Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Bay Area Tech Wire - May 30

BAY AREA TECH WIRE -- May 30, 2017
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o Redwood City-Based Epic! Raises $8 Million in Third Round of Funding
San Francisco-Based People.ai Raises $7 Million in First Round
o San Jose-Based Xactly to be Acquired by Vista Equity Partners
o Sunnyvale-Based LinkedIn Acquires Redwood City's Heighten
o Briefly Noted: SonicWall, Intel, EY

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--Happy People and Bottom-Line Results: How Bankable Leaders Deliver Both
--Baird Global Technology Investment Banking

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o Redwood City-Based Epic! Raises $8 Million in Third Round of Funding

Redwood City, Calif. -- Epic!, a Redwood City-based digital media brand for kids 12 and under, said on Tuesday it has raised $8 million in its third round of funding, led by Reach Capital. TransLink Capital, Rakuten Ventures, Menlo Ventures, WI Harper, Brighteye Ventures and Innovation Endeavors also took part in the round, which the company will use to accelerate growth, expand its staff and build out its platform. Launched in 2014, the company's subscription service provides kids unlimited access to more than 25,000 curated books and videos through partnerships with 250 publishers and video providers. Partners include HarperCollins, Macmillan, Sesame Workshop, National Geographic Kids and Smithsonian Enterprises. The company in 2015 also launched Epic! for Educators to bring free access to elementary school teachers and school librarians. Epic! now has raised $21.4 million since its inception.

o San Francisco-Based People.ai Raises $7 Million in First Round

San Francisco -- People.ai, the San Francisco-based developer of a predictive sales management platform, said on Tuesday it has raised $7 million in its first round of funding, led by Lightspeed Venture Partners. Index Ventures and Shasta Ventures also participated, alongside previous backers Y Combinator and Ron Conway's SV Angel. Nakul Mandan, a partner at Lightspeed, will join the company's board of directors. People.ai has created a sales management platform powered by artificial intelligence that helps companies improve the performance of their sales teams by surfacing insights and delivering recommendations about coaching, ramping and deal analytics. The company graduated from Y Combinator last summer, and has since signed more than 50 customers, including Salesloft, Gainsight and MemSQL.

o San Jose-Based Xactly to be Acquired by Vista Equity Partners

San Jose, Calif. -- Xactly, a San Jose-based developer of cloud-based incentive compensation tools for employee and sales performance management, said on Tuesday it will be acquired by private equity firm Vista Equity Partners in a deal valued at $564 million. Under the agreement, stockholders will receive $15.65 a share in cash. "We are confident that Vista is the ideal partner to accelerate our growth initiatives and enable Xactly to focus on innovation and customer success," said founder and CEO Christopher Cabrera. The acquisition is expected to close by the end of September. Xactly's headquarters will remain in San Jose.

o Sunnyvale-Based LinkedIn Acquires Redwood City's Heighten

Sunnyvale, Calif. -- LinkedIn, the Sunnyvale-based online network for business professionals, said on Tuesday it has acquired Redwood City-based Heighten, a startup with products aimed at making salespeople more productive. Financial terms of the deal, which includes the company's talent and technology, were not disclosed. Heighten technology features sales process tracking, pipeline reporting and an intelligent notepad. "Over the next few months we will be evaluating which of these features we'll be bringing to Sales Navigator," wrote Doug Camplejohn, LinkeIn's head of product, sales solutions, in a blog post. "I'm also excited by the caliber of talent that Heighten brings to LinkedIn."

o Briefly Noted:

(Santa Clara, Calif.) Santa Clara-based SonicWall, a developer of breach detection and prevention tools, on Tuesday named Michael Berg as its senior director of channel sales with a focus on Europe. Berg most recently served as the channel director at Silent Circle, and previously was the vice president of project management at ASBISc Enterprises.

(Santa Clara, Calif.) Santa Clara-based chipmaker Intel said on Tuesday that its board of directors has promoted three corporate officers. Navin Shenoy has been promoted to executive vice president and general manager of the company's Data Center Group (DCG), Gregory Bryant to senior vice president and general manager of the Client Computing Group (CCG) and Sandra Rivera to senior vice president and general manager of the Network Platforms Group.

(Palo Alto, Calif.) Tax and advisory giant EY on Tuesday named Nigel Duffy as its global innovation artificial intelligence (AI) leader, based in Palo Alto. Duffy, who will lead the application of AI throughout the company, most recently was the chief technology officer of AI at Sentient, and previously was the co-founder and CTO of Numerate.

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> Happy People and Bottom-Line Results: How Bankable Leaders Deliver Both

Why do I have a hard time getting my employees to listen? Why do I struggle to inspire and motivate them? How can I motivate my employees while driving strong financial results? Many of today's leaders ask themselves these same questions. Here, we share three tips to become more "bankable."


> Baird Commentary: How the IoT Revolution Is Driving Consolidation

In a recent commentary on the ever-evolving Internet of Things (IoT) revolution, Baird's senior technology bankers discuss how the proliferation of IoT-enabled software and services and ongoing industry consolidation. Today's sophisticated IoT software and systems not only connect disparate devices, they collect, verify and cleanse data -- diminishing the long-time challenge of cutting through "noise" inherent to data aggregation and facilitating in-depth analysis and application of the collected information into actionable intelligence. This IoT revolution is quickly catching up to its hype by transforming businesses across many sectors. The value of IoT technology has become imperative, and growing demand is fueling tremendous acquisition interest from a diverse range of buyers, pushing competition higher and accelerating consolidation in the space. Read Baird's insights into this rapidly evolving space and the related M&A activity: http://www.rwbaird.com/news/Unlocking-Intelligence 


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