Welcome to volume 38!
Following last week’s round-up of 2020’s unicorn companies, we have a new kid on the block.
G2 is joining the billion-dollar valuation club, and it has to do with a little thing we call the Yelpification of business 😉.
Before we get into that, here’s a peek at what’s to come:
- The Yelpification of B2B has led to G2 reaching unicorn status.
- Community ecosystems are extremely economically beneficial.
- AI is stepping into fight advertising bias.
G2 is G2G (Good 2 Go)
G2, the go-to for business software and services reviews has officially made unicorn status 🦄.
On June 22, G2 secured $157M in Series D funding bringing their total valuation over the mythical $1B mark!
One of G2’s greatest competitors Capterra was acquired in 2015 by Gartner for $206M. There is no denying that’s a sweet deal, but with the rise of B2B Yelpification, Capterra could have held out for more. And who knows, if they had, they might be joining the unicorn ranks too.
But what is the Yelpification of business and how has G2 nailed it?
Yelpification of business: The adoption of peer-to-peer review sites for B2B decision-makers, and the rise of reviews for all things SaaS, agencies, corporate culture, and CEOs.
There are four factors that drive B2B Yelpification:
- People Trust People: 84% of people will trust an online review from a stranger, as much as they would trust that of a friend.
- People Want To Be Heard: Review sites give people the power to be heard and share both their praise & concerns.
- Businesses Want Praise: A CEO would love to promote the fact that they’re a top-rated executive on Glassdoor.
- The Desire To Self Analyze: Buyers would rather self-analyze and self-determine which product or service provider is going to be the right fit for them, instead of jumping on multiple sales calls.
For more on the rise of Yelpification in business, check out this six-minute video 📹: Business Review Sites – The Yelpification of B2B And What’s To Come.
Not unlike reading Amazon reviews before buying a product, B2B buyers are interested in crowdsourcing user feedback before settling on a purchase, taking a job, or hiring an agency. Industries continue to grow, competition continues to increase, and with more options comes the need for more thorough decision-making processes.
This is where G2 strives! G2 is a software and services review hosting site at its core, but it goes a layer deeper…
It has a 100% algorithm-based ranking formula that judges and rates each reviewed platform based on the cumulative user ratings. G2 also provides a badge to top-performing platforms, which is featured on G2 and provided to the highlighted company for on-site promotion.
As I touched on, businesses want praise and falsifying reviews is a seemingly easy way to achieve one of the badges. However, G2’s platform runs verification checks using AI and NLP to prevent competitors or employees from posting fake content.
Due to G2’s authority in the space, its commitment to trustworthy reviews, and niche ownership, it is no surprise that they landed a unicorn valuation.
The new funding will be put toward expanding into new markets, such as Europe and Asia, as well as expanding its software technology. All this to say, G2 needs to continue to provide high-quality ratings and trustworthy reviews as there are murmurs of an upcoming IPO.
- G2’s commitment to trustworthy crowdsourced reviews has paid off.
- The Yelpification of business has reached an apex with a significant player reaching a unicorn valuation.
- Reviews and awards matter in a B2B buyer’s decision-making process, meaning they need to be earned and displayed.
On Monday, Harley Finkelstein, President of Shopify, announced that their partner ecosystem generated $12.5B in revenue for 2020. That’s up 84% from 2019 and four times more than what Shopify made itself.
One more time: Shopify’s partnership ecosystem brings in four times MORE revenue than the platform itself.
$12.5 billion. That’s how much revenue our partner ecosystem generated in 2020 – that’s up +84% from 2019 and 4x more than @Shopify itself. And that’s the way it should be.
— Harley Finkelstein (@harleyf) June 28, 2021
As Harley says, “that’s the way it should be.”
And it should be that way because Shopify partners recruit new Shopify merchants and earn a referral bonus for doing so. So Shopify keeps its partners happy by providing high-quality service and turning them into brand advocates by incentivizing referrals.
Shopify’s ecosystem isn’t the only success story of recent news; Salesforce’s AppExchange has taken off and made waves not only as a quality ecosystem but also as a content engine.
Salesforce AppExchange is a marketplace for apps (no surprise there). Beyond being a hosting platform, Salesforce promotes apps through mini Shark Tank-style pitches to promote downloads called “Demo Jams.”
The valuation of Salesforce’s ecosystem isn’t as linear as Shopify’s. If Salesforce earns $21.25B in revenue and there is no growth until 2024, the apps and service providers within their ecosystem would generate a combined revenue of $123B! Based on IDC’s estimations, every $1 made by Salesforce in 2024 will be matched by $5.80 made on the AppExchange.
Salesforce’s ecosystem isn’t one-track-minded.
On top of being a revenue generator, Salesforce encourages its partners to write and distribute guest posts. This is achieved through templated graphics of content topics and distribution strategies, which means they have created an army of content marketers who mutually benefit through product promotion.
For more on Salesforce’s killer ecosystem, make sure to check out, Salesforce’s Impressive $21 Billion B2B Ecosystem.
- Shopify and Salesforce are gaining massive returns from their B2B ecosystems.
- Monetize and mobilize your community by creating a mutually beneficial ecosystem.
- Consider ways you can give back to your community and what you can gain out of the partnership.
IBM Goes in on Advertising Biases
In partnership with the Ad Council, IBM Watson Advertising and IBM Research are working towards detecting and mitigating bias in advertising.
Studies have shown that males appear 12% more frequently than females in advertising campaigns, which goes against viewers’ preference — Advertising clips with a women-led or gender-balanced cast gain 30% more views than the male-led counterpart.
This is an issue of under-representation and an inauthentic connection between advertiser and viewer. If we create content that doesn’t align with our audience’s needs, it can cause a negative impact that will harm the relationship.
Senior Vice President, Worldwide Ecosystems at IBM, Bob Lord, is hopefully in the role AI will play in mitigating bias:
“Our hope is that AI can be the catalyst for reducing unwanted bias in advertising, just as it is helping to transform the advertising industry as it rebuilds for an era without third party cookies. Through this research we are taking an important first step toward that goal, applying scientific rigour to determine just how big of an impact AI can have.”
Just as AI is being used to upgrade online privacy and ease the transition away from third-party cookies, IBM is looking to see where else AI can be a catalyst for change.
In this partnership, there are three core focuses:
- Incidences of bias in advertising
- The role of signals in determining bias
- Capabilities of AI to potentially mitigate bias
For now, this is purely investigative to see if AI can measure, determine, and offer mitigation to the issue. There are no plans for bias mitigating AI to be released anytime soon, but IBM will be releasing their findings as soon as they are found.
- AI is on its way to identify and mitigate bias.
- Gender bias in advertising is leaving a bad taste in the mouth of your audience.
- In a three-way partnership, the Ad Council, IBM Watson Advertising and IBM Research are teaming up to teardown bias.
OTHER NEWS OF THE WEEK:
💰 Microsoft has entered the exclusive ranks of companies with a $2T market cap following a stock rise of 1.1% on June 22.
🦄 Unicorn company Illumion raised $225M in Series F funding, bringing their valuation to $2.75B.
💸 A year after raising $24M in Series A funding, Tonkean, a business operation automation startup, has raised $50M in Series B funding.
BRAIN FOOD OF THE WEEK:
Westland Real Estate recently purchased an apartment complex in Liberty Village and started searching for an efficient security system. Instead of relying on basic security cameras and hiring a security team, they decided on the robotic route.
And Knightscope was their knight in shining plastic armour.
Knightscope is a Silicon Valley security company specializing in complex safety patrol robots. These robots are AI-powered drones that stand 5-feet tall, scoot around at walk speed, and capture a constant 360-degree view through their four internal cameras. Beyond capturing video footage, these robots can report license plates and digital signals from every cell phone in a detectable range.
There is yet to be tangible evidence of success from this security robot, and as one expert says, “it would be difficult to introduce a single thing, and it causes crime to go down.” However, since the change of ownership, the complex has been removed from the top 10 list of most frequent 911 calls in the Las Vegas Valley.
TWITTER THREAD OF THE WEEK:
WHAT WE’RE WIRED INTO THIS WEEK 🎧:
Originally sent out, by me Cali B, on Thursday, July 1, 2021.
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