“Above the Trend Line” – Your Industry Rumor Central for 9/30/2022

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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 start this installment of our popular round-up column with some new funding news … Regie.ai, the GPT-3 powered SaaS platform that elevates organizations’ sales and marketing content across teams and mediums, today announced that it has raised $10 million in Series A funding. Scale Venture Partners led the round, with participation from Foundation Capital, South Park Commons, and prominent angel investors. Funds will be used for product development as the company continues to add features to its platform. A first-of-its-kind offering designed specifically for enterprise sales and marketing teams, Regie.ai uses generative AI to make it easier than ever for companies to automatically generate quality copy and content, store it for sharing, approval and messaging consistency across teams, export sequences to sales engagement platforms, and suggest copy improvements based on campaign results … Edge AI innovator Femtosense announced an $8 million Series A funding round led by Fine Structures Ventures. The funds will be used to accelerate the development and delivery of more efficient, lower cost and real-time artificial intelligence (AI) processing for valuable and affordable consumer electronics. Other investors in this round include J2 Ventures, Quest Venture Partners, Amino Capital, Sand Hill Angels, Gaingels and SV Pacific Ventures … EverestLabs, developer of RecycleOS, the AI-enabled operating system for recycling, raised $16.1M in Series A funding led by Translink Capital and joined by NEC Orchestrating Future Fund and existing investors BGV, Sierra Ventures, Morado Ventures, and Xplorer Capital. The funding enables the company to invest in its scaling and go-to-market capabilities, including further commercialization activities that build on its AI-powered RecycleOS operating system, robotics, and unique end-of-arm tools … Coalesce.io, the data transformation company, announced it has secured $26 million in Series A funding led by Emergence Capital, with participation from seed investors 11.2 Capital, GreatPoint Ventures, and Industry Ventures. This round follows a momentous year for Coalesce as the company exited stealth and raised $5.92 million in seed funding in January. This round of funding will build on that momentum with Coalesce continuing to invest in the product and ecosystem … Flatfile, a pioneer of AI-assisted data exchange, announced $50 million in Series B funding led by Tiger Global. Investors participating include Gradient Ventures, Scale Ventures, Workday Ventures, Afore Capital, and Two Sigma Ventures with angel investors including founding executives and leadership from Airtable, DocuSign, LinkedIn, and Gainsight. Bringing Flatfile’s current total funding to nearly $100 million, the round will enable the company to expand and support its fastest growing segment: global enterprise companies … Unravel Data, the DataOps observability platform built to meet the needs of modern data teams, announced that it has closed a $50 million Series D round of funding to accelerate the next generation of DataOps observability. The round was led by Third Point Ventures, with participation from Bridge Bank and existing investors that include Menlo Ventures, Point 72, GGV Capital, and Harmony Capital, bringing the total amount of funding raised by Unravel Data to $107 million … Classiq, a leader in quantum computing software, announced another significant expansion of its series B round to $49M by Canadian-Israeli VC Awz Ventures, from an initial closing of $36M by strategic investors—in the largest quantum software round to date … Murf AI, a fast-growing synthetic speech technology startup that is transforming the way voiceovers are created, announced a $10M Series A funding round led by Matrix Partners India with participation from existing investor Elevation Capital, as well as prominent angel investors such as Ajay Arora – SVP Product, Disney Streaming, Ankit Bhati – Founder, Ola, Ashwini Asokan – Founder, Mad Street Den, Pushkar Mukewar – Founder, Drip Capital and Yamini Bhat – Founder, Vymo. Murf plans to use these funds to drive further product innovation, accelerate R&D, and scale its presence in focused geographies … Superb AI announced the initial closing of its Series B investment round with $16M, led by Korea Development Bank (KDB) and Series A investor Premier Partners, with additional investments from seed investors like Duke University and KT Investment. Superb AI’s newest investors include Halla Group, the parent company of Tier 1 automotive parts maker Mando … VineSight, the platform that tracks, analyzes and mitigates online misinformation and toxicity against brands, campaigns and causes, announced a $4M financing round of seed funding. The round was led by AnD Ventures;  Lightbank, 25Madison, Technion investment arms, and additional angel investors also participated. The funding will help VineSight clients to combat misinformation and toxicity in its early stages before it can cause major damage.

In M&A activity we heard … Aiven, the open source cloud data platform company, announced Kafkawize, an open source data governance tool for Apache Kafka®, is joining Aiven. Marking a first for the company, this acquisition signals Aiven’s evolution from an open-source contributor to a steward of open-source communities. As part of this transition, Kafkawize has been renamed Klaw … AHEAD, a leading provider of enterprise cloud services, announced a definitive agreement for funds advised by Berkshire Partners LLC to acquire a majority stake in the company from Centerbridge Partners, L.P.  In October 2020, Centerbridge and Berkshire Partners made a joint investment to support the growth of AHEAD, with Centerbridge acquiring a majority stake. Since their investment, both firms partnered with the company’s leadership team to create significant equity value, driving AHEAD’s highly relevant and differentiated digital solutions portfolio of cloud, data, and application-related services into a more focused enterprise account base, and completing multiple strategic and highly complementary acquisitions. Berkshire Partners is making an additional investment to become majority shareholder and leverage its specialist sector expertise in technology, business services, and digital infrastructure to help fuel AHEAD’s further expansion … Fluree, a company headquartered in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, which has developed a distributed ledger graph database platform, and New Jersey-based ZettaLabs, a business that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to prepare raw data for analytics use, announced the merger of the two companies. The combination of Fluree and ZettaLabs will enable Fluree to expand its offerings beyond its established expertise of working with “green-field,” new data-centric initiatives that encompass bleeding-edge innovation. With ZettaLabs now part of Fluree, the company possesses the prowess to tackle enterprise legacy data architectures and take the first steps toward modernization. All ZettaLabs employees will integrate into the Fluree ecosystem, bringing Fluree’s total headcount to 50 … Sutherland, an experience-led digital transformation company, announced that it has acquired AI-based customer experience platform company Augment CXM to extend Sutherland’s AI solutions portfolio and help global brands improve efficiency, boost customer satisfaction and drive loyalty and conversion … Analytics8, a data and analytics consulting firm that specializes in designing, developing, and deploying modern data solutions, announced the acquisition of Denver-based Mashey, a high-end data analytics consultancy focused on modern data technology … Oxylabs, a market-leading public web data gathering solutions provider, announced the acquisition of Webshare Software Company, a distinguished Silicon Valley-based self-service proxy company whose portfolio includes over 10,000 active customers, including numerous Fortune 500 companies. Under the undisclosed details of the deal, Oxylabs will support the further development of Webshare by sharing extensive industry knowledge and business expertise. In addition, Webshare’s in-house teams will be significantly expanded by capturing world-class talent from all over the industry.

In new customer wins, we have … Yugabyte, a leader in open source distributed SQL databases, today announced that Netskope selected YugabyteDB to support new innovations in its category-leading Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB), part of its converged Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) platform. Netskope evaluated multiple databases as part of an innovation initiative, choosing YugabyteDB due to its high performance at scale, distributed ACID transactions, strong consistency, and flexible cloud native architecture. With YugabyteDB, Netskope can improve customers’ experiences and accelerate support of new cloud applications … Italian Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) specialist, Tattile, part of TKH Group, announced its technology partnership with leading edge AI chipmaker Hailo to power their next generation of high-end cameras: the “SMART+.” The Hailo-8™ AI processor will be integrated into Tattile’s new product line, enabling a new era of smart cameras for Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS), mobility and smart cities. The License Plate Cameras (LPC) market is expected to reach over $700 million by 2028. LPR cameras remain one of the most popular video analytics applications for smart cities as they can be easily deployed on highways, toll booths, and parking lots to enable fast vehicle identification, congestion control, automatic fare collection and more. By integrating a powerful edge AI processer, such cameras will reach new levels of effectiveness and efficiency, running ALPR in real time. This is crucial for reducing product miss-rates, decreasing detection latency, lowering overall costs, and increasing data protection.

We also learned of some new partnerships, alignments and collaborations … Acceldata, a leader in enterprise data observability for the modern data stack, announced its Data Observability Cloud is now Powered by Snowflake. This expansion of Acceldata’s partnership with Snowflake, the Data Cloud company, aims to provide joint customers with improved visibility and reliability into monitoring and analyzing performance and configuration of modern data environments … Quantum Corporation (NASDAQ: QMCO), a leader in solutions for video and unstructured data, announced an expanded partnership with Atempo, a leading European software vendor known for its award-winning Tina and Miria data protection and unstructured data management software. As part of the expanded partnership, the companies are introducing validated solution bundles that combine Atempo Tina software, a Quantum® media server, and Quantum secondary storage solutions. As part of a new worldwide reseller agreement, Quantum will resell Atempo Tina software with an all-inclusive, capacity-based subscription licensing model that is only available through Quantum … VAST Data, the data platform company  for the AI-powered world, announced a strategic partnership with Dremio, the easy and open data  lakehouse platform, to enable enterprises to get from data to insights faster with a hybrid, multi-cloud  architecture for scalable analytics. Regardless of physical location – on-premises or in the public cloud – Dremio customers can now analyze their data anywhere by leveraging VAST’s massively parallel  architecture for concurrent and near real-time data access at any scale … data.world, the enterprise data catalog for the modern data stack, announced a partnership with Fivetran, the global leader in modern data integration, to increase the speed and efficiency of cloud data adoptions. Together, data.world and Fivetran deliver significant benefits to enterprises moving to a modern data stack … Nom Nom Data, a national data services and consulting company revolutionizing data automation for businesses of all sizes, has announced a partnership with the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) – the worlds largest nonprofit membership organization serving all individuals who create games. Data is critical to the successful launch and maintenance of a game, regardless of studiosize or experience. Game developers need insights from various sources to improve gameplay, build graphics, implement interactive elements, and gain traction with their player base. Of course, all of this data also comes with tedious management and storage requirements. As a result, data analytics is quickly becoming one of the most important aspects of indie game development and marketing. Small to mid-sized game developers need data solutions that are scalable, cost-effective, and custom-built to their needs … Explo, a leading customer-facing analytics solution for sharing data across any platform, and Airbyte, creators of the fastest-growing open-source data integration platform, have partnered to extend Explo’s data sharing suite to high-volume data flows and disparate sources … Qlik® announced two significant enhancements to its partnership with Databricks that make it easier than ever for customers to combine Qlik’s solutions and Databricks to advance their cloud analytics strategies. First is the launch of the Databricks Lakehouse (Delta) Endpoint, a new capability in Qlik Data Integration, which will simplify and improve customers’ ability to ingest and deliver data to the Databricks Lakehouse. Second is the integration of Qlik Cloud® with Databricks Partner Connect, enhancing the Qlik Data Analytics trial experience with Databricks. Both deepen and expand the ability of customers to combine Qlik and Databricks in their efforts to leverage the cloud for impact … Alation Inc., a leader in enterprise data intelligence solutions, announced a strategic partnership with Fivetran, a leader in modern data integration, that enables joint customers to find and understand the full context of their data in the modern data stack. The partnership, powered by the new Fivetran Metadata API, unifies governed, trusted data from sources across an organization in one single view. As a result, data visibility increases and drives higher-quality data pipelines and better decision-making … Pyramid Analytics, a pioneering decision intelligence platform provider, and Amplifi, a specialist consultancy providing Advisory, Delivery and Support services for data management, data governance and data quality, announced a partnership … ThinkData Works Inc., a leading data catalog provider, has partnered with Dun & Bradstreet to provide new data enrichment solutions – enabling enterprise customers to uncover more value with data. The integration of Dun & Bradstreet’s global leadership in trusted data, along with ThinkData Works’ expertise in connecting, enriching, and cataloging diverse data assets, allows customers to now access dynamic enrichment solutions for more effective modeling and analysis to power business insights …

In the people movement category we heard … Yellowbrick Data, a leading multi-cloud data warehouse vendor, announced that Lisa Krueger has been named the company’s new Vice President of Customer Success. Krueger brings over 25 years of experience to Yellowbrick, previously serving in senior customer success roles at companies including Couchbase, DataStax, Talend Corporation, and Oracle … Signal AI, a leading external intelligence company – helping businesses make sense of the outside world – announced the appointment of Nancy McNeill as Global Chief Revenue Officer. With over two decades of experience, Nancy McNeill is one of the foremost names in commercial growth leadership in the market today. Throughout her career, McNeill has played key roles in transforming revenue and growing customers, most recently as Chief Revenue Officer of Dow Jones. McNeill has also held senior executive positions at Thomson Reuters … Crate.io, the enterprise data management company enabling data insights at scale, announces the appointment of Akos Berzi, EMBA, M.Sc.BA as new Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Akos Berzi is an entrepreneurial-minded finance leader with more than 20 years of experience in the field of strategic finance and business development … Crux Informatics, which provides an end-to-end external data integration and operations solution to scale data delivery and transformation, is pleased to welcome Gregg Holzrichter as our new Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) to bring Crux content to new audiences, platforms, and mediums … Splunk Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLK), the data platform leader for security and observability, announced that Tom Casey has been appointed Senior Vice President and General Manager, Platform, effective September 20, 2022. Reporting to Gary Steele, President and Chief Executive Officer of Splunk, Casey will lead the company’s platform strategy, including development and operations of the Splunk Platform … New Relic (NYSE: NEWR), the observability company, announced the appointment of Siva Padisetty as SVP and GM, Telemetry Data Platform and Global Infrastructure and Tia Williams as GVP of Design and Product Experience. Padisetty joins New Relic from Amazon Web Services (AWS) where he served as GM of Management Tools. Williams joins New Relic from Salesforce where she served as Vice President of User Experience and Product Design … Dialpad, Inc., the industry leader in AI-powered communication and collaboration, today announced the hiring of Arnaud Budkiewicz as Vice President of Engineering. He brings extensive leadership experience in engineering and information technology, and a decades-long background in enterprise communications product development for global organizations. Budkiewicz will use his extensive WebRTC expertise leading Dialpad’s efforts to build the most resilient business cloud communications services as the company expands globally … A verified Lucidworks employee on Blind reported about 25 people (10%) were laid off. Additionally, Will Hayes, the president and CEO, has stepped down. Lucidworks is a San Francisco-based enterprise tech company focused on data and search. They last raised $100 million at a $370 million valuation in Aug. 2019, according to PitchBook.  

In the newly awarded patent department we learned … Lightbits®, the software-defined and architected for NVMe/TCP data platform for any cloud, announced it has been assigned a patent (11,442,658) for “system and method for selecting a write unit size for a block storage device.” Different SSDs behave best under different conditions depending on their model and internal architecture. A key parameter affecting their behavior is the write-unit size, i.e., the amount of data written to the SSD as one “chunk”. Using the methods described in this patent, Lightbits determines the optimal write unit size for a given SSD, writing to that SSD in such a way that induces it to work as close as possible to its optimal working point. The innovation described in this patent enhances Lightbits’ already existing Intelligent Flash Management technology that offers customers a highly optimized performance, consistent low latency and cost-efficient cloud data platform that improves flash endurance.    

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