SaaS News Roundup – January 25th, 2019

by | Jan 24, 2019 | News

Welcome to the SaaS News Roundup, where we bring together the top stories from the SaaS industry, keeping you informed and up-to-date.  This month’s items include BigCommerce’s move to Google Cloud, Blippar’s comeback, and the end of Google Hangouts.
BigCommerce Migrates to Google Cloud, Aims to Bolster Speed of Its SaaS Platform 
As one of the biggest e-commerce platforms in the world, BigCommerce’s decision to migrate to Google represents a big win for the technology giant. Brian Dhatt, CTO of BigCommerce, explained how performance and fast load times were driving factors: 
“The move to Google Cloud was driven by where our customers are located, and also where their customers are located,” said Dhatt. “Merchants want a presence as close as possible to their consumers, and Google is the only hosting provider out there that has its own fiber internationally and a network of undersea cables. So for us performance was a competitive differentiator. The physical infrastructure behind Google on the network side is superior.”  
BigCommerce needed a solution that would improve results for its merchants – i.e,. faster page load times would improve shopper conversions. This latest move underlines the huge potential of cloud computing. 
Blippar’s Back With A New Plan 
It would seem rumors of Blippar’s death have been greatly exaggerated. Last year, when the augmented reality (AR) company ran into trouble, many in the industry thought that was the end. However, the assets were sold to Candy Ventures, an investment firm run by British billionaire Nick Candy. As well as changing the name from Blippar Inc. to simply Blippar, the company looks set to be stripped down to basics, with SaaS being a focal point: 
“In a statement, an anonymous “Blippar Spokesperson” said the new company “will focus primarily on developing a SaaS Augmented Reality creation and publishing platform (Blippbuilder) which makes it easy for everybody to create AR whether they have technical skills or not.” 
With such a high-profile investor onboard, it will be interesting to see how this reincarnation of Blippar performs in 2019. 
SaaS is Coming Back to Life 
On the back of a slump in stock prices at the tail end of 2018, some industry insiders were speculating 2019 would be a difficult year for SaaS companies. But, as TechCrunch reports, SaaS bounced back strongly – recovering much of the November losses: 
“Today, the Emerging Cloud Index is showing signs of recovering nicely,” said Tech Crunch’s regular contributor Ron Miller. “And all of that gloom and doom seems to be yesterday’s news. The index has been climbing steadily since that pre-Christmas low (to $956.46 as we went to press). There is no guarantee that will continue, but it certainly makes more sense given that earnings reports have been mostly positive and the market potential is still growing.”  
 John Dinsdale of Synergy Research said, “In terms of ongoing market growth and future prospects, absolutely nothing has changed. The market forecasts remain extremely healthy. Indeed, if anything our next forecast update will likely result in us nudging up our forecast growth rates a little.” 
While it’s important to keep one eye on the stock market, there’s little doubt the future of SaaS looks very healthy indeed. 
Google Hangouts Calls it Quits 
Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet are set to take the place of Google Hangouts in October this year for all G Suite customers. Individual customers will likely be able to use Google Hangouts into 2020.  
The new “Chat” service goes live in mid-April and will be accessible by all Suite customers by phone as well as computer/tablet. Chat aims to compete with Slack in the messaging space, where Meet will be the new video conferencing alternative.  
This changeover happens earlier than predicted as Google originally said Hangouts would be killed off in 2020. Hangouts first launched as a standalone app in 2016.  
The 10 SaaS Companies That Shone in 2018 
Thomas Smale, founder of FE International, has identified the ten SaaS companies that stood out most in 2018. As well as the usual suspects like Salesforce, Slack, and Asana – there are one or two lesser-known entries.  
All in all, it represented a “break-out year for SaaS” according to Smale: 
“Fifteen SaaS businesses went public this past year, including such venerable names as Dropbox, Spotify and DocuSign. And one of these 15 companies, cloud management platform Elastic, is currently trading at more than double its IPO asking price. 
“Despite a challenging fourth quarter for tech stocks, at the end of 2018, the 15 SaaS companies that IPO’d in 2018 were trading at a combined average of 29 percent above initial asking price, and the market for SaaS was poised to continue expanding. Gartner has predicted that by 2021, 45 percent of all money spent on software would be spent on SaaS.”

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