Five Companies That Came To Win This Week

For the week ending June 14, CRN takes a look at the companies that brought their ‘A’ game to the channel including AWS, Mistral AI, Fortinet, Pax8 and Confluent.

The Week Ending June 14

Topping this week’s Came to Win is Amazon Web Services for its plan to invest $230 million in AI startups, including providing service credits and access to its cloud platform, as a way of pulling promising AI startups into its orbit.

Also making this week’s list are generative AI startup Mistral AI for a very impressive funding round and cybersecurity company and Fortinet for a fortuitous acquisition in the cloud security space.

Cloud distributor Pax8 is here for launching its next-generation cloud marketplace for MSPs, while real-time data tech developer Confluent makes the list for continuing to expand its development and go-to-market resources for its system integrator partners.

AWS Commits $230M To AI Startups To Drive GenAI Innovation

Amazon Web Services is investing $230 million into AI startups that are seeking to take generative AI applications to the next level.

This week the cloud giant said it is offering AWS credits as well as access to its cloud infrastructure and AI chips to startups, particularly early-stage companies that want to create the next wave of GenAI applications.

AWS wants to have the most innovative generative AI startups running on AWS infrastructure and services, while also training their employees on AWS certifications and competencies.

Startups can use AWS credits to access AWS compute, storage, and database technologies, as well as AWS’ AI-designed Trainium and Inferentia2 chips. They also can be used for Amazon SageMaker for building and training AI foundational models.

Part of the new commitment will fund the second cohort of AWS’ Generative AI Accelerator, a program that provides hands-on expertise and up to $1 million in credits to each of the top 80 early-stage startups that are using generative AI to solve complex challenges.

Startup Mistral AI Raises $640M, Hits $6B Valuation

Staying on the topic of AI startups, Mistral AI raised $643 million in a new funding round this week, boosting the company’s valuation to $6 billion.

“This new round puts us in a unique position to push the frontier of AI and bring state-of-the-art technology to everyone’s hands,” co-founder and CEO Arthur Mensch said in a statement to CRN. “It guarantees the company’s continued independence, which remains fully under the founders’ control.”

Mistral AI is developing foundational models to rival the market’s leading large language models such as Anthropic’s Claude and OpenAI’s GPT.

The $643 million in new investment triples the startup’s valuation since December. The funding round was led by General Catalyst, along with existing investors Lightspeed, Andreessen Horowitz and BNP Paribas along with corporate backers including Nvidia, Salesforce and IBM.

While Microsoft is a minority stakeholder in Mistral AI, it did not participate in this funding round.

Fortinet To Acquire Cloud Security Unicorn Lacework, Bolster SASE Platform

Fortinet made a big acquisition move this week, reaching an agreement to buy cloud security tech developer Lacework in a significant consolidation deal for the cybersecurity industry.

The value of the acquisition, which is expected to close by the end of the year, was not disclosed.

Fortinet said in a news release that it would integrate capabilities from Lacework’s CNAPP (cloud-native application protection platform) into its Unified SASE offering.

The combination will offer partners and customers “one of the most comprehensive, full stack AI-driven cloud security platforms available from a single vendor,” Fortinet said.

Lacework develops a data-powered cloud security platform that collects and analyzes data from across cloud environments and supplies customers with key insights, such as threat prioritization. The platform is powered by Lacework’s Polygraph machine learning engine that aims to significantly reduce alert volumes while identifying the most pressing cyber threats.

Pax8 Launches Next-Generation Marketplace Giving MSPs The Keys To The Kingdom

Pax8 has unveiled the next generation of its cloud marketplace designed to transform how MSPs deliver solutions to their end customers.

The Denver-based cloud distributor debuted the new marketplace at its Beyond conference in Denver this week which had more than 2,500 attendees.

“We have developed this marketplace with one goal in mind, your success,” Libby McIlhany, chief product officer for Pax8, said during the Beyond event. “We’re giving you the keys to the kingdom of easy-to-use tools and AI insights designed to save you time and accelerate the growth of your business.”

With the new marketplace, partners can better understand their customers and unlock new opportunities for growth, delivering enhanced insights driven by their own data, according to Pax8. It provides a new user experience that is purpose-built for MSPs and can help them quickly identify and act on sales opportunities and security vulnerabilities.

The revamped marketplace uses the power of data and AI to act as a customer acquisition engine for its partners and enables Pax8 to help MSPs get matched up with end customers who are looking to buy direct through Pax8’s vendor partners.

Confluent Extends Development, Go-To-Market Resources For SI Partners

Confluent wins kudos for launching the Build with Confluent program through which the company is providing technical and go-to-market assistance to systems integrator partners who develop solutions around Confluent’s data streaming platform.

The new program, which offers specialized software bundles, solution certification and access to sales and marketing resources, is geared toward helping systems integrators develop data streaming use cases and get them in front of prospective customers.

Confluent is touting the new “Build” program as a way to help systems integrators speed up development of real-time data solutions, such as fraud detection, IoT data processing and inventory management, and tap into the $60-billion data streaming market.

Confluent, headquartered in Mountain View, Calif., has been expanding its initiatives to work with the channel in the last year with new programs for system integrators, strategic service providers, and technology and software developer partners.