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Showing posts from February, 2020

Procore Files To Go Public

Image by Marcus Bernales on Flickr , under CC BY 2.0 license Procore, a Carpinteria, California-based construction tech startup valued at $3 billion by investors, has filed to go public with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), corroborating a previous report of the company having courted investment bank Goldman Sachs to arrange an initial public offering (IPO). Unsurprisingly, Goldman Sachs is a lead underwriter for Procore's IPO, alongside investment banks J.P. Morgan, Barclays, and Jefferies. Procore's S-1 filing indicates $289 million in revenue and $83 million in losses for the full year ended December 31, 2019. This compares with $186 million in revenue and $56.7 million in losses in the previous year, and $112 million in revenue and $55.5 million in losses the year before that. Sales and marketing account for the bulk of Procore's business costs, with the company having spent $173 million in 2019, $113 million in 2018, and $78 million in 20

Managed By Q Buyback By Founder Said To Stall

Managed by Q co-founder Dan Teran. Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for TechCrunch, under CC BY 2.0 license According to a Bloomberg report , a planned re-sale of Managed by Q -- a startup acquired by co-working company WeWork last year -- back to its founder amid cost-cutting efforts is said to have stalled even after official talks began, with WeWork opting to sell it to a company instead.  Bloomberg reports Managed by Q co-founder Dan Teran alongside a group of investors were already in talks to re-purchase the startup from WeWork for less than $55 million, way less than the $220 million WeWork is said to have coughed up to acquire it last year. However, that deal may have included WeWork shares, which have  since declined in value , meaning the actual amount could be much less than the $220 million figure. According to Bloomberg , WeWork is opting instead to sell Managed by Q, which develops office management software, to Eden Technologies, a company that has previou

DoorDash Confidentially Files To Go Public

DoorDash co-founder and CEO Tony Xu. Photo by Kimberly White/Getty Images for TechCrunch, under CC BY 2.0 license DoorDash has announced  it has confidentially submitted a draft registration for an initial public offering (IPO) with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), corroborating long-time tittle-tattles of the food delivery company looking to go public this year. Tech companies in many cases first confidentially file with the SEC in the case of an intended IPO, with a public filing coming soon after. The time frame from a confidential filing to a public offering is conventionally not too long, meaning a DoorDash IPO could be coming in a matter of months. DoorDash was previously reported to be considering a direct listing, that is, directly offering shares to the public without the aid of intermediaries. A direct listing also entails no new capital being raised by a company that takes such a path. Also, DoorDash was previously reported to be in discussio

HeadSpin Raises $60 Million, Arora Joins Board

Palo Alto Networks CEO Nikesh Arora. Arora has been appointed a board member at HeadSpin. image: World Economic Forum/swiss-image.ch/Photo RÈmy Steinegger, via  CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license. HeadSpin, a Palo Alto-based startup that develops software to aid performance of mobile apps, has announced $60 million in Series C funding led by Dell Technologies Capital and ICONIQ Capital, with participation from Tiger Global, Kearny Jackson, and Alpha Square Group alongside a host of angel investors, to name a few, LinkedIn’s Jeff Weiner, Facebook’s Kevin Weil and Andrea Moore, Uber’s Manik Gupta, Caviar’s Gokul Rajaram, Spotify’s John Bonten and Stripe's Amber Feng. The new funding brings the total raised by HeadSpin to $117 million and values it at $1.16 billion. Alongside the investment, HeadSpin also announced the appointment of Palo Alto Networks CEO Nikesh Arora to its board. HeadSpin, which launched in 2015, says it has doubled its annual revenue year-over-year since that y

Brief: Salesforce Acquires Vlocity, Leads Investment In ServiceMax

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff. image: Salesforce CRM giant Salesforce has announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Vlocity, a San Francisco-based startup that develops industry-specific cloud and mobile software based on Salesforce's platform. Salesforce is paying $1.33 billion for the company, which had raised $163 million in total funding and was valued at up to $1 billion by its investors. The acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter of Salesforce's fiscal 2021. Vlocity last raised funding in March last year, having secured a $60 million Series C round led by Sutter Hill Ventures and unsurprisingly, Salesforce Ventures. Salesforce has quite a history of acquiring companies it previously invested in. Other examples of this kind include Quip and MapAnything. In addition to acquiring Vlocity, Salesforce, via its venture arm, also just led $80 million in Series C funding for ServiceMax alongside famed tech investor Silver Lake. Service

Toyota Leads $462 Million Round For Pony.ai

Pony.ai co-founder and CEO James Peng. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/RISE via Sportsfile, via CC BY 2.0 license. Self-driving startup Pony.ai has announced  $462 million in new funding led by Toyota that values it at "just over" $3 billion. Toyota provided $400 million of the investment and has committed to deepening collaboration between itself and Pony.ai. Toyota seems to be keen on betting big on automotive-related startups, with this funding coming just shortly after the Japanese automaker led a $590 million Series C investment in Joby Aviation, an electric air taxi startup. Pony.ai and Toyota actually initiated a joint self-driving pilot in August last year. Pony.ai has been testing a robo-taxi pilot service in Guangzhou, China since late 2018. The company, founded by former Baidu executive James Peng and Tiancheng Lou, an ex Baidu-engineer who also worked on self-driving tech previously at Google, also rolled out a robo-taxi pilot in the state of California

Fox Corp Said To Be In Talks To Snap Up Tubi

Fox Corp co-executive chairman Rupert Murdoch. image: Eva Rinaldi on Flickr, via CC BY-SA 2.0 license According to a report from the Wall Street Journal , media house Fox Corp is in talks to acquire streaming service Tubi in a deal that could value it at more than $500 million. The report notably comes a few months after Tubi was reported to be in talks to raise $150 million in new funding. San Francisco-based Tubi is one out of several ad-supported streaming services out there. It's available in the US, Canada, and Australia, with more than 20,000 movies and television shows from several Hollywood Studios on its platform. Tubi currently works with more than 250 content partners, to name a few, Warner Bros., Paramount, and Lionsgate. In a recent press release , the San Francisco-based company said it'll boost its content spending this year to over nine figures. Tubi had 229 employees as of 2019 end, a 78% increase from its 2018 headcount. The company has said it

Brief: Dropbox Soars On Q4 Result

Dropbox CEO Drew Houston. image: Stuart Isett/Fortune Brainstorm Tech, via  CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license. File hosting company Dropbox just released its financial results for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2019, reporting $446 million in revenue, up 19% from the same period last year. For the entire year, Dropbox recorded $1.66 billion in revenue, up 19% year-over-year. In light of the results, Dropbox shares rose as much as 16% during trading on Thursday. As of 2019 end, Dropbox had 14.3 million paying users, compared to 12.7 million as of the end of 2018. Average revenue per user amounted to $125, compared to roughly $120 in the previous year. As of 2019 end, Dropbox had $1.16 billion in cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments, slightly more than $1.09 billion as of the end of 2018. As for losses, Dropbox recorded $6.6 million in losses in 2019, down from $9.5 million in 2018. Dropbox has also authorized up to $600 million in share repurchases, represent

Brief: Goldman Sachs Leads $120 Million Series E For Flywire

Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon. image by World Economic Forum/Sandra Blaser, under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license Flywire, a Boston, Massachusetts-based payments startup, has announced $120 million in Series E funding led by banking giant Goldman Sachs. The company also announced that it has acquired Simplee, a Palo Alto-based company that develops payment systems for the healthcare industry. The Series E funding brings the total amount raised by Flywire to $260 million. Alongside Goldman, new investors Tiger Management and Adage Capital Management participated in the funding also alongside other existing investors. The investment is said to value Flywire at more than $1 billion. Flywire develops cross-border payment systems that are tailored for customers in the healthcare, education, travel, and business sectors. The company has processed more than $12 billion in payments for more than 2,000 clients globally since inception. Armed with its new acquisition, Simplee, Flywir

Essential To Cease Operations

Essential PH-1. image: Essential Products Essential Products, a smartphone startup founded by Android creator and former Google executive Andy Rubin, has announced it'll be ceasing operations and winding down after struggling to win customers in a highly competitive smartphone market. The Palo Alto-based company, which was founded in 2015, had raised $330 million in funding ( Crunchbase data) from well-known investors such as Tencent, Amazon, and Redpoint prior to this announcement. Essential's first product was an Android smartphone dubbed PH-1 . It was announced in 2017 but discontinued a year later amid reports of poor sales. Essential began working on another unique kind of smartphone dubbed " Project GEM ", which was unveiled late last year but hadn't gone into production and apparently won't given Essential is shutting down. Essential's "Project GEM". image: Essential Products Essential founder Andy Rubin. im

Brief: Casper Surges In Public Market Debut

Casper co-founder and CEO Philip Krim. image: Insider Images/Andrew Kelly (US), under  CC BY 2.0 license. Online mattress retailer Casper, which filed for an initial public offering (IPO) early last month, just made its debut on the public markets, surging more than 20% from its opening share price despite a lowered valuation from its previous target. Before going public, Casper cut its IPO target share price from between $17 to $19 to between $12 to $13. The $12-$13 share price range implied a valuation hovering around $500 million, way below its last private valuation of $1.1 billion. Casper posted $312 million in revenue in the first nine months of 2019 but with a $67 million loss in the same period. The company spends heavily on sales and marketing, with the segment making up most of its expenses. Casper, although a pioneer of the direct-to-consumer online mattress industry, is facing competition from a host of similar startups capitalizing on the same trend. In fact,

FTC Sues To Block Harry's Acquisition

Harry's co-founder Jeff Raider. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Collision via Sportsfile, under  CC BY 2.0 license The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has filed suit to block the acquisition of razor startup Harry's by Edgewell Personal Care. The FTC made this known in a recent announcement  that termed Harry's' acquisition as one that "would eliminate one of the most important competitive forces in the shaving industry". "The loss of Harry’s as an independent competitor would remove a critical disruptive rival that has driven down prices and spurred innovation in an industry that was previously dominated by two main suppliers, one of whom is the acquirer." The FTC's statement said. Edgewell Personal Care entered a deal to acquire Harry's for $1.37 billion in May last year. The acquisition happened to come a few years after consumer goods giant Unilever acquired one of Harry's main competitors, Dollar Shave Club, for $1 billion.

Brief: Asana Confidentially Files To Go Public

Asana co-founder and CEO Dustin Moskovitz. Photo by Seb Daly/Web Summit via Sportsfile, under CC BY 2.0 license Asana, a San Francisco-based software startup led by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, has announced  that it has confidentially filed an S-1 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to hold a public listing. Its filing comes on the heels of another San Francisco-based firm, albeit a primary care one, One Medical, holding a successful public listing . According to news site Axios , a spokesperson for Asana confirmed the company would be going public via a direct listing, an alternative route that entails holding a public listing without an underwritten public offering or issuance of new shares as is conventionally done. If it does so, Asana will be the third company to take that route, the other two being Spotify and Slack. Airbnb, another IPO candidate for this year, is also rumored to be considering a direct listing, hinting of the alternat

Brief: Goldman Sachs Said To Eye SMB Loans Tie-Up With Amazon

Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon. image by World Economic Forum/Sandra Blaser, via Creative Commons license According to a report from the Financial Times , Goldman Sachs is in talks with Amazon to begin offering small-business loans via the e-commerce giant's lending platform. For those not in the know, Amazon operates a lending platform that has existed for years and is adopted as a way to strengthen its ties with small businesses. The loans facilitated through Amazon's platform are used mostly to provide Amazon.com merchants with funding needed to obtain inventory. According to the Financial Times, Goldman Sachs has begun building out technology that would let it offer loans on Amazon's lending platform and could launch the project as soon as next month, March. Such plans conform with Goldman's plan to diversify, with the company fresh off its investor day, when it pitched embracing the conventional bank model (Goldman Sachs is mainly an investment bank)

Brief: Darktrace Appoints New CFO

Darktrace CEO Nicole Eagan. Photo by Seb Daly/Collision via Sportsfile, via  CC BY 2.0 license. British cyber-security startup Darktrace has announced the appointment of a new CFO by name of Catherine Graham. Graham's appointment is effective beginning from 10th February. Her appointment comes amid reports that Darktrace could be on its way to an initial public offering (IPO). Graham is a seasoned financial executive with more than two decades of professional experience under her belt. She has held leadership positions at several businesses through periods of fast growth and led four successful IPOs, including that of ed-tech company 2U. She served as CFO at 2U for eight years, leading its capital structure growth during her tenure. Prior to 2U, Graham was also the founding CFO of Via Net.Works, an internet services provider that raised $186 million in venture capital before going public in early 2000. “I am delighted to welcome Cathy to Darktrace,” Darktrace CEO

A16z Leads $10 Million Round For Neighbor.com

Andreessen Horowitz Managing Partner Jeff Jordan. Photograph by Michael Faas for Fortune Magazine, via  CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license Neighbor.com, a Utah-based peer-to-peer self-storage startup, has announced $10 million in Series A funding led by Andreessen Horowitz (also known as a16z), with participation from Uber early employee Ryan Graves and Tonal co-founder Nate Bosshard. Under the terms of Andreessen Horowitz's investment, its managing partner, Jeff Jordan, is joining Neighbor.com's board. Jordan notably serves on the boards of Airbnb, Instacart, Lime, and Pinterest. He also previously held executive roles at eBay, PayPal, and OpenTable. Neighbor.com is betting on peer-to-peer storage as a way to gain ground in the $40 billion U.S. self-storage market. Its method entails connecting "renters" in need of storage space with "hosts" in their neighborhood who are willing to lease extra space in their home or garage to store stuff. From college st

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Okta Buys Cloud Security Startup Auth0 For $6.5B

A very big new acquisition has happened in the tech industry, with Okta (NASDAQ: OKTA), the publicly-traded cloud identity and access management software provider, announcing an agreement to buy Auth0, a fellow cloud identity software provider, for a price of $6.5 billion to be paid all with shares. A $6.5 billion exit for Auth0 marks a major win for the startup scene in Seattle, the tech hub where Auth0 is based and also a major win for the company's backers and investors. Auth0 last raised venture funding last year in July with a $120 million Series F round that valued the company at $1.9 billion. Now, it's about to sell for more than triple that amount. Auth0 has raised more than $330 million in total venture funding, with investors including the likes of Salesforce Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, Telstra Ventures, Sapphire Ventures, and DTCP. Salesforce Ventures led Auth0's most recent $120 million Series F round. With its acquisition of a fellow cloud identity a

John McAfee Indicted For $13M Crypto "Pump And Dump" Scheme

In October last year, John McAfee who's a controversial entrepreneur best known for founding the cybersecurity powerhouse bearing his last name McAfee was indicted for tax evasion by US authorities  with accusations of earning millions of dollars from cryptocurrency schemes and failing to report income and pay taxes as required to the US government. Now, it appears that McAfee is facing even more charges from US authorities, with the District Court for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) having just announced  further indictments of him for fraud and money laundering coming from alleged crypto "pump and dump" schemes. McAfee along with an associate, Jimmy Watson, are accused of hyping and promoting certain cryptocurrencies on social media in order to artificially inflate their prices without disclosing that McAfee owned large quantities of the promoted crypto and intended to profit from his promotion. McAfee, Watson, and other unnamed associates are alleged to have p

Peter Thiel Cashes Out Big From Palantir

After taking his data analytics and mining company, Palantir, public last year, it seems that Peter Thiel is keen on cashing out significantly from his stake in the company after getting an opportunity to do so on the public markets.  Thiel founded and helped build Palantir from the ground up into a data analytics powerhouse with annual sales of over $1 billion.   Palantir stayed as a private company for 17 years before hitting the public markets. According to regulatory filings and records , Peter Thiel has sold over $780 million of Palantir shares since the company began trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in September 2020.  Thiel's largest single sale transaction was an offloading of 20 million shares for $504.8 million on the 19th of February, 2020. His second-largest was the sale of 23 million shares in a transaction netting around $236 million on the 30th of September, 2020, which was the very day Palantir began trading on the NYSE. Altogether, Thiel has netted mor

New SPAC Deal: Bitcoin Mining Startup Cipher

The latest technology company to join the flurry of SPAC mergers is Cipher Mining, a newly-formed US-based bitcoin mining startup that's an offshoot of Bitfury, a leading maker of bitcoin mining hardware that's based in the Netherlands. Cipher Mining Inc will merge with Good Works Acquisition Corp (Nasdaq: GWAC) in a deal valuing the bitcoin mining startup at $2 billion. The SPAC will be anchored by a $425 million PIPE round committed by investors including Fidelity, Morgan Stanley (via its subsidiary Counterpoint Global), and Cipher's parent Bitfury. Bitfury will contribute a $50 million investment to the PIPE round that's structured as purchase credits for equipment and services from it for Cipher Mining. The SPAC merger will hand over $595 million in gross proceeds to Cipher Mining, consisting of the $425 million PIPE round and $170 million of cash held in trust by Good Works Acquisition Corp. Upon completion of the SPAC merger, the investors in Cipher's PIPE rou

Deal: Twilio Bets $750M On Mobile Comms Provider Syniverse

Twilio, the publicly-traded cloud communications company, has sought to strategically team up with an old-guard provider of mobile and wireless communications technology named Syniverse, with a formal business partnership just  announced between both parties that'll see Twilio invest up to $750 million for a minority stake in Syniverse under its terms. Twilio has agreed to invest up to $750 million in cash for a minority stake in Syniverse, buying the stake from the company's current owner which is the private equity firm Carlyle Group. The partnership between Twilio and Syniverse will see both companies enter into a major business partnership that entails a wholesale agreement whereby Syniverse will process, route and deliver application-to-person (A2P) messages originating and/or terminating between Twilio’s customers and mobile network operators. On Syniverse's end of the deal, the company is getting a business boost by providing services for Twilio which is one of the

American Drone Maker Skydio Raises $170M, Valued At $1B+

Skydio, an American startup that makes autonomous drones, has closed a new funding round of $170 million that values it above $1 billion. The round was led by the famous venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from existing backers Next47, IVP, and Linse Capital, plus a new investor UP.Partners. Andreessen Horowitz led the new Series D round for Skydio from its Growth Fund, and with it, Skydio has now raised a total of over $340 million in external funding and then with a $1 billion+ valuation that makes it the highest-valued drone startup in the US. It seems that Skydio has drawn wide investor attraction after the US government placed China's DJI on a blacklist last year. DJI made its mark as the biggest drone maker globally and the largest in the US market but got placed on a government Entity List last year that barred American companies from supplying it with components. The blacklist was instituted by the former Trump administration due to alleged ties to

Carmaker Volvo To Go Fully Electric By 2030

The latest global automaker to commit to transitioning to a fully-electric production output in the future is Swedish carmaker Volvo, which has announced plans to become a fully electric car company by 2030. By then, the company says it intends to have phased out any car in its portfolio with an internal combustion engine, including hybrids, and transition to producing fully electric cars. The announcement of Volvo's grand plan comes a year after the company launched its first fully electric car, the XC40 Recharge , around the globe, and with just one fully electric car in its product portfolio now, it's apparent that the automaker would need to put in hard work to achieve a fully-electric portfolio in nine years time. To work towards its goal, Volvo has announced that it'll roll out 'several' additional electric car models in the coming years, the word several making the number indistinct. The Swedish automaker is aiming for fully electric cars to make up half of

Jay-Z's Tidal Sells To Payments Company Square In $300M Deal

It seems that this is the season of deals for rapper-cum-businessman Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter as just barely two weeks after he reached a deal to sell half of his premium champagne brand to luxury goods giant LVMH, he's reached yet another deal to sell one of his main business ventures, the music streaming app Tidal. Tidal has agreed to be taken over by Square, the payments company led by Jack Dorsey who's more popular for his role as the CEO of Twitter. In a statement , Square said it'll pay the sum of $297 million in a mix of cash and stock to acquire a "significant majority ownership" stake in Tidal leaving the remaining minority stake will be held by Tidal's artist shareholders. The exact percentage that Square is buying in Tidal isn't disclosed but it's definitely over 50% given it's a majority stake. With Square's statement of acquiring a "significant majority ownership", one can guess somewhere between 50%-80% of the com

Smart TV Maker Vizio Files To Go Public

Vizio, a well-known maker of smart TVs and other complementary equipment such as soundbars, has filed an S-1 with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for a public listing, seeking to do so for the second time after having previously filed to go public in 2015 but later withdrew its plan in lieu of a $2 billion sale agreement to a Chinese company that unfortunately didn't pan out. The market for technology IPOs has been very hot as of late and it seems that Vizio is coming in at the right time to capitalize on that hotness. A popular maker of smart TVs, Vizio has sold over 80 million TVs and 11 million soundbars since the company's inception, as indicated in its S-1 filing. The company sold 7.1 million TVs in 2020 alone. Vizio has strong revenues and is profitable, reporting $102 million in net income on over $2 billion in revenue in 2020. In the previous year, 2019, Vizio reported a net income of $23 million on $1.8 billion in revenue. Most of Vizio's revenue c

Ed-Tech Company Coursera Files To Go Public

Every new week or so brings new IPOs and a very notable company that has just hopped aboard the IPO train is Coursera, the popular massive open online course provider founded out of Stanford University.  Coursera has filed an S-1 document for an IPO with the SEC, giving a peek into its financials and business operations with information not publicly known before. By the stats: Coursera reported a record $294 million revenue in 2020, compared to $184 million in the previous year, 2019. 2020 was definitely a good year for the company as the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic spurred an upsized demand for online education services. Coursera isn't profitable, reporting respective net losses of $67 million and $47 million in 2020 and 2019. The company has a high Gross Profit rate, coming at nearly 50% in both 2020 and 2019 but has high expenses making it record net losses. Its highest expense for the past two years has been attributed to sales and marketing endeavors. Coursera had 387 pa