Category: coatue

Crypto infra startup Fireblocks raises $310M, triples valuation to $2.2B



Fireblocks, an infrastructure provider for digital assets, has raised $310 million in a Series D round of funding that tripled the company’s valuation to $2.2 billion in just over five months.

Sequoia Capital, Stripes and Spark Capital co-led Fireblocks’ latest round, which also included participation from Coatue, DRW VC and SCB 10X – the venture arm of Thailand’s oldest bank – and Siam Commercial Bank. The latter is the third global bank to invest in Fireblocks in addition to the Bank of New York (BNY) Mellon and SVB Capital.

In February, the New York-based startup raised $133 million in a Series C round at a $700 million valuation. The latest financing brings Fireblocks’ total raised since its 2018 inception to $489 million. And as for Fireblocks’ valuation boost, the growth correlates with its increase in customers and ARR this year, according to CEO and co-founder Michael Shaulov.

Since January, Fireblocks has seen its customer base increase to about 500 compared to 150 in January. Its ARR (annual recurring revenue) is also up — by 350% so far in 2021 compared to 2020. Last year, ARR rose by 450% compared to 2019.

“We expect to end the year up 500%,” Shaulov said. “We’ve already adjusted our revenue predictions for 2021 three times.”

Put simply, Fireblocks aims to offer financial institutions an all-in-one platform to run a digital asset business, providing them with infrastructure to store, transfer and issue digital assets. In particular, Fireblocks provides custody to institutional investors (Read more...)

Digital lending platform Blend valued at over $4B in its public debut



Mortgages may not be considered sexy, but they are a big business.

And if you’ve refinanced or purchased a home digitally lately, you may or may not have noticed the company powering the software behind it — but there’s a good chance that company is Blend.

Founded in 2012, the startup has steadily grown to be a leader in the mortgage tech industry. Blend’s white label technology powers mortgage applications on the site of banks including Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank, for example, with the goal of making the process faster, simpler and more transparent. 

The San Francisco-based startup’s SaaS (software-as-a-service) platform currently processes over $5 billion in mortgages and consumer loans per day, up from nearly $3 billion last July.

And today, Blend made its debut as a publicly-traded company on the New York Stock Exchange, trading under the symbol “BLND.” As of early afternoon, Eastern Time, the stock was trading up over 13% at $20.36.

On Thursday night, the company had said it would offer 20 million shares at a price of $18 per share, indicating the company was targeting a valuation of $3.6 billion.

That compares to a $3.3 billion valuation at the time of its last raise in January — a $300 million Series G funding round that included participation from Coatue and Tiger Global Management. Also, let’s not forget that Blend only became a unicorn last August when it raised a $75 million Series F. Over its lifetime, Blend had raised (Read more...)

Coatue direct deposits $20M into Pinwheel, a payroll API for neobanks



One of the most strategically important financial relationships for neobanks is becoming the account destination for a user’s paycheck. If you’re a bank and you own that specific relationship, users will increasingly use that account for everything from daily spending to saving (after all, that’s where their money is going). That activity in turn leads to expansive opportunities to upsell users to other financial products and generate the kinds of fees that banks love to make.

It just so happens though that users are often baffled in how to change their direct deposit instructions. To do so, they still have to go into ancient payroll systems, fill out account and routing data, verify that it’s correctly setup and more — all steps that can fluster users who will just give up.

Pinwheel is a “payroll connectivity” API designed to bridge this divide. It helps neobanks and other clients connect into a users’s payroll information system, offering everything from direct-deposit switching to income verification (a hot space these days), and paycheck-linked lending.

It’s proven very popular, particularly in the midst of the pandemic that saw millions switch jobs as well as neobanks reaching stratospheric growth as account holders searched for cheaper and more flexible banking options. The company saw 11x revenue growth last quarter and claims neobank Current and mobile payment service Square Cash as clients.

That early traction has drawn a new round of capital. Michael Gilroy of Coatue led a $20 million Series A round into the company. (Read more...)

With backers like Tiger Global, LatAm crypto exchange Bitso raises $250M at a $2.2B valuation



Bitso, a regulated crypto exchange in Latin America, announced today it has raised $250 million in a Series C round of funding that values the company at $2.2 billion.

Tiger Global and Coatue co-led the round, which also included participation from Paradigm, BOND & Valor Capital Group and existing backers QED, Pantera Capital and Kaszek.

The news caught our attention for several reasons. For one, it comes just four months after the startup raised $62 million in a Series B round. Secondly, the company believes the funding makes it the most valuable crypto platform in Latin America. And lastly, it also makes the company one of the most highly valued fintechs in the region.

Last year was a good one for Bitso, which says it processed more than $1.2 billion in international payments — including remittances and payments between companies — during 2020 alone. Bitso says it also has surpassed 2 million users. These two milestones, the company argues, is evidence of the growing use of crypto as an everyday financial tool in the region.

Demand for crypto assets and crypto-enabled financial products have soared in popularity both for individuals and businesses in the region, according to Bitso, which aims to be “the safest, most transparent, and only regulatory compliant platform” in Latin America. The company also says it’s the only player in the region to offer crypto-insurance for its client’s funds.

“The growth of the (Read more...)

Persona lands $50M for identity verification after seeing 10x YoY revenue growth



The identity verification space has been heating up for a while and the COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated demand with more people transacting online.

Persona, a startup focused on creating a personalized identity verification experience “for any use case,” aims to differentiate itself in an increasingly crowded space. And investors are banking on the San Francisco-based company’s ability to help businesses customize the identity verification process — and beyond — via its no-code platform in the form of a $50 million Series B funding round. 

Index Ventures led the financing, which also included participation from existing backer Coatue Management. In late January 2020, Persona raised $17.5 million in a Series A round. The company declined to reveal at which valuation this latest round was raised.

Businesses and organizations can access Persona’s platform by way of an API, which lets them use a variety of documents, from government-issued IDs through to biometrics, to verify that customers are who they say they are. The company wants to make it easier for organizations to implement more watertight methods based on third-party documentation, real-time evaluation such as live selfie checks and AI to verify users.

Persona’s platform also collects passive signals such as a user’s device, location, and behavioral signals to provide a more holistic view of a user’s risk profile. It offers a low code and no code option depending on the needs of the customer.

The company’s momentum is reflected in its growth numbers. The startup’s revenue has surged by “more than (Read more...)

Developer-focused video platform Mux achieves unicorn status with $105M funding



Barely more than eight months after announcing a $37 million funding round, Mux has another $105 million.

The Series D was led by Coatue and values the company at more than $1 billion (Mux isn’t disclosing the specific valuation). Existing investors Accel, Andreessen Horowitz and Cobalt also participated, as did new investor Dragoneer.

Co-founder and CEO Jon Dahl told me that Mux didn’t need to raise more funding. But after last year’s Series C, the company’s leadership kept in touch with Coatue and other investors who’d expressed interest, and they ultimately decided that more money could help fuel faster growth during “this inflection moment in video.”

Building on the thesis popularized by A16Z co-founder Marc Andreessen, Dahl said, “I think video’s eating software, the same way software was eating the world 10 years ago.” In other words, where video was once something we watched at our desks and on our sofas, it’s now everywhere, whether we’re scrolling through our social media feeds or exercising on our Pelotons.

“We’re at the early days of a five- or 10-year major transition, where video is moving into being a first-class part of every software project,” he said.

Dahl argued that Mux is well-suited for this transition because it’s “a video platform for developers,” with an API-centric approach that results in faster publishing and reliable streaming for viewers. Its first product was a monitoring and analytics tool called Mux Data, followed (Read more...)

M1 Finance raises another rapid-fire round after scaling its AUM to more than $3.5B



Months after raising a Series C worth $45 million, Chicago-based M1 Finance announced a new round of capital today. A Series D, the new $75 million investment was led by Coatue, with two prior investors — Left Lane Capital and Clocktower Technology Ventures — also taking part.

The new financing comes after M1 raised twice in 2020, including the previously mentioned Series C and a smaller $33 million Series B.

While rapid-fire fundraising has become increasingly common in recent years, M1 Finance’s recent capital accretion remains notable for its pace and scale. And as the company has been comparatively free with both growth metrics and notes about its long-term business model, TechCrunch has been able to keep tabs on its expansion over the past few quarters.

M1 Finance’s growth

In February of 2020, M1 announced it had reached the $1 billion assets-under-management (AUM) mark after starting the year at $800 million. At the time, the company’s CEO Brian Barnes told TechCrunch that his company was targeting to generate revenues of around 1% of consumer AUM. That provided a good toe-hold into tracking how quickly the startup was scaling its revenues as it grew its asset base.

In June of 2020, the company announced its Series B and a new AUM milestone: $1.45 billion. That was something akin to 50% growth in les than half a year. Not bad.

When M1 Finance raised its Series C later that year, it had scaled to $2 billion in AUM. That was (Read more...)