neon sign with dollar symbol
Slack gets a $250 million boost, BlueConic launches a free Customer Data Platform readiness tool and more PHOTO: Jimi Filipovski

Slack has closed a $250 million Series G funding round led by Tokyo-based SoftBank Group Corp., which dipped into its $1 billion Vision Fund for the investment.

Accel Partners was also among the investors, which is unsurprising considering its involvement in seven prior funding rounds, including San Francisco-based Slack’s seed round back in 2009.

This fresh cash injection means Slack is now valued at $5.1 billion, up from its previous $3.8 billion valuation, but lower than the alleged $9 billion valuation being sized up by Amazon.

According to Bloomberg, Slack confirmed the deal and said that — despite the company sitting pretty on most of the $591 million it had previously raised — this new round would give it “operational flexibility.”

In other technology news ...

inContact Updates CXone

NICE inContact has unveiled an update to CXone — its customer experience platform that combines artificial intelligence, omnichannel journey management, analytics-based routing and unified workforce optimization.

The updated capabilities include analytics-based routing and CXone workforce optimization.

With analytics-based routing, customers can now analyze the full spectrum of their customers’ omnichannel experiences in order to pinpoint positive and negative customer interactions,understand associated drivers, and take informed, immediate action to improve customer satisfaction.

The CXone workforce optimization suite delivers omnichannel routing and analytics in a single user-interface that includes recording, quality management and workforce management.

To accompany the news, inContact CEO Paul Jarman remarked that in order for the customer service industry to succeed, it was down to software vendors like Sandy, Utah-based inContact to provide “a complete solution, including integrated omni-channel routing, analytics, workforce optimization and automation.”

BlueConic Unveils Free CDP Assessment Tool

Boston-based BlueConic has announced a free customer data platform (CDP) assessment tool for marketers. The tool, available here, is designed to help marketers understand organizational maturity for implementing a CDP and craft a roadmap for adoption.

BlueConic’s tool consists of four questions and should take a marketer with a solid grasp on the company’s marketing resources, budget and technology no more than a couple of minutes to complete. Based on the answers, an assessment score is given to categorize organizations within one of three levels of maturity: Experimenters, Accelerators and Visionaries.

“We’ve seen marketer’s awareness and knowledge of CDPs skyrocket in 2017,” says Bart Heilbron, founder and CEO of BlueConic. “But many still struggle with knowing where and how to get started. This assessment is the first step in knowing a company’s actual readiness for a CDP, which then allows us to work together to tailor a roadmap that produces early wins and sets them up for long-term success.”

Software AG Launches Cumulocity IoT  

Darmstadt, Germany-based Software AG, a digital transformation software vendor, has launched an extended Cumulocity IoT technology portfolio for the enablement of cloud-based IoT platform services. This move comes just months after Software AG acquired Cumulocity.

By extending the product, Software AG seeks to meet the needs of two distinct groups in the IoT market: companies using IoT to enhance their own products and services, and IoT service providers seeking to build and commercialize an IoT platform.

In a statement accompanying the release, Software AG referred to research that claims 90 percent of executives surveyed feel the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is critical to their companies’ success, only 16 percent have a comprehensive IIoT roadmap. They insist that their newly extended Cumulocity IoT portfolio addresses this gap by offering self-service IoT solutions to enable organizations to develop their own IoT applications and solutions.  

Digital Marketing Institute Raises €26M

In a bid to expand its presence in the United States, Dublin-based Digital Marketing Institute has secured a €26 million (approximately $31 million) investment from Boston-based Spectrum Equity.

In conjunction with the investment, Adam Margolin and Parag Khandelwal of Spectrum Equity will be joining the Digital Marketing Institute’s board of directors.

Ken Fitzpatrick, CEO, Digital Marketing Institute, said the company made the decision to take investment after a period of self-funding after “recognizing the potential scale that can be realized with investment.”

Teralytics Appoints Alastair MadLeod as CEO

Teralytics, a Zurich-based data analytics company, appointed Alastair MacLeod CEO. Previously, MacLeod held the position of CEO of EurotaxGlass, managing director at Solera and led the Business Services division at Orange. At Teralytics, he will be responsible for increasing the company's commercial growth.

The appointment is another milestone in Teralytics' ongoing story of growth. It has raised $44 million to date thanks to a recent Series C funding round, and has built a team of 65 employees working from offices in Zurich, New York and Singapore.

Upon his appointment, Macleod said he sees, “no reason why we shouldn’t build Teralytics into a billion dollar company.”