Get the early-bird price on group discount passes to TC Sessions: SaaS 2021

September arrived in the blink of an eye, and October 27 — TC Sessions: SaaS 2021 to be precise — is hot on its heels. Now’s the time to gather your team and strategize how you’ll cover the day-long event to make as many connections and discover as many opportunities as possible.

Step 1: Take advantage of the early-bird group discount. When you buy passes for four or more people, you pay just $45 each — that’s $30 off each pass. Sweet!

Don’t dilly-dally or shillyshally. The early-bird price expires on October 1 at 11:59 pm (PT).

Your pass may be discounted, but you’ll get the full TC Session experience — all the speakers, demos, networking and breakout sessions. Plus, video-on-demand means you can catch up on anything you miss later, when it fits your schedule.

Check out the event agenda or read more about just some of the many people and companies coming to TC Sessions: SaaS. Note: We’re adding new speakers and presentations to the event agenda every week, and you can sign up here for updates.

As a team, you can cover more ground. Tune in to a main stage panel discussion while one colleague dives into a breakout session and another sets up a 1:1 product demo or taps CrunchMatch to connect with potential investors. You might go faster alone, but you’ll go further together.

You can bet the industry’s top experts will be in the virtual house covering both the benefits and challenges of SaaS: the Next Generation. Here are just two examples.

SaaS Security, Today and Tomorrow: Enterprises face a constant stream of threats, from nation states to cybercriminals and corporate insiders. After a year where billions worked from home and the cloud reigned supreme, startups and corporations alike can’t afford to stay off the security pulse. Edna Conway, vice president, chief security & risk officer, Azure, Microsoft and Olivia Rose CISO, VP of IT & security, Amplitude discuss what SaaS startups need to know about security now, and in the future.

How Startups are Turning Data into Software Gold: The era of big data is behind us. Today’s leading SaaS startups are working with data instead of merely fighting to help customers collect information. Jenn Knight (AgentSync), Barr Moses (Monte Carlo) and Dan Wright (DataRobot), leaders of three data-focused startups, will discuss how today’s SaaS companies leverage data to build new companies, attack new problems and, of course, scale like mad.

TC Sessions: SaaS 2021 takes place on October 27. Don’t wait — the early-bird price on the group discount offer expires October 1 at 11:59 pm (PT).

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at TC Sessions: SaaS 2021? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.

#as-a-service, #azure, #business-models, #cloud-computing, #computing, #dan-wright, #datarobot, #jenn-knight, #microsoft, #peak, #software, #software-as-a-service, #tc, #tc-sessions-saas-2021

5 Reasons to need to go to TC Sessions: SaaS 2021

We’re thrilled that TC Sessions: SaaS 2021 is just slightly more than a month away on October 27. You have purchased your event ticket, right? No? Well then, it’s time to get your rhymes-with-SaaS in gear.

Bonus: You’ll save $100 if you buy your pass before October 1 at 11:59 pm (PT). What’s that? You need a bit more convincing? Fair enough and listen up.

TC Sessions are a special kind of TechCrunch event. We take one topic and devote an entire day (or sometimes two) and explore the latest trends, challenges and possibilities. And we always focus on the early-stage founders hard at work building or reinventing the sector.

So, what can TC Sessions: SasS do for you? Here are five reasons why attending isn’t just essential — it’s imperative.

  1. Expand your knowledge base

The defacto software for the B2B and B2C crowd, SaaS is rapidly expanding and constantly evolving to meet ever-increasing demand. How do you scale effectively? What’s your plan to keep company and customer data safe at a time where security threats proliferate faster than bacteria?

You’ll hear from and engage with the leading voices in SaaS on these and other topics like Data, Data Everywhere and Automation’s Moment Is Now. Take a look at our still-growing event agenda.

“Attending TC Sessions helps us keep an eye on what’s coming around the corner. It uncovers crucial trends so we can identify what we should be thinking about before anyone else.” — Jeff Johnson, vice president of enterprise sales and solutions at FlashParking.

2. Network for opportunity

Thousands of SaaS-y people from around the world will attend, and that means infinite possibilities for collaboration and opportunities. The following real-world example comes out of TC Sessions: Mobility, provided courtesy of Karin Maake, senior director of communications at FlashParking.

“TC Sessions isn’t just an educational opportunity, it’s a real networking opportunity. Everyone was passionate and open to creating pilot programs or other partnerships. That was the most exciting part. And now — thanks to a conference connection — we’re talking with Goodyear’s Innovation Lab.”

3. Connect with founders or investors

Early-stage founders in search of funding and VCs in search of promising startups — it is ever thus, and you’ll find each other at TC Sessions: SasS. Take advantage of CrunchMatch, our AI-powered platform that makes finding and connecting with the people you most want to meet simple and efficient.

Start a conversation and see where it leads. It’s one big reason why Rachael Wilcox, creative producer, Volvo Cars makes it a point to attend TC Session events.

“I go TC Sessions to find new and interesting companies, make new business connections and look for startups with investment potential. It’s an opportunity to expand my knowledge and inform my work.”

4. Connect with community

Building a startup can be a lonely pursuit, even without a pandemic. Spend a day with your people — explore the startups in the demo area, talk shop with other founders and engineers, learn the latest trends, hear SaaS icons share their journey and insight. In short, get inspired to keep at the Sisyphean task of building your empire.

“TC Sessions is definitely worth your time, especially if you’re an early-stage founder. You get to connect to people in your field and learn from founders who are literally a year into your same journey. Plus, you can meet and talk to the movers and shakers — the people who are making it happen.” — Jens Lehmann, technical lead and product manager, SAP.

5. Discover new and exciting startups

Speaking of that demo area, we’ve got 10 outstanding early-stage startups ready to show you their latest and greatest. Marvel at your colleagues’ ingenuity, start a conversation, schedule a product demo. Who knows, you might join forces and create a little SaaS magic.

TC Sessions: SaaS 2021 takes place on October 27. Whether you pick one of our reasons, all five or come up with your own, buy your pass before October 1 at 11:59 pm (PT), and you’ll save $100.

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at TC Sessions: SaaS 2021? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.

#artificial-intelligence, #business-models, #computing, #crunchmatch, #flashparking, #jeff-johnson, #saas, #software, #software-as-a-service, #tc, #tc-sessions-saas-2021, #volvo-cars

Check out who’s coming to TC Sessions: SaaS 2021

On October 27, less than two fast-moving months away, we’re hosting TC Sessions: SaaS 2021, our first event focused exclusively on the software-as-a-service ecosystem. SaaS — the de facto business model for B2B and B2C startups and enterprises alike — shows no sign of slowing down.

This is a prime opportunity to hear and learn from the industry’s major players, thought leaders and, frankly, some of the coolest creators around the globe. It’s more than just listening — it’s engaging with speakers during Q&As and networking with founders, CEOs and investors from major companies.

Pro Ka-ching Tip: Want to save $100 on the price of admission? Yeah, you do. Simply buy an early-bird SaaS pass before the prices go up on October 1 at 11:59 pm (PT).

So, let’s get to it. here are just some of the leading voices and companies coming to TC Sessions: SaaS to share their insight, actionable tips and hard-won advice.

Kathy Baxter is the principal architect for the ethical AI practice at Salesforce. She also has more than 20 years under her belt as a software architect. We’re going to tap into her deep expertise for a panel discussion on AI’s growing role in software today, as well as the implications of using AI in your software service as it becomes a mainstream part of the SaaS development process.

Javier Soltero is the VP and GM in charge of Google Workspace, which has significantly more than 2 billion users. Productivity apps like Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Drive are a big part of SaaS, and Soltero joins us for an interview about the role Google Workspace plays in the Google cloud strategy.

Jared Spataro is the corporate VP in charge of Microsoft 365 — arguably one of the most successful SaaS products ever. He was part of the great shift from on prem to the cloud, and he’ll join us to talk about how Microsoft made that move and what it’s done for the company.

Casey Aylward, a principal at Costanoa Ventures, concentrates on early-stage enterprise startups. Kobie Fuller, a partner at Upfront Ventures, focuses on SaaS, AR and VR. Sarah Guo, a partner at Greylock, concentrates on AI, cybersecurity, infrastructure and the future of work. This group of prestigious VCs will panel-up to discuss what they look for when they invest in SaaS startups.

Be sure to check out the TC Sessions: SaaS 2021 agenda — we’ll add more exciting panels, interviews, speaker Q&As and breakout sessions over the next few weeks. Register here to receive updates with the latest additions to the day’s events.

TC Sessions: SaaS is a ripe networking opportunity. Consider this list of just some of the major companies that will be in the house. Whether you’re looking for potential customers, investors, partnerships or some other creative collaboration, you’ll have ample time to network with leaders from the foremost SaaS players.

  • Adobe
  • CBRE
  • FedEx
  • McKinsey & Company
  • Moody’s Analytics
  • SAP
  • Shell Ventures
  • SONY
  • Verizon Ventures

TC Sessions: SaaS 2021, takes place on October 27, and this is your chance to learn from and network with the seriously successful movers, shakers and unicorn makers of the SaaS world. Grab your early bird pass before October 1 at 11:59 pm (PT), and you’ll save $100.

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at TC Sessions: SaaS 2021? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.

#artificial-intelligence, #as-a-service, #b2c, #business-models, #casey-aylward, #cloud-applications, #cloud-computing, #computing, #costanoa-ventures, #google, #greylock, #jared-spataro, #javier-soltero, #kathy-baxter, #kobie-fuller, #major, #microsoft, #partner, #salesforce, #sarah-guo, #software, #software-as-a-service, #speaker, #tc, #tc-sessions-saas-2021, #upfront-ventures, #vp

Australia’s TechnologyOne acquires UK-based higher-ed platform Scientia for $16.6M

TechnologyOne, an Australian SaaS enterprise, has agreed to acquire UK-based higher education software provider Scientia for £12 million /$16.6 million in cash.
 
TechnologyOne claims to have 75% of Higher Education institutions in Australia using its software, while Scientia claims 50% market share in the UK.

The acquisition includes an initial payment of £6m and further payments.
 
Adrian Di Marco, TechnologyOne founder and Executive Chairman said: “This is our company’s first international acquisition and it demonstrates our deep commitment to serving the higher education sector and the UK market. The unique IP and market-leading functionality of Scientia’s product supports our vision of delivering enterprise software that is incredibly easy to use.”

Commenting, Michelle Gillespie, Registrar and Director of Student Administration and Library Services at Swinburne University of Technology said: “The one thing that students care most about is their timetable. Being able to fully integrate a schedule into the full student experience is very important, and an exciting step for those universities – like Swinburne – that use TechnologyOne’s student management system.”

#australia, #business-models, #cloud-applications, #computing, #enterprise-software, #europe, #scientia, #software, #software-as-a-service, #tc, #united-kingdom

Reserve your demo table at TC Sessions: SaaS 2021 today

One of the most important goals for any early-stage startup venture is gaining exposure for your company and product. As much as we love the mantra, “if you build it, they will come,” it’s gonna take more than that to make your Field of Dreams come true.

Are you a founder of an early-stage SaaS startup? Then grab this opportunity to showcase your innovative tech and talent to the major movers, shakers, investors and makers around the world at TC Sessions: SaaS 2021 on October 27. Talk about a targeted audience.

Buy a Startup Exhibitor Package and spend a full day exhibiting to your exact target audience. Whether you’re searching for media coverage, investors, customers, engineers or collaborators, hang your virtual shingle to promote your brand and make the connections that can move you closer to achieving your business goals.

Your SaaS Startup Exhibitor Package costs $299 and includes a virtual booth, complete with lead-gen capabilities, four full-access event passes, breakout sessions, CrunchMatch — our AI-powered networking platform — and videos-on-demand. That last one comes in handy if you miss any of the live-stream presentations.

Sweet bonus: The four passes that come with your Exhibitor Package include a free, one-month subscription to Extra Crunch, our members-only program featuring exclusive daily articles for founders and startup teams.

You’ll receive access to the event attendee list — including media outlets —about a week before TC Sessions: SaaS begins. Fire up CrunchMatch, send out meeting invitations and get those RSVPs lined up in advance. Schedule 1:1 product demos, pitch investors, interview prospective employees or come up with your own creative ways to promote your startup.

Exhibiting at TC Sessions: SaaS might help you connect with someone like Rachael Wilcox, a creative producer at Volvo Cars. Wilcox makes it her practice to attend as many TechCrunch events in a year as she can. In 2020 alone, she attended TC Sessions: Mobility, TC Sessions: Robotics/AI and Disrupt.

“I’m never disappointed when I attend TechCrunch events. Whether from the smallest startup all the way up to a Google, I always find someone or something surprising that makes me say, ‘Oh, I didn’t know about that.’”

Our event agenda isn’t quite ready for prime time, but here are just a few of the SaaS leaders who will grace our interactive stage to share insights, actionable advice and answers to your most pressing questions.

We’re talking folks like Kathy Baxter, principal architect for the ethical AI practice at Salesforce, Monte Carlo co-founder and CEO, Barr Moses and Javier Soltero, Google’s VP and GM in charge of Workspace.

Do you know — or are you — someone who wants to share their SaaS expertise? TechCrunch editorial is accepting speaker/ demo recommendations. Submit your application here.

TC Sessions: SaaS 2021 takes place on October 27. Buy a Startup Exhibitor Package and promote your Field of Dreams to the people who can help make them come true.

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at TC Sessions: SaaS 2021? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.

#artificial-intelligence, #business-models, #cloud-applications, #computing, #crunchmatch, #google, #javier-soltero, #kathy-baxter, #saas, #salesforce, #software, #software-as-a-service, #speaker, #startup-company, #tc, #tc-sessions-saas-2021, #volvo-cars, #vp

Affordable student passes available for TC Sessions: SaaS 2021

If you’re a current student or a recent grad with a burning passion for data, software and artificial intelligence, we want you to join us on October 27 for TC Sessions: SaaS 2021. The software-as-a-service sector keeps growing rapidly — both in size and sophistication, and it’s going to require a deep bench of thinkers, makers and technologists to create and wrangle a data-driven future.

We want to foster the next generation, and we’ve set aside discounted, budget-friendly passes especially for students. Register for your $35 student pass and get ready to meet, network with and learn from the global SaaS community’s most influential founders, makers and investors.

Your student pass provides full access to all the day’s events — main stage presentations, panel discussions, breakout sessions and networking with CrunchMatch. Video-on-demand takes care of any schedule conflicts — you don’t have to miss a single presentation.

A quick word about networking at TC Sessions: SaaS. Whether you’re hunting for internships, employment, mentorship, a co-founder or investors, you won’t find a better place or opportunity to meet the people who can help you launch your dreams.

Deal Sweetener: Your pass includes a free, one-month subscription to Extra Crunch, our members-only program featuring exclusive daily articles for founders and startup teams.

While we’re not quite ready to reveal the full agenda, we can share some of the speakers we have lined up. And (not-so-humble-brag) what a group it is so far.

We’re talking folks like investors Casey Aylward (Costanoa Ventures) and Sarah Guo (Greylock), Databricks’ Ali Ghodsi, Javier Soltero, Google’s head of Workspace, UiPath’s Daniel Dines, Puppet’s Abby Kearns and Monte Carlo co-founder, CEO and data junkie extraordinaire, Barr Moses.

Who would you love to hear from at TC Sessions: SaaS? The TechCrunch editorial team is accepting recommendations for speakers. Submit your recommendations here no later than 11:59 pm (PT) on September 29.

Register here for updates and keep your fingers on the pulse of this event as we announce new speakers, events and ticket discounts.

TC Sessions: SaaS 2021 takes place on October 27. Jump on this student discount, join the global SaaS community and take advantage of every opportunity.

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at TC Sessions: SaaS 2021? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.

#abby-kearns, #ali-ghodsi, #business-models, #casey-aylward, #co-founder, #computing, #costanoa-ventures, #daniel-dines, #databricks, #head, #javier-soltero, #monte-carlo, #olo, #saas, #sarah-guo, #software, #software-as-a-service, #tc, #tc-sessions-saas-2021, #uipath

A blueprint for building a great startup founding team

In a company’s early days, the difference between C-level executives and the rest of the organization is simple — employees can walk away from a failure, but the leaders cannot. Under these conditions, certain kinds of people thrive in leadership roles and can take a company from ideation to production.

While there’s no magic formula for what works and what doesn’t, successful startups share common traits in terms of the way their foundational leadership teams are built.

We’ve all experienced what it looks like on the negative end of the spectrum — people making points simply to hear their own voice, leaders competing for credit and clashing agendas. When people would rather be heard than contribute, the output suffers. Members of a healthy leadership team are unafraid to let others have the limelight, because they trust the mission and the culture they’ve built together.

An honest self-assessment is necessary and this is something that only exceptional and selfless founders are capable of.

We are all imperfect human beings, founders included. There are always going to be moments that leaders can’t predict, and mistakes come with the territory. The right leadership team should be able to mitigate the unexpected, and sometimes make the future easier to predict. Putting the right people in the right roles early on can be the difference between success and failure — and that starts at the top.

Start by determining who will lead as CEO

Investors love founder-CEOs, and founders are often fantastic candidates for this role. But not everyone can do it well, and more importantly, not everyone wants to.

Startup founders should ask themselves a few questions before they lose sleep over the prospect of handing over the reigns:

  • Do I even want to be CEO? If yes, for how long?
  • Can I maximize the potential of the company if I’m not the CEO?
  • Am I really the best person for this job at this stage?

An honest self-assessment is necessary and this is something that only exceptional and selfless founders are capable of. In many cases, founders decide they need outside help to fill the role. While a CEO may not be your first hire — or even one of the first five — the person you choose will ultimately occupy your organization’s most critical leadership role, so choose wisely.

What to look for: Ambitious vision grounded in execution reality. Your CEO should have hands-on experience that allows them to see around corners, predict pitfalls and identify opportunities.

What to watch out for: Leaders who lack respect for the founding vision or the ability to hire and balance an executive team quickly. A good CEO should be able to manage short-term cash flow and go-to-market needs without compromising the true north, while building a foundation and culture for the long term.

Then, hire a leader for your engineering team

#business-models, #ceo, #column, #ec-column, #ec-how-to, #entrepreneurship, #hiring, #leadership, #private-equity, #startup-hiring, #startups, #tc

Score a free month of Extra Crunch with your TC Sessions: SaaS 2021 pass

Whether you’re just starting to build your SaaS empire or you’re further along in your journey, you don’t want to miss TC Sessions: SaaS 2021 on October 27. This day-long virtual event, dedicated to the increasingly sophisticated world of software-as-a-service, features some of the sector’s biggest names, plenty of actionable advice and ample opportunity to network for, well, ample opportunities.

Learn how to scale, how to manage growth — of your business and of the massive amount of data it generates — and how to keep your products and services safe in an increasingly cyber-hostile world. And that’s just for starters.

Bonus Alert: Buy a TC Sessions: SaaS pass and receive a free, one-month subscription to Extra Crunch, our members-only program featuring exclusive daily articles for founders and startup teams.

Extra Crunch membership gives you the inside scoop and helps you stay ahead of the tech, business and investing trends every startup founder needs to know. Since Extra Crunch launched in 2019, we’ve posted more than 2,000 articles.

You’ll have access to exclusive articles on topics like market analysis, growth and fundraising. Here’s a quick peek at just some of the recent titles available to Extra Crunch subscribers:

Your membership also includes access to our weekly virtual event series, Extra Crunch Live. We hosted more than 40 events during 2020, and we built more interactivity into our 2021 format. We added a bunch of new stuff, too — like Pitch Deck Teardowns. Check out what’s going on with Extra Crunch Live in 2021.

We’re not quite ready to share the TC Sessions: SaaS event agenda, but register for updates and you’ll know when we announce new speakers, add events and offer ticket discounts.

TC Sessions: SaaS 2021 takes place on October 27. Join your global SaaS community to learn, inspire, connect and grow a stronger business. Buy your SaaS pass here and scoop up a free month of Extra Crunch goodness on us.

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at TC Sessions: SaaS 2021 – Marketing & Fundraising? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.

#as-a-service, #business-models, #canada, #computing, #e-commerce, #software, #software-as-a-service, #tc, #tc-sessions-saas-2021

Group discounts let you take the whole team to TC Sessions: SaaS 2021

If you want to get the most value out of attending TC Sessions: SaaS 2021, a day-long deep dive into the rapidly changing and expanding world of software-as-a-service, don’t go it alone — take your team. It’s a smart way to cover more ground on October 27, make more connections and increase your ROI.

We’re talking a sweet group discount, people. The early-bird pricing won’t remain in play forever, so get your group passes now and cross that money-saving task off your to-do list before the prices go up.

TC Sessions is where community meets opportunity. Each event focuses on a specific tech sector, and it’s a chance for everyone within that ecosystem to learn about the latest trends, hear from the leading experts, founders, investors and other visionaries and, of course, network.

Expect nothing less from TC Sessions: SaaS. We’re nailing down the agenda and building out a roster of impressive speakers. Does that describe you? Apply here to speak if you want to share your vast knowledge.

We’ll be announcing plenty more speakers in the coming weeks. Here’s a perfect of example. Databricks co-founder and CEO, Ali Ghodsi will grace our virtual stage to talk, among other things, about the future of data management in AI.

Pro tip: Keep your finger on the pulse TC Sessions: SaaS. Get updates when we announce new speakers, add events and offer ticket discounts.

Why should you carve a day our of your hectic schedule to attend TC Sessions: SaaS? This may be the first year we’ve focused on SaaS, but this ain’t our first rodeo. Here’s what other attendees have to say about their TC Sessions experience.

“TC Sessions: Mobility offers several big benefits. First, networking opportunities that result in concrete partnerships. Second, the chance to learn the latest trends and how mobility will evolve. Third, the opportunity for unknown startups to connect with other mobility companies and build brand awareness.” — Karin Maake, senior director of communications at FlashParking.

“People want to be around what’s interesting and learn what trends and issues they need to pay attention to. Even large companies like GM and Ford were there, because they’re starting to see the trend move toward mobility. They want to learn from the experts, and TC Sessions: Mobility has all the experts.” — Melika Jahangiri, vice president at Wunder Mobility.

TC Sessions: SaaS 2021 takes place on October 27. Grab your team, join your community and create opportunity. Don’t wait — jump on this group discount offer right now.

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at TC Sessions: SaaS 2021 – Marketing & Fundraising? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.

#ali-ghodsi, #artificial-intelligence, #as-a-service, #business-models, #computing, #databricks, #flashparking, #software, #software-as-a-service, #tc, #tc-sessions-saas-2021

Exhibit your startup at TC Sessions: SaaS 2021

Software-as-a-service (SaaS) is hardly new, but this sector — pretty much the default business model for B2B and B2C startups — just keeps growing along with a rapidly expanding ecosystem. TC Sessions: SaaS 2021, a day-long focused look at the current state and future generations of SaaS, takes place on October 27, and it’s designed to help startup founders, investors and developers keep tabs on this increasingly sophisticated industry.

It also provides a huge opportunity for startups to demo their SaaS tech and talent to the industry’s top movers, shakers and unicorn makers. We have a limited number of Startup Exhibitor Packages available, and procrastination is not your friend. Jump on this offer and secure your virtual demo booth right now.

The $299 Startup Exhibitor Package includes your virtual booth space, four passes and full access to the event, breakout sessions, lead generation capabilities, networking, videos on-demand and a free, one-month membership to Extra Crunch.

Here’s another great reason to exhibit. You might connect with and impress the SaaS equivalent of Rachael Wilcox. Wilcox, a creative producer at Volvo Cars, attended TC Sessions: Mobility 2020 (along with both Disrupt and Early Stage that same year). Here’s why:

“I go to TechCrunch events to find new and interesting companies, make new business connections and look for startups with investment potential. It’s an opportunity to expand my knowledge and inform my work.”

As for the conference programming, we’re busy building out our agenda. But like every TechCrunch event ever created, you can count on hearing from the leading experts, icons, founders and investors.

Speaking of investors, we can share that Sarah Guo, Kobile Fuller and Casey Aylward will join us to talk about what they look for in SaaS startups. We’ll announce other exciting speakers in the weeks to come, so watch this space.

Yes, you’ll be busy exhibiting and networking, but you’ll also have time to take in some of the presentations. Come ready to engage because these presentations will be highly interactive. That’s just one of the benefits of a virtual event — more time to get those burning questions asked and answered.

So, bottom line: Exhibiting at TC Sessions: SaaS 2021 on October 27 is your chance to place your innovative, ground-breaking SaaS startup in front of a very targeted, very influential audience. Buy your Startup Exhibitor Package now and get ready to impress for success.

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at TC Sessions: SaaS 2021 – Marketing & Fundraising? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.

#articles, #as-a-service, #b2c, #business-models, #casey-aylward, #sarah-guo, #software, #software-as-a-service, #startup-company, #tc, #tc-sessions-saas-2021, #techcrunch, #volvo, #volvo-cars

Ramp adds merchant ‘blocking’ to corporate credit card

Ask any employee and they’ll tell you one of their least favorite things to do is file expenses. And for companies, the process of managing corporate spend is one of their biggest challenges.

Corporate credit cards help ease that pain, so it’s no surprise that the competition between startups in the space is heating up by the day. 

One of the fastest growing players in the space is Ramp, a fintech company that earlier this year secured a $150 million debt facility with Goldman Sachs after having raised a $30 million Series B in late December 2020.

Today, the New York-based company is announcing a new feature that it says will give its corporate customers greater control and flexibility over the way their cards are used. Specifically, Ramp said it now offers its customers the option to approve or block merchants on the cards they offer to their employees.

In an exclusive interview with TechCrunch, Ramp co-founder and CEO Eric Glyman said the move was in response to customer demand.

“This was one of our most requested features, especially from companies with over 100 employees,” he told TechCrunch. “They said, ‘I can block a spam call. It’s crazy I can’t do this with my credit card.’ ”

Image Credits: Ramp

With the new feature, Ramp says companies “have complete control” over how their employees use their corporate cards, down to the vendor level. It allows companies to outline specifically who employees can spend with, which vendors can be charged on what card and how much they can charge. 

So, why is this a big deal? Glyman said this means that merchant-specific cards greatly reduce the risk from stolen or compromised cards. It also helps keep employees from inflating expenses or filing false reimbursement claims.

“This gives security and control back to finance teams in a way that was never before possible,” he said.

It also helps companies in their quest to save money by using corporate credit cards in the first place, Glyman added.

“For example, they can restrict spending to businesses or companies that they have discounts or preferential pricing with,” he said. “It’s another layer of enforcement for finance teams.”

The process was not an easy one since understanding and clustering unique identifiers to be able to identify merchants was “technically complex,” according to Glyman.

For its part, Ramp counts “thousands” of businesses as customers, with well into the tens of thousands individuals using its cards.

“We’re powering into 9 figures monthly and over $1 billion in spend,” Glyman said.

The company must be doing something right.

Since raising the credit line earlier this year, Ramp has seen continued growth, more than doubling volume over the past three months.

While Glyman declined to reveal specific revenue figures, he said Ramp grew by over 6,000% in 2020, compared to the year prior and has grown over 1,000 over the past 12 months. Customers are typically fast-growing startups as well as small businesses. Some of its more well-known startup customers include Ro, Sleep Eight, ClickUp, Marqeta, Candid, Better, Truebill and Nuggs.

While Ramp makes money mostly by interchange fees, Glyman said the two-year-old startup thinks of itself as a SaaS operator.

“Our long-term strategy to develop great software,” he said.

#articles, #business-models, #credit-cards, #economy, #entrepreneurship, #eric-glyman, #finance, #financial-technology, #fintech, #goldman-sachs, #marqeta, #money, #new-york, #payments, #ramp, #small-business, #smart-card, #startup, #startup-company, #tc

Repeat raises $6 million Series A for its service that makes reordering favorite products easier

Subscriptions have become a popular way to pay for digital services, like Netflix or Spotify, but they haven’t yet taken off as a means of reordering your everyday items or other household essentials. Retailers, including Amazon, have tried shifting consumers to a subscription model for these sorts of purchases — even by offering discounts. Still, consumers have largely balked at the idea of forced reordering on a fixed schedule. A startup called Repeat believes it may have figured out a better solution. Instead of trying to lock consumers into subscriptions, Repeat analyzes consumer purchase behavior to nudge customers when it’s time to reorder. It then provides them with a personalized shopping cart to make the reordering experience fast and painless.

This service is now being used by 67 companies in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) market, including brands like By Humankind (personal care), Jot (coffee), Vegamour (haircare), Youth to the People (skincare), Osea (skincare), hydrant (rapid hydration packets), Twice (toothpaste), lemon perfect (flavored water), and many others.

Today, Repeat is announcing its $6 million Series A, led by Battery Ventures. Seed investors Mucker Capital and Harlem Capital also invested in the round. With the round’s close, Battery’s general partner Neeraj Agrawal, whose background is in enterprise software-as-a-service businesses, is joining Repeat’s board.

Repeat co-founders Sarah Wissel (L) and Kim Stiefel (R)

The idea to tackle e-commerce’s replenishment problem came about after Repeat’s co-founders Kim Stiefel and Sarah Wissel tried launching their own direct-to-consumer apparel brand, UNDR, focused on refreshing the basics — like socks, tees, and underwear. Having spend their careers in the marketing and ad tech world, they believed they would be able to put their experience to work to grow their new business.

After launching a quarterly subscription for t-shirts, the founders soon discovered not only how hard it was to get a brand-new brand off the ground, but also how getting customers to commit to ongoing purchases was even harder. From their customer feedback, the founders learned that most consumers actually don’t like the experience of reordering household items. Customers told them it doesn’t always make sense to reorder products on a fixed schedule.

Unlike Netflix, where you’re paying for the rights to access a broad catalog on an ongoing basis, there are times when you’ll use your household products more quickly or more slowly. That means you’ll sometimes end up receiving items too soon when you’ve ordered them on subscription. That’s not ideal; nor is it very eco-friendly. Other times, you may run out before your scheduled delivery is due to arrive. That’s also a problem.

“We should have known that,” admits Stiefel, now Repeat’s CEO, after hearing that customers didn’t like subscriptions. “We asked ourselves if we actually subscribe to any products, and it turns out, the answer was ‘no.’” 

The founders decided to scrap their subscription in favor of a new idea. Instead of forcing consumers to subscribe on a schedule, they would “nudge” customers to reorder during what they determined would would be the perfect window, based on past order history.

Image Credits: Repeat

After experimenting with personalized reminders for their own brand for a year, Stiefel and Wissel decided to pivot their startup so they could offer this service to any e-commerce CPG company.

Today, any brand that sells a replenishable or consumable product can use Repeat to turn their one-time buyer into a repeat customer. To do so, Repeat uses a combination of logic, where it analyzes all the company’s a la carte purchase behavior to make sense of the general replenishment intervals on a per-SKU basis. It then leverages that logic to nudge customers when it’s time to reorder by sending an email or text with a link to what Repeat calls its “replenishment cart.” The customer can choose to snooze the reminder or they can click through to checkout.

This replenishment cart is a special shopping cart that’s personalized to the individual customer and pre-filled with the product or products they’re due to repurchase, as well as other suggestions. But unlike a typical checkout experience, the customer can adjust the merchandise the cart contains — for example, by opting for a different flavor or scent for their product, or opting for a larger size, among other things.

As the customer continues to interact with Repeat’s reminders and cart, the service gets smarter about understanding that customer’s unique reordering intervals, so its nudges also get smarter. In time, Repeat envisions offering a universal cart where customers can reorder from across their favorite CPG brands in one place.

Image Credits: Repeat

“There’s a lot of logic that goes into making that cart experience work as well as it does,” notes Stiefel. “For example, the cart converts at around 25 percent on average. Some brands are seeing 40, or 45 percent conversion on that cart, and we see that people check out oftentimes in less than 15 seconds on that cart. And I think that’s really the underlying magic — that, in combination with the logic, is the underlying magic of Repeat,” she adds.

There is, of course, the challenge of getting its nudges exactly right. If Repeat hits up customers at the wrong time, it could be perceived as an annoyance and customers might opt out of the notifications.

Repeat currently generates revenue through a monthly SaaS (software-as-a-subscription) fee, and as a percentage of the revenue its cart drives. For brands that drive less than 2,000 a la carte, non-subscription orders per month, Repeat would charge $99 per month plus 5% of the revenue it drives. And for brands that are driving more than 10,000 a la carte, non-subscriptions orders per month, Repeat charges $499 per month, plus 5% of the revenue it drives. The company isn’t disclosing its own revenue figures, however.

L.A.-based Repeat says it plans to use the new funds to hire across all roles, including in engineering, product, sales, marketing and growth. The startup began the year with just 3 employees, but hopes to be at around 15 to 20 by the end of the year by expanding its team that’s distributed across the U.S.

The company will also use the capital to work on scaling the business. For example, it recently launched QR codes that allow anyone to be redirected to a Repeat cart — even first-time shoppers who discover a brand through a friend, and scan the product to order one of their own.

Over time, Repeat believes it can change the way CPG subscriptions work.

“The problem with subscription today is that it’s fixed, and time-based and rigid, and not rooted in any kind of real consumption cadence,” says Stiefel.

“Because Repeat focuses on that all a carte reordering experience, and because we’re looking at repeat behavior across individual product SKUs, we actually know a tremendous amount about consumption behavior across every category of CPG. I think what you’ll see from us in the future is being able to leverage that data to offer more flexible dynamic subscription experiences,” she says.

#battery-ventures, #brand, #business-models, #cpg, #digital-marketing, #e-commerce, #ecommerce, #funding, #marketing, #neeraj-agrawal, #online-shopping, #recent-funding, #shopping, #startups, #tc

HoneyBook raises $155M at $1B+ valuation to help SMBs, freelancers manage their businesses

HoneyBook, which has built out a client experience and financial management platform for service-based small businesses and freelancers, announced today that it has raised $155 million in a Series D round led by Durable Capital Partners LP.

Tiger Global Management, Battery Ventures, Zeev Ventures, 01 Advisors as well as existing backers Norwest Venture Partners and Citi Ventures also participated in the financing, which brings the New York-based company’s valuation to over $1 billion. With the latest round, HoneyBook has now raised $215 million since its 2013 inception. The Series D is a big jump from the $28 million that HoneyBook raised in March 2019. 

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit last year, HoneyBook’s leadership team was concerned about the potential impact on their business and braced themselves for a drop in revenue.

Rather than lay off people, they instead asked everyone to take a pay cut, and that included the executive team, who cut theirs “by double” the rest of the staff.

“I remember it was terrifying. We knew that our customers’ businesses were going to be impacted dramatically, and would impact ours at the same time dramatically,” recalls CEO Oz Alon. “We had to make some hard decisions.”

But the resilience of HoneyBook’s customer base surprised even the company, who ended up reinstating those salaries just a few months later. And, as corporate layoffs driven by the COVID-19 pandemic led to more people deciding to start their own businesses, HoneyBook saw a big surge in demand.

“Our members who saw a hit in demand went out and found demand in another thing,” Oz said. As a result, HoneyBook ended up doubling its number of members on its SaaS platform and tripling its annual recurring revenue (ARR) over the past 12 months. Members booked more than $1 billion in business on the platform in the past nine months alone. 

HoneyBook combines tools like billing, contracts, and client communication on its platform with the goal of helping business owners stay organized. Since its inception, service providers across the U.S. and Canada such as graphic designers, event planners, digital marketers and photographers have booked more than $3 billion in business on its platform. And as the pandemic had more people shift to doing more things online, HoneyBook prepared to help its members adapt by being armed with digital tools.

Image Credits: HoneyBook

“Clients now expect streamlined communication, seamless payments, and the same level of exceptional service online, that they were used to receiving from business owners in person,” Alon said.

Oz and co-founder/wife, Naama, were both small business owners themselves at one time, so they had firsthand insight on the pain points of running a service-based business. 

HoneyBook’s software not only helps SMBs do more business, but helps them “convert potentials to actual clients,” Oz said.

“We help them communicate with potential clients so they can win their business, and then help them manage the relationship so they can keep them,” Naama said.

The company plans to use its new capital toward continued product development and to “dramatically” boost its 103-person headcount across its New York and Tel Aviv offices.

“We’re seeing so much demand for additional services and products, so we definitely want to invest and create better ways for our members to present themselves online,” Alon told TechCrunch. “We’re also seeing demand for financial products and the ability to access capital faster. So that’s just a few of the things we plan to invest in.”

The company also wants to make its platform “more customizable” for different categories and verticals.

Chelsea Stoner, general partner at Battery Ventures, said her firm recognized that the expansive market of productivity tools to serve small businesses and entrepreneurs was “a market of discrete and separate productivity tools.”

HoneyBook, she said, is a true platform for SMBs, “providing a huge array of functionality in one cohesive UX.”

“It unites and connects every task for the solopreneurs, from creating and distributing marketing collateral, to organizing and executing proposals, to sending invoices and collecting payments,” Stoner said. “The company is constantly innovating and iterating in response to its members; we also see a lot of opportunity with payments going forward…And, due to Covid-19 and other factors, the company is sitting on pent-up demand that will accelerate growth even more.”

#advisors, #articles, #battery-ventures, #business, #business-models, #canada, #ceo, #chelsea-stoner, #citi-ventures, #co-founder, #economy, #entrepreneurship, #executive, #funding, #fundings-exits, #general-partner, #honeybook, #new-york, #norwest-venture-partners, #payments, #productivity-tools, #recent-funding, #saas, #small-business, #startups, #tel-aviv, #tiger-global-management, #united-states, #venture-capital, #zeev-ventures

Announcing our TC Sessions: SaaS virtual event happening October 27

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is now the default business model for most B2B and B2C software startups. And while it’s been around for a while now, its momentum keeps accelerating and the ecosystem continues to expand as technologists and marketers are getting more sophisticated about how to build and sell SaaS products. For all of them, we’re pleased to announced TechCrunch Sessions: SaaS 2021, a one-day virtual event that will examine the state of SaaS to help startup founders, developers and investors understand the state of play and what’s next.

The single-day event will take place 100% virtually on October 27 and will feature actionable advice, Q&A with some of SaaS’s biggest names, and plenty of networking opportunities. $75 Early Bird Passes are now on sale. Book your passes today to save $100 before prices go up.

We’re not quite ready to disclose our agenda yet, but you can expect a mix of superstars from across the industry, ranging from some of the largest tech companies to up-and-coming startups that are pushing the limits of SaaS.

The plan is to look at a broad spectrum of what’s happening in with B2B startups and give you actionable insights into how to build and/or improve your own product. If you’re just getting started, we want you to come away with new ideas for how to start your company and if you’re already on your way, then our sessions on scaling both your technology and marketing organization will help you to get to that $100 million annual run rate faster.

In addition to other founders, you’ll also hear from enterprise leaders who decide what to buy — and the mistakes they see startups make when they try to sell to them.

But SaaS isn’t only about managing growth — though ideally, that’s a problem founders will face sooner or later. Some of the other specific topics we will look at are how to keep your services safe in an ever-growing threat environment, how to use open source to your advantage and how to smartly raise funding for your company.

We will also highlight how B2B and B2C companies can handle the glut of data they now produce and use it to build machine learning models in the process. We’ll talk about how SaaS startups can both do so themselves and help others in the process. There’s nary a startup that doesn’t want to use some form of AI these days, after all.

And because this is 2021, chances are we’ll also talk about building remote companies and the lessons SaaS startups can learn from the last year of working through the pandemic.

Don’t miss out. Book your $75 Early Bird pass today and save $100.

#business-models, #computing, #enterprise, #entrepreneurship, #machine-learning, #private-equity, #saas, #software, #software-as-a-service, #startup-company, #tc

YC-backed Abacum nets $7M to empower finance teams with real-time data and collaboration tools

SaaS to support mid-sized companies’ financial planning with real-time data and native collaboration isn’t the sexiest startup pitch under the sun but it’s one that’s swiftly netted Abacum a bunch of notable backers — including Creandum, which is leading a $7M seed round that’s being announced today.

The rosters of existing investors also participating in the round are Y Combinator (Abacum was part of its latest batch), PROFounders, and K-Fund, along with angel investors such as Justin Kan (Atrium and Twitch co-founder and CEO); Maximilian Tayenthal (N26 co-founder and co-CEO & CFO); Thomas Lehrman (GLG co-founder and ex-CEO), Avi Meir (TravelPerk co-founder and CEO); plus Jenny Bloom (Zapier CFO and Mailchimp ex-CFO) and Mike Asher (CFO at Neo4j).

Abacum was founded last year in the middle of the COVID-19 global lockdown, after what it says was around a year of “deep research” to feed its product development. They launched their SaaS in June 2020. And while they’re not disclosing customer numbers at this early stage their first clients include a range of scale-up companies in the US and in Europe, including the likes of Typeform, Cabify, Ebury, Garten, Jeff and Talkable.

The startup’s Spanish co-founders — Julio Martinez, a fintech entrepreneur with an investment banking background, and Jorge Lluch, a European Space Agency engineer turned CFO/COO — spotted an opportunity to build dedicated software for mid-market finance teams to provide real-time access to data via native collaborative that plugs into key software platforms used by other business units, having felt the pain of a lack of access to real-time data and barriers to collaboration in their own professional experience with the finance function.

The idea with Abacum is to replace the need for finance teams to manually update their models. The SaaS automatically does the updates, fed with real-time data through direct integrations with software used by teams dealing with functions like HR, CRM, ERP (and so on) — empowering the finance function to collaborate more easily across the business and bolster its strategic decision-making capabilities.

The startup’s sales pitch to the target mid-sized companies is multi-layered. Abacum says its SaaS both saves finance teams time and enables faster-decision making.

“Prior to using Abacum, finance analysts in our clients were easily spending 50% to 70% of their time in manual tasks like downloading files from different systems, copy&pasting them in massive spreadsheets (that crash frequently), formatting the data by manually adding and removing rows, columns and formats, connecting the data in a model prone to manual error (e.g. vlookups & sumifs),” Martinez tells TechCrunch. “With Abacum, this entire manual part is automatically done and the finance professionals can spend their time analyzing and adding real value to the business.”

“We enable faster decisions that were not possible prior to Abacum. For instance, some of our clients were updating their cohort analysis on a quarterly basis only because the associated manual tasks were too painful. With us, they’re able to update the analysis weekly and take better decisions as a result.”

The SaaS also supports decisions in another way — by applying machine learning to business data to generate estimates on future performance, providing an AI-based reference point based on historical data that finance teams can use to inform their assumptions.

And it aids cross-business collaboration — allowing users to share and gather information “easily through workflows and permissions”. “We see that this results in faster and richer decisions as more stakeholders are brought into the process,” he adds.

Martinez says Abacum chose to focus on mid-market finance teams because they face “more challenges and inefficiencies” vs the smaller (and larger) ends of the market. “In that segment, the finance function is underinvested — they face the acute complexities of scaling companies that become very pressing but at the same time they are still considered a support function, a back-office,” he argues.

“Abacum makes finance a strategic function — we deliver native collaboration to finance teams so that they become the trusted business partner they want to be. We also see that the pandemic has accelerated the need for finance teams to collaborate effectively and work remotely,” he adds.

He also describes the mid market segment as “fairly unpenetrated” — claiming many companies do not yet having a solution in place.

While competitors he points to when asked about other players in the space are long in the tooth in digital terms: Adaptive Insights (2003); Host Analytics (2001); and Anaplan (2008).

Commenting on the seed round in a statement, Peter Specht, principal at Creandum, added: “The financial planning processes in many companies are ripe for disruption and demand more automation. Abacum’s slick solution empowers finance teams to be more collaborative, efficient and better informed with access to real-time data. We were impressed by their user-friendly product, the initial hiring of top talent, and crucially the strong founders and their extensive operational experience — including as CFOs and entrepreneurs who have experienced the problem first-hand. We are delighted to be part of Abacum’s journey to empower global SMEs to bring their financial operations to new levels.”

Abacum’s seed financing will be ploughed into product development and growth, per Martinez, who says it’s focused on wooing finance teams in the US and Europe for now.

#abacum, #adaptive-insights, #anaplan, #artificial-intelligence, #avi-meir, #business-models, #cfo, #chief-financial-officer, #creandum, #crm, #europe, #finance, #fundings-exits, #glg, #justin-kan, #machine-learning, #mailchimp, #n26, #neo4j, #profounders, #real-time-data, #saas, #software-as-a-service, #tc, #travelperk, #twitch, #y-combinator, #zapier

How nontechnical talent can break into deep tech

In a recent article, I shared more about how deep tech companies can hire growth talent. Here, I explore the other side: how nontechnical talent can build relationships with deep tech companies.

Startup hiring processes can be opaque, and breaking into the deep tech world as a nontechnical person seems daunting. As someone with no initial research background wanting to work in biotech, I felt this challenge personally. In the past year, I landed several opportunities working for and with deep tech companies.

Here, I’ll share what I’ve learned and offer tactical advice for finding, reaching out to, cultivating relationships with and working at deep tech companies as a nontechnical candidate.

To find these companies, create news alerts to be notified when companies in deep tech raise new rounds of funding.

Find companies by tracking fundraising

After startups raise capital, they are ready to spend the new funds on hiring. These companies are more likely to be posting new roles and actively hiring for a wide range of different teams, including nontechnical groups.

#business, #business-models, #column, #ec-column, #ec-how-to, #entrepreneurship, #job-search, #startup-company, #startups

Offering a service that prioritizes the highest-paying gigs in the gig economy, Stoovo raises funding

Semih Korkmaz and Hantz Févry launched Stoovo in 2019 as a way to help gig workers make the best use of their time.

Févry, who immigrated to the U.S. from Haiti, knew first hand the struggles that come with part time work from his days as a student at Stonybrook University. While there bouncing from job to job, Févry would feel the sting associated with hidden fees, unkept promises, and variability of part-time labor.

The time at Stonybrook was also when Févry got his first taste of entrepreneurship. In 2010 and 2011 Févry said the Dean of the University’s business school let the budding business owner cut back on his hours so he could start iTrade International, an import-export business selling earthquake detection equipment in Haiti.

That first taste of tech and business development eventually landed Févry a job at Google in Hong Kong and offered him the chance to travel around the world. After a stint in Europe, Févry moved back to the U.S. where he set to work building Stoovo.

The question on his mind was this: How can we leverage technology to help gig workers or people taking short term assignments?

Févry and his co-founder Korkmaz envisioned Stoovo as a way to level they playing field by providing gig workers with information about the highest paying jobs available on the gig platforms at any one time. “What the platforms are doing is they are  optimizing to make sure that they’re responding to demand,” Févry said. “What we do is use the same approach to predict what will be the demand, where will be the demand, what will be the competition, and what’s the payout.”

The company’s software advises gig workers on the optimum time for using each service based on their earning criteria and hours, Févry said.

“We tell you when to start working, where you need to start working, and when you need to go when you need to take your break,” he said. 

But the company’s service isn’t only about optimization. There’s also a banking component and a suite of products to ensure that gig workers are also getting the most out of their gigs financially. The company offers a checking account, a tax management service, and lending services as well through services like BellBizzer, a Seattle-based company which offers a short-term rental service for consumer goods.

Both Korkmaz and Févry spent time working as delivery drivers or freelancing to get a feel for the challenges gig workers faced, Févry said. During lunch breaks at Google, Févry would do food deliveries to seewhat he could do so that he could understand how to make the gig economy work better.

Ultimately, the best solution would be to pay gig workers a fair wage for the time they spend doing their work, but barring that, technologically developed band-aids to help heal technologically enabled wounds seem like the only option.

Gig companies like Uber have a history of using their algorithms to wring more money from drivers — sometimes unbeknownst to the workers.

Back in August, a developer named Armin Samii created an app called UberCheats that monitored the UberEats application for a software bug to inform drivers if they were underpaid by the company for the distance they’d traveled to make a delivery. Last week, the app was taken down, but only because of a copyright infringement claim from Uber.

 

Stoovo and UberCheats seem to come from the same place. The idea is to equip workers with tools that can work for workers instead of for big platforms.

It’s this vision that attracted investors like Derek Norton from Watertower Ventures to invest in the company. To date, Stoovo has raised $2.4 million from investors including Watertower, 500 Startups, Plug and Play Ventures, and TSEF, Févry said.

With the money the company hopes to build out more products that can enable things like low-cost money transfers. Ultimately, the company just wants to give these gig workers a chance, Févry said.

“The gig economy is rife with frustrations,” Févry said, and Stoovo is making a pitch to smooth over the obstacles. “We really understand your life. We are also immigrants,” he said. “We know that of that $200… we know you have to send $40 overseas… We are building a product with [gig workers], we are not building for them.”

#500-startups, #articles, #banking, #business-models, #co-founder, #derek-norton, #economy, #employment, #europe, #gig, #gig-worker, #haiti, #play-ventures, #seattle, #tc, #temporary-work, #uber, #united-states

Kanarys raises $3 million for its data-driven platform to assess diversity and inclusion efforts

Mandy Price was already a highly successful lawyer in private practice before she took the jump into entrepreneurship alongside two co-founders to launch Kanarys a little over one year ago.

The Harvard Law School graduated didn’t have to start her company, which helps businesses measure the efficacy of their diversity and inclusion efforts using hard data, but she needed to start the company.

Now, a year after its launch, the company counts companies like Yum Brands, the Dallas Mavericks, and Neiman Marcus among the dozen or so companies using its service and has $3 million in seed funding to help it expand.

For Price, the drive to launch Kanarys came from her own experiences working in law. It wasn’t the microagressions, or the lower pay, or casually dismissive attitude of colleagues toward her well-earned success that led Price to start Kanarys, but the knowledge that her experience wasn’t unique and that thousands of other women and minorities faced the same experiences daily.

I have had many things happen to me in the workplace that is similar to what many other women and women of color have dealt with and didn’t want to have my children have to go through similar issues,” Price said. 

So alongside her husband, Bennie King (himself a serial entrepreneur in the Dallas area), and her University of Texas at Austin and Harvard classmate, Star Carter, Price launched Kanarys in late 2019.

The company uses Equal Employment Opportunity reports and assessments of various policies involving promotion, recruitment, and benefits to track how a company is performing in relation to its industry peers.

“A lot of the inequities we see are from a structural and systemic standpoint. That is where Kanarys can see how they’re perpetuating inequity,” Price said. 

Kanarys starts with an independent assessment of a company’s policies and practices and then conducts quarterly surveys with employees of its customers to see how well they are meeting their stated goals and objectives. They also integrate with existing human resources systems to track things like pay equity and promotions.

The service has attracted the attention of the Rise of the Rest fund, Morgan Stanley, Jigsaw Ventures, Segal Ventures and Zeal Capital Partners, which led the company’s $3 million seed round.

“Organizations have typically tried to address this with individual interventions,” said Price. “What we’re saying is we have to address it on both fronts. So much of the inequities that we see are based off of institutional and systemic policies and practices.”

Not only does Kanarys track information on diversity and inclusion efforts for customers, but for job seekers there’s a database of about 1,000 companies which operates like Glassdoor . The focus is not just on worker satisfaction, but on how employees view the diversity efforts their employers are undertaking.

Notably, Kanarys founders join the (far-too-few) ranks of Black entrepreneurs launching businesses and raising venture capital. In 2017, studies showed that 98 percent of venture capital raised in the U.S. went to men, according to data provided by the company. Black entrepreneurs in general receive less than one percent of venture capital, and Black women founders make up only 0.6 percent of venture capital funding raised. 

“We know that a focus on DEI in business is not just the right thing to do for employees, it also makes good business sense,” said Price, CEO and co-founder of Kanarys, in a statement. “Kanarys’ DEI data arms companies, for the first time, to make precise, immediate, and informed decisions using real, intersectional metrics around their diversity goals and inclusion programs that ultimately drive bottom-line business objectives.”

 

#articles, #business, #business-models, #dallas, #dallas-mavericks, #economy, #entrepreneurship, #glassdoor, #harvard, #lawyer, #morgan-stanley, #neiman-marcus, #serial-entrepreneur, #small-business, #tc, #texas, #united-states, #university-of-texas, #venture-capital, #yum-brands

Venture firm M13 names former Techstars LA managing director, Anna Barber, as its newest partner

The Los Angeles and New York-based venture firm M13 has managed to nab former Techstars LA managing director, Anna Barber, as its newest partner and the head of its internal venture studio, Launchpad.

Designed to be a collaborative startup company incubator alongside corporate partners, Launchpad focuses on developing new consumer tech businesses focused on M13’s main investment areas: health, food, transportation, and housing.

For Barber, the new position is the latest step in a professional career spent working both inside and outside of the tech industry.

Barber got her first taste of the startup world when she was poached from McKinsey to join one of the several online pet supply stores that cropped up in 1999. From her position as the vice president of product at Petstore.com, Barber got her taste of the startup world… and left it to become a talent manager and the co-founder of the National Air Guitar championships (no word if she managed air guitar talent).

Prior to launching the Techstars LA incubator program, Barber founded ScribblePress, a retail and digital publishing app, which was sold to Fingerprint Digital.

Anna Barber, partner, M13. Image Credit: Raif Strathmann

At M13, Barber will be working to recruit entrepreneurs to work collaboratively on developing startup consumer businesses that align with the strategic interests of M13’s corporate partners, like Procter & Gamble.

We will be bringing in founders in residence who will come in without an idea,” Barber said of the program. “We’re starting with a blank sheet of paper and building teams in partnership with entrepreneurs and in partnership with corporate partners who will bring their perspective and their IP. “

The EIRs will receive a small stipend and equity in the business, Barber said.

The starting gun for M13’s Launchpad  program was in 2019 and the program currently has managed to spin up three startups. There’s Rae, an developer of affordable women’s wellness products; and the beauty tech company OPTE; Kindra menopause products; and Bodewell for sensitive skin care, which were all developed alongside Procter & Gamble Ventures.

M13, for its part, is developing a strong team of women partners who are investing at the firm. Barber will join Lizzie Francis and Christine Choi on the investment team, something that Barber said was especially exciting.

“There is no better place for M13’s Launchpad than Los Angeles and no better person to lead it than Anna. M13 is home to a creative, diverse community of entrepreneurs and operators who want to make the world better by applying innovation in everything from media to biotech, prop tech to food,” said M13 co-founder Carter Reum. “We are excited for Anna to continue to lead LA’s center of entrepreneurs, mentors and investors with a rigorous Launchpad program and more exceptional partners and cohorts.”

#articles, #business, #business-incubators, #business-models, #co-founder, #economy, #entrepreneurship, #food, #head, #launchpad, #los-angeles, #m13, #mckinsey, #mentorships, #new-york, #procter-gamble, #rae, #startup-company, #tc, #techstars

VCs and startups consider HaaS model for consumer devices

I’ve been following consumer audio electronics company Nura with great interest for a few years now — the Melbourne-based startup was one of the first companies I met with after starting with TechCrunch. At the time, its first prototype was a big mess of circuits and wires — the sort of thing you could never imagine shrunk down into a reasonably-sized consumer device.

Nura managed, of course. And the final product looked and sounded great; hell, even the box was nice. If I’m lucky, I see a consumer hardware product once or twice a year that seems reasonably capable of disrupting an industry, and Nura’s custom sound profiles fit that bill. But the company was unique for another reason. A graduate of the HAX accelerator, the startup announced NuraNow roughly this time last year.

Hardware as a service (HaaS) has been a popular concept in the IT/enterprise space for some time, but it’s still fairly uncommon in the consumer category. For one thing: a hardware subscription presents a new paradigm for thinking about purchases. And that is a big lift in a country like the U.S., which spent years weaning consumers off contract-based smartphones.

That Nura jumped at the chance shouldn’t be a big surprise. Backers HAX/SOSV have been proponents of the model for some time now. I’ve visited their Shenzhen offices a few times, and the topic of HaaS always seems to come up.

In a recent email exchange, General Partner Duncan Turner described HaaS as “a great way to keep in contact with your customers and up sell them on new features. Most importantly, for start-ups, recurring revenue is critical for scaling a business with venture capital (and will help appeal to a broad set of investors). HaaS often has a low churn (as easier to put onto long-term contracts).”

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