Category Archives: investment

Investors stake $56 million on BloomReach’s private cloud personalisation

bloomreach logoA new system of e-commerce personalisation has broken all records for attracting investment in a private cloud start up. Now the inventors intend to use the money to expand beyond e-commerce into all areas.

Private cloud personalisation specialist Bloomreach has announced a recent award of $56 million of venture capital. Investors contributing to the Series D round of funding included Bain Capital, Battery Ventures, Lightspeed, New Enterprise Associates and Salesforce Ventures. As part of the same initiative Guidewire Software CEO Marcus Ryu was appointed to the BloomReach board.

BloomReach offers an alternative to companies who cannot afford to buy their way to the top of Amazon’s search listings. Since Amazon captures half of the first product searches made by consumers this leaves digital businesses with a massive financial barrier to marketability. Meanwhile the marketing technology sector has fragmented into 2,000 companies offering 2,500 products. Bloomreach claims it can demystify and simplify the choices with omnichannel intelligence and a single personalization platform.

It has two main applications, BloomReach Commerce and BloomReach Compass. The former uses BloomReach’s Organic Search and SNAP applications to boost online sales up to 40% by algorithmically optimizing user’s site experience, it claims.

Compass uses role-specific analytics providing machine-intelligence insights, key performance indicator management and action-tracking for marketers and merchandisers. It claims it can create an average $8,000 in revenue a month for clients on every action taken. The development of BloomReach Compass made it possible for BloomReach to expand beyond e-commerce, it claims, but it needs venture funding to bankroll that growth.

BloomReach said it plans to use the money to strengthen its big-data technology and expand globally into all digital business markets.

E-commerce is a $3.5 trillion market driven by marketing technology with personalization at the core, according to investor Neeraj Agrawal, general partner at Battery Ventures. “We are just in the fourth inning of the marketing-tech revolution,” said Agrawal. Instead of relying on outdated methods of personalisation with demographic or geographic data, BloomReach will provide workflow and transactional-oriented technologies to create one-to-one personalization at scale, it claims.

“There’s a ten billion dollar opportunity in marketing tech, and BloomReach has the expertise to understand, learn and apply big data to make every experience personal for all digital businesses,” said BloomReach CEO Raj De Datta.

Bracket Computing wins $45 million to secure cloud with encapsulated data cells

Cloud securitySecurity start up Bracket Computing has been awarded $45m in a Series C investment round to develop its system for making content safe on the cloud.

Bracket’s Computing Cell technology works by encapsulating content in cell in order to secure it. The enveloped data and applications can then travel in safety across multiple cloud environments, according to its inventors. The Cell technology simplifies the increasingly complex issue of cloud management by consolidating security, networking and data management into a single construct.

The cell can run across multiple public clouds and in a customer’s own data centre. The cell structure also brings consistency to the cloud, as it protects client apps from the performance changes that can occur in cloud computing.

Customers hold the digital keys to their data, which is encrypted. Bracket runs a service that reserves hardware at cloud providers when necessary and distributes the data across multiple machines to smooth performance and improve speed.

The founders, Tom Gillis and Jason Lango, have a pedigree in Internet security having created Ironport Systems’ anti-spam hardware range, which was bought by Cisco Systems 2007 for $830 million. In 2011 they founded Bracket to solve the new security problems created by the cloud.

“Imagine if you could encapsulate your most sensitive applications, data and services and run them securely across hyperscale public clouds and your private cloud, while ensuring consistent security controls and data management,” said Lango, “this is what a Bracket Computing Cell allows. It enables an enterprise without boundaries, without sacrificing security and control.”

The funds will finance a global roll-out said Bracket CEO Tom Gillis. The data centres of the finance sector are an immediate target, but the technology applies to all large corporations, said Gillis. “Financial firms need to remain technology leaders. We’re working with some of the very largest as we define the blueprint for the data centre of the future.”

Salesforce offers $100m VC opportunity to European cloud startups

Salesforce WearSalesforce Ventures has allocated $100 million to invest in European startups as the investment arm of the cloud giant aims to capitalise on a potential $33.3 billion market. Any European cloud start up that impresses the venture capitalists could typically expect backing of between $1 million and $5 million, according to the fund’s development head.

As the investment arm of cloud-based CRM giant Salesforce it has already invested £500 million in 150 cloud and enterprise startups since 2009. However the majority of these have been US based and only 17 European cloud start up firms have been funded. However, researcher IDC predicts that the European cloud sector will grow 12 as fast as any other sector of the IT industry. As Europe catches up with the US, by 2019 its cloud market could be worth a collective $33.3 billion, it said.

As the global shift to the cloud generates demand for exciting new social, mobile and data science technologies it is creating an opportunity that should not be missed, said Salesforce EVP of corporate development John Somorjai. The European investment business will link back to Salesforce Ventures’ operations in the US run by Somorjai. London based Alex Kayyal will head the Salesforce Ventures’ efforts in Europe.

“There is so much incredible innovation happening in Europe today and we want to empower the next generation of enterprise cloud startups in the region,” said Somorjai, “Our $100 million commitment strengthens our mission to help startups grow and give back to their communities.”

However, he admitted that the competition has already started with five investments already earmarked to take a chunk of the budget.

European cloud start ups that have previously won funding from Salesforce Ventures include CartoDB, CloudSense, Cloud9 IDE, NewVoiceMedia, Qubit, Universal Avenue and YOUR SL. It’s not just about the money, according to Ruben Daniels, co-founder of Cloud9 IDE. “It’s the network and introductions, mentorship and framework that help,” said Daniels.

Salesforce Ventures’ global expertise was as important as its funding, according to CartoDB founder Javier de la Torre. “It helps us more effectively bring our data visualization tools to individual and business users around the world,” said de la Torre.

Investor confidence is highest in cloud computing say venture capitalists

Money cloudCloud computing has been hailed as the strongest technology investment sector for the third time in a row in a survey that gauges confidence among capital, private and growth equity speculators.

The cloud sector came out strongest in the 2015 Global Venture Capital Confidence Survey compiled by Deloitte and the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA). The study quizzes 200 speculators on the general venture capital environment as well as other market factors such as conditions in industries and across regions.

While biopharmaceuticals and robotics reported the highest levels of confidence growth, and the Internet of Things (IoT) was recognised for the first time by the study, cloud computing was the top tech trend for the third year in a row. When the survey group was asked to gauge their levels of confidence in a technology, cloud was the most convincing quantity in which investors would put their faith, with a confidence rating of 4.18 out of 5. Mobile came in second place with a rating of 4.05, while new category the IoT came third with a score of 3.95. Software was a close fourth with a rating of 3.82 on the confidence range.

Investors are most confident in companies based in Silicon Valley and San Francisco with $15.2bn being invested in these regions. Next in the investment league came New York with $4.5bn and Boston, which received $3.2bn from speculators. Confidence in investing in UK-based companies varies, with four of the eight countries questioned saying they have increased confidence in the UK’s tech startup economy and four saying their confidence has fallen.

Interest in investing in Israel was rated highly (a 3.9 out of 5) while Canada (3.60) continued to rise from previous years’ survey results. Confidence in emerging markets has declined among global investors, with rating Brazil at 2.70, down 43 basis points from 2014.

In the cloud computing industry there is much for venture investors to feel excited about, according to Bobby Franklin, president and CEO of NVCA. “The fundraising environment continues to improve, the IPO market is gaining strength and there is no shortage of innovative, game-changing start up companies to take to the next level,” said Franklin.

Cloud vendor Apttus raises $108m to fund new services and features

Cloud software vendor Apttus has raised a further $108 million to fund the growth of its quote and renewals management business.

The new investment comes only seven months after it secured $41m in February 2015, as investor confidence in its e-commerce, contract management and renewals management software has surged. Founded in 2006, it received its first series of investment funding in 2013, when it received $37 million.

The Series C funding round was led by KIA. Previous investment rounds have been led by Salesforce’s venture capital arm Salesforce Ventures, which also contributed to this round of investment. Investors in this latest round also included Iconiq Capital and K1 Capital.

The Apttus cloud systems integrate with Salesforce’s CRM platform and are used to develop sales and renewal quotes within Salesforce’s system.

The funds will be used to develop new systems and provide new services to Apttus customers and prospects. According to Apttus, the main targets will be in the manufacturing, life sciences, financial services and telecommunications industries.

Apttus aims to give clients a better system of demand management by giving its users more information about their clients. The intelligence it curates allows sales staff to identify and concentrate their efforts on the most likely sales prospects. This information is gathered by the system by assessing the online track record of the potential customer. By monitoring and managing every transaction, this system gives the seller an ‘unbroken funnel’ throughout the sales cycle. This channelling of the customer is known as the Quote-to-Cash process.

The Apttus system was built on the Salesforce1 platform and it claims to have been an active partner of Salesforce since its foundation in 2006, with participation in the Salesforce ecosystem.

Apttus has 70 customers in the Fortune 500 and is projected tohave 1,000 employees by the end of 2015, a 400% growth in headcount since 2013. It now has offices in London, Sydney and Chicago with a Japanese location planned.

Apttus’s cloud software has re-defined the Quote-to-Cash process and the flow of money, said Farouq Bastaki, Executive Director of Alternative Investments at KIA. “We believe they have developed the future of how organizations manage their entire revenue operation with a modern front office, in the cloud,” said Bastaki.