New: Guru Secures $25M Series B Funding to Empower Teams with Real-Time Knowledge (Press Release) ­
Guru Secures $25M Series B Funding to Empower Teams with Real-Time Knowledge
December 12, 2018 11:00 AM Eastern Standard Time

PHILADELPHIA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Guru, the world’s first Revenue Empowerment Network, today announced it has secured $25 million in a Series B funding round led by Thrive Capital, with participation from existing investors Emergence Capital, FirstMark Capital, Slack Fund, and Michael Dell’s MSD Capital. With this new funding, Guru will invest in further growth and innovation to transform how knowledge workers access the knowledge they need to do their jobs.

“By empowering employees with knowledge in real-time, Guru has become the rare enterprise solution that people use several times every day because they want to. We are excited to invest in Rick, Mitchell, and the Guru team as they empower knowledge workers around the world.”
“Every employee in every company is more effective when they can leverage the collective intelligence of their organization,” said Ryan Shmeizer of Thrive Capital, who will join Guru’s board of directors. “By empowering employees with knowledge in real-time, Guru has become the rare enterprise solution that people use several times every day because they want to. We are excited to invest in Rick, Mitchell, and the Guru team as they empower knowledge workers around the world.”

Founded in 2013 by enterprise software veterans Rick Nucci and Mitchell Stewart, Guru today serves hundreds of leading modern enterprises such as Shopify (NYSE:SHOP), Square (NYSE:SQ), Spotify (NYSE:SPOT), and Yext (NYSE:YEXT), as well as rapidly growing private companies such as BuzzFeed, Glossier, Intercom, and Thumbtack. For every customer, Guru first unifies the knowledge that today lives in so many different places within an organization. It then verifies the accuracy of every piece of knowledge regularly to ensure that knowledge stays up to date and accurate. Finally, it empowers users with the knowledge they need to do their jobs, right where they work - no need to open another app or browser window.

“We started Guru in 2013 because we believe that the knowledge you need to do your job should find you when you need it,” said Rick Nucci, co-founder and CEO of Guru. “While we’re delighted to empower hundreds of leading companies around the world today, we believe that we are just getting started, and we invite every organization in the world to learn how Guru can transform how they work. We are thrilled to partner with Ryan and Thrive Capital on this journey.”

“Guru has changed the way we work - plain and simple,” said Eraj Siddiqui, Director Customer Success Practice at Autodesk. “Guru gives our team what they need, when and where they need it. It has been instrumental in being able to deliver consistent and top-notch experiences across our customer success teams at Autodesk. We look forward to seeing where the Guru team goes from here, and are thrilled to be customers.”

Today’s news caps a year of tremendous growth for Guru:

In December 2018, Guru was named the “Most Integrated Knowledge Management Solution” by CIO Review in its December 2018 issue, which focused on knowledge management. Guru was also recognized as one of CIO Review’s “10 Most Promising Knowledge Management Solution Providers” for 2018.
In the second half of 2018, Guru launched both AI Suggest Text and AI Suggest Voice. These AI-driven features deliver the right knowledge in real-time to revenue teams, eliminating the need to search altogether.
In September 2018, Guru announced an integration with Front, the single inbox that consolidates email, chat, and SMS conversations for customer-facing teams.
In September 2018, Guru was named One of Forbes' 20 Rising Stars in Cloud Computing. The Rising Stars list is an extension of the Forbes Cloud 100 list, which ranks the best private cloud software companies in the world.
In May 2018, Guru introduced its support of Slack Actions, which empowers customers to create and share knowledge using Guru natively in Slack, the world’s leading collaboration hub.
In January 2018, Guru opened its San Francisco office to build out its West Coast go-to-market presence. Today, Guru has more than 90 employees across its two offices in Philadelphia and San Francisco.
About Guru

Guru is the AI-powered Revenue Empowerment Network behind the next generation of knowledge workers in customer support, customer success, sales, and other revenue functions. With hundreds of customers including leading enterprises such as Shopify (NYSE: SHOP), Square (NYSE:SQ), and Yext (NYSE:YEXT), Guru is reshaping the way teams create, find, and share institutional knowledge to deliver delightful customer experiences. Founded by enterprise software veterans Rick Nucci and Mitchell Stewart, Guru has offices in Philadelphia, PA, and San Francisco, CA, and is backed by leading venture capital firms Thrive Capital, Emergence Capital, and FirstMark Capital, with additional funding from the Slack Fund and Michael Dell’s MSD Capital. Learn more at or follow @Guru_HQ on Twitter.

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Dell Boomi developing blueprint for the future of iPaaS

Tom Paine

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Dell Boomi today released its annual Fall update to the Boomi platform. The 2018 upgrade further reinforces Boomi's strategic emphasis on ease of use.

Some key points about the upgrade:

  • Blockchain Integration: Boomi's solution provides support for Ethereum and Hyperledger Fabric.

  • Enterprise Grade Security: New two-factor authentication login support, stricter concurrent session controls and virus scans for file uploads.

  • Enhanced Usability: Additional dashboard filters, visualizations and the ability to export Boomi Flow data.. Organizations engaged in workflow automation and low code application development using Boomi Flow can now obtain a 360-degree view of their workflows.

  • Expanded Platform Capabilities: As part of this new update, Boomi has developed broader open features so users can seamlessly work with some of the biggest technology companies in the space, including Google, Salesforce and Workday. In fact, with Workday’s Prism Analytics, users can bring together their data from any source to prepare, analyze and securely share it throughout their organization.

  • New, Free On-Demand Training and Professional Certification

Boomi probably represents <1/2% of Dell Technologies revenues, but its strategic importance is much greater than that. If Dell completes its just announced plans to buy out the rest of VMware and do a public offering, Boomi may get increased visibility.

           Gartner Magic Quadrant 2018 iPaaS market

Way back in March when MuleSoft had a post- IPO valuation of $2.9 billion, I estimated that Boomi, as a standalone company, would be worth at least half as much. Then MuleSoft was bought by Salesforce for $6.5 billion. Boomi and MuleSoft are by no means identical, but the relative positioning of the two on the 2018 Garter Magic Quadrant is stunning. That is by no means a quantitive or financial measure, but it shows Boomi to be far ahead on execution..

But the Salesforce-MuleSoft-Boomi triangle relationship has been interesting to watch recently. Since the MuleSoft acquisition, Boomi has been seemingly more focused than ever on Salesforce and Salesforce has reciprocated. One almost wonders that if Boomi had been available, Salesforce would have preferred it over MuleSoft as an acquisition target.

Boomi has also enhanced its connectors and business relationships with companies like Workday and Host Analytics, which tend to play in larger enterprises. Boomi in the past has been known as more of a line of business solution, while MuleSoft was considered more of an enterprise-wide solution. SAP is largely a free agent without many proprietary integration tools; Boomi has always been strong with SuccessFactors. Within Oracle, NetSuite has long been a strong Boomi user.

ZDNet's Larry Dignan summarized  Dell Boomi's new initiatives as follows: "The rollout equates to a vision of integration platform-as-a-service (iPaaS) that takes a broader view to connect enterprises, partners, applications, people, things and customers. With the move, Dell Boomi is putting an iPaaS spin that rhymes with what Salesforce is trying to do with its Mulesoft purchase".

Within Dell Boomi itself, one important change has been the growing role of Steve Wood, co-founder of 2017 Boomi acquisition ManyWho, who is now Boomi's chief product officer. He seems to bring a different thought channel to the company. The acquisition also planted Boomi in the workflow management spaee.

LinkedIn shows 780 people now working for Boomi,and 250 of those based in Berwyn. The sales/maketing and technology split between the Bay Area and Pemnsylvania still largely holds true,. with most development in Berwyn.

The dynamic iPaaS space and how it is maturing is a fascinating thing to watch. Growth is still red-hot, but planning must also look at marketshare and longer-term consolidation. I think the time will come when most major players will define a niche rather than being generalists.

First Round Capital's Kopelman will be around "for many funds to come"

Tom Paine

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With Rob Hayes joining Chris Fralic in stepping back from active roles as First Round Capital partners, it represents a generational change, except for one exception, co-founder Josh Kopelman.

Kopelman told Axios Pro Rata's Dan Primack recently:

"I don't see myself slowing down or stepping back for many funds to come. I've had amazing partners, and also think that I now have a group of amazing partners... Ultimately, I'd rather be known as a better picker of partners than a picker of companies."

That's the most I've heard him say about future plans for quite a while.

Philly EnterpriseTech Roundup 12/8: DuckDuckGo v Google; Lyft / Uber IPO filings (in confidence)

Tom Paine

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DuckDuckGo performed a study that it says shows that Google hasn't kept its promise to stop bubble-wrapping users , in other words giving users search results biased to an individual's personal preferences. This drew a response from Google via Danny Sullivan .

Yesterday afternoon, the news came out that Lyft had filed confidentially for an IPO. Later that night, it was disclosed that Uber had also filed confidentially .

IBM sells a software portfolio, including Notes and Domino , to an Indian company, HCL, for $1.8 billion. Notes was not created by IBM, but by Lotus Development Corp, Mitch Kapor's company that began with Lotus 1-2-3, which was eviscerated by Microsoft Excel in the spreadsheet market. Notes was perhaps the first true collaboration software. Lotus was later acquired by IBM in 1995.

Cambridge-based Moderna Therapeutics watched its share price slip within hours of pulling off the biggest initial public offering in biotech history, falling 19% from the IPO price by the end of Friday. The IPO raised about $600 million.

It seems that either Google, Amazon or Microsoft touch every subject I write about now.

Elemica is one of the Philly area's best-kept tech secrets

Tom Paine

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Elemica is one of the Philly area's best-kept tech secrets. From its Wayne headquarters, Elemica manages real-time supply chain and market data for some of the World's leading companies.

Founded in 2000, Elemica refers to itself as "the leading Digital Supply Network for Chemical and other Process Manufacturers." It originally was a consortium, and the partners were owners as well as customers. Original partners included Dow, DuPont, BASF, Shell Chemicals, Bayer, Atofina, BP and Rohm and Haas. The initial funding was $100 million, provided by the consortium members themselves.

Its location near SAP's North American headquarters was likely no coincidence, as most of its members were large SAP ERP customers. Elemica customer applications exchange data at various points with SAP ERP, may be integrated with SAP Ariba, or generate output which can be analyzed more deeply with BI tools on SAP HANA. Elemica does not view SAP Ariba as a competitor, but as a complementary provider.

Elemica's original location was in Center City before moving to Wayne. It has a satellite office in Atlanta where some of its tech leadership is located.

Elemica is what is called a "networked" supply chain system, meaning that each customer is not isolated within the system, but can interact with others on the network to share information and do transactions. This is important because Elemica customers frequently buy from each other at different levels of the supply chain.

The original business model was effective to the point that the format worked, but with limitations. Since the principal customers were also owners, Elemica was managed more like a shared cost center rather than a market-driven business. In addition, Elemica needed new capital to modernize and expand, find new customers and new ways to use the data it its customers generate.

So in 2016, Elemica was sold to the highly respected (by most) enterprise tech oriented PE firm Thoma Bravo . Terms were not disclosed.

“The goal remains to grow Elemica’s business network into a multi-trillion-dollar commerce engine annually,” said John Blyzinskyj, CEO of Elemica, at the time of the Thoma Bravo deal. "This acquisition will accelerate the time to market for solutions that automate and orchestrate mission critical supply chain processes across a global community of buyers, suppliers and logistics providers. Thoma Bravo’s exceptional track record and proven expertise in our industry will enable Elemica to further capitalize on its growth and leadership."

With the original ownership structure removed, Elemica could now concentrate more on broadly on the market it serves and price and allocate resources in a way that better reflected market needs. It also presumably gained the funds needed to become more state-of-the-art technologically.

Under Thoma Bravo ownership, Elemica has worked on improving its external communication, improving the depth of supply chain visibility, and completing an overall digital.transformation, Elemica Director of Product Marketing David Cahn told me in an interview. (Dave, a Villanova grad, has been in every corner of the enterprise software world.) Another use case for Elemica to explore is the value of its customers aggregate data. For example, since it has such a strong position in the chemical industry, the aggregate of its customers' supply chain data might paint a more complete picture of what's happening in that market.

Also, Elemica is conducting a blockchain pilot with a major customer and a third-party software firm.

Elemica hosts its cloud on Amazon Web Services, with in-memory capabilities.

A recent challenge has been adjusting to changes resulting from the Dow / DuPont merger.

Supply Chain networks have changed with new technology. Supply chain planning in the past was typically based on semi-static or out of date information, and scenario testing took up considerable compute time and thus was difficult to modify. Now, with in-memory processing and other technological advances, supply chain planning is a nearly real time exercise and the market for supply chain software has been reinvigorated.

Dave discussed the difficulties of moving a business from a service bureau mentality to a digital mode.

Elemica now has revenue in the $50 million range (though I don't know what it sees as its addressable market) and is growing at 10% annually. It has around 200 employees.

Anaplan CEO on using blockchain technology for enterprise planning efficiency

Philly EnterpriseTech Roundup 12/5: Bear repellent spill in NJ Amazon warehouse; FS Investments trying to close merger later this month

Tom Paine

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One was left in critical condition, and 54 Amazon worker were treated after a discharge of bear repellant occurred in a Robbinsville (Mercer County) NJ Amazon warehouse. A can was punctured by an automated machine Wednesday morning inside the building, causing the spill. In total, 25 workers were hospitalized.

The critical patient has improved and all patients are expected to be released from the hospital within 24 hours.
Local bears, presumably, have been thoroughly repelled. But this incident may add to the current labor tensions over Amazon's warehouses.


Shop Bear Repellent on Amazon | Low Prices for Bear Repellent‎

As it works to pull off a merger, FS (formerly Franklin Square) Investments admits to having some shortcomings . In a recent call with analysts and in a meeting with advisers, FS Investments' senior management publicly acknowledged its various shortcomings, including the eroding valuation of its flagship fund, the publicly traded FS Investment Corp. FS currently manages $24 billion. As executives acknowledge, the net asset value and share price of FS Investment Corp. are both eroding.

FSIC is seeking shareholder approval to merge with another listed BDC, Corporate Capital Trust (CCT). The shareholders of FS Investment Corp. (NYSE:FSIC) and Corporate Capital Trust (NYSE:CCT) approved proposals related to the merger of FSIC and CCT at their respective annual meetings, and the merger is expected to occur around December 19.

Philly EnterpriseTech Roundup 12/4: Hamilton Lane invests in NEA spinoff; Liberty Media reported wanting to buy iHeart; GSK snags Tesaro

Tom Paine

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Maryland-based New Enterprise Associates (NEA), one of the largest venture capital firms in Silicon Valley, has created a $1.35 billion spinoff fund consisting of its more mature startup investments.

The new fund, NewView Capital, will take startups that have been sitting on NEA’s books for a decade or longer and haven’t sold out or gone public. Investors include fund manager Goldman Sachs, NEA itself and Philly-based investment manager Hamilton Lane. Meanwhile, existing investors can cash out.

Among the holdings included in NewView are 23andMe and a small stake in Uber Technologies. Thirty-one portfolio companies are moving from NEA to NewView.

Wharton grad Ravi Viswanathan is leaving NEA to run the new operation. The valuation process necessary before splitting off the investments was challenging at times, Viswanathan told Bloomberg.

The New York Post reports that Liberty Media is positioning itself to acquire radio giant iHeartMedia when it exits bankruptcy, probably
early next year.

Liberty chairman John Malone wants to combine iHeart with his other music properties, which include satellite-radio giant Sirius XM as well as concert promoter Live Nation and its Ticketmaster service.

Tesaro shares soared 60% following a $5.1 billion takeover bid From GlaxoSmithKline . Tesaro’s drug Zejula belongs to a class of cancer drugs called PARP inhibitors, that work by blocking an enzyme that cancer cells use to repair damage in their DNA.

Veeva Systems, reporting excellent quarter, nears billion dollar run rate

Tom Paine

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Veeva Systems (NYSE: VEEV) is now closing in on a billion dollar annual run rate, reporting Thursday total quarterly revenues of $224.7 million for its 3Q FY 2019 , up 27% Year-over-year, beating forecasts, and showing a positive outlook for FY 2020. Its Veeva Vault business is growing at 52% per year and represents 48% of Veeva revenue. The operating margin for Veeva was 37.6% in the quarter, an all-time high. Veeva now has a market value of nearly $14 billion.

Veeva, based in Pleasanton, CA, has a marketing, product development and sales presence on the east coast based out of its Radnor offices. Many of its largest customers are based in the Pennsylvania / New Jersey region. Veeva's industry-specific SaaS offerings are sold almost exclusively to the life sciences industry.

Vault's scale remains underappreciated by the Street, as its annual run rate can triple within five years to $1.2 billion and control "meaningful" market share within the $5-billion total addressable market, KeyBanc Capital Markets' Brent Bracelin said, according to Benzinga .

Veeva CFO Tim Carbral said in an interview with , "Given the size of the market within life sciences, we think we could get multiple billions [of dollars of revenue] from life sciences."

"We're now on our way to being one of the few multi-billion-dollar cloud companies. And we are in unique in having really strong growth and profit. You know, it's been five years since our IPO, this was our 21st earnings call. And we have exceeded top and bottom line, consistently, on every single call." added Veeva head of marketing Nitsa Zuppas.

Most of Veeva's growth has been organic to date, and the company has been successful in leveraging a handful of pinpoint acquisitions. I would expect in the near future maybe a little more of the same, but there's a lot happening in pharma's digital ecosystem and some larger targets may eventually present themselves. Veeva is also named by some analysts as a possible target for some very large tech companies.

In another issue, a federal judge in Manhattan last Monday refused to toss claims by a New York-based company that makes software for clinical drug trials, Medidata Solutions, that Veeva lured away several key employees and used their knowledge of confidential information to develop its competing product.

Veeva is not cheap, with its stock priced at 14x FY2020 forecasted revenue.

Bush 41: The commencement speech that was never heard

Tom Paine

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When I graduated from Business School some time ago, I received my degree in a separate business school ceremony before attending the general commencement ceremony for the entire university across campus. It was a perfect May day in Charlottesville. We were honored to have then-Vice President George Herbert Walker Bush as the commencement speaker. One of his sons, Marvin, had received an undergraduate degree from the University on that day.

Bush began his speech, but within a couple of minutes the microphone cut off. No problem, someone adjusted it. He started again, but the mic cut off again in a few seconds. After a brief delay, he began again, and then it cut off. This happened over and over again, perhaps a total of 10 times, until he finally gave up.

It was difficult for all of us to watch that. but Bush was patient and handled it professionally. I pondered whether it was just a short, or if someone on the University's staff was deliberately sabotaging his speech. More likely the former. But I never heard an explanation.

Although most commencement speeches are formulaic, I would have certainly liked to have heard what he had to say.


The Day in Tweets 11/30