Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Bay Area Tech Wire - Oct. 24

BAY AREA TECH WIRE -- Oct. 24, 2017
DC's Campaigns & Marketing Summit - Save 30% - Early-Bird Ending on Tuesday

o AppDynamics Founder Launches S.F.-Based Harness with $20M in Funding
o Mountain View-Based Eargo Lands First Tranche of Planned $45M Round
o TPG Growth Leads Funding Round for Agricultural data Startup Gro Intelligence
o Santa Clara-Based Intel Capital Invests $60 Million in 15 Tech Startups
o Pleasanton-Based Blackhawk Network Names Charles Garner as New CFO
> Campaigns & Marketing Summit - Washington, D.C. - Nov. 13
o Briefly Noted: PLDA Group, [24]7.ai, Netflix

> Job/Event/Marketplace Classified Listings (Full Listings Below Stories)

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o AppDynamics Founder Launches S.F.-Based Harness with $20M in Funding

San Francisco -- Nine months after selling AppDynamics to Cisco for $3.7 billion, Jyoti Bansal, that company's founder and former CEO, on Tuesday officially launched San Francisco-based Harness, developer of a continuous delivery-as-a-service platform leveraging artificial intelligence. The company said it has raised $20 million in its first round of funding, co-led by Menlo Ventures and BIG Labs. Harness, also co-founded by Rishi Singh, a former DevOps platform architect at Apple, is the first company spun out of BIG Labs, Bansal's newly launched startup studio. "At AppDynamics, our customers were happily using our platform to monitor their complex software applications, but almost all of them told me that the process for delivering rapid changes to those applications remained a huge problem," said Bansal, who serves as CEO. "Software engineering teams need a platform that's intuitive and powered by modern AI to meet demand for incredibly fast, high-quality releases. Rishi and I are excited to launch Harness and address a massive problem challenging software engineering teams everywhere." Harness focuses on continuous delivery, a new software engineering practice that allows development teams to deliver their changes to end-users in hours instead of months. While the practice primarily has been relegated to large players like Amazon, Google and Facebook, the company is aiming to make it accessible to every business.

o Mountain View-Based Eargo Lands First Tranche of Planned $45M Round

Mountain View, Calif. -- Eargo, a Mountain View-based direct-to-consumer hearing technology company, said it has landed the first tranche of its planned $45 million third round of funding. Nan Fung Life Sciences led the investment, which also included participation from New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Charles and Helen Schwab and Maveron. The company said it will use the proceeds to bolster its product innovation, marketing and branding activities. Eargo touts the "world's smallest" and "most comfortable" rechargeable hearing aids, which it sells directly to consumers at prices generally more affordable than traditional providers. "We believe people shouldn't feel that they need a hearing aid. They should feel that they want one," said CEO Christian Gormsen. "Eargo was created with this in mind and we're just getting started."

o TPG Growth Leads Funding Round for Agricultural data Startup Gro Intelligence

San Francisco -- TPG Growth, a middle market and growth equity fund of San Francisco- and Texas-based investment firm TPG, said on Tuesday it has led a new round of funding in agricultural data analytics business Gro Intelligence. Financial terms of the round were not disclosed. Data Collective and strategic family offices also took part in the company's "A-2" round. Based in New York and Nairobi, Gro Intelligence has developed a platform dedicated to search and predictive analytics in agriculture. The company collects and synthesizes hundreds of trillions of data points, helping users make better decisions and improve their operations. "Gro Intelligence is reimagining how data can be used in global agriculture," said founder and CEO Sara Menker. "Agricultural data is complex and messy, historically requiring teams of analysts and huge amounts of time to sort and process. Our product solves this problem and simultaneously opens up a level of analysis previously unavailable to entire sections of the agriculture supply chain."

o Santa Clara-Based Intel Capital Invests $60 Million in 15 Tech Startups

Santa Clara, Calif. -- Intel Capital, the Santa Clara-based venture capital arm of the large chipmaker, said it has made new investments totaling more than $60 million in 15 technology startups. Those receiving funding include: Mountain View-based Bigstream, EchoPixel and Reniac; Redwood City-based Synthego and Synack; New York-based Amenity Analytics; Japan-based LeapMind; Canada-based AdHawk Microsystems; Los Angeles-based Trace; San Francisco-based Bossa Nova Robotics; China-based Horizon Robotics; Massachusetts-based TileDB; Israel-based Alcide and Intezer; and Oregon-based Eclypsium. "The world is undergoing a data explosion," said Wendell Brooks, Intel's senior vice president and president of Intel Capital. "By 2020, every autonomous vehicle on the road will create 4 TB of data per day. A million self-driving cars will create the same amount of data every day as 3 billion people. As Intel transitions to a data company, Intel Capital is actively investing in startups across the technology spectrum that can help expand the data ecosystem and pathfind important new technologies." The latest group of new portfolio companies brings Intel Capital's year-to-date investing to more than $566 million.

o Pleasanton-Based Blackhawk Network Names Charles Garner as New CFO

Pleasanton, Calif. -- Blackhawk Network, a Pleasanton-based financial technology company, has named Charles Garner as its chief financial officer (CFO). He succeeds Jerry Ulrich, who will continue to serve as the company's chief administrative officer until he retires following a transition period. Garner previously served as the CFO and chief administrative officer of Zelis Healthcare, and earlier held various leadership roles at MedAssets. "Chuck brings deep experience as a public company CFO, and has demonstrated impressive leadership and oversight of other growing and diversifying technology organizations," said Talbott Roche, Blackhawk's president and CEO. "His skill set will help Blackhawk improve market performance." Blackhawk develops new ways to give, receive and use "branded value," such as gift cards, digital payments and loyalty points.


Campaigns & Elections Summit - Nov. 13 - Washington, D.C.

Our 3rd annual Campaigns & Marketing Summit is a month away in D.C.

The Early-Bird Rate Ends on Tuesday! It will save you 30%

The summit on Nov. 13 brings together digital, tech, marketing and campaign executives to discuss the future of technology, social media, digital marketing, and more.For more information, go to: http://www.camsummitdc.com

This year's keynotes include:

o Noam Cohen, former tech columnist, The New York Times
o Shawn DuBravac, author, futurist, and former chief economist at CTA

Tech/Brand Panels Include:

o Email Marketing & Deliverability: Getting Into the Inbox
o SEO in 2018: Preparing For Mobile-First and More
o Social Media: Driving Engagement in a Distracted World
Insights from comScore: A Dive Into the Latest Data for Marketers




o Briefly Noted:

(San Jose, Calif.) San Jose-based PLDA Group, the parent company of electronics brands including PLDA, Accelize and PLDA Training, said on Tuesday it has divested its REFLEX CES brand. The comp[any said the move will allow it to focus on continued growth and strategic investment in its core markets, including IP and Tool creation, as well as services and support for FPGA and ASIC designs.

(San Jose, Calif.) San Jose-based [24]7, a developer of technology that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to help companies understand consumer intent, said on Tuesday it has changed its name to [24]7.ai. The company said the new name better reflects its use of artificial intelligence.

(Los Gatos, Calif.) Los Gatos-based subscription video service Netflix said late Monday it has priced $1.6 billion of senior notes in a new offering. The notes, due 2028, are being offered to qualified institutional buyers, with the sale expected to close on Thursday. The company said it will use the proceeds for general corporate purposes, which may include content acquisitions, production and development, capital expenditures, investments, working capital and potential acquisitions and strategic transactions.

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