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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Propel accelerates with $18M Series B to manage product lifecycle

We hear so much about managing the customer relationship, but companies have to manage the products they sell, too. Propel, a Santa Clara startup, is taking a modern cloud approach to the problem, and today it landed an $18 million Series B investment.

The round was led by Norwest Venture Partners. Previous investors Cloud Apps Capital Partners, Salesforce Ventures and SignalFire also participated. Today’s investment brings the total raised to more than $28 million.

“We are focused on helping companies design and launch products, based on how you go through the life cycle of a product from concept to design to make, model, sell, service where everybody in a company gets involved in product processes at different points in time,” company co-founder and CEO Ray Hein told TechCrunch.

Hein says the company has three core products to help customers track products through their life. For starters, there is the product life cycle management tool (PLM), used by engineering and manufacturing. Next, they have product information management for sales and marketing. Finally, they have service personnel using the quality management component.

The company is built on top of the Salesforce platform, which could account for Salesforce Ventures’ interest in the startup. While Propel looks purely at the product, Salesforce is more interested in the customer, whether from a sales, service or marketing perspective.

These same employees need to understand the products they are developing and selling and that is where Propel comes into play. For instance, when sales people are filling out an order, they need access to the product catalog to get the right numbers or marketing needs to understand the products they are adding to an online store in an e-commerce environment.

Traditional PLM tools from companies like SAP and Oracle are on-prem or have been converted from on-prem to cloud services. Propel was born in the cloud and Sean Jacobsohn, partner at Norwest Venture Partners, who will be joining the Propel board, sees this as a key differentiator for the startup.

“With Propel’s solution, companies can get up and running faster than with on-premise alternatives and pivot products in a matter of seconds based on real-time feedback gathered from marketing, engineering, sales, customers and the entire supply chain,” Jacobsohn said in a statement.

The company was founded in 2015. It currently has 35 employees; flush with these new funds, Hein intends to boost to 50 in the coming months.


Source: TechCrunch

*The Expanse* Gets Artificial Gravity Right in This Neat Trick

In a scene from season one, Jim Holden shows exquisite command of high school physics as he maneuvers himself onto a spaceship gangway.
Source: Wired

Microsoft Surface Studio 2: Everything you need to know

Microsoft’s Surface Studio 2 comes with a new CPU, new graphics card, and a brighter display — but is all of that worth the higher cost? Here’s everything you need to know about the Surface Studio 2.

The post Microsoft Surface Studio 2: Everything you need to know appeared first on Digital Trends.


Source: Digital trends

Italic launches its marketplace for affordable luxury goods from top manufacturers

A new startup called Italic says it’s already received more than 100,000 signups for a marketplace where you can buy handbags, eyewear and other luxury products directly from the manufacturers who work with the world’s best-known brands.

The marketplace is officially launching today. Italic is also announcing that it’s raised $13 million in funding from Comcast Ventures, Global Founders Capital, Index Ventures, Ludlow Ventures and others.

Founder and CEO Jeremy Cai previously co-founded the Y Combinator-backed hiring startup OnboardIQ (now known as Fountain.com), so this sounds like a pretty big change. However, Cai said he comes from a family in the manufacturing business, so he was acutely aware of the challenges facing manufacturers.

“The history of manufacturing has been about margins,” he said. “Even though they make the final product, they barely make a profit.”

Under the traditional model, it’s the brands that buy the goods from the manufacturers and make the real profit by marking up prices. So Cai saw an opportunity to remove the brands from the equation — Italic handles the consumer-facing side of the business, like product design and marketing, but it doesn’t actually buy anything. Instead, it operates more like a marketplace, connecting consumers and manufacturers.

Jeremy Cai

This also means the manufacturers are assuming more of the risk around the initial cost of creating the products, but Cai said that in return, they get much more of the upside. And apparently, Italic’s initial partners “jumped at the opportunity”: “They’ve been waiting for an option like this to get to get direct-to-consumer.”

Under the Italic model, the manufacturers remain anonymous, but the company says customers will be able to purchase handbags and leather goods from factories that work with Prada, Christian Louboutin and Givenchy; eyewear from a factory that works with EssilorLuxottica; bedding factories that work with Ritz Carlton and Four Seasons; and leather jackets from the same factory as J Brand.

Cai said this model also means consumers will pay significantly less than they would for luxury goods — most of the handbags will cost less than $300, the prescription eyewear will cost less than $100, leather jackets will be around $425 and bedding will be priced between $80 and $120. You’ll certainly be able to find cheaper products elsewhere, but the idea is sell to “the middle 40 percent” of consumers who are interested in high-quality products but want to be “a lot more frugal and smart with their dollars.”

And while Cai declined to specify the commission that Italic is charging manufacturers, he did say it differs from industry to industry, and added, “Our manufacturers make several multiples more than they make with their current brand clients.”

During our conversation, Cai repeatedly emphasized the difference between Italic and many of the new direct-to-consumer brands that have emerged online (such as Warby Parker and Casper).

Italic

When I wondered whether the marketplace vs. brand distinction will be lost on most consumers, he replied, “On the design side, we’re extremely intentional. We’re designing it with the messaging that we operate differently, you’re buying from a merchant who is an anonymous manufacturer. The sole intention is that when someone asks you, ‘Where did you get that handbag?’ you say, ‘I got this handbag from Italic, on Italic.’ The goal is to operate more like a retailer without any brands.”

At the same time, he acknowledged that Italic is itself a sort of brand, albeit with a unique business model.

“At the end of the day, it’s impossible to say we aren’t building a brand,” he said. “But the brand of Italic [should be that] we can consistently bring you high quality products at an incredible price point.”

Italic will operate on a membership model, which Cai said will allow the company to control demand, since quantities are limited. It also allows the company to solicit product feedback from members, and there could be other benefits like shipping discounts. Members who signup initially will get a year for free, but it will eventually cost $120 annually.


Source: TechCrunch

Microsoft Surface Studio 2 review

Most creative professionals are staunchly planted in the Apple camp, but with the Surface Studio 2, Microsoft is making a serious attempt to win them over. Despite its niche appeal, you’ll wish you had a few grand to drop on this beauty.

The post Microsoft Surface Studio 2 review appeared first on Digital Trends.


Source: Digital trends

Microsoft Surface Studio 2 Review: A Brawny, Shape-Shifting PC

Microsoft’s new workstation has everything you ever wanted in a creative desktop, and costs more than you probably ever wanted to spend.
Source: Wired

If the speed of AMD’s Radeon RX 590 doesn’t entice you, the game bundle will

AMD’s Radeon RX 590 is a new video card that targets 1080p gaming at maximum detail. Starting at $280, it fills a gap between the Radeon RX 580 and the more expensive Radeon RX Vega. AMD says the new RX 590 can beat Nvidia’s GTX 1060 Ti.

The post If the speed of AMD’s Radeon RX 590 doesn’t entice you, the game bundle will appeared first on Digital Trends.


Source: Digital trends

The best data recovery software

The best data recovery software isn’t always free, but whether you’ve lost files on a hard drive, SD card, or even physical media like CDs and DVDs, there’s a chance they’ll be able to get that data back.

The post The best data recovery software appeared first on Digital Trends.


Source: Digital trends

Microsoft Surface Headphones Review: Dialed In

Microsoft’s first wireless headphones look, feel, and sound as premium as their price tag.
Source: Wired

Tinder Borrows a Page From Uber With Its New ‘Swipe Surge’

The feature, available in select cities, turns Tinder into a real time dating experience.
Source: Wired

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