London, UK 3 January 2020.

Receipt Bank, the world’s leading digital bookkeeping platform, has raised $73.1 million (£55 million) in a successful Series C funding round. The round was led by Insight Partners, joined by Augmentum Fintech with participation from existing investors Kennet Partners and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), and advised by Harris Williams.

The funds will be used to continue expansion in Europe, Australia and North America, and build on Receipt Bank’s award-winning product suite.

The company doubled customers in 2019, taking the total number of businesses using the platform to above 360,000.

Receipt Bank’s proprietary machine learning technology fetches financial information from multiple sources, digitises and categorises it, making it ready for accountants and bookkeepers, more than 50,000 of whom use the platform. The platform processes and stores 45 new fields of small business financial data every second from receipt photos, bank accounts, invoices and bills.

Receipt Bank CEO, Adrian Blair, commented: “This investment is an endorsement of our mission at Receipt Bank - to help millions of small businesses grow by getting control of their finances. Our machine learning technology enables accountants to do far more for their small business clients, and expands the market for professional advice by making accountants far more productive.

“The addition of Augmentum alongside our current investors, Insight, Kennet and CIBC, strengthens our board and will help us meet our ambitious growth goals, following a stellar 2019.”

Jason Ewell, Operating Partner at Insight Partners and Receipt Bank Board member, commented: “Receipt Bank continues to make giant leaps forward in machine learning technology. We are excited to see the company’s continued progress in the coming years.”

Tim Levene, CEO of Augmentum Fintech, said: “Digital bookkeeping allows all businesses to save time and expense and Receipt Bank's technology and growth make the company a clear leader in this sector.”

One of the fastest growing British technology companies, Receipt Bank automates bookkeeping to save businesses time and money on their taxes. The platform saves accountants one hour per client weekly and frees small business from 120 hours of annual financial admin.

Phil Wainewright (diginomica)
Summary: Eloomi's newly appointed chairman Adam Hale tells us he foresees a CRM-scale boom in people technology

Employee experience platform Eloomi is set to quadruple its headcount after scoring a $14 million funding round led by veteran SaaS investors Kennet Partners, who have brought in former Fairsail CEO Adam Hale as chairman. The fast-growing company is well placed to benefit from a growing focus on talent in midmarket businesses, says Hale, who spoke exclusively to diginomica last week:

There's such a skills crisis that if you can't acquire people and then really develop them and keep them, you can't stay in business. This whole area has become a burning platform for companies.

Eloomi provides learning and performance management in a modern, easy-to-use, cloud-based application that connects to existing core ERP and HR systems. Employees and managers use it to organize training, compliance, coaching, performance reviews, surveys and onboarding, all oriented around maximizing growth, engagement and productivity.

Based in Copenhagen and London and founded in 2015, the company has more than 350 customers and half a million users, spread across the Nordics, UK and other markets, mostly in Europe. Customers include anti-malware software provider Sophos and real estate chain Savills, office supplies distributor Lyreco and online retailer Harvey Norman. Eloomi's rapid growth compares well to Hale's experience at cloud HR provider Fairsail, which was acquired by Sage in 2017. He tells me:

It's the first scale-up I've looked at since Fairsail that's growing as quickly as Fairsail at that stage.

People technology set for growth

Hale believes companies like Eloomi will prosper as businesses spend more on software that helps them nurture talent. While "people are our greatest asset" has always been a frequent refrain, it's only now that companies have the tools to really measure performance and engagement, he says:

It's been corporate bullshit the past 30 years, it's now genuinely starting to be reality.

Company boards will start expecting to track talent metrics in the same way they currently track financial and marketing metrics, he argues:

Much more people information is going to be seen and discussed at board level. Only HR cared about HR. Everyone cares about people.

He believes this will lead to adoption of a new generation of people technology on a scale similar to the explosion that's been seen in the technology around customer engagement:

Look at the transformation in the marketing function in the past 20 years ... If you go to a midmarket company now and say, 'Take me through your customer segment, et cetera,' they would give you a completely worked-through answer.

The same transformation is happening around people. It's not there yet but it's coming really fast. That's why learning and the link to performance is such a dynamic area.

Serverless on Azure

While Fairsail was notable for having been one of the first software startups to build a 'serverless' product directly on the Salesforce platform, Eloomi is part of a newer generation of serverless applications built on hyperscale cloud platforms — in its case, Microsoft Azure. This is the way of the future, believes Hale:

Organizations like Eloomi only have three choices — Azure, AWS or Salesforce. I don't think it's credible in any way to have another alternative. Those three are the only ones that have the customer trust to provide the security and reliability involved.

Should the list include Google Cloud Platform, I wondered? Hale believes GCP still has to prove itself as a fourth option:

I've only seen one scale-up that's been based on GCP and that one didn't get investment. It may come, and hiring Rob Enslin is a hugely powerful statement. I don't think they're in that trio yet so whether it's a quartet is a question mark.

Existing investor VF Venture, which helps support Danish innovation, also participated in the $14 million round. Eloomi currently has a little over 50 employees and plans to recruit 150 more as it expands operations in Denmark, the UK, and the US. Since VF's first investment two years ago, the business has doubled its revenue every year.

My take

Today's more agile business environment demands continuous enhancement and assessment of learning and skills. At the same time, performance reviews are moving from the traditional cycle of once or twice a year to more of an ongoing model. This is creating a demand for a new generation of more flexible applications, like Eloomi, that are easy to deploy and use.

Image credit - Bar chart growth to cloud man on ladder © Warakorn - Fotolia.com

Disclosure - Salesforce is a diginomica premier partner at time of writing

https://diginomica.com/eloomi-learning-performance-growth-companies

SocialSurvey Raises $14.5 Million in Series A

San Ramon, CA (PRUnderground) April 23rd, 2019

SocialSurvey has raised $14.5 million in new financing to continue expanding its platform and scale into multiple business verticals.

“The reputation space is crowded and highly disjointed,” said SocialSurvey’s CEO, Scott Harris. “Multi-location brands often invest in multiple products to support their online reviews, employee engagement, employee feedback and compliance monitoring, but still don’t drive meaningful improvement in customer experience. We solve all that in a single solution.”

The software developer is backed by venture capital veterans Curtis Feeny and Jim McClean of Silicon Valley Data Capital (SVDC) and Eric Filipek of Kennet Partners LLC. With this funding round, Curtis and Eric will be joining the SocialSurvey Board of Directors.

“SocialSurvey captures that critical moment when an employee and customer interact like nothing we have seen. The impact on customer satisfaction and employee behavior is extremely special. We are thrilled to be partnered with this great group of people,” commented Eric Filipek of Kennet Partners.

“We’re thrilled to invest in SocialSurvey—it’s a very unique play in the market. SocialSurvey is creating a new experience category by consolidating various technologies into a single open platform that puts the enterprise in control. Who doesn’t want data in motion for driving business?” remarked Curtis Feeny of Silicon Valley Data Capital.

In addition to SVDC and Kennet, SocialSurvey secured additional investment from Greg Hitchan at Tri-Valley Ventures of local East Bay Area fame and the ventures team at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.

About Silicon Valley Data Capital

Silicon Valley Data Capital is an early stage investor in next-generation enterprise software companies. As big data, predictive analytics, AI and ML applications become more critical to the success of businesses everywhere, SVDC is helping entrepreneurs develop the most advanced applications and services to match their needs. For more information, please visit www.svdcapital.com

About Kennet Partners

Established in 1997, Kennet is a growth equity investor that invests in bootstrapped, fast-growing companies providing information technology products and business services that leverage technology. Kennet currently has over $700 million under management and has offices in London, Frankfurt and Silicon Valley. For more information, please visit www.kennet.com

About Tri-Valley Ventures

Since 2013, Tri-Valley Capital has focused on value-added investments in start-up and established ventures located in the growing Tri-Valley region in the East Bay of California. For more information, please visit www.trivalleyventures.com

About Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

For over 50 years, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati has offered a broad range of services and legal disciplines focused on serving the principal challenges faced by the management and boards of directors of business enterprises. For more information, please visit www.wsgr.com

About SocialSurvey

SocialSurvey empowers businesses to drive employee behavior while improving customer experience, online reputation and revenues. Its unique, player-integrated approach to customer feedback yields powerful CX insights while amplifying online reviews, marketing automation and local search rankings. For more information, please visit www.socialsurvey.com

On Thursday 21 March, more than 50 Founders and CEOs of the UK’s leading tech companies attended Kennet Partners’ London technology event.

The event aimed to provide helpful insights to Founders/CEOs on navigating companies through phases of growth upwards to 100M+ in revenues.

Adrian Blair and Mike Laven shared key lessons from their recent journeys. Adrian was COO of Just Eat from 2011 to 2018 where he had P&L responsibility for all markets, growing revenue from £25m to over £700m. During this time, Adrian oversaw the company’s transition from start up to a FTSE 100 company. In February 2019, Adrian was appointed CEO of Kennet portfolio company Receipt Bank. Michael has had an extensive career in building and leading successful software companies in Silicon Valley and London.

Currently CEO of CurrencyCloud in London, Michael was previously Chairman of Kennet portfolio company FRS Global (sold to Wolters Kluwer) and has also been CEO of Iris Financial, KWI, Cohera, Infinity Financial and Coronet, and COO of Traiana (sold ICAP for $247 million). Michael sits on the Kennet Executive Advisory Board.

Here are some of the insights shared from the event for founders/CEOs.

Trust your Team. As your company grows beyond the initial founding team, it’s important to empower the next layer of management with real responsibility, otherwise your organisation won’t scale with the growth of the company, and bottlenecks will arise. Doing so may lead to short-term issues – but will be worth it for the resulting impact on long-term growth, both personal and at the company level.
Culture, Culture, Culture. Once you have built an empowered management team, the key determinant of execution success is culture. Make sure that you have a culture where good performance is rewarded, bad performance is dealt with professionally, and teams have fun together.
Have a Vision. Having a powerful vision that both founders and employees buy into is a strong strategic asset for any growth-stage company. It helps to ensure that people pull together in the same direction and that the team is more than a collection of highly educated mercenaries. You might scoff, but these days the majority of employees at many tech companies are Millennials, who have been shown to genuinely care about values. It’s important to remember this when coming up with your company vision.
Focus on your customers, employees, senior management and investors.... in that order. If you focus on your customers and employees, good things will happen for your investors. But if you focus only on your investors, then customers and employees will suffer, and ultimately so will your investors.
Be wary of Investors with a large number of portfolio investments. Traditional VC investors own a portfolio of businesses and rely on a few big winners to generate their returns. If you are a bootstrapped founder, be wary of VC investors that push for you to aggressively expand your business, as this may not sit well with your risk appetite. Growth capital may be a better suited to your needs.

Overall the evening was a great success. Look out for the next Kennet event in H2 2019 and if you have any questions about funding your business, please get in contact with a member of the team.

Kennet is an established growth equity investor and is actively seeking investment opportunities in bootstrapped and capital efficient growth stage technology companies in the UK.

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Kemp Technologies, a leading provider of load balancer and application delivery controller (“ADC”) solutions and services, announced that it has partnered with Mill Point Capital, a middle-market private equity firm focused on control-oriented investments in North America.

The Mill Point team employs an Executive Partner model and has extensive experience investing in transactions in the technology and business services sectors. Kemp’s management team, including CEO Ray Downes, will continue to lead the company, building on its strong track record of growth and innovation.

Kemp is a leader in powering always-on application experience (“AX”) for enterprises and service providers via its next-generation load balancer and ADC technology solutions. Since the company’s founding in 2000, Kemp has consistently led innovation across enterprise technology platform types, including physical, virtual, cloud or multi-cloud environments. The company operates on a global basis with headquarters in New York, and regional hubs in Limerick, Ireland; Munich, Germany; Singapore and Sao Paulo, Brazil.

In addition, John Becker, current Chairman of Kemp will remain in his position with the company and partner with Mill Point going forward.

Ray Downes, CEO of Kemp, commented, “We are thrilled to be partnering with Mill Point and are excited about their commitment to our ongoing development efforts and future growth opportunities. I am very proud of the strong technology foundation we have built and look forward to continuing our world-class innovation and service that is helping customers deliver an optimal application experience.”

Craig Adler, an Executive Partner with Mill Point, said, “Kemp is one of the most respected names in application delivery, and is at the cutting edge of distributed computing network architecture. We believe Kemp is positioned for further success given its ever-growing suite of high performance load balancer and ADC products and services, as well as its true platform ubiquity that supports enterprises of every size and workload requirement.”

About Kemp Technologies

Kemp powers always-on application experience for enterprises and service providers. Leveraging an agile per-app load balancing / ADC consumption model, predictive analytics and automated issue resolution, Kemp is radically simplifying how customers optimize, analyze and secure their applications across private and multi-cloud environments. Kemp counts more than 25,000 customers and 60,000 application deployments in 115 countries. For more information, please visit www.kemp.ax.

About Mill Point Capital

Mill Point Capital is a middle-market private equity firm focused on control-oriented investments in the business services and industrial sectors. The firm works with Executive Partners to leverage its investment professionals' experience, while providing strategic and operational guidance designed to drive long-term value creation in its portfolio companies. Mill Point is based in New York, NY. For more information, please visit www.millpoint.com.

h2. Three guidelines for successful bootstrapping

h3. Relying solely on real customer revenues to build a business was not the most common approach in the late nineties, but James Quist saw it as the best way to retain flexibility and grasp the opportunity at hand.