Rally Software, a company that provides Agile project management applications for software development, has filed its initial S-1 for a public offering. According to this filing, the company will raise as much as $70 million in the offering (but often these numbers are just placeholders).
Rally’s products and services help businesses implement Agile software development and Lean practices with the right combination of tools, services and best practices. According to the filing, as of October 31, 2012, the company had 154,982 paid users and more than 1,000 customers, including 36 of the Fortune 100 companies. Rally’s clients include Cisco, Microsoft, Aol, and Hewlett-Packard. Rally currently employees 285 staffers.
In terms of revenue, fiscal 2011 sales came in at $29.7 million. This grew to $41.3 million for revenue in 2012, up 29 percent. For the nine months ended October 31, 2011 and 2012, total revenue grew from $30.1 million to $41.4 million, up 38 percent.
For Fiscal 2012, Agile Software’s renewal rate among existing customers was 129 percent, taking into account paid seat nonrenewals, upgrades and downgrades.
The Boulder, Colorado-based company is not yet profitable, and recorded net losses of $9.9 million, $11.6 million and $6.7 million in fiscal 2011, 2012 and the nine months ended October 31, 2012, respectively. The company has been fairly acquisitive over the past few years, buying AgileZen and Flowdock among others.
The company, which competes with another fellow IPO hopeful Atlassian, has raised close to $70 million in funding from Mohr Davidow Ventures, Greylock, Boulder Ventures, and others.
Rally.org, the U.S.-based crowdfunding platform designed for socially-minded causes, is taking its mission to Europe. Today, the startup is opening an incubator in Berlin, its first outside of the U.S., and on a limited beta will start to process donations made on its proprietary payment platform in euros, with the intention of adding British pounds and other currencies in the very near future.
Rally.org — which, commendably, used its own platform to raise $7.9 million from the likes of Relay Ventures, Mike Maples of Floodgate Fund, Reid Hoffman of Greylock Partners, Kevin Rose of Google Ventures, Craig Shapiro of Collaborative Fund, Michael Birch of Bebo, Tim Ferriss and Eric Ries — recently passed 3 million people contributing to 23,000 campaigns on its platform, and the idea is to tap into more local social causes and fundraising activities in this part of the world to grow that base even more.
In an interview with TechCrunch, Rally.org co-founder and CEO Tom Serres says that the company chose Berlin for its incubator and head office partly because Rally.org had already opened a Rallypad co-working space of sorts in the city last year; and partly because it’s a very startup-friendly city economically (in other words, it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to start a new company there). “We wanted a community, not just a product,” he said.
But the intention is to expand very soon to the UK, which Serres notes has the highest concentration in Europe of people who donate money to good causes. For Rally.org, a cause can be anything from a donation drive for a non-profit; to an environmental startup project aimed at improving, say, energy consumption; to someone looking to raise money for their education — not a small issue in Europe, where student fees are skyrocketing in many countries as states pull back spending in these recessionary times. (Rally takes a 5.75% commission on all final fundraises.)
While crowdfunding sites seem to be approaching a dime a dozen these days, Rally.org has a few points that distinguish it from the pack. Its emphasis on good causes is the obvious one. But the other may be the one that helps it grow: it has built its own payment platform — independent of PayPal, Amazon and the rest — that underpins the service, which is already capable of handling 17 different currencies, says Serres.
“My long term vision is to be the infrastructre of the next economy, the cause economy,” Serres told TechCrunch, describing a future where we make purchasing decisions based on making bigger statements and helping the world: think Tom’s Shoes and its idea of donating one pair to a needy child for each pair bought, expanded into all of your daily transactions. “The idea is: Everywhere I go I make a statement to the world.”
Serres points out every person who makes a contribution through Rally.org gets a virtual wallet, and the idea is to eventually make that wallet into something that consumers can use for more donations, as well as for purchases elsewhere.
For now, those posting campaigns on Rally.org will need to have German bank accounts to receive funds — although this will expand over time, Serres says. Companies based in the company’s Berlin incubator — Startup Weekend, music resource-sharing company Muzup, and social relocation community G1OBALS — will be the first Europeans to use the product. Another group is starting a campaign to preserve Berlin’s princesses garden, Prinzessinnengarten.
Today Microsoft announced that it is raising its dividend from 20 cents per share to 23 cents per quarter, a raise of around 15%. That gives the company a yield of around 2.9%
According to a report in Reuters, this is the seventh time that Microsoft has raised its dividend payout since the dividend was itself introduced in 2004. Microsoft, a preeminent technology company, has suffered from a stagnant stock price for years.
Today, Microsoft was down a fraction, in a day basically flat for its stock. This matched the larger market indexes, which also were all but unch during normal trading hours. In after hours trading, Microsoft has eased slightly, losing on the order of a quarter of a percent.
According to Google Finance, chief competitor to Microsoft, Apple, yields around 2.5%, meaning that on a per-share basis, the Redmond-based software giant pays out a little more to its investors. That said, Apple has enjoyed a massive rally in the past handful of years, whilst Microsoft has remained mired. Dividend yield a rally does not make.
In other Microsoft news, according to GeekWire, longtime Microsoft board member Raymond Gilmartin will not seek re-election, and will step down.
Top Image Credit: Robert Scoble
See the rest here: Microsoft pushes its quarterly dividend 15% higher to 23 cents per share
“Our social networks are not Facebook,” says Nadav Aharony, an Android project manager and one of the six winners of the Knight Foundation’s $1.3 million in grants for media innovation. Instead of intentional online connections, his startup, Behavio, looks at how peoples’ location, network of phone contacts, physical proximity, and movement throughout the day can help us predict range of behaviors — anything from fitness to app downloads to mass protests.
The entire big-data mobile smorgasbord is based on an open source project he helped built at the MIT Media Lab, Funf, a public database of android-friendly software for turning cell phone toting-humans into willing lab rats of social experimentation.
Aharony’s original experiments through Funf looked at how to scientifically engineer behavior, such as getting users to exercise more throughout the day [PDF]. For instance, in one study, Aharony divided participants into 3 groups: one was given access to information on how much they moved throughout the day, one was given access to the movement of a few peers, and another was rewarded for how much others in the group moved (the “social pressure” group). As expected, the social pressure group began upping their exercise throughout the day the most, followed by the social information group; those who only had information about their own exercise had the poorest improvement.
So, what does this have to do with journalism? Aharony says that cell phone data could give essential context to stories involving crowds of people. Knowing how many people actually had access to Twitter and YouTube during the Iranian and Egyptian could settle the ongoing debate about whether social media really makes much of a difference for struggling democracies.
The same is true of Glenn Beck’s (remember him?) rally for “Restoring Honor”, when conservative pundits comically exaggerated turnout for the over-hyped love-fest by a factor of two to 10. The same blunder led Fox New’s Sean Hannity to issue an apology to Jon Stewart after he cut footage from Beck’s rally to a much smaller anti-government rally weeks later.
For now, Behavio’s gifts to journalists are mostly conceptual: users need to opt-in to be tracked and also be using Android. Behav.io can still sense some things without mass adoption, like the presence of other users who have enabled Bluetooth (which could calculate a rough crowd estimate or reveal if someone is trapped alone). The most likely outcomes, however, are off in the future.
Knight also awarded five other innovations, as described from the press release:
European startup conference The Next Web (and now competing blog, hello guys), which took place in Amsterdam last week, was covered in full by seven TNW bloggers who wrote over 30 posts about all major announcements, speeches and competitions. More posts are coming according to its European editor and ex-TechCruncher Robin Wauters, but in the meantime here is our TechCrunchy take on the conference.
I will start off by naming a few startups I thought had interesting concepts or products, even though they did not quite make it to the list of the winners, or did not participate at the competition altogether. So that’s an issue for the organisers to address next year. I will then follow up with a list of the hottest companies in tech according to Robert Scoble, and inevitably list the winners of the TNW Startup Rally.
First, the new finds.
Dutch New Master Artist is a social network for artists, experts and buyers of art, which eliminates galleries as middlemen. The artists can upload and promote their work, and prospective buyers can browse galleries and contact the artists if they want to buy it. The company makes money only if the buyer would like an expert to rate a particular piece of art by taking commission on the advice sought, or if an organization chooses to run a competition for a custom-made piece of art. The website is currently in beta.
Polish Zapstreak is a toolset for app developers that allows streaming media app content to any device, such as a TV set or an entertainment system, thereby bringing Airplay functionality to Android phones and tablets. Without using additional hardware, any mobile app developer can integrate content beaming functionality into their apps, to help in sharing various media such as videos and photos on a TV screen. The business model is based on subscription, plus the Polish startup plans to sell data to the consumer electronics manufacturers.
Norwegian Easybring, still in a closed beta, enables hitchhiking for parcels, allowing the sending and bringing of packages by people for people.
German Impossible Software allows placing images and other videos dynamically into a video stream creating new opportunities for pre-roll and video banner ads, as well as images, text, animations and sounds. The startup should not technically be included into the list, as it has been already ìdiscoveredî.
Belarusian TaxiStartup takes a taxi business to a new level. It combines a cloud-based taxi ERP platform (dispatcher app), with web-based booking, a passenger app to order a service and a driverís app (GPS tracking, order fulfillment). †It offers integration with the taxi ordering apps to bring new orders, and when a taxi company cannot process orders, it can trade them with other taxi companies in exchange for a commission. The business model is commission-based, so it remains free for taxi companies until the first orders begin to roll in.
Oleg Nederev of Skript from Ulyanovsk, Russia, showed me a simple shopping list app Buy me a pie, which has been downloaded over one million times. Its Russian version Kupi Baton became one of the top 10 apps on Appleís app list ìMade in Russiaî (other entries are the famous Cut The Rope and a number of Yandex apps). Coincidentally Ulyanovsk is also a base for Ecwid, an ecommerce widget based on Ajax technology, which powers over 100,000 online stores worldwide.
Dutch Sellanapp.com is a platform to crowdfund and crowdsource a development of mobile apps in an auction format. The idea gets listed, and the crowd can bid funds for the app in exchange for, say, a share in revenue. The mobile developer can then choose an app that has collected a sufficient budget for its development and will create it based on the provided app design within the required timeframe.
HackFwd portfolio companies Polish movie recommendation startup Filmaster and Latvian infographics startup Infogr.am were also exhibiting at the conference, and team of the HackFwd Build0.9 audience award winner ScatchApp participated in the hack battle.
Ukrainian Hubbub is a social network based on voice communication, which makes you think of a voice-based Twitter. I can see how one can use it when on the go, when reading text or watching videos are not viable options, but I’m not sure it should be a standalone social network.
And thatís all the new names I can cram into one post. This next batch of names includes the hottest startups according to Robert Scoble.
Hottest Startups according to Robert Scoble
Having spent most of my time networking, I did not get a chance to sit through most of the speeches. So with all due respect to other speakers, I will only mention one presentation in which Scoble named the hottest companies in tech. Below is the 33-minute long video, but to save you time, here is a list of companies he thought will change the way we live.
Placeme app remembers places you visit.
iControl is a new generation of home management software.
Primesense gives digital devices a 3D view of the world, which turns the userís body into a remote control.
Streamboard is a Twitter client which adjusts the Twitter feed according to key words, number of followers and location, amongst others.
Zaarly allows you to trade with people nearby.
Karma App is a gifting app, which allows gift recipients to customize, swap the gift or choose to donate money to charity instead.
Waze is a community-based traffic and navigation app. Though with a very large war chest it’s pulling away from the startup category.
HomeSnap allows users to take a picture of any house, and pulls up details about the house, including its sales price.
Glympse is an app that helps Scoble tell others that he is running late and share his location to estimate the time of arrival.
Firebase makes servers optional for real-time apps.
Scoble closed his speech by inviting Matteo Lai, founder and CEO of Empatica, to demonstrate a device which measures levels of excitement and stress based on heart rate data and electrodermal response.
Scoble’s list also included Highlight (networking for introverts as he called it). Yet when I opened the app and tried to meet people of interest appearing ‘nearby’, I did not manage to flag any one of them including Scoble himself, of whose presence I was alerted by Highlight. Sharing a bloggersí table with him was more helpful.
The Winners of TNW Startup Rally
As I have already mentioned, the overall winner at Startup Rally was American social video startup Shelby.tv.
German BeamApp (also HackFwdís portfolio company) took an award for the most innovative concept. It deals with continuity of using an app, when one has to leave the laptop and switch to a mobile phone, for example, to continue listening to the music, or beam a phone number from a web page onto the mobile phone.
English/Greek Babelverse, the real-time crowd-sourced interpreting service, won the B2B and Public Choice awards. I have met Josef Dunne and Mayel de Borniol†at a number of events including HackFwd Build.0.9 and have been amazed by their relentlessness. Babelverseís team has been paying out of its bootstrapped pocket (padded with a $40K grant from Start-up Chile) to offer real-time interpreting of TNW into Spanish and Italian, and has announced the launch of the public beta.
A Dutch startup Snowciety took the B2C award and launched their app at the conference. Snowciety is a tracking app for skiers and snowboarders with built-in social features that allow friends reconnect, for example at the lunch time. At present the app is free.
Between from South Korea took a prize for the best mobile app that allows sharing for couples. If the couple splits up, the app disconnects the account but gives the parties a grace period to get together again. Should this happen, the connection and data are reinstated. The app has been downloaded 700,000 times since November 2011.
Nuji, based in London, UK, is a social wishlist which rewards its users with loyalty points which can later be swapped for discounts. According to Crunchbase, it has over 20,000 stores and its users view over seven million products per month.
Dutch Frommees was a wildcard participant at the Startup Rally, and won an award for the most remarkable presentation. Frommees, which I would also distinguish for the most beautifully designed marketing materials, offers a game which bridges an online world with offline serendipity, which can be cleverly used by brands. You get a token with a code on it. When you get the token (called a frommee), register it on the website, add photos, videos or music to that Frommee and pass the token along to someone else. You can then see the path your frommee makes, and can meet people who registered your frommee and shared something through it. Coca Cola bottles can spread frommees around and benefit from the exposure, should this game go viral.
This post is written by our regular contributor Natasha Starkell, the CEO of GoalEurope, the outsourcing advisory firm and a publication about outsourcing, innovation and startups in Central and Eastern Europe. Twitter @NatashaStarkell. Gplus.
More here: New Finds At TNW Shows Europe Is Nailing It