“Above the Trend Line” – Your Industry Rumor Central for 12/20/2023

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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.

As we approach the end of 2023, all I have to say is WOW! What a year for tech. But 2024 should be even more spicy! Let’s start our round-up with some new funding news … Lightmatter, a leader in photonics, announced it has raised a $155M Series C-2 led by GV (Google Ventures) and Viking Global Investors, with participation from others. With this round, Lightmatter has raised over $420 million to date and is now valued at over $1.2B. This new financing allows the company to expedite growth to meet the increasing demand for high-performance computing (HPC) from AI innovators. Lightmatter plans to expand its world-class team and office footprint, while accelerating its ability to provide customers increased performance on the most advanced AI workloads … O’Shaughnessy Ventures LLC (“OSV”), a family office that invests in ambitious seed and pre-seed startups, announced that it has invested in Obviously AI, Inc.. Founded in 2020 by Nirman Dave and Tapojit Debnath, Obviously AI enables companies to use their raw data to generate actionable insights using AI models. Whereas previously using AI to gather conclusions from data would be a costly and time-consuming process, Obviously AI makes the process possible with just a few clicks … Featureform, the MLOps feature store for building AI and ML systems, announced $5.5MM in Seed funding led by GreatPoint Ventures and Zetta Venture Partners with participation from Tuesday Capital and Alumni Ventures. This round of capital allows Featureform to expand its product growth and increase support for existing and new enterprise customers, in addition to its open-source community. The completion of the Seed round brings Featureform’s total funding to date to $8.1MM. At enterprise companies, LLM usage has surged alongside traditional ML use cases. At the heart of both these systems is private data. The most critical thing that ML teams do is take their raw data and transform it into valuable signals to feed into LLMs via prompts or ML models as inputs. Featureform believes there needs to be a unified framework to define, manage, and deploy these signals (or features). This creates a unified resource library that can be used by all ML/AI teams across an organization with built-in search&discovery, monitoring, orchestration, and governance. Featureform has seen to this be true with their existing customers in the ML space and has begun spearheading this approach in the LLM space … Armada, an edge computing pioneer redefining the future of connectivity, compute and AI, exited stealth. The company marks this milestone with a significant capital raise exceeding $55M, led by Founders Fund, Lux Capital, Shield Capital and 8090 Industries, with participation from Felicis, Contrary, Valor Equity Partners, Marlinspike, 137 Ventures, Koch Real Estate Investments, 8VC and a cohort of other strategic investors. This funding will propel Armada forward in its mission to bridge the global digital divide, empowering businesses and communities to leverage all of their data, regardless of where it’s generated. Armada is dedicated to unlocking the potential of generative AI, edge computing and predictive models on a global scale … Tembo, a managed Postgres service that dramatically simplifies the deployment and management of high-performance application-optimized databases, announced it raised a $7M seed led by Venrock with participation from Fireroad, CincyTech, and Wireframe Ventures … Datalogz, a pioneer in ending BI sprawl for data-mature organizations globally, announced that it has secured $5 million in funding, led by GreatPoint Ventures, with participation from Graphene Ventures, Squadra Ventures, Berkeley Skydeck, Defined, Mana Ventures, and Trajectory Ventures. This significant milestone brings the startup’s total fundraising for 2023 to just under $8 million … VAST Data, the AI data platform company, announced that it has secured $118 million in Series E funding, led by Fidelity Management & Research Company and accompanied by New Enterprise Associates (NEA), BOND Capital and Drive Capital … ON — formerly GameOn Technology — announced a fresh funding round and an updated mission to help enterprises and leading brands productize generative AI chat. The company’s established leadership position in the AI chat ecosystem, coupled with the growing marketplace excitement for generative AI, prompted a strategic $25 million funding round, bringing the total funding raised to $80 million. Notable participants in the round include Equiam; B3 Capital; Commonwealth Financial Network; and Mirae Asset Venture Investment, which previously co-led the company’s Series B … EnCharge AI, the company developing advanced AI chips and full stack solutions, announced it has closed a second institutional round of funding from strategic partners including VentureTech Alliance, RTX Ventures, and ACVC Partners with participation from existing investors such as Anzu Partners, AlleyCorp, Scout VC, Silicon Catalyst Angels and S5V. The funding round underscores the demand for new AI chips capable of running AI system workloads at a far lower cost and with greater efficiency than previously thought possible … Asato.ai, the AI-powered enterprise Copilot platform, announced the closing of its oversubscribed $7.5 million seed financing round, co-led by Intel Capital and Lip-Bu Tan, with participation from Shah Capital Partners, and several prominent angel investors including Amarjit Gill, serial entrepreneur and investor at Nepenthe Capital, Ash Bhardwaj, entrepreneur and investor, Charlie Giancarlo, CEO and Chairman of Pure Storage, and Sanjay Mehrotra, President and CEO of Micron Technologies, Inc. Backed by this investment, Asato is poised to bring to market the industry’s first AI-powered enterprise CIO Copilot … Kognitos, a trailblazer in generative AI for business automation, announced the close of a $20M Series A round led by Khosla Ventures, with participation from existing investors Clear Ventures, Engineering Capital, and Wipro Ventures. The fresh funding brings the company’s venture capital raised to date to $30M adding to the seed round closed earlier this year. Founded in 2020, the company aims to build a future where all business applications will be written in English, where machines understand human language natively and where interacting with a computer is as easy as communicating with a human … Expanso, a startup built to help enterprises manage their ever growing data needs with a distributed approach to big data processing powered by its open-source software Bacalhau, has raised $7.5 million in seed funding led by General Catalyst and Hetz Ventures, along with Array Ventures … Lynx, a leading provider of AI software that detects and prevents fraud and financial crimes, announced an $18 million (€17 million) Series A financing round led by Forgepoint Capital, with the participation of Banco Santander, a Lynx shareholder. Forgepoint Capital Managing Director Leo Casusol will join Lynx’s Board of Directors … Canopy, the composability platform, launched with $4 million in seed funding from leading venture capital firms, Kindred Ventures and Village Global. Canopy removes the complexity, custom code and time it takes to integrate, serve, and observe all the critical data companies need to grow their business. Enterprise organizations rely on Canopy for a distributed backend architecture that was previously only available to technology’s biggest companies, while Software as a Service (SaaS) companies use Canopy to reduce costly integration cycles, increase sales and unlock more revenue … ALTR Solutions, Inc., a leading innovator of automated data governance and data security solutions, announced that it has closed on its $25 Million Series C Preferred financing to meet the overwhelming demand for its SaaS-based data access governance and security solutions. Led by John Stafford III, and including new investors from the financial, medical, and data space, the Series C will be used to bolster ALTR’s market position in the cloud data access governance and security space, fast-track its go-to-market strategy by expanding its footprint across various data sources, grow partner integrations, and develop channel relations.

In news M&A activity we heard … IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement with Software AG (FRA: SOW), a company majority owned by Silver Lake, to purchase StreamSets and webMethods, Software AG’s Super iPaaS (integration platform-as-a-service) enterprise technology platforms, for 2.13 billion in cash. The acquisition of StreamSets and webMethods is further evidence of IBM’s deep focus and investment in AI and hybrid cloud. StreamSets will add data ingestion capabilities to watsonx, IBM’s AI and data platform, while webMethods will give clients and partners additional integration and API management tools for their hybrid multi-cloud environments … Rocket Software has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the Application Modernization and Connectivity (AMC) business of OpenText, which was formerly part of Micro Focus. The total purchase price is $2.275B … Aiven, the open source cloud data platform company, announced it has acquired EverSQL, a database optimization software vendor. With the acquisition, Aiven enhances its platform with AI-driven workload optimization capabilities. This will enable companies to focus on data-driven innovation on top of performant and cost-optimized pipelines and infrastructure.  

Also learned of some new partnerships, alignments and collaborations … As leaders in their respective fields, the global law firm Morgan Lewis and Thomson Reuters, a global content and technology company, have entered into a partnership to collaborate on new artificial intelligence (AI)–driven legal products. Through the partnership, Morgan Lewis will provide feedback to help shape the products created by Thomson Reuters, continuing a long tradition of innovation in both organizations … Seek AI, a developer of generative AI for data solutions, announced the integration of its natural language database service (NLDS) technology into Prodigy, a cloud-based production data platform from PostAds Group, a privately-held MarTech incubation company. The strategic integration marks a significant milestone, empowering brand marketers with access to advanced data insights and intelligence for more impactful decision-making …  Securiti, the pioneer of the Data Command Center, announced its strategic partnership with Databricks, the data and AI company and pioneer of the Data Lakehouse and Unity Catalog. This new partnership will enhance the way enterprises manage their data and AI across all data systems, addressing the growing need for contextual data intelligence and a data command center that consolidates governance, security, privacy, and compliance … WekaIO (WEKA), the data platform software provider for AI and other performance-intensive workloads, announced that it is working with Applied Digital Corporation (Nasdaq: APLD), a designer, builder, and operator of next-generation digital infrastructure for high-performance computing (HPC) applications and workloads, to provide an underlying accelerated software architecture underpinning its recently launched AI Cloud Service. Applied Digital is developing a turnkey offering that allows enterprise customers to purchase and use GPU resources on-demand, at scale, across its data centers for AI model training and inference in virtualized, bare-metal, and containerization environments … Informatica (NYSE: INFA), an enterprise cloud data management leader, launched a new strategic partnership with MongoDB. The partnership enables customers to efficiently create a modern class of cloud-native, data-driven, industry-tailored applications powered by MongoDB Atlas and with a secure foundation of trusted data from Informatica’s market-leading, AI-powered MDM solution … The Future of Life Institute (FLI) announced that it has teamed up with Mithril Security, a startup building secure tools for AI training and inference, to help deliver robust, hardware-based solutions for AI safety. FLI and Mithril’s tools will increase company and user confidentiality and security, ensure that developers can lock model usage if terms are violated, and demonstrate the flexibility and benefits of AI governance … SiMa.ai announced a new strategic partnership and integration with Supermicro, Inc. (NASDAQ: SMCI), a Total IT Solution Provider for AI, Cloud, Storage, and 5G/Edge. The SiMa.ai and Supermicro Edge ML Server integration brings together SiMa.ai’s purpose built Machine Learning System-on-a-Chip (MLSoC) that delivers high performance and power efficient edge ML inference for enterprise, industrial and field deployments, and Supermicro’s SYS-E300-13AD high performance compact edge server. The integration provides customers a scalable approach for increasing video channels without scaling the host CPU performance. This provides for in-field upgrades for additional video channel support without swapping out the server or motherboard, which is an important consideration for deployed servers …  Neo4j®, one of the world’s leading graph database and analytics companies, announced a multi-year Strategic Collaboration Agreement (SCA) with Amazon Web Services (AWS) that enables enterprises to achieve better generative artificial intelligence (AI) outcomes through a unique combination of knowledge graphs and native vector search that reduces generative AI hallucinations while making results more accurate, transparent, and explainable. This helps solve a common problem for developers who need long-term memory for large language models (LLMs) that are grounded in their specific enterprise data and domains … SandboxAQ announced a collaboration with NVIDIA to predict chemical reactions for drug discovery, battery design, green energy, and more. SandboxAQ will leverage NVIDIA quantum platforms to directly simulate the quantum mechanics underpinning modern chemistry, biology and material science using tensor networks …  SnapLogic, a leader in generative integration, announced that it has signed a Strategic Collaboration Agreement (SCA) with Amazon Web Services, (AWS), with plans to drive generative integration adoption globally … Cribl, the data engine for IT and Security, announced a new strategic partnership with Elastic, the company behind Elasticsearch®, to provide customers with greater data flexibility, delivering enhanced data visibility, improved SIEM capabilities, and simplified migrations to Elastic Cloud. The new partnership brings a deeper integration between the full Cribl suite of products and Elastic Security and Observability, enabling customers to more efficiently manage and operationalize their data. Additional Cribl Packs will be available to provide customers with out-of-the-box content that maps common log types to Elastic Common Schema (ECS), and in-product tiles will also be available alongside other pre-built integrations … Enterprise search company, Sinequa, announced a strategic collaboration with Axient LLC (Axient), a systems integrator serving the U.S. civil, commercial, defense, and national security space markets. Together, the organizations will work together to deliver AI-assisted knowledge discovery and information retrieval in the defense and civilian markets. The team will propose and develop AI-enabled intelligent search capabilities and expertise that supports mission engineering and operations, digital transformation, and advanced analysis solutions for air, ground, space, and cyber missions. 

In the people movement department we have … Portal26 (formerly known as Titaniam), the award-winning Generative AI (GenAI) visibility and data security tech leader, announced the appointment of Sanjay Srivastava, chief digital officer of Genpact, to its Generative AI (GenAI) Advisory Board. He joins Sylvia Acevedo, board director at Qualcomm, Kurt John, global CISO at Expedia, and Lu Zhang, founder and managing partner of Fusion Fund … Elastic® (NYSE: ESTC), the company behind Elasticsearch®, announced the appointment of Mark Dodds as chief revenue officer, effective immediately. Reporting to Elastic CEO Ash Kulkarni, Dodds will be responsible for driving all aspects of the company’s revenue growth, building on its ongoing success as the leading search analytics platform. Dodds brings extensive global sales leadership experience to the role, gained over 23 years at Cisco, most recently as senior vice president of Global Services & Software Sales, where he helped lead the acceleration of Cisco’s transformation to recurring revenue. He will be responsible for Elastic’s global go-to-market functions, including global sales, customer success, solutions architecture, ecosystem and partnerships, and sales operations … Fivetran, a leader in data integration, announced the appointment of Scott Jones as the company’s chief revenue officer (CRO). Jones brings over 25 years of enterprise sales and management experience at high-growth companies to the role, including senior leadership positions at SAP, Tableau and Alteryx. He will report to COO Taylor Brown and serve as a member of the Fivetran executive team, overseeing all revenue generation activities for the company including operations, sales, marketing and pricing … Traceable AI, a leading API security company, announced the appointment of Brian McDonough as its new Chief Revenue Officer. As Traceable embarks on a transformative phase of hypergrowth, McDonough’s leadership will be instrumental in guiding the company to new heights in the rapidly evolving API security industry. Brian McDonough, who brings a wealth of experience from his tenure at Snyk and Recorded Future, shared his enthusiasm about his new role at Traceable … Exasol, the high-performance analytics database provider, announced Henrik Jorgensen has been appointed as the company’s senior vice president of sales, Europe. In his role, Jorgensen is responsible for expanding sales initiatives across Europe in key industries such as telecommunications, healthcare, retail, and financial services … New Relic, the all-in-one observability platform for every engineer, announced that Ashan Willy has been appointed Chief Executive Officer, effective December 4. Willy is a proven leader and innovator who brings more than 25 years of experience in go-to-market, engineering, product management, and global strategy and planning. He most recently served as CEO of Proofpoint, a leading cybersecurity and compliance company, where he helped strengthen the company’s reputation as one of world’s most trusted cybersecurity brands, led the company through a successful transition to a privately owned company, and saw revenue grow 5x during his tenure. Willy previously held senior leadership positions at Webex, Juniper, Polycom, and Cisco … Enterprise Search leader Sinequa announced that Jean Ferré has succeeded Ulf Zetterberg as Co-Chief Executive Officer of the organization. The appointment enhances the company’s commitment to helping enterprise organizations reliably use generative AI to transform the way people work … As part of its mission to help companies build better digital products and experiences, Amplitude, Inc. (Nasdaq: AMPL) announced that former Tableau executive Francois Ajenstat has joined the company as its new chief product officer. With over 25 years of industry experience, Ajenstat will lead Amplitude’s product management, design, and growth organization globally … Former Google Engineering VP Danner Stodolsky is joining Lightmatter as VP of Data Center Architecture. Most recently, Danner was the SVP of Cloud at SambaNova Systems and has 30+ years of industry experience. In his new role at Lightmatter, he will lead the charge in shaping the landscape of Data Center Architecture, focusing on the design, simulation, and evaluation of large-scale systems … Hammerspace, the company orchestrating the Next Data Cycle, announced the appointment of storage and networking veteran Mark Cree as Senior Vice President of Strategic Partnerships. Cree joins Hammerspace from Amazon Web Services (AWS), where he was the general manager for the AWS Storage Gateway service and was responsible for overseeing product and business strategy with his team of technical product managers and engineers … Domino Data Lab, provider of the leading Enterprise AI platform trusted by over 20% of the Fortune 100, announced it has appointed Joel Meyer, the former U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Deputy Assistant Secretary for Strategic Initiatives, as its President of Public Sector. With Meyer at the head of its efforts to modernize, scale, and accelerate AI innovation across the public sector, Domino will seek authorization from the U.S. Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP®) for its market-leading enterprise AI platform … Multi-cloud data services provider Faction announced it has named Derek Pilling as its new CEO, following the completion of an acquisition and financing transaction sponsored by ORIX Corporation USA’s Growth Capital group and Mr. Pilling’s family investment firm, Tahosa Capital. ORIX USA’s Growth Capital group extended new capital to Faction in support of the company’s growth and expansion plans. Pilling, who joined Faction as Chief Financial Officer in 2020, has worked for over thirty years with venture capital and private equity-backed companies, supporting successive generations of market leaders in technology-enabled services. As a result of the transaction, Faction has become an employee-owned and operated organization.

In the customer wins department we learned … Semarchy, a master data management (MDM) and data integration leader, announced that its platform has helped global wine and spirits company Brown-Forman gain a unified view of its product data worldwide. By implementing Semarchy xDM, Brown-Forman has harmonized disparate product data from across its many global locations into a “single source of truth …” Fivetran announced that its industry-leading data integration platform is being utilized by La-Z-Boy Incorporated, a global leader in residential furniture. La-Z-Boy, which has a number of different brands including Joybird and Hammary, is leveraging Fivetran to break down data silos and accelerate data-driven decision making across the organization … Mytonomy, a leader in healthcare cloud solutions for patient education and engagement, launched Mytonomy Analytics Cloud powered by Sisense to bring powerful new analytics and engagement capabilities to Mytonomy’s Cloud for Healthcare platform. With the integration of Sisense’s HIPAA-compliant, advanced analytics tools, healthcare providers can easily track in real time, predict and more efficiently allocate resources where they are most needed, helping to save time and improve patient care … STMicroelectronics selected Lucidworks, a leading search solutions provider, to upgrade and futureproof its on-site search solution. STMicroelectronics (ST) is a global high-tech company creating semiconductor technologies for a smarter, greener, and more sustainable future. Lucidworks Fusion will provide the flexibility and control ST needs to create personalized digital experiences.

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