TigerGraph raises $105M Series C for its enterprise graph database

Posted by on 17 February, 2021

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TigerGraph, a well-funded enterprise startup that provides a graph database and analytics platform, today announced that it has raised a $105 million Series C funding round. The round was led by Tiger Global and brings the company’s total funding to over $170 million.

“TigerGraph is leading the paradigm shift in connecting and analyzing data via scalable and native graph technology with pre-connected entities versus the traditional way of joining large tables with rows and columns,” said TigerGraph found and CEO, Yu Xu. “This funding will allow us to expand our offering and bring it to many more markets, enabling more customers to realize the benefits of graph analytics and AI.”

Current TigerGraph customers include the likes of Amgen, Citrix, Intuit, Jaguar Land Rover and UnitedHealth Group. Using a SQL-like query language (GSQL), these customers can use the company’s services to store and quickly query their graph databases. At the core of its offerings is the TigerGraphDB database and analytics platform, but the company also offers a hosted service, TigerGraph Cloud, with pay-as-you-go pricing, hosted either on AWS or Azure. With GraphStudio, the company also offers a graphical UI for creating data models and visually analyzing them.

The promise for the company’s database services is that they can scale to tens of terabytes of data with billions of edges. Its customers use the technology for a wide variety of use cases, including fraud detection, customer 360, IoT, AI, and machine learning.

Like so many other companies in this space, TigerGraph is facing some tailwind thanks to the fact that many enterprises have accelerated their digital transformation projects during the pandemic.

“Over the last 12 months with the COVID-19 pandemic, companies have embraced digital transformation at a faster pace driving an urgent need to find new insights about their customers, products, services, and suppliers,” the company explains in today’s announcement. “Graph technology connects these domains from the relational databases, offering the opportunity to shrink development cycles for data preparation, improve data quality, identify new insights such as similarity patterns to deliver the next best action recommendation.”

Posted Under: Tech News
Fictiv nabs $35M to build out the ‘AWS of hardware manufacturing’

Posted by on 17 February, 2021

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Hardware may indeed be hard, but a startup that’s built a platform that might help buck that idea by making hardware a little easier to produce has announced some more funding to continue building out its platform.

Fictiv, which positions itself as the “AWS of hardware”, providing a platform for those wanting to design and manufacture items, to easily evaluate and order the manufacturing, and subsequent movement of those goods, has raised $35 million.

It will be using the money to continue building out its platform and the supply chain that underpins Fictiv’s business, which the startup describes as the “Digital Manufacturing Ecosystem.”

David Evans, the CEO and founder, said that the focus of the company has been and will continue to be jobs that are highly specialised, and ultimately not mass-produced items, such as prototypes or objects that are specialised and by their nature not aimed at mass markets, such as particular medical devices.

“We are focused on 1,000 to 10,000,” he said in an interview. “This is the range where most products still die.”

The round — a Series D — is coming from a mix of strategic and financial investors. Led by 40 North Ventures, it also includes Honeywell, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp., Adit Ventures, and M20 (Microsoft’s strategic investment arm), as well as past backers Accel, G2VP, and Bill Gates.

The round brings the total raised by Fictiv to $92 million, and its valuation is not being disclosed

Evans said that the last couple of years since its previous round ($33 million raised in early 2019) have well and truly tested the business concept that he envisioned when first establishing the startup.

Even before the pandemic, “we had no idea what the trade wars between the U.S. and China would do.”

Quite abruptly, the supply chain got completely “crunched, with everything shut down” in China over those disputes, at which point, Fictiv shifted manufacturing to other parts of Asia such as India, and to the U.S. That ended up helping the company when the first wave of Covid-19 hit, initially in China.

Then came the global outbreak, and Fictiv found itself shifting yet again as plants shut down in the countries where it had recently opened. Then, with trade issues cooled down, Fictiv again reignited relationships and operations in China, where Covid had been contained early, to continue working there.

“I guess we were just in the right places at the right time,” he said.

The startup made its name early on with building prototypes for tech companies neighboring it in the Bay Area, startups build VR and other gadgets, with services that included injection molding, CNC machining, 3D printing and urethane casting, with customers using cloud-based software to design and order parts, which then were routed by Fictiv to the plants best suited to make them.

These days, while that business continues, Fictiv is also working with very large global multinationals on their efforts with smaller-scale manufacturing, products that are either new or unable to be tooled as efficiently in their existing factories.

Work that it does for Honeywell, for example, includes mostly hardware for its aerospace division. Medical devices and robotics are two other big areas for the company currently, it said.

But Evans and his investors are careful not to describe what they do as specifically industrial technology.

“Industrial tech is a misnomer. I think of this as digital transformation, cloud-based SaaS and AI,” said Marianne Wu, the MD of 40 North. “The baggage of industrial tech tells you everything about the opportunity.”

Fictiv’s pitch is that by taking on the supply-chain management of producing hardware for a business, it can produce hardware using its platform in a week, a process that might have previously taken 3 months to complete, which can mean lower costs and more efficiency.

“And when you speed up development, you see more products getting introduced,” he said.

There is still a lot of work to be done, however. One of the big sticking points in manufacturing has been the carbon footprint that it creates in production, and also in terms of the resulting goods that are produced.

That will likely become even more of an issue, if the Biden Administration follows through on its own commitments to reduce emissions and to lean more on companies to follow through for those ends.

Evans is all too aware of that issue and accepts that manufacturing may be one of the hardest to shift.

“Sustainability and manufacturing are not synonymous,” he admits. And while materials and manufacturing will take longer to evolve, for now, he said the focus has been on how to implement better private and public and carbon credits programs. He envisions a better market for carbon credits, he said, with Fictiv doing its part with the launch of its own tool for measuring this.

“Sustainability is ripe for disruption, and we hope to have the first carbon-neutral shipping program, giving customers better choice for more sustainability. It’s on the shoulders of companies like us to drive this.”

Posted Under: Tech News
Peak AI nabs $21M for a platform to help non-tech companies make AI-based decisions

Posted by on 17 February, 2021

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One of the biggest challenges for organizations in modern times is deciding where, when, and how to use the advances of technology, when the organizations are not technology companies themselves. Today, a startup out of Manchester, England, is announcing some funding for a platform that it believes can help.

Peak AI, which has built technology that it says can help enterprises — specifically those that work with physical products such as retailers, consumer goods companies, and manufacturing organizations — make better, AI-based evaluations and decisions, has closed a round of $21 million.

The Series B is being led by Oxx, with participation from past investors MMC Ventures and Praetura Ventures, as well as new backer Arete. It has raised $43 million to date and is not disclosing its valuation.

Richard Potter, the CEO who co-founded the company with Atul Sharma and David Leitch, said that the funding will be used to continue expanding the the functionality of its platform, adding offices in the U.S. and India, and growing its customer base.

Its list of clients today is an impressive one, including the retailer PrettyLittleThing, KFC, PepsiCo, Marshalls and Speedy Hire.

As Potter describes it, Peak identified its opportunity early on. It was founded in 2014, a time non-tech enterprises were just starting to grasp how the concept of AI could apply to their businesses but felt it was out of their reach.

Indeed, the larger landscape for AI services at that time was largely one focused on technology companies, specifically companies like Google, Amazon and Apple that were building AI products to power their own services, and often snapping up the most interesting talent in the field as it manifested through smaller startups and universities.

Peak’s basic premise was to build AI not as a business goal for itself but as a business service. Its platform sits within an organization and ingests any data source that a company might wish to feed into it.

While initial integration needs technical know-how — either at the company itself or via a systems integrator — using Peak day-to-day can be done by both technical and non-technical workers.

Peak says it can help answer a variety of questions that those people might have, such as how much of an item to produce, and where to ship it, based on a complex mix of sales data; how to manage stock better; or when to ramp up or ramp down headcount in a warehouse. The platform can also be used to help companies with marketing and advertising, figuring out how to better target campaigns to the right audiences, and so on.

Peak is not the first company that has seized on the concept of using a “general” AI to give non-tech organizations the same kinds of superpowers that the likes of big tech now use in their own businesses everyday.

Sometimes the ambition has outstripped the returns, however.

Witness Element AI, a highly-touted startup backed by a long list of top-shelf strategic and financial investors to build, essentially, an AI services business for non-tech companies to use as they might these days use Accenture. It never quite got there, though, and was acquired by ServiceNow last year at a devalued price of $500 million, the customer deals it had were wound down, and the tech was integrated into the bigger company’s stack.

Other efforts within hugely successful tech companies have not fared that well either.

“Einsten’s features are essentially useless, and you can quote me on that,” said Potter of Salesforce’s in-house CRM AI business. “Because it is too generic, it doesn’t predict anything useful.”

And that is perhaps the crux of why Peak AI is working for now: it has remained focused for now on a limited number of segments of the market, in particular those with physical objects as the end product, giving the AI that it has built a more targeted end point. In other words, it’s “general” but only for specific industries.

And it claims that this is paying off. Peak’s customers have reported a 5% increase in total company revenues, a doubling of return on advertising spend, a 12% reduction in inventory holdings, and a 5% reduction in supply chain costs, according to the company (although it doesn’t specify which companies, which products, or anything that points to who or what is being described).

“Richard and the excellent Peak team have a compelling vision to optimize entire businesses through Decision Intelligence and they’re delivering real-world benefits to a raft of household name customers already,” said Richard Anton, a general partner at Oxx, in a statement. “The pandemic has meant digitization is no longer a choice; it’s a requirement. Peak has made it easier for businesses to get started and see rapid results from AI-enabled decision making. We are delighted to support Peak on their way to becoming the category-defining global leader in Decision Intelligence.” Anton is joining the board with this round.

Posted Under: Tech News
vArmour the multi-cloud security startup, raises $58M en route to IPO

Posted by on 17 February, 2021

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Enterprises have been loading more of their operations into cloud — and, more often than not, multi-cloud — environments over the last year, creating vast networks of services that can be complex to manage. Today, vArmour, a startup that provides ways to manage in real time and ultimately secure how applications (and people) work in those fragmented environments is announcing funding to capitalize on the demand for its services.

The Bay Area startup has picked up funding of $58 million in what it described as an oversubscribed round. Co-led by previous backers AllegisCyber Capital and NightDragon, existing investors Standard Chartered Ventures, Highland Capital Partners, Australian carrier Telstra, Redline Capital, and EDBI also participated.

CEO Tim Eades (who co-founded the company with Roger Lian) said this round is likely to be its final fundraising ahead of an IPO for the company.

“We had one hell of a year in 2020 with companies rushing to the cloud,” he said in an interview, with net new annual recurring revenue doubing year over year in the last year. It started out, he noted, with perhaps 10% of business processes in the cloud, and ended at more like 50%. “Now the focus for us is to get to the public markets, maybe in two or 2.5 years from now.”

The company appointed a CFO last October as part of its go-public plan, he noted — Chris Dentiste, who previously had been the CFO of RSA. “His job is to help me find the right window. My job is to make sure we have enough fuel in the tank, and we do,” said Eades.

He added that the company is likely also to look at making some acquisitions in the meantime. A recent launch of an AI lab in Calgary, Canada, points to one area where we might see some activity.

The company is not disclosing its valuation, although Eades confirmed it was a significant up-round. We’re also double checking what the total raised to date is now too (we’ll update when we get that information).

For some context, in the last round of funding that we covered — a $44 million round in 2019 led by the same two investors — we mentioned a PitchBook estimate of $420 million from the previous round — a figure that the company did not dispute with us at the time.

vArmour has been around for several years, with the first three spent in stealth mode, quietly building its technology, raising money and amassing early customers. Those customers, Eades said, fall into categories like telecommunications (strategic backer Telstra being one of them), and financial services.

Those industries speak largely to the challenges that vArmour is addressing in its business.

Legacy businesses in critical verticals often pre-date the modern era of business, and while many of them are going through what enterprise people like to refer to as “digital transformation”, the evolution is not a smooth one.

In many cases, adopting new technologies can be slow, and in almost every case, when you are talking about large enterprises, the changes are very piecemeal, affecting one particular service, or region, or department, or even a subsection of any of those.

All of this means that for malicious actors, there are a number of options to tackle when setting out to look for vulnerabilities in a business or its network, and for those on the inside, it makes for a very complicated and fragmented situation when it comes to monitoring those networks and the services running on them, finding vulnerabilities or suspicious activity, and doing something about that. VArmour’s term that it uses for this is “Application Relationship Management.”

Eades — whose background includes working for the likes of IBM but also leading number of startups acquired by bigger technology giants — has first-hand understanding of how that complexity looks from both sides, from the end user end and from the service provider end. That is in essence what his company has identified and is trying to fix.

Having started out in managing application policies and providing insights to protect on that front, the company is expanding the range of tools that it provides with the recent launch of identity access management on top of that.

But that is likely to be just one of the product steps that it takes to tackle what remains a difficult problem to fix, as its growth is related not just to the growth of activity on a network, but further digital migration of services, and the rise of new technology within an organization’s stack.

(And that is also an area that vArmour is not alone in considering, or even the only approach to tackling it: consider yesterday’s news of Palo Alto Networks acquiring Bridgecrew to extend its own ability to provide automated security monitoring services to DevOps teams.)

“Managing risk and resiliency in the hybrid cloud is one of the most significant security challenges for enterprises,” said Bob Ackerman, Founder and Managing Director at AllegisCyber Capital, in a statement. “vArmour’s platform provides the visibility, controls, and accountability necessary to actively manage these challenges and has done this for hundreds of customers. We are ecstatic to be part of their next stage of growth.”

“As applications become more complex, more distributed, and more targeted by attackers, the importance of full visibility into the relationships between applications becomes increasingly important.” added Dave DeWalt, founder of NightDragon. “vArmour’s approach to application relationship management ensures that enterprises of all sizes can continuously audit, respond, and control identity relationships to best protect their important IP, and mitigate risk to the business.”

Posted Under: Tech News
Sinch acquires Inteliquent for $1.14B to take on Twilio in the US

Posted by on 17 February, 2021

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After raising $690 million from SoftBank in December to make acquisitions, the Sweden-based cloud communications company Sinch has followed through on its strategy in that department. Today the company announced that it is acquiring Inteliquent, an interconnection provider for voice communications in the U.S. currently owned by private equity firm GTCR, for $1.14 billion in cash.

And to finance the deal, Sinch said it has raised financing totaling SEK8.2 billion — $986 million — from Handelsbanken and Danske Bank, along with other facilities it had in place.

The deal will give Sinch — a competitor to Twilio with a range of messaging, calling and marketing (engagement) APIs for those building communications into their services in mobile apps and other services — a significant foothold in the U.S. market.

Inteliquent — a profitable company with 500 employees and revenues of $533 million, gross profit of $256 million, and Ebitda of $135 million in 2020 — claims to be one of the biggest voice carriers North America, serving both other service providers and enterprises. Its network connects to all the major telcos, covering 94% of the U.S. population, with more than 300 billion minutes of voice calls and 100 million phone numbers handled annually for customers.

Sinch is publicly traded in Sweden — where its market cap is current at $13 billion (just over 108 billion Swedish krona) — and the acquisition begs the question of whether the company plans to establish more of a financial presence in the U.S., for example with a listing there. We have asked the company what its next steps might be and will update this post as and when we learn more.

“Becoming a leader in the U.S. voice market is key to establish Sinch as the leading global cloud communications platform,” said Oscar Werner, Sinch CEO, in a statement. “Inteliquent serves the largest and most demanding voice customers in America with superior quality backed by a fully-owned network across the entire U.S.. Our joint strengths in voice and messaging provide a unique position to grow our business and power a superior customer experience for our customers.”

Inteliquent provides two main areas of service, Communications-Platform-as-Service (CPaaS) for API-based services to provide voice calling and phone numbers; and more legacy Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) products for telcos such as off-net call termination (when a call is handed off from one carrier to another) and toll-free numbers. These each account for roughly half of the total business although — unsurprisingly — the CPaaS business is growing at twice the rate of IaaS.

Its business, like many others focusing on services for people who are relying more on communications services as they are seeing each other in person less — saw a surge of use this past year, it said. (Revenues adjusted without Covid lift, it noted, would have been $499 million, so still healthy.)

Sinch is focused on delivering unparalleled customer experiences at scale and with the investors we have today, we believe we have the financial muscle for both extensive product development and M&A that is needed to take advantage of a consolidating global market as we continue building the leading CPaaS company,” Werner told TechCrunch over email.

As for Sinch, since spinning out from Rebtel in 2014 to take on the business of providing comunications tools to developers, it has been on an acquisition roll to bulk up its geographical reach and the services that it provides to those customers.

Deals have included, most recently, buying ACL in India for $70 million and SAP’s digital interconnect business for $250 million. The deals — combined with Twilio’s own acquisitions of companies like Sendgrid for $2 billion and last year’s Segment for $3.2 billon, speak both to the bigger trend of consolidation in the digital (API-based) communications space, as well as the huge value that is contained within it.

Inteliquent itself had been in private equity hands before this, controlled by GTCR based in Chicago, like Inteliquent itself. According to PitchBook, its most recent financing was a mezzanine loan from Oaktree Capital in 2018 for just under $19 million.

Interestingly, Inteliquent itself has been an investor in innovative communications startups, participating in a Series B for Zipwhip, a startup that is building better ways to integrate mobile messaging tools into landline services.

“We’re excited about the tremendous opportunities this combination unlocks, expanding the services we can provide to our customers. Combining our leading voice offering with Sinch’s global messaging capabilities truly positions us for leadership in the rapidly developing market for cloud communications“, comments Ed O’Hara, Inteliquent CEO, in a statement.

Posted Under: Tech News
The Series A deal that launched a near unicorn: Meet Accel’s Steve Loughlin and Ironclad’s Jason Boehmig

Posted by on 14 February, 2021

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The only people who truly understand a relationship are the ones who are in it. Luckily for us, we’re going to have a candid conversation with both parties in the relationship between Ironclad CEO and cofounder Jason Boehmig and his investor and board member Accel partner Steve Loughlin.

Loughlin led Ironclad’s Series A deal back in 2017, making it one of his first Series A deals after returning to Accel.

This episode of Extra Crunch Live goes down on Wednesday at 3pm ET/12pm PT, just like usual.

We’ll talk to the duo about how they met, what made them ‘choose’ each other, and how they’ve operated as a duo since. How they built trust, maintain honesty, and talk strategy are also on the table as part of the discussion.

Loughlin was an entrepreneur before he was an investor, founding RelateIQ (an Accel-backed company) in 2011. The company was acquired by Salesforce in 2014 for $390 million and later became Salesforce IQ. Loughlin then “came back home” to Accel in 2016, and has led investments in companies like Airkit, Ascend.io, Clockwise, Ironclad, Monte Carlo, Nines, Productiv, Split.io, and Vivun.

Not entirely unsurprising for a man who has dominated the legal tech sphere, Jason Boehmig is a California barred attorney who practiced law at Fenwick & West and was also an adjunct professor of law at Notre Dame Law School. Ironclad launched in 2014 and today the company has raised more than $180 million and, according to reports, is valued just under $1 billion.

Not only will we peel back the curtain on how this investor/founder relationship works, but we’ll also hear from these two tech leaders on their thoughts around bigger enterprise trends in the ecosystem.

Then, it’s time for the Pitch Deck Teardown. On each episode of Extra Crunch Live, we take a look at pitch decks submitted by the audience and our experienced guests give their live feedback. If you want to throw your hat pitch deck in the ring, you can hit this link to submit your deck for a future episode.

As with just about everything we do here at TechCrunch, audience members can also ask their own questions to our guests.

Extra Crunch Live has left room for you to network (you gotta network to get work, amirite?). Networking is open starting at 2:30pm ET/11:30am PT and stays open a half hour after the episode ends. Make a friend!

As a reminder, Extra Crunch Live is a members-only series that aims to give founders and tech operators actionable advice and insights from leaders across the tech industry. If you’re not an Extra Crunch member yet, what are you waiting for?

Loughlin and Boehmig join a stellar cast of speakers on Extra Crunch Live, including Lightspeed’s Gaurav Gupta and Grafana’s Raj Dutt, as well as Felicis’ Aydin Senkut and Guideline’s Kevin Busque. Extra Crunch members can catch every episode of Extra Crunch Live on demand right here.

You can find details for this episode (and upcoming episodes) after the jump below.

See you on Wednesday!

Posted Under: Tech News
Base Operations raises $2.2 million to modernize physical enterprise security

Posted by on 11 February, 2021

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Typically when we talk about tech and security, the mind naturally jumps to cybersecurity. But equally important, especially for global companies with large, multinational organizations, is physical security — a key function at most medium-to-large enterprises, and yet one that to date, hasn’t really done much to take advantage of recent advances in technology. Enter Base Operations, a startup founded by risk management professional Cory Siskind in 2018. Base Operations just closed their $2.2 million seed funding round and will use the money to capitalize on its recent launch of a street-level threat mapping platform for use in supporting enterprise security operations.

The funding, led by Good Growth Capital and including investors like Magma Partners, First In Capital, Gaingels and First Round Capital founder Howard Morgan, will be used primarily for hiring, as Base Operations looks to continue its team growth after doubling its employe base this past month. It’ll also be put to use extending and improving the company’s product and growing the startup’s global footprint. I talked to Siskind about her company’s plans on the heels of this round, as well as the wider opportunity and how her company is serving the market in a novel way.

“What we do at Base Operations is help companies keep their people in operation secure with ‘Micro Intelligence,’ which is street-level threat assessments that facilitate a variety of routine security tasks in the travel security, real estate and supply chain security buckets,” Siskind explained. “Anything that the chief security officer would be in charge of, but not cyber — so anything that intersects with the physical world.”

Siskind has firsthand experience about the complexity and challenges that enter into enterprise security since she began her career working for global strategic risk consultancy firm Control Risks in Mexico City. Because of her time in the industry, she’s keenly aware of just how far physical and political security operations lag behind their cybersecurity counterparts. It’s an often overlooked aspect of corporate risk management, particularly since in the past it’s been something that most employees at North American companies only ever encounter periodically when their roles involve frequent travel. The events of the past couple of years have changed that, however.

“This was the last bastion of a company that hadn’t been optimized by a SaaS platform, basically, so there was some resistance and some allegiance to legacy players,” Siskind told me. “However, the events of 2020 sort of turned everything on its head, and companies realized that the security department, and what happens in the physical world, is not just about compliance — it’s actually a strategic advantage to invest in those sort of services, because it helps you maintain business continuity.”

The COVID-19 pandemic, increased frequency and severity of natural disasters, and global political unrest all had significant impact on businesses worldwide in 2020, and Siskind says that this has proven a watershed moment in how enterprises consider physical security in their overall risk profile and strategic planning cycles.

“[Companies] have just realized that if you don’t invest [in] how to keep your operations running smoothly in the face of rising catastrophic events, you’re never going to achieve the profits that you need, because it’s too choppy, and you have all sorts of problems,” she said.

Base Operations addresses this problem by taking available data from a range of sources and pulling it together to inform threat profiles. Their technology is all about making sense of the myriad stream of information we encounter daily — taking the wash of news that we sometimes associate with “doom-scrolling” on social media, for instance, and combining it with other sources using machine learning to extrapolate actionable insights.

Those sources of information include “government statistics, social media, local news, data from partnerships, like NGOs and universities,” Siskind said. That data set powers their Micro Intelligence platform, and while the startup’s focus today is on helping enterprises keep people safe, while maintaining their operations, you can easily see how the same information could power everything from planning future geographical expansion, to tailoring product development to address specific markets.

Siskind saw there was a need for this kind of approach to an aspect of business that’s essential, but that has been relatively slow to adopt new technologies. From her vantage point two years ago, however, she couldn’t have anticipated just how urgent the need for better, more scalable enterprise security solutions would arise, and Base Operations now seems perfectly positioned to help with that need.

Posted Under: Tech News
Reduct.Video raises $4M to simplify video editing

Posted by on 11 February, 2021

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The team at Reduct.Video is hoping to dramatically increase the amount of videos created by businesses.

The startup’s technology is already used by customers including Intuit, Autodesk, Facebook, Dell, Spotify, Indeed, Superhuman and IDEO. And today, Reduct is announcing that it has raised a $4 million round led by Greylock and South Park Commons, with participation from Figma CEO Dylan Field, Hopin Chief Business Officer Armando Mann and former Twitter exec Elad Gil.

Reduct was founded by CEO Pabhas Pokharel and CTO Robert Ochshorn (both pictured above). Pokharel argued that despite the proliferation of streaming video platforms and social media apps on the consumer side, video remains “underutilized” in a business context, because it simply takes so much time to sort through video footage, much less edit it down into something watchable.

As Pokharel demonstrated for me, Reduct uses artificial intelligence, natural language processing and other technologies to simplify the process by automatically transcribing video footage (users can also pay for professional transcription), then tying that transcript to the video.

“The magic starts there: Once the transcription has been made, every single word is connected to the [corresponding] moment in the video,” he said.

Image Credits: Reduct.Video

That means editing a video is as simple as editing text. (I’ve taken advantage of a similar linkage between text and media in Otter, but Otter is focused on audio and I’ve treated it more as a transcription tool.) It also means you can search through hours of footage for every time a topic is mentioned, then organize, tag and share it.

Prabhas said that AI allows Reduct to simplify parts of the sorting and editing process, like understanding how different search terms might be related. But he doesn’t think the editing process will become fully automated — instead, he compared the product to an “Iron Man suit,” which makes a human editor more powerful.

He also suggested that this approach changes businesses’ perspective on video, and not just by making the editing process easier.

“Users on Reduct emphasize authenticity over polish, where it’s much more the content of the video that matters,” Prabhas said. He added that Reduct has been “learning from our customers” about what they can do with the product — user research teams can now easily organize and share hundreds of hours of user footage, while marketers can turn customer testimonials and webinars into short, shareable videos.

“Video has been so supply constrained, it’s crazy,” he continued. “There are all these use cases for asynchronous video that [companies] haven’t even bothered with.”

For example, he recalled one customer who said that she used to insist that team members attend a meeting even if there was only two minutes of it that they needed to hear. With Reduct, she can “give them that time back” and just share the parts they need.

 

Posted Under: Tech News
Intenseye raises $4M to boost workplace safety through computer vision

Posted by on 11 February, 2021

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Workplace injuries and illnesses cost the U.S. upwards of $250 billion each year, according to the Economic Policy Institute. ERA-backed startup Intenseye, a machine learning platform, has raised a $4 million seed round to try to bring that number way down in an economic and efficient way.

The round was co-led by Point Nine and Air Street Capital, with participation by angel investors from Twitter, Cortex, Fastly, and Even Financial.

Intenseye integrates with existing network-connected cameras within facilities and then uses computer vision to monitor employee health and safety on the job. This means that Intenseye can identify health and safety violations, from not wearing a hard hat to ignoring social distancing protocols and everything in between, in real time.

The service’s dashboard incorporates federal and local workplace safety laws, as well as an individual organization’s rules to monitor worker safety in real time. All told, the Intenseye platform can identify 30 different unsafe behaviors which are common within workplaces. Managers can further customize these rules using a drag-and-drop interface.

When a violation occurs and is spotted, employee health and safety professionals receive an alert immediately, by text or email, to resolve the issue.

Intenseye also takes the aggregate of workplace safety compliance within a facility to generate a compliance score and diagnose problem areas.

The company charges a base deployment fee and then on an annual fee based on the number of cameras the facility wants to use as Intenseye monitoring points.

Cofounder Sercan Esen says that one of the greatest challenges of the business is a technical one: Intenseye monitors workplace safety through computer vision to send EHS (employee health and safety) violation alerts but it also never analyzes faces or identifies individuals, and all video is destroyed on the fly and never stored with Intenseye.

The Intenseye team is made up of 20 people.

“Today, our team at Intenseye is 20% female and 80% male and includes 4 nationalities,” said Esen. “We have teammates with MSs in computer science and teammates who have graduated from high school.”

Diversity and inclusion among the team is critical at every company, but is particularly important at a company that builds computer vision software.

The company has moved to remote work in the wake of the pandemic and is using VR to build a virtual office and connect workers in a way that’s more immersive than Zoom.

Intenseye is currently deployed across 30 cities and will use the funding to build out the team, particularly in the sales and marketing departments, and deploy go-to-market strategies.

Posted Under: Tech News
These 3 enterprise deals show there’s plenty of action in smaller acquisitions

Posted by on 10 February, 2021

This post was originally published on this site

Since the start of the year, I’ve covered nine M&A deals already, the largest being Citrix buying Wrike for $2.25 billion. But not every deal involves a huge price tag. Today we are going to look at three smaller deals that show there is plenty of activity at the lower-end of the acquisition spectrum.

As companies look for ways to enhance their offerings, and bring in some talent at the same time, smaller acquisitions can provide a way to fill in the product road map without having to build everything in-house.

This gives acquiring companies additional functionality for a modest amount of cash. In smaller deals, we often don’t even get the dollar amount, although in one case today we did. If the deal isn’t large enough to have a material financial impact on a publicly traded company, they don’t have to share the price.

Let’s have a look at three such deals that came through in recent days.

Tenable buys Alsid

For starters, Tenable, a network security company that went public in 2018, bought French Active Directory security startup Alsid for $98 million. Active Directory, Microsoft’s popular user management tool, is also a target of hackers. If they can get a user’s credentials, it’s an easy way to get on the network and Alsid is designed to prevent that.

Security companies tend to enhance the breadth of their offerings over time and Alsid gives Tenable another tool and broader coverage across their security platform. “We view the acquisition of Alsid as a natural extension into user access and permissioning. Once completed, this acquisition will be a strategic complement to our Cyber Exposure vision to help organizations understand and reduce cyber risk across the entire attack surface,” according to the investor FAQ on this acquisition.

Emmanuel Gras, CEO and co-founder, Alsid says he started the company to prevent this kind of attack. “We started Alsid to help organizations solve one of the biggest security challenges, an unprotected Active Directory, which is one of the most common ways for threat actors to move laterally across enterprise systems,” Gras said in a statement.

Alsid is based in Paris and was founded in 2014. It raised a modest amount, approximately $15,000, according to Crunchbase data.

Copper acquires Sherlock

Copper, a CRM tool built on top of the Google Workspace, announced it has purchased Sherlock, a customer experience platform. They did not share the purchase price.

The pandemic pushed many shoppers online and providing a more customized experience by understanding more about your customer can contribute to and drive more engagement and sales. With Sherlock, the company is getting a tool that can help Copper users understand their customers better.

“Sherlock is an innovative engagement analytics and scoring platform, and surfaces your prospects’ and customers’ intentions in a way that drives action for sales, account management and customer success professionals,” Copper CEO Dennis Fois wrote in a blog post announcing the deal.

He added, “Relationships are based on engagement, and with Sherlock we are going to create CRM that is focused on action and momentum.”

RapidAPI snags Paw

It’s clear that APIs have changed the way we think about software development, but they have also created a management problem of their own as they proliferate across large organizations. RapidAPI, an API management platform, announced today that it has acquired Paw.

With Paw, RapidAPI adds the ability to design your own APIs, essentially giving customers a one-stop shop for everything related to creating and managing the API environment inside a company. “The acquisition enables RapidAPI to extend its open API platform across the entire API development lifecycle, creating a connected experience for developers from API development to consumption, across multiple clouds and gateways,” the company explained in a statement.

RapidAPI was founded in 2015 and has raised over $67 million, according to Crunchbase data. Its most recent funding came last May, a $25 million round from Andreessen Horowitz, DNS Capital, Green Bay Ventures, M12 (Microsoft’s Venture Fund) and Grove.

Each of these purchases fills an important need for the acquiring company and expands the abilities of the existing platform to offer more functionality to customers without putting out a ton of cash to do it.

Posted Under: Tech News
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