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Coinbase To Begin Offering Cash Loans

Crypto company Coinbase has said that it'll begin offering cash loans to US-based customers as part of a push into other areas outside its main business of facilitating cryptocurrency trades. Basically, customers will be able to borrow cash as is done usually on lending platforms but this time backed by their Coinbase cryptocurrency portfolio. Customers will get the option to borrow amounts equating to up to 30% of their Coinbase crypto holdings and will be able to secure loans within 2-3 days of applying, according to Coinbase.

The new service is set to begin by this fall.





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Impossible Foods Nabs $200 Million Round

Impossible Foods, the company popularly known for developing plant-based substitutes for meat products, has announced that it's secured $200 million in additional funding led by Coatue Management, a tech-focused investment firm. The new funding adds up the total amount that Impossible Foods has raised since its inception to about $1.5 billion. Alongside Coatue, existing investors such as Temasek and Mirae Asset Global Investments also participated in the new funding, which notably follows a $500 million single round that Impossible Foods closed in mid-March of this year.

Impossible Foods says it'll put the new capital towards research and development as well as expanding its manufacturing operations and retail presence across the US. Already, Impossible's products are on sale at thousands of grocery stores across the US, including major chains such as Walmart, Kroger, and Trader Joe's. The company says its retail footprint has increased more than 60X in the past six m…

Jumia To Pay $5 Million To Settle Suits

Jumia, Africa's e-commerce leader, has said that it'll pay $5 million to settle lawsuits brought against the company by stakeholders who accused it of making misstatements and omissions concerning its finances in moments leading up to the company's last year public listing. Jumia is making the settlement payment but wouldn't admit to any liability or wrongdoing under its terms. Out of the $5 million settlement amount, $1 million will be funded by insurance coverage.

Jumia made the settlement announcement at the same time it announced its financial results for the second quarter of this year. The company recorded €35 million ($41 million) in revenues and operating losses of nearly €38 million ($45 million) for the quarter. Revenue for the quarter was down about 9% year-over-year.





Accel-KKR Buys Majority Stake In Recurly

Private equity venture Accel-KKR has purchased a majority stake in Recurly, a San Francisco-based fintech upstart that helps companies manage their recurring subscriptions. Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed. The acquisition comes on the heels of a momentous year for Recurly, which reported a 38% year-over-year increase in its number of active subscriptions under management and a 210% year-over-year growth in net new bookings. Over the past year, Recurly has also expanded its platform to be compatible with 18 languages and more than 140 currencies.

Before now, Recurly is known to have raised $39 million in funding. Previous investors in the company include the likes of Greycroft, e.ventures, Fidelity, and Eight Roads Ventures. Currently, more than 2,100 businesses rely on Recurly to help manage their recurring subscriptions and billings. The company, which was founded in 2010, currently employs over 240 persons.





Blend Nabs $75 Million Round

Blend, a San Francisco-based startup that develops software for digital lending companies, has announced that it's raised $75 million in Series F funding that values it at about $1.7 billion. The new funding was led by venture capital firm Canapi Ventures, with additional participation from the likes of 8VC, General Atlantic, Temasek, Greylock, and Emergence. With the new funding, Blend has now raised a total of about $365 million in known financing.

Blend's new funding marks a momentous year for the company in which it added numerous new products, most notably a digital closing solution for home equity loans and mortgages. The San Francisco-based company added more than 130 employees over the past year and boosted its number of customers to more than 250. Overall, Blend says over $3.5 billion worth of consumer loans are processed on its platform each day.





Brief: Cisco's Q2 Results

Networking hardware giant Cisco has announced its financial results for the second quarter of 2020, reporting $12.2 billion in revenue, down 9% year-over-year, and net income of $2.6 billion, up 19% year-over-year. During the quarter, Cisco returned $1.5 billion to shareholders in the form of dividends and share buybacks. The company ended the quarter with $29.4 billion in cash on its balance sheet. During the quarter, the San Jose-based company notably completed the acquisition of ThousandEyes, a cybersecurity startup, in a deal reported to be worth close to $1 billion.

For the next quarter, Cisco is forecasting a year-over-year revenue decrease of between 9%-11%.





Brief: Lyft's Q2 Results

Ride-hailing company Lyft has announced its financial results for the second quarter of 2020, reporting $339 million in revenue, down 61% year-over-year primarily due to the coronavirus pandemic. Losses for the quarter amounted to $437 million, compared to $644 million in the same quarter last year. The losses include $111 million due to stock-based compensation and related tax expenses. Lyft now counts about 8.7 million active riders on its platform, down from nearly 22 million as of the second quarter of last year. The average revenue per rider stayed flat at about $39.

San Francisco-based Lyft ended the quarter with $2.8 billion in cash on its balance sheet.





Airbnb Revenue Down Over 60%: Report

Airbnb, the famed accommodation marketplace, saw its revenues in the second quarter of this year tank by 67% due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report [paywall] from Bloomberg. According to Bloomberg, Airbnb recorded $335 million in revenues in the second quarter of this year, down from $842 million in the preceding quarter and over $1 billion in the same quarter last year. For the quarter, Airbnb recorded $400 million in losses, Bloomberg reports.

Airbnb has undoubtedly been majorly affected by the coronavirus pandemic due to global travel restrictions. It's such that the San Francisco-based company resorted to raising $2 billion in additional equity and debt funding to help pad its balance sheet against a business slowdown. The debt facilities came from a group of private equity and traditional investment firms and reportedly with interest rates of as high as 11.5%. The equity portion of the funding is said to have valued Airbnb at $18 billion, down from an earlier…

Gong Nabs $200 Million Series D

Gong, the San Francisco-based sales software startup, has announced that it's raised $200 million in Series D funding that values it at $2.2 billion. The new funding follows a $65 million Series C that Gong raised in December of last year. Venture capital firm Coatue Management led the new funding, with additional participation from the likes of Index Ventures, Salesforce Ventures, Thrive Capital, Battery Ventures, Sequoia Capital, and Norwest Venture Partners. With the new raise, Gong has now raised a total of $334 million in funding since inception.

Gong's Series D, its largest single round of investment ever, comes on the heels of 2.5X revenue growth year-to-date in 2020, according to a press statement. The company now has more than 1,100 enterprise customers and with over 64,000 sales and support professionals from them using its software. Going will put the new funding towards product and market expansion.





Varjo Nabs $54 Million Series C

Varjo, the Finnish virtual reality startup, has announced that it's raised $54 million in Series C funding from investors including Volvo, Atomico, EQT Ventures, Lifeline Ventures, and NordicNinja. The investment coincides with the promotion of Varjo's COO, Timo Toikkanen, now to CEO, with its previous CEO, Niko Eiden, stepping down from the role to become the company's chief experience officer (CXO). With the new funding, Varjo has now raised more than $100 million to date. The company says it'll put the new capital towards global expansion and hardware and software development.

Varjo has gone through a strong year in which it added a significant number of new enterprise customers and expanded its sales operations to over 40 countries. Varjo has created a sophisticated headset that combines virtual and mixed reality capabilities, a headset mainly targeted at enterprises and professionals rather than individual consumers. Varjo works directly with its enterprise custo…

Trumid Nabs $200 Million Round

Trumid Financial, a bond trading platform, has raised $200 million in new funding from investors that values the six-year-old company at more than $1 billion. Investors including T. Rowe Price, BlackRock, TPG, and Dragoneer provided the new funding, which adds up the total amount of funding that Trumid has raised since its inception to about $400 million. Previous investors in Trumid include the likes of Shumway Capital, Soros Fund Management, and entrepreneur Peter Thiel.

Trumid is a trading platform primarily for corporate bonds and credit default swaps. Based out of New York, the company was founded in 2014 by a group of credit professionals with years of trading experience under their belt. The coronavirus pandemic has led to widespread volatility surges on trading platforms and Trumid is no exception. In June of this year, more than $20 billion worth of financial instruments were traded on Trumid's platform, marking the fourth concurrent month of this year in which its tradi…

Stripe Poaches GM's CFO

Payments company Stripe has recruited Dhivya Suryadevara, the Chief Financial Officer of automaker General Motors, away from the automaker to become its Chief Financial Officer. Suryadevara is joining Stripe after two years as GM's CFO, a role under which she oversaw a massive operation spanning over $100 billion in annual revenue and tens of thousands of employees. Being experienced in such high-scale management, she's likely going to fair well overseeing Stripe, which has a much lesser 2,800-strong workforce across 16 global offices. Her appointment comes on the heels of recent Stripe executive appointments including a Chief Revenue Officer poached from Amazon Web Services and a General Counsel poached from Voya Financial.

As a payments company, Stripe has been going strong, with the company ramping up international expansion significantly over the past year. Stripe launched in 15 new countries across Europe, Asia Pacific, and Latin America over the past year. In April of t…

CuriosityStream Eyes Reverse Listing

CuriosityStream, the upstart streaming service, has announced that it's reached a deal to go public via a merger with Software Acquisition Group, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). Software Acquisition, the targeted merger company, was listed publicly last year and raised $150 million from investors, money that will now go to CuriosityStream plus an additional $25 million that the company says it'll further raise from investors. The proposed merger will value CuriosityStream at $330 million including debt. As a private company, CuriosityStream has raised $255 million in venture funding.

CuriosityStream is a science-focused streaming platform that was founded in 2011 by John Hendricks, an entrepreneur best known for founding entertainment giant Discovery Inc. The company has racked up 13 million subscribers to date, some directly on its platform, and others by third-party deals with cable companies. CuriosityStream is available in 175 countries, offering over 3,100 …

AmEx In Talks To Snap Up Kabbage

Financial services giant American Express is in talks to acquire Kabbage, the small business lender backed by the likes of SoftBank and BlueRun Ventures, as first reported [paywall] by Bloomberg. According to Bloomberg, AmEx could cough up as much as $850 million in cash for Kabbage in a deal that could be formalized as soon as this month. AmEx is the biggest provider of small-business credit cards in the US so scooping up a small business lender like Kabbage will help bolster its business.

Throughout its history, Kabbage, which was founded in 2008, has raised about $500 million in equity funding and even hundreds of millions more in debt funding. Investors in the company include the likes of SoftBank, BlueRun Ventures, Recruit Holdings, UPS, and Thomvest Ventures. On the heels of the coronavirus pandemic, business slowed for Kabbage, which then furloughed hundreds of employees and suspended customer credit lines as it grappled with drastic cuts in small business spending across the …

Salesforce Exits Zoom Stake With Profit

Software giant Salesforce has sold all of its shares in video communications company Zoom, as indicated by a recent regulatory filing. Salesforce earlier invested $100 million in Zoom at the cusp of its public listing last year and has apparently reaped sizeable profits thanks to Zoom's shares zooming high amid outsized growth on the heels the coronavirus pandemic. The exact amount Salesforce reaped from offloading its stake isn't clear but for a hint, Zoom went public at $36 a share, the price at which Salesforce bought into, and traded between as low as $114 a share to as high as $259 a share over the second quarter of this year during which Salesforce offloaded its stake.

Alongside Zoom, Salesforce also sold all of its remaining shares in online storage company Dropbox. Just as in the case of Zoom, Salesforce invested $100 million in Dropbox on the cusp of the company's public listing. Through its venture arm, Salesforce is an investor in numerous technology companies.…

Nikola Secures Order For 2,500 Trucks

Nikola, the publicly-traded electric vehicle upstart, has announced that it's secured an order for 2,500 electrified refuse trucks from waste collection giant Republic Services, with an option to expand to 5,000. The orders are due to be fulfilled beginning 2023, with on-road testing planned for 2022. The new bulk order marks one of the largest ever seen in the refuse management industry and more so in the electric vehicle scene. Nikola listed on the public markets this year but hasn't sold a single vehicle yet. This has nevertheless not stopped investor hopes and optimism, with the company's current market capitalization (as of writing) hovering at $17 billion.

The order for 2,500 trucks, as well as previous orders from several companies, represents a potential juicy revenue source for Nikola. The electric refuse trucks ordered from Nikola by Republic Services is expected to offer up to 150 miles of range on a single charge. Republic Services is notably the second larges…

Domo Extends Debt Till 2025

Domo, the Utah-based software company, has announced that it has extended the maturity of a $100 million term loan until April of 2025, a loan that was before now due by 2022 and even before then due by 2020. Domo was able to extend its loan by several years on favorable terms negotiated with BlackRock, the originator of the loan. Under the deals of the extension, no principal payments are required until the newly negotiated maturity date.

Domo, which went public two years ago, has long incurred losses as a company. In the first quarter of this year, the company recorded a $25 million loss on revenues of roughly $49 million and incurring such sizeable losses apparently makes it difficult for the company to pay down its debt. Domo secured the $100 million loan of concern before it went public in 2018, even after having secured $700 million in equity funding. Currently, Domo is heavily focused on reaching a cash-flow positive position with the cash on its balance sheet and has apparent…

IAC Builds $1 Billion Stake In MGM

IAC, the technology conglomerate, has announced that it's built up a 12% stake in publicly-traded casino giant MGM Resorts International, coughing up an aggregate of $1 billion to do so. The investment comes on the heels of the full separation of IAC from its affiliated company Match Group that saw it emerge with $3.9 billion in cash and no debt on its balance sheet. IAC, a technology conglomerate, taking a big stake in a casino giant seems odd but the company defends the investment as taking advantage of an opportunity to "own a meaningful piece of a preeminent brand in a large category with great potential to move online."

MGM is already a leader in in-person entertainment but it seems IAC is betting on the company possibly venturing into and making strides in the digital world. "We think MGM could be one of the largest direct marketers on the internet as online gaming grows, and online direct marketing is an area we know well," IAC said in a press statement…

Xpeng Files For US IPO

Chinese electric car upstart Xpeng has filed to go public in the U.S., notably on the cusp of securing hundreds of millions of dollars in additional funding. Xpeng is looking to go public just five years after its founding and after having sold thousands of electric vehicles, including about 2,400 in July alone. Xpeng reported revenues of $328 million in 2019 and $522 million in losses in the same year. For the first six months of this year, the company brought in $142 million in sales and recorded losses of $113 million.

Currently, Xpeng sells two vehicles, the G3 SUV and the P7 sedan. The company plans to launch yet another by next year, according to its filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC). Altogether, Xpeng has delivered 18,741 G3 vehicles and 1,966 P7 vehicles. The company's sales network covers 147 stores and service centers across 52 cities in China.

Xpeng's F-1 filing lists a placeholder amount of $100 million, a figure that's likely to c…

Brief: Thriver Nabs $33 Million Series B

Thriver, a Toronto-based corporate catering marketplace, has secured $33 million in Series B funding led by venture capital firm Viola Growth, with participation from the likes of Altair Capital, Aleph, FJ Labs, Journey Ventures, and Union Tech Ventures. Thriver, formerly known as Platterz, says it'll harness the new funding to expand into new corporate services markets outside catering.

Launched in 2016 as Platterz, Thriver is a corporate catering marketplace that currently facilitates tens of thousands of daily meals for over 2,000 companies. Since its inception, the company has processed more than $100 million worth of food orders through its platform. It's now apparently looking to expand into other corporate services and possibly become a dominant marketplace for a wide range of corporate services.





EA Investors Chide Executive Pay

Shareholders of gaming company Electronic Arts have profusely rejected the company's executive pay plan in a recent advisory vote, with 171 million votes cast against the pay plan for named officers against about 60 million in favor, as indicated by a regulatory filing. Such a vote marks a rare rebuke for a company of EA's caliber, with major opposition coming from proxy advisers such as Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), which had earlier voiced concerns about a special round of stock awards for EA's top executives.

EA's top brass had previously received special stock awards for fiscal 2018 that haven't fully vested, drawing queries about the necessity for a new round of such awards. According to the ISS, EA chief executive Andrew Wilson, who pulled in $21 million in compensation last year, is paid 56% more than a median CEO peer, which “has a ratcheting effect on executive compensation.”

With the vote, EA will likely adjust its executive compensation plan…

Zomato Begins "Period Leave" For Employees

Zomato, the Indian food delivery company, has said it would begin allowing female employees to take up to 10 days of “period leave” per year, as part of efforts to tackle what it says is a stigma surrounding the issue, particularly in India. Zomato seems like the most high profile organization in India to have instituted such a policy in the country, where menstruation is still a taboo to some. “There shouldn’t be any shame or stigma attached to applying for a period leave,” Zomato's CEO, Deepinder Goyal, penned in an e-mail to the company's staff on Saturday.

Zomato is one of the best-known companies in India, currently with more than 5,000 employees. The company has come a long way from its humble beginnings in 2008 to clinching nearly $400 million in annual revenues. It's been buoyed by just shy of a billion dollars in total funding by investors such as the likes of Naspers, Delivery Hero, Shunwei Capital, and Tencent.





SpaceX And ULA Land Big US Contracts

Aerospace companies SpaceX and the United Launch Alliance (ULA) have landed big respective contracts to launch satellites into orbit for the U.S. government through this year to 2024. The contract, in particular, is the second phase of the US National Security Space Launch program, which assures access to space for U.S. government payloads. The ULA is receiving 60% of the specified contracts while SpaceX takes on the remaining 40%. Already, the U.S. Department of Defense has awarded $316 million to SpaceX and $337 million to ULA “to meet fiscal year 2022 launch dates” [implying the first half of the stipulated contracts], according to a press statement.

“This was an extremely tough decision and I appreciate the hard work industry completed to adapt their commercial launch systems to affordably and reliably meet our more stressing national security requirements,” Colonel Robert Bongiovi, director of the U.S. Space and Missile Systems Center Launch Enterprise, said in a press statement…

Starling Bank's Revenue Soars

Starling Bank, the UK-based digital bank, posted a pre-tax loss of £53.6 million ($70.4 million) in the year ending November 30, 2019, and revenues of £14.2 million ($18.5 million), compared to just £750,000 in the previous year, according to filings from the company. Even as the company's losses soared last year, it, however, says it expects to break even by this year, buoyed by a spike in lending activity Starling helped facilitate emergency coronavirus financing schemes from the UK government. For this year, Starling says it now has an annual run rate of £80 million ($104 million).

“We are doing really well financially and it’s a horrible thing to say but the crisis has given us the opportunity of really spending some time to focus on getting new products out, getting new things launched and consolidating our position,” Starling’s founder and CEO Anne Boden said in a call to reporters on Thursday. “We are back on track to be profitable by the end of the year.”

Founded in 2014,…

Google Eyes Policybazaar Stake

Google is looking to acquire a stake in Policybazaar, the Indian insurance comparison platform, as first reported by Indian news site The Economic Times. According to the Times, Google is looking to acquire about 10% of Policybazaar and could cough out up to $150 million for the stake, notably as part of the company's recent pledge to invest $10 billion in India over the next five to seven years. According to the Times, Japanese tech conglomerate SoftBank, which holds a 15% stake in Policybazaar, may sell part of its stake to Google to facilitate its investment.

Notably, Policybazaar was recently reported to be eyeing $250 million in new financing that'll value it at $2 billion. Already, the company has raised more than $600 million in private funding since its inception, with its most recent financing round having valued the company at $1.5 billion.





Aveva In Talks To Buy OSIsoft

Aveva, a UK-based industrial software company, is in talks to acquire OSIsoft, a fellow industrial software company but based in the US, for up to $5 billion, as first reported [paywall] by Bloomberg. According to Bloomberg, Aveva, a Cambridge-based company, has initiated exclusive talks about a purchase of OSIsoft and could announce a formal acquisition deal within weeks. Aveva itself has confirmed it's in talks with OSIsoft, but there's no guarantee that the talks will result in a sale.

SoftBank, the Japanese technology conglomerate, is a significant shareholder in OSIsoft, thanks to an investment in 2017 that's rumored to have been up to $800 million. The Japanese company as of late has been selling off assets to pay down its sizeable debt load, so it shouldn't be then surprising that SoftBank helped initiate a possible sale of OSIsoft and stands in line to likely reap a sizeable profit on its investment in the company. OSIsoft as a company stands out when compared…

Wendell Brooks Departs Intel Capital

Wendell Brooks, the President of Intel Capital, the venture arm of chip giant Intel, has tendered his resignation from the firm after a few years at its helm. Brooks is stepping down after four years as President, compared to his predecessor, Arvind Sodhani, who stepped down after 28 years of leading Intel Capital. Brooks says he's leaving Intel Capital to pursue other opportunities, and to fill in the gap left from his resignation, Anthony Lin, an executive at Intel Capital, will take over as interim President.

As President of Intel Capital, Wendell Brooks oversaw investments totalling hundreds of millions of dollars into hundreds of startups.





ServiceNow Readies $1.5 Billion Bond Sale

Cloud software company ServiceNow has priced a public bond offering that's intended to raise $1.5 billion to finance its operations. The Santa Clara-based company is issuing 1.4%-interest accruing senior notes that'll be due by 2030 to raise the targeted amount, which will be put towards financing its operations and also repurchasing up to $500 million in previously issued bonds that are due by 2022. Investment banks including the likes of J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo, and Barclays Capital are managing the bond offering.

ServiceNow intends to complete the bond offering on the 11th of August 2020.





Brief: Dropbox's Q2 Results

Online storage company Dropbox has announced its financial results for the second quarter of this year, reporting revenues of $467 million, up 16% year-over-year, and a net loss of $17.5 million, compared to $21 million in the same period last year. Dropbox had 15 million paying users as of the end of the second quarter, compared to 13.6 million in the same period last year. The average revenue per paying user came at roughly $127, compared to $120 in the same period last year. Dropbox ended the quarter with $1.2 billion in cash and cash equivalents on its balance sheet.

Alongside its quarterly results, Dropbox also announced that its longtime Chief Financial Officer, Ajay Vashee, is stepping down effective on the 15th of September, 2020. He's being replaced by Tim Regan, Dropbox's current Chief Accounting Officer.





Brief: T-Mobile's Q2 Results

US telecoms giant T-Mobile has announced its financial results for the second quarter of this year, reporting revenues of $17.7 billion and net income of $110 million. During the quarter, T-Mobile notably added roughly 1.2 million customers to its network and finalized a merger with competitor Sprint to become an even bigger telecom provider. T-Mobile claims it's now surpassed AT&T to become the second largest telecom provider in the US but such a claim seems controversial and not necessarily true. Altogether, T-Mobile reports having 98.3 million total customers in the US.

T-Mobile has been building out its 5G network in the US, now in more than 7,500 cities. Major locations where it's set up 5G services include Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, Dallas, and Washington D.C. During the quarter, the company sold billions of dollars worth of additional bonds to finance its operations.





Brief: Cloudflare's Q2 Results

Internet security company Cloudflare has announced its financial results for the second quarter of this year, indicating $100 million in revenue, up 48% year-over-year, and $26 million in losses, up from $20 million in the same quarter last year. As of the end of the second quarter, Cloudflare reported having $1.07 billion in cash and short-term investments on its balance sheet. During the quarter, Cloudflare notably added more employees compared to any other quarter in its history.

Forecast

For the third quarter of this year, Cloudflare is projecting revenues of about $103 million. For the full year, the company is projecting revenues of between $404 million to $408 million.





Brief: Job Cuts Occur At Tesla

Tesla, the famed electric carmaker, is currently instituting some job cuts across the board, according to a source familiar with the matter. According to our source, the job cuts seem to be more performance and review-based rather than outright cuts intended to shave costs. However, a sizeable number of people have apparently been affected, with the job cuts having begun as early as last week. Specific reasons for the cuts weren't formally provided by Tesla, which is notably fresh off a concurrent fourth profitable quarter. Tesla clinched $6 billion in revenue and $104 million in profit in the second quarter of this year despite a pandemic that suspended major manufacturing operations for weeks. Altogether, the company sold about 91,000 vehicles in the second quarter of this year.

Tesla is also notably fresh off a lawsuit against electric car challenger Rivian, which it accuses of  trade secrets theft facilitated by some of its former employees.





Uber's Q2 Results

Uber has announced its financial results for the second quarter of this year, reporting $2.2 billion in revenue, down 29% year-over-year, on gross bookings of $10.2 billion, down 35% year-over-year. Net loss for the quarter came at $1.8 billion, including $131 million in stock-based compensation expense. As of the end of the second quarter, Uber had $7.8 billion in cash and short-term investments on its balance sheet, as it grapples with a coronavirus pandemic that has significantly affected its business. It's such that Uber resorted to laying off thousands during the quarter in order to curtail business losses.

During the second quarter, 737 million trips were taken on Uber, compared to roughly 1.7 billion in the same quarter last year. Uber reports having 55 million monthly active riders as of the second quarter, compared to 99 million in the same period last year. During the quarter, ride-hailing revenues fell 67% year-over-year to $790 million while food delivery revenues sur…

Brief: Moderna's Q2 Results

Moderna, the biotech company, has announced its financial results for the second quarter of this year, reporting $66 million in revenues, compared to $13 million in the same quarter last year and much a beat to general analyst expectations for this quarter. The company, however, lost $117 million within the same period. As usual, research and development spend made up the bulk of Moderna's operating expenses, coming at $152 million for the quarter. During the quarter, Moderna also received $400 million in customer deposits for the potential supply of a coronavirus vaccine that it's working on, a potential vaccine that has already begun Phase 3 trials.

Moderna ended the quarter with $3.1 billion in cash on its balance sheet, buoyed by $1.3 billion in proceeds that the company got from a share offering in May of this year.





Robinhood Scores $180 Million Q2 Revenue

As revealed by a regulatory filing, Robinhood, the stock trading company, recorded $180 million in revenue in the second quarter of this year, nearly double the $91 million that it recorded in the same quarter last year. Robinhood's revenue primarily comes from big trading firms that pay the company for order flows to then front-run their trades with the aim of earning profits usually by scrubbing some pennies off each transaction. Out of the $180 million revenue, $111 million came from options trading by Robinhood customers.

Robinhood is benefitting from a recent surge in stock market volatility as numerous more people flock to buying and selling stocks. For a hint, the company added three million funded accounts in the first four months of this year alone and recorded its three most active trading days of all time in June of this year. Other brokers such as TD Ameritrade and Etrade are also witnessing sizeable increases in revenue from order flows ($340 million in Q2, compared …

Most Read Posts

Zomato Begins "Period Leave" For Employees

Zomato, the Indian food delivery company, has said it would begin allowing female employees to take up to 10 days of “period leave” per year, as part of efforts to tackle what it says is a stigma surrounding the issue, particularly in India. Zomato seems like the most high profile organization in India to have instituted such a policy in the country, where menstruation is still a taboo to some. “There shouldn’t be any shame or stigma attached to applying for a period leave,” Zomato's CEO, Deepinder Goyal, penned in an e-mail to the company's staff on Saturday.

Zomato is one of the best-known companies in India, currently with more than 5,000 employees. The company has come a long way from its humble beginnings in 2008 to clinching nearly $400 million in annual revenues. It's been buoyed by just shy of a billion dollars in total funding by investors such as the likes of Naspers, Delivery Hero, Shunwei Capital, and Tencent.





SpaceX And ULA Land Big US Contracts

Aerospace companies SpaceX and the United Launch Alliance (ULA) have landed big respective contracts to launch satellites into orbit for the U.S. government through this year to 2024. The contract, in particular, is the second phase of the US National Security Space Launch program, which assures access to space for U.S. government payloads. The ULA is receiving 60% of the specified contracts while SpaceX takes on the remaining 40%. Already, the U.S. Department of Defense has awarded $316 million to SpaceX and $337 million to ULA “to meet fiscal year 2022 launch dates” [implying the first half of the stipulated contracts], according to a press statement.

“This was an extremely tough decision and I appreciate the hard work industry completed to adapt their commercial launch systems to affordably and reliably meet our more stressing national security requirements,” Colonel Robert Bongiovi, director of the U.S. Space and Missile Systems Center Launch Enterprise, said in a press statement…

Varjo Nabs $54 Million Series C

Varjo, the Finnish virtual reality startup, has announced that it's raised $54 million in Series C funding from investors including Volvo, Atomico, EQT Ventures, Lifeline Ventures, and NordicNinja. The investment coincides with the promotion of Varjo's COO, Timo Toikkanen, now to CEO, with its previous CEO, Niko Eiden, stepping down from the role to become the company's chief experience officer (CXO). With the new funding, Varjo has now raised more than $100 million to date. The company says it'll put the new capital towards global expansion and hardware and software development.

Varjo has gone through a strong year in which it added a significant number of new enterprise customers and expanded its sales operations to over 40 countries. Varjo has created a sophisticated headset that combines virtual and mixed reality capabilities, a headset mainly targeted at enterprises and professionals rather than individual consumers. Varjo works directly with its enterprise custo…

EA Investors Chide Executive Pay

Shareholders of gaming company Electronic Arts have profusely rejected the company's executive pay plan in a recent advisory vote, with 171 million votes cast against the pay plan for named officers against about 60 million in favor, as indicated by a regulatory filing. Such a vote marks a rare rebuke for a company of EA's caliber, with major opposition coming from proxy advisers such as Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), which had earlier voiced concerns about a special round of stock awards for EA's top executives.

EA's top brass had previously received special stock awards for fiscal 2018 that haven't fully vested, drawing queries about the necessity for a new round of such awards. According to the ISS, EA chief executive Andrew Wilson, who pulled in $21 million in compensation last year, is paid 56% more than a median CEO peer, which “has a ratcheting effect on executive compensation.”

With the vote, EA will likely adjust its executive compensation plan…

AmEx In Talks To Snap Up Kabbage

Financial services giant American Express is in talks to acquire Kabbage, the small business lender backed by the likes of SoftBank and BlueRun Ventures, as first reported [paywall] by Bloomberg. According to Bloomberg, AmEx could cough up as much as $850 million in cash for Kabbage in a deal that could be formalized as soon as this month. AmEx is the biggest provider of small-business credit cards in the US so scooping up a small business lender like Kabbage will help bolster its business.

Throughout its history, Kabbage, which was founded in 2008, has raised about $500 million in equity funding and even hundreds of millions more in debt funding. Investors in the company include the likes of SoftBank, BlueRun Ventures, Recruit Holdings, UPS, and Thomvest Ventures. On the heels of the coronavirus pandemic, business slowed for Kabbage, which then furloughed hundreds of employees and suspended customer credit lines as it grappled with drastic cuts in small business spending across the …

Xpeng Files For US IPO

Chinese electric car upstart Xpeng has filed to go public in the U.S., notably on the cusp of securing hundreds of millions of dollars in additional funding. Xpeng is looking to go public just five years after its founding and after having sold thousands of electric vehicles, including about 2,400 in July alone. Xpeng reported revenues of $328 million in 2019 and $522 million in losses in the same year. For the first six months of this year, the company brought in $142 million in sales and recorded losses of $113 million.

Currently, Xpeng sells two vehicles, the G3 SUV and the P7 sedan. The company plans to launch yet another by next year, according to its filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC). Altogether, Xpeng has delivered 18,741 G3 vehicles and 1,966 P7 vehicles. The company's sales network covers 147 stores and service centers across 52 cities in China.

Xpeng's F-1 filing lists a placeholder amount of $100 million, a figure that's likely to c…

Nikola Secures Order For 2,500 Trucks

Nikola, the publicly-traded electric vehicle upstart, has announced that it's secured an order for 2,500 electrified refuse trucks from waste collection giant Republic Services, with an option to expand to 5,000. The orders are due to be fulfilled beginning 2023, with on-road testing planned for 2022. The new bulk order marks one of the largest ever seen in the refuse management industry and more so in the electric vehicle scene. Nikola listed on the public markets this year but hasn't sold a single vehicle yet. This has nevertheless not stopped investor hopes and optimism, with the company's current market capitalization (as of writing) hovering at $17 billion.

The order for 2,500 trucks, as well as previous orders from several companies, represents a potential juicy revenue source for Nikola. The electric refuse trucks ordered from Nikola by Republic Services is expected to offer up to 150 miles of range on a single charge. Republic Services is notably the second larges…

Salesforce Exits Zoom Stake With Profit

Software giant Salesforce has sold all of its shares in video communications company Zoom, as indicated by a recent regulatory filing. Salesforce earlier invested $100 million in Zoom at the cusp of its public listing last year and has apparently reaped sizeable profits thanks to Zoom's shares zooming high amid outsized growth on the heels the coronavirus pandemic. The exact amount Salesforce reaped from offloading its stake isn't clear but for a hint, Zoom went public at $36 a share, the price at which Salesforce bought into, and traded between as low as $114 a share to as high as $259 a share over the second quarter of this year during which Salesforce offloaded its stake.

Alongside Zoom, Salesforce also sold all of its remaining shares in online storage company Dropbox. Just as in the case of Zoom, Salesforce invested $100 million in Dropbox on the cusp of the company's public listing. Through its venture arm, Salesforce is an investor in numerous technology companies.…

CuriosityStream Eyes Reverse Listing

CuriosityStream, the upstart streaming service, has announced that it's reached a deal to go public via a merger with Software Acquisition Group, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). Software Acquisition, the targeted merger company, was listed publicly last year and raised $150 million from investors, money that will now go to CuriosityStream plus an additional $25 million that the company says it'll further raise from investors. The proposed merger will value CuriosityStream at $330 million including debt. As a private company, CuriosityStream has raised $255 million in venture funding.

CuriosityStream is a science-focused streaming platform that was founded in 2011 by John Hendricks, an entrepreneur best known for founding entertainment giant Discovery Inc. The company has racked up 13 million subscribers to date, some directly on its platform, and others by third-party deals with cable companies. CuriosityStream is available in 175 countries, offering over 3,100 …

Coinbase To Begin Offering Cash Loans

Crypto company Coinbase has said that it'll begin offering cash loans to US-based customers as part of a push into other areas outside its main business of facilitating cryptocurrency trades. Basically, customers will be able to borrow cash as is done usually on lending platforms but this time backed by their Coinbase cryptocurrency portfolio. Customers will get the option to borrow amounts equating to up to 30% of their Coinbase crypto holdings and will be able to secure loans within 2-3 days of applying, according to Coinbase.

The new service is set to begin by this fall.