Category Archives: Tech News

Where top VCs are investing in open source and dev tools (Part 2 of 2)

Posted by on 5 February, 2020

This post was originally published on this site

In part two of a survey that asks top VCs about exciting opportunities in open source and dev tools, we dig into responses from 10 leading open-source-focused investors at firms that span early to growth stage across software-specific firms, corporate venture arms and prominent generalist firms.

In the conclusion to our survey, we’ll hear from:

These responses have been edited for clarity and length.

Where top VCs are investing in open source and dev tools (Part 1 of 2)

Posted by on 5 February, 2020

This post was originally published on this site

The once-polarizing world of open-source software has recently become one of the hotter destinations for VCs.

As the popularity of open source increases among organizations and developers, startups in the space have reached new heights and monstrous valuations.

Over the past several years, we’ve seen surging open-source companies like Databricks reach unicorn status, as well as VCs who cashed out behind a serious number of exits involving open-source and dev tool companies, deals like IBM’s Red Hat acquisition or Elastic’s late-2018 IPO. Last year, the exit spree continued with transactions like F5 Networks’ acquisition of NGINX and a number of high-profile acquisitions from mainstays like Microsoft and GitHub.

Similarly, venture investment in new startups in the space has continued to swell. More investors are taking shots at finding the next big payout, with annual invested capital in open-source and dev tool startups increasing at a roughly 10% compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) over the last five years, according to data from Crunchbase. Furthermore, attractive returns in the space seem to be adding more fuel to the fire, as open-source and dev tool startups saw more than $2 billion invested in the space in 2019 alone, per Crunchbase data.

As we close out another strong year for innovation and venture investing in the sector, we asked 18 of the top open-source-focused VCs who work at firms spanning early to growth stages to share what’s exciting them most and where they see opportunities. For purposes of length and clarity, responses have been edited and split (in no particular order) into part one and part two of this survey. In part one of our survey, we hear from:

Calling all cosmic startups – pitch at TechCrunch’s space event in LA

Posted by on 5 February, 2020

This post was originally published on this site

Founders – it’s time to shoot for the stars. For the first time ever, TechCrunch is hosting a brand new event TC Sessions: Space on June 25th in Los Angeles. But that’s not all, because on June 24th TechCrunch will host a Pitch Night exclusively for early stage space startups.

Yep, that’s right. On top of a packed programming day with fireside chats, breakout sessions and Q&As featuring the top experts and game changers in space, TechCrunch will select 10 startups focused on any aspect of space – whether you’re launching rockets, building the next big satellite constellation, translating space-based data into usable insights or even building a colony on the Moon. If your company is all about the new space startup race, and you are early stage, please apply. 

Step 1: Apply to pitch by May 15th. TechCrunch’s editorial team will review all applications and select 10 companies. Founders will be notified by June 7th.  

You’ll pitch your startup at a private event in front of TechCrunch editors, main-stage speakers and industry experts. Our panel of judges will select five finalists to pitch on stage at TC Sessions: Space. 

You will be pitching your startup to the most prestigious, influential and expert industry leaders, and you’ll get video coverage on TechCrunch, too! And the final perk? Each of the 10 startup teams selected for the Pitch Night will be given two free tickets to attend TC Sessions: Space 2020. Shoot your shot – apply here.

Even if you’re not necessarily interested in pitching, grab your ticket for a front-row seat to this event for the early-bird price of $349. If you are interested in bringing a group of five or more from your company, you’ll get an automatic 20% discount. We even have discounts for the government/military, nonprofit/NGOs and students currently attending university. Grab your tickets at these reduced rates before prices increase.

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at TC Sessions: Space 2020? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.

Aiven raises $40M to democratize access to open source projects through managed cloud services

Posted by on 5 February, 2020

This post was originally published on this site

The growing ubiquity of open source software has been a big theme in the evolution of enterprise IT. But behind that facade of popularity lies another kind of truth: companies may be interested in using more open-source technology, but since there is a learning curve with taking on an source project, not all of them have the time, money and expertise to adopt it. Today, a startup out of Finland that has built a platform specifically to target that group of users is announcing a big round of funding, underscoring not just demand for its products but its growth to date.

Aiven — which provides managed, cloud based services designed to make it easier for businesses to build services on top of open source projects — is today announcing that it has raised $40 million in funding, a Series B being led by IVP (itself a major player in enterprise software, backing an illustrious list that includes Slack, Dropbox, Datadog, GitHub and HashiCorp).

Previous investors Earlybird VC, Lifeline Ventures and the family offices of Risto Siilasmaa, chairman of Nokia, and Olivier Pomel, founder of Datadog, also participated. The deal brings the total raised by Aiven to $50 million.

Oskari Saarenmaa, the CEO of Aiven who co-founded the company with Hannu Valtonen, Heikki Nousiainen and Mika Eloranta, said in an interview that the company is not disclosing its valuation at this time, but it comes in the wake of some big growth for the company.

It now has 500 companies as customers, including Atlassian, Comcast, OVO Energy and Toyota, and over the previous two years it doubled headcount and tripled its revenues.

“We are on track to do better than that this year,” Saarenmaa added.

It’s a surprising list, given the size of some of those companies. Indeed, Saarenmaa even said that originally he and the co-founders — who got the idea for the startup by first building such implementations for previous employers, which included Nokia and F-Secure — envisioned much smaller organisations using Aiven.

But in truth, the actual uptake speaks not just to the learning curve of open source projects, but to the fact that even if you do have the talent to work with these, it makes more sense to apply that talent elsewhere and use implementations that have been tried and tested.

The company today provides services on top of eight different open source projects — Apache Kafka, PostgreSQL, MySQL, Elasticsearch, Cassandra, Redis, InfluxDB and Grafana — which cover a variety of basic functions, from data streams to search and the handling of a variety of functions that involve ordering and manage vast quantities of data. It works across big public clouds including Google, Azure, AWS, Digital Ocean and more.

The company is running two other open source technologies in beta — M3 and Flink — which will also soon be added on general release, and the plan will be to add a few more over time, but only a few.

“We may want to have something to help with analytics and data visualisation,” Saarenmaa said, “but we’re not looking to become a collection of different open source databases. We want to provide the most interesting and best to our customers. The idea is that we are future-proofing. If there is an interesting technology that comes up and starts to be adopted, our users can trust it will be available on Aiven.”

He says that today the company does not — and has no plans to — position itself as a system integrator or consultancy around open source technologies. The work that it does do with customers, he said, is free and tends to be part of its pre- and after-sales care.

One primary use of the funding will be to expand its on-the-ground offices in different geographies — Aiven has offices in Helsinki, Berlin and Sydney today — with a specific focus on the US, in order to be closer to customers to continue to do precisely that.

But sometimes the mountain comes to Mohamed, so to speak. Saarenmaa said that he was first introduced to IVP at Slush, an annual tech conference in Helsinki held in November, and the deal came about quickly after that introduction.

“The increasing adoption of open-source infrastructure software and public cloud usage are among the incredibly powerful trends in enterprise technology and Aiven is making it possible for customers of all sizes to benefit from the advantages of open source infrastructure,“ Eric Liaw, a general partner at IVP, said in a statement.

“In addition to their market potential and explosive yet capital-efficient growth, we were most impressed to hear from customer after customer that ‘Aiven just works.’ The overwhelmingly positive feedback from customers is a testament to their hiring practices and the strong engineering team they have built. We’re thrilled to partner with Aiven’s team and help them build their vision of a single open-source data cloud that serves the needs of customers of all sizes.”

Liaw is joining the board with this round.

Clear gets $13M Series A to build high-volume transaction system on the blockchain

Posted by on 5 February, 2020

This post was originally published on this site

Clear is an early stage startup with a big ambition. It wants to build a blockchain for high-volume transaction systems like payments between telcos. Today it announced a $13 million Series A investment.

The round was led by Eight Roads with participation from Telefónica Innovation Ventures, Telekom Innovation Pool of Deutsche Telekom, HKT and Singtel Innov8.

That the strategic investors were telcos is not a coincidence. The early use case for Clear’s blockchain transaction network involves moving payments between worldwide telcos, a system that today is highly manual and prone to errors.

Clear co-founder and CEO Gal Hochberg says what his company does is to take commercial contracts and turn them into digital representations, often known in digital ledger terms as a smart contract.

“What that lets us do is create a trusted view of the true status of the relationship within the company’s business partners because they’re now looking at the same pricing and usage. They can find any issues in real time, either in commercial information or in service delivery, and they can even actually resolve those inside our platform,” Hochberg explained.

By putting these high-volume, cross-border transactions onto the blockchain with these smart contracts to act as automated enforcer of the terms, it means that instead of waiting until the end of the month to find errors and begin a resolution process, this can be done in real time, reducing time to payment and speeding up conflict resolution.

“We use blockchain technology to create those interactions in ways that it is auditable, cryptographically secure and ensures that both sides are synced and seeing the same information,” Hochberg said.

For starters, the company is working with worldwide telco companies because the number of transactions, and the way they cross borders make this a good test case, but Hochberg says this only the starting point. They are not in full-blown production yet, but he says they have proven they can process hundreds of millions of billable events.

The money should help the company get into full carrier grade production some time in the first half of this year, and then begin to expand into other verticals beyond telcos with the help of today’s investment.

Layoffs hit another Softbank co as $3.2B Flexport cuts 50

Posted by on 4 February, 2020

This post was originally published on this site

Fearing weak fundraising options in the wake of the WeWork implosion, late stage startups are tightening their belts. The latest is another Softbank-funded company, joining Zume Pizza (80% of staff laid off), Wag (80%+),  Fair (40%), Getaround (25%), Rappi (6%), and Oyo (5%) that have all cut staff to slow their burn rate and reduce their funding needs. Freight forwarding startup Flexport that is laying off 3% of its global staff.

“We’re restructuring some parts of our organization to move faster and with greater clarity and purpose. With that came the difficult decision to part ways with around 50 employees” a Flexport spokesperson tells TechCrunch after we asked today if it had seen layoffs like its peers.

Flexport CEO Ryan Petersen

Flexport had raised a $1 billion Series D led by SoftBank at a $3.2 billion valuation a year ago, bringing it to $1.3 billion in funding. The company helps move shipping containers full of goods between manufacturers and retailers using digital tools unlike its old-school competitors.

“We underinvested in areas that help us serve clients efficiently, and we over-invested in scaling our existing process, when we actually needed to be agile and adaptable to best serve our clients, especially in a year of unprecedented volatility in global trade” the spokesperson explained.

Flexport still had a record year, working with 10,000 clients to finance and transport goods. The shipping industry is so huge that it’s still only the seventh largest freight forwarder on its top Trans-Pacific Eastbound leg. The massive headroom for growth plus its use of software to coordinate supply chains and optimize routing is what attracted SoftBank.

Flexport Dashboard

The Flexboard Platform dashboard offers maps, notifications, task lists, and chat for Flexport clients and their factory suppliers.

But many late-stage startups are worried about where they’ll get their next round after taking huge sums of cash from SoftBank at tall valuations. As of November, SoftBank had only managed to raise about $2 billion for its Vision Fund 2 despite plans for a total of $108 billion, Bloomberg reported. LPs were partially spooked by SoftBank’s reckless investment in WeWork. Further layoffs at its portfolio companies could further stoke concerns about entrusting it with more cash.

Unless growth stage startups can cobble together enough institutional investors to build big rounds, or other huge capital sources like sovereign wealth funds materialize for them, they might not be able to raise enough to keep rapidly burning. Those that can’t reach profitability or find an exit may face down-rounds that can come with onerous terms, trigger talent exodus death spirals, or just not provide enough money.

Flexport has managed to escape with just 3% layoffs for now. Being proactive about cuts to reach sustainability may be smarter than gambling that one’s business or the funding climate with suddenly improve. But while other SoftBank startups had to spend tons to edge out direct competitors or make up for weak on-demand service margins, Flexport at least has a tried and true business where incumbents have been asleep at the wheel.

Does Asana’s planned direct listing reveal the company’s true value?

Posted by on 4 February, 2020

This post was originally published on this site

Hello and welcome back to our regular morning look at private companies, public markets and the gray space in between.

Asana, a well-known workplace productivity company, announced yesterday it has filed privately to go public. The San Francisco-based company is well-funded, having raised more than $200 million; well-known, due in part to its tech-famous founding duo; and valuable, having last raised at a $1.5 billion valuation.

Each of those factors — plus the fact that Asana is going public — makes the company worth exploring, but its plans to offer a direct listing instead of a traditional initial public offering make it irresistible.

Today, we’ll rewind through Asana’s fundraising and valuation history. Then, we’ll mix in what we know about its financial performance, growth rates and capital efficiency to see how much we can tell about the company as we count down to its public S-1 filing. The Asana flotation is going to be big news, so let’s get all our facts and figures straightened out.

Valuations and revenue

Chargebee offers free subscription billing to Extra Crunch members for up to $100K in revenue

Posted by on 4 February, 2020

This post was originally published on this site

Extra Crunch is excited to announce a new community perk from automated subscription billing startup Chargebee. Starting today, annual and two-year members of Extra Crunch can receive free subscription invoicing until $100,000 in revenue is reached. You must be new to Chargebee to claim this offer.

Chargebee helps you succeed with subscription billing. Chargebee replaces in-house billing systems and spreadsheets by giving teams the ability to set up subscription plans and trials, run pricing experiments at scale, analyze accurate subscription analytics and much more, out of the box. 

Chargebee integrates with payment gateways like Stripe, Braintree and PayPal and business applications such as Xero, QuickBooks and Salesforce. You can learn more about the benefits of Chargebee here.  

You can sign up for Extra Crunch and claim this deal here.

Extra Crunch is a membership program from TechCrunch that features how-tos and interviews on company building, intelligence on the most disruptive opportunities for startups, an experience on TechCrunch.com that’s free of banner ads, discounts on TechCrunch events, and several community perks like the one mentioned in this article. Our goal is to democratize information for startups, and we’d love to have you join our community.

Sign up for Extra Crunch here.

New annual and two-year Extra Crunch members will receive details on how to claim the perk in the welcome email. The welcome email is sent after signing up for Extra Crunch. If you are already an annual or two-year Extra Crunch member, you will receive an email with the offer at some point over the next 24 hours. If you are currently a monthly Extra Crunch subscriber and want to upgrade to annual in order to claim this deal, head over to the “account” section on TechCrunch.com and click the “upgrade” button.  

This is one of several community perks we’ve launched for annual Extra Crunch members. Other community perks include a 20% discount on TechCrunch events, 100,000 Brex rewards points upon credit card sign up and an opportunity to claim $1,000 in AWS credits. For a full list of perks from partners, head here.

If there are other community perks you want to see us add, please let us know by emailing travis@techcrunch.com.

Sign up for an annual Extra Crunch membership today to claim this community perk. You can purchase an annual Extra Crunch membership here.

Disclosure:

This offer is provided as a partnership between TechCrunch and Chargebee, but it is not an endorsement from the TechCrunch editorial team. TechCrunch’s business operations remain separate to ensure editorial integrity.  

Koch Industries acquires Infor in deal pegged at nearly $13B

Posted by on 4 February, 2020

This post was originally published on this site

Infor announced today that Koch Industries has bought the company in a deal sources peg at close to $13 billion.

Infor, which makes large-scale cloud ERP software, has been around since 2002 and counts Koch as both a customer and an investor, so the deal makes sense on that level. Koch was lead investor last year in a $1.5 billion investment where the company indicated that it was a step before going public.

It’s not clear if that is still the goal, as sources suggested that staying private might provide the company with more capital flexibility in the future. Daniel Newman, founder and principal analyst at Futurum Research, says staying private longer could benefit Infor in the long run.

“There have been thoughts of an IPO, but remaining private should give the company flexibility without the quarterly pressure to refine its strategy, make necessary investments in the platform and achieve the growth rates that would make the company more of an exciting IPO,” he said.

Under the terms of the deal, Koch will be buying out the remaining equity stake in Golden Gate Capital, a secondary investor in last year’s investment. The company’s management team will remain in place and Infor will act as a stand-alone subsidiary of Koch.

Company CEO Kevin Samuleson, as you would expect, saw the deal as a positive move that allowed the company to operate with a well capitalized parent behind it. “As a subsidiary of a $110 billion+ revenue company that re-invests 90% of earnings back into its businesses, we will be in the unique position to drive digital transformation in the markets we serve,” he said in a statement.

Jim Hannan, executive vice president and CEO of enterprises for Koch Industries saw it similarly with Koch’s deep pockets helping to propel Infor in the future. “As a global organization spanning multiple industries across 60 countries, Koch has the resources, knowledge and relationships to help Infor continue to expand its transformative capabilities,” he said in a statement.

Holger Mueller, an analyst at Constellation Research, says it’s a strange deal on its face, but if Koch leaves Infor alone, it might work out. “When you think you have seen it all, something new comes along: A regular enterprise buys a top five ERP vendor. Now [we’ll have to see] if Koch can ensure Infor keeps building market leading software, using Koch as showcase, or becomes the Koch software affiliate.

“The latter would be an unfortunate outcome. On the positive side, enterprise software built from real user validation, that can also serve as a reference, can be very powerful,” Mueller told TechCrunch. He said it could work out great, but also has the potential to go very wrong, depending on how Koch manages a software asset.

Infor is a huge company. As we reported last year at the time of its investment:

Infor may be the largest company you never heard of, with more than 17,000 employees and 68,000 customers in more than 100 countries worldwide. All of those customers generated $3 billion in revenue in 2018. That’s a significant presence.

Emerge raises $20M to take its digital freight marketplace for truckers up a gear

Posted by on 4 February, 2020

This post was originally published on this site

Trucking is currently the most popular mode of transporting freight in the US, accounting for around $12.5 billion of the $17 billion freight market, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. But with thousands of small and single-vehicle operators and legacy (often paper-based) systems underpinning communications, it’s also one of the most inefficient.

Now, there are signs that this is changing. A startup out of Phoenix, Arizona called Emerge, which has built a  platform to for shippers and brokers to find and allocate truck freight more effectively across the long tail of available truck-based carriers (a little like a Flexport but for trucks), is announcing a round of $20 million, funding it will use to continue building out its technology, as well as to keep expanding business.

The funding — led by NewRoad Capital Partners, with previous investors Greycroft and 9Yards Capital also participating — comes on the heels of some already-strong traction for Emerge. Since being founded in 2018 by brothers Andrew and Michael Leto, the company has processed more than $1 billion in freight with 1,500% year-over-year growth between 2018 and 2019. We understand that the company’s valuation is currently at over $100 million. 

Some of its traction so far is down to the founders. Both are vets of the trucking industry whose previous company, a multimodal shipment visibility/supply chain solutions platform called 10-4, sold to Trimble in a $400 million deal. And some of that is down to the gap in the market that Emerge is filling.

“Gap” is actually the operative word here. How shipments are booked on trucks today is quite inefficient, with orders often leaving empty spaces on truck beds that could be filled with goods going in the same direction; and in about 20% of all journeys carrying no load at all.

Part of the reason for this is the antiquated way that shippers book space on trucks, and part of the reason is because there is just simply too much fragmentation in the system, with 80% of all shipments today contract-based and the remaining 20% operating as a “spot market” and booked on the fly, and neither of them particularly efficient when it comes to truck occupancy. (Most of the latter spot market is booked through spreadsheets and email, Michael Leto, the CEO, said in an interview.)

Emerge’s solution is something of a stick-and-carrot approach that reminds me a little also of how advertising exchanges work.

A shipper that wants to use the Emerge platform essentially activates/lists its entire inventory of truck providers on the platform to get started. That list and inventory, in turn, become part of a bigger database of other providers: and again, this is a long-tail approach, with typically the trucking companies on the platform having no more than 200 trucks (and often less) in their fleets.

Then, when a shipper goes to Emerge to book a shipment, options are provided that might include previous truckers, but might also include others. The idea is that this provides a more efficient picture, and that in turn gets passed on as cost savings to the customers, who can typically reduce shipping costs by as much as 20% using the platform.

If the cost savings and expanded choice are the carrots, the stick comes in the form of the requirement to upload truck data and share it with other shippers: you can’t use the system without doing it.

“But it’s a network effect,” Leto explained when I asked if there was ever resistance to the model. “We allow these companies to share capacity to drive efficiencies, and to drive and lower costs with less deadhead miles. There are a lot of benefits to capacity sharing.” It doesn’t seem to have deterred too many. There are currently some 30,000 carrier profiles the platform, and 12,000  transportation entities — including carriers, brokers, or other shippers — transacted in Q4 alone, speaking to activity on the platform being strong. 

Emerge is not the only company that has identified the opportunity in providing a better and more updated platform to communicate and book space in the fragmented truck market. Sennder out of Berlin — which last year raised a sizeable round of funding — has also built a platform to centralise communications around booking shipments. It, however, seems to have less of an emphasis on encouraging shippers to take the lead in expanding that network effect that Leto describes.

Others that are tackling the wider shipping and logistics market and trying to improve how it runs include Sendy out of Kenya, which recently also announced a $20 million raise; Flexport, which now has a $3.2 billion valuation; Zencargo, which has also raised $20 million; and FreightHub ($30 million); Bringg ($25 million) and NEXT ($97 million).

But within that, Emerge’s performance so far, coupled with the Leto brothers’ history as founders, are giving the startup some extra mileage as we enter the next phase of what trucking might hold, which could include a critical mass of autonomous and electric vehicles on pre-defined routes.

“Uniquely, Emerge combines an exciting new technology designed to serve existing, unmet market need with experienced industry operators and entrepreneurs,” said Tracy Black of NewRoad in a statement. “Andrew and Michael are building the most innovative marketplace we’ve seen in the freight and digital marketplace industry — bringing contracts and carriers together to create new capacity. We are excited to be leading their Series A and I am thrilled to join the board to support their growth,”.

Page 3 of 8212345...102030...Last »

Social Media

Bulk Deals

Subscribe for exclusive Deals

Recent Post

Archives

Facebook

Twitter

Subscribe for exclusive Deals




Copyright 2015 - InnovatePC - All Rights Reserved

Site Design By Digital web avenue