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Insight Venture Partners injects $25 million into Showpad’s sales productivity software

Showpad, which helps sales and marketing teams work together more intelligently, announced today that it has raised an additional $25 million in funding from existing investor Insight Venture Partners. This is an extension of the startup’s Series C round of $50 million, which it raised last May.

“In today’s B2B sales, the products themselves rarely have many differentiators,” wrote Showpad cofounder and CEO Pieterjan Bouten, in an email to VentureBeat. “So the buying experience has become the differentiator.”

The Ghent, Belgium-based startup sells a software that enables sales team to create what they call “microsites.” These allow sales reps to centralize relevant content in one place and share it with prospects more easily. Showpad integrates with Salesforce, Gmail, Outlook, and more.

The software as a service (SaaS) subscription starts at $35 per user per month. Bouten claims to have more than 1,000 customers, including Audi, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, Dow Chemical, and Kimberly-Clark.

Competitors in the space include Seismic and Savo, according to Bouten.

To establish a stronger presence in the U.S. market, the Showpad launched a North American headquarter last year in Chicago. “The city has an attractive cost of doing business, a great university and research talent pipeline, and it’s an easy place to get to, especially for international companies like ours,” wrote Bouten. “There’s a direct flight from O’Hare to Brussels.”

Insight Venture Partners cofounder and managing director Jeff Horing led today’s round, and he sits on the startup’s board of directors.

To date, Showpad has raised a total of $89.5 million. It plans on using the fresh injection of capital to increase sales and marketing efforts and further product development and expansion in the U.S. and European markets.

“As B2C buying trends influence the B2B buying experience, we’ll also leverage this funding round to enhance our platform and product portfolio to help our customers deliver a better buyer experience,” added Bouten.

Founded in 2011, Showpad currently has 230 employees across its two headquarters, and offices in London, Portland, and San Francisco.

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Existing EV batteries could be recharged five times faster

Lithium-ion batteries have massively improved in the last half-decade, but there are still issues. The biggest, especially for EVs, is that charging takes too long to make them as useful as regular cars for highway driving. Researchers from the University of Warwick (WMG) have discovered that we may not need to be so patient, though. They developed a new type of sensor that measures internal battery temperatures and discovered that we can probably recharge them up to five times quicker without overheating problems.

Overcharging a lithium-ion battery anode can lead to lithium buildup, which can break through a battery's separator, create a short-circuit and cause catastrophic failure. That can cause the electrolyte to emit gases and literally blow up the battery, so manufacturers impose strict charging power limits to prevent it.

Those limits are based on hard-to-measure internal temperatures, however, which is where the WMG probe comes in. It's a fiber optic sensor, protected by a chemical layer that can be directly inserted into a lithium-ion cell to give highly precise thermal measurements without affecting its performance.

The team tested the sensor on standard 18650 li-ion cells, used in Tesla's Model S and X, among other EVs. They discovered that they can be charged five times faster than previously thought without damage. Such speeds would reduce battery life, but if used judiciously, the impact would be minimized, said lead researcher Dr. Tazdin Amietszajew.

Faster charging as always comes at the expense of overall battery life but many consumers would welcome the ability to charge a vehicle battery quickly when short journey times are required and then to switch to standard charge periods at other times.

There's still some work to do. While the research showed the li-ion cells can support higher temperatures, EVs and charging systems would have to have "precisely tuned profiles/limits" to prevent problems. It's also not clear how battery makers would install the sensors in the cells.

Nevertheless, it shows a lot of promise for much faster charging speeds in the near future. Even if battery capacities stayed the same, charging in 5 minutes instead of 25 could flip a lot of drivers over to the green side.

Via: Clean Technica

Source: University of Warwick

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