Tech Weekly Newsletter: May 8, 2016

 

Quick thoughts

No real detailed analysis from me this week other than a quick shout-out to the team at Appboy, who announced their $20M Series C this week that our team at Battery led. This was a long time coming on both sides (I think we’ve been talking to them for three years) and we’re excited to watch them continue to execute on what they’ve done to date. 
 
Last week, today

  • 4/29 – .406 Ventures is raising an $80M “opportunities fund” (likely to go alongside their $217M third fund that they raised last July) (Bostinno)
  • 4/29 – Yahoo has narrowed its list of potential buyers to 10 according to people close to the situation (Fortune)
  • 5/2 – Uber ditched Slack for Atlassian’s HipChat, because Slack couldn’t keep up with its employee growth (Business Insider)
  • 5/2 – Craig Wright has outed himself (and apparently validated to people that know the Bitcoin community) as the creator of Bitcoin. Wired has a story on it (Wired). But that was earlier in the week and now he has said that he doesn’t “have the courage (to provide proof).” He went onto say that he was “not strong enough,” which is weird (Business Insider)
  • 5/2 – After acquiring construction software company Textura last week, Oracle scoops up another vertical software company in Opower, the utilities management provider, for $532M (TechCrunch)
  • 5/2 – Vertafore just keeps getting passed around by private equity firms.  Bain and Vista Equity acquired the business from TPG for $2.7B (per 451). Also per 451, Vertafore did $485M in revenue in 2015, up from $400M in 2014 and $180M in EBITDA in 2015. TPG bought the business in June 2010 for $1.4B from Hellman & Friedman (Press Release)
  • 5/2 – The Information speculates that after the recent buys of Textura and Opower, Oracle may go shopping for businesses like Fleetmatics and RealPage.  Their logic is that they are targeting SaaS businesses where they have a non-SaaS presence already (The Information)
  • 5/2 – Gizmodo has a deep dive into the work done by Facebook’s news curation team. The TLDR version is that it was done by contractors who weren’t paid much and felt left out. Facebook also discouraged citing Twitter as a source and the manual curators are now being largely phased out (likely due to automation). The title and reporting here attempt to be scintillating than it actually is, but worth a read (Gizmodo)
  • 5/3 – Adobe has acquired “social library and engagement platform” Livefyre (I think the non-buzzwordy version of what they actually do is provide a platform that let you comment on websites).  Salesforce and Adobe were both investors, along with USVP and Greycroft (TechCrunch)
  • 5/3 – Amazon and Facebook are joining Intel and Netflix as companies that breakout stock-based comp in their earnings, which could spell more trouble for LinkedIn and Twitter. This comes after much criticism from regulators and investors (Bloomberg)
  • 5/3 – Stu Philips, who helped manage Bay Partners back from the dead (before it officially was put to sleep) is apparently now a Managing Director at Insight Venture Partners per Dan Primack per LinkedIn (Fortune)
  • 5/3 – Prosper Marketplace a P2P marketplace that has raised from Francisco Partners, IVP, Accel, and Benchmark (among others) is the latest fintech start up to jump on the layoff train. The Company announced that it will cut 171 jobs and the CEO will forgo his salary for the year (WSJ). 
  • 5/3 – Pinterest confirmed that they have acqui-hired 15 people from the now defunct mobile advertising / deep-linking company URX (Re/Code)
  • 5/4 – Google-backed startup Yieldify laid off 10% of its workforce in March. The Company is currently facing two lawsuits from its competitor, Bounce Exchange, around patent infringement (Business Insider)
  • 5/4 – Scott McNealy, the old CEO of Sun Microsystems, is stepping down from the role of CEO of the Company, Wayin that he started. Wayin recently acquired a company called EngageSciences, based in the UK and the EngageSciences CEO will take over as CEO of the combined business (Re/Code)
  • 5/4 – Oculus has snagged Fitbit COO, Hans Hartman, as their COO (TechCrunch)
  • 5/4 – Apple Music (that thing you were annoyingly forced to use for a little while last year before just ignoring it) is getting a major face-lift after being met with bad reviews and poor growth. The service is now being overseen by content head Robert Kondrik and Nine Inch Nails frontman (?) Trent Reznor with influence from Jony Ive and Jimmy Iovine (Bloomberg)
  • 5/4 – Hulu CEO confirms plans for a live television streaming service to complement its on-demand one in 2017 (TechCrunch)
  • 5/5 – Box corp dev exec (and former corp dev exec at Salesforce) Villi Iltchev joins August Capital as a General Partner (VentureBeat)
  • 5/5 – Fortune has a long “he-said, she said” story on the break-up of a venture capital firm, Xfund. Pretty ugly with two leaders seeing psychologists, a restraining order, hidden video cameras, a freeze on investments, an employee fired and then claiming she was fired because she accused one of the leaders of “bullying, and mentally and emotionally abusing me and the entire team” etc. etc. etc. – rarely does this stuff come to light and this is a good reason why (Fortune)
  • 5/5 – Apple and SAP partner to enable iOS apps to leverage SAP HANA (Seeking Alpha)
  • 5/5 – Vonage has acquired Nexmo, that other company that does what Twilio does, for $230M (ZDnet)
  • 5/5 – Amazon is now investing in planes, taking a 30% stake in cargo freight airline company Atlas Air Worldwide. Atlas will lease 20 Boeing B767-300 jets to Amazon as part of the deal. Atlas’ stock was up 25% on the news (CNN)
  • 5/5 – Youtube’s former VP of Product Management, Matt Glotzbach, is taking over as CEO of Quizlet (backed by Union Square Ventures and Costanoa) (TechCrunch)
  • 5/5 – ff Venture Capital has raised a new $54M fund, its fourth seed-stage fund (TechCrunch)
  • 5/6 – The NVCA has named Menlo Ventures’ Managing Director Venky Ganesan as its Chairman (WSJ)
  • 5/7 – Business Insider has a detailed profile of the efforts to cut back on costs at Dropbox as they look to build a profitable business. In an internal email, Dropbox disclosed that perks were costing the Company at least $25K a year per employee (Business Insider)

Earnings

  • 5/3 –OnDeck was down 35% following earnings, which puts it down 70% since its IPO nearly a year-and-a-half ago. Lending Club fell 10% as well (Market Watch)
  • 5/3 – Mindbody reported earnings with the stock falling 6% on the news (Web Breaking News)
  • 5/3 – Zillow beats on earnings and raises year-end outlook. The stock spikes 12% on the news (Barron’s)
  • 5/4 – Zynga announced its first earnings under new CEO Frank Gibeau (who took over for founder Mark Pincus who made it only 11 months in his second stint as CEO) and beat expectations, trading up 12% in after-hours trading (Business Insider)
  • 5/4 – Fitbit shares fall over 17% on earnings after the Company forecasted lower earnings than analysts expected (Business Insider)
  • 5/4 – HubSpot’s customers aren’t showing early signs of caring too much about Disrupted. The Company posted earnings that beat Wall Street’s expectations and traded up 3% (Bostinno)
  • 5/4 – Benefitfocus is initially flat after announcing earnings, but trades down 4% at the end of the week (CWRU)
  • 5/4 – Shopify stock fell 4% following earnings despite beating top-line expectations (The Street)
  • 5/4 – Hortonworks reported earnings with subscription support up 110% year-over-year. The stock went up 3% on the news (Datanami)
  • 5/4 – RealPage* reported disappointing earnings with the stock falling 6% on the news (CWRU)
  • 5/5 – Etsy posted its first profit as a public company and traded up 12% in after-hours (although the stock is still well below its IPO price) (Business Insider)
  • 5/5 – Tough few weeks for Jack Dorsey on the public market. After Twitter’s stock took a bath last week, Square’s stock does the same this week, falling 20% in after-hours trading (Bloomberg)
  • 5/5 – Atlassian falls 5% after releasing just meh earnings for its Q4 2016 (Street Insider)
  • 5/6 – Tableau’s stock fell hard again (remember their last earnings along with LinkedIn basically sparked an entire tech market correction) after reporting significantly slower license growth. The stock was down 11% (CNBC)
  • 5/6 – FireEye stock dropped 19% on earnings after its product revenue fell 16.2% year-over-year (although subscription services revenue was up 57.7%). The Company also announced that CEO Dave Dewalt will become chairman while COO Kevin Mandia (former CEO of Mandiant) will take over as CEO (Value Walk)
  • 5/6 – Similarly, another security stock, Imperva, took a beating following earnings with the Company trading down over 25% (Bidness)
  • 5/6 – Cornerstone is inching closer and closer to profitability and it’s been received well by the street. The stock traded up 3% on news (ZDNet)
  • 5/6 – Instructure earnings fall a bit short of expectations and the stock trades down 4% (Seeking Alpha)
  • 5/5 – Cvent posts what is likely they’re finally earnings on the public market before the take private by Vista closes. The earnings were better than analysts expected (Fool.com)

Financings

  • 5/2 – Acquisio, a 13-year-old, Brossard, Quebec-based performance marketing software company that sells to small businesses, has raised an undisclosed amount of capital from Wellington Financial.
  • 5/2 – Airstoc, a 2.5-year-old, Sheffield, U.K.-based online marketplace that connects professional drone pilots with companies looking for aerial videography, has raised $700,000 in seed funding from Point Nine Capital, Launchub, and Thibaud Elziere.
  • 5/2 – Brightwheel, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based mobile platform for early education, has raised $600,000 from investors Mark Cuban and Chris Sacca, who met the company on the ABC television show “Shark Tank.”
  • 5/2 – CarVi, a two-year-old, San Jose, Ca.-based company whose dashboard device analyzes a driver’s actions and surroundings in real time to provide feedback and warnings when necessary, has raised $5 million in Series A funding from Samsung Ventures, Korea Telecom Investment, and POSCO.
  • 5/2 – Certrax, a months-old, Woodbridge, N.J.-based company whose app helps real estate owners, property managers and service providers manage third-party risk, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from WorldQuant Ventures.
  • 5/2 – CodeCombat, a three-year-old, San Francisco, Ca.-based platform for kids to learn computer science, has raised $2 million in seed funding from Third Kind Venture Capital, Andreessen Horowitz and Allen & Company.
  • 5/2 – EclecticIQ, a two-year-old, Amsterdam, Netherlands-based threat intelligence software company, has raised €5.5m ($6.3 million) in Series A funding, including from Inked Capital and Kpn Ventures.
  • 5/2 – Home Chef, a three-year-old, Chicago-based startup that delivers recipes and ingredients to its customers to make home cooking easier, has raised $10 million in Series A funding led by Shining Capital and Guild Capital.
  • 5/2 – MyNFO, a 1.5-year-old, Tampa, Fla.-based media platform for marketers and consumers, has raised $6.8 million in Series A funding led by Almaz Capital.
  • 5/2 – Sqreen, a year-old, Paris, France-based app security startup whose SaaS platform is used to inspect apps and protect them real-time, has raised $2.3 million in funding from Alven Capital, Point Nine Capital, Kima Ventures, 50 Partners and numerous angel investors.
  • 5/2 – Varo Money, an eight-month-old, San Francisco, Ca.-based mobile-only banking startup, has raised $27 million in funding led by Warburg Pincus.
  • 5/2 – WeCounsel, a five-year-old, Chattanooga, Tn.-based telemedicine software company, has raised $3.5 million in Series A funding from Longmeadow Capital Partners, Point Judith Capital and CVH Holdings.
  • 5/3 – Age of Learning, a nine-year-old, Glendale, Ca.-based education company behind the popular children’s site and app ABCMouse, has quietly raised $150 million at a $1 billion valuation led by Iconiq Capital.
  • 5/3 – Bench, a four-year-old, Vancouver-based online bookkeeping service for small businesses and independent contractors, has raised $16 million in Series B funding led by Bain Capital Ventures.
  • 5/3 – CloudHealth Technologies, a Boston-based cloud service management company, has raised $20 million in Series C funding led by Sapphire Ventures.
  • 5/3 – Digital Reasoning, a 16-year-old, Nashville, Tn.-based cognitive computing company, has raised $40 million in Series D funding co-led by Lemhi Ventures and Nasdaq.
  • 5/3 – Maana, a 3.5-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based analytics platform, has raised $26 million in Series B funding led by Saudi Armco Energy Ventures.
  • 5/3 – Parasail Health, a two-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based company that provides term loans to help individuals cover their out of pocket medical expenses, has raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding round from Peter Thiel and Montage Ventures.
  • 5/3 – Roam, a 1.5-year-old, New York-based network of communal living spaces around the world, has raised $3.4 million in seed funding led by CRV.
  • 5/3 – Shine, a seven-month-old, Brooklyn, N.Y.-based SMS service that sends an inspirational daily text message to users, along with a link to related article, has raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding led by Flybridge Ventures.
  • 5/3 – Zooz, a six-year-old, Kfar Sava, Israel-based payments platform designed to reduce the percentage of international credit cards being rejected, has raised $24 million in Series C funding led by Target Global Ventures.
  • 5/4 – Appboy*, a five-year-old, New York-based mobile marketing automation platform, has raised $20 million in Series C funding led by Battery Ventures.
  • 5/4 – DFLabs, an 11-year-old, Milan, Italy-based company that makes automated cyber incident management and response software, has raised $5.5 million in Series A funding from Evolution Equity Partners.
  • 5/4 – Farfetch, an eight-year-old, London-based a fashion e-commerce platform that connects consumers with a curated global network of boutiques and bigger brands, has just raised $110 million in Series F funding led by new investors Temasek, IDG Capital Partners and Eurazeo
  • 5/4 – Full Measure Education, a three-year-old, Washington, D.C.-based mobile platform for post-secondary student communication and administrative management needs, has raised $6 million in Series B funding led by Safeguard Scientifics.
  • 5/4 – Haven, a two-year-old, San Francisco, Ca.- and Singapore-based programmatic logistics platform that automates freight procurement for commodity traders, food producers, and CPG companies, has raised $11 million in Series A funding led by Spark Capital.
  • 5/4 – Job Market Maker, a three-year-old Charleston, S.C.-based online recruitment startup, has raised $1 million in Series A funding from Charleston Angel Partners.
  • 5/4 – LiveNinja, a five-year-old, Miami, Fla.-based live video chat marketplace that connects users with topic experts, has raised $2 million in fresh funding from Scout Ventures, Anzu Partners, Comcast Ventures Catalyst Fund, Citi Ventures, Accelerated Growth Partners and SeedInvest.
  • 5/4 – OutboundEngine, a 3.5-year-old, Austin, Tex.-based automated marketing platform for small business owners, has raised $16 million in Series C funding led by S3 Ventures.
  • 5/4 – Passport, a six-year-old, Charlotte, N.C.-based company specializing in enterprise business applications and payments for parking and transportation, has raised $8 million in Series B funding led by MK Capital.
  • 5/4 – PowWow Mobile, a 3.5-year-old, San Francisco-based enterprise app mobility startup, has raised $4.3 million in new funding led by Vertical Venture Partners.
  • 5/4 – Rebagg, a two-year-old, New York-based online marketplace for previously owned designer handbags, has raised $8 million in Series A funding led by General Catalyst Partners.
  • 5/4 – Roli, a seven-year-old, London-based music technology company, has raised $27 million in funding led by Foundry Group.
  • 5/4 – VTS, a five-year-old, New York-based commercial real estate leasing and asset management platform, has raised $55 million in Series C funding led by Insight Venture Partners.
  • 5/4 – Winc, a 4.5-year-old, L.A.-based online wine retailer that’s been known until now as Club W, has raised $17.5 million in new funding co-led by Shining Capital and earlier investor Bessemer Venture Partners
  • 5/5 – Via, a New York-based on-demand transit company, has raised $70 million in new VC funding. Pitango Growth led the round.
  • 5/5 – On24, a San Francisco-based webcasting company, has raised $25 million in new VC funding led by Goldman Sachs.
  • 5/5 – Somnoware Healthcare Systems, a Charlotte, N.C.-based cloud platform for sleep wellness and sleep disorder management, has raised $9 million in Series A funding. TransLink Capital led the round.
  • 5/5 – Eonite Perception, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based “startup dedicated to making machines understand the real world,” has raised $5.25 million in seed funding from backers like Lightspeed Venture Partners, Signia Venture Partners, Presence Capital, The VR Fund, Rising Tide and CLI Ventures.
  • 5/5 – Teachable (f.k.a. Fedora), a New York-based online marketplace for instructors, has raised $2.5 million in new seed funding. Backers include Accomplice Learn Capital and Naval Ravikant.
  • 5/6 – Drawbridge, a 5.5-year-old, San Mateo, Ca.-based ad tech company, has raised $25 million in Series C funding from Sequoia Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and Northgate Capital.
  • 5/6 – Omni, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based on-demand storage startup, has raised $7 million in Series A funding led by Highland Capital Partners.
  • 5/6 – Pivotal, a three-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based software company that helps its customers build up their own software development capabilities, has raised $253 million in Series C funding at a $2.8 billion valuation from Ford, Microsoft, EMC, VMware and GE.

Random, long reads
Parties We Wished We Crashed (Mr. Porter) – A shorter read by the folk over at Mr. Porter on some of the epic parties that have occurred in hotels over the last 50 years. From Keith Richards dropping a television out of a hotel to Kate Moss and wild group intimate settings, all of these parties sound like the stuff you don’t really believe happens.  
 
Amen! (D’Angelo’s Back (GQ) – D’Angelo might be the most talented, famous, slightly still under-the-radar artist of his generation. His level of influence, depth and talent are almost unparalleled today (watch his moving Prince tribute if you get a chance). George Clinton has compared his work to Marvin Gaye and Eric Clapton said (after hearing Voodoo, his second album), “I can’t take much more. Is it all like this? My God!”
 
He’s actually as cool as it gets too. In this deep profile from 18 months ago by GQ, you’re treated to awesome anecdotes like Madonna walked over and told a woman sitting next to D’Angelo, “I think you’re in my seat.” The woman got up. Madonna sat down and told him, “I’d like to know what you’re thinking.” To which D’Angelo replied, “I’m thinking you’re rude.”
 
But it hasn’t been a linear path for the man, who almost died in September 2005 following a car crash while high on cocaine and alcohol and has long struggled with alcohol and drug addiction. He’s only released three albums ever and all have been incredible.  If you haven’t given him a shot or maybe you remember him as the abs guy from the late 90s and haven’t checked out his 2014 album, just do it. And check out this GQ profile to understand a little bit more about one of them most talented artists of this generation. 
 
Inside Palantir, Silicon Valley’s Most Secretive Company (Buzzfeed) – Buzzfeed continues to do great work with investigative journalism into some of today’s high flying unicorn companies.  First it was Zenefits and now the same for Palantir. Buzzfeed uncovered information about top tier corporate clients (including American Express, Nasdaq and Coca-Cola) walking away from deals with Palantir, particularly over some price tags of $1M a month for their services. It also has information on the discrepancy between the bookings number the Company advertised for 2015 ($1.7B) and the actual collections number ($420M) – note there could be a big difference for multi-year stuff but still notable.  The Company also burned $500M last year. 
 
All in all, definitely worth reading to get insights into one of the most secretive companies in the private tech world today.

 

*Battery portfolio company. For a list of all Battery portfolio companies, please click here.