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Inside SaaS

Inside SaaS (Jun 27th, 2019)

1. Hubspot has launched new CRM features for WordPress through a WP Engine partnership. The deal will improve the initial Hubspot plugin for WordPress, which was launched in 2015, to offer website managers full integration to Hubspot's CRM platform, chatbots, visitor tracking intelligence and more. WP Engine, a company that manages and hosts WordPress sites, announced the partnership just after acquiring Flywheel, a smaller competitor, last Monday. It was the largest acquisition in the history of WordPress. -- MARTECH ADVISOR

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2. Stock analysts say that Slack is overvalued and should be wary of competition from larger tech companies. A Wall Street investor at wealth management firm Baird said that the workplace chat platform's "valuation is rich relative to the SaaS group," yet maintained that they are taking a long position. Meanwhile, a Seeking Alpha analyst called Slack's IPO valuation of over $23 billion "absurd," listing challenges from large competitors, such as Microsoft Teams, as well as Slack's unprofitability. -- MARKET WATCH

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3. ON THE CUSP: Pipedrive is adding Dublin to a growing EU footprint. Founded in Estonia in 2010, the sales pipeline management SaaS is now headquartered in New York and plans to add Dublin to a growing list of EU offices. "In the past few years, we have opened offices in Lisbon, Prague, and London as we have grown. Ireland is a good place for a foothold as we expand,” a Pipedrive spokesperson told Fora, adding that Dublin is a great place to recruit tech professionals. 

With over $90 million of investment raised and a headcount of 550 people, Pipedrive recently grabbed attention from Forbes for its use of an AI technology that improves inbound lead generation. Pipedrive's LeadBooster software prompts website visitors with customized chatboxes that ask easy-to-answer multiple choice questions. The AI technology smartly recognizes visitors' concerns and schedules a meeting with relevant sales representative through automated chatbot interactions. 

"When it comes to web visitors, slow response times can kill a potential deal," said Vinay Ramani, chief product officer at Pipedrive. "But responding quickly is not enough. To make the best use of their time, salespeople need a fast, efficient way to qualify leads. Automating initial contact with web visitors to qualify them ensures that businesses respond quickly but that sales teams don't waste time pursuing unqualified leads." -- FORA

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4. IBM's acquisition of Red Hat is about to be sealed with payouts set for $190 per share. Pending final regulatory approval from the European Union, the deal will likely close sometime after July 1, both companies have said. IBM's purchase of the Raleigh-based open-sourced SaaS company will create "Red Hat millionaires" and the largest merger in the history of North Carolina. Adding to the potential wins for shareholders, Red Hat recently announced double-digit revenue growth for its first quarter, with subscription revenue now representing 87 percent of the total, or $815 million. -- TECH WIRE

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5. Latin America's largest retail management SaaS has made its debut on the New York Stock Exchange. São Paulo-based Linx has priced its IPO at $9.40, raising $308 million in its first global offering. The retail management software provider sold an additional 3.5 million shares in the offering, which was 12 percent more than previously expected. -- NASDAQ

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6. Salesforce is considering using blockchain to correct biased AI algorithms. Since AI programs are prone to errors due to inherently biased input data, Salesforce's head of blockchain Adam Caplan has proposed using blockchain's distributed ledger technology to track and organize the messy data tags. “Blockchain can be really powerful in terms of how these algorithms are made and what’s influencing them,” said Caplan, who launched Salesforce Blockchain last month. “Or if there is bias in AI to be able to understand how that came about.” -- FORBES

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7. California-based fintech Coupa has partnered with PayPal, Stripe, Citi and TransferMate to expand business payment solutions. In Las Vegas on Wednesday, the company said that it would integrate with Stripe to "make virtual card payments simpler," link up its accounts with PayPal's digital wallet, allow cross-border transfers through TransferMate and begin a collaboration with Citi Commercial Card. -- SPEND MATTERS

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8. SEO analytics SaaS SEMRush has patched a bug that exposed the company's report features to cyberattacks. Just days after acknowledging that a hacker had detected a coding vulnerability, SEMRush has patched a remote coding bug associated with its SEO report building feature. The company said that the incident was isolated to only the reports generation feature. -- THREAT POST

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9. Europe's largest SaaS conference has announced its top speakers for October. The fourth installment of the SaaSStock conference will be held in Dublin from October 14th to 16th and include executive-level speakers and participants from numerous leading SaaS firms, such as Stripe's chief operating officer, SurveyMonkey’s chief marketing officer and Kabbage's co-founder. -- IRISH TIMES

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10. Google has introduced new security tools for Gmail and G Suite to fight cyberattack threats. Through a security sandbox and advanced phishing and malware software, users of Gmail and G Suite will now benefit from added safeguards to protect their inbox, the normal point of entry for malicious cyberattacks. However, only G Suite Enterprise and G Suite Enterprise for Education customers will be able to use the new sandbox feature, which isolates potential inbox threats to a secure environment. -- HELP NET SECURITY

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This newsletter is written and curated by Justin Calderón. Justin is based out of Barcelona, Spain, and has covered technology and SaaS news for a variety of publications, including the BBC and Newsweek. Follow him on Twitter at @justinfuyun

Editing team: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside), David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology), and Bobby Cherry (senior editor at Inside, who’s always on social media).

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