OpenStack in transition

OpenStack is one of the most important and complex open-source projects you’ve never heard of. It’s a set of tools that allows large enterprises ranging from Comcast and PayPal to stock exchanges and telecom providers to run their own AWS-like cloud services inside their data centers. Only a few years ago, there was a lot of hype around OpenStack as the project went through the usual hype cycle. Now, we’re talking about a stable project that many of the most valuable companies on earth rely on. But this also means the ecosystem around it — and the foundation that shepherds it — is now trying to transition to this next phase. The OpenStack project was founded by Rackspace and NASA in 2010. Two years later, the growing project moved into the OpenStack Foundation, a nonprofit group that set out to promote the project and help manage the community. When it
Continue reading "OpenStack in transition"

InVision design tool Studio gets an app store, asset store

InVision, the startup that wants to be the operating system for designers, today introduced its app store and asset store within InVision Studio. In short, InVision Studio users now have access to some of their most-used apps and services from right within the Studio design tool. Plus, those same users will be able to shop for icons, UX/UI components, typefaces and more from within Studio. While Studio is still in its early days, InVision has compiled a solid list of initial app store partners, including Google, Salesforce, Slack, Getty, Atlassian, and more. InVision first launched as a collaboration tool for designers, letting designers upload prototypes into the cloud so that other members of the organization could leave feedback before engineers set the design in stone. Since that launch in 2011, InVision has grown to 4 million users, capturing 80 percent of the Fortune 100, raising a total of $235
Continue reading "InVision design tool Studio gets an app store, asset store"

Box expands Zones to manage content in multiple regions

When Box announced Zones a couple of years ago, it was providing a way for customers to store data outside the U.S., but there were some limits. Each customer could choose the U.S. and one additional zone. Customers wanted more flexibility, and today the company announced it was allowing them to choose to multiple zones. The new feature gives a company the ability to store content across any of the 7 zones (plus the U.S) that Box currently supports across the world. A zone is essentially a Box co-location datacenter partner in various locations. The customer can now choose a default zone and then manage multiple zones from a single customer ID in the Box admin console, according to Jeetu Patel, chief product officer at Box. Initially customers wanted to have a choice to store data in a region outside the U.S., but over
Continue reading "Box expands Zones to manage content in multiple regions"

Square brings its Stand for iPad tablets to the UK

Square, the company that provides payments and other business services to merchants, is today taking another step in its gradual expansion outside of the U.S. Stand — one of Square’s key pieces of hardware, turning an iPad into a point of sale system — is launching in the U.K. It will sell for £64 (+VAT) and will be sold alongside existing products that Square offers in the U.K. — Square Reader, its Point of Sale app, Instant Deposit, Virtual Terminal and Cash app. (Square Register, the company’s all-in-one product for larger businesses that sells for $999, is not yet available outside the U.S.) The move comes just over a year after Square launched in the U.K., its first market in Europe, and also on the heels of a big move from two of its biggest competitors: last week, PayPal said it
Continue reading "Square brings its Stand for iPad tablets to the UK"

Okta introduces ‘Sign in with Okta’ service

Consider that there are millions of Okta users out there using the service to sign into their company applications with a single set of credentials. Yet getting customers to work together using Okta authentication was an enormous task for developers. Okta wanted to simplify it, so they created a service they are calling it ‘Sign in with Okta.’ The new API allows developers to add a few lines code and give Okta customers the ability to sign into one another’s websites in a similar way that OAuth allows you to use your Google or Facebook credentials to sign onto consumer sites. Frederic Kerrest, COO and co-founder at Okta, says the ‘Sign in with Okta’ uses an extension of OAuth called OpenID Connect, which his company has been supporting since 2016. He says the new service gives customers the ability to expand the use of their Okta credentials beyond
Continue reading "Okta introduces ‘Sign in with Okta’ service"

Meet the speakers at The Europas, and get your ticket free (July 3, London)

Excited to announce that this year’s The Europas Unconference & Awards is shaping up! Our half day Unconference kicks off on 3 July, 2018 at The Brewery in the heart of London’s “Tech City” area, followed by our startup awards dinner and fantastic party and celebration of European startups! The event is run in partnership with TechCrunch, the official media partner. Attendees, nominees and winners will get deep discounts to TechCrunch Disrupt in Berlin, later this year.
The Europas Awards are based on voting by expert judges and the industry itself. But key to the daytime is all the speakers and invited guests. There’s no “off-limits speaker room” at The Europas, so attendees can mingle easily with VIPs and speakers. What exactly is an Unconference? We’re dispensing with the lectures and going straight to the deep-dives, where you’ll get a front row seat with Europe’s leading investors, founders and
europas8
europas13
Continue reading "Meet the speakers at The Europas, and get your ticket free (July 3, London)"

Slack introduces Actions to make it easier to create and finish tasks without leaving

As Slack tries to graduate beyond a Silicon Valley darling to the go-to communications platform within a company, it’s had to find ways to increasingly pitch itself as an intelligent Swiss Army knife for companies — and not just a simple chat app — and it is trying to continue that today once again with a new feature called Actions. Companies can now bake in a user experience of their own directly into the Slack application that isn’t yet another chatbot that’s tied into their services. Developers can essentially create a customized prompt for any kind of action, like submitting a support ticket, within the Slack core chat experience through a drop-down window called an Action. While Slackbots may have been an early incarnation of this, Slack’s platform has grown to include more than 200,000 developers, and there’s still constant need for robust tools internally. This offers partners and developers a
Continue reading "Slack introduces Actions to make it easier to create and finish tasks without leaving"

Dropbox beefs up mobile collaboration in latest release

Dropbox announced several enhancements today designed to beef up its mobile offering and help employees on the go keep up with changes to files stored in Dropbox . In a typical team scenario, a Dropbox user shared a file with a team member for review or approval. If they wanted to check the progress of this process, the only way to do it up until now was to send an email or text message explicitly asking if the person looked at it yet — not a terribly efficient workflow. Dropbox recognized this and has built in a fix in the latest mobile release. Now users can can simply see who has looked at or taken action on a file directly from the mobile application without having to leave the application. In addition, those being asked to review files can see those notifications right at the top of the Home screen in
Continue reading "Dropbox beefs up mobile collaboration in latest release"

Parabola raises $2.2 million to simplify programming for employees stuck in Excel all day

While knowledge workers are handling increasingly difficult tasks — ones that may be much easier to handle with just a Python script — Alex Yaseen thinks that in the future not everyone will actually need to learn how to code. Instead, he hopes that tools like the one he’s building, called Parabola, will bridge that gap between the complex technical problems and otherwise nontechnical employees. Instead of running through massive excel spreadsheets, Parabola is designed to make it easier for employees that might not be highly technical to piece together the kinds of processes that will help automate mundane tasks that run through each action. The company said it has raised a new $2.2 million financing round led by Matrix Partners. “The logical version of the future doesn’t look like everyone coding by running Python or whatever language,” Yaseen said. “It’s a very valid opinion, but we talked a
Continue reading "Parabola raises $2.2 million to simplify programming for employees stuck in Excel all day"

Okera raises $12M to simplify data governance within companies

As companies start to gather more and more data on their users and customers, including a firehose of information from a nigh-endless flow of tests, managing and maintaining that data isn’t the only place companies are hitting a wall — and figuring out who can actually access it is becoming just as big of a problem. That was the experience Amandeep Khurana had throughout his career and as he kept talking to more and more larger companies. So he and his co-founder decided to start Okera, which is looking to make it easier for stewards of various sets of data to ensure the right people have the right access. With data coming in from a myriad of sources — and hopefully ending up in the same database — it can be increasingly complex to track who has access to what, and the hope is that Okera can reduce that
Continue reading "Okera raises $12M to simplify data governance within companies"

Fiix raises $12M to smooth out the asset maintenance process

As sensors become cheaper and easier to install, the whole process of maintaining equipment and assets is starting to shift from just scrambling to fix problems to getting a hold of issues before they get out of control. That’s opened the door for startups like Fiix, which are creating workflow software that helps companies manage equipment and assets. That software enables companies to keep a close eye on equipment and resolve issues quickly before they become more complex to the point of costing companies hundreds of thousands of dollars to fix. Every percentage point of efficiency, for some operations, can translate to revenue significant enough to the point that this kind of software is an easy sell. Fiix said today it has raised $12 million in a new financing round led by BuildGroup. “It was one of the last bastions of enterprise software that’s yet to go through the
Continue reading "Fiix raises $12M to smooth out the asset maintenance process"

Packet teams up with Platform 9 and Datera to launch its new private cloud platform

Packet, the bare metal cloud provider, today announced that it has partnered with open source hybrid cloud specialist Platform9 and storage and data management service Datera to launch a new private cloud solution for businesses that want to have greater control over their platforms. Packet argues that this new solution can save businesses up to 50 percent in cost when compared to using a public cloud solution. “What we’re providing here is the polished experience of the public cloud, but with significantly more choice and performance,” noted Zac Smith, CEO at Packet . “By combining the strengths of market leaders like Datera and Platform9 with Packet-managed bare metal, we’re able to deliver it at a fraction of the cost of traditional public or private cloud solutions.” Packet notes that this partnership came about after Platform9 itself migrated away from AWS. The restrictions of the public cloud model, the company
Continue reading "Packet teams up with Platform 9 and Datera to launch its new private cloud platform"

Uizard raises funds for its AI that turns design mockups into source code

When you’re trying to build apps, there is a very tedious point where you have to stare at a wireframe and then laboriously turn it into code. Actually, the process itself is highly repetitive and ought to be much easier. The traditional software development from front-end design to front-end html/css development to working code is expensive, time-consuming, tedious and repetitive. But most approaches to solving this problem have been more complex than they need to be. What if you could just turn wireframes straight into code and then devote your time to the more complex aspects of a build? That’s the idea behind a Copenhagen-based startup called Uizard. Uizard’s computer vision and AI platform claims to be able to automatically turn design mockups — and this could be on the back of napkin — into source code that developers can plug into their backend code. It’s now raised an $800,000 pre-seed
Continue reading "Uizard raises funds for its AI that turns design mockups into source code"

OpenStack spins out its Zuul open source CI/CD platform

There are few open source projects as complex as OpenStack, which essentially provides large companies with all the tools to run the equivalent of the core AWS services in their own data centers. To build OpenStack’s various systems the team also had to develop some of its own devops tools, and in 2012, that meant developing Zuul, an open source continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) platform. Now, with the release of Zuul v3, the team has decided to decouple Zuul from OpenStack and to run it as an independent project. It’s not quite leaving the OpenStack ecosystem, though, since it will still be hosted by the OpenStack Foundation. Now all of that may seem a bit complicated, but at this point, the OpenStack Foundation is simply the home of OpenStack and other related infrastructure projects. The first one of those was obviously OpenStack itself, followed by the Kata
Continue reading "OpenStack spins out its Zuul open source CI/CD platform"

Rackspace acquires Salesforce specialist RelationEdge

Rackspace today announced that it has acquired RelationEdge, a Salesforce implementation partner and digital agency. The companies did not disclose the financial details of the acquisition. At first, this may sound like an odd acquisition. Rackspace is still best known for its hosting and managed cloud and infrastructure services, after all, and RelationEdge is all about helping businesses manage their Salesforce SaaS implementations. The company clearly wants to expand its portfolio, though, and add managed services for SaaS applications to its lineup. It made the first step in this direction with the acquisition of TriCore last year, another company in the enterprise application management space. Today’s acquisition builds upon this theme. Gerard Brossard, the executive VP and general manager of Rackspace Application Services, told me that the company is still in the early days of its application management practice, but that it’s seeing good momentum as its gaining both
Continue reading "Rackspace acquires Salesforce specialist RelationEdge"

Contentstack doubles down on its headless CMS

It’s been about two years since Build.io launched Contentstack, a headless content management system for the enterprise. Contentstack was always a bit of an odd product at Build.io, which mostly focuses on providing integration tools like Flow for large companies (think IFTTT, but for enterprise workflows). Contentstack is pretty successful in its own right, though, with customers ranging from the Miami Heat to Cisco and Best Buy. Because of this, Build.io decided to spin out the service into its own business at the beginning of this year, and now it’s doubling down on serving modern enterprises that want to bring their CMS strategy into the 21st century. As Build.io COO Matthew Baier told me, the last few years were quite good to Contentstack . The company doubled its deal sizes since January, for example, and it’s now seeing hockey-stick growth. Contentstack now has about 40 employees and
Continue reading "Contentstack doubles down on its headless CMS"

Sprinklr hires former fed CIO Vivek Kundra as COO

Sprinklr, the unicorn startup best known for helping customers interpret social signals has been moving into the broader customer experience market in the last year. Today it announced is was hiring a heavy hitter as Chief Operating Officer, bringing in former federal CIO and Salesforce executive Vivek Kundra. He began working at his new position just this week. Kundra says that he sees a company that is in a good position and poised for growth. It will be part of his job to work with CEO Ragy Thomas to make sure that happens. “When I look at the 1200 customers we have today, I see a massive opportunity to provide technology to change the way [our users] interact with customers,” Kundra told TechCrunch. He says that, with his background, whether working under President Obama or with Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, the focus has always been on the customer, however
Continue reading "Sprinklr hires former fed CIO Vivek Kundra as COO"

Pluralsight prices its IPO at $15 per share, raising over $300M

Pluralsight priced the shares in its IPO at $15 this afternoon, above its previously set target range of between $12 and $14, and will raise as much as $357 million ahead of its public debut tomorrow morning. Pluralsight offers software development courses, specifically ones targeting employees that are looking to advance in their careers by acquiring new skills in order to transition to higher-level roles. As knowledge workers become increasingly valuable, especially in larger enterprises with sprawling workforces, companies like Pluralsight have found a sweet spot in building tools that enable companies to help identify talent in their own workforce and train them, rather than have to aggressively search outside the company to satisfy their needs. The company has raised $310.5 million in its IPO, with underwriters having the option to purchase an additional 3.1 million shares and bring that up to $357 million. The company is one
Continue reading "Pluralsight prices its IPO at $15 per share, raising over $300M"

Parsable secures $40M investment to bring digital to industrial workers

As we increasingly hear about automation, artificial intelligence and robots taking away industrial jobs, Parsable, a San Francisco-based startup sees a different reality, one with millions of workers who for the most part have been left behind when it comes to bringing digital transformation to their jobs. Parsable has developed a Connected Worker platform to help bring high tech solutions to deskless industrial workers who have been working mostly with paper-based processes. Today, it announced a $40 million Series C cash injection to keep building on that idea. The round was led by Future Fund with help from B37 and existing investors Lightspeed Venture Partners, Airbus Ventures and Aramco Ventures. Today’s investment brings the total to nearly $70 million. The Parsable solution works on almost any smartphone or tablet and is designed to enter information while walking around in environments where a desktop PC or laptop simply wouldn’t be practical.
Continue reading "Parsable secures $40M investment to bring digital to industrial workers"

Dashdash, a platform to create web apps using only spreadsheet skills, nabs $8M led by Accel

Sometimes I think of spreadsheets as the dirty secret of the IT world today. We’ve seen a huge explosion in the number of productivity tools on the market tailored to help workers with different aspects of doing their job and organising their information, in part to keep them from simply dumping lots of information into Excel or whatever program they happen to use. And yet, spreadsheets are still one of the very, very most common pieces of software in use today to organise and share information: Excel alone now has around 1 billion users, and for those who are devotees, spreadsheets are not going to go away soon. So it’s interesting that there are now startups — and larger companies like Microsoft — emerging that are tapping into that, creating new services that still appear like spreadsheets in the front end, while doing something completely different in the back. One
Continue reading "Dashdash, a platform to create web apps using only spreadsheet skills, nabs $8M led by Accel"