Is it possible to build a successful SaaS B2B business in the UK/Europe, or should you move to the US to maximize your success?

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This is a more nuanced question than it was a few years back.

The vast majority of the very successful European SaaS CEOs from one SaaS generation ago will tell you coming to the U.S., and in particular, SF, was critical to their success.

I’ve also invested in a ton of SaaS companies from Europe that came to the U.S.: Algolia, Talkdesk, Pipedrive, Automile, Front, PlatoHQ, Gorgias.io, Voxeet, etc. and they have benefited tremendously from coming to SF/U.S.

Why? Talent and capital. The experienced VPs, and the big venture checks, are still centered in SF.

But it’s more nuanced now. First, venture capital is more distributed. There still is much more of it in the U.S. for SaaS, but there is probably 20x-50x more of it in European funds than just 5 years ago. So you can raise all the capital you need in Europe now, even if it’s still easier to grab it in the U.S. It used to be you almost had to come to SF after your seed round. Now? Not so much.

Talent still remains an issue. There are still far more VPs to hire from Box, Salesforce, Twilio, AppDynamics, wherever to lure into your startup if you come to SF. This is still a huge accelerator. There just aren’t as many senior SaaS veterans in Europe that were Director+ level and above with tons of core responsibility.

But the more SMB you are, the less that probably matters. If you have a $99/month product or $299/month, hopefully anyone with good training and script can sell that on the phone. And there are at least more veterans than there used to be. – Read more

Cisco buys July Systems to bring digital experience to the real world

Customer experience management is about getting to know your customer’s preferences in an online context, but pulling that information into the real world often proves a major challenge for organizations.

This results in a huge disconnect when a customer walks into a physical store. This morning, Cisco announced it has bought July Systems, a company that purports to solve that problem.

The companies did not share the acquisition price.

July Systems connects to a building’s WiFi system to understand the customer who just walked in the door, how many times they have shopped at this retailer, their loyalty point score and so forth. This gives the vendor the same kind of understanding about that customer offline as they are used to getting online.

It’s an interesting acquisition for Cisco,  taking advantage of some of its strengths as a networking company, given the WiFi component, but also moving in the direction of providing more specific customer experience services.

“Enterprises have an opportunity to take advantage of their in-building Wi-Fi for a broad range of indoor location services. In addition to providing seamless connectivity, Wi-Fi can help enterprises glean deep visitor behavior insights, associate these learnings with their enterprise systems, and drive better customer and employee experiences,” Cisco’s Rob Salvagno wrote in a blog post announcing the acquisition.

As is often the case with these kinds of purchases, the two companies are not strangers. In fact, July Systems  lists Cisco as a partner prominently on the company website (along with AWS). Customers include an interesting variety from Intercontinental Hotels Group to the New York Yankees baseball team.

Ray Wang, founder and principal analyst at Constellation Research says the acquisition is also about taking advantage of 5G. “July Systems gives Cisco the ability to expand its localization and customer experience management (CXM) capabilities pre-5g and post-5g. The WiFi analytics improve CXM, but more importantly Cisco also gains a robust developer community,” Wang told TechCrunch.

According to reports, the company had over $67 billion in cash as of February. That leaves plenty of money to make investments like this one and the company hasn’t been shy about using their cash horde to buy companies as they try to transform from a pure hardware company to one built on services

In fact, they have made 211 acquisitions over the years, according to data on Crunchbase. In recent years they have made some eye-popping ones like plucking AppDynamics for $3.7 billion just before it was going to IPO in 2017 or grabbing Jasper for $1.4 billion in 2016, but the company has also made a host of smaller ones like today’s announcement.

July Systems was founded back in 2001 and raised almost $60 million from a variety of investors including Sequoia Capital, Intel Capital, CRV and Motorola Solutions. Salvagno indicated the July Systems group will become incorporated into Cisco’s enterprise networking group. The deal is expected to be finalized in the first quarter of fiscal 2019. – Read more

Cisco broadens Tetration security delivery with cloud, virtual buying options

Cisco’s Tetration-V and Tetration-SaaS give businesses interested in the security-analytics platform the option of a cloud service or software that runs on virtual appliances.

Cisco has added new cloud and virtual deployment options for customers looking to buy into its Tetration Analytics security system.

Cisco’s Tetration system gathers information from hardware and software sensors and analyzes it using big-data analytics and machine learning to offer IT managers a deeper understanding of their data center resources.

Tetration can improve enterprise security monitoring, simplify operational reliability, give customers a single tool to collect consistent security telemetry across the entire data center and analyze large volumes of data in real time.

This week Cisco added Tetration SaaS, a managed cloud-based option for large organizations and Tetration-V, a software-only version of the package using a virtual appliance targeted at smaller operations.  – Read more