October Newsletter Unicorpses

October 22, 2015

Each month we share our thoughts on enterprise software, highlighting the latest developments from our portfolio companies, updating our readers on new financings and much more!

Be sure to follow Cervin Ventures on Twitter and like us on Facebook to stay up to speed throughout the month.

Featured Commentary

Storage Technology: Over the past five years, VCs have invested more than $6 billion into nearly 100 different storage hardware, software and services startups. Now, storage technology is turning into one of Silicon Valley’s hottest sectors. We are very fortunate to be partnering with Dr. Milind Bhandarkar, a technologist in big data infrastructure, to develop Ampool, a Cervin Ventures-backed company, which is developing a next generation approach to memory management. Read more about Ampool in our “Spotlight” section below.

The Pace of Innovation continues at an unabated pace: The quality of business plans and entrepreneurs does not seem to be slowing down. There is significant discussion about “frothy valuations” at various stages. At Cervin Ventures, we have observed that Series B funding and above have seen valuation inflation. However, this fits with our strategy of investing at the early stage, and following up in Series A round to preserve our ownership in our portfolio companies.

The “Unicorpse”: In July 2015 Aileen Lee (founder of Cowboy Ventures) coined a new term, the “Unicorpse,” and explained how the “IPO is the new down round.” Brad Feld followed up last month, and wrote about where the technology industry was heading.

Financings and Portfolio Updates

VC funding in the U.S. hit a multiyear high of $56.4B in 2014. And 2015 is poised to be even bigger – with $36.9B invested in the first half of the year. Internet companies were responsible for 51% of the funding.

EdCast Launches Interactive Education Platform

The new 10 Minute Insight Series developed by EdCast brings together executives, political figures and celebrities for interactive lectures and Q&As with participants through the EdCast site. Chief Executive Karl Mehta said, “There is not a single social media site that is focused on knowledge networking. Everybody needs to learn every day in a social way. We are building knowledge networking.” [TechCrunch]

And last month, Karl shared the stage with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Google CEO Sundar Pichai at Google headquarters. Karl recently wrote an op-ed in the Economic Times on how Silicon Valley can take India into the digital age. Cervin Ventures-backed EdCast is one of the ways to accomplish this goal! We were honored to join Karl and 300+ other technology executives at a dinner with the Prime Minister in San Jose.

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Be sure to check out all of the recent press on EdCast, including articles in Business Standard, Xconomy and Metro News.

QuanticMind Raises $10.3M for Expansion

QuanticMind (formerly InsideVault) raised $10.3 million in September to power the delivery of the world’s best predictive advertising management platform (AMP). The new funding will help expand the company’s operational infrastructure with a direct focus on product, engineering, marketing and sales efforts. To see how QuanticMind works, watch this overview video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EuZHkp8VvW8

Portfolio Company Spotlight

Replay Technologies: Cervin’s​ portfolio company, Replay Technology has developed a revolutionary new video technology, freeD (free-dimensional video technology). The new video system literally turned heads at this year’s U.S. Open Tennis Championships. Installed at Arthur Ashe Stadium​ and making its Grand Slam debut on ESPN, the freeD system relies on 28 5K cameras, each capturing a 2D image, and a custom algorithm to process the images into a 3D scene. The operator can freeze the action, then turn the perspective to show any angle in the replay. [Sports Video Group]

The company has already established a partnership with Intel. Check out this video for a more comprehensive view of the potential of freeD Technology.

Ampool: Still in stealth mode, Ampool provides simplicity and speed-up of big data pipelines using modern data architecture to manage all types of data and allow data manipulation to be faster and more efficient. Ampool improves productivity of data ‘workers’ and builds agility in businesses to get from ‘data to insights’ faster. Ampool will enable pooling of chip-based memory (both volatile and non-volatile) across a cluster for parallel, high-speed data storage and access, reducing complexity of real-time data-centric applications. As we confront unprecedented amounts of data, much of it in real-time, there is a shift from disk-centric to memory-centric computing. This shift requires a complete rethinking of file and storage system design.

Memory-centric computing assumes that large working sets of data live in system memory (or RAM) as opposed to disk drives or solid-state disks (SSDs). Until now, we have relied on tiered memory (RAM, disk drives, tape), which served to trade off cost and performance, and led to an entire computing architecture that has persisted for a long time. Memory-centric computing will flatten this memory hierarchy and completely upend computer architectures.

It’s a revolutionary concept, one that has never existed before. We are finally close to achieving this milestone. Ampool will be a pioneer of next-generation file and storage systems. Our memory-centric architecture represents the future of storage.

Follow Cervin Ventures on Twitter and like us on Facebook to stay up to date throughout the month.

We would love to hear from you! Email us at info@cervinventures.com and let us know what you would want to know about the early-stage enterprise software space.