Brex valued at $2.6B with new cash from Kleiner Perkins


This post is by Kate Clark from Venture Capital – TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Reports published late last month indicated Brex, the fast-growing fintech startup, was raising yet another round. Today, the San Francisco-based company is confirming it’s closed on $100 million in Series C-2 funding at a valuation of $2.6 billion.

Kleiner Perkins has lead the round via former general partner Mood Rowghani, who left the fund last year to form Bond alongside Mary Meeker and Noah Knauf. Existing investors DST Global, IVP, Y Combinator and Greenoaks Capital have also participated in the round. 

The Y Combinator graduate, which provides corporate cards tailored for startups, is also announcing the launch of its third product: a card made specifically for life sciences companies. With a focus on pharmaceutical, biotech and cosmetic businesses, Brex has customized its underwriting model for the life sciences sector and crafted targeted rewards, including cash back on lab supplies and conference fees.

Brex’s funding history

March 2017: Continue reading “Brex valued at $2.6B with new cash from Kleiner Perkins”

Startups Weekly: The Peloton IPO (bull vs. bear)


This post is by Kate Clark from Venture Capital – TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Hello and welcome back to Startups Weekly, a newsletter published every Saturday that dives into the week’s noteworthy venture capital deals, funds and trends. Before I dive into this week’s topic, let’s catch up a bit. Last week, I wrote about the proliferation of billion-dollar companies. Before that, I noted the uptick in beverage startup rounds. Remember, you can send me tips, suggestions and feedback to kate.clark@techcrunch.com or on Twitter @KateClarkTweets.

Now, time for some quick notes on Peloton’s confirmed initial public offering. The fitness unicorn, which sells a high-tech exercise bike and affiliated subscription to original fitness content, confidentially filed to go public earlier this week. Unfortunately, there’s no S-1 to pore through yet; all I can do for now is speculate a bit about Peloton’s long-term potential.

What I know: 

What happens to late-stage VC if the Vision Fund goes away?


This post is by Kate Clark from Venture Capital – TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

Good news! Kate and Alex were both back in the studio this week. And even better news, the new TechCrunch studio is big and soundproof and pretty nice, really.

But enough about all of that, let’s get into the news. First, a rapid-fire look at some recent items:

From there we turned to four material topics. First up, the Peloton IPO news.

Everyone’s favorite fitness tech company is going public. We were expecting this; Continue reading “What happens to late-stage VC if the Vision Fund goes away?”

Thumbtack is raising up to $120M on a flat valuation


This post is by Kate Clark from Venture Capital – TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Thumbtack, one of the first players in what is now known as the gig economy, has hit the fundraising circuit once again.

The online services marketplace that matches customers with nearby professionals is raising up to $120 million in Series H shares, according to a Delaware stock authorization filing uncovered by the Prime Unicorn Index. Thumbtack did not respond to a request for comment.

At more than 10 years old, the business has previously raised nearly $300 million in a combination of debt and equity funding. The upcoming round comes at a flat valuation to its 2015 Series G funding of $125 million, which valued Thumbtack at $1.3 billion. Scottish asset manager Baillie Gifford led that round, which increased its valuation roughly 60% from $804 million, according to PitchBook:

Thumbtack’s funding history

June 2009: $650,000 Series A | $3.3M valuation

Jan. 2012: $4.4M Series C | Continue reading “Thumbtack is raising up to $120M on a flat valuation”

Social Capital reincarnated


This post is by Kate Clark from Venture Capital – TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Nine months ago, the once high-flying venture capital fund Social Capital made the bold decision to stop accepting outside capital and operate as a family office, in essence.

The co-founder of the outfit, brazen billionaire and early Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya, pledged to upend his investment strategy and make fewer but much larger investments as a means to improve his returns. Naturally, a near-complete exodus of Social Capital’s venture capitalists followed.

Today, the firm’s three founders, Palihapitiya, Mamoon Hamid and Ted Maidenberg, have gone their separate ways. Palihapitiya is rewriting the Social Capital playbook, Hamid is busy reinvigorating Kleiner Perkins and Maidenberg is building on top of the data-driven strategy and proprietary software dubbed “Magic 8-Ball” he built at Social Capital, with a new firm called Tribe Capital.

Quietly, Tribe Capital’s co-founders, Maidenberg and former Social Capital partners Arjun Sethi and Jonathan Hsu, have deployed millions of dollars in Social

Continue reading “Social Capital reincarnated”

Aaron Rodgers raises $50M for Rx3 Ventures, a consumer fund backed by influencers


This post is by Kate Clark from Venture Capital – TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Aaron Rodgers is an athlete, an influencer and now, a venture capitalist.

The football star, Super Bowl champion and long-time quarterback for the Green Bay Packers has teamed up with ROTH Capital Partners’ Nate Raabe and Byron Roth to launch Rx3 Ventures. Today, the trio are announcing a $50 million debut fund focused on the consumer market.

The fund is supported by influencers in the sports and entertainment market, with a goal of giving them a stake in the companies for which they are hired to be spokespeople. Influencer marketing continues to gain traction; Rx3 wants to ensure authentic, equitable relationships between brands and public figures.

“As professional athletes, we’re constantly approached with investment opportunities,” Rodgers said in a statement. “With more and more access to deal flow, it’s hard for any athlete or high-profile individual to adequately evaluate each opportunity. We are in a unique position to help drive Continue reading “Aaron Rodgers raises $50M for Rx3 Ventures, a consumer fund backed by influencers”

VCs bet $12M on Troops, a Slackbot for sales teams


This post is by Kate Clark from Venture Capital – TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Slack wants to be the new operating system for teams, something it has made clear on more than one occasion, including in its recent S-1 filing. To accomplish that goal, it put together an in-house $80 million venture fund in 2015 to invest in third-party developers building on top of its platform.

Weeks ahead of its direct listing on The New York Stock Exchange, it continues to put that money to work.

Troops is the latest to land additional capital from the enterprise giant. The New York-based startup helps sales teams communicate with a customer relationship management tool plugged directly into Slack. In short, it automates routine sales management activities and creates visibility into important deals through integrations with employee emails and Salesforce.

Troops founder and chief executive officer Dan Reich, who previously co-founded TULA Skincare, told TechCrunch he opted to build a Slackbot rather than create an independent platform Continue reading “VCs bet $12M on Troops, a Slackbot for sales teams”

Fitness startup Mirror nears $300M valuation with fresh funding


This post is by Kate Clark from Venture Capital – TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Today, Peloton is a bonafide success. The company, which sells $2,245 internet-connected exercise bikes, boasts a $4 billion valuation and a cult following.

That hasn’t always been the case. For years, Peloton battled for venture capital investment and struggled to attract buyers. Now that it’s proven the market for tech-enabled home exercise equipment and affiliated subscription products, a whole bunch of startups are chasing down the same customer segment.

Mirror, a New York-based company that sells $1,495 full-length mirrors that double as interactive home gyms, is closing in a round of funding expected to reach $36 million, sources and Delaware stock filings confirm, at a valuation just under $300 million. It’s unclear who has signed on to lead the round; we’ve heard a number of high-profile firms looked at Mirror’s books and passed. The company has previously raised a total of $38 million from Spark Capital, First Round Capital, Lerer

Continue reading “Fitness startup Mirror nears $300M valuation with fresh funding”

Startups Weekly: Will the real unicorns please stand up?


This post is by Kate Clark from Venture Capital – TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Hello and welcome back to Startups Weekly, a newsletter published every Saturday that dives into the week’s noteworthy venture capital deals, funds and trends. Before I dive into this week’s topic, let’s catch up a bit. Last week, I wrote about the sudden uptick in beverage startup rounds. Before that, I noted an alternative to venture capital fundraising called revenue-based financing. Remember, you can send me tips, suggestions and feedback to kate.clark@techcrunch.com or on Twitter @KateClarkTweets.

Here’s what I’ve been thinking about this week: Unicorn scarcity, or lack thereof. I’ve written about this concept before, as has my Equity co-host, Crunchbase News editor-in-chief Alex Wilhelm. I apologize if the two of us are broken records, but I think we’re equally perplexed by the pace at which companies are garnering $1 billion valuations.

Here’s the latest data, according to Crunchbase: “2018 outstripped all previous years in terms of

😲

Continue reading “Startups Weekly: Will the real unicorns please stand up?”

Is the tech press too positive in its coverage of startups?


This post is by Kate Clark from Venture Capital – TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

It’s our first week in the new TechCrunch podcast studio, or it was for Kate Clark and Chris Gates. Alex Wilhelm will be back in SF next week. For now, we fired up the mics and dug into what was a veritable barrage of news.

First, Paul Graham’s contentious comments. The co-founder of Y Combinator tweeted some criticism of the tech press on Thursday; naturally, Kate and Alex had a few thoughts. In summary, Graham doesn’t seem to understand what it is we tech journalists do, and that’s a problem.

Next up Continue reading “Is the tech press too positive in its coverage of startups?”

The Slack origin story


This post is by Kate Clark from Venture Capital – TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Let’s rewind a decade. It’s 2009. Vancouver, Canada.

Stewart Butterfield, known already for his part in building Flickr, a photo-sharing service acquired by Yahoo in 2005, decided to try his hand — again — at building a game. Flickr had been a failed attempt at a game called Game Neverending followed by a big pivot. This time, Butterfield would make it work.

To make his dreams a reality, he joined forces with Flickr’s original chief software architect Cal Henderson, as well as former Flickr employees Eric Costello and Serguei Mourachov, who like himself, had served some time at Yahoo after the acquisition. Together, they would build Tiny Speck, the company behind an artful, non-combat massively multiplayer online game.

Years later, Butterfield would pull off a pivot more massive than his last. Slack, born from the ashes of his fantastical game, would lead a shift toward online productivity tools that fundamentally

Continue reading “The Slack origin story”