S|W: The SaaS Weekly – Hootsuite acquisition fuels shift to intelligence

S|W: The SaaS Weekly – Hootsuite acquisition fuels shift to intelligence

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Plus: Amazon scraps Alexa Developer Rewards Program.

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Hootsuite to acquire social media analytics company Talkwalker

Hootsuite is set to acquire Luxembourg-based artificial intelligence consumer intelligence and social listening company Talkwalker for an undisclosed amount.

Hootsuite said the deal is aimed at helping its customers get more out of their social media relationships and will fuel the Vancouver tech company’s shift in focus from social media management to data-driven, intelligent decision making. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2024.

(BetaKit)


Amazon to Stop Paying Developers to Create Apps For Alexa

Amazon.com Inc. will no longer pay developers to create applications for Alexa, scrapping a key element of the company’s effort to build a flourishing app store for its voice-activated digital assistant.

Amazon recently told participants of the Alexa Developer Rewards Program, which cut monthly checks to builders of popular Alexa apps, that the offering would end at the end of June.

(BNN Bloomberg)


Define Capital closes $20 million to acquire and nurture profitable niche software companies

Through Toronto’s Define Capital, OMERS Ventures and RIV Capital alum Narbe Alexandrian plans to buy profitable vertical software-as-a-service and business-to-business software firms and grow them over the long haul.

“The idea is to create long-term value by acquiring these sticky SaaS and [B2B] software companies, optimizing them, and then just holding onto them forever, similar to a Constellation-type model,” Alexandrian told BetaKit in an exclusive interview.

(BetaKit)


Vista Equity to take revenue optimization platform Model N private in $1.25B deal

Model N, a platform used by companies such as Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, and AMD to automate decisions related to pricing, incentives, and compliance, is going private in a $1.25 billion deal with private equity firm Vista Equity Partners. The acquisition underscores how PE firms continue to scoop up tech companies that have struggled to perform well in public markets in the last couple of years.

(TechCrunch)


Pinterest is on a Toronto hiring spree to scoop up AI talent

Pinterest is looking to expand its business in Canada and capitalize on the country’s artificial intelligence and machine learning talent as it sets out on a strategic plan to make the platform more of a shopping destination, said chief technology officer Jeremy King.

The San-Francisco-based company is hiring 40 engineering roles to add to its existing roster of 80 at its Toronto office—one of its key engineering hubs, King said—and aims to fill the positions by the end of the year.

(BetaKit)


Checkr, the background-screening platform last valued at $5B, cuts 32% of workforce

Checkr, a 10-year-old startup that offers employee background checks and was last valued at $5 billion in April 2022, has laid off 382 employees as companies are not significantly hiring talent.

“In response to economic conditions that have impacted companies’ hiring, we made the difficult and painful decision to reduce the size of our team. This will allow us to operate more efficiently and ensure the long-term health of our business,” a Checkr spokesperson said in the statement.

(TechCrunch)


WordPress owner acquires Eric Migicovsky’s messaging app Beeper following spar with Apple

Beeper, the Canadian-founded universal messaging application whose recent dispute with Apple has become fuel for a United States antitrust lawsuit, has been acquired by Automattic, the firm behind WordPress, Tumblr, and WooCommerce.

While neither firm disclosed the financial terms of the deal, Bloomberg News and TechCrunch have reported that Automattic is paying $125 million USD.

(BetaKit)


As crypto regains momentum, Coinbase Canada’s Lucas Matheson zeroes in on the next big goal: adoption

To Lucas Matheson, CEO of Coinbase Canada, it’s now clear that crypto as an asset class is “here to stay,” and the industry is now shifting to a new focus: driving adoption.

“Now is the opportunity for us to shift and help evangelize the opportunity for Canadians to get access to the digital economy,” Matheson told BetaKit.

In a recent fireside discussion with BetaKit interim CEO Satish Kanwar, Matheson explored how Coinbase is looking to catalyze crypto adoption in Canada, the role that the government will play, and Canada’s wider innovation opportunity.

(BetaKit)


Exclusive: FloQast raises $100M at a $1.6B valuation

Iconiq Growth led a $100 million Series E investment in FloQast, the company tells Axios exclusively.

The round reaffirms the company’s unicorn status with a product that streamlines the work of accountants.

(Axios)


Intel says enterprises need choice to scale AI’s potential

Following Intel’s CEO keynote and announcement at the company’s Vision conference of more energy-efficient processing chips and an open AI app ecosystem, Asma Aziz, Canada Marketing Director at Intel, spoke with BetaKit about why the company believes the path to enterprise AI adoption is through open ecosystems rather than walled gardens.

(BetaKit)


Docusign’s next business is making contracts smarter

Docusign, the e-signature giant, announced Thursday it is moving into a new software category — contracts — and will soon offer an AI-powered “intelligent agreement management platform.”

Docusign CEO Allan Thygesen said in a blog post that he believes its new contract tools are “the first entrant in a new Intelligent Agreement Management SaaS category.”

(Axios)


S|W: The SaaS Weekly is powered by Osler

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