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Showing posts with the label Venture Capital

VC Firm Bessemer Raises $3.3B, Adds Amazon's Jeff Blackburn As Partner

Silicon Valley venture capital firm Bessemer enture Partners has made new major moves that include adding $3.3 billion of capital to its investment coffers and appointing Jeff Blackburn, a long-time top Amazon executive and lieutenant of Jeff Bezos who just recently announced his departure from Amazon, now as a partner at the venture firm. Bessemer raised $3.3 billion with two separate funds, the first a fund named BVP XI  that raised $2.475 billion and the second a fund named  BVP Century II that raised $825 million. The majority of the new funds will be used for early-stage investments consistent with Bessemer's practice of starting with seed and Series A rounds for companies and then following up with late-stage investments. Bessemer now counts Jeff Blackburn as a Partner, with Blackburn joining the firm after a 22-year career at Amazon where he rose to become one of the company's highest-ranking executives. Before announcing his departure just this month, Blackburn served

Union Square Ventures Closes $151M Climate Fund

The venture capital firm Union Square Ventures has closed a new $151 million climate-focused fund, as indicated by a filing to the SEC. The fund, named USV Climate 2021, is Union Square's first-ever climate-tech focused fund and comes at a time of increasing attention towards climate and clean energy businesses by investors. Union Square Ventures unveiled the filing to the SEC at the very tail end of 2020 and into the cusp of 2021, marking a new year for the venture capital firm.  With increasing attention to the climate-tech industry, it's no surprise that Union Square Ventures is looking to capitalize on that space. With a $151 million fund, the company will assuredly make a handful of investments each to the tune of single-digit millions, spreading its bets in the industry. A single $151 million fund is on par with other funds closed by Union Square in the past. The New York-based venture capital firm is one of the most popular out there, with well over $1 billion under its

Snoop Dogg's VC Firm Closes $95M Fund

Casa Verde Ventures, a Cannabis-focused venture capital firm co-founded by the rapper Snoop Dogg, has closed a new fund of $94.7 million, documents filed with the SEC indicate. The new fund represents Casa Verde's largest-ever single fund and one of the biggest in the nascent cannabis industry. Founded in 2015 at a time when the legal cannabis industry was still in relative infancy, Casa Verde had closed two previous funds totaling $70 million: a $25 million fund in 2015 and $45 million in 2018. Now, the firm has raised much more than that in a single round of $95 million, hinting at increasing attention to the cannabis industry from investors. Harnessing the expertise and brands of partners including the rapper Snoop Dogg, Casa Verde has backed many cannabis companies, including online marketplaces Dutchie and LeafLink, delivery platform Eaze, and medical cannabis company Proper. Casa Verde is apparently doubling down on the cannabis industry with its new fund and at a time when

Temasek Pours $51M Into Info Edge Ventures

Temasek Holdings, the investment company owned by the Government of Singapore, has added to its string of big bets both on companies and other investment firms with a Rs 375 crore ($51 million) investment in the Indian venture capital firm Info Edge Ventures. With the new fundraise, Info Edge Ventures now has the equivalent of around $100 million in capital under its management.  Info Edge Ventures is an offshoot of the eponymous Indian internet company Info Edge, which operates popular classifieds sites in the country and is publicly traded. Info Edge Ventures was launched as a dedicated fund earlier this year and has apparently found a strong partner in Temasek, a mammoth investment fund with assets of over $230 billion. Since its launch this year, Info Edge Ventures has invested in a handful of Indian companies including the heavily-funded food delivery app Zomato. Temasek has a dedicated office in India and has invested in many companies in the country so a bet on Info Edge Venture

Founders Fund Scores Big From Airbnb Bet

Founders Fund, the venture capital firm founded and chaired by the entrepreneur Peter Thiel, has won big from its investment in the online home rentals company Airbnb, which recently debuted on the public markets and hit a market cap of over $100 billion on its first day of trading. Listed as a significant shareholder in Airbnb's SEC filings, Founders Fund itself notes that its Airbnb stake was worth $3.8 billion as of market close on Thursday, indicating a stellar return for its investment in the company which was a reported $150 million. Founders Fund's Airbnb stake traces back to a $200 million round  that the firm led for Airbnb in 2013. As of that time, Airbnb was the largest deal Founders Fund had ever made and represented a very bold bet for the firm. The round which it led valued Airbnb at a reported $2.5 billion, then in the company's fifth year of existence. Now, only seven years later, Founders Fund has seen the value of its Airbnb holdings soar to nearly $4 b

Sequoia Capital's LPs Score Big Returns

The Limited Partners (LPs) who provided the famed venture capital firm Sequoia Capital with funding as far back as 2003 have scored big returns on their investments, in some cases a return of up to 11x their original capital, Bloomberg reports . According to data reviewed by Bloomberg , investors in a Sequoia Venture XI fund which was closed in 2003 produced an 8x return-on-investment after fees while two other funds, Venture XII and Venture XIII, produced respective returns of 10.9x and 11.1x. Such returns are stellar and cement Sequoia's status as one of the leading venture capital firms globally. Sequoia Capital was founded nearly five decades ago by the now late investor Don Valentine and has scored big returns both from older companies like Apple, Google, and Oracle as well as newer ones like GitHub, WhatsApp, Instagram, and LinkedIn. In WhatsApp's case, Sequoia is reported to have reaped over $3.5 billion from a $60 million investment in the chat app when it got acquire

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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

New SPAC Deal: Home Insurance Startup Hippo

Amid a flurry of SPAC mergers as of late, the latest technology company to tap into the boom and reach a deal to merge with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) is Hippo, a home insurance startup that makes use of satellite imagery and smart home sensors to gauge and offer better home insurance policies. Hippo will merge with Reinvent Technology Partners Z (NYSE:RPTZ), a SPAC formed by the respective founders of LinkedIn and gaming company Zynga, Reid Hoffman and Mark Pincus. Hippo will merge with  Reinvent Technology Partners Z in a deal that'll hand it over $230 million of cash held in trust by the SPAC, plus a $550 million PIPE round to be led by existing investors  Dragoneer, Lennar, and Ribbit Capital. The PIPE round will value Hippo at $5 billion. Following the merger's completion, Hippo expects to have $1.2 billion of cash at hand, fueled by the funds from its SPAC deal plus venture funding that it's already raised. A hot insurance startup, Hippo has raised o