May
13
2020
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Expel lands $50M Series D as security operations increases in importance

Even in these trying economic times, there are some services that companies can’t do without. Having good security tools is one of them. Expel, a 4-year old startup that offers security operations as a service, announced a $50 million Series D financing today.

CapitalG led the round with participation from existing investors Battery Ventures, Greycroft, Index Ventures, Paladin Capital Group and Scale Venture Partners. The company has now raised almost $117 million, according to Pitchbook data.

It’s never easy finding quality security talent to help protect a large organization. The idea behind Expel is to give customers a set of tools to help use automation to reduce the number of people required to keep an organization safe.

Most companies struggle to find experienced security employees, so it’s using automation to solve a real pain point for them. While co-founder and CEO Dave Merkel says you still need to staff the security operations center, you can do it with fewer people with his platform.

“You may have a 24×7 Security Operations Center, but you don’t need the number of people everybody else does to protect your customers because Workbench does all of the heavy lifting for you. So instead of a SOC with 100 people, maybe you’ve got one with 15 people, and that gives tremendous leverage through this platform, and the platform ensures that you can provide high quality security without having to continually grow headcount,” Merkel explained.

Merkel sees the same economy everyone else does, but he believes that companies will continue to invest in security because they have to.

“Security tends to be a need as opposed to a want in many organizations, and so we still do see business happening. We will be using some of the money to continue to invest smartly in sales and marketing, but we’ll just need to be deliberate to make sure that we’re picking the right things that are still effective right now,” he said.

One thing that’s remarkable about this round is that Expel didn’t go looking for this new money. In fact, CapitalG came knocking, according to CapitalG general partner Gene Frantz.

“We sought out Expel, first and foremost. It wasn’t that Expel sought out to raise money and they called a bunch of people. We called them, and that was in response to a bunch of thematic work that we continually do in the security space,” Frantz told TechCrunch.

That work involved three main areas, where Expel happened to check all the boxes. The first was the threat landscape becoming ever more treacherous. The second was information overload from a variety of security products, and finally the dearth of experienced security personnel to deal with the first two problems.

“And so our bet is that this is the company in the space that actually will take on and address these challenges,” Frantz said.

Merkel describes having a company like CapitalG come to him as a humbling experience for him and his co-founders, especially under the current circumstances.

“It’s tremendous validation, but it is also humbling. We’re pretty thankful to be in that position, and we want to make sure that we do the right things to continue to honor the opportunity that we see in front of us.”

Nov
13
2019
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Freshworks raises $150M Series H on $3.5B valuation

Freshworks, a company that makes a variety of business software tools, from CRM to help-desk software, announced a $150 million Series H investment today from Sequoia Capital, CapitalG (formerly Google Capital) and Accel on a hefty $3.5 billion valuation. The late-stage startup has raised almost $400 million, according to Crunchbase data.

The company has been building an enterprise SaaS platform to give customers a set of integrated business tools, but CEO and co-founder Girish Mathrubootham says they will be investing part of this money in R&D to keep building out the platform.

To that end, the company also announced today a new unified data platform called the “Customer-for-Life Cloud” that runs across all of its tools. “We are actually investing in really bringing all of this together to create the “Customer-for-Life Cloud,” which is how you take marketing, sales, support and customer success — all of the aspects of a customer across the entire life cycle journey and bring them to a common data model where a business that is using Freshworks can see the entire life cycle of the customer,” Mathrubootham explained.

While Mathrubootham was not ready to commit to an IPO, he said they are in the process of hiring a CFO and are looking ahead to one day becoming a public company. “We don’t have a definite timeline. We want to go public at the right time. We are making sure that as a company that we are ready with the right processes and teams and predictability in the business,” he said.

In addition, he says he will continue to look for good acquisition targets, and having this money in the bank will help the company fill in gaps in the product set should the right opportunity arise. “We don’t generally acquire revenue, but we are looking for good technology teams both in terms of talent, as well as technology that would help give us a jumpstart in terms of go-to-market.” It hasn’t been afraid to target small companies in the past, having acquired 12 already.

Freshworks, which launched in 2010, has almost 2,500 employees, a number that’s sure to go up with this new investment. It has 250,00 customers worldwide, including almost 40,000 paying customers. These including Bridgestone Tires, Honda, Hugo Boss, Toshiba and Cisco.

Mar
06
2018
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UiPath confirms $153M at $1.1B valuation from Accel, CapitalG and KP for its “software robots”

 Last week, we reported that UiPath, a startup out of Romania building AI-based services for enterprises in the area of robotic process automation (RPA) — helping businesses automate mundane tasks in back-office IT systems — was about to close a big round, upwards of $120 million at a $1 billion-plus valuation. Today, the company is making it official (and officially… Read More

Mar
30
2017
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Looker catches the fancy of CapitalG, Goldman and Geodesic with $81.5M Series D

 Business intelligence platform Looker is announcing an $81.5 million Series D today led by CapitalG. Rather than compete in segmented markets against visualization and data preparation startups, Looker wants to own the vertical of business intelligence. The company supports the adoption of enterprise machine learning by providing a source of clean and reliable data. Read More

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