I'm a product/service idea/creator and seo guy.
But when it comes to marketing I'm quite clueless. I've also never really "got" social media or used it despite growing up around it — probably much is to blame on being very introverted throughout life.
My usual plan for blogs have been good seo, time, and maybe advertising posts on social media. SEO was easier years ago and this was enough.
Anyway, my new project is more of a service-based website, so I'd like to have an actual marketing/advertising plan to gain initial momentum and acquire users.
Common sense things like going to where the users are and advertising to them, even directly by word of mouth, I can grasp, but that alone won't be enough.
Can someone provide some advice here, either as some general rules of thumbs startups go through to get initial momentum or some resource that helps with this?
The business startup topic/niche itself is huge and I can imagine the amount of fluff talkers and motivational speakers there are; I don't have the time to wade through all e-courses, anthony robbins types, and novels.
Like other travel- and transportation-related businesses, Uber’s ride-hailing segment has been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, due to shelter-in-place orders throughout the United States. On-demand delivery, however, has grown, with people relying on services like Uber Eats to get food without leaving their homes. According to its last earnings report, Uber’s ride-hailing gross bookings dropped, but its food delivery service saw gross sales growth of 54% during its first fiscal quarter.
According to previous reports, Uber made an offer to buy Grubhub, another on-demand delivery service, earlier this year, but after that deal fell through, it approached Postmates. Bloomberg reports that Uber and Postmates have actually talked on and off for about four years, but negotiations became more intense about a week ago.
Grubhub ended up being acquired by Just Eat Takeway in a deal worth $ 7.3 billion after its negotiations with Uber stalled.
If the deal goes through, the main competitors in the American food delivery market would be Uber Eats/Postmates versus Grubhub/Takeaway versus DoorDash.
In other countries, companies like Grab have also begun building out their on-demand delivery services to make up for losses from fewer ride-hailing bookings. For example, Grab responded to stay-at-home orders in Indonesia (its main market) and other Southeast Asian countries by re-deploying ride-hailing drivers to on-demand deliveries for food and essential items.
Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This is Equity Monday, our short-form week-starter in which we go over the weekend, look to the week ahead, talk about some neat funding rounds and dig into what is stuck on our minds.
This morning, here’s what we talked about:
- Equity is on Twitter! You can follow us on @EquityPod
- The COVID-19 pandemic hit a new, worse milestone over the weekend. What is ahead for the global economy is not clear, but the horizon is not clear for startups big and small.
- Many tech firms in the US took Juneteenth off, limiting recent news, and with WWDC starting today there’s going to be something akin to a Cupertino takeover for the next few days. If you don’t care about Apple, you can just take some time off.
- Stocks are heading up this morning, with tech shares testing new records.
- Mexico’s Heartbest raised a $ 2 million Series A to help develop plant-based dairy replacements, and San Francisco’s Acquire raised a $ 6.4 million Series A to help with its customer success service. Blue Horizon Ventures and Base10 led the rounds, respectively.
- And, finally, the Hey-Apple drama reaches WWDC today. Apple has signaled that no changes are coming, but the company is in water that feels fractionally hotter with each passing day. What Apple can do to repair relations with developers who are more than a little worried about the megacorp isn’t clear. But for startups, the final results of this scrap could really matter.
And that is that. Equity is back Friday with more. Have a great week!
With more companies moving workers home, making sure your systems are up and running has become more important than ever. ServiceNow, which includes an IT Help Desk component in its product catalogue recognizes that help desks have been bombarded during the pandemic. To help stop configuration problems before they start, the company acquired Sweagle today, a configuration management startup based in Belgium.
The companies did not share the purchase price.
ServiceNow gets a couple of boosts in the deal. First of all, it gets the startup’s configuration management products, which it can incorporate into its own catalogue, but it also gains the machine learning and DevOps knowledge of the company’s employees. (The company would not share the exact number of employees, but Pitchbook pegs it at 15.)
RJ Jainendra, ServiceNow’s vice president and general manager of DevOps and IT Business Management, sees a company that has pioneered the IT configuration management automation space, and brings with it capabilities that can boost ServiceNow’s offerings. “With capabilities for configuration data management from Sweagle, we will empower DevOps teams to deliver application and infrastructure changes more rapidly while reducing risk,” Jainendra said in a statement.
ServiceNow claims that there can be as many as 50,000 different configuration elements in a single enterprise application. Sweagle has designed a configuration data management platform with machine learning underpinnings to help customers simplify and automate that complexity. Configuration errors can cause shutdowns, security issues and other serious problems for companies.
Sweagle was founded in 2017 and raised $ 4.05 million on a post valuation of $ 11.88 million, according to Pitchbook data.
The company is part of a growing pattern of early stage startups being sucked up by larger companies during the pandemic including VMware acquiring Ocatarine and Atlassian buying Halp in May and NetApp snagging Spot earlier this month..
This is the third acquisition for ServiceNow this year, all involving AI underpinnings. In January it bought Loom Systems and Passsage AI. The deal is expected to close in Q3 this year, according to ServiceNow.
When Spotinst rebranded to Spot in March, it seemed big changes were afoot for the startup, which originally helped companies find and manage cheap infrastructure known as spot instances (hence its original name). We had no idea how big at the time. Today, NetApp announced plans to acquire the startup.
The companies did not share the price, but Israeli publication, CTECH, pegged the deal at $ 450 million. NetApp would not confirm that price.
It may seem like a strange pairing, a storage company and a startup that helps companies find bargain infrastructure and monitor cloud costs, but NetApp sees the acquisition as a way for its customers to bridge storage and infrastructure requirements.
“The combination of NetApp’s leading shared storage platform for block, file and object and Spot’s compute platform will deliver a leading solution for the continuous optimization of cost for all workloads, both cloud native and legacy,” Anthony Lye, senior vice president and general manager for public cloud services at NetApp said in a statement.
Spot helps companies do a couple of things. First of all it manages spot and reserved instances for customers in the cloud. Spot instances in particular, are extremely cheap because they represent unused capacity at the cloud provider. The catch is that the vendor can take the resources back when they need them, and Spot helps safely move workloads around these requirements.
Reserved instances are cloud infrastructure you buy in advance for a discounted price. The cloud vendor gives a break on pricing, knowing that it can count on the customer to use a certain amount of infrastructure resources.
At the time it rebranded, the company also had gotten into monitoring cloud spending and usage across clouds. Amiram Shachar, co-founder and CEO at Spot told TechCrunch in March, “With this new product we’re providing a more holistic platform that lets customers see all of their cloud spending in one place — all of their usage, all of their costs, what they are spending and doing across multiple clouds — and then what they can actually do [to deploy resources more efficiently],” he said at the time.
Shachar writing in a blog post today announcing the deal indicated the company will continue to support its products as part of the NetApp family, and as startup CEOs typically say at a time like this, move much faster as part of a large organization.
“Spot will continue to offer and fully support our products, both now and as part of NetApp when the transaction closes. In fact, joining forces with NetApp will bring additional resources to Spot that you’ll see in our ability to deliver our roadmap and new innovation even faster and more broadly,” he wrote in the post.
NetApp has been quite acquisitive this year. It acquired Talon Storage in early March and CloudJumper at the end of April. This represents the 20th acquisition overall for the company, according to Crunchbase data.
Spot was founded in 2015 in Tel Aviv. It raised over $ 52 million, according to Crunchbase data. The deal is expected to close later this year, assuming it passes typical regulatory hurdles.
When Cisco bought AppDynamics in 2017 for $ 3.7 billion just before the IPO, the company sent a clear signal it wanted to move beyond its pure network hardware roots into the software monitoring side of the equation. Yesterday afternoon the company announced it intends to buy another monitoring company, this time snagging internet monitoring solution ThousandEyes.
Cisco would not comment on the price when asked by TechCrunch, but published reports from CNBC and others pegged the deal at around $ 1 billion. If that’s accurate, it means the company has paid around $ 4.7 billion for a pair of monitoring solutions companies.
Cisco’s Todd Nightingale, writing in a blog post announcing the deal said that the kind of data that ThousandEyes provides around internet user experience is more important than ever as internet connections have come under tremendous pressure with huge numbers of employees working from home.
ThousandEyes keeps watch on those connections and should fit in well with other Cisco monitoring technologies. “With thousands of agents deployed throughout the internet, ThousandEyes’ platform has an unprecedented understanding of the internet and grows more intelligent with every deployment, Nightingale wrote.
He added, “Cisco will incorporate ThousandEyes’ capabilities in our AppDynamics application intelligence portfolio to enhance visibility across the enterprise, internet and the cloud.”
As for ThousandEyes, co-founder and CEO Mohit Lad told a typical acquisition story. It was about growing faster inside the big corporation than it could on its own. “We decided to become part of Cisco because we saw the potential to do much more, much faster, and truly create a legacy for ThousandEyes,” Lad wrote.
It’s interesting to note that yesterday’s move, and the company’s larger acquisition strategy over the last decade is part of a broader move to software and services as a complement to its core networking hardware business.
Just yesterday, Synergy Research released its network switch and router revenue report and it wasn’t great. As companies have hunkered down during the pandemic, they have been buying much less network hardware, dropping the Q1 numbers to seven year low. That translated into a $ 1 billion less in overall revenue in this category, according to Synergy.
While Cisco owns the vast majority of the market, it obviously wants to keep moving into software services as a hedge against this shifting market. This deal simply builds on that approach.
ThousandEyes was founded in 2010 and raised over $ 110 million on a post valuation of $ 670 million as of February 2019, according to Pitchbook Data.