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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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Cashing Out: Jeff Bezos Sells $2.5B Of Amazon Stock

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has continued his routine selling of Amazon shares to fund his other escapades. For a few years now, he's had an arranged trading plan that sees him regularly sell Amazon stock worth billions of dollars. Jeff Bezos' latest sell-off is of 739,000 Amazon shares worth around $2.5bn, SEC filings show. Another separate filing indicated that he plans to sell as many as 2 million shares that could net him nearly $7bn at current prices. This latest share sell-off from Bezos is noteworthy as one of his last in his position as Amazon's CEO which he's handing off soon to a top lieutenant named Andy Jassy. Jassy is currently CEO of AWS, Amazon's very profitable cloud computing division. Usually, a CEO offloading large amounts of stock in a company he leads draws some displeasure from investors, but as Jeff Bezos would soon no longer be Amazon's CEO, it opens up opportunities to sell larger amounts of shares than usual if the desires. Amazon's

EVs: Ford, BMW Co-Invest In An EV Battery Startup

It's currently of no doubt that electric vehicles represent the future for the automobile market, and many automakers have taken heed to that. Tens of billions of dollars in spending have been earmarked for the R&D and production of electric vehicles by global automakers, with efforts spanning battery development, building new factories, charging stations et al. Now, two of the world's biggest automakers, BMW and Ford, have jointly invested in a startup working on battery technology for electric vehicles. That startup is Solid Power, a Colorado-based startup developing solid-state batteries for EVs. Details: Solid Power has raised a $130 million Series B round  co-led by Ford and BMW. The two automakers were joined by green-focused venture fund Volta Energy Technologies in the round. As part of the strategic round, Ford and BMW have expanded their joint agreements with Solid Power to develop solid-state batteries for their use. In a way, the two automakers are funding and o

Is Apple Brewing A Major Digital Health Play?

That Apple has high ambitions in the digital health space isn't foreign news to anyone following the moves of the company. In fact, its CEO Tim Cook once referred to health as Apple's “greatest contribution to mankind.” Apple's main health product is the Apple Watch for which health represents a major use case and a selling point. The latest Apple Watch series has key health features including the ability to measure ECG (electrocardiogram) and oxygen saturation level in the blood. With all its grand ambitions, the reality is that Apple is progressing very well in the digital health space but yet hasn't gotten a big foothold in it like it's done in other markets. There still exists a large gap for Apple to conquer to make waves in the digital health market and the company seems much hell-bent on covering that gap. Details: A certain revelation has come out that details Apple's grand plans in the health sector, and it's that of a UK startup working on next-ge

Big Pay: AT&T Shareholders Vote Against Execs Pay

To bring back one of our most favorite sayings, "America is the land of many things, including very enormous executive pay". Executives of publicly-traded companies in the US are familiar with very large compensation packages on a scale not seen in other countries, take recent examples including Palantir CEO Alex Karp landing a $1.1 billion payday  and former T-Mobile CEO John Legere getting a $137 million severance pay . But with all the large executive pay packages flying around, it appears that the shareholders of one public company are not okay with it and that company is telecoms giant AT&T.  Details: AT&T in a statement  revealed that the majority of its shareholders voted not in favor of the compensation of its executive officers in 2020. Just under 49% of votes were cast in favor of the compensation, leaving the remaining majority 51%, not in favor.  Last year, AT&T had large pay packages for its top brass including $21 million for CEO John Stankey and $52

Deal: Verizon Sells Yahoo And AOL To PE Firm For $5B

Telecoms giant Verizon has found a buyer for its Verizon Media Unit which includes veteran internet properties like Yahoo and AOL, and that buyer is a major private equity firm. To note, though Yahoo and AOL have long faded from their glory days, they aren't exactly dead properties but ones still with a great deal of users bringing in a few billion in revenue annually. Details: Verizon has struck a deal to sell 90% of Verizon Media to private equity firm Apollo which will pay $5 billion for it, while Verizon retains a  10%  minority stake in the business. The deal takes off many internet properties off Verizon's hands, including bigger ones like Yahoo and smaller ones like technology news site TechCrunch operating under the AOL umbrella. Though it's selling for a seemingly huge price of $5 billion, Verizon paid a combined $9 billion to buy the web properties making up its Verizon Media unit so it doesn't come out on top financially from the sale.  Verizon paid $4.4bn t

Germany's SAP Fined $8M For Violating Iran Sanctions

SAP, the German software giant, has agreed to pay a fine in the US for violating sanctions imposed by the country on conducting business in Iran. It'll pay over $8 million in fines after admitting to handling thousands of exports of its software to Iran violating US law. Details: SAP admitted to exporting US-origin software to Iran beginning in 2010 up until 2017. The exports including delivering software upgrades and patches more than 20,000 times to Iranian users and offering Iranian users access to US-based cloud services. As charged, executives at SAP were aware that the company didn't have geolocation protections to block downloads of its US-origin software in Iran and turned a blind eye to the situation.  SAP was also charged with neglecting to put in place adequate export control for cloud services made by some US-based companies that it acquired and integrated into its software suite. For the charges, SAP admitted guilt and reached a  Non-Prosecution Agreement with the

IPO: Cybersecurity Startup Darktrace Debuts On UK Markets

A major cybersecurity startup from the UK has held an initial public offering (IPO) and debuted to positive investor fanfare on the domestic public markets. That startup is Darktrace, a fast-growing cybersecurity startup founded by a team of mathematicians in collaboration with British intelligence agencies in 2013. Darktrace sells cyber-defense software that's claimed to harness artificial intelligence in spotting and managing cyber threats. It listed on the London Stock Exchange under the symbol "DARK". By the numbers: Darktrace debuted to positive investor fanfare that saw its shares soar by 40% on its first day of trading. It raised £143 million ($198m) from the public float at a valuation of £1.7 billion ($2.3bn) which soared to almost £2.4 billion ($3.3bn) on its debut trading day. Darktrace's IPO prospectus reports $199 million in revenue in its most recent fiscal year ending June 30, 2020. This was up from $137 million in the previous year, 2019, and $79 mill

Earnings: Pfizer Rakes In Cash From COVID Vaccine

Pfizer, one of the few pharmaceutical companies worldwide to produce an approved Covid-19 vaccine, has unveiled its earnings report for the first quarter of this year. As usual, the report provides a solid peek into the company's financials and with very noteworthy nuggets this time around. One key nugget from Pfizer's earnings report is that the company brought in $3.5bn in revenue from its Covid-19 vaccine in Q1' 21. It made up nearly a fourth of the company's total $14.6bn revenue for the period. The Covid vaccine was the biggest single source of revenue for Pfizer in the quarter. It's definitely a good time for the company in that regard, as it elected to keep the profit from the sale of its vaccines unlike some of its competitors which volunteered to waive off any profit-seeking from their vaccines. Unlike some of its competitors also, Pfizer didn't take money from the US government to fund the development of its vaccine under the Trump administration'

Earnings: Covid Vaccines Deliver Big Sales, Profit For Moderna

Moderna was among the few biotech companies that saved the day with the development of an emergency-authorized vaccine to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic. It was a breakthrough for the company, which was before then a cancer-fighting moonshot with minimal revenues and no working product. Being a publicly-traded company, Moderna is mandated to release quarterly earnings reports to the public and it has done so this time around, releasing its financial results for the first quarter of this year 2021. Moderna's latest earnings report shows that of a company that saw big success from its Covid vaccines, as it reported record revenue and its first-ever net profit as a public company. By the numbers: Moderna made $1.9bn in revenue in Q1' 21, compared to a paltry $8mn for the same quarter in 2020. The revenue came wholly from Covid vaccine sales in the US and foreign markets. Moderna reported a huge net income of $1.2bn in the quarter, compared to a net loss of $124mn for the same perio

Court Docs: Fortnite Maker Epic Made $15B In 2018-2020

Fortnite maker Epic Games is having a court battle with Apple over the latter's App Store practices and that battle has led to several documents coming out of the shadows with valuable information about Epic Games not publicly known before.  Among the information revealed in court proceedings between Epic and Apple is the sheer scale of Epic's revenue largely gotten from its hit game Fortnite . Official documents indicate that Epic Games made respective annual sales of $5.6bn, $4.2bn, and $5.1bn in 2018, 2019, and 2020, summing up to just shy of $15bn. Epic's revenue in 2018 and 2019 was revealed in financial documents made public as part of its court battle with Apple while its revenue for 2020 was separately revealed in a court testimony by Epic CEO Tim Sweeney. The vast majority of Epic's revenue comes from Fortnite while its other products like the Unreal Engine and the Epic Games Store bring in a minority of revenues. Specifically, Fortnite brought in $5.5bn a