WeWork: Manhattan’s 2nd-biggest Private Office Tenant

Source: Recode     This is incredible growth: Eight years after opening its first co-working space in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood, fast-growing WeWork is now the second-biggest private office tenant in Manhattan. Approaching 50 locations in New York City, WeWork has now amassed more Manhattan office space than any other tenant except banking behemoth…

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The Brexit economy: light at the end of the tunnel?

After progress in EU talks sterling has strengthened, inflation is falling and pay is rising. But sharp challenges remain

How has the Brexit vote affected the economy? March verdict
Experts debate the data

As the one-year countdown to Brexit looms, the British economy is showing signs of steadying from the fallout triggered by the EU referendum, according to a Guardian analysis of economic news over the past month.

After progress with Brussels towards a two-year transitional deal to smooth Britain’s formal exit from the EU on 29 March 2019, the pound has risen back towards the highest levels seen since the leave vote.

Related: ‘There is progress but we could do better’ – experts debate Brexit watch data

A hard Brexit would take Britain out of the EU’s single market and customs union and ends its obligations to respect the four freedoms, make big EU budget payments and accept the jurisdiction of the ECJ: what Brexiters mean by “taking back control” of Britain’s borders, laws and money. It would mean a return of trade tariffs, depending on what (if any) FTA was agreed. See our full Brexit phrasebook.

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MariaDB acquires big analytics company MammothDB

MariaDB is best known as a drop-in replacement for the popular MySQL database. But the MariaDB Corporation, which was founded by MySQL founder Monty Widenius and which offers all of its software under an open source license, clearly has its sights set on a bigger market and is looking to expand and better challenge the likes of Oracle, the company today announced that it has acquired MammothDB, a big data business analytics service based in Bulgaria.

With MariaDB AX, MariaDB already offers an analytics and data warehousing system. The service launched in 2017 and, unsurprisingly, the company plans to bring the MammothDB’s expertise in this area to bear on MariaDB AX.

“The MammothDB team joins MariaDB at a critical point in our growth, bringing with them an impressive track record of delivering big data solutions,” said MariaDB CEO Michael Howard. “Over the past year, we’ve seen a major increase in demand for MariaDB AX as organizations seek to fill an open source analytics gap left by proprietary offerings such as Oracle and Teradata. The addition of MammothDB’s deep analytics expertise will be invaluable to helping MariaDB meet this growing need and continue to innovate our analytic products.”

The companies did not disclose the price of the acquisition. MammothDB raised a $1.8 million seed round led by 3TS Capital Partners and Empower Capital in 2015 but it doesn’t look like the company ever raised any additional funding. MariaDB, on the other hand, closed a $54 million Series C round led by Alibaba Group and the European Investment Bank in late 2017, which was surely a factor in being able to make today’s acquisition.

Kloudless raises $6M for its integrations solution

Kloudless makes it easier for developers to connect their applications to a variety of third-party tools for file storage, customer management, calendaring and other services through a unified API. It’s a bit like an IFTTT for developers. Today, the company announced that it has raised a $6 million Series A round led by Aspect Ventures, with participation by Bow Capital, Alibaba Taiwan Entrepreneurs Fund, Heavybit, and Ajay Shah. These new investors join existing investors David Sacks and Tim Draper.

The company says that it saw a 200 percent revenue growth over the course of the last year and that its platform now has over 15,000 registered developers who are making more than 15 million API calls every day. Kloudless’s monetization plan mostly focuses on providing developers with different degrees of service, SLAs and features like single-sign on support and rules. Interestingly, the company doesn’t charge based on API calls and offers a generous 50GB of free transfer volume, even for free accounts, with additional transfer charges costing $20 per 100GB.

“Our mission at Kloudless is to tie together the business software stack,” said Eliot Sun, CEO and co-founder of Kloudless. “While we’re starting with a solution for software vendors, this is just a small piece of an enormous opportunity to help all businesses make the most of the data and functionalities from their software investments.”

The company plans to use the new funding to expand its connector ecosystem to support a wider variety of third-party services and to launch new tools to enable automation and custom integration capabilities.

“In the past year, Kloudless has seen accelerating traction across all key developer metrics, as developers have increasingly realized the efficiencies of a ‘build once, integrate many’ approach to meeting customer demand for integrations,” said Mark Kraynak of Aspect Ventures, who will be joining the board as a part of the financing. “We’re excited to support Kloudless and their efforts to capture what figures to be a multi-billion opportunity in connecting businesses to the cloud.”

Adobe wants to be your customer experience record keeping system

For years, the goal of marketers was to understand the customer so well, they could respond to their every need, while creating content specifically geared to their wishes. Adobe Cloud Platform has long acted as a vehicle to collect and understand customer data inside the Adobe toolset, but today Adobe took that a step further.

The company hopes to transform Adobe Cloud Platform into a company’s experience record keeping system, a central place to collect all the data you may have about a customer from both the Adobe Cloud Platform and external data sources.

Suresh Vittal, vice president of platform and product at Adobe Experience Cloud says tools like CRM were intended to provide a record keeping system for the times, and they were fine in a period when entering and retrieving data was state of the art, but he thinks there needs to be something more.

“A lot of investments for past generations of software evolution have been around batch-based operational systems. While they were necessary back then, they are not sufficient where these brands are going today,” he told TechCrunch.

Adobe Systems world headquarters in San Jose, California USA Photo: Getty Images Lisa Werner / Contributor

Over time, as companies gather more and data, Adobe believes they need something that centers around the dynamic interactions brands are having with customers. “We believe every customer needs an experience system of record, a central [place to record] where the brand brings together experience data, content and a unified profile to power the next generation of experience,” he said.

To achieve this goal, the company is doing more than creating a new construct, it has built a new data model along with tools for data scientists to build custom data models.

Of course where there is data, there needs to be some machine learning and artificial intelligence to help process it, especially in a case where the goal is to pull disparate data into a central record. Adobe’s particular flavor of AI is called Sensei and the company is giving developers access to the some of the same AI algorithms it uses in-house to build its platform.

Any time you start pulling data together from a variety of sources to create a central record keeping system about a customer, there are huge privacy implications, and even more so with GDPR coming on line at the beginning of May in the EU. Vittal says the company has built in a governance and compliance layer into the toolset to help companies comply with various regulations around sharing data.

“You cannot turn all of this data into something useful without safeguards— semantics and control.” He says this involves creating a data catalogue, labeling data in the record and associating rules with each type. That way, data emanating from the EU will need to be handled a certain way, just as any personally identifiable information needs to be safeguarded.

This is where the machine learning comes in. “When you create data across the experience system of record, the data catalog recognizes [certain types of] data and recommends labels based on types of data using machine learning.”

All of this is very likely an attempt to compete with Salesforce, which provides sales, marketing and customer service stitched together with their own artificial intelligence layer, Einstein. The recent $6.5 billion MuleSoft purchase will also help in terms of pulling data of disparate enterprise systems and into the various Salesforce tools.

The tools and services announced today give Adobe a fully intelligent, machine learning-driven solution of their own. The whole notion of a customer experience record, while a bit of marketing speak, also serves to help differentiate Adobe from the pack.

10 Tuesday AM Reads

My Two-for-Tuesday morning train reads: • How Facebook Helps Shady Advertisers Pollute the Internet (Bloomberg) • The Billionaire Whisperer Who United Bezos, Buffett and Dimon (Bloomberg) • Former Apple Employees Reflect on Siri’s ‘Squandered Lead’ Over Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant (Mac Rumors) see also The Seven-Year Itch: How Apple’s Marriage to Siri Turned Sour (The Information) • How breaking news…

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