Virtual meetings are a fundamental part of how we interact with each other these days, but even when (if!?) we find better ways to mitigate the effects of COVID-19, many think that they will be here to stay. That means there is an opportunity out there to improve how they work — because let’s face it, Zoom Fatigue is real and I for one am not super excited anymore to be a part of your Team.
Mmhmm, the video presentation startup from former Evernote CEO Phil Libin with ambitions to change the conversation (literally and figuratively) about what we can do with the medium — its first efforts have included things like the ability to manipulate presentation material around your video in real time to mimic newscasts — is today announcing an acquisition as it continues to home in on a wider launch of its product, currently in a closed beta.
It has acquired Memix, an outfit out of San Francisco that has built a series of filters you can apply to videos — either pre-recorded or streaming — to change the lighting, details in the background, or across the whole of the screen, and an app that works across various video platforms to apply those filters.
Like mmhmm, Memix is today focused on building tools that you use on existing video platforms — not building a video player itself. Memix today comes in the form of a virtual camera, accessible via Windows apps for Zoom, WebEx and Microsoft Teams; or web apps like Facebook Messenger, Houseparty and others that run on Chrome, Edge and Firefox.
Libin said in an interview that the plan will be to keep that virtual camera operating as is while it works on integrating the filters and Memix’s technology into mmhmm, while also laying the groundwork for building more on top of the platform.
Libin’s view is that while there are already a lot of video products and users in the market today, we are just at the start of it all, with technology and our expectations changing rapidly. We are shifting, he said, from wanting to reproduce existing experiences (like meetings) to creating completely new ones that might actually be better.
“There is a profound change in the world that we are just at the beginning of,” he said in an interview. “The main thing is that everything is hybrid. If you imagine all the experiences we can have, from in-person to online, or recorded to live, up to now almost everything in life fit neatly into one of those quadrants. The boundaries were fixed. Now all these boundaries have melted away we can rebuild every experience to be natively hybrid. This is a monumental change.”
That is a concept that the Memix founders have not just been thinking about, but also building the software to make it a reality.
“There is a lot to do,” said Pol Jeremias-Vila, one of the co-founders. “One of our ideas was to try to provide people who do streaming professionally an alternative to the really complicated set-ups you currently use,” which can involve expensive cameras, lights, microphones, stands and more. “Can we bring that to a user just with a couple of clicks? What can be done to put the same kind of tech you get with all that hardware into the hands of a massive audience?”
Memix’s team of two — co-founders Inigo Quilez and Pol Jeremias-Vila, Spaniards who met not in Spain but the Bay Area — are not coming on board full-time, but they will be helping with the transition and integration of the tech.
Libin said that he first became aware of Quilez from a YouTube video he’d posted on “The principles of painting with maths”, but that doesn’t give a lot away about the two co-founders. They are in reality graphic engineering whizzes, with Jeremias-Vila currently the lead graphics software engineer at Pixar, and Quilez until last year a product manager and lead engineer at Facebook, where he created, among other things, the Quill VR animation and production tool for Oculus.
Because working the kind of hours that people put in at tech companies wasn’t quite enough time to work on graphics applications, the pair started another effort called Beauty Pi (not to be confused with Beauty Pie), which has become a home for various collaborations between the two that had nothing to do with their day jobs. Memix had been bootstrapped by the pair as a project built out of that. Other efforts have included Shadertoy, a community and platform for creating Shaders (a computer program created to shade in 3D scenes).
That background of Memix points to an interesting opportunity in the world of video right now. In part because of all the focus (sorry not sorry!) on video right now as a medium because of our current pandemic circumstances, but also because of the advances in broadband, devices, apps and video technology, we’re seeing a huge proliferation of startups building interesting variations and improvements on the basic concept of video streaming.
Just in the area of videoconferencing alone, some of the hopefuls have included Headroom, which launched the other week with a really interesting AI-based approach to helping its users get more meaningful notes from meetings, and using computer vision to help presenters “read the room” better by detecting if people are getting bored, annoyed and more.
Vowel is also bringing a new set of tools not just to annotate meetings and their corresponding transcriptions in a better way, but to then be able to search across all your sessions to follow up items and dig into what people said over multiple events.
And Descript, which originally built a tool to edit audio tracks, earlier this week launched a video component, letting users edit visuals and what you say in those moving pictures, by cutting, pasting and rewriting a word-based document transcribing the sound from that video. All of these have obvious B2B angles, like mmhmm, and they are just the tip of the iceberg.
Indeed, the huge amount of IP out there is interesting in itself. Yet the jury is still out on where all of it would best live and thrive as the space continues to evolve, with more defined business models (and leading companies) only now emerging.
That presents an interesting opportunity not just for the biggies like Zoom, Google and Microsoft, but also players who are building entirely new platforms from the ground up.
Mmhmm is a notable company in that context. Not only does it have the reputation and inspiration of Libin behind it — a force powerful enough that even his foray into the ill-fated world of chatbots got headlines — but it’s also backed by the likes of Sequoia, which led a $31 million round earlier this month.
Libin said he doesn’t like to think of his startup as a consolidator, or the industry in a consolidation play, as that implies a degree of maturity in an area that he still feels is just getting started.
“We’re looking at this not so much as consolidation, which to me means market share,” he said. “Our main criteria is that we wanted to work with teams that we are in love with.”
How Much Is Your SaaS Startup Worth?
How much is your SaaS startup worth? While the only accurate answer we can provide is “whatever a buyer is willing to pay.” There are many useful methods you can use to come up with a rough valuation which we outline below. To help narrow things down further, we’ve focused on those that VCs look at and find crucial. Knowing these factors will help you stay laser-focused on the right metrics and set yourself up for success down the road.
MRR, Metrics, Multiples
One common method for determining the value of your SaaS is to use a standard business valuation calculation. This uses a specific number to multiply the business’s average net profit to determine the listing price. Multiples are a bit difficult to determine and can range from 20x to 80x, depending on the business and industry.
Metrics to consider when determining your multiple should include the level of the owner’s involvement, growth trends, business age, churn, CAC, LTV, and MRR vs. ARR.
What Is MRR?
This Is the monthly recurring revenue. ARR would be the annual recurring revenue. As a business owner, it can be tempting to promote your yearly plans to inflate your ARR and increase the overall income of your SaaS.
However, many investors prefer to see a steady and robust MRR. This is considered safer and more predictable. To increase the value of your SaaS, focus on growing your MRR and keeping your churn low.
What Are Multiples?
There are two main types of multiples to use for valuation, equity, and enterprise value. There are also two methods for performing an analysis using multiples. There’s the comparable company analysis (Comps) and the precedent transaction analysis (precedents).
When using multiples correctly, it helps investors to determine the potential future value of a SaaS startup.
Caution should be used with this method. It doesn’t accurately portray a company’s growth performance. It also simplified several complex factors into a single value, which can be inaccurate or misleading. Multiples are best used for determining short term data rather than the long term.
SaaS Valuation Multiples 2020
The onset of COVID brought an interesting change to the valuation multiples for SaaS firms. As with all industries, there was an initial drop, which was seen through all industries. This is to be expected when faced with the uncertainty of a global pandemic.
However, in the following months of 2020, the world changed, and with it, so did the dependency of SaaS. Businesses that never considered investing in software a priority are now re-evaluating that decision. This has led to an ultimate high in SaaS valuations. The median multiple rose almost 20% from what pre-COVID levels were.
Some of the most in-demand software are video communications, data management, digital content and service delivery, messaging, and digital storefronts. As businesses continue to depend on these software solutions, the SaaS companies benefit from having very low churn rates.
As companies look to the future, the software will become invaluable. The new normal has businesses valuing and investing in software as an integral part of their current operations and growth.
Valuation of Comparable Companies
Because there are so many methods of valuation, sometimes it can be helpful to make a comparison. If another similar company already has an established value, then you can build on this data to determine the value of your SaaS.
One easy way to begin this method of valuation is to look at publicly traded companies. The data is easily accessible, updated in real-time, and readily accepted by business professionals.
To justify the valuation of your business, show how and why it’s comparable to the chosen one currently publicly traded. This could be through current positioning or with a look at historical track records.
There’s one caveat to this method, and that’s the public to private discount. Because public companies are traded on the stock market, there is a greater demand. They also tend to be larger companies that are less likely to fail, which encourages investors to spend more.
To use this method, find the current revenue multiple of a public SaaS company that has a similar growth rate to your company. Subtract two from that multiple. Now use this new multiple to multiply your company’s twelve-month revenue.
Proprietary Technology (IP) Developed By The Company
You may find that using traditional valuation techniques can give inaccurate results when applied to proprietary software. Even if you try to use methods that are commonly applied to similar intellectual property, the results can be misleading.
This can be a problem when there are multiple departments looking at the software valuation to make their business decisions. While the software is its own industry, it also influences countless other industries. For many, 10% of the investment goes into the software. This percentage increases for the healthcare, education, and banking industries.
For some buyers, the purchase of a SaaS company is to acquire a complete package to improve business processes or to integrate into their platform. For others, the investment in a SaaS is about determining the entire value of the company. This also includes the value of the actual business, the software product, and IP ownership.
If a company owns valuable intellectual property, this gives them a competitive advantage and improves the chances that they could be acquired by a larger company seeking their solution.
However, if a company does not have any proprietary technology, they run the risk of being copied by a competitor or a future player in the market, which could negatively impact its valuation in the eyes of investors.
Accurately Value Your SaaS
Sometimes, it can be helpful to have an outside neutral third party to determine your SaaS value. Without the influence of emotions, they can give a more accurate determination.
It’s also helpful to work with an outside party that has experience working with investors. This can give you additional insight into what a venture capital firm considers valuable.
Our firm can provide the guidance and support you need to further protect and develop your SaaS business. Schedule a free consultation today and speak with one of our experienced and knowledgeable attorneys.
Messaging Software Startup Aampe Raises Rs 13 Crore From Sequoia India Surge
- Aampe is a Singapore-based startup that embeds experiments within routine messaging to turn consumer communication into a business growth engine.
- The startup will use the funding for product development to serve global customers.
Singapore-based personalized messaging software startup Aampe has raised $1.8 million (or about Rs 13.2 crore) in funding led by Sequoia India scale-up program Sequoia India Surge.
The startup with fresh funding plans to accelerate its growth momentum and product development to serve the customers globally.
Last week, US-based venture capital firm Sequoia Capital had announced the names of 17 startups, including Aampe, Kyt, Pagarbook, Plum, among others.
The selected startups received a total of $45 million in their financing rounds from Sequoia Surge and other investors.
From the last few months, Sequoia scale-up program is actively investing in startups from industries, including edtech, fintech, consumer tech, health tech, developer tools, B2B marketplaces, and tech for small and medium-sized enterprises.
Commenting on the development, Paul Meinshausen, Co-founder, Aampe, said, “As a data scientist, I’ve struggled repeatedly across multiple companies with the quality of tools for user messaging. Naive automation has been prioritized over reliable inference and quality data generation. We’re building Aampe to make first-class data science serve one of the most important responsibilities of any business: speaking and listening to customers,”
“While this is true to some extent, the usefulness of data also degrades quickly — and many companies underestimate the importance of continuously generating new and high-quality data. Aampe’s APIs do this and feed that data back into product development at both strategic and tactical levels,” he added.
Founded in July 2020, by Sami Abboud, Schaun Wheeler, and Paul Meinshausen. Aampe uses machine learning to personalize messages and communication for customers, helping businesses drive better customer retention and growth.
Since its inception, Aampe has acquired customers across Asia, including India, Singapore, Myanmar, and Indonesia.
The startup helps product managers to unlock the power of data and continuous experimentation to deliver the business value.
Aiming for seamless integration, Aampe’s APIs, and reinforcement learning pipelines and models can be easily plugged into messaging and communication providers that companies already use. This allows product managers, data scientists, and growth marketers to avoid expensive and time-intensive engineering projects.
Aampe also has its offices in Antwerp (Belgium) and Raleigh (USA).
with inputs from PTI (Press Trust Of India)
Tata inches closer to make foray into Online Grocery Biz
Unless something really goes bad, Tata Group should be making an official foray into the online grocery biz by as early as next week. Sources privy to the matter claim that salt-to-steel conglomerate has almost closed on buying nearly 80% stake in BigBasket for $1.3 Bn. The deal reportedly values India’s largest online grocery store at almost $1.6 Bn.
According to several news reports, the Tata Group will acquire existing investors’ stake, which comes to around 50-60%. Additionally, the Mumbai based corporate giant will buy 20-30% new shares of BigBasket. This will take Tata’s stake in the company to 80%.
How BigBasket Benefits from Tata Acquisition deal
With Tata likely to become a majority stakeholder in BigBasket once the deal is officially signed, the latter will be in a much more commanding position to take on JioMart. What the Tata Group eventually brings for BigBasket is the funding muscle as well as the reputation of a large conglomerate and deep experience in scaling the business.
Probably no one could have matched Reliance’s funding prowess than the Tatas.
BigBasket in Numbers:
- Revenue & Losses in Fy20: Revenue = Rs 5,200 Cr & Losses = Rs 902 Cr
- Revenue & Losses in Fy19: Revenue = Rs 3,200 Cr & Losses = Rs 348 Cr
- Daily Orders: 3,00,000
- GMV: $1 Bn
How Tatas will benefit from BigBasket Acquisition Deal
With BigBasket acquisition deal, Tatas will get a massive market share in India’s online grocery Biz in one shot. The deal is also likely to become a launch pad for Tatas to foray into the e commerce biz in a big way. This foray is likely to happen through a super app, which is likely to be launched once the company seals the BigBasket.
With this super app, Tatas are aiming to dabble into the burgeoning e-commerce sector.
Sources claim that Tatas are sniffing a serious growth in the e-commerce in the post-Covid scenario.
Genesis Therapeutics raises $52M A round for its AI-focused drug discovery mission
Sifting through the trillions of molecules out there that might have powerful medicinal effects is a daunting task, but the solution biotech has found is to work smarter, not harder. Genesis Therapeutics has a new simulation approach and cross-disciplinary team that has clearly made an impression: the company just raised a $52 million A round.
Genesis competed in the Startup Battlefield at Disrupt last year, impressing judges with its potential, and obviously others saw it as well — in particular Rock Springs Capital, which led the round.
Over the last few years many companies have been formed in the drug discovery space, powered by increased computing and simulation power that lets them determine the potential of molecules in treating certain diseases. At least that’s the theory. The reality is a bit messier, and while these companies can narrow the search, they can’t just say “here, a cure for Parkinson’s.”
Founder Evan Feinberg got into the field when an illness he inherited made traditional lab work, as an intern at a big pharma company, difficult for him. The computational side of the field, however, was more accessible and ended up absorbing him entirely.
He had dabbled in the area before and arrived at what he feels is a breakthrough in how molecules are represented digitally. Machine learning has, of course, accelerated work in many fields, biochemistry among them, but he felt that the potential of the technology had not been tapped.
“I think initially the attempts were to kind of cut and paste deep learning techniques, and represent molecules a lot like images, and classify them — like you’d say, this is a cat picture or this is not a cat picture,” he explained in an interview. “We represent the molecules more naturally: as graphs. A set of nodes or vertices, those are atoms, and things that connect them, those are bonds. But we’re representing them not just as bond or no bond, but with multiple contact types between atoms, spatial distances, more complex features.”
The resulting representation is richer and more complex, a more complete picture of a molecule than you’d get from its chemical formula or a stick diagram showing the different structures and bonds. Because in the world of biochemistry, nothing is as simple as a diagram. Every molecule exists as a complicated, shifting 3D shape or conformation where important aspects like the distance between two carbon formations or bonding sites is subject to many factors. Genesis attempts to model as many of those factors as it can.
“Step one is the representation,” he said, “but the logical next step is, how does one leverage that representation to learn a function that takes an input and outputs a number, like binding affinity or solubility, or a vector that predicts multiple properties at once?”
That’s the work they’ve focused on as a company — not just creating a better model molecule, but being able to put a theoretical molecule into simulation and say, it will do this, it won’t do this, it has this quality but not that one.
Some of this work may be done in partnerships, such as the one Genesis has struck up with Genentech, but the teams could very well find drug candidates independent of those, and for that reason the company is also establishing an internal development process.
The $52M infusion ought to do a lot to push that forward, Feinberg wrote in an email:
“These funds allow us to execute on a number of critical objectives, most importantly further pioneering AI technologies for drug development and advancing our therapeutics pipeline. We will be hiring more top notch AI researchers, software engineers, medicinal chemists and biotech talent, as well as building our own research labs.”
Other companies are doing simulations as well and barking up the same tree, but Feinberg says Genesis has at least two legs up on them, despite the competition raising hundreds of millions and existing for years.
“We’re the only company in the space that’s working at the intersection of modern deep neural network approaches and biophysical simulation — conformational change of ligands and proteins,” he said. “And we’re bringing this super technical platform to experts who have taken FDA-approved drugs to market. We’ve seen tremendous value creation just from that — the chemists inform the AI too.”
The recent breakthrough of AlphaFold, which is performing the complex task of simulation protein folding far faster than any previous system, is as exciting to Feinberg as to everyone else in the field.
“As scientists, we are incredibly excited by recent progress in protein structure prediction. It is an important basic science advance that will ultimately have important downstream benefits to the development of novel therapeutics,” he wrote. “Since our Dynamic PotentialNet technology is unique in how it leverages 3D structural information of proteins, computational protein folding — similar to recent progress in cryo-EM — is a nice complementary tailwind for the Genesis AI Platform. We applaud all efforts to make protein structure more accessible such that therapeutics can be more easily developed for patients of all conditions.”
Also participating in the funding round were T. Rowe Price Associates, Andreessen Horowitz (who led the seed round), Menlo Ventures, and Radical Ventures.
Uncomfortable Truths of Trading And What to Watch Out For
Grayscale Bought Almost $140 Million in BTC in 24 Hours
Jeep & Electrify America Are Having Fun With “Monolith” Marketing
MicroStrategy Adds Additional 2574 Bitcoins To its BTC Portfolio for $50 Million
Safety As The #1 Priority For Semi-Autonomous Vehicles Requires A Reform Of European Regulations
Aptera Shows Off Its Development Vehicle
Cirrus 620 pickup camper turns Ford F-150 into cozy micro-home
T-7A trainer jet’s “real-as-it-gets” flight simulator enters production
Tesla Owner Ticketed For Duct-Taping Christmas Lights To His Car
The OCC is Focused on “Not Killing” Bitcoin and Crypto says Acting Comptroller Brian Brooks
US Treasury Department Warns Regulators of Potential Risks of Digital Assets
Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacifico Reports Passenger Traffic Decrease of 34.4% for the Month of November
Mississippi Power Smart Neighborhood Will Feature Tesla Solar Roof & Powerwall
Specialized releases its lightest-ever carbon bike – for kids
Four Corners EV Charging: Utah & Colorado Are Leaving NM & Arizona Behind
Aptera Announces First “Never Charge” Electric Vehicle
Making Sense of the Security Sensor Landscape
Gayam Motor Works & Sokowatch Launch East Africa’s First Commercial Electric Tuk-Tuks
Rubbery polymer could make for safer training of sniffer dogs
The German Constitution May Protect A Right To Human Driving
High-Severity Chrome Bugs Allow Browser Hacks
Kraken Exchange Now Allows Users to Stake ETH on Its Platform
2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime Fails Moose Avoidance Test
Novel Online Shopping Malware Hides in Social-Media Buttons
BIS And Swiss National Bank Announce Findings of CBDC Pilot Program
The SEC director who first spoke about ‘sufficient decentralization’ served his last day today
Top 10 SaaStr Videos of the Week: MongoDB, Splash, Slack + Yammer, Gainsight and More!
Supercell Technology From Cadenza Is Centerpiece Of New York Energy Storage Project — CleanTechnica Exclusive (Video)
How to Create PPC Campaigns for Real Estate Marketing
Cleantech ETFs Vastly Outperform Dow Jones, Oil & Gas In 2020
Esports1 week ago
Super Smash Bros. Melee Slippi mod launches broadcast feature early in response to #FreeMelee
Amb Crypto5 days ago
Bitcoin’s price could one day be $500,000: Gemini’s Winklevoss brothers
Blockchain7 days ago
Whales Flood Exchanges With Bitcoin, Take Over $15 Billion In Profits
Amb Crypto5 days ago
Ethereum long-term Price Analysis: 30 November
Coinpedia5 days ago
Bitcoin Strongly Heads Towards $20k While Some Still Await $15k Retracement
Amb Crypto5 days ago
What does Bitcoin’s Sentiment say about its future?
Nano Technology1 week ago
An ionic forcefield for nanoparticles: Tunable coating allows hitch-hiking nanoparticles to slip past the immune system to their target
Blockchain News3 days ago
Active Bitcoin Addresses Hit Third-Highest Level in November