Matt Mullenweg built Automattic into a $7.5B company

Matt Mullengweg was a high school student looking for a better way to customize his blog when he discovered the open source software community and created the WordPress platform. A few years later, after dropping out of the University of Houston for a brief stint at CNET Networks, he founded Automattic, which he describes as a holding company for products such as WordPress.com, Jetpack, WooCommerce, Simplenote, Longreads and The Atavist. And just like over 40% of the web today, they all run on WordPress. Unlike many of its contemporaries, Automattic, which became a unicorn in 2014, hasn’t gone the IPO route or been acquired. In February of 2021, the company closed a new primary funding round of $288M, and it continues to grow at a rapid pace. The company recently did a $250M share buyback, primarily targeted at current and former employees, at a $7.5B valuation. Matt continues to be energized by the open source community, which keeps him connected to users all over the globe. In fact, even before the pandemic made remote work the norm, Automattic was at the forefront of changing the way we work. A distributed company since day one, Automattic now employs 2000 people across 90 countries. Matt has influenced many leaders with his experiences of running an entirely remote business and keeping people connected, both technically and culturally. He shares more in this episode about what they’ve learned about remote work, and what they’re still figuring out. *** If you enjoy the podcast, would you please consider leaving a short review on Apple Podcasts/iTunes? It takes less than a minute and helps us continue to attract the entrepreneurs you want to hear and learn from. For show notes, past guests and transcripts, visit venturevoice.com Sign up for the Venture Voice email newsletter at venturevoice.substack.com/welcome Follow and connect on social: On Twitter: twitter.com/gregory On Instagram: instagram.com/gregory On YouTube: youtube.com/c/GregoryGalant On LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/galant/ Learn more about Muck Rack at muckrack.com and The Shorty Awards at shortyawards.com

The Consumerisation of Enterprise IT is now the Standard

I was reading the book “Super Founders” by Ali Temaseb in which he breaks down the data behind billion dollar startups. When he asked founders and investors of billion dollar companies what spaces they thought will create the next billion dollar companies, he received a very diverse set of ideas.

Some said synthetic biology, the future of food, healthcare, but one theme that struck me, suggested by Neha Narkhede of Confluence was ‘the consumersation of the enterprise’. As we at Remagine Ventures invest in consumer tech and the suppliers (b2b) to the biggest consumer trends, I became instantly curious about the convergence of the two.

The consumerisation of enterprise was a big investment trend in 2011-2012.

In this Techcrunch article written by Aaron Levie of Box, he refers to it as the rise of enterprise ‘toys’, citing the acquisition of Yammer by Microsoft for $1.3 billion. “Toys” are new startups attacking a narrow or unattractive segment of the market. They are predictably dismissed by the incumbents as lacking key features or being too narrow.

“Students of the Innovator’s Dilemma know that a new technology starts out being just “good enough.” Often, an early solution only serves a niche part of the market with limited requirements. This naturally shields it from the incumbents’ radar, but what starts out as a nascent product attacking an unprofitable or unattractive market segment can quickly mature into a disruptive solution that becomes more than adequate for a broader population”

The idea of the niche, or wedge is well articulated in Lenny Rachitsky’s recent post and in the graphic below:

But even in 2012 it was pretty obvious that in Enterprise tech, a field that was known for long sales cycles, boring/safe UI and on-prem enterprise installations, things were about to change radically:

Today, nearly every internet-connected, employed individual is a potential user and buyer of enterprise tools. And by making these tools accessible to users with just a few clicks, enterprise software providers can reach markets at a scale and speed that were impossible in the client-server paradigm. Across mobile and web, new solutions will emerge that help workers connect and communicate better with their customers, analyze business data, gain new clients, manage their payroll and expenses, and more. 

The rise of enterprise “toys” – Techcrunch, 2012

What changed since 2012

If you think about it, the consumerisation of enterprise tech is now the standard.

  • Employees got used to working with the best tools and expect them to be available
  • Good UI/UX for B2B software is now table stakes
  • Anyone can purchase the product with a credit card
  • Freemium model used to onboard new users
  • Mobile, remote access is key

As evidence, consider how many billion dollar companies have been started in this space that many of us use on a regular basis:

  • Notion
  • Monday
  • Slack
  • Airtable
  • Calendly
  • Zoom
  • Figma
  • Superhuman
  • Canva

Aaron Levie put it nicely in 2019:

Many more startups are still growing and on their way as you can see in this future of work landscape:

The future of work landscape (Source: Digital Native)

The opposite is also true – the “enterprisation” of consumer software

Equally interesting is the ‘enterprisation of consumer software’, especially when it comes to the creator economy – where creators are a small business of one. Readers of this blog are aware of my research in this space, which centres on the ability of creators (experts, hobbyists, influencers, etc) who create various formats of content (courses, videos, streams, newsletters, etc) and build an engaged community around their areas of passion and monetise them.

The creators are suddenly in need of tools that were previously mainly available to companies at the enterprise level:

  • Manage payroll
  • Hold virtual events
  • Edit and create quality content
  • Advertise
  • Sell
  • Customer success
  • Loans/ insurance/ Financing needs

I touched on this topic in “opportunities for startups in the creator economy“. I also recommend Rex Woodbury’s take on this in the “Blurring lines between consumer and enterprise“.

The post The Consumerisation of Enterprise IT is now the Standard appeared first on VC Cafe.

AZB & Partners tops League Table for Legal Advisors to M&A deals in first 9 months of 2021

CAM and Trilegal claim the No.2 & No.3 slotsAZB & Partners topped the Venture Intelligence League Table for Legal Advisor to M&A Transactions during the first nine months of 2021. AZB advised 55 qualifying M&A deals worth $25 Billion. AZB was followed by Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas (CAM) ($20.8 Billion across 50 deals) and Trilegal ($16.3 Billion across 18 deals) in the second and third spots

EY tops League Table for Transaction Advisors to M&A deals in first 9 months of 2021

Kotak Mahindra Capital and Avendus claim the No.2 & No.3 slotsErnst & Young (EY) topped the Venture Intelligence League Table for Transaction Advisor to M&A Deals during the first nine months of 2021, advising 23 qualifying deals worth $8.2 Billion. Kotak Mahindra Capital ($7.9 Billion across 8 deals) and Avendus ($5.7 Billion across 7 deals) took the second and third spots respectively. JM

AZB & Partners tops League Table for Legal Advisors to Private Equity deals for first 9 months of 2021

CAM and SAM claim the No.2 & No.3 slotsAZB & Partners (AZB) topped the Venture Intelligence League Table for Legal Advisor to Private Equity Transactions in the first nine months of 2021. AZB & Partners advised PE deals worth $25.6 Billion (across 120 qualifying deals) during the period. Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas (CAM) ($19.9 Billion across 100 deals) and Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (SAM) ($15.3

Avendus tops League Table for Transaction Advisors to PE deals for first 9 months of 2021

Ernst & Young and Kotak Mahindra Capital claim the No.2 & No.3 slotsAvendus has topped the Venture Intelligence League Table for Transaction Advisor to Private Equity Transactions in the first nine months of 2021. Avendus advised 33 PE deals worth $8.3 Billion during the period. Ernst & Young stood second having advised 20 deals worth $7 Billion. They were followed by Kotak Mahindra Capital with

Watch Apple’s ‘Unleashed’ event live right here

apple october event

Apple is set to announce new hardware today. The company is holding a (virtual) keynote at 10 AM PT (1 PM in New York, 6 PM in London, 7 PM in Paris). And you’ll be able to watch the event right here as the company is streaming it live.

Rumor has it that the company is set to announce some new Macs. Over the past year, Apple has updated its entry-level computers with new custom-designed M1 chips. And now, the company could bring its own chips to higher-end computers, such as a 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro, a new Mac Mini and a 27-inch iMac.

Apple could use this opportunity to redesign its laptops from the ground up with new display technologies, a new array of ports and a new form factor in general. But that’s not all. Apple has also been working on an updated version of its entry-level AirPods.

You can watch the livestream directly on this page, as Apple is streaming its conference on YouTube.

If you have an Apple TV, you can open the TV app and look for the ‘Apple Special Event’ section. It lets you stream today’s event and rewatch old ones.

And if you don’t have an Apple TV and don’t want to use YouTube, the company also lets you livestream the event from the Apple Events section on its website. This video feed now works in all major browsers — Safari, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome.

Source: Tech crunch

China Could Be Exploiting Internet Security Process to Steal Data, Cyber Experts Warn

Gaming keyboard-chinese hacking group

To access the data of unsuspecting users, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) could take advantage of a universal authentication process that is believed to be secure but may not actually be, cybersecurity experts warned, although encryption is still the preferred method of protecting digital data and Protection of computers - in some cases, the same digital certificates used for internet authentication allow the Chinese regime to infiltrate and wreak havoc on various computer networks, they said. 

Digital certificates that verify the identity of a digital entity on the Internet. A digital certificate can be compared to a passport or driver's license, according to Andrew Jenkinson, CEO of cybersecurity company Cybersec Innovation Partners (CIP) and author of the book Stuxnet to Sunburst: 20 Years of Digital Exploitation and Cyber ​​Warfare. 

"Without it, the person or device you are using may not meet industry standards, and the encryption of critical data could be bypassed so that what should be encrypted remains in plain text," Jenkinson told The Epoch Times Used to Encrypt internal and external communications that prevent a hacker, for example, from intercepting and stealing data. But "fake certificates" or invalid certificates can tamper with any data. 

Sense of security, "said Jenkinson. Cybersecurity firm Global Cyber ​​Risk LLC said digital certificates are generally issued by trusted CAs and then the same level of trust is passed on to intermediaries However, there are opportunities for a communist entity, malicious actor, or other untrustworthy entity to issue certificates to other "hideous people" who appear trustworthy but are not, he said.

"If you issue a certificate from a trusted authority, you will trust it," said Duren. "But what the issuer could actually do is pass that trust on to someone who shouldn't be trusted. Duren said he would never trust." a Chinese certification authority for this reason, stating that it is aware of a number of companies that have banned Chinese certificates because they were issued to untrustworthy agencies. 

Jenkinson said that Chinese certification bodies make up a small portion of the overall industry and the certificates they issue are generally limited to Chinese companies and products.

prince a member of chinese hacking group
Prince, a member of the hacking group Red Hacker Alliance who declined to give his real name, uses his computer at their office in Dongguan, Guangdong Province, China, on Aug. 4, 2020. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP via Getty Images).

 In 2015, certificates from China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), the state agency overseeing domain name registration in China, were challenged. Mozilla revoked CNNIC certificates because it knew of unauthorized digital certificates associated with multiple domains. Both Internet companies opposed CNNIC delegating its authority to issue certificates to an Egyptian company that issued the unauthorized certificates. According to Jenkinson, CNNIC certificates were banned because they had "back doors". 

A back door means that [the Chinese certification body] could literally take administrative access and send data back to the mothership, ”he said. Since 2016, Mozilla, Google, Apple and Microsoft have also blocked the Chinese certification authorities WoSign and their subsidiary StartCom due to unacceptable security practices.Vulnerability Despite these bans on Chinese digital certificates in recent years, the CCP has not been deterred and has long-term gambling, Jenkinson said, referring to an alarming discovery by his cybersecurity firm two years ago that it was a multinational consulting firm. 

Digital certificates are typically valid for a few years depending on the certification authority, and a renewal is required to keep them valid and keep the data they are supposed to protect secure, he said. "But in 2019, CIP Chinese discovered certificates that had been valid for 999 years," Jenkinson said. His company made this discovery by researching the laptops of a leading global consulting firm. 

Jenkinson made the company aware of the vulnerability and offered, "They are either incredibly accommodating or complicit," he said, noting that the company's customers include government agencies.This multi-billion dollar company's failure to fix this problem means hundreds of thousands of people could be exposed to Chinese infiltration through the company's lax safeguards, Jenkinson said. The company engages its customers every time someone uses one of its laptops, he said. 

Companies or customers who use the company's services could be held for ransom, they have their intellectual advantages

A Sinister Six Movie Should Copy Spider-Man: No Way Home & Bring In Miles

Sony’s upcoming Sinister Six movie should take some inspiration from Spider-Man: No Way Home and introduce a new version of Miles Morales. Sony has had plans for a Sinister Six film since The Amazing Spider-Man film franchise was in progress. The second film, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, ended with a clear setup for the villain team, with the Green Goblin (Harry Osborn) and The Gentleman (Gustav Fiers) equipping allies (and possibly members) of Oscorp with advanced weapons and devices. The plans, unfortunately, never came to fruition, but Sony’s new villain-focused Spider-Man universe, which began with 2018’s Venom, has led to new plans for the iconic team.

Miles Morales - whose comic debut was in 2011’s alternate universe Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man - is his reality’s second web-slinger, taking Peter Parker’s place after his apparent death in a final confrontation with the Green Goblin. Miles and his stories were well-received, quickly growing in popularity among readers, and he made his cinematic debut in 2018’s animated film, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. As the star of numerous comics, an animated film, and a recent video game, it won’t be long before Miles has his long-awaited live-action debut.


With Sinister Six reportedly being the endgame of Sony’s Spider-Man films, it’s reasonable to assume that the movie will be a crowd-pleasing epic with more than one payoff. Sony will reportedly work alongside Marvel Studios to tie their film in with the MCU, meaning that Tom Holland’s classic Peter Parker Spider-Man may face off against the six villains. Although Spider-Man was often on his own against the six in the comics, the film can easily justify introducing a second Spider-Man to even the odds and give viewers a live-action Miles Morales simultaneously.

Not only is Sony and Marvel Studious working together on the Sinister Six film, but the multiverse will be unleashed in the upcoming No Way Home. While the Miles Morales who appears in the Sony film could be their iteration, he might alternatively be from the MCU, creating a new kind of character dynamic for Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, who’s typically mentored by characters like Iron Man or Doctor Strange.

The Sinister Six’s villain roster can be comprised of characters from multiple realities as well. In addition to introducing the first live-action iteration of Miles Morales, the film can bring back actors like Alfred Molina, Jamie Foxx, and Willem Dafoe for yet another performance. With No Way Home bringing the iconic villains back, Sony could take advantage of their fan-favorite status, adding to the already crowd-pleasing introduction of Miles.

Spider-Man: No Way Home will be the first live-action Spider-Man movie to use the multiverse for crossovers. In addition to bringing back characters from bygone film eras, they’ve also allowed for interaction with Sony’s Spider-Man universe. If Sony intends to make the Sinister Six film their franchise’s endgame, they’d make it an even more effective grand finale by bringing in Miles Morales.

How Supergirl Revamped Superman IV’s Story And Made It Work

Warning: The following contains SPOILERS for Supergirl season 6, episode 15, "Hope For Tomorrow."

The Supergirl season 6 episode "Hope For Tomorrow" enhanced the story of the Superman movie Superman 4: The Quest For Peace in every respect. The final movie to star Christopher Reeve as Kal-El of Krypton, Superman 4 is widely considered to be the worst of the classic Superman films. Given that, it would be all but impossible for Supergirl to revamp The Quest For Peace and not improve it, but the episode "Hope For Tomorrow" successfully addressed nearly every common complaint about the movie.

The central storyline of the second half of Supergirl season 6 found Kara Zor-El (Melissa Benoist) competing with the exiled 5th Dimensional Princess Nyxly (Peta Sergeant) for control of seven magical totems, tied to the seven cosmic forces of Hope, Love, Courage, Humanity, Dreams, Destiny and Truth. Each totem required its wielder to pass a test proving their mastery of each force. The Test of Hope in the Supergirl season 6 episode "Hope For Tomorrow" proved particularly difficult, as it required the victor to "inspire a hope that burns longer and brighter than the sun." While this might ordinarily have been an easy task for Supergirl, this test came at a time when nuclear war seemed imminent between the nations of Kaznia and Corto Maltese and hope was in short supply.


The story of Superman 4: The Quest For Peace, was likewise based around the fear of nuclear war and Superman acting to end the threat after receiving a letter from a concerned boy. Sadly, the movie did so poorly it sunk any chance of a Superman 5. While the story of Superman 4 made a noble effort to tackle a serious issue, the film suffered from budget cuts and editing issues that eliminated most of the film's more thoughtful moments in favor of recycled flight scenes and nonsensical padding. The Supergirl season 6 episode "Hope For Tomorrow" takes most of the story elements from Superman IV and builds upon the base concepts to create something far better.

Roughly halfway through the Supergirl season 6 episode "Hope For Tomorrow," Lena Luthor (Katie McGrath) asked the same question as the worried boy in Superman 4: The Quest For Peace; why can't Supergirl just take away all the nuclear weapons and throw them into the sun? Kara gave the same basic answer as Superman in the movie, saying that she was "forbidden from interfering in human history." However, Kara further explained to her friend Lena Luthor that human nations needed to be free to determine their own destinies without some all-powerful alien imposing their beliefs on them. Kara also pointed out that even if she could get rid of all the nuclear weapons in the world, it wouldn't solve the conflicts that lead to war. (Ironically, Kara did wind up having to throw several nuclear missiles into the sun before the episode's end.)

This point was driven home by another scene, in which the United States diplomat overseeing the peace talks between Kaznia and Corto Maltese asked J'onn J'onzz (David Harewood) to use his telepathic powers to make the leaders of the two delegations sign a peace treaty. The Martian Manhunter refused, saying that while he was glad to use his powers to pacify the two leaders after Nxyly used the Totem of Courage to make them afraid of looking weak during the negotiations, he refused to directly control their actions. Both of the Supergirl scenes did a far better job of showing why heroes have a responsibility not to use their powers than every speech Superman made regarding that point in Superman 4: The Quest For Peace.

The Supergirl season 6 episode "Hope For Tomorrow" featured a subplot that centered around Esme, a foster child adopted by Alex Danvers/Sentinel (Chyler Leigh) and Kelly Olsen/Guardian (Azie Tesfai), and the Super Friends' efforts to help the young girl get acclimated to her new home. A victim of an abusive situation in her previous foster home, Esme was shy and fearful of being sent back to the group home she had been in. Restoring Esme's hope in the future went beyond being a test of Supergirl's ability to inspire hope and became a test for the whole team, as well as a central part of the theme of "Hope For Tomorrow." By contrast, despite being the inspiration of Superman's effort to bring an end to nuclear war in Superman 4: The Quest For Peace, the boy who wrote to Superman disappeared from the movie after Superman took him to the United Nations to hear him speak.


Originally set up as a romantic interest for Kara Danvers in Supergirl season 5, reporter William Dey (Staz Nair) has been one of the more divisive characters created for the Arrowverse, with many fans finding the character annoying and wondering what purpose he served after he and Kara agreed to be just friends in Supergirl season 6. Comparisons could be drawn between William Dey and Lacy Warfield (Mariel Hemingway) whose only purpose in Superman 4: The Quest For Peace was acting as a hostage and pushing an unconvincing love triangle between herself, Lois Lane and Clark Kent. However, the Supergirl season 6 episode "Hope For Tomorrow" redeemed William, who was far from a passive figure after being taken captive by Nyxly. Indeed, it was William's quick thinking that enabled the Super Friends to take the Totem of Courage away from Nyxly.

While Superman 4: The Quest For Peace saw legendary actor Gene Hackman return as Lex Luthor, his role in the film was far from extensive. Apart from creating the monstrous Nuclear Man, Luthor had surprisingly little to do with the action of the film and most of his scenes were comedic non-sequiturs. By contrast,  the Arrowerse Lex Luthor does not appear on camera in the Supergirl season 6 episode "Hope For Tomorrow," but nevertheless had a major impact on the episode's final scene.

As "Hope For Tomorrow" came to a close, Supergirl elected to throw the Totem of Hope into the sun, knowing that Nxyly needed all seven totems as part of her scheme to defeat Supergirl and the Super Friends. Shortly after Nxyly learned what Supergirl had done, a box fell through a portal in front of her. The box contained a watch and a note from a secret admirer telling her not to "lose hope." When Nyxly put on the watch, it formed one of Lex Luthor's trademark armored Lexo-Skeletons around her, revealing the identity of her mysterious new ally in a clever fashion. It was certainly more subtle than most of Gene Hackman's scenes trolling Superman in Superman 4: The Quest For Peace. This, coupled with the other connections throughout the episode, highlight how Supergirl was able to successfully revitalize the failed film's story arc.