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Marco Financial raises $82M in debt, equity seed round to support small Latin American exporters

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Small and medium-sized businesses in Latin America can find it difficult to get the funds they need to export their goods to the United States. It’s a gap Marco Financial is looking to bridge through its tech-enabled risk assessment platform that can provide better insight on who should receive loans.

To continue its mission, the Miami-based trade finance company raised $7 million in seed funding and $75 million in a credit facility, led by Arcadia Funds LLC and Kayyak Ventures, to increase its credit line to $100 million. Marco was backed last September by a small seed round from Struck Capital and Antler and over $20 million in a credit facility underwritten by Arcadia Funds.

Additional investors in the newest seed round and expanded credit facility include Village Global VC, Flexport Ventures, Tresalia Capital, 342 Capital, Struck Capital, Antler LLC, Antler Elevate, Florida Funders and Fox Ventures. Strategic angel investors include Phil Bentley, CEO of Mitie, and Naman Budhdeo, co-founder and CEO of TripStack and FlightNetwork.

Jacob Shoihet, Marco’s co-founder and CEO, says not only is there a roughly $350 billion trade finance market to go after, but cited data learned from Javier Urrutia, director of Foreign Investments at PROCOLOMBIA, an organization that promotes foreign investment and nontraditional exports in Colombia, that for every 1% increase in export productivity, 500,000 new jobs can be created.

“For small and medium businesses in trade, this is important for companies creating a high level of job growth and lowering the poverty rate,” Shoihet told TechCrunch. “By making it easier for businesses to transcend the 30, 60, 90 and now even 120 days they wait to be paid for supplies, we can solve that gap and unlock billions in value so that companies can scale.”

Shoihet met his co-founder and COO Peter D. Spradling through the Antler accelerator, a Singapore- and New York-based early-stage investment and advisory services program that connects entrepreneurs and tech operators to launch new businesses. They started Marco in 2019 and now have offices in New York, Dallas and across Latin America.

Spradling was born in Uruguay and knows firsthand about the challenges of importing and exporting from working in his family’s slaughterhouse and later founding three of his own companies. In fact, one of his businesses imported e-cigarettes — his mother was a lifelong smoker, and he wanted to help her quit. He recalls pre-selling his inventory at a discount in order to get the money to import the goods.

“Banks don’t like risk, which means businesses spend most of their time trying to get financing rather than increasing sales,” Spradling told TechCrunch. “Banks in Latin America have a saying that ‘they lend money to people who don’t need it.’ Families with money can access the banks, but you can’t launch a business without capital, and many owners lack that access to banks.”

Marco’s factoring product enables new companies to get started without having to put up the significant amount of collateral that banks are asking. Banks typically look at financial statements for the past two years of the business and give a line of credit accordingly. Not needing as much collateral also enables more women in Latin America to become business owners because they often don’t have collateral, Spradling said.

In contrast, Marco reduces risk by basing its lines of credit on an analysis of the future potential of the business, thereby freeing up cash so that small and medium exporters can continue their operations and invest in their growth. The company is able to show what kind of financing can be obtained based on the amount of data customers provide. Marco also said it can reduce the loan origination process from over two months to one week and provide funding to approved exporters within 24 hours.

Cristóbal Silva Lombardi, general partner at Kayyak Ventures, told TechCrunch that Marco is providing an alternative for small and medium exporters to access capital that they previously had to get from friends and family.

In countries like Chile, electronic invoicing innovation has enabled the factoring industry to grow, and in turn, companies like Marco tend to become leaders in supply chain financing and shrink the high interest rates spread between small businesses and large firms.

“Marco wants to take that worldwide,” Silva Lombardi said. “There is a lot of value to tackle. Factoring is one of the corners in the financing market that hasn’t been tackled, and by using technology, Marco is building and creating value for the whole society. This is where venture capital firms should be putting their dollars — in companies where technology and talent unleash a lot of value.”

Since launching its product in January 2020, the company has processed thousands of invoices across 20 countries, amounting to more than $18 million.

However, it wasn’t easy in the beginning, according to Shoihet. Starting during the global pandemic, Marco initially had challenges accessing the market due to exports and supply chains being strained.

Today, Marco has found its groove and is lending as little as $25,000 per month and as much as $10 million, Shoihet said.

As such, the new funding will go toward simplifying cross-border payments, assessing risk and productizing ways to take unstructured data, processes and work to create a better experience for the customer. The company also said it aims to give large logistics providers the ability to finance exports on their own.

Marco was also able to attract new leadership, including Prajwal Manalwar, chief product officer, and Sabrina Teichman, chief growth officer. Manalwar worked for 13 years at PayPal, where he most recently was a product lead focused on debit card authorization rates and in-store payments. Teichman joins after 11 years with the U.S. government, most recently serving as managing director for the U.S. International Development Finance Corp.

“Now we can work on how to solve the problem at a larger scale by building infrastructure and information through the underwriting process and through partnerships from larger players in shipping, trade services and insurance — all incumbent industries that have clients with working capital,” Shoihet said. “By innovating the underwriting process, we can come to better conclusions and be the trade finance-as-a-service provider to clients in emerging markets.”

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Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/07/13/marco-financial-raises-82m-seed-round-to-support-small-latin-american-exporters/

SaaS

Confluent CEO Jay Kreps is coming to TC Sessions: SaaS for a fireside chat

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As companies process ever-increasing amounts of data, moving it in real time is a huge challenge for organizations. Confluent is a streaming data platform built on top of the open source Apache Kafka project that’s been designed to process massive numbers of events. To discuss this, and more, Confluent CEO and co-founder Jay Kreps will be joining us at TC Sessions: SaaS on Oct 27th for a fireside chat.

Data is a big part of the story we are telling at the SaaS event, as it has such a critical role in every business. Kreps has said in the past the data streams are at the core of every business, from sales to orders to customer experiences. As he wrote in a company blog post announcing the company’s $250 million Series E in April 2020, Confluent is working to process all of this data in real time — and that was a big reason why investors were willing to pour so much money into the company.

“The reason is simple: though new data technologies come and go, event streaming is emerging as a major new category that is on a path to be as important and foundational in the architecture of a modern digital company as databases have been,” Kreps wrote at the time.

The company’s streaming data platform takes a multi-faceted approach to streaming and builds on the open source Kafka project. While anyone can download and use Kafka, as with many open source projects, companies may lack the resources or expertise to deal with the raw open source code. Many a startup have been built on open source to help simplify whatever the project does, and Confluent and Kafka are no different.

Kreps told us in 2017 that companies using Kafka as a core technology include Netflix, Uber, Cisco and Goldman Sachs. But those companies have the resources to manage complex software like this. Mere mortal companies can pay Confluent to access a managed cloud version or they can manage it themselves and install it in the cloud infrastructure provider of choice.

The project was actually born at LinkedIn in 2011 when their engineers were tasked with building a tool to process the enormous number of events flowing through the platform. The company eventually open sourced the technology it had created and Apache Kafka was born.

Confluent launched in 2014 and raised over $450 million along the way. In its last private round in April 2020, the company scored a $4.5 billion valuation on a $250 million investment. As of today, it has a market cap of over $17 billion.

In addition to our discussion with Kreps, the conference will also include Google’s Javier Soltero, Amplitude’s Olivia Rose, as well as investors Kobie Fuller and Casey Aylward, among others. We hope you’ll join us. It’s going to be a thought-provoking lineup.

Buy your pass now to save up to $100 when you book by October 1. We can’t wait to see you in October!

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
Click here to access.

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/09/16/confluent-ceo-jay-kreps-is-coming-to-tc-sessions-saas-for-a-fireside-chat/

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SaaS

Confluent CEO Jay Kreps is coming to TC Sessions: SaaS for a fireside chat

Published

on

As companies process ever-increasing amounts of data, moving it in real time is a huge challenge for organizations. Confluent is a streaming data platform built on top of the open source Apache Kafka project that’s been designed to process massive numbers of events. To discuss this, and more, Confluent CEO and co-founder Jay Kreps will be joining us at TC Sessions: SaaS on Oct 27th for a fireside chat.

Data is a big part of the story we are telling at the SaaS event, as it has such a critical role in every business. Kreps has said in the past the data streams are at the core of every business, from sales to orders to customer experiences. As he wrote in a company blog post announcing the company’s $250 million Series E in April 2020, Confluent is working to process all of this data in real time — and that was a big reason why investors were willing to pour so much money into the company.

“The reason is simple: though new data technologies come and go, event streaming is emerging as a major new category that is on a path to be as important and foundational in the architecture of a modern digital company as databases have been,” Kreps wrote at the time.

The company’s streaming data platform takes a multi-faceted approach to streaming and builds on the open source Kafka project. While anyone can download and use Kafka, as with many open source projects, companies may lack the resources or expertise to deal with the raw open source code. Many a startup have been built on open source to help simplify whatever the project does, and Confluent and Kafka are no different.

Kreps told us in 2017 that companies using Kafka as a core technology include Netflix, Uber, Cisco and Goldman Sachs. But those companies have the resources to manage complex software like this. Mere mortal companies can pay Confluent to access a managed cloud version or they can manage it themselves and install it in the cloud infrastructure provider of choice.

The project was actually born at LinkedIn in 2011 when their engineers were tasked with building a tool to process the enormous number of events flowing through the platform. The company eventually open sourced the technology it had created and Apache Kafka was born.

Confluent launched in 2014 and raised over $450 million along the way. In its last private round in April 2020, the company scored a $4.5 billion valuation on a $250 million investment. As of today, it has a market cap of over $17 billion.

In addition to our discussion with Kreps, the conference will also include Google’s Javier Soltero, Amplitude’s Olivia Rose, as well as investors Kobie Fuller and Casey Aylward, among others. We hope you’ll join us. It’s going to be a thought-provoking lineup.

Buy your pass now to save up to $100 when you book by October 1. We can’t wait to see you in October!

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
Click here to access.

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/09/16/confluent-ceo-jay-kreps-is-coming-to-tc-sessions-saas-for-a-fireside-chat/

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SaaS

Scaling and Measuring an Effective Developer Relations Organization

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image

Developer relations tops the list of priorities for many infrastructure companies. After all developer interest is a key step in the go-to-market motion. Many products enter an organization bottoms-up, and months or years later, become so important to the company, they buy a contract.

How does a team scale and measure a devrel team? To answer that question, Redpoint Office Hours welcomes Shawn Wang, on Wednesday, September 22nd at 9:00 AM PT. Head of developer relations at Temporal, Shawn has worked on React and serverless JavaScript at Two Sigma, Netlify and AWS. He has started and run communities for hundreds of thousands of developers, like Svelte Society, /r/reactjs, and the React TypeScript Cheatsheet.
His nontechnical writing was also recently published in the Coding Career Handbook for Junior to Senior developers.

In this session, my colleague, Sai Senthilkumar, will join Shawn to cover:

  1. The four pillars of developer relations
  2. Your north star for measuring the strength of your DevRel efforts
  3. How to successfully recruit the right developer relations team in this competitive environment

If you’re interested in attending, please register here. This event will be interactive. We will collect questions from participants during registration and try to cover them throughout the discussion. Attendees will also have the opportunity to participate in a live Q&A at the end of the session.

If you would like to stay notified of all future Office Hours, please subscribe here.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
Click here to access.

Source: https://www.tomtunguz.com/shawn-wang-office-hours/

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SaaS

What is the Product the Customer Buys Before They Buy Yours?

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What is the product a customer or a prospect buys immediately before they buy yours?

We’ve all heard the words digital transformation. Now that I’ve given you time to unroll your eyes and let the sarcastic comments dissipate, please give me a chance to make something useful of this idea.

As a customer progresses along their journey, they evolve from a previous inferior state to a new superior one. The journey might be a migration from an on-premises data stack to a modern cloud data pipeline. Perhaps, they are in the midst of modernizing their sales infrastructure from simply Salesforce to a broader suite of call recording, marketing attribution, and sales content enablement. A business could be migrating to a Kubernetes stack to power a microservices architecture with distributed tracing.

For Looker, the preceding step was the adoption of a cloud data warehouse. By partnering with the newest generation companies like Snowflake and Google Big Query, and demoing with them, Looker’s product was part of a packaged pitch (data warehouse and BI together). At the end of many sales pitches, a prospect would say, “I’ll take it all.”

Whatever the journey is, the customer isn’t purchasing just one solution to solve their needs. The typical mid-market company purchases 137 SaaS products, and the figure grows 30% annually. Companies collect tremendous amounts of software, and they layer it on top of one another to ascend a Maslow’s hierarchy of software needs until they reach actualization.

Which is the rung of the software ladder immediately beneath yours? Whatever it is, those are the companies to partner with, develop technical integrations to accelerate adoption, co-sell and generally go-to-market alongside.

After a prospect has adopted the software rung below yours, their eyes will rise to yours, and that’s your opportunity to win the great game of Risk played in software.. Position your startup to be there when they look to the future.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
Click here to access.

Source: https://www.tomtunguz.com/the-tool-before-your-product/

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