money moves

Houston software company closes $7 million series A

Houston-based vChain, creator of CodeNotary, has raised $7 million in a series A financing round. Pexels

A Houston tech company that has optimizes a notarization system for coding professionals has closed a multimillion-dollar round of funding.

Houston-based vChain, which created the CodeNotary Open Source code trust solution, has raised $7 million in a series A funding round. Paris-based Elaia Partners led the investment round, and other contributors include Zug, Switzerland-based Bluwat and Seattle-based Acequia Capital.

"CodeNotary today processes over 9 million code and container authentications every single month," says CEO Moshe Bar in a news release. "We believe this is proof that the market demands secure and simple to use trust solutions for the modern DevOps environment."

Bar, who previously founded of XenSource and Qumranet, co-founded vChain with Dennis Zimmer in late 2018. The company released its first product in April of last year, and has a secondary office in Amsterdam.

"With much more at stake both financially and reputationally, companies must act quickly to bring trust and security into their DevOps process," Bar continues. "CodeNotary was created to solve this issue and ensure that only trusted code and data run in production."

The software tool, which is used to ensure code is securely transmitted throughout the entire development to production process, has several platform integrations and works with languages such as JavaScript, Python, Go, Java, and more.

"Our vision is a digital world where every object has a globally unique and meaningful identity," says Zimmer, who serves as CTO, in the release. "For the first time, DevOps teams can completely secure the integrity of their Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery pipelines. Not just internally, but also across companies, contributors and contractors."

The money raised will be used to continue the development of the tool as the DevOps industry continues to grow within the market.

"The DevOps industry is a rapidly growing billion-dollar market transforming itself very quickly," says Marc Rougier, partner at Elaia, in the release. "The importance of DevOps for any organization is obvious, no matter its size. However, the main reason for hesitation in DevOps transformation is a lack of trust. vChain is the leading solution to bring trust to DevOps and we're thrilled to be a part of it."

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Building Houston

 
 

After working with thousands of interns, Allie Danziger of Ampersand Professionals says she's now got a product to upskill and train new hires for employers. Photo courtesy of Ampersand

After seeing success with her internship training and matchmaking platform, Allie Danziger, founder and CEO of Ampersand Professionals, has expanded the concept to include a new hire training service that allows employers to better optimize the onboarding process and have a well-trained new staff member from day one.

In just over a year, Ampersand has worked with over 7,000 professionals through its original concept of upskilling and matching young professionals to internship programs. A few months ago, Danziger and her team expanded to include career development training for students first entering the workforce with the City of Houston's Hire Houston Youth program. Danziger says it was developing out the platform for this program that proved there was a need for this type of training.

"While we have focused on matching professionals with businesses for paid internships, we recognized a further gap with employers that have their own recruiting/talent acquisition teams, or just their own preferred way of bringing on entry-level talent, and didn’t have a need for our matching platform," Danziger tells InnovationMap. "But, they recognized the benefit of our proven training platform that pre-vets and de-risks their hires, and still wanted access to the training for their own hires."

The new program has evolved from training interns to new hires, so parts of the program that focuses on interviewing or applying for a job have been removed. Instead, the 8.5 hours of training focuses on networking, best practices for working with a manager and team, performance reviews, common software training, and more.

Danziger says usually new hires need the most experienced mentor or manager, but they don't usually get that support — especially when it comes to businesses that don't have their own built-out mentorship or training program.

"Ampersand’s new training product fills that gap — it gives employers of any size any easy solution to provide basic job readiness training to employees, access to our team of dedicated coaches, and a detailed report at the end of their training summarizing how their new hire did in the training and any trends recognized and tips for managing this employee based on what the platform uncovered," she says. "Businesses can also sign up for additional coaching sessions and customize training materials, as an add-on if interested."

The program costs the employer $100 per new employee, and checkout online takes less than a minute. Through both this program and the original internship program, Ampersand is constantly evolving its training content.

"These professionals are going through the same training experience that we have proven out over the last year, and we are constantly adding to based on data we see in the user experience," Danziger says.

Danziger recently joined the Houston Innovators Podcast discuss some of the benchmarks she's met with Ampersand, as well as the importance of investing in Gen Z hires. Listen to that episode below.


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