Salsify has announced they raised $43 million in a new round of funding. Based in Boston, the SaaS company helps e-commerce brands manage customers’ product experience by ensuring content is optimized across points of sale, as well as measuring active insights. This Series D round led by Greenspring Associates brings Salsify’s total VC funding to $98.1 million to date. While CEO Jason Purcell declined to comment on either the funding or an impending exit, it was noted in a press release that Salsify spent 40% of its 1H’18 revenue on research and expansion. Salsify plans to leverage the funding towards further investment in products, global expansion and employee growth.
Elsewhere in SaaS funding news, Slack is raising $400 million in a new funding round, bringing the company’s valuation up 40% to at least $7 billion. Having just recently passed 8 million daily active users (3 million of which are paying) Slack has grown to serve 70,000 paid teams, including Capital One, eBay, IBM, and 21st Century Fox and customers in 100 countries. The new funding round positions Slack at the top of the intra-office communications market, however, points to its awareness of competition from tools like Microsoft Teams and Facebook’s Workplace.
In AI news this week, Amazon has launched Alexa Auto SDK to allow car companies to integrate the voice assistant into newer models. BMW, Ford, Toyota and others are working to integrate Alexa natively, even as Amazon has this week announced Alexa Auto SDK, which developers can access on GitHub. Functionalities include streaming media, smart home controls, weather reports and other boilerplate Alexa functions. While some brands (like BMW) are already actively incorporating Alexa, the voice assistant is predicted to become common in cars in 2019 as developers grow familiar with how to integrate it.
New in SaaS business listings this week we have a $319K B2B WordPress tool suite, with a diverse portfolio of essential plugins boasting dozens of five-start reviews, wide market acceptance with an active user base of over 8,000 users and 100,000 downloads, strong revenue growth rate or earnings growing 45% over the period 2017 to (e)2018, lean and scalable cost structure allowing for strong net margins of c.75% in the LTM and trained team ready to transition with the business post-sale.
New in PaaS (platform as a service) business listings this week we have a $279K music and events membership platform, with a large user base of hundreds of customers across dozens of countries, reputable bran with years of operational history in a growing niche, stable and predictable traffic with over 100,000 sessions and 550,000 page views in the LTM and automated operations allowing for low owner involvement. If you are interested in either of the above businesses, please follow the links to request a prospectus.
In events news, FE will be sponsoring August’s Boston E-Commerce Meetup. Join us to hear the expert panel discuss Website Optimization in E-Commerce on August 28 at WeWork South Station. Meet local businesses and investors in the Boston area over a drink and a bite to eat. See you there!
Continue reading below for more on Salsify’s new funding round, Slack’s new funding round and Amazon’s release of Alexa SDK.
- Wide market acceptance with an active user base of over 8,000 users and 100,000 downloads
- Diverse portfolio of essential plugins with dozens of five-star reviews
- Strong revenue growth rate, with earnings growing 45% over the period 2017 to (e)2018
- Lean and scalable cost structure allowing for strong net margins of c.75% in the LTM
- Autonomous team ready to transition with the business post-sale
Yearly net profit: $131,000
Asking price $319,000
- Reputable brand with years of operational history in a growing niche
- Large user base of hundreds of customers across dozens of countries
- Stable and predictable traffic with over 100,000 sessions and 550,000 page views in the LTM
- Automated operations allowing for low owner involvement
Yearly net profit: $81,000
Asking price $279,000
In The News…
Salsify’s Series D Funding Round
Salsify has raised $43 million in a Series D round of funding led by Greenspring Associates.
The Boston-based startup has spent years optimizing the product content of both e-commerce and brick and mortar retailers through services like centralizing, organizing and validating product content, syndicating the customer experience across point-of-sale channels, and analytics tracking. This past year has brought renewed traction for the startup, as Anheuser-Busch, Michelin and Asics joined their ranks of clients. Total funding for the company has now reached $98.1 million, the most recent of which it will use to invest more in its products, global expansion and hiring. CEO Jason Purcell released an emailed statement, which did not include comment on the company’s financials nor potential exit plans. Rather, he noted, “Salsify’s momentum meant the company did not currently need additional cash, but there was significant interest from new investors. With this supplementary capital, we can confidently accelerate our growth across more major global brands, which have extensive support and engineering needs, without straining internal resources.” Purcell has noted that part of what drives their growth is the consumer tendency to research brands on Amazon, even if they then purchase the brand in-store.
Salsify has also entered into machine learning-enabled analytics tools to identify product information changes that could benefit sales.
Slack Raising $400M in New Funding Round
Slack is raising a round of funding totaling $400 million or more.
This new round of funding would add $2 billion to its most recent valuation, bringing the most current value of the company to $7 billion. Multiple sources have confirmed to TechCrunch that General Atlantic is leading the round with Dragoneer possibly backing the company, bringing total backers to at least 43. This funding round comes shortly after Slack surpassed 8 million daily active users, 3 million of which are paying users across 70,000 teams including Capital One, eBay, IBM, and 21st Century Fox. The funding round demonstrates Slack competing with Microsoft Teams and Facebook’s Workplace, while concurrently remaining at the top of the market for intra-office communications tools. Microsoft reported 200,000 paying organizations earlier this year, and Facebook counts Walmart among its customers.
The $400 million would be Slack’s largest round to date. Slack currently has over 1,000 employees and has said it will not go public this year.
Amazon Releases Alexa SDK
Amazon has announced they are making it easy to incorporate Alexa into cars.
While BMW, Ford, Toyota, and other carmakers are working with Amazon to integrate Alexa, the Alexa Auto SDK is being released today. Available for developers on GitHub, the SDK includes support for streaming media, smart home controls, weather reports, and Alexa’s many skills. It’s the first time developers will be able to get a first look at how Amazon wants to integrate Alexa into in-vehicle infotainment systems. Alexa Auto will include support for features like calling from phones and navigation using GPS systems, and the ability to perform local searches for restaurants, movie theaters, and other businesses. You’ll also be able to use Alexa to stream audio from Amazon Music, Audible, and iHeartRadio. We should start seeing Alexa appear in vehicles later this year. Toyota is building Alexa into its Entune 3.0 infotainment system (which also includes Apple’s CarPlay support), and Panasonic is bringing Alexa to its future in-car infotainment systems.
Anker and Garmin are also creating aftermarket devices that plug into cars to bring Alexa to older vehicles. It will take some time for developers to get familiar with Alexa Auto, so we’ll likely see more cars ship with Alexa in 2019 and beyond.
To view the previous week’s newsletter, click here.
To view the following week’s newsletter, click here.