial Intelligence applications … Qeexo, developer of an automated machine learning (ML) platform that accelerates the development of tinyML models for the edge, announced that it is working with STMicroelectronics to enable developers to create machine learning models for ST’s Machine Learning Core (MLC) sensors, so that inferences can run right on the sensor, without the need for a microcontroller. This feature will be available to users beginning in Q2. Traditionally, due to limited computation power, memory size, and battery life, building machine learning solutions for edge devices was challenging.  Qeexo AutoML solves this. Its one-click, fully automated platform allows customers to rapidly build machine learning solutions for edge devices using sensor data. By moving machine learning to embedded processors and now sensors on edge devices, developers can improve privacy, latency, and availability … ThoughtSpot, the Modern Analytics Cloud company, announced a partnership with Databricks to help customers make data and the results from AI and machine learning actionable for every business person with search and AI-driven analytics. The partnership includes the launch of ThoughtSpot for Databricks, giving joint customers the ability to run ThoughtSpot search queries directly on the Databricks Lakehouse, powered by Delta Lake, without the need to move any data … Vertica and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), a leading global IT services, consulting, and business solutions organization, announced a strategic partnership to rapidly accelerate the modernization of enterprise data warehouses for data-driven organizations. The partnership combines Vertica’s unified analytics platform with the strengths of TCS’ Machine First™ approach and AI-driven accelerators and services … Planet and Woolpert have expanded their long-standing partnership to provide high-frequency satellite data and high-resolution aerial data and imagery to federal, state and local governments around the world. The partnership combines the global coverage and efficient data delivery from Planet with the diverse geospatial expertise and client-facing relationships of Woolpert to comprehensively support clients’ mapping needs … Climate & Capital Media (Climate & Capital), a global media organization dedicated to driving climate action, and Science4Data, an advanced AI-driven analysis company, are partnering to introduce Climate Media Signal, the first public AI platform analyzing ESG and climate media trends using the world’s most advanced data tools. The partnership combines Climate & Capital’s pioneering climate journalism with Science4Data’s proprietary analysis of climate and ESG related trends, sentiment and risk … World-renowned golf equipment leader PING teams with Intel, Altair and Dell Technologies to boost product line innovation by applying high performance computing (HPC) to its design strategy. This collaboration has helped PING slash design cycle time, decrease variability in product performance and improve quality without delaying time to market.

In the people movement category we have … To help better support its recent and future growth and expansion, Verusen, the company that leverages artificial intelligence (AI) to build the intelligent, connected supply chain, announced that Brent Stringer has joined its senior management team as Chief Financial Officer … Scale AI announced former United States CTO Michael Kratsios has joined the company as Managing Director and the company’s Head of Strategy, where he is focused on accelerating the development of AI across industries … DataRobot, a leader in Augmented Intelligence, welcomed Damon Fletcher to its executive leadership team as the company’s new Chief Financial Officer (CFO). In his new role, Fletcher will oversee all global aspects of DataRobot’s financial operations and prepare DataRobot for its next stage of rapid growth at scale. Fletcher joins DataRobot with twenty years of leadership experience at the intersection of technology and finance, most recently as Chief Financial Officer for Tableau. During his tenure as CFO, Fletcher helped navigate Tableau’s shift to a subscription-based model, leading the company to over $1 billion in revenue. In June 2019, Fletcher was instrumental in Tableau’s acquisition by Salesforce (NYSE: CRM) for $15.7 billion in stock … Lightbits Labs™, a pioneer and leader in NVMe™ over TCP (NVMe/TCP) software-defined storage, announced Carol Platz as Vice President of Global Marketing. Carol will lead Lightbits Labs’ strategic marketing initiatives and global marketing team with responsibilities spanning inbound and outbound marketing, demand generation, corporate communications, and channel marketing. Carol’s expertise and keen understanding of the customer journey will be influential in executing the company’s vision to expand customer implementations for new use cases and the catalyst that will drive the next phase of growth for Lightbits. Platz has had a successful decade-plus career in the storage industry building high-performing teams, architecting brands, developing channels, and producing well-oiled demand and lead generation engines. Carol was most recently at WekaIO, a high-performance data platform solutions provider, and prior to that Western Digital, Cloudian, SGI, and Panasas … Confluent, Inc., the platform for data in motion, announced that Larry Shurtz has joined the company as its chief revenue officer (CRO) and Alyssa Henry has joined its board of directors. Alyssa has played key roles in the development of some of the more significant technologies of our time—from Amazon S3 to Square’s Seller platform—and will be a welcome addition to Confluent’s board of directors. Larry is a seasoned go-to-market leader with a unique portfolio of experience and will lead Confluent’s global commercial and enterprise sales teams, reporting to Erica Ruliffson Schultz, president of field operations … Delphix, the pioneer in programmable data infrastructure, announced the appointment of David McJannet, CEO of HashiCorp and former Executive in Residence at Greylock Partners, to its Board of Directors … SingleStore, the unified database for fast analytics, named Suresh Sathyamurthy Senior Vice President of growth and marketing, reporting into SingleStore’s CEO Raj Verma. Sathyamurthy brings cloud, enterprise and developer marketing skills and the ability to scale and grow emerging businesses. He will lead SingleStore’s marketing and product-led growth initiatives by increasing market awareness, generating demand and driving adoption for SingleStore with developers and enterprises … GoodData, a leader in Data as a Service analytics infrastructure, announced that seasoned technology executive Chris Lobdell has joined the company as Chief Revenue Officer. With 22 years of sales and technical leadership experience at some of the software industry’s most innovative companies — including his most recent role as Vice President of Sales for Saleforce’s Data & Identity Solutions — Lobdell’s new role is focused on scaling GoodData’s sales and client success organizations, building deeper customer relationships, and helping more businesses drive value from business analytics.

In the new customer wins department we have … nView Health, a provider of evidence-based behavioral health assessment solutions, announced that is has executed a multi-year license agreement with IQVIA, a leading clinical research organizations. Under the terms of the Agreement, IQVIA will have access to the complete set of nView’s behavioral health assessment and severity measurement solutions to use on IQVIA’s digital eCOA platform. IQVIA will use nView’s proprietary technology to comprehensively assess and measure a series of mental health disorders in their clinical pharmacological trials … Monte Carlo, the data reliability company, announced Berlin-based microlearning app Blinkist has selected Monte Carlo to achieve more reliable data through data observability. As a high-growth company with over 16 million users worldwide, Blinkist leverages paid performance marketing to fuel customer acquisition — and those channels rely on accurate behavioral data to optimize campaign spend. Like many companies today, Blinkist’s data engineering teams have been challenged by broken pipelines, missing or inaccurate data, and a subsequent lack of trust in data across their organization. Monte Carlo is an end-to-end Data Observability Platform that enables data teams at companies like Blinkist to seamlessly monitor the health of their data assets by applying the proven principles of application observability to data. Simultaneously, Monte Carlo provides CDOs and other data stakeholders with a holistic view of their company’s data health and reliability across critical business use cases.

Deep Learning Patent Update – provided by Nelson E. (Nick) Brestoff, J.D., M.S. Exec. Manager & Chief Inventor, Intraspexion LLC.

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