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Showing posts from July, 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…

Samsung Debuts The Galaxy Tab S6

Samsung has unveiled a new tablet: the Galaxy Tab S6, a new device that seems like a jab to the iPad Pro. The new tablet is Samsung's first that features an on-screen fingerprint scanner. It has a 10.5-inch display and a 5.7mm slim body. Other of its features include:
8MP camera [front]/13MP + 5MP dual cameras [rear]6GB/8GB memory options128GB/256GB storage optionsMicroSD support (up to 1TB)4 speakers123-degree wide angle lens420g (weight)A 7,040mAh batteryA magnetic strip for the Samsung S Pen to attach to the tabletSamsung Knox [security platform]A new-and-improved version of Samsung DeX [desktop-like functionality]

The new tab comes in gray, blue, and blush colors. It'll be available, starting in select markets, as from late August. The Galaxy Tab S6 is an addition to several other products Samsung has unveiled this year. The company has been on quite a spree, with debuts of several new products this year, including a gaming monitor, the Galaxy A80, the Galaxy Tab S5etwo …

Cloudflare Reportedly Eyeing September IPO

According to a new report from Business Insider [paywall], Cloudflare, a well known San Francisco-based company that powers nearly 10% of all internet requests, is eyeing an IPO in September, not long after raising $150 million at a reported $3.2 billion valuation. Cloudflare was previously reported to have hired Goldman Sachs for an IPO, but did not file with the SEC until this summer, according to Business Insider.

The valuation being targeted for the IPO is not certain, but for a hint, the San Francisco-based company was previously reported to be targeting a valuation of over $3.5 billion. Cloudflare is widely known for its content delivery network (CDN) that powers more than 18 million internet properties. For a hint into how big a role Cloudflare's network plays in the internet, a recent 30 minute outage took thousands of other popular services, including Discord, OkCupid, Feedly, Peloton and CoinDesk down with it.

Cloudflare's influence is spread all around the net, wit…

DigitalOcean Appoints New CEO And CFO

DigitalOcean, a well-known New York-based cloud infrastructure startup, has appointed a new CEO and CFO. DigitalOcean's new CEO is Yancey Spruill, who previously served as COO and CFO at SendGrid. Spruill, who began his career as an engineer, guided SendGrid through a $150 million IPO in 2017 and a recent sale to Twilio in a $3 billion all-stock deal.

DigitalOcean's new CFO is Bill Sorenson, who previously served as CFO at Enernoc and Qlik. Sorenson guided Qlik through an IPO in 2010. Qlik was later acquired by private equity firm Thoma Bravo for $3 billion. Sorenson also guided Enernoc through a $250 million sale to the Enel Group in 2017.


Spruill, the new CEO, is replacing Mark Templeton, who announced his decision to step down in May. Templeton has spent just a little more than one year as DigitalOcean's CEO. He worked closely with DigitalOcean's board to find a successor.

The new appointments could indicate IPO goals by DigitalOcean. With significant experience of…

Ford Acquires Quantum Signal AI

Ford has acquired Quantum Signal AI, a two decade old Saline, Michigan-based firm that has worked on robotics solutions for several clients, including the U.S. military. Quantum Signal has helped the U.S. military develop software that let it remotely control robotic vehicles located thousands of miles away. It also set up a simulation environment for the military that's capable of testing autonomous vehicle designs. That simulation software is still in use today.

Perhaps, Quantum Signal's work with military tech explains why it has operated in relative obscurity for 20 years running. Ford is acquiring Quantum Signal AI to bolster its self-driving efforts. Quantum's expertise will support Ford in several areas, including software development and hardware prototyping, as the automaker develops self-driving vehicles. If you recall, Argo AI, Ford's self-driving unit, recently secured a $2.6 billion investment from Volkswagen.


This isn't the first time Ford is acquiri…

Monday.com Raises $150 Million At A $1.9 Billion Valuation

Monday.com, an Israeli founded workplace collaboration startup, has announced $150 million in Series D funding that TechCrunch reports values it at $1.9 billion, nearly four times a $500 million valuation last year. Sapphire Ventures led the funding, with participation from Hamilton Lane, ION Crossover Partners, Vintage Investment Partners, and HarbourVest Partners. The funding brings the total raised by Monday.com to $234 million.

A $1.9 billion valuation is really impressive for a startup that launched five years ago. What's more impressive is a near-quadruple in valuation in a one-year span. Monday.com's growth should justify that, with more than 80,000 customers currenctly compared to 35,000 a year ago. Monday.com's customers include well-known names like WeWork, Hulu, Glossier, Phillips, Zippo, and hundreds of Fortune 500 companies. Its customers are spread across 140 countries.


Monday.com's workplace collaboration software has integrations with several popular t…

Qualcomm And Tecent Collaborate On Gaming, 5G

Qualcomm and Tencent have announced they'll collaborate on projects that could include joint work on mobile gaming devices equipped with Qualcomm chips, game content and performance optimizations, cloud gaming, AR/VR, 5G gaming use, and "additional relevant technologies". Both companies have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for co-operation in the aforementioned fields although the agreement is non-binding, meaning neither of both parties are actually obligated to the partnership.

A non-binding agreement entails there's a probability both companies may not actually progress on the partnership, but it makes for an interesting one. Qualcomm and Tencent will collaborate on projects that could include making Tencent's video games better play on devices equipped with Qualcomm chips, and making a 5G version of Tencent-backed gaming phone. The gaming phone, created by Tencent and Asus, was revealed at an event earlier this month. Not surprisingly, the phone i…

Uber Reportedly Cutting One-Third Of Marketing Department

A new report from Bloomberg says Uber is dismissing up to 400 employees [or one-third] from its marketing department globally. Bloomberg reports Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi made this known in an e-mail sent to employees this Monday.

“Today, there’s a general sense that while we’ve grown fast, we’ve slowed down,” Khosrowshahi is said to have stated in the email reviewed by Bloomberg. “This happens naturally as companies get bigger, but it is something we need to address, and quickly.”

400 employees represents roughly 1.6% of Uber's global headcount. Such layoff would count as the first major reorganization of Uber's marketing and communications division since Jill Hazelbaker, a longtime Uber executive, took over. Hazelbaker took over after the recent departure of former chief marketing officer Rebecca Messina. Messina stepped down along with former COO Barney Harford.

Hazelbaker is a long-time communications executive who held previous executive roles at Google and Snapchat.



Microsoft Acquires BlueTalon

Microsoft has announced it has acquired BlueTalon, a Redwood City-based startup that helps companies set and enforce policies on how their employees can access their data. Financial details of the deal are not disclosed. BlueTalon had raised more than $25 million in funding, from investors including Bloomberg Beta, the Stanford-StartX Fund, Data Collective, Divergent Ventures, Maverick Ventures and more.

The BlueTalon team will become part of Azure Data, where it'll work on data privacy and governance solutions. Microsoft happens to be getting key intellectual property and talent with its acquisition. "This acquisition is a huge force multiplier on BlueTalon’s mission to make data easily and safely accessible across the enterprise by providing high quality data governance and compliance solutions." BlueTalon CEO Eric Tilenius said in a blog post.

"With the BlueTalon team now part of Microsoft’s Azure Data Governance group, we look forward to taking our technology t…

Jumia To Set Up Pickup Points At Petrol Stations

African e-commerce company Jumia has partnered with Vivo Energy, an operator of more than 2,100 Shell and Engen branded service [petrol] stations across the African continent, to use its stations as pick-up and drop off points that'll allow customers collect or return online orders made on Jumia. Jumia's customers will also be able to place and pay for orders at some service stations.

Jumia and Vivo say there are also other initiatives being explored that'll combine Vivo's physical service stations with Jumia's e-commerce services. Vivo has service stations in 23 African countries, more than enough to cover the 14 countries Jumia operates in. In addition to selling vehicle fuels and other petrol-related products at its service stations, Vivo also has shops, restaurants, card services spots, and other non-fuel related businesses operating at its stations.


The lack of standard address systems is a significant problem that affects goods delivery in some areas across …

Ten Robotics Startups To Watch This Year

Robotics is a wide field with several use cases, including healthcare, warehouse and inventory management, security, bionics, industrial ops, agriculture, education and more. Startups in this industry collectively raised $2.7 billion in VC funding in 2017, signalling solid investor confidence in the industry. Between 2018 and so far this year, several robotics startups have collectively raised hundreds of millions in funding, a recent example being Fetch Robotics, which is fresh off $46 million in Series C funding.

A big acquisition also happened this year; Johnson & Johnson's purchase of Auris Health for $3.4 billion, with additional payments of up to $2.35 billion tied to certain milestones. Auris develops surgical robots used for diagnostic and therapeutic procedures in the human lung.

Activities like the aforementioned indicate the robotics field is a very promising one. That's why we are here with this article to show you ten robotics startups to watch this year. The…

Vice Media Reportedly In Talks To Acquire Refinery29

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal [paywall], Vice Media is in talks to acquire Refinery29, a popular digital media outlet last valued at $500 million. The Journal says talks are still on-going, with a possibility that an offer may not be made.

If such acquisition occurs, it would mark a combination of two of the largest venture-backed media companies in the US. Refinery29 and Vice Media are among a wave of several digital media outlets that have raised huge funding at big valuations. Other of its kind include Buzzfeed and Vox Media, two other well known digital media outlets.

The Wall Street Journal reports Refinery29 has drastically lessened its losses and grown its revenue this year by diversifying its revenue sources. Other digital media companies have also made moves to cut losses, with layoffs regularly part of such moves. Vice Media did so by cutting 10% of its staff earlier this year. Such layoffs usually comes amid reports of revenue misses, with Vice Media a…

Gatik Begins Autonomous Deliveries For Walmart

Gatik -- a Palo Alto based self-driving vehicle startup that recently launched out of stealth with $4.5 million in funding -- has kicked off a pilot to deliver goods for Walmart in Arkansas. This is possible thanks to a legislation passed in March that permitted self-driving vehicles to operate in the state.

Gatik introduced Walmart as a partner when launched out of stealth last month. The Palo Alto-based startup focuses on business to business (B2B) short-haul deliveries, a significant market given business logistics is a very large industry. Gatik claims its solution cuts delivery costs by up to 50%, while improving metrics like safety and efficiency, and reducing congestion and emissions.

Gatik is led by Gautam Narang (CEO) and Arjun Narang (CTO) -- two brothers with more than a decade of experience in the fields of robotics, AI and machine learning -- alongside a third co-founder, Apeksha Kumavat. The trio previously had stints at the self-driving research units of Carnegie Mello…

Founders Fund Reportedly Backing Scale At Unicorn Valuation

According to a report from The Information, Scale -- a supplier of software to the self-driving vehicle industry -- is raising new funding that values it around $1 billion, a big jump from a previous $90 million valuation [according to Pitchbook data]. The report says Founders Fund is expected to invest around $50 million into the San Francisco-based startup.

The Information reports says Scale's annual recurring revenue [customer commitments to purchase its software over the next 12 months] has risen to $40 million from $4 million last year, indicating some good growth at the company. Although many self-driving vehicle makers, being in early testing stages, are yet to generate revenue, Scale which supplies software used by them is on a good side of business. Its customers include well known companies like Nuro, GM Cruise, Waymo, Lyft, Toyota, Zoox, Embark and more.

Scale has raised $22.7 million in total funding. Its backers include VCs like Index Ventures, Accel, Y Combinator, a…

Uber In Grocery Delivery Talks With European Chains

As confirmed by Uber in a statement to Bloomberg, the ride-hailing company is in talks with European supermarket chains to roll out a grocery delivery service as rivals like Deliveroo and Just Eat make moves to better compete in the market. “We’re currently speaking with a number of the major supermarkets around Europe,” an Uber spokesperson said in an e-mail.

The talks come shortly after Deliveroo raised $575 million in funding led by Amazon, which the delivery startup said would be used to expand its presence. According to Bloomberg, Uber has held talks with the U.K.’s second-biggest grocer, J Sainsbury, even as the supermarket chain recently partnered with Deliveroo to deliver pizza to customers' homes.

A partnership between Uber and a U.K. supermarket chain may put pressure on online grocer Ocado, which holds a significant share of the online grocery market in U.K. Ocado -- which recorded £1.6 billion in 2018 revenue -- also builds out infrastructure for other food retailers …

DOJ Clears T-Mobile-Sprint Merger

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced it has reached a settlement with T-Mobile and Sprint regarding their proposed merger. The settlement is hinged on certain terms that both companies must fulfill, including a substantial sale of some assets to create space for another competitor. That new competitor is Dish, which has agreed to pay $1.4 billion for Sprint’s prepaid mobile business and another $3.6 billion for its 800 MHz spectrum assets.

In the event of a merger, T-Mobile and Sprint have agreed to provide Dish's wireless customers access to its network for seven years [while Dish builds out its own network], and offer transition services for a period of up to 3 years. Dish will also have an option to lease certain cell sites and retail locations that are decommissioned by T-Mobile and Sprint in the event of a merger.


A T-Mobile-Sprint merger would fuse two telecom giants that recorded a combined $75 billion in 2018 revenues. Although both telecom companies are bas…

Bond Leads $100 Million Series D For Hippo

Bond -- a VC firm led by famed investor Mary Meeker -- has led $100 million in Series D funding for Hippo, a Palo-Alto based home insurance startup that launched in 2017. Alongside Bond, participants in this funding include Comcast Ventures, Iconiq Capital, Fifth Wall, Lennar, Hillhouse Capital, Horizons Ventures, Felicis Ventures and more. This round included, Hippo has now raised $209 million in total funding.

According to a piece from Fortune, the Series D values Hippo at $1 billion, marking another entrant into the unicorn club just after Turo, a peer-to-peer car sharing marketplace, hit the mark.


Hippo will use the funding to fuel its expansion to more than 80% of the U.S. homeowner population by year end. The Palo Alto-based startup will also deepen its direct-to-consumer product portfolio and grow its distribution network of insurance partners. In the past 12 months, Hippo says its insurance premiums has grown more than ten-fold.

Hippo leverages public data sets like municipal…

Unity Doubles Valuation To $6 Billion

Unity has announced it has signed investment agreements that doubles its valuation to $6 billion. The investment agreement consist of a $525 million secondary round [selling of shares by existing holders] atop $150 million in funding for Unity itself. Investors that entered agreements with Unity are Sequoia Capital, Silver Lake Partners, D1 Capital Partners, Light Street Capital, and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB).

"We selected these investors because their vision of the future is very much aligned with ours. We are pleased to provide the opportunity for some liquidity to our dedicated employees who have worked so hard to make Unity the company that it is today," Unity CFO Kim Jabal said in a statement.

The $525 million secondary offering is open to all common shareholders, the majority of whom are current and former employees. Such offering signifies Unity might not be looking to go public soon, even as many of its well-funded peers head to the public mar…

Ford's Spin Debuts New Electric Scooter

Spin -- the e-scooter startup acquired by Ford late last year -- has unveiled a new electric scooter model that'll support its growth and demand in new and existing markets. Beginning next month, the new e-scooter model will be made available in the cities of Portland, Denver, Memphis, Kansas City, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, and Minneapolis. Spin plans to expand into other U.S. cities [apart from the aforementioned] with this new scooter model.

The new edition scooter is heavier than previous models, with a larger frame, strengthened mechanical structure, and a wider and longer platform. Other of its features include:
Bigger (10-inch) tubeless tires. This provides better shock absorption over rough terrain and conditions.Custom security screws to prevent tampering and vandalismExtended battery life (up to 37.5 miles at full charge)A more responsive bike-handle braking systemImproved acceleration and uphill performance
Spin has rapidly expanded from 13 markets as at the time For…

Apple Scoops Up Intel's Smartphone Modem Business

Apple has announced it's acquiring 'the majority' of Intel's smartphone modem business in a deal worth $1 billion. Apple is getting 2,200 employees and various wireless technology patents as part of its purchase. Combined with the patents Apple will acquire from Intel, the iPhone maker will hold over 17,000 wireless technology patents, ranging from protocols for cellular standards to modem architecture and modem operation.

Even as Intel sells its smartphone modem business, it'll still be able to develop modems for non-smartphone applications, like self-driving vehicles, PCs, and IoT devices. Intel CEO Bob Swan says the deal will let the chip maker focus on developing other 5G technologies.


Apple's acquisition indicates it has good ground to begin producing its own 5G smartphone modems, a significant deal given its fallout with chipmaker Qualcomm. With Intel's smartphone modem business in its wings, Apple would easily produce its own 5G modems for use in iP…

Toyota Bets $600 Million On Didi Chuxing

Toyota has announced it's investing $600 million in Didi Chuxing, not long after the automaker was reported to be considering a 60 billion yen ($550 million) bet on the Chinese ride-hailing company. Toyota's now announced investment indicates the report was legit, although the amount invested is $50 million higher than as reported. Toyota's investment will go towards Didi Chuxing and a separate joint venture that'll provide vehicle-related services for Didi drivers.

Didi and Toyota first unveiled the joint venture early last year. The JV provides vehicle-related services, including vehicle leasing, maintenance, insurance, financing and more to Didi drivers. Toyota's investment would enable both companies move towards full-scale implementation of services they have developed under the joint venture.


Toyota, through its collaboration with Didi, also aims to introduce and promote the use of electric vehicles in China. "DiDi is committed to help our cities achiev…

Anduril Got $13.5 Million Deal To Monitor US Marine Bases

As first reported by The Verge, government documents reveal that Anduril -- a  defense technology startup co-founded by Oculus founder Palmer Luckey -- recently got a $13.5 million contract to set up autonomous surveillance systems at four U.S. Marine Corps bases. The contract runs for one year, with an option to extend to a second year. As per contract terms, Anduril must perform system maintenance, including onsite support on surveillance systems it sets up at Marine bases. The bases where it'll set up its systems are spread across four locations; two in Japan, one in Hawaii, and another in Arizona.

The contract was officially awarded on the 15th of July. Further documents published by Latinx activism organization Mijente [under the Freedom of Information Act] shows Anduril got two other contracts with the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol -- a $4.8 million contract for “border surveillance equipment” and a $203,000 contract for a “small unmanned aerial system”. This isn't the…

Postmates To Use Ouster Lidars For Delivery Robot

Not long ago, Postmates CEO Bastian Lehmann was accompanied by a cute little delivery robot to a Fortune Brainstorm Tech event. The robot - called 'Serve' -- was first unveiled last year. It currently roams on sidewalks in Los Angeles, making short distance on-demand deliveries. As conventionally known, autonomous robots make use of various sensors including lidars to navigate. These sensors enable robots to measure distance to a target and move towards that target.

Velodyne lidars are the most used in self-driving vehicles and robots, although there's much competition from other lidar makers like Luminar, Quanergy, Blackmore, and more. If observed closely, Postmates' initially unveiled robot spotted a lidar different from that of the robot which recently accompanied its CEO Lehmann to the Fortune event. One could get curious as to which lidar the company decided to use, but don't worry, as Postmates just announced its delivery robot will use lidars from Ouster, a…

Freenome Closes $160 Million Series B

Freenome -- a San Francisco-based startup working on cancer detection through blood tests -- has closed $160 million in Series B funding led by RA Capital Management and Polaris Partners, with participation from new and existing investors including Roche, GV (formerly Google Ventures), Alphabet's Verily, Andreessen Horowitz, the American Cancer Society’s BrightEdge Ventures and more. This funding brings the total raised by Freenome to $238 million.

Freenome will use the funding to further develop its blood-based cancer test. It plans to conduct a pivotal study to detect colon cancer using blood tests for at least 10,000 patients, and then submit an application under a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) program with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). For Freenome to officially begin tests, the FDA has to give approval, while the Medicare agency gets to decide if it'll cover the cost of its tests for the elderly and disabled [under the U.S. health prog…

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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…