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
CrunchMatch simplifies networking at TC Sessions: Enterprise 2019

Posted by on 25 July, 2019

This post was originally published on this site

Get ready to experience world-class networking TechCrunch-style at TC Sessions: Enterprise 2019. On September 5, more than 1,000 of the top enterprise software minds and makers, movers and shakers will descend on San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. It’s a day-long conference featuring distinguished speakers, panel discussions, demos and workshops.

It’s also a prime opportunity to connect and build relationships with enterprise software founders, technologists and investors. Make the most of that opportunity by using CrunchMatch, our free business match-making service.

The automated platform lets you find people based on specific mutual business criteria, goals and interests. It helps you sift through the noise and make the most of your valuable time. After all, connecting with the right people produces better results.

Here’s how CrunchMatch (powered by Brella) works. When CrunchMatch goes live — several weeks before the main event — we’ll email a sign-up link to all ticket holders. You’ll be able to access the platform and create a profile with your specific details — your role (technologist, founder, investor, etc.) and a description of the types of people you want to connect with at the event.

CrunchMatch works its algorithmic magic and suggests meetings, which you can then vet, approve and schedule or decline. It’s an efficient and productive way to network. Take a look at how CrunchMatch helped Yoolox increase distribution.

All that time-saving efficiency will free you up to enjoy more of the presentations and hear from speakers like the renowned founder, investor, AI expert and Stanford professor, Andrew Ng. You won’t want to miss his take on how AI will transform the enterprise world — like nothing else since the cloud and SaaS. And that’s just a taste of what you can expect.

If you haven’t already done so, buy your tickets now and save $100 before the prices go up on August 9. Early-bird tickets cost $249 and student tickets sell for $75. Buy 4+ tickets to get the group rate and save another 20%.

ROI tip: For every ticket you buy to TC Sessions: Enterprise, we’ll register you for a free Expo-only pass to TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2019.

We can’t wait to see you at TC Sessions: Enterprise 2019 in San Francisco on September 5. Join your community, explore the top enterprise trends and companies and make productive connections with the influential people who can help you reach your goals. Buy your ticket today.

Interested in sponsoring TC Sessions: Enterprise? Fill out this form and a member of our sales team will contact you.

Posted Under: Tech News
Nearly a third of U.S. households don’t have a broadband connection

Posted by on 25 July, 2019

This post was originally published on this site

Over the past several years, many have suggested that broadband internet should be regarded as public utility, like water or gas. Staying connected has become an essential part of nearly every facet of of life, but according to a new report, high speed connections may not be as prevalent here in the States as you may think.

In its new Rural America and Technology study, NPD notes that 31 percent of U.S. households don’t have broadband (25Mbps downloads and up) internet connections. The number works out to roughly 100 million per the report. That figure, unsurprisingly, is highly concentrated in rural areas — less than one-fifth of that population has a broadband connection.

While broadband was considered something of a luxury in the not so distant past, it’s grown in an increasingly essential aspect of modern existence, from work to health to entertainment. The concentration of access to the technology in urban vs. rural areas has been a major aspect in what analysts have referred to as the “digital divide.” Rural areas make up nearly 97 percent of the total U.S. land.

On the upside, the report suggests that 5G could have a profound impact on those numbers. “The roll out of 5G will have a significant impact in rural America, disrupting the limited broadband carrier market and delivering broadband to many households that have not previously had access,” NPD’s Eddie Hold said in a statement released with the report. “This will inevitably provide an opportunity for manufacturers and retailers to reach new consumers with advanced devices.”

Given the speed and spottiness with which the technology has been rolled out thus far, however, coupled with the high prices of first-generation handsets, however, it will likely take several years before that comes to pass.

Posted Under: Tech News
Airbud raises $4 million to add a voice interface to your website

Posted by on 25 July, 2019

This post was originally published on this site

Amazon’s Alexa ushered in a new dawn of user interfaces, bringing voice into the mix as a viable option. Dozens of companies have sprouted because of this, not least of which being Airbud.io.

Airbud allows any company to add a voice interface to its website. The company just closed a $4 million round led by Hanaco Ventures, with participation from ERA and Spider Capital.

Airbud was cofounded by Israel Krush, Uri Valevski, and Rom Cohen after the team saw the growth of voice interfaces and wondered how to capitalize on it.

By allowing companies to add voice/chat bot utility to their websites, Airbud hopes to increase retention of end-users on sites and give them easier access to the information they’re looking for. Krush says that Airbud is focusing on websites that you have to be on, rather than the ones you want to be on.

That means Airbud clients are mostly in the healthcare space and travel space, helping end-users find a physician or book a flight using their voice.

Most importantly, Airbud operates on a plug and play system, meaning that clients don’t have to do the usual heavy lifting involved in creating a chat bot. Most of the time, folks who implement chatbots have to build a conversation tree. Airbud uses existing information scraped from the website, paired with an easy plug-and-play system for clients, to automatically build out a knowledge graph and have conversations with end-users.

Airbud charges based on the number of indexed pages and traffic to those pages.

The company plans to use the funding to double the size of its team from seven to 15.

Posted Under: Tech News
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