McAfee Goes Public (Again). Here Are The Players


This post is by Sophia Kunthara from Crunchbase News

McAfee isn’t like most tech IPOs this year. It wasn’t founded in the 2000s and declared a unicorn before making its stock market debut. In fact, it’s gone public before. 

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The online security company was founded in 1987 and went public prior to being acquired by Intel in 2011 and then spun out on its own again in 2017. 

TPG acquired a majority stake in the company and Thoma Bravo also invested in it. So as the company goes public for the second time, some familiar names pop up as the biggest players in the IPO, which raised $740 million Thursday.

The Players

TPG Funds

In 2017, TPG invested in McAfee after it spun out from Intel. Chicago-based Thoma Bravo also joined in on the deal as a minority investor through an agreement with TPG, and Intel kept a 49 percent stake in the new company, according to a 2017 statement from TPG. 

San Francisco-based TPG owns 55.7 percent of McAfee’s Class A common stock, after giving effect to the reorganization transactions and after the IPO. The 124,520,762 Class A shares at the $20 IPO price comes out to $2.5 billion. TPG also owns 57,933,633 shares of Class B common stock, after giving effect to the reorganization and after the IPO, or 21.9 percent. At $20 per share, that comes out to nearly $1.2 billion

Intel Americas Inc.

Intel acquired McAfee and rebranded it to Intel Security before it was spun out again as McAfee. Intel kept a 49 percent stake in the company, with most of its stock being Class B shares. Intel owns 5,696,831 shares of Class A common stock, after giving effect to the reorganization transactions and after the IPO. That comes out to nearly $114 million. It also owns 180,222,000 shares of Class B common stock, after giving effect to the reorganization and after the IPO, or 68.1 percent. That comes out to more than $3.6 billion.

Thoma Bravo Funds

Thoma Bravo also invested in McAfee when TPG invested in the company. It owns 21,216,304 shares of Class A Common Stock and 21,900,294 shares of Class B common stock, after giving effect to the reorganization transactions and after the IPO. That comes out to more than $424 million and more than $438 million, respectively.

Snowlake Investment

Snowlake owns 25,869,966 shares of Class A common stock, after giving effect to the reorganization transactions and after the IPO, or 15.6 percent. At the IPO price of $20 apiece, Snowlake’s stake in the company ends up at more than $517 million.

McAfee stands out in another way among this year’s tech IPOs. While many have seen their stock surge on their first day of trading, McAfee’s did not. After the company priced its shares at $20 apiece, it had a less-than-stellar first day of trading. Its stock opened at $18.60, below its IPO price, and closed at $18.70.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

Beijing’s Yuanfudao Raises $2.2B


This post is by Sophia Kunthara from Crunchbase News

Chinese edtech platform Yuanfudao has landed $2.2 billion in funding, the company announced Thursday.

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Yuanfudao’s platform offers live courses and provides tutoring options for students. The company, which is based in Beijing, was founded in 2012.

The funding, split into G1 and G2 rounds, brings Yuanfudao’s valuation to $15.5 billion and will allow the company to expand its online edtech system and develop new curriculum products, according to a statement from Yuanfudao.

Tencent led the G1 funding round with participation from Boyu Capital, Hillhouse Capital and IDG Capital. DST Global led the G2 funding round with participation from GIC, CITICPE, Temasek, TBP, DCP, Ocean Link, Danhe Capital and Greenwoods. 

The funding comes as edtech–and the need for edtech–draws more attention. With the COVID-19 pandemic driving much of learning online, the space has drawn increased interest from those in the education community and investors. Yuanfudao is a major player in edtech in China, and will be an official sponsor of the Winter 2022 Olympics in Beijing.

About 3.7 million students use Yuanfudao’s regular-priced courses, according to the company, and it has teaching and research centers across China. 

Yuanfudao last raised a $1 billion Series G in March 2020, led by Hillhouse Capital Group and Tencent. Other investors in the company include Warburg Pincus and CMC Capital Group

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

E-bike Startup Dance Raises €15M


This post is by Sophia Kunthara from Crunchbase News

Subscription e-bike company Dance has raised a 15 million euro ($17.8 million) Series A round of funding, months after rolling out a pilot of its electric bike program in Europe.

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Dance is an e-bike subscription service where users pay a monthly fee that covers their bike and provides an all-inclusive support package. The subscription includes a bike concierge, maintenance and theft replacement insurance, via the company’s own hardware and software which allows for fast repairs through its warehouse and logistics setup. 

“We see the company as a purpose company. Our role is to transform cities, that’s really what it’s about,” co-founder Eric Quidenus-Wahlforss said in an interview with Crunchbase News.  “We want to create a connected community of riders.”

The company was founded by SoundCloud co-founders Eric Quidenus-Wahlforss and Alexander Ljung, along with Jimdo co-founder Christian Springub and is based in Berlin. Dance rolled out its invite-only pilot program in July.

Dance decided to go the subscription route because of the cost and hassle of owning an e-bike, which costs around 2,000 or 3,000 euros, Quidenus-Wahlforss said. It also drew on the co-founders’ experience starting SoundCloud–at the time, most people were buying music. A couple of years later, there was an inflection point where it became clear that people would subscribe to music.

“You have a whole new generation of people who have a ‘subscribe everything’ mindset and those are really our customers,” Quidenus-Wahlforss said. “This could be very significant in the future.”

The COVID-19 in pandemic has led some people to seek out alternative modes of transportation besides cars, and bikes are a socially distant way to travel. Biking in general is good on multiple levels, Quidenus-Wahlforss said, for both the individual and for cities. Bikes are quieter and don’t pollute the atmosphere, after all.

The new funding will be used to accelerate research and development, do more on the hardware and software side of the business, and scale up the size of the e-bike fleet. The company has a global ambition, Quidenus-Wahlforss said, but Germany is its first market before it expands into other countries.

HV Holtzbrinck Ventures led the new round of funding.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

Co-living In The Time of COVID: Why Shared Housing Startups Say The Sector is Rebounding


This post is by Sophia Kunthara from Crunchbase News

Co-living

Earlier this year, the COVID-19 pandemic looked like it might be the death knell for startups in the “co-living,” or shared housing, sector. Urban dwellers were fleeing crowded cities like San Francisco and New York–causing rents to plummet–as the widespread shift to remote work opened up the chance to earn a living from anywhere. The idea that renters would still want to live in arranged roommate situations seemed questionable at best.

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But co-living startups have continued to raise significant venture investment this year despite the pandemic, and some real estate experts even argue that the market is ripe for companies flush with cash to build or expand through a dampened rental market.

Co-living startups essentially turn roommate living into a product: They aim to offer a more affordable, social living arrangement for city dwellers by renting out spaces with private bedrooms but shared common spaces like kitchens and sometimes bathrooms. The companies often match roommates and furnish apartments, as well as provide cleaning services and community events.

Despite several high-profile closures among co-living startups and controversies with others, several companies in the sector have drawn significant venture investment this year.

They include Starcity, a co-living startup that owns and develops most of its properties and announced a $30 million Series B funding round in April. CEO Jon Dishotsky said occupancy at his company’s projects took a hit in March, but demand has since rebounded and is now higher than it was pre-COVID.

“The first few months were really nerve racking,” Dishotsky said. “As soon as May, June started to hit, we started to see our numbers start to come back and demand come back, and since then it’s been a really fast-paced growth back to normal.”

Starcity will have 1,000 beds in operation by the end of the year. The company expects that figure to double in 2021, and it has 6,000 beds in the pipeline. The company has expansion plans for San Francisco, San Jose and Madrid, and is looking at cities like Seattle, Portland and Austin.

Still, the news isn’t all rosy for co-living developers.

HubHaus, which rented homes in major cities including San Francisco and subdivided them into rooms for rent, shut down amid financial issues last month. The company angered tenants and property owners alike, billing tenants for services like house cleaning that were discontinued and ceasing to pay rent to homeowners, according to Mission Local. Bungalow Living, which signed long-term leases on properties and then turned them into co-living spaces, reportedly told some of its landlords that it didn’t intend to pay October’s rent, citing rental market declines for its financial problems.

Overall, real estate watchers say co-living has held up as well as or better than “Class A” apartments during the pandemic because they offer a better value for renters who don’t mind sharing common spaces and apartment amenities with roommates. Although the pandemic has pushed down apartment rents in cities like San Francisco and New York, many tenants in expensive cities may still be priced out of the regular apartment market.

“We’re seeing very strong interest in this space, both by the developers and the operators, and by the institutional capital,” Susan Tjarksen, a managing director with commercial real estate brokerage Cushman & Wakefield, said in an interview with Crunchbase News. Tjarksen, based in Chicago, wrote Cushman & Wakefield’s 2019 report on co-living, and said co-living is still alive and well, with interest in the asset class in the past two months back where it was pre-pandemic.

By Cushman & Wakefield’s estimate, there are about 7,820 co-living beds in the United States operated by companies like Common Living, Starcity and Quarters. The firm estimates that there are more than 54,000 co-living beds in the pipeline lower bound.

“We really see these co-living companies expanding like crazy right now, trying to take advantage of building through the bottom of the cycle,” Tjarksen said.

Many co-living companies have made announcements of expansions into “secondary cities,” Tjarksen said. Those include cities like Austin, Portland and Denver where there’s a lot of growth in STEM fields.

Common Living, a startup that offers co-living and conventional units and acts as a property manager, raised a $50 million Series D in September.

The company, which operates in 11 cities including New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, with about half of its units as co-living and the other half conventional apartments, saw its occupancy take a hit in March when COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. However, Common had record months in July, August and September for new leases signed, according to CEO Brad Hargreaves.

“That need for affordability didn’t change when COVID came around. In fact it only became more acute,” Hargreaves said. “In fact, the type of people we serve haven’t left cities.”

Common Living’s demographic has a median income of $70,000 and a median age of 30. The people who are leaving big cities seem to be older and wealthier, Hargreaves said.

The only group that left Common Living and did not return were people from other countries who were in the U.S. on a visa, he said, but new tenants have taken their spots.

Owner-operator model wins out

The operating models for co-living startups vary. Some, like Starcity, own and develop their properties, while others, like Common Living, are third-party managers hired by the building owner to manage it. Some companies, like Bungalow, sign long-term leases.

Jason Stoffer, a partner at Maveron who invested in Common, said he thinks there will be fewer startups signing master leases, as companies like WeWork, Bungalow, and HubHaus have done.

“Signing a master lease taking on balance sheet risk, taking on that liability … it’s a very risky way to scale,” Stoffer said. “I think over time what you’ll start to see across real estate is sharing of risk.”

Stoffer said he believes the era of venture-backed companies raising hundreds of millions of dollars and signing master leases won’t continue. The co-living sector is more likely to operate on management agreements where there’s more strong, predictable revenue, Stoffer said.

As for the future of co-living, Stoffer is bullish on the resilience of residential real estate. Even with the pandemic, people still need a place to live and affordability is top of mind, he said. The hurdles somebody faces to get an apartment in high-cost places like New York are big, according to Stoffer, and so there will be a consumerization of the experience.

“The amount of friction required to get an apartment is just enormous, and you live in a world where people just want to click a button and make something happen,” Stoffer said.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

Intellimize Closes $12M Round Of New Funding


This post is by Sophia Kunthara from Crunchbase News

Website optimization startup Intellimize has landed $12 million in new funding, the company announced Wednesday. 

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Intellimize automatically optimizes websites using artificial intelligence. Marketers are able to use the software to try different experiences in parallel and in real time. 

“With A/B testing, all the work is on me,” said CEO Guy Yalif in an interview with Crunchbase News. “With intelligent website optimization, the work is on the machine.”

The company uses machine learning to adjust web pages to respond to a customer’s behavior over time. When a customer goes on a company’s website, Intellimize can give the  customer’s location, time of day, previous website behavior summary, traffic source and other information so marketers can optimize the customer’s experience.

Intellimize says it delivers an average of 46 percent increase in online conversations. And more online conversations can lead to more sales and revenue.

Intellimize, which is based in San Mateo, competes with companies like Granify, accoridng to Owler. 

Addition led the round, with participation from previous investors including Homebrew, Amplify Partners, and Precursor Ventures. The new round brings Intellimize’s total funding to $22 million.

In terms of growth, Yalif said Intellimize had seen its in-target revenue grow 5x in the last year. The company counts Snowflake, Sumo Logic, Tableau, and Unilever Prestige among its customers.

The company plans on using the new funding to significantly expand its team, with a particular focus on people with machine learning expertise, Yalif said.

Intellimize last raised an $8 million Series A led by Amplify Partners in April 2019.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

Intellimize Closes $12M Round Of New Funding


This post is by Sophia Kunthara from Crunchbase News

Website optimization startup Intellimize has landed $12 million in new funding, the company announced Wednesday. 

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Intellimize automatically optimizes websites using artificial intelligence. Marketers are able to use the software to try different experiences in parallel and in real time. 

“With A/B testing, all the work is on me,” said CEO Guy Yalif in an interview with Crunchbase News. “With intelligent website optimization, the work is on the machine.”

The company uses machine learning to adjust web pages to respond to a customer’s behavior over time. When a customer goes on a company’s website, Intellimize can give the  customer’s location, time of day, previous website behavior summary, traffic source and other information so marketers can optimize the customer’s experience.

Intellimize says it delivers an average increase of 46 percent in online conversations. And more online conversations can lead to more sales and revenue.

Based in San Mateo, the company competes with companies like Granify, according to Owler

Addition led the round with participation from previous investors including Homebrew, Amplify Partners, and Precursor Ventures. The new round brings Intellimize’s total funding to $22 million.

In terms of growth, Yalif said Intellimize has seen its in-target revenue grow 5 times in the last year. The company counts Snowflake, Sumo Logic, Tableau and Unilever Prestige among its customers.

The company plans on using the new funding to significantly expand its team, with a particular focus on people with machine-learning expertise, Yalif said.

Intellimize last raised an $8 million Series A led by Amplify Partners in April 2019.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

Zest AI Raises $15M From Insight Partners


This post is by Sophia Kunthara from Crunchbase News

Zest AI, a company that makes software for credit underwriting, has raised $15 million in a round led by Insight Partners.

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The idea behind Zest AI is to apply better math to credit underwriting. Most financial institutions are using math developed in the 1950s, CEO Mike de Vere said in an interview with Crunchbase News. By applying better math, financial institutions can optimize for fairness. Zest’s software uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to help financial institutions determine who is a trustworthy borrower.

“Through better math, you can actually start solving some pretty important problems in our society beyond just helping companies do well,” de Vere said.

The company says that banks, credit unions and companies using Zest have seen an average 20 percent increase in approval rates with risk staying the same. That means more money for the financial institutions, more people receiving the loans they apply for, and more inclusivity when it comes to lending.

Zest, which was founded in 2009 and is based in the Los Angeles area, also provides explanations for consumers about why a decision is made. So if a consumer is denied a loan, they can know exactly why.

With the new funding, Insight Managing Director Lonne Jaffe will be joining Zest’s board of directors and Insight Vice President Jon Rosenbaum will be joining as a board observer, according to a statement from the company.

Jaffe has been interested in the area of “explainable AI” for a while. For many applications, there’s no need for an explanation for why a machine made a certain decision. That’s not the  case for credit underwriting and providing loans. 

“You need to be able to show your work,” Jaffe said. “You need to be able to say ‘These are the features that resulted in the machine learning making these decisions.’” 

The process of determining creditworthiness was “weirdly simplistic,” Jaffe said. He was attracted to Zest because it was specifically tuned to loan underwriting and had the potential to make lending more equitable and inclusive.

Other investors in Zest include Lightspeed Venture Partners and Matrix Partners.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

AI-Powered Hearing Aid Company Whisper Raises $35M Series B


This post is by Sophia Kunthara from Crunchbase News

Whisper, a startup that uses artificial intelligence to help people hear better, has landed $35 million in a Series B round of funding as it rolls out its Whisper Hearing System.

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The Whisper Hearing System is a hearing aid that the company says improves over time via upgrades. Whisper’s Sound Separation Engine uses AI to adjust sound in real-time for the wearer’s environment.

The idea for the company goes back to co-founder and President Andrew Song’s grandfather, who, Song jokes, is a hearing-aid owner, but not a hearing-aid user. That common distinction—many people own hearing aids but don’t use them—told him something about the state of available hearing aids.

Whisper uses AI to do sound processing on the hearing aid. Hearing aids are supposed to make sound louder, but a user may not want the background noise in a room to be louder when someone is speaking to them. The AI can better separate what is speech and what is background noise, Song said.

“That (AI) is what lets us be more granular and be more detailed about how we adjust the sound to address someone’s hearing loss,” Song said.

The Whisper Hearing System is made up of the earpieces, a “pocket-sized” hub called the Whisper Brain, which works wirelessly with the earpieces, and a mobile app that delivers software updates and lets users control the Hearing System, according to a statement from the company.

The new round brings Whisper’s total funding to $53 million. Quiet Capital led the round, with participation from previous investors Sequoia Capital and First Round Capital. IVP joined the round as a new investor. 

Whisper was founded in 2017 and is based in San Francisco. The funding will be used to build out its team and help the company expand throughout the United States. Whisper partners with local clinics around the U.S. and offers monthly plans for its hearing aids. Users pay $139 per month to lease the Whisper Hearing System, get regular software updates, plus a three-year warranty that covers loss and damage of the system and ongoing care from a hearing professional. 

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

Getaround Driving Growth With $140M Series E


This post is by Sophia Kunthara from Crunchbase News

Peer-to-peer car-sharing marketplace Getaround has raised $140 million in a Series E round of funding, the company announced Wednesday.

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The new round brings the company’s total funding to almost $600 million. Getaround last raised money with a $300 million Series D led by the SoftBank Vision Fund in August 2018, according to Crunchbase.

Getaround’s revenue took a meaningful hit when COVID-19 first took hold, CEO Sam Zaid said, with bookings dropping by around 75 percent. But now, the company’s worldwide revenue has more than doubled what it was before the pandemic happened.

“The reason we then saw a very quick rebound is … we were deemed an essential service, but that’s because we are an essential mobility tool in the lives of many of our customers,” Zaid said in an interview with Crunchbase News. 

To help protect themselves from COVID-19, many people have opted to avoid public transportation and ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft. In fact, public transportation ridership in some cities, including San Francisco, has plummeted amid the pandemic, as has ridership for companies like Uber and Lyft.

“When you look at the options, we provide one of the safest mechanisms and modes of transportation,” Zaid said, noting that Getaround customers have been renting cars for longer periods of time amid the pandemic. 

The company plans on using the new funding to focus on growing the markets it’s already in (Getaround is available in 300 cities across the U.S. and Europe) and continuing a “reasonable pace of expansion” Zaid said.

Getaround is one of a few peer-to-peer shared marketplaces for transportation. Others include Turo, which also provides a car-share service, and Riders Share, a peer-to-peer motorcycle-sharing marketplace.

PeopleFund led the Series E round with new investors Pennant Capital, Reinvent Capital, Henry McGovern, and VectoIQ partners Steve Girsky, Mary Chan and Julia Steyn joining for the round. Existing investors including Menlo Ventures, the SoftBank Vision Fund, Braemar Energy Ventures, Asset Plus Capital, Triangle Peak Partners, Bpifrance, Cathay Innovation and Via-ID also participated in the round.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

How Low-Profile VC Firm Sutter Hill Lands Big Exits


This post is by Sophia Kunthara from Crunchbase News

Venture capital firm Sutter Hill Ventures keeps a very low profile.  So low, in fact that its website is a single landing page with its address and little else.

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While it’s definitely not one of the Silicon Valley VC firms vying for headlines, its power player status lies in its record and its reputation. 

As a standout among a crowd of firms that have seen large exits this year, Sutter Hill’s early bet on Snowflake–which became the largest software IPO of all time–illustrates its larger playbook.

By being hands-on early in a startup’s trajectory, Sutter Hill has been able to guide its investments to massive exits. In fact, Sutter Hill had two of its portfolio companies, Snowflake and Sumo Logic, go public last month on back-to-back days. 

Not a bad day at the office for one of Silicon Valley’s oldest VC firms that has quietly been deploying its hands-on strategy for years.

‘The incubation playbook’

Sutter Hill led Snowflake’s $5 million Series A in August 2012, and Managing Director Mike Speiser served as the company’s founding CEO from 2012 to 2014. It has a smaller stake in Sumo Logic, but that company’s public debut was a success nonetheless. The company raised $325 million through its IPO.

Speiser declined a request for an interview, noting that Sutter Hill generally doesn’t speak with the press. When the firm does participate in an interview, it’s when one of its portfolio companies requests it, he said, and those conversations are more about the portfolio company than the firm.

Part of Sutter Hill’s playbook includes its incubation strategy rather than finding later-stage companies to invest in, according to Sigma Computing CEO Rob Woollen.

Woollen is a former entrepreneur in residence at Sutter Hill and his experience at the firm influenced what would later become his company. The idea for Sigma Computing, a Sutter Hill portfolio company, was formed primarily while he was at the firm, he said. He also met his co-founder, another entrepreneur in residence, there.

“I think since they’re starting the companies, that gives them a different perspective from any other VC  I’ve met,” Woollen said

Having a partner from the start of a company’s life makes a difference, Woollen said. And since Sutter Hill has seen numerous companies “grow up,” entrepreneurs can draw on that expertise. 

Kevin Kwok, a former investor at Greylock Partners, laid out what he calls “The Mike Speiser Incubation Playbook” in a recent blog post. As Kwok explains it, the idea behind Speiser’s approach is that an investor can serve as an interim CEO in the early days of a company before transitioning out after hiring a top CEO. This allows the VC to hire for the key positions and provide funding, leading to consistent high returns.

“The core of [Speiser’s] model is to find 2-3 co-founders and be the founding investor,” Kwok wrote. “Often he takes on the interim CEO role himself for the first year or two. This has many advantages. The biggest is that it reshapes the ideal founding team profile. He can focus on getting the right top technical co-founders that will have strong views on what to build and the ability to build it—even if they are people who don’t generally view themselves as having a natural inclination to be founders. This is a significant talent arbitrage.”

It’s a method Speiser used for Snowflake, where he served as interim CEO and an early investor before hiring Frank Slootman, a seasoned executive and board member of another early Sutter Hill investment that has since gone public, Pure Storage.

After investing in Snowflake’s Series A round, Sutter Hill owned 17.4 percent of the company’s Class B common stock, according to Snowflake’s S-1 filing. At the time of Snowflake’s IPO, when it priced its shares at $120 apiece, Sutter Hill’s stake in the company was valued at $5.9 billion. By the end of the first day of trading, Sutter Hill’s stake in Snowflake had exceeded $12.5 billion. 

While Sutter Hill’s results with Sumo Logic were less dramatic (its stake is much smaller), they were notable nonetheless. Sutter Hill began investing in Sumo Logic around the time of its $15 million Series B round in January 2012, according to Crunchbase.

The firm holds 120,337 shares of Series F redeemable convertible preferred stock and 4,539 shares of Series G redeemable convertible preferred stock, according to the company’s S-1. Combined, its stake comes out to more than $2.7 million at the IPO price of $22 per share. 

For Woollen at Sigma Computing, the relationship with Sutter Hill is a close one. 

Sigma Computing executives speak with Sutter Hill investors frequently, leveraging them for everything from interviews to sourcing candidates and building relationships, he said. Candidates for potential positions will often meet Sigma Computing’s investors, Woollen noted.

“I think they’re very special in that they have a very long-term outcome view,” Woollen said. “They’re very focused on building companies that are building for the future. So (they) have a clear vision of where the market is going, and building something that is technically differentiated.”

A Silicon Valley innovator

Sutter Hill is widely regarded as the oldest Silicon Valley venture capital firm still in operation. Founded in the 1960s, it made its name during the 1970s as a top-performer. 

Sebastian Mallaby, a senior fellow for international economics at the Council on Foreign Relations is working on a history of Silicon Valley. As he explains it, Sutter Hill was influential in innovating the “Qume model.” 

Qume was a company that made the daisy wheel printer, which Sutter Hill Ventures invested in. As part of the deal, Sutter Hill could replace the CEO with someone it chose and give them equity. While Sutter Hill liked the technology and the engineer at Qume, the firm wanted a strong leader at the helm, according to Mallaby.

“That model of financing where you could turn a technology that didn’t really have a business around it into a business by having very hands-on venture capital, that was very important,” Mallaby said. 

Sutter Hill didn’t single-handedly create that model, but they, along with the likes of Tom Perkins (Kleiner Perkins) and Don Valentine (Sequoia), were leaders of the 1970s hands-on activist venture capital movement, Mallaby said.

“Their historical significance is that they were one of the key firms in the 1970s that created an activist tradition in venture capital and that would in turn explain why the Valley overtook Boston as a leading tech hub in the U.S.,” Mallaby said.

That tradition of involvement has clearly stuck around. Speiser makes very few bets, but goes all in on those bets. He stays involved in all aspects of the business, according to Clumio CEO Poojan Kumar

Kumar has known Speiser for about seven years, first getting to know him when his former startup, PernixData, was raising its Series B round. Speiser passed on the Series B, citing the lack of a large market for the product, but was the founding investor in Clumio when Kumar had the idea for it. 

Clumio started with its early team working out of Sutter Hill’s office.

Speiser is generous with his time, and has surrounded himself with experts, forming something of an ecosystem of talented people who can also help each other, Kumar said.

“He immerses himself in the company, which both helps the company and, I would say, also keeps him grounded as an entrepreneur,” Kumar said.

“He likes to look for a great team, he likes to look for a great idea that’s disrupting a big market and at the same time he likes to look for technologies that are very hard to build,” Kumar said. 

But while Speiser is known for being very involved in the companies in which he invests, he’s no control freak. That combination of work ethic, smarts and humility in an investor is rare to find, Kumar said.

“He basically tells you what he thinks is right, but he lets you do what you think is right,” Kumar said.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

Mexico City-based hospitality startup Casai raises $48M


This post is by Sophia Kunthara from Crunchbase News

Mexico-based hospitality startup Casai has landed $48 million for its Series A round, the company announced Wednesday.

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Casai, which draws its name from “Casa Intelligente,” or “smart home,” was born out of co-founder and CEO Nico Barawid’s frustration of having to choose between a hotel and an Airbnb that often wasn’t up to standard. 

When Barawid was running international expansion at Nova Credit, he traveled frequently and stayed at Airbnbs, a more economical option than expensive hotels. But he was often let down by the accommodations, like an instance in Bangkok when the Airbnb did not have WiFi–a necessity for a work trip.

“As a result of this dichotomy of choosing between hotels and Airbnbs, I became obsessed with finding a better way to travel,” Barawid said.

The idea behind Casai is that travelers get luxury amenities, locally-sourced designs for apartments, and high tech features throughout the unit, such as keyless check in and smart home devices. Casai doesn’t own the units, but has different arrangements with landlords (often  revenue sharing models), and the units are exclusive to Casai.

Travel and hospitality took a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially toward the beginning. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Casai had 100 percent occupancy, but has now rebounded to around 80 to 90 percent occupancy for its units, Barawid said.

Casai has nearly 200 units in Mexico City, and is exploring expanding into other areas of Mexico and into Brazil. With uncertainty around Mexico’s borders, the company is seeing a resurgence in domestic travel, which is why it’s exploring expanding into other parts of Mexico.

The new funding will be used to invest in research and development for the company’s smart home technology and to expand the team.

The Series A includes $23 million in equity funding and up to $25 million in debt financing from TriplePoint Capital, according to a statement from the company. Andreessen Horowitz led the round, with participation from a16z’s Cultural Leadership Fund, Kaszek Ventures, Global Founders Capital, Monashees Capital, Liquid 2 Ventures, and DST Global managing partner Tom Stafford. Founders of startups including Nova Credit, Kavak, Loft and Runa also participated in the round.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

Actnano Raises $12M Series A To Expand In Europe And Asia


This post is by Sophia Kunthara from Crunchbase News

Actnano, a company that makes protective nanocoating for vehicles and consumer electronics, raised $12 million for its Series A, the company announced Tuesday.

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The company’s nanocoating is used to protect surfaces from water damage. Actnano is focused on the auto market as more cars install autopilot features.

The Boston-based company plans on using the funding to expand into Germany, Korea, and Japan, so it can have a presence where the world’s largest auto manufacturers are located.

Actnano was founded in 2012 and originally made protective nanocoating for consumer electronics, like LG phones and Jabra headsets. Around 2014, the company pivoted to make protective nanocoating for the automotive industry, though it still does work with consumer electronics selectively.

The reason for pivoting, according to CEO Taymur Ahmad, was that the company saw how critical protective coating was for the electronics involved in vehicles.

“If your phone doesn’t work, no one dies. If your headset doesn’t work because you were sweating when you were working out, nothing happens, you buy a new one,” Ahmad said. But it’s different if liquids spill on a car’s autopilot, he added.

“The biggest reason it’s important is we protect the autopilot,” Ahmad said. “You do not want to spill your coffee on the autopilot and have it drive into a brick wall.”

Ahmad declined to name Actnano’s auto clients, but said the company’s clients include large original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) based in Detroit, Silicon Valley, Germany, and Sweden.

Currently, about half of the company is based in Asia and the other half is based in the United States. Ahmad estimates that with the company’s expansion, its 2021 sales will double that of 2020.

Emerald Technology Ventures led the round, with participation from Material Impact, Henkel Tech Ventures, GC Ventures America and Ireon Oil.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias.

SPAC Filings This Week Include Shaquille O’Neal, Kevin Mayer


This post is by Sophia Kunthara from Crunchbase News

Thirteen new SPACs have been formed this week as of Friday afternoon. As more blank-check companies pop up in filings each week, Crunchbase News is charting them with a weekly roundup of the new SPACs and key names to note. Among the big names tied to SPACs this week are basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal and billionaire Alec Gores

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SPACs, special purpose acquisition companies, are blank-check companies formed with the intent of acquiring another company. Those who form a SPAC raise money through an IPO and then buy another company, making it public. Companies like DraftKings, Nikola Motor Company and Virgin Galactic have all gone public via SPACs, and high-profile names like Chamath Palihapitiya and Reid Hoffman have formed SPACs (you can read more about SPACs here). Here’s a look at the SPACs formed this past week:

Thayer Ventures Acquisition Corp.

Healthcare Services Acquisition Corp.

  • S-1 Filing Date: Oct. 8
  • Key Names:
    • David Blair, executive chairman of Accountable Health Solutions Inc. and former CEO of Catalyst Health Solutions
    • Martin Payne, executive at MedX, Comprehensive Clinical Solutions and HRGi

Forest Road Acquisition Corp.

  • S-1 Filing Date: Oct. 8
  • Key Names:
    • Kevin Mayer, former (brief) CEO of TikTok and former chairman of direct-to-consumer and international at Disney
    • Thomas Staggs, former CFO and COO of Disney
    • Shaquille O’Neal, former NBA player and member of Basketball Hall of Fame

Better World Acquisition Corp.

  • S-1 Filing Date: Oct. 7
  • Key Names:
    • Rosemary Ripley, managing director of N*GEN
    • Peter Grubstein, founder and managing member of N*GEN

Altimar Acquisition Corp.

  • S-1 Filing Date: Oct. 7
  • Key Names:
    • Scott Kapnick, CEO of HPS
    • Scot French, governing partner of HPS

CF Finance Acquisition Corp. III

  • S-1 Filing Date: Oct. 7
  • Key Names:
    • Howard Lutnick, CEO of Cantor
    • Anshu Jain, president of Cantor and former co-CEO of Deutsche Bank

Cascade Acquisition Corp.

  • S-1 Filing Date: Oct. 6
  • Key Names:

LCP Acquisition Corp.

RMG Acquisition Corp. II

Rice Acquisition Corp.

Aequi Acquisition Corp.

Roman DBDR Tech Acquisition Corp.

  • S-1 Filing Date: Oct. 5
  • Key Names:
    • Dr. Donald Basile, former CEO of FusionIO and former CEO of Violin Memory
    • Dixon Doll, CEO of DBM Cloud Systems

Gores Holdings VI

  • S-1 Filing Date: Oct. 5
  • Key Names: 
    • Alec Gores, CEO of The Gores Group
    • Mark Stone, member of Gores’ Group investment committee

Illustration: Dom Guzman

Veritonic Lands $3.2M Series A from Greycroft, Lerer Hippeau, Audible


This post is by Sophia Kunthara from Crunchbase News

Audio intelligence platform Veritonic has raised $3.2 million in a Series A round led by Greycroft, the company announced Wednesday.

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The new funding will be used to hire across departments, with data science and sales as a special focus. 

Veritonic, which is based in New York, helps marketing professionals better understand the best way to use sound. As audio becomes a bigger part of daily life through podcasts and streaming services, marketers need to know how to most effectively use the medium, in much the same way that they need to know how to advertise with other mediums, according to the company.

CEO Scott Simonelli, who has a background in composing music and advertising, described audio analytics as necessary for the field of audio to grow.

“That’s something that has to exist the way web analytics had to exist for the Internet to be what is today versus 1999,” Simonelli said in an interview with Crunchbase News.

“You think smart speakers, audio advertising and AirPods and all of a sudden there’s a whole bunch of brands and a whole bunch of consumers, and how do you measure that? How do you know what’s working and what’s not?” Simonelli said.

The company is also introducing its Veritonic Competitive Intelligence product, which gives marketers regular updates about how their competitors are using audio for marketing, and how they compare. 

Understanding response to sound is a core piece of every company, Simonelli said, and the company has clients who one might not think would seek out audio analytics. For example, one of the company’s clients is an auto company that tests out every sound its cars make.

Veritonic previously raised a $3.5 million seed round led by Newark Venture Partners in July 2018, according to Crunchbase. For the Series A, Lerer Hippeau and Amazon-owned audiobook marketplace Audible also participated in the round.

“We focused on investors that we didn’t have to have a conversation about why audio,” Simonelli said.  “You see firms that have a thesis around audio, they have a strategy around audio…they’re believers in what audio can do.”

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

SPAC Filings From Last Week Include Seasoned Investors, Sports Team Owners


This post is by Sophia Kunthara from Crunchbase News

As we’ve noted before, 2020 is the year of the SPAC. Newly formed blank-check companies are filing documents with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission every day, and it’s hard to keep track of which high-profile executives are forming SPACs. So we thought we’d take a look back each week to track how many new SPACs are coming together. Here’s last week’s group, with professional sports team owners, seasoned investors and entertainment figures.

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Conx Corp.

  • S-1 Filing Date: Oct. 1, 2020
  • Key Names:
    • Charles Ergen, co-founder of DISH
    • Jason Kiser, treasurer of DISH

Duddell Street Acquisition Corp.

  • S-1 Filing Date: Oct. 1, 2020
  • Key Names:
    • Manoj Jain, co-founder of Maso Capital
    • Sohit Khurana, co-founder of Maso Capital

Helix Acquisition Corp.

  • S-1 Filing Date: Oct. 1, 2020
  • Key Names:
    • Bihua Chen, founder of Cormorant
    • Jay Scollins, CFO and COO of Cormorant

Kins Technology Group

  • S-1 Filing Date: Sept. 30, 2020
  • Key Names:
    • Khurram Sheikh, former SiBEAM CEO, current CEO of advisory firm Aijaad
    • Hassan Ahmed, former CEO of Affirmed Networks

Sarissa Capital Acquisition Corp.

  • S-1 Filing Date: Sept. 30, 2020
  • Key Names:

Northern Star Acquisition Corp.

  • S-1 Filing Date: Sept. 29, 2020
  • Key Names:
    • Joanna Coles, former chief content officer at Hearst Magazines and former editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan, producer of The Bold Type
    • Jonathan J. Ledecky, co-owner of NHL’s New York Islanders

SCP & Co. Healthcare Acquisition Corp.

  • S-1 Filing Date: Sept. 29, 2020
  • Key Names:
    • Scott Feuer, CEO of SCP & Co.
    • Bryan Crino, president of SCP&Co.

Horizon Acquisition Corp II

  • S-1 Filing Date: Sept. 29, 2020
  • Key Names:
    • Todd Boehly, CEO of Eldridge Industries and an owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Sparks
    • Asif Satchu, co-CEO of production company MRC (the production company behind of House of Cards and Ozark)
    • Mordecai Wiczyk, co-CEO of production company MRC

Spartacus Acquisition Corp.

  • S-1 Filing Date: September 28, 2020
  • Key Names:
    • Peter Aquino, former CEO of RCN, Primus Telecommunications, and Internap
    • Igor Volshteyn, interim COO and president of CCUR Holdings

Turmeric Acquisition Corp.

  • S-1Filing Date: Sept. 28, 2020
  • Key Names:
    • Luke Evnin, co-founder of MPM Capital
    • Todd Foley, a managing director MPM Capital

EdtechX Holdings Acquisition Corp II

  • S-1 Filing Date: Sept. 28, 2020
  • Key Names:
    • Benjamin Vedrenne-Cloquet, operating partner at IBIS Capital
    • Charles McIntyre, CEO of IBIS Capital

H.I.G Acquistion Corp.

  • S-1 Filing Date: Sept. 28, 2020
  • Key Names:
    • Brian Schwartz, co-president of H.I.G. Capital
    • Rob Wolfson, executive managing director and head of the H.I.G. Capital Advantage Buyout Fund

Illustration: Dom Guzman

The Winners From Palantir’s Public Debut


This post is by Sophia Kunthara from Crunchbase News

Palantir is finally a public company–and a multibillion-dollar one, at that.

The company went public through a direct listing on Wednesday with its shares opening at $10, nearly 38 percent above its reference price of $7.25. Its stock closed at $9.50 on its first day of trading.

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Palantir, which was founded in 2003, has long drawn attention for its high-profile backers and secretive operations, and scrutiny for its work with government agencies such as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The company, which was founded by Peter Thiel, has raised at least $2.6 billion in funding, according to Crunchbase, from investors including Founders Fund and Manhattan Venture Partners. Both early and later investors are now seeing their stock values rise with the company’s public debut.

Founders Fund

Founders Fund’s ties to Palantir goes beyond its leading the company’s $90 million Series D in June 2010. The firm’s co-founder, Peter Thiel, is also a co-founder of Palantir. Founders Fund holds 139,891,336 Class B shares, or 12.7 percent. At the $10 opening price on Wednesday, Founders Fund’s stake comes out to nearly $1.4 billion.

SOMPO Holdings

SOMPO Holdings is a pretty new investor in the company. Just a few months ago, the firm invested in Palantir, leading its $550 million corporate round in June. That gave it 107,526,881 Class A shares, or 20.3 percent. At Wednesday’s opening price, SOMPO Holdings’ stake in Palantir is more than $1 billion.

Disruptive Technology Solutions

Disruptive Technology Solutions owns 50,290,069 Class A shares, or 9.5 percent, and 4,737,594 Class B shares. Combined and at $10 per share, Disruptive Technology Solutions’ stake comes out to more than $550.2 million.

UBS AG

UBS AG holds 29,956,276 Class A shares, according to Palantir’s S-1. At $10 per share, that puts the firm’s stake in Palantir at nearly $300 million.

8VC

Palantir co-founder Joe Lonsdale is also a founding partner of 8VC1. Entities affiliated with 8VC have 28,233,725 Class A shares and 8,097,255 Class B shares. Combined and at the opening price of $10, entities affiliated with 8VC’s stake in Palantir is more than $363.3 million.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

 


  1. 8VC is an investor in Crunchbase. They have no say in our editorial process. For more, head here.

Asana Goes Public: Here Are The Big Winners 


This post is by Sophia Kunthara from Crunchbase News

Project management company Asana’s stock opened Wednesday at $27, nearly 29 percent higher than the reference price of $21 it had set.

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The San Francisco-based company stands out among a number of tech companies to go public this month in that it isn’t going public through a traditional IPO. Instead, it’s going public through a direct listing, the path taken by companies like Spotify and Slack.

Asana is one of two highly-anticipated companies to go public on Wednesday through a direct listing, with Palantir as the other. Both have attracted venture capital from prominent investors and have been privately held for more than a decade. Now, the investors who bet early on the idea dreamed up by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and early Facebooker Justin Rosenstein are finally having their payday. Let’s take a look at who won big with Asana.

Benchmark

Benchmark holds 14,012,703 Class B shares, or about a 10.4 percent ownership stake in Asana. The firm, which led Asana’s $9 million Series A round in November 2009, invested early, so its stake in the company is the largest of the stockholders who aren’t executives or directors. At Wednesday’s opening price, Benchmark’s Class B shares are valued at more than $378.3 million.

Generation Investment Management

Generation Investment Management led Asana’s $75 million Series D in January 2018 and its $50 million Series E in November 20188, per Crunchbase. While it invested relatively late in the company, it still holds the second-largest amount of Class B shares of the stockholders who aren’t executives or directors. 

The firm holds 9,751,944 of Class B shares, or 7.3 percent. At $27 per share, the value of Generation Investment Management’s stake in Asana comes out to more than $263.3 million.

Founders Fund

Founders Fund led Asana’s $28 million Series B funding round in July 2012 and now holds 8,713,329 Class B shares. Wednesday’s opening price of $27 values the firm’s stake in the company at more than $235.2 million.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

Golden Raises $14.5M Series A


This post is by Sophia Kunthara from Crunchbase News

Golden, a startup aiming to map all human knowledge, raised $14.5 million for its Series A round, the company announced Wednesday.

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Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) led the round, with participation from investors including Harpoon Ventures, DCVC and Gigafund, according to a statement from the company. A16z co-founding partner Marc Andreessen will join Golden’s board of directors.

Golden uses artificial intelligence, machine learning and humans to collect public information on various topics. Most of the information is fragmented, according to CEO Jude Gomila, and Golden compiles that information from sources like news articles and databases.

“The big vision is we’re trying to build a big database of knowledge and this is across everything eventually,” Gomila said, adding that the company is initially focusing on science, technology and companies.

The new funding will be used primarily for expanding Golden’s team. While the company is based in San Francisco, it is hiring where the talent is, Gomila said, although the company’s employee base will tend to be more U.S.-based. The company has about 15 employees and is planning on doubling its headcount.

Investment firms, companies and government entities use Golden to get a better picture of whatever topic they’re interested in and need comprehensive information about. Recently, Golden signed a $1 million contract with the U.S. Air Force to help with its response to COVID-19.  

“The larger the company, the more of a need for visibility of what’s going on,” Gomila said. “There’s also a need for knowledge.”

The new round brings Golden’s total funding to $19.5 million. The company last raised a $5 million seed round in May 2019.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

Colorado’s Burgeoning Startup Scene is Flying High


This post is by Sophia Kunthara from Crunchbase News

When Flatfile CEO David Boskovic was looking to get the company off the ground, he didn’t look any further than Colorado, where he was based. Flatfile, which enables bulk data transfers between businesses, is a remote-first company, but about 40 percent of its workforce is based in the state, Boscovic said.

“Hiring, finding great talent in Colorado, and being able to pay competitively for that talent is a lot more accessible than building a company in San Francisco,” Boskovic said. “I’ve always favored remote companies. This wasn’t a COVID decision.”

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With COVID-19 and remote work causing many people to reconsider where they live, cities like Austin, Denver and Salt Lake City have increasingly come into the spotlight as emerging startup hubs.

Crunchbase News has written about Austin and Utah’s tech scenes plenty in the past, but it’s been a while since we’ve looked at the startup ecosystem in Colorado. And now, since more people are eyeing the Centennial State because their jobs are no longer tied to San Francisco or New York, we thought it was time to run the numbers on how Colorado compares as a startup hub.

In recent years, Colorado has become a hot spot for San Francisco Bay Area tech companies to open secondary offices. Tech giants like Google, Facebook and Salesforce all have offices in the state, as do private companies like Gusto and Robinhood. And notably, Palantir Technologies, the data analytics company going public this week, recently moved its headquarters from Palo Alto, California, to Denver.

But Colorado’s startup ecosystem has also been growing from within, with local companies raising billions in venture capital and seeing large exits. According to Crunchbase data, 2018 saw the most venture capital investment into Colorado-based startups in the past five years, with about $2.4 billion invested across 401 deals. Last year wasn’t far behind with $2.3 billion invested across 357 deals. It should be noted that 2018 and 2019 combined had eight “supergiant rounds,” or deals that were above $100 million.

In Denver particularly, 2019 saw the largest amount of venture capital investment into startups based in the city. About $931 million was invested in Denver-based startups across 152 deals, according to Crunchbase data. In 2020 so far, of the nearly $700 million that has been invested in Colorado-based companies, about $298 million went to Denver-based companies. This year so far has only had one funding round that was at or above $100 million (Dispatch Health‘s $135.8 million Series C).

Looking back

Colorado’s tech scene isn’t exactly new—IBM, for example, opened a research center in the state in the 1970s. But it was around 2005 or 2006 that tech really started to accelerate in the state, according to Seth Levine, a founding partner at Colorado-based investment firm Foundry Group. Denver-based accelerator program Techstars was founded in 2006 and Foundry Group, one of the most active investors in the state, was founded in 2007.

The “tipping point” for Colorado’s startup scene to explode happened somewhere around 2010, Levine said. Before then, recruiting people to work in Colorado was harder because they were often concerned about Colorado being a place where businesses could scale and concerned about the maturity and size of the tech ecosystem. As Levine put it, if the job a person moved to Colorado for didn’t work out, would there be other opportunities in the state or would they have to move back to where they came from?

But following multiple large exits for companies, and people realizing the other appeals of living in Colorado, those concerns have been alleviated. 

“I feel like we reached some sort of critical mass somewhere in the 2007 to 2010 timeframe and that stopped being a question and that’s accelerated companies moving here and companies being started here because there was this greater access to talent and greater access to capital,” Levine said.

Also of note is the phenomenon of large tech companies acquiring Colorado-based companies. Microsoft, Google and Twitter, to name a few, have all acquired Colorado-based companies, giving the tech giants a presence in the state. Several Colorado-based companies have also gone public since 2015: 

Livability

The livability of Colorado has also been a major attraction, according to JJ Ament, CEO of local economic development group Metro Denver Economic Development Corp. Downtown Denver is the city’s urban core, but it’s not far from the mountains and country, making activities like hiking and skiing very accessible. And Denver itself is relatively easy to get to—it’s only a couple hours by plane to either coast and major airlines like United, Southwest and Frontier all have hubs at Denver International Airport.

“The talent clustering around these various industries has been tech-heavy over the last 10 years for sure,” Ament said. “More and more companies are discovering they have a great place to live, they have a talented workforce, and, while we’re not cheap anymore, we’re still a relative value, pricewise, to the coasts. The combination of those things have made us really attractive for those folks, and I think COVID has really accelerated that trend.”

The helpfulness of Colorado’s startup community has also been a big plus, Bokovic of Flatfile said. That sentiment was echoed by Nicole Glaros, chief investment strategy officer at Techstars. Glaros recalled how in the past when a startup would fail, the startup community would rally around the founder, organizing a happy hour to celebrate the founder and assist him or her with a job search or next venture.

But with COVID, there will likely be more startups based in Colorado, Glaros said.

“We’re just seeing a lot of new startups come in, and a lot of early-stage VCs pop up, too,” Glaros said, adding that investors have been reconsidering where they’re based. “So as that grows, that will just feed the cycle.” 

Illustration: Dom Guzman

Here’s What You Need To Know About Palantir’s Long-Awaited Direct Listing


This post is curated by Keith Teare. It was written by Sophia Kunthara. The original is [linked here]

Palantir Technologies’ long-awaited public debut is finally here. The company, which was founded in 2003 and until recently was based in Palo Alto, has attracted big-name investors and controversy alike during its time as a private company. 

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Palantir is set to start trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday in a direct listing, the same day as Asana, which will also go public through a direct listing (read more about Asana’s direct listing here). Before Palantir’s public debut, here’s what you need to know about the company co-founded by Peter Thiel.

What it does

Palantir can best be summed up as a big data analytics company. The company’s technology gathers data from various sources and analyzes it to help users—often government agencies—make sense of the data and make decisions. Palantir has had various contracts with U.S. government agencies, but has attracted scrutiny for its contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in particular.

The company has two platforms: Gotham and Foundry. In Palantir’s own words: 

“Gotham enables users to identify patterns hidden deep within datasets, ranging from signals intelligence sources to reports from confidential informants, and helps U.S. and allied military personnel find what they are looking for. We later found that the challenges faced by commercial institutions when it came to working with data were fundamentally similar. Companies routinely struggle to manage let alone make sense of the data involved in large projects. Foundry was built for them. The platform transforms the ways in which organizations interact with information by creating a central operating system for their data.”

Venture capital investment in Palantir

Palantir has raised at least $2.6 billion in funding as a private company, according to Crunchbase. The company is backed by investors including Manhattan Venture Partners, Founders Fund, Keith Rabois and REV. It last raised a $550 million corporation round led by Sompo Holdings in June.

Growth

According to Palantir’s S-1 filing, the company generated $742.6 million in revenue in 2019, 25 percent higher than the $595.4 million in revenue it pulled in in 2018. Its losses remained steady during that time period, going from $580 million in 2018 to $579.6 million in 2019.

In the first half of 2020, Palantir generated about $481.2 million in revenue, about 49 percent more than it generated during the same period during the year prior. Its losses shrunk about 41 percent from the first half of 2019, down to $164.7 million, according to the S-1 filing.

Palantir disclosed in its S-1 filing that as of the first half of 2020, its platforms were used by 125 customers. The company’s top three customers combined accounted for 33 percent and 28 percent of Palantir’s revenue in 2018 and 2019, respectively.

The winners

Investor and co-founder Thiel is the largest stockholder among Palantir’s executives and directors, with more than 62 million shares combined of Class A, B and F common stock being registered, according to the S-1. In terms of investment firms, Founders Fund, Sompo Holdings, Disruptive Technology Solutions, UBS AG and 8VC are all listed as stockholders with more than 5 percent. 

Disclosure: 8VC is an investor in Crunchbase.