Author: Ingrid Lunden

Carlyle to acquire live broadcasting and streaming tech outfit LiveU for over $400M, say sources



Streaming is the name of the content game these days, and now one of the companies that builds tech to do this from anywhere in the world is getting acquired. LiveU — whose satellite/cellular hardware and software for capturing and delivering live streaming and broadcasting video is used by over 3,000 large media organizations — is going to be acquired by private equity firm Carlyle, multiple sources tell TechCrunch, for a value of over $400 million.

LiveU is based in Israel, and the deal was reported to be in the works by local press. Our sources say that the acquisition is in the final stages of closing and could be announced as soon as today or tomorrow. A LiveU spokesperson declined to comment on the story, and a Carlyle spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.

What is notable is that this is the second time that LiveU has changed hands in the space of two years: the company was previously acquired by Francisco Partners, another PE firm, for at $200 million.

The quick jump in valuation, more than doubling in 25 months, is due in part to the huge surge of interest we’ve seen for video content.

It was not that long ago that you only watched live video on television, using a limited set of broadcast channels. Now, we have live, or near-live, or on-demand moving pictures coming at us from everywhere. On-demand and live streamed video can be found on apps (both those dedicated (Read more...)

Carlyle acquires 1E.com, an endpoint and hybrid working specialist, in $270M deal



Remote work was the order of the day for the past 16 months, but as we (fingers crossed) move out of the pandemic, it’s looking like a lot of people may move into a new era of hybrid work: less focus being present in offices to feel like you are getting things done, less time commuting, and more time to be productive. To help better address that opportunity, a company called 1e, which builds solutions for companies to enable hybrid working along with managing the wider space of endpoint management, has been acquired by Carlyle on the heels of a strong year of business.

The private equity firm has picked up the London-based company in a $270 million deal.

The acquisition is coming in the form of a majority stake with CEO and co-founder Sumir Karayi maintaining a significant minority stake, along with employees of the company. The firm is completely bootstrapped — no outside investors, no VCs on the cap table prior to this deal — and profitable, with growth of 28% in the last year.

The birth and now exit of 1e is an interesting counterpoint to that of most of the enterprise startups that you will read about on the pages of TechCrunch, or maybe in tech press overall.

The company was started in 1997 when Karayi and co-founders Phil Wilcock and Mark Blackburn were at Microsoft working as in-house consultants helping enterprises adopt and adapt to Microsoft software. Karayi decided he wanted to start something (Read more...)

Mendel raises $18M to tease out data structure from medicine’s disparate document trove



The medical industry is sitting on a huge trove of data, but in many cases it can be a challenge to realize the value of it because that data is unstructured and in disparate places.

Today, a startup called Mendel, which has built an AI platform both to ingest and bring order to that body of information, is announcing $18 million in funding to continue its growth and to build out what it describes as a “clinical data marketplace” for people not just to organize, but also to share and exchange that data for research purposes. It’s also going to be using the funding to hire more talent — technical and support — for its two offices, in San Jose, CA and Cairo, Egypt.

The Series A round is being led by DCM, with OliveTree and MTVLP, and previous backers Launch Capital, SOSV, Bootstrap Labs and Chairman of UCSF Health Hub Mark Goldstein also participating.

The funding comes on the heels of what Mendel says is a surge of interest among research and pharmaceutical companies in sourcing better data to gain a better understanding of longer-term patient care and progress, in particular across wider groups of users, not just at a time when it has been more challenging to observe people and run trials, but in light of the understanding that using AI to leverage much bigger data sets can produce better insights.

This can be important, for example, in proactive identifying symptoms of particular ailments or the pathology of (Read more...)

Lightspeed buys Ecwid for $500M; NuOrder for $425M in ongoing e-commerce consolidation play



Lightspeed, has picked up two more companies in what is shaping up to be an acquisition spree for the Canadian point-of-sale software provider. The company today announced that it would acquire e-commerce platform Ecwid for $500 million; and NuOrder, a B2B ordering platform servicing wholesales, brands and retailers, for $425 million.

Together, the two deals underscore the long-anticipated consolidation trend swirling around the fragmented e-commerce industry, at a time when digital transactions are playing an ever more critical role in the Covid-impacted global economy, and smaller players are looking for better ways to compete against behemoths like Amazon and Stripe with a mix of tools and services addressing the various needs of merchants, brands, suppliers and everything in between.

“By joining forces with Ecwid and NuOrder, Lightspeed becomes the common thread uniting merchants, suppliers and consumers, a transformation we believe will enable innovative retailers to adapt to the new world of commerce,” said Dax Dasilva, founder and CEO of Lightspeed, in a statement. “As economies reopen and business creation accelerates, we hope to embolden entrepreneurs with the tools they need to simplify their operations and scale their ambitions.”

Lightspeed will pay $175 million in cash and $325 million in shares for Ecwid; and it will pay $212.5 million in cash and $212.5 million in shares for NuOrder, the company said. Both deals are expected to close at the end of September, pending regulatory and other approvals.

Lightspeed is publicly traded and has a market cap of about $9.4 billion (Read more...)

Lightspeed buys Ecwid for $500M; NuOrder for $425M in ongoing e-commerce consolidation play



Lightspeed, has picked up two more companies in what is shaping up to be an acquisition spree for the Canadian point-of-sale software provider. The company today announced that it would acquire e-commerce platform Ecwid for $500 million; and NuOrder, a B2B ordering platform servicing wholesales, brands and retailers, for $425 million.

Together, the two deals underscore the long-anticipated consolidation trend swirling around the fragmented e-commerce industry, at a time when digital transactions are playing an ever more critical role in the Covid-impacted global economy, and smaller players are looking for better ways to compete against behemoths like Amazon and Stripe with a mix of tools and services addressing the various needs of merchants, brands, suppliers and everything in between.

“By joining forces with Ecwid and NuOrder, Lightspeed becomes the common thread uniting merchants, suppliers and consumers, a transformation we believe will enable innovative retailers to adapt to the new world of commerce,” said Dax Dasilva, founder and CEO of Lightspeed, in a statement. “As economies reopen and business creation accelerates, we hope to embolden entrepreneurs with the tools they need to simplify their operations and scale their ambitions.”

Lightspeed will pay $175 million in cash and $325 million in shares for Ecwid; and it will pay $212.5 million in cash and $212.5 million in shares for NuOrder, the company said. Both deals are expected to close at the end of September, pending regulatory and other approvals.

Lightspeed is publicly traded and has a market cap of about $9.4 billion (Read more...)

Stripe acquires Bouncer, will integrate its card authentication into the Radar fraud detection tool



On the heels of a $600 million fundraise earlier this year, payments giant Stripe has been on an acquisition march to continue building out its business. In the latest development, the company has acquired Bouncer, a startup based in Oakland that has built a platform to automatically run card authentications and detect fraud in card-based online transactions. Its technology is tailored for mobile transactions and includes a flow to help users authenticate themselves if they are mistakenly flagged, to come back into an app legitimately (hence the name).

Terms of the deal are not being disclosed, but Stripe is acquiring both Bouncer’s technology and the team, which will be integrated into Stripe Radar. Started in 2018, Radar is Stripe’s AI-based anti-fraud technology toolset, and most of the tech — which is focused around preventing fraudulent transactions on the Stripe platform — has been built in-house up to now. Stripe says that Radar already prevents “hundreds of millions of dollars of fraud for businesses” each year.

“Bouncer is a great tool for modern internet businesses. It allows them to quickly identify stolen cards, while also ensuring legitimate customers can transact without being blocked,” said Simon Arscott, business lead for Stripe Radar, in a statement. “We’re thrilled to welcome the Bouncer team, and their years of experience building payment authentication software for businesses, to Stripe and to enable their technology for Radar users. With the addition of advanced card scanning capabilities, Stripe Radar will be able block more fraud (Read more...)

IBM is acquiring cloud app and network management firm Turbonomic for up to $2B



IBM today made another acquisition to deepen its reach into providing enterprises with AI-based services to manage their networks and workloads. It announced that it is acquiring Turbonomic, a company that provides tools to manage application performance (specifically resource management), along with Kubernetes and network performance — part of its bigger strategy to bring more AI into IT ops, or as it calls it, AIOps.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but according to data in PitchBook, Turbonomic was valued at nearly $1 billion — $963 million, to be exact — in its last funding round in September 2019. A report in Reuters rumoring the deal a little earlier today valued it at between $1.5 billion and $2 billion. A source tells us the figure is accurate.

The Boston-based company’s investors included General Atlantic, Cisco, Bain, Highland Capital Partners, and Red Hat. The last of these, of course, is now a part of IBM (so it was theoretically also an investor), and together Red Hat and IBM have been developing a range of cloud-based tools addressing telco, edge and enterprise use cases.

This latest deal will help extend that further, and it has more generally been an area that IBM has been aggressive in recently. Last November IBM acquired another company called Instana to bring application performance management into its stable, and it pointed out today that the Turbonomic deal will complement that and the two technologies’ tools will be integrated together, IBM said.

Turbonomic’s (Read more...)

Stripe acquires TaxJar to add cloud-based, automated sales tax tools into its payments platform



Stripe, the privately-held payments company now valued at $95 billion, has made an acquisition to expand the range of tools (and services) that it provides to online businesses. It has acquired TaxJar, a popular provider of a cloud-based suite of tax services, which can be used to automatically calculate, report and file sales taxes.

One key point about TaxJar is that it works across a number of geographies and the many different sales tax regimes that each uses — a complex area for a lot of companies that do business online.

Financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed but for some context the company was valued at $179 million post-money when it last raised money, in January 2019, according to PitchBook data.

Stripe has confirmed that all 200 employees of Woburn, MA-based TaxJar are joining the company.

Stripe will be integrating TaxJar technology into its revenue platform — where it will sit alongside Stripe Billing (its subscription tools) and Radar (its fraud prevention technology), and potentially build new services using AI and other technology to automate more functions — but businesses can continue to use TaxJar directly, too.

Launched in 2013, TaxJar today has around 23,000 customers. Stripe didn’t comment on how much of an overlap the two companies have in terms of users, but both have over the years gained a lot of traction with startups and other online businesses, which is likely one reason why TaxJar caught Stripe’s attention.

“There’s a reason TaxJar (Read more...)

IBM acquires Italy’s MyInvenio to integrate process mining directly into its suite of automation tools



Automation has become a big theme in enterprise IT, with organizations using RPA, no-code and low-code tools, and other  technology to speed up work and bring more insights and analytics into how they do things every day, and today IBM is announcing an acquisition as it hopes to take on a bigger role in providing those automation services. The IT giant has acquired MyInvenio, an Italian startup that builds and operates process mining software.

Process mining is the part of the automation stack that tracks data produced by a company’s software, as well as how the software works, in order to provide guidance on what a company could and should do to improve it. In the case of myInvenio, the company’s approach involves making a “digital twin” of an organization to help track and optimize processes. IBM is interested in how myInvenio’s tools are able to monitor data in areas like sales, procurement, production and accounting to help organizations identify what might be better served with more automation, which it can in turn run using RPA or other tools as needed.

Terms of the deal are not being disclosed. It is not clear if myInvenio had any outside investors (we’ve asked and are awaiting a response). This is the second acquisition IBM has made out of Italy. (The first was in 2014, a company called CrossIdeas that now forms part of the company’s security business.)

IBM and myInvenio are not exactly strangers: the two inked a deal as recently as (Read more...)

UK’s Cazoo will list on the NYSE by way of a SPAC, valuing it at $7B and raising $1.6B



Cazoo, the U.K. used-car sales portal that has been on a major fundraising tear in the last year, will be the next company to pursue more growth by way of a SPAC: The company today announced that it will list on the NYSE by way of a business combination with AJAX I, a special purpose acquisition vehicle founded by hedge fund supremo Dan Och in partnership with Glenn Fuhrman and others.

The deal values Cazoo at $7 billion and will also include an extra $1.6 billion in new financing: $805 million cash from AJAX I itself and an $800 million PIPE led by the AJAX sponsors and Cazoo backer D1 Capital Partners, with a mix of new and previous investors also participating, including Altimeter, BlackRock, Counterpoint Global (Morgan Stanley), Fidelity Management, Marcho Partners, Mubadala Capital, Pelham Capital, Senator Investment Group and Spruce House Partnership. The deal has already been approved by the boards of Cazoo and AJAX I.

“This announcement is another major milestone in our continued drive to transform the way people buy cars across Europe,” said Alex Chesterman OBE, Cazoo’s founder and CEO in a statement. “We have created the most comprehensive and fully integrated offering in the largest retail sector which currently has very low digital penetration. This deal will provide us with almost $1 billion of further funds to fuel our growth and I am delighted to be partnering with Dan and his team at AJAX to rapidly expand and deliver the best car buying (Read more...)