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.

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Announcing the agenda for TechCrunch Sessions: SaaS

TechCrunch Sessions is back!

On October 27, we’re taking on the ferociously competitive field of software as a service (SaaS), and we’re thrilled to announce our packed agenda, overflowing with some of the biggest names and most exciting startups in the industry. And you’re in luck, because $75 early-bird tickets are still on sale — make sure you book yours so you can enjoy all the agenda has to offer and save $100 bucks before prices go up!

Throughout the day, you can expect to hear from industry experts, and take part in discussions about the potential of new advances in data, open source, how to deal with the onslaught of security threats, investing in early-stage startups and plenty more.

We’ll be joined by some of the biggest names and the smartest and most prescient people in the industry, including Javier Soltero at Google, Kathy Baxter at Salesforce, Jared Spataro at Microsoft, Jay Kreps at Confluent, Sarah Guo at Greylock and Daniel Dines at UiPath.

You’ll be able to find and engage with people from all around the world through world-class networking on our virtual platform — all for $75 and under for a limited time with even deeper discounts for nonprofits and government agencies, students and up-and-coming founders!

Our agenda showcases some of the powerhouses in the space, but also plenty of smaller teams that are building and debunking fundamental technologies in the industry. We still have a few tricks up our sleeves and will be adding some new names to the agenda over the next month, so keep your eyes open.

In the meantime, check out these agenda highlights:

Survival of the Fittest: Investing in Today’s SaaS Market
with Casey Aylward (Costanoa Ventures), Kobie Fuller (Upfront) and Sarah Guo (Greylock)

  • The venture capital world is faster, and more competitive than ever. For investors hoping to get into the hottest SaaS deal, things are even crazier. With more non-traditional money pouring into the sector, remote dealmaking now the norm, and an increasingly global market for software startups, venture capitalists are being forced to shake up their own operations, and expectations. TechCrunch sits down with three leading investors to discuss how they are fighting for allocation in hot deals, what they’ve changed in their own processes, and what today’s best founders are demanding.

Data, Data Everywhere
with Ali Ghodsi (Databricks)

  • As companies struggle to manage and share increasingly large amounts of data, it’s no wonder that Databricks, whose primary product is a data lake, was valued at a whopping $28 billion for its most recent funding round. We’re going to talk to CEO Ali Ghodsi about why his startup is so hot and what comes next.

SaaS Security, Today and Tomorrow
with Edna Conway (Microsoft), Olivia Rose (Amplitude)

  • 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. Find out what SaaS startups need to know about security now, and in the future.

Automation’s Moment Is Now
with Daniel Dines (UiPath), Laela Sturdy (CapitalG), and Dave Wright (ServiceNow)

  • One thing we learned during the pandemic is the importance of automation, and that’s only likely to be more pronounced as we move forward. We’ll be talking to UiPath CEO Daniel Dines, Laela Sturdy, an investor at CapitalG and Dave Wright from ServiceNow about why this is automation’s moment.

Was the Pandemic Cloud Productivity’s Spark
with Javier Soltero (Google)

  • One big aspect of SaaS is productivity apps like Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Drive. We’ll talk with executive Javier Soltero about the role Google Workspace plays in the Google cloud strategy.

The Future is Wide Open
with Abby Kearns (Puppet), Aghi Marietti (Kong), and Jason Warner (Redpoint)

  • Many startups today have an open source component, and it’s no wonder. It builds an audience and helps drive sales. We’ll talk with Abby Kearns from Puppet, Augusto “Aghi” Marietti from Kong and Jason Warner an investor at Redpoint about why open source is such a popular way to build a business.

How Microsoft Shifted from on Prem to the Cloud
with Jared Spataro (Microsoft)

  • Jared Spataro has been with Microsoft for over 15 years and he was a part of the shift from strictly on prem software to one that is dominated by the cloud. Today he runs one of the most successful SaaS products out there, and we’ll talk to him about how Microsoft made that shift and what it’s meant to the company.

How Startups are Turning Data into Software Gold
with Jenn Knight (Agentsync), Barr Moses (Monte Carlo), and Dan Wright (DataRobot)

  • 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. We’ve collected three leaders from three data-focused startups that are forging new markets to get their insight on how today’s SaaS companies are leveraging data to build new companies, attack new problems, and, of course, scale like mad.

What Happens After Your Startup is Acquired
with Jyoti Bansal (Harness), Nick Mehta (GainSight)

  • We’ll speak to three founders about the emotional upheaval of being acquired and what happens after the check clears and the sale closes. Our panel includes Jyoti Bansal who founded AppDynamics, Jewel Burkes Solomon, who founded Partpic and Nick Mehta from GainSight.

How Confluent Rode the Open Source Wave to IPO
with Jay Kreps (Confluent)

  • Confluent, the streaming platform built on top of Apache Kafka, was born out of a project at LinkedIn and rode that from startup to IPO. We’ll speak to co-founder and CEO Jay Kreps to learn about what that journey was like.

We’ll have more sessions and names shortly, so stay tuned. But get excited in the meantime, we certainly are.

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

Why should you carve a day out 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 mhttps://techcrunch.com/2021/06/24/databricks-co-founder-and-ceo-ali-ghodsi-is-coming-to-tc-sessions-saas/obility 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 the early bird ticket sale right now.

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UIPath CEO Daniel Dines is coming to TC Sessions: SaaS to talk RPA and automation

UIPath came seemingly out of nowhere in the last several years, going public last year in a successful IPO during which it raised over $527 million. It raised $2 billion in private money prior to that with its final private valuation coming in at an amazing $35 billion. UIPath CEO Daniel Dines will be joining us on a panel on automation at TC Sessions: Saas on October 27th.

The company has been able capture all this investor attention doing something called Robotic Process Automation, which provides a way to automate a series of highly mundane tasks. It has become quite popular, especially to help bring a level of automation to legacy systems that might not be able to handle more modern approaches to automation involving artificial intelligence and machine learning. In 2019 Gartner found that RPA was the fastest growing category in enterprise software.

In point of fact,  UIPath didn’t actually come out of nowhere. It was founded in 2005 as a consulting company and transitioned to software over the years. The company took its first VC funding, a modest $1.5 million seed round in 2015, according to Crunchbase data.

As RPA found its market, the startup began to take off, raising gobs of money including a $568 million round in April 2019 and $750 million in its final private raise in February 2021.

Dines will be appearing on a panel discussing the role of automation in the enterprise. Certainly, the pandemic drove home the need for increased automation as masses of office workers moved to work from home, a trend that is likely to continue even after the pandemic slows.

As the RPA market leader, he is uniquely positioned to discuss how this software and other similar types will evolve in the coming years and how it could combine with related trends like no-code and process mapping. Dines will be joined on the panel by investor Laela Sturdy from Capital G and ServiceNow’s Dave Wright where they will discuss the state of the automation market, why it’s so hot and where the next opportunities could be.

In addition to our discussion with Dines, the conference will also include Databricks’ Ali Ghodsi, Salesforce’s Kathy Baxter and Puppet’s Abby Kearns, as well as investors Casey Aylward and Sarah Guo, among others. We hope you’ll join us. It’s going to be a stimulating day.

Buy your pass now to save up to $100. We can’t wait to see you in October!

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, #articles, #artificial-intelligence, #automation, #business-process-automation, #business-process-management, #business-software, #casey-aylward, #ceo, #daniel-dines, #databricks, #dave-wright, #enterprise, #kathy-baxter, #laela-sturdy, #machine-learning, #robotic-process-automation, #rpa, #salesforce, #sarah-guo, #servicenow, #software, #tc, #tc-sessions-saas-2021, #technology, #uipath

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

Salesforce’s Kathy Baxter is coming to TC Sessions: SaaS to talk AI

As the use of AI has grown and developed over the last several years, companies like Salesforce have tried to tap into it to improve their software and help customers operate faster and more efficiently. Kathy Baxter, principal architect for the ethical AI practice at Salesforce will be joining us at TechCrunch Sessions: SaaS on October 27th to talk about the impact of AI on SaaS.

Baxter, who has more than 20 years of experience as a software architect, joined Salesforce in 2017 after more than a decade at Google in a similar role. We’re going to tap into her expertise on a panel discussing AI’s growing role in software.

Salesforce was one of the earlier SaaS adherents to AI, announcing its artificial intelligence tooling, which the company dubbed Einstein, in 2016. While the positioning makes it sound like a product, it’s actually much more than a single entity. It’s a platform component, which the various pieces of the Salesforce platform can tap into to take advantage of various types of AI to help improve the user experience.

That could involve feeding information to customer service reps on Service Cloud to make the call move along more efficiently, helping salespeople find the customers most likely to close a deal soon in the Sales Cloud or helping marketing understand the optimal time to send an email in the Marketing Cloud.

The company began building out its AI tooling early on with the help of 175 data scientists and has been expanding on that initial idea since. Other companies, both startups and established companies like SAP, Oracle and Microsoft have continued to build AI into their platforms as Salesforce has. Today, many SaaS companies have some underlying AI built into their service.

Baxter will join us to discuss the role of AI in software today and how that helps improve the operations of the service itself, and what the implications are of using AI in your software service as it becomes a mainstream part of the SaaS development process.

In addition to our discussion with Baxter, the conference will also include Databricks’ Ali Ghodsi, UiPath’s Daniel Dines, Puppet’s Abby Kearns, and investors Casey Aylward and Sarah Guo, among others. We hope you’ll join us. It’s going to be a stimulating day.

Buy your pass now to save up to $100, and use CrunchMatch to make expanding your empire quick, easy and efficient. We can’t wait to see you in October!

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, #artificial-intelligence, #casey-aylward, #cloud, #cloud-applications, #computing, #daniel-dines, #databricks, #enterprise, #google, #information-technology, #kathy-baxter, #microsoft, #oracle, #salesforce, #sap, #sarah-guo, #tc, #tc-sessions-saas-2021, #uipath

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

Sarah Guo, Kobie Fuller & Casey Aylward headline investor panel at TC Sessions: SaaS

While SaaS has become the default way to deliver software in 2021, it still takes a keen eye to find the companies that will grow into successful businesses, maybe even more so with so much competition. That’s why we’re bringing together three investors to discuss what they look for when they invest in SaaS startups.

For starters, we’ll have Sarah Guo, who has been a partner at Greylock since 2013 where she concentrates on AI, cybersecurity, infrastructure and the future of work — all in a SaaS context of course. Among her investments are Obsidian, Clubhouse and Awake. Her exits include Demisto, which Palo Alto acquired for $560 million in 2019 and Skyhigh Networks, which McAfee bought for $400 million in 2018.

Prior to joining Greylock, she worked for Goldman Sachs investing in growth-stage companies and advising SaaS companies like Dropbox and Workday.

Next we’ll have Kobie Fuller, a partner at Upfront Ventures, who looks at SaaS as well as AR and VR. Fuller has been at Upfront since 2016 when he joined after a three-year stint at Accel. He oversaw a pair of billion dollar exits while at Accel including ExactTarget to Salesforce for $2.5 billion and Oculus to Facebook for $2 billion. Upfront investments include Bevy, community building software, which recently got a $40 million investment with 20% of that coming from 25 Black investors.

Finally, we’ll have Casey Aylward, a principal at Costanoa Ventures where she concentrates on early-stage enterprise startups. Among her investments have been Aserto, Bigeye and Cyral. She tends to concentrate on developer tools. “My entire career so far has been focused on developers: whether it was building tools for developers, building software myself or now investing in enabling technologies for the next generation of technical users,” she wrote on her bio page.

This prestigious group will share their thoughts at TC Sessions: SaaS, 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. We hope you’ll join us.

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. Importantly, $75 Early Bird passes are now on sale. Book your passes today to save $100 before prices go up.

#casey-aylward, #costanoa-ventures, #enterprise, #greylock, #kobie-fuller, #saas, #sarah-guo, #tc, #tc-sessions-saas-2021, #upfront-ventures

Remotion raises $13M to create a workplace video platform for short, spontaneous conversations

One of the broader trends of the pandemic has been the unbundling of Zoom with startups pulling out a feature or two and designing entire products centered around a specific vision of remote work. One of the more tempting product ideas has been the development of the omnipresent always-on video workspace where managers can always see their directs onscreen and team members are only a shout away from getting someone else’s attention. While it’s seemed like an exciting product for the founders building those startups amid the remote work boom, it also sounded awful for the workers using the software.

Remotion CEO Alexander Embiricos was never crazy about the idea of an always-on camera either, but he did like the idea of making it easier to build face-to-face time over video chat into a team’s culture. The startup he co-founded has been building an always-there dashboard that pins your co-workers profile pictures to a workspace taskbar on your Mac desktop.

Mouse over a team member’s profile pic bubble, click the video chat icon, send a quick chat request and get to talking over video. It’s far from a revolutionary workflow, but Remotion is aiming to build a platform that makes video calls feel like less of an event and more like a lightweight way to quickly get to the bottom of something without back-and-forth emails or Slacks .

Remotion CEO Alexander Embiricos and CTO Charley Ho

“Right now, when we look at teams we say, okay, we have ways to schedule meetings, and it works. We have ways to message each other, and it works,” Embiricos tells TechCrunch. “There’s no problems there that we want to fix, what we fundamentally want to change is when we use video and how we use video, making it so that you can use video informally.”

Remotion is launching their product in beta today and announcing that they’ve raised $13 million in funding, including a Series A led by Greylock and a seed round led by First Round. The startup is debuting its product on the heels of a historic pandemic that many believe could fundamentally shift companies away from strict office cultures towards embracing more hybrid and fully remote workforces.

“I think that the pandemic has permanently changed the way people work,” Greylock’s Sarah Guo, who led the Series A deal, tells TechCrunch. “I think people are disengaged in big video meetings — they just go in and multitask, and Slack is great, it’s instant and asynchronous, but… I just don’t see most companies doing distributed work in a text-first way.”

You won’t see an endless cascade of team member bubbles on Remotion, users designate favorites that sit on their desktop, and the app is largely designed around helping small teams collaborate anyway. Fittingly, Embiricos, who is based in Brooklyn, has been building Remotion with a small remote team, alongside co-founder Charley Ho, who is based in Chicago.

One of Remotion’s biggest risks is pushing users to give it a permanent home on their desktop. Users can opt to let the hub of profile bubbles hover over their other windows or recede behind them but the app is designed to leave your co-workers and their availability statuses just a glance away at most times. All of that screen real estate can be a big sacrifice to workers that might be already be dealing with more cramped workspaces than they’re used to in the office.

Credit: Remotion

The app aims to give users controls to designate when they’re heads-down, need to talk or just open for some idle chitchat. Users can set standard or custom availability statuses, quickly update profiled pictures with a Photobooth-esque feature, or let a Google Calendar integration automatically do the work in signaling what they’re busy with.

There’s a familiar danger for new workplace collaboration tools where something that was meant to help users cut back on another form of communication like emailing or Slacking ends up just adding to the noise, jamming notifications into your feed and giving you another inbox to check obsessively. Embiricos hopes that the ambient nature of just being pinned to the desktop can prevent this from becoming a problem.

“Showing up to Slack in the morning — it’s a wall of text and like eight channels you have to check,” Embiricos says. “What we’re trying to create is like, you wake up and show up in the product, but there’s nothing to check, you didn’t miss anything. It’s just the product is just there. And when someone comes online or doesn’t come online there are no notifications. If you want to know, you can glance over your team and find out.”

Remotion is live in beta for Mac with a waitlist for Windows and Linux users.

#brooklyn, #ceo, #chicago, #co-founder, #cto, #greylock, #instagram, #messages, #operating-systems, #sarah-guo, #slack, #software, #tc

Top cybersecurity VCs share how COVID-19 has changed investing

The coronavirus pandemic is, without doubt, the greatest challenge the world has faced in a generation. But the wheels of the world keep turning, albeit slower than during normal times.

But where the world has faced challenges, the cybersecurity industry remains largely unscathed. In fact, some cybersecurity businesses are doing better than ever because cybersecurity has emerged as one of the few constants we all need — even during a pandemic.

The vast majority of the global workforce is (or has been) working from home since the start of the lockdown, and the world had to quickly adjust. Tech companies pushed their technology and services to the cloud. Businesses had to shift from not just securing their office network but also preventing threats against their highly distributed employees working from their own homes. And, hackers are retooling their attacks to be coronavirus themed, making them far more likely to succeed.

All of these things — and more — need security. Or, as one investor told us: “Many of these trends were already underway, but COVID-19 is an accelerant.” That’s helped cybersecurity firms weather the storm of this pandemic.

We spoke to a dozen cybersecurity VCs to hear their thoughts on how COVID-19 has changed the investment landscape:

Here’s what they told us. (Answers have been edited for clarity.)

Ariel Tseitlin, Scale Venture Partners

Security budgets haven’t been affected nearly as much as broader IT spend. We continue to see existing portfolio companies raise follow-on financings, and we continue to meet with companies for new potential investments. The big change in my criteria for new investments is that a company must be able to continue growing in the current environment. We don’t know how long this downturn will last, so I don’t buy into the promise of “as soon as the economy recovers, growth will resume.”

Shardul Shah, Index Ventures

On Microsoft’s last earnings call, chief executive Satya Nadella said: “As COVID-19 impacts every aspect of our work and life, we have seen two years worth of digital transformation in two months.” This acceleration has actually created momentum for a number of cybersecurity businesses, which is why the best companies continue to draw significant interest from investors. I serve on the board of security firm Expel, which raised $50 million in the middle of this crisis.

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Pandemic reset leads investors to focus on resilience, adaptability

For the vast majority of startup founders who were planning their capital raise in Q1 2020, the COVID-19 blow was so dramatic and sweeping, we cannot see all its effects at once.

One big question on the minds of most founders: How should we plan our next raise in terms of timing, valuation and amounts?

Sarah Guo, partner at Greylock Partners, says the fundraising environment has slowed down significantly, but founders who have built ties with VCs via informal coffee updates and check-ins are at a clear advantage. “Early-stage bets require relationship-building,” says Guo, who has been investing in seed through Series B rounds.

Ram Shanmugam, founder and CEO of AutonomIQ*, a seed-stage code and process automation company, has been strengthening his relationships. For a company that has low operating expenses and a community of 600,000 developers, he says he is not fazed. “Our automation code brings efficiencies and in fact, we have nine inbound leads in Q2. Having said that, we are being realistic at the pace at which we can close these contracts.”

Similarly, Fred Blumer, who exited Hughes Telematics at an enviable $750 million, says he is taking a more pragmatic approach to the Series A raise for his new company, Mile Auto. “We expect to have a 5x growth in our business in 2020, even after adjusting for COVID,” he said. “Our pay-per-mile insurance is a great fit for people who are driving less.” Because so many drivers are sheltering in place, legacy insurance companies are refunding hundreds of millions of dollars to customers, which offers an advantage (and an opportunity) to a startup like his.

“But we need to be patient and mindful. While our families, health and safety are top priority, we are staying focused on our customers,” Blumer said. “Insurtech is a resilient arena, and in my past company we raised $100 million, so working with investors has never been a challenge. Keeping up with growth and perfecting the customer experience are what keep us up at night.” He said he plans to get out in the market after investor confidence returns.

Which may be a good idea, considering Jason Lemkin’s Twitter survey, where only 32% of respondents said they plan to deploy the same amount of capital as in the past. But another 30% are on the opposite end of the spectrum, deploying 40% to 60% less capital.

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