2012 was a big year for Bain Capital Ventures—the firm raised $600 million for new investments, and focused on expanding its newly launched operations into Palo Alto, under the direction of managing director Ajay Agarwal. Today, the VC firm is announcing a number of new investment partners, helping Bain accelerate its growth in Silicon Valley.
Matt Harris (New York), Todd MacLean (Silicon Valley And Boston), Salil Deshpande (Silicon Valley), and Jack Sweeney (Boston) are all joining (and in come cases, re-joining) the firm. Deshpande joins Bain from Bay Partners, and since 2006, has invested approximately $75 million into 20 companies. These investments center around two themes: open source and enterprise software infrastructure, and infrastructure and platforms around social graph APIs. Investments include Buddy Media, (acquired by Salesforce.com), SpringSource (acquired by VMware), Engine Yard, Lending Club (peer-to-peer lending), and others.
Harris, who is helping lead the New York office, previously co-founded and ran Village Ventures, where he invested in Dwolla, iSend, On Deck Capital, Simple, TxVia and Zipmark. We’re told he will be focusing a number of areas, but will be also actively seeking investments in the payments space.
MacLean, who is rejoining Bain Capital Ventures, was formerly a Partner co-leading Accel Partners’ Growth Fund. He’ll be focused on investing in SaaS, financial technology and information-based businesses. Sweeney brings plenty of enterprise expertise to the firm. He was formerly the CEO of Apparent Networks, was Vice President, Mergers & Acquisitions at EMC, and the President of Network Intelligence. He was also previously a General Partner at Prism Venture Partners.
Agarwal tells me that through a number of exits over the past three years, including Kiva Systems to Amazon, the firm has seen $1 billion of liquidity. And this translates into an expansion of the firm to solidify its place as a national presence in technology investing. The new staff also bring expertise for Bain in certain technology areas such as enterprise, payments, and more.
See the rest here: Bain Capital Ventures Staffs Up
According to Google, a woman named Latanya is probably a lot more likely to end up in jail than someone named Jill. A new study finds advertisements linked to commonly African-American names are far more likely to offer criminal services.
Names “primarily to black babies, such as DeShawn, Darnell and Jermaine, generated ads suggestive of an arrest in 81 to 86 percent of name searches,” writes Harvard University’s Latanya Sweeney, in the open access journal, ArXiv. The unintentional effect of these ads probably has awful psychological impact on the thousands of black citizens, as well as their potential employers, who see their names next to unfortunately racist ads.
Below is an actual advertisement reading, “Latanya Farrell, Arrested?” when the researcher googled her own name.
A lot of headlines have implied that Google search, itself, is racist. This is, in fact, not the case. Google simply mines data and serves up ads automatically that are more likely to be clicked on. The research raises “questions as to whether Google’s advertising technology exposes racial bias in society and how ad and search technology can develop to assure racial fairness,” writes Sweeney.
However, it is a well-known fact that the perception of racial inferiority causes devastating impact on the education and job performance of minorities. Black students who are reminded of their race’s social struggles perform far worse on IQ and standardized tests. So-called “Stereotype threat,” is a leading theory as to why some races are underrepresented in America’s universities.
Black-sounding names are also a resume burden. One study found that applying to a job with a commonly black name resulted in 50 percent fewer callbacks. Imagine the impact of a job recruiter googling a potential employee and being confronted with all sorts of criminally laden advertisements for a black candidate, and not for a white candidate. It’s easy to see how, on average, more black men and women will be left out.
Statistically speaking, a name like Darnell is more likely to be associated with an arrest than “Todd.” But, when society is confronted with this fact, the results trigger our latent sterotypes. In other words, in some cases, more information isn’t always better.
Two of the top venture capital firms have written a big check for Qualtrics, a 10-year-old company offering online data collection and analysis.
The $70 million round is Qualtrics’ first institutional investment — the company says it has been profitable since it was founded in 2002. The money comes from Accel Partners and Sequoia Capital, which both have growth funds targeting investments like Qualtrics — mature companies that have already achieved some success but have bootstrapped thus far. Apparently it’s the largest investment the two firms have ever made together. (Past joint investments include AdMob, the mobile ad network acquired by Google for $750 million.)
Co-founder and CEO Ryan Smith says Qualtrics is offering a new approach to market research. In the past, companies that wanted to conduct this research had to hire outside firms, which is a pricey proposition. There are a few startups are offering cheaper alternatives, but they’re usually simple tools like surveys, which aren’t going to replace serious research. Qualtrics, on the other hand, has developed technology that allows companies to conduct sophisticated research on their own, without hiring an outside firm or even asking their IT team to handle a complicated installation.
“Our mantra is: ‘Sophisticated enough for a PhD, easy enough for an intern,’” Smith says.
Qualtrics claims to have more than 4,000 enterprise customers, including Barnes & Noble, CVS/Caremark, GEICO, Microsoft, Neiman Marcus, Royal Caribbean, Southwest Airlines, Thomson Reuters, Toyota, Vodaphone, Zappos, and 600 universities. Smith says a lot of that growth came in 2008 and 2009, after the financial crash, when companies realized they needed to become more data-driven: “We can’t just throw mud at the wall and see what sticks.”
The company recently expanded its product lineup from the core Research Suite to include Qualtrics 360 (an employee assessment tool) and Qualtrics Site Intercept (which serves custom content to targeted website visitors). Smith says he decided to take on the new funding to invest heavily in growth — in the next year, he plans to add 250 new employees to the 200-person workforce. And he plans to do that in the company’s headquarters in Provo, Utah.
Accel’s Ryan Sweeney and Sequoia’s Bryan Schreier are both joining the board. Sweeney says he heard about Qualtrics after seeing several other companies “we know and admire” using it to collect data. He soon realized that Qualtrics was “powering all these different things and [we were] frankly begging them to take meetings with us.”
Schreier (who, in the press release, calls Qualtrics “the biggest software company you haven’t heard of yet”) tells me he’s known one of the Qualtrics co-founders since 2003, when they worked together at Google, but the company had sounded like a “humble corner store business.” Then, a few months ago, he saw Qualtrics’ numbers, and they were “mind-blowing.” He also says he was impressed by Qualtrics’ commitment to customer service — in fact, Smith tells me that there is an honest-to-goodness siren in the office that goes off every time the customer service phone line rings three times without being answered.
Read more from the original source: Qualtrics Raises $70M From Accel And Sequoia: “The Biggest Software Company You Haven’t Heard Of”?