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SoftBank Leads Alto Pharmacy Investment At A $1 Billion+ Valuation

image: Alto SoftBank's second Vision Fund has led a new funding round for San Francisco-based drug delivery startup Alto Pharmacy, according to a Reuters report .  Reuters says the new round totaled $250 million and valued Alto Pharmacy (formerly known as ScriptDash) at more than $1 billion. Other existing investors such as Jackson Square Ventures and Greenoaks Capital also participated in the new funding, according to Reuters . The investment comes at a stormy time for SoftBank, which has seen some of its portfolio companies struggle and recourse to job cuts to stay stable. The most notable of that cohort is WeWork, which pulled out of a planned initial public offering last year and needed a $9.5 billion bailout  from SoftBank to stay afloat. Alto is among a cohort of tech startups challenging traditional pharmacy chains by taking the drug delivery process online. The company was founded in 2015 as ScriptDash and rebranded itself as Alto in 2017 after a $23 million inv

Tony Fadell Backs New Orleans Battery Startup

Tony Fadell. Photograph by Kevin Moloney/Fortune Brainstorm Tech, under  CC BY-ND 2.0 license Tony Fadell, the co-founder of smart thermostat maker Nest and acclaimed co-inventor of the iPod, was among the investors in an $18.5 million Series A funding just announced by Advano, a silicon battery startup based out of New Orleans. He invested alongside the likes of Peter Thiel's Thiel Capital, Y Combinator, DCVC, and Japanese battery materials giant Mitsui Kinzoku. As part of his investment, Fadell has been appointed as a board observer at Advano. Mitsui Kinzoku, which co-led the Series A, has also formed a strategic partnership with Advano that involves it providing its knowledge of manufacturing and access to its distribution channels to the silicon battery startup. Advano, a 2017 graduate of famed accelerator Y Combinator, is building battery components to enable more powerful, smaller, and longer-lasting lithium-ion batteries. It's already known that adding s

Brief: GM To Invest $2.2 Billion To Create First Dedicated EV Plant

General Motors CEO Mary Barra. image: General Motors General Motors (GM) has announced it's investing $2.2 billion in its Detroit- Hamtramck assembly plant to utilize it as a facility that'll produce all-electric vehicles alongside its recently unveiled Origin self-driving vehicle. The Detroit, Michigan-based automaker will also invest an additional $800 million in supplier tooling and other projects related to the launch of new electric vehicles. GM says its investment will create more than 2,200 U.S. manufacturing jobs. The Detroit- Hamtramck plant will serve as the automaker's first fully-dedicated electric vehicle assembly plant. GM plans to begin rolling out its first all-electric truck by late 2021, with the 'Origin' self-driving vehicle to follow suit. The company is betting big on the  Detroit- Hamtramck facility to help facilitate that. “Through this investment, GM is taking a big step forward in making our vision of an all-electric future a

Brief: Monzo In Funding Talks With SoftBank

Monzo CEO Tom Blomfield. Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for TechCrunch, via  CC BY 2.0 license British fintech Monzo is in funding talks with SoftBank according to a report from British newspaper  The Telegraph . The Telegraph says Monzo CEO Tom Blomfield has twice met with senior executives from the SoftBank Vision Fund, citing unidentified sources. The report comes shortly after Monzo, which has already raised more than $400 million in funding, was reported to be readying additional funding. Monzo's last raise was a £113 million (roughly $148 million) investment led by Y Combinator Continuity in June last year. That investment valued the five-year-old British fintech at £2 billion ($2.5 billion) post-money. Monzo's last raise coincided with a limited launch in the U.S., where it's looking to as the next frontier for its digital banking service after amassing more than 3.7 million users in the U.K. Its U.S. launch was limited, with only a few thousand sl

Bird Said To Be In Talks To Acquire Rival Circ

Circ founder Lukasz Gadowski. image: Adam Tinworth on Flickr, via  CC BY-ND 2.0 license According to a report from the Financial Times , Santa Monica-based e-scooter sharing startup Bird is in talks to acquire Circ, a European rival founded by Lukasz Gadowski, an entrepreneur who also co-founded food delivery giant Delivery Hero. However, such a deal may not be on flashy terms, as the Financial Times reports Circ has been seeking a buyer after struggling to court investments required to further its expansion. Circ (formerly called Flash), which raised  €55 million in Series A funding a year ago, had a round of layoffs just two months ago. The layoffs, which the startup attributed to a focus on “efficiency and ops excellence”, is said to have affected around 50 persons. Purchasing a struggling Circ could be a way for Bird to zoom in on its main rival, Lime, which is widely seen as leading in the European e-scooter sharing market. Bird wouldn't be new to such an acquis

Soft Robotics Nabs $23 Million "Oversubscribed" Series B

Soft Robotics CEO Carl Vause. Image by World Economic Forum / Sikarin Thanachaiary, via  CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license. Soft Robotics, a Bedford, Massachusetts-based robotics startup, has announced $23 million in Series B funding. The funding round, which Soft Robotics termed as "oversubscribed", a description entailing a great deal of interest from investors, was co-led by Calibrate Ventures and Material Impact, with participation from Yamaha, Tekfen Ventures, Honeywell, Scale, Hyperplane and FANUC, a well-known maker of industrial robots. Soft's new funding follows a similarly-sized $20 million round closed in May 2018, a round it also termed as oversubscribed. Not coincidentally, all the participants in Soft's Series B round except FANUC also participated in that previous round. FANUC, a leading manufacturer of industrial robots, happens to be a strategic investor, having partnered with Soft Robotics to create a product that was unveiled in Japan in Decembe

Joby Aviation Secures $590 Million Series C

image: Joby Aviation Joby Aviation, a Santa Cruz, California-based startup that develops electric air taxis, has announced $590 million in Series C funding led by Japanese auto manufacturer Toyota, with participation from new investors Baillie Gifford and Global Oryx alongside existing investors Intel Capital, AME Cloud Ventures, JetBlue Technology Ventures, Capricorn Investment Group, and SPARX Group. The new funding brings the total amount raised by Joby to $720 million. According to a Bloomberg report , Toyota is providing $394 million of the $590 million total. The automaker isn't just bringing money to the table but says it'll also share its expertise in manufacturing, quality, and cost controls to support the development and production of Joby's electric aircraft. Over the past ten years, Joby has assembled a team of engineers and physicists that have developed a quiet all-electric VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) aircraft. The aircraft is developed in an

Casper Files To Go Public

Casper CEO Philip Krim. Photo by Kimberly White/Getty Images for TechCrunch Not long after a previous report of online mattress retailer Casper working with banks on an initial public offering (IPO), the company has filed an S-1 registration document with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to do exactly that. Its S-1 document was made public just a few hours before this writeup. Casper's S-1 indicates $312 million in revenue for the first nine months of 2019, up from $260 million in the same period of the previous year. However, the company is not profitable, with losses of $67 million and $64 million in those periods respectively. For the full year 2018, Casper recorded $358 million in revenue but with a $92 million loss. A substantial portion of Casper's loss stems from high sales and marketing spend after gross profit is accounted for. Sales and marketing make up its highest expense, even surpassing general and administrative expenses in the ye

Uber And Hyundai Debut Flying Taxi Concept

Hyundai's "S-A1" air taxi concept. image: Hyundai At this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Korean auto manufacturer Hyundai and Uber unveiled a flying car concept that's aimed for use in the "Uber Elevate" initiative, an initiative that's targeted at aerial ridesharing with custom air taxis made by partners to enable that. Hyundai is the first automaker to join Uber Elevate, whose previous partners were all electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft manufacturers. Uber aims to launch an aerial ridesharing network by 2023, and has already partnered with seven aircraft makers to enable that. Hyundai's new concept air taxi vehicle is dubbed "S-A1" and has specifications similar to that of previous electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft unveiled by other Uber Elevate partners. It'll be 100% electric, be piloted initially but with plans to later make them autonomous, and is designed with fou

Coupang Said To Be Eyeing 2021 IPO

Coupang CEO Bom Kim. image: Coupang Coupang, a SoftBank-backed South Korean e-commerce startup, is eyeing a 2021 initial public offering (IPO) according to a Bloomberg report .  Bloomberg says the company, founded in 2010 and said to be valued at $9 billion, has embarked on tax structuring among other changes as it aims for a public listing next year. Another sign Coupang may be eyeing a soon IPO is its appointment of a Chief Financial Officer (CFO)  in December last year. The CFO in case was Alberto Fornaro, a seasoned executive who has held senior financial roles for more than two decades at Korean firms. Coupang's IPO could be a test of the waters for the SoftBank Vision Fund, which has seen some of its portfolio companies struggle and collectively lay off thousands. Coupang appears to be doing good, with 2018 revenues said to have approached $5 billion.  Bloomberg  also reports the company had more than $10 billion in gross merchandise value as of December 31 and th

Two SoftBank-Backed Startups Said To Lay Off Hundreds

Zume Pizza co-founder Julia Collins. Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch According to reports from Business Insider and  The Information  respectively, Zume Pizza and Getaround, two SoftBank-backed startups, are collectively laying off more than 500 staff, the majority coming from Zume Pizza. Zume is said to be planning to lay off up to 400 employees representing 80% of its staff while Getaround is said to be laying off about 150 employees representing about 25% of its staff. The reported layoffs come on the heels of another SoftBank backed startup, Fair, cutting 40% of its headcount  with its CFO and CEO resigning in the process. With respect to the layoffs, Zume Pizza's case seems grimmer being just a year and two months after it snagged $375 million in funding from SoftBank. Originally a pizza-making automation startup, it later pivoted to food-supply-chain management. According to Business Insider , the layoffs are effectively a cost-cutting measure

Velodyne Appoints New CEO

Anand Gopalan, Velodyne's new CEO. image: Velodyne Velodyne, the world's biggest manufacturer of lidars for self-driving vehicles, has announced  the appointment of a new CEO by name of Anand Gopalan. Gopalan, who served as Velodyne's CTO up until this appointment, is taking over the CEO role from Velodyne's founder David Hall, who is, in turn, transitioning to a full-time role as Chairman of the Board. Under that role, Hall will "remain actively involved in directing the company’s technology, product vision and business strategy", a press statement from Velodyne said. Gopalan joined Velodyne in 2016 to form an advanced R&D team for the company. Since then, he has led technology and product development efforts at Velodyne. His appointment comes amid reports of the company making preparations for an IPO. As of late, Gopalan has been an active spokesperson for Velodyne, often promoting its lidar products to audiences around the world. Under hi

One Medical Files To Go Public

One Medical CEO Amir Rubin. image: One Medical San Francisco-based primary care startup One Medical has officially filed for an initial public offering (IPO). Its S-1 registration document  with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was filed less than 24 hours ago, indicating a placeholder amount of $100 million (that is the amount intended to be raised from the IPO albeit one that's subject to change). One Medical intends to trade under the ticker ''ONEM'' on the Nasdaq Global Select Market. Investment banks J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley are lead underwriters for its IPO. For context, One Medical operates several health clinics in the U.S., its specialty lying in its clinics being more tech-inclined than conventional, and with concierge services available. The company operates on a membership model, charging $200 annually both by direct-to-consumer and enterprise sales. As of September 30, 2019, One Medical had 397,000 members across nine

Snap Acquires AI Factory

Snap CEO Evan Spiegel. Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch As first reported by Ukranian publication AIN and later confirmed, Snap has acquired AI Factory, a Ukranian computer vision startup whose technology helped power Snapchat's recently debuted "Cameos" feature, a feature that lets Snapchat users create animated selfie-based videos. According to AIN, Snap paid around $166 million for AI Factory, which was founded by an entrepreneur who sold his previous company, Looksery, also to Snap. Snap is said to have paid $150 million for Looksery, also a computer vision startup whose technology powers Snapchat's widely used "Lenses" feature. After Looksery's acquisition, co-founder Victor Shaburov took up the role of director of engineering at Snap, a role he held for three years before leaving in 2018 to launch AI Factory. AI Factory is known to have offices in both Ukraine and San Francisco. According to TechCrunch , the firm h

Monzo Said To Be Raising New Funding

Monzo co-founder and CEO Tom Blomfield. image: Monzo According to Reuters , U.K. digital bank Monzo is close to raising between £50 million to £100 million ($66 million to $132 million) in new funding "within weeks" to help fund its growth.  Reuters , citing an unnamed source close to the company, said funding talks have involved both existing and new investors, and could precede a potentially bigger 'Series G' round next year. In June last year, Monzo closed  £113 million in funding  led by Y Combinator Continuity, an investment offshoot of famed startup accelerator Y Combinator. That funding came on the heels of Monzo's launch in the U.S. and valued the company at $2.5 billion post-money. Monzo looking to raise more funding hints of rapid growth and substantial investments to support that. Since its founding in 2015, Monzo has amassed more than 3.5 million users by offering a user-friendly and mobile-first app that facilitates online spending and m

NIO Reports Q3 Results

The NIO ES8. image: NIO Chinese electric car maker NIO just reported its financial results for the third quarter of this year, indicating $257 million in revenue but with a $357 million loss in the period. The company delivered 4,799 vehicles in the third quarter, compared to 3,553 deliveries in the preceding quarter. In reaction to the earnings reports, NIO's shares are up more than 50%, trading for $4.17 apiece as of writing. According to Yahoo Finance , NIO's quarterly results surpassed analyst expectations, with revenue projections for the third quarter having hovered at around $231 million. NIO's $257 million in revenue happens to have beat that by a significant margin, but still amid steep losses. NIO has been losing lots of money as it spends to gain ground as a newer entrant to the electric car market. The company was founded just five years ago and has delivered approximately 30,000 vehicles since inception, a significant number but a much smaller am

ClassPass Reportedly Raising $285 Million In Funding

ClassPass CEO Fritz Lanman (left) and Founder/Executive Chairman Payal Kadakia (right). image: ClassPass According to a Reuters report , fitness subscription startup ClassPass is seeking to raise $285 million in new funding that could push its valuation above $1 billion. Citing a securities filing obtained from analytics firm Lagniappe Labs,  Reuters reports ClassPass will issue 22.7 million 'Series E' shares as part of the funding. A valuation above $1 billion would be a significant boost for ClassPass, which last raised funding at a valuation hovering around $536 million, according to  Prime Unicorn Index . The company's last funding was an $85 million Series D led by Temasek last year, an investment that brought its total funding to north of $200 million. New York-based ClassPass offers monthly subscription plans that provide access to more than 30,000 fitness studios and gyms globally. It's also partnered with large employers like Google, Southwest A

Uber Co-Founder Kalanick Departs Board

Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick. Photograph by Kevin Moloney/Fortune Brainstorm Tech Uber has announced the departure of co-founder Travis Kalanick from its board, effective on the 31st of December. The company's announcement says Kalanick is leaving to "focus on his new business and philanthropic endeavors", the business part likely being CloudKitchens, a shared kitchen space provider he took over after his previous resignation as Uber's CEO. Kalanick's departure happens to come after he unloaded more than 90% of his shares in Uber, which went public just this year. His sell-off began early November up until the past few days. Currently, Kalanick holds about 5.8 million shares, substantially down from the 22.6 million shares he held before the sell-off. Kalanick, who co-founded Uber alongside Garrett Camp, held the position of CEO for a long-time, a position that saw him become the poster-child for the company. However, mounting controversies from

Rivian Raises $1.3 Billion In Additional Funding

The Rivian R1T. image: Rivian Not long after raising $500 million from Ford and an additional $350 million from Cox Automotive, electric car startup Rivian has announced $1.3 billion in new funding led by T. Rowe Price, with participation from BlackRock and existing investors Ford and Amazon. The additional investment is the fourth Rivian has raised this year, and comes a few months after Amazon announced it'll purchase 100,000 vehicles from the company  as part of plans to make its delivery fleet run on renewable energy. The additional investment brings the total raised by Rivian this year to a whooping $2.85 billion. In a statement, Rivian founder and CEO RJ Scaringe praised the investment as demonstrating "confidence in our team, products, technology and strategy". With the investment, Rivian now stands as one of the top-most financed electric car upstarts in what seems like a crowded market. Rivian plans to begin selling vehicles next year, which may ex

Uber Ordered To Cease Colombian Ride-Hailing Operations

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch Uber has been ordered to cease its ride-hailing operations in Colombia by the country's Superintendency of Industry and Commerce, a regulatory agency in charge of regulating business practices. The Superintendency of Industry and Commerce (SIC) cites violated competition rules as the reason for the order. Notably, this is Uber's third regulatory ban in the span of a month, the other two being in London and Germany. The city of London suspended Uber's operating license for the second time just few weeks ago, while a Germany court ban  came just this week. In a statement, Colombia's SIC said Uber amassed “a significant advantage in the market” by offering transport services for individuals via its app, and ordered the company's ride-hailing services “through the use of the Uber application to cease immediately.” Uber on the other hand said in a statement that it doesn't a

F5 To Acquire Shape Security For $1 Billion In Cash

F5 Networks CEO François Locoh-Donou image: F5 Networks F5 Networks has announced it's acquiring Shape Security, a Santa Clara-based fraud detection startup, for around $1 billion in cash. The announcement happens to come just three months after Shape Security raised funding at a $1 billion pre-money valuation. F5's acquisition is expected to be close in the first quarter of next year. Shape Security as a company has raised $183 million in total funding. Its backers include top tier VCs such as Kleiner Perkins, Norwest Ventures Partners, HPE Growth, and Focus Ventures. Shape Security develops fraud detection software adopted by large enterprises to protect their online applications. Banks make up a substantial portion of its customer base, as fraud detection and prevention stands crucial to the online banking process. Altogether, Shape Security claims its fraud detection software detects and blocks up to 2 billion fraudulent or unwanted transactions daily. Shape S

Glovo Nabs $167 Million Series E

Glovo co-founder Sacha Michaud Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for TechCrunch Glovo, a popular on-demand delivery service that currently operates in 26 countries, has raised 150 million euros ($167 million) in Series E funding led by Mubadala, the sovereign wealth fund of Abu Dhabi, with participation from existing investors Delivery Hero, Lakestar and Drake Enterprises. The funding values Glovo at more than $1 billion, marking it as the second Spanish startup, the other being Cabify, known to have crossed the valuation milestone. As per Glovo CEO Oscar Pierre, the new funding will be put towards growing the company's headcount, with plans to hire 300 new engineers and developers by mid-next year. Barcelona-based Glovo also wants to make use of the new capital to expand into new markets, as it has consistently done since its founding in 2015. The new funding happens to come less than a year after Glovo's last known funding, which was a $169 million Series D rai

Lime Launches Weekly Subscription Service

image: Lime Lime has announced  the launch of a weekly subscription service for frequent riders of its e-scooters and bikes, first in cities across the U.S., Australia and New Zealand, followed by a roll-out in additional global markets by early January. The new service, dubbed LimePass , offers weekly unlimited scooter unlocks for a flat fee of $5. The idea behind such is to let frequent riders cut down on costs by out-rightly purchasing seven-day unlocks to Lime's shared scooters and bikes for a flat fee, as opposed to paying separately for several rides that would be taken over a week. For context, unlocks for Lime scooters and bikes costs $1 to its customers, who still have to pay per-minute rates to keep riding. One might wonder, and reasonably so, that paying Lime separately for unlocks taken over a week would amount to more revenue for the company than paying a flat free of $5 for unlimited unlocks for a weekly period. However there's quite a catch, being that se

Intel Scoops Up Habana Labs For $2 Billion

Habana Labs co-founder and chairman Avigdor Willenz.  image: Habana Labs Intel has announced  it has acquired Habana Labs, an Israel-based startup that makes AI chips. The semiconductor giant is paying roughly $2 billion for Habana, one year after leading a $75 million Series B investment in the company. The acquisition represents another score for Habana co-founder and chairman Avigdor Willenz, a serial entrepreneur who previously founded and led Galileo Technology ( acquired for $2.7 billion by Marvell Technologies) and Annapurna Labs ( acquired for $350 million by Amazon). Unsurprisingly, both companies were chip makers, crowning Willenz as a whizz in the chip-making sector with sequential successful exits. Prior to this acquisition, Habana had raised $120 million in funding from investors including Intel Capital, Battery Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners and WRV Capital. As of November last year (when it last raised funding), Tel Aviv-based Habana had just over 120

Zomato Reportedly In Advanced Talks To Acquire Uber Eats India

image: Uber According to a report from TechCrunch , Uber has entered advanced stages of negotiations to sell its Indian food delivery arm, UberEats India, to competitor Zomato as it looks to reduce global spending. TechCrunch reports the negotiations currently values UberEats India at around $400 million, and could involve Uber investing between $150 million to $200 million in Zomato to be finalized. Rumors of Uber looking to offload its Indian food delivery arm are not new, with the company having been reported to have discussed selling UberEats India to another Indian food delivery competitor, Swiggy , early this year. Indian news outlet Times of India first reported about Uber and Zomato's negotiations last month. The negotiations happen to come at a time Zomato is looking to raise up to $600 million in new funding, as made known by its CEO Deepinder Goyal . Uber looking to sell its Indian food delivery arm doesn't sound startling, as the company faces significa

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Pokémon Go Creator Niantic Raises $300M, Valued At $9B

Niantic , an augmented reality (AR) company whose products include the famous  Pokémon Go game, has raised a big new round of funding. It's raised $300mn in funding at a valuation of $9bn. All the funding came from just one investor; Coatue , a New York-based hedge fund famous for investing in many blue-chip tech startups. With its new funding, Niantic says it'll invest in current games and new apps and expand its AR developer platform called Lightship . The company says it's set on building the "real-world metaverse," jumping on the bandwagon popularized by Facebook's parent firm, Meta.  The base for Niantic's metaverse vision is the Lightship developer platform which it launched this month. It's a platform for developers to build augmented reality apps and experiences, drawing from Niantic's tools that helped create its hit  Pokémon Go game. To draw creators to Lightship, Niantic has also set up a $20mn venture fund to invest in AR startups

Deal: Workday Buys Ohio Startup Vndly For $510M

Workday (NASDAQ: WDAY), the famous HR/finance software vendor, has made a big new acquisition to support its platform. The company will acquire Vndly , a software platform for companies to manage contract workers. Vndly fits in well in Workday's overall software suite, and the rationale behind the purchase is clear. Vndly is an Ohio-based startup. Workday will pay $510mn to buy it, marking one of Ohio's biggest startup exits this year. Vndly has raised roughly $60mn from VCs, so a $510mn exit is very lucrative and more so for a startup founded just four years ago .  Before now, Vndly and Workday were already close allies. Vndly's platform is integrated with Workday's, with official certification to go. The Mason, Ohio-based startup is part of Workday's global network of endorsed software partners, so Workday didn't even have to look far to snatch its latest acquisition.  Vndly was founded in 2017 by two entrepreneurs,  Shashank Saxena and Narayana Surabhi .

Amazon, Apple Fined $230M For Reseller Collusion In Italy

Tech giants Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) have been handed sizeable fines by the Italian government following an investigation into alleged reseller collusion between both companies. Amazon was fined €135mn ($151mn) and Apple  €69mn ($78mn), totaling $229mn .  The fine was levied by the  Italian Competition Authority . According to the agency, Apple and Amazon had a contractual agreement to allow  select resellers to sell Apple and Beats products on Amazon's Italian marketplace. The agency said that the selection was applied in a "discriminatory" way that violated European Union rules and affected price competition. According to the  Italian Competition Authority, at least 70% of local consumer electronics purchases are made on Amazon, making it a dominant retailer. This dominance, therefore, demands a "level playing field" for retailers that sell on Amazon's marketplace, the agency said. This is the nth time Amazon is getting in the cr

Antitrust: US DOJ Sues To Block Major Sugar Industry Merger

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is freshly on the antitrust circuit, seeking to block a merger it deems detrimental to consumers. The agency has filed a lawsuit to block the sale of  Imperial Sugar , a leading American sugar producer, to rival  U.S. Sugar . The DOJ says the proposed deal will make just two sugar producers account for an "overwhelming majority" of refined sugar sales in the U.S. Southeast, U.S. Sugar being one of the two producers. This concentration of power would make consumers pay more for refined sugar, the DOJ says.  Imperial Sugar is owned by Louis Dreyfus Company, a privately-held agricultural giant based in the Netherlands. The company agreed to sell Imperial to rival U.S. Sugar for the sum of $315mn this March.  U.S. Sugar is another privately-held agricultural giant headquartered in Florida. It can produce up to 850,000 tons of sugar annually at its refinery plant in Florida, and buying Imperial would give it two more sugar plants in Kentuc

Alt-Meat Maker Impossible Foods Raises $500M In Fresh Funding

A leading maker of plant-based meat substitutes, Impossible Foods , has obtained a fresh cash infusion from VCs. It has  raised $500mn in new funding, bringing the total amount of funding it has raised since inception to $2bn.  The latest round was provided entirely by existing investors doubling down on Impossible Foods.  Mirae Asset Global , a Korean investment firm, led the round and was joined by other unnamed existing investors.  It's evident that investors are longing for Impossible Foods, a leading brand in the nascent market for plant-based meat substitutes. There's clearly huge potential for plant-based meat substitutes, driven by an increasing vegan population and the appeal to lower the carbon footprint that spurs from meat consumption. To that end, Impossible Foods is growing rapidly. Its products can now be found in more than 20,000 retail stores, compared to 150 as of March 2020, and 40,000 restaurants globally. Over the past year, Impossible has launched in ne

Deal: KKR Makes $37B Buyout Offer For Telecom Italia

Private equity giant KKR (NYSE: KKR) has ventured into Italy for its latest buyout deal. The firm has offered to buy Telecom Italia (BIT: TIT), the largest telecom provider in Italy, in a deal worth  €33bn ($37bn), including debt. KKR offered 0.505 Euros in cash for each outstanding  Telecom Italia share, a 46% premium to the last closing share price before the offer. That sums up to  €10.7bn ($12bn) in cash to be paid for Telecom Italia, and including the telecom firm's large net debt of €22.5bn ($25bn) sums up to $37bn in total.  KKR's offer is non-binding and must be approved by Telecom Italia's board members and majority shareholders before the deal goes through. Approval must also come from the Italian government, which was veto power over the takeover of the formerly state-owned telecoms firm.  Telecom Italia gave no indication that it'll approve the deal. If approval is given, it'll mark one of the biggest buyout deals of a European company by an America

Earnings: Nvidia Is On A Tear

Chipmaking giant Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA) has unveiled the financial results for its latest fiscal quarter ended October 31, 2021. The company reported a sharp rise in sales that can only be described as being on a tear. Nvidia posted $7.1bn in revenue in the quarter, up 50% year-over-year . The large growth was driven mostly by the company's data center sales, which increased 55% year-over-year to $2.9bn. Similarly, Nvidia's gaming revenue rose 42% year-over-year to $3.2bn. Net income for the quarter was $2.5bn , up 4% from the same period last year. It was an outstanding quarter all-around for Nvidia, a beneficiary of the recent massive growth of the gaming industry and data center boom. Nvidia's GeForce graphics cards are very popular with gamers, and data center operators patronize Nvidia's high-performance graphics processors for artificial intelligence applications.  Save for data centers and gaming, Nvidia has other minor product lines, including automotive chip

Cyber: Apple Sues NSO Group Over Spyware Hacks

Tech giant Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) has filed a lawsuit against NSO Group , a controversial Israeli company that sells smartphone hacking tools and has been  implicated in the hacks and surveillance of many notable persons, including journalists, activists, and business executives, by state-sponsored actors. Apple has sued NSO Group for infecting iPhones with spyware to track users of interest. As part of the suit, the tech giant seeks a permanent injunction to ban NSO Group from using any Apple products. NSO Group is best known for its Pegasus spyware that can be covertly installed on mobile phones running most versions of iOS and Android. The company exploits vulnerabilities in both operating systems to introduce spyware into a phone without the user's knowledge. Pegasus was the center of a Washington Post investigation called "The Pegasus Project," revealing that the spyware was used to surveil over 1,000 identified notable individuals across countries with shoddy hu

Markets: Retail Giant Authentic Brands Scraps IPO Plans

Authentic Brands Group , a New York-based retail conglomerate, has suspended its plans for an initial public offering (IPO) after already filing an S-1 document with the US SEC. The company has instead opted to raise private funding to fund expansion in the main time. Authentic Brands Group's portfolio retail brands include apparel retailer Forever21 , men's suit maker Brooks Brothers , and department store chain Barneys New York . The company is akin to an old people's home where once-vibrant retail brands go to stay after they've gone past their peak. Authentic buys these befallen retail companies and makes money from what's left of them through licensing deals.  Over the years, Authentic has relied on hefty venture funding to assemble its constellation of old-guard brands. An IPO was supposed to raise even more money for expansion but has been set aside in favor of private funding.  Authentic is  rather selling  equity stakes to private equity firm CVC Capital

Markets: IoT Startup Samsara Files For IPO

The latest tech startup to board the IPO train is Samsara , a VC-backed startup that makes internet-of-things (IoT)-based fleet monitoring hardware and software for logistical operators. It has unveiled an S-1 filing with the US SEC, showing its intention to list on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Samsara has raised nearly $1bn from VCs including Andreessen Horowitz, Tiger Global, and General Catalyst, with a valuation of $5.4bn from its last funding round. The company's co-founders sold a previous startup named Meraki to Cisco for $1.2bn . As expected, Samsara's S-1 filing gives a deep glimpse into the company's business with information not publicly disclosed before. The company has been rather secretive over the years, making this long-awaited information. We've extracted some important information so you don't have to, mostly the financial stuff. Samsara brought in $303mn in revenue in the nine months ended October 2021, compared to $174mn in the same