WizeHive Secures Growth Capital Investment from LLR Partners

Our new investment will help accelerate the innovation of our SaaS grant management platform for mission-driven organizations.

WizeHive is excited to announce a growth capital investment from private equity firm LLR Partners. The capital will be used to help drive continued growth at WizeHive, accelerate the advancement of the Zengine platform, and strengthen customer success infrastructure.

Grant making is central to the missions of tens of thousands of mission-driven organizations, and yet many are using inadequate or outmoded tools to manage these critical programs. WizeHive helps hundreds of corporations, foundations, government entities, universities, and other non-profits enhance and accelerate the impact of their programs by making it easier to engage applicants, minimizing tedious and less productive activities for program administrators, and delivering reporting that maintains compliance and provides powerful insights.

“Charitable giving rose to record levels in recent years, totaling $450 billion in 2019, and grant making continued to accelerate in 2020 for COVID-19 relief,” said Cheng Li, Vice President at LLR Partners. “We expect further momentum post-COVID, especially as companies focus more on social responsibility and community impact. Technology providers like WizeHive are increasingly seen as essential partners for foundations, corporations, and other entities to enable the increasing volume of grant activity, simplify the process, and improve reporting.”

Through Zengine, WizeHive offers clients a high-level of configurability in a quick to deploy platform – eliminating the need for organizations to either force fit their mission to rigid software or incur the time and cost of a customized solution. Investments will help accelerate growth efforts including advancement in the platform around ease of use and reporting, along with enabling clients’ immediate and long-term success.

“LLR has been the go-to partner for growth stage SaaS companies in our home Philadelphia market and across the U.S. for over 20 years,” said Carl Guarino, CEO of WizeHive. “I am thrilled that WizeHive is now in the position to leverage LLR’s knowledge of our space and their value creation resources to help scale our growth efforts, accelerate the enhancement of our platform, and expand efforts to drive long- term customer success.”

“Carl and his team are highly experienced leaders with backgrounds in growing technology businesses both organically and through M&A. We are excited for this opportunity to partner with WizeHive and to bring much-needed technology and insights to the underserved non-profit sector to help accelerate and amplify their missions,” said David Reuter, partner at LLR Partners.

Previous investors in WizeHive include Ben Franklin Technology Partners, Gabriel Investments, Mid-Atlantic Angel Group, and Robin Hood Ventures.


Financial Benefits of Moving to the Cloud

This is a guest blog post about the benefits of moving to the cloud from our friends at Cigniti


Migrating to the cloud has numerous benefits such as backup, recovery, and security, but one of the primary reasons why enterprises move to the cloud is due to its related cost savings.

A traditional infrastructure such as a data warehouse involves costly updates amidst several other issues such as server anomalies, data discrepancies, dedicated workforce, and most prominently costly updates.

According to Ashar Baig, a research director at Gigaom Research, “Cloud is mainstream today, driven forward by users’ desire for lower cost solutions, better scalability, and business agility.”

Even during the pandemic era, while we’ve seen several enterprises shutting down their businesses for good, cloud adoption has been on an upsurge.

Recent statistics reveal that 90% of the companies have expedited their adoption towards cloud in response to the COVID-19 pandemic with a relative increase in cloud expenditure.

As enterprises rally for a gigantic worldwide effort to produce and allocate COVID-19 vaccinations, Software as a Service (SaaS) based applications that empower vital tasks such as supply chain and automation are critical.

These SaaS based applications endure to prove trustworthy in ascending vaccine management, which in turn will aid CIOs further authenticate the continuing shift to cloud.

The proximity of emerging technologies with Cloud computing has further accelerated its growth.

According to Gartner, “Global public cloud spending is forecast to reach $332.3 billion in 2021, increasing by 23.1% from $270 billion in 2020. Growth in cloud spending can be attributed to increased adoption in technologies such as virtualization, edge computing and containerization.”

The usage and adoption of cloud is set to further evolve to those that amalgamate cloud with technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Big Data, 5G, and more.

Cloud will help as the adhesive amid several additional technologies that CIOs want to use more of, letting them to vault into the subsequent period as they address more multifaceted and evolving use cases and will certainly be a disruptive market, to say the least.

The revenues and profits for the big 3 Cloud companies continue to be on the rise.

The latest statistics reveal that Amazon’s AWS had a surge of more than 30% in revenue during the first quarter while Microsoft’s Azure revenue increased manifold to above 50%.

Followed by these two giants in Cloud business is Google’s Cloud where it has seen a rise of close to 50% in its business during the last quarter.

The constant growth of Cloud computing is a testimony to the fact that no disruptions in the technology or the economy can shake the foundations of cloud.

According to research and analytics firm Canalys, “In the first quarter of 2021, global cloud services infrastructure spending grew to $41.8 billion to represent a 35% year-on-year increment and 5% quarter-on-quarter growth.”

Given its huge financial benefits, enterprises have no other choice but to adapt to the cloud.


Here is a list of some of the economic benefits for enterprises implementing Cloud migration:

• Eradicates Operational Expenditures

Owning and managing servers on your own premises is no longer necessary, thanks to cloud data centers. In a variety of ways, this lowers ongoing running costs.

Apparently, if you have fewer hardware on your premises, you will save money on power and cooling. The extra physical space could be better utilized.

By decreasing the amount of maintenance necessary, cloud computing eliminates the need for costly service agreements and additional onsite IT support workers.

Because idle servers waste a lot of energy and money, the ability to scale up or down based on demand and improved hardware utilization corresponds to more efficient power use.

• Improve disaster recovery competences

An enterprise that uses cloud storage has a two-hour disaster recovery deadline.

Companies who employ local storage, on the other hand, can address this problem for up to eight hours, which might result in significant losses for the company.

Object-based cloud storage is supported by modern disaster recovery solutions, so you don’t have to copy the backup to physical media first and then restore it.

This indicates a lesser chance of financial loss due to downtime for a company. Furthermore, the cloud provider is responsible for restoring the system to functioning order, so you no longer have to worry about it.

• Nil maintenance cost

You gain complete responsibility for providing quality services and a serious approach to the work accomplished when you choose a cloud provider that intends to work effectively with a large corporation.

This includes the scope of services supplied, the level of service, equipment reliability and modernity, a team of engineers with extensive expertise, professional planning, and implementation of projects of any complexity, and a personalized approach.

Following the transfer of infrastructure to the cloud, the cloud provider is responsible for the continuous and correct operation of services and equipment, as well as security and a variety of other factors.

The cloud provider also monitors equipment and networks on a constant basis, provides round-the-clock technical help, prepares backups, and handles a variety of other jobs, allowing the client to focus on their primary business.

• Pay-As-You-Go

The pay-as-you-go business model of the Cloud allows businesses to save a lot of money. Essentially, whether it’s email, storage, or server space, organizations may cease paying for underutilized resources, postpone purchases, and check out alternatives before committing to anything.

The business world has begun to move at breakneck speed since the advent of the Internet.

Small and medium-sized business owners have struggled to keep up with the pace and adapt to new technologies.

Businesses profit from IT Cloud services because they improve their operations and communication with clients while saving time and money.

• Decrease the support load of IT department

You can trust the provider to manage the IT infrastructure in the cloud if the details of your organization do not necessitate maintaining and paying a large crew of technical specialists.

This is more cost-effective than engaging a specialist to do these jobs.

Even if your organization is involved in software creation, your experts can do more difficult duties than cleaning dust coolers and restoring unintentionally erased data.

They will be able to concentrate entirely on the quality of the product being developed and the efficiency of each sprint.

• Enhance suppleness

One of the most significant components of a productive day is having access to files. Employees who are not physically connected to an internal server are frequently unable to access files stored on the server.

Cloud storage allows you to access data from wherever, whether you need to open a budget spreadsheet from your hotel room or a Photoshop file from the office.

As a result, your staff will have more flexibility in completing daily activities and will be more successful in circumstances where time is of the essence.

For example, cloud data storage allows you to deploy a product significantly faster because employees don’t have to waste time transferring files, they can make real-time updates, and a circumstance where a specific file is deleted is impossible.



Cloud security is essential to assess the security of your operating systems and applications running on cloud.

Ensuring ongoing security in the cloud requires not only equipping your cloud instances with defensive security controls, but also regularly assessing their ability to withstand the latest data breach threats.

Cigniti’s team validates whether your cloud deployment is secure and gives you actionable remediation information when it’s not complying with the standards. The team conducts proactive, real-world security tests using the same techniques employed by attackers seeking to breach your cloud-based systems and applications.

Cigniti’s cloud testing services offer end to end validation of cloud migration transformation and cloud native build with a shift left cloud first approach.

Cigniti’s cloud testing services help enterprises achieve compliance, secure data, reduce efforts by 40% through automated build and deployment validation and improve productivity by 35% with early alerts for any issues.

Get maximum value from your cloud transformation journey with Cigniti’s Cloud Testing services. Schedule a discussion with us to consult with our experienced team of cloud testing experts.


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SaaS Valuations and the Metrics that Matter

The software market continues to evolve.  Historically, enterprise software was typically sold as a one-time, perpetual license plus an annual maintenance payment, usually representing 20% of the cost of the license.  The license revenue was typically large-dollar, but lumpy and non-recurring, and sales cycles were long. That said, a real benefit of the model, particularly for earlier stage companies, was that the cash generated from the sale of licenses could be used to fund the business.

Software-as-a-Service, or SaaS, models, which have become ubiquitous since Salesforce.com’s IPO in 2004, take a different approach.  SaaS is sold as a subscription, often monthly.  SaaS providers aren’t able to take advantage of being paid in advance, but the recurring nature of the revenue makes it easy to budget, and the high “flow down” of revenue to EBITDA beyond the company’s breakeven point makes it very profitable.

The inherent advantages of recurring, predicable revenues and the high “flow down” nature of the models naturally result in valuation differences between the two models, with enterprise software companies typically trading for circa 1 to 3x revenue and SaaS companies trading for 3 to 10x revenue. Further, many SaaS companies trade outside that range, both higher and lower.  So the question is, given the wide range of SaaS multiples in the market, what are the key factors distinguishing higher multiple companies from lower?

We believe that there are several core factors influencing SaaS valuation multiples. Those companies with metrics “to the right” in each of the factors tend to trade at higher valuations. The factors that we pay closest attention to are:

  • Annual Recurring Revenue (“ARR”) Growth and Scale. Growth should be analyzed relative to a company’s peer group. Smaller companies are expected to have larger growth rates than larger companies, and larger companies will generally have higher multiples than smaller companies at similar growth rates.
  • Rule of 40%. Companies with a combination of growth rate and EBITDA margins of 40% or more will generally command premium valuation multiples. Note that the rule holds true for companies at scale (greater than $8 to $10mm in revenue). For smaller companies, the threshold is generally higher.
  • Addressable Market and Moat. Having a unique offering positioning a company as a pioneer and leader in an emerging market segment that has the strong potential of growing to $500 million to $1 billion+ in five to seven years, and a substantial technological lead (two or more years) with a roadmap that maintains future leadership that reduces risk of marginalization and commoditization, strongly positions a company for a premium valuation.
  • Gross Margin; High “Flow Down” Model. Gross margins exceeding 70% indicates an attractive mix of software revenue and services. Beyond break-even, true SaaS companies may flow 50% or more of revenue to EBITDA.
  • Revenue Retention. A revenue retention rate of 100%+ (growth in revenue from existing clients exceeds revenue lost to churn) is a key indicator of the predictability of future cash flows and a strong indicator of ARR growth.
  • Customer Acquisition Cost (“CAC”) Ratio. CAC ratio is a measure of (i) the sales, marketing and other costs to acquire a customer to (ii) the incremental revenue gained during a given period, and a key indicator of the capital required to grow a company. Companies with CAC ratios under 1x have a strong likelihood of receiving a premium valuation providing the aforementioned metrics and characteristics are also solid.

In addition to these six core drivers of valuation multiples for SaaS companies, there are a myriad of company-specific factors that drive premium valuations; these factors are generally “hidden” in the aforementioned “Addressable Market and Moat” and are difficult to benchmark.

Achieving a premium valuation is significantly more difficult than a simple mathematical exercise. Many assume that SaaS companies automatically benefit from viral marketing; this is rare and it takes significant time and investment to scale (four years / $16 mm in equity capital and six years / $25 mm in equity capital to achieve $10 million and $20 million ARR run-rates, respectively). Positioning a company well and developing pressure-tested financial models that highlight a company’s “moat” and ability to grow are essential to achieving premium valuations.