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Inside SaaS (Aug 16th, 2019)

1. Cloud networking platform Cloudflare has announced it will go public in an offering pegged at $100 million. That figure is more of a placeholder at the moment, as the IPO filing did not make it clear how much the company plans to raise. Cloudflare, which speeds up the web content and aims to secure websites from cyberattacks, made the announcement as it faces numerous operational and PR challenges. Last year, the tech firm lost $87.2 million, according to the filing, and has said it is facing "negative publicity" after admitting that its platform was used by 8chan, the online forum which "served as an inspiration" for the deadly mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Christchurch, New Zealand. -- BUSINESS INSIDER

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2. Inc magazine has named San Francisco, Austin and NYC as the United States' top startup markets. In a list calculated by looking at three-year revenue growth and the amount of Inc 5000 companies present, Inc also identified that three of the country's top ten startup cities are in Texas -- Austin, Houston, and Dallas -- proving that coastal cities do not have a monopoly on offering startups the prerequisite talent pipelines, growing markets, and big exit funding. -- INC

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3. Slack has launched an admin-only announcements channel function for large organizations. The new feature is designed so that only admins can make company-wide announcements, such as to communicate about matters like changes in HR policy or software updates. Only admins on Slack’s paid Plus and Enterprise Grid plans (which now apparently includes the NSA as a customer) will be able to access the feature, an add-on. -- TECH CRUNCH

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4. UPS has announced a minority stake in autonomous trucking startup TuSimple for an undisclosed amount. The deal was quietly put into play last May, when UPS began using TuSimple's autonomous-driven trucks to haul cargo for it between Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona. The minority stake was announced Thursday, and follows a $95 million round announced in February that pushed TuSimple’s valuation to $1 billion. The San Diego-based startup, which also has operations in China, previously conducted a pilot with the United States Postal Service, carrying mail a 1,000-mile stretch between the USPS’s Phoenix, Arizona, and Dallas, Texas, distribution centers. -- THE VERGE

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5. Digital marketing startup RD Station has claimed its $50 million Series D investment is the largest in Latin America's SaaS space. The Brazil-based SaaS startup received the latest investment in a round led by Silicon Valley-based Riverwood Capital, bringing the total venture raised to about $90 million. Founded in 2011, RD Station claims to have more than 13,000 customers in 20 countries and focuses mostly on small and medium businesses. It operates a headquarters out of Florianópolis, Brazil, and has offices in Sao Paulo, Bogota, Mexico City, and San Francisco. -- CRUNCHBASE

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6. India-based social media platform ShareChat has raised $100 million in a Series D round that included Twitter. The latest funding round will be used to scale business and brings ShareChat's total investment to $224 million. ShareChat claims to be India's "largest regional social network," and is popularly used to share opinions, record videos and manage friend lists. Twitter and ShareChat are "aligned" with missions to better serve public discourse, said Manish Maheshwari, Managing Director of Twitter India. -- BUSINESS STANDARD

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7. Vietnam-based POS/store management software firm KiotViet has raised $6 million in Series A funding. The round was led by venture capital firm Jungle Ventures and Indonesian travel tech company Traveloka and will be used to expand its point-of-sales business throughout Vietnam with a focus on remote areas. KiotVet claims to have over 70,000 active stores as paying customers across Vietnam. Founded in 2014, KiotViet provides SMEs omnichannel management software, with fees from 160,000 dong ($6.85) a month. -- BUSINESS TIMES

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8. SaaS delivery management platform Sorted has raised £15 million ($18 million) in Series B funding. The Manchester, U.K.-based startup offers a platform that allows both physical and digital retailers to manage their delivery and returns. The cash injection will be used to “accelerate the pace” of its technology development, expand overseas and employ more staff. Sorted's software is now live in 12 countries, including the US, France and Germany. -- PROLIFIC NORTH

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9. Prince Air will introduce a subscription-based flying program. The New Delhi-based startup, which calls itself the "Netflix of aviation," plans to offer unlimited access to chartered jets for flights between major metro areas in India through a monthly subscription. The exact price of the subscription was not announced, but founder Sanket Raj Singh said that Prince Air "will bring down the cost of traveling in chartered jets by up to 90 percent." Singh added that tech has disrupted the taxi, retail and hospitality industries, but not the aviation industry. -- MONEY CONTROL

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10. Milk quality and diary management software SomaDetect has raised $2 million in seed funding. The New Brunswick, Canada-based startup plans to put the new funds towards expanding its data collection activities across North America and to improve its sensor technology and learning algorithms for dairy farm management. Founded in 2016, SomaDetect uses sensors that, when combined with deep learning algorithms and visualization software, provide insights about cow health and milk elements, such as fat and protein quantity. -- FOODBEV

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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

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

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