May
20
2020
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BetterCloud scores $75M Series F as SaaS management needs grow

BetterCloud gives IT visibility into its SaaS tools providing the means to discover, manage and secure those tools. In the middle of a crisis that has forced most companies to move workers home, being able to manage SaaS usage in this way is growing increasingly significant.

Today the company announced a $75 million Series F. Warburg Pincus led the way with participation from existing investors Bain Capital Ventures, Accel, Greycroft Partners, Flybridge Capital Partners, New Amsterdam Growth Capital and e.ventures. Today’s round brings the total raised to $187 million, according to the company.

While CEO David Politis acknowledges the gravity of the current situation, he also recognizes that giving companies a way to manage their SaaS usage is more pertinent than ever. “What has happened in the last two months has been terrible for the world, but in some crazy way it has just made what we do a lot more relevant,” Politis told TechCrunch .

He says the pandemic has really accelerated the market opportunity because of the reliance on cloud services and the services his company provides.

Those services began as an operational layer on top of G Suite. Later it added support for Office 365 and in 2016 it moved to more general SaaS management. It now offers direct integrations into multiple SaaS apps including Box, Dropbox, Salesforce, Zendesk and more. The set of tools in Bettercloud gives IT control over security, configuration, spend optimization and auditability across SaaS applications.

In normal times after a large Series F round, we might be talking about this being the last round before an IPO, but Politis isn’t ready to commit to that just yet, especially in this economy. He does say, however, that he’s in it for the long haul and sees an opportunity to build a long-term, sustainable company.

“The last couple of months I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and when you take a $75 million round at the stage you’re not doing that because you want to sell the business. You’re doing that because you want to build something and build something really special,” he said.

Apr
15
2020
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Frame AI raises $6.3M Series A to help understand customers across channels

Frame AI, a New York City startup that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to help companies understand their customers better across multiple channels, announced a $6.3 million Series A investment today.

G20 Ventures and Greycroft led the round together. Bill Wiberg, co-founder and partner at G20, will join Frame’s board under the terms of the deal. The total raised with an earlier seed round is over $10 million, according to the company.

“Frame is basically an early warning system and continuous monitoring tool for your customer voice,” Frame CEO and co-founder George Davis told TechCrunch . What that means, in practice, is the tool plugs into help desk software, call center tooling, CRM systems and anywhere else in a company that communicates with a customer.

“We then use natural language understanding to pull out emerging themes and basically aggregate them to account and segment levels so that customer experience leaders can prioritize taking actions to improve their relationships,” Davis explained.

He believes that customer experience leaders are being asked to do more and more in terms of talking to customers on ever more channels and digesting that into useful information for the rest of their company to be responsive to customer needs, and he says that there isn’t a lot of tooling to help with this particular part of the customer experience problem.

“We don’t think they have the right tools to do either the listening in the first place or the analysis. We’re trying to make it possible for them to hear their customers everywhere they’re already talking to them, and then act on that information,” he said.

He says they work alongside customer data platforms (CDPs) like Segment, Salesforce Customer 360 and Adobe Real-time CDP. “We can take the customer voice information from all of these unstructured sources, all these natural language sources and turn it into moments that can be contributed back to one of these structured data platforms.”

Davis certainly recognizes that his company is getting this money in the middle of a health and economic crisis, and he hopes that a tool like his that can help take the pulse of the customer across multiple channels can help companies succeed at a time when a data-driven approach to customer experience is more important than ever.

He says that by continuing to hire through this and building his company, he can contribute to restarting the economic engine, even if in some small way.

“It’s a bleak time, but I have a lot of confidence in New York and in the country, in the customer experience community and in the world’s ability to bounce back strong from this. I think it’s actually created a lot of solidarity that we’re all going to find a lot of new opportunities, and we’re going to just keep building Frame as fast as we can.”

Apr
07
2020
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Continuous delivery pioneer CircleCI scores $100M Series E

CircleCI, an early adherent to the notion of continuous delivery when it launched in 2011, announced a $100 million Series E investment today. It comes on top of a $56 million round last July.

The round was led by IVP and Sapphire Ventures . Under the terms of the deal, Cack Wilhelm will be joining the CircleCI board. Jai Das from Sapphire will also be joining the board as an observer.

Today’s investment brings the total raised to $215 million, according to the company, with $156 million coming over the last 8 months. The company did not want to discuss its current valuation.

Circle CI CEO Jim Rose says with so much uncertainty because of COVID-19 he welcomes not only the money, but the quality of the firms and people involved in the investment.

“We’re really excited to get both IVP and Sapphire because they’ve seen all of it all the way through public and beyond. Given all of the nuttiness over the last few months obviously having cash on the balance sheet is extremely helpful, but the other part, too is that this a time when you want to have more brains around the table, not fewer. And so being able to get people to help out and just think about the problems that we’re encountering right now is really helpful,” Rose told TechCrunch .

Rose recognizes the huge challenge everyone is facing, but he sees this switch to remote workforces really driving the need for more automation, something his company is in a position to help DevOps teams with.

“What we’ve seen from a DevOps perspective is that this forced migration to remote-only for so many organizations has really driven the urgency for more automation in the DevOps pipeline,” he said.

He said this has led to a huge surge in usage on the platform in recent weeks, and today’s investment will at least partly go towards making sure there are enough resources in place to keep the platform stable whatever comes.

“When we think about money and we think about where we’re investing in the near term, we’re investing a lot in making sure that the platform is stable and available and supporting all of our customers as they go through this. You know this is a difficult time, a difficult transition and we’re trying to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to support our customers through that process,” Rose said.

Many companies at this stage of startup maturity begin to look ahead to an IPO, but Rose isn’t ready to discuss that, especially in the current economic climate. “We’re going to have to get folks to some kind of liquidity at some point, but I think right now our focus is on really investing in the platform and investing in our customers and then we’ll let the market clear out and figure out what the new normal looks like,” he said.

The company would consider making some acquisitions with its base of capital if the right opportunity came along. “We’re always evaluating and always looking around. One of the interesting things about our space is that it’s flooded with new and innovative approaches to point problems. There are a lot of companies that are interesting, so we’re definitely always looking around,” he said.

Mar
05
2020
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Nvidia acquires data storage and management platform SwiftStack

Nvidia today announced that it has acquired SwiftStack, a software-centric data storage and management platform that supports public cloud, on-premises and edge deployments.

The company’s recent launches focused on improving its support for AI, high-performance computing and accelerated computing workloads, which is surely what Nvidia is most interested in here.

“Building AI supercomputers is exciting to the entire SwiftStack team,” says the company’s co-founder and CPO Joe Arnold in today’s announcement. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to work with the talented folks at NVIDIA and look forward to contributing to its world-leading accelerated computing solutions.”

The two companies did not disclose the price of the acquisition, but SwiftStack had previously raised about $23.6 million in Series A and B rounds led by Mayfield Fund and OpenView Venture Partners. Other investors include Storm Ventures and UMC Capital.

SwiftStack, which was founded in 2011, placed an early bet on OpenStack, the massive open-source project that aimed to give enterprises an AWS-like management experience in their own data centers. The company was one of the largest contributors to OpenStack’s Swift object storage platform and offered a number of services around this, though it seems like in recent years, it has downplayed the OpenStack relationship as that platform’s popularity has fizzled in many verticals.

SwiftStack lists the likes of PayPal, Rogers, data center provider DC Blox, Snapfish and Verizon (TechCrunch’s parent company) on its customer page. Nvidia, too, is a customer.

SwiftStack notes that it team will continue to maintain existing set of open source tools like Swift, ProxyFS, 1space and Controller.

“SwiftStack’s technology is already a key part of NVIDIA’s GPU-powered AI infrastructure, and this acquisition will strengthen what we do for you,” says Arnold.

Jul
08
2019
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Box CEO Aaron Levie is coming to TC Sessions: Enterprise

Box co-founder, chairman and CEO Aaron Levie took his company from a consumer-oriented online storage service to a publicly traded enterprise powerhouse. Launched in 2005, Box today has more than 41 million users, and the vast majority of Fortune 500 companies use its service. Levie will join us at TC Sessions: Enterprise for a fireside chat about the past, present and future of Box, as well as the overall state of the SaaS and cloud space.

Levie, who also occasionally contributes to TechCrunch, was a bit of a serial entrepreneur before he even got to college. Once he got to the University of Southern California, the idea for Box was born. In hindsight, it was obviously the right idea at the right time, but its early iterations focused more on consumers than business users. Like so many other startups, though, the Box team quickly realized that in order to actually make money, selling to the enterprise was the most logical — and profitable — option.

Before going public, Box raised well over $500 million from some of the most world’s most prestigious venture capital firms. Box’s market cap today is just under $2.5 billion, but more than four years after going public, the company, like many Silicon Valley unicorns both private and public, still regularly loses money. 

Early-Bird Tickets are on sale today for just $249 — book here before prices go up by $100!

Nov
09
2018
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Growing pains at venture-backed Moogsoft lead to layoffs

Eight months after bringing in a $40 million Series D, Moogsoft‘s co-founder and chief executive officer Phil Tee confirmed to TechCrunch that the IT incident management startup had shed 18 percent of its workforce, or just over 30 employees.

The layoffs took place at the end of October; shortly after, Moogsoft announced two executive hires. Among the additions was Amer Deeba, who recently resigned from Qualys after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charged him with insider trading.

Founded in 2012, San Francisco-based Moogsoft provides artificial intelligence for IT operations (AIOps) to help teams work more efficiently and avoid outages. The startup has raised $90 million in equity funding to date, garnering a $220 million valuation with its latest round, according to PitchBook. It’s backed by Goldman Sachs, Wing Venture Capital, Redpoint Ventures, Dell’s corporate venture capital arm, Singtel Innov8, Northgate Capital and others. Wing VC founder and long-time Accel managing partner Peter Wagner and Redpoint partner John Walecka are among the investors currently sitting on Moogsoft’s board of directors.

Tee, the founder of two public companies (Micromuse and Riversoft) admitted the layoffs affected several teams across the company. The cuts, however, are not a sign of a struggling business, he said, but rather a right of passage for a startup seeking venture scale.

“We are a classic VC-backed startup that has sort of grown up,” Tee told TechCrunch earlier today. “In pretty much every successful company, there is a point in time where there’s an adjustment in strategy … Unfortunately, when you do that, it becomes a question of do we have the right people?”

Moogsoft doubled revenue last year and added 50 Fortune 200 companies as customers, according to a statement announcing its latest capital infusion. Tee said he’s “extremely chipper” about the road ahead and the company’s recent C-suite hires.

Moogsoft’s newest hires, CFO Raman Kapur (left) and COO Amer Deeba (right).

Moogsoft announced its latest executive hires on November 2, only one week after completing the round of layoffs, a common strategy for companies looking to cast a shadow on less-than-stellar news, like major staff cuts. Those hires include former Splunk vice president of finance Raman Kapur as Moogsoft’s first-ever chief financial officer and Amer Deeba, a long-time Qualys executive, as its chief operating officer.

Deeba spent the last 17 years at Qualys, a publicly traded provider of cloud-based security and compliance solutions. In August, he resigned amid allegations of insider trading. The SEC announced its charges against Deeba on August 30, claiming he had notified his two brothers of Qualys’ missed revenue targets before the company publicly announced its financial results in the spring of 2015.

“Deeba informed his two brothers about the miss and contacted his brothers’ brokerage firm to coordinate the sale of all of his brothers’ Qualys stock,” the SEC wrote in a statement. “When Qualys publicly announced its financial results, it reported that it had missed its previously-announced first-quarter revenue guidance and that it was revising its full-year 2015 revenue guidance downward. On the same day, Deeba sent a message to one of his brothers saying, ‘We announced the bad news today.’ The next day, Qualys’s stock price dropped 25%. Although Deeba made no profits from his conduct, Deeba’s brothers collectively avoided losses of $581,170 by selling their Qualys stock.”

Under the terms of Deeba’s settlement, he is ineligible to serve as an officer or director of any SEC-reporting company for two years and has been ordered to pay a $581,170 penalty.

Tee, for his part, said there was never any admission of guilt from Deeba and that he’s already had a positive impact on Moogsoft.

“[Deeba] is a tremendously impressive individual and he has the full confidence of myself and the board,” Tee said.

 

Mar
29
2017
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Aiden closes $750,000 seed round in its quest to amplify marketers

 Aiden, a London-based startup building a machine learning-powered personal assistant to save mobile marketers time and money, closed a $750,000 seed round today from Kima Ventures and a number of angels, including Nicolas Pinto, Pierre Valade and Jonathan Wolf. The team first demoed the capabilities of its service on the stage of TechCrunch Disrupt as a Battlefield finalist. Read More

Mar
27
2015
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FoundationDB is acquired by Apple: My thoughts

TechCrunch reported yesterday that Apple has acquired FoundationDB. And while I didn’t see any mention if this news on the FoundationDB website, they do have an announcement saying: “We have made the decision to evolve our company mission and, as of today, we will no longer offer downloads.”

This is an unfortunate development – I have been watching FoundationDB technology for years and was always impressed in terms of its performance and features. I was particularly impressed by their demo at last year’s Percona Live MySQL and Expo. Using their Intel NUC-based Cluster, I remember Ori Herrnstadt showing me how FoundationDB handles single-node failure as well as recovery from complete power-down – very quickly and seamlessly. We have borrowed a lot of ideas from this setup for our Percona XtraDB Cluster Demos.

I think it was a great design to build a distributed, shared-nothing transaction aware key value store, and then have an SQL Layer built on top of it. I did not have a chance to test it hands-on, though. Such a test would have revealed the capabilities of the SQL optimizer – the biggest challenge for distributed relational database systems.

My hope was to see, over time, this technology becoming available as open source (fully or partially), which would have dramatically increased adoption by the masses. It will be interesting to see Apple’s long-terms plans for this technology.

In any case it looks like FoundationDB software is off limits. If you are an existing FoundationDB customer looking for alternatives, we here at Percona would be happy to help evaluate options and develop a migration strategy if necessary.

The post FoundationDB is acquired by Apple: My thoughts appeared first on MySQL Performance Blog.

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