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Most freelancers don’t make 6 figures, Wethos raised $8m to change that

In Q2 of this year, 11.5 million people answered this question by quitting their jobs. Next to retail, business services saw the biggest exodus of talent to freelancing, which is projected to be over half of the workforce by 2030. Today, leaving a corporate job means leaving your corporate paycheck and benefits, a risky move when only 5% of freelancers make over $100k a year. Freelance as a viable and lucrative career has been out of reach for most, but in the words of Vice President Harris: “I often say that the ability we should all have is to see what can be, unburdened by what has been.”

Today, we’re thrilled to announce Wethos’ new $8M round of funding led by Third Prime with participation from new investors Javelin, Full Circle, F7 Ventures, Clocktower, and Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, as well as continued support from Laconia, Valuestream, and many others. We’re also excited to add Wes Barton from Third Prime and Vivian Cheng from Javelin to our board alongside existing board member Dion Ridley, Engineering Leader at Netflix Studios. This fresh injection of capital follows 100x growth since we launched with just 100 studios less than a year ago. We proudly power nearly 10,000 virtual studios, which have won over $54M in projects by leveraging Wethos’ tools.

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Customer Experience Is Key As Consumers Share More Online Reviews

While many things changed in 2020, in the e-commerce industry things may have shifted particularly drastically, with an impressive spike in online shopping on a global scale. Pandemic lockdowns catalyzed a process that was already underway in pre-Covid times — the transition from in-store to online shopping.

As consumers get increasingly more comfortable with researching and purchasing products online, they are also becoming more used to expressing their feedback through online product reviews and social media. Recent research indicates that in 2020 there was a surge in product reviews in multiple markets; more on that to follow.

What does this change mean for e-commerce companies? How can businesses leverage this change? In this article, I’ll share a bit about what our company noticed while doing research on the beauty industry and what I think e-commerce executives can do to make sure their brands stay relevant.

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Sedna banks $34M for a platform that parses large volumes of email and chat to automatically action items within them

Many have tried to do away with it, but email refuses to die … although in the process it might be (figuratively speaking) killing some of us with the workload it brings on to triage and use it. A startup called Sedna has built a system to help with that — specifically for enterprise and other business customers — by “reading” the text of emails and chats, and automatically actioning items within them so that you don’t have to. Today, it’s announcing funding of $34 million to expand its work.

The funding, a Series B, is being led by Insight Partners, with Stride.VC, Chalfen Ventures and the SAP.iO fund (part of SAP) also participating. The funding will be used to continue building out more data science around Sedna’s core functionality, with the aim of moving into a wider set of verticals over time. Currently its main business is in the area of supply chain players, with Glencore, Norden and Bunge among its customers. Other customers in areas like finance include the neobank Starling. London-based Sedna is not disclosing valuation.

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Omnichannel Insights for Marketing Decision Support

An old adage goes like this: 50% of the money spent on marketing programs is wasted. But which 50%?

That question can finally be answered in the new era of advanced analytics – and by Adverity Marketing Data Analytics Platform. No more tedious number crunching on spreadsheets for marketing teams, thanks to this popular solution on SAP Store. Now, data-driven marketers can take advantage of fully automated data integration for a single source of truth on the performance of their programs and move past “point-in-time” performance monitoring toward insights that lead to tangible actions.

I spoke with Sven Woeltjen, partner manager with Adverity GmbH, to find out more about the solution’s impact on the life of a marketer.

“From every source – paid search, social media, direct demand-generation campaigns, events – you get different data in different formats,” Woeltjen said. “Everyone is asking for ROI, and no one has the answer. Many marketing teams work in silos. Harmonizing and cleansing the data from all the different sources is a labor-intensive process that’s prone to mistakes, and typically takes many days. As a result, marketers spend more time wrangling data than they do interpreting it, meaning they miss out on opportunities to optimize performance and improve ROI. They don’t have current info and can’t produce timely reports. Those are the problems Adverity solves.”

Reporting in Near Real Time

With the Adverity solution, marketers can create omnichannel overviews in near real time. Integration with SAP ERP and SAP Marketing Cloud allows them to enrich their insights by pulling in data from finance or HR or whatever interests them, Woeltjen continued. The ability to build ad-hoc reports on their own enables them to explain to the business the impact of what they’re doing whenever they’re asked. Report templates and data visualization tools make that even easier. “With tangible results based on real data, they can turn their attention to the next program or campaign rather than the next report,” he added. “By better understanding what works and what doesn’t, they can make decisions from a strategic standpoint.”

In fact, Woeltjen speaks from experience after spending his career in marketing, including tenure with an agency where he was using the Adverity solution himself. He ended up approaching the company about potential partner opportunities and, not long after, joined the firm and worked with its most important partner, SAP.

Understanding Marketing Challenges – as Marketers

I asked Woeltjen to tell me more about the company, which was established in 2015. Like him, the founders themselves were working in the marketing field, experiencing the data challenges , and saw an opportunity. The company has grown steadily since then, largely by building relationships, understanding customers’ needs, and building new features accordingly – as all good marketers do. For example, an augmented analytics module uses machine learning to analyze large amounts of data, identify trends and anomalies, and deliver suggestions for improvements that enable marketers to proactively address issues affecting performance.

Teamwork is a crucial factor for Adverity. The implementation team sits next to the developers to promote collaboration. Even as they have transitioned to working from home, the relationships are in place. Now with about 250 employees, based largely in Austria, the U.S., and the UK, the company plans to double in size this year. With offices in London and New York City already, Adverity plans to establish a presence on the West Coast of the U.S. and in the Asia-Pacific-Japan region. As a digital company with most employees working remotely, not just during the pandemic, he commented, “We can hire the best people.”

And speaking of the pandemic, Adverity has been in the position to cushion some of the fallout for customers suddenly making the transition to online marketing. “Here in Germany, for example, many stores have been closed for a full year,” Woeltjen remarked. “People have had to get used to buying more online, causing many smaller businesses – distilleries, for example – to sell directly to consumers and use their marketing budgets to acquire customers online. We can help them with our tool.”

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ClearMetal Recognized as One of the Four Notable Vendors in 2021 Gartner International Visibility Business Process Context

ClearMetal, the leading SaaS platform for international freight visibility, dynamic transport planning and customer experience, today announced it has been recognized by Gartner as one of the four vendors in the 2021 Gartner “International Visibility Business Process Context: ‘Magic Quadrant for Real-Time Transportation Visibility Platforms’” report.1

According to this Gartner report, “While many real-time transportation visibility platforms (RTTVPs) have expanded capabilities beyond core domestic road transport and now include pieces of, or all, international visibility as well, this research is focused on internationally focused vendors that are not included in the Magic Quadrant for Real-Time Transportation Visibility Platforms.”1

“ClearMetal is excited to be named one of the four solution providers recognized in the International Visibility Business Process Context of Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for RTTVPs. We believe this recognition validates ClearMetal’s position as a leader in door-to-door international freight visibility. The world’s largest shippers trust the quality and accuracy of our data and rely on our platform to provide insights about their freight in real time,” said Adam Compain, CEO of ClearMetal. “We congratulate E2open, TransVoyant and Infor for being named alongside ClearMetal in the International Visibility Business Process Context of Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for RTTVPs, as well as the over-the-road vendors featured in the Magic Quadrant.”

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Adverity continues to dominate as momentum leader in G2 Spring 2021 Report

Adverity, a leading marketing data intelligence platform, has once again been named as a top-five category leader in ETL Tools and Data Visualization Software in the G2 Spring 2021 Report.

It has also received recognition as a leader in two new categories; Small-Business for Business Intelligence Software – where it scored a superior Satisfaction Rating than the Grid category leader – and in Mid-Market ETL Tools; in both instances being ranked in the top five Grid Scores.

Continuing its success in the Grid Report for Business Intelligence, Adverity has progressed from a high performer in the G2 Summer 2020 report to a leader, and again, boasting a higher Satisfaction Rating than the category leader.

It maintains its top five rankings as a high performer in both the Grid Reports for E-Commerce Data Integration Software and Big Data Integration Platform – and in the latter is rated above the category leader for product satisfaction.

The latest report also sees Adverity move into the top ten Grid Report for Mid-Market for Data Visualization Software and acknowledged as a high performer in the Grid Score for Mid-Market for Business Intelligence Software.

Alexander Igelsböck, CEO and Co-Founder of Adverity, comments: “It’s a privilege to continue to be recognized as a leader in the G2 reports as it is a direct reflection of our platform helping enterprises of all sizes become more insight-driven – which is crucial in today’s business environment. The rankings represent the voice of real users and further validates our commitment to customer satisfaction with our platforms. Many enterprises are prioritizing their data capabilities and we want to continue to help them on their data maturity journey.”

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Mind the Chat with Alexa Gorman – SAP, SAP.iO

Mind the Bridge and the International Chamber of Commerce recently awarded SAP as a TOP 25 Corporate Startup Stars last December. Indeed, with a hundred thousand employees, the B2B SaaS technology giant outperforms the majority of Fortune 500 corporations on the implementation of their Open Innovation programs and creates win-win-win relationships with startups, SAP’s clients and of course SAP.

In this Mind the Chat, we had the joy to sit down with Alexa Gorman, SVP and head of SAP.iO foundries in EMEA. Alexa joined SAP in 1999 in the retail space and led various teams and initiatives from marketing to strategy in both New York and Paris before finally joining SAP.io in Berlin, in 2017.

During the conversation, we covered the multiple areas of activities that SAP undertakes in the world of startups, namely SAP.iO, Sapphire Ventures, SAP’s Intrapreneurship program – SAP.iO Venture Studio, and the University Alliances. We took a deep dive into the structure of the SAP.iO, its Foundries, and the growing number of SAP’s innovation outposts around the world.

SAP.iO

SAP.iO is part of the New Ventures and Technology group that reports directly to the CTO office. The role of SAP.iO is to manage both startup-driven innovation and acceleration, as well as employee-driven innovation and acceleration.

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Deepgram raises $25 million to build custom enterprise speech recognition models

Deepgram, a Y Combinator graduate building custom speech recognition models, today announced that it raised $25 million in series B funding led by Tiger Global. CEO and cofounder Scott Stephenson says the proceeds will bolster the development of Deepgram’s platform, which enables enterprises to process meetings, calls, and presentations in real time.

The voice and speech recognition tech market is anticipated to be worth $31.82 billion by 2025, driven by new applications in the banking, health care, and automotive industries. In fact, it’s estimated that one in five people in the U.S. interact with a smart speaker on a daily basis and that the share of Google searches conducted by voice in the country recently surpassed 30%.

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Automated speech recognition gives CX vendor an edge

Sharpen, a vendor of a cloud-based contact center platform, offers an automated transcription service as part of its software package. It’s free, which its customers like, but a few years ago, Sharpen was getting complaints from customers that its transcriptions weren’t accurate.

“The transcription wasn’t great,” said Adam Settle, Sharpen’s vice president of product, who declined to name the automated transcription software vendor that the company used.

The customer wanted to use the service for keyword spotting, he said. But, he added, “searching for a keyword is kind of pointless” if the transcription is wrong.

The complaint sparked Sharpen to search for a new automated transcription vendor. That search eventually led them to Deepgram, an automated speech recognition startup founded in 2015.

A new vendor

Sharpen first became acquainted with Deepgram a few years ago, after seeing it demonstrate its automated speech recognition platform at a conference.

The platform, built on deep learning models, can come pre-trained on Deepgram’s library of calls. Users can upload pre-labeled speech files or label speech as they go, to further train and customize the platform.

Users can run the platform in the cloud or on premises and can access the speech recognition models through APIs.

Sharpen tested the products of numerous startups and big-name tech vendors before choosing Deepgram. Each had its problems, however. Some platforms, like the one from their first vendor, didn’t provide accurate transcriptions. Others, including systems from Google and Amazon, were too expensive, Settle said.

Some platforms “were eight times the cost without being eight times the quality,” he said.

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BigID Data Security Platform is SAP.iO’s First Startup Unicorn

SAP.iO reveals in its 2020 Impact and Insight Report that BigID, one of the its early investments and an SAP Solution Extension Partner, is the first startup unicorn in the SAP.iO portfolio with a valuation of over $1 billion. The company’s data security platform helps organisations secure customer data, satisfy privacy regulations, and manage risks.

According to the Wall Street Journal, following the emergence of increased remote work (brought on by the global COVID-19 pandemic) and a rise in high-profile cyberattacks, risk-management and cybersecurity startups are in the spotlight among venture capitalists.

SAP.iO, SAP’s early-stage venture-capital arm, invested an undisclosed sum in BigID in multiple rounds between 2017 and 2019. As of December 2020, BigID announced a $70 million Series D on a valuation of $1 billion. 

In 2019, BigID and SAP forged a global reseller agreement, allowing SAP to sell two BigID powered products: SAP Privacy Management application by BigID and SAP Data Mapping and Protection application by BigID.

Now, more than ever, effectively managing risk and privacy compliance associated with big data is critical and a must for organisations. 

John Licata, Vice President and Fellow at SAP.iO Startup Accelerator explains:

“Data is increasingly valuable, and the backbone to AI, so tapping next-generation cybersecurity technologies is no longer a nice have. It’s a requirement to secure data and leverage it for growth opportunities. At least it should be for the modern enterprise that will witness over 500 billion connected things by 2030.”

Driving Innovation in Data Security

BigID is a recognised as a leader in data-centric personal data discovery and privacy, intelligence and automation. The cybersecurity startup has been bestowed with several awards for its innovative privacy technology, including:

  • 2018 RSA Conference Innovation Sandbox winner
  • CB Insights 2018 Cyber Defender
  • Network Products Guide 2018 IT World Awards “Hot Company of the Year” winner
  • 2019 InformationWeek Vendor to Watch
  • 2019 World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer
  • 2020 Forbes Cloud 100
  • Business Insider 2020 AI Startup to Watch
  • Database Trend-Setting Products 2020

Dimitri Sirota, CEO and co-founder of BigID, explains how the startup’s data security platform provide the best of breed point solutions that address enterprise security gaps:

“Since starting in 2016, BigID has aimed to rethink how organisations provide data accountability to their customers through more intelligent data accounting. Before BigID, data privacy was largely about policy and process. BigID put data at the center, redefining how enterprises find, manage and protect their most important asset: their customer and employee data.”

The BigID data security platform leverages advanced machine learning (ML) and identity intelligence to help enterprises better protect their customer and employee data at petabyte scale. BigID’s technology enables organisations to manage IT complexities, minimise risk, and comply with ememerging data protection regulations such as the Europian Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

BigID also plans to expand its marketplace to third-party developers, offering them the ability to build applications on top of its data security platform. According to Sirota, the company aims to further accelerate sales and marketing in 2021.

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Adverity Is Number One in 2021 g2 Winter Report for Big Data Integration Platform

Adverity, a leading marketing data intelligence platform, has ranked number one in the Momentum Grid Report for Big Data Integration in the G2 Winter 2021 Report. It also continues to be recognised as a momentum leader across four other categories – Marketing Analytics Software, Data Visualization Software, E-commerce Data Integration and ETL Tools.

Top for product satisfaction in the Big Data Integration category with a score of 96%, Adverity also holds second place in the ETL Tools category; boasting a higher product satisfaction score than the category leader. 

It maintains third position in the E-commerce Data Integration category, while solidifying its status in the top five Data Visualizations products and remaining in the top ten Marketing Analytics Software products.

G2 rankings are based on data provided by verified users that share their experiences and feedback on software. The platform has more than one million independent user reviews and is read by over four million users each month. Every quarter, G2 Crowd publishes its Grid report, ranking software by extracting data from multiple online sources to determine market presence, satisfaction scores from customers, and market leadership.

The latest recognition follows a positive year for Adverity where it was previously named a Momentum Leader for ETL tools in the G2 Summer 2020 and Fall 2020 reports respectively. During this period it also moved into, and remained, in the Grid Report for Marketing Analytics top ten.

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OKR-focused Gtmhub raises $30M Series B after growing 3x in 2020

 Gtmhub, a multinational startup that builds software to help other companies manage their corporate planning, announced that it has raised a $30 million Series B. The round was led by Insight, and included both participation from new investor Singular and prior investors LauncHub and CRV.

Gtmhub raised capital around 13 months ago, a $9 million Series A. At the time, the new capital was larger than the aggregate of its preceding funding efforts. The startup’s new funding round, like its 2019 Series A, towers above its prior fundraising totals in a similar manner.

How has Gtmhub managed to raise so much money? In a word, growth.

TechCrunch reported at the time of its Series A that Gtmhub had managed 400% growth in annual recurring revenue (ARR) heading into the round, on a year-over-year basis. Similar levels of topline expansion have continued, with Gtmhub COO Seth Elliott telling TechCrunch that the company grew its ARR by a multiple of three last year (measured December 2019 through December 2020).

Around the time Gtmhub raised in 2019, a number of other startups focused on the same software market raised as well, leading to TechCrunch asking “why is everyone making OKR software?

The acronym OKR translates to “objectives and key results,” a planning method that has become popular among American technology firms, and, according to Elliott, is becoming more popular internationally and among non-technology companies.

The startup executive also told TechCrunch that he sees Gtmhub growing alongside two business trends. The first, the rise of OKRs themselves, is a wave that his company is riding, he told TechCrunch. The second, one that he thinks his startup is leading, deals with large companies pursuing corporate transformations to boost their agility; those firms are adopting Gtmhub, he said, which can help them execute their digital transformation, or similar efforts, successfully.

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SAP Among the World’s Top 25 Startup-Friendly Companies and Winner of Corporate Startup Accelerator Award

WALLDORF — SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) today announced it has been recognized with a Corporate Startup Stars Award as one of the Top 25 most active companies to encourage open innovation with startups.

SAP also received a Corporate Startup Accelerator Award for its acceleration efforts and identifying worldwide best practices in corporate-startup collaboration. The announcement was made at the digital award ceremony hosted by open innovation advisory firm Mind the Bridge and the International Chamber of Commerce, on December 15.

Engaging with early stage startups is an important aspect of SAP’s holistic open innovation approach to remain agile and resilient in today’s global marketplace. This includes dedicated programs within SAP’s early stage venture arm SAP.iO to scout and accelerate new ideas and talent inside and outside of the company.

“At SAP, we know that we can mutually benefit from outside-in perspectives to inspire innovation and drive business impact for our customers,” said Juergen Mueller, chief technology officer and member of the Executive Board of SAP SE. “Since 2017, we have helped scale more than 270 promising startups across all lines of business and industries in nine locations across the globe. Providing them with the access and resources they need to build on SAP solutions complements our portfolio and internal innovation efforts, which enables our customers to gain even more value from their SAP investments.”

For the fifth year, startups have been asked to nominate the companies that are most active and friendly in working with small businesses. Started in 2016 under the European Commission’s Startup Europe Partnership initiative, the Corporate Startup Stars Awards have been scaled to include corporations and startups worldwide through the partnership between Mind the Bridge and the International Chamber of Commerce.

“SAP has consistently proven to be one of the most startup-friendly corporations worldwide by engaging with startups in multiple modes, ranging from acceleration and partnerships to investments and acquisitions,” said Alberto Onetti, chairman, Mind the Bridge. “We appreciate the approach SAP.iO has taken and its recent evolution. The combination of startup and employee-driven innovation and the renewed focus on scaling companies makes SAP.iO a benchmark globally for rethinking and optimizing the corporate accelerator model.”

To learn more about how SAP is helping innovators inside and outside of SAP build products, find customers and change industries, please visit SAP.iO.

Visit the SAP News Center. Follow SAP on Twitter at @SAPNews.

Media Contact:
Lesa Beber, +1 (650) 390-1629, lesa.beber@sap.com, ET
SAP Press Roompress@sap.com

The end of email?: The startup developing an alternative

“The way we manage work, principally through email, needs to change,” says Bill Dobie, the founder of workplace communications startup and Slack-rival Sedna. “We allow really complicated parts of the global economy to be run over email and it’s not fit for purpose.”

In Sedna, Dobie has developed an alternative — one which promises to reduce inbound messages by up to 95% —  and the startup has just secured a $10m Series A round, led by Chalfen Ventures and Stride VC, to expand the model. 

Founded in 2017 and based in London, there are currently 2,000 teams across 80 countries using Sedna, including large-scale commodity and shipping companies like Glencore, Bunge and Norden. 

The company is one of several pitting themselves against conventional email — namely messaging app Slack. It just got bought by Salesforce for a mega $27.7bn and markets itself as the antithesis to email: “You could get buried in emails. Or you could get real work done in Slack.”

How it works

Unlike Slack, Sedna’s team believes that email is so ubiquitously used that any new service needs to be able to engage with the old one. 

Sedna works, then, by putting all of a company’s emails into one stream and then using an API to channel them to the exact right people. 

“The problem Sedna tries to solve,” Dobie explains, “is that information about transactions a company makes is rooted in emails. People want to move more quickly and be certain about the information they use, but the information is in individual email accounts.”

“Our thesis is that the content of a company related to its work should be available to everyone in the business who’s entitled to see it,” he says, “so Sedna works by taking emails and connecting them into a single datastream, so there’s one timeline for a transaction that everyone can access.”

One of Sedna’s clients is a large food company, for example, where inbound transactions emails used to come to 200 email addresses across different people in different areas of the company — but now Sedna sorts incoming information and directs it only to the relevant people.

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