S|W: The SaaS Weekly – Salesforce’s first revenue miss in 18 years

Plus: Vista Equity writing off PluralSight after $3.5 billion acquisition.

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Salesforce shares plunge 16% on first revenue miss since 2006

Salesforce shares plummeted as much as 17% in extended trading on Wednesday after the cloud software vendor reported weaker-than-expected revenue and issued guidance that trailed Wall Street’s expectations.

Salesforce saw budget scrutiny and longer deal cycles than usual during the quarter, president and operating chief Brian Millham told analysts on a conference call. Management implemented go-to-market changes that cut into bookings, Millham said.

Amy Weaver, Salesforce’s finance chief, said she expects deal compression and slowing projects in the professional services business through the current fiscal year.


Maxa secures Series A funding led by Framework and BDC Capital

Montréal-based startup Maxa has raised $28.7 million CAD ($21 million USD) in Series A funding for its data automation and analytics platform for enterprise resource planning.

Co-founder and co-CEO Alexis Steinman told BetaKit there was a secondary capital component to the round but declined to disclose the breakdown.

The startup was founded in 2019 by Alexis and his co-CEO brother Raphael Steinman to provide a platform that automates financial, ERP, and operational reporting and analysis.


Vista Equity writes off PluralSight value, after $3.5 billion buyout

Vista Equity Partners has written off the entire equity value of its investment in tech learning platform Pluralsight, three years after taking it private for $3.5 billion, Axios has learned.

This is an example of leverage catching up with a leveraged buyout.

One source says that the Utah-based company’s financials have improved, with a around 26% EBITDA growth in 2023, but not enough to service nearly $1.3 billion of debt that was issued when interest rates were lower.


Embracing her identity helped Bobbie Racette launch successful platform

Bobbie Racette, one of very few female, Indigenous founders to raise a Series A, is on to the next round and looking to secure a Series B for her company Virtual Gurus.

Racette founded her startup in 2016 and used the Series A capital to build a gig work platform that connects virtual assistants to companies looking for help with tasks like bookkeeping, marketing, and customer support.

BetaKit recently sat down with her to talk about why she’s planning her big expansion in the US, a trend Canadian startups tend to follow, what companies get wrong about diversity, equity, and inclusion.


Email marketing software firm Campaigner relocating to Westboro amid hiring spree

An Ottawa software producer with roots stretching back to the late 1990s is moving to a larger office closer to the downtown core as it prepares to expand its headcount in the National Capital Region by as much as 50 per cent.

Alaa Gedeon, Campaigner’s top local executive, says the organization expects to grow its Ottawa workforce about 10 per cent annually for the next three to five years as demand for its software-as-a-service products, which compete with the likes of Mailchimp, continues to rise.

(Ottawa Business Journal)

Five Ontario school boards, two schools join legal fight against social media giants

Five more Ontario school boards and two private schools have joined the multibillion-dollar legal fight against social media giants Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat, accusing their parent companies of leaving educators to manage the fallout from their allegedly addictive products.

They join some of Ontario’s largest school boards who filed suits in March alleging the platforms are negligently designed for compulsive use and have rewired the way children think, behave and learn.

(The Canadian Press)

Four women-led startups receive a combined $135,000 at Uniting the Prairies 2024

The second Women+ Entrepreneur Incubator program cohort, which is presented by Elevate and The Firehood, took place throughout April and culminated in a showcase on stage at Uniting The Prairies last week.

Sask.-based Combine Settings, a peer-to-peer platform that allows farmers to connect with each other on a local or global level to share settings for combines (a type of seed-harvesting machine) specific to crop, combine type, equipment, geography, and weather, received $25,000 at the event.


Ecosystem Spotlight: Alberta tech is striking gold

Less than a decade ago, Alberta’s global reputation had little to do with its tech ecosystem. But according to Joe Timlin, Managing Director at CIBC Innovation Banking, the province is quickly emerging as a key destination for investment and impact.

“We’ve just seen the ecosystem mature to the point where a number of name brand venture capital and private equity firms have done their first investments in Alberta, and now I think they’re eager to do more after seeing the opportunity set there,” Timlin told BetaKit.


Twitch terminates all members of its Safety Advisory Council

Twitch on Friday will terminate all members of its Safety Advisory Council, according to sources familiar with the situation and documents viewed by CNBC.

The council is a resource of nine industry experts, streamers and moderators who consulted on trust and safety issues related to children on Twitch, nudity, banned users and more.

Twitch’s decision to end the SAC’s contracts comes amid more than a year of belt-tightening and layoffs across the tech industry, especially on safety and ethics teams, which some companies view as cost centers.


When the classroom works to scale

Last month, Amanda Fong found herself in Santiago, Chile, presenting a benchmarking analysis to the CEO and management team of a local agriculture-focused venture capital firm.

Originally from Ottawa and now settled in Toronto, Fong has a commerce degree and work experience as a Product Manager for the PC Health portfolio at Loblaw Companies Limited. But she found herself on a two-week study tour of Peru and Chile as part of an optional course in her MBA in Technology Leadership, offered by the Schulich School of Business at York University.

“The pace of change in the business world is unprecedented,” she explained. “To remain competitive and effective, I knew I needed to invest in myself, continually develop my skills, and challenge the status quo.”


What’s good, readers?

It’s time to tell us what you think! We’re checking in with the BetaKit community as the Collision conference rolls into Toronto for its 5th year. Let us know if you’re going, which speakers you’d most like to see on stage and share your recommendations for tech sector visitors to Toronto during the conference.

We’ll use anonymized data to inform our upcoming coverage. Your insights are important to us, so complete our quick BetaKit survey here.

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Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl is a staff writer and newsletter curator at BetaKit with a Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University. He's interested in tech, gaming, and sports. You can find out more about him at alexriehl.com or @RiehlAlex99 on Twitter.

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