Archive for October, 2014

Slack CEO Explains Why He Thinks His 8 Month Old App Is Now Worth $1.1 Billion


Slack Founder Stewart ButterfieldThere’s been so many billion-dollar startups these days that it’s almost starting to feel routine in tech.

Slack, an enterprise work collaboration app, is the latest one to join the club. It announced on Friday that it’s raising $120 million at a $1.1 billion valuation.

It’s hard to imagine a company as young as Slack — it launched publicly in February — to be worth more than a billion dollars. But when you’re growing as fast as it is, especially in the enterprise space, anything is possible.

When we asked Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield about it, he agreed his company’s numbers are still small in absolute terms. But the $1.1 billion valuation has more to do with the rapid growth it’s been seeing, and the fact that it hasn’t spent a dime in sales and marketing, he said.

“We still have a long way to grow to justify the valuation,” Butterfield told Business Insider. “But it’s largely on the basis of the trajectory that we’re on, and most of all, because that’s just been happening organically.”

According to Slack, more than 30,000 active teams send over 200 million messages each month. It has more than 73,000 paying customers, and it’s adding $1 million in annual recurring revenue (ARR) every month. At that pace, Slack would surpass $10 million in ARR this year, and become the fastest-ever software-as-a-service (SaaS) company to do so.

For comparison, Butterfield m! entioned Workday, a publicly traded enterprise SaaS company that’s now worth $17.8 billion. Butterfield said it’s not an entirely fair comparison, since Slack and Workday are in different businesses, but it took Workday about three years and roughly $30 million in sales and marketing — while losing about $75 million in total — to get to $10 million in ARR.

“We’ve established that people would pay for us. Slack is being valued based on its ability to make money rather than something more speculative,” Butterfield said.

Friday, October 31st, 2014 digital No Comments

Despite increases in hacking, Americans still don't change passwords enough


According to the Identity Theft Resource Center there have been 447 data breaches so far in 2014 exposing over 11 million records across a number of industries. From 2012 to 2013 the number of breaches identified as “hacking” has increased by just over 20%, from 129 to 160 breaches. Understandably, Americans have become more concerned about security with 47% reporting to be more worried about cyber security this year than last year.

This past April a security bug in OpenSSL (the protocol used to secure everything from Facebook to Etsy) called Heartbleed threatened to expose private account information to hackers. Last week, the New York Times ran an exclusive story about a Russian crime ring that had amassed 1.2 billion username/password combinations and over 500 million email addresses in what was called the “largest collection of stolen Internet credentials” ever.

It’s no wonder that 91% of Americans consider cyber security to be somewhat or very important and only 8% are unconcerned about the prospect of being hacked.

In spite of these high profile security breaches Americans tend to feel that their data is secure and only 21% have had their online accounts hacked. Women feel that their data is less secure than men but don’t update their account passwords any more often than men. And Americans ages 18 – 34 tend to be less concerned than those 35 – 55+ about the prospect of getting hacked.

One of the simplest ways to keep from being hacked is to use different passwords for different accounts and to change passwords every few months. Yet 75% of people use the same password for multiple sites and 33% use the same password for every site as reported by CheckMate.

Despite increased concern about Internet security only 63% of Americans have changed the password on their personal email account in the past year, 53% have updated their online banking password and fewer than half have updated their social media passwords in the past year.

For further information about poll results, and for details about methodology and omnibus services, please email

Find the full results here.

Image courtesy of Press Association


Friday, October 31st, 2014 news No Comments

CHART OF THE DAY: Starbucks’ Mobile App Is Going Gangbusters (SBUX)


Starbucks offered some interesting new data during the company’s fourth quarter earnings call on Thursday. According to CEO Howard Schultz, the Starbucks app processed $1.17 billion in 2013, and the company has already processed nearly $1.4 billion in 2014 by the app alone; it’s expected to reach $2 billion by the end of the year.

Based on company data charted for us by BI Intelligence, Starbucks’ mobile payment volume has leaped to $517 million from $302 million a year ago — a jump of more than 70% — with over 12 million current users of the mobile app. But those numbers should only increase now that Schultz plans on implementing a mobile ordering and payment system set to launch later next year. “Imagine the ability to create a standing order of Starbucks delivered hot to your desk daily,” Schultz said. “That’s our version of e-commerce on steroids.”

bii sai cotd sbux mobile payments volume

Friday, October 31st, 2014 news No Comments

SORRELL: WPP’s $25 Million Stake In AppNexus Leaves Publicis And Omnicom With ‘Nowhere To Go’ (WPP)



Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of the world’s largest advertising holding group WPP, made the bold statement on the company’s third quarter earnings call Friday that its $25 million investment in adtech company AppNexus earlier this year leaves rivals like Publicis Groupe and Omnicom with “nowhere to go.”

The deal saw WPP take a huge stake in the hottest tech startup in New York to help Sorrell’s company better compete with Facebook and Google in the online advertising space.

On paper it appeared to be a massive bargain as WPP invested $25 million in cash for a 15% stake in AppNexus, which at the time was valued at $1.2 billion following a series of funding rounds. But the deal also comes with the implicit understanding that WPP will continue to funnel its clients’ ad money through AppNexus and a newly created Xaxis for Publishers Unit (which AppNexus acquired from WPP as part of the deal.) It’s similar to the deal WPP cut with social media marketing platform Buddy Media, on which WPP made a huge profit when the company was sold to Salesforce. Salesforce went on to offer “volume-based incentives” to WPP’s larger ad clients because Buddy was the ad group’s preferred partner, helping Sorrell’s company leverage even more value out of the sale.

Sorrell said he prefers these kind of deals with adtech businesses (or “application of technology” companies as he calls them) rather than simply “plonking down a couple of billion dollars in xyz company and the feeling that you might control the application of that technology,” because that would be “too risky and dangerous.” Instead he believes the injecting some cash and working in a partnership is more flexible and bri! ngs WPP’ s media and data businesses much closer together.

WPP detailed all the swans in this slide below:

wpp swans

Friday, October 31st, 2014 news No Comments

Mobile Now Two-Thirds of Facebook


Facebook-Mobile-MAUs-Ad-Revenues-Q32012-Q32014-Oct2014Source: Facebook [pdf]

    Notes: Facebook’s advertising revenues grew by 64% year-over-year in Q3 to $3.2 billion, of which mobile comprised 66% share, up from 49% share a year ago. Some 64% of Facebook’s 1.35 billion monthly active users accessed the site daily, translating to 864 million daily active users (DAUs). Roughly 81% of those were mobile DAUs.

    Thursday, October 30th, 2014 news No Comments

    Online Adults Report Spending Close to 3 Hours a Day Using the Internet At Home


    LRG-Time-Spent-Online-at-Home-Oct2014Source: Leichtman Research Group

      Notes: The average time spent by an individual with internet service at home is 2.8 hours, finds the Leichtman Research Group, up from 2.2 hours in 2009. That 2.8-hour average rises to 3.3 hours among Millennials (18-34), who, for the first time, are spending more time online at home than watching TV, per the report. Separately, the study indicates that 79% of US households get broadband internet service at home, up a point from last year.

      Thursday, October 30th, 2014 news No Comments

      US Omni-Channel Shopping Behavior, by Category


      GfK-US-Omni-Channel-Shopping-Activity-by-Category-Oct2014Source: GfK [download page]

        Notes: On average, 44% of US shoppers combine online and in-person shopping activities (“omni-channel shopping”) across 15 product and service categories, reports GfK in a recent study. Omni-channel shopping is most popular for consumer electronics (65%), apparel (64%) and toys (63%), while being least common in categories such as restaurant meals (20%), cleaning (21%), and food and beverage (22%). Compared to last year’s results, the biggest percentage point increases in omni-channel shopping were observed for the home improvement (+19% points) and auto (+14% points) categories.

        Thursday, October 30th, 2014 news No Comments

        Trust in News Media Types, by Generation


        Harris-Trust-in-News-Media-Types-by-Generation-Oct2014Source: Harris Interactive

          Notes: American adults have the most trust in local TV news, finds Harris Interactive, with 78% having at least some trust that it will get them the news fairly and accurately. Local newspapers (76%) and radio (73%) follow closely, while online-only news sites such as the Huffington Post are trusted by the fewest (61%) respondents, chiefly due to a lack of trust among Matures (69+). Interestingly, Baby Boomers (50-68) have the most trust in each news media type save for online-only news sites, where they trail Gen Xers (38-49) by a slight margin.

          Thursday, October 30th, 2014 news No Comments

          How Search Results Can Drive In-Store Visits


          GoogleIpsosSterling-Helpful-Search-Result-Info-Oct20143 in 4 consumers who find local information in search results to be helpful report being more likely to visit stores. That’s according to a recent Google, Ipsos MediaCT and Sterling Brands survey [pdf] of 6,000 smartphone users aged 18-54 who have influence in the purchase decision-making process of retail, CPG or tech products and have used the internet to look for shopping-related information. So what exactly constitutes “helpful” information? › Continue reading

          Thursday, October 30th, 2014 news No Comments

          If You Use Verizon, Advertisers Can Track You No Matter What


          If You Use Verizon, Advertisers Can Track You No Matter What

          If you use Verizon, you have no way to opt out of the company’s tracking program that will realistically protect you from third-party companies from using Verizon’s tracking IDs to build profiles on you.

          Read more…

          Thursday, October 30th, 2014 news No Comments

          Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.

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