5 Technology Observations: 26 March 2015

Good morning, I.T. entrepreneurs. Here are five technology news stories, rumors, gossip, chatter, offhand references and poor attempts at humor to start your day for Thursday, March 26, 2015.

Actually, today's update involves eight items.

8. Size Matters: Mobile has a new definition. According to Microsoft, "we are classifying anything with a screen size of 10.1 inches or less as a mobile device," according to VP Kirk Koenigsbauer. Does such a statement matter? Absolutely yes, when it comes to licensing Microsoft's software. A growing number of Microsoft Office features are free on devices that conform to that mobile definition.

7. (No) Mobile Security: How's this for a fast fact... Half of mobile app developers spend $0 on mobile security. Since we don't have a mobile app yet I'm pleased to say After Nines Inc. is not among the offenders. But we hope to offend you later this year.

6. Google Small Business Move: It's called Get Your Business Online (GYBO) and it's an effort to make sure every local business in your town can be found online. It's great to have your business discovered. But don't forget the real motivation here: Google is like an online Pac Man that needs to keep consuming data (munch, munch, munch, munch) to feed its revenue engine. And if you participate in GYBO (absolutely NOT to be confused with GYOB), you're feeding the frenzy.

5. Your New Customer: If I'm an I.T. entrepreneur, chances are I should be selling to CIOs, chief marketing officers and other members of the executive C-suite. But here's the thing. Somewhere between the CIO and the CMO I bet a growing number of companies have a so-called chief data officer. That's your target buyer if you're selling any solution that gathers, manages, protects or potentially monetizes data... Notice I didn't say "storage." I did say "data."

4. Look Out, Angie: Amazon Home Services (formerly Amazon Local Services) is set for a relaunch on Monday, March 30. While Angie's List remains far more popular for home repair and improvement services, Jeff Bezos seems obsessed with the market. But obsession doesn't always lead to success. (Anybody else remember Amazon Fire Smartphone?)

3. By The Way: Speaking of Angie's List, is there a similar online platform for finding local IT support? Absolutely. The Beeline-OnForce combo is an option. But another fast-growth player is Work Market -- which has deep financial backing, and remains in heavy hiring mode.

2. Fresh Funding: Startups raising new cash include...

  • August (San Francisco, Calif.), focused on IoT home security, raised $38 million in Series B funding. Bessemer Venture Partners led the round.
  • BetterCloud (New York), focused on management tools for cloud productivity apps (Google, Microsoft), has raised $25 million. Accel led the round.
  • FinancialForce (San Francisco, Calif.) an ERP system built atop Salesforce, has raised $110 million in new funding. Technology Crossover Ventures led the round. The bigger winner? Salesforce, which continues to attract heavy hitter startups onto its platform. And that's why I remain long (really long) on Salesforce shares.
  • After Nines Inc. (South Hamilton, Mass)., still mostly in stealth mode, raised $0 and continues to bootstrap operations.

1. Mobile Still Changes Everything: Including logo design. Ever notice how today's startups have incredibly simplistic logos with icons that display cleanly on small screen mobile devices? Examples: Betterment and Wealthfront. And us? Stay tuned.

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