Public investors loved SaaS stocks in 2019, and startups should be thankful

Hello and welcome back to our regular morning look at private companies, public markets and the gray space in between. Today, something short. Continuing our loose collection of look backs of the past year, it’s worth remembering two related facts. First, that this time last year SaaS stocks were getting beat up. And, second, that in the ensuing year they’ve …

F5 acquires Shape Security for $1B

F5 got an expensive holiday present today, snagging startup Shape Security for approximately $1 billion. What the networking company gets with a shiny red ribbon is a security product that helps stop automated attacks like credential stuffing. In an article earlier this year, Shape CTO Shuman Ghosemajumder explained what the company does: “We’re an enterprise-focused company that protects the majority …

Centaurs, centurions, centipedes: the $100M ARR CLUB

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This week Kate was in SF, Alex was in Providence, and there was a mountain of news to shovel through. If you’re here because we mentioned linking to a certain story in the show notes, that’s here. For everyone else, let’s get into …

Extra Crunch members get 25% off Otter.ai voice meeting notes

Extra Crunch community perks have a new offer from voice meeting notes service, Otter.ai. Starting today, annual and two-year Extra Crunch members can receive 25% off an annual plan for Otter Premium or Otter for Teams. Otter.ai is an AI-powered assistant that generates rich notes from meetings, interviews, lectures and other voice conversations. You can record, review, search and edit …

Three SaaS companies we think will make it to $1B in revenue

What’s the most successful pure SaaS company of all time? The answer is Salesforce, and it’s no contest — the company closed the year on an $18 billion run rate, placing it in a category no other company born in the cloud can touch. That Salesforce is on such an impressive run rate might suggest that reaching a billion in …

Huckleberry raises $18M to put small business insurance online

The insurance industry, sleepy and ancient, is ripe for disruption. We’ve seen companies like Lemonade, Hippo and Rhino get in on that opportunity. Today, an insurtech company focused on small business insurance has raised $18 to keep growing. Meet Huckleberry, whose Series A was led by Tribe Capital, with participation from Amaranthine, Crosslink Capital and Uncork Capital. Huckleberry launched in …

SAP spinout Sapphire Ventures raises $1.4B for new investments

Sapphire Ventures, the former corporate venture arm of SAP, has raised $1.4 billion for growth investments, including a $150 million opportunity fund to support larger deals. The firm, which focuses primarily on enterprise tech companies in the U.S., Europe and Israel, writes checks to Series B through pre-IPO businesses. Its portfolio includes 23andMe, Sumo Logic and TransferWise. The new funds …

Google details its approach to cloud-native security

Over the years, Google’s various whitepapers, detailing how the company solves specific problems at scale, have regularly spawned new startup ecosystems and changed how other enterprises think about scaling their own tools. Today, the company is publishing a new security whitepaper that details how it keeps it cloud-native architecture safe. The name, BeyondProd, already indicates that this is an extension …

Odoo grabs $90M to sell more SMEs on its business app suite

Belgium-based all-in-one business software maker Odoo, which offers an open source version as well as subscription-based enterprise software and SaaS, has taken in $90 million led by a new investor: Global growth equity investor Summit Partners. The funds have been raised via a secondary share sale. Odoo’s executive management team and existing investor SRIW and its affiliate Noshaq also participated …

Satori Cyber raises $5.25M to help businesses protect their data flows

The amount of data that most companies now store — and the places they store it — continues to increase rapidly. With that, the risk of the wrong people managing to get access to this data also increases, so it’s no surprise that we’re now seeing a number of startups that focus on protecting this data and how it flows …

Cisco acquires ultra-low latency networking specialist Exablaze

Cisco today announced that it has acquired Exablaze, an Australia-based company that designs and builds advanced networking gear based on field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). The company focuses on solutions for businesses that need ultra-low latency networking, with a special emphasis on high-frequency trading. Cisco plans to integrate Exablaze’s technology into its own product portfolio. “By adding Exablaze’s segment leading …

Grading the final tech IPOs of 2019

As the holiday slowdown looms, the final U.S.-listed technology IPOs have come in and begun to trade. Three tech, tech-ish or venture-backed companies went public this week: Bill.com, Sprout Social and EHang. Let’s quickly review how each has performed thus far. These are, bear in mind, the last IPOs of the year that we care about, pending something incredible happening. …

Adobe turns it up to 11, surpassing $11B in revenue

Yesterday, Adobe submitted its quarterly earnings report and the results were quite good. The company generated a tad under $3 billion for the quarter at $2.99 billion, and reported that revenue exceeded $11 billion for FY 2019, its highest ever mark. “Fiscal 2019 was a phenomenal year for Adobe as we exceeded $11 billion in revenue, a significant milestone for …

Chicago’s Sprout Social prices IPO mid-range at $17 per share, raising $150M

On the heels of Bill.com’s debut, Chicago-based social media software company Sprout Social priced its IPO last night at $17 per share, in the middle of its proposed $16 to $18 per-share range. Selling 8.8 million shares, Sprout raised just under $150 million in its debut. Underwriters have the option to purchase an additional 1.3 million shares if they so …

Salesforce promotes Bret Taylor to president and COO

Salesforce announced today that it has named Bret Taylor as president and chief operating officer of the company. Prior to today’s promotion, Taylor held the position of president and chief product officer. In his new position, Taylor will be responsible for a number of activities including leading Salesforce’s global product vision, engineering, security, marketing and communications. That’s a big job, …

Why Bill.com didn’t pursue a direct listing

Bill.com went public today after pricing its shares higher than it initially expected. The B2B payments company sold nearly 10 million shares at $22 apiece, raising around $216 million in its IPO. Public investors felt that the company’s price was a deal, sending the value of its equity to $35.51 per share as of the time of writing. That’s a …

Acquia nabs CDP startup AgilOne, which raised $41M

Acquia announced it has acquired customer data platform (CDP) startup AgilOne today. The companies did not disclose the purchase price. CDPs are all the rage among customer experience vendors, as they provide a way to pull data from a variety of channels to build a more complete picture of the customer. The goal here is to deliver meaningful content to …

Hyperproof wants to make it easier to comply with GDPR and other regulations

As companies try to figure out how to comply with regulations like GDPR, ISO or Sarbanes Oxley, they face a huge challenge just getting started. Hyperproof, a Bellevue, Washington startup, is launching a new product to help companies build a workflow to get them in compliance in a more organized way. Company co-founder and CEO Craig Unger says most companies …

Refocusing on relocation, Jobbatical launches new offices in Spain and Germany

I’ve been following Estonia-headquartered Jobbatical and its founder, Karoli Hindriks, for years. Part of the vanguard of startups working on infrastructure for digital nomads, the startup has been building the base platform to help global job seekers hire and fire their governments. As Jobbatical has worked with more and more companies and governments though, it has learned that the friction …

D-Wave partners with NEC to build hybrid HPC and quantum apps

D-Wave Systems announced a partnership with Japanese industrial giant NEC today to build what they call ‘hybrid apps and services’ that work on a combination of NEC high performance computers and D-Wave’s quantum systems. The two companies also announced that NEC will be investing $10 million in D-Wave, which has raised $204 million prior to this, according to Crunchbase data. …

Microsoft announces public preview of Microsoft Teams for Linux

Today, Microsoft announced a public preview of Microsoft Teams for Linux, the first Office 365 tool that’s available for the open source operating system. The hope is that by making it available for preview, the company can get feedback from the community and improve it before it becomes generally available. “Starting today, Microsoft Teams is available for Linux users in …

Soci raises $12M to help big brands manage local marketing

According to CEO Afif Khoury, we’re in the middle of “the third wave of social” — a shift back to local interactions. And Khoury’s startup Soci (pronounced soh-shee) has raised $12 million in Series C funding to help companies navigate that shift. Soci works with customers like Ace Hardware and Sport Clips to help them manage the online presence of …

AWS is sick of waiting for your company to move to the cloud

AWS held its annual re:Invent customer conference last week in Las Vegas. Being Vegas, there was pageantry aplenty, of course, but this year’s model felt a bit different than in years past, lacking the onslaught of major announcements we are used to getting at this event. Perhaps the pace of innovation could finally be slowing, but the company still had …

Canva introduces video editing, has big plans for 2020

Canva, the design company with nearly $250 million in funding, has today announced a variety of new features, including a video editing tool. The company has also announced Canva Apps, which allows developers and customers alike to build on top of Canva. Thus far, Dropbox, Google Drive, PhotoMosh and Instagram are already in the Canva Apps suite, with a total …

Figma launches Auto Layout

Figma, the design tool maker that has raised nearly $83 million from investors such as Index Ventures, Sequoia, Greylock and Kleiner Perkins, has today announced a new feature called Auto Layout that takes some of the tedious reformatting out of the design process. Designers are all too familiar with the problem of manually sizing content in new components. For example, …

Design may be the next entrepreneurial gold rush

Ten years ago, the vast majority of designers were working in Adobe Photoshop, a powerful tool with fine-tuned controls for almost every kind of image manipulation one could imagine. But it was a tool built for an analog world focused on photos, flyers and print magazines; there were no collaborative features, and much more importantly for designers, there were no …

AWS launches discounted spot capacity for its Fargate container platform

AWS today quietly brought spot capacity to Fargate, its serverless compute engine for containers that supports both the company’s Elastic Container Service and, now, its Elastic Kubernetes service. Like spot instances for the EC2 compute platform, Fargate Spot pricing is significantly cheaper, both for storage and compute, than regular Fargate pricing. In return, though, you have to be able to …

OrbitsEdge partners with HPE on orbital datacenter computing and analytics

What kinds of businesses might be able to operate in space? Well datacenter are one potential target you might not have thought of. Space provides an interesting environment for datacenter operations, including advanced analytics operations and even artificial intelligence, due in part to the excellent cooling conditions and reasonable access to renewable power supply (solar). But there are challenges, which …

AWS announces new enterprise search tool powered by machine learning

Today at AWS re:Invent in Las Vegas, the company announced a new search tool called Kendra, which provides natural language search across a variety of content repositories using machine learning. Matt Wood, AWS VP of artificial intelligence said that the new search tool uses machine learning, but doesn’t actually require machine learning expertise of any kind. Amazon is taking care …

AWS’ CodeGuru uses machine learning to automate code reviews

AWS today announced CodeGuru, a new machine learning-based service that automates code reviews based on the data the company has gathered from doing code reviews internally. Developers write the code and simply add CodeGuru to the pull requests. It supports GitHub and CodeCommit, for the time being. The CodeGuru uses its knowledge of reviews from Amazon and about 10,000 open …