“Above the Trend Line” – Your Industry Rumor Central for 9/29/2023

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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 get started with some new funding news … SQream, the data & analytics accelerator company built for big data and AI/ML workloads, announced the successful completion of a $45 million Series C financing round. The round was led by World Trade Ventures, with participation from new and current investors, including Schusterman Investments, George Kaiser Foundation (Atento), Icon Continuity Fund, Blumberg Capital, and Freddy & Helen Holdings. The latest round will be utilized to further expand the company’s presence in North America, extend its strategic partnerships and propel advancements in AI/ML enterprise capabilities and big data analytics … UserEvidence, the customer voice platform for B2B go-to-market (GTM) teams, announced $9 million in Series A funding led by Crosslink Capital with participation from Founder Collective, Afore and Next Frontier Capital, bringing total funding to $14 million …  MotherDuck, builder of a serverless, easy to use data analytics platform based on open source database DuckDB, announced a $52.5 million round of funding. Led by Felicis, the round puts MotherDuck at a $400M post-money valuation and brings their total funding to date to $100M. New and existing investors like a16z, Madrona, Amplify Partners, Altimeter, Redpoint, Zero Prime, and more participated in the round as well. Felicis General Partner Viviana Faga will join MotherDuck’s Board of Directors … Pliable, an AI-powered SaaS platform that simplifies organizing and leveraging data without an engineer, launched out of stealth with a $2.5 million seed round led by Resolute Ventures, including participation from CEAS and other investors. This funding will help Pliable expand its team and platform to create a single source of truth for anyone to streamline their data processes … Tabular, provider of the only independent data platform based on Apache Iceberg, announced that it has closed a $26M funding round, bringing total investment in the company to $37M. The round was led by Altimeter Capital, with participation from Andreessen Horowitz, which led the previous funding round, as well as Zetta Venture Partners. The funding will be used to expand the Tabular’s served market from beyond AWS to Google Cloud, Azure and MinIO object storage for on-premises and hybrid cloud deployment. In that vein, the company also announced a preview of Tabular on Google Cloud Platform. Tabular customers will be able to add managed Iceberg to their Google stack, including Google Cloud Storage and Google BigQuery … Writer, a leading full-stack generative AI platform for enterprises, announced its Series B funding round of $100 million. The round is being led by ICONIQ Growth with participation from WndrCo, Balderton Capital and Insight Partners, who led the Series A, and Aspect Ventures, who led the Seed. In addition, this round includes participation from several Writer customers such as Accenture and Vanguard. With this financing, ICONIQ Growth’s Doug Pepper has joined the board … Pixis, a leading codeless AI infrastructure company focused on enabling brands to enhance performance marketing, has raised $85 million in its series C1 funding round. The round was led by Touring Capital and brings the company’s capital raised to $209 million. The new and existing investors who participated in the funding round include Grupo Carso, General Atlantic, Celesta Capital and Chiratae Ventures. The funding will be used to deepen Pixis’ AI capabilities, accelerate global expansion, invest in R&D to refine and launch a generative AI-powered creative studio, and build strategic product and business partnerships … Denodo, a leader in data management, and TPG (NASDAQ: TPG), a global alternative asset management firm, announced that they have signed a definitive agreement for TPG Growth, the firm’s middle market and growth equity platform, to invest $336 million in Denodo’s Series B preferred equity. The transaction, which includes both primary capital and a secondary sale of shares by HGGC, is expected to close in early October following customary regulatory approvals. HGGC, which invested in Denodo’s Series A investment round in 2017, will remain a significant investor … d-Matrix, a leader in high-efficiency generative AI compute for data centers, has closed $110 million in a Series-B funding round led by Singapore-based global investment firm Temasek. The goal of the fundraise is to enable d-Matrix to begin commercializing Corsair, the world’s first Digital-In Memory Compute (DIMC), chiplet-based inference compute platform, after the successful launches of its prior Nighthawk, Jayhawk-I and Jayhawk II chiplets … Canvs AI, the leading insights platform built to unlock consumer and employee feedback, announced that it has successfully raised $15 million in funding led by Fulcrum Equity Partners. Strategic investor Engage, the innovative corporate venture initiative from category-leading corporations like Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines, Cox Enterprises, Inspire Brands and The Home Depot, also participated in the round. 

In M&A activity we heard … Acceldata, a leader in enterprise data observability, announced that it has acquired Bewgle, a cutting-edge artificial intelligence platform, to expand its best-in-class enterprise data observability capabilities into AI and large language models (LLMs). With the acquisition of Bewgle, a best-in-class AI engine, Acceldata will expand its enterprise data observability capabilities into AI and LLM pipelines to eliminate risk and ensure reliable, high quality data pipelines across cloud, hybrid, and on-premises environments … LimeWire, the tech company best known for peer-to-peer music sharing, has acquired AI generation platform BlueWillow. BlueWillow is a leading AI image generation platform with a vibrant community of over 2.3 million active members. In the span of this year alone, BlueWillow has facilitated the creation of 500 million images, solidifying its position as a driving force in the AI content generation sphere … Rocket Software, Inc., a global technology leader that develops enterprise software for some of the world’s largest companies, announced it has acquired B.O.S., a leading German-based software company that provides data integration solutions. B.O.S.’ flagship product, tcVISION, now called Rocket Data Replicate and Sync, will join Rocket Software’s portfolio of modernization products that add scale, flexibility and security to an organization’s existing infrastructure. The combination of Rocket Software’s existing solutions and B.O.S.’ technology will allow Rocket Software to offer its customers more complete solutions to their mainframe data modernization challenges. This proprietary technology means that organizations can leverage advanced tools, including machine learning and analytics engines, in cloud environments using mainframe data in real time without needing to rewrite all their applications to run on the cloud. Further, this technology makes training generative artificial intelligence (AI) models easier by leveraging a business’ mainframe data.

We also learned of some new partnerships, alignments and collaboration … Domino Data Lab, provider of a leading Enterprise AI platform trusted by over 20% of the Fortune 100, and Carahsoft Technology Corp., The Trusted Government IT Solutions Provider®, announced a partnership. Under the agreement, Carahsoft will serve as Domino’s Master Government Aggregator®, making its platform available to the Public Sector through Carahsoft’s reseller partners and NASA Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement (SEWP) V, Information Technology Enterprise Solutions – Software 2 (ITES-SW2), National Cooperative Purchasing Alliance (NCPA) and OMNIA Partners contracts … Qumulo, the simple way to manage exabyte-scale data anywhere, announced it has built its strategic relationship with Fujitsu to provide customers with more options to deploy their joint solution. Qumulo® is now available on the new NVMe-based hybrid nodes on Fujitsu’s PRIMERGY platform that deliver the performance of flash storage at the price of disk. Qumulo’s file system delivers real-time visibility, scale, and control of data across on-premises and cloud, even at a granular level, allowing easy system configuration and performance management … VAST Data, the AI data platform company and CoreWeave, a specialized cloud provider powering many of the world’s leading generative AI efforts, today announced a strategic partnership that will further CoreWeave’s mission to deliver highly scalable and performant cloud infrastructure for AI and accelerated compute workloads. CoreWeave has selected the VAST Data Platform, the world’s first data platform designed for the AI era, to build a global, NVIDIA-powered accelerated computing cloud for deploying, managing and securing hundreds of petabytes of data for generative AI, high performance computing (HPC) and visual effects (VFX) workloads … Informatica (NYSE:INFA), an enterprise cloud data management leader, and Oracle have advanced their strategic partnership with the creation of an Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) point of delivery to thousands of joint customers across North America. The two cloud leaders unveiled new integrations and capabilities for Informatica’s Intelligent Data Management Cloud (IDMC) across Oracle’s Modern Data Platform to deliver clean, secure, trusted data to empower greater AI/ML utilization and accelerate modernization journeys … IOTech, the leader in open edge computing, announced its new partnership with Advantech, leading provider of industrial Internet of Things (IoT) hardware and automation technology, to deliver advanced edge data processing solutions for smart manufacturing and industrial automation. The partnership will enable a new range of integrated edge hardware and software solutions for manufacturers to automate data exchanges between equipment and control systems, in addition to simplifying the adoption of new technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine vision … Infosys (NSE, BSE, NYSE: INFY), a global leader in next-generation digital services and consulting, and NVIDIA (NASDAQ: NVDA) announced that they have expanded their strategic collaboration with the aim to help enterprises worldwide drive productivity gains with generative AI applications and solutions. The broadened alliance will bring the NVIDIA AI Enterprise ecosystem of models, tools, runtimes and GPU systems to Infosys Topaz — an AI-first set of services, solutions and platforms that use generative AI technologies. Through the integration, Infosys will create offerings customers can adopt to easily integrate generative AI into their businesses … Aporia, a leading Observability platform for AI products, announced a partnership with Snowflake, the Data Cloud company, designed to enhance performance by providing AI models and data observability in the cloud. Integrating Aporia’s ML observability platform with the Data Cloud not only promotes the efficiency and effectiveness of data science, but also helps to expand the adoption of responsible AI … CloudBlue, the cloud monetization platform that enables new revenue streams for SaaS companies through seamless automation, announced it is now working with Rubiscape, a cutting-edge data science platform offering advanced analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence capabilities to organize, produce, and monetize data … WekaIO (WEKA), the data platform provider for performance-intensive workloads, announced that it is pioneering a groundbreaking new solution in collaboration with its customer Stability AI, a leading open-source generative AI company. The WEKA® Data Platform Converged Mode for Cloud solution will enhance Stability AI’s ability to train multiple AI models in the cloud, including its popular Stable Diffusion model, and extend efficiency, cost and sustainability benefits to its customers … Salesforce and Databricks announced an expanded strategic partnership that delivers zero-ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) data sharing in Salesforce Data Cloud and lets customers bring their own Databricks AI models into the Salesforce platform. Customers can now seamlessly merge data from Data Cloud with external data from the Databricks Lakehouse. With these new capabilities, businesses can reduce the cost and complexity of moving and copying data while maintaining security, governance and trust, and use their data and AI models to provide better customer experiences … Tamr Inc., a leader in AI-powered data products, announced its partnership with Google Cloud to launch Data & AI Cloud for Industries, starting with Data & AI Cloud for Marketing. This collaboration brings together easy access to the most relevant data, best-in-class analytics and AI/ML capabilities, accelerators and an ecosystem of partners and connectivity.  

In people movement news we heard … Hexaware Technologies, a leading global provider of IT services and solutions, has announced the appointment of Anton Tomchenko as its Chief Revenue & Solutions Officer for Digital & Software Services. Anton will bring Hexaware’s clients a wealth of experience building world-class solutions for top Silicon Valley tech companies. Under his leadership, the company will forge new offerings to modernize and transform traditional enterprise business … TripleBlind, a leader in AI and data privacy, announced the appointment of former Cloudera Executive Vice President (EVP), Prat Moghe, as its new CEO. The company also announced its AI Privacy Platform to ensure automatic end-to-end privacy protection across the breadth of the full AI lifecycle from analytics, training, prompting, and inferencing … Phrasee announced that the Board of Directors has appointed Dan Head as CEO. Formerly chief revenue officer at Braze, including during its growth from Series-B to IPO in November 2021, Head will ensure Phrasee plays a leading role in guiding content marketers through the AI revolution. Before Braze, he spent four years as regional vice president at Salesforce during the inception of its Marketing Cloud. Parry Malm, Phrasee’s founding CEO, has stepped down from his role and will remain on the board with a focus on thought leadership that pushes the AI content category forward … VAST Data, the AI data platform company, announced the appointment of new leadership to capitalize on explosive market growth. Marianne Budnik has been named VAST’s chief marketing officer, and will lead all marketing functions including product marketing, field marketing, customer advocacy, communications and public relations, content, creative and brand strategy. Budnik is an accomplished leader with proven success leading marketing organizations at scale for companies including CrowdStrike, CyberArk and CA Technologies, along with nearly a decade in marketing leadership roles at EMC Corporation … KX, a global pioneer in vector and time-series data management, has taken significant strides to cement its position in the rapidly growing AI vector database sector, with the appointment of two senior executives. The appointment of Anitha Gopalan as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Peter Finter as Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) demonstrate KX’s commitment to building a team of experienced and visionary leaders to accelerate the company’s growth and build on its category leadership for the KDB.AI vector database … Pathway, an AI data platform company, announced the appointment of Anup Surendran as Head of Product Marketing and Growth as part of its US expansion plans. In his capacity as Head of Product Marketing and Growth, Surendran will lead initiatives for positioning and growth as Pathway expands into the US market, while driving adoption of the Pathway framework in the developer community and among enterprises … Scalitya global leader in reliable, secure and sustainable data storage software, announced the appointment of Paul Repice as vice president and general manager of sales for the Americas region. Working in support of Scality’s recently appointed CRO Peter Brennan, Repice will help accelerate Scality’s growth by strengthening partnerships and identifying new revenue opportunities within the Americas partner ecosystem … Sonar, a leading Clean Code solution provider, announced that Tariq Shaukat has joined the company as co-Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and a member of the Board of Directors. Tariq will lead the company in lockstep with Founder and CEO Olivier Gaudin. This model strengthens the leadership team and prepares the company for its next phase of growth. Tariq has extensive experience in growing and scaling private and public companies across diverse industries. Coupled with Olivier’s technical and market vision, the partnership will become a formidable force in the industry. Sonar is the world’s leading Clean Code solution, helping organizations increase innovation and productivity while decreasing business risk and technical debt … Digibee, an integration platform as a service (iPaaS) company that helps organizations build flexible, highly scalable integration architecture, announced that it has appointed Paulo Veloso as chief revenue officer. Veloso’s responsibilities include creating a high-performance sales team, focusing on excellence and customer experience, and ensuring that Digibee provides optimal value and solves business issues for customers. Veloso initially will focus on strategic growth and go-to-market strategy in the U.S … Dataiku, the platform for Everyday AI, announced the appointment of Wall Street and software industry veteran Krish Venkataraman as President. Venkataraman joins the company with a strong and diverse track record of leadership roles, including President, CFO, COO, and public Board member positions, with deep cross-functional expertise spanning data, security, exchanges, and financial services. He joins Dataiku as the company continues its strong global momentum, surpassing $230 Million Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) and winning a total of more than 200 customers listed in the Forbes Global 2000, including LG Chem, Regeneron, Standard Chartered Bank, SLB, and Unilever.

In the customer wins department we have … Couchbase, Inc. (NASDAQ: BASE), the cloud database platform company, announced that Centrica PLC, an international energy services and solutions provider, has selected Couchbase Capella™ Database-as-a-Service (DBaaS). Centrica will use Capella to provide customer and job history information to its circa 7,000 field engineers, allowing them to quickly and effectively serve more than 10 million customers in the U.K. and Ireland. By adopting Capella, Centrica benefits from a fully managed cloud database service with premium performance while improving ROI … Quiq, the conversational customer experience (CCX) platform, announced that LOOP insurance is live with a customer-facing AI Assistant, built on Large Language Models (LLM), the same AI underlying ChatGPT. The LOOP AI Assistant has already shown impressive results, tripling the number of customers who are able to get answers to their questions (vs. LOOP’s prior chatbot) and reducing email support volume by 55% while delivering customer satisfaction on-par with human assistance. LOOP is disrupting the auto insurance industry with fair and equitable pricing that considers all drivers to be equal regardless of gender, marital status or credit score. LOOP is taking that same disruptive approach to providing their customers with excellent customer service powered by the efficiency of AI so that LOOP’s customers benefit from better rates.

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