Category: boston

Toast looks toward $18B valuation in upcoming IPO



As if the Boston startup market needed additional momentum, it appears restaurant software startup Toast will dramatically bolster its valuation in its upcoming IPO.

For a city perhaps best known internationally for its hard tech and biotech efforts, to see Toast not only rebound from its early-pandemic layoffs to a public debut, but to target a valuation closer to $20 billion than $10 billion, is a coup.


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In a new S-1/A filing this morning, Toast indicated an early IPO range of between $30 and $33 per share, leading to a maximum fundraise of $825 million in its IPO. The company was last valued at $4.9 billion in early 2020, when Toast raised $400 million. The company is set to dramatically supersede that valuation mark thanks to expanding revenues and an especially strong second quarter.

Let’s dig into the company’s new IPO price range, calculate simple and fully diluted results, and see what we can learn from where Toast may price. Recall that the company has a mix of recurring software (SaaS) incomes as well as fintech revenue (payments, mostly). Its revenue mix is interesting, and how Toast prices could help us better understand how to value vertical SaaS startups that are pursuing a payments-and-SaaS business approach.

Into the filing!

Toast’s IPO valuation

Toast is selling 21,739,131 Class A shares in its IPO. They get one vote. Class B (Read more...)

Digital therapeutics startup Neuroglee raises $10M to help people with neurodegenerative conditions



Neuroglee Therapeutics, a startup developing digital therapeutics for people with neurodegenerative diseases, has raised a $10 million Series A led by Openspace Ventures and EDBI. The funding will be used to launch virtual neurology clinics and to support Neuroglee’s move to Boston. Other participants included Ramen Singh, the former chief executive officer of Mundipharma; Biofourmis co-founders Kuldeep Singh Rajput and Wendou Liu; and Eisai Co., the Japanese pharmaceutical that led Neuroglee’s last round last year.

In an email, founder and chief executive officer Aniket Singh Rajput told TechCrunch that the company is moving to Boston because the city “is one of the largest digital health hubs in the world. As a company devoted to developing our first line of solutions for treating mild cognitive impairment related to difficult-to-treat neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, we believe Boston will offer us the strategic support in order to do so.”

Neuroglee and the Mayo Clinic are currently working together on a new platform called Neuroglee Connect. Based on the Mayo Clinic’s 10-day in-person program HABIT (Health Action to Benefit Independence and Thinking) for people with mild cognitive impairment from possible neurodegenerative conditions, Neuroglee’s technology will enable HABIT to scale, making it available to patients and caregivers in their homes. Neuroglee Connect users will also have access to health navigators who are available 24 hours and clinical care teams for assessments and interventions.

Neuroglee’s product pipeline also includes digital therapeutics (Read more...)

Vista Equity to acquire majority stake in SaaS startup Drift, taking it to unicorn status



Private equity firm Vista Equity Partners announced today that it is taking a majority stake in Drift, a company which aims to be the Amazon of businesses, with a “growth investment” that propels the venture-backed startup to unicorn status.

Unfortunately, neither party would disclose the amount of the investment, or Drift’s new valuation. But co-founder and CEO David Cancel did say the SaaS company saw 70% growth in its annual recurring revenue (ARR) in 2020 compared to the year prior and is on target for a similar metric this year. It is not yet profitable, as it is focused on growth, he added.

Prior to this financing, Boston-based Drift had raised $107 million in funding from the likes of Sequoia Capital, CRV and General Catalyst since its 2015 inception.

So just what does the company do exactly? The startup says it is out to ”reimagine the B2B buying experience,” according to Cancel. By using its software, Drift’s 50,000 customers are able to bring together sales and marketing teams on one platform to “deliver personalized conversations” that the company says build trust and accelerate revenue. 

Its customers include ServiceNow, Okta, Grubhub, Mindbody, Adobe, Ellie May and Snowflake, among others. Today 75% of Drift’s customers are mid-market enterprise, according to Cancel. 

Over the past five years, Drift has worked to create and define something it describes as “Conversational Marketing” with the goal of helping marketers “harness the digital experience for lead (Read more...)

The pure hell of managing your JPEGs



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

Natasha and Alex and Grace and Chris were joined by none other than TechCrunch’s own Mary Ann Azevedo, in her first-ever appearance on the show. She’s pretty much the best person and we’re stoked to have her on the pod.

And it was good that Mary Ann was on the show this week as she wrote about half the dang site. Which meant that we got to include all sorts of her work in the rundown. Here’s the agenda:

American Express taps startup BodesWell for expansion into financial planning



American Express is branching out into financial planning, with a little help from a seven-person startup called BodesWell.

This week, the credit card giant launched a pilot of its first self-service digital financial planning tool, dubbed “My Financial Plan (MFP).” The six-month pilot kicked off on July 11 with about 25,000 select Amex cardmembers.

American Express quietly invested in BodesWell in late 2020 via its venture arm, Amex Ventures. Since then, the financial services behemoth teamed up with the tiny startup to develop the financial planning tool for its users. The new product is designed to give users a complete picture of their financial health and help them make and achieve major life goals, such as buying a house or retirement.

TechCrunch talked with Amex Ventures’ Julia Huang, who led the investment and strategy around the new product, and BodesWell co-founder and CEO Matthew Bellows to learn more details.

The pair actually met while serving on a panel together in 2019. 

“I was drawn to the fact that it was not a round-up savings tool, but rather a holistic tool to understand your full financial picture that could be used to plan for the financial impact of your life decisions,” Huang told TechCrunch.

Before deciding to invest in BodesWell, Huang says Amex Ventures — which over time has backed more than 70 startups — had “evaluated the space quite extensively.”

Huang introduced Bellows and his staff to Amex’s Digital Labs team and they embarked on jointly developing a specialized offering (Read more...)

Knox Financial raises $10M to take the pain out of being a landlord



We’ve all heard the phrase “passive income” to describe how people can make money by owning rental properties. Many Americans would love to passively earn money, but the process of becoming a landlord can be intimidating and complicated. 

I mean, how many people have looked back and wished they hadn’t sold a property after seeing its value rise years after selling it?

And those who are already landlords can get overwhelmed by the complexities of managing properties.

One startup out of Boston, Knox Financial, aims to help people identify and manage residential rentals with its algorithm-based platform, and it’s raised a $10 million Series A to help it further that goal. Boston-based G20 Ventures led the round, which included participation from Greycroft, Pillar VC, 2LVC, and Gaingels.  

The investment brings Knox’s total raised since its inception in 2018 to $14.7 million. The company closed on a $3 million seed round in January 2020, led by Greycroft.

Knox co-founder and CEO David Friedman is no stranger to startups. He founded Boston Logic – an integrated marketing platform and online marketing services for real estate offices and agents – in 2004. He sold that company (now under the name Propertybase) to Providence Equity for an undisclosed amount in 2016.

Knox launched its platform in March of 2019, with the goal of offering homeowners who are ready to move “a completely hands-off way” of converting a home they’re moving out of into an investment property. It also claims to help landlords more (Read more...)

Notarize raises $130M, tripling valuation on the back of 600% YoY revenue growth



When the world shifted toward virtual one year ago, one service in particular saw heated demand: digital notary services.

The ability to get a document notarized without leaving one’s home suddenly became more of a necessity than a luxury. Pat Kinsel, founder and CEO of Boston-based Notarize, worked to get appropriate legislation passed across the country to make it possible for more people in more states to use remote online notarization (RON) services. 

That hard work has paid off. Today, Notarize has announced $130 million in Series D funding led by fintech-focused VC firm Canapi Ventures after experiencing 600% year over year revenue growth. The round values Notarize at $760 million, which is triple its valuation at the time of its $35 million Series C in March of 2020. This latest round is larger than the sum of all of the company’s previous rounds to date, and brings Notarize’s total raised to $213 million since its 2015 inception.

A slew of other investors participated in the round, including Alphabet’s independent growth fund CapitalG, Citi Ventures, Wells Fargo, True Bridge Capital Partners and existing backers Camber Creek, Ludlow Ventures, NAR’s Second Century Ventures, and Fifth Wall Ventures.

Notarize insists that it “isn’t just a notary company.” Rather, Canapi Ventures Partner Neil Underwood described it as the ‘last mile’ of businesses (such as iBuyers, for example). 

The company has also evolved to “also bring trust and identity verification” into those businesses’ processes.

Over the past year, Notarize has seen a massive increase (Read more...)

Appfire, provider of Atlassian apps, raises $100M to continue its buying spree



Appfire, a Boston-based provider of software development apps, announced Tuesday that it has received a $100 million investment from growth private equity firm TA Associates.

Founded in 2005, Appfire was bootstrapped until it got $49 million from Silversmith Capital Partners last May. Since that time, Appfire has acquired six companies in the Atlassian “ecosystem,” including Botron, Beecom, Innovalog, Navarambh, Artemis and Bolo.

The Boston-based company has been profitable for over a decade, according to Randall Ward, co-founder and CEO of Appfire. And while Ward declined to reveal valuation or hard revenue numbers, he did say that Appfire has seen its ARR more than double over the past year.

Since last June alone, the company says it has experienced:

  • A 103% year over year increase in ARR.
  • A 258% YOY increase in enterprise subscription revenue (data center only). 
  • A 182% YOY increase in all subscription revenue (data center and cloud).  

So why the need for institutional capital? With the latest funding, Appfire intends to extend its buying spree of complementary apps. 

Appfire has been acquiring businesses every six to eight weeks, and it plans to continue scooping them up at that pace, according to Ward.

It’s also looking to let shareholders cash in on their options.

Fun fact: Atlassian itself was bootstrapped for nearly a decade. The Australian enterprise software company was profitable from its inception in 2001 before taking its first round of external capital, a $60 million financing led by Accel, in July 2010. (Read more...)