SAP agrees to buy Qualtrics for $8B in cash, just before the survey software company’s IPO

Ryan Smith of Qualtrics speaks onstage during TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2015

Enterprise software giant SAP announced today that it has agreed to acquire Qualtrics for $8 billion in cash, just before the survey and research software company was set to go public. The deal is expected to be completed in the first half of 2019. Qualtrics last round of venture capital funding in 2016 raised $180 million at a $2.5 billion valuation.

This is the second-largest ever acquisition of a SaaS company, after Oracle’s purchase of Netsuite for $9.3 billion in 2016. In a conference call, SAP CEO Bill McDermott said Qualtrics’ IPO was already oversubscribed and that the two companies began discussions a few months ago. SAP claims its software touches 77 percent of the world’s transaction revenue, while Qualtrics’ products include survey software that enables its 9,000 enterprise users to gauge things like customer sentiment and Continue reading "SAP agrees to buy Qualtrics for $8B in cash, just before the survey software company’s IPO"

Early-stage SaaS VC slip snaps recovery as public software stocks soar

A few months ago, Crunchbase News reported that a longstanding period of SaaS investment stagnation had come to an end.

However, the investment boom times didn’t necessarily carry over to the seed and early-stage end of the subscription software businesses. The chart below displays deal and dollar volume of seed and early-stage venture investments1 made into companies from around the world in Crunchbase’s SaaS category. Note that it is subject to historically documented reporting delays, which are most pronounced in seed and early-stage deals. As can be plainly seen that Q3 2018 took quite a turn in terms of investment into SaaS. And it’s a bit bewildering as to why. Overall, the  Continue reading "Early-stage SaaS VC slip snaps recovery as public software stocks soar"

Seva snares $2.4M seed investment to find info across cloud services

Seva, a New York City startup, that wants to help customers find content wherever it lives across SaaS products, announced a $2.4 million seed round today. Avalon Ventures led the round with participation from Studio VC and Datadog founder and CEO Olivier Pomel.

Company founder and CEO Sanjay Jain says that he started this company because he felt the frustration personally of having to hunt across different cloud services to find the information he was looking for. When he began researching the idea for the company, he found others who also complained about this fragmentation. “Our fundamental vision is to change the way that knowledge workers acquire the information they need to do their jobs from one where they have to spend a ton of time actually seeking it out to one where the Seva platform can prescribe the right information at the right time when and where
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Celonis brings intelligent process automation software to cloud

Celonis has been helping companies analyze and improve their internal processes using machine learning. Today the company announced it was providing that same solution as a cloud service with a few nifty improvements you won’t find on prem.

The new approach, called Celonis Intelligent Business Cloud, allows customers to analyze a workflow, find inefficiencies and offer improvements very quickly. Companies typically follow a workflow that has developed over time and very rarely think about why it developed the way it did, or how to fix it. If they do, it usually involves bringing in consultants to help. Celonis puts software and machine learning to bear on the problem. Co-founder and CEO Alexander Rinke says that his company deals with massive volumes of data and moving all of that to the cloud makes sense. “With Intelligent Business Cloud, we will unlock that [on prem data], bring it to the cloud in
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Website builder Strikingly raises $10M Series A+ to continue growth in China

Almost exactly one year after announcing its Series A, website building platform Strikingly said today that it has raised a $10 million Series A+. The new round was led by Cathay Capital, with participation from CAS Holding, the lead investor in Strikingly’s Series A. This brings Strikingly’s total funding so far to $17.5 million. Co-founder and CEO David Chen tells TechCrunch that the funding is “technically a Series B level round for us,” but the team wanted to call it a Series A+ because the capital will be used to continue the momentum of products launched around the time of its Series A, including a mobile website editor and a reseller program, as well as its growth in China. (Series A+ rounds are also more common in China, where Strikingly has an office in Shanghai and is one of the most popular website building services). “The A+ is Continue reading "Website builder Strikingly raises $10M Series A+ to continue growth in China"

Blissfully grabs $3.5 million seed investment to help companies get their SaaS in gear

Blissfully, a New York City startup that helps companies understand their SaaS usage inside their organizations, announced it has received a $3.5 million seed round. The investment was led by Hummer Winblad Venture Partners. Hubspot, Founder Collective, and several unnamed pre-seed investors also participated. They got a $1.5 million pre-seed investment, bringing the total so far to $5 million, according the company. Company co-founder and CEO Ariel Diaz says Blissfully actually helped him and his co-founder solve a problem they were having tracking the SaaS usage at their previous startups. Like many companies, they were using spreadsheets to track this information and they found it was untenable as the company grew beyond 30 or 40 people. They figured there had to be a better way, so they built one. Their product is much more than simply a database of the SaaS products in use inside an organization.
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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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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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