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Showing posts from February, 2020

Procore Files To Go Public

Procore, a Carpinteria, California-based construction tech startup valued at $3 billion by investors, has filed to go public with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), corroborating a previous report of the company having courted investment bank Goldman Sachs to arrange an initial public offering (IPO). Unsurprisingly, Goldman Sachs is a lead underwriter for Procore's IPO, alongside investment banks J.P. Morgan, Barclays, and Jefferies.

Procore's S-1 filing indicates $289 million in revenue and $83 million in losses for the full year ended December 31, 2019. This compares with $186 million in revenue and $56.7 million in losses in the previous year, and $112 million in revenue and $55.5 million in losses the year before that.

Sales and marketing account for the bulk of Procore's business costs, with the company having spent $173 million in 2019, $113 million in 2018, and $78 million in 2017 on that area. Research and development also make up a significant par…

Managed By Q Buyback By Founder Said To Stall

According to a Bloomberg report, a planned re-sale of Managed by Q -- a startup acquired by co-working company WeWork last year -- back to its founder amid cost-cutting efforts is said to have stalled even after official talks began, with WeWork opting to sell it to a company instead. Bloomberg reports Managed by Q co-founder Dan Teran alongside a group of investors were already in talks to re-purchase the startup from WeWork for less than $55 million, way less than the $220 million WeWork is said to have coughed up to acquire it last year. However, that deal may have included WeWork shares, which have since declined in value, meaning the actual amount could be much less than the $220 million figure.

According to Bloomberg, WeWork is opting instead to sell Managed by Q, which develops office management software, to Eden Technologies, a company that has previously competed with Managed by Q. Bloomberg reports Eden offered a price more than what Managed by Q co-founder Teran and his gr…

DoorDash Confidentially Files To Go Public

DoorDash has announced it has confidentially submitted a draft registration for an initial public offering (IPO) with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), corroborating long-time tittle-tattles of the food delivery company looking to go public this year. Tech companies in many cases first confidentially file with the SEC in the case of an intended IPO, with a public filing coming soon after. The time frame from a confidential filing to a public offering is conventionally not too long, meaning a DoorDash IPO could be coming in a matter of months.

DoorDash was previously reported to be considering a direct listing, that is, directly offering shares to the public without the aid of intermediaries. A direct listing also entails no new capital being raised by a company that takes such a path. Also, DoorDash was previously reported to be in discussions with banks for a credit facility of about $400 million ahead of an IPO.

DoorDash isn't the only tech company prepping to …

HeadSpin Raises $60 Million, Arora Joins Board

HeadSpin, a Palo Alto-based startup that develops software to aid performance of mobile apps, has announced $60 million in Series C funding led by Dell Technologies Capital and ICONIQ Capital, with participation from Tiger Global, Kearny Jackson, and Alpha Square Group alongside a host of angel investors, to name a few, LinkedIn’s Jeff Weiner, Facebook’s Kevin Weil and Andrea Moore, Uber’s Manik Gupta, Caviar’s Gokul Rajaram, Spotify’s John Bonten and Stripe's Amber Feng.

The new funding brings the total raised by HeadSpin to $117 million and values it at $1.16 billion. Alongside the investment, HeadSpin also announced the appointment of Palo Alto Networks CEO Nikesh Arora to its board.

HeadSpin, which launched in 2015, says it has doubled its annual revenue year-over-year since that year. The company currently boasts more than 1,000 enterprise customers, including notable names like Microsoft, Airbnb, Walmart, Uber, ByteDance, BYJUs, and Bandai Namco.

In just four years of exist…

Brief: Salesforce Acquires Vlocity, Leads Investment In ServiceMax

CRM giant Salesforce has announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Vlocity, a San Francisco-based startup that develops industry-specific cloud and mobile software based on Salesforce's platform. Salesforce is paying $1.33 billion for the company, which had raised $163 million in total funding and was valued at up to $1 billion by its investors. The acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter of Salesforce's fiscal 2021.

Vlocity last raised funding in March last year, having secured a $60 million Series C round led by Sutter Hill Ventures and unsurprisingly, Salesforce Ventures. Salesforce has quite a history of acquiring companies it previously invested in. Other examples of this kind include Quip and MapAnything.

In addition to acquiring Vlocity, Salesforce, via its venture arm, also just led $80 million in Series C funding for ServiceMax alongside famed tech investor Silver Lake. ServiceMax, a Pleasanton, California-based developer of field servi…

Toyota Leads $462 Million Round For Pony.ai

Self-driving startup Pony.ai has announced $462 million in new funding led by Toyota that values it at "just over" $3 billion. Toyota provided $400 million of the investment and has committed to deepening collaboration between itself and Pony.ai. Toyota seems to be keen on betting big on automotive-related startups, with this funding coming just shortly after the Japanese automaker led a $590 million Series C investment in Joby Aviation, an electric air taxi startup.

Pony.ai and Toyota actually initiated a joint self-driving pilot in August last year. Pony.ai has been testing a robo-taxi pilot service in Guangzhou, China since late 2018. The company, founded by former Baidu executive James Peng and Tiancheng Lou, an ex Baidu-engineer who also worked on self-driving tech previously at Google, also rolled out a robo-taxi pilot in the state of California in November last year.
Toyota isn't the only automaker Pony.ai has collaborated with. The self-driving startup was also …

Fox Corp Said To Be In Talks To Snap Up Tubi

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, media house Fox Corp is in talks to acquire streaming service Tubi in a deal that could value it at more than $500 million. The report notably comes a few months after Tubi was reported to be in talks to raise $150 million in new funding.

San Francisco-based Tubi is one out of several ad-supported streaming services out there. It's available in the US, Canada, and Australia, with more than 20,000 movies and television shows from several Hollywood Studios on its platform. Tubi currently works with more than 250 content partners, to name a few, Warner Bros., Paramount, and Lionsgate. In a recent press release, the San Francisco-based company said it'll boost its content spending this year to over nine figures.

Tubi had 229 employees as of 2019 end, a 78% increase from its 2018 headcount. The company has said it'll add more employees as it works towards both domestic and international expansion.

Fox Corp, the reported acqui…

Brief: Dropbox Soars On Q4 Result

File hosting company Dropbox just released its financial results for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2019, reporting $446 million in revenue, up 19% from the same period last year. For the entire year, Dropbox recorded $1.66 billion in revenue, up 19% year-over-year. In light of the results, Dropbox shares rose as much as 16% during trading on Thursday.

As of 2019 end, Dropbox had 14.3 million paying users, compared to 12.7 million as of the end of 2018. Average revenue per user amounted to $125, compared to roughly $120 in the previous year. As of 2019 end, Dropbox had $1.16 billion in cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments, slightly more than $1.09 billion as of the end of 2018.

As for losses, Dropbox recorded $6.6 million in losses in 2019, down from $9.5 million in 2018.

Dropbox has also authorized up to $600 million in share repurchases, representing less than 7% of its market cap as of writing.





Brief: Goldman Sachs Leads $120 Million Series E For Flywire

Flywire, a Boston, Massachusetts-based payments startup, has announced $120 million in Series E funding led by banking giant Goldman Sachs. The company also announced that it has acquired Simplee, a Palo Alto-based company that develops payment systems for the healthcare industry.

The Series E funding brings the total amount raised by Flywire to $260 million. Alongside Goldman, new investors Tiger Management and Adage Capital Management participated in the funding also alongside other existing investors. The investment is said to value Flywire at more than $1 billion.

Flywire develops cross-border payment systems that are tailored for customers in the healthcare, education, travel, and business sectors. The company has processed more than $12 billion in payments for more than 2,000 clients globally since inception.

Armed with its new acquisition, Simplee, Flywire says it'll power payments for four of the top ten US healthcare systems representing more than $10 billion in annual p…

Essential To Cease Operations

Essential Products, a smartphone startup founded by Android creator and former Google executive Andy Rubin, has announced it'll be ceasing operations and winding down after struggling to win customers in a highly competitive smartphone market. The Palo Alto-based company, which was founded in 2015, had raised $330 million in funding (Crunchbase data) from well-known investors such as Tencent, Amazon, and Redpoint prior to this announcement.

Essential's first product was an Android smartphone dubbed PH-1. It was announced in 2017 but discontinued a year later amid reports of poor sales. Essential began working on another unique kind of smartphone dubbed "Project GEM", which was unveiled late last year but hadn't gone into production and apparently won't given Essential is shutting down.



"Despite our best efforts, we’ve now taken Gem as far as we can and regrettably have no clear path to deliver it to customers." Essential's announcement said. &q…

Brief: Casper Surges In Public Market Debut

Online mattress retailer Casper, which filed for an initial public offering (IPO) early last month, just made its debut on the public markets, surging more than 20% from its opening share price despite a lowered valuation from its previous target. Before going public, Casper cut its IPO target share price from between $17 to $19 to between $12 to $13. The $12-$13 share price range implied a valuation hovering around $500 million, way below its last private valuation of $1.1 billion.

Casper posted $312 million in revenue in the first nine months of 2019 but with a $67 million loss in the same period. The company spends heavily on sales and marketing, with the segment making up most of its expenses. Casper, although a pioneer of the direct-to-consumer online mattress industry, is facing competition from a host of similar startups capitalizing on the same trend. In fact, by one count, there are 175 of such startups with very similar offerings.

There's really no strong barrier to ent…

FTC Sues To Block Harry's Acquisition

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has filed suit to block the acquisition of razor startup Harry's by Edgewell Personal Care. The FTC made this known in a recent announcement that termed Harry's' acquisition as one that "would eliminate one of the most important competitive forces in the shaving industry". "The loss of Harry’s as an independent competitor would remove a critical disruptive rival that has driven down prices and spurred innovation in an industry that was previously dominated by two main suppliers, one of whom is the acquirer." The FTC's statement said.

Edgewell Personal Care entered a deal to acquire Harry's for $1.37 billion in May last year. The acquisition happened to come a few years after consumer goods giant Unilever acquired one of Harry's main competitors, Dollar Shave Club, for $1 billion. That acquisition went smoothly, encountering no known regulatory hurdles on its way to completion.

Edgewell is one of a few…

Brief: Asana Confidentially Files To Go Public

Asana, a San Francisco-based software startup led by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, has announced that it has confidentially filed an S-1 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to hold a public listing. Its filing comes on the heels of another San Francisco-based firm, albeit a primary care one, One Medical, holding a successful public listing.

According to news site Axios, a spokesperson for Asana confirmed the company would be going public via a direct listing, an alternative route that entails holding a public listing without an underwritten public offering or issuance of new shares as is conventionally done. If it does so, Asana will be the third company to take that route, the other two being Spotify and Slack.

Airbnb, another IPO candidate for this year, is also rumored to be considering a direct listing, hinting of the alternative route being one that may become more common in future time.

Asana has raised some $213 million in total funding (Crunchbase d…

Brief: Goldman Sachs Said To Eye SMB Loans Tie-Up With Amazon

According to a report from the Financial Times, Goldman Sachs is in talks with Amazon to begin offering small-business loans via the e-commerce giant's lending platform. For those not in the know, Amazon operates a lending platform that has existed for years and is adopted as a way to strengthen its ties with small businesses. The loans facilitated through Amazon's platform are used mostly to provide Amazon.com merchants with funding needed to obtain inventory.

According to the Financial Times, Goldman Sachs has begun building out technology that would let it offer loans on Amazon's lending platform and could launch the project as soon as next month, March. Such plans conform with Goldman's plan to diversify, with the company fresh off its investor day, when it pitched embracing the conventional bank model (Goldman Sachs is mainly an investment bank) as it adjusts to a new era where conventional growth engines such as trading don't assure it a top Wall Street stan…

Brief: Darktrace Appoints New CFO

British cyber-security startup Darktrace has announced the appointment of a new CFO by name of Catherine Graham. Graham's appointment is effective beginning from 10th February. Her appointment comes amid reports that Darktrace could be on its way to an initial public offering (IPO).

Graham is a seasoned financial executive with more than two decades of professional experience under her belt. She has held leadership positions at several businesses through periods of fast growth and led four successful IPOs, including that of ed-tech company 2U. She served as CFO at 2U for eight years, leading its capital structure growth during her tenure.

Prior to 2U, Graham was also the founding CFO of Via Net.Works, an internet services provider that raised $186 million in venture capital before going public in early 2000.

“I am delighted to welcome Cathy to Darktrace,” Darktrace CEO Nicole Eagan said in a statement. “As we begin to see real-world attacks leveraging offensive AI, customer deman…

A16z Leads $10 Million Round For Neighbor.com

Neighbor.com, a Utah-based peer-to-peer self-storage startup, has announced $10 million in Series A funding led by Andreessen Horowitz (also known as a16z), with participation from Uber early employee Ryan Graves and Tonal co-founder Nate Bosshard. Under the terms of Andreessen Horowitz's investment, its managing partner, Jeff Jordan, is joining Neighbor.com's board. Jordan notably serves on the boards of Airbnb, Instacart, Lime, and Pinterest. He also previously held executive roles at eBay, PayPal, and OpenTable.

Neighbor.com is betting on peer-to-peer storage as a way to gain ground in the $40 billion U.S. self-storage market. Its method entails connecting "renters" in need of storage space with "hosts" in their neighborhood who are willing to lease extra space in their home or garage to store stuff. From college students storing a box in a neighbor's closet to homeowners storing cars in their third car garage, Neighbor provides a way for property o…

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Velodyne Aims For Reverse Public Listing

Velodyne, the lidar manufacturer backed by among others Ford and Chinese search giant Baidu, is in talks for a reverse listing with Graf Industrial Corp in order to debut on the public markets, according to a source familiar with the matter. Graf is working with an adviser on a possible merger with Velodyne, according to our source. Last year, Velodyne was reported to have hired bankers to spearhead a possible public listing but it seems the company has decided to take the "backdoor" method of going public by merging with a Special Purpose Acquisition Corporation (SPAC). SPACs, in this case, are corporate entities taken public for the sole purpose of merging with another private company.

As a private company, Velodyne has raised some $225 million in funding. The company's last-known private funding gave it a valuation of $1.8 billion, a valuation Velodyne may be seeking to surpass on the public markets. Graf Industrial, the intended SPAC for Velodyne, held an initial pu…

Xpeng Begins P7 Deliveries

Just a short while after unveiling a new electric sports sedan named the P7, Chinese electric vehicle upstart Xpeng has begun making deliveries, notably a few weeks after the company formally opened a new factory to produce the new vehicle. Production has apparently begun at the newly opened plant and Xpeng says it aims to produce 100,000 P7 sedans annually. Xpeng surely moves fast, being a company founded only six years ago. The China-based company launched and begun making deliveries of its first vehicle, the G3 SUV, in 2018, four years after its launch. The P7 sports sedan is the company's second-ever vehicle. A picture below gives an encouraging look of a large number of P7 sedans awaiting delivery into customers' hands;


The Xpeng P7 costs anywhere between $32,000-$49,000 "post-subsidies", quoting Xpeng. It's available in 3 versions and 8 configurations. The vehicle's best feature happens to be its range, which Xpeng pegs at up to 706km on full-charge. T…

Tesla Now World's Most Valuable Carmaker

Electric car maker Tesla has been on a tear as of late, with its share price having shot past $1,100 a pop and given the company status as the world's most valuable automaker. Currently (as of writing), Tesla has a market capitalization hovering around $208 billion, beating the likes of Ford, GM, and Toyota which actually manufacture way more cars and mint much more revenue. Before now, Toyota had been the automaker with the largest public market capitalization. Toyota (as of writing) has a market capitalization hovering around $203 billion, a bit lower than Tesla's.

Investors seem to be drooling for Tesla shares given its valuation despite minting lesser revenue than other traditional automakers. For a quick comparison, Tesla delivered 367,500 vehicles last year while Toyota delivered 10 million, about 27 times Tesla's. Investors seem to have much courage in Tesla's future potential, given it's a company that only debuted on the public markets 10 years ago. The l…

DoJ Indicts VC Michael Rothenberg

The U.S. Department of Justice has announced an indictment of investor Michael Rothenberg, a once high-flying venture capitalist whose wings seemingly got clipped after the U.S. Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) accused him of misappropriating $19 million of investors' funds. Rothenberg was slapped with more than $31 million in fines from the SEC as a result, but it appears authorities are still pushing for more, as the Justice Department has filed charges of fraud against him. The DoJ alleges Mike Rothenberg "orchestrated multiple schemes to defraud his victims", victims, in this case, being investors in Rothenberg Ventures, the eponymous venture capital firm Rothenberg founded.

The Justice Department accuses Rothenberg of bank fraud and defrauding investors. As for bank fraud, it's alleged that Rothenberg made false statements about his wealth to his bank while refinancing his home mortgage and obtaining a personal loan. As to allegedly defrauding investor…

Peloton Launches On Roku

Fitness sensation Peloton has formally launched its app on the Roku streaming platform, entailing its live fitness classes can now be streamed by Roku users in the comfort of their homes. The Peloton channel has been made available on the Roku Channel Store, enabling users to stream live fitness sessions for a fee. Payments will be processed on the Roku Pay platform, making signing up much easier for users. Existing Peloton subscribers can also automatically log-in using their credentials and gain access to live fitness sessions.

The coronavirus pandemic has largely driven people away from public gyms towards home fitness activities, and such, online fitness streaming activity has seemingly shot through the roof. According to Roku, streaming on its Health & Fitness category grew more than 130% in May alone. Peloton happens to be a benefit of the large pivot towards home fitness, thanks to its stationary bikes and treadmills with live-streamed fitness sessions that have garnered a…

Uber Reaches To Buy Postmates: Report

Uber is in talks to acquire food-delivery competitor Postmates in a $2.6 billion deal, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal, which notes that a deal could be announced by next week or even sooner. Postmates has been said to be targeting an initial public offering but while also shopping itself around to potential buyers. Uber is notably fresh off an attempt to acquire Grubhub, another food delivery competitor which was, however, sold to British food delivery company Just Eat Takeaway.com.

Postmates has raised about $900 million in funding so far, valued at $2.4 billion as of its last funding round. The company had confidentially filed for a public listing in February of last year but didn't follow up with a public filing. In the past, Postmates is said to have shopped itself to companies including Walmart and food-delivery competitor DoorDash. Postmates is known to be unprofitable, so the public markets may not favor the company as much as a private sale and it seem…

TuSimple Seeks New Funding

Self-driving truck startup TuSimple is seeking up to $250 million in new funding and has hired investment bank Morgan Stanley to help it raise that amount, as first reported by TechCrunch. Morgan Stanley is said to have sent out informational packets to potential investors in a bid to seek funding for TuSimple. Already, TuSimple has raised about $300 million in total funding but happens to be seeking more. The San Diego-based company last raised funding in September of last year.

TuSimple was founded in 2015, at a time when most of the self-driving industry was focused on passenger cars rather than big trucks. The company has managed to secure significant funding and attention since then, with backers including UPS, CDH Investments, and China's Sina Corp. Although based out of San Diego, TuSimple currently tests on public roads in the state of Arizona and also in Shanghai, China. The company is aiming to make a dent in the $800 billion U.S. trucking industry.

As of its last fundi…

Amazon Hands Bonuses To Frontline Workers

The coronavirus pandemic largely boosted the need for e-commerce and, in turn, the fortunes of Seattle-based e-commerce giant Amazon. It's such that Amazon hired 175,000 additional people to keep up with increased demand. Now, Amazon has announced it's doling out $500 million in combined bonuses to its frontline workers, who were employed at the company throughout the month of June. The bonus is divided into various grades, including $500 for full-time warehouse workers, $250 for part-time warehouse workers, $1,000 for warehouse leads, $3,000 for delivery service partners, and $150 for each Amazon Flex driver who drove more than 10 hours in June. The bonuses for warehouse workers also covers Whole Foods employees.

The bonus dole-out was announced by Dave Clark, Amazon's famed logistics chief, who has been instrumental in setting up and overseeing the company's mammoth logistics operations. Amazon dubs the bonus as a "Thank You" bonus for its workers, many of…

Tesla Delivered 90,650 Vehicles In Q2

As anticipated, Tesla just released its production numbers for the second quarter of this year and indicated it delivered 90,650 vehicles, a slight (4.8%) drop from the previous quarter. Tesla actually managed to beat expectations despite a pandemic that led it to suspend operation for weeks at its main production facility. The majority (80,050) of Tesla's deliveries were Model 3 and Model Y vehicles, its less expensive models, while Model S and Model X vehicles, the more expensive ones, accounted for a minority (10,600).

Analysts had anticipated lower delivery numbers as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, with some even forecasting as low as 39,000 deliveries in this quarter. A concord of analysts polled by FactSet indicated an average forecast of 72,000 vehicle deliveries for the quarter.

The release of Tesla's latest production results comes on the heels of the company surpassing Japanese automaker Toyota to become the world's most valuable automaker.





Personal Capital Sells For $1 Billion

Personal Capital, a Redwood City, California-based wealth management startup, has been sold to retirement plan provider Empower Retirement in a deal that adds up to $1 billion. Empower Retirement has reached a deal to acquire Personal Capital for an upfront payment of $825 million in cash plus $175 million in potential "planned growth" incentives. The acquisition seems like a win for Personal Capital, which has raised $265 million in funding as a private company. According to PitchBook data, Personal Capital was valued at $950 million as of its last fundraising in February of last year.

Personal Capital was founded in 2008. The company provides digital-based money management services, similar to the likes of Wealthfront, Betterment, and Acorns. Currently, Personal Capital manages a cumulative $12 billion in assets for some 2.5 million users. Personal Capital has offices in the cities of San Francisco, Atlanta, Denver, and Dallas. The company employs more than 400 people.

In…