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Showing posts from November, 2019

Nigeria To License More Payment Providers

Nigeria's central bank plans to license more payment providers to operate in its jurisdiction in an effort to improve the financial-inclusion rate of its citizens to 80% by the end of next year from about 60% currently, the country's Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said in a statement on Friday. “The provision of licenses to several players will help support innovation and competition as all parties work to increase their customer base,” he said in a speech delivered in the Nigerian capital of Abuja.

“Nigerians in underserved locations will have access to cost effective payment services, cash-in and cash-out facilities, and savings products.” Emefiele said. Such measures come as Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation and biggest economy, sees a push in digital banking services thanks to the rise of some relatively new payments services and new solutions from already existing banks alike. However, even with such growth, Nigeria's digital banking reach pales whe…

Deliveroo Loses CFO, Poaches Airbnb Executive

Raif Jacobs, the chief financial officer of U.K. food delivery startup Deliveroo, has left the company after just a year on the job, adding to a substantial number of executive departures at Deliveroo. Jacobs left the company early October, around the same time frame the U.K.'s competition watchdog launched an investigation into a big Amazon investment in Deliveroo. The investment in concern was a $575 million investment led by Amazon, with participation from Greenoaks, T. Rowe Price, and Fidelity. The funding process got paused by regulators in July, with a formal investigation launched several months later.

The U.K.'s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) stipulated that Amazon's large investment may lead to a future merger with  Deliveroo, and said it was considering whether such a situation may "result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services." A deadline of the 11th of December was …

Wag CEO Hilary Schneider Departs

Wag, a Softbank-backed on-demand dog walking startup, has announced a departure of its current CEO, Hilary Schneider, who took on the role just last year, as at the time of a $300 million investment from the Softbank Vision Fund. Schneider is stepping down effective November 29, to be replaced by Garrett Smallwood, who is being promoted from a VP position. Smallwood is joining Wag's board as part of his transition to the CEO role.


Schneider's departure represents the third time Wag is going through a CEO change since its founding in 2015. Schneider, who has been Wag's CEO for just short of two years, replaced co-founder Joshua Viner when she took on the role. Smallwood is now replacing her, as she heads on to a CEO role at photography company Shutterfly. Prior to Wag, Schneider served as CEO at LifeLock, an identity theft protection company acquired by Symantec for $2.3 billion in March 2017.

The CEO change at Wag comes on the heels of reports of the company facing strugg…

Uber Loses London Operating License, Again

Uber has lost its license to operate in the city of London, marking the second time in just over two years that such situation is occurring. The London license cease, announced on Monday, was due to Uber's app not being “fit and proper” in regards to passenger safety, London's transportation regulator said. The decision to not renew the license comes at the end of a two-month probationary extension period that was added to a prior 15-month running license.

Uber was required by Transport for London (TfL), London's transportation regulator, to address issues regarding checks on drivers, insurance and safety, but seems to have not satisfied TfL, which said it had identified “pattern of failures” in regards to those requirements. The transportation regulator cited a case where a change to Uber's systems allowed unauthorized drivers to upload their photos to other drivers' accounts, entailing they could pickup passengers as if they were the booked driver.

TfL said such…

Darktrace Could Be Heading For An IPO

Darktrace, a U.K. cybersecurity startup that was valued at $1.65 billion after raising funding last year, could be looking towards a public offering, indicated by a closeness to naming a chief financial officer, Bloomberg reports. Companies looking to go public typically appoint a CFO, usually of high-profile, to take on the role of spearheading the company's finances in preparation for a voyage on the public markets. Also, with $231 million in funding and a high valuation to go along, Darktrace seems like a company that's ready to hit the public markets, especially if it's found stability in its business model.

In an interview, Darktrace co-founder and co-CEO Poppy Gustafsson said the company added about 400 employees in the past year, and expects to keep growing at a similar rate. However, she also noted that Darktrace hasn't made a firm decision regarding debuting on the public markets, and said the company doesn't require additional investment for its expansio…

Airbnb Reportedly Lost $100 Million In Q2

According to a report from The Information, Airbnb lost about $100 million in the second quarter of this year, compared to a profit of $10 million it made in the same period last year. The Information reports the loss is driven by increased marketing and administrative expenses, an indication that the company is dedicating more resources to its growth ahead of a planned IPO next year. A previous report from The Information had said Airbnb lost $306 million in the first quarter of this year, attributable in part to higher sales and marketing spend.

The losses recorded by Airbnb this year are in contrast to an upheld status as one of the few profitable private tech companies out there. Airbnb is known to have been profitable for two years running before reports of losses sprang up this year. While losses due to higher investments and bets on growth could pay off in the long-term, it may muddle Airbnb's ability to present itself to investors as a tech company that makes money, espec…

Carbon Names Ellen Kullman As CEO

3D printing unicorn Carbon has announced the appointment of Ellen Kullman, of DuPont fame, as its new CEO, with current CEO Joseph DeSimone transitioning to the role of Executive Chairman. Kullman who has been a board member at Carbon since 2016 will remain as one as she serves as CEO. Carbon touts the leadership change as one that has been "worked on to prepare the company for its next chapter", which we speculate is an IPO.

As CEO, Kullman will lead the development and execution of short- and long-term strategies, a Carbon press release said, while DeSimone transitions to a role that doesn't entail much day-to-day management. As Executive Chairman, DeSimone will focus on growing adoption of the 3D printing company's Digital Manufacturing Platform, and pushing the company's vision to existing and prospective customers, partners and the general public.

DeSimone, who was previously a professor at the University of North Carolina for more than two decades, founded…

PayPal Scoops Up Honey For $4 Billion

PayPal has announced it has agreed to acquire Honey Science Corporation, an LA-based tech company behind a popular eponymous deals and coupons discovery tool, for roughly $4 billion. The acquisition is expected to close in the first quarter of next year, subject to conventional closing conditions, including regulatory approvals. It represents PayPal's biggest acquisition since inception, and a likely mouth-watering win for Honey's shareholders, given the company only raised a relatively paltry $49 million in total funding.

After the acquisition, Honey will retain its headquarters in Los Angeles, where its co-founders George Ruan and Ryan Hudson will continue to lead its team but as part of PayPal's global consumer product and technology organization. The two co-founders will report to PayPal SVP John Kunze while maintaining their positions.

Honey was founded in 2012, and has grown to be a deals discovery tool with roughly 17 million monthly active users. The LA-based comp…

DoorDash Said To Be Considering Direct Listing

According to a Bloomberg report, DoorDash, which is fresh off $100 million in funding, is considering a direct stock listing for its planned debut on the public markets instead of taking the traditional IPO route. A direct listing entails a heads-on debut on the public markets rather than taking the conventional route of issuing new shares and raising capital from investors in order to do so. The direct listing route hasn't been around for long, just pioneered by music streaming service Spotify last year. Shortly after, Slack became the second major tech company to take that route, having directly debuted on the public markets just a few months ago.

According to Bloomberg, DoorDash has held talks with investment bank Goldman Sachs about a direct listing. Such idea doesn't seem far-fetched, given DoorDash has already raised billions in funding. The San Francisco-based company may not be looking to raise additional capital, hence the need for a direct listing. However, Bloomber…

Squarespace Said To Be In Talks For $400 Million Debt Funding

According to a Bloomberg report, Squarespace is in talks with banks to take on as much as $400 million in debt financing that would help prepare the way for an initial public offering. Bloomberg reports the company is seeking to arrange the debt facility ahead of an IPO that could happen in 2021 or later. Its report also notes that Squarespace, unlike several other high-profile unicorns, is cash-flow positive.

Securing a credit facility from Wall Street banks often comes before a public offering. In such a case, companies typically return favors to banks that make significant lending commitments by offering roles on their IPOs, which in turn leads to substantial fees for the banks.

Squarespace, a do-it-yourself (DIY) website service, has raised nearly $300 million in total funding according to Crunchbase data. Last valued at $1.7 billion, the New York-based company is known be only backed by four VC firms; Index Ventures, Accel, General Atlantic and Mosaic Ventures.

Being cash-flow p…

Gett Closes Shop In NYC

Gett, a Volkswagen-backed Israeli ride-hailing company, has announced an already effective closure of its New York rideshare business, Juno. As part of the closure, Gett is transferring its corporate clients in the U.S. to Lyft's ride-hailing network, thanks to a strategic partnership between both companies. Corporate customers in the U.S. will still be able to book rides on Gett's app, but will be matched with drivers on Lyft instead of Juno from now on.

Gett says Juno's closure reinforces its strategy to "build a profitable company focused on the corporate transportation sector". The Tel-Aviv based company also partly blames Juno's closure on recently enacted NYC regulations in the ride-hailing sector, or to quote the company; "the enactment of misguided regulations in New York City earlier this year".

Gett shutting down a business it acquired for $200 million two years ago seems like quite a hit, but isn't so jolting given reports of an IPO …

Airbnb Seals Nine-Year Olympics Sponsorship Deal

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced it has sealed an agreement with Airbnb that entails the online accommodation marketplace joining The Olympic Partner Programme (TOP), the highest level of sponsorship offered by the Olympic Committee. Under the program, Airbnb will be a sponsor for the Olympic Games, with a contract that runs for a nine-year period. According to The Financial Times, Airbnb's sponsorship deal is valued at $500 million.


As a global partner, Airbnb will be a sponsor for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, the Olympic Games Paris 2024, the Olympic Winter Games Milano Cortina 2026 and the Olympic Games Los Angeles 2028. The partnership also covers Paralympic Games from 2020 through 2028.

Such partnership, centered mainly on marketing and brand awareness, is conventionally bound to bring in more business for Airbnb. Airbnb said the partnership will generate "hundreds of thousands of new hosts" on its plat…

Microsoft Hires Former U.S. AG To Probe AnyVision

Microsoft has said it has hired Eric Holder, a famed lawyer who served as the Attorney General of the U.S. from 2009 to 2015, to investigate if AnyVision, an Israeli AI company it invested in, violated Microsoft's ethics regarding use of facial recognition technology. Quoting a Microsoft spokesperson, Holder's team of former federal prosecutors "will move quickly, reviewing documents and conducting on the ground interviews with AnyVision employees and others to ensure a full and thorough investigation."


NBC News earlier reported Holder's hire. The news outlet previously reported that facial recognition technology developed by AnyVision had powered a secret military surveillance project for the Israel army that monitored Palestinians in the West Bank. According to NBC News, the project was so successful that AnyVision won Israel's top defense prize in 2018 for preventing "hundreds of terror attacks" using "large amounts of data." AnyVision…

Magic Leap Said To Be Raising More Funding

Magic Leap, a Florida-based augmented reality startup that's already garnered some $2.6 billion in funding, is raising even more funding according to a report from Variety. A spokesperson for the company further confirmed Variety's report, stating that Magic Leap "is in the midst of a significant financing round". “We have already closed a major portion of this round, some as equity and some as convertible debt that will become equity when the round is complete. The participants in this round include existing investors, new investors, and strategic partners.” The spokesperson said.

Initial signs of Magic Leap seeking more funding surfaced in August, when the company assigned all of its patents to JPMorgan Chase as collateral. Reports of the transfer recently surfaced on Hacker News, a popular technology-focused social news website/forum, where several commenters evinced that such arrangement could be an indicator of financial struggles. However, such arrangement isn…

Freshworks Raises $150 Million At A $3.5 Billion Valuation

Freshworks, a San Mateo, California-based company that makes a host of customer support software, has announced $150 million in Series H funding led by Alphabet's CapitalG, Sequoia Capital and Accel. The funding values Freshworks at $3.5 billion, up from $1.5 billion when it raised funding July last year. Notably, Accel, Sequoia, and CapitalG, the participants in this new funding, were the only investors in the previous round, entailing a double down on a previous bet on Freshworks.

The new funding brings the total raised by Freshworks to $400 million. The company says it'll make use of the investment to further global expansion and accelerate investments in its Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform. Freshworks was founded in 2010, formerly known as Freshdesk, and has grown to employ more than 2,500 currently. The San Mateo-based company has, as of late, embarked on what can be termed an expansion spree, having opened a second U.S. office last month, with plans to hire more t…

Tencent Said To Purchase 10% Stake In Policybazaar

According to a Bloomberg report, Tencent has purchased a 10% stake in Policybazaar, an Indian online insurance aggregator that notably raised funding from the Softbank Vision Fund last year. According to Bloomberg, Tencent paid $150 million for the 10% stake, valuing the company at $1.5 billion. Tencent didn't actually make a direct investment into the company, but purchased half of a stake held by famed tech investor Tiger Global, according to Bloomberg. This entails Tiger Global, a New York-based investment firm that has backed and reaped profits from several high-profile tech companies, is the one on the receiving end of the transaction and not Policybazaar itself.

Tiger Global seems to have reaped good profits on its Policybazaar bet, having been known to have invested less than $100 million altogether in the company. Selling just half of its stake for $150 million indicates a healthy profit on its investment and possibly more profits from its remaining stake. Talks of Tiger …

Blackstone Snags Majority Stake In MagicLab

Private equity juggernaut Blackstone has announced it's acquiring a majority stake in MagicLab, a company that's behind several popular online dating services including Badoo and Bumble. Blackstone's acquisition values MagicLab, which traces its roots to the launch of Badoo in 2006, at around $3 billion. Under the terms of the acquisition, Andrey Andreev, a Russian entrepreneur who launched and has led the company for more than a decade, will be selling his stake and stepping down, to be replaced by Whitney Wolfe Herd, the founder and CEO of Bumble.

MagicLab is a prosperous but somewhat low-key company that has been behind some globally recognised online brands. Focused on the online dating sector, MagicLab is behind some of the best-known brands in that scene, including Badoo, a dating service with more than 400 million users, and Bumble, a female-focused dating app that was launched in 2014 by Whitney Wolfe Herd, who's also a founding member of Tinder, another leadi…

CloudKitchens Said To Have Raised $400 Million From Saudi Fund

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund has invested $400 million into CloudKitchens, a food startup led by Travis Kalanick, who is better known as a co-founder and former CEO of ride-hailing giant Uber. According to the Wall Street Journal, CloudKitchens completed an investment agreement with Saudi Arabia's wealth fund in January, and actually notched a deal that valued it at around $5 billion.

Kalanick, who is widely known for leading Uber from the ground up but amid series of controversies
that later led to his ouster, assumed a leadership role at CloudKitchens after acquiring a controlling stake for a reported $150 million early last year. As the aforementioned statement suggests, he didn't actually launch CloudKitchens from the ground up, but took a majority stake in the company shortly after his ouster from Uber.

CloudKitchens is an operator of so-called ghost kitchens, that is professional kitchens set up for the pre…

Mobileye and NIO Partner On Self-Driving Technology

Intel's Mobileye has announced a collaboration with Chinese electric car maker NIO on self-driving technology. The collaboration entails the development of a self-driving system by NIO on the foundation of Mobileye's own self-driving kit, with plans to mass-deploy the system beginning in China. The partnership also involves the purchase of specially configured NIO vehicles by Mobileye, marking NIO as the first large-scale automaker to have signed on to supply vehicles to the Intel-owned company. With such deal implying a potential increase in vehicle sales, NIO, whose stock has fallen more than 70% since it went public, shot up 38% during trading on news of its Intel partnership.

As part of their planned partnership, Mobileye will provide NIO with the design of a self-driving system built on the Mobileye AV Series, a custom kit comprised of a custom chip, hardware, and mapping and safety software developed by Mobileye. NIO will then build upon Mobileye's system to come up…

Rakuten Takes Subsequent Hit On Lyft Stake

Rakuten, the largest shareholder in Lyft, has said it expects to record a $947 million loss on its stake in the ride-hailing company in the latest quarter. This is atop an earlier 24.8 billion yen ($227 million) write-down by the company on its Lyft stake, driven by a tumble of the ride-hailing company's stock price from an all-time high of $88.60 to currently [as of writing] around $41. Lyft is locked in a cash-burning price war with its larger rival Uber in the U.S., a situation that has led to high spend to retain customers which has in turn led to substantial losses.

In the third quarter of this year, Lyft booked $956 million in revenue, up 63% year-over-year, but with losses of $463.5 million, of which $241.6 million was due to stock-based compensation and $86.6 million due to changes to liabilities for insurance. On the whole, Lyft spent $1.4 billion in the third quarter of this year, more than the revenue it pulled in. Just like Lyft, Uber is also spending more than it pul…

Germany To Raise EV Subsidies; Reuters

According to an official document seen and reported on by Reuters, the German government is planning to boost by 50% the subsidies available to buyers of electric cars over five subsequent years starting 2020. According to Reuters [citing the document], subsidies for plug-in hybrids in Germany will increase from 3,000 to 4,500 euros, and a further 5,000 euros for vehicles costing more than 40,000 euros.

The German government has set a target of having 10 million electric cars on its roads by 2030 and seems to be making steps in that direction. Not surprisingly, Reuters' report happens to have been published on the same day Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel attended an event that marked the start of mass-production of Volkswagen's ID.3 electric vehicle. Merkel wasn't just present at the event but even gave a speech, calling the ID.3's production start "a cornerstone of the future of the German automotive industry". She also promised support for the expan…

Keyssa Poaches Apple Veteran

Keyssa, a Campbell, California-based startup that's working on technology intended to enable high-speed wireless data transfer between devices, has announced it has hired RubĂ©n Caballero, a 14-year running Apple veteran, to serve as 'Chief Wireless Strategist'. Caballero is joining Keyssa after a nearly 15-year stint at Apple, where he headed wireless efforts, including leading designs for the first iPhone and iPad as well as the Apple Watch.

At Apple, Caballero was one of the founding leaders of the iPhone hardware team, and served as a VP of engineering for 14 years. During his tenure, he founded, built and oversaw Apple's Wireless Design & Technology Group, a team of more than 1,000 engineers in 26 countries working on all of Apple's products and disciplines including antenna design, wireless validation, field engineering, radio frequency (RF) architecture, electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), certification and regulation and production testing.

At Keyssa, …

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Nikola Raises $250 Million At A $3 Billion Valuation

Nikola, a formerly Utah but now Phoenix-based manufacturer of hydrogen-electric vehicles, has courted a $250 million Series D investment out of a targeted $1 billion raise. CNH Industrial, one of the world's largest capital goods companies, made the investment at a $3 billion pre-money valuation. The $250 million figure actually comprises of $100 million in cash and $150 million in services like product development, manufacturing engineering, and other forms of technical assistance that CNH will provide to Nikola.

CNH Industrial owns FPT Industrial, a leading manufacturer of powertrains for large vehicles, and Iveco, a leading manufacturer of heavy trucks. These two firms will provide strategic expertise for Nikola, which is known mainly for its hydrogen-electric (fuel cell) trucks. Iveco and FPT will provide engineering and manufacturing services to industrialize Nikola’s fuel-cell powered electric trucks, under the terms of CNH's investment. For example, Nikola has made pla…

Rivian Raises $1.3 Billion In Additional Funding

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 explain the additional funding at the tail-end…

Apple Lowers Guidance For Fiscal 2019 First Quarter

Going by a recently released letter to investors by Apple CEO Tim Cook, The company has lowered revenue guidance for its fiscal 2019 first quarter which ended on the 29th of December, citing lower than expected iPhone sales in China and "emerging market challenges".

It now expects revenue of approximately $84 billion, a gross margin of approximately 38%, operating expenses of approximately $8.7 billion, other income/(expense) of approximately $550 million and a tax rate of approximately 16.5 percent before discrete items for this period.


In the letter, Apple CEO Tim Cook blames this on two key factors - "emerging market challenges" and lower than anticipated iPhone revenue, primarily in Greater China, the latter which it says accounts for all of revenue shortfall to guidance and more than its entire year-over-year revenue decline. Cook noted that sales outside of the iPhone (Services, Mac, iPad, Wearables/Home/Accessories) combined grew almost 19% from last year.

Darktrace Could Be Heading For An IPO

Darktrace, a U.K. cybersecurity startup that was valued at $1.65 billion after raising funding last year, could be looking towards a public offering, indicated by a closeness to naming a chief financial officer, Bloomberg reports. Companies looking to go public typically appoint a CFO, usually of high-profile, to take on the role of spearheading the company's finances in preparation for a voyage on the public markets. Also, with $231 million in funding and a high valuation to go along, Darktrace seems like a company that's ready to hit the public markets, especially if it's found stability in its business model.

In an interview, Darktrace co-founder and co-CEO Poppy Gustafsson said the company added about 400 employees in the past year, and expects to keep growing at a similar rate. However, she also noted that Darktrace hasn't made a firm decision regarding debuting on the public markets, and said the company doesn't require additional investment for its expansio…

Brief: Monzo In Funding Talks With SoftBank

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 slots available in limited areas. This is being done in preparation for a wider rollout.

Monzo has raised funding fr…

Meet goPuff, A Low-key Delivery Company Worth $1 Billion

The food-delivery market is one with intense competition. The likes of DoorDash, Uber Eats, Postmates, Deliveroo, Swiggy, Just Eat, Yelp Eat 24, and more are steadily competing for global market share while also raising huge funding. Just recently, Deliveroo raised $575 million in a round led by Amazon. DoorDash has also raised $600 million Series G funding at a $12.6 billion valuation.

Amid the intense battle, it turns out there's one hot startup that has stayed low key to avoid the eye of rivals, but it seems word is getting out. That low-key hot startup is goPuff, an on-demand delivery service that was valued at $1 billion last November (after an investment), according to regulatory filings reviewed by The Information. goPuff ships products to customers from centrally located facilities -- as opposed to direct pickup from stores -- in 81 U.S. cities.


The company -- based in Philadelphia -- stocks more than 3,000 products at its facilities which it then ships to customers who o…

Miami Based ParkJockey Gets Softbank Investment at $1 Billion Valuation

Miami based parking revenue and access control startup ParkJockey known for its platform that lets real estate owners or operators streamline parking operations using smart software, hardware and data APIs has raised funding from Softbank reported to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars at a $1 billion valuation.
Also, ParkJockey and Abu Dhabi venture arm Mubadala Capital have entered into an agreement to acquire competitor Imperial Parking Corporation (“Impark”) amid an already closed acquisition of Citizens Parking Inc. (“Citizens”), a leading parking management operator in the U.S.



ParkJockey was founded in 2013 by former management consultants Umut Tekin and Ari Ojalvo who currently leads as CEO, Its the official parking partner of organizations including Ticketmaster, Hertz and the Miami Heat and also the parking software provider at large venues like the American Airlines Arena, the Rose Bowl and the US Bank Stadium.

Its app-based technology includes custom account managem…

Bird Said To Be In Talks To Acquire Rival Circ

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 acquisition, having scooped up a smaller U.S. rival, Scoot, for a price said to be less than the amount of fu…

JFrog Said To Haved Hired Banks For An IPO

According to a Bloomberg report, JFrog, a San Francisco-based company that makes software for software developers, has hired JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley to lead an initial public offering that's aimed for next year. Bloomberg reports JFrog could seek a valuation of $2 billion or more for its listing, compared to a $1 billion+ valuation when it raised funding last year.

Founded in 2008, JFrog makes software used by software developers to deploy and manage software. The company's flagship product is known as "Artifactory", being a repository manager that supports several software package formats. JFrog also offers security, distribution, and pipelining software for developers. The company has attracted more than 4,500 customers so far, including top tech companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Netflix.

According to Crunchbase data, JFrog has raised $227 million in total funding, its most recent being a $165 million Series D raised last year October. Having …

Coupang Said To Be Eyeing 2021 IPO

Coupang, a SoftBank-backed South Korean e-commerce startup, is eyeing a 2021 initial public offering (IPO) according to a Bloomberg reportBloomberg 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 that sales increased more than 60% year-over-year in …