Two startups have merged to form a new DevOps IT services firm. The company, Sendachi, officially launched this week with a $30 million investment from Columbia Capital.

Sendachi was formed through the merger of Seattle-based Clutch and London-based Contino. Sendachi, which will be led by former Clutch CEO Steven Anderson, will be based in Seattle but maintain a London office.

The new company plans to tackle "one of the most vexing problems" facing enterprise IT departments today: how to accelerate deployment of new services and service enhancements to gain the agility and velocity that lets entrepreneurial and customer-centric approaches flourish. 

The goal is to address the pain points that plagues internal development teams, who are typically burdened by legacy applications and a technology stack that has grown, layer by layer, over decades.

“Our biggest differentiator,” Anderson said in a statement, “is that we don’t train internal teams in an abstracted way. We participate with them, showing them how by executing their real-world work. It’s not academic. It’s absolutely practical. We show them how to use new stack technologies and work differently to achieve acceleration and quality.”

How Bold Is Your Marketing?

Which marketers have inspired, acted bold, connected, innovated and transformed? We'll know March, 12 when the third annual Cojones Awards, are presented during SXSW.

The Cojones Awards recognize marketers who have disrupted the status quo and who embrace the role of the modern marketer, according to Austin-based nFusion. Just this week, nFusion announced its full selection committee for the judging committee:

  • Rishi Dave, CMO, Dun & Bradstreet and 2014 Cojones Award Winner (new panelist)
  • Caren Fleit, senior client partner, Korn Ferry
  • Pete Krainik, founder and CEO, The CMO Club (new panelist)
  • Rob Malcolm, chairman of the board at American Marketing Association;and executive-in-residence at UT's McCombs School of Business
  • Sheryl Pattek, VP, principal analyst at Forrester Research (new panelist)
  • Jenny Rooney, editor, CMO Network at Forbes

In a statement, nFusion CEO John Ellett said the judges "each bring valuable insights to the conversation" about "the change agents who are transforming today's marketing landscape."

ChatWork Secures $12.5M

Sunnyvale, Calif.- and Tokyo-based provider ChatWork secured $12.5 million in Series B funding from JAFCO and other investors. ChatWork helps teams within 86,000 companies from 204 countries and regions increase engagement and work better together without depending on email.

Keisuke Miyoshi, a board member of JAFCO Co., a Japanese venture capital firm, called ChatWork "uniquely positioned to accelerate their global expansion and further innovate business chat for the future of work."

ChatWork promotes real-time chat messages and video chats.

TrustMesh Wins Innovation Award

You can call TrustMesh innovative — at least if you agree with Ideator, a San Francisco-based site that provides advisors and investors to those who want to bring an idea to life.

Ideator just named TrustMesh the Top Innovator from 100 submissions. The award carries a $10,000 prize. TrustMesh offers a service for companies to share the status of their published APIs with stakeholders. 

Runners-up included Spark, an app that displays real-time data on available parking spots, and Wisher, which enables easy wishing and giving.

Former eBay CMO Joins Jivox

San Mateo, Calif.-based Jivox, a provider of data-driven advertising and marketing, has appointed former eBay marketing executive Robert Chatwani to its board of directors. Chatwani is currently chief revenue and marketing officer at Teespring, a social commerce platform.

Diaz Nesamoney, chairman and CEO of Jivox, said Chatwani has "a deep understanding of the roles and unique needs" of Jivox’s customers, which include brand marketers, CMOs and creative agencies.

RapidMiner 7 Debuts

Cambridge, Mass.-based RapidMiner, an open source predictive analytics platform, released RapidMiner 7. The updated platform includes a streamlined design of the company’s flagship product, RapidMiner Studio.

Officials said the release delivers usability enhancements that help users leverage data science and derive insights.

RapidMiner 7 introduces more than 20 major new features, including:

  • New introduction videos, tutorials and process templates
  • Clean design to help users generate predictive workflows without sacrificing deep functionality required by experienced users
  • Improved data access and import process
  • Extracting greater value from Hadoop

London MarTech Providers Get $7.2M

London-based Adestra will fund global expansion of its email marketing technology with $7.2 million of equity funding from BGF (Business Growth Fund). BGF, which targets established UK-based companies with growth potential, also took a minority stake in Adestra, marking the first institutional investment in the company since its founding in 2004.

Adestra officials said the company has experienced annual double-digit revenue growth for more than a decade.

Henry Hyder-Smith, co-founder and CEO of Adestra, noted that email is experiencing "a fantastic and well-founded resurgence as the cornerstone of a brand’s digital communications strategy," creating needs that "Adestra is poised to fill.”

Boxever Nets $12M 

Dublin-based Boxever, which provides data science and omnichannel personalization solutions for airlines and travel companies, closed a $12 million Series B round of funding. This brings the total investment in Boxever to $22 million.

Noel Ruane, board member and lead investor with Polaris Partners, said airlines and travel companies need a CRM that can deliver a profitable, personalized experience to customers and passengers alike.

“A true customer intelligence platform is required, not cobbled together disparate point solutions,” Ruane said. Boxever is "the customer cloud intelligence platform of choice," he added.

And $9M for Splice

Splice Machine, which claims to be the first relational database management system (RDBMS) system powered by Hadoop and Spark, announced $9 million in additional funding. Repeat investors, including Correlation Ventures and Mohr Davidow Ventures (MDV), contributed to this investment round, bringing the company’s total funding to about $31 million.

Splice recently announced version 2.0, the first RDBMS powered by Hadoop and Spark.

“I continue to be impressed by both the evolution of its RDBMS, with the recent integration of Apache Spark, and the team at Splice Machine,” Bill Ericson, general partner at MDV, said in a statement. “The company’s unique product architecture can help businesses achieve outstanding performance at a fraction of the cost."

Dronecode Project Advances

Dronecode, the nonprofit organization developing a common, shared open source platform for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), announced major milestones that include investments from 27 new member organizations and the formation of technical working groups to advance the Dronecode open source platform for UAVs.

Dronecode now has investments from 51 member organizations. Qualcomm Technologies, a subsidiary of Qualcomm Inc., has increased its investment to the platinum level as it introduces new products for the UAV ecosystem.

The highest growth rate for drones or UAVs is commercial opportunities across applications in areas such as agriculture, energy, utilities, mining, construction and more, according to BI Intelligence's "Drone Market Forecast 2015". The Dronecode Project aims to help the drone industry overcome software and hardware barriers to accelerate drone adoption for these critical applications.

Optimove Gets Strategic

Optimove, a customer marketing cloud provider, announced this week that it has launched a strategic services division designed to deliver data-driven customer marketing as a service. The company’s new Strategic Services Team will assist companies in growing their businesses through their existing customers by improving customer loyalty, engagement and retention.

In 2015, the Optimove platform delivered more than 2.6 billion personalized marketing messages across a variety of channels, according to company officials.

Pini Yakuel, Optimove’s founder and CEO, said in a statement the company's goal is to help customer-centric businesses "exhibit the emotional intelligence required to develop long-lasting, mutually-beneficial relationships with their customers, at scale."

To lead its new services division, Optimove hired Shauli Rozen as head of strategic services. Before joining Optimove, Rozen led big data and cloud strategy for Amdocs, a provider of customer experience software solutions and services. Previously, Rozen served as a management consultant at Boston Consulting Group.

Brightpearl Raises $11M

San Francisco- and Bristol, England-based Brightpearl, a multichannel retail management platform, raised $11 million in its latest round of financing, bringing total funding to $30.5 million. Investors included Eden Ventures, MMC Ventures and Notion Capital, supplemented by a loan from Silicon Valley Bank and Columbia Lake Partners.

Brightpearl is using the funding to accelerate the growth of its sales and marketing organization in San Francisco, and to continue to scale its engineering, service and support teams to drive innovation and growth.

Brightpearl supplies a cloud-based inventory management and retail business platform to small to medium independent retail and wholesale customers. The integrated solution combines accounting, inventory, purchasing, customer relationship management (CRM), shipping/fulfillment, point of sale (POS) and other modules.

Bonney Joins Sitecore

Copenhagen, Denmark-based experience management software provider Sitecore announced that software industry veteran Les Bonney has joined the company as chief operating officer. Bonney will be responsible for managing Sitecore's global sales, services and customer facing-organizations.

Michael Seifert, CEO of Sitecore, said in a statement that Bonney's expertise in working with top tier global organizations and building high growth software companies will help "lift Sitecore to the next level as we continue delivering on the power of context marketing."

Bonney brings more than 25 years of software management experience to Sitecore, having held senior executive positions at both Oracle and Siebel Systems. Most recently he held the position of chief operating officer Qlik.

Moxtra’s a Winner

Moxtra, an embeddable collaboration platform, won the award for Best Client Engagement Tool at the APAC Citi Mobile Challenge conducted by Citigroup Jan. 19.

Moxtra allows customers to connect with their relationship managers (RMs) through their mobile banking app. With Moxtra, the RMs can share text/voice messages, documents, presentations, to–dos and reminders for the customers to fill out forms, etc.

Customers are able to review alerts/documents and post queries/notes/annotate documents with graphics or voice and share them with the relationship managers directly through the application.

Title image by Mari Helin-Tuominen