Dec
06
2018
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Contentful raises $33.5M for its headless CMS platform

Contentful, a Berlin- and San Francisco-based startup that provides content management infrastructure for companies like Spotify, Nike, Lyft and others, today announced that it has raised a $33.5 million Series D funding round led by Sapphire Ventures, with participation from OMERS Ventures and Salesforce Ventures, as well as existing investors General Catalyst, Benchmark, Balderton Capital and Hercules. In total, the company has now raised $78.3 million.

It’s been less than a year since the company raised its Series C round and, as Contentful co-founder and CEO Sascha Konietzke told me, the company didn’t really need to raise right now. “We had just raised our last round about a year ago. We still had plenty of cash in our bank account and we didn’t need to raise as of now,” said Konietzke. “But we saw a lot of economic uncertainty, so we thought it might be a good moment in time to recharge. And at the same time, we already had some interesting conversations ongoing with Sapphire [formerly SAP Ventures] and Salesforce. So we saw the opportunity to add more funding and also start getting into a tight relationship with both of these players.”

The original plan for Contentful was to focus almost explicitly on mobile. As it turns out, though, the company’s customers also wanted to use the service to handle its web-based applications and these days, Contentful happily supports both. “What we’re seeing is that everything is becoming an application,” he told me. “We started with native mobile application, but even the websites nowadays are often an application.”

In its early days, Contentful focused only on developers. Now, however, that’s changing, and having these connections to large enterprise players like SAP and Salesforce surely isn’t going to hurt the company as it looks to bring on larger enterprise accounts.

Currently, the company’s focus is very much on Europe and North America, which account for about 80 percent of its customers. For now, Contentful plans to continue to focus on these regions, though it obviously supports customers anywhere in the world.

Contentful only exists as a hosted platform. As of now, the company doesn’t have any plans for offering a self-hosted version, though Konietzke noted that he does occasionally get requests for this.

What the company is planning to do in the near future, though, is to enable more integrations with existing enterprise tools. “Customers are asking for deeper integrations into their enterprise stack,” Konietzke said. “And that’s what we’re beginning to focus on and where we’re building a lot of capabilities around that.” In addition, support for GraphQL and an expanded rich text editing experience is coming up. The company also recently launched a new editing experience.

Oct
18
2018
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Twilio launches a new SIM card and narrowband dev kit for IoT developers

Twilio is hosting its Signal developer conference in San Francisco this week. Yesterday was all about bots and taking payments over the phone; today is all about IoT. The company is launching two new (but related) products today that will make it easier for IoT developers to connect their devices. The first is the Global Super SIM that offers global connectivity management through the networks of Twilio’s partners. The second is Twilio Narrowband, which, in cooperation with T-Mobile, offers a full software and hardware kit for building low-bandwidth IoT solutions and the narrowband network to connect them.

Twilio also announced that it is expanding its wireless network partnerships with the addition of Singtel, Telefonica and Three Group. Unsurprisingly, those are also the partners that make the company’s Super SIM project possible.

The Super SIM, which is currently in private preview and will launch in public beta in the spring of 2019, provides developers with a global network that lets them deploy and manage their IoT devices anywhere (assuming there is a cell connection or other internet connectivity, of course). The Super SIM gives developers the ability to choose the network they want to use or to let Twilio pick the defaults based on the local networks.

Twilio Narrowband is a slightly different solution. Its focus right now is on the U.S., where T-Mobile rolled out its Narrowband IoT network earlier this year. As the name implies, this is about connecting low-bandwidth devices that only need to send out small data packets like timestamps, GPS coordinates or status updates. Twilio Narrowband sits on top of this, using Twilio’s Programmable Wireless and SIM card. It then adds an IoT developer kit with an Arduino-based development board and the standard Grove sensors on top of that, as well as a T-Mobile-certified hardware module for connecting to the narrowband network. To program that all, Twilio is launching an SDK for handling network registrations and optimizing the communication between the devices and the cloud.

The narrowband service will launch as a beta in early 2019 and offer three pricing plans: a developer plan for $2/month, an annual production plan for $10/year or $5/year at scale, and a five-year plan for $8/year or $4/year at scale.

Jul
27
2016
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LivBlends renames itself Replenish and gives us a first look at its futuristic smoothie machine

open_unblended_revised_e_deck Nearly two years ago LivBlends was a Y Combinator smoothie delivery startup. The company has evolved since then, raised $3.8 million in seed from various investors and switched its name to Replenish. It’s also moved away from delivery and into manufacturing a line of Keurig-like self-cleaning smoothie machines. Replenish is still in the testing phase of the product, but… Read More

May
01
2015
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Acceleprise Accelerator Aims $3.5M Fund At Early Stage Enterprise Apps

View of woman's legs pressing gas while shifting in a car. Acceleprise Ventures, a San Francisco-based incubator anchored by investor Sean Glass, announced a new $3.5 million fund with a pronounced enterprise app bent. It also announced 10 newly funded companies.
The company works with 8-12 pre-seed B2B companies per round to help them grow from acquiring their first customers “to building scalable and repeatable processes that can fuel… Read More

Jan
29
2015
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Huddle Co-Founder Alastair Mitchell Steps Down As CEO, Morten Brogger Steps In

cloud On the heels of a $51 million round of funding, cloud collaboration company Huddle today announced a changing of the guard to lead the company to its next stage. Co-founder Alastair Mitchell is stepping down from his role as CEO and assuming a new position as president and CMO. Taking his place is Morten Brogger, a veteran exec whose past roles included CEO of Mach, which he helped sell… Read More

Apr
11
2014
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Salesforce Will Pay $690M To Expand Its SF HQ Into The New Salesforce Tower

Salesforce Tower Salesforce unveiled plans for a new, 61-story Salesforce Tower at 415 Mission Street in San Francisco to expand its worldwide headquarters, and as part of that it’s filed an 8-K form with the SEC with the details of how much it will be investing to do so. Read More

May
24
2013
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Status Update May 2013 and beta readers wanted

Golden Gate BridgeHello. Hey, it’s me, in case you’re wondering who this stranger is. I haven’t posted for a whole month because May has been an insanely busy month.

My mother came over from England for 3 weeks and we had a great time. Even though I had to work, we still found time to take her to Palm Springs and up to San Francisco. We had tremendous fun up there touring the city, going out into the harbor and driving up to Napa to sample some wines. This photo is me grinning ear to ear because the Golden Gate finally came into view, but not until we sailed through the famous fog almost underneath it.

During May we are also re-financing our house, installing solar panels (the latest in our continuing efforts to become greener), and a bunch of other life changes. And all of this on top of work. I’ll be glad to get into June!

Alas, I haven’t written for 3 weeks and will be back at the keyboard tonight and all through the Memorial Day weekend. Yay! I have about 15,000 words to go to complete the first draft of my 2nd book, which is provisionally entitled Necro. It’s dark fantasy, first person in the head of a Necromancer, but I think it’s quite different to other books you might have read about Necromancers.  Once the first draft is done, I intend to make 2 further drafts between now and August after which I’ll be ready for beta readers.

If you’d like to be a beta reader, please contact me! I don’t expect line edits, just an honest read in 4-6 weeks and a response with your thoughts on what worked and what didn’t, what you liked or hated. In return you’ll get a mention in the book and a free ebook copy.

I’m also furiously scribbling background and plot notes for the first in a series of futuristic paranormal novellas that I’ll start this summer.

Finally, a plea to anyone who has read Ocean of Dust, enjoyed it but is nervous of writing a review on Amazon, B&N, Kobo, or even Goodreads. Please do – you only have to write a few sentences, and every review helps a budding new author like me. :) I appreciate it.

 

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