Website builder Strikingly raises $10M Series A+ to continue growth in China

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Almost exactly one year after announcing its Series A, website building platform Strikingly said today that it has raised a $10 million Series A+.

The new round was led by Cathay Capital, with participation from CAS Holding, the lead investor in Strikingly’s Series A. This brings Strikingly’s total funding so far to $17.5 million.

Co-founder and CEO David Chen tells TechCrunch that the funding is “technically a Series B level round for us,” but the team wanted to call it a Series A+ because the capital will be used to continue the momentum of products launched around the time of its Series A, including a mobile website editor and a reseller program, as well as its growth in China. (Series A+ rounds are also more common in China, where Strikingly has an office in Shanghai and is one of the most popular website building services).

“The A+ is a natural continuation of what we’ve been doing since our Series A,” Chen says.

Founded in 2012, Strikingly doubled the size of its team over the past year from 150 to 300 employees. The reseller program, launched in early 2017 after the company realized many Strikingly customers use the platform to build sites for other people, now has users in 70 countries. This year, Strikingly’s goal is to continue growing the program in Asia and introduce more features to help resellers with customer acquisition. The reseller program allows them to buy websites in bulk and gives them a dashboard to manage their clients’ sites. While Strikingly’s core product will continue being its website builder, Chen says its reseller program has helped boost its growth in many markets, particularly Southeast Asia.

When Strikingly launched back in 2012, it set itself apart from other website builders by focusing on easy to build, but polished-looking mobile responsive sites. Now mobile responsive sites are de rigueur for any website builder, but one of the things that continues to differentiate Strikingly from its competitors (a partial list includes Wix, Weebly, Squarespace and WordPress) is its ease of use. The company claims that the average time to launch a new website with Strikingly’s editor is just 10 minutes. – Read more

How do SaaS business find out how to much to charge for their products?

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You copy other, more established applications. Most importantly, copy someone that provides similar value to roughly similar buyers.

Most software costs only pennies to deliver in the cloud. Maybe millions to develop, millions to market, and million to sell. But only pennies in hosting and delivery costs.

So how much should you charge for it? There is no way to base this on any underlying cost basis for most of us. Not for pure software.

The good news is, your buyers have been trained. They’ve been trained by market leaders like Salesforce, Slack, Box, etc. to pay certain amounts in certain ways for certain types of products.

Just look at the 2 or 3 big, public SaaS companies that are most similar to you in terms of true value-add, and buyer. Be honest. We aren’t all worth $200+ a seat like Salesforce.

They maybe charge 70-80% of that to start.

That should be OK to start. – Read more

SAP’s cloud analytics update offers insights in seconds, not months

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With a refresh of its cloud analytics tools, SAP hopes to bring users new insights into their data more quickly and take some of the workload off the IT department.

It’s not that the previous analytics tools were all that slow; it’s just that to get the most out of some of their features, you needed a team of data scientists to build the right reports.

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Now the company is using machine learning to help SAP Analytics Cloud users zoom in on key data correlations, according to Mike Flannagan, SAP’s senior vice president of analytics.

“You will be able to get some of the same type of insight that you would normally require a data science team to build for you — automatically,” he said.

SAP’s goal is to solve a resource crunch that’s reminiscent of the business intelligence systems of a decade ago.

“When you wanted a new dashboard or report you had to open a new request with IT, and they had quite a large backlog, so it might be three or six months before you got the dashboard you wanted,” said Flannagan. “We’re now seeing a similar kind of bottleneck with data science teams.”

SAP Analytics Cloud won’t automatically create complex data visualizations for you, but it will watch what you do and offer simple recommendations for which database fields to compare in a line of text at the bottom of a chart.

“The machine learning product realizes that you’re trying to predict a certain field and will give you a clue automatically that says, ‘Did you know that X is the most influential thing in determining Y?’” Flannagan said. “We believe we get to an answer that’s 97 to 98 percent of what a data scientist would ultimately find in terms of accuracy, without you needing to wait for that data scientist.” – Read more