Feeds

Cash-strapped LucidEra 'exploring options'

Reality of SaaS and Salesforce.com

Top three mobile application threats

One-time software-as-a-service poster child LucidEra seems to have shut its doors for want of cash from its venture-capital backers.

Co-founder and chief marketing officer Ken Rudin told The Reg that LucidEra is "exploring its options," saying it's "just really, really bad timing to have to be raising your next round of funding in this economic climate." Rudin also appears to have left the company.

"We're exploring various options in the best interest of our creditors, customers, employees, and shareholders. We expect resolution for everyone involved soon so there is an orderly transition," Rudin said. Questions over LucidEra surfaced here.

LucidEra's investors were Crosslink Capital and Matrix Partners, who've poured at least $22m in to the company since 2006. LucidEra was founded at the height of the SaaS frenzy in 2005. It's likely that investors will now be looking to make money from the sale of customer lists or any unique or special technology or patents the company might have.

At least one on-demand competitor has jumped in to the uncertainty and offered LucidEra customers an aggressively priced migration offer to its own hosted service. Birst will cut 25 per cent of its price for LucidEra customers who move before August 1.

Birst is available on Salesforce.com's AppExchange and offers connections to customer data held inside the Salesforce.com system. Salesforce.com was one of three connectors provided by LucidEra, along with a connector to Oracle and Microsoft's Excel.

LucidEra's apparent closure has been explained by rivals as failure to target the right market instead of a vote of no confidence by customers in the SaaS BI model as a whole.

Birst chief executive Brad Peters told The Reg the market for BI remains big and the potential for growth huge during a recession. "The last big spurt was between 2000 and 2001. There's a huge opening for alternative business models," Peters said.

He claimed there's an opportunity for SaaS BI vendors because big systems from Oracle and SAP are expensive and complicated to implement. But he noted that "We are not pleased to see this happen to LucidEra, we'd be much happier to see them in the game."

LucidEra focused on charting and graphics for data held in Salesforce.com rather than providing fine-grained BI querying unique to each customer's different needs.

Despite nearly 50,000 Salesforce.com customers on the planet and some very big organizations using its hosted customer relationship management (CRM), the overwhelming majority remain relatively small or department-level. That meant customers paying for a Salesforce.com subscription would have had little cash left over to pay for additional add-on services.

Furthermore, setting up and running SaaS is more expensive than the SaaS cheerleaders would have you believe. Running such as service requires considerable capital investment not just in servers, network, and storage, but also in security, the creation and verification of service level agreements, and the individual experts to devise and maintain policies.

The CEO of one BI rival who wished to remain anonymous told The Reg his company learned a lot in trying to penetrate the Salesforce.com customer base. "We know we need to be careful about markets like that," he said.

The rub was that LucidEra needed lots of customers paying small increments to become viable, so it seemed like it would have remained wedded to venture capital for a while. But start-ups that hadn't raised their latest round of funding before the market went south last autumn have been in trouble. They've been cutting their costs through layoffs or closing entirely. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
Ex–Apple CEO John Sculley: Ousting Steve Jobs 'was a mistake'
Twenty-nine years later, post-Pepsi exec has flat-forehead moment
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.