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Showing posts from March, 2020

Palo Alto Networks Scoops Up CloudGenix

Palo Alto Networks CEO Nikesh Arora. Photo by World Economic Forum / Sikarin Fon Thanachaiary, under Creative Commons license Cybersecurity company Palo Alto Networks has taken its acquisition spree one step further, this time, announcing  it has reached a deal to acquire CloudGenix, a San Jose-based provider of software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN) services. Palo Alto Networks will pay $420 million in cash to acquire CloudGenix, a price that seems like a good win given CloudGenix raised around $100 million in total funding. CloudGenix's last known funding was a $65 million Series C closed in April last year. The company's investors include well-known venture capital firms like Intel Capital, Bain Capital Ventures, Mayfield Fund, and Charles River Ventures. Palo Alto's new acquisition is expected to close during the company's fiscal fourth quarter. As is usually the case, the acquisition deal is subject to the satisfaction of regulatory conditions. Cloud

Via Valued At $2.3 Billion With New Funding

Via CEO Daniel Ramot. Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for TechCrunch, under Creative Commons license On-demand transportation startup Via has been valued at more than $2 billion after an investment from Exor, a Netherlands holdings company controlled by the Agnelli family, a famed Italian business dynasty. Exor has announced  an agreement to invest $200 million in Via in exchange for an 8.87% stake on a fully-diluted basis. This implies a valuation of around $2.3 billion, a laudable feat for Via, whose last known funding came in 2017. Under the terms of Exor's investment, the holdings company is getting a board seat at Via which will be occupied by one of its executives, Noam Ohana. Ohana leads Exor Seeds, the early-stage investment arm of Exor. The new investment included, Via has now raised around $600 million in total funding. The company's last known funding was a $250 million investment led by automaker Daimler in late 2017. Via has also raised funding from t

Kabbage Furloughs Majority Of Employees For A Month

Kabbage CEO Rob Frohwein. image: Web Summit | Flickr , under Creative Commons license Atlanta-based small business lending startup Kabbage has furloughed the majority of its employees for a month, according to a source familiar with the matter. The company also happens to have laid off all employees in its Bangalore office without severance packages, the source says. Kabbage is one of several tech companies that now happens to have laid off or furloughed employees amid a business slowdown stemming from the coronavirus outbreak. Being a small business lender, Kabbage with no doubt has been affected by the resulting lockdown from the outbreak. Small businesses around the U.S. have been hit hard and won't likely be tapping more loans to facilitate day-to-day business at a time when they're hardly generating revenue. According to our source, the furloughs were announced by way of a video conference call, being a time when the entire company is currently working remote

Tech-Tainment Luminaries To Note

Rapper Snoop Dogg. Best known for his music, he's however, an investor in several startups. Photo by: Man Alive! | Flickr , under Creative Commons license Technology and entertainment are undoubtedly intertwined. Without tech, there likely won't be entertainment and without entertainment, tech may as well be boring. The entertainment industry is very large, being one that's worth more than $700 billion in the U.S. alone. Such entertainment encompasses many fields, including movies, TV subscriptions, theater revenues, ticketing, and the likes. There's also the field of gaming, which is itself worth tens of billions of dollars on a global scale. With the entertainment industry being so large, it's no surprise that it has produced many storied luminaries ranging from movie directors and producers to the actors/actresses who star in their movies, game developers, music label owners, video streaming companies and the likes. In this article, we'

15 Adroit VCs Who Should Be On Your Radar

First Round Capital founder Josh Kopelman. Photograph by Stuart Isett/Fortune Brainstorm Tech, under Creative Commons license Venture capital is really a game and just like every game, there's always wins and on the other end fails. Making a venture investment means knowingly taking a risk, albeit calculated, with money in hopes of reaping sizeable gains in future time. This hope usually fares along with a potential downside that a venture fails and all the money invested in a company reaps little or no returns. As is widely known, the majority of venture-backed companies don't fare well, in precise words, they fail. Both small and large companies aren't immune to failure as we've witnessed so many examples from both sides. Like every game, some persons, however, have acquired an eye for grabbing good wins even though some failures may abound. In the venture capital world, they're many like that. The names Peter Thiel, Marc Andreessen, John Doerr, Art

Microsoft To Acquire Affirmed Networks

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. image: Microsoft Just a day ago, Microsoft announced it has sealed an agreement to acquire Affirmed Networks, a Massachusetts-based venture-backed company that develops cloud-based 5G software. The announcement came just a day after Affirmed Networks announced a CEO change. According to Bloomberg , Microsoft's acquisition deal values Affirmed Networks at $1.35 billion, which if certain, will be Microsoft's biggest known acquisition since it bought out GitHub for $7.5 billion in 2018. Bloomberg reports Affirmed Networks raised funding at a $1.35 billion valuation just last month, so Microsoft paying that exact amount for the company doesn't seem far-fetched. According to Pitchbook data, Affirmed Networks has raised more than $200 million in funding since its inception in 2010. Investors in the company include Deutsche Telekom, CRV, Matrix Partners, Qualcomm Ventures, Vodafone Ventures and Bessemer Venture Partners. With 5G on

TuSimple And ZF Partner To Develop Self-Driving Tech

TuSimple co-founder and CTO Xiaodi Hou. Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Web Summit via Sportsfile, under Creative Commons license TuSimple, a San Diego-based self-driving trucking company, and ZF, a German car parts giant, have announced a partnership to develop and commercialize technology for driverless trucks. The partnership is set to begin by next month, April, and is expected to cover large automotive markets including Europe, China and countries in North America. TuSimple and ZF say they'll co-develop production-quality parts such as cameras and radars that'll be adopted for driverless rides. Under the terms of the deal, ZF will ultimately serve as the default supplier for TuSimple's self-driving system, which will be marketed to commercial vehicle operators. As part of their partnership, ZF will also contribute engineering support to validate and integrate TuSimple's self-driving system into vehicles. The partnership marks a significant point for TuSimple,

OfferUp And Letgo To Merge

OfferUp CEO Nick Huzar. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Collision via Sportsfile, under Creative Commons license OfferUp and Letgo, two leading U.S. mobile marketplaces, have announced  an intention to merge their US businesses. The merger announcement comes alongside an announcement of $120 million in new funding led by OLX Group, with participation from existing investors including Andreessen Horowitz and Warburg Pincus. OLX Group, an offshoot of South African internet giant Naspers and an investor in both OfferUp and Letgo, will own 40% of the combined company following the merger. The merger is subject to regulatory approval. The combined business will operate under the OfferUp brand. Letgo's business outside North America will continue to be separately owned and operated by OLX Group as has been the case. Under the terms of the merger, Letgo co-founder and President Alec Oxenford will be joining the combined company's board while OfferUp CEO Nick Huzar will continue

15 Adept Entrepreneurs We Don't Often Hear About

Razer co-founder Min-Liang Tan. image: RISE Conference | Flickr, under Creative Commons license In the tech world, we often hear about the Zuckerbergs, the Gates, the Musks, Jack Dorsey, Jeff Bezos and the likes. They often dominate the news circles, with one happening or the other. If Bezos isn't winning, or getting bashed for Amazon's warehouse practices, then Musk is tweeting, Gates is pursuing philanthropy or Dorsey is doing stuff only Dorsey does. However, there exist several other entrepreneurs with big successes whom we often don't hear about. Some of these guys get a little of the limelight while some don't at all. Some are a bit popular but mostly in tech circles. Outside the core tech scene, these names might not ring a bell just like a name like Gates will. These entrepreneurs have made strides in fields ranging from gaming to fintech to cybersecurity, chip-making, real estate tech, driverless cars and several other areas. They are many, hundreds

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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,

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

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