Salesforce Ventures invested $300M in Automattic while Salesforce was building a CMS

In September, Salesforce Ventures, the venture of arm of Salesforce, announced a hefty $300 million investment in Automattic, the company behind WordPress, the ubiquitous content management system (CMS). At the same time, the company was putting the finishing touches on Salesforce CMS, an in-house project it released last week. The question is, why did it choose to do both? One …

Alpaca nabs $6M for stocks API so anyone can build a Robinhood

Stock trading app Robinhood is valued at $7.6 billion, but it only operates in the US. Freshly-funded fintech startup Alpaca does the dirty work so developers worldwide can launch their own competitors to that investing unicorn. Like the Stripe of stocks, Alpaca’s API handles the banking, security, and regulatory complexity, allowing other startups to quickly build brokerage apps on top …

How Microsoft is trying to become more innovative

Microsoft Research is a globally distributed playground for people interested in solving fundamental science problems. These projects often focus on machine learning and artificial intelligence, and since Microsoft is on a mission to infuse all of its products with more AI smarts, it’s no surprise that it’s also seeking ways to integrate Microsoft Research’s innovations into the rest of the …

AWS announces new savings plans to reduce complexity of reserved instances

Reserved instances (RIs) have provided a mechanism for companies, who expect to use a certain level of AWS infrastructure resources, to get some cost certainty, but as AWS’s Jeff Barr points out they are on the complex side. To fix that, the company announced a new method called Savings Plans. “Today we are launching Savings Plans, a new and flexible …

Salesforce announces new content management system

Salesforce has its fingers in a lot of parts of the customer experience, so why not content management? Today, the company announced a brand new tool called Salesforce Content Management System, which it says is designed from the ground up to deliver a quality customer experience across multiple channels. The idea is to provide a way for customers to create, …

Cyber-skills platform Immersive Labs raises $40M in North America expansion

Immersive Labs, a cybersecurity skills platform, has raised $40 million in its Series B, the company’s second round of funding this year following an $8 million Series A in January. Summit Partners led the fundraise with Goldman Sachs participating, the Bristol, U.K.-based company confirmed. Immersive, led by former GCHQ cybersecurity instructor James Hadley, helps corporate employees learn new security skills …

Neo4j introduces new cloud service to simplify building a graph database

Neo4j, a popular graph database, is available as an open source product for anyone to download and use. Its enterprise product aimed at larger organizations is growing fast, but the company recognized there was a big market in between those two extremes, and today it introduced a new managed cloud service called Aura. They wanted something in the product family …

Amperity acquires Custora to improve its customer data platform

Amperity announced today that it’s acquiring another company in the customer data business, Custora. Amperity co-founder and CEO Kabir Shahani told me that Custora’s technology complements what Amperity is already offering. To illustrate this point, he said that customer data tools fall into three big buckets: “The first is know your customer, the second is … use insights to make …

Seismic acquires Percolate to expand its marketing tools

Seismic is announcing that it’s acquiring Percolate in a deal that it says is combining “two essential pillars of the marketing technology stack.” It sounds like the two companies aren’t direct competitors, but they offer related tools: Seismic helps companies create and manage the content they use in sales and marketing, while Percolate expanded from a social media publishing tool …

ZenHub adds roadmapping to its GitHub project management tool

ZenHub, the popular project management tool that integrates right into GitHub, today announced the launch of Roadmaps. As you can guess from the name, this is a roadmapping feature that allows teams to better plan their projects ahead of time and visualize their status — all from within GitHub. “We’re diving into a brand new category which is super exciting …

Workday to acquire online procurement platform Scout RFP for $540M

Workday announced this afternoon that it has entered into an agreement to acquire online procurement platform Scout RFP for $540 million. The company raised over $60 million on a post valuation of $184.5 million, according to Pitchbook data. The acquisition builds on top of Workday’s existing procurement solutions, Workday Procurement and Workday Inventory, but Workday chief product product officer Petros …

The 7 most important announcements from Microsoft Ignite

It’s Microsoft Ignite this week, the company’s premier event for IT professionals and decision-makers. But it’s not just about new tools for role-based access. Ignite is also very much a forward-looking conference that keeps the changing role of IT in mind. And while there isn’t a lot of consumer news at the event, the company does tend to make a …

Volterra announces $50M investment to manage apps in hybrid environment

Volterra is an early stage startup that has been quietly working on a comprehensive solution to help companies manage applications in hybrid environments. The company emerged from stealth today with a $50 million investment and a set of products. Investors include Khosla Ventures and Mayfield along with strategic investors M12 (Microsoft’s venture arm), Itochu Technology Ventures and Samsung NEXT. The …

Microsoft launches the first public preview of its Fluid Framework for collaborative editing

One of the most interesting (and confusing) news announcements of Microsoft’s Build developer conference earlier this year was the first public demo of the company’s Fluid Framework. Fluid is meant to make building collaborative real-time editing experiences easier for developers, but Microsoft is also building it into some of its own tools like Office and Outlook. It’s nothing less than …

New Relic snags early-stage serverless monitoring startup IOpipe

As we move from a world dominated by virtual machines to one of serverless, it changes the nature of monitoring, and vendors like New Relic certainly recognize that. This morning the company announced it was acquiring IOpipe, an early-stage Seattle serverless monitoring startup to help beef up its serverless monitoring chops. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. New Relic gets …

How you react when your systems fail may define your business

Just around 9:45 a.m. Pacific Time on February 28, 2017, websites like Slack, Business Insider, Quora and other well-known destinations became inaccessible. For millions of people, the internet itself seemed broken. It turned out that Amazon Web Services was having a massive outage involving S3 storage in its Northern Virginia datacenter, a problem that created a cascading impact and culminated …

Samsung ramps up its B2B partner and developer efforts

Chances are you mostly think of Samsung as a consumer-focused electronics company, but it actually has a very sizable B2B business as well, which serves over 50,000 large enterprises and hundreds of thousands of SMB entrepreneurs via its partners. At its developer conference this week, it’s putting the spotlight squarely on this side of its business — with a related …

Google launches TensorFlow Enterprise with long-term support and managed services

Google open-sourced its TensorFlow machine learning framework back in 2015 and it quickly became one of the most popular platforms of its kind. Enterprises that wanted to use it, however, had to either work with third parties or do it themselves. To help these companies — and capture some of this lucrative market itself — Google is launching TensorFlow Enterprise, …

Yext Answers helps businesses provide better site search

Yext helps businesses manage their presence on search and across the web; starting today, with the launch of Yext Answers, it’s also helping them provide a better experience on their own websites. “It lets any company with a website answer a question about their own brand in a Google-like experience on their own site,” CEO Howard Lerman told me. While …

Datameer announces $40M investment as it pivots away from Hadoop roots

Datameer, the company that was born as a data prep startup on top of the open source Hadoop project, announced a $40 million investment and a big pivot away from Hadoop, while staying true to its big data roots. The investment was led by existing investor ST Telemedia . Other existing investors including Redpoint Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, Nextworld Capital, Citi …

Even after Microsoft wins, JEDI saga could drag on

The DoD JEDI contract saga came to a thrilling conclusion on Friday afternoon, appropriately enough, with one final plot twist. The presumptive favorite, Amazon did not win, stunning many, including likely the company itself. In the end, Microsoft took home the $10 billion prize. This contract was filled with drama from the beginning, given the amount of money involved, the …

Kandji announces $3.375M seed for sophisticated Apple MDM solution

Kandji, a new Apple MDM solution that promises to go far beyond Apple’s base MDM protocol and other solutions on the market, emerged from stealth today with a $3.375 million seed investment. The product is also publicly available for the first time starting today. The round, which closed in March, was led by First Round Capital with help from Webb …

Stealthy search startup Searchable.ai snags $2M seed

Searchable.ai wants to solve an old problem around search in the enterprise. The stealthy startup announced a $2 million seed round. Defy Partners led the round with a slew of other participants including Paul English, co-founder of Kayak; Wayne Chang, co-founder of Crashlytics; Brian Halligan, co-founder and CEO of HubSpot; Jonathan Kraft, president and COO of the Kraft Group and …

Stewart Butterfield says Microsoft sees Slack as existential threat

In a wide ranging interview with Wall Street Journal global technology editor Jason Dean yesterday, Slack CEO and co-founder Stewart Butterfield had some strong words regarding Microsoft, saying his company represented an existential threat to the software giant. The interview took place at the WSJ Tech Live event. When Butterfield was asked about a chart Microsoft released in July during …

Grafana Labs nabs $24M Series A for open source-based data analytics stack

Grafana Labs, the commercial company built to support the open source Grafana project, announced a healthy $24 million Series A investment today. Lightspeed Venture Partners led the round with participation from Lead Edge Capital. Company CEO and co-founder Raj Dutt, says the startup started life as a way to offer a commercial layer on top of the open source Grafana …

Cybersecurity automation startup Tines scores $4.1M Series A led by Blossom Capital

Tines, a Dublin-based startup that lets companies automate aspects of their cybersecurity, has raised $4.1 million in Series A funding. Leading the round is Blossom Capital, the venture capital firm co-founded by ex-Index Ventures and LocalGlobe VC Ophelia Brown. Founded in February 2018 by ex-eBay, PayPal and DocuSign security engineer Eoin Hinchy, who was subsequently joined by former eBay and …

Bill McDermott aims to grow ServiceNow like he did SAP

Bill McDermott has landed. Two weeks ago, he stepped down as CEO at SAP after a decade leading the company. Today, ServiceNow announced that he will be its new CEO. It’s unclear how quickly the move came together but the plan for him is clear: to scale revenue like he did in his last job. Commenting during the company’s earning’s …

Demodesk scores $2.3M seed for sales-focused online meetings

Demodesk, an early stage startup that wants to change how sales meetings are conducted online, announced a $2.3 million seed investment today. Investors included GFC, FundersClub, Y Combinator, Kleiner Perkins and an unnamed group of angel investors. The company was a member of the Y Combinator Winter 2019 cohort. CEO and co-founder Veronika Riederle says that the fact it’s so …