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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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Alert: Nikola Founder Trevor Milton Indicted On Fraud Charges

The founder of embattled electric car startup Nikola Corp. has been formally indicted on fraud charges by the US Justice Department months after resigning from the company. Trevor Milton by name, he's been accused of securities and wire fraud in connection with a scheme to defraud and mislead investors. Milton is accused of misleading investors by making false statements regarding Nikola's products and capabilities. Notably, most of the investors allegedly misled were on the retail side. The DOJ alleges that Milton made false claims regarding "nearly all aspects" of Nikola's business. Milton founded Nikola in 2014 and led it through a public listing via a merger with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) last year. The DOJ threw an apparent jab at SPACs in his indictment, asserting that he made 'many' of his false and misleading claims  during a period where he would not have been allowed to do so under rules that govern traditional IPOs were he

Earnings: AMD Doubles Revenue, Triples Profit

In this earnings season, companies all over are dropping their latest quarterly results and we're here equally reporting on them. We've touched on social media companies Snap Inc and Twitter , electric carmaker Tesla , and iPhone maker Apple . Now, the next is chipmaker AMD Inc . AMD has dropped its earnings for the second quarter of 2021, showing strong prospects as revenue doubled year-over-year and net income more than tripled.   Details AMD posted $3.9bn in revenue in Q2, up 99% year-over-year and 12% from the preceding quarter. For the same period, the company's net income was $710mn , up 352% year-over-year and 28% from the preceding quarter. Doubling its revenue and nearly quadrupling net income indicates AMD has a strong yet fast-growing business. It's bound to grow even more as the company is set to complete its acquisition of rival chipmaker Xilinx . AMD makes money selling high-performance chipsets used in computers, consoles, data centers, and the likes

Antitrust: Amazon Fined $900M By EU For Privacy Violations

Tech behemoth Amazon is for the nth time in the crosshairs of the European Union (EU). The latest saga in that arena is that Amazon has been fined a record-breaking amount for alleged privacy violations, according to an SEC filing from the company. Amazon has been fined the sum of €746 million ($888mn) by the Luxembourg National Commission for Data Protection (CNPD) for not complying with data privacy laws. It's the largest fine imposed under Europe's data protection law.  The fine originates from the CNPD accusing Amazon of processing customers' personal data in violation of the EU's famous-cum-infamous General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) laws.  In June, it was reported ( WSJ )  that the Luxembourg data protection agency had sanctioned Amazon's privacy practices and proposed a fine topping $425mn to the EU's other two-dozen or so national data protection authorities. Now, it appears that the final fine is much larger than that.  Before now, the bigges

Deal: Qualtrics Buys CX Startup Clarabridge For $1.1B

Months after getting spun out of SAP into a separate public company, Qualtrics , a major provider of online survey software, has made a major acquisition. It's agreed to buy Clarabridge , a startup that does similar work to Qualtrics in the field fondly referred to as "customer experience (CX)". Qualtrics will pay $1.1bn all with shares to buy Clarabridge. The acquisition is a major strategic play for the company, pairing Qualtrics' customer survey business with Clarabridge's similar business of measuring customer sentiment from various sources like social media posts and customer support calls. Basically, Qualtrics is in the business of weighing customer surveys directly and Clarabridge in the business of doing so indirectly . Pairing both businesses represents a major strategic play for Qualtrics. In an investor presentation, Qualtrics said that Clarabridge has $100mn in annual revenue, implying an 11x multiple that it's paying to buy the company. That&#

Deal: Amgen Buys Biotech Startup Teneobio In $2.5B Deal

It appears that this Covid era has led to a boom for companies that work on  antibodies , which are protective proteins produced by the human immune system to tackle foreign substances, usually viruses. Antibodies are very useful in the research and treatment of viruses such as Covid. There are companies that specialize in antibodies and one of them, BioLegend , was recently bought for a whopping $5.3bn . Now, another such company, Teneobio , is getting bought for a big amount. Teneobio has agreed to be acquired by Amgen , an American biotech giant. Amgen is paying $900mn upfront for the company, then an additional $1.6bn in cash contingent on the company hitting certain milestones. It sums up to a $2.5bn deal . Teneobio is a clinical-stage biotech startup working on antibodies aimed at treating cancer, autoimmunity, and other infectious diseases. As it's still in the clinical trial stage with no viable product yet, it appears that Amgen is betting big on Teneobio's trials b

Antitrust: UK Probes Facebook's $1B Kustomer Acquisition

The UK's antitrust agency has launched a probe into Facebook's latest acquisition, that of chatbot platform Kustomer Inc , which Facebook agreed to buy last November for a reported $1bn. The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on Friday, the 30th of July, released a statement  indicating it had opened an inquiry into Facebook's purchase of Kustomer, regarding if it'll result in "a substantial lessening of competition" within the market Kustomer operates in. Such probes aren't out of the norm and are routine for big acquisitions. For Facebook, it speaks to the fact that antitrust agencies are watching the company's moves, especially regarding acquisitions. To note, two of Facebook Inc's biggest products outside the main Facebook platform, Instagram and WhatsApp , were acquisitions. In fact, it's primarily acquisitions that have propelled the company's growth. As with such probes, the UK will first seek comments from the public

Hollywood: Reese Witherspoon's Media Co. Sold In $900M Deal

A media company founded by superstar actress Reese Witherspoon has sold for a large amount to a company still in its infancy that hasn't even been named yet. That company is Hello Sunshine , a media company that produces content distributed across various platforms; movies, TV shows, podcasts, et al. Hello Sunshine has been sold to a newly-formed media venture t hat's backed by investment capital from Blackstone , the private equity giant.  The venture is led by ex Disney honchos Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs .  As it is, the Blackstone-funded venture is acquiring a majority stake in Hello Sunshine from a group of external investors while anchor shareholders like Witherspoon and her founding partners will roll over and retain their equity stakes in the newly-formed venture. Officially, the deal's financial terms weren't disclosed, but a report from The Wall Street Journal says it's a $900mn deal. According to the report, the Blackstone-funded venture will pay $500mn

Earnings: Shopify Beats Estimates, Reaches Major Milestone

In this season of earnings results and we at The Techee  reporting on them, we're here with a beat on Shopify , which has released its earnings statement for the second quarter (April-June) of this year. In Q2, Shopify beat revenue expectations from analysts and as well achieved a major financial milestone by crossing $1bn in quarterly revenue for the first time. Shopify had $1.1bn in revenue in the quarter, up 57% year-over-year. Net income for the same period was $897mn , most of which was due to a $778mn gain in equity investments, likely from Shopify's stake in Affirm , a major 'buy now, pay later' lender. As usual, most of Shopify's sales ( $785mn ) came from "Merchant Solutions", which groups additional services the company offers atop recurring subscriptions charged to online retailers. Sales from subscriptions came at $334mn in the quarter. Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV), representing the total worth of transactions made on the Shopify platform,

Alert: Square Buys Australia's Afterpay For $29B

It's a big day in the fintech world. There's been a major acquisition with a major American fintech company, Square , buying Australia's foremost fintech startup, Afterpay , a 'buy now, pay later' lender. Square has reached an agreement to buy Afterpay for a whopping $29bn , marking one of Australia's biggest buyouts. It's a big deal that a startup founded barely seven years ago is selling for $29bn.  Square will pay the $29bn all with shares. It means that shares of Afterpay, which are traded on the Australian Securities Exchange, will be exchanged for Square stock traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Afterpay is Australia's foremost 'buy now, pay later (BNPL)' lender in online retail. For the uninitiated, the 'buy now, pay later' business is a relatively young one providing alternatives to credit cards for consumers to shop online. It provides loans for consumers to shop online and then pay back in installments. Usually, credi

Markets: US SEC Takes Aim At Chinese IPOs

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has taken a swipe at Chinese initial public offerings (IPOs) after regulatory hiccups in China have affected many Chinese stocks listed on US markets and American stockholders holding them. The SEC has issued new guidance on Chinese companies seeking to list shares in the US, requiring them to make certain disclosures to investors or otherwise refrain from listing in the US markets. First of all, usually, Chinese companies listing in the US don't actually sell shares of the operating companies but that of shell companies with contractual relationships with the operating companies. These shell shares, known as American Depositary Receipts (ADRs) , are used to circumvent restrictions on foreign ownership of Chinese shares imposed by the country's government. Now, the SEC in a statement has made it clear that Chinese companies seeking to list in the US must provide clear descriptions of the shell operations involved in such listing