“Above the Trend Line” – Your Industry Rumor Central for 2/28/2023

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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.

Let’s start off with some new funding news … Acceldata, the market leader in data observability, has raised $50 million in Series C funding. This latest round of funding was led by March Capital, with additional investment from Sanabil Investments, Industry Ventures, and existing investors, Insight Partners … HireLogic, an artificial intelligence (AI) enabled hiring interview intelligence solution, announced a $6M series A funding round led by Joseph P. Landy, former Partner and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Warburg Pincus … Kognitos, a pioneer in Generative AI for Business Automation using Large Language Models (LLMs) such as GPT3 and ChatGPT, announced the company has closed a seed round of funding for $6.75 million. Clear Ventures is leading the seed round with participation from Engineering Capital and Wipro Ventures, the Corporate Investment arm of Wipro. The funds will be used for the expansion of Kognitos’s cloud-based Koncierge™ platform. With the addition of this seed funding, Kognitos has received $9.35 million in venture capital to date … InfluxData, creator of the leading time series platform InfluxDB, announced it has raised $81 million in capital funding, closing a $51 million Series E funding round led by new investors Princeville Capital and Citi Ventures, with participation from existing investors Battery Ventures, Mayfield Fund, Sapphire Ventures, and others, and a $30 million debt facility with Silicon Valley Bank. The Series E financing brings InfluxData’s total equity funding raised to $171 million … Data sharing in businesses is broken and current mechanisms are not secure, resulting in data breaches, insider threats, ransomware attacks and unauthorized access. Addressing this impasse, data analytics startup Blockfenders is announced a $1.5m pre-seed funding round from a range of institutional and angel investors* to remedy the problem and enable businesses to achieve their goals … MindsDB, the widely-used open source applied machine learning (ML) platform, announced a $16.5M Series A investment from Benchmark … GlossAi, creators of an AI-driven video generator that allows organizations to rapidly create multi-audience content at scale using generative AI capabilities, announced a successful $8 million seed round. Led by New Era Capital Partners with participation by Guidestar ventures, 97212 Ventures, MindCET Ventures, Ginossar Ventures, Maccabee Ventures, Rafi Gidron, Zipris Family, Barak Goldstein and more, this investment will allow GlossAi to further expand their global presence and develop increasingly advanced AI capabilities for their platform … Emerging startup Autobound announced $4M in funding to automate the tedious workflow of writing personalized sales emails. Autobound’s free-to-install chrome extension empowers B2B sellers to spark more buyer conversations, in less time.    

In M&A activity we heard … dbt Labs, a pioneer in analytics engineering, announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Transform, the innovators behind the modern data stack’s semantic layer founded by former Airbnb data scientists. The acquisition will accelerate development of the dbt Semantic Layer providing greater flexibility to organizations of all sizes seeking metric consistency across their stack. Transform’s technology will expand and enhance the functionality of the dbt Semantic Layer, which enables organizations to centrally define business metrics in dbt then query them from any analytics tool. This ensures that critical definitions such as “revenue,” “customer count,” or “churn rate” are consistent across all applications … M-Files, a global leader in information management, announced that the company has acquired Ment (formerly Contract Mill Oy), a leading no-code document automation technology company based in Espoo, Finland. With this acquisition, M-Files now delivers robust document automation capabilities that enable new and existing customers to quickly automate their own documents. Once automated, the creation of new customized documents can be completed in minutes, in full compliance with a company’s own rules and best practices … IBM announced the acquisition of StepZen Inc, which developed a GraphQL server with a unique architecture that helps developers build GraphQL APIs quickly and with less code … Progress (NASDAQ: PRGS), the trusted provider of application development and infrastructure software, announced the completion of the acquisition of MarkLogic, a leader in complex data and semantic metadata management and a Vector Capital portfolio company. It is also another major milestone in Progress’ Total Growth Strategy.

We also learned of a number of new partnerships, alignments and collaborations … Boost.ai, a leading cloud-based provider of conversational artificial intelligence (CAI) at scale, announced a new strategic partnership with Lydonia Technologies, a leading provider of Intelligent Automation software and solutions. As businesses continue to prioritize premier customer service, the partnership between boost.ai and Lydonia further enables this shift through intelligent automation and self-service capabilities. Lydonia Technologies, a Diamond UiPath Partner and Americas & Worldwide Impact Partner of the Year in 2022, will now be able to offer customers a powerful conversational AI chatbot and integrate the tech alongside existing employee-facing automation … Recently announced was an expanded collaboration between AWS and Hugging Face to accelerate the training, fine-tuning, and deployment of large language and vision models used to create generative AI applications. Generative AI applications can perform a variety of tasks, including text summarization, answering questions, code generation, image creation, and writing essays and articles … HEAVY.AI, an innovator in advanced analytics, announced it is expanding its collaboration with NVIDIA to include global management consulting firm Bain & Company and Maxar, a provider of comprehensive space solutions and secure, precise, geospatial intelligence. This collaboration will provide communication service providers (CSPs) with faster and more accurate tools for determining antenna placements, assuring optimal signal coverage and enabling greater efficiencies in network deployments … Classiq launched a global program for quantum software research and education, dedicated to universities and educational institutions offering Classiq’s advanced quantum computing platform and Microsoft Azure Quantum’s cloud access to quantum computers. The combined offering will be used by university professors, students, and researchers for conducting courses and carrying out research in all aspects of quantum computing … Absci Corporation (Nasdaq: ABSI), a generative AI drug creation company, and St. John’s Cancer Institute (SJCI), a pioneer in cancer care, research and innovation, announced they have entered into a partnership to uncover breakthrough cancer therapies … Lenovo (HKSE: 992) (ADR: LNVGY) and WEKA announced a new global agreement focused on offering solutions for next-generation data management architectures and performance-intensive workloads for delivery in more than 160 markets worldwide. These comprehensive solutions will accelerate artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics for high performance workloads, including finance, genomics, life science, media and entertainment applications around the world by speeding time to insights while reducing associated costs. 

In people movement news we heard … Plotly co-founder and CEO, Jack Parmer, has joined Domino Data Lab, provider of a leading Enterprise MLOps platform, as its new Product Strategy Advisor. In this role, Parmer will ideate and execute major new product strategy initiatives in close collaboration with Domino’s customers and leadership team. He will leverage his low-code expertise to help Domino’s customers solve for the AI talent gap with a code-first strategy to democratize AI using Python and R analytics … Data observability company, Acceldata, hired a new Chief Revenue Officer (CRO), Mike McQuaid. Mike joins Acceldata from CognitiveScale, where he managed all go-to-market teams, including sales, customer success, and revenue operations. Mark has 20+ years in enterprise software sales and spent ten years at SAP selling its solutions to the financial sector …  Infinidat, a leading provider of enterprise storage solutions, announced the promotion of Steve Sullivan to Chief Revenue Officer (CRO). Sullivan previously held the position of Executive Vice President and General Manager, Americas, where he demonstrated exceptional leadership skills and sales acumen … Augmented data fabric specialist Stratio BD has appointed Alexandra Stefanovich as its first-ever Chief Marketing Officer to support the rapidly growing company’s ambitious international expansion plans … Dialpad, Inc., the industry-defining Ai-Powered Customer Intelligence Platform, announced the hiring of Lawrence Lu as Vice President of Engineering. Lawrence’s extensive background in software and engineering will support Dialpad’s mission as it leads the industry forward in redefining the customer and contact center experience while enabling organizations to unlock tremendous advances in collaboration, productivity, customer satisfaction, and revenue for long-term growth … Digital analytics platform leader Amplitude, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMPL) has appointed former Forescout executive Christopher (“Criss”) Harms as the company’s next chief financial officer (CFO). The news comes as current CFO Hoang Vuong plans to transition from the company. Vuong will remain at Amplitude in the interim to ensure a seamless handover … Digital.ai, a leading enterprise platform for AI-driven software development, announced the promotion of Derek Holt as Chief Executive Officer. Holt joined Digital.ai in 2020 and most recently served as General Manager of the Intelligent DevOps division. He succeeds Stephen Elop, who will return to the role of Executive Chairman, which he assumed in 2020. Elop will continue to be engaged with customers and the management team … Gigamon, a leading deep observability company, announced that Dee Dee Acquista has been named vice president of Worldwide Channel and Alliances. With 25 years of experience in channel strategy, Acquista brings a fresh perspective as she and the team build on the company’s channel-first strategy to propel the Gigamon Catalyst Partner Program and its deep observability pipeline to new heights … Absci Corporation (Nasdaq: ABSI), a generative AI drug creation company, announced the expansion of its Scientific Advisory Board with three world-class scientific leaders: Victor Greiff, Ph.D., Timothy Lu, MD, Ph.D., and Hubert Truebel, MD, Ph.D., MBA. These renowned leaders in AI drug design, synthetic biology, and translational medicine, respectively, will play a pivotal role in helping Absci continue to pioneer AI drug creation in its mission to create better biologics for patients, faster … Couchbase, Inc. (NASDAQ: BASE), the cloud database platform company, announced Fidelma Butler has joined the company as chief people officer. Butler will lead the people function, aligned with the company’s values and operating objectives … StarTree Inc., a leader in real-time and user-facing analytics, announced the appointment of Jeff Miller as the company’s Chief Revenue Officer (CRO). Miller will lead StarTree’s go-to-market strategy across its Sales, Revenue Operations, Solutions Engineering, Customer Success, and Product-Led Growth teams, as the company enters its next stage of growth, focused on accelerated growth, product innovation, and continued adoption of its real-time analytics platform … Peer announced the hiring of a specialist team of engineers from Zenly to develop its AI-powered 3D maps. The team, known in tech circles by its codename “Wonka,” developed Zenly’s innovative 3D social maps platform that grew to more than 160 million downloads worldwide and reached 35 million daily active users in 2022. 

In the customer wins department we have … Canal Insurance Company (“Canal”) has selected CLARA Analytics, a leading provider of artificial intelligence (AI) technology for commercial insurance claims optimization, as its partner in a new initiative aimed at speeding the resolution of commercial transportation claims using AI … Aspen Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:AZPN), a global leader in industrial software, announced that it was selected by DuPont (NYSE:DD) to optimize the company’s industrial data strategy and create greater access, visibility and insights across its business. DuPont successfully migrated more than 20 years of historical data to AspenTech’s data historian in less than two days while reducing implementation costs by 45 percent … Lacework announced that Verifone, a global FinTech leader and payment solution provider, has selected the Lacework Polygraph® Data Platform to help secure its cloud infrastructure as the company moves to a cloud-native DevSecOps model.   

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