Workday Files for $400 Million IPO

Workday is a cloud based enterprise software company which was founded by the founders of PeopleSoft after it was acquired by Oracle in 2005. It provides cloud based applications for enterprise functions like “human capital management (HCM), payroll, financial management, time tracking, procurement and employee expense management.”

In its S-1 filing, it states that:

“We achieved this leadership position [in the enterprise cloud space] through our innovative and adaptable technology, focus on the consumer Internet experience and cloud delivery model. Further, we believe we are the only company to provide this complete set of unified cloud-based applications to enterprises. Our applications are designed for global enterprises to manage complex and dynamic operating environments. We provide our customers highly adaptable, accessible and reliable applications to manage critical business functions that enable them to optimize their financial and human capital resources.”

WorkDay competes primarily with the likes of Oracle, SAP, Salesforce.com and NetSuite, besides a number of other heavyweights in this space. It has more than 1450 employees, and reported close to $135 million in revenue in the year ended January 31, 2012. It posted a net loss, however, of $80 million. It ended July 31, 2012 with around $122 million in cash.

It plans to raise close to $400 million in the IPO, and we expect it to continue to make losses in the years following the IPO, as it operates in a very competitive environment, before eventually turning a profit.

You can check out the entire Workday S-1 filing here: Workday – SEC

Twitter Launches Interest Targeting for Advertisers

Twitter has launched a new feature for advertisers called Interest Targeting. This new capability enables advertisers to target and advertise to the entire user base of Twitter, which is now over 140 million monthly active users through promoted tweets and promoted accounts, based on specific sets of interests.

You can either select from 350 different interest categories to target, or you can target precise sets of users by specifying a @username and targeting users which are similar to that user’s followers in terms of demographic profiles and interests.

Twitter has also lowered the minimum bid for ad auctions to one cent, which should increase participation while the auction format ensures that the ad rates stay competitively high.

Twitter is expected to earn hundreds of millions of dollars in ad revenue this year. With offerings like these, it is positioning itself as a premium advertising destination for advertisers looking to reach users based on their interests and preferences. Unlike Facebook, it may not face the pressures of being a public company just yet, but it still has to eventually become a wildly profitable company to justify its massive valuation.

You can create your Twitter Ad Campaigns here: Start Advertising – Twitter for Business

via Twitter

Facebook to Offer Email, Phone Based Ad Targeting Options

Facebook’s stock has been getting completely screwed in the stock market over concerns that it might not be able to deliver on its promise of social advertising, and effectively monetize its growing mobile audience.

It has continued to roll out additional features to its social ad platform, and is trying hard to demonstrate ROI to advertisers looking to advertise to its massive user base which is approaching a billion users.

Apparently, it will be launching some new features next week which will enable advertisers to target their ads to customers based on contact information they already have, like emails and phone numbers.

Businesses can upload lists of email addresses and phone numbers from their existing customer records or other sources, and target their ads at them, with additional targeting options aimed at certain demographic segments.

This option won’t have any privacy issues, as advertisers themselves provide the contact information and Facebook doesn’t store it in any way. While this may not turn around Facebook’s fortunes on its own, moves like these do prove that Facebook is trying hard to offer a viable social networking platform for users.

via Techcrunch

Flurry: iOS and Android Growth Exploding in International Markets

Flurry has released its research on the smartphone space, and the numbers seem to be very encouraging. According to the Flurry Analytics, iOS and Android adoption has exploded internationally. Devices powered by iOS and Android are being adopted by users at a much faster rate than than the PC, the Internet or social networks were, at their peaks.

The total number of iOS and Android devices in use jumped to 640 million in July 2012. While the U.S. and China lead when it comes to active user base numbers, international markets like South Korea, Japan, Germany, France, Canada, Spain, and Brazil continue to see user growth.

While the U.S. user base grew by 30 million in the last year, China’s users increased by more than 100 million, and could soon overtake the U.S. in terms of total active users.

China is the fastest growing iOS/Android market, growing at more than 400% very year, while other markets like Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Iran, Vietnam, Mexico, Russia, Turkey, and India are growing at near 200%.

While the U.S. accounted for more than half of all iOS and Android activity in terms of active sessions in July 2011, its share has decreased to just slightly more than a third, while the rest of the world has gained.

Android and iOS penetration in the U.S., may be close to its peak, but both platforms are poised to continue growing at an explosive rate in the coming years, as the global demand for smartphones keeps increasing.

via Flurry

NYT Sells About.com to IAC for $300 Million

The New York Times had apparently been trying to offload About.com and related properties for quite some time, and it seems to have done exactly that today. It has sold off About.com to IAC, the company which also owns Ask.com, Match.com, and Vimeo.

The sale price is rumored to be $300 million, which is significantly lower than the $410 million NYT paid for it in 2005. Bundled with About.com in the deal were other properties like CalorieCount.com and ConsumerSearch.com.

Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., Chairman, The New York Times Company, said:

“About.com has been a strong contributor to our company since its acquisition in 2005. About’s early expertise in search engine optimization, expert content and revenues from cost-per-click and display advertising made it a valuable component of our portfolio for the past seven years. This sale will allow the Times Company to focus on the development and growth of our core brands locally, nationally and on a global scale.”

This deal should be good for both NYT and IAC, as NYT can now focus on its core business, while IAC has a better shot at turning About.com around. It also gives a good cash infusion to NYT, which could help it out in these trying times.

via NYT

AOL Patent Sale Goes Through; Announces $600 Million Stock Buyback, $5.15 Dividend

AOL has been in the news lately only for two reasons. One, its lagging business and underperforming stock, and two, its recent patent sale to Microsoft, and eventually Facebook, which helped the latter stave off Yahoo’s patent assault on it.

AOL sold off most of its patents to Microsoft for $1.1 billion. Today, the sale has been completed, and AOL, true to its word, has announced that it will be giving the cash back to its shareholders.

It has announced a $600 million repurchase of AOL stock, and a one-time cash dividend of $5.15 per share, which adds up to nearly $480 million.

By returning cash to shareholders, AOL has bought itself some more time to get back in the game. However, that would be much more likely if it had reinvested all the cash in the business itself.

Tim Armstrong, AOL’s CEO, sent out a memo to his staff:

“Our first strategic goal is to build world-class brands that are meaningful businesses and we are going to continue to pursue that with alacrity. The second strategic goal has been to build a substantial financial foundation for our investors and more importantly, our investors’ investors. While we continue to successfully navigate AOL’s turn-around, we are also trying to build immediate value for all of our shareholders.

This morning, we announced the final steps in returning approximately all of the $1.1 billion proceeds from the patent deal with Microsoft to our shareholders by year-end. Specifically, we have begun a transaction with Barclays that is allowing us to pursue the repurchase of $600 million in AOL stock. We also announced a special one time cash dividend of $5.15 per share. The combination of the repurchase program and the special dividend is delivering what we had promised our investors and also allows us to give all shareholders the ability to own a bigger stake in AOL.”

via Techcrunch

IBM Buys Kenexa for $1.3 Billion

IBM is one of the latest tech giants to have scooped up a company in the booming social enterprise software space. It has acquired Kenexa, a social human resources, talent acquisition and management software company, for $1.3 billion.

Kenexa’s software enables corporate customers to handle performance management, compensation, career development, leadership training and all such boring HR stuff with a social twist. Kenexa is one of the more formidable players in the enterprise cloud apps space led by Salesforce.com. IBM competes with the likes of Oracle and SAP, who are also trying desperately to gain a foothold in this market. Oracle recently acquired Taleo, while SAP acquired SuccessFactors in a bid to dominate the space.

Kenexa’s products are used by more than 9000 companies across industries, and will complement IBM’s existing offerings.

IBM’s official statement says:

“The acquisition bolsters IBM’s leadership in helping clients embrace social business capabilities while gaining actionable insights from the enormous streams of information generated from social networks every day.

Kenexa, a leading provider of recruiting and talent management solutions, brings a unique combination of Cloud-based technology and consulting services that integrates both people and processes, providing solutions to engage a smarter, more effective workforce across their most critical business functions.

Kenexa complements IBM’s strategy of bringing relevant data and expertise into the hands of business leaders within every functional department, from sales and marketing to product development and human resources. As a result of this synergy, clients will be able to attract and develop the right skills to build the right teams, for the right projects, the first time.”

via Techcrunch

Facebook Acquires Threadsy; Looking to Bolster Social Ad Offering

Today has been a relatively slow news day, except for the Apple vs Samsung jury verdict, which is being lapped up by news outlets across the web.

There was one more interesting, though mostly neglected, development in the tech space. Facebook, which continues to acq-hire startups left, right and center, has acquired Threadsy, the company behind a social analytics tool called Swaylo.

Here’s the official statement by Threadsy’s CEO:

“Swaylo offers you the opportunity to see what kind and how much attention you’re getting for the things you post, share, and like on social media networks. Through an analysis of your social graph, Swaylo reflects your Sway – the impact your online activities have in your social circle and across the social graph.

Today we’re announcing that Threadsy will be acquired by Facebook. Threadsy is the company that operates Swaylo.com, provides people with their Sway score, and helps businesses, organizations and brands connect with their social influencers.

This is incredibly exciting for us! We built Swaylo because we believe Facebook and other social media services are the digital representation of our lives. There is no better opportunity to take Swaylo’s vision to the next level than at Facebook.”

Swaylo offered a visual interface which enabled customers to measure the impact of their social campaigns on Facebook. The product fits in nicely with Facebook’s advertising offering, and the team may build out Facebook’s analytics and reporting tools, contributing to its primary revenue engine — social ads.

Facebook’s stock is at an all time low right now. If Facebook is able to prove the value of its social advertising offering to advertisers in the next couple of quarters, it could easily be worth the $100 billion it was supposed to be worth just a few months ago. This seems to be a step in the right direction.

via TNW

RIM, Focus on Consumers, Not Carriers

RIM’s next smartphone platform, BlackBerry 10, is expected to hit the market next year. It has already been delayed, and since the launch is still far off, RIM is apparently trying to drum up interest in its new platform by showing it off to its carrier partners, who seem to “love” it.

RIM showcased early versions of new BlackBerry devices to carriers in Canada, Mexico and the United States, and here’s what they had to say about it:

“The response that we got back from the executive team at some of the Canadian carriers was tremendous.

They were visibly positive and visibly enthusiastic.”

While RIM will be launching these devices globally, it stated that it intends to focus on its home market, Canada.

With still around a year to go, RIM may be too late to market and is likely to fail. Another thing — RIM still doesn’t seem to get that it’s not about the carriers (it might have been the case earlier, but the iPhone changed the game), but the consumers.

It needs to focus not on making carriers happy with its platform and devices, but on making consumers happy. The days when carriers ruled the smartphone space are gone. RIM needs to learn that ultimately, it’s the user who will decide whether or not its devices are hits, not carriers. Until it does that, it can hardly even think of displacing the iPhone or Android.

Not focusing on the end user has led to its grip on the enterprise mobility space slowly loosening in the last couple of years, as the iPhone and Android devices gained traction in that space. If it doesn’t learn from its mistakes, it might be too late, if it isn’t already.

via The Star

Evernote Targets the Enterprise Collaboration Space with Evernote Business

Evernote seems to be on a roll these days. It not only announced new partnerships with the likes of 1DollarScan and Moleskine, but also launched Evernote Business, which marks its foray into the enterprise collaboration space.

Evernote Business is targeted at small and medium-sized businesses and enables teams to share their notes, files and other data with each other while maintaining user or group ownership of it.

Evernote Business will be priced at $10 per user per month, and could potentially boost its revenues significantly. In June this year, Evernote stated that it had around 34 million users and 1.4 million paying users. It is valued at more than $1 billion after raising more than $160 million, and has seen hockey stick growth in the last couple of years. Its employee base has grown to 230, and its number of users has grown to 38 million, which means a net addition of 4 million users in just 2 months.

To Evernote Business customers, the company will be providing sharing features as well as dedicated support on top of Evernote Premium accounts for each team member.

The product will be in beta until December.

via Techcrunch