All posts by Richy George

Conflura snags $9M Series A to help stop cyber attacks in real time

Posted by on 30 July, 2019

This post was originally published on this site

Just yesterday, we experienced yet another major breach when Capital One announced it had been hacked and years of credit card  application information had been stolen. Another day, another hack, but the question is how can companies protect themselves in the face of an onslaught of attacks. Conflura, a Palo Alto startup wants to help with a new tool that purports to stop these kinds of attacks in real time.

Today the company, which launched last year, announced a $9 million Series A investment led by Lightspeed Venture Partners . It also has the backing of several influential technology execs including John W. Thompson, who is chairman of Microsoft and former CEO at Symantec, Frank Slootman, CEO at Snowflake and formerly CEO at ServiceNow and Lane Bess, former CEO of Palo Alto Networks.

What has attracted this interest is the company’s approach to cyber security. “Conflura is a real-time cyber security company. We are delivering the industry’s first platform to deterministically stop cyber attacks in real time,” company co-founder and CEO Abhijit Ghosh told TechCrunch.

To do that Ghosh says, his company’s solution watches across the customer’s infrastructure, finds issues and recommends ways to mitigate the attack. “We see the problem that there are too many solutions which have been used. What is required is a platform that has visibility across the infrastructure, and uses security information from multiple sources to make that determination of where the attacker currently is and how to mitigate that,” he explained.

Microsoft chairman John Thompson, who is also an investor, says this is more than just real-time detection or real-time remediation. “It’s not just the audit trail and telling them what to do. It’s more importantly blocking the attack in real time. And that’s the unique nature of this platform, that you’re able to use the insight that comes from the science of the data to really block the attacks in real time,” Thompson said.

It’s early days for Conflura as it has 19 employees and 3 customers using the platform so far. For starters, it will be officially launching next week at Black Hat. After that, it has to continue building out the product and prove that it can work as described to stop the types of attacks we see on a regular basis from happening.

Posted Under: Tech News
Monday.com raises $150M more, now at $1.9B valuation, for workplace collaboration tools

Posted by on 30 July, 2019

This post was originally published on this site

Workplace collaboration platforms have become a crucial cornerstone of the modern office: workers’ lives are guided by software and what we do on our computers, and collaboration tools provide a way for us to let each other know what we’re working on, and how we’re doing it, in a format that’s (at best) easy to use without too much distraction from the work itself.

Now, Monday.com, one of the faster growing of these platforms, is announcing a $150 million round of equity funding — a whopping raise that points both to its success so far, and the opportunity ahead for the wider collaboration space, specifically around better team communication and team management.

The Series D funding — led by Sapphire Ventures, with Hamilton Lane, HarbourVest Partners, ION Crossover Partners and Vintage Investment Partners also participating — is coming in at what reliable sources tell me is a valuation of $1.9 billion, or nearly four times Monday.com’s valuation when it last raised money a year ago.

The big bump is in part to the company’s rapid expansion: it now has 80,000 organizations as customers, up from a mere 35,000 a year ago, with the number of actual employees within those organizations numbering as high as 4,000 employees, or as little as two, spanning some 200 industry verticals, including a fair number of companies that are non-technical in their nature (but still rely on using software and computers to get their work done). The client list includes Carlsberg, Discovery Channel, Phillips, Hulu and WeWork and a number of Fortune 500 companies.

“We have built flexibility into the platform,” Roy Mann, the CEO who co-founded the company with Eran Zinman, which is one reason he believes why it’s found a lot of stickiness among the wider field of knowledge workers looking for products that work not unlike the apps that they use as average consumers.

All those figures are also helping to put Monday.com on track for an IPO in the near future, said Roy Mann, the CEO who co-founded the company with Eran Zinman.

“An IPO is something that we are considering for the future, he said in an interview. “We are just at 1% of our potential, and we’re in a position for huge growth.” In terms of when that might happen, he and Zinman would not specify a timeline, but Mann added that this potentially could be the last round before a public listing.

On the other hand, there are some big plans up ahead for the startup, including adding in a free usage tier (to date, the only free on Monday.com is a free trial, all usage tiers have been otherwise paid), expanding geographically and into more languages, and continuing to develop the integration and automation technology that underpins the product. The aim is to have 200 applications working with Monday.com by the end of this year.

While the company is already generating cash and it has just raised a significant round, in the current market, that has definitely not kept venture-backed startups from raising more. (Monday.com, which first started life as Dapulse in 2014, has raised $234.1 million to date.)

Monday.com’s rise and growth are coming at an interesting moment for productivity software. There have been software platforms on the market for years aimed at helping workers communicate with each other, as well as to better track how projects and other activity are progressing. Despite being a relatively late entrant, Slack, the now-public workplace chat platform, has arguably defined the space. (It has even entered the modern work lexicon, where people now Slack each other, as a verb.)

That speaks to the opportunity to build products even when it looks like the market is established, but also — potentially — competition. Mann and Zinman are clear to point out that they definitely do not see Slack as a rival, though. “We even use Slack ourselves in the office,” Zinman noted.

The closer rivals, they note, are the likes of Airtable (now valued at $1.1 billion) and Notion (which we’ve confirmed with the company was raising and has now officially closed a round of $10 million on an equally outsized valuation of $800 million), as well as the wider field of project management tools like Jira, Wrike and Asana — although as Mann playfully pointed out, all of those could also feasibly be integrated into Monday.com and they would work better…

The market is still so nascent for collaboration tools that even with this crowded field, Mann said he believes that there is room for everyone and the differentiations that each platform currently offers: Notion, he noted as an example, feels geared towards more personal workspace management, while Airtable is more about taking on spreadsheets.

Within that, Monday.com hopes to position itself as the ever-powerful and smart go-to place to get an overview of everything that’s happening, with low-chat noise and no need for technical knowledge to gain understanding.

“Monday.com is revolutionizing the workplace software market and we’re delighted to be partnering with Roy, Eran, and the rest of the team in their mission to transform the way people work,” said Rajeev Dham, managing partner at Sapphire Ventures, in a statement. “Monday.com delivers the quality and ease of use typically reserved for consumer products to the enterprise, which we think unlocks significant value for workers and organizations alike.”

Posted Under: Tech News
Google teams up with VMware to bring more enterprises to its cloud

Posted by on 29 July, 2019

This post was originally published on this site

Google today announced a new partnership with VMware that will make it easier for enterprises to run their VMware workloads on Google Cloud. Specifically, Google Cloud will now support VMware Cloud Foundation, the company’s system for deploying and running hybrid clouds. The solution was developed by CloudSimple, not VMware or Google, and Google will offer first-line support, working together with CloudSimple.

While Google would surely love for all enterprises to move to containers and utilize its Anthos hybrid cloud service, most large companies currently use VMware. They may want to move those workloads to a public cloud, but they aren’t ready to give up a tool that has long worked for them. With this new capability, Google isn’t offering anything that is especially new or innovative, but that’s not what this is about. Instead, Google is simply giving enterprises fewer reasons to opt for a competitor without even taking its offerings into account.

“Customers have asked us to provide broad support for VMware, and now with Google Cloud VMware Solution by CloudSimple, our customers will be able to run VMware vSphere-based workloads in GCP,” the company notes in the announcement, which we got an early copy of but which for reasons unknown to us will only go live on the company’s blog tomorrow. “This brings customers a wide breadth of choices for how to run their VMware workloads in a hybrid deployment, from modern containerized applications with Anthos to VM-based applications with VMware in GCP.”

The new solution will offer support for the full VMware stack, including the likes of vCenter, vSAN and NSX-T.

“Our partnership with Google Cloud has always been about addressing customers’ needs, and we’re excited to extend the partnership to enable our mutual customers to run VMware workloads on VMware Cloud Foundation in Google Cloud Platform,” said Sanjay Poonen, chief operating officer, customer operations at VMware. “With VMware on Google Cloud Platform, customers will be able to leverage all of the familiarity and investment protection of VMware tools and training as they execute on their cloud strategies, and rapidly bring new services to market and operate them seamlessly and more securely across a hybrid cloud environment.”

While Google’s announcement highlights that the company has a long history of working with VMware, it’s interesting to note that at least the technical aspects of this partnership are more about CloudSimple than VMware. It’s also worth noting that VMware has long had a close relationship with Google’s cloud competitor AWS, and Microsoft Azure, too, offers tools for running VMware-based workloads on its cloud.

Posted Under: Tech News
Microsoft acquires data privacy and governance service BlueTalon

Posted by on 29 July, 2019

This post was originally published on this site

Microsoft today announced that it has acquired BlueTalon, a data privacy and governance service that helps enterprises set policies for how their employees can access their data. The service then enforces those policies across most popular data environments and provides tools for auditing policies and access, too.

Neither Microsoft nor BlueTalon disclosed the financial details of the transaction. Ahead of today’s acquisition, BlueTalon had raised about $27.4 million, according to Crunchbase. Investors include Bloomberg Beta, Maverick Ventures, Signia Venture Partners and Stanford’s StartX fund.

BlueTalon Policy Engine How it works

“The IP and talent acquired through BlueTalon brings a unique expertise at the apex of big data, security and governance,” writes Rohan Kumar, Microsoft’s corporate VP for Azure Data. “This acquisition will enhance our ability to empower enterprises across industries to digitally transform while ensuring right use of data with centralized data governance at scale through Azure.”

Unsurprisingly, the BlueTalon team will become part of the Azure Data Governance group, where the team will work on enhancing Microsoft’s capabilities around data privacy and governance. Microsoft already offers access and governance control tools for Azure, of course. As virtually all businesses become more data-centric, though, the need for centralized access controls that work across systems is only going to increase and new data privacy laws aren’t making this process easier.

“As we began exploring partnership opportunities with various hyperscale cloud providers to better serve our customers, Microsoft deeply impressed us,” BlueTalon CEO Eric Tilenius, who has clearly read his share of “our incredible journey” blog posts, explains in today’s announcement. “The Azure Data team was uniquely thoughtful and visionary when it came to data governance. We found them to be the perfect fit for us in both mission and culture. So when Microsoft asked us to join forces, we jumped at the opportunity.”

Posted Under: Tech News
The Exit: The acquisition charting Salesforce’s future

Posted by on 29 July, 2019

This post was originally published on this site

Before Tableau was the $15.7 billion key to Salesforce’s problems, it was a couple of founders arguing with a couple of venture capitalists over lunch about why its Series A valuation should be higher than $12 million pre-money.

Salesforce has generally been one to signify corporate strategy shifts through their acquisitions, so you can understand why the entire tech industry took notice when the cloud CRM giant announced its priciest acquisition ever last month.

The deal to acquire the Seattle-based data visualization powerhouse Tableau was substantial enough that Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff publicly announced it was turning Seattle into its second HQ. Tableau’s acquisition doesn’t just mean big things for Salesforce. With the deal taking place just days after Google announced it was paying $2.6 billion for Looker, the acquisition showcases just how intense the cloud wars are getting for the enterprise tech companies out to win it all.

The Exit is a new series at TechCrunch. It’s an exit interview of sorts with a VC who was in the right place at the right time but made the right call on an investment that paid off. [Have feedback? Shoot me an email at lucas@techcrunch.com]

Scott Sandell, a general partner at NEA (New Enterprise Associates) who has now been at the firm for 25 years, was one of those investors arguing with two of Tableau’s co-founders, Chris Stolte and Christian Chabot. Desperate to close the 2004 deal over their lunch meeting, he went on to agree to the Tableau founders’ demands of a higher $20 million valuation, though Sandell tells me it still feels like he got a pretty good deal.

NEA went on to invest further in subsequent rounds and went on to hold over 38% of the company at the time of its IPO in 2013 according to public financial docs.

I had a long chat with Sandell, who also invested in Salesforce, about the importance of the Tableau deal, his rise from associate to general partner at NEA, who he sees as the biggest challenger to Salesforce, and why he thinks scooter companies are “the worst business in the known universe.”

The interview has been edited for length and clarity. 


Lucas Matney: You’ve been at this investing thing for quite a while, but taking a trip down memory lane, how did you get into VC in the first place? 

Scott Sandell: The way I got into venture capital is a little bit of a circuitous route. I had an opportunity to get into venture capital coming out of Stanford Business School in 1992, but it wasn’t quite the right fit. And so I had an interest, but I didn’t have the right opportunity.

Posted Under: Tech News
Bindu Reddy, co-founder and CEO at RealityEngines, is coming to TechCrunch Sessions: Enterprise

Posted by on 29 July, 2019

This post was originally published on this site

There is surely no shortage of data in the modern enterprise, and data is the fuel for AI. Yet packaging that data in machine learning models remains a huge challenge for large companies. Without that capability, automating processes with AI underpinnings remains elusive for many companies.

RealityEngines wants to change that by creating research-driven cloud services that can reduce some of the inherent complexity of working with AI tools. We are excited to be including Bindu Reddy, co-founder and CEO at RealityEngines, at TechCrunch Sessions: Enterprise, taking place in San Francisco on September 5.

Reddy will be joining investor Jocelyn Goldfein, a managing director at Zetta Venture Partners, and others. They will be discussing with TechCrunch editors the growing role of AI in the enterprise, as companies try to take advantage of the capabilities machines have over humans to process large amounts of information quickly.

She knows from whence she speaks. Before founding RealityEngines, Reddy helped launch AI Verticals at AWS where she served as general manager. She was responsible for bringing to market Amazon Personalize and Amazon Forecast, two tools that help organizations create machine learning models.

Before that, she was CEO and co-founder at yet another AI startup called Post Intelligence, a company that purported to help social media influencers write AI-driven tweets. She later sold that company to Uber. If that isn’t enough for you, she served as head of Products for Google Apps, where she was in charge of Docs, Sheets, Slides, Sites and Blogger.

Early-bird tickets to see Bindu and our lineup of enterprise influencers at TC Sessions: Enterprise are on sale for just $249 when you book here; but hurry, prices go up by $100 soon! Students, grab your discounted tickets for just $75 here.

Posted Under: Tech News
Adobe’s latest Customer Experience Platform updates take aim at data scientists

Posted by on 29 July, 2019

This post was originally published on this site

Adobe’s Customer Experience Platform provides a place to process all of the data that will eventually drive customer experience applications in the Adobe Experience Cloud. This involves bringing in vast amounts of transactional and interactional data being created across commerce platforms. This process is complex and involves IT, applications developers and data scientists.

Last Fall, the company introduced a couple of tools in Beta for the last group. Data scientists need familiar kinds of tools to work with the data as it streams into the platform in order to create meaningful models for the application developers to build upon. Today, it made two of those tools generally available — Query Service and Data Science Workspaces — which should go a long way towards helping data scientists feel comfortable working with data on this platform.

Ronell Hugh, group manager at Adobe Experience Platform, says these tools are about helping data scientists move beyond pure data management and getting into deriving more meaningful insights from it. “Data scientists were just bringing data in and trying to manage and organize it, and now we see that with Experience Platform, they are able to do that in a more seamless way, and can spend more time doing what they really want to do, which is deriving insights from the data to be actionable in the organization,” Hugh told TechCrunch.

Part of that is being able to do queries across the data sets they have brought into the platform. The newly released Query Service will enable data scientists and analysts to write queries to understand the data better and get specific answers based on the data faster.

“With Query Service in Adobe Experience Platform, analysts and data scientists can now poll all of their datasets stored in Experience Platform to answer specific cross-channel and cross-platform questions, faster than ever before. This includes behavioral data, as well as point-of-sale (POS), customer relationship management (CRM) and more,” the company wrote in a blog post announcing the new tool.

In addition, the company made the Data Science Workspace generally available. As the name implies, it provides a place for data scientists to work with the data and build models derived from it. The idea behind this tool is to use artificial intelligence to help automate some of the more mundane aspects of the data science job.

“Data scientists can take advantage of this new AI that fuels deeper data discovery by using Adobe Sensei pre-built models, bringing their existing models or creating custom models from scratch in Experience Platform,” the company wrote in the announcement blog post.

Today, it was the data scientists’ turn, but the platform is designed to help IT manage underlying infrastructure, whether in the cloud or on premises, and for application developers to take advantage of the data models and build customer experience applications on top of that. It’s a complex, yet symbiotic relationship, and Adobe is attempting to pull all of it together in a single platform.

Posted Under: Tech News
Yes, Slack is down

Posted by on 29 July, 2019

This post was originally published on this site

Are your co-workers ignoring you? Welcome to my world! In your case, however, that is probably because Slack is currently down (as of about 11AM EST). According to its status page, some workspaces are experiencing issues with messages sending and loading.

Slack outage notice

Slack outage notice

We will update this post once the Slack outage is over.

/giphy so alone

Posted Under: Tech News
David and Goliath: Approaching the ‘deal’

Posted by on 26 July, 2019

This post was originally published on this site

It is a simple question with a complex answer. How does a startup get from zero to execution when negotiating contracts with potential customers that are large enterprises? The 800-pound gorillas. Situations in which your negotiating leverage is limited (often severely so).

As a commercial contracts attorney, clients often ask me about the one right way to approach deals. Many are looking for a cheat sheet of universal terms they should push for in contracts. But there is no one answer.

Deals are not cookie-cutter, and neither are the contracts on which they are built. That said, a basic framework can help provide startups with some grounding to better think about negotiations with large enterprises. The idea is to avoid over-lawyering, and instead approach the discussion with a legally prudent yet deal-centric mindset.

There are generally six overarching considerations as you head into negotiations with large, enterprise organizations.

Posted Under: Tech News
Emergence’s Jason Green joins TC Sessions: Enterprise this September

Posted by on 26 July, 2019

This post was originally published on this site

Picking winners from the herd of early-stage enterprise startups is challenging — so much competition, so many disruptive technologies, including mobile, cloud and AI. One investor who has consistently identified winners is Jason Green, founder and general partner at Emergence, and TechCrunch is very pleased to announce that he will join the investor panel at TC Sessions: Enterprise on September 5 at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco. He will join two other highly accomplished VCs, Maha Ibrahim, general partner at Canaan Partners and Rebecca Lynn, co-founder and general partner at Canvas Ventures. They will join TechCrunch’s Connie Loizos to discuss important trends in early-stage enterprise investments as well as the sectors and companies that have their attention. Green will also join us for the investor Q&A in a separate session.

Jason Green founded Emergence in 2003 with the aim of “looking around the corner, identifying themes and aiming to win big in the long run.” The firm has made 162 investments, led 64 rounds and seen 29 exits to date. Among the firm’s wins are Zoom, Box, Sage Intacct, ServiceMax, Box and SuccessFactors. Emergence has raised $1.4 billion over six funds.

Green is also the founding chairman of the Kauffman Fellow Program and a founding member of Endeavor. He serves on the boards of BetterWorks, Drishti, GroundTruth, Lotame, Replicon and SalesLoft.

Come hear from Green and these other amazing investors at TC Sessions: Enterprise by booking your tickets today — $249 early-bird tickets are still on sale for the next two weeks before prices go up by $100. Book your tickets here.

Startups, get noticed with a demo table at the conference. Demo tables come with four tickets to the show and prime exhibition space for you to showcase your latest enterprise technology to some of the most influential people in the business. Book your $2,000 demo table right here.

Posted Under: Tech News
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