Madrid-based Ironhack secures €16.5 million to advice remote tech education and enterprise training

Today Spanish company Ironhack has announced securing around €16.5 million Series B funding, in a round led by Lumos Capital, with participation from Endeavor’s Catalyst Fund, as well as existing investors, including Brighteye and Creas. Founded in 2013, Ironhack is a globally facing Tech School, ranked top 2 worldwide. Its mission is to help people…

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WorkRamp raises $17M to ramp up its enterprise learning platform

Remote learning and training have become a large priority this year for organizations looking to keep employees engaged and up to date on work practices at a time when many of them are not working in an office — and, in the case of those who have joined in 2020, may have never met any of their work colleagues in person, ever. Today one of the startups that’s built a new, more user-friendly approach to creating and provisioning those learning materials is announcing some funding as it experiences a boost in its growth.

WorkRamp, which has built a platform that helps organizations build their own training materials, and then distribute them both to their workforce and to partners, has raised $ 17 million, a Series B round of funding that’s being led by OMERS Ventures, with Bow Capital also participating.

Its big pitch is that it has built the tools to make it easy for companies to build their own training and learning materials, incorporating tests, videos, slide shows and more, and by making it easier for companies to build these themselves, the materials themselves become more engaging and less stiff.

“We’re disrupting the legacy LMS [learning management system] providers, the Cornerstones of the world, with our bite-size training platform,” said CEO and founder Ted Blosser in an interview. “We want to do what Peloton did for the exercise market, but with corporate training. We are aiming for a consumer-grade experience.”

The company, originally incubated in Y Combinator, has now raised $ 27 million.

The funding comes on the back of strong growth for WorkRamp . Blosser said that it now has around 250 customers, with 1 million courses collectively created on its platform. That list includes fast-growing tech companies like Zoom, Box, Reddit and Intercom, as well as Disney, GlobalData and PayPal. As it continues to expand, it will be interesting to see how and if it can also snag more legacy, late adopters who are not as focused on tech in their own DNA.

WorkRamp estimates that there is some $ 20 billion spent annually by organizations on corporate training. Unsurprisingly, that has meant the proliferation of a number of companies building tools to address that market.

Just Google WorkRamp and you’re likely to encounter a number of its competitors who have bought its name as a keyword to snag a little more attention. There are both big and small players in the space, including Leapsome, Capterra, Lessonly, LearnUpon (which itself recently raised a big round), SuccessFactors and TalentLMS.

The interesting thing about what WorkRamp has built is that it plays on the idea of the “creator,” which really has been a huge development in our digital world. YouTube may have kicked things off with the concept of “user-generated content.” but today we have TikTok, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and so many more platforms — not to mention smartphones themselves, with their easy facilities to shoot videos and photos of others, or of yourself, and then share with others — which have made the idea of building your own work, and looking at that of others, extremely accessible.

That has effectively laid the groundwork for a new way of conceiving of even more prosaic things, like corporate training. (Can there really be anything more comedically prosaic than that?) Other startups like Kahoot have also played on this idea, by making it easy for enterprises to build their own games to help train their staff.

This is what WorkRamp has aimed to tap into with its own take on the learning market, to help its customers eschew the idea of hiring outside production companies to make training materials, or expect WorkRamp to build those materials for them: Instead, the people who are going to use the training now have the control.

“I think it’s critical to be able to build your own customer education,” Blosser said. “That’s a big trend for clients that want both to rapidly onboard people but also reduce costs.”

The company’s platform includes user-friendly drag-and-drop functionality, which also lets people build slide shows, flip cards and questions that viewers can answer. The plan is to bring on more “Accenture” style consultants, Blosser said, for bigger customers who may not be as tech savvy to help them take better advantage of the tools. It also integrates with third-party packages like Salesforce.com, Workday and Zoom both to build out training as well as distribute it.

“Since 2000, we have seen three major technology shifts in the enterprise: the transition from on-premise to SaaS, the growth of mobile, and the most recent – sweeping digital transformation across almost every part of every business,” said Eugene Lee of OMERS Ventures, in a statement. “The pandemic has forced adoption of a digital-first approach towards customers and employees across virtually all industries. WorkRamp’s platform is foundational to empowering both of these important audiences today and in the future. We are bullish on the massive opportunity in front of the company and are excited to get involved.” Lee is joining the board with this round.

Startups – TechCrunch

Enterprise Singapore: Singapore Fintech Festival and the Singapore Week of Innovation and Technology to feature world’s first 24-hour hybrid digital and physical event – Yahoo Finance UK

Enterprise Singapore: Singapore Fintech Festival and the Singapore Week of Innovation and Technology to feature world’s first 24-hour hybrid digital and physical event  Yahoo Finance UK
“nigeria startups when:7d” – Google News

Global Enterprise Data Cloud Storage Software Market 2020 – Competition Landscape and Growth Opportunity, Industry Status and Forecast 2025 – Weather Edition

Global Enterprise Data Cloud Storage Software Market 2020 – Competition Landscape and Growth Opportunity, Industry Status and Forecast 2025  Weather Edition
“nigeria startups when:7d” – Google News

London-based enterprise supplier risk and resilience platform Contingent raises €1.9 million seed round

Today Contingent, the AI-powered supplier risk and resilience platform, announces an approx. €1.9 million seed funding round led by Connect Ventures. The round also includes participation from Seedcamp, Concentric and Angel Invest Ventures. Contingent is a cutting edge platform that leverages AI to quickly reduce the enormous burden of detecting, mapping and monitoring third-party risk…

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Vista acquires Gainsight for $1.1B, adding to its growing enterprise arsenal

Vista Equity Partners hasn’t been shy about scooping up enterprise companies over the years, and today it added to a growing portfolio with its purchase of Gainsight.  The company’s software helps clients with customer success, meaning it helps create a positive customer experience when they interact with your brand, making them more likely to come back and recommend you to others. Sources pegged the price tag at $ 1.1 billion.

As you might expect, both parties are putting a happy face on the deal, talking about how they can work together to grow Gainsight further. Certainly, other companies like Ping Identity seem to have benefited from joining forces with Vista. Being part of a well capitalized firm allowed them to make some strategic investments along the way to eventually going public last year.

Gainsight and Vista are certainly hoping for a similar outcome in this case. Monti Saroya, co-head of the Vista Flagship Fund and senior managing director at the firm sees a company with a lot of potential that could expand and grow with help from Vista’s consulting arm, which helps portfolio companies with different aspects of their business like sales, marketing and operations.

“We are excited to partner with the Gainsight team in its next phase of growth, helping the company to expand the category it has created and deliver even more solutions that drive retention and growth to businesses across the globe,” Saroya said in a statement.

Gainsight CEO Nick Mehta likes the idea of being part of Vista’s portfolio of enterprise companies, many of whom are using his company’s products.

“We’ve known Vista for years, since 24 of their portfolio companies use Gainsight. We’ve seen Gainsight clients like JAMF and Ping Identity partner with Vista and then go public. We believe we are just getting started with customer success, so we wanted the right partner for the long term and we’re excited to work with Vista on the next phase of our journey,” Mehta told TechCrunch.

Brent Leary, principle analyst at CRM Essentials, who covers the sales and marketing space says that it appears that Vista is piecing together a sales and marketing platform that it could flip or go public in a few years.

“It’s not only the power that’s in the platform, it’s also the money. And Vista seems to be piecing together an engagement platform based on the acquisitions of Gainsight, Pipedrive and even last year’s Acquia purchase. Vista isn’t afraid to spend big money, if they can make even bigger money in a couple years if they can make these pieces fit together,” Leary told me.

While Gainsight exits as a unicorn, the deal might not have been the outcome it was looking for. The company raised over $ 187 million, according to Pitchbook data, though its fundraising had slowed in recent years. Gainsight raised $ 50 million in April of 2017 at a post-money valuation of $ 515 million, again per Pitchbook. In July of 2018 it added $ 25 million to its coffers, and the final entry was a small debt investment raised in 2019.

It could be that the startup saw its growth slow down, leaving it somewhere between ready for new venture investment and profitability. That’s a gap that PE shops like Vista look for, write a check, shake up a company and hopefully exit at an elevated price.

Gainsight hired a new chief revenue officer last month, notably. Per Forbes, the company was on track to reach “about” $ 100 million ARR by the end of 2020, giving it a revenue multiple of around 11x in the deal. That’s under current market norms, which could imply that Gainsight had either lower gross margins than comparable companies, or as previously noted, that its growth had slowed.

A $ 1.1 billion exit is never something to bemoan — and every startup wants to become a unicorn — but Gainsight and Mehta are well known, and we were hoping for the details only an S-1 could deliver. Perhaps one day with Vista’s help that could happen.

Startups – TechCrunch

Enterprise investor Jason Green on SPAC hopefuls versus startups bound for traditional IPOs

Jason Green has a pretty solid reputation as venture capitalists go. The enterprise-focused firm the cofounded 17 years ago, Emergence Capital, has backed Saleforce, Box, and Zoom, among many other companies, and even while every firm is now investing in software-as-a-service startups, his remains a go-to for many top founders selling business products and services.

To learn more about the trends impacting Green’s slice of the investing universe, we talked with him late last week about everything from SPACs to valuations to how the firm differentiates itself from the many rivals with which it’s now competing. Below are some outtakes edited lightly for length.

TC: What do you make of the assessment that SPACs for companies that aren’t generating enough revenue to go public the traditional route?

JG: Well, yeah, it’ll be really interesting. This has been quite a year for SPACs, right? I can’t remember the number, but it’s been something like $ 50 billion of capital raised this year in SPACs, and all of those have to put that money to work within the next 12 to 18 months or they give it back. So there’s this incredible pent-up demand to find opportunities for those SPACs to convert into companies. And the companies that are at top of the charts, the ones that are the high growth and profitable companies, will probably do a traditional IPO, I would imagine.

So [SPAC candidates are] going to be companies that are growing fast enough to be attractive as a potential public company but not top of the charts. So I do think [sponsors are] going to target companies that are probably either growing slightly slower than the top-quartile public companies but slightly profitable, or companies that are growing faster but still burning a lot of cash and might actually scare all the traditional IPO investors.

TC: Are you having conversations with CEOs about whether or not they should pursue this avenue?

JG:  We just started having those conversations now. There are several companies in the portfolio that will probably be public companies in the next year or two, so it’s definitely an alternative to consider. I would say there’s nothing impending I see in the portfolio. With most entrepreneurs, there’s a little bit of this dream of going public the traditional way, where SPACs tend to be a little bit less exciting from that perspective. So for a company that maybe is thinking about another private round before going public, it’s like a private-plus round. I would say it’s a tweener, so the companies that are considering it are probably ones that are not quite ready to go public yet.

TC: A lot of the SPAC fundraising has seemed like a reaction to uncertainty around when the public window might close. With the election behind us, do you think there’s less uncertainty?

JG: I don’t think risk and uncertainty has decreased since the election.There’s still uncertainty right now politically. The pandemic has reemerged in a significant way, even though we have some really good announcements recently regarding vaccines or potential vaccines. So there’s just a lot there’s a lot of potential directions things could head in.

It’s an environment generally where the public markets tend to gravitate more toward higher-quality opportunities, so fewer companies but higher quality,  and that’s where I think SPACs could play a role. I’d say first half of next year, I could easily see SPACs being the more likely go-to-market for a public company, then the latter half of next year, once the vaccines have kicked in and people feel like we’re returning to somewhat normal, I could see the traditional IPO coming back.

TC: When we sat down in person about a year ago, you said Emergence looks at maybe 1,000 deals a year, does deep due diligence on 25, and funds just a handful or so of these startups every year. How has that changed in 2020?

JG: I would say that over the last five years, we’ve made almost a total transition. Now we’re very much a data-driven, thesis-driven outbound firm, where we’re reaching out to entrepreneurs soon after they’ve started their companies or gotten seed financing. The last three investments that we made were all relationships that [date back] a year to 18 months before we started engaging in the actual financing process with them. I think that’s what’s required to build a relationship and the conviction, because financings are happening so fast.

I think we’re going to actually do more investments this year than we maybe ever done in the history of the firm, which is amazing to me [considering] COVID. I think we’ve really honed our ability to build this pipeline and have conviction, and then in this market environment, Zoom is actually helping expand the landscape that we’re willing to invest in. We’re probably seeing 50% to 100% more companies and trying to whittle them down over time and really focus on the 20 to 25 that we want to dig deep on as a team.

TC: For founders trying to understand your thinking, what’s interesting to you right now?

JG: We tend to focus on three major themes at any one time as a firm, and one we’ve termed ‘coaching networks’. This is this intersection between AI and machine learning and human interaction. Companies like [the sales engagement platform] SalesLoft or [the knowledge management system] Guru or Drishti [which sells video analytics for manual factory assembly lines] fall into this category, where it’s really intelligent software going deep into a specific functional area and unleashing data in a way that’s never been available before.

The second [theme] is going deep into more specific industry verticals. Veeva was the best example of this early on with with healthcare and life sciences, but we now have one called p44 in the transportation space that’s doing incredibly well. Doximity is in the healthcare space and going deep like a LinkedIn for physicians, with some remote health capabilities, as well. And then [lending company] Blend, which is in the financial services area. These companies are taking cloud software and just going deep into the most important problems of their industries.

The third them [centers around] remote work. Zoom, which has obviously has been [among our] best investments is almost as a platform, just like Salesforce became a platform after many years. We just funded a company called ClassEDU, which is a Zoom-specific offering for the education market. Snowflake is becoming a platform. So another opportunity is is not just trying to come up with another collaboration tool, but really going deep into a specific use case or vertical.

TC: What’s a company you’ve missed in recent years and were any lessons learned?

JG: We have our hall of shame. [Laughs.] I do think it’s dangerous to assume that things would have turned out the same if if we had been investors in the company. I believe the kinds of investors you put around the table make a difference in terms of the outcome of your company, so I try not beat myself up too much on the missed opportunities because maybe they found a better fit or a better investor for them to be successful.

But Rob Bernshteyn of Coupa is one where I knew Rob from SuccessFactors [where he was a product marketing VP], and I just always respected and liked him. And we always chasing it on valuation. And I think I think we probably turned it down at an $ 80 million or $ 100 million dollar valuation [and it’s valued at] $ 20 billion today. That can keep you up at night.

Sometimes, in the moment, there are some risks and concerns about the business and there are other people who are willing to be more aggressive and so you lose out on some of those opportunities. The beautiful thing about our business is that it’s not a zero-sum game.

Startups – TechCrunch

Verbit Raises $60M for its AI-Powered Voice Transcription Tool Built for The Enterprise

Verbit is the AI-powered transcription and captioning platform that transcribes speech regardless of accent, domain-specific languages, background noises, echoes, and more. To ensure the accuracy and quality of transcriptions/captions, Verbit has a network of 22,000 human transcribers that validate the technology-produced dictations. AlleyWatch caught up with Tom Livne to learn more about Verbit’s technology and how this funding will help position it to be a leader in the global transcription market, which is more than $ 300B. Verbit has raised a total of $ 125M across four rounds and this latest round comes from investors that include Sapphire Ventures led our Series C round, Vertex Ventures, Stripes, HV Ventures, ClalTech, and Vertex Growth.
AlleyWatch

[Phantom Auto in Business Insider] Verizon’s efforts to incubate enterprise 5G applications come as competition in the market accelerates

Phantom Auto, which offers safety technology for the remote teleoperation of autonomous vehicles, said that the bandwidth availability and lower network latency has allowed them to 5G has helped Phantom Auto offer new features even as unmanned fleets grow in size.

Read more here.

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