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Showing posts from June, 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…

A Look At SpinLaunch

There are several big name space companies -- to name a few; SpaceX, Rocket Lab and Boeing -- that deliver payloads and satellites to space. Each of the aforementioned companies take different but quite similar approaches to launch payloads into space, the similarity being the use of vertical rockets. But there's one company -- named SpinLaunch -- working on a different way, this time looking to send objects to space using a catapult, yes you read that right.

Just how legit you may ask?,...as legit as being able to secure $40 million in funding from investors including Airbus, Kleiner Perkins and Alphabet, and also being able to secure a contract with the U.S. military. The contract recently secured from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) is SpinLaunch's first ever. SpinLaunch, by early next year, aims to begin the first tests of firing catapults containing payloads at hyper-sonic speeds to launch objects into space.


The company earlier this year moved from Silicon Valley t…

WhatsApp Said To Poach Top Executive From WorldRemit

Facebook's WhatsApp has hired a top executive from WorldRemit, a U.K. money transfer startup valued at more than $900 million, with nearly $400 million in total funding. Reuters reported the hire, citing three persons 'familiar with the matter'. The top executive in particular is Alice Newton-Rex, WorldRemit's chief product officer, which Reuters reports will join WhatsApp's product team later this year.

According to one cited person familiar with the matter, Newton-Rex will not work on Facebook's recently unveiled digital currency, Libra, but will work on the main WhatsApp messaging service. WhatsApp - one of the world's largest messaging apps, with over 1 billion users -- has been expanding its team in Europe, including in London.


According to Newton-Rex's LinkedIn profile, she's been at WorldRemit for nearly five years, initially serving in two product roles before becoming chief product officer one year ago. Prior to WorldRemit, she had stints …

Microsoft Makes Bank On Adaptive's IPO

Adaptive Biotechnologies -- a commercial-stage life sciences company that's aiming to leverage the human immune system to diagnose and fight diseases -- recently debuted on the public markets, soaring roughly 140% from an initial $20 per share to $48.30 per share (as of writing). Prior to its IPO, Seattle-based Adaptive Biotechnologies raised roughly $400 million in funding according to Crunchbase data.

One big winner from the company's IPO was Microsoft, which previously invested $45 million in the company at $10.67 a share. Now at $48 a pop, the value of Microsoft's stake in the company has grown nearly five fold. Microsoft invested in Adaptive Biotechnologies as part of a cloud partnership. Adaptive's S-1 filing indicated $500,000 in R&D spend on Microsoft Azure in 2018, with a commitment to spend $12 million over a seven-year period.


Adaptive's partnership with Microsoft involves the application of machine learning and computational statistics on Adaptive&…

Theranos' Holmes To Face Trial Next Year

Elizabeth Holmes -- the founder and former CEO of Theranos, a now defunct but once $9 billion valued company known for its claims to have revolutionized blood testing and now accused of being fraudulent -- has been ordered to stand trial next year on fraud charges along with former Theranos COO Ramesh "Sunny" Balwani.

At a hearing in a San Jose, California federal court, U.S. District Judge Edward Davila ordered jury selection to begin in the trial of the two former top Theranos executives, with a set date on the 28th of July, 2020. Holmes and Balwani were previously indicted on 11 counts of conspiracy and wire fraud and both pleaded not guilty.


The two ex-Theranos leaders are accused of leveraging advertising and solicitations to urge doctors and patients to use the company's testing laboratory services even though they knew it didn't yield accurate and reliable results. Prosecutors say Holmes and Balwani took part in schemes to defraud investors, doctors and patie…

Apple Said To Allot $100 Million Lifeline For Japan Display

Japan Display -- a struggling liquid-crystal display (LCD) manufacturing joint venture set up by Sony, Hitachi and Toshiba -- has announced that a customer will invest $100 million as part of a bailout led by a Chinese investment firm. According to a piece from Reuters, that customer is Apple, which accounted for 60.6% of Japan Display's revenue in its last fiscal year. Reuters says an investment group led by China’s Harvest Group is investing up to 80 billion yen ($743 million) in Japan Display.

As Apple shifts away from the use of liquid-crystal displays, with the iPhone XR being the only LCD model in the company's 2018 lineup, Japan Display has struggled with funding. According to Bloomberg, Japan Display was in line for a $1.1 billion bailout from Taiwan’s TPK Holding before the smartphone touch panel manufacturer pulled out from a rescue deal.


Japan Display has a big $900 million debt to Apple for the $1.5 billion cost of constructing a smartphone screen manufacturing fa…

Postmates Adds Google's Kristin Reinke To Board

Not long after hiring a long-time Apple engineer to work on its delivery robot, Postmates has announced the addition of Kristin Reinke, Google's vice president of finance, to its board. Reinke will join Postmates as an independent director. Her appointment signals preparations by Postmates in anticipation of an IPO.

Reinke has been on Google's finance team since 2005. She previously worked at Oracle, where she headed Global Business Practices for its Alliances & Channels. Reinke is joining a board that includes Postmates' founders and representatives from investors Founders Fund, Spark Capital and Tiger Global.


"As Postmates continues to innovate and shape the on-demand delivery category, Kristin brings a wide range of financial expertise and experience to our board of directors," Postmates CEO Bastian Lehmann said in a statement. "Given her impressive track record at Google and Oracle, I am confident her leadership will have meaningful impact on Postma…

New Balance Debuts New Shoes With 3D-Printed Soles

New Balance has launched two new pairs of sneakers -- the 990 Sport and the FuelCell Echo -- that comes with soles 3D-printed by Formlabs, a Massachusetts-based 3D printing startup valued at $1 billion after an investment from blue-chip VC New Enterprise Associates last year. The two sneakers are crafted atop a uniform 3D-printed sole dubbed TripleCell.

The TripleCell sole is made with a new proprietary photopolymer resin dubbed Rebound Resin. Formlabs put together this resin as part of a partnership -- first announced in 2017 -- with New Balance. New Balance says the new Resin is "designed to create springy, resilient lattice structures with the durability, reliability, and longevity expected from an injection molded thermoplastic."


New Balance's new sneakers are manufactured in the U.S. The 990 Sport and the FuelCell Echo will hit stores on the 28th of June and 15th of September respectively, retailing for $185 and $175 accordingly. The debut of these new sneakers com…

Apple Reportedly Shifts Mac Pro Production To China

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, Apple is manufacturing the new Mac Pro in China, shifting production of what had stood as its only major device manufactured in the U.S. outside the country. According to the WSJ, Apple has tapped Chinese contractor Quanta Computer to manufacture the $6,000 high-end desktop computer and is boosting production at a factory near Shanghai.

The paper says Quanta's facility being close to other Apple suppliers in Asia makes it possible for Apple to lower shipping costs compared to shipping Mac Pro components to the U.S. Apple's previous Mac Pro model -- released in 2013 -- was assembled in the U.S. by manufacturing contractor Flex Ltd, made possible by a $100 million investment from Apple for a plant located in Austin, Texas.


Although manufacturing has reportedly been shifted to China, a spokesman for Apple told the Wall Street Journal that the new Mac Pro is designed and engineered in the U.S. and includes U.S.-made parts. Also,…

Livongo Files For IPO

Livongo -- a Mountain View, California-based digital health company that sells hardware-software interlinked personal health platforms -- has filed for an IPO with the SEC. Livongo is one the first companies to file for a public offering in the digital health sector. Although the sector is filled with several companies -- to name a few; Zocdoc, Proteus, Butterfly, Tempus and 23andMe -- that have collectively raised billions in funding, most of them still remain private.

Going by Livongo's S-1 filing, the company recorded $68.4 million revenue in 2018, up 122% from $30.8 million in 2017. But Livongo isn't profitable, with $33.4 million in 2018 losses, up nearly 100% from $16.9 million the year before. Other key takes from Livongo's IPO filing include:
$32 million Q1 2019 revenue, compared to $12.46 million in Q1 2018.Roughly $15 million Q1 2019 loss, compared to $4.2 million in Q1 2018. $54.9 million cash balance, as of March 31, 2019 (Q1 end).$24.9 million R&D spend in…

Apple's Jony Ive Leaves To Form Own Design Company

Apple has announced that its chief design officer and nearly three decade old veteran Jony Ive is leaving the company later this year to form an independent design company that'll count Apple as a primary client. Ive will continue to work on projects with Apple at his own design firm and will also be able to work with other clients.

Apple's design team will now be led by Evans Hankey, its vice president of Industrial Design, and Alan Dye, vice president of Human Interface Design. They'll both report to Apple COO Jeff Williams.


Along with Ive's departure, Apple has also announced a new addition to its executive team. Sabih Khan, a 24-year Apple veteran, has been named as Apple's senior vice president of Operations. In his new position, Khan will head Apple's global supply chain, ensuring product quality and managing manufacturing logistics. He'll continue to report to COO Jeff Williams.



Fungible Raises $200 Million Softbank-Led Series C

Fungible -- a Santa Clara-based semiconductor company led by Juniper Networks founder Pradeep Sindhu and Apple's former senior vice president of software engineering, Bertrand Serlet -- has raised $200 million in Series C funding led by the Softbank Vision Fund, with participation from Norwest Venture Partners and other unspecified existing investors. With this funding, Fungible has now raised more than $300 million since inception. Other investors in the company include notable names like Battery Ventures and Mayfield Fund.

The company builds semiconductor technology that is calls "data-centric computing". In acute terms, Fungible builds semiconductors that helps data centers keep up with increasing loads while maintaining existing hardware infrastructure. The company sells a programmable processor named the "Fungible Data Processing Unit (DPU)" that it says improves execution of workloads in data centers. Fungilbe is aiming to get hold of a significant porti…

VW And Ford's Partnership Could Be Expanded

According to a Bloomberg report, Volkswagen's supervisory board plans to talk through and maybe agree to next steps on expanding its partnership with Ford at a meeting scheduled to hold in two weeks time. The report says a previously announced partnership on vans and pickup trucks could be bind at the meeting scheduled on the 11th of July and that the partnership could potentially expand into development of self-driving and electric-car technology.

Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess previously said the German automaker was not yet committed to working on self-driving technology with Ford but this may change after the board meeting scheduled to hold soon. Both automakers were also previously reported to be in disagreement over an investment in Ford's self-driving unit. Ford was said to be seeking at least $500 million after earlier seeking a billion dollars but was met with resistance from Volkswagen.


Nevertheless, later reports hinted progress in discussions of a self-driving partn…

Instagram Explore Ads May Be $1 Billion Slot For Facebook

Not long after analysts from Morgan Stanley predicted India's Ola Cabs as Uber's biggest potential threat in the U.K. despite current competition from Bolt (formerly Taxify), analysts from the same investment bank have predicted that adding advertising to the Instagram Explore tab could add $1 billion to Facebook's revenue by 2021. Instagram recently announced it'll start placing ads within the Explore tab in the Instagram app for the first time. New ads will come into sight when Instagram users tap into Explore posts and scroll further for related content, while the main grid stays ad-free.

Morgan Stanley analyst Brian Nowak predicts that ads from the Explore tab could boost Facebook's total revenue by around $1.2 billion -- by 2021 -- if  monetization to the tune of $2 per user can be attained and user growth rates are maintained. But there are two potential hurdles according to Nowak, the first being how quickly Facebook will roll out the new ad section and the…

TripActions Raises $250 Million Series D

Few months after Andreessen Horowitz led a $154 million round for corporate travel startup TripActions, the blue-chip VC firm has again led new funding for the company, this time a $250 million Series D that values it at $4 billion, four times its previous $1 billion valuation. A press release from TripActions says revenue is growing 5x annually which kind of explains why the company has quadrupled its valuation in less than a year.

Along with Andreessen Horowitz, VC firms Lightspeed Venture Partners, Zeev Ventures and Group 11 (formerly SGVC) also participated in this round. TripActions -- which now has more than 700 employees spread across nine offices globally -- says it'll make use of the new funding to support global expansion, double down on partnerships, and further invest in its corporate travel platform. The Palo Alto-based company has more than 2,000 customers, including big names like Lyft, SurveyMonkey and WeWork.


While revenue isn't disclosed, TripActions says it…

StockX Raises $110 Million At A $1 Billion+ Valuation

Detroit-based sneakers and other fashion marketplace StockX has raised $110 million in Series C funding that values it at over $1 billion. VC firms DST Global, GGV Capital, General Atlantic, GV and Battery Ventures were investors in this round. Along with this funding, StockX has announced a new CEO by name of Scott Cutler, a longtime tech executive who previously served as president of ticket marketplace StubHub and most recently as a senior vice president at eBay.

StockX's outgoing CEO and co-founder Josh Luber will continue to serve on the company's executive team and board of directors. Also as part of this investment, GGV managing partner Hans Tung is joining StockX's board of directors. StockX plans to funnel the new capital towards international growth, with a focus on Europe and the Asian markets. The company says the funding will also allow it diversify its products categories and extend its brick-and-mortar presence.


StockX's team has grown from just four co…

Boeing Completes Parachute Testing For The Starliner

Boeing has announced it has completed the fifth and final qualification test of the parachute system of the Starliner, a new space crew capsule the aerospace giant is constructing for NASA's Commercial Crew Development program. NASA's program -- which also involves SpaceX -- is a planned mission backed by the U.S. government to fly astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) on privately operated space vehicles for the first time ever.

Boeing and SpaceX have been selected for the planned mission and have both come up with unique spacecraft designs to fly selected U.S. astronauts to the ISS. NASA, last year, unveiled the first nine astronauts that'll fly on either SpaceX's Crew Dragon or Boeing's Starliner spacecrafts. For safety reasons, both spacecrafts are kit with parachute systems that'll be deployed when required.


Boeing now just completed the final test of the Starliner's parachute system. For the test, two parachutes were intentionally disab…

Boeing Partners With Kitty Hawk

Aircraft manufacturer Boeing has partnered with Kitty Hawk, a Mountain View, California-based flying car startup backed by Alphabet CEO Larry Page and led by Udacity co-founder and former Google VP Sebastian Thrun. In a joint press release, both companies announced they'll work on "future efforts to advance safe urban air mobility", but didn't specify what the efforts entail. But a good guess can be that both parties will work on developing flying vehicles.

This partnership comes not long after Boeing completed a first test flight of its own flying vehicle. Boeing -- being one of the largest aerospace companies and top manufacturer of commercial airplanes -- likely brings much to the table for Kitty Hawk, which is still a quite small and stealth startup.


“Working with a company like Kitty Hawk brings us closer to our goal of safely advancing the future of mobility,” vice president and general manager of Boeing NeXt, Steve Nordlund said in a press release. “We have a…

Carbon Raises $260 Million At A $2.4 Billion Valuation

In consensus with a previous report of 3D printing company Carbon raising up to $300 million in new funding, the Redwood City, California-based company has announced $260 million in new funding co-led by Madrone Capital Partners and Baillie Gifford. New investors Temasek and Arkema, along with existing investors Johnson & Johnson, Fidelity, adidas Ventures, JSR Corporation and Sequoia Capital also participated in the round.

This funding values Carbon -- which has now raised more than $680 million since inception -- at north of $2.4 billion. The company plans to use the new capital to broaden R&D efforts, fuel expansion in Europe and Asia and establish its first "Advanced Development Facility", an advanced manufacturing facility [like its name suggests] that'll help Carbon's engineering teams work in "scaled-up manufacturing environments".


Carbon will also invest in its ongoing development of recyclable and biocompatible materials and accelerate its…

Ken Lerer Steps Down As Buzzfeed Chairman

Ken [full name Kenneth] Lerer, a veteran media executive and venture capitalist, is stepping down from the chairman role at Buzzfeed after a decade of occupying this position. According to Axios which first broke the news of his departure, Lerer is leaving for “personal reasons” to focus on Lerer Hippeau Ventures, a New York-based VC firm where he serves as managing director.

Under Lerer and Buzzfeed CEO Jonah Peretti's guide, Buzzfeed has grown to become one of the biggest names with digital media, valued at $1.7 billion in 2016. Lerer and Peretti are no new players in the digital media world, having previously co-founded the Huffington Post, a popular news website that sold to AOL for $315 million in 2011.


Lerer Hippeau Ventures which Lerer founded is a top VC firm that has backed companies like Warby Parker, Allbirds, Axios, Bowery, Zipline, Mirror and Science Exchange. Lerer, still, also has another key connection in Group Nine Media, a digital media company valued at $585 mi…

Morgan Stanley Says Ola Is Uber's Real London Rival

According to analysts from investment bank Morgan Stanley, India's Ola Cabs persists as the main potential threat to Uber's stronghold on the London ride-hailing market. This is despite the recent return of Bolt (formerly Taxify) to the London ride-hailing market, after a previous ban from the city emanating from the lack of an operating license.

According to Morgan Stanley analysts, evidence suggests Bolt's recent return to London is not having a significant impact on Uber's operations in the city. A report from the analysts said Uber's app downloads initially slid after Bolt's return but has since recovered. Bolt has raised nearly $200 million in funding according to Crunchbase data, compared to Ola's $3.8 billion in funding.


Reports have suggested (paywall) Ola plans to launch in London by the end of this year. Backed by billions in funding, the company possibly stands a better chance of competing with Uber in the English capital.

Uber recorded $3.1 bil…

Monzo Raises £113 million In New Funding

Fresh off £85 million in funding last October, U.K. digital bank Monzo has announced £113 million in new funding led by Y Combinator Continuity, with participation from other existing investors. This funding values Monzo at £2 billion ($2.5 billion) post-money, double a previous £1 billion valuation from its last funding.

This funding comes on the heels of Monzo's expansion into the U.S. The U.K.-based company is working with an -- FDIC-insured -- partner bank to operate in the U.S. as it doesn't yet have a banking license in the country.


Monzo currently has more than two million users and says 200,000 people signed up in May (last month) alone. The company's new raise comes on the heels of another fintech startup, Blend raising $130 million in new funding at a near $1 billion valuation.



U.S. Cedes Tariffs On Japanese Aluminium For Tesla Batteries

The United States Department of Commerce has agreed to do away with a 10% tariff on imported aluminium from Japan that's used by Tesla in the making of battery cells at its Nevada Gigafactory. This decision is in response to an earlier request from Tesla for a tariff exclusion on 10,000 tonnes of Japanese aluminium annually.

The Japanese aluminium Tesla imports is produced by Nippon Light Metal Holdings, a Japanese multinational that's engaged in the manufacture and sale of aluminum and chemical products via several subsidiaries. In a document dated June 5 and recently put on a government website, the U.S. Department of Commerce said the -- Japanese -- aluminium “is not produced in the United States in a sufficient and reasonably available amount or of a satisfactory quality.”

The tariff waiver on the Japanese aluminium upholds for one year.



Apple Says It Gets Fees From Less Than 1% Of Spotify Users

In response to an antitrust complaint from Spotify, Apple has disclosed that it collects a 15% fee from roughly 680,000 out of Spotify's 100 million paying customers [and 217 million total monthly active users]. Apple -- which competes directly with Spotify with the Apple Music streaming service -- said this in response to a complaint to EU regulators from Spotify that alleges Apple's control of the App Store, including fees it charges for processing payments, has made it hard for rivals to compete for music streaming subscribers.

Apple charges a 30% fee for in-app purchases made on the App Store but that drops to 15%  on subscription purchases made after a year. In exchange for the fees, Apple handles billing and payments -- for apps -- in over 100 countries. But in reaction to Spotify's complaint, The Cupertino-based iPhone maker said that only a little fraction of Spotify's users are affected by its fees. That's because Spotify used Apple's payments system …

Blend Raises $130 Million Series E

Blend, a San Francisco-based SaaS platform for digital lenders, has raised $130 million in Series E funding. Temasek and General Atlantic led the funding, with participation from existing backers Greylock Partners, Founders Fund, 8VC and Lightspeed Venture Partners. With this funding, Blend has now raised a total of $310 million. Although the valuation for this round is not disclosed, Fortune reports Blend is now valued at close to $1 billion, up from a previous $500 million post-money valuation [according to Pitchbook data].

The funding comes at a good time for Blend, which claims it now processes nearly $2 billion in loans per day for more than 150 lenders. The company has also recently expanded into deposit accounts and home equity, and homeowners insurance. Blend says it'll make use of the funding to continue growing its current team of nearly 400 employees and invest in new tech, grow its partner ecosystem, and further its expansion into other consumer lending areas.


The com…

DJI Debuts Custom Drone For Government Agencies

Facing increased security concerns from the U.S. government, Chinese drone maker DJI has announced a new "Government Edition" drone that's made "specifically for use in high-security situations" by global government agencies. DJI says the new edition's architecture ensures that drone data like photos and videos captured during flight never leaves the drone or get shared with unauthorized parties including DJI itself. The Shenzhen-based company says the way the drone is built ensures it "meets the stringent requirements of the government sector for data management, risk mitigation, and enterprise-level data sharing control."

DJI first developed the Government Edition for the U.S. Department of the Interior Office of Aviation Services, and is now offering it to other government organizations around the globe. The Chinese drone maker says the Government Edition drone partook in more than 1,500 flight missions last year. In addition to data protectio…

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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…