Monthly Archives: June 2016

Zenefits halves its previous valuation to $2B to head off investor lawsuits

Posted by on 30 June, 2016

This post was originally published on this site

Zenefits is executing a change in its current ownership structure that will increase the overall ownership of the company for late-stage investors, in a move that revalues the company’s Series C round at $2 billion and looks to placate investor concerns over the company’s regulatory investigations.

As part of accepting the new ownership changes, the investors participating will sign a release of claims against the company. It’s another move that new CEO David Sacks is doing in what’s been a massive cleanup effort of the company following report after report of the company skirting insurance regulation. Since all those regulatory issues came to light, the company has laid off more than 350 employees and parted ways with its former CEO Parker Conrad. The biggest issue stemmed from a program called “The Macro” that would aid in circumventing state licensing requirements.

“Since shortly after becoming CEO, I have been in discussions with a number of our major investors about how we can reset our relationship in light of the fact that they (like I) were never informed about the Macro before investing in the company,” Sacks said in a memo released today. “We have been working on a new basis on which they can re-commit to the company and get fully aligned with the new Zenefits.”

It’s not surprising that investors, who have a big stake in the company’s success, would also want some kind of guarantee that their investment is still in decent shape given the company’s problems. The hope here it would seem is that Zenefits — and Sacks — can quickly put all this in the past and start rebuilding the company and placate investors, rather than having to face off against them.

Here are the details: Investors in the company’s Series C round, where it raised $500 million at a previous $4.5 billion valuation, will have their ownership stake upped from around 11% to 25%. A source tells us this amounts to a change in the share conversion rate upon a liquidation event. That change now effectively now values the company at $2 billion in its Series C round, and earlier investors will receive small adjustments to offset the dilution.

The company’s common stock will be diluted by around 20%. Non-executive employees will receive a special stock grant equal to 25% of their current number of shares, to offset the dilution, that will be vested in 12 months and consist of restricted stock units rather than options. That move should help also placate employees, who previously had an opportunity to accept a generous severance but decided to stay on board with the company.

Now, here’s the big question: what happens when it needs to raise money again?

Zenefits, even with its skirting of regulation and growth proclamations, reached $60 million in ARR in 2016, Sacks said in an email detailing the layoffs of 250 employees in February. Former CEO Conrad previously said, when the company raised its $500 million round, that Zenefits was on track to hit $100 million in annually recurring revenue by January 2016. This was certainly a miss, and raises a lot of questions as to whether Zenefits would be able to control its burn in the wake of missing those targets. At a $4.5 billion valuation, and with all the issues the company has had, that certainly could scare away investors. But it’s now going to be a bigger question as to whether they’ll buy in even at a lower valuation.

“At some point, this company will want to sell its shares again, and future prospective shareholders will look closely at how we treated our current shareholders,” Sacks wrote in a note coinciding with the announcement.

All this is basically a way to reset expectations for investors, as well as try to retain employees following the changes in the company’s ownership structure. Shareholders were kept in the dark in relation to the existence and use of “The Macro,” which required a reset of the relationship. Zenefits grew like a rocket ship, reaching a $4.5 billion valuation in just about two years after the company started. That, at the time, labeled the company as one of the fastest-growing SaaS startups ever — but, obviously, there was a bunch of shady stuff going on behind the scenes to pad that growth.

Sacks has made other moves to try to restructure the company, which was being torn asunder by investigations, a party culture and the break-neck growth that Conrad went after in its earliest days. Zenefits offered its employees a buyout offer that equaled to two months’ severance in an effort to effectively reset the culture of the company, of which Sacks said around 10% of employees accepted. It also open-sourced a new application that provides licensing controls to companies in what seemingly amounts to a mea culpa to the industry. “We are becoming the Compliance Company,” Zenefits wrote in an announcement of the effort.

And, of course, this is yet another instance of companies finding themselves resetting expectations for investors in the wake of a changing financing environment. If Zenefits wants to raise capital again, it’s going to have to deal with two issues: controlling its burn as it continues to try to grow, and also resolving its regulatory issues.

One footnote to the announcement: the agreement does not include a release of claims for the $10 million in stock Conrad sold. “I hope that issue will be resolved in the near future,” Sacks said in the memo.

Andreessen Horowitz, Fidelity, TPG and Insight Venture Partners all agreed to the new investor agreement.

“I want to thank our investors for reaffirming their confidence in us. We take our commitment to you seriously to build value for all shareholders,” Sacks said in the memo. “As a result of The Offer and Investor Settlement, all of our employees and investors will be aligned, committed, and focused on what’s next, which is the launch of Z2 in October.”

Here’s the full memo:

As you all know, I became CEO of Zenefits in February after it was discovered that the previous CEO/founder had written a software program (or “Macro”) that was widely disseminated in the company to circumvent a state licensing requirement. He resigned, the Board asked me to step in, and since that time, we have been working to remediate the situation and reset our relationships with all of our key stakeholders. These include regulators, industry partners, customers, employees and investors.

Our efforts have included self-reporting the Macro issue, bringing our licensing into compliance, changing our leadership and governance, instituting new company values, and transforming the culture so that compliance is a top priority. We announced plans with Salesforce to open-source our licensing controls so the rest of the industry could benefit from our technology. We also offered a generous voluntary separation package (“The Offer”) for any employee who did not agree with the new direction. I’m proud that roughly 90% of employees chose to stay and re-commit to the new Zenefits.

Today we are announcing something similar for our investors. Since shortly after becoming CEO, I have been in discussions with a number of our major investors about how we can reset our relationship in light of the fact that they (like I) were never informed about the Macro before investing in the company. We have been working on a new basis on which they can re-commit to the company and get fully aligned with the new Zenefits. We are announcing that agreement today.

This agreement will increase the ownership of our Series C investors, who invested approximately $500 million in May 2015, from about 11% of the company to about 25%. This effectively revalues the Series C at a $2 billion valuation. The Series A and Series B investors will receive small adjustments to offset their dilution. The common stock will be diluted about 20% from its current level — about the same as a typical financing round. In my view, that is well worth it to realign our existing shareholders with the company. At some point, this company will want to sell its shares again, and future prospective shareholders will look closely at how we treated our current shareholders.

We do not want employees to be negatively impacted by this agreement. So each non-executive employee of Zenefits will be “trued up” through a special stock grant equal to 25% of their current number of shares. This new grant will vest 100% in 12 months. It will consist of RSUs rather than options so that employees don’t have to pay a strike price. Our executive team will also receive additional 4-year grants to incentivize them. However, co-founder/CTO Laks Srini and I have offered not to participate in this true-up in order to ensure that there are enough shares for employees. We will be diluted to the same extent as any other common stockholder.

As part of this agreement, each participating investor will sign a release, which will allow the company to move forward and put the past behind us. This agreement does not include a release for the $10 million of stock that Parker sold personally; I hope that issue will be resolved in the near future.

The agreement also contains a few provisions to foster good governance, such as the creation of a permanent seat for the Series C on the Board of Directors (which is already occupied by TPG’s Bill McGlashan) and the creation of a Compliance Committee on the Board. Both the company’s management and its investors believe these are wise things to do.

The investor agreement has already been approved by a number of the company’s major investors including Fidelity, TPG, Andreessen Horowitz, and Insight Venture Partners. We will be offering it to all our investors shortly.

I want to thank our investors for reaffirming their confidence in us. We take our commitment to you seriously to build value for all shareholders. As a result of The Offer and Investor Settlement, all of our employees and investors will be aligned, committed, and focused on what’s next, which is the launch of Z2 in October.

David

Posted Under: Tech News
23% off Segway miniPRO Personal Transporter, Now Shipping – Deal Alert

Posted by on 30 June, 2016

This post was originally published on this site

Forget hoverboards. The Segway miniPRO is a smarter, stronger and safer personal transporter, UL 2272 Certified for the highest standards of electrical and fire safety requirements established by Underwriter Laboratories. The miniPRO has large air-filled tires suitable for almost any terrain. Its innovative knee bar makes steering easy and precise, and its powerful lithium-ion battery will take you up to 14 miles on a single charge at speeds of up to 10 miles per hour. Automatic head and tail-lights produce maximum visibility night or day, personalized from a spectrum of 16 million color variations. It comes with a full-featured app, available for iOS and Android, that lets you personalize your miniPRO, activate anti-theft features, control your miniPRO remotely, and much more. It’s available to ship now, and its initial list price of $1,299 has been reduced for launch to $999. See or buy it now on Amazon.

This story, “23% off Segway miniPRO Personal Transporter, Now Shipping – Deal Alert” was originally published by TechConnect.

Posted Under: Mobile
$73.99 – Dell PowerConnect 5448 48-Port + 4 x Combo Gigabit SFP Ports Switch (0H969F)

Posted by on 30 June, 2016

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Posted Under: Switches
Dell stops selling Android devices, won't deliver patches

Posted by on 30 June, 2016

This post was originally published on this site

Dell has stopped selling Android devices as it steps away from slate-style tablets to focus on Windows 2-in-1 tablets.

The company isn’t refreshing the Venue line of Android tablets, and will no longer offer the Android-based Wyse Cloud Connect, a thumb-size computer that can turn a display into a PC. Other Android devices were discontinued some time ago.

“The slate tablet market is oversaturated and is experiencing declining demand from consumers, so we’ve decided to discontinue the Android-based Venue tablet line,” a Dell spokesman said.

Although Dell has killed its Android devices, it made interesting products with the OS. One was the Venue 8 7000 tablet, which had an OLED screen and a 3D RealSense camera. Meanwhile, 2-in-1s can serve as both tablets and laptops.

“We are seeing 2-in-1s rising in popularity since they provide a more optimal blend of PC capabilities with tablet mobility. This is especially true in the commercial space,” the Dell spokesman said.

Dell won’t be offering OS upgrades to Android-based Venue tablets already being used by customers. “For customers who own Android-based Venue products, Dell will continue to support currently active warranty and service contracts until they expire, but we will not be pushing out future OS upgrades,” the spokesman said.

With Android devices discontinued, Dell now mostly has laptops and 2-in-1s with Windows on its roster, and some Chromebooks as well. Dell’s Chromebook 11 3120 and Chromebook 13 7310 — which run Chrome OS — will be able to run Android apps through access to the Google Play Store. The Chromebooks won’t run the Android OS, however.

Dell also sells XPS and Precision laptops with Ubuntu to developers, and thin clients with Linux, Windows Embedded and Wyse’s ThinOS operating systems.

Dell has a knack for discontinuing Venue products. Dell stopped selling Venue smartphones in 2012, but reintroduced the brand through the tablets. Dell also sells Venue tablets with Windows, though that product hasn’t been upgraded in a while and could be on its way out. 

To be sure, Dell made it clear that it is not closing the door entirely and remains open to supporting Android on devices in the future. But Dell’s move away from slate-style tablets is no surprise, said Bob O’Donnell, principal analyst at Technalysis Research.

Inexpensive Android tablets are a dime-a-dozen, and it makes sense for Dell not to play in a crowded market, O’Donnell said.

HP is also clearing out its lineup of low-cost tablets. It now offers just a handful of Android tablets, mainly for businesses. Meanwhile, Lenovo is offering fewer Android tablets than in previous years, and has expanded its Windows-based, 2-in-1 lineup.

Apple was the world’s top tablet vendor in the first quarter this year, followed by Android tablet vendors Samsung, Amazon, Lenovo, and Huawei, according to IDC.

Android tablets were some of the lowest-priced computing products for Dell, which now is focused on selling higher-margin products. In some cases, the Venue Android tablets were bundled for free with laptops.

While tablet and PC shipments decline, 2-in-1s are thriving, according to IDC. Buyers are upgrading laptops to 2-in-1s with Windows 10. Shipments are also growing for Chromebooks and gaming PCs.

Meanwhile, Dell is in the process of merging with EMC as part of a $67 billion megadeal. To finance the merger, the company has agreed to sell its software group to equity firms Francisco Partners and Elliott Management Corporation for $2 billion, and IT services group Dell Services to NTT Data for $3 billion. Dell also spun off its SecureWorks unit, which is publicly traded.

Posted Under: Mobile
APC AP7801 Metered Rack Power Distribution Unit PDU 8 x 5-20R 1U 20A/120V 12ft

Posted by on 30 June, 2016

This post was originally published on this site

APC AP7801 Rack PDU Metered 1U 20A/120V Power Distribution Unit

Overview:

Full-featured network management interfaces that provide standards-based management via Web, SNMP, and Telnet. Allows users to access, configure, and manage units from remote locations to save valuable time. Associated with this feature is the ability to quickly and easily upgrade the firmware via network download to installed units for future product enhancements.

Specifications:

  • Nominal Output Voltage: 120V
  • Maximum Total Current Draw per Phase: 16A
  • Output Connections: 8 x NEMA 5-20R
  • Nominal Input Voltage: 100V, 120V
  • Input Frequency: 50/60 Hz
  • Main Plug Type: L5-20P
  • Cord Length: 12 ft

In the Box:

  • APC AP7801 Rack PDU Metered 1U 20A/120V Power Distribution
  • Mounting brackets

This unit has been pulled from a working environment, power on tested, and all configurations and passwords have been reset to factory default settings

Posted Under: General
Aircall launches mobile apps for its cloud phone system for teams

Posted by on 30 June, 2016

This post was originally published on this site

Aircall just launched its mobile apps on iOS and Android out of beta. The company announced the first beta of its mobile app at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco. The startup is bringing all the core features of the service to its mobile apps.

Aircall lets you generate virtual numbers in many countries around the world and share these numbers with the rest of your team so that multiple people can use the same number. For instance, Aircall is quite good when it comes to customer support.

With the new mobile apps, Aircall customers can receive or make VoIP calls directly on their phone without having to be tied to their desk. Compared to other customer support software, Aircall already doesn’t require any proprietary hardware and uses a software-as-a-service model.

Aircall lets you share contacts and schedules, assign calls to particular team members and track exactly what’s happening. It’s a great way to know whether your coworkers have dealt with a client already.

And when someone is calling in, Aircall lets you assign first-line support. If no one is available, Aircall will seamlessly ring other team members.

Finally, customers have been asking for integrations with CRM, such as Salesforce, and customer support services, such as Zendesk. Aircall hooks up with these services and a bunch of others.

Based on leaked emails I saw, the startup has been killing it over the past few months — its monthly recurring revenue has been growing very rapidly lately. And with today’s new mobile apps, it adds more flexibility for existing Aircall customers. It’s just a nice addition to the current feature set.

Posted Under: Tech News
SCEPTRE X9g-Naga V Black 19″ 8ms LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 800:1

Posted by on 30 June, 2016

This post was originally published on this site
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Details about  SCEPTRE X9g-Naga V Black 19″ 8ms LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 800:1

US $79.99

Posted Under: eBay Store
UREI 565 Filter Set 565T Little Dipper

Posted by on 30 June, 2016

This post was originally published on this site
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Details about  UREI 565 Filter Set 565T Little Dipper

US $319.99

Posted Under: eBay Store
70 inch Smart LED TV Sharp LC-70LE750 Aquos Quattron 1080p 240Hz Warranty 30D

Posted by on 30 June, 2016

This post was originally published on this site
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Details about  70 inch Smart LED TV Sharp LC-70LE750 Aquos Quattron 1080p 240Hz Warranty 30D

US $1,299.99

Posted Under: eBay Store
IBM and Cisco team up on enterprise collaboration to stave off rivals like Slack and Microsoft

Posted by on 30 June, 2016

This post was originally published on this site

Earlier this month, IBM and Cisco announced they would work together to integrate IBM’s Watson artificial intelligence technology into edge routers from Cisco, and today the two IT giants are deepening their partnership again, as they aim for a bigger piece of the enterprise collaboration market being chased by the likes of fast-growing, popular upstarts like Slack, large incumbents like Microsoft and more.

IBM and Cisco said they will now work together in a wide-ranging partnership, in which they will build apps that integrate Watson and other IBM services with Cisco apps, such as collaboration platform Spark (aka Cisco’s competitor to Slack and Yammer) and conferencing service WebEx (aka Cisco’s rival to Join.me, Skype, and others).

The first products will integrate Spark and WebEx with IBM’s Verse (a business email client) and Connections (IBM’s own attempt at building a Yammer-style social network for businesses), and these will be rolled out later this year, according to Ed Brill, a VP at IBM that oversees collaboration solutions. He added that the first AI-related services will not come until 2017, when “we expect to introduce cognitive workflow capabilities from IBM Watson and an API developer ecosystem.”

As with the previous deal between Cisco and IBM, the two companies are not sharing any details about how much either is investing in the new services, except to say that they are both chipping in. “We are not disclosing the terms of the agreement but can say that both companies are committed to this and putting resources behind these offerings to ensure they are the best available for clients,” said Brill.

He added that this not a joint venture as such, and both companies plan to sell the resulting products.

For its part, Cisco has been inking several partnerships of this kind as one way of adding more capabilities to its hardware and software, without building them on its own (or buying them, such as in the deal earlier this week to buy security startup CloudLock for $293 million). For example, a deal with Ericsson announced in November 2015 to integrate and develop new products together will add some $1 billion in sales to each company’s balance sheets, according to their projections.

The bigger picture in this latest IBM and Cisco deal is that both companies are feeling the heat of competition from a wide range of rivals, some big and some actually quite small.

They include standalone services from popular startups like Slack, Quip, Trello and Asana; as well as those offered by large companies like Microsoft and Citrix, which not only build their own solutions but have been aggressive acquirers of those startups that have built popular enterprise productivity tools.

It’s a mark of how far we’ve come in the tech world that some of these products from much smaller outfits can give huge IT businesses a run for their money.

Practically, the new partnership will at the very least mean more seamless functionality for those who are currently users of these products. For those already on WebEx, for example, IBM says that you will very soon get options to subscribe to IBM services like Verse and Connections Cloud to share files from these while in a WebEx conference.

Given that WebEx can already be draining on your system, being able to pull things in without leaving the program or toggling with other software will be welcome news. And, I should point out, this is very much in keeping with the kind of integrated app experience that people are now coming to expect as standard, thanks to services like Slack.

Ironically, it’s something that Jens Meggers, Cisco’s SVP/GM for its Cloud Collaboration Technology Group, pointed out himself as one of the shortcomings of the company’s products. “Why can’t everything else be as simple to use? Why can’t these same tools talk to my email client or other productivity tools? And why, if I’m repeating the same task, do I have to keep doing it? Why can’t my machine figure out that repetitive, mundane task and just take care of it for me? With the advent of artificial intelligence, there must be a way to make collaboration even better,” he writes in a blog post about the new partnership. “I asked these questions over and over, and my team decided to do something about it.”

IBM’s Brill also provided another example of how a new IBM+Cisco product might look in the future: “A financial advisor could meet with a high-value investor over Cisco WebEx video utilizing a Watson service that offers real-time advice and handling tasks, while documents shared during the WebEx would be securely stored and available in IBM Connections,” he said. “The client can then use a electronic signature company (like IBM partner Docusign) to execute the agreement and securely store them inIBM Connections for the advisor.”

All in all, it sounds interesting, if a little like IBM and Cisco are arriving to the party late. On the side of businesses, part of their interest in these various other services has been because they are often easier to use and more functional than software from the larger incumbents, and so it will be interesting to see whether a collaboration between two of them will bring about more appealing products, and more importantly a swing in uptake.

Posted Under: Tech News
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