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Monthly Archives: July 2021

Coralogix logs $55M for its new take on production analytics, now valued at $300M-$400M

July 31, 2021 No Comments

Data may be the new oil, but it’s only valuable if you make good use of it. Today, a startup that has built a new kind of production analytics platform for developers, security engineers, and data scientists to track and better understand how data is moving around their networks is announcing a round of funding that underscores the demand for their technology.

Coralogix, which provides stateful streaming services to engineering teams, has picked up $ 55 million in a Series C round of funding.

The round was led by Greenfield Partners, with Red Dot Capital Partners, StageOne Ventures, Eyal Ofer’s O.G. Tech, Janvest Capital Partners, Maor Investments and 2B Angels also participating.

This Series C is coming about 10 months after the company’s Series B of $ 25 million, and from what we understand, Coralogix’s valuation is now in the range of $ 300 million to $ 400 million, a big jump for the startup, coming on the back of it growing 250% since this time last year, racking up some 2,000 paying customers, with some small teams paying as little as $ 100/year and large enterprises paying $ 1.5 million/year.

Previously, Coralogix — founded in Tel Aviv and with an HQ also in San Francisco — had also raised a round of $ 10 million.

Coralogix got its start as a platform aimed at quality assurance support for R&D and engineering teams. The focus here is on log analytics and metrics for platform engineers, and this still forms a big part of its business today. Added to that, in recent years, Coralogix’s tools are being applied to cloud security services, contributing to a company’s threat intelligence by providing a way to observe data for any inconsistencies that typically might point to a breach or another incident. (It integrates with Alien Vault and others for this purpose.)

The third area that is just picking up now and will be developed further — one of the uses of this investment, in fact — will be to develop how Coralogix is used for business intelligence. This is a particularly interesting area because it plays into how Coralogix is built, to provide analytics on data before it is indexed.

“It’s about high-volume, but low-value data,” Ariel Assaraf, Coralogix’s CEO, said in an interview. “Customers don’t want to store the data [or index it] but want to view it live and visualize it. We are starting to see a use case where business information and our analytics come together for sentiment analysis and other areas.”

There are dozens of strong companies providing tools these days to cover log analytics and data observability, underscoring the general growth and importance of DevOps these days. They include companies like DataDog, Sumo Logic and Splunk.

However, Assaraf believes that what sets his company apart is its approach: Essentially, it has devised a way of observing and analyzing data streams before they get indexed, giving engineers more flexibility to query the data in different ways and glean more insights, faster. The other issue with indexing, he said, is that it impacts latency, which also has a big impact on overall costs for an organization.

For many of Coralogix’s competitors, turning around the nature of the business to focus not first on indexing would be akin to completely rebuilding the business, hard to do at their scale (although this is what Coralogix did when it pivoted as a small company several years ago, which is when Assaraf took on the role of CEO). One company he believes might be more of a direct rival is Confluent.

“I think we will see Confluent getting into observability very soon because they have the streaming capabilities,” he said, “but not the tools we have.” Another potential competitor looming on the horizon: Salesforce, and its potential move into that area, underscores the shifting sands of what is powering enterprise IT investment decisions today.

Salesforce already has Heroku, Slack and Tableau, three major tools developers use for tracking and working with data, Assaraf pointed out, and there were strong rumors of it trying to buy DataDog, “so we definitely see where they are going. For sure, they understand the way things are changing. All the budgets when Salesforce first started were in marketing and sales. Now you sell to IT. Salesforce understands that shift to developers, and so that is where they are going.”

It makes for a very interesting landscape and future for companies like Coralogix, one that investors believe the startup will continue to shape as it has up to now.

“The dramatic shift in digital transformation is generating an explosion of data, which until now has forced enterprises to decide between cost and coverage,” said Shay Grinfeld, managing partner at Greenfield Partners. “Coralogix’s real-time streaming analytics pipeline employs proprietary algorithms to break this tradeoff and generate significant cost savings. Coralogix has built a customer roster that comprises some of the largest and most innovative companies in the world. We’re thrilled to partner with Ariel and the Coralogix team on their journey to reinvent the future of data observability.”


Enterprise – TechCrunch


Livestream e-commerce: Why companies and brands need to tune in

July 31, 2021 No Comments

What comes to mind when you think of livestreaming? In the U.S., most people would name their favorite celebrity leading a Q&A on Instagram or a gamer doing a speedrun on Twitch.

In China, it’s shopping, streamed live.

Livestream e-commerce has taken off in China in the last few years and is expected to yield more than $ 60 billion this year. In 2019, 37% of online shoppers in China (a cool 265 million people) made purchases on livestreams — and that was well before quarantine. In 2020, it’s estimated to have reached around 560 million people.

During Taobao’s annual Single’s Day Global Shopping Festival in 2020 (China’s Black Friday), livestreams accounted for $ 6 billion in sales — nearly doubled from a year earlier.

Starting to see a trend? The big U.S. companies have noticed, and they’re jumping on the bandwagon faster than you can say, “Swipe up to buy now!”

Last December, Walmart livestreamed shopping events on TikTok. Amazon released a live platform where influencers promote items and chat with customers. Instagram launched a Shop feature that encourages users to browse and buy within the app. Facebook also kicked off Live Shopping Fridays for the beauty and fashion categories.

“It’s an entertaining way for shops to tell the story behind their products. It brings buyers closer than ever to their favorite creators and allows them to have a voice in the conversation.”

Startups are growing fast to keep up with the heavy hitters — PopShop.Live raised $ 20 million to let people buy everything from books and toys to jewelry from sellers who livestream their offerings, and Whatnot raised a $ 50 million Series B, largely to expand its livestream commerce infrastructure. There’s also a burgeoning category of SaaS tools such as Bambuser, which is working with brands like Klarna to test native livestream shopping directly within branded apps.

At this pace, retailers will all welcome livestream commerce teams like they have influencer partnerships in recent years. It’ll just be part of the digital equation to stay competitive and relevant in the future of marketplaces and e-commerce.

From B.C. to 5G: The evolution of shopping

What is old is new again. Your grandparents spent years watching QVC because it balanced the experience of speaking with an associate with the convenience of their retirement community’s TV room. Livestream is today’s version of “shoptainment,” where hosts showcase products dynamically, interact with their audiences and build urgency with short-term offers, giveaways and limited-edition items.

Now, with livestream commerce, hosts can form deeper customer connections and answer questions in real time. It’s a new standard of communication that holds a longstanding truth from Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar to smartphones: People shop to kill time and are more likely to buy when they feel connected with a salesperson.


Social – TechCrunch


Top 5 Tips for a Search Audience Strategy in 2021

July 31, 2021 No Comments

These tips will help you solve a common mistake seen in search accounts: a low number of audiences applied, and often only applying high-performance audiences.

Read more at PPCHero.com
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Neuromancer Is Still Mind-Blowing

July 31, 2021 No Comments

William Gibson’s classic 1984 novel is still the gold standard for cyberpunk.
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ConverseNow is targeting restaurant drive-thrus with new $15M round

July 30, 2021 No Comments

One year after voice-based AI technology company ConverseNow raised a $ 3.3 million seed round, the company is back with a cash infusion of $ 15 million in Series A funding in a round led by Craft Ventures.

The Austin-based company’s AI voice ordering assistants George and Becky work inside quick-serve restaurants to take orders via phone, chat, drive-thru and self-service kiosks, freeing up staff to concentrate on food preparation and customer service.

Joining Craft in the Series A round were LiveOak Venture Partners, Tensility Venture Partners, Knoll Ventures, Bala Investments, 2048 Ventures, Bridge Investments, Moneta Ventures and angel investors Federico Castellucci and Ashish Gupta. This new investment brings ConverseNow’s total funding to $ 18.3 million, Vinay Shukla, co-founder and CEO of ConverseNow, told TechCrunch.

As part of the investment, Bryan Rosenblatt, partner at Craft Ventures, is joining the company’s board of directors, and said in a written statement that “post-pandemic, quick-service restaurants are primed for digital transformation, and we see a unique opportunity for ConverseNow to become a driving force in the space.”

At the time when ConverseNow raised its seed funding in 2020, it was piloting its technology in just a handful of stores. Today, it is live in over 750 stores and grew seven times in revenue and five times in headcount.

Restaurants were some of the hardest-hit industries during the pandemic, and as they reopen, Shukla said their two main problems will be labor and supply chain, and “that is where our technology intersects.”

The AI assistants are able to step in during peak times when workers are busy to help take orders so that customers are not waiting to place their orders, or calls get dropped or abandoned, something Shukla said happens often.

It can also drive more business. ConverseNow said it is shown to increase average orders by 23% and revenue by 20%, while adding up to 12 hours of extra deployable labor time per store per week.

Company co-founder Rahul Aggarwal said more people prefer to order remotely, which has led to an increase in volume. However, the more workers have to multitask, the less focus they have on any one job.

“If you step into restaurants with ConverseNow, you see them reimagined,” Aggarwal said. “You find workers focusing on the job they like to do, which is preparing food. It is also driving better work balance, while on the customer side, you don’t have to wait in the queue. Operators have more time to churn orders, and service time comes down.”

ConverseNow is one of the startups within the global restaurant management software market that is forecasted to reach $ 6.94 billion by 2025, according to Grand View Research. Over the past year, startups in the space attracted both investors and acquirers. For example, point-of-sale software company Lightspeed acquired Upserve in December for $ 430 million. Earlier this year, Sunday raised $ 24 million for its checkout technology.

The new funding will enable ConverseNow to continue developing its line-busting technology and invest in marketing, sales and product innovation. It will also be working on building a database from every conversation and onboarding new customers quicker, which involves inputting the initial menu.

By leveraging artificial intelligence, the company will be able to course-correct any inconsistencies, like background noise on a call, and better predict what a customer might be saying. It will also correct missing words and translate the order better. In the future, Shukla and Aggarwal also want the platform to be able to tell what is going on around the restaurant — what traffic is like, the weather and any menu promotions to drive upsell.

 


Enterprise – TechCrunch


4 key areas SaaS startups must address to scale infrastructure for the enterprise

July 30, 2021 No Comments

Startups and SMBs are usually the first to adopt many SaaS products. But as these customers grow in size and complexity — and as you rope in larger organizations — scaling your infrastructure for the enterprise becomes critical for success.

Below are four tips on how to advance your company’s infrastructure to support and grow with your largest customers.

Address your customers’ security and reliability needs

If you’re building SaaS, odds are you’re holding very important customer data. Regardless of what you build, that makes you a threat vector for attacks on your customers. While security is important for all customers, the stakes certainly get higher the larger they grow.

Given the stakes, it’s paramount to build infrastructure, products and processes that address your customers’ growing security and reliability needs. That includes the ethical and moral obligation you have to make sure your systems and practices meet and exceed any claim you make about security and reliability to your customers.

Here are security and reliability requirements large customers typically ask for:

Formal SLAs around uptime: If you’re building SaaS, customers expect it to be available all the time. Large customers using your software for mission-critical applications will expect to see formal SLAs in contracts committing to 99.9% uptime or higher. As you build infrastructure and product layers, you need to be confident in your uptime and be able to measure uptime on a per customer basis so you know if you’re meeting your contractual obligations.

While it’s hard to prioritize asks from your largest customers, you’ll find that their collective feedback will pull your product roadmap in a specific direction.

Real-time status of your platform: Most larger customers will expect to see your platform’s historical uptime and have real-time visibility into events and incidents as they happen. As you mature and specialize, creating this visibility for customers also drives more collaboration between your customer operations and infrastructure teams. This collaboration is valuable to invest in, as it provides insights into how customers are experiencing a particular degradation in your service and allows for you to communicate back what you found so far and what your ETA is.

Backups: As your customers grow, be prepared for expectations around backups — not just in terms of how long it takes to recover the whole application, but also around backup periodicity, location of your backups and data retention (e.g., are you holding on to the data too long?). If you’re building your backup strategy, thinking about future flexibility around backup management will help you stay ahead of these asks.


Enterprise – TechCrunch


Five Tips to Increase your Conversion Rate using Facebook

July 29, 2021 No Comments

The average conversion rate of Facebook ads is 9.21. If your conversion rate is lower than 10%, it’s time to start focusing on improving it with these 5 tips.

Read more at PPCHero.com
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How Gravity Turns Me Upside Down

July 29, 2021 No Comments

My favorite force belittles me—literally—but also inspires new ways to get high.
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Twitter shuttering NY, SF offices in response to new CDC guidelines

July 29, 2021 No Comments

Just two weeks after reopening its New York and San Francisco offices, social media giant Twitter said Wednesday that it will be closing those offices “immediately.”

The decision came “after careful consideration of the CDC’s updated guidelines, and in light of current conditions,” a spokesperson said.

“Twitter has made the decision to close our opened offices in New York and San Francisco as well as pause future office reopenings, effective immediately. We’re continuing to closely monitor local conditions and make necessary changes that prioritize the health and safety of our Tweeps,” the spokesperson added.

The company initially just reopened those offices on July 12. It declined to reveal headcount per office.

The CDC this week recommended that fully vaccinated people begin wearing masks indoors again in places with high Covid transmission rates amid concerns about the highly contagious Delta variant.

Earlier today, TechCrunch’s Brian Heater reported that Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced that the company will require employees to be vaccinated before returning to work on-site. It was part of a larger letter sent to Google/Alphabet staff that also noted the company will be extending its work-from-home policy through October 18, as the COVID-19 delta variant continues to sweep through the global population.

In a message to TechCrunch, Facebook’s VP of People, Lori Goler, confirmed a similar policy for the social media behemoth.

Amazon also responded to TechCrunch’s inquiry on the matter, noting, “We strongly encourage Amazon employees and contractors to be vaccinated as soon as COVID-19 vaccines are available to them.”


Social – TechCrunch


Homebase raises $71M for a team management platform aimed at SMBs and their hourly workers

July 29, 2021 No Comments

Small and medium enterprises have become a big opportunity in the world of B2B technology in the last several years, and today a startup that’s building tools aimed at helping them manage their teams of workers is announcing some funding that underscores the state of that market. Homebase, which provides a platform that helps SMBs manage various services related to their hourly workforces, has closed $ 71 million in funding, a Series C that values the company at between $ 500 million and $ 600 million, according to sources close to the startup.

The round has a number of big names in it that are as much a sign of how large VCs are valuing the SMB market right now, as it is of the strategic interest of the individuals who are also participating. GGV Capital is leading the round, with past backers Bain Capital Ventures, Baseline Ventures, Bedrock, Cowboy Ventures, and Khosla Ventures also participating. Individuals meanwhile include president of Focus Brands Kat Cole, Jocelyn Mangan (a board member at PapaJohns and Chownow and former COO of Snag), former CFO of payroll and benefits company Gusto Mike Dinsdale, Guild Education founder Rachel Carlson, star athletes Jrue and Lauren Holiday and alright alright alright actor and famous everyman and future political candidate Matthew McConaughey.

Homebase has raised $ 108 million to date.

The funding is coming on the heels of strong growth for Homebase (which is not to be confused with the UK/Irish home improvement chain of the same name, nor the YC-backed Vietnamese proptech startup).

The company now has some 100,000 small businesses, with 1 million employees in total, on its platform, which use Homebase to manage all manner of activities related to workers that are paid hourly, including (most recently) payroll, as well as shift scheduling, timeclocks and timesheets, hiring and onboarding, communication, and HR compliance.

John Waldmann, Homebase’s founder and CEO, said the funding will go towards both continuing to bring on more customers, as well as expand the list of services offered to them, which could include more features geared to front-line and service workers, as well as features for small businesses who might also have some “desk” workers who might still work hourly.

The common thread, Waldmann said, is not the exact nature of those jobs, but the fact that all of them, partly because of that hourly aspect, have been largely underserved by tech up to now.

“From the beginning, our mission was to help local businesses and their teams,” he said. Part of his inspiration he said came from people he knew: a childhood friend who owned an independent, expanding restaurant chain, and was going through the challenges of managing his teams there, carrying out most of his work on paper; and his sister who worked in hospitality, which didn’t look all that different from his restaurant friend’s challenges. She had to call in to see when she was working, writing her hours in a notebook to make sure she got paid accurately. 

“There are a lot of tech companies focused on making work easier for folks that sit at computers or desks, but are building tools for these others,” Waldmann said. “In the world of work, the experience just looks different with technology.”

Homebase currently is focused on the North American market — there are some 5 million small businesses in the U.S. alone, and so there is a lot of opportunity there. The huge pressure that many them have experienced in the last 18 months of Covid-19 living, leading some to shut down altogether, has also focused the mind on how to manage and carry out work much more efficiently and in a more organized way to ensure you know where your staff is, and that your staff knows what it should be doing at all times.

What will be interesting is to see what kinds of services Homebase adds to its platform over time: in a way it’s a sign of how the hourly wage workers are becoming a more sophisticated and salient aspect of the workforce, with their own unique demands. Payroll, which is now live in 27 states, also comes with pay advances, opening the door to other kinds of financial services for Homebase, for example.

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of the American economy, with more than 60% of Americans employed by one of our 30 million small businesses. In a post-pandemic world, technology has never been more important to businesses of all sizes, including SMBs,” said Jeff Richards, managing aartner at GGV Capital and new Homebase board member, in a statement. “The team at Homebase has worked tirelessly for years to bring technology to SMBs in a way that helps drive increased profitability, better hiring and growth. We’re thrilled to see Homebase playing such an important role in America’s small business recovery and thrilled to be part of the mission going forward.”

It’s interesting to see McConaughey involved in this round, given that he’s most recently made a turn towards politics, with plans to run for governor of Texas in 2022. “Hard working people who work in and run restaurants and local businesses are important to all of us,” he said in a statement. “They play an important role in giving our cities a sense of livelihood, identity, and community. This is why I’ve invested in Homebase. Homebase brings small business operations into the modern age and helps folks across the country not only continue to work harder, but work smarter.”


Enterprise – TechCrunch


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