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Showing posts from August, 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…

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…

SmileDirectClub Files To Go Public

It seems this is the season of filing to go public. Just after WeWork and Cloudflare, SmileDirectClub, a Nashville-based direct-to-consumer supplier of tooth clear aligners that was last valued at $3.2 billion, has filed for an initial public offering (IPO) with the SEC. The company did so less than 24 hours ago. Investment banks J.P. Morgan and Citigroup are acting as lead underwriters for its IPO.

SmileDirectClub's S-1 filing indicates $373.5 million revenue in the first half of this year, up more than 100% from $175 million in the same period last year. But still, SmileDirectClub, like several other companies that have gone public this year, is not profitable, having recorded a $33.8 million loss in the first half of this year, down from $53 million in the same period last year.

SmileDirectClub recorded $423 million in 2018 revenues, up nearly 200% from $146 million in 2017. However, losses increased from $32.8 million in 2017 to $74.8 million in 2018. As of Q2 2019 end (June …

Coinbase Acquires Xapo's Crypto Custody Business

Coinbase has announced that it has acquired the cryptocurrency custody business of Xapo, a well-known Hong Kong-based crypto startup. According to Fortune, Coinbase paid $55 million for the business. With this purchase, Coinbase now manages more than $7 billion in crypto assets on behalf of clients. Xapo is handing off its crypto custody (storage) business but will hold onto its exchange business, which lets persons buy and sell Bitcoin.

Coinbase Custody, a standalone, independently-capitalized business that operates under Coinbase, is the actual firm acquiring Xapo's custody business. With this acquisition, Coinbase Custody now manages crypto assets for more than 120 clients in 14 different countries, an impressive feat given its just over a year of existence.

Xapo was a pioneer of the crypto custody business, having done that since 2014. The Hong Kong-based startup has raised some $40 million in funding from well-known VCs and individual investors, including Affirm CEO Max Levc…

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…

Nurx Nabs $52 Million In New Funding

Nurx, a San Francisco-based direct-to-consumer health startup, has announced $52 million in new [equity and debt] funding led by Kleiner Perkins and Union Square Ventures, with participation from Y Combinator, Lowercase Capital, Dreamers VC, Reproductive Health Investors Alliance and Triple Point Capital. The $52 million figure consists of $32 million in Series C equity funding and $20 million in debt financing. According to stock authorization filings reviewed by PitchBook, the equity part values Nurx at nearly $300 million.

Nurx says it'll use the funds to introduce more telehealth services and expand its medical provider team. The San Francisco-based startup offers direct delivery of prescription drugs and health kits for sensitive health issues like birth control, emergency contraception, STI testing, HIV Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and HPV screening. It targets health issues which may often carry shame and stigma, enabling affected persons to order and get prescription m…

UPS Bets On TuSimple

UPS Ventures, the venture capital arm of logistics giant UPS, has announced an investment in TuSimple, a driverless trucking company that was valued at $1 billion earlier this year. UPS Ventures took an undisclosed minority stake in San Diego-based TuSimple. The investment comes not long after TuSimple got a contract to transport packages autonomously for the United States Postal Service (USPS).

UPS is not just backing TuSimple, but is also working together with the driverless trucking company to study the potential use of its autonomous trucks to deliver packages. TuSimple, which has built Level 4 self-driving technology for trucks, believes it can reduce the costs of shipping goods by 30% via autonomy.


UPS and TuSimple are already testing self-driving tractor-trailers on a route in the state of Arizona to determine whether efficiency and service can be improved with the use of driverless trucks to haul goods. At ongoing tests, TuSimple's driverless trucks have hauled goods for …

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…

VMware In Talks To Acquire Pivotal For $15/Share

Pivotal has announced that there have been talks between itself and VMware, a long-time partner, to acquire the former for $15 per share, a roughly 81% premium to an $8.30 price as at the time of announcement. No final deal has been reached between the two, with negotiations still underway.

Pivotal and VMware have long connections to each other. They are long-term strategic partners and have one common shareholder: Dell, which controls a majority stake in both companies. VMware was once an independent company in its own right, before being acquired by EMC north of a decade ago. Dell got hold of VMware when it acquired EMC in a $67 billion deal in 2016, although VMware was taken public by EMC long before that [EMC held a majority stake in publicly traded VMware which was transferred to Dell after its acquisition].

Pivotal on the other hand was spun out as a standalone company from EMC in 2012 [EMC held a majority stake]. It got its name from Pivotal Labs, a software startup EMC acquir…

Eaze Reportedly Raising Funding At A Valuation Of Up To $400 Million

According to a report from Business Insider [paywall], Eaze, a San Francisco-based cannabis startup, is seeking to raise between $50 million and $75 million in new funding at a target valuation of between $350 million-$400 million. This would be in addition to $117 million already raised since inception.

According to Pitchbook data, Eaze last raised funding [a $65 million Series C] at a $315 million valuation. This means the cannabis startup's [reported] new funding may be coming with just a slight jump in valuation. Such situation is not unheard of, as several companies have raised huge rounds at a slight bump in [or even a flat] valuation. One example is SoFi, which recently closed $500 million in funding at a $4.3 billion valuation, the same valuation it got from a previous $500 million round in 2017.


Eaze doesn't sell cannabis products directly, but acts as a marketplace for them. On Eaze's platform, adult consumers can purchase cannabis products from several licensed…

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…

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…

Vice Media Said To Be Pursuing CBS-Viacom Exit At A $1.5 Billion Valuation

Not too long ago, we reported on Vice Media being in said talks to acquire Refinery29, a popular digital media outlet aimed at millennial women. Vice Media had been at the forefront of a sprawling digital media scene, having raised hundreds of millions in funding at a valuation of up to $5.7 billion. However, its status took tides, with a series of events that signaled hassles at the company. First, Vice laid off 10% of its staff earlier this year. Not long after, Disney wrote off a $353 million investment in the company, atop an earlier $157 million write-down. A quick calculation sums up the write-downs to $510 million.

Disney actually invested $400 million in Vice Media, but the $510 million figure takes into account an increase in Vice's valuation that came with later investments than its, plus 50% of the investments made by A+E Networks (a joint venture between Disney and Hearst) and a stake originally held by Fox, which Disney acquired earlier this year. Fox was Vice's …

DJI Debuts The Osmo Mobile 3

DJI has debuted the Osmo Mobile 3, the third iteration of its Osmo lineup of smartphone camera stabilizers. DJI bills the Osmo Mobile 3 as its most travel-friendly, thanks to its light weight and the ability to fold, which makes it more portable. The Osmo Mobile 3 is not only foldable, but has been designed in such a way that allows the user to control it with just one hand. With buttons placed on the handle, users can control the Osmo Mobile 3 and access useful camera features with ease.

The Osmo Mobile 3 addresses some pain points users had with the Osmo Mobile 2. The new gimbal, as camera stablizers are usually called, no longer obstructs the phone's charging and audio ports, allowing connection of external mics and charging of phones from the Osmo battery. There's no longer a need to manually rotate a smartphone from landscape to portrait mode as that can now be done with a button press. Users can also zoom in and zoom out with a dedicated slider at the side of the gimbal…

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…

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…

Oculus Co-Founder Nate Mitchell Departs Facebook

Nate Mitchell, a co-founder of the Facebook-acquired Oculus VR, has announced that he's leaving Facebook after seven years on the Oculus team and five years after Facebook's acquisition. Mitchell is the last Oculus co-founder to depart Facebook, following the earlier departures of Brendan Iribe and Palmer Luckey. Luckey was the first to leave, in 2017, followed by Iribe late last year.

Mitchell most recently served as Head of VR Product at Facebook. Before that, he held two other positions, VP [of] Product and Head of [Oculus] Rift. Prior to Oculus, he worked at Autodesk and Gaikai, two companies where Oculus co-founder Brendan Iribe also worked at. Iribe joined Autodesk after the software company acquired his gaming startup, Scaleform, for $36 million. After that, he joined Gaikai, a game streaming startup, as Chief Product Officer.



Mitchell said he's "taking time to travel, be with family, and recharge" after his departure. "I expect the incredible team a…

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…

Ro Appoints Ex-BuzzFeed Exec As CTO

Ro, a direct-to-consumer telehealth startup that's valued at $500 million, has hired BuzzFeed's former CTO Todd Levy to occupy the same position at Ro. Levy will begin his new role on Wednesday, the 14th of August. According to the New York Business Journal, Levy was one of eight candidates considered for Ro's CTO position, and met with 18 of its employees before being offered the role.

Levy joined BuzzFeed as VP of Engineering in 2014. He occupied that position for two years before being appointed as CTO in 2016. Levy landed at BuzzFeed after the digital media company acquired Torando Labs, a startup he founded and led for two years.

Levy is also a co-founder of Bitly, a popular URL shortening service that sold for $63 million in 2017. He served as CTO of Bitly for four years. Before that, he held software roles at AOL and Betaworks.

New York-based Ro was founded in 2017 and has grown at a fast pace, having raised nearly $180 million in a two-year span. Ro is part of a w…

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…

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…

Deliveroo Retreats From Germany

Food delivery startup Deliveroo has said it would stop delivering in Germany on the 16th of August. The London-based startup made this known in an e-mail to its German customers. “This was not an easy decision and one we have not taken lightly,” the e-mail said, also stating that its [Deliveroo's] focus will be on “growing our operations in other markets around the world”.

In a statement to TechCrunch, a Deliveroo spokesperson said the company intends to refocus resources and investment to speed up growth in other markets across Europe and Asia-Pacific. Deliveroo had already halted deliveries in a number of smaller German cities last year. At the time, it said it would focus on Munich, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Berlin and Cologne. According to The Telegraph, Deliveroo is laying off 100 employees as part of its exit.

The reason for Deliveroo's retreat is not clear, but may be related to heightened competition in the German food delivery market. Not long ago, UK-based Just Eat and Ta…

Velodyne Debuts New Mid-Range Lidar

Velodyne has unveiled a new lidar -- the Puck 32MR -- that's made for use in low-speed autonomous robots, industrial vehicles, shuttles and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). For those not familiar, lidars [like the one pictured above] are devices that enable autonomous cars and robots see and make sense of their environments. Velodyne, which began producing lidars in 2005, commands the greatest market share of all lidar companies, although it's facing increasing competition from lots of newer startups.

Velodyne's new lidar, the Puck 32MR, can see and sense up to 120 meters ahead, with a 40-degree vertical field of view. Velodyne says it "accurately detects" vehicles, pedestrians, crosswalks, bicycles, curbs, and obstacles. In retrospect, the Puck 32MR is a more affordable lidar that's made for mid-range autonomous vehicles. Although Velodyne didn't disclose its price, it'll likely be substantially cheaper than other Velodyne lidars, which can cost up …

WeWork Will Reportedly Unveil IPO Filing As Soon As Next Week

According to a report from Bloomberg News, WeWork is planning to publicly unveil its IPO filing as soon as next week, a few months after it confidentially filed with the SEC. Such filing will give the general public better insight into WeWork's business, which although has generated significant revenues, is still plagued by losses and questions and queries concerning sustainability of its business model.

Bloomberg reports WeWork is looking to raise more than $3.5 billion from the initial public offering (IPO). The New York-based company is also said to be working on a debt offering of up to $6 billion, that's contingent on it raising at least $3 billion from its IPO.

WeWork started disclosing select financial stats after it began selling bonds last year. The shared workspace company recorded $1.8 billion in 2018 revenue, but with $1.9 billion in losses. This was up 103% from $886 million in 2017, but with $933 million in losses in the same year.

WeWork's IPO could be the …

Apple Will Give Special Phones To Security Researchers

At this year's Black Hat security conference, Ivan Krstic, a Croatian computer security expert who serves as head of Security Engineering and Architecture at Apple, said the company would begin giving out special iPhones to cyber-security researchers to help them find possible flaws before malicious hackers do. Krstic made this known at the end of a 50-minute long presentation that talked about Apple's security efforts for its hardware and software products.

In a statement to Bloomberg News, Krstic said the special iPhones will disable some security features and allow deeper access for researchers. The program under which Apple will give out the special phones is scheduled to begin next year.

Apple has also said it's extending its “bug bounty” program to the Apple TV, Apple Watch, Mac, and iPad operating systems. The program, similar to several others run by large tech companies, doles out cash rewards to security researchers who find and report security mishaps in Apple&…

Uber Said To Have Paused Engineer Hiring As Losses Rise

According to a piece from Yahoo Finance, Uber, which just released its Q2 results that showed significant losses, has paused hiring for its engineering teams in the U.S. and Canada, having even cancelled already scheduled on-site interviews for tech roles this week. In emails [reviewed by Yahoo Finance] that was sent to job interviewees, Uber recruiters explained that “there have been some changes” and that hiring opportunities have been “put on hold for now,”.

The hiring pause comes shortly after Uber laid off 400 persons from its marketing department. The layoffs affected marketing personnel across Uber offices worldwide. Such hiring pause likely correlates to significant losses by Uber, which lost $5.2 billion in the second quarter of this year, although majority of that ($3.9 billion) was due to employee stock-based compensation. But still, $1.3 billion in losses [minus the stock-based compensation] is still very significant.

Uber hasn't turned a profit for years and, now bei…

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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…