Feb
11
2020
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Negotiatus, looking to help businesses optimize purchasing, raises $10 million

Negotiatus, a SaaS business meant to optimize and streamline the purchasing and procurement process for businesses, has today announced the close of a $10 million Series A round.

The funding was led by Rally Ventures, with participation from ERA, 645 Ventures, Green Visor Capital and Stage 2 Capital. This brings the company’s total funding to nearly $20 million.

Negotiatus was founded by Zach Garippa and Tom Jaklitsch with an idea to detangle the process of purchasing supplies for a business. Garippa told TechCrunch that most solutions to this problem focus on one piece of the puzzle, serving finance or operations or the purchasers themselves, but ultimately making the process more difficult for the other functions in the business.

Negotiatus pulls all of those stakeholders into a single platform where they can shop, place orders, track delivery information and manage spend all from one place.

For example, finance departments often have to manually review and remit payment for thousands of invoices a month, normally across at least several vendors and various formats. Negotiatus allows the finance department to view all of that in a weekly or monthly invoice.

Before Negotiatus, purchasers had to cross-reference approved brands, vendors and products each time they needed a new set of pens or toilet paper, jumping from one website to another and tracking shipments across multiple websites. Negotiatus scrapes your past purchase history to show purchasers what they want in a single place. And, of course, users can track those products directly from the Negotiatus dashboard.

Operations can centralize order requests and approvals within the Negotiatus platform, and leverage analytics provided by the company to make better purchasing decisions. Negotiatus scrapes the SKUs themselves, across vendors, to make sure that businesses are making the smartest possible decision with their budget.

The company says that it takes less than a day to get going on the platform.

Negotiatus generates revenue in two ways. The first is a regular subscription model that charges on a monthly basis for each location on the platform. The second is based on spend volume on the platform (which comes from the vendor side).

Thus far, Negotiatus has 300 customers, with a particular popularity among health and wellness businesses (SoulCycle, Orangetheory, CorePower Yoga) and co-working businesses (WeWork, Zeus, Domio). The company hopes to soon expand beyond physical products into software services.

Jul
25
2019
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Airbud raises $4 million to add a voice interface to your website

Amazon’s Alexa ushered in a new dawn of user interfaces, bringing voice into the mix as a viable option. Dozens of companies have sprouted because of this, not least of which being Airbud.io.

Airbud allows any company to add a voice interface to its website. The company just closed a $4 million round led by Hanaco Ventures, with participation from ERA and Spider Capital.

Airbud was co-founded by Israel Krush, Uri Valevski and Rom Cohen after the team saw the growth of voice interfaces and wondered how to capitalize on it.

By allowing companies to add voice/chat bot utility to their websites, Airbud hopes to increase retention of end-users on sites and give them easier access to the information they seek. Krush says that Airbud is focusing on websites that you have to be on, rather than the ones you want to be on.

That means Airbud clients are mostly in the healthcare space and travel space, helping end-users find a physician or book a flight using their voice.

Most importantly, Airbud operates on a plug and play system, meaning that clients don’t have to do the usual heavy lifting involved in creating a chat bot. Most of the time, folks who implement chatbots have to build a conversation tree. Airbud uses existing information scraped from the website, paired with an easy plug-and-play system for clients, to automatically build out a knowledge graph and have conversations with end-users.

Airbud charges based on the number of indexed pages and traffic to those pages.

The company plans to use the funding to increase the size of its team from seven to 15.

Mar
29
2019
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User Interviews, a platform for product feedback, raises $5 million

It’s not uncommon to hear CEOs and business leaders talk about focusing on the consumer. But the only way to build for the consumer is to hear what they want, which can be a resource-intensive thing to retrieve.

User Interviews, an ERA-backed company out of New York, is looking to lighten that load with a fresh $5 million in seed funding from Accomplice, Las Olas, FJ Labs and ERA.

User Interviews actually started out as Mobile Suites, an amenities logistics platform for hotels. It was a dud, and the team — Basel Fakhoury, Dennis Meng and Bob Saris — decided to do far more user research before determining the next product.

In the process of talking to customers to understand their pain points, they realized just how difficult collecting user feedback could be.

That’s how User Interviews was born. The platform’s first product, called Recruit, offers a network of non-users that can be matched with companies to provide feedback. In fact, User Interviews’ first sales were made by simply responding to Craigslist ads posted by companies looking for non-users from which they could collect feedback.But because the majority of user research is based on existing users, the company also built Research Hub, which is essentially a CRM system for user feedback and research. To be clear, User Interviews doesn’t facilitate the actual interviews with users, but tracks the feedback, facilitates sending emails and ensures that no one from the research team is reaching out to a single user too often.

With Recruit, User Interviews charges $30/person that it matches with a company for feedback. Research Hub costs starts at $150/month.

“Right now, our greatest challenge is that our clients are the best product people in the world, and we have a huge pipeline of amazing ideas that are very valuable and no one is doing yet that our clients would love,” said CEO and cofounder Basel Fakhoury. “But we have to build it fast enough.”

No mention of what those forthcoming products might be, but the current iteration sure seems attractive enough. User Interviews clients include Eventbrite, Glassdoor, AT&T, DirecTV, Lola, LogMeIn, Thumbtack, Casper, ClassPass, Fandango, NNG, Pinterest, Pandora, Colgate, Uber and REI, to name a few.

Mar
14
2019
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ProdPerfect gets $2.6 million to automate QA testing for web apps

ProdPerfect, a Boston-based startup focused on automating QA testing for web apps, has announced the close of a $2.6 million Seed round co-led by Eniac Ventures and Fika Ventures, with participation from Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator.

ProdPerfect started when co-founder and CEO Dan Widing was VP of engineering at WeSpire, where he saw firsthand the pain points associated with web application QA testing. Whereas there were all kinds of product analytics tools for product engineers, the same data wasn’t there for the engineers building QA tests that are meant to replicate user behavior.

He imagined a platform that would use live data around real user behavior to formulate these QA tests. That’s how ProdPerfect was born. The platform sees user behavior, builds and delivers test scripts to the engineering team.

The service continues to build on what it knows about a product, and can then simulate new tests when new features are added based on aggregated flows of common user behavior. This data doesn’t track any information about the user, but rather anonymizes them and watches how they move through the web app. The hope is that ProdPerfect gives engineers the opportunity to keep building the product instead of spreading their resources across building a QA testing suite.

The new funding will go toward expanding the sales team and further building out the product. For now, ProdPerfect simply offers functional testing, which uses a single virtual user to test whether a product breaks or not. But president and co-founder Erik Fogg sees an opportunity to build more integrated testing, including performance, security and localization testing.

Fogg says the company is growing 40 percent month over month in booked revenue.

The company says it can deploy within two weeks of installing a data tracker, and provide more than 70 percent coverage of all user interactions with 95 percent+ test stability.

“The greatest challenge is going to be finding people who share our company’s core values and are of high enough talent, ambition and autonomy in part because our hiring road map is so steep,” said Fogg. “Growing pains catch up with businesses as a team expands quickly and we have to make sure that we’re picky and that we reinforce the values we have.”

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