Author: Ron Miller

Carbonite to acquire endpoint security company Webroot for $618.5M

Carbonite, the online backup and recovery company based in Boston, announced late yesterday that it will be acquiring Webroot, an endpoint security vendor, for $618.5 million in cash. The company believes that by combining its cloud backup service with Webroot’s endpoint security tools, it will give customers a more complete solution. Webroot’s history actually predates the cloud, having launched in 1997. The private company reported $250 million in revenue for fiscal 2018, according to data provided by Carbonite. That will combine with Carbonite’s $296.4 million in revenue for the same time period. Carbonite CEO and president Mohamad Ali saw the...

Read More

Someone could scoop up Slack before it IPOs

Earlier this week, Slack announced that it has filed the paperwork to go public at some point later this year. The big question is, will the company exit into the public markets as expected, or will one of the technology giants swoop in at the last minute with buckets of cash and take them off the market? Slack, which raised over $1 billion on an other worldly $7 billion valuation, is an interesting property. It has managed to grow and be successful while competing with some of the world’s largest tech companies — Microsoft, Cisco, Facebook, Google and Salesforce. Not coincidentally these deep-pocketed companies could be the ones that come knock, knock, knocking at Slack’s door. Slack has managed to hold its own against these giants by doing something in this space that hadn’t been done effectively before. It made it easy to plug in other services, effectively making Slack a work hub where you could spend your day because your work could get pushed to you there from other enterprise apps. As I’ve discussed before, this centralized hub has been a dream of communications tools for most of the 21st century. It began with enterprise IM tools in the early 2000s, progressed to Enterprise 2.0 tools in the 2007 timeframe. That period culminated in 2012 when Microsoft bought Yammer for $1.2 billion, the only billion dollar exit for...

Read More

Gong.io nabs $40M investment to enhance CRM with voice recognition

With traditional CRM tools, sales people add basic details about the companies to the database, then a few notes about their interactions. AI has helped automate some of that, but Gong.io wants to take it even further using voice recognition to capture every word of every interaction. Today, it got a $40M Series B investment. The round was led by Battery Ventures with existing investors Norwest Venture Partners, Shlomo Kramer, Wing Venture Capital, NextWorld Capital and Cisco Investments also participating. Battery general partner Dharmesh Thakker will join the startup’s Board under the terms of the deal. Today’s investment brings the total raised so far to $68 million, according to the company. $40 million is a hefty Series B, but investors see a tool that has the potential to have a material impact on sales, or at least give management a deeper understanding of why a deal succeeded or failed using artificial intelligence, specifically natural language processing. Company co-founder and CEO Amit Bendov says the solution starts by monitoring all customer-facing conversation and giving feedback in a fully automated fashion. “Our solution uses AI to extract important bits out of the conversation to provide insights to customer-facing people about how they can get better at what they do, while providing insights to management about how staff is performing,” he explained. It takes it one step further by offering strategic input...

Read More

Big companies are not becoming data-driven fast enough

I remember watching MIT professor Andrew McAfee years ago telling stories about the importance of data over gut feeling, whether it was predicting successful wines or making sound business decisions. We have been hearing about big data and data-driven decision making for so long, you would think it has become hardened into our largest organizations by now. As it turns out, new research by NewVantage Partners finds that most large companies are having problems implementing an organization-wide, data-driven strategy. McAfee was fond of saying that before the data deluge we have today, the way most large organizations made decisions...

Read More

Google’s still not sharing cloud revenue

Google has shared its cloud revenue exactly once over the last several years. Silence tends to lead to speculation to fill the information vacuum. Luckily there are some analyst firms who try to fill the void, and it looks like Google’s cloud business is actually trending in the right direction, even if they aren’t willing to tell us an exact number. When Google last reported its cloud revenue, last year about this time, they indicated that they had earned $1 billion in revenue for the quarter, which included Google Cloud Platform and G Suite combined. Diane Greene, who was head of Google Cloud at the time, called it an “elite business”, but in reality it was pretty small potatoes compared to Microsoft’s and Amazon’s cloud numbers, who were pulling in $4-$5 billion a quarter between them at the time. Google was looking at a $4 billion run rate for the entire year. Google apparently didn’t like the reaction it got from that disclosure so it stopped talking about cloud revenue. Yesterday when Google’s parent company, Alphabet, issued its quarterly earnings report, to nobody’s surprise, it failed to report cloud revenue yet again, at least not directly. Google CEO Sundar Pinchai gave some hints, but never revealed an exact number. Instead he talked in vague terms calling Google Cloud ” a fast-growing multibillion-dollar business.” The only time he came close...

Read More

BetterCloud can now manage any SaaS application

BetterCloud began life as a way to provide an operations layer for G Suite. More recently, after a platform overhaul, it began layering on a handful of other SaaS applications. Today, the company announced, it is now possible to add any SaaS application to its operations dashboard and monitor usage across applications via an API. As founder and CEO David Politis explains, a tool like Okta provides a way to authenticate your SaaS app, but once an employee starts using it, BetterCloud gives you visibility into how it’s being used. “The first order problem was identity, the access, the...

Read More

Signal Sciences secures $35 million investment to protect web apps

Signal Sciences, an LA-based firm that helps customer secure their web applications, announced a $35 million Series C investment today. Leading Edge Capital led the round (which seems appropriate, given its name). CRV, Index Ventures, Harrison Metal and OATV also participated. Today’s investment brings the total raised to around $52 million, according to the company. The company helps protect web applications like online banking, shopping carts, email or any application you access online. It acts as a protection layer or firewall around the application, Andrew Peterson, CEO and company co-founder told TechCrunch. “We protect people’s websites or mobile sites. We have software that actually fits in line between the internet and traffic coming into those web application and all of the data that are behind it,” Petersen explained. It sounds simple enough, but given the onslaught of breaches we have seen across the internet, it’s obviously a difficult problem to solve. Signal Sciences looks at behavior and tries to determine if it’s malicious. “We combine attack information with behavior about what attacker is doing.” He says this gives customers a real understanding of the behavior of the attacker and what they’re trying to do against their site, instead of trying to randomly trying to determine if each suspicious activity is an attack or not. Petersen won’t identify a specific number of customers. He feels it’s a misleading metric because...

Read More

Plaid expands financial service API to include all US banks

Plaid, developers of financial services APIs, has been helping developers connect an app to a major US bank account for several years, but today they expanded that API to include all US banks, including smaller banks that might not have as advanced technology. The product in question is called Auth. Prior to today’s announcement, this ability to easily connect to a bank account quickly was only available to roughly 3800 banks. The others required a more manual process or couldn’t participate. With this expansion, 11,500 US banks and credit unions can now connect using the Auth tool, meaning just...

Read More

Right Now in Politics and Business