1Password expands its endpoint security offerings with Kolide acquisition

1Password, the AgileBits-owned password management software developer, today announced that it has acquired Kolide, an endpoint security platform, for an undisclosed amount. According to 1Password CEO Jeff Shiner, Kolide founder and CEO Jason Meller and all of Kolide’s 30 employees will join 1Password “as an intact team.” Meller has taken on the role of VP […]

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Geospatial technology startup Nuview acquires Astraea to accelerate plans “years faster” than imagined

Sometimes, to move fast you don’t need to break things — you just need to acquire them. So it is with Nuview, a startup aiming to map the world from space using lidar, who announced today that its acquisition of analytics platform Astraea. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. In a recent interview, […]

© 2024 TechCrunch. All rights reserved. For personal use only.

Beamer buys Userflow to build a consolidated user experience platform

It’s M&A season in a tough tech jobs market. This morning, Beamer, a Boulder, Colorado-based company developing tools for businesses to reach users through their apps (e.g. via push notifications), announced that it’s acquiring Userflow, a user onboarding software startup, for $60 million. Beamer CEO Satya Ganni says that the purchase, which is being financially […]

© 2024 TechCrunch. All rights reserved. For personal use only.

IBM sells The Weather Company assets to Francisco Partners

Following rumors that it was exploring the sale of its weather business as part of a move to streamline operations, IBM says that it’s found a buyer for The Weather Company, the weather forecasting and information company it acquired in 2015.

Francisco Partners, the private equity firm, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire The Weather Company assets from IBM, the two companies announced today. The terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, save that it’s expected to close by the end of Q1 2024 — subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions, of course.

As a part of the acquisition, Francisco Partners will get The Weather Company’s consumer-facing apps including The Weather Channel mobile, Weather.com, Weather Underground and Storm Radar, plus The Weather Company’s enterprise offerings for broadcast, media, aviation, ad tech and “data solutions.” In addition, The Weather Company will bring its forecasting science services to Francisco Partners, IBM says, as well as its tech platform.

As for IBM, it’ll retain The Weather Channel’s sustainability software business post-purchase — namely its “environmental intelligence suite” for ESG reporting. And it’ll continue to use The Weather Company’s weather data for “climate-related use cases” like the geospatial AI model it offers in Watsonx, its AI and data platform

“We’re proud of what The Weather Company team has accomplished with IBM, and we’re confident that the best path forward is as a standalone company benefiting from Francisco Partners’ expanded investment, dedication and expertise,” Rob Thomas, SVP of software and chief commercial officer at IBM, said in a press release. “Over the last few years, we’ve evolved IBM to be a hybrid cloud and AI company. We regularly review our portfolio to make sure our business areas are core to that strategy, and today’s news reflects our continued focus on these two transformational technologies.”

When IBM purchased The Weather Company for $2 billion, it pitched the move as a major long-term analytics, big data and internet of things play. To wit, over roughly eight years, IBM has launched a number of new apps and services on top of The Weather Company’s properties, including hyperlocal forecasts, COVID-19 maps and enhanced weather forecasts leveraging data from aircraft and smartphones.

Under IBM’s management, The Weather Company, founded in 1980 as The Weather Channel, grew to serve an average of more than 415 million people each month on its consumer-facing properties and over 2,000 businesses through its enterprise products.

But IBM, which in June spent $4.6 billion to acquire Apptio, the business spend and value management platform, is under pressure to turn its financials around.

In its most recent fiscal quarter, IBM generated revenue of around $15.5 billion, down 0.4% from its year-ago result. The company’s mainframe business alone fell 30%, while its infrastructure business declined to $3.6 billion, down 14.6%.

Facing its lowest share price in over 20 years, IBM is laying off staff, in March announcing plans to cut its headcount by 3,900 people — concentrated mostly in its Watson AI division and Kyndryl managed infrastructure business. IBM also recently sold Watson Health to Francisco Partners, a deal reportedly in the $1 billion range. (Some reports suggest IBM was seeking a similar price tag for The Weather Company.)

Francisco Partners sees a bright future in The Weather Company, saying it plans to increase investment and resources in the platform to take it “beyond forecasting alone” with “new tools and experiences” focused on health and wellbeing. On the business side, The Weather Company will offer “more actionable insights,” Francisco Partners says, alongside “real-time experiences” aimed at ad and subscription media companies.

“Amid the growing volatility of weather, The Weather Company’s unique set of consumer, media and industry-specific products provide mission critical, data-driven weather insights to individuals and businesses around the world,” Alan Ni, partner at Francisco Partners, said in a canned statement. “We’re excited to partner with the management team to grow The Weather Company’s robust portfolio of technology offerings and deliver a great product experience for its customers.”

There’s no denying that weather forecasting is a lucrative business. A National Weather Service survey from 2012 pegs the total value of weather data that could be captured across all industries in the U.S. in the range of $13 billion. The private weather forecasting market, meanwhile, is expected to grow from $1.76 billion in value in 2022 to $4.18 billion in 2030, according to a report from Verified Market Research.

OpenAI acquires AI design studio Global Illumination

OpenAI, the AI company behind the viral AI-powered chatbot ChatGPT, has acquired Global Illumination, a New York-based startup leveraging AI to build creative tools, infrastructure and digital experiences.

It’s OpenAI’s first public acquisition in its roughly-seven-year-history. The terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

“We’re very excited for the impact they’ll have here at OpenAI,” OpenAI wrote in a brief post published to its official blog. “The entire team has joined OpenAI to work on our core products including ChatGPT.”

Global Illumination, launched by Thomas Dimson, Taylor Gordon and Joey Flynn, has been involved in a range of projects since its founding in 2021. Backed by VC firms Paradigm, Benchmark and Slow, Global Illumination’s team designed and built products early on at Instagram and Facebook as well as YouTube, Google, Pixar and Riot Games.

As director of engineering at Instagram, Dimson was instrumental in iterating the platform’s discovery algorithms. While there, he helped to start the teams responsible for Instagram’s Explore tab experience, feed and Stories ranking, IGTV and general data engineering.

Global Illumination’s most recent creation is Biomes, a Minecraft-like open source sandbox MMORPG built for the web. The game’s fate is unclear, but one would presume that the team’s work at OpenAI will have less of an entertainment bent.

OpenAI might’ve avoided acquisitions until now, but the company, backed by billions in venture capital from Microsoft and major VC players, has for several years run funds and grant programs to invest in emerging AI companies and organizations.

Certainly, OpenAI is on the hunt for a commercial win. While ChatGPT achieved global fame, OpenAI reportedly spent upwards of $540 million last year to develop it, including funds it used to poach talent from the likes of Google, according to The Information.

OpenAI made $30 million in revenue last year. But CEO Sam Altman has reportedly told investors that the company intends to boost that figure to $200 million this year and $1 billion next year.

Syntellis, an enterprise performance management provider, sells for $1.25B

Roper Technologies, a lesser-known company that creates engineering products for niche markets, this morning announced that it acquired Syntellis Performance Solutions, a provider of enterprise performance management software, for $1.25 billion.

The transaction includes a $135 million tax benefit, and will result in Syntellis’ performance management and data solutions being combined with Roper’s healthcare finance planning and decision support business, according to Roper president and CEO Neil Hunn.

“The Syntellis transaction is another great example of Roper’s disciplined and process-driven acquisition approach,” Hunn said in a statement. “Syntellis is a fantastic business that meets all of our acquisition criteria, including niche market leadership, mission critical solutions, a high recurring revenue mix, strong customer retention, negative working capital and excellent cash conversion.”

While not necessarily a household name, Syntellis is a spin-off of Kaufman Hall, the Chicago-based healthcare management consultancy. Syntellis became an independent company in 2020 with investment support from private equity firms Thoma Bravo and Madison Dearborn Partners.

Over the past three years, the firms worked with Syntellis to grow the company’s products and platforms business, most recently directing its acquisition of healthcare data analytics firm Stratasan. Syntellis formed a strategic alliance with Kaufman to serve as its enterprise performance management and data analytics provider of choice, and pursued customers not only in healthcare but in higher education and the finance industry.

Those specific customer segments aside, enterprise performance management is a profitable sector. According to a report from Allied Market Research, the global market for enterprise management software could be worth as much as $12.56 billion in 2025, up from $4.73 billion in 2016.

A separate report from IDC found that in 2022, the enterprise performance management applications market grew 8.7%, with public cloud deployments growing by 26.5%. One of the coauthors, senior research analyst Roy Huo, posited that the increased demand for capabilities like “predictive modeling, scenario planning, predictive forecasting, integrated planning, and external intelligence” played a pivotal role.

In 2020, Syntellis claimed to have over 2,800 customers, with around 450,000 users relying on its data solutions.

“Thoma Bravo and Madison Dearborn Partners’ support and collaboration have propelled our growth, helped advance our product roadmap and enabled us to better serve our valued clients,” Syntellis CEO Flint Brenton said in a canned statement. “Today’s announcement is a testament to the great work from the entire Syntellis team and marks an exciting new chapter for the company. As part of Roper, we will further our mission to empower our clients to optimize performance through our industry-specific, tailored solutions.”

Roper has an interesting history, dating back to 1890 primarily as a manufacturer of home appliances, pumps and other industrial products. It began broadening its business into software in the early ’90s, after launching a corporate acquisition program supported by an IPO.

As of 2017, Roper — which has several main business lines, including core industrial tech, radio frequency tech, scientific and industrial imaging and energy systems and controls — had annual revenues of more than $1.23 billion.

Dynatrace acquires cloud-native debugging platform Rookout

Observability and security platform Dynatrace today announced that it plans to acquire Rookout, a Tel Aviv-based observability startup that focuses on helping developers troubleshoot and debug their code in production.

Publicly traded Dynatrace already offers a comprehensive suite of observability tools, but the addition of Rookout will allow it to expand these services with code-level observability into production environments. Dynatrace expects the transaction to close before September 30.

The two companies did not disclose the acquisition price, but Rookout previously raised a total of $28 million, including a $16 million Series B round it announced a year ago. The company’s investors include the likes of Fort Ross Ventures, TLV Partners, Emerge, Cisco Investment, LIAN Group, Mighty Capital and Binder & Partners.

Rookout CEO Shahar Fogel and CTO Liran Haimovitch. Image Credits: Rookout

Unsurprisingly, Dynatrace says it plans to embed Rookout into its existing platform and notes that this will also help it improve collaboration between development, IT and security teams, which will then be able to use a single platform for their observability needs.

“Our mission is to make debugging easy and fast for developers with state-of-the-art quality and a simple experience,” said Shahar Fogel, CEO at Rookout. “We believe integrating Rookout into the Dynatrace platform and leveraging the AI and automation capabilities Dynatrace is known for will accelerate this mission. This will also create a new standard for how engineers use developer-first, cloud-native observability to improve productivity by enabling them to spend less time on manual activities and more time delivering business value.”

eBay acquires AI-powered product authentication company Certilogo

eBay announced today that it has closed its acquisition of Certilogo, a company that provides AI-powered apparel and fashion goods digital IDs and authentication. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The Milan-based company will continue to be led by CEO Michele Casucci.

Certilogo uses digital technology to help brands manage the lifecycle of their garments, while providing consumers a way to confirm authenticity and access reliable information about items. eBay’s acquisition indicates that it’s looking to boost secondhand fashion authentication on its marketplace.

“We are excited to welcome the talented Certilogo team to eBay, as they bring their passion and cutting-edge technology to our community of fashion enthusiasts,” said eBay VP Charis Marquez in a statement. “Through this acquisition, eBay will be able to offer brands secure, connected product solutions that are both flexible and compatible. Brands will also be able to protect their customers from counterfeits and engage in recommerce through counterfeit-proof digital product passports.”

When eBay first announced the purchase back in May, the company said the acquisition marked a key investment in the growing pre-loved fashion category. The company said the purchase solidifies eBay as a trusted destination to shop for pre-loved apparel and fashion. eBay also noted that it provides customers with more confidence as they make more sustainably conscious purchase choices.

“The partnership between Certilogo and eBay will unlock opportunities for consumers and brands to connect, opening up new potential to activate and expand engagement with the circular economy,” said Certilogo CEO and founder Michele Casucci in a statement. “Our team is ready to get right to work incorporating our technology and infrastructure and ensuring a seamless transition for our customers, brand partners, and the entire eBay community towards a more sustainable, connected future.”

This latest acquisition comes as eBay has been looking to enhance its authentication and fraud detection capabilities over the past few years. In 2021, eBay acquired Sneaker Con Digital’s authentication business, which verifies the authenticity of high-value footwear. In February, the company acquired AI-powered fraud detection company 3PM Shield.

eBay acquires AI-powered product authentication company Certilogo by Aisha Malik originally published on TechCrunch

Should you move to a new state for tax savings before selling your startup?

For company founders and shareholders with an exit on the horizon, this isn’t a myth — a move for tax reasons can make a lot of financial sense.

In tech hubs like the Bay Area and New York City, the highest tax brackets are at 14.4% (as of January 1, 2024) and 14.8%, respectively. In contrast, states like Florida and Texas have no state income tax, meaning there’s no capital gains tax at the state level.

Let’s consider the numbers: On a $30 million exit, a founder could save approximately $4.3 million by moving from California to Florida or approximately $4.4 million by moving from New York City to Florida. That’s a lot of incentive to pull up the stakes and head to Miami.

However, many times it’s not that simple. We all know that moving can be a tough decision, especially for those with strong roots in their community. Leaving behind your favorite golf course, local ski mountain, and your friend group can have a serious impact on your quality of life. And it can be heart-wrenching to pull your kids away from the home, friends, and school they know and love.

This is where some people can get into trouble.

What you need to know about moving to save on taxes

Paying less in taxes isn’t as simple as packing up, skipping town, and resurfacing with a new address in a tax-friendlier state.

As tempting as it may be, you can’t keep a foothold in Silicon Valley while dipping your toe in the Gulf Coast — and still save on taxes. The kids may be unable to stay in their Manhattan private school while you relocate to Miami.

As tempting as it may be, you can’t keep a foothold in Silicon Valley while dipping your toe in the Gulf Coast — and still save on taxes.

Living in both states won’t save you here; when it comes to taxes, you must be all-in at your new address, or you’ll likely owe taxes at your old address.  Unfortunately, some may not realize this until after they have spent a lot of time, money, and emotional investment.

Every state has its own rules for determining your residency for tax purposes, and you will not be able to fly under the radar if you’re a high-net-worth individual or top earner. High-tax states like New York or California pay especially close attention to those in the highest tax bracket. If you stop paying taxes at the state level, chances are the state will notice and challenge your new residency claim.

In other words, your move is likely to trigger an audit.

In particular, California’s Franchise Tax Board is known to be vigilant in monitoring individuals who attempt to terminate their California residence, making it all the more crucial to thoroughly plan and document your move.

Additionally, it’s important to consider the complexities of community property laws, which may impact your tax exposure if you have a spouse residing in California, even if you move to a lower-tax state. Proper legal and tax advice is essential to navigate these complexities and ensure a smooth transition.

Many people mistakenly think that splitting time between states and claiming the more favorable tax jurisdiction is easy. But when you have the means to travel and maintain more than one home, this doesn’t mean you get to choose the domicile that works most favorably for you when tax time comes. Simply spending 183 days of the year outside your high-tax state isn’t likely going to shrink your tax obligation.

Even after leaving high-tax states like New York or California, it’s important to be aware of potential tax obligations tied to passive income sources within those states. For example, if you continue to have passive income from partnerships, investment properties, or other sources within New York or California, you’ll need to file a nonresident return and pay taxes on that income in those states.

Additionally, having passive income sources in your former state can increase the likelihood of a residency audit. As a result, it’s important to carefully consider whether retaining those investments producing state-specific income aligns with your overall financial and tax planning goals.

Preparing to move

If you’re considering a move to a lower-tax state, it’s crucial to plan ahead and be prepared. The more time you give yourself before your company’s exit, the better off you’ll be. We recommend making a clean break from your high-tax state several years in advance to ensure a smooth transition. It’s also wise to assume that you may be subject to a state tax audit, so keep meticulous records and be prepared.

Should you move to a new state for tax savings before selling your startup? by Walter Thompson originally published on TechCrunch

HashiCorp acquires code security startup BluBracket

Infrastructure automation company HashiCorp today announced that it has acquired code security startup BluBracket. Founded by the team behind Vera Security, BluBracket raised a $12 million Series A round led by Evolution Equity partners in 2021. The two companies did not disclose the price of the acquisition.

HashiCorp’s security play so far has focused on providing solutions for identity-based security and safely storing secrets with Vault and secure remote access with Boundary. Given the current focus on software supply chain security, it’s maybe no surprise that the company is now also adding a service like BluBracket, which the company plans to integrate into Vault.

“We are excited to welcome BluBracket to HashiCorp,” said Dave McJannet, CEO, HashiCorp. “Security is critical for cloud platform teams as they bring order and consistency to their companies’ cloud adoption efforts, and BluBracket will help HashiCorp Vault expand into new areas as part of a more comprehensive lifecycle of managing secrets.”

HashCorp says the integration into Vault will allow it to expand its zero trust capabilities and secret lifecycle management tooling by adding detection and remediation workflows.

BluBracket, like other players in this space, allows developers and the teams that support them to prevent secrets, credentials and personally identifiable information (PII) from leaking with the source code. But maybe even more importantly for a company like HashiCorp, it can also scan Infrastructure-as-Code configurations for any potential issues that could open a company’s infrastructure up for attacks. The service integrates with GitHub, Bitbucket, GitLab, Jira and similar platforms.

“BluBracket is proud to be joining HashiCorp,” said Prakash Linga, co-founder & CEO, BluBracket. “We have long admired HashiCorp and believe our product will enrich HashiCorp Vault’s secrets management user experience. We look forward to working with the HashiCorp team on building our product into Vault and collaborating on the full lifecycle of secrets management for the cloud.”

HashiCorp acquires code security startup BluBracket by Frederic Lardinois originally published on TechCrunch