Cisco buys July Systems to bring digital experience to the real world

Customer experience management is about getting to know your customer’s preferences in an online context, but pulling that information into the real world often proves a major challenge for organizations. This results in a huge disconnect when a customer walks into a physical store. This morning, Cisco announced it has bought July Systems, a company that purports to solve that problem. The companies did not share the acquisition price. July Systems connects to a building’s WiFi system to understand the customer who just walked in the door, how many times they have shopped at this retailer, their loyalty point score and so forth. This gives the vendor the same kind of understanding about that customer offline as they are used to getting online. It’s an interesting acquisition for Cisco, taking advantage of some of its strengths as a networking company, given the WiFi component, but also moving in the Continue reading "Cisco buys July Systems to bring digital experience to the real world"

After twenty years of Salesforce, what Marc Benioff got right and wrong about the cloud

As we enter the 20th year of Salesforce, there’s an interesting opportunity to reflect back on the change that Marc Benioff created with the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model for enterprise software with his launch of Salesforce.com. This model has been validated by the annual revenue stream of SaaS companies, which is fast approaching $100 billion by most estimates, and it will likely continue to transform many slower-moving industries for years to come. However, for the cornerstone market in IT — large enterprise-software deals — SaaS represents less than 25 percent of total revenue, according to most market estimates. This split is even evident in the most recent high profile “SaaS” acquisition of GitHub by Microsoft, with over 50 percent of GitHub’s revenue coming from the sale of their on-prem offering, GitHub Enterprise.   Data privacy and
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In Canada’s cloud services market, venture investment opportunities abound

Canada will be home to a new venture capital fund that will invest in enterprise cloud startups. Its backer? Salesforce Ventures, the global investment arm of Salesforce, a leading cloud-hosted business software provider. According to a recent press release from Salesforce, the $100 million Canada Trailblazer Fund has already taken stakes in four Canadian startups building cloud-based tools for the enterprise, including Tier1CRM, Traction Guest, Tulip and OSF Commerce. (Disclosure: Salesforce’s venture arm is an investor in Crunchbase News’s parent, Crunchbase. As with all investors in Crunchbase, Salesforce Ventures has zero input in the operation or coverage of the News team.) The companies mentioned above join a handful of other Canadian enterprise cloud companies in Salesforce’s broader investment portfolio. In the years prior to announcing the new Canada Trailblazer Fund, Salesforce Ventures made investments in Aislelabs, Vidyard and
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Zuora’s IPO is another step in golden age of enterprise SaaS

Zuroa’s founder and CEO Tien Tzuo had a vision of a subscription economy long before most people ever considered the notion. He knew that for companies to succeed with subscriptions, they needed a bookkeeping system that understood how they collected and reported money. The company went public yesterday, another clear sign post on the road to SaaS maturation. Tzuo was an early employee at Salesforce and their first CMO. He worked there in the early days in the late 90s when Salesforce’s Marc Benioff famously rented an apartment to launch the company. Tzuo was at Salesforce 9 years, and it helped him understand the nature of subscription-based businesses like Salesforce. “We created a great environment for building, marketing and delivering software. We rewrote the rules, the way it was built, marketed and sold,” Tzuo told me in an interview in 2016. He saw a fundamental problem with traditional accounting
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Juro grabs $2M to take the hassle out of contracts

UK startup Juro, which is applying a “design centric approach” and machine learning tech to help businesses speed up the authoring and management of sales contracts, has closed $2m in seed funding led by Point Nine Capital. Prior investor Seedcamp also contributed to the round. Juro is announcing Taavet Hinrikus (TransferWise’s co-founder) as an investor now too, as well as Michael Pennington (Gumtree co-founder) and the family office of Paul Forster (co-founder of Indeed.com). Back in January 2017 the London-based startup closed a $750,000 (£615k) seed round, though CEO and co-founder Richard Mabey tells us that was really better classed as an angel round — with Point Nine Capital only joining “late” in the day. “We actually could have strung it out to Series A,” he says of the funding that’s being announced now. “But we had multiple offers come in and there is so much of an explosion in demand for Continue reading "Juro grabs $2M to take the hassle out of contracts"

Can SaaS principles transform political campaigns as we know them?

In life, they say you get what you pay for. That is no less true in politics, which is fueled by campaign donations and lobbying dollars that move policy on every important issue under the sun. The disclosed expenditures of the DC lobbying industry are more than $3 billion per year, while just the presidential political campaigns spent more than $1.5 billion in 2016. Despite the key role that money plays in American politics, almost no one actually donates to a political campaign. According to the campaign finance watchdog OpenSecrets, just 0.68% of American adults donated more than $200 throughout the 2016 campaign cycle. A $200 contribution may sound like an extraordinary sum, but it’s roughly $8.33 per month throughout the two-year election cycle. Compare the 1.67 million people engaged with politics against the subscription numbers elsewhere in the economy: The New York Times Continue reading "Can SaaS principles transform political campaigns as we know them?"

The mystery of the public marketplace

The two most highly valued private tech companies (outside of China) are Uber and Airbnb. Both also happen to be marketplace businesses, and their success has helped encourage a rush of VC investment in similar business models over the past several years. But despite all this investment, public comps for marketplaces remain far thinner than those for SaaS.

The mystery of the public marketplace

Note: This is the second article in a three-part series on valuation thoughts for common sectors of venture capital investment. The first article, which attempts to make sense of the SaaS revenue multiple, can be found here. The two most highly valued private tech companies (outside of China) are Uber and Airbnb, checking in with valuations of $69 billion and $31 billion, respectively (according to the Crunchbase Unicorn leaderboard). Like some of the most valuable companies in the world (Alibaba, Facebook, and Google), both also happen to be marketplace businesses, and their success has helped encourage a rush of venture capital investment in similar business models over the past several years. However, despite all this investment, public comps for marketplaces remain far thinner than those for SaaS — as of early January 2018, there were 42 publicly traded billion-dollar SaaS companies*, whereas only 14 marketplaces have broken
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The mystery of the public marketplace

 The two most highly valued private tech companies (outside of China) are Uber and Airbnb. Both also happen to be marketplace businesses, and their success has helped encourage a rush of VC investment in similar business models over the past several years. But despite all this investment, public comps for marketplaces remain far thinner than those for SaaS. Read More

India’s Capillary Technologies raises $20M from Warburg Pincus and Sequoia

 Capillary Technologies, an India-based startup that helps e-commerce businesses manage their marketing and customer engagement, has pulled in $20 million in fresh funding from existing investors Warburg Pincus and Sequoia. The company said it plans to use the capital to develop its products and R&D, including a new focus on the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) space where it works… Read More