Thursday, February 27, 2014

ClearSlide hooks $50M for its WebEx killer for sales

ClearSlide wants to make your sales pitches smarter by helping your team figure out what works - and most important, what doesn't.

The San Francisco-based software company, which today announced $50 million in new financing, makes cloud-based presentation tools for sales and marketing teams. But unlike WebEx, GoToMeeting, or PowerPoint, it has all sorts of analytics capabilities built in, so salespeople (and their bosses) can see what their clients are looking at, for how long, what they're interacting with, and so On Sales.

"The No. 1 thing is the insights piece," ClearSlide CEO Al Lieb told VentureBeat. "We want to be thought of us a revenue driver in our customers minds as opposed to a utility or tool."

The company is adding new tools across its web and mobile apps, said Lieb. Earlier this week, ClearSlide launched what it's calling a "sales engagement index." It enables the 2,000 companies using ClearSlide to anonymously compare themselves to competitors on various metrics.

ClearSlide's subscribers tend to be major enterprises with sizable deployments, according to Lieb (ClearSlide charges $59 per user a month). It's racked up customers like Rackspace, Amazon, and Comcast. LinkedIn was a big customer win for ClearSlide: The company signed a three-year deal so its entire 1,500-person sales team can use ClearSlide's tools.

"They use it both for prospecting ... and they've heavy on the coaching piece," said Lieb. "They do a lot of recording of pitches so managers can help coach sales folks."

ClearSlide's revenues swelled 2.5 times last year as it doubled its customer base, according to Lieb, who suggested the company may go public in a year or two. Lieb declined to reveal precise revenue figures.

In the more immediate future, ClearSlide intends to pour a big chunk of its fresh $50 million into data engineering efforts as well as its mobile products. It also plans to boost its sales and marketing team. ClearSlide currently has 230 employees (mostly in San Francisco, with around 20 in its New York office).

The Social+Capital Partnership led the round, which puts ClearSlide's total funding raised at $90 million. Greylock Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners, Felicis Ventures, Comcast Ventures, and Silicon Valley Bank also participated in the round.

As part of the financing, The Social+Capital Partnership general partner Mamoon Hamid has joined the company's board of directors.

"What I really like about Mamoon is he's very passionate [about] the companies he invests in," said Lieb. "He thinks about what can create a lot of value in the long-term.

"And he's one year younger than me," chortled Lieb, who is 38. "I've never had an investor who has been younger than me."

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

SpiceJet super-sale: up to 75% discount on offer

Here is another reason to plan your summer vacation now. SpiceJet has announced a three-day 'Promo Codes Summer Offer' under which the airline is offering up to 75 per cent discount on travel between April 1, 2014 and June 30, 2014.

According to SpiceJet the offer is available on all domestic flights. The SpiceJet's super-sale offer is available on bookings done between today (February 24, 2014) and Wednesday (February 26, 2014).

According to SpiceJet, the lowest sale fare from Delhi to Mumbai under the dicount offer is Rs 3,186 as compared to the last-minute fare of Rs 10,098.

The SpiceJet discount offer is not available on international and connecting flights. The discount is available on base fare and fuel surcharge only.

This is the third time in the last one month that the Kalanithi Maran promoted carrier has slashed fares to avail early summer bookings.

SpiceJet says normal change and cancellation policy applies on the discount offer.

SpiceJet shares ended 0.75 per cent higher at Rs 13.70 on the BSE. (With agency inputs)

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Last-Minute Deals on TVs for the Super Bowl | Best HDTVs - Consumer Reports news - Consumer Reports News

Have you put off buying a big TV for the Super Bowl? Then check out the five worthy sets below, all priced at $1,000 or less, significantly under their original prices. These 2013 sets range in size from a top-rated 50-inch Panasonic plasma to a 65-inch Samsung LED-backlit LCD TV. (If you don't get a new set, remember to give your current one a tune-up for Online Deals performance.)

Samsung UN65FH6001, $1,000 at Best Buy. This 65-inch 1080p LCD TV has a 120hz refresh rate-Samsung calls it a 240Hz Clear Motion Rate-and an LED backlight, but not a lot of other features. Note that it only has two HDMI inputs, fewer than most sets this size. We didn't test this series this year, but all the Samsung models we did test (including a 39-inch UN39FH5000 model) had either very good or excellent picture quality.

LG 60LN5600, $998 at Walmart, $999 at This 60-inch 1080p LCD TV has a 120Hz refresh rate and an LED backlight, but not a lot of other features, It does come with LG's gesture-based Magic Remote control. Most LG sets in our Ratings deliver very good or excellent picture quality. For example, both the 50-inch 50LN5700 and the 42-inch 42LN5400 had very good HD picture quality.

Sharp LC-60LE450U, $750 at Best Buy. The 60-inch model from Sharp is a 120Hz 1080p LCD set with an LED backlight, but again not many other features, Sharp has been a somewhat inconsistent brand, but the 50-inch LC-50LE650U we tested had very good picture quality, and the 40-inch LC-40LE550U delivered excellent high-def images. It has three HDMI inputs.

Vizio E601i-A3, $798 at Walmart (shown). This has already been a top Super Bowl pick for us, thanks to its excellent high-def picture quality and low price. Plus unlike many other of the selected sets, this one is loaded with features, including Vizio's smart TV platform.

Panasonic TC-P50ST60, $1,000 at Sears. Yes, this plasma set is on the small size for a big-screen TV, but it made the list simply because we didn't think there were any left. Many of us at Consumer Reports thought that Panasonic's ST60-series plasma TVs offered the best bang for the buck of any TV series in 2013, and this set was no exception. It has excellent HD picture quality, very good 3D, and it's loaded with features. Its only ding was sound quality, so consider adding a soundbar speaker.

We expect prices to fall even more over the next four to eight weeks, as make way for the new 2014 models.

-James K. Willcox