AI-powered contract management platform Malbek lands $15.3M


Contract lifecycle management startup Malbek today announced it has raised $15.3 million in a series A funding round led by Noro-Moseley Partners, with participation from TDF Ventures and Osage Venture Partners. The funding, which brings the company’s total raised to over $20 million, will be used to support product development and expansion, according to CEO Hemanth Puttaswamy.

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Arize AI raises $19 million Series A financing led by Battery Ventures for Machine Learning Observability


Arize AI, the leader in ML observability and model monitoring, announced it has raised $19 million in Series A financing. The round was led by Battery Ventures with participation from previous investors Foundation Capital, Trinity Ventures, The House Fund and Swift Ventures. Dharmesh Thakker, general partner at Battery Ventures will join the Arize AI board.

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Workflow automation platform Conexiom raises $130M


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Conexiom, a Vancouver, Canada-based company developing workflow automation software for manufacturers and distributors, today announced it has raised $130 million in a funding round led by Warburg Pincus, with participation from Luminate Capital and Iconiq Growth. The funds bring Conexiom’s total raised to date to roughly $170 million, and CEO Ray Grady says the money will be put toward platform R&D

Conexiom, a Vancouver, Canada-based company developing workflow automation software for manufacturers and distributors, today announced it has raised $130 million in a funding round led by Warburg Pincus, with participation from Luminate Capital and Iconiq Growth. The funds bring Conexiom’s total raised to date to roughly $170 million, and CEO Ray Grady says the money will be put toward platform R&D and hiring.
Annually, more than $15 trillion dollars of order-to-cash and procure-to-pay transactions are processed manually in North America and Europe. Although companies spend billions each year on digital transformation initiatives, approximately 50% of business-to-business transactions still involve emailing documents between buyers and sellers and manually keying data into systems.
Founded in 2001, Conexiom aims to deliver automated processing capabilities that turn unstructured data into “touchless” transactions. The platform automates invoices, vendor documents, order acknowledgements, requests for quotes, special pricing agreements, and more, delivering key data into enterprise resource management (ERM) systems and other databases of record.
Above: Conexiom’s workflow automation platform.Image Credit: Conexiom
“Conexiom’s customers face growing challenges that are accelerating the need for automation solutions. Our platform is mission-critical to our customers, helping them automate and scale their order-to-cash and procure-to-pay processes,” Grady said in a press release. “This investment is great validation of our people, platform, and market leadership and will help us accelerate product investment to meet growing market demand.”
For example, Conexiom can automatically capture data from a purchase order and translate it into a sales order within an ERP system. Grady claims that for McNaughton-McKay, whose customers place multiple orders a week with 70 line items or more on average, it has brought order processing time down to minutes rather than hours.
“Our staff is as good as it gets, but they’re human. Mistakes are going to happen, which meant our teams needed to carve out time for returns, exchanges, and rebills when they were already overloaded,” McNaughton-McKay senior project manager Denny Wyss said in a statement. “The part that impresses me most is Conexiom’s ability to take a manual order process and reduce the time spent on it to virtually nothing.”
Growth market
The workflow automation market was valued at $8.07 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach $39.49 billion by 2027, climbing at a compound annual growth rate of 23.68% from 2020 to 2027. The pandemic is responsible for the uptick, particularly in manufacturing, where it drove businesses to digitally automate what were previously repetitive, offline manual tasks. According to a recent survey commissioned by Google, two-thirds of manufacturers using AI in their operations report that their reliance on AI has increased. Even among firms that currently don’t use AI, about a third believe it would make employees more efficient and be helpful for employees overall, according to Google.
In some respects, Conexiom competes with sales automation platforms like Revenue Grid that have raised tens of millions in venture capital to date. Forrester reports that over 30% of all business-to-business companies adopted AI to improve at least one of their main sales workflows, as of last year. RightBound offers a platform to automate back-office sales processes. Rival SugarCRM provides a predictive AI engine for marketing automation.
But since Luminate bought a majority stake in Conexiom in 2018, the company has grown over 6 times in size and now processes over $100 billion in business-to-business transactions annually, with customers including Chevron and HP. Conexiom doubled its headcount in 2020 and plans to focus on growing its engineering, account management, and account services teams across offices in Ontario, London, Munich, and Chicago.
“As the demand for software-as-a-service-based systems grows, we continue to see significant growth opportunity for companies like Conexiom. Our investment underscores our long-term commitment to investing strategically in market-leading, business-to-business software businesses,” Warburg Pincus managing director Justin Sadrian said in a press release.VentureBeat
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Data observability platform Acceldata nabs $35M


Data observability platform Acceldata today announced that it raised $35 million in a series B round led by Insight Partners, with participation from March Capital, Lightspeed, Sorenson Ventures, and Emergent Ventures. The proceeds bring the company’s total raised to $46 million to date, and they’ll be used to fund development and go-to-market efforts as Acceldata expands the size of its workforce, according to CEO Rohit Choudhary.

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Seedtag raises $40m Series B: A story of explosive global growth


Seedtag, the leader in contextual advertising in EMEA and LATAM, has announced that it has secured $40 million in a Series B round led by Oakley Capital, a pan-European PE group with $4 billion of assets under management. Adara Ventures also participated in the round alongside existing investors All Iron Ventures.

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Astera Labs, a fabless chip startup, nabs $50M at a $950M valuation to remove bottlenecks in high-bandwidth cloud applications

Astera Labs

Astera Labs, a fabless semiconductor company that builds connectivity solutions that help remove bottlenecks around high-bandwidth applications and help better allocate resources around enterprise data, has raised $50 million.

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Platform that Offers AI Investment Advice MDOTM Raises €6.2 million Series B, Currently holds € 750 million AUA


MDOTM, a platform that provides investment advice using artificial intelligence  (AI), has raised €6.2 million in Series B fundraising. Both institutions and individual investors participated in the funding round.

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Akkio Raises $3 million for AI Platform for everyday business Users


Akkio, developers of an artificial intelligence (AI) platform for non-data scientists, announced the closing of a seed investment round of $3 million led by Bain Capital Ventures.

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CRM marketing startup Optimove raises $75M


Optimove, a customer relationship management (CRM) software provider, today announced that it raised $75 million in a funding round led by Summit Partners with participation from existing investors. The company says the capital will be put toward supporting strategic mergers and acquisitions, product R&D, and hiring, with the goal of doubling the company’s 180-person headcount over the next two years.

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SenseOn nabs $20M for faster, more accurate cybersecurity detection and response via its ‘triangulation’ approach


As cybersecurity becomes a bigger and more complex problem for organizations, a startup aiming to increase its accuracy in fighting breaches — by bringing in an ever-wider funnel of data and vantage points to identify issues — is expanding its business.

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Kawaii Islands Secures $2.4M via Private Token Sale for Its Anime Play-to-Earn Metaverse

Surf shack

Following a $2.4M private token sale round, the NFT-enabled blockchain or DLT-based game will debut in September 2021. As an “enchanting” fantasy game in the Cloud, players are able to  “simultaneously experience simulation gaming, including building, crafting, farming, and social networking.”

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“Above the Trend Line” – Your Industry Rumor Central for 9/24/2021

Above the Trend Line

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.

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Operations observability platform Avenue launches with $4M


Avenue launched Friday to give operations their own tools to monitor teams, and is building a “command center” for this area of business that is often forgotten, co-founder and CEO Justin Bleuel told TechCrunch.
In addition to the launch the company is announcing $4 million in seed funding, led by Accel, with participation from Flexport and a group of individual investors from companies like Coinbase, Uber, Stripe and Thumbtack.
Bleuel and his co-founder, Jeff Barg, grew up building iOS apps together and then went their separate ways, Bleuel to Uber and Barg to Amazon. While at Uber, Bleuel was working on observability — passive or proactive monitoring — building a lot of the tools in-house to monitor the marketplace for data like rider experience.
Both saw an opening to build these tools themselves for operations teams, and Avenue was born. The technology enables business teams to set up alerts to observe when there is a problem with data, act on it correctly and improve how the overall team functions, think “Datadog or PagerDuty for operations teams,” Bleuel said.
“Data is now all centralized in data warehouses, so you can build on top of them in a way you could not before, like Fivetran, and activate off of it,” he added. “You used to have to build one-to-one alerts for each tool, but now we can actively direct them from the warehouse.”
Avenue dashboard. Image Credits: Avenue
The company, founded in 2020, came out of the Y Combinator winter 2021 cohort, and one of its early customers is food pickup service Snackpass, which is using Avenue to monitor uptime and receive notifications when restaurant partners, for example, have an ordering tablet battery die or lose Wi-Fi. Snackpass is able to contact the location and help them figure out why they went offline. As a result, the company was able to cut the percentage of offline stores in half, Bleuel said.
Avenue’s customer sweet spot is marketplace companies or warehouses for monitoring stock. However, the co-founders are also seeing their technology being used by other companies, like furniture delivery companies, to monitor for reliability or know their inventory levels. Customers are also packaging up reports and sharing them with other internal teams on how to improve operations.
The company intends to use the funding to build on its small team of three, especially in engineering to be able to go to market with new products, Barg said.
Avenue is working with more than 50 companies and since April has sent out over 200,000 alerts. The company’s model bills customers per alert per month, and the team is looking at a freemium model as well as enterprise levels.
Meanwhile, Amit Kumar, partner at Accel, said via email the firm is “very thesis-driven,” one of them being the modern data stack. Accel made early investments into companies like Airbyte, Monte Carlo and Privacer, and saw opportunity for new downstream applications based on the innovation, of which Avenue stood out.
The combination of Bleuel and Barg was “particularly compelling because of their fluency with the problem space” due to their backgrounds at Uber and Amazon and experiencing firsthand how “poorly served” operations teams are and how that can affect the overall business.
He believes the current approach of ops teams in the market today relies heavily on dashboarding, periodic sweeps and color-coded Excel sheets — a process that is “often inaccurate and disorganized.” At the same time, product engineers were flush with well-established tools around observability and incident response.
“Given the rise of ‘atoms’ startups powered by a cohort of ex-Uber and ex-Amazon operators, Justin and Jeff were uniquely positioned to find early design partners and customers among their peer networks,” Kumar added. “As ops teams become both increasingly commonplace and essential to business outcomes, I expect their processes to mature and benefit from similar tooling. This is the thesis behind Avenue, and early traction indicates that next-gen leading ops-heavy companies agree.”

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Attack of the $200M robotic raises

Robot raises

How’s this for a bit of regional synchronicity? This week, a pair of Chinese robotics firms secured $200 million rounds. It’s all part of a booming ecosystem that we get some insight into every so often. There are so many players in China’s robotics space it can be hard to keep track of some of the innovation over there, but these sorts of large funding rounds are a surefire way to make some waves.

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Bigeye, providing data quality automation, closes second round this year with $45M


Bigeye on Thursday announced a $45 million in Series B funding, just six months after securing a $17 million Series A round.

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