AI-driven voice assistant PolyAI raises $14M round led by Khosla Ventures

PolyAI

“Conversational AI” startup PolyAI, based out of London, has raised $14 million in a funding round led by Silicon Valley’s Khosla Ventures, with participation from existing investors (Point72 Ventures, Amadeus Capital, Sands Capital Ventures, Passion Capital and Entrepreneur First). This follows their $12m Series A, and will provide resources for further US expansion beyond its existing US team. The startup has now raised $28m to date.

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Seqera Labs grabs $5.5M to help sequence Covid-19 variants and other complex data problems

Seqera Labs

Seqera Labs, a Barcelona-based data orchestration and workflow platform tailored to help scientists and engineers order and gain insights from cloud-based genomic data troves, as well as to tackle other life science applications that involve harnessing complex data from multiple locations, has raised $5.5 million in seed funding

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Monad emerges from stealth with $17M to solve the cybersecurity big data problem

Filing drawers

Cloud security startup Monad, which offers a platform for extracting and connecting data from various security tools, has launched from stealth with $17 million in Series A funding led by Index Ventures. 
Monad was founded on the belief that enterprise cybersecurity is a growing data management challenge, as organizations try to understand and interpret the masses of information that’s siloed within disconnected logs and databases. Once an organization has extracted data from their security tools, Monad’s Security Data Platform enables them to centralize that data within a data warehouse of choice, and normalize and enrich the data so that security teams have the insights they need to secure their systems and data effectively.
“Security is fundamentally a big data problem,” said Christian Almenar, CEO and co-founder of Monad. “Customers are often unable to access their security data in the streamlined manner that DevOps and cloud engineering teams need to build their apps quickly while also addressing their most pressing security and compliance challenges. We founded Monad to solve this security data challenge and liberate customers’ security data from siloed tools to make it accessible via any data warehouse of choice.”
The startup’s Series A funding round, which was also backed by Sequoia Capital, brings its total amount of investment raised to  $19 million and comes 12 months after its Sequoia-led seed round. The funds will enable Monad to scale its development efforts for its security data cloud platform, the startup said.
Monad was founded in May 2020 by security veterans Christian Almenar and Jacolon Walker. Almenar previously co-founded serverless security startup Intrinsic which was acquired by VMware in 2019, while Walker served as CISO and security engineer at OpenDoor, Collective Health, and Palantir.

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Bodo.ai secures $14M, aims to make Python better at handling large-scale data

Bodo AI

Bodo.ai, a parallel compute platform for data workloads, is developing a compiler to make Python portable and efficient across multiple hardware platforms. It announced Wednesday a $14 million Series A funding round led by Dell Technologies Capital.

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Companies betting on data must value people as much as AI

AI scalability

The Pareto principle, also known as the 80-20 rule, asserts that 80% of consequences come from 20% of causes, rendering the remainder way less impactful. Those working with data may have heard a different rendition of the 80-20 rule: A data scientist spends 80% of their time at work cleaning up messy data as opposed to doing actual analysis or generating insights. Imagine a 30-minute drive expanded to two-and-a-half hours by traffic jams, and you’ll get the picture.

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A new age of data means embracing the edge

Blab

Artificial intelligence holds an enormous promise, but to be effective, it must learn from massive sets of data—and the more diverse the better. By learning patterns, AI tools can uncover insights and help decision-making not just in technology, but also pharmaceuticals, medicine, manufacturing, and more. However, data can’t always be shared—whether it’s personally identifiable, holds proprietary information, or to do so would be a security concern—until now.

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Employee talent predictor retrain.ai raised another $7M, adds Splunk as strategic investor

Retrain AI

Automation will displace 85 million jobs while simultaneously creating 97 million new jobs by 2025, according to the World Economic Forum. Although that sounds like good news, the hard reality is that millions of people will have to retrain in the jobs of the future.

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ThirdAI raises $6M to democratize AI to any hardware

Third AI

Houston-based ThirdAI, a company building tools to speed up deep learning technology without the need for specialized hardware like graphics processing units, brought in $6 million in seed funding.

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Youreka Labs spins out with $8M to provide smart mobile assistant apps to field workers

Youreka

Mobile field service startup Youreka Labs Inc. raised an $8 million Series A round of funding co-led by Boulder Ventures and Grotech Ventures, with participation from Salesforce Ventures.

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Talkdesk’s valuation jumps to $10B with Series D for smart contact centers

Talkdesk

Talkdesk, a provider of cloud-based contact center software, announced $230 million in new Series D funding that more than triples the company’s valuation to $10 billion, Talkdesk founder CEO Tiago Paiva confirmed to TechCrunch.

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DNSFilter secures $30M Series A to step up fight against DNS-based threats

DNS filter

DNSFilter, an artificial intelligence startup that provides DNS protection to enterprises, has secured $30 million in Series A funding from Insight Partners. DNSFilter, as its name suggests, offers DNS-based web content filtering and threat protection. Unlike the majority of its competitors, which includes the likes of Palo Alto Networks and Webroot, the startup uses proprietary AI technology to continuously scan billions of domains daily, identifying anomalies and potential vectors for malware, ransomware, phishing, and fraud. 

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Cybereason raises $275M at Series F, adds Steven Mnuchin to board

Cybereason

Cybereason, a US-Israeli late-stage cybersecurity startup that provides extended detection and response (XDR) services, has secured $275 million in Series F funding. 
The investment was led by Liberty Strategic Capital, a venture capital fund recently founded by Steven Mnuchin, who served as U.S. Treasury Secretary under the Trump administration. As part of the deal, Mnuchin will join Cybereason’s board of directors, along with Liberty advisor Gen. Joseph Dunford, who was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Trump until his retirement in 2019.
Lior Div, CEO and co-founder of Cybereason, tells TechCrunch that the startup’s decision to work with Liberty Strategy Capital came down to the firm’s “massive network” and the “understanding of the financial and government markets that Mnuchin and Gen. Joseph Dunford bring to our team.”
“For example, the executive order on cybersecurity put out by the Biden Administration recommends that endpoint detection and response solutions be deployed on all endpoints,” Dior added. “This accelerates the importance of solutions like ours in the public market, and Liberty Strategic Capital has the relationships to help accelerate our go-to-market strategy in the federal sector.”
This round, which will be used to fuel “hypergrowth driven by strong market demand,” follows $389 million in prior funding from SoftBank, CRV, Spark Capital, and Lockheed Martin. The company didn’t state at what valuation it raised the funds, but it is estimated to be in the region of $3 billion.
Cybereason’s recent growth, which saw it end 2020 at over $120 million in annual recurring revenue, has been largely driven by its AI-powered platform. Unlike traditional alert-centric models, Cybereason’s Defense Platform is operation-centric, which means it exposes and remediates entire malicious operations. The service details the full attack story from root cause to impacted users and devices, which the company claims significantly reduces the time taken to investigate and recover from an enterprise-wide cyber attack. 
The company, whose competitors include the likes of BlackBerry-owned Cylance and CrowdStrike, also this week expanded its channel presence with the launch of its so-called Defenders League, a global program that enables channel partners to use its technology and services to help their customers prevent and recover from cyberattacks. Cybereason claims its technology has helped protect customers from the likes of the recent SolarWinds supply-chain attack and other high-profile ransomware attacks launched by DarkSide, REvil, and Conti groups. 
Today’s $275 million funding round is likely to be Cybereason’s last before it goes public. Div previously said in August 2019 the company planned to IPO within two years, though he wouldn’t be pressed on whether the company is gearing up to go public when asked by TechCrunch. However, the company did compare its latest investment to SentinelOne‘s November 2020 Series F round, which was secured just months before it filed for a $100 million IPO.

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Barracuda acquires Skout Cybersecurity to enter the XDR market

Barracuda Networks acquires Skout Security

Barracuda Networks has purchased Skout Cybersecurity, a New York-based channel-only provider of extended detection and response (XDR) services.  The deal, the terms of which were not disclosed, will see the California-based cybersecurity vendor enter the fast-growing XDR market. 

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Noname Security closes $60M Series B to eliminate API flaws

noname

Enterprise API security startup Noname Security has raised a $60 million Series B funding round, just six months after closing $25 million at Series A. The round was led by Insight Partners with Next47, Forgepoint, and The Syndicate Group (TSG) also participating, and brings Noname’s total funding to $85 million since emerging from stealth in December 2020.

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Edge Delta raises $15M Series A to take on Splunk

Edge-Delta

Seattle-based Edge Delta, a startup that is building a modern distributed monitoring stack that is competing directly with industry heavyweights like Splunk, New Relic and Datadog, today announced that it has raised a $15 million Series A funding round led by Menlo Ventures

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Lightmatter appoints Vice President of Sales and Head of Product; Announces West Coast HQ

Lightmatter

Lightmatter, the leader in photonic computing, announced it has named Bob Turner its new Vice President of Sales and Sudarshan Yadav its new Head of Product. This announcement comes on the heels of Lightmatter’s $80M Series B investment round, led by Viking Global Investors, to fuel accelerated volume production and go-to-market strategy for its first generation hardware products.  

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Australian ID verification startup OCR Labs raises $15M Series A to expand into UK/ Turkey/ Europe

OCR Labs

OCR Labs, which emerged from Australia, has announced a €12.5M / $15 million Series A funding round led by Turkish investors Oyak Group, to expand its services and team to the UK, Turkey and Europe. Halkin Ventures invested in its seed round. The startup specializes in digital ID verification, customer onboarding, identity fraud, and regulatory compliance.

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AI cybersecurity provider SentinelOne files for $100M IPO

SentinelOne

SentinelOne, a late-stage security startup that helps organizations secure their data using AI and machine learning, has filed for an IPO on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

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Google hires former SiriusXM CPO/ CTO to lead its Maps team

Google hires Christopher Phillips

Almost exactly a year ago, Google announced a couple of leadership changes that saw Prabhakar Raghavan, who joined the company back in 2012, take over the lead of Search, Assistant and Maps. Now, sources familiar with the hiring tell us, the company has hired Christopher Phillips, who was previously the chief product and technology officer at SiriusXM, to lead its geo team.

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Menlo Micro launches industry’s first 40 Gbps DPDT Differential Switch for high-speed Switching Applications

Menlomicro

Menlo Microsystems, Inc. (Menlo Micro), known for reinventing the electronic switch with its Ideal Switch technology, has announced a new double-pole/ double-throw (DPDT) switch providing the industry’s highest performance and data rates for high-speed differential switching applications.

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