Links 6/8: Salesforce's Demandware buy : Good or bad; Comcast & Amazon, Aereo's ghost

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Salesforce acquires Demandware. Good? Bad? Buy! (Paul Greenberg/ZDNet)

Salesforce acquires Demandware to add Commerce Cloud (Diginomica)

Hewlett Packard Enterprise and GE are teaming up on the Internet of Things (Re/code)
No mention of GE IoT partner PTC ThingWorx, but that doesn't imply anything. Reading through the PR, HP's main role seems
to be supplying hardware and support, not IP snd software.

Aereo Assets Live On (Light Reading)

Amazon, Comcast Fire Up Tablet Promo (Multichannel News)

Pega CEO Alan Trefler and his conflict with public cloud (Diginomica)

I want India to be the most innovative place for SAP: Dilipkumar Khandelwal
(Business Standard India)

Comcast Business, ABC's 'Shark Tank' team up for casting call in Philly (Philadelphia Business Journal)

Subaru SelectsDemand Aria Systems to Monetize Its Connected Car Initiatives (Press Release)

Safeguard Scientifics leads $17.5 million financing in SF-based Aktana

Tom Paine

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San Francisco-based Aktana announced today that Radnor-based Safeguard Scientifics (NYSE:  SFE) has led a $17.5 million funding with participation from returning investor Starfish Ventures and others. Aktana had previously raised $12.5 million, according to CrunchBase.

Aktana's initial product offering is what it refers to as Decision Engines, and its first major application is targeted at the Life Sciences industry. I would make a rough comparison conceptually to Salesforce-backed InsideSales (with the caveat that I've seen neither), except InsideSales tries to engineer much of the waste out of the telephone sales process, while Aktana is aimed at field reps.

It is designed, according to a company's individual strategy and preferences, to reeingeneer the rep's workflow to anticipate roadblocks, identify specific events, and navigate towards goals, while leaving the rep in control. Aktana sees opportunities beyond Pharma, but at present that accounts for virtually all of its business.

From Aktana website

Aktana was not born as a pharma specialist, CEO David Ehrlich ( sociology major undergrad,  Masters in engineering at Stanford, Harvard MBA, ex McKinsey) told me in a phone interview. It had the concept and literally called around to companies in different industries, to find out if they saw an application for it. Finally they found a taker in Merck Japan. Pfizer soon followed. It took three or four years to reach this point.

Aktana's success with these customers came to the attention of leading Life Sciences cloud vendor Veeva Systems, which is headquartered not too far from Aktana in its new Silicon Valley digs (though Pleasanton may not technically be in the Valley) and has an important east coast base in Radnor. Eventually Veeva incorporated Aktana as an optional add-on to its CRM offering named Veeva CRM Suggestions. Ehrlich quickly ticks off the names of six or seven major pharma customers, and says growth is happening quickly. IMS Health, the likely #2 vendor in Life Sciences CRM, also has partnered with Aktana.

It plans to use the new funds to expand product development and to accelerate its global reach by opening offices in China and Europe, adding to current offices in San Francisco, New York City, and Tokyo. Al Wiegman, Managing Director at Safeguard, will join Aktana’s Board of Directors.