Freshworks raises $100M

Freshworks, a company that offers a variety of business software tools ranging from IT management to CRM for sales and customer support software, today announced that it has raised a $100 million funding round co-led by Sequoia and Accel Partners, with participation from CaptialG.

The company’s last funding round came in the form of a $55 million Series F round led by Sequoia in 2016. Today’s round brings the San Bruno-based company’s total funding to $250 million, at a valuation that’s now north of $1.5 billion, the company tells us. Freshworks also today noted that it now pulls in over $100 million in annual recurring revenue.

In addition to the new funding, Freshworks also today announced that it has hired a former AppDynamics VP of finance and treasury Suresh Seshardi as its CFO. Seshardi helped AppDynamics prepare for read more

Tractable is applying AI to accident and disaster appraisal

“Happy to spend 10 minutes on our vision and the journey we’re on, but then, really, 15 minutes on what we’ve got today, what it is we’ve achieved, what it is our AI does,” says Tractable co-founder and CEO Alexandre Dalyac when I video called him a couple of weeks ago. “You can probably speed up all of that,” I quip back.

The resulting conversation, lasting well over an hour, spanned all of the above and more, including what is required to build a successful AI business and why he and his team think they can help prevent another “AI winter.”

Founded in 2014 by Dalyac, Adrien Cohen and Razvan Ranca after going through company builder Entrepreneur First, London-based Tractable is applying artificial intelligence to accident and disaster recovery. Specifically, through the use of deep learning to automate visual damage appraisal, and therefore help speed up insurance payouts and access to other types of financial aid.

Our AI has already been trained on tens of millions read more

WhatsApp now allows group voice and video calls between up to 4 people

WhatsApp has added a much-requested new feature after it began to allow users to make group voice and video calls.

It’s been just over three years since the company, which is owned by Facebook, introduced voice calls and later a video option one year later. Today, WhatsApp counts over 1.5 billion monthly users and it says they make over two billion minutes of calls via its service each day.

Starting this week, callers can now add friends by hitting the “add participant” button which appears in the top right corner of their screen. The maximum number of participants is four and, impressively, WhatsApp said the calls are end-to-end encrypted.

That’s not an easy thing to do. Telegram, a self-professed secure messaging app, hasn’t even gotten around to encrypting its group messaging chats, let alone group calls.

On the encryption side, WhatsApp has long worked with WhisperSystems to cover all messages and read more

48 hours left to score early-bird tickets to Disrupt Berlin 2018

Chaucer wrote that “time and tide wait for no man.” With apologies to the “father” of English literature, we say that time and money wait for no entrepreneur. The deadline for saving big money on passes to Disrupt Berlin 2018, which takes place on November 29-30, comes to an abrupt halt on Wednesday August 1 at 11:59 p.m. CEST — in just 48 hours.

Right now, early-bird pricing tiers start at €595 including VAT. That’s a sweet deal because, depending on the tier you choose, early-bird pricing can save you up to €700. When time runs out, you pay more money. Don’t get sucked out with the tide. Buy your passes today.

Disrupt Berlin 2018 offers two program- and value-packed days for startup founders, investors, marketers, tech-heads, designers and innovators. We’re busy lining up an incredible group of speakers — including founders, VCs, tech titans and rising stars — who will step onto the Disrupt stage and hold forth on the most pressing and interesting tech and investment read more

Blockchain media project Civil turns to Asia with fund to kickstart 100 new media ventures

Civil, the blockchain-based journalism organization, is casting its eye to Asia after it set up a $1 million fund that’s aimed at seeding 100 new media projects across the continent over the next three years. The organization has teamed up with Splice, a Singapore-based media startup which will manage the fund, according to an announcement.

There’s been a lot of attention lavished on Civil for its promise to make media work more efficiently using blockchain technology and its upcoming crypto token, CVL. The organization has raised $5 million in financing from ConsenSys, the blockchain corporation led by Ethereum co-creator Joe Lubin, and its ICO takes place next month with the goal of raising around $32 million to launch its network and actively onboard new media companies worldwide.

But the company is waiting around. Civil has already actively jumped into the media space — providing financial read more

Firefox is getting a new logo (or 10)

When you think of “Firefox,” you probably think of something that looks like this:

Or, perhaps, something like this:

That logo (or some iteration between the two) has been the browser’s logo since it launched back in 2002. Its time for change, Mozilla says.

In a blog post about “evolving the Firefox brand,” Mozilla Creative Director Tim Murray outlines the company’s thinking: Firefox isn’t just one browser now. With side projects like Firefox Rocket (the company’s browser for connections with less bandwidth) and Firefox Reality (Firefox, but for virtual reality), the company is finding it needs a bit more wiggle room with its design language.

While they shared a few work-in-progress potential logos, they were quick to note that none of them are final. They might tweak things over time (and they’re asking for feedback), or just go back to the drawing board all together.

The whole thing might sound a bit up-in-the-air right now, and that’s mostly intentional — read more

Logitech is buying Blue Microphones

Logitech today announced its intention to acquire Blue Microphones, the hardware company behind popular podcasting microphones like the Yeti and Snowball. It’s a pretty logical acquisition, as far as these things goog –Logitech already operates in the audio space, with speakers and gaming headsets.

The acquisition of Blue would add an important dimension to that category and help the company take on a rapidly expanding space. Blue’s best known products aren’t high-end, exactly, but they’ve become the go-to choice for upstart podcasters looking to get in on the ground floor in the medium.

Heck, we’ve been known to use them from time to time for our own podcasts. The company offers higher end products for music producers, as well, and in recent years, Blue has begun dabbling in the gaming space, offering up microphone and gaming bundles.

“Logitech’s acquisition of Blue Microphones will accelerate our entry into a growing market, and offers another read more

Chinese “hackers” are sending malware via snail mail

In what amounts to one of the simplest but most baffling forms of social engineering, hackers from China have taken to sending CDs full of malware to state officials, leading the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center, a government security outfit, to release a warning detailing the scam.

The trick is simple: a package arrives with a Chinese postmark containing a rambling message and a small CD. The CD, in turn, contains a set of Word files that include script-based malware. These scripts run when the victims access them on their computers, presumably resulting in compromised systems.

“The MS-ISAC said preliminary analysis of the CDs indicate they contain Mandarin language Microsoft Word (.doc) files, some of which include malicious Visual Basic scripts,” wrote security researcher Brian Krebs. “So far, State Archives, State Historical Societies, and read more