Author: Katie Roof

BigCommerce raises $64 million to build e-commerce sites

Austin, Texas-based BigCommerce has completed a big round of funding. The growth stage startup, which builds e-commerce sites for Sony, Toyota and 60,000 other merchants, has raised $64 million to accelerate its business. The investment was led by Goldman Sachs, with participation from General Catalyst, GGV Capital and Tenaya Capital. And it brings BigCommerce’s total raised to over $200 million since it was founded in 2009. BigCommerce has developed a template for its customers to launch websites with manageable shipping and payments tracking. It also makes it easy to cross-sell on Amazon, eBay and Facebook. The company claims it is able...

Read More

Pivotal Software closed up 5% following IPO, raised $555 million

Stock market investors showed lukewarm enthusiasm for Pivotal Software’s debut on Friday. After pricing the IPO at $15, the company closed the day at $15.73. Although it didn’t “pop” for new investors, pricing at the midpoint of its proposed range allowed Pivotal to raise $555 million. Its public company market cap exceeded $3 billion. The enterprise cloud computing company has been majority-owned by Dell, which came about after its merger with EMC in 2016. It was spun off from Dell, EMC and VMware in April 2013. After that, it raised $1.7 billion in funding from Microsoft, Ford and General Electric. Here’s how it describes...

Read More

Drift raises $60 million to be an Amazon for businesses

When you’re raising venture capital, it helps if you’ve had “exits.” In other words, if your company has been acquired or you’ve taken one public, investors are more inclined to take a bet on anything you do. Boston-based serial entrepreneur David Cancel has sold not just one, but four companies.  And after a few years running product for HubSpot, he’s in the midst of building number five. That startup, Drift, managed to raise $47 million in its first three years. Now it’s announcing another $60 million led by Sequoia Capital, with participation from existing investors CRV and General Catalyst. The valuation is...

Read More

Utah’s Pluralsight unveils IPO filing

Pluralsight, the Utah-based education technology company, has revealed its IPO filing.  Given the timing of the unveiling, the company is likely targeting a May public debut. Its core business is online software development courses, helping people improve their skills in categories like IT, data and security. Businesses small and large pay Pluralsight to help train their employees. It also has offerings for individual subscribers. In the filing, the company acknowledges that it is a competitive landscape, and names Cornerstone OnDemand, Udacity, Udemy, LinkedIn Learning as others in a comparable market. It also mentions General Assembly, which was recently acquired by...

Read More

Zillow surprises investors by buying up homes

Real estate platform Zillow changed up its business model this week, announcing that it plans to purchase and sell homes in Las Vegas and Phoenix. Zillow will be working with Berkshire Hathaway and Coldwell Banker to make offers on homes before it finds a buyer. Zillow will pay commissions and also “make necessary repairs and updates and list the home as quickly as possible.” Calling it “Instant Offers,” Zillow says, “the program gives real estate agents the opportunity to acquire new listings by connecting them with motivated sellers who have taken a direct action to sell their home. Across all testing,...

Read More

Ad king Sir Martin Sorrell steps down from WPP following misconduct investigation

There’s big news in the world of advertising. Sir Martin Sorrell has stepped down from WPP, the world’s largest ad business. Sorrell had been in the midst of an unspecified investigation about “personal misconduct and misuse of company assets.” He has denied the allegations. WPP provided us with the following statement. “Sir Martin Sorrell has stepped down as Chief Executive Officer of WPP with immediate effect. Robert Quarta, Chairman of WPP, becomes Executive Chairman until the appointment of a new Chief Executive Officer…Sir Martin will be available to assist with the transition. The previously announced investigation into an allegation of misconduct against Sir Martin Sorrell has concluded. The allegation did not involve amounts that are material…Sir Martin will be treated as having retired… The $20.8 billion British company owns big brands in the marketing and communications world, including Olgivy & Mather, Young & Rubicam and 400 others. The company has over 200,000 employees. 73-year-old Sorrell was largely responsible for growing WPP into the advertising empire, having founded the business in 1985. He remained at the helm for decades. Some of its biggest clients include Unilever and Procter & Gamble. A spokesperson for WPP provided a statement, attributed to Sorrell. “Obviously I am sad to leave WPP after 33 years. It has been a passion, focus and source of energy for so long. However, I believe it is in the best interests of...

Read More

Elon Musk says ‘humans are underrated,’ calls Tesla’s ‘excessive automation’ a ‘mistake’

In a rare mea culpa for the mercurial billionaire, Tesla CEO Elon Musk acknowledged that the company has been too reliant on robots for production. Yes, excessive automation at Tesla was a mistake. To be precise, my mistake. Humans are underrated. — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 13, 2018 “Excessive automation at Tesla was a mistake,” Musk wrote, responding to a Wall Street Journal reporter’s tweet. “Humans are underrated.” He also talked about this with CBS News’ Gayle King, adding  “we had this crazy, complex network of conveyor belts….And it was not working, so we got rid of that whole thing.”...

Read More

Subscription biller Zuora soars 43% following IPO

Subscription biller Zuora was well-received by stock market investors on Thursday, following its public debut. After pricing its IPO at $14, the company closed at $20, valuing the company around $2 billion. It was also much higher than expected. The company said in its filings that it planned to price its shares between $9 and $11, before it raised that range to $11 to $13. Founder and CEO Tien Tzuo told TechCrunch that he believes “a bet on us is really a bet on an entire shift to a new business model, to a subscription economy.” He is optimistic that subscriptions...

Read More

Right Now in Politics and Business