In the cloud era, building on platforms you don’t own is normal

This post is by Ron Miller from Fundings & Exits – TechCrunch

When Salesforce launched in 2007, it was the culmination of years of work to bring together a way to customize Salesforce and eventually to build applications on top of the platform. By using a set of Salesforce services, companies could take advantage of work that SFDC had already done, speeding up building time and reducing time to market. Today, the successor of is called Salesforce Platform.

But going that route didn’t come without some risk, because back in 2007 building atop a Platform as a Service (PaaS) wasn’t a common way of developing software. Even by 2012 when nCino launched its banking software solutions on, it likely raised some eyebrows by using a cloud platform as the backbone of its fintech offering.

Even though it probably took resolve, the approach worked, as evidenced this week when nCino went public — a debut that was met with a strong investor response. And nCino is notably not the first time that a company built atop Salesforce’s PaaS has gone public; nCino’s own IPO follows Veeva’s 2013 debut.

But astute observers for the Salesforce ecosystem will note that other successful companies have been built on the Salesforce cloud. As you will see, many successful companies have benefited from building on top of Salesforce.

Why growing uncertainty in VC will separate ‘pretenders from contenders’ – Triangle Business Journal

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Why growing uncertainty in VC will separate ‘pretenders from contenders’  Triangle Business Journal

The Early Stage Founder’s Reading List

This post is by Tribeca Venture Partners from Tribeca Venture Partners

Our TVP Founders tell us there are so many lessons in entrepreneurship, and they’re continuously learning as they build. They gain insights from board members, advisers, and other entrepreneurs, and find that a good book or whitepaper always helps. In the spirit of sharing lessons with early-stage founders, we reviewed some of the best books on management, leadership, and entrepreneurship to offer our take on The Early Stage Founder’s Reading List. While this list is by no means comprehensive (we saved some titles for the next update), it is a good place to start putting yourself into the mindset of an entrepreneur.

Founders at Work: Stories of Startups’ Early Days by Jessica Livingston 

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t by Jim Collins 

Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life by Nir Eyal 

Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t by Simon Sinek 

Onward: How Starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing Its Soul by Howard Schultz 

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell 

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey

The Founder’s Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup by Noam Wasserman 

The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz 

The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries 

PPP recipients include startups that have raised plenty of cash before – Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal

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PPP recipients include startups that have raised plenty of cash before  Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal

As VCs favor B2B startups, B2C upstarts’ venture activity falls – TechCrunch

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As VCs favor B2B startups, B2C upstarts’ venture activity falls  TechCrunch

As VCs favor B2B startups, B2C upstarts’ venture activity falls

This post is by Alex Wilhelm from Fundings & Exits – TechCrunch

The Q2 2020 venture capital market did not bring a catastrophic slowdown to either the global private investment scene or the U.S.’s own VC scene. But inside the rosier-than-anticipated private capital results of the second quarter, there were pockets of weakness, and strength, that we should understand as we look to the rest of 2020 and the continuance of the pandemic-driven economy.

The Exchange explores startups, markets and money. You can read it every morning on Extra Crunch, and you can now receive it in your inbox. Sign up for The Exchange newsletter, which will drop Saturdays starting July 25.

This morning we’re exploring trends detailed in the PitchBook-NVCA Q2 venture report, adding to our coverage of similar data sets produced by competing venture and private business information sources CB Insights and Crunchbase.

The NVCA data provides a useful cross section of venture activity beyond the usual quarterly totals, allowing us to better understand the diverging fortunes of domestic venture investment into business-serving startups (which appear strong), and investments into consumer-serving startups (which appear weak).

It also provides a peek into AI/ML-focused investing, a topic that TechCrunch has covered extensively this year. And, finally, we have a lens into recent U.S. VC results for startups that have at least one female founder, or were founded by all-women teams.

Some of the news is positive, and some of it is less so. But we owe it to ourselves to understand all of it. So to wrap up our week’s dive into Q2 VC activity, let’s get into our final look at the data, focusing today on the nuances of the United States’s own venture results.

B2B’s rise continues

As 2019 came to a close, TechCrunch wrote about a notable trend: Seed investors shifted their attention from consumer-focused startups to business-focused startups. Seed deals had moved from majority-B2C to majority-B2B, in other words.

COVID-19, recession haven’t slowed venture capital deals in Mass. – BetaBoston

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COVID-19, recession haven’t slowed venture capital deals in Mass.  BetaBoston

Vantablack? Meh. Meet the Ultra-Black Vantafish

This post is by Matt Simon from Feed: All Latest

Scientists have found that some fishes absorb up to 99.956 percent of the light that hits them. The weird deep-sea menagerie just got a whole lot weirder.

The grisly death of a startup CEO – Fortune

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The grisly death of a startup CEO  Fortune

Twitter Is at Its Best When Verified Accounts Can’t Tweet

This post is by Angela Watercutter from Feed: All Latest

On Wednesday, a hack involving high-profile Twitter accounts led the service to suspend the activity of verified users. It was great.

BlackRock Leads Qumulo’s $125M Series E To Accelerate Data Platform

This post is by Christine Hall from Crunchbase News

Seattle storage company Qumulo secured a $125 million Series E round of funding, putting it in unicorn status with a $1.2 billion valuation, the company said Thursday.

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BlackRock led the round with participation from Highland Capital Partners, Madrona Venture Group and Kleiner Perkins, as well as new investor Amity Ventures. The new investment gives Qumulo a total funding raise of $351 million, the company said in a written statement. It is also the largest round of venture-backed funding since the company’s inception in 2012, according to Crunchbase data. The company raised its $93 million Series D in 2018.

Qumulo’s data platform helps organizations create and manage their file data so they can gain value from it at scale. Samir Menon, director at BlackRock Private Equity Partners, said in a written statement that Qumulo has tapped into a new category within the enterprise data management space and is taking on the “challenge of creating and managing digital content at a scale and performance that is only getting bigger.”

The company manages more than 150 billion files for customers, said Qumulo CEO Bill Richter in a written statement. The new funding will be used to expand internationally, accelerate innovation to democratize file data management in multicloud environments, and develop strategic partnerships.

“It will help Qumulo accelerate our ability to serve the world’s leading enterprises with the freedom, control and performance that organizations need now more than ever,” he said. “We see rapidly increasing demand driven from content creators which span artists creating Hollywood blockbusters, to researchers solving global pandemics, to engineers putting rockets into space.”

Although Qumulo is more established in the data storage space, other startups in the sector have also had success in raising funds recently. In April, we reported on VAST Data raising a $100 million Series C round to reach unicorn status, as well as Cohesity’s $250 million round that doubled its valuation to $2.5 billion. Meanwhile, in May, Wasabi Technologies closed a $30 million Series B extension.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

What’s Ailing an Amazon Health Venture

This post is by Paris Martineau from The Information

In May, when celebrated surgeon and writer Atul Gawande stepped down as CEO of Haven—a high-profile health care venture launched by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase—he said the move would allow him to focus his energy on combating Covid-19 through policy and advocacy work. 

But Gawande left the top job at Haven under pressure following months of escalating tensions with the board of the venture, according to a person familiar with the matter. Conflict over Haven’s priorities and what progress looks like for a secretive startup tasked with revolutionizing the bloated health care industry played a key role in his departure. 

A New Gadget Stops Voice Assistants From Snooping on You

This post is by Dan Goodin, Ars Technica from Feed: All Latest

Meet LeakyPick, the low-cost audio spy detector for your Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and other network-connected devices.

Activ Surgical™ Raises $15 Million led by ARTIS Ventures to Advance Autonomous and Collaborative Surgery – PRNewswire

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Activ Surgical™ Raises $15 Million led by ARTIS Ventures to Advance Autonomous and Collaborative Surgery  PRNewswire

How Workplace by Facebook Can Help Companies Address the Challenges of Remote Work – SPONSOR CONTENT FROM WORKPLACE FROM FACEBOOK

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Sponsor content from Workplace from Facebook.

VC Associate @ Crosslink Capital

This post is by Devin Miller from National Venture Capital Association – NVCA

Crosslink Capital is a Bay Area-based firm with $2B AUM that focuses on early-stage venture capital investing, backing entrepreneurs who are building disruptive and market-transforming companies. Crosslink’s investments span a wide range of sectors including enterprise software, marketplaces, financial technology, consumer, digital health, and infrastructure. The firm is investing out of its eighth venture capital fund, Crosslink Ventures VIII, with $275 million in commitments.

Over more than thirty years, the Crosslink team has backed hundreds of industry innovators, including Coupa, ServiceMax, Casper, Chime, Pandora, Postmates, and Molekule.

Our core mission is to help companies scale and succeed by providing our founders with access to all the resources we offer. This includes industry expertise, go-to-market advice, and the rich ecosystem of Alpha, an invite-only networking group of more than 2000 founders, CEOs and influencers who are passionate about the next generation of technology. Alpha is an integral part of the Crosslink platform that we look forward to discussing more with interested candidates.

We are a tight-knit and dynamic team that values performance, collaboration, and high emotional intelligence. Our diverse backgrounds and interests inform our unique and collective approach to investing. If this sounds like a group in which you’d thrive, we’d love to meet you.

*The Role*

Crosslink is looking to add an associate to work alongside our team for 2-3 years, starting in the second half of 2020. An associate at Crosslink can expect to:

**Support the entire team in investment execution by assisting with extensive due diligence and performing market research
**Develop relationships with Crosslink portfolio companies, founders of future Crosslink portfolio companies, seed funds, angels and other leaders in technology
**Source new investment opportunities
**Work alongside the partners and principals on critical fundraising initiatives
**Help partners and principals develop investment theses
**Portfolio management
*Build and maintain relationships with founders and management teams
*Track portfolio company key metrics and assist partners in board reporting
**Exercise a strong voice during partnership meetings as we discuss deals
**Manage the CRM, deal pipeline, and other internal infrastructure
**Help plan and execute Alpha events

We view VC as a mentorship-driven business and work closely together as a collaborative team to challenge and develop the skills that enable strong investments and portfolio company support. Previous associates have gone on to join venture-backed startups, attended top-tier business schools, or joined other venture firms.

*About You*

While there isn’t one type of ideal background, you should have a deep passion for entrepreneurship, an ability to understand the mechanics of how businesses work, and a willingness to jump in on projects with a team-first mentality. The team is open to meeting candidates from a diverse set of professional backgrounds, including startups, consulting/finance, and engineering. You must have a burning passion for identifying and working with promising high-growth businesses. Ideal candidates will be pre-MBA and have ~1-3 years of working experience.

Below are some of the qualities we are looking for:

**Strong knowledge of venture capital and entrepreneurship
**Thoughtful, imaginative, and intellectually curious
**Motivated and enthusiastic self-starter
**Outstanding financial and analytical skills, detail oriented
**Exceptional business writing skills
**Optimistic and open-minded
**POV on emerging technologies and business models
**Ability to juggle multiple workflows and responsibilities at once
**Someone who can thrive in a dynamic, intimate and unstructured office environment
**Desire to build community and brand in the tech ecosystem


If interested, please apply here.

The post VC Associate @ Crosslink Capital appeared first on National Venture Capital Association – NVCA.

Ultimate Freedom

This post is by Howard Lindzon from Howard Lindzon

Boris Wertz (a venture capitalist who loves his career) had a tweet that caught my eye yesterday:

According to Boris I am scoring high on the ultimate freedom list. I do concur.

Yesterday my son came to work from home here in Coronado. I have not seen him in a month. I walked into his room last night and he was watching ‘Shark Tank’ reruns. I had no idea he was into that show. It’s been a recent thing he told me. Last night he called me from the beach with ‘million dollar’ idea.

It is good to know Max has gotten the ‘bug’ that could put him on the road to ultimate freedom.

How the government may end up with a stake in a sex-party company – The Economist

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How the government may end up with a stake in a sex-party company  The Economist

Uber acquires Routematch as it drives deeper into public transit in hunt for SaaS revenue

This post is by Kirsten Korosec from Fundings & Exits – TechCrunch

Uber said Thursday it has acquired Routematch, an Atlanta-based company that provides software to transit agencies as the ride-hailing company looks to offer more SaaS-related services to cities.

Uber did not share terms of the deal. However, it doesn’t appear to be a minor “acquihire,” in which a company is purchased to land a few talented employees. Instead, Uber is making a strategic acquisition for a company that has developed software used by more than 500 transit agencies.

The operations of the 170-person company will continue and CEO Pepper Harward will remain.

The acquisition marks Uber’s push to become a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provider to public transit agencies. Routematch’s software provides trip planning, vehicle tracking, payment and tools for fixed route transit like buses as well as paratransit services. The 20-year-old company has a wide range of customers, including rural and suburban enclaves.

Last month, Uber locked in a deal to manage an on-demand service for Marin County in the San Francisco Bay area with a SaaS product. It was Uber’s first software partnership with a public transit agency.

Uber’s foray into SaaS has been years in the making, David Reich, head of Uber Transit, said in a recent interview.

“Uber knows that for cities to thrive, public transit has to thrive,” Reich said.

Uber has been developing services related to public transit since 2015, first with a planning feature and then ticketing, Reich noted. The public transit feature called Journey Planning is available in more than 15 cities around the world, including the Marin area since 2019. The company has also worked with Denver and Las Vegas. In 2018, Uber partnered with mobile ticketing platform Masabi to let people book and use transit tickets from within the Uber app.

Openpath’s security system for physical access gets a $36 million boost – TechCrunch

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Openpath’s security system for physical access gets a $36 million boost  TechCrunch