Philly Go Fund Makes First Investments

Tom Paine

 

Ben Franklin Technology Partners’ Global Opportunity Philadelphia Fund , or Philly Go Fund for short, announced its first two investment in late August, in two Philly area expansion-stage ventures.

The Fund, announced in February by Ben Franklin along with Newtown-based EPAM Systems, has raised $20 million – a significant portion of it from EPAM and Ben Franklin-towards a $50 million goal. Ben Franklin’s chief investment officer and managing partner of GO Philly,  Scott Nissenbaum, told me he sees the fund not primarily as a vehicle for expanding seed funding to more early-stage startups, but as a way for Ben Franklin to participate in some followup fundings in ventures its already helped seed, which it can’t do today.

Its first two Philly Go Fund investments, Ambler-based customer loyalty platform Clutch, and Philly-based ecommerce performance marketing technology company Sidecar, fit the criteria. Sidecar ($1 million as part of a $7.5 million C-1 participating preferred round) has raised $38 million in total to date per CrunchBase, Clutch ($750,000 as part of the company’s $2.5 million senior preferred note in preparation for its forthcoming larger Series C) has raised $24.8 million.

With the Go Philly Fund’s potential level of investment, Ben Franklin can double down in later rounds in some of the promising ventures it seeded. That’s when a VC knows more about a venture’s chances for success, which can result in higher returns. Possibly, Ben Franklin can use such returns to further grow its investment pool.

When fully funded, Go Philly will be a considerable pool of capital. But investments of the size it just made are not, by themselves, going to have a significant impact upon the shortage in expansion stage capital that some feel holds the Philly venture scene back. Its not going to replace the millions that Safeguard Scientifics could sometimes invest in companies such as Clutch. Or going back aways, Portico Systems (where Clutch’s founder was CEO) or ThingWorx. But it will help.

The blockchain feature of the fund, in which one can invest using cryptocurrency, has already been utilized and is an innovative tool for the future.

But a further problem for Ben Franklin is the ongoing cut in its state funding. Since 2008, Pennsylvania lawmakers have cut its budget by nearly 50%, from $28 million to $14.5 million.

My own instincts are to be cautious about state-funded venture investing. I can imagine some states -none near Pennsylvania of course – where such funding might be diverted to political chronies, or even relatives. And everything I’ve ever been taught about investing tells me that the state doesn’t do it very well.

But I’ve been following Ben Franklin closely for a long time now, and I know it works closely with the area’s top VCs to vet deals, and I’ve never heard a squeak about impropriety. Its a model many states try to emulate. Its a winner for Pennsylvania.

In the past, supplemental state funding has eased the burden of the cuts, but Ben Franklin was told those sources would no longer be available in the new fiscal year.

I had an idea that some of the windfall the sate received from the new internet sales tax could be allocated to Ben Franklin.

It is difficult for such a small fund to produce optimal performance because there’s little scale to cover any overhead.

The logjam that exists in Harrisburg on this, considering the relatively small amounts of money involved, is hard to understand.

By the way, EPAM is a great company whose participation can only be a plus for the Philly Tech community..

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Sungard Availability Services Announces New Board (Press Release)

Sungard Availability Services Announces New Board

New Leadership, Owners, and Independent Industry Experts to Drive Business Transformation and Propel Company into the Future

Sungard Availability Services

NEWS PROVIDED BYSungard Availability Services 

Sep 04, 2019, 11:41 ET

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WAYNE, Pa., Sept. 4, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Sungard® Availability Services (Sungard AS) announced its new board of managers following the company’s successful financial restructuring in May 2019. The company’s new board will consist of a combination of independent industry veterans, representatives from its largest equity holders, and the company’s chief executive officer and president, Michael (Mike) K. Robinson. 

The company welcomes three independent members that bring a vast amount of business transformation and operating experience in the technology and infrastructure services sectors, including:

  • Robert E. Guth, who will serve as chairman of the board, has a demonstrated background of driving growth and building shareholder value serving in operating roles, as well as independent director roles at businesses such as TelCove, Electric Lightwave, and Lumos Networks;
  • Jarrett B. Appleby brings more than 25 years of senior management experience successfully developing and executing growth strategies for technology platform and IT solutions companies in competitive global markets, such as Digital Realty Trust, Coresite Realty, Inc., and Equinix, Inc.; and
  • Michael Tobin OBE (Order of the British Empire) a highly successful and well-recognized technology entrepreneur and pioneer with over 30 years’ experience in the telecommunications and technology sectors, with companies such as Telecity Group, plc., Fujitsu, and ICL. Mr. Tobin will be a director of Sungard AS’ European holding company, as well as an advisor to Sungard AS’ parent board.

“As a team, we recognize the strength of Sungard AS’ global geographic footprint, range of facilities-based and cloud-based managed services capabilities, long-standing marquis customer relationships, talented team, and the market opportunity,” said Robert E. Guth, chairman of the board. “We are confident Sungard AS will continue to evolve to deliver solutions that enterprises need in an ever-changing market. And, as a board we will work together leveraging our differentiated experiences to support the company’s initiatives and are committed to invest in Sungard AS’ continued success.”

In addition, the company’s four largest equity holders—Angelo Gordon, The Carlyle Group, FS Investments, and GSO Capital Partners LP, each of which invested new capital into the business during its balance sheet restructuring—will serve on Sungard AS’ Board. Each member brings extensive financial experience working across a variety of industry sectors, including information technology services. The equity holders are represented on the board by:

  • Bryan Rush, managing director, Angelo Gordon;
  • Glori Holzman Graziano, managing director, The Carlyle Group;
  • Kenichiro Jin, managing director, FS Investments; and,
  • Jacob Gladstone, principal, GSO Capital Partners LP.

Mike Robinson is also on the company’s board. Mr. Robinson joined the business as CEO in May 2019, leading the business and re-energizing focus in both the company’s more traditional facilities-based offerings, such as colocation and workplace, as well as its more recent offerings in the managed services market, such as Managed Cloud – AWS and cloud-based Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS), for which the company is recognized as a leader.

“I am very pleased with the differentiated expertise that we have assembled on our board,” stated Robinson. “This is a highly engaged group of respected business and financial experts, with deep knowledge of driving successful business transformations. They, as am I, are committed to our success and clearly recognize the value that we deliver for our customers, as we continue to work hard together to earn the opportunity to do so for many years to come.”

About Sungard Availability Services

Sungard Availability Services (“Sungard AS”) is a leading provider of critical production and recovery services to global enterprise companies. Sungard AS partners with customers across the globe to understand their business needs and provide production and recovery services tailored to help them achieve their desired business outcomes. Leveraging more than 40 years of experience, Sungard AS designs, builds and runs critical IT services that help customers manage complex IT, adapt quickly and build resiliency and availability. To learn more, visit www.sungardas.com or call 1-800-468-7483. Connect with us on TwitterLinkedIn and Facebook.

Media Contacts
Karen Wentworth
Vice President, Global Corporate Communications
Sungard Availability Services
Tel: 410.279.0563
karen.wentworth@sungardas.com

Alison Brooker
Corporate Communications Director
Sungard Availability Services
Tel: 610-745-2697
alison.brooker@sungardas.com

Sungard Availability Services is a trademark or registered trademark of SunGard Data Systems or its affiliate, used under license. The Sungard Availability Services logo by itself and Recover2Cloud are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sungard AS New Holdings III, LLC. or its affiliates. All other trade names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders. ©2019 Sungard Availability Services. All rights reserved. 

The abbreviation for Sungard Availability Services is ‘Sungard AS’ as cited above. Please use ‘Sungard AS’ when abbreviating the name rather than ‘Sungard’ or ‘SunGard,’ which may confuse the reader with another separate company with a similar name.

SOURCE Sungard Availability Services

Related Links

https://www.sungardas.com

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Cerner lays off 255; Impact on Malvern campus not known

Kansas City-based healthcare systems vendor Cerner confirmed this week it was laying off 255 employees, effective November 5.

Cerner’s financials are not suffering much, but it may be entering a slower growth phase as reliance on one business model (implementing electronic health records) must be replaced by another and the solution is not yet clear.

In April, Cerner entered into an agreement with activist investor fund Starboard Value, which owns more than 1 percent of the company’s stock. The agreement included taking a look at Cerner’s operations. Cerner agreed to implement operating and cost structure changes.

How does this effect Cerner Malvern, the result of Cerner’s 2015 acquisition of Siemens Health Services, formerly Shared Medical Systems?

Its not yet publicly known how many people (if any) at Malvern may have been impacted. But a thread on theLayoff.com suggested the outlook for Malvern wasn’t too good. But remember that a few comments do not equal a good sample.

Cerner has around 30,00 employees. It posted 2018 results of $5.366 billion in revenue and net income of $630 million. According to LinkedIn, Cerner has approximately 1300 Philly area employees.

I’ve asked Cerner for comment. Received the following response:

“As mentioned in our Earnings call earlier this year, we’re looking to identify organizational efficiencies as we implement our new operating model. Part of that strategy includes a realignment of resces focused on key growth areas across the company. We’ve onboarded nearly 3,000 associates this year and will continue to hire hundreds more throughout 2019. Impacted associates are eligible for those opportunities.

In Malvern, Cerner has what we call a “Center of Excellence” built around Revenue Cycle Management (our integrated approach to linking the continuum of care with effective billing and scheduling) as well as other functions including finance, human resources and other corporate and executive roles.

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Is Billtrust on verge of being sold?

Tom Paine

Billtrust founder & CEO Flint Lane
(Billtrust website)

Though not surprised by it, I missed the note that appeared back in June in PE Hub (registration required), saying that Lawrenceville (NJ)-based Billtrust was on the market. Its specialty is automating and speeding up the B2B payment process, slower to modernize in some areas than consumer payments, which are more easily converted to mass production techniques..

Sources were telling PE Hub that Billtrust expected to fetch $600 t0 $700 million, which sounds realistic. An incoming bid apparently triggered an auction process. Goldman, also an investor, was advising Billtrust. Billtrust, with 400 employees, was founded in 2001.

Goldman Sachs Private Capital, Bain Capital Ventures, and Visa were among major investors. Billtrust had raised $104 million in total, according to Crunchbase. Edison Partners, its first institutional investor, has already exited with a more than 10x return on its investment, the venture firm said.

Late last year Visa and Billtrust had launched the Business Payments Network (BPN), which JPMorganChase (which bought Philly healthcare payments site InstaMed in the spring) has just joined.

Flint Lane, founder & CEO, tweeted this today:

Which may have been simply intended to recognize that anniversary, but to me sounded like perhaps a deal or transition of some kind is imminent and Lane is sunning things up.

But I could be wrong

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NJ State Tax Breaks Rewarded Companies Connected to One Powerful Man. The Governor Just Killed Them — for Now.

by Nancy Solomon and Jeff Pillets, WNYC Aug. 23, 5:03 p.m. EDT

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THE REAL BOSSES OF NEW JERSEY

State Tax Breaks Rewarded Companies Connected to One Powerful Man. The Governor Just Killed Them — for Now.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy vetoed the state’s controversial tax incentive program after a WNYC-ProPublica investigation into its connection to George E. Norcross III, and months of scrutiny.

by Nancy Solomon and Jeff Pillets, WNYC Aug. 23, 5:03 p.m. EDT

THE REAL BOSSES OF NEW JERSEY

How Unelected Officials Run Your Government

This article was produced in partnership with WNYC, which is a member of the ProPublica Local Reporting Network.

ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up for ProPublica’s Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox as soon as they are published.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Friday vetoed legislation that would have extended the state’s controversial tax break law, and he recommended a sweeping overhaul of a program state investigators say benefited powerful insiders at the expense of taxpayers.

“For the past six years, New Jersey has operated under a severely flawed tax incentive program that wasted taxpayer money on handouts to connected companies instead of creating jobs and economic growth,” Murphy said in a prepared statement.

That program expired at the end of June, but the Legislature passed a bill that would have extended it for seven months as the governor and lawmakers negotiated reforms. More than $11 billion in tax credits for 1,000 projects have been approved by the state since 2005, Murphy wrote in his six-page message to legislators.

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The veto follows weeks of talks between the governor’s office and legislative leaders, as well as months of public scrutiny, including a WNYC-ProPublica investigation that detailed how South Jersey political boss George E. Norcross III and his associates helped craft — and benefit from — the tax break program.

Of the $1.6 billion in incentives awarded to companies in his hometown, Camden, $1.1 billion flowed to businesses and nonprofits owned by or connected to Norcross, the news organizations found. Norcross has denied any wrongdoing and defended the incentives as a tool to revive the state’s impoverished cities.

Senate President Stephen Sweeney, a Norcross ally, has formed a committee to study reforms and maintains that he is open to fixing flaws in the tax break programs. But he has resisted the administration’s demands that the programs be radically downsized. The Democratic leader has not ruled out a vote to override Murphy’s veto, but such an act would represent an extraordinary challenge to the head of his own party; the Legislature hasn’t overriden a governor in 22 years.

Sweeney’s office did not immediately return a call seeking comment Friday afternoon.

Sen. Loretta Weinberg, a Democratic leader from Bergen County, says that she doesn’t expect an override of the veto, but that the Legislature would work with the governor to come up with a compromise. She defended her vote to extend the controversial tax break program.

“We re-upped the program for a very limited length of time, to keep the program operating to keep the things that were in the pipeline, in the pipeline,” Weinberg said.

Murphy called Friday for shrinking the tax break initiative by capping overall awards at $400 million and targeting tax credits for small businesses, while beefing up the state’s ability to monitor hiring and direct awards to underdeveloped areas. He would replace the two expired tax break programs with five smaller programs catering to high-growth industries, mixed-use projects, historic preservation and the redevelopment of contaminated land.

Any new tax credit program would ultimately have to be approved by the Legislature.

Murphy’s veto caps a year of controversy and debate that has riven New Jersey politics.

Read More

How Companies and Allies of One Powerful Democrat Got $1.1 Billion in Tax Breaks

Meet George Norcross. Nearly two thirds of $1.6 billion in tax incentives in his hometown of Camden, New Jersey, went to his own company, business partners, political allies and clients of his brother.

In a January 2019 audit, the New Jersey comptroller’s office found that state oversight of the tax break programs was poor. The state Economic Development Authority, which approves the tax incentives, was unable to verify that companies were fulfilling promises to create new jobs and make investments in new factories and workspaces, according to the report.

A task force subsequently formed by Murphy found that the 2013 law creating the tax breaks was shaped by insiders to benefit their business interests, particularly insiders allied with Norcross. The task force has referred some findings to the state attorney general’s office, which is conducting a criminal inquiry.

Reports by WNYC and ProPublica revealed new details about the Norcross machine’s role in writing the law, as well as flaws in the EDA’s oversight. The agency awarded a $260 million tax credit to Holtec International, a nuclear technology company, despite major omissions in the firm’s application, the news organizations found.

Norcross serves as an unpaid director on the Holtec board.

After the reports, the state froze Holtec’s tax award and it is now under review by the EDA, along with tax awards to several other firms. These include Norcross’ Camden-based insurance brokerage, Conner Strong & Buckelew, and firms owned by two business partners, which in 2017 were collectively awarded $245 million in tax credits.

Also under scrutiny is the $39.9 million tax break approved in 2014 for Cooper Health System, where Norcross is board chairman.

Investigators with Murphy’s task force say they found evidence that Cooper Health and the Norcross-connected firms misled the state by falsely claiming they were considering moving out of New Jersey. The claim dramatically boosted their tax awards — by $32 million in the case of Cooper Health — investigators found. Norcross and Cooper have strongly denied any wrongdoing in seeking the tax benefits.

Norcross filed suit in state Superior Court to disband Murphy’s task force, which he claims was formed to single him out, but a judge dismissed the case last month, citing studies dating before Murphy’s election that showed deep-seated problems with the tax break program.

Norcross has appealed the decision.

This report was produced with support from the McGraw Fellowship for Business Journalism at the Craig Newmark School of Journalism, City University of New York.

ProPublica and WNYC are spending the year investigating the power and influence wielded by party bosses in New Jersey’s political system. If you know something about the state’s controversial tax incentive program, we’d like to hear from you. We’d particularly like to hear from:

  • Past or present state employees who can tell us about the mechanics of the tax break program
  • Past or present employees at companies that received tax breaks since 2013 who can tell us about the application process

If you have something to share with us, here’s how to do it:

  • Via email: njwnyc@propublica.org
  • Via phone call, text. You can also reach us through this number on Signal or WhatsApp, which are more secure: 347-244-2134
  • Here’s more information on ways to send us documents and other materials.

Nancy Solomon is managing editor for New Jersey Public Radio and WNYC. Jeff Pillets, a 2008 Pulitzer Prize finalist, has written about politics and public corruption in New Jersey for more than 20 years. Email Solomon at nsolomon@wnyc.org and follow her on Twitter at @nancysolomon2. Follow Pillets on Twitter at @jpillets.

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New Jersey Task Force Examines Tax Breaks for George Norcross Projects

A task force appointed by Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy says it will investigate projects connected to the state’s top political boss.

How Companies and Allies of One Powerful Democrat Got $1.1 Billion in Tax Breaks

Meet George Norcross. Nearly two thirds of $1.6 billion in tax incentives in his hometown of Camden, New Jersey, went to his own company, business partners, political allies and clients of his brother.

Emails Show How Much Pull Political Bosses Had Over State Tax Breaks

State officials scrambled to meet the demands of a lawyer at the firm where Philip Norcross, the brother of New Jersey political boss George E. Norcross III, is managing partner.

The Tax Break Application Had a False Answer. Now the State Has Put the Break on Hold.

After WNYC and ProPublica identified a false answer on nuclear company Holtec International’s New Jersey tax break application, state officials have frozen the break pending further investigation.

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Twitter Thread & Article discuss goPuff strategy

Tom Paine

Update: I overlooked the underlying article on The Information, which I hadn’t realized I had access to.

Accel, named in the article, must be the major VC partner. GoPuff authorized a Series D round in November of last year totaling at least $108.5 million, according to a state filing.  

“The latest financing last November valued the company at about $1 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.” 

The share price of its November round was more than 90 times what some of the earliest outside investors paid in 2015.

GoPuff has attracted veterans of Uber and Lyft to run marketing and growth out of a San Francisco satellite office.

A key to goPuff’s strategy is keeping its own inventory in its own local warehouses. The co-founders earn praise as operating managers.

Juul pods are said to be among goPuff’s highest grossing products.

BTW, Juul announced yesterday that it will soon require all retailers to use an updated point-of-sale (POS) system. When Juul products are scanned, the POS will prompt the retailer to scan the customer’s ID. Which may create hurdles in making those systems work remotely.

Also, my impression is that Juul may face further restrictions in the not-so-distant future. goPuff must also navigate a myriad of Alcohol restrictions. And some investors can’t invest in tobacco related ventures.

Josh Kopelman, though not an investor, took time to praise goPuff last November:

This twitter thread started in May by Cory Weinberg of The Information appears to confirm two things:

  1. That Philly-based goPuff is a Unicorn, with a valuation in excess of $1 billion
  2. That it has raised over $150mm, which is at least $140 million more than previously reported

Where the additional investment came from is not known, though one investor, 3L Capital, has been identified. But 3L couldn’t have supplied the entire amount goPuff is said to have received. The investment hasn’t shown up in the usual places on the web.

There have been suggestions that goPuff is trying to act in stealth mode, trying to build a national footprint before anyone notices.

Some other comments on the thread are enlightening.

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ThoughtSpot Raises $248M at $1.95B Valuation to Transform Enterprises with Search & AI-Driven Analytics (Press release)

Thoughtspot logo
BACK TO PRESS RELEASES

ThoughtSpot Raises $248M at $1.95B Valuation to Transform Enterprises with Search & AI-Driven Analytics

Hundreds of global businesses, including leading Fortune 500 companies from every industry, adopt next-generation analytics software at enterprise scale
As productivity gains from data visualization flat-lines, enterprises move to the next generation of analytics with ThoughtSpot to automatically deliver proactive, relevant insights to business users
ThoughtSpot growth accelerates as company approaches $100M run-rate, driven by 100% software subscriptions and multi-cloud deployments

SUNNYVALE, Calif. — August 28, 2019 — The analytics industry is in the midst of a massive generational shift. The last comparable shift started in 1997, when Tableau was born as a Stanford PhD project by one of its founders. The data visualization technology pioneered by Tableau and Qlik was nothing short of revolutionary. Twenty one years later, in 2019, the productivity gains provided by data visualization has hit a plateau, while the technology itself has been commoditized by the likes of PowerBI. As innovations like cloud, mobile, and IoT make the world more software-driven, every industry is being transformed, and enterprises are demanding more. It’s time analytics software evolved to meet the needs of modern businesses, who can no longer depend on weekly dashboards to compete in a digital world. 

To help enterprises compete in this new world, ThoughtSpot today announced it has closed $248M in funding at a valuation of $1.95B in an oversubscribed round, bringing the company’s total funding to $554M. New investor Silver Lake Waterman, Silver Lake’s late-stage growth capital fund, joined existing backers Lightspeed Venture Partners, Sapphire Ventures, and Geodesic Capital in this round of funding. 

With the new funding, ThoughtSpot will continue to invest in its go-to-market teams in North America, EMEA, and APAC to meet growing demand, expand R&D efforts, including hiring for its engineering and product teams, and invest in customer and thought leadership events, like the company’s annual customer conference Beyond 2019. Passionate builders are encouraged to check out and apply for open positions at the company. 

“When I see the work our customers like Walmart, BT, and Daimler are doing with ThoughtSpot to transform their critical functions like supply chain or customer service, I’m incredibly inspired, but I also realize how much unlocked potential remains when it comes to data-driven insights,” said Sudheesh Nair, CEO, ThoughtSpot. “The world is changing fast, and businesses that change faster will thrive. As technology partners to our customers, we have only one job: provide the agility that’s like oxygen to these organizations so they can compete and win.”

“Seven years ago, we started ThoughtSpot to help create a more fact-driven world, whether in the boardroom or on the front lines of enterprises, by making data and insights available instantly to everyone, regardless of their technical skills,” said Ajeet Singh, Executive Chairman & Cofounder, ThoughtSpot. “We’ve been fortunate enough to have some of the most visionary customers supporting our mission since our inception. While today’s announcement is certainly a major milestone, we know we’re only 2% done in achieving our goals on behalf of our customers. We will not rest on our laurels and will continue to bring fundamental innovation to the market, because that is who we are.” 

Charting the Future with AI-Driven Analytics

As technology redefines every industry, enterprises know they need to arm decision makers throughout their organizations with smarter insights in order to compete and grow their businesses in the digital era. This has made analytics one of the hottest areas in technology. Despite this investment, many enterprises have failed to digitally transform, shackled by tools predicated on data visualization. These tools have been too complex for anyone but the most sophisticated data professional to use. For even these technical professionals, existing data visualization technology couldn’t handle the massive – and growing – data volumes characterizing our modern world.  

ThoughtSpot was built from the ground up to break this bottleneck, allowing enterprises to truly reap the benefits of their cloud, IoT, and big data efforts by turning data into insights at scale. Anyone who can use Google can find insights using a simple search to make data-driven decisions in seconds. The system takes this further by using AI and machine learning to automatically find and deliver insights to users they didn’t even know to look for. All of this happens in seconds, across billions of rows of data, with ThoughtSpot’s in-memory calculation engine. As a result, enterprises achieve the agility they need to delight their customers, identify new revenue opportunities, and drive the bottom line.

“The retail landscape is evolving at a dizzying pace. The only way to keep up is to leverage our data in new, innovative ways to improve our operations, delight customers, and transform our business,” said Pravin Rangachari, VP of Planning, at Haggar Clothing Co. “ThoughtSpot gives us granular levels of insight into our merchandising data to help manage online and store inventory at a speed and scale to match the demand of the modern day retail shopper. I’m excited to see how their Search & AI capabilities will accelerate with the new funding to bring even more value to enterprises like ours.”

A Record Breaking Year

The funding comes on the heels of a year of record growth for ThoughtSpot across all facets of the company, which includes

  • Growth Among Global Enterprises: More than half of the Fortune 10 and companies like Walmart, Hulu, Daimler, 7Eleven, PetCo, and Rolls Royce have become ThoughtSpot customers. The company also has an average sale price of $250k, contributing to sales growing 195% in the first half of the fiscal year as the company approaches $100M run-rate.
  • Expanding the Global Footprint: Since it’s Series D funding, ThoughtSpot has opened new offices in Singapore, Tokyo, Dusseldorf, and invested $25M in it’s office in Bangalore, India. 
  • Attracting the Right Talent: in the last year, ThoughtSpot has grown employee count by more than 65% to nearly 500 employees. This includes several new executive hires, such as CEO Sudheesh Nair, Chief Data Strategy Officer Cindi Howson, SVP of Products Raja Mukhopadhyay, SVP of World Wide Sales Brian McCarthy, SVP of Business Operations David Freeman, VP of Public Sector Monica McEwen, VP of People Operations Marta Molina Paul, VP of Channels & Alliances Toni Adams, and VP of EMEA operations Spencer Tuttle
  • Building the Analytics Ecosystem: ThoughtSpot has announced partnerships with innovative companies like Google Cloud PlatformSnowflakeDellDataRobotAlteryx, and Carahsoft to help customers tackle challenges across the data pipeline. 
  • Recognition as a Market Leader: ThoughtSpot was named the first new leader in six years in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Analytics & BI Platforms, a technology pioneer by the World Economic Forum, one of the 100 most important cloud companies by Forbes, and one of the 50 best cloud companies to work for by Glassdoor and Bessemer Ventures. 

About ThoughtSpot

The world’s most innovative enterprises use ThoughtSpot to empower every person in their organization, from C-suite executive to front-line employee, with the ability to quickly uncover data-driven insights. With ThoughtSpot, business people can type a simple Google-like search to instantly analyze billions of rows of data, and leverage artificial intelligence to get trusted, relevant insights pushed to them as answers to thousands of questions they might not have thought to ask. ThoughtSpot is simple enough for any business person to use, yet powerful enough to handle even the largest, most complex enterprise data without sacrificing speed, security, or governance. That’s why customers like Walmart, 7-11, BT, Celebrity Cruises, Daimler, De Beers, Hulu, Miami Children’s Health System, Nationwide Building Society, and Scotiabank have turned to ThoughtSpot to transform their decision-making cultures. By making insights a part of every conversation and every decision, ThoughtSpot is reimagining the role of data in creating a more fact-driven world. For more information, please visit www.thoughtspot.com

About Lightspeed Venture Partners

Lightspeed Venture Partners is a venture capital firm focused on accelerating disruptive innovations and trends in the Enterprise and Consumer sectors. Over the past two decades, the Lightspeed team has backed hundreds of entrepreneurs and helped build more than 350 companies globally, including Snap, The Honest Company, GrubHub, Nest, Nutanix, AppDynamics, and MuleSoft. The firm currently manages over $9 billion of committed capital and invests in the U.S. and internationally, with investment professionals and advisors in Silicon Valley, Israel, India and China. www.lsvp.com 

Press Contact
Ryan Mattison
ThoughtSpot Head of Content & Communications 
press@thoughtspot.com

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What is ThoughtSpot, and why does it raise so much money?

Tom Paine

Update 8/26/19: ThoughtSpot has a new $248M Series E Round, per PrimeUnicorn Index.

ThoughtSpot is a huge bet.

A $543 million bet on the California-based startup, after today’s Series E.

It is a combination search engine & business intelligence platform. Which makes sense, since the major BI platforms are spending much time and money recently on seeing that customers have the data they need to feed their analytical engines. The search results ThoughtSpot aims to produce are more in the form of relevant data sets rather than individual query results. AI is definitely a big part of the program

There is a law (mine among others ) that says the more moving parts a venture has, the greater the risk. But I’m not being negative; rather I’m hopeful ThoughtSpot is successful. It would be a major advance to the state-of-the-art.

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And it has a Philadelphia presence, with an 8 person office that appears to include some national & regional sales leadership. My guess is its mostly targeting Pharma and Healthcare in this region. John Tecce, manager of North East Sales, is a veteran Philly area account manager.

Also, Central Jersey resident Cindi Howson, creator of the website BI Scorecard, left her VP role at Gartner to join ThoughtSpot as Chief Data Strategy Officer.

By the way, SAP-related Sapphire Ventures co-led ThoughtSpot’s previous round, a $145 million Round D one year ago. It also participated in this latest round.

Comcast is also a user, according to a new help-wanted spot.

One year ago, ThoughtSpot appointed Sudheesh Nair as its new CEO.  Nair joined ThoughtSpot from Nutanix, where he was President.

ThoughtSpot said in today’s release that it was approaching a $100 million annual revenue run rate.

Read ThoughtSpot CEO Sudheesh Nair’s post: Evolution & Rebirth: Why Consolidation Signals a New Era in Analytics

As to why ThoughtSpot has raised so much money, it seems like a considerable amount for a BI startup, though compared to some its not that much an outlier. But Tableau only raised $15 million pre-IPO, and it sold for $15.7 billion. This post by CEO Nair helps explain ThoughtSpot’s mission::

And while most of Sapphire Ventures’ investments aren’t acquired by SAP, its certainly conceivable that SAP might eventually have interest in ThoughtSpot. As one source told me, SAP wants to help customers unlock the value of the huge amount of data they have in their SAP systems (particularly as customers transition to SAP 4/HANA), and it sees ThoughtSpot as a tool to help do that.

Here Nair answers the question, why so much money?

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CluePoints is trying to change the game in clinical trials

Patrick Hughes, CluePoints Chief Commercial Officer, is a ClinPhone veteran
(CluePoints website)

In the Philly burbs, you can always turn over a stone and find yet another clinical trials tech firm. But most have a unique angle, rather than being merely duplicative.

One such company is CluePoints. which offers a Risk-Based Monitoring and Central Statistical Monitoring solution designed over the last 20 years. CluePoints is growing, and just completed a move from Wayne (where it opened its first US office in 2017) to King of Prussia (1000 Continental Drive, Suite 240) for larger quarters. CluePoints’ base is Belgium.

Risk Based Monitoring (RBM) is a clinical trial-monitoring technique that fulfills regulatory requirements but moves away from 100% source data verification (SDV) of patient data. It employs various tools and statistical measures to determine what is most critical to a trial and what’s not. The idea is to use advanced technology to lessen costs and difficulties associated with trials while maintaining standards.

ICH GCP E6(R2) was adopted in 2017 as an addendum to ICH E6: Good Clinical Practice: Consolidated guideline, adopted in 1996 by the International Conference on Harmonisation. R2 was intended to encourage implementation of improved and more efficient approaches to
clinical trial design, conduct, oversight, recording and reporting while continuing to ensure human subject protection and reliability of trial results.

CluePoints, which considers itself the leading provider of RBM technology, said in a press release that it has experienced tremendous growth in the past years, “growing from a team of five people in 2012 to currently just over 60, with plans to accommodate 100+ employees [overall] by close of 2019.” It currently has 11 people in King of Prussia, according to LinkedIn.

In a significant partnership recently announced, CluePoints will work with clinical solutions company Parexel in a strategic collaboration to meet global clinical data acceptance regulatory requirements using central statistical monitoring (CSM).

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