As we’ve seen, some startups are pivoting to re-model themselves for the radically different world of the COVID-19 pandemic. But others literally turned out to have a business model which, although they could never have realized it at the time, might have been (almost) tailor-made for this era.
A fascinating example of this is SaaS marketplace Juggle. Originally designed as a marketplace to allow executive-level women to re-enter the world of work in a flexible manner after having a family, it later expanded into a wider market for anyone wanting to work flexibly and for employers who need that kind of workforce. But with the world of work totally upended by the pandemic, “flexibility” is literally now the name of the game.
Juggle has now disclosed its funding of $2.1 million from investors in the U.K. and the U.S. Investors include a number of the U.K.
“I have to choose my words carefully,” says Joe Castelino of Stevens Creek Volkswagen in San Jose, California, when asked about the software on which most car dealerships rely for inventory information, to manage marketing, to handle customer relationships and to otherwise help sell cars.
Castelino, the dealership’s service director, laughs as he says this. But the joke has apparently been on car dealers, most of whom have largely relied on a few frustratingly antiquated vendors for their dealer management systems over the years — along with many more sophisticated point solutions.
It’s the precise opportunity that former Tesla CIO, Jay Vijayan, concluded he was well-positioned to address while still in the employ of the electric vehicle giant.
As Vijayan tells it, he knew nothing about cars until joining Tesla in 2011, following a dozen years of working in product development at Oracle, then VMware. Yet he learned plenty over Continue reading "This former Tesla CIO just raised $150 million more to pull car dealers into the 21st century"
Americans and other global citizens are increasingly self-employed, thanks to great software, the need for flexibility, and because skilled services especially can pay fairly well, among other reasons.
In fact, exactly one year ago, the Freelancers Union and Upwork, a digital platform for freelancers, released a report estimating that 35% of the U.S. workforce had begun freelancing. With COVID-19 still making its way around the country and globe, prompting massive and continued job dislocation for many tens of millions of people, that percentage is likely to rise quickly.
Unsurprisingly, savvy startups see the economic power of these individuals — many of whom aren’t interested in managing anyone or anything other than the steady growth of their own businesses. A case in point is Collective, a 2.5-year-old, 20-person San Francisco-based startup that’s been quietly building back office services like tax preparation and bookkeeping for what it dubs “business Continue reading "Collective, a back office platform that caters to ‘businesses of one,’ just landed a hefty seed round"
Slack’s shares are set to fall sharply this morning, down around 16% in pre-market trading. As the company beat analyst expectations last quarter and guided within range, the selloff might feel a little surprising.
Perhaps it shouldn’t.
I spoke with a VC last week about what the new benchmark results are for private SaaS companies, and to my surprise, he said software startups don’t have to grow at 100% to be fundable in today’s market. Given what I’d heard from other venture capitalists about how so much of their portfolios had found a COVID-19 growth bump, the perspectives felt incongruous.
The Exchange explores startups, markets and money. You can read it every morning on Extra Crunch, or get The Exchange newsletter every Saturday.
Startups wanted to grow at a pace of more than 100% pre-pandemic, and some have accelerated since. So how could a startup growing less than three
It was just days ago that cries of “stocks only go up,” and “no it makes sense that Tesla is going up because it split” and other bits of unironic stupidity were the only thing you could read online about the equities markets. Today, and yesterday, that all went to hell.
Stocks, it turns out, can go down, and they can do so very quickly. And, yes, even Tesla can endure a strong slump, giving up tens of billions of dollars in market capitalization at the same time.
What’s going on? It’s impossible to point to a single thing as the reason, but it’s worth noting that the United States is still suffering from the business impacts of COVID-19, with high unemployment and other related issues plaguing the broader economic climate.
Update: While this piece was in edit, news broke in the FT and the WSJ that SoftBank — yes, Continue reading "Stocks are selling off again, and SaaS shares are taking the biggest lumps"
Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast (now on Twitter!), where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.
The whole crew was back, with Natasha Mascarenhas and Danny Crichton and myself chattering, with Chris Gates behind the scenes making it all work. An extra shout-out to Natasha this week as we spent a lot of time talking about edtech, a category that she spearheads for us and has brought to the show. It’s a big deal!
We’re on YouTube now, don’t forget, and with that, let’s get into the news:
Avi Freedman is like any other founder: He wants to build a great company. In this case network analytics platform Kentik, and he needs venture capital to do it. Like pretty much all founders, he doesn’t like the dilution that comes from taking vast sums from VCs in order to grow. There’s always been an alluring solution to this dilemma, but one that comes with its own tradeoffs.
The word has negative connotations, but the reality is that just like equity capital, debt is a key tool in the corporate finance toolbox. Judicious use of debt with the right terms and conditions can cut the cost of capital for a startup significantly, saving founders and early-stage investors from serious dilution as a company scales. Used too heavily or improperly however, and debt can turn a bad financial quarter into a dead company, stat.
Founders, particularly those who run Continue reading "How one founder leveraged debt to drive early growth and avoid dilution"
Adaptive Shield, a Tel Aviv-based security startup, is coming out of stealth today and announcing its $4 million seed round led by Vertex Ventures Israel. The company’s platform helps businesses protect their SaaS applications by regularly scanning their various setting for security issues.
The company’s co-founders met in the Israeli Defense Forces, where they were trained on cybersecurity, and then worked at a number of other security companies before starting their own venture. Adaptive Shield CEO Maor Bin, who previously led cloud research at Proofpoint, told me the team decided to look at SaaS security because they believe this is an urgent problem few other companies are addressing.
Pictured is a representative sample of nine apps being monitored by the Adaptive Shield platform, including the total score of each application, affected categories and affected security frameworks and standards. (Image Credits: Adaptive Shield)