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Showing posts with the label Venture Capital

Kim Kardashian’s Shapewear Brand Skims Valued At $1.6B With VC Round

A popular shapewear brand founded by reality TV star Kim Kardashian has raised a round of venture capital funding giving it a robust valuation. Skims, the shapewear brand, has raised a $154 million round giving it a valuation of $1.6 billion. The round was led by Thrive Capital, a VC firm founded and chaired by Joshua Kushner, the husband of model Karlie Kloss and brother of former Trump Senior Advisor Jared Kushner. Existing investors Imaginary Ventures and Alliance Consumer Growth also participated in the round. Skims' $154 million round was a Series A round and the shapewear brand's first big outside round. It signals major success for the brand launched just two years ago by Kardashian. According to reports , the brand made $145 million in sales last year. Kardashian guided Skims to make a few hundreds of millions in sales in just two years on the backs of her fame and social media power. Skims has gained popularity with young shoppers with its shapewear and bodysuits made

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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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