Work Week | One Step Beyond Logic
| Citrix buys Wrike | Personio raises $125M | SalesLoft raises $100M | Softr raises $2.2M | Divvy raises $165M |
Today’s Work Week is inspired by Frank Herbert:
Deep in the human unconscious is a pervasive need for a logical universe that makes sense. But the real universe is always one step beyond logic.
| Frank Herbert, Dune
I confess that I am searching for the logic behind the various stories below, which is not obvious in all cases.
Citrix to acquire Wrike | I was notified by Wrike marketing that the rumors about an acquisition by Citrix are true. From the press release:
Citrix Systems, Inc. today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Wrike, a rapidly growing, recognized leader in the SaaS collaborative work management space, for $2.25 billion in cash.
The combination will bring together Citrix’s powerful digital work platform, which securely delivers the resources an employee needs to be productive in one unified experience, and Wrike’s innovative work management solution, which streamlines collaboration and work execution, providing employees with additional tools to work efficiently and securely wherever they may be. The addition of Wrike’s cloud-delivered capabilities will accelerate Citrix’s business model transition to the cloud and strategy to become a complete SaaS-based work platform addressing the needs of various functional groups within the enterprise.
I will be getting a briefing from Wrike and plan to ask more about this. My sense is that Citrix is moving hard on its transition to cloud and SaaS. In August 2019 Arlen Shenkman assumed the role of Chief Financial Officer, with the charter to pull Citrix into the cloud/SaaS world:
Mr. Shenkman joins from German software giant SAP, where he spent almost 15 years. He served as CFO of SAP North America, the company’s biggest business unit, from 2015 to 2017 and most recently worked as SAP’s global head of development and ecosystems. In that role, Mr. Shenkman was responsible for developing new business models, fostering strategic partnerships and overseeing investments as well as mergers and acquisitions, Citrix said.
Citrix, one of the biggest providers of digital workspace platforms and applications allowing remote access to company servers, is facing competition from Amazon.com Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google.
“The big question is how Citrix is retaining its relevance,” said Brad Reback, an analyst at Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. “There is a multitude of ways to access corporate applications remotely today,” Mr. Reback said.
“Ultimately, this is a company that has growth challenges as more enterprise spending is moving to the cloud,” said Daniel Ives, a managing director at Wedbush Securities Inc.
Note that the CEO of Wrike, Andrew Filev, will be reporting to Shenkman.
In 2012, Citrix acquired the work management tool Podio, and has been selling it ever since. The Podio acquisition came after Citrix started using the app internally. Maybe they are using Wrike nowadays, and have seen the value of a tight integration for Citrix customers? Not a word about Podio in the press release about this deal.
This would be a great payoff for Vista, which bought a majority stake in Wrike in 2018, valuing the company at $800 million.
More to follow.
Personio raises $125M on a $1.7B valuation for an HR platform targeting SMEs | Ingrid Lundgren muses on the changing needs of HR in the postnormal world:
Personio — the German startup that targets small and medium-sized businesses (10–2,000 employees) with an all-in-one HR platform covering recruiting and onboarding, payroll, absence tracking and other major HR functions — has picked up $125 million in funding at a $1.7 billion post-money valuation.
The Series D is being co-led by Index Ventures and Meritech, with previous backers Accel, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Northzone, Global Founders Capital and Picus all participating.
The $1.7 billion valuation is a big jump on the company’s $500 million valuation a year ago, and it comes after a year where the startup has doubled its revenues, and was not on the hunt to raise, with much of its previous fundraising still in the bank.
Personio currently counts some 3,000 SMEs in Europe as customers.
Big takeaway: 99% of all European enterprises — 25 million in all — are SMBs, and many of them have yet to adopt any kind of HR platform at all: many are still working on spreadsheets, or paper and pencil. I wonder how many US companies still are, too?
Atlanta’s SalesLoft raises $100M for its digital sales platform, now valued at $1.1B | Ingrid Lundgren discusses a series E round for its sales engagement platform, in a busy space made more critical given the forced distributed work regime of Covid:
The company has been on a growth tear for several years now, as one of the big players in the area of so-called sales engagement: tools to help salespeople sell better to clients (or would-be clients), which can include real-time monitoring of interactions to provide coaching to improve the process, suggestions for supplementary content to enhance the pitch, and more basic software simply to manage records and communications.
Even before the pandemic hit, this was a key growth area in enterprise software, with both in-person and online/digital salespeople relying on these kinds of products to help them get more of an edge with their work, but a lot of the focus had really been on inside sales (B2B sales focusing on bigger purchases). [Cofounder and CEO Kyle] Porter described the effect of Covid-19 as a “tailwind” propelling that already strong trend.
He added that SalesLoft’s own sales cycle has improved by 40% since the pandemic, a reflection, he said, of the “urgency and need” for tools like those that the startup develops.
Another shift has been in terms of the kinds of customers SalesLoft works with. The company originally was focused on the mid-market, but that has changed with more larger enterprises also coming on board. Google, LinkedIn (which backs SalesLoft and is in a strategic partnership with it), Cisco, Dell and IBM are all customers, and Porter said that more “mainstream” businesses like Cargil, 3M and Standard & Poor are also increasingly becoming clients.
That is leading the startup to building out bigger solutions, beyond the basic pitch of “sales engagement” that has been SalesLoft’s mainstay up to now. The company competes against a plethora of others including of Clari, Chorus.ai, Gong, Conversica, Afiniti and Outreach, as well as biggies like Salesforce. Outreach, notably, had a big mid-Covid round of its own, raising at a $1.3 billion valuation in June last year, a mark of that wider market demand. Porter notes that SalesLoft’s big selling point is that it offers an increasingly end-to-end sales solution to customers, meaning less shopping around.
Note that Linkedin is a Microsoft company, a major enterprise player. I am officially, as of now, following SalesLoft and the sales engagement market.
Softr scores $2.2M seed for its no-code website and web app platform powered by Airtable | Steve O’Hear reports on Softr raising a seed round based on it’s building a no code system on spreadbase platform Airtable:
The idea is to let Airtable do the database grunt work, combined with Softr’s relatively flexible but template-driven approach to website and web app creation.
Softr’s [CEO Mariam] Hakobyan explains that out of the box the startup offers templates for anything from a simple marketing website to web apps for an e-commerce store, job board, marketplace and more. Those applications can include functionality like user authentication, gated content, payments, upvoting, and commenting etc.
Leveraging the relational tables of spreadbases like Airtable as the centerpoint of use-case oriented apps is a major trend for the future.
Divvy raises $165 million to give companies greater control and insights into their expenses | Paul Sawers reports:
The series D raise comes amid heated competition in the space, with the likes of Ramp recently closing a $30 million tranche and Brex securing $150 million. Divvy said it has seen a 500% increase in monthly sign-ups since the global lockdown started last March as businesses seek capital and greater visibility and control over their spending.
Another market I should be monitoring, obviously.