Cervin Ventures December Newsletter

At this time every year, the center of the technology universe moves to Las Vegas where Amazon Web Services (AWS) holds their annual conference. 2017 was no exception. 32,000 attendees converged onto 4 hotels to see how AWS continues to dominate the public cloud market.

AWS is now a $18B business, growing at 42% a year, which is simply stunning. It is accelerating its pace of innovation, and that is incredibly unusual for a company of its size. 1300 new features were launched in 2017 – that is about 3.5 features a day – up from 1000 in 2016. As investors in enterprise technology, it is critical that we examine how AWS products could impact our existing companies. In addition, the event allows us to reflect on what potential opportunities could AWS (and cloud technologies in general) create for us.

AWS seems to have cornered the developer and customer mindshare. Large and diverse customers like Expedia, Goldman Sachs and the NFL joined Andy Jassy, the CEO of AWS at his keynote. We also ran into customers like Northwestern Mutual and SunGard who told us that they had no choice but to move to the cloud, and AWS was their first choice. That said, they did intend to have a presence on Azure or Google Cloud Platform by 2019.

For this newsletter, we will focus on one of the biggest themes of the keynote which was, not surprisingly, AWS’ efforts in machine learning (ML). AWS is innovating at all three layers of machine learning. The bottom layer is for developers who are experts in machine learning and AWS supports all dominant machine learning frameworks like TensorFlow, MXNet and Caffe2. The middle layer is for those who are advanced developers but those who aren’t experts in ML. They introduced a new suite called Sagemaker, which greatly simplifies training, deployment and management of ML in production. Finally, for the top layer, AWS has tools like Polly, Lex and Rekognition. However, they further improved Rekognition, by introducing Rekognition Video, which can locate people and activities within video. They also introduced Amazon Kinesis Video Streams, which does for video what Amazon Kinesis does for data.

The hardware star of the show was AWS Deeplens, a deep learning enabled camera that integrates with various AWS services including Sagemaker and Kinesis Video Streams enabling developers to use DeepLens’ models to experiment and build ML applications.

In addition to ML, AWS has innovated heavily in the areas of container management and deployment, IoT, and real time and batch translation to name a few. One of our companies Stackshare has compiled a list of the new services. We look forward to Azure and Google Cloud’s responses. We are truly in a magical age.

LaunchDarkly raises $21M Series B

We are pleased to announce that LaunchDarkly, the leading feature management platform has just raised $21M from Redpoint Ventures and Vertex Ventures. Cervin was the first institutional investor in LaunchDarkly and we are ecstatic to see Edith and John’s vision coming to reality. It is even more gratifying to see leading companies like Macy’s and GoPro (in addition to many others that we cannot name) use LaunchDarkly. We wish the team all the very best as they continue to rapidly scale LaunchDarkly. Read more about the funding here.

PayStand Secures $6M Series A Funding to Disrupt B2B Financial Services Industry

PayStand, the B2B payment platform for the future of business, today announced a $6M Series A round led by BlueRun Ventures with participation from Cervin Ventures, Serra Ventures, TiE and Capital for Founders.

PayStand will use this new round of funding to scale its account receivable systems, and launch a new free accounts payable product line, opening up in beta today.

Click here to read the story on VentureBeat.

QuanticMind Unveils Machine Learning-Powered Solution for Google Shopping

QuanticMind, the data platform for intelligent marketing, today unveiled a smarter way for retailers to significantly lift their e-commerce performance by leveraging the power of intent.

Bringing its unique, data-driven approach to Google Shopping with soon-to-be-released support for additional e-commerce channels, QuanticMind Shopping maximizes retail efficiency and overall profits. The product’s leading-edge technology surfaces crucial insights and empowers retailers to optimize performance, consistently delivering the best possible results, at scale.

Click here to read the press release.

ArmorText Names Dr. Harry G. Broadman to Its Advisory Board

Today, ArmorText, the developer of a secure messaging and file-sharing platform for companies in domestic and international markets, announced the appointment of Dr. Harry G. Broadman to its Advisory Board.

Broadman is a former private equity executive, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) senior managing director, White House trade negotiator, Rand Corporation consultant, and Harvard faculty member.

Click here to read the press release.

Company Spotlight: Catch&Release

Analisa Goodin

Founder & CEO

More than 2 billion images and videos get uploaded to the Web every day. Led by CEO and founder, Analisa Goodin, Catch&Release is the fastest and most reliable way for creative professionals to tap into that resource and transcend the limitations of traditional stock and Internet searches.

C&R’s software combines teams of curators with technology to source and clear the content you crave. From vintage to contemporary, professional to UGC, C&R finds the shots that match the nuances of a customer’s brief—and ignite the imaginations of their audience.

C&R’s licensing process identifies copyright owners and negotiates rights and prices for you. C&R’s process handles every detail—from talent releases to managing payments and renewals. And because the company indemnifies its work, customers take none of the risk.

Learn more about Catch&Release here.

We will continue to keep you updated on the progress of our portfolio companies, new investments, and key trends in the enterprise technology space.

Preetish and Neeraj