Portfolio January 19 2021

Quali raises $54m to automate cloud management and deployment

Quali, a company developing sandbox software for cloud and DevOps automation, today announced it has raised $54 million. The company says the funds will be put toward expanding its customer base and enabling new partnerships while growing its workforce. The public cloud market was worth around $186.4 billion in 2018, Gartner says, up 21.4% over 2017. But recent surveys find that enterprises still have concerns about cloud computing. According to RightScale’s 2018 State of the Cloud Report, 73% of respondents listed a lack of resources and expertise as a challenge, with 27% saying it was a significant challenge. Quali, which was founded in 2004 by Alex Ackerman and Moshe Moskovitch, aims to simplify cloud deployment by giving developers, quality assurance testers, and IT teams self-service access to an app and infrastructure across private, public, and hybrid-cloud environments. Its software lets companies implement separation of duties and allow employees with different levels of expertise low-code access to blueprint building blocks. Quali adopts a modular approach to blueprinting in the sense that its blueprints are source-controlled and synced with repositories like GitHub and Bitbucket. Users can view dashboards that connect public cloud costs back to business, estimate costs per blueprint, and provide cloud spend visibility. With Quali’s platform, users can create and manage topologies built from test bed devices in the lab or premade templates. They’re also able to model complex infrastructure and app environments using drag-and-drop modules to combine physical and virtual infrastructure, network connectivity, applications, and cloud interfaces. Quali provides audit trails, business intelligence, and analytics on cloud and infrastructure usage. It also automates environments based on infrastructure principals with dynamic configurations at setup and teardown. Quali counts among its customers network carriers, service providers, network equipment manufacturers, storage manufacturers, datacenters, and financial service companies, including Cisco, Microsoft, Dell, and Verizon. The company expects to nearly double its headcount this year, filling positions at its new offices in Austin and Tel Aviv and across the U.S., Europe, and Asia. “Development teams are burdened by the time and complexity of setting up and operating cloud infrastructure. Quali empowers developers to develop, testers to test, planners to plan, and ops to operate by offering safe and productive access to hybrid cloud infrastructure,” Quali CEO Lior Koriat said in a statement. “Since Quali’s most recent funding in 2018, the company experienced rapid growth in sales, platform innovation, and expanded its own workforce globally.” Austin, Texas-based Quali’s latest funding round was co-led by Greenfield Partners and JVP. It brings the company’s total raised to nearly $100 million, following a $22.5 million series C round.

Portfolio January 19 2021

3D Hubs and Protolabs join forces to create the world’s most comprehensive manufacturing portfolio

Proto Labs, Inc. (NYSE: PRLB), a global technology-enabled digital manufacturing leader, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire 3D Hubs, Inc. (“3D Hubs”), a leading online manufacturing platform that provides engineers with on-demand access to a global network of approximately 240 premium manufacturing partners. The transaction creates the world’s most comprehensive digital manufacturing offer for custom parts, providing Protolabs with a network of manufacturing partners to fulfill a breadth of capabilities outside of its current envelope, as well as a broader offering of pricing and lead time options. “The addition of 3D Hubs provides Protolabs a platform to evolve our service model to provide unprecedented manufacturing flexibility to our customers,” said Rob Bodor, Protolabs’ current VP and GM of the Americas and incoming President and Chief Executive Officer. “Our combined organizations will provide the market an industry-leading digital manufacturing solution to serve their needs from idea to prototype to full end-use part production. Together we can fulfill nearly every custom manufacturing need across the product life cycle.” Founded in 2013, 3D Hubs has facilitated the production of over 6 million custom parts and products through its digital platform. 3D Hubs provides customers with instant pricing and design feedback, and orders are fulfilled through thoroughly vetted premium manufacturing partners in over 20 countries worldwide, offering vast manufacturing capacity and a broad range of manufacturing capabilities at a variety of competitive pricing levels. “The entire 3D Hubs team is thrilled to join Protolabs and continue to revolutionize the manufacturing industry through innovation. At 3D Hubs, our goal is to empower companies to create revolutionary products through supply chain efficiency and reliability. We are confident that partnering with Protolabs will help us advance that mission,” said Bram de Zwart, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer at 3D Hubs. “3D Hubs’ company culture lives and breathes engineering and fast-paced innovation; our team is very excited to partner with Protolabs to build the best on-demand manufacturing solution imaginable,” said Brian Garret, 3D Hubs’ Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer. Under the terms of the agreement, closing consideration of $280 million will be funded with $130 million in cash and $150 million in Protolabs common stock. An additional $50 million of contingent consideration is payable subject to performance-based targets over two years after close, funded with 50% cash and 50% Protolabs common stock. Protolabs has also established an employee incentive fund payable to 3D Hubs employees based on achievement of both financial performance and employee retention targets. Protolabs anticipates the acquisition of 3D Hubs will accelerate its revenue growth rate and be marginally dilutive to non-GAAP earnings per share in 2021. 3D Hubs’ 2020 revenue is estimated to be $25 million and the company’s revenue has had a compound annual growth rate of over 200% since 2017. The transaction is expected to close by the end of January, subject to customary closing conditions. “The acquisition of 3D Hubs is part of the continued evolution of Protolabs as the digital manufacturing leader, serving more and more of our customers’ needs,” said Vicki Holt, Protolabs’ Chief Executive Officer. “Protolabs’ leading in-house technology-enabled manufacturing services combined with 3D Hubs’ global network of premium manufacturing partners will yield the greatest value to our customers for years to come.”

Portfolio January 14 2021

Poq partners with AppsFlyer to power more effective data-driven app commerce decision making

Native SaaS retail mobile app platform, Poq, today announces the beta launch of its standard integration with mobile analytics and attribution provider, AppsFlyer. The integration is the result of a partnership between the two companies that will enable Poq mobile app clients to rapidly scale their app commerce marketing efforts and drive more effective customer acquisition and retention campaigns for their apps. Developing, delivering and measuring app marketing campaigns can be challenging for retailers, where visibility of downloads and in-app interactivity attribution is limited. In addition, the ability to 'deep link' customers straight back into the app from any channel can be resource-intensive to maintain. By integrating the AppsFlyer software development kit (SDK) onto the Poq platform, joint clients will gain greater insights into how their mobile apps are performing and driving growth, in comparison to other channels such as mobile web. Beyond measurement and attribution, the AppsFlyer platform is able to offer clients a number of other valuable features, such as ad fraud protection, audience management and uninstall attribution measurement. Poq's partnership with AppsFlyer comes at a vital time for retailers, where app shopping growth is forecast to outstrip web-based channels as a result of an accelerated shift to digital in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. It also comes as Poq released a number of complimentary ad-tech solutions last year that have allowed its clients to effectively run customer acquisition and retention campaigns on Apple Search Ads, Google App Campaigns and Facebook. This standard platform integration will enable all Poq customers to use the AppsFlyer deep-linking solution (OneLink) and its Smart Banner Feature, as well as kickstart attribution campaigns. As retail mobile app marketing strategies develop in sophistication, Poq customers will also have the ability to add paid-for additional features to their pricing plan at any time. Sheenu Aggarwal, App Marketing Specialist, Poq said: "AppsFlyer is a great partner and, like Poq, has proven success with a number of retailers globally. So, this partnership presents our clients with a massive opportunity to really grow their app commerce business and accurately attribute that success to their apps. The partnership we're launching is vital for integrating what are becoming increasingly lucrative apps into the overall digital mix and optimising the customer journey for our retailers." Russell Burden, Director of Partner Development, AppsFlyer added: With the retail industry changing rapidly, it's never been more important for marketers to have the tools and data needed to make accurate, better-informed strategic decisions around their mobile marketing campaigns. Through this partnership, we're able to offer just that, giving retailers the opportunity to quickly and easily get up and running with mobile marketing campaigns, attribution measurement and other insights." All Poq customers will have access to the benefits and solution of this partnership from early 2021, following the beta launch.

Portfolio January 13 2021

Gett raises $15m to complete $115m June round

Global corporate ground travel company Gett Inc. announced Tuesday it has raised $15 million to complete a $115 million funding round it had announced in June. According to the Israeli-founded company, it raised the additional $15 million to accommodate interest from new investor Pelham Capital Investments Ltd. and Gett's existing investors. It said in a statement that the proceeds will be used to further accelerate the development of the SaaS platform and the company's global expansion. The capital raised in June brought the company to a $1.5 billion valuation. Gett, founded in Tel Aviv in 2010 as Get Taxi, has rebranded itself in recent years from a taxi-hailing company to one working mainly in the enterprise market, optimizing its clients' corporate ground travel needs, from booking and riding to invoicing and analytics, saving corporates both time and money while increasing employee satisfaction. "We are on a journey to transform corporate ground travel and I'm delighted that investors find our model attractive. This investment will allow us to further develop our SaaS technology and deepen our proposition within the corporate ground travel market,” Dave Waiser, Gett’s CEO said in a statement. "It has been an incredibly difficult period for the travel sector, but we are pleased to have finished 2020 operationally profitable and on budget.” In a June interview to Calcalist, Mark Oun, CEO of Gett Israel, said the company was profitable in Russia, Israel, and the U.K., serving as an indication that its business model is lucrative. “This funding round was oversubscribed, which shows the market's interest in our platform and long term vision. Gett is disrupting and transforming a fragmented market delivering ever-critical cost optimization and client satisfaction,” Gett chairman Amos Genish added.

Portfolio January 7 2021

MariaDB releases new R2DBC connector

MariaDBCorporation today announced the general availability of MariaDB Connector/R2DBC. The new MariaDB Connector for R2DBC exposes a non-blocking API that interacts with MariaDB databases, including MariaDB SkySQL, to create fully reactive solutions. Reactive Relational Database Connectivity (R2DBC) is a new, emerging standard in the Java world. R2DBC enables applications to benefit from reactive programming by using a stream-oriented approach to interact with relational databases. Unlike its JDBC predecessor, applications can use R2DBC to take advantage of declarative programming techniques to create more powerful, efficient and scalable Java Virtual Machine (JVM) solutions. "MariaDB is one of the most popular relational databases used in the world and we couldn't be more excited for the MariaDB Connector to be added to the R2DBC ecosystem," said Mark Paluch, spec lead of the R2DBC specification. "Reactive, or non-blocking behavior through the use of asynchronous data streams can be extremely useful for improved efficiency of resource usage and for increased throughput. Beyond that, reactive programming enables a variety of real-time streaming use cases. Being able to realize these benefits using popular relational databases such as MariaDB is a game changer." New MariaDB Developer Hub Aimed at helping developers build modern applications, MariaDB created a new Developer Hub filled with rich how-to resources and code samples. The new Developer Hub makes it easy to learn about MariaDB Connectors and features such as analytics for cloud data warehousing, JSON for hybrid data modeling and hybrid transactional/analytical processing (HTAP) for real-time smart transactions. Plus, learn how to use each feature using sample applications and step-by-step guides. "We're excited to offer this new resource for developers who can now easily navigate a treasure trove of materials for modern application development," said Rob Hedgpeth, developer evangelist at MariaDB Corporation. "We have step-by-step instructions to get started building reactive applications with the new MariaDB Connector for R2DBC, and it's a great place to learn about our other popular connectors and MariaDB features. We also developed several sample applications for developers to use to get hands-on experience with MariaDB."

Portfolio January 6 2021

Pixium Vision and Second Sight Medical Products announce business combination, creating a global leader in the sight restoration market

Pixium Vision, a bioelectronics company that develops innovative bionic vision systems to enable patients who have lost their sight to live more independent lives and Second Sight Medical Products, Inc., a developer, manufacturer and marketer of implantable visual prosthetics that are intended to create an artificial form of useful vision for blind individuals, announced today that they have entered into a definitive business combination agreement pursuant to which Pixium Vision will, following the contribution to Second Sight of all of its assets and liabilities in relation to its neuromodulation technology used in the treatment of blindness, become the controlling shareholder of the new combined company, owning 60% of the total equity before the capital raise. The combined company will focus on retinal stimulation through the Prima System. As part of the transaction, a new subsidiary will be created to focus on cortical stimulation through Orion. The new combined company will own 40% of the new subsidiary and will also have a first option to exclusive global marketing rights for Orion. Complementary businesses to lead global sight restoration market The primary mission of the new combined company will be to create a leader in the sight restoration market. Pixium Vision's Prima System, which started its European pivotal trial in 2020, has the potential to significantly restore visual perception, improve the quality of life and restore a level of independence for people with dry age-related macular degeneration. Second Sight, the leader in implantable neuromodulation devices to treat blindness created Argus II, the world's first FDA and CE Mark approved device for artificial vision in people with late-stage retinitis pigmentosa, and is developing Orion, a cortical stimulation device that bypasses the diseased eye and could provide a new form of vision. "Our planned business combination with Second Sight will bring exciting opportunities for both companies, given our synergistic business models and complementary presence in Europe and the U.S. Pixium Vision is well positioned to continue development of the promising Prima System: we have now launched the pivotal PRIMAvera study and have funding in place through the end of 2021. This transaction, including closing of the proposed financing, should provide us with sufficient resources to extend our cash runway beyond 2022, covering results from PRIMAvera." said Lloyd Diamond, Chief Executive Officer of Pixium Vision. "This transaction comes after Pixium Board of Directors evaluated numerous attractive financing proposals and concluded that the business combination with Second Sight is an ideal opportunity for two very complementary businesses to further develop our promising treatments in areas where there is a significant unmet medical need and comes with the full strategic alignment of both Boards of Directors." The complementary technologies have the potential to treat many forms of blindness including degenerative retinal diseases as well as glaucoma, optic nerve disease and trauma, and will also target a broader audience including ophthalmologists, surgeons and neuroscientists. Moreover, the expanded size of the combined entity is expected to allow for easier access to capital, thereby facilitating and accelerating technological and clinical development to bring these transformative technologies to patients. "The new organization provides for a new subsidiary, to focus exclusively on cortical vision and the Orion platform, which has the potential to treat nearly all forms of blindness," said Matt Pfeffer, Chief Executive Officer of Second Sight. "The new organization should accelerate the Orion program." "285 million people worldwide suffer some form of visual impairment of which roughly 40 million are completely blind. There are many causes for blindness and the combination of Pixium Vision and Second Sight has the potential to bring novel treatments to patients, for whom today, there are no clinical treatment options," stated Professor José-Alain Sahel, Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Director of the UPMC Eye Center, and the Eye and Ear Foundation Chair of Ophthalmology, Founder of both the Institut de la Vision and of Pixium Vision, and primary investigator of the Argus clinical trials. Brandford Griffith & Associés, Fenwick & West LLP and Bird & Bird AARPI acted as legal advisors to Pixium Vision and DLA Piper LLP acted as legal advisor to Second Sight Medical.