Author: Ron Miller

Alation announces $50M Series C investment as data catalog biz takes off

TECHCRUNCH Alation, a startup that helps crawl a company’s databases in order to build a data search catalogue, announced a $50 million Series C investment today. The round was led by Sapphire Ventures and Salesforce Ventures. Existing investors Costanoa Ventures, DCVC (Data Collective), Harmony Partners and Icon Ventures also participated. Today’s investment brings the total raised to $82 million, according to Crunchbase data. The participation of Sapphire Ventures, originally launched by SAP, and Salesforce Ventures, the venture arm of Salesforce, is particularly telling. One of the issues these enterprise software companies face when they go inside large enterprises is helping customer access and understand data wherever it lives. It’s one of the reasons that Salesforce bought Mulesoft for $6.5 billion last year. This is a problem that employees face, as well. It’s simply inefficient to query multiple databases manually, or to even know what databases exist inside a large organization. Alation uses out-of-the-box connectors to connect to common data sources like Oracle, Redshift, Teradata, Spark and Tableau to create a centralized data catalog. With that catalog in place, employees can search just as they would with any enterprise search engine with the notable difference that this tool is focussed strictly on structured data inside of supported data sources. The company goes beyond pure matching to find the data an employee is searching for. Company CEO and co-founder Satyen Sangani says...

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Infor lands $1.5 billion investment ahead of possible IPO

TECHCRUNCH Infor, a NYC-based enterprise software company, announced a massive $1.5 billion investment today that could be the precursor to an IPO down the road. One analyst is estimating that the valuation could be at least $60 billion. The investment is being led by Koch Industries’ investment arm, Koch Equity Development, and Golden Gate Capital. Today’s investment comes on top of a $2 billion+ cash infusion from Koch in 2017, bringing the total raised to at least more than $3.5 billion. That’s a lot of cash. Infor may be the largest company you never heard of with over 17,000...

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Box hires former SAP exec as Chief Information Security Officer

TECHCRUNCH Box announced today that it has hired Lakshmi Hanspal to be the company’s new Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). She boasts 20 years of security experience including holding executive security roles at SAP Ariba and Bank of America. She also spent time in a senior role at PayPal. In a blog post announcing the hire, the company defined her role this way: “In the role of CISO, Lakshmi will be responsible for Box’s cyber security practice, security operations and data and platform protection.” Hanspal sees similarities in Box from her time at SAP Ariba, but she recognizes that...

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Microsoft continues to build government security credentials ahead of JEDI decision

TECHCRUNCH While the DoD is in the process of reviewing the $10 billion JEDI cloud contract RFPs (assuming the work continues during the government shutdown), Microsoft continues to build up its federal government security bona fides, regardless. Today the company announced it has achieved the highest level of federal government clearance for the Outlook mobile app, allowing US Government Community Cloud (GCC) High and Department of Defense employees to use the mobile app. This is on top of FedRamp compliance, the company achieved last year. “To meet the high level of government security and compliance requirements, we updated the...

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AWS makes another acquisition grabbing TSO Logic

TECHCRUNCH AWS has been on a mini shopping spree since the first of the year. First it picked off Israeli disaster recovery startup CloudEndure last week. This week, it was TSO Logic, a Vancouver startup that helps companies make the most efficient use of cloud resources. The companies did not share the purchase price. Amazon confirmed the purchase by email and referred to the statement on the TSO Logic website from CEO Aaron Rallo. “We are very pleased to share the news that TSO Logic will be joining the AWS family,” Rallo wrote in the statement. The company takes...

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Smartsheet acquires Slope to help creatives collaborate

TECHCRUNCH Smartsheet, the project management and collaboration tool that went public last April, announced the acquisition of Seattle-based TernPro, Inc., makers of Slope, a collaboration tool designed for sharing creative assets. The companies did not share the acquisition price. Bringing Slope into the fold will enable Smartsheet users to share assets like video and photos natively inside the application, and also brings the ability to annotate, comment or approve these assets. Smartsheet sees this native integration through a broad enterprise lens. It might be HR sharing training videos, marketing sharing product photos or construction company employees inspecting a site...

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Salesforce Commerce Cloud updates keep us shopping with AI-fueled APIs

TECHCRUNCH As people increasingly use their mobile phones and other devices to shop, it has become imperative for vendors to improve the shopping experience, making it as simple as possible, given the small footprint. One way to do that is using artificial intelligence. Today, Salesforce announced some AI-enhanced APIs designed to keep us engaged as shoppers. For starters, the company wants to keep you shopping. That means providing an intelligent recommendation engine. If you searched for a particular jacket, you might like these similar styles, or this scarf and gloves. That’s fairly basic as shopping experiences go, but Salesforce didn’t stop there. It’s letting developers embed this ability to recommend products in any app whether that’s maps, social or mobile. That means shopping recommendations could pop up anywhere developers think it makes sense like on your maps app. Whether consumers see this as a positive thing, Salesforce says when you add intelligence to the shopping experience, it increases sales anywhere from 7-16 percent, so however you feel about it, it seems to be working. The company also wants to make it simple to shop. Instead of entering a long faceted search as has been the traditional way of shopping in the past — footwear, men’s, sneakers, red — you can take a picture of a sneaker (or anything you like) and the visual search algorithm should recognize it and...

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Gartner finds PC sales doldrums continued in 2018

TECHCRUNCH Gartner released its quarterly PC sales survey for the fourth quarter of 2018 this week, and it was the same old story. PC sales plunged in the fourth quarter and were down 1.3 percent for the year. The three top players — HP, Dell and Lenovo — accounted for 63 percent of sales worldwide in the quarter. The company found in their preliminary sales research that worldwide sales totaled totaled 68.6 million units in the fourth quarter. That may sound like a big number, but it’s down 4.3 percent over the same period last year. Gartner principal analyst Mikako Kitagawa said after a couple of quarters of modest growth, the market began to slow down again for a number or reasons including political and economic uncertainty and a CPU shortage. “There was even uncertainty in the U.S. — where the overall economy has been strong — among vulnerable buyer groups, such as small and midsize businesses (SMBs). Consumer demand remained weak in the holiday season. Holiday sales are no longer a major factor driving consumer demand for PCs,” she said in a statement. That could be because consumers are spending much more time on mobile phones. Many tasks whether shopping, email, banking or social media that once required a home PC can easily be done on a mobile phone now, leaving PCs to the realm of business where...

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