DigitalOcean’s IPO filing shows a two-class cloud market

This morning DigitalOcean, a provider of cloud computing services to SMBs, filed to go public. The company intends to list on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the ticker symbol “DOCN.”

DigitalOcean’s offering comes amidst a hot streak for tech IPOs, and valuations that are stretched by historical norms. The cloud hosting company was joined by Coinbase in filing its numbers publicly today.

DigitalOcean’s offering comes amidst a hot streak for tech IPOs.

However, unlike the cryptocurrency exchange, DigitalOcean intends to raise capital through its offering. Its S-1 filing lists a $ 100 million placeholder number, a figure that will update when the company announces an IPO price range target.

This morning let’s explore the company’s financials briefly, and then ask ourselves what its results can tell us about the cloud market as a whole.

DigitalOcean’s financial results

TechCrunch has covered DigitalOcean with some frequency in recent years, including its early-2020 layoffs, its early-2020 $ 100 million debt raise and its $ 50 million investment from May of the same year that prior investors Access Industries and Andreessen Horowitz participated in.

From those pieces we knew that the company had reportedly reached $ 200 million in revenue during 2018, $ 250 million in 2019 and that DigitalOcean had expected to reach an annualized run rate of $ 300 million in 2020.

Those numbers held up well. Per its S-1 filing, DigitalOcean generated $ 203.1 million in 2018 revenue, $ 254.8 million in 2019 and $ 318.4 million in 2020. The company closed 2020 out with a self-calculated $ 357 million in annual run rate.

During its recent years of growth, DigitalOcean has managed to lose modestly increasing amounts of money, calculated using generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), and non-GAAP profit (adjusted EBITDA) in rising quantities. Observe the rising disconnect:

Startups – TechCrunch

The 5 things everyone should know about cloud AI, according to a Sequoia Capital partner – Business Insider

The 5 things everyone should know about cloud AI, according to a Sequoia Capital partner  Business Insider
“nigeria startups when:7d” – Google News

Electric raises $40M Series C to put small-business IT in the cloud

It would be an understatement to say that enterprise-focused startups have fared well during the pandemic. As organizations look to go remote, and the way we work has been flipped on its head, quickly-growing tech companies that simplify this transition are in high demand.

One such startup has, in fact, raised $ 61.5 million in the last 12 months alone. Electric, a company looking to put IT departments in the cloud, just announced the close of a $ 40 million Series C round. This comes after an extension of its Series B in March of 2020, when it raised $ 14.5 million, and then an additional $ 7 million from 01 Advisors in May of 2020.

This Series C round was led by Greenspring Associates, with participation from existing investors Bessemer Venture Partners, GGV Capital, 01 Advisors, Primary Venture Partners as well as new investors including Atreides Management and Vintage Investment Partners.

Electric launched in 2016 with a mission to make IT much simpler for small and medium-sized businesses. Rather than bringing on a dedicated IT department, or contracting out high-priced local service providers, Electric’s software allows one admin to manage devices, software subscriptions, permissions and more.

According to founder Ryan Denehy, the vast majority of IT’s work is administration, distribution, and maintenance of the broad variety of software programs at any given company. Electric does most of that job on behalf of IT, meaning that a smaller business only needs to worry about desk-side troubleshooting when it comes up, rather than the whole kit and caboodle.

Electric charges a flat price per seat per month, and Denehy says the company more than doubled its customer base in the last year. It now supports around 25,000 users across more than 400 individual customer organizations, which puts Electric just shy of $ 20 million ARR.

This is the first time Denehy has come anywhere close to sharing revenue numbers publicly, but it’s a good time to flex. The company has recently introduced a new lighter-weight offering that includes all of the same functionality as its more expensive product, but without access to chat functionality.

“The name of the game is just simplicity, simplicity, simplicity,” said Denehy. “Part of this is in response to the fact that people are realizing the permanence of hybrid work. During the pandemic, people stopped paying their landlords but they didn’t stop paying us. So in the summer, we started to focus on how we can create more offerings that we can get in the hands of more businesses and let them start their journey with us.”

Denehy says that a little less than half of Electric’s client base are tech startups, which makes sense considering the company launched in New York in a tech and media-centric ecosystem. As a way to expand into other verticals, Electric acquired Sinu, an IT service provider who happened to have an impressive roster of clients outside of Electric’s comfort zone, such as legal, accounting and non-profit.

Here’s what Denehy said at the time:

Organic market entry, even in adjacent markets can be extremely time consuming and expensive. Sinu’s team has done an excellent job winning and pleasing customers in a lot of industries where we currently don’t play but probably should. The combination of our two companies is a massive shot in the arm to our national expansion strategy.

Alongside growth, both of the Electric team and its customer base, the company is also investing in expanding its diversity programs and philanthropic efforts.

The Electric team is currently made up of just under 250 full-time employees, with 32.5 percent women and around 30 percent of employees being non-white. Specifically, nearly 12 percent of employees are Black and 10 percent are Latinx.

Denehy explained that he thinks of the company’s payroll, which is in the tens of millions of dollars, as one of the biggest ways he can make a change in the world.

“We will wait longer to fill a role to make sure that we have the most diverse pipeline of candidates possible,” said Denehy. “A lot of founders will say that nobody applied. Well, the reality is you didn’t look hard enough. We’ve just accepted that like it may take us longer to fill certain roles.”

This latest round brings Electric’s total funding to more than $ 100 million.

Startups – TechCrunch

Enterprise Data Cloud Storage Software Market Report 2020 Global Industry Size, –

Enterprise Data Cloud Storage Software Market Report 2020 Global Industry Size,
“nigeria startups when:7d” – Google News

BeyondID grabs $9M Series A to help clients implement cloud identity

BeyondID, a cloud identity consulting firm, announced a $ 9 million Series A today led by Tercera. It marked the first investment from Tercera, a firm that launched earlier this month with the goal of investing in service startups like Beyond.

The company focuses on helping clients manage security and identity in the cloud, taking aim specifically at Okta customers. In fact, the firm is a platinum partner for Okta. As they describe their goals, they help clients in a variety of areas, including identity and access management, secure app modernization, Zero Trust security, cloud migration and integration services.

CEO and co-founder Arun Shrestha has a deep background in technology, including working with Okta from its early days. Shrestha came on board in 2012 as the head of customer success. When he began, the startup was in early days, with just 50 customers. When he left five years later just before the IPO, it had more than 3,500.

Along the way, he gained a unique level of expertise in the Okta tool set, and he decided to put that to work to help Okta customers implement and maximize Okta usage, especially in companies with complex implementations. He launched BeyondID in 2018 with the intention of focusing on systems integrations and managing a company’s identity in the cloud.

“We believe we are becoming a managed identity service provider, so managing anything identity, anything related to cybersecurity. We’re helping these companies by being a one-stop shop for companies acquiring, deploying and managing identity services,” Shrestha explained.

It seems to be working. The last couple of years the company revenues grew at 300% and as it matures, and the growth rates settle a bit, it’s still expected to grow between 70 and 100% this year. The firm has 250 customers, including FedEx, Major League Baseball, Bain Capital and Biogen.

It currently has 75 employees serving those customers with plans to grow that number in the next year with the help from today’s investment. As Shrestha adds new employees, he sees building a diverse workforce as a crucial goal for his company.

“Diversity is absolutely critical to our long-term sustainable success, and it’s also the right thing to do,” he said. He says that building an organization that promotes women and people of color is a key goal of his as the leader of the company and something he is committed to.

Chris Barbin, who is managing partner and founder at lead investor Tercera, says that he chose BeyondID as the firm’s first investment because he believes identity is central to the notion of digital transformation. As more companies move to the cloud, they need help understanding how security and identity work differently in a cloud context, and he sees BeyondID playing a critical role in helping clients get there.

“BeyondID is in a rapidly growing space and has an impressive customer list that represents nearly every industry. Arun and the leadership team have a strong vision for the firm, deep ties into Okta and they’re incredibly passionate about what they do,” he said.

Startups – TechCrunch

Best Cloud Based Phone Systems

Cloud phones have quickly become the modern solution for business communications.

Using VOIP technology, cloud-based phone systems eliminate outdated and expensive hardware while still allowing users to make and receive calls from anywhere. This is particularly useful in a world where so many people work remotely. Instead of being tied to a desk with a physical landline, cloud-based phone systems can be used anywhere with internet access.

Scalability is another top reason why cloud phone systems have become so popular over the years. It’s easy to onboard new users without having to ship any equipment. Remote call centers and customer service reps working from anywhere can be onboarded in a matter of minutes.

Many cloud-based phone systems come with additional communication tools, like video conferencing. All of this is extremely useful for businesses of all sizes.

Which cloud-based phone system is the best for your needs? Find out below.

  • Feature-rich cloud PBX
  • Best-in-class call quality
  • Push voicemails to email
  • Optional SMS and conferencing

Sign up today!

The Top 6 Best Cloud-Based Phone Systems

  • Nextiva — Best Business Phone System Features
  • RingCentral — Best All-in-One Business Communication Suite
  • Grasshopper — Best Cloud Phone System For Microbusinesses
  • Freshcaller — Best For Customer Support Teams
  • Dialpad — Best AI-Powered Cloud Phone Platform
  • 8×8 Express — Best Cloud Phone System For Small Business

After extensive research and testing, I’ve narrowed down the top six cloud-based phone systems on the market today. The following reviews contain information about the features, benefits, pricing, and recommended use cases for each system on the list.

#1 – Nextiva — Best Business Phone System Features

  • Feature-rich cloud PBX
  • Best-in-class call quality
  • Push voicemails to email
  • Optional SMS and conferencing

Sign up today!

Nextiva is another popular solution in the cloud phone system industry.

The software powers 1+ billion calls from 100,000+ businesses, including Panasonic, Amazon, and Cisco.

Nextiva is extremely versatile. They have a wide range of communication products, including cloud phone systems for small businesses, all-in-one communication suites, sales tools, and more.

But the cloud PBX phone system from Nextiva is the best option for businesses that want a robust and feature-rich phone solution.

Available features include:

  • Unlimited calling in the US and Canada
  • Free local and toll-free numbers
  • Team collaboration tools
  • Unlimited business SMS
  • Audio and video meetings
  • Call recording
  • Real-time voice analytics
  • Screen sharing
  • Voicemail to email

Nextiva offers 24/7 customer service and exceptional call quality. The data centers are protected with military-grade security.

There are two cloud PBX plans to choose from—Professional and Enterprise. These monthly rates start at $ 21.95 and $ 31.95 per user, respectively. If you want advanced features like voice analytics, call recording, and CRM integrations, you’ll need the Enterprise plan. Otherwise, the Professional package will be just fine.

Create an account to try Nextiva free for seven days. Certain businesses might be eligible for more extended trial periods, so reach out to a Nextiva sales rep for a custom quote.

#2 – RingCentral Office — Best All-in-One Business Communication Suite

  • Global leader in the field
  • Easily expand to UCaaS
  • Unlimited domestic calls
  • Integrates with 100s of apps

Sign up today!

RingCentral has quickly become a global leader in the business communications and collaboration industry. Over 400,000 companies worldwide rely on RingCentral’s cloud solutions.

RingCentral Office is perfect for organizations that want cloud-based phone, video, and messaging software from a single platform.

The cloud phone system makes it easy for businesses to manage and route calls using carrier-grade performance and reliability. RingCentral is easy to use, and you can deploy it in a matter of minutes. Whether you’re adding a single user or onboarding an entire department, RingCentral Office can accommodate your needs.

Cloud voice, video, and messaging can all be managed from the RingCentral mobile app or desktop app.

Here are some of the other reasons why RingCentral Office ranks so high on my list:

  • Unlimited calls in the US and Canada
  • SLA and enterprise-grade security
  • 24/7 support
  • Keep your existing number
  • Switch live calls between devices
  • Extensions and shared lines
  • Auto-receptionist

RingCentral integrates with hundreds of business apps, like G Suite, Microsoft 365, Salesforce, Zendesk, and more.

Here’s a quick glance at the plans and prices for RingCentral Office:

  • Essentials — Starting at $ 19.99 per user per month
  • Standard — Starting at $ 27.99 per user per month
  • Premium — Starting at $ 34.99 per user per month
  • Ultimate — Starting at $ 49.99 per user per month

Whether you have a small team of ten or an enterprise organization with 10,000 users, RingCentral Office should be a top consideration. Try it for free with a 15-day trial.

#3 – Grasshopper — Best Cloud Phone System For Microbusinesses

  • Easy to set up & use
  • Great for solopreneurs
  • Desktop calling feature
  • Supports multiple extensions

Sign up today!

If you’re seeking a cloud phone system for just one or a few phone numbers, look no further than Grasshopper.

It’s a popular choice for entrepreneurs or sole proprietors that want a phone number separate from their personal line. Grasshopper is also suitable for people running a small side-hustle.

Don’t let Grasshopper’s simplicity fool you. It’s still a complete virtual phone solution with features like call handling, extensions, and custom greetings. No additional devices are required, as Grasshopper works seamlessly with your existing phone.

All plans include features like:

  • Mobile and desktop apps
  • Call transfers
  • Incoming call control
  • Instant response
  • Business texting
  • Virtual fax
  • Call forwarding

It’s easy to set up, and Grasshoppers offers 24/7 US-based customer support. So, you’re in good hands if you ever run into a problem or have any questions.

There are three different packages to choose from:

  • Solo — Starts at $ 26 per month
  • Partner — Starts at $ 44 per month
  • Small Business — Starts at $ 80 per month

The Solo plan supports a single phone number and three extensions. The Partner package supports three phone numbers and six extensions. If you need up to five numbers and unlimited extensions, go with the Small Business plan. But with that said, most Grasshopper users choose between the Solo and Partner packages. For those of you in need of more than five phone numbers, you likely find a better deal elsewhere.

Try Grasshopper for free with a seven-day trial.

#4 – Freshcaller — Best For Customer Support Teams

  • Great for call centers
  • Customer histories and notes
  • Enable custom greetings
  • Allows for #s in 90+ countries

Try it free!

Freshcaller is a cloud-based phone solution and call center software. It can accommodate remote teams and on-premise call centers alike.

More than 40,000 businesses rely on Freshcaller’s cloud PBX phone system.

While the software can theoretically be used for any business purpose, it’s definitely geared toward customer support teams. Freshcaller has a robust call routing engine that includes interactive voice response and smart escalations.

Agents can transfer calls, add notes, and collaborate with other members of the team directly from the Freshcaller platform.

Other top features and benefits of Freshcaller include:

  • Simple number management with phone numbers available in 90+ countries
  • Pre-built and customizable reporting tools
  • Shared lines
  • Spam blocking
  • Custom greetings
  • Wait queues
  • Real-time call monitoring
  • Call recording
  • Caller ID

Freshcaller also provides agents with a complete interaction history from each customer. This helps those customer service reps resolve issues faster.

Here’s an overview of the Freshcaller plans and pricing:

  • Sprout — $ 0
  • Blossom — Starts at $ 15 per agent per month
  • Garden — Starts at $ 29 per agent per month
  • Estate — Starts at $ 45 per agent per month
  • Forest — Starts at $ 69 per agent per month

Each package comes with a certain number of free incoming minutes per month, starting at 1,000 with the Blossom package. All outgoing calls are charged by the minute. Rates vary by device and country, but outbound calls in the US start as low as $ 0.022 per minute.

This pricing structure is perfect for businesses that only want to pay for what they use. Try Freshcaller for free with a 21-day trial.

#5 – Dialpad — Best AI-Powered Cloud Phone Platform

  • AI-powered features
  • Smart notetaking
  • Futuristic call analysis
  • Great for remote teams

Sign up today!

Dialpad is a bit unique compared to some of the other solutions on the market today. It’s branded as a cloud communication platform powered by artificial intelligence.

The software is trusted by 70,000+ businesses worldwide, including innovative leaders like HubSpot, Uber, WeWork, and Stripe.

The AI-powered voice intelligence automatically takes notes, captures action items, and provides sentiment analysis in real-time. All of this helps improve the quality and productivity of calls.

Dialpad is easy to use and deploy. This makes it a top choice for remote teams, as the software works from anywhere. Whether teams are communicating with each other or with customers, all Dialpad conversations can be managed within a single platform. The software even has built-in messaging.

Other top features include:

  • Unlimited calling
  • Unlimited SMS and MMS
  • Custom greeting
  • Voicemail transcription
  • Call recording
  • Multi-level auto attendant
  • Ability to switch calls between devices
  • Call transcriptions
  • Three-way calling

Some packages even integrate with other business tools, like Zapier, Slack, HubSpot, G Suite, and more. You can add a faxing package to the plans as well.

There are two Dialpad business phone plans to choose from—Standard and Pro. These start at $ 15 and $ 25 per user per month, respectively. For organizations seeking 100+ licenses, contact Dialpad for a custom enterprise solution.

To get started, sign up and try Dialpad for free with a 14-day trial.

#6 – 8×8 Express — Best Cloud Phone System For Small Business

  • Simple, quick setup
  • Easily add & remove users
  • Intelligent call routing
  • SMB-friendly pricing

Sign up today!

8×8 is another business communication solution with a wide range of products for different needs. They offer tools for contact centers, team chat, video conferencing, and more.

But the business phone solutions from 8×8 is arguably the provider’s most popular service.

I like 8×8 because they have solutions for businesses across every possible industry. They work with retailers, legal businesses, accountants, architects, engineers, and more. 8×8 Express is the cloud phone system designed for small businesses.

Getting started is easy. Whether you’re running a home-based business or a small office, the entire setup can be completed in just a few minutes. 8×8 offers a free phone number or allows you to use your existing one.

You’ll have the ability to add new users at any time, and all of your settings can be managed from the intuitive web-based dashboard.

Let’s take a closer look at the top features and benefits of 8×8 Express:

  • Unlimited calling in the US and Canada
  • Call forwarding
  • Hold music
  • HD voice and video
  • Separate business and personal calls
  • Auto-attendant
  • Intelligent call routing
  • Voice, video, and messaging from a single app

I like 8×8 Express because it’s so powerful but doesn’t come with an overwhelming amount of features that small businesses won’t need.

The 8×8 Express package starts at $ 12 per user per month. Try it free for one month and request a quote to get started.

How to Find the Best Cloud-Based Phone System For You

Certain factors must be evaluated as you’re shopping around and comparing different cloud-based phone systems. Generally speaking, there is no “best for everyone” cloud phone solution. The best option for me and my business might not be the best for you and yours.

Use the following methodology to weigh the most important factors according to your personal needs.

Additional Communication Tools

In today’s day and age, the term “phone system” often implies more than just a voice solution. This is especially true in the business space.

Most of the best cloud phone systems offer solutions for video, messaging, conference calling, and more. Some of these communication tools are bundled into an all-in-one product suite. Other times they’re offered a separate add-on.

Evaluate your company’s needs. These all-in-one product suites are definitely useful, especially for larger organizations. But small teams may not be taking full advantage of those features. So you could probably save some money by going with a standalone voice solution, without extras you’ll never use.

Call Quality and Uptime

One potential downside of using a cloud-based phone system compared to a traditional landline is the call quality. Calls are facilitated through VOIP technology from web apps, mobile apps, and internet browsers.

If the system you’re using has an unstable connection, it can lead to problems. It’s frustrating, inefficient, and unprofessional if calls are dropped or callers can’t hear what your agents are saying.

Some cloud phone systems are undoubtedly better than others. All of the solutions on my list have an outstanding reputation in terms of quality and performance. Certain providers offer uptime guarantees and SLAs to put your mind at ease. But the best way to see if you’re happy with the quality of a solution is by taking advantage of free trials.

Setup and New User Onboarding

Cloud phone systems don’t require any additional hardware like physical phones, headsets, or wiring. So the setup for most providers should be straightforward. Some have longer setup processes than others, depending on how complex or customized your solution is.

Once you’re up and running, you should be able to manage new users with ease. What about when you hire a new employee? Adding a new user should be as simple as making a few clicks online.

Make sure you check those features out ahead of time because the day will eventually come when you’re going to add new lines and onboard new users.

Minute Restrictions

Most of the best cloud phone systems offer unlimited calling. But that’s not the case with every provider.

Some solutions offer pay-as-you-go pricing. In many cases, you might get a certain amount of minutes included with a plan, and then you’ll pay per minute for usage that goes beyond your plan limits.

On the plus side, paying by usage is great for low volume calling. You’ll only pay for what you use. But for businesses with higher call volumes, an unlimited plan with no restrictions will likely be a better option.


  • Feature-rich cloud PBX
  • Best-in-class call quality
  • Push voicemails to email
  • Optional SMS and conferencing

Sign up today!

What’s the best cloud phone system? It depends on what you’re looking for.

RingCentral Office is the best option for businesses seeking an all-in-one solution for voice, video, and messaging. Nextiva has the best business phone features. Freshcaller is my top recommendation for remote support teams. Try Dialpad if you want an advanced cloud phone system powered by artificial intelligence.

8×8 Express is my top pick for small businesses. If you just need one, two, or three phone lines, try Grasshopper.

Regardless of your business size, industry, or needs, you can find what you’re looking for by using the recommendations reviewed in this guide.

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