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  • The online makeup and cosmetics segment has seen strong investor interest over the last few years
  • Purplle competes directly and indirectly with brands including Nykaa, founded by veteran investment banker Falguni Nayar

MUMBAI : Online makeup and beauty products retailer Purplle Purplle is in talks to raise up to ₹300 crore in a Series C funding round led by Goldman Sachs, said two people close to the deal, requesting anonymity.

Purplle’s existing investors, Blume Ventures, IvyCap Ventures and JSW Ventures, the startup investment arm of Sajjan Jindal-led JSW Group, are also expected to participate in the round.

Goldman is expected to invest from its growth and venture capital investment arm, Goldman Sachs Investment Partners (GSIP), said the people cited above.

While a Goldman Sachs spokesperson declined to comment, Purplle did not respond to an email seeking comment.

Purple sells makeup products and fashion accessories, as well as wellness products for men and women on its website. While it sells renowned makeup brands, it has also introduced its private label, which investors say, is already accounting for a significant chunk of its sales. It also provides makeup content and guided videos from bloggers.

In the current calender year, it is expected to generate about ₹300 crore in sales, said a third person, also requesting anonymity.

The online makeup and cosmetics segment has seen strong investor interest over the last few years, driven by aspirational millennial consumers with high propensity to spend, and broader and cheaper internet connections.

Purplle competes directly and indirectly with brands including Nykaa, founded by veteran investment banker Falguni Nayar, Sugar Cosmetics and skincare startup Plum, backed by Unilever Ventures, the venture capital and private equity arm of consumer giant Unilever.

While Sugar Cosmetics raised $10 million earlier this year from A91 Partners, Nykaa raised ₹100 crore from TPG Growth in April, at a valuation of ₹5,000 crore.

However, unlike Nykaa, Purplle is looking at Tier 2 and 3 cities for growth and to bring in a major chunk of its revenue, said an investor in Purplle, requesting anonymity.

“The market is also big enough to have multiple firms achieve significant scale, because digital-first cosmetic brands are only beginning to disrupt the market,” the person added.

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  • Indian small and medium businesses will spend $14-16 billion this year on digital technologies
  • Small businesses are transitioning from traditional to digital with the use of technology to conduct their business

Bengaluru: Startups play an important role in the digitalization of small and medium businesses (SMBs) in India, enabling them in areas such as discoverability, customer engagement, and digital transactions, and will continue to do so, says a study by global management consulting firm, Zinnov. The study forecast that Indian SMBs will spend $14-16 billion this year on digital technologies.

The Zinnov study pointed out that small businesses are transitioning from traditional to digital with the use of technology – smartphone, PC or Internet – to conduct their business. India is home to approximately 75 million such businesses that employ over 180 million people, the study said. Apart from traditional industries such as retail, manufacturing and logistics, new categories such as cab drivers, delivery partners, and media content creators are expanding the SMB base rapidly, and account for 10% of such businesses in India.

  • Digitally-empowered SMBs are leveraging a combination of connectivity and communications, transactions and payments, discoverability, productivity-focused technologies, and are starting to extend into the world of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Automation, and Internet of Things (IOT), the study said.

SMB digitalization has made rapid progress, with over 50 million Indian SMBs using digital technologies in their business workflows. The study pointed out that over 600 aggregators, many of them new-age start-ups such as Udaan, Oyo, Meesho, Ola, Swiggy, and Rivigo have enabled over 10 million SMBs across discoverability, customer engagement, and digital transactions, and will continue to play an important role in SMB digitalization.

Of the total digital expenditure of Indian SMBs this year, the spending on productivity solutions accounted for 40%, followed by connectivity and communication technology at 30%, digital discoverability solutions accounted for 20%, and 10% on payment solutions and applications.

The study also described the Indian government’s role in SMB digitalization through investments in building digital payment infrastructure, subsidies for technology adoption, and access to capital. Large enterprises are also encouraging their SMB partners and suppliers to go digital, and also investing in skill development and technology platform infrastructure, the study said.

 

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Tuebil enables buying and selling of pre-owned cars

Truebil has raised $27 Mn prior to this round

The company has developed proprietary tech-enabled evaluation mechanisms

Mumbai-based car marketplace Truebil has announced raising $1 Mn in a fresh funding round from Japan-based Spiral Ventures.

The company, which last raised $14 Mn in Series B funding in January, has raised $27 Mn prior to this round. Truebil said it plans to use these additional funds to strengthen the technology stack.

Truebil began its operations in 2015 being founded by Suraj Kalwani, Himanshu Singhal, Rakesh Raman, Ravi Chirania, Ritesh Pandey, Shanu Vivek, and Shubh Bansal. Truebil is an omni-channel platform for buying and selling of pre-owned cars. The buyers can shortlist from a list of meticulously inspected and certified cars and avail end-to-end services on their sale/purchase.

The company has developed proprietary tech-enabled evaluation mechanisms, which includes

  • Recommendation system for personalised user experience,
  • TruePrice to predict the accurate selling price
  • Procurement score to determine the right procurement price
  • Dynamic pricing to change the price based on a car’s demand in the market
  • TueScore, a rating meter.

The company said it is witnessing a 20% growth MoM with more than 3000 verified cars registered to its portal. So far, it claims to have sold more than 2500 cars in Mumbai only worth INR 87.5 Cr Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV. Currently, the sales rate in Mumbai is 125 cars per month.

Truebil said it is currently doing INR 350Cr of annual revenue run rate with an aim to grow 3x this fiscal.

Other major online used car marketplaces in India are Cars24, CarDekho, Droom, Quikr, Olx, Mahindra First Choice Wheels, among others. According to an IBEF report, the Indian auto industry is one of the largest in the world, accounting for 7.1% of the country’s GDP.

The report has pegged the Indian automobile market at $125 Bn. Out of this, $100 Bn is the estimated share of automobile sales and the remaining $25 Bn includes services. It is expected to grow at a rate of about 10% to a whopping $225 Bn by 2020.

superside

Superside, a startup aiming to create a premium alternative to the existing crowdsourced design platforms, is announcing that it has raised $3.5 million in new funding.

It’s also adding new features like the ability to work on user interfaces, interaction design and motion graphics. Co-founder and CEO Fredrik Thomassen said this allows the company to offer “a full-service design solution.”

You may have heard about Superside under its old name Konsus. In a blog post, Thomassen explained the recent change in name and branding, writing, “We changed our name and look to align with what we had become: The world’s top team of international designers and creatives.”

He told me Superside was created to address his own frustrations after trying to use marketplaces like 99designs and Fiverr. He argued that there’s a problem with “adverse selection on those platforms.” In other words, “The best people … don’t remain, because they don’t have a career path — they’re fighting with other freelancers to get the jobs.”

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Superside, on the other hand, is picky about the designers it works with — it claims to select 100 designers from the more than 50,000 applications it receives each year. But if they are accepted, they’re guaranteed full-time work.

Thomassen said the platform is built for large enterprises that have their own design and marketing teams but still need additional support. Customers include Uber, LinkedIn, L’Oreal, Cisco, Santander, Amazon, Walmart Tiffany & Co. Hewlett Packard and Airbus

In addition to choosing good designers, Superside also built a broader project management platform.

“We’re basically automating everything: Finding people, screening people, on-boarding, on-the-job learning, invoicing of customers, project management, all of the nitty gritty,” Thomassen said. “The only thing not automated is design — that’s where the human element and the creativity come in.”

Plus, Thomassen said Superside can turn around a standard piece of artwork in 12 hours: “Nobody else can do what we’re doing in terms of speed.”

The new funding comes from Freestyle Capital, with participation from High Alpha Ventures, Y Combinator and Alliance Ventures.

“We’re very much a mission-driven company,” Thomassen added. “For me, the reason to go to work in the morning is to help build an online labor market and create equal economic opportunity for everyone in the world.”

A software company that helps law practices run more efficiently may not be the flashiest business in town, but that’s not stopping some VCs from backing them with pretty high dollars.

Hence, Canada-based Clio (which provides that type of software) announced this morning it has raised a massive $250 million Series D round from TCV and JMI Equity. Clio’s platform aims to serve as “an operating system” for lawyers, offering cloud-based legal practice management, client intake and legal CRM software. The company has 150,000 customers across 100 countries.

The financing is roughly ten times the amount of venture funding that Clio had previously raised since it was founded in 2008. The company’s Series B in January 2012 amounted to a comparatively small $6 million. In 2014, Clio raised $20 million in a Series C led by Bessemer Venture Partners that valued the company at $110 million, according to Crunchbase data. The company raised a $1 million Series A in 2019 from friends and family and Christoph Janz, who was also an early investor in Zendesk and contacted Clio via a cold email after finding the company on the internet, according to Clio CEO and co-founder Jack Newton.

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The new round is “one of the largest in legal technology and the largest in Canadian history,” according to Clio.

Newton said his vertical SaaS company helps legal professionals be more productive, grow their firms and “make legal services more accessible.” It also aims to help clients find lawyers more easily and vice versa.

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In its first 10 years of operation, Clio has focused on building out its core technology to an industry that continues to rely on pen and paper in many cases. It has also aimed to make legal technology more affordable for lawyers to use.

Following the news, I spoke with TCV Principal Amol Helekar this morning. Helekar will join the company’s board along with TCV General Partner Jake Reynolds. He said his firm views Clio as the clear market leader in the legal tech space, which Helekar believes is “underused relative to the potential demand in the end consumer base.”

“This is a vast industry that has been lagging in technology adoption and there’s tons of opportunity,” he said. “We see Clio as a pioneer in cloud-based tech solutions for the legal industry that has seen exceptional organic growth.”

Helekar likened Clio’s trajectory to that of previous TCV investments such as Netflix, Expedia and Spotify.

“We feel like this investment can help supercharge the business so the company can double down and expand its advantage and capture share in a market that hasn’t yet adopted technology in a big way,” he told me. “They’ve been very capital efficient but this kind of capital can help them invest in go-to-market, build out their sales team and invest in a lot of product in addition to the suite they currently have.”

Last year, Clio made its first acquisition with its buy of Lexicata, a Los Angeles-based legal tech startup. The company plans to do more acquisitions with the capital, according to Newton. It also wants to accelerate product development in general and continue integrating with more apps. Since the company made the decision five years ago to expand its functionality through integration (it currently has partnered with over 150 apps), the company has seen accelerated growth, Newton said.

Speaking of growth, Newton would not provide any revenue numbers but said the company was scaling “rapidly” and had “roughly doubled its number of employees” to over 400 in the last two years. He also declined to comment on valuation.

The company also announced today that Mark Britton, who founded legal marketplace Avvo (which was recently acquired by Internet Brands), is joining Clio as an independent board member.

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Do you consider yourself a connector — someone who brings people together, whether it is in business or personal life? Maybe your knowledge or ideas position you as a thought leader in your field? If you answered yes to either question, consider leveraging your status by building a membership website that will generate passive income and build an online community.

Reasons to build a membership website:
● You are an expert and want to sell access to your ideas instead of:
○ Taking time to give individual advice or coaching.
○ Letting people pick your brain for free.

● You belong to a loose community of people based upon interest in a specific topic. Paid
membership can:
○ Add more structure.
○ Provide passive income for you or the group.
○ Allow you to develop additional benefits for the group members.

● You have an existing group and want to provide more value to your members by
restricting access posts or pages, events, tickets and networking to members only.

● You want to provide a way to connect people in your group to each other or potential
customers through an online directory.

Ways to test the waters:
Consider which of the ideas below feel right for you and the kind of members you hope to have.
The goal is to see if you can build an audience that can be converted to members with recurring payments.

Create an email list
Email marketing platforms like MailChimp typically offer a free level with a limited
number of subscribers. At last check, MailChimp doesn’t charge for up to 2000
subscribers. Add an email signup widget to your Facebook page or website to start
collecting prospect email addresses. MailChimp provides a landing page for your form if
you don’t have a website.

Speak at a conference or event
If you are a thought leader, it shouldn’t be hard to find speaking opportunities at an
upcoming event for your field. If you create slides, offer to send them to attendees who
leave a business card. Or provide a short URL to a Google form for requesting slides
and joining your email list.

Write a blog
If you are an expert, a blog can share wisdom with a wider audience. WordPress.com
offers a free platform for blogging and is the most popular CMS (content management
system) online. Allow your followers to subscribe to receive new posts by email
automatically. This can be handled within WordPress or you can use MailChimp’s RSS-
to-email feature to send out branded emails.

Create social media profiles:
The goal of social media is to gain followers that could one day be members. When you have reached critical mass in terms of the number of followers, it’s time to build your membership website. Before you begin, consider that social media is not a one-way communication tool. You will need to:

○ Make posts on a regular — at least weekly — basis.
○ Use hashtags to ensure your content is being seen more widely.
○ Respond within 24 hours when people comment.
○ Comment on other’s posts, especially those in your field or industry. Answer
direct messages within a day.
○ And perhaps moderate discussions among group members.

Don’t start a group or set up profiles if you aren’t prepared to spend time in these ways. If you plan to create a number of profiles, use tools to schedule posts and centralize activity.

Create a Facebook group
A group can be a quick way to connect people who share an interest. Initially you can
add your friends who have interest in your topic. If group members find the content and
interactions meaningful, they’ll start to add friends. Messages posted in a group are also
much more likely to be seen than posts to a Facebook business page.

Create an Instagram business profile
If your topic is visual or if you can make it visual, create an Instagram business profile.
Business profiles have access to Instagram Insights, which can tell you a lot about:
○ Follower demographics.
○ What content performs better.
○ Profile views, impressions, clicks and more.
You’ll also be able to add a contact button to your profile and the option to promote your
posts.

Create a Twitter account
If you are good with words and like to have online conversations, Twitter may be the
best platform for you. Set up a business profile. Check out this guide to get started.

Create a LinkedIn group
If your content is business-related, consider creating a LinkedIn Group. If you don’t want
to manage a group, be sure to post any blog posts on LinkedIn. See tips for building
your group.

Build a YouTube Channel
If you have a unique point of view or “how to” lessons to share, you may want to start a
YouTube channel. Videos can be posted on your website as a member benefit. But
initially they can attract followers for your channel. You’ll also benefit from learning how
to create good videos before your videos need to be professional enough to warrant
charging for them. Add links from your channel to all of your other social profiles and
your email signup form.

Conduct a survey
If you have a decent blog or social media following, create a survey to learn what your
target audience wants or needs. A survey can reveal what content you might put behind
a paywall. You might consider those who take the time to fill out a survey as die hard
fans. Reward them by offering:
○ Access to a VIP or premium level of membership.
○ A free membership.

Offer free or inexpensive consultations
Quotes from happy members are the best way to convince potential members about the
value of membership. To gather testimonials, you can offer to do free or low-cost
consultations for a number of social media or email followers. If a decent number of
people reach out to take advantage of this offer, it’s further evidence that your
membership website idea is a good one.

 

 

Zenoti’s spa-management software was designed around mobile devices. (Zenoti Photo)

Zenoti’s spa-management software was designed around mobile devices. (Zenoti Photo)

 

Sudheer Koneru thought he was pretty much done working. After stints at Microsoft and SumTotal Systems, Koneru considered himself semi-retired, or at least on a break, in mid-2008. He travelled and participated in yoga and wellness workshops. But about a year later, he was thrust back into duty after a company he invested in several years earlier that ran a chain of health clubs, spas and salons in India underwent a management change. He thought taking on a more active role in the company “would be a fun thing to do” and didn’t treat it as a career move.

What the veteran software engineer didn’t know was his time working in the spa and salon world would bring him back to the tech scene and serve as the genesis for a company that has become one of the top Pacific Northwest startups.

Koneru is CEO of Zenoti, a Seattle company that sells an enterprise software platform for the fitness and beauty industries. The startup announced a $20 million investment round today from Steadview Capital. It comes on the heels of a $50 million round Zenoti raised in May led by Tiger Global Management, a New York-based firm known globally for making long-term investments in companies including Spotify, Facebook, LinkedIn, Flipkart, and other tech giants.

Zenoti has now raised more than $91 million in its nine years of existence. The company is ranked No. 20 on the 200 list of the top Pacific Northwest startups. Zenoti wasn’t looking for additional capital, but Steadview’s proposal was a strong one. Zenoti will use the funds to further expand into the U.K., possibly by acquiring smaller spa and salon technology providers there. Koneru added that Zenoti still has a lot of work to do to accomplish its goal to “own the entire backbone of the industry.”

From Microsoft to the Beauty Industry

Back in 2010 while helping run the spa and salon business, Latitude Pro, with his brother Dheeraj, Koneru learned the ins and outs of the industry. “I was pretty hands on to the extent of knowing the life of a personal trainer, knowing the life of a receptionist, how the spa employees worked,” Koneru said. “It was almost like an alternative lifestyle from what I had done before.” One of his biggest takeaways was the industry lacked quality software for managing scheduling, marketing, inventory and operations. Like any enterprising engineer, Koneru identified this problem and sought to fix it. That led him and his brother to sell off their stakes in the spa and salon chain and start Zenoti. In addition to the cash infusion, Zenoti today announced a major new customer: Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spas. The deal brings more than 400 stores in the U.S. and Canada on to Zenoti’s platform as the new technology partner for point-of-sale, digital marketing and analytics. With this new alliance, Zenoti now has more than 1,000 companies using its platform with a combined 7,000 stores.

The key metric that Zenoti uses to measure the health of its business isn’t the number of stores on it’s platform — it’s annual recurring revenue. Koneru wouldn’t give a dollar figure, but he did say that annual recurring revenue grew roughly 120 percent last year, an impressive figure for a 9-year-old company. Zenoti has roughly 350 employees. The management team is based in Seattle, and the company has about 60 people in the U.S. Another 250 people are based in India.

Zenoti just hired Guy Weismantel to serve as senior vice president of marketing. Weismantel last worked as chief marketing officer at PushPay. His resume also includes big names such as Microsoft and Egencia, the corporate travel division of Expedia. Koneru attributed the company’s continued rapid growth to a lack of true competition. There are a lot of software tools to help standalone health clubs and salons manage their business. But there aren’t a lot of options for bigger chains to manage hundreds or even thousands of stores easily through one platform. That’s where Zenoti comes in. Koneru used Starbucks as a model for what Zenoti wants to accomplish. The coffee giant has a unified solution with its app that works across all its stores and makes it easier for the company to learn more about the business.

“With Zenoti, there is only one card on file; there’s only one menu across the business; and you can go pay anywhere and get your points anywhere,” Koneru said. “You’re treated as one integrated customer for the brand, as opposed to a customer at ten different outfits.”

Global gaming has seen $9.6 billion in investments

By the end of 2019, the global gaming market is estimated to be worth $152 billion, with 45% of that, $68.5 billion, coming directly from mobile games. With this tremendous growth (10.2% YoY to be precise) has come a flurry of investments and acquisitions, everyone wanting a cut of the pie. In fact, over the last 18 months, the global gaming industry has seen $9.6 billion in investments and if investments continue at this current pace, the amount of investment generated in 2018-19 will be higher than the eight previous years combined.

What’s interesting is why everyone is talking about games, and who in the market is responding to this — and how.

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The gaming phenomenon

Today, mobile games account for 33% of all app downloads, 74% of consumer spend and 10% of all time spent in-app. It’s predicted that in 2019, 2.4 billion people will play mobile games around the world — that’s almost one-third of the global population. In fact, 50% of mobile app users play games, making this app category as popular as music apps like Spotify and Apple Music, and second only to social media and communications apps in terms of time spent.

In the U.S., time spent on mobile devices has also officially outpaced that of television — with users spending eight more minutes per day on their mobile devices. By 2021, this number is predicted to increase to more than 30 minutes. Apps are the new prime time, and games have grabbed the lion’s share.

Accessibility is the highest it’s ever been as barriers to entry are virtually non-existent. From casual games to the recent rise of the wildly popular hyper-casual genre of games that are quick to download, easy to play and lend themselves to being played in short sessions throughout the day, games are played by almost every demographic stratum of society. Today, the average age of a mobile gamer is 36.3 (compared with 27.7 in 2014), the gender split is 51% female, 49% male, and one-third of all gamers are between the ages of 36-50 — a far cry from the traditional stereotype of a “gamer.”

With these demographic, geographic and consumption sea-changes in the mobile ecosystem and entertainment landscape, it’s no surprise that the game space is getting increased attention and investment, not just from within the industry, but more recently from traditional financial markets and even governments. Let’s look at how the markets have responded to the rise of gaming.

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Games on games

The first substantial investments in mobile gaming came from those who already had a stake in the industry. Tencent invested $90 million in Pocket Gems and$126 million in Glu Mobile (for a 14.6% stake), gaming powerhouse Supercell invested $5 million in mobile game studio Redemption Games, Boom Fantasy raised $2M million from ESPN and the MLB and Gamelynx raised $1.2 million from several investors — one of which was Riot Games. Most recently, Ubisoft acquired a 70% stake in Green Panda Games to bolster its foot in the hyper-casual gaming market.

Additionally, bigger gaming studios began to acquire smaller ones. Zynga bought Gram Games, Ubisoft acquired Ketchapp, Niantic purchased Seismic Games and Tencent bought Supercell (as well as a 40% stake in Epic Games). And the list goes on.

Wall Street wakes up

Beyond the flurry of investments and acquisitions from within the game industry, games are also generating huge amounts of revenue. Since launch, Pokémon GO has generated $2.3 billion in revenue and Fortnite has amassed some 250 million players. This is catching the attention of more traditional financial institutions, like private equity firms and VCs, which are now looking at a variety of investment options in gaming — not just of gaming studios, but all those who have a stake in or support the industry.

In May 2018, hyper-casual mobile gaming studio Voodoo announced a $200 million investment from Goldman Sachs’ private equity investment arm. For the first time ever, a mobile gaming studio attracted the attention of a venerable old financial institution. The explosion of the hyper-casual genre and the scale its titles are capable of achieving, together with the intensely iterative, data-driven business model afforded by the low production costs of games like this, were catching the attention of investors outside of the gaming world, looking for the next big growth opportunity.

The trend continued. In July 2018, private equity firm KKR bought a $400 million minority stake in AppLovin and now, exactly one year later, Blackstone announced their plan to acquire mobile ad-network Vungle for a reported $750 million. Not only is money going into gaming studios, but investments are being made into companies whose technology supports the mobile gaming space. Traditional investors are finally taking notice of the mobile gaming ecosystem as a whole and the explosive growth it has produced in recent years. This year alone mobile games are expected to generate $55 billion in revenue, so this new wave of investment interest should really come as no surprise.

Government intervention

Most recently, governments are realizing the potential and reach of the gaming industry and making their own investment moves. We’re seeing governments establish funds that support local gaming businesses — providing incentives for gaming studios to develop and retain their creatives, technology and employees locally — as well as programs that aim to attract foreign talent.

As uncertainty looms in England surrounding Brexit, France has jumped on the opportunity with “Join the Game.” They’re painting France as an international hub that is already home to many successful gaming studios, and they’re offering tax breaks and plenty of funding options — for everything from R&D to the production of community events. Their website even has an entire page dedicated to “getting settled in France,” in English, with a step-by-step guide on how game developers should prepare for their arrival.

The U.K. Department for International Trade used this year’s Game Developers Conference as a backdrop for the promotion of their games fund — calling the U.K. “one of the most flourishing game developing ecosystems in the world.” The U.K. Games Fund allows for both local and foreign-owned gaming companies with a presence in the U.K. to apply for tax breaks. And ever since France announced their fund, more and more people have begun encouraging the British government to expand their program, saying that the U.K. gaming ecosystem should be “retained and enhanced.” But, not only does the government take gaming seriously, the Queen does as well. In 2008, David Darling, the CEO of hyper-casual game studio Kwalee, was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his services to the games industry. CBE is the third-highest honor the Queen can bestow on a British citizen.

Over in Germany, and the government has allocated €50 million of its 2019 budget for the creation of a games fund. In Sweden, the Sweden Game Arena is a public-private partnership that helps students develop games using government-funded offices and equipment. It also links students and startups with established companies and investors. While these numbers dwarf the investment of more commercial or financial players, the sudden uptick in interest governments are paying to the game space indicate just how exciting and lucrative gaming has become.

Support is coming from all levels

The evolution of investment in the gaming space is indicative of the stratospheric growth, massive revenue, strong user engagement and extensive demographic and geographic reach of mobile gaming. With the global games industry projected to be worth a quarter of a trillion dollars by 2023, it comes as no surprise that the diverse players globally have finally realized its true potential and have embraced the gaming ecosystem as a whole.

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2019/08/22/mobile-gaming-mints-money/

As businesses use an increasing variety of marketing software solutions, the goal around collecting all of that data is to improve customer experience. Simon Data announced a $30 million Series C round today to help.

The round was led by Polaris Partners . Previous investors .406 Ventures and F-Prime Capital also participated. Today’s investment brings the total raised to $59 million, according to the company.

Jason Davis, co-founder and CEO, says his company is trying to pull together a lot of complex data from a variety of sources, while driving actions to improve customer experience. “It’s about taking the data, and then building complex triggers that target the right customer at the right time,” Davis. He added, “This can be in the context of any sort of customer transaction, or any sort of interaction with the business.”

Companies tend to use a variety of marketing tools, and Simon Data takes on the job of understanding the data and activities going on in each one. Then based on certain actions — such as, say, an abandoned shopping cart — it delivers a consistent message to the customer, regardless of the source of the data that triggered the action.

They see this ability to pull together data as a customer data platform (CDP). In fact, part of its job is to aggregate data and use it as the basis of other activities. In this case, it involves activating actions you define based on what you know about the customer at any given moment in the process.

As the company collects this data, it also sees an opportunity to use machine learning to create more automated and complex types of interactions. “There are a tremendous number of super complex problems we have to solve. Those include core platform or infrastructure, and we also have a tremendous opportunity in front of us on the predictive and data science side as well,” Davis said. He said that is one of the areas where they will put today’s money to work.

The company, which launched in 2014, is based in NYC. The company currently has 87 employees, and that number is expected to grow with today’s announcement. Customers include Equinox, Venmo and WeWork. The company’s most recent funding was a $20 million round in July 2018.

Source: https://techcrunch.com

Edge Delta co-founders Ozan Unlu and Fatih Yildiz. (Edge Delta Photo)

Edge Delta co-founders Ozan Unlu and Fatih Yildiz. (Edge Delta Photo)

Edge Delta, a Seattle-based startup that’s building a distributed analytics platform, raised $3 million in seed funding from lead investors MaC Venture Capital and Amity Ventures.

The freshly-launched company was founded by Fatih Yildiz and Ozan Unlu, who met while working at Microsoft. Their paths later diverged when Unlu joined Sumo Logic and Yildiz went on to become an engineer at Twitter.

What brought them back together was a shared belief that the way data is currently managed — by collecting it into the cloud for processing — is fundamentally incompatible with much of tomorrow’s technology. They point to self-driving cars and Amazon Go’s cashier-less stores as examples of applications that needs a lot of data processing to happen close to the source.

“If we can essentially get very close to that data … then we can be 100 times faster, we can be infinitely scalable, we can have better privacy and security posture. And all of it can be fully automated,” said Unlu, who serves as Edge Delta’s CEO. Yildiz is the company’s chief technology officer.

The startup is using federated learning — a distributed form of machine learning — to flag problems related to DevOps and security. Unlu said they are targeting clients across a range of industries that have critical systems that run on edge computing, in which computer processing takes place on hardware in the field, often with limited connection to the cloud.

In securing the financing, Edge Delta worked with MaC co-founder Adrian Fenty, who was formerly the mayor of Washington, D.C. and an advisor at Andreessen Horowitz, as well as Peter Bell, a general partner at Amity Ventures.

Edge Delta is one of several Seattle-area startups in the edge computing space. Tignis, Balena and Gaia are all working on services that make it easier for companies to build and manage edge computing applications.

Microsoft has made the “intelligent edge” a core focus and earlier this year debuted Azure SQL Database Edge, which was designed with edge computing processors in mind.

Edge Delta has six employees and will soon move into new offices in the South Lake Union neighborhood. The company is actively recruiting engineering talent and plans to hire 12 or more employees in the next year.

Source: https://www.geekwire.com/2019/edge-delta-scores-3m-launch-distributed-computing-platform/