Peloton pedals toward an IPO, self-driving is big business and SaaS’s new highs

We had TechCrunch’s own Connie Loizos in the studio along with your humble servant and General Catalyst’s Niko Bonatsos. A fine group for a busy …

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

This week was a treat. We had TechCrunch’s own Connie Loizos in the studio along with your humble servant and General Catalyst’s Niko Bonatsos. A fine group for a busy week.

We had to pare our topic list some for length, but after working out what qualified as the biggest news from our usual orbit, we decided to touch on:

  • Peloton’s bank shopping:Peloton, the popular in-home cycling service, is looking for banks to help take it public. We riffed on its revenue, revenue growth, its possible margins and price points. Peloton has become a big name in recent quarters due to its growth, and its marketing. We’re excited to read the eventual S-1. Check here for historical context regarding its debut.
  • Postmate’s private IPO filing:Postmates actually filed, albeit privately, putting it a smidge further along the public-offering conveyor belt. The Postmates IPO will help the market better understand the food delivery marketplace, an area where a host of companies play. Including the company in our next topic!
  • DoorDash’s latest round: Yes, more money for food delivery. DoorDash is said to be on the hunt for $500 million more at a valuation around $6 billion. That’s many dollars at a very high price. Oh, and don’t forget this.
  • Nuro’s enormous check: Have you heard of Nuro? No? Neither had we. But it just raised over $900 million in a single go. Even for 2019, the delivery-robot-car company’s fundraising is aggressive.
  • And the latest in SaaS: Quickly, the private SaaS market looks hot, and the public SaaS market is scorching. It’s a good time for SaaS. Which is odd, as it seemed that the world ended in December.

All that and we had some fun. Thanks as always for listening to Equity; it’s a treat to make for you each week. Stay cool!

Equity drops every Friday at 6:00 am PT, so subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Pocket Casts, Downcast and all the casts.

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Behavox Announces Full SaaS Offering on AWS and GCP

… sophisticated buy-side and sell-side institutions and is backed by Citigroup and Index Ventures, with initial funding coming from Hoxton Ventures.

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Behavox, a pioneering artificial intelligence data analytics firm, announced today that it will begin offering a full Software as a Service (“SaaS”) deployment model to its customers, in addition to on-premise implementations. Behavox SaaS is a single tenant environment, not shared with any other Behavox clients and deployed on Amazon Web Services (“AWS”) or Google Cloud Platform (“GCP”) infrastructure based on customer preference.

Behavox has been working on Behavox SaaS for over two years in partnership with several production customers. Client feedback has been instrumental to our fortress-like security controls, guaranteeing that the confidentiality and the integrity of our customers’ data remains intact.

Behavox SaaS is a fully-managed service provided by Behavox, allowing our customers to focus on extracting value from Behavox applications, while we work tirelessly behind-the-scenes providing 24/7 support and 99.9% uptime.

Some of the most notable benefits of Behavox SaaS include:

  • Rapid Deployment – Software deployment in a dedicated environment takes 12 hours and is fully automated. Data integration is supported by over 110 out of the box adaptors including full support for Behavox Voice.
  • Lower Costs – All support, maintenance and incident responses are managed by Behavox, which further reduces the total cost of ownership for Behavox clients.
  • Advanced Functionality – The Behavox SaaS includes WORM compliant archiving (SEC 17a-4), Hot/Cold Storage Optimization, High Availability and other powerful features as standard.

Behavox SaaS is deployed on dedicated infrastructure that is unique and isolated to each customer. Moreover, to comply with data governance regulations, customers will be able to choose a specific country in which they prefer to deploy Behavox SaaS. Currently, Behavox SaaS offers a choice between AWS or GCP for hosted infrastructure, but the company is working on making Azure and IBM cloud available for deployment by the end of the year.

“Over the past five years, the adoption of SaaS technology by financial services firms has skyrocketed,” said Kiryl Trembovolski, Chief Operating Officer and Head of Cloud Strategy. “This rapid development has removed any remaining doubts about the ability of SaaS providers to fulfil the promise of lower costs and faster implementation, while at the same time demonstrating full adherence to the security and privacy standards of the largest financial institutions.”

Trembovolski was just named to Forbes 30 Under 30 for his achievements in Technology as the COO of Behavox.

Behavox counts amongst its customers, the world’s most sophisticated buy-side and sell-side institutions and is backed by Citigroup and Index Ventures, with initial funding coming from Hoxton Ventures.

Behavox is the people analytics company that gathers and interprets employee data in a corporate environment to understand the behavior of an organization. By aggregating and analyzing internal and external interactions and using cutting-edge software and machine learning Behavox can generate previously unidentifiable insights on: compliance and risk; culture and conduct; people performance; and sales and profits. Behavox works with forward thinking, multi-national businesses, financial institutions and investment firms. Behavox is headquartered in New York City, with offices in London, Singapore, Montreal and San Francisco. For more information, visit here.

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MediaValet raises $1.5 million private placement from key executives, others

Each $1,000 debenture includes warrants to purchase 20,000 common shares in MediaValet, at an exercise price of $0.05 per share. The purchase …

MediaValet, a publicly traded, digital asset management (DAM) software provider, has announced a fully subscribed, non-brokered private placement, raising $1,551,350 from its key executives and other investors.

Investors in this private funding round include, the current board chairman Rob Chase, current CEO David MacLaren, and former director Robert Garnett, who have collectively subscribed for $760,000, while new investors have subscribed for $265,080 of the offering.

“We’re entering 2019 with unprecedented momentum and opportunity, setting the stage for an exciting growth year.”

The private placement was comprised of 10 percent unsecured convertible debentures at an issue price of $1,000 per debenture. Each $1,000 debenture includes warrants to purchase 20,000 common shares in MediaValet, at an exercise price of $0.05 per share. The purchase warrants also expire three years after the date of issue.

MediaValet’s cloud-based enterprise DAM software is built exclusively on Microsoft Azure and is available in 140 countries and across 54 Microsoft data centre regions. As well as offering DAM capabilities and local cloud support to creative teams, the Vancouver-based company offers a variety of integrations, including ones with Slack, Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office 365, WordPress, and Hootsuite. MediaValet said it intends to use the net proceeds of the offering to fund its “growth objectives” and to continue with its strategic plan. The offering’s completion has yet to be approved by the TSX Venture Exchange.

MediaValet has been a finalist of the BC Tech Associations’ Technology Impact Award for adoption of technology, and has placed on the Canadian Innovation Exchange’s top 20 most innovative public technology companies list.

Related: Why MediaValet’s Jean Lozano believes CTOs pay too much attention to tech

The company also announced that Thomas Kenny and Jake Sorofman have joined MediaValet’s board of directors. Barry Jinks, who is co-founder, CEO and President of Colligo, has resigned from the board.

“We welcome the addition of Thomas and Jake to our board of directors,” said MediaValet founder and CEO, David MacLaren. “As our business accelerates into 2019, their extensive leadership, sales and marketing, and high growth tech experience will be invaluable to our team. On behalf of everyone at MediaValet and all of our investors, I want to thank Barry for his valued support and guidance over the years.”

Since 2017, Thomas Kenny has acted as VP of sales for GRC, a tech startup providing immersion cooling solutions for large data centers, where he has helped grow revenues by over 400 percent. He served as Senior VP and GM of Sales and Marketing for Absolute Software, a SaaS in endpoint security. Prior to Absolute, he spent 16 years at HP, where he helped grow its revenues from $350 million to nearly $3.8 billion. Thomas has also held sales management and account management roles at Compaq Computer Corp, Digital Equipment Corp, US Robotics and Zenith Data Systems.

Jake Sorofman is the chief marketing officer of Pendo, an American-based SaaS company that provides insights, guidance, and communication for digital product teams. Before Pendo, Sorofman was Vice President and Chief of Research at Gartner, a global research and advisory firm, where he advised clients on CMO topics, including DAM. He spent 16 years in marketing leadership roles with venture-backed software companies like rPath, Systinet, and eRoom.

“[Last year] was a tremendous year for MediaValet, we released several major product milestones, including V4 and Creative Spaces, delivered a record level of billings in Q3, and in Q4 we signed a $150,000 USD per year AI-driven DAM customer,” said MacLaren. “We’re entering 2019 with unprecedented momentum and opportunity, setting the stage for an exciting growth year and one that will benefit from the guidance and support of Mr. Sorofman, Mr. Kenny and our entire board.”

Image courtesy MediaValet.

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“Oracle machine learning will engulf cloud market”: Applications EVP

Oracle co-CEO Mark Hurd recently claimed that the company would capture over “50%” of the cloud applications market, and Miranda attributed this …
Steve Miranda, Oracle's executive vice president of applications
Steve Miranda, Oracle’s executive vice president of applications

Oracle’s applications chief has reiterated the firm’s ambitions to capture the majority of the global cloud computing market as well as praising the increasingly mature approach to cloud in the Middle East.

Steve Miranda, executive vice president of Oracle Applications, was speaking to at the firm’s inaugural Dubai OpenWorld conference, held at Dubai World Trade Centre.

Last week Oracle announced the go-live of its long-anticipated Abu Dhabi data centre, and Miranda believes the launch will help to ease the concerns of some customers that may have been hesitant to move to cloud.

“Lots of companies have questions and concerns about sovereignty – some concerns for today, some for the future,” he said. “We’re in an era of evolving regulations. We’ve heard it before from some customers – their comfort level will be greater with data residency.

“We find that Middle East customers have evolved and now ask more detailed cloud questions. They’re more about nuanced, specific problems. The maturity of the discussion has advanced.

“The move to cloud will be faster than any other technology platform. Ironically, the larger and more complex an organisation is, the more I would encourage them to start now. Things may take longer due to their size, so if they don’t start now, the only logical explanation is that the benefits of cloud won’t be there in a year or two.”

Oracle co-CEO Mark Hurd recently claimed that the company would capture over “50%” of the cloud applications market, and Miranda attributed this target to the firm’s ability to innovate.

“I certainly hope he’s right,” Miranda said. “We treat all our competitors with tremendous respect, but I think we bring a number of unique advantages to the table. I think we’re the most complete cloud app provider that exists. Analysts and customers also say so.

“We’re looking to deliver continuous innovation, with machine learning across the board. This won’t just be in classical ways like next best offers or actions or optimising discounts, but also transforming the ways you interact with user interfaces. You already see it with Alexa and Siri, and we believe conversational interfaces are evolving very quickly.”

Miranda said the most challenging and pressing area for Oracle and its customers was ensuring that technology services can offer the best possible customer and user experience.

“There’s no particular application that’s evolving at a faster rate than others, but the area that’s changing the most is the customer experience,” he said. “Customer experience services that were traditionally offered focused on automation, but we believe that’s going away. Consumers now interact traditionally and through social media, which can turn into marketing opportunities. As a consumer, if you’re moving from your smartphone to social media, you expect channels to work together. The idea of sales and service marketing being distinct goes away. Customer experience aims to get rid of that and make it seamless.”

Miranda added that Oracle’s pursuit of blockchain would depend on the levels of interest it received from customers in the near future. Oracle launched its Blockchain Platform last year, to which it has onboarded over 100 customers, as well as launching its blockchain-based Intelligent Track and Trace service.

“Blockchain is a great technology for certain use cases, but hasn’t found its sweet spot yet,” he said. “Our investment will coincide with customer adoption levels.”

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