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Showing posts from January, 2019

WeWork Publicly Unveils IPO Filing

A recent report that WeWork was preparing to unveil its IPO filing this week has proved true, with the co-working space company having done just that. WeWork just unveiled its S-1 filing with the SEC, revealing much previously unknown info and metrics of its business. Key takes from WeWork's S-1 filing include:
527,000 members as of Q2 2019 end, up from 401,000 in 2018 and 87,000 in 2016. More than 50% of WeWork's members are outside the US.528 WeWork locations (across 111 cities) worldwide, up from 425 (across 100 cities) in 2018 and 111 (across 34 cities)  in 201638% of the Global Fortune 500 are customers$1.54 billion revenue in the first half of this year, but with a $905 million loss in the same period. This is up from $764 million revenue in the first half of 2018 and a $723 million loss in the same period$320 million sales and marketing spend in the first half of this year, up from $140 million in the first half of 2018$3.3 billion revenue run rate (as of Q2 end), up fr…

Clutter Raising Between $200 Million And $250 Million From Softbank : TechCrunch

According to a TechCrunch report, Clutter, a storage-on-demand service that lets users get their possessions packed up, taken away, stored and returned at the click of an app, is raising between $200 million and $250 million in a round led by Softbank. It says term sheets for the investment are out but are not yet finalised as investors go through due diligence.

Clutter, which operates in the Bay Area, Seattle, Southern California, New York and Chicago, has raised $96 million in funding according to Crunchbase. Investors in the company include Alphabet's GV, Atomico, Sequoia Capital, Fifth Wall, Bracked Capital, Wonder Ventures and Four Rivers Group. It last raised $64 million in 2017 at a $240 million valuation according to Pitchbook.


An investment like this could be used to aid expansion into more regions, likely urban areas where people live in smaller spaces with less storage options and plausibly have more disposable income to pay for their stuff to be kept somewhere else.

P…

San Jose Based Zoom Reportedly In Process Of Filing For IPO

San Jose based Zoom, a provider of cloud based remote conferencing services valued at $1 billion is in the process of filing confidentially for an IPO with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) according to Business Insider which cites a source familiar with the company's plans. It says that the registration is stuck due to the current U.S. government shutdown which makes the filing not yet official.

Reuters reported in October that the company is preparing for an IPO, joining a host that includes Infor, Megvii, Slack, Cloudflare, Palantir, CrowdStrike and Slack. It says the company has asked investment bank Morgan Stanley to lead the IPO, which could happen this year. Zoom has raised north of $140 million in funding according to Crunchbase, with investors including Sequoia Capital, Qualcomm Ventures, Horizons Ventures, AME Cloud Ventures, Maven Ventures and healthcare billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong.


The company was founded in 2011 by early WebEx engineer Eric Yuan who jo…

Intel Names Interim Robert Swan As CEO

Intel has announced it has appointed Robert “Bob” Swan, its interim chief executive officer for seven months running and former chief financial officer, as its new CEO, marking Swan as the seventh person to hold the position in Intel's 50-year history. He is replacing Brian Krzanich, who resigned June last year amid disclosure of a consensual relationship with an employee that was found to be in violation of company policy.

Other past Intel CEOs include co-founder Robert Noyce (1968-1975), co-founder Gordon Moore (1975-1987), Andrew Grove (1987-1998), Craig Barrett (1998-2005) and Paul Otellini (2005-2013). Swan joined Intel in September 2016, arriving from General Atlantic and replacing Stacy Smith as the chip manufacturer's CFO. Earlier in his career, he served as CFO of Electronic Data Systems (EDS), eBay and TRW Automotive and as CFO, COO and CEO of online grocery delivery early entree and dotcom bust Webvan.





As Intel's chief financial officer, he led its global finan…

Tesla Says Model Y Production To Begin By 2020 End

In a Wednesday letter to shareholders, Tesla has said that Model Y, the SUV electric vehicle the company has been teasing and hinting at since 2015 will begin production by 2020 end. The company reported $139 million in net profit for the three months ended December, its second consecutive quarter with positive earnings.

“This year should be a truly exciting one for Tesla,” the California based company said in the shareholder letter. “Model 3 will become a global product, the profitability of our business should become sustainably positive, our new Gigafactory Shanghai should start producing cars, and we will start tooling for Model Y production.”


Tesla says it expects to be producing about 7,000 vehicles a week at its Fremont factory by the end of the year. The company recently lessened production hours for the Model S and Model X vehicles, while it focuses on boosting Model 3 production. "Model 3's production rate progressively improved" last quarter, "with Decem…

Apple Music Users Will Now Be Able To Stream Songs On American Airlines Flights For Free

Beginning Friday, Apple Music subscribers will be able to access the over 50 million songs, playlists and music videos on the streaming service on any domestic American Airlines flight equipped with Viasat satellite Wi-Fi without needing to purchase in-flight WiFi. Apple just made this announcement, marking American Airlines as the first commercial airline to provide exclusive access to Apple Music for travellers via complimentary inflight Wi-Fi.

All Apple Music subscribers will have to do to begin streaming is connect to Wi-Fi on any Viasat-equipped American Airlines aircraft at no cost and login with their Apple Music accounts. People not signed up for Apple Music will be able to get it in-flight, sign up onboard and get the normal free access for three months after registering.


“For most travelers, having music to listen to on the plane is just as important as anything they pack in their suitcases,” Apple Music vice president Oliver Schusser said in a statement. “With the addition…

Stripe Nabs $100 Million Series E At $22.5 Billion Valuation

Just after Acorns and Clover Health, another startup has raised huge funding, this time, Stripe, the San Francisco based payments company that powers payments for lots of small businesses and also big names like Lyft, Postmates, Expedia, Google, Salesforce, Facebook, Zillow and Microsoft, has raised $100 million Series E funding that values it at $22.5 billion, up from a $20 billion valuation in September.

This investment, made by Tiger Global who also led its most previous round was first reported by The Information. A Stripe spokesperson said the funding will be used for growth areas including international expansion with Stripe CEO Patrick Collison also announcing on Twitter of a new board member, former Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene.

I haven't said much in the past about @Stripe's board. We're fortunate to add Diane Greene, our fourth outside director today. (All four have to put up with myself and John, for six in total.) — Patrick Collison (@patrickc) 29 January 201…

iRobot Unveils Robot Lawn Mover

Massachusetts based iRobot, the company behind the Roomba robot vacuum cleaner and Braava line of robot mops has unveiled a new product, this time a robot lawn mover it says is kit with "state-of-the-art mapping and navigation technologies" that enables high-performance and high-quality mowing.

The new robot named Terra is capable of mapping its course after being schooled, with the use of wireless beacons users get to place around their yard and then drive the robot once around the perimeter. Once this is done, the robot charts its course, navigating the yard while remembering where it needs to cover. If its battery runs low, it will return to its base to recharge and then re-commence mowing until the yard handed to it is completely mowed.




Users can also make use of the iRobot Home App to customize their robot, with features like adjusting the height at which the grass will be cut or controlling precisely when the lawn is cut - day or night - available. There are already s…

Waymo Met With Over 12 Auto Companies For Driverless Tech Partnership : Bloomberg

According to a Bloomberg report, Alphabet's Waymo met with over 12 auto companies including Volvo in 2016, seeking manufacturing partners for its self-driving technology, citing an internal document  unsealed in court this week.

The memo, marked "highly confidential", was penned on August 18 2016, the day a report that Uber was partnering with Volvo and that it had acquired former Waymo engineer Anthony Lewandowski's Otto was made by Bloomberg.


"Did we try to talk to Volvo? Yes. We have met with over a dozen OEMs this year, including Volvo," Waymo said in the memo. "We were surprised they wanted to partner with Uber given the importance they place on safety, and developing this technology safely. However, the deal with Uber is non-exclusive for both parties."

This statement indicates pursuit of auto manufacturing partners by Waymo even before it spun out as a standalone unit in December 2016. As of current, Waymo has partnerships with Fiat Chrysl…

Argo AI Secures Permit To Test Self-Driving Vehicles In California

Argo AI, the Pittsburgh based self-driving company backed with huge funding from automaker Ford, has secured a permit to test autonomous vehicles in the state of California. The permit, issued by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) ,is for two drivers and one vehicle and marks for the fifth location Argo AI is looking to test its self-driving vehicles.

The company currently tests its autonomous vehicle technology in Pittsburgh, Detroit and Miami with testing in Washington, D.C. also starting soon. Argo AI now joins sixty other companies with permits to self-driving vehicles (but with a driver) in the state of California.


They include Baidu, Zoox, GM Cruise, Faraday Future, Drive.ai, Intel, SF Motors, TuSimple, Apple, Samsung, Nuro, Aurora, Udacity, Nvidia, Valeo, Pony.AI, Lyft, Waymo, Volkswagen, Mercedes Benz, Nissan, Bosch, Tesla, Delphi Automotive and Qualcomm. Notably missing from the list is Uber which currently doesn't have a permit to self-driving vehicles in…

Health Insurance Startup Clover Health Raises $500 Million

Despite reports of missed financials and difficulties navigating a slow-moving and challenging insurance industry, San Francisco based health insurance startup Clover Health has announced new funding, pegged at $500 million by TechCrunch. The round is led by existing investor Greenoaks Capital, an SF based VC firm that counts Oyo Rooms, Brex, Sonder, Discord and Robinhood among its bets.

The valuation for this round is not disclosed, but for hint, Clover Health was last valued at $1.2 billion when it raised $130 million Series D funding also led by Greenoaks Capital in 2017. The San Francisco based company also counts the likes of Alphabet's GV, Spark Capital, Sequoia Capital, First Round Capital, Floodgate, Refactor Capital, Social Capital and Nexus Venture Partners as investors.


Clover, with over $900 million in funding (this round included) now stands as one of the most funded startups in the healthcare space. Even with this, the company has struggled in the past to decrease l…

Acorns Raises $105 Million Series E At $860 Million Valuation

Acorns, an Irvine based fintech company that allows individuals round up purchases and automatically invest the change in exchange-traded funds through a mobile app, has raised $105 million series E funding that values it at $860 million, according to its statement.

Investors in this round include NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures who led the round along with TPG, DST Global, Michael Dell's MSD Capital, BlackRock and Bain Capital Ventures. The company has now raised some $207 million in total according to Crunchbase, with its $860 million valuation placing it in a high rank among global fintech companies.


In November, We reported of Acorns being in discussions for funding at a $700 million valuation. This round confirms that, although it comes at a higher valuation for the company. Acorns, which has over 4.5 million registered accounts is also entering into a partnership for editorial content and events with NBCUniversal owned CNBC as part of the company's investment. NBC is …

Apple Kicks Off 'Entrepreneur Camp' - A Two Week Hands On Experience For Female App Creators

Apple has kicked off the inaugural session of 'Entrepreneur Camp', a two-week hands on technology lab where it says participants would work one-on-one with Apple engineers and experts to accelerate their apps. Eleven female-founded app development companies are participating in this session which will involve works on design, technology, App Store marketing and guidance and support from an Apple Developer Relations representative.

Apple says the program's curriculum will will harness several of its tech, including optimizing for the custom A12 Bionic chip, integrating core ML and building new experiences with ARKit. Each participating startup is also receiving two tickets to Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) and complementary membership to the Apple Developer program for a year.


Cupertino based Apple says developers have earned some $120 billion since the 2008 launch of the Apple App Store, with over a quarter of that in the past year alone. This signifies stea…

BMW, Porsche and Jaguar Land Rover Back Roadside Assistance Startup Urgently's $21 Million Series B Round

Virginia based roadside assistance startup Urgently has raised $21 million Series B funding from several investors including Porsche Ventures, BMW i Ventures and Jaguar Land Rover's VC fund InMotion Ventures.

Existing investors also participated in the round which Urgently says was oversubscribed. BMW has also selected Urgently for collaboration with the BMW Assist roadside assistance service as the vendor partner to offer roadside assistance services to owners of its vehicles in the U.S.


Urgently works similar to Uber and Lyft, with users able to request for nearby roadside assistance services and get charged within the app. It's available in several cities spanning all 50 U.S. states and Washington, D.C and also Puerto Rico. The company boasts 55,000 service vehicles registered on its platform that provide services like fuel delivery, towing, jump start, flat tire replacement and car lockout solutions according to its website.

"We look forward to continuing to innovate…

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Figure Reportedly Raising Funding At A $1 Billion Valuation

According to a report from Bloomberg, Figure, a home lending startup founded and led by former SoFi CEO Mike Cagney, is raising more than $100 million in new funding at a $1 billion valuation, just less than two years after its founding. It seems Figure has grown at a rapid pace, with Bloomberg reporting it's on track to issue more than $80 million in loans this month alone.

Figure has already raised more than $130 million in a relatively short period. Its backers include DST Global, Ribbit Capital, Nimble Ventures, Morgan Creek, RPM Ventures and more. The home lending startup currently employs more than 100 people at offices in California, Nevada, Montana and Utah. In May, it closed a $1 billion financing deal for its customers.

Figure leverages blockchain technology to provide home equity loans online in as little as five days, with an approval process that runs some few minutes. Mike Cagney seems to have struck gold again with his new startup. His previous, SoFi, is a well-know…

WeWork Publicly Unveils IPO Filing

A recent report that WeWork was preparing to unveil its IPO filing this week has proved true, with the co-working space company having done just that. WeWork just unveiled its S-1 filing with the SEC, revealing much previously unknown info and metrics of its business. Key takes from WeWork's S-1 filing include:
527,000 members as of Q2 2019 end, up from 401,000 in 2018 and 87,000 in 2016. More than 50% of WeWork's members are outside the US.528 WeWork locations (across 111 cities) worldwide, up from 425 (across 100 cities) in 2018 and 111 (across 34 cities)  in 201638% of the Global Fortune 500 are customers$1.54 billion revenue in the first half of this year, but with a $905 million loss in the same period. This is up from $764 million revenue in the first half of 2018 and a $723 million loss in the same period$320 million sales and marketing spend in the first half of this year, up from $140 million in the first half of 2018$3.3 billion revenue run rate (as of Q2 end), up fr…

Snap Debuts Spectacles 3

Snap has unveiled the Spectacles 3, the third version of its smart glasses. Snap's Spectacles glasses are meant for recording video, shot straight from eye-view, for posting on Snapchat. The Spectacles 3 is equipped with two HD cameras to do this. The cameras capture Snaps in 3D and can transform them using in-built 3D Effects. Snaps captured on Spectacles can also be exported to the user's own gallery in circular, horizontal, square and virtual reality formats.

The Spectacles 3 features a strong but lightweight steel frame with circular lenses and adjustable tips. The new smart-glasses comes with a special charging case and is charged via a standard USB-C charging cable. Also included is a 3D viewer that lets users see captured shots in 3D mode.

The Spectacles 3 has LED indicator lights to notify people when recording is being done. The users also see lights as well. Snap's new smart-glasses records high-definition videos paired with high-quality audio from a 4-microphon…

Facebook Reportedly Tried To Acquire Houseparty Last Year

Houseparty is a popular social networking service that allows group video chatting on mobile and desktop apps. Epic Games acquired it in June for an undisclosed sum. Prior to being acquired, Houseparty had raised some $70 million in funding according to Crunchbase data.

Houseparty is the focus of this article because a new report from the New York Times said Facebook had begun discussions to acquire it late last year, but pulled out over fear of attracting antitrust concerns. Facebook has been quite successful with acquisitions, having scooped up Instagram and WhatsApp, two of the biggest social media platforms alongside the Facebook app itself.

But with increased scrutiny that even led to a $5 billion fine from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission atop another $100 million fine from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), another Facebook acquisition, particularly of a competing social media platform, could draw eyeballs and antitrust concerns from regulatory agencies.


Houseparty…

Bungalow Said To Be Raising Funding At A $100 Million Valuation

Bungalow, a San Francisco-based housing startup that formally launched with a $14 million Series A led by Khosla Ventures last year, is raising new funding that'll value it at more than $100 million according to a report from The Information. The Information reports Bungalow is nearing a deal to raise between $30 million and $40 million in equity funding led by Founders Fund, a well-known VC firm whose partner, Keith Rabois, sits on Bungalow's board. Rabois is said to be leading the new funding on behalf of Founders Fund, which participated in Bungalow's $14 million Series A.

A valuation of more than $100 million would be nearly twice Bungalow's current valuation, according to The Information. Bungalow is part of a wave of startups that have jumped on the real estate scene. The San Francisco-based startup leases single-family homes and rents out individual rooms to working professionals. Bungalow lets homeowners rent out their properties for a guaranteed income stream…

Postmates Will Reportedly Drop IPO Filing Next Month

According to a TechCrunch report, Postmates, which confidentially filed for an IPO in February, is set to make its IPO prospectus public next month, despite reports that the food delivery company held at least three acquisition talks. Such reports may have some substance, as companies which confidentially file for IPO conventionally make their IPO prospectus public not long after. It's six months since Postmates confidentially filed for IPO, so it's plausible that the company pursued an M&A exit within this period, which made it delay its public offering.

According to TechCrunch, Postmates is expected to go public in the third fiscal quarter of this year. A previous report from Bloomberg said the food delivery company had picked JPMorgan Chase and The Bank of America as lead underwriters for its public offering. Bloomberg says Postmates, which was last valued at $1.85 billion, could go public at a valuation above that.

A Postmates IPO would test the public markets' ap…

Skip Debuts First Custom E-Scooter

Scooter rental startup Skip has unveiled the S3, its first electric scooter that's in-house designed and custom-built from the ground up. To come up with the S3, Skip worked with more than a year of feedback from its riders on what sort of features one would require on an electric scooter. The end result is a custom electric scooter that has brighter headlights and taillights than conventional scooters [to make it easier to spot], safety diagnostics features that lets users keep up with the condition of their scooters, swappable batteries, and a built-in electronic locking system among other specs.

The use of swappable batteries solves a significant pain point; re-charging of electric scooters. Rather than having to move the entire scooter every night to get it charged, a team of Skip freelancers can just replace it with a fully charged electric battery to keep it powered. The S3's safety diagnostics feature can alert Skip’s operations team in case of damage, enabling Skip to…

Cloudflare Files For IPO

Not long after a previous report that said Cloudflare was eyeing a September IPO, the San Francisco-based CDN provider has filed for that with the SEC, meaning an IPO next month may just be happening. Cloudflare's S-1 filing comes a decade after its first funding. The company recorded $192.7 million in 2018 revenue, but with an $87.2 million net loss. This is up from $135 million revenue in 2017 and a $10.7 million net loss for the same period.

In the first half of this year, Cloudflare recorded $129.2 million in revenue, but still with losses of $36.8 million. Other key takes from its S-1 filing include:
$94.4 million sales and marketing spend in 2018, up 54% from $62 million in 2017$54.5 million R&D spend in 2018, compared to $33.7 million in 2017Roughly $125 million in cash and cash equivalents as of Q2 end (June 30, 2019)74,000 paying customers as of Q2 endTwo million total [free and paying] customers408 paying customers with annual billings of more than $100,000 (as of Q2…

Airbnb Reportedly Records 30% Growth Rate In Q1

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, Airbnb recorded a 31% surge in gross bookings in the first quarter of this year, with a total booking value of $9.4 billion for the period. The Wall Street Journal reports Airbnb booked 91 million nights on its platform in Q1, and grew revenue 40% year-on-year in the period. According to WSJ, Airbnb had about $3.5 billion in cash on its balance sheet as of Q1 end (March 31st) this year.

If such report stands true, Airbnb could be leaving investors hungry for an IPO that the Wall Street Journal reports is scheduled for the first half of next year. $35 billion valued Airbnb is already profitable, making it stand out among several tech companies (e.g. Uber, Lyft, Medallia, Dynatrace, Livongo) that have gone public this year without being profitable. Three others that filed for an IPO just this week (WeWork, Cloudflare and SmileDirectClub) are also not profitable.

One other standout tech company is Zoom, a video communications company th…

Wheels Up Valued At $1.1 Billion With $128 Million Series D

Wheels Up, a membership-based private aviation startup, recently announced $128 million in Series D funding that values it at $1.1 billion post-money, up from $700 million in 2017. The funding was co-led by Franklin Templeton, funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price, and Fidelity, with participation from other unnamed investors. With this investment, New York-based Wheels Up has raised roughly $540 million in total funding.

The new funding will fund a number of business initiatives, including potential acquisitions, sales and marketing, "significant scaling" of Wheels Up's tech and digital platforms, and acceleration of membership growth. Wheels Up operates a membership-based private aviation service that lets members book private flights with as little as 24 hours notice, and pay fixed hourly rates. Wheels Up has more than 6,000 members, who can choose from a fleet of 1,000+ partner operated aircraft.

Wheels Up members can also reduce the cost of private flights by…