Inside SaaS - August 2nd, 2019 |

Inside SaaS (Aug 2nd, 2019)

Facetune becomes unicorn / Plant "direct-to-consumer" marketplace / HR screening platform Harver

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1. Photo-editing app Facetune has raised $135 million in Series C funding to bring its valuation to unicorn status. Owned by Jerusalem-based parent company Lightricks, the investment makes Facetune the second Israeli company to be valued at over $1 billion this week. Released in 2013, Facetune has been successful despite the high competition, with the company being named Apple's most popular paid app for 2017. However, there are plenty of detractors -- especially on this Reddit group -- that denounce the app for breeding a social media culture based on fantasy rather than reality. -- TECH CRUNCH

2. Plant marketplace Bloomscape has raised $7.5 million in Series A funding led by AOL co-founder Steve Case's Revolution Ventures. E-commerce companies Warby Parker and Allbirds also joined the investment round for the "direct-to-consumer" plant retailer, which has developed a "first-of-its-kind packaging technology" to ship potted plants long-distance without their health suffering, according to founder and CEO Justin Mast, who comes from a five-generation line of horticulturalists. Founded in Detroit year and a half ago, the startup still operates out of a co-working space. Bloomscape has shipped more than 100,000 plants since being founded, generating "millions" in sales, according to a statement from the company. -- CRAINS DETROIT

3. SaaS operations management platform BetterCloud will help car-sharing app Drivy with its IT systems merger. Founded as a G Suite management tool in 2011,  BetterCloud now offers an extended suite of SaaS security features and an API platform, which helps its SaaS customers to conduct complex IT systems integrations. For example, this October Paris-based online car-sharing service Drivy will use BetterCloud's upgraded platform when merging its set of Google G Suite, Microsoft Office 365, Slack and Zendesk policies with its new parent company, Getaround. -- SEARCH IT OPERATIONS

4. Employee screening platform Harver has raised $15 million in Series B funding round. The pre-employment assessment SaaS company aims to help HR departments conduct high-volume hiring at the enterprise level. The latest funding round, which brings the company's total investment to $35 million, will be used to upgrade digital automation for volume candidate selection processes. Harver sees the status quo in HR as still relying too much on laborious manual processes and aims to invest more in automation technology to fix this. -- VENTURE BEAT

5. India-based sales assistant app Vymo will launch in the U.S. after raising $18 million in a Series B funding round. The investment was led by Emergence Capital and included existing investor Sequoia Capital India. Vymo's app utilizes an AI engine to automatically capture data from sales representatives and is supported by a number of cloud suites, including those of Salesforce, Adobe, Microsoft and Oracle. Emergence Capital Partner Jake Saper said that Vymo's "exceptionally high user adoption metrics and steadily expanding user base" made it an ideal partner. Vymo claims to have 100,000 salespeople using its platform across over 50 companies, including AXA, Allianz, AIA, Generali, and Sumitomo. -- VENTURE BEAT

6. Software feature development platform Armory has raised $28 million in Series B funding. Founded in 2016, Armory's business model is established around helping engineers build enterprise-scale software on Spinnaker, an open-source project launched by Netflix and Google engineers to improve software development and testing. Armory CEO Daniel Rubén Odio calls Spinnaker the “Switzerland of cloud computing” and draws inspiration from its open-source model as a way to relieve companies of relying too heavily on "outdated" data centers. With Spinnaker, he believes, companies can release software updates faster, thus providing an innovative edge.  -- BUSINESS INSIDER 

7. Salesforce has closed the $15.7 Tableau acquisition faster than originally expected. The deal is the largest acquisition made in Salesforce's history and could have taken up to six months to pass regulatory inspection, yet it was closed in just less than two. Salesforce hopes that Tableau's data analytics platform will give its CRM offerings an edge with big data. Meanwhile, Tableau has quietly released its earnings report, which fell short of Wall Street expectations for the second quarter. -- TECH CRUNCH

8. Online publishing startup Halloway has raised $4.6 million in seed funding led by the New York Times and top tech investors. The San Francisco-based company launched its library of "non-fiction reference material" yesterday, endeavoring to provide more high-quality, in-depth titles on the internet, which its founders feel is saturated with poor reference content. According to co-founder and CEO Andy Sparks, the internet has a digital version of the encyclopedia in Wikipedia, and offers plenty of popular non-fiction business titles via Kindle, but lacks substantial how-to guides for reference. "There's this whole category of non-fiction reference, things you spend hours studying, and no one has brought that content to the internet," he said. -- BUSINESS INSIDER

9. Cloud monitoring SaaS company Dynatrace has been listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Share value for the company jumped shortly after the listing, bringing its valuation to $6.71 billion. Dynatrace's IPO was priced at $16, beating its estimated $13 to $15 range, and raised $570 million for the company, which it plans to use to pay off a $1 billion debt. The Austria-based firm uses AI to help companies monitor business applications and has gotten the attention of global tech advisory firm Gartner, which pegs Dynatrace at the global leader in the $4 billion application performance management space, edging out heavyweight competitors like Cisco Systems. -- FORBES

10. Airport restaurant ordering service Grab has closed a "multimillion-dollar" Series A round led by London-based Collinson Group. Founded in the Atlanta airport in 2015, the Houston-based startup is now present in 37 airports, offering customers the ability to order meals at airports ahead of their arrival. The idea for the service was inspired by founder Mark Bergsrud's own travel experiences and his 20 years of work at Continental Airlines and United Airlines. "[Grab] feels like how mobile check-in felt," he said. "There was a problem customers didn't know they had." The exact amount of the investment was not disclosed. — INNOVATION MAP

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

Editor: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside).

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