Accel 2020 Euroscape: "Decacorn Unleashed"​ – Apply Now!


This post is by Philippe Botteri from Cracking The Code

– This article was co-authored with my colleagues Varun Purandare and Candice du Fretay and published initially on Tech.eu. The Accel 2020 Euroscape will be presented at SaaStock in October.

Last year, we predicted it would take three years for Europe to mark its first Decacorn. We are so happy and excited to see how wrong we were, as it took less than 9 months! Following in the footsteps of consumer companies Supercell, Spotify and Adyen, UiPath became the first European SaaS decacorn earlier this week. With this milestone, Europe has clearly established itself as a key center for software innovation in the world. 

If we look back 10 years, it is amazing to see how far the SaaS ecosystem has come  in a decade. When we started to take stock of this progress four years ago with the first Accel Euroscape, the list of the top 100 cloud companies from Europe and Israel, we had great hopes and Europe delivered beyond our expectations.


So, what does the next generation of European SaaS companies have in store for us? 

This is what we will attempt to discover with the 2020 Accel Euroscape. 

Applications are now open, and if you think the name of your company should be on the list, you can apply HERE – applications will close on 9th September 2020. 

Similar to last year, on top of the 100 companies in the Accel Euroscape, we will release our Champions League of Unicorns and now Decacorns! Customer feedback will play a key role in our ranking as usual. We will be working closely with G2 to include their ratings in our ranking.

2020 has been the best of times and the worst of times. The worst, because the global COVID-19 pandemic, on top of its impact on the health of millions of people, has created havoc in the global economy, triggering unprecedented levels of unemployment and destroying many small and large businesses. The best, because the confinement has accelerated digital transformation dramatically, achieving in two months what should have taken at least two years. 

As a consequence, SaaS public multiples and private company valuations are at an all time high, and the pace of cloud innovation is accelerating. The aggregate value of the 67 public cloud companies have surpassed $1T in February 2020 to reach $1.4T at the time of this post. In some areas like collaboration or health tech, the progress has been dramatic. 

For example, unicorn Doctolib added 31,000 new doctors in five weeks for its tele-conferencing service, seeing the number of daily calls jump from 1,000 to 100,000! At the same time, the government adapted the legislative framework to make sure patients would be fully reimbursed. 

While founders have been very quick to streamline their costs and prepare for the worst in the early days of the crisis, the demand for most SaaS products has continued to grow since the beginning of the year, and we have not observed the shock that we saw during the past crises in 2000 and 2008.

Indeed, all the traffic lights are green for the SaaS ecosystem (fingers crossed!). 

In the past 9 months, the 100 companies from the Accel 2019 Euroscape and the 13 “Champions” have raised c. $3B, including 11 nine figure rounds, in particular UiPath ($226m), Algolia ($110m) and Celonis ($290m), with 3 additional companies passing the $2B valuation mark. SaaS remains one of the top categories for funding in Europe and Israel with $6.1B raised since the beginning of the year, a jump of 25%+ vs. the same period last year, despite Covid.

2020 is also a remarkable year for our firm, as we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of our presence in Europe. As you can imagine, it has been hard for us to celebrate this milestone in the current environment, but after 20 years of helping software companies go global, believing strongly that the European software ecosystem would rise and reach the global stage, witnessing the first European Cloud decacorn is above any celebration we could have hoped for.

We will disclose the 2020 Accel Euroscape on October 12-14 2020 at SaaStock. This year, it won’t be in Dublin but fully remote. 


Don’t forget to tune in, and you can already register for an opportunity to attend for free (ADD LINK). On top of the list of the top 100 companies, we will present our analysis of the European Cloud ecosystem and how it was impacted by COVID 19.

Stay tuned and see you in October. Don’t forget to apply HERE.

UI Path: the first European Decacorn is born


This post is curated by Keith Teare. It was written by Philippe Botteri. The original is [linked here]


From Bucharest to the World

As we boarded our flight back to London in early February 2017, leaving behind the Bucharest winter, our team was incredibly excited by the two days we spent with Daniel and his team. Yet, it was hard to imagine that a short three and half years later UiPath would become the first European Cloud Decacorn.

What an incredible journey for this company born in Romania. This new financing of $225m valuing the company at a post-money of $10.2B is an incredible milestone, rewarding one of the fastest-growing cloud software companies of this generation.

This success is the testament of the hard work and relentless ambition of the founder, Daniel Dines and his co-founder Marius Tirca. Together, with a passionate and dedicated team, they pushed the limits of global growth, democratized the access to automation technology, and transformed the way enterprises of any size could harness the power of automation.

______________________________________________________________

"COVID-19 has heightened the critical need for automation…

we are committed to working harder to help our customers evolve,

transform, and succeed fast in the new normal"

Daniel Dines, founder UiPath

______________________________________________________________

We feel very fortunate and grateful to have been part of this journey from the early days, leading the series A in 2017 and the series B in 2018, and to have supported the company in every financing round since including the recently announced Series E this week.

While much of startup entrepreneurship activity historically centered in Silicon Valley, at Accel, we believed many years ago that Silicon Valley was not only a place but a state of mind. Technology entrepreneurship is exploding around the world and we seek to connect with the next generation of entrepreneurs everywhere, leveraging our offices in London and Bangalore. UiPath and Daniel Dines are the perfect example of a company founded locally but scaled globally.

It is a privilege to be working with this visionary team, and it has not always been an easy ride. Hypergrowth creates its own challenges and it is hard to build solid processes when you are running at 100 miles per hour. The company had to streamline its processes at the end of last year. Then came COVID, the black swan. And again, UI Path showed its resilience and adapted very quickly to this new environment, making some disciplined choices but emerging bigger and stronger, with more than $400m ARR run rate. 

Cloud Decacorn: big milestone for Europe

We all remember 10 years ago when the number one question was “Can Europe generate a $1B company”. Old times! With this financing, Europe is marking its first Cloud decacorn, following in the steps of Supercell and Spotify on the consumer side. This is a significant milestone for an ecosystem which has experienced exponential growth in the past decade.

The combination of strong tech Universities, the growing interest from large enterprises to embark on  their digital transformation and the rising level of ambition of the new generation of entrepreneurs creates a fertile ground for innovation.

The ecosystem, which was mostly centred around London and Tel Aviv 20 years ago, has become increasingly more fragmented with the emergence of 10-12 hubs across the region. Our last 25 software investments were based in more than 13 cities, including Altrincham outside Manchester and Aarhus in Denmark. It shows that innovation can come from anywhere in the continent and  “Silicon Valley” is a state of mind.

We came to Europe 20 years ago, and even though COVID 19 limited our ability to celebrate this milestone, witnessing the first European decacorn is above any celebration we could have hoped for. 

Global Cloud Factory 

We are very happy to see UiPath, as a European company, join the Accel Cloud decacorn family with other leaders from around the world such as: Atlassian, Crowdstrike, Docusign, Dropbox and Slack. 

At Accel, we love SaaS and Cloud and have invested close to $4B in 230+ companies globally. We believe that category-defining companies are founded all over the world, and while the first Trillion dollars of cloud market cap has come mostly from US-based companies, we expect the next Trillion dollars to come from many hubs across the globe. These smaller hubs can shape companies with growth-oriented DNA because their founders are required to think beyond their local (often smaller) market to plan for a global business from day one. While Silicon Valley will remain an epicenter of technology innovation, we expect to see an acceleration of cloud entrepreneurship globally, following in the steps of UiPath in Europe, Freshworks in India, Xero in New Zealand and  Atlassian in Australia. 

Big congrats and thank you to Daniel and his team for this great success and for what it means for the European and global tech ecosystem, and we look forward to continuing our small role in supporting their journey.

__________________________________

“I want a robot for every person”

Daniel Dines, founder UiPath

__________________________________

***********************

UI Path: the first European Decacorn is born


This post is by Philippe Botteri from Cracking The Code


From Bucharest to the World

As we boarded our flight back to London in early February 2017, leaving behind the Bucharest winter, our team was incredibly excited by the two days we spent with Daniel and his team. Yet, it was hard to imagine that a short three and half years later UiPath would become the first European Cloud Decacorn.

What an incredible journey for this company born in Romania. This new financing of $225m valuing the company at a post-money of $10.2B is an incredible milestone, rewarding one of the fastest-growing cloud software companies of this generation.

This success is the testament of the hard work and relentless ambition of the founder, Daniel Dines and his co-founder Marius Tirca. Together, with a passionate and dedicated team, they pushed the limits of global growth, democratized the access to automation technology, and transformed the way enterprises of any size could harness the power of automation.

______________________________________________________________

“COVID-19 has heightened the critical need for automation…

we are committed to working harder to help our customers evolve,

transform, and succeed fast in the new normal”

Daniel Dines, founder UiPath

______________________________________________________________

We feel very fortunate and grateful to have been part of this journey from the early days, leading the series A in 2017 and the series B in 2018, and to have supported the company in every financing round since including the recently announced Series E this week.

While much of startup entrepreneurship activity historically centered in Silicon Valley, at Accel, we believed many years ago that Silicon Valley was not only a place but a state of mind. Technology entrepreneurship is exploding around the world and we seek to connect with the next generation of entrepreneurs everywhere, leveraging our offices in London and Bangalore. UiPath and Daniel Dines are the perfect example of a company founded locally but scaled globally.

It is a privilege to be working with this visionary team, and it has not always been an easy ride. Hypergrowth creates its own challenges and it is hard to build solid processes when you are running at 100 miles per hour. The company had to streamline its processes at the end of last year. Then came COVID, the black swan. And again, UI Path showed its resilience and adapted very quickly to this new environment, making some disciplined choices but emerging bigger and stronger, with more than $400m ARR run rate. 

Cloud Decacorn: big milestone for Europe

We all remember 10 years ago when the number one question was “Can Europe generate a $1B company”. Old times! With this financing, Europe is marking its first Cloud decacorn, following in the steps of Supercell and Spotify on the consumer side. This is a significant milestone for an ecosystem which has experienced exponential growth in the past decade.

The combination of strong tech Universities, the growing interest from large enterprises to embark on  their digital transformation and the rising level of ambition of the new generation of entrepreneurs creates a fertile ground for innovation.

The ecosystem, which was mostly centred around London and Tel Aviv 20 years ago, has become increasingly more fragmented with the emergence of 10-12 hubs across the region. Our last 25 software investments were based in more than 13 cities, including Altrincham outside Manchester and Aarhus in Denmark. It shows that innovation can come from anywhere in the continent and  “Silicon Valley” is a state of mind.

We came to Europe 20 years ago, and even though COVID 19 limited our ability to celebrate this milestone, witnessing the first European decacorn is above any celebration we could have hoped for. 

Global Cloud Factory 

We are very happy to see UiPath, as a European company, join the Accel Cloud decacorn family with other leaders from around the world such as: Atlassian, Crowdstrike, Docusign, Dropbox and Slack. 

At Accel, we love SaaS and Cloud and have invested close to $4B in 230+ companies globally. We believe that category-defining companies are founded all over the world, and while the first Trillion dollars of cloud market cap has come mostly from US-based companies, we expect the next Trillion dollars to come from many hubs across the globe. These smaller hubs can shape companies with growth-oriented DNA because their founders are required to think beyond their local (often smaller) market to plan for a global business from day one. While Silicon Valley will remain an epicenter of technology innovation, we expect to see an acceleration of cloud entrepreneurship globally, following in the steps of UiPath in Europe, Freshworks in India, Xero in New Zealand and  Atlassian in Australia. 

Big congrats and thank you to Daniel and his team for this great success and for what it means for the European and global tech ecosystem, and we look forward to continuing our small role in supporting their journey.

__________________________________

“I want a robot for every person”

Daniel Dines, founder UiPath

__________________________________

***********************


BigCommerce files to go public


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

As expected, BigCommerce has filed to go public. The Austin, Texas, based e-commerce company raised over $200 million while private. The company’s IPO filing lists a $100 million placeholder figure for its IPO raise, giving us directional indication that this IPO will be in the lower, and not upper, nine-figure range.

BigCommerce, similar to public market darling Shopify, provides e-commerce services to merchants. Given how enamored public investors are with its Canadian rival, the timing of BigCommerce’s debut is utterly unsurprising and is prima facie intelligent.

Of course, we’ll know more when it prices. Today, however, the timing appears fortuitous.

The numbers

BigCommerce is a SaaS business, meaning that it sells a digital service for a recurring payment. For more on how it derives revenue from customers, head here. For our purposes what matters is that public investors will classify it along with a very popular — today’s trading notwithstanding — market segment.

Starting with broad strokes, here’s how the company performed in 2019 compared to 2018, and Q1 2020 in contrast to Q1 2019:

  • In 2019, BigCommerce’s revenue grew to $112.1 million, a gain of around 22% from its 2018 result of $91.9 million.
  • In Q1 2020, BigCommerce’s revenue grew to $33.2 million, up around 30% from its Q1 2019 result of $25.6 million.

BigCommerce didn’t grow too quickly in 2019, but its Q1 2020 expansion pace is much better. BigCommerce will file an S-1/A with more information in Q2 2020, we expect; it can’t go public without sharing more about its recent financial performance.

If the company’s revenue growth acceleration continues in the most recent period — bearing in mind that e-commerce as a segment has proven attractive to many businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic — BigCommerce’s IPO timing would appear even more intelligent than it did at first blush. Investors love growth acceleration.

Moving from revenue growth to revenue quality, BigCommerce’s Q1 2020 gross margins came in at 77.5%, a solid SaaS result. In Q1 2019 its gross margin was 76.8%, a slightly worse figure. Still, improving gross margins are popular as they indicate that future cash flows will grow at a faster clip than revenues, all else held equal.

In 2018 BigCommerce lost $38.9 million on a GAAP basis. Its net loss expanded modestly to $42.6 million in 2020, a larger dollar figure in gross terms, but a slimmer percent of its yearly top line. You can read those results however you’d like. In Q1 2020, however, things got better, as the company’s GAAP net loss fell to $4 million from its year-ago Q1 result of $10.5 million.

The BigCommerce big commerce business is growing more slowly than I had anticipated, but its overall operational health is better than I expected.

A few other notes, before we tear deeper into its S-1 filing tomorrow morning. BigCommerce’s adjusted EBITDA, a metric that gives a distorted, partial view of a company’s profitability, improved along similar lines to its net income, falling from -$9.2 million in Q1 2019 to -$5.7 million in Q1 2020.

The company’s cash flow is, akin to its adjusted EBITDA, worse than its net loss figures would have you guess. BigCommerce’s operating activities consumed $10 million in Q1 2020, an improvement from its Q1 2019 operating cash burn of $11.1 million.

The company is further in debt than many SaaS companies, but not so far as to be a problem. BigCommerce’s long-term debt, net of its current portion, was just over $69 million at the end of Q1 2020. It’s not a nice figure, per se, but it is one small enough that a good IPO haul could sharply reduce while still providing good amounts of working capital for the business.

Investors listed in its IPO document include Revolution, General Catalyst, GGV Capital, and SoftBank.

SaaS and cloud stocks finally give back ground


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

After a heated run, SaaS and cloud stocks dipped sharply during regular trading on Monday.

According to the category-tracking Bessemer cloud index, public SaaS and cloud stocks dropped around 6.5% today, a material blow to the value of some of the world’s most highly valued companies, measured by sector-averaged revenue multiples.

After recovering all their COVID-19-related losses earlier this year, SaaS and cloud stocks kept on rising, reaching new all-time highs with regularity. But earnings season is starting, meaning that the value of modern software and digital infrastructure companies will soon be tested against Q2 results — results that were recorded fully during the global pandemic.

To hear bulls — both private and public — tell the story, COVID-19 and its ensuing workplace disruptions have provided software companies with a huge boon. Namely, that customers current and future have radically changed their procurement models and will need more software solutions, more quickly, than they previously anticipated. (Stay tuned to The Exchange for more on this later in the week.)

The thought that there are more and better customers coming for SaaS and cloud companies made them relative safe havens in otherwise turbulent public markets; while other industries had uncertain demand curves, the thinking went, software companies were being pushed forward by an accelerating secular shift.

Today, however, the broader markets slipped from early-day positions of strength while SaaS and cloud shares dropped sharply. Prior patterns in investor behavior didn’t hold up, in other words.

Why today brought such sharp selling is not clear. No more, really, than reasons for prior days’ gains were clear at the time. Profit taking? Rotation to other sectors? Whatever you want to ascribe to the day’s declines you can make stick.

For our purposes here at TechCrunch, the dropping share prices of public software companies serves as an anti-signal for late-stage valuations in SaaS startups, and a general headwind toward venture investors making more early-stage bets in the sector. Of course, one day doesn’t change the game. But several days of sharp losses could begin to change sentiment, and days when shares of modern software companies drop by 6% are few and far between.

Earnings are next, but for many companies in the SaaS and cloud world, reporting their results just got easier. When expectations drop, everyone loses a bit of worry, right?

Charting the Massive Scale of the Digital Cloud


This post is by Carmen Ang from Visual Capitalist

View the full-size version of this infographic.

The Scale of the Digital Cloud

Charting the Massive Scale of the Digital Cloud

View the high resolution of this infographic by clicking here.

Cloud computing continues to be on the rise, and for good reason. It’s transformed our digital experience in numerous ways, from how we store data to the way we share information online with others.

Growth in cloud services is showing no signs of slowing down, particularly in the data storage realm—by 2025, almost half of the world’s stored data will reside in public cloud environments. Yet, despite its increasing popularity among consumers and businesses alike, do people really understand what the cloud fully entails? Or better yet, what the cloud even is?

Today’s infographic from Raconteur provides an overview of the ever-evolving cloud computing landscape, showcasing the industry’s growth and its evolution in scale. It also touches on what’s next for the cloud.

What is Cloud Computing?

Put simply, cloud computing is a network of remote servers that provide customers with a number of offerings, including data storage, processing power, and apps. It’s usually delivered on a pay-per-use basis.

Cloud computing can be broken down into three categories:

  • Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS): Virtual computing services that businesses can utilize over the internet. IaaS allows businesses to scale up resources when needed, and pay for what they use. Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services are both IaaS examples.
  • Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS): Like IaaS, PaaS utilizes remote infrastructure, but it includes an extra layer by offering tools that developers use to build apps. Examples of PaaS in action include the Google App Engine or OpenShift.
  • Software-as-a-Service (Saas): The delivery of apps through remote servers. This is the type of cloud computing most users are familiar with. Examples include Dropbox and Google Apps.

Cloud computing has its obstacles, such as security and privacy risks. Yet, the cloud continues to entice consumers by offering a new level of accessibility to their online experience.

This accessibility has also drastically changed the working world. The cloud allows users to access company servers from anywhere globally, and to share documents and information with colleagues quickly. Because of this, it’s become a key part of remote work.

IaaS: The Backbone of the Cloud

Cloud services are seeing significant growth, and the big tech companies are its backbone.

In fact, four major players combine to dominate almost 60% of the cloud’s infrastructure. Here’s a look at the cloud market breakdown in 2019, and annual growth compared to 2018:

Service Provider 2019 Market Share Annual Growth
Amazon Web Services 32.3% +36.0%
Microsoft Azure 16.9% +63.9%
Google Cloud 5.8% +87.8%
Alibaba Cloud 4.9% +63.8%
Others 40.1% +23.3%

It’s no surprise that U.S. companies dominate the cloud service market since the country currently has the largest share of global cloud storage worldwide. Yet, the concentration of cloud storage is predicted to even out in the next few years—by 2025, the U.S. portion of public cloud storage will drop from 51% to 31%, while China’s will increase from just 6% to 13%.

What’s Next for the Cloud?

The cloud has changed the way we use the internet. It has influenced the way we share information, our ability to work remotely, and how we store our data.

And these services are much needed, as our use of data and the internet continues to scale up. By 2025, an average internet user will have around 4,909 data interactions per day, an increase from 1,426 in the year 2020.

At the same time, the scale of global datasphere is expected to be five times bigger in 2025 than it was in 2018, growing from 33 zettabytes to 175 zettabytes. Each zettabyte, by the way, is equal to 1 trillion gigabytes.

With data taking an ever more important role in our lives, the cloud will continue to play a pivotal role in business, technology, and society as a whole.

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The post Charting the Massive Scale of the Digital Cloud appeared first on Visual Capitalist.

Slack snags corporate directory startup Rimeto to up its people search game


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

For the second time in less than 24 hours, an enterprise company bought an early-stage startup. Yesterday afternoon DocuSign acquired Liveoak, and this morning Slack announced it was buying corporate directory startup Rimeto, which should help employees find people inside the organization who match a specific set of criteria from inside Slack.

The companies did not share the purchase price.

Rimeto helps companies build directories to find employees beyond using tools like Microsoft Active Directory, homegrown tools or your corporate email program. When we covered the company’s $10 million Series A last year, we described what it brings to directories this way:

Rimeto has developed a richer directory by sitting between various corporate systems like HR, CRM and other tools that contain additional details about the employee. It of course includes a name, title, email and phone like the basic corporate system, but it goes beyond that to find areas of expertise, projects the person is working on and other details that can help you find the right person when you’re searching the directory.

In the build versus buy equation that companies balance all the time, it looks like Slack weighed the pros and cons and decided to buy. You could see how a tool like this would be useful to Slack as people try to build teams of employees, especially in a world where so many are working from home.

While the current Slack people search tool lets you search by name, role or team, Rimeto should give users a much more robust way of searching for employees across the company. You can search for the right person to help you with a particular problem and get much more granular with your search requirements than the current tool allows.

Image Credit: Rimeto

At the time of its funding announcement, the company, which was founded in 2016 by three former Facebook employees, told TechCrunch it had bootstrapped for the first three years before taking the $10 million investment last year. It also reported it was cash-flow positive at the time, which is pretty unusual for an early-stage enterprise SaaS company.

In a company blog post announcing the deal, as is typical in these deals, the founders saw being part of a larger organization as a way to grow more quickly than they could have alone. “Joining Slack is a special opportunity to accelerate Rimeto’s mission and impact with greater reach, expanded resources, and the support of Slack’s impressive global team,” the founders wrote in the post.

The acquisition is part of a continuing trend around enterprise companies buying early-stage startups to fill in holes in their product road maps.

DocuSign acquires Liveoak Technologies for $38M for online notarization


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

Even in the best of times, finding a notary can be a challenge. In the middle of a pandemic, it’s even more difficult. DocuSign announced it has acquired Liveoak Technologies today for approximately $38 million, giving the company an online notarization option.

At the same time, DocuSign announced a new product called DocuSign Notary, which should ease the notary requirement by allowing it to happen online along with the eSignature. As we get deeper into the pandemic, companies like DocuSign that allow workflows to happen completely digitally are in more demand than ever. This new product will be available for early access later in the summer.

The deal made sense given that the two companies had a partnership already. Liveoak brings together live video, collaboration tooling and identity verification that enables parties to get notarized approval as though you were sitting at the desk in front of the notary.

Typically, you might get a document that requires your signature. Without electronic signature, you would need to print it, sign the document, scan it and return it. If it requires a notary, you would need to sign it in the notary’s presence, which requires an in-person visit. All of this can be streamlined with an online workflow, which DocuSign is providing with this acquisition.

It’s like the perfect pandemic acquisition, making a manual process digital and saving people from having to make face-to-face transactions at a time when it can be dangerous.

Liveoak Technologies was founded in 2014 and is part of the Austin, Texas startup scene. The company raised $13.5 million during its life as a private company, according to Crunchbase.

This acquisition is part of a growing pandemic acquisition trend of sorts, where larger public enterprise companies are plucking early-stage startups, in some cases for relatively bargain prices. Among the recent acquisitions are Apple buying Fleetsmith and ServiceNow acquiring Sweagle last month.

As Palantir preps IPO, a look back at its growth history


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

Yesterday evening Palantir, the quasi-secretive data mining and analysis firm, publicly announced that it has privately filed to go public.

The disclosure came in the wake of Palantir raising new capital, taking on hundreds of millions of dollars before its planned public offering. According to Crunchbase data, Palantir has raised billions while private, making its debut a marquee affair in the worlds of technology, startups and venture capital.

As TechCrunch reported yesterday, Palantir has a controversial product history, including helping locate immigrants for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, connecting databases for intelligence agencies and recently winning no-bid contracts to gather data about the COVID-19 pandemic for the White House Pandemic Task Force.


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The company’s filing comes after a long incubation period; it’s been 17 years since Palantir’s founding in 2003. Since then, its reported financial performance and fundraising history have become sufficiently convoluted that I couldn’t tell you this morning how big the company really is or how much it raised before its most recent investment.

Palantir’s reported history

To prep us for its eventual public IPO filing, let’s go back in time and collect data points from Palantir’s reported history. This way when we do get the company’s S-1 filing, we’ll better understand what we’re looking at.

Even with companies that aren’t privacy conscious, it can be hard to craft a comprehensive history of their business activities from when they were private. With Palantir, it’s even trickier.

Still, leaning on more than a decade of TechCrunch reporting, Crunchbase data, other publications and Craft.co, what follows is a reasonable look at what has been reported about Palantir through time.

OwnBackup lands $50M as backup for Salesforce ecosystem thrives


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

OwnBackup has made a name for itself primarily as a backup and disaster recovery system for the Salesforce ecosystem, and today the company announced a $50 million investment.

Insight Partners led the round, with participation from Salesforce Ventures and Vertex Ventures. This chunk of money comes on top of a $23 million round from a year ago, and brings the total raised to more than $100 million, according to the company.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Salesforce Ventures chipped in when the majority of the company’s backup and recovery business involves the Salesforce ecosystem, although the company will be looking to expand beyond that with the new money.

“We’ve seen such growth over the last two and a half years around the Salesforce ecosystem, and the other ISV partners like Veeva and nCino that we’ve remained focused within the Salesforce space. But with this funding, we will expand over the next 12 months into a few new ecosystems,” company CEO Sam Gutmann told TechCrunch.

In spite of the pandemic, the company continues to grow, adding 250 new customers last quarter, bringing it to over 2,000 customers and 250 employees, according to Gutmann.

He says that raising the round, which closed at the beginning of May, had some hairy moments as the pandemic began to take hold across the world and worsen in the U.S. For a time, he began talking to new investors in case his existing ones got cold feet. As it turned out, when the quarterly numbers came in strong, the existing ones came back and the round was oversubscribed, Gutmann said.

“Q2 frankly was a record quarter for us, adding over 250 new accounts, and we’re seeing companies start to really understand how critical this is,” he said.

The company plans to continue hiring through the pandemic, although he says it might not be quite as aggressively as they once thought. Like many companies, even though they plan to hire, they are continually assessing the market. At this point, he foresees growing the workforce by about another 50 people this year, but that’s about as far as he can look ahead right now.

Gutmann says he is working with his management team to make sure he has a diverse workforce right up to the executive level, but he says it’s challenging. “I think our lower ranks are actually quite diverse, but as you get up into the leadership team, you can see on the website unfortunately we’re not there yet,” he said.

They are instructing their recruiting teams to look for diverse candidates whether by gender or ethnicity, and employees have formed a diversity and inclusion task force with internal training, particularly for managers around interviewing techniques.

He says going remote has been difficult, and he misses seeing his employees in the office. He hopes to have at least some come back before the end of the summer and slowly add more as we get into the fall, but that will depend on how things go.

Why Virtual Events Are The Future


This post is by Julia Morrongiello from Point Nine Land - Medium

As is the case for many VCs, I used to spend a significant amount of time each year attending startup events, as well as organizing our…

2021 Will be a Banner Year for Private Equity SaaS Acquisitions


This post is by David Cummings from David Cummings on Startups

Earlier this week I was talking to a SaaS entrepreneur and he brought up how much better his financials were now. Curious, I asked what made the difference.

This is a business that was growing modestly while burning cash. With the onset of the pandemic a few months ago, they made the difficult decision to let go of staff, cut all travel expenses, and change the overall focus to profitable growth. Instead of trying to squeeze out a slightly higher growth rate, they’d focus on gross margin and grow at the rate of the market.

The business has grown through the pandemic, albeit more slowly, but the swing from losing money to making decent money has been dramatic.

This is not an isolated case. Hundreds, if not thousands, of SaaS startups that were losing money at the start of the year are cashflow breakeven, if not nicely profitable.

Private equity, as a potential exit route for SaaS startups, has been growing rapidly over the years. Whenever I talk to a private equity investor, they lament that too many SaaS startups are losing money, making them undesirable as acquisition targets. PE is happy to fund growth, but has almost no appetite to fund losses. 

Now, a tremendous number of SaaS startups have made hard changes, and those hard changes have made them much more attractive to PE acquirers.

Look for a large percentage of SaaS startups to stay the new profitable course and next year to be a banner year for private equity SaaS acquisitions.

As SaaS stocks retrace highs, a glance at today’s cloud fundamentals


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

The domestic stock market is advancing today on the back of some better-than-anticipated economic recovery data in the United States. While retail spending is still lower compared to the year-ago period, gains in May from April were better than anticipated.

The American stock market, ready to trade higher on any scrap of good news — even news predicated on economic weakness and the need for continued intervention — shot north, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index rising 2.3% to 9,947.5 and the SaaS-focused BVP Nasdaq Emerging Cloud Index (EMCLOUD) rising 1.6% to 1,719.2.

From Bessemer, a venture capital firm that invests in cloud startups, here’s some data on today’s SaaS market:

  • Median enterprise value/annualized revenue multiple for public SaaS/cloud companies: 12.6x
  • Median forward enterprise value/annualized revenue multiple for public SaaS/cloud companies: 10.5x
  • Median “efficiency” (revenue growth plus FCF Margin): 37.8%
  • Median revenue growth: 31%
  • Media gross margin: 73.6%

We’re marking this moment in time, just days after the Nasdaq Composite index crossed the 10,000 point mark, as it’s a useful yardstick for us to use in the future. Today, the above median results were enough to push EMCLOUD back to within a fraction of a point of its all-time highs.

What surprised me in this data is that the resulting revenue multiples haven’t gone completely bonkers; I expected more extreme figures going into preparing this post.

In fairness, by looking at median results instead of average results, we’re skewing the multiples a bit. Here’s the same data, with average results on top and the previously mentioned medians down below:

Image Credits: BVP

MarTech Madness and the Secret Staying Power


This post is by David Cummings from David Cummings on Startups

Just this past week I learned of two MarTech companies I hadn’t encountered that are north of $2M in annual recurring revenue and growing fast. We’ve all seen the crazy Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic: Martech 5000 that visually highlights what a crowded space it is out there. A number of people have speculated that massive consolidation in MarTech is imminent — I don’t agree. Yes, Terminus has acquired BrightFunnel, Sigstr, and Ramble Chat, but that’s the exception.

So, what’s the secret staying power resulting in so many MarTech startups?

Simple: good software with a clear return on investment makes for a sustainable business even with modest scale.

If you’re a marketer making money using the product, why switch? Combine that with the amazing components of SaaS — recurring revenue, cash flow predictability, strong gross margins — and you have a ton of niche companies. Add in some modest scale, like $1 million of annual gross margin, and you have the recurring cash to pay a team indefinitely. Good recurring cash flow, happy customers that renew, and decent employee salaries makes for a business that will never go away. 

More acquisitions will happen in the future due to investor fatigue and fund-life dynamics rather than companies gobbling up other companies to achieve more scale. If a venture investment in a MarTech company isn’t performing, it’s often better for the VC to hold onto the investment, assuming they have time, rather than push for a sale that results in recognizing a loss. Put another way, there are a ton of zombie MarTech companies out there that are sustainable businesses, but will sell for less than their last valuation, creating a scenario where it’s better to do nothing and hope something will improve.

MarTech fragmentation, and proliferation, is here to stay. The secret staying power is a combination of software that helps marketers make money and the beauty of SaaS.

7 Hacks for Building and Scaling B2B Marketplaces


This post is by Julia Morrongiello from Point Nine Land - Medium

Last week we hosted our first virtual B2B marketplace meetup, bringing together attendees from all over the world and 3 awesome speakers:

Here are their top tips and trick for building and scaling B2B marketplaces:

1. Do things that don’t scale ⚒️

Marketplaces in their early stages generally lack the liquidity to be relevant enough for the supply side, they are not a priority. To overcome this, marketplaces generally need to find ways to initially hack the supply side. Very often this means doing things that don’t scale. At Instacart, where Matt from AdQuick used to work, they did this by going into grocery stores, buying all of their inventory and manually building grocery store catalogues. At AdQuick, they gathered information via attachments and emails and added it manually into their platform to generate their initial supply listings.

If you want to dive deeper into this topic, I recommend reading Paul Graham’s essay, Do Things That Don’t Scale, and checking out this list of unscalable hacks that marketplaces such as Airbnb and Doordash adopted in their early days.

2. Use data to derisk your proposition 📈

Large suppliers are often reluctant to work with small marketplaces that lack credibility. By leveraging data, marketplaces can build further trust and lower barriers to onboarding the supply side. At Instacart, they did this by providing potential suppliers with clear customer feedback (and 5-star ratings) and giving them unique access to customer data such as purchasing behaviour and frequency that they previously did not have. At AdQuick, they were able to leverage the fact that they already had the suppliers’ inventory and pricing data (which they had populated manually) as a hook to get them onto the platform.

3. Make sure you understand your users’ key priorities and KPIs and build accordingly 🔑

Only once marketplaces truly understand the key priorities driving their demand and supply side will they be able to build the appropriate tools and features. At Instacart, one of the reasons suppliers were hesitant to work with the marketplace was that they worried moving online would lead to smaller average basket sizes (one of their key metrics). Once the Instacart team understood this, they built features to help optimize for larger basket sizes, leading to higher supplier loyalty as a result.

4. Build for single-player mode 👾

One of the best ways of hacking supply is to build tools which are valuable for the supply (or demand) side of the platform even when there is no demand (or supply) on the platform. For instance, Lantum built tools to help hospitals manage their existing staff regardless of the additional supply on the marketplace. Likewise, AdQuick provided their suppliers with software to help them manage their own inventory more effectively, irrespective of whether they were interacting with potential buyers.

For more details on building for single-player mode, check out this article by Eli Chait on how the 100 largest marketplaces solved the chicken and egg problem.

5. Capitalise on existing relationships, don’t try to disintermediate them 👫

Many marketplaces struggle to gain real stickiness due to the demand side’s loyalty to existing suppliers. Particularly when it comes to services, buyers tend to value their relationships with existing suppliers: they want to work with people that they already know. In order to avoid disintermediation and increase stickiness, marketplaces should try (in many cases) to accommodate for these relationships rather than trying to break them up. In accordance with this, Lantum built software for healthcare organisations to help them manage their entire supply base as opposed to only managing the supply on the marketplace. Similarly, Faire incentivises suppliers to bring their existing demand onto the platform and doesn’t charge for the transactions that take place between the buyers’ pre-existing supply base.

6. Be flexible and constantly iterate 🤸

B2B marketplaces are still in their infancy and there is no clear playbook on how to build and scale them yet. What works for one marketplace or industry, might not work for another, so don’t be afraid to iterate particularly when it comes to take rates and monetization. Lantum, for instance, moved from being a pure marketplace and charging a commission to being a SaaS heavy platform which monetizes based on subscriptions as well as a take rate. This pivot allowed them to significantly reduce churn and increase lifetime value.

7. Make sure you get the organisational design right 🖥️

B2B marketplaces tend to be very complex. They need to balance both the supply and the demand side, whilst working with large and often undigitized stakeholders. As they scale, they will need to figure out how they move from the flexible organisational structures that are typical at the seed stage, to more formal structures and teams.

For more information on organisational design, check out Nobl Academy or Teams of Teams. Basecamp Shapeup also has some cool resources on the topic.

To get more detailed insights on the above, check out the videos from the event here:

Gregor Stühler, CEO at Scoutbee
Matt O’Connor, CEO at Adquick
Melissa Morris, CEO at Lantum


7 Hacks for Building and Scaling B2B Marketplaces was originally published in Point Nine Land on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Vendr raises $4M from David Sacks’s Craft Ventures to reduce SaaS bills


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

When TechCrunch last checked in with the Y Combinator-backed Vendr in October, the company had just raised $2 million, and was crowing about its profitability. Profitable seed-stage companies aren’t super common, so the startup stood out.

Today Vendr is back with more news, namely that it has raised $4 million more, this time led by Craft Ventures, the venture capital shop associated with well-known tech denizen David Sacks. TechCrunch wanted to know why a profitable company would go back to the well so quickly, so I got on the phone with Vendr CEO Ryan Neu to get a handle on the latest.

The timing felt propitious. Vendr tries to help save companies money on their software purchasing — both net-new and re-ups — and given that the startup world just took two punches out of its collective belt, perhaps Vendr was riding some tailwinds.

Growth

Neu told TechCrunch in an interview that Vendr’s model wasn’t perfectly aligned with the market back in 2019. Growth, Neu said, was the name of the game. Saving money on software wasn’t as in vogue at the time. Still, the company was growing enough to attract external capital.

Then came 2020, first with Vision Fund cost cutting, followed by the rise of COVID-19, waves of startup layoffs and more. Suddenly conserving cash was hot, and everyone wanted to find dollars to squeeze from budgets. Vendr, which works to save its customers money on their software budgets, was primed for demand.

And it showed up. The new $4 million round was put together after the start of COVID-19; many rounds announced in recent months were pre-baked before the pandemic. This one isn’t like that.

How did it come together, then? On the back of growth. According to Neu, Vendr has more than doubled its revenue and customer base since it raised in October. In far less than a year, then, the company managed the 100% growth rate that is a minimum for attractive growth in venture circles.

Even better for the small company, Neu told TechCrunch that Vendr is adding customers even more quickly now than it was before, that it is “growing non-linearly.”

David Sacks told TechCrunch via email that “Vendr’s capital efficiency and burn multiple are incredibly impressive,” which, given the metrics we have, seems correct.

Nearly as good as growth, however, is the fact that Vendr has raised $6.1 million to date, and, per Neu, has nearly all of it still in the bank. Sacks found that particularly enticing, saying that “fast growth is great, but it’s even more meaningful when you’re hardly burning any money to do it. That kind of product-market fit can’t be faked.”

Closing, Vendr is an odd duck when it comes to product. According to Neu, Vendr effectively started off as a consultancy, with him helping companies save money. It then grew into an increasingly software-powered business. In time, the firm expects to move from being a tech-enabled service to more of a service-enabled technology company.

The new money should help the startup keep writing its own code. And given the company’s ability to charge yearly rates of five-and-six figures to customers to help them control costs, baking a little more software into its internal operations could boost its gross margins nicely. That would make the company even more profitable.

Let’s see how long it takes for Vendr to double in size yet again.

Building a Sales Engine: Nailing Growth at the Series A


This post is by Seth DeHart from Point Nine Land - Medium

7 things SaaS founders should do to improve sales operations before gearing up for scale

The rise of low-margin, no-margin unicorns


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

Yesterday evening, Vroom, a digital used car retailer, priced its IPO at $22 per share, a figure that was a full $7 above the low end of its first proposed IPO price range. The venture-backed firm first proposed a $15 to $17 per-share IPO price range, which it later raised to $18 to $20 per share.

Pricing at $22 per share meant that there was strong demand for the company’s equity during its IPO process. Pricing strength doesn’t guarantee performance as a public company, but it does provide a proxy for investor interest.

TechCrunch has covered a few IPOs lately, noting along the way that some recent offerings have featured heavy financial backing and incredibly slim margins. Not profit margins, mind, those don’t exist for the firms we’re talking about — we’re discussing gross margins, the most basic element of corporate profitability.

Gross margins are part of why software companies are so valuable. Their incredibly strong gross margins make their revenues, and therefore their operations, attractive to investors; higher gross margins means more money left over to cover expenses and redistribute to shareholders via dividends and buybacks. Lower gross margin business, in contrast, have less money once they are done paying for revenue costs, making it harder for those companies to cover operating costs, let alone give away leftover fund to their owners.

So it has been to our surprise that Kingsoft Cloud, Vroom, and, soon, Lemonade are seeing such strong responses. It’s perhaps even more surprising that these companies managed to raise as much private capital as they did in their youth, despite not sporting gross margins that track with what we expect from venture-backed, tech and tech-ish companies.

With markets at all-time highs — and thus comparable valuations contentedly stretched — it’s probably a great time to take low-margin, growth-y companies public. But that doesn’t mean the situation makes perfect financial sense.

Acceleprise announces 26 SaaS startups from its trio of accelerators


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

The TechCrunch crew has worked to keep tabs on this year’s startup accelerator classes. Conventional wisdom in startup land states that great companies are founded during more trying economic times. Well, a recession was declared yesterday by the National Bureau of Economic Research. We should, therefore, see some breakout startups in the next few years.

Which means it’s a good time to see what’s bubbling up. To that end, the TC team has spent time parsing the latest from startup-helpers like Y Combinator (here and here), 500 Startups (more here), Techstars (here and here), and Acceleprise, the group we’re focused on today.

Acceleprise is a startup accelerator — a company that helps groups of startups mature, grow and prepare to raise more capital; most accelerators provide some seed funds and office space — focused on the business-to-business, modern software startups. Or, what is usually called B2B SaaS.

The Acceleprise group has three accelerators: one in San Francisco, one in New York and one in Toronto. It’s the last of the three that is the most interesting; Acceleprise Toronto just went through its first cohort, while the group’s San Francisco and New York branches are on classes 12 and 4, respectively.

TechCrunch caught up with Acceleprise CEO and managing partner Michael Cardamone about the new cohorts and how his program is handling the new, COVID-19 world. After that we have notes on each of the 26 companies in the three cohorts. Let’s go!

Toronto

That Acceleprise started a branch in Toronto was a bit of a surprise to your humble servant; was there enough startup activity in the city to warrant the investment? Why not Chicago? You get the idea.

So we were first curious about how Cardamone felt that the first batch of Toronto startups performed. According to the executive, the Canadian cohort “massively exceeded [his] expectations.” He went on to say that while the Acceleprise team was confident in the quality of talent in the city, what “they didn’t fully realize is how much of a funding gap there is in Toronto for the pre-seed stage.”

Funding gaps, in case you’re not familiar with the turn of phrase, are bad things. A funding gap occurs when there’s no available capital for one particular stage of a startup’s life. Some ecosystems struggle with later-stage checks, for example. Here Cardamone is saying that what Toronto required was the opposite of that — it needed tiny checks to light first fires.

Cardamone told TechCrunch in an email that the nine companies in the first Toronto cohort graduated with an aggregate $1.5 million in annual recurring revenue (ARR), meaning that the average B2B SaaS company from the group is out hunting for more pre-seed money with six-figure ARR. That feels about right.

TechCrunch asked how many from the Toronto group he expects to reach nine-figure valuations. Cardamone responded that “there are definitely companies in the cohort that are on the trajectory to be significant North America-wide businesses, and certainly have the potential to have nine-figure-plus outcomes.”

But there’s a small obstacle in the way of success for some, so let’s talk about it.

COVID-19

TechCrunch was curious what portion of Acceleprise startups make it to the Series A stage. Or, more simply, what percent actually raise an A? Cardamone responded that Acceleprise considers “a Series A internally as a $4 million+ institutional round.” That seems fair.

The math concerning how many startups from the group make it are not simple, however. Acceleprise is on its third fund, but only its first fund has been in-market long enough to have Series A data. Of that group, per Cardamone, “45% of companies [that Fund 1 invested in] raised a seed round, and 40% of those so far have gone on to a Series A.” That might seem like a lower resulting percentage than you’d imagine, but the calculations discount eight companies from those cohorts that were sold before they raised a Series A, and two other companies that the executive notes have reached ARR of $3 million to $5 million and skipped their A rounds. (One fund powers more than one accelerator cohort, of course.)

So what impact will COVID-19 have on Series A graduation? “While the funding market is a bit tighter right now, we haven’t seen the same level of slowdown that we thought we might when this first hit,” Cardamone said, adding that during his group’s investor week (similar to a demo day) “interest […] was as high as it’s ever been.”

It’s not all good news, however. From his vantage point, Cardamone told TechCrunch that post-seed companies are raising more seed extensions than Series As than before. How that dynamic shakes out isn’t clear yet.

(As an aside, Acceleprise is running its next cohorts virtually, due to COVID-19. This may be the norm for accelerators until there’s a vaccine.)

SaaS, valuations

Acceleprise was founded in 2012, but it was reborn when Cardamone got the name and moved the operation to San Francisco two years later. In 2014 SaaS was a growing slice of the startup market, but not yet the majority it now sometimes feels like it has become. So, the market has come to the company, in a sense.

The market has moved so far toward SaaS that public companies in the space have seen their valuations reach new peaks in recent weeks, even though the United States is now in a recession. TechCrunch was curious what impact the repricing of public SaaS revenues was having on early-stage companies that pursue the business model; was public market enthusiasm for SaaS raising to the prices that early-stage SaaS startups can charge investors for equity?

Not really, it appears. While there is a good connection between later-stage startup valuations and the public markets, it’s less clear amongst the early stages. Here’s Cardamone on the impact of rising public SaaS valuations:

It doesn’t necessarily impact valuations at the early stages but the positive view on SaaS revenue in the public markets leads to more capital allocated to early stage SaaS companies out of generalist funds, which certainly helps even our early-stage companies. 

That makes pretty good sense.

Startups

Right, enough from me. Here’s the list of startups and how they describe themselves. Enjoy!

Roots Automation: Roots Automation delivers the world’s first zero integration, self-learning Digital Coworkers as a Service. Their Digital Coworkers complete common business tasks – accounts payable, employee onboarding, processing claims, to name a few – and interact with their human teammates to share progress, ask for help, and get smarter as a result.

Prophit.ai: Prophit.ai applies advanced machine learning technology to help recover the $30 billion dollars of indirect tax overpaid by US corporations every year. Their platform makes tax decisions in near real-time, with a 98% accuracy and prevents any future tax errors from occurring.

Firstbase: Firstbase is the physical OS for remote teams. Their platform lets companies supply and manage all the physical equipment remote workers need to do great work at home as a monthly subscription. Firstbase handles everything; from the deployment of goods, IT installation, maintenance, and collections.

Touchbase: The quickest way to have team discussions over live video. Chats are timed and support topics, screen sharing, and calendar integration.

Polymer: Polymer is a data platform that secures and permissions data-in-motion across decentralized tech stacks comprised of collaborative tools, data sharing services, and data stores.

Dataships: Dataships helps companies build data relationships with their users in order to build trust and comply with global data privacy laws. The automated solution saves companies time and helps them avoid large fines.

StonePaper: StonePaper is an enterprise company specializing in developing decentralized platforms for secure data management. You can send data securely to people and businesses regardless of platform.

XILO: Lemonade for mom and pop insurance agencies. Agencies build web forms on the XILO platform that help them attract new business, service existing business, and automate their processes like data entry, renewals, proposals, pdf generation and more — ultimately saving the agency 50+ hours per month. They have acquired over 100 agencies since launch in 2019.

Hoolime: Hoolime is a multi-sided marketplace that allows care coordinators to match, schedule, and connect clinicians with patients for home-based care. The company charges a fee on every successful visit or telehealth interaction.

TRYON: TRYON creates augmented reality technology for a virtual jewelry fitting. With TRYON, a jewelry company of any size can reach and attract more clients and enhance customer shopping experience, as well as strengthen its brand engagement, increase online sales and cut down on product returns.

Hubbli: Hubbli is a fast-growing SaaS company that provides private schools with a hands-free enrollment marketing solution, in addition to other business operational services. It’s like Salesforce for private schools. Hubbli empowers school leaders to focus on delivering education and build future generations with passion without the complications of technology and marketing.

StarMetrics: StarMetrics is bringing the next generation of analytics tools to the front lines of the streaming revolution. Using proprietary algorithms, StarMetrics empowers content creators, distributors and advertisers to discover the right creative talent before production to maximize the global value and reach of their content.

CFO2: CFO2 is restaurant software that helps multi-unit operators make more money. CFO2 sits on top of restaurant systems (e.g. POS), captures all the data and tells operators what to do to generate more revenue and cut costs to maximize profit.

The Main Tab: The Main Tab is the first and only highly curated wholesale website serving the $800B wholesale market. We offer a selection of coveted brands and empower ‘Main St’ boutiques to browse, discover, and place orders via our website, at any time from anywhere.

MediSeen: MediSeen is a digital health company that empowers health and wellness providers to create their own virtual practice via simple-to-use HIPAA/PHIPA-compliant software.

JiiWA: jiiWA connects nonprofits to the people they serve for simplified and efficient programming, communications and engagement in a remote environment. Think HubSpot for Social Impact.

VendorPM: Property managers spend $359B on vendors each year and still rely on word of mouth & spreadsheet. VendorPM is a SaaS tool for enterprise property management companies to centralize data and operations. This creates a lock up of supply which we leverage in a marketplace where vendors must pay a premium to access new business.

Debie: Debie is a credit ratings platform for the commercial real estate industry. 80% of commercial tenants are not rated and represent 14% of US GDP. Debie rates these businesses using real-time data, helping property owners maximize values, reduce churn and improve operations.

Equator: Equator is a creative toolkit to access the digital earth and interact, create, and collaborate in 3D space. Think Google Earth, but more, for professionals in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry.

Hilo: The Hilo platform enables building operators to deliver better tenant experiences and a single point of access to smart building solutions. Rather than silo one building, our network connects people to the Hilo community in buildings, neighbourhoods and cities where they work and live.

Sote: Sote is a digital clearing and freight forwarding company for intra-continental trade in Africa – growing container volumes 100% MOM since going live in December. Flexport for Africa.

LVRG: LVRG is a supplier management and performance rating platform that helps users gain a 360-degree view of supplier performance to drive cost-savings through transparency and accountability.

Basix.ai: Basix.ai helps companies supercharge their sales efforts. Remote or in the office, their platform makes more sales conversations happen. Sales teams can get to the next prospect, follow-up, and close business, while getting smarter along the way. Basix.ai can turn your sales organization into a repeatable revenue machine!

OneBar: OneBar works on the next-generation productivity tools for teams, including a chat-driven knowledge base and Slack-first task management tool.

BurnRate: BurnRate is the capacity planning platform for revenue growth and hiring – helping founders and sales leaders know exactly how to structure their teams under different scenarios. Since COVID, they have been featured by the likes of Microsoft, Emergence Capital, Bowery Capital, and ProfitWell as a must-have tool to stay ahead in the current climate.

Upstock: Upstock.io instantly upgrades your company to the world’s best worker stock plans. Upstock.io uses visual dashboards to show equity in real-time and is backed by the same RSUs that top companies use.

The accelerating digital transformation, redux


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

Earlier this week, TechCrunch covered a grip of earnings reports showing that some companies helping other businesses move to modern software solutions are seeing accelerated growth. Inside the Software as a Service (SaaS) world, this is known as the digital transformation. Based on how many software companies are talking about it, the pace of change is only picking up.

But since we published that first entry, a number of SaaS companies that have posted financial results seemed to disappoint investors. Seeing some companies in the high-flying sector struggle made us sit back and think. What was going on?

Today we’re going to explore how the digital transformation’s acceleration seems real enough, but how it’s not landing equally. We’ll start by going over a short run of earnings results, talk to Yext CEO Howard Lerman about what his B2B SaaS company is seeing, and wrap with notes on what could be coming next from software shops.

A quick word on digital transformation

We all hear about digital transformation, but it’s hard to define. Generally, it’s a broad area that includes digitization of manual processes, modern software development practices like continuous delivery and containerization and a general way of moving faster via technology — especially in the cloud.

Speaking last month on Extra Crunch Live, Box CEO Aaron Levie defined the term as he sees it. “The way that we think about digital transformation is that much of the world has a whole bunch of processes and ways of working — ways of communicating and ways of collaborating where if those business processes or that way we worked were able to be done in digital forms or in the cloud, you’d actually be more productive, more secure and you’d be able to serve your customers better. You’d be able to automate more business processes.” he said.

What we’re seeing now is that the pandemic has accelerated the rate of change much faster than many had anticipated. Efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 and its related workplace disruptions have accelerated what would have been a normal timetable. But on its own, that doesn’t mean the market is seeing equal results across every company and industry that might be part of that trend.

Earnings results

Lots of SaaS companies reported earnings this week, but two sets of returns stuck out as we reviewed the results, those from Slack and Smartsheet.