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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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Deal: Mindbody Buys Fitness Startup ClassPass

Mindbody , a leading maker of software for managing gyms and fitness studios, is buying one of the hot startups in its industry. It's buying ClassPass , a popular subscription platform for widespread gym access and online fitness classes. Mindbody will buy Classpass for an undisclosed amount . The company, owned by private equity firm Vista, also announced a strategic $500mn investment along with its ClassPass deal. The acquisition was all with privately held shares, Mindbody said. ClassPass is a celebrated startup in the fitness space. It began as a simple website to book fitness classes with registered studios but morphed into a subscription platform for access to such studios and their fitness classes, with many users paying recurring fees as a steady revenue source.  ClassPass was valued at $1bn from a funding round last year. Given the acquisition's pricing terms weren't disclosed, we can't say for sure if it was higher or lower than the $1bn mark, but for a hint,

Tether Fined $41M For Lying About Fiat Reserves

Tether Limited , the organization behind the eponymous Tether (USDT) stablecoin, has been fined a substantial sum for lying about the fiat reserves backing its stablecoin. It was fined $41mn by the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). According to the CFTC's press release , Tether lied to customers that it had sufficient dollar reserves to back every issued USDT token whereas it did not for a long period of time. Over a 26-month sample period from 2016 through 2018, the CFTC said Tether only had sufficient dollar reserves for all its tokens 28% of the time, whereas it lied that it was "fully-backed" all the time. Also, the CFTC said Tether failed to disclose to customers that it had unsecured receivables and non-fiat assets in its supposed cash reserves. The organization further lied to customers that it would undergo routine, professional audits of its reserves but has failed to do any, the CFTC said. For its violations, the CFTC fined ordered Tether to pay a

Deal: Scopely Buys Sony's GSN Games For $1B

Scopely , a top-ranking mobile gaming startup, is expanding its business with a new major acquisition. It's buying GSN Games , a mobile gaming division of entertainment giant Sony, for the sum of $1bn. GSN Games makes popular social casino games such as Bingo Bash and  Solitaire TriPeaks . Social casino games are a genre where gaming studios can extract much revenue if they do it right, and GSN is one of the top contenders in the genre. Scopely will pay $1bn for GSN Games, half of it with cash and the other half with its shares, making Sony a minority shareholder in the mobile gaming company. It's said that Scopely's valuation has climbed to $5.4bn taking into account the shares it'll hand over to Sony as payment. That compares to a $3.3bn valuation when the company raised funding last year.  With GSN, Scopely is stepping up its business substantially by the way of a strategic acquisition. It's a strategy the mobile gaming startup is used to, having made 5 acqui

Microsoft CEO, Other Execs Bag Annual Pay Raises

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) has raised the annual pay package of its Chief Executive Officer, Satya Nadella , the company's latest proxy statement reveals. Nadella enjoyed a substantial pay raise along with several other Microsoft executives. For the fiscal year ended June 30, 2021, Nadella's compensation was $50mn , up 13% compared to the previous year. The lucrative pay package was split into a $2.5mn base salary, $33mn of stock awards, a $14mn cash bonus, and $110k in "other" compensation. Nadella's pay raise was in line with other Microsoft executives, including President Brad Smith and CFO Amy Hood. They each got annual pay raises in the 20% ballpark compared to 2020. The reported pay packages of Microsoft's top executives for the fiscal year is as follows; Satya Nadella (CEO) - $50mn. Amy Hood (CFO) - $23.5mn Brad Smith (President and Chief Legal Officer) - $20.5mn Jean-Philippe Courtois (Executive Vice President) - $17mn Christopher Young (Executive Vice

Deal: Instacart Pays $350M For A Smart Grocery Cart Startup

In a bid to expand, grocery delivery giant Instacart is making its biggest acquisition yet. It'll buy   Caper AI , a New York-based startup that makes smart grocery carts and cashier-less payments tech that complement them. Instacart will pay $350mn for the startup in a combination of cash and shares. Caper AI is a startup working on exciting stuff; smart shopping carts to make the grocery buying process at brick-and-mortar stores easier and faster. Its smart carts can recognize items placed in them with the help of cameras and weight sensors, then calculate their total cost without the need for barcodes as used in most grocery stores. Payment at the counter is then made quickly with Caper's own payments platform. Caper's "AI Cart". credit: Caper Also, Caper sells what's called a "Caper Counter," a checkout system for convenience stores that uses cameras and weight-based sensors instead of barcodes to sum the total cost of items. Caper Counter. cre

Apple Unveils New MacBook Pros, AirPods

Tech giant Apple has added a new set of products to its roster, including new MacBook Pro laptops and AirPods unveiled at a Tuesday online event.  Apple also unveiled new chipsets for the new MacBook Pros, the M1 Pro and M1 Max . MacBook Pros Apple unveiled two MacBook Pros, a 14-inch and 16-inch model. Both will come with the first chipsets designed by Apple specifically for a MacBook Pro, delivering high performance, expectedly.  Apple has brought back the HDMI port and SD card reader to the new MacBook Pro, in addition to three Thunderbolt 4 ports to connect peripherals. Removing the HDMI port and SD card reader in MacBooks had generated significant complaints by some Apple users, but it appears they'll be pleased again if they get the new MacBook Pros. Other shared features of the new MacBook Pros include; A 1080p front camera. MagSafe magnetic chargers. Six-speaker sound system. Fast charging - 50% charge in 30 minutes, Apple claims. Touch bar replaced by function keys. One

Deal: Australia's Aristocrat To Buy Playtech For $3.7B

The online gambling industry is hot this year, with billion-dollar deals now a frequent occurrence. The latest billion-dollar deal is Playtech , a London-listed online gambling company, selling to Aristocrat Leisure , an Australian gambling machine manufacturer. Playtech was founded in 1999 by Israeli entrepreneur Teddy Sagi . However, he sold off all his shares  in the company in 2018 and won't profit from this deal. Don't cry for him though, he made other shrewd investments that bestowed him with a net worth nearing $6bn ( Forbes estimate ). Aristocrat (ASX: ALL) has agreed to buy Playtech (LON: PTEC) in a deal worth £2.7bn ($3.7bn). The Australian firm will pay $2.9bn to buy all outstanding Playtech shares and assume $800mn of the firm's debt. It's paying 680 pence in cash per Playtech share, a 58% premium to the company's share price before the announcement. Following the announcement, Playtech's share price jerked up, expectedly. It rose 57% on Monday to

Fast Fashion E-Tailer Lulu's Files For IPO

Lulu's , an online retailer of women's apparel, is headed towards the public markets. It's filed an S-1 document for an initial public offering (IPO), showing its intent to list on the Nasdaq exchange. As expected from S-1 filings, Lulu's has provided great insights into its business, with information not publicly disclosed before. Something very noteworthy is that the online shopping boom of this year emanating from the Covid pandemic has largely favored the company. By The Numbers For its most recent fiscal quarter, the three months ended October 3, 2021, Lulu's brought in between $105mn to $106mn in revenue. Its net income for the same period was at the $3mn-$4mn mark. The estimations are because the final, audited results haven't yet been posted. For the fiscal year ended January 3, 2021, Lulu's posted $249mn in revenue and a net loss of $19mn. It shows that the company has swung from losses to profitability this year, with the net profit of between $3m

Antitrust: Facebook Fined $70M Over Giphy Takeover Probe

The UK's antitrust agency has levied a substantial fine on social media giant Facebook related to its acquisition of Giphy , the popular GIF website. It fined the company  £50.5mn ($69mn) for flouting an order requiring it to supply information related to the agency's investigation of the $400mn acquisition. The UK's  Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)  launched a  formal probe  of the Giphy deal last June. The antitrust agency challenged the deal  after probing it,  arguing that it gave Facebook an unfair advantage over rivals that also used Giphy's GIF database. It appears that Facebook failed to comply with demands from the agency's investigation and has been penalized for it. Apparently, the UK's antitrust agency required Facebook to suspend integrating its operations with Giphy's as the agency was investigating the acquisition, but Facebook had failed to indicate it did so despite multiple warnings. "This should serve as a warning to any com

Deal: Walgreens Invests $5.2B In VillageMD, Now Majority Owner

Walgreens Boots Alliance , the giant American pharmacy chain, is doubling down on its investment in one of its healthcare peers; the primary care chain VillageMD . After a previous investment last year, Walgreens is investing an additional sum in VillageMD that'll make it the primary care chain's majority owner. Walgreens has agreed to invest $5.2bn in VillageMD, upping its stake from 30% to 63%. It'll become the primary care chain's majority owner and guide it under its belt to open hundreds of primary care clinics co-located with Walgreens drugstores across the US. The investment is really strategic, giving Walgreens majority ownership in the firm that'll operate most of the primary care clinics attached to its stores. We can refer to it as "full-stack healthcare", where you visit a Walgreens-owned clinic and get prescriptions to buy drugs at a Walgreens pharmacy, though we're aware not everyone is comfortable with one company having that much cont