5 Tech Observations: 30 March 2015

Good morning, I.T. entrepreneurs. Here are five technology news updates, insights and chatter to start your day for Monday, March 30, 2015.

Actually, today's update involves 10 items.

10. Amazon vs Angie: As we hinted last week, Amazon today is launching a home services network that links you with local service providers. While Angie's List often promotes local mom and pop service providers, the Amazon Home Services network also promotes familiar names like PrepBoys auto parts. For the IT crowd, we remain far more infatuated with platforms like OnForce and Work Market.

9. R&D Friday: You may have noticed that our blog was not updated on Friday, March 27. Amy Katz and I were heads down on a research project. Plus, we're starting to get a bit busier with potential launches... So, I expect to scale back blogging at bit on the After Nines Inc. website. In particular, Fridays look more and more like R&D day -- with fewer blogs and accelerating development behind the curtains...

8. The Bigger They Are...: Slack's valuation has more than doubled to $2.8 billion in five months. The workplace collaboration tool is now a so-called Unicorn -- a privately held tech company with a rare business model or service that investors covet. The big question: When the unicorns' see their valuations plummet -- it has to be coming, right? -- will mainstream tech stocks also tumble?

7. Far Beyond Wintel: Microsoft has acquired LiveLoop -- a cloud service that helps folks collaborate on PowerPoint presentations. Intel, meantime, is trying to buy Altera -- which makes chips for networks and cars. Microsoft's LiveLoop deal is a tiny tuck-in. In stark contrast, Altera could fetch $13 billion or more, The Wall Street Journal reported.

6. True Confession: I still check GigaOm each morning, to see if the defunct IT news site has somehow restarted. The answer is still no. But one can hope.

5. Facebook Small Business: The next big move appears to involve mobile payments, peer payments, and e-commerce across the board. Consider this: Facebook Messenger will become a shopping platform; and a new Buy button could become the biggest thing since Facebook Like.

4. DevOps Backup Plan?: GitHub, the wildly popular coding site, was victimized over the weekend by a denial of service cyberattack. Pundits think the attack involved China. For IT entrepreneurs, it's a timely reminder that you need redundant platforms -- on different networks from different service providers -- for your software development. PS: DevOps backup... Hmmm... That could be a hot topic... For someone somewhere.

3. Have You Heard?: Our weekly podcast, Good Evening I.T. Entrepreneurs, continues to attract tech CEOs who want to discuss their companies emerging from stealth mode. The latest guest -- we can't reveal the name yet -- involves an enterprise data company that will emerge from stealth mode on March 31. Tune in at 9:01 p.m. ET, Tuesday night, for the details.

2. Fresh Funding: Tech startups raising money include...

  • Auctionata (Berlin, Germany and New York), focused on live-streamed auctions, has raised $45 million in a Series C round -- led by MCI Management.
  • CafeX Communications (New York), focused on real-time mobile communications (with proper context), has raised $21 million in Series B funding from Intel Capital and others.
  • Jama Software (Portland, Oregon), which offers a project management platform that lets customers build new products, has raised $20 million from Updata Partners and others.
  • Logikcull (Washington, D.C.), an eDiscovery cloud platform provider for the legal industry software provider, raised $4 million in seed funding from Storm Ventures and others.
  • Tachyon Nexus (Berkeley, Calif.), focused on memory-centric distributed storage, has raised $7.5 million in Series A funding. Andressen Horwitz led the round.

1. Want to Meet?: I will be at New York Tech Day on April 23. The event ranks among the world's largest gatherings of tech entrepreneurs, investors and incubators. If you'd like to potentially meet there, send me email (Joe@AfterNines.com) with the subject line "New York Tech Day."

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