Category: M&A

Fivetran hauls in $565M on $5.6B valuation, acquires competitor HVR for $700M



Fivetran, the data connectivity startup, had a big day today. For starters it announced a $565 million investment on $5.6 billion valuation, but it didn’t stop there. It also announced its second acquisition this year, snagging HVR, a data integration competitor that had raised over $50M, for $700 million in cash and stock.

The company last raised a $100 million Series C on a $1.2 billion valuation, increasing the valuation by over 5x. As with that Series C, Andreessen Horowitz was back leading the round with participation from other double dippers General Catalyst, CEAS Investments, Matrix Partners and other unnamed firms or individuals. New investors ICONIQ Capital, D1 Capital Partners and YC Continuity also came along for the ride. The company reports it has now raised $730 million.

The HVR acquisition represents a hefty investment for the startup, grabbing a company for a price that is almost equal to all the money it has raised to date, but it provides a way to expand its market quickly by buying a competitor. Earlier this year Fivetran acquired Teleport Data as it continues to add functionality and customers via acquisition.

“The acquisition — a cash and stock deal valued at $700 million — strengthens Fivetran’s market position as one of the data integration leaders for all industries and all customer types,” the company said in a statement.

While that may smack of corporate marketing speak, there is some truth (Read more...)

The Grocery List: Setting an M&A Strategy


This post is by Christen Daniels from Georgian


An acquisition can be the rocket fuel that accelerates the trajectory of your business or an anchor that weighs it down. How you prepare for the process can help you distinguish between one or the other.

Many companies will have acquisition opportunities land on their desk unprompted — maybe a smaller competitor is looking to join forces or you get a call from an investment banker leading a process for a business they think could be a fit. 

It can be tempting to pursue these inbounds on an opportunistic basis, but before diving head-first into the due diligence of a potential acquisition, it’s critical to evaluate the opportunity in the context of your overall strategy and business strengths and opportunities. 

Think of the development of an M&A strategy as a grocery list: rather than going into a grocery store hungry and walking out with a cart full of random items, a list of the things you need and the elements that would accelerate your business can help you stay focused and make smarter choices, with better outcomes. 

When evaluating an M&A opportunity, your first priority should be developing an understanding of your business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and priorities, all informed by the context of your ecosystem and your business’s place in it.

At Georgian, we use our Value Creation Framework as a foundation for understanding your place in the market, what makes your business differentiated and where to focus your efforts to optimize outcomes. When working with our portfolio companies, (Read more...)

Logistics startup Stord raises $90M in Kleiner Perkins-led round, becomes a unicorn and acquires a company



When Kleiner Perkins led Stord’s $12.4 million Series A in 2019, its founders were in their early 20s and so passionate about their startup that they each dropped out of their respective schools to focus on growing the business.

Fast-forward two years and Stord — an Atlanta-based company that has developed a cloud supply chain — is raising more capital in a round again led by Kleiner Perkins.

This time, Stord has raised $90 million in a Series D round of funding at a post-money valuation of $1.125 billion — more than double the $510 million that the company was valued at when raising $65 million in a Series C financing just six months ago.

In fact, today’s funding marks Stord’s third since early December of 2020, when it raised its Series B led by Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, and brings the company’s total raised since its 2015 inception to $205 million.

Besides Kleiner Perkins, Lux Capital, D1 Capital, Palm Tree Crew, BOND, Dynamo Ventures, Founders Fund, Lineage Logistics and Susa Ventures also participated in the Series D financing. In addition, Michael Rubin, Fanatics founder and founder of GSI Commerce; Carlos Cashman, CEO of Thrasio; Max Mullen, co-founder of Instacart; and Will Gaybrick, CPO at Stripe, put money in the round.

Founders Sean Henry, 24, and Jacob Boudreau, 23, met while Henry was at Georgia Tech and Boudreau was in online classes at Arizona State (ASU) but running his own business, a software development firm, in Atlanta.

Over time, Stord has (Read more...)

Intuit’s $12B Mailchimp acquisition is about expanding its small business focus



At first blush, the $12 billion Intuit-Mailchimp deal might not make a heck of a lot of sense. But people tend to pigeonhole companies, and in this case they might see Intuit as purely a financial software company and Mailchimp as an email marketing firm and nothing more. If that’s as far as your perspective goes, the deal is confusing. From a wider lens, however, there’s more to both companies than you might think.

Let’s start with Intuit. If you go to the company website and scan the product set, it’s clearly all about managing finances for consumer and small businesses alike. The latter category appears to be what the company wants to exploit and expand upon with this deal.

Prior to yesterday’s news, Intuit’s biggest acquisition had been on the consumer side buying Credit Karma for $7.1 billion last year. That deal gave the company’s customers a way to access their credit scores outside of the big three reporting companies: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Apparently not content with only that transaction, it set its sights on Mailchimp to throw some money at the business side of the house.

SpotOn raises $300M at a $3.15B valuation and acquires Appetize



Last year at this time, SpotOn was on the brink of announcing a $60 million Series C funding round at a $625 million valuation.

Fast forward to almost exactly one year later, and a lot has changed for the payments and software startup.

Today, SpotOn said it has closed on $300 million in Series E financing that values the company at $3.15 billion — more than 5x of its valuation at the time of its Series C round, and significantly higher than its $1.875 billion valuation in May (yes, just three and a half months ago) when it raised $125 million in a Series D funding event.

Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) led both the Series D and E rounds for the company, which says it has seen 100% growth year over year and a tripling in revenue over the past 18 months. Existing investors DST Global, 01 Advisors, Dragoneer Investment Group, Franklin Templeton and Mubadala Investment Company too doubled down on their investments in SpotOn, joining new backers Wellington Management and Coatue Management. Advisors Douglas Merritt, CEO of Splunk, and Mike Scarpelli, CFO of Snowflake, also made individual investments as angels. With the new capital, SpotOn has raised $628 million since its inception.

The latest investment is being used to finance the acquisition of another company in the space — Appetize, a digital and mobile commerce payments platform for enterprises such as sports and entertainment venues, theme parks and zoos. SpotOn is paying $415 million in cash and stock for (Read more...)

Quicken, one of the ‘first fintechs,’ is being sold again



Five and a half years after being acquired by a private equity firm, personal finance software company Quicken is announcing that it is being acquired by another private equity firm.

In April 2016, an affiliate of H.I.G. Capital acquired Quicken from Intuit Inc. for an undisclosed amount. Today, Menlo Park, California-based Quicken is announcing that Aquiline Capital Partners will be acquiring a majority stake in the company — also for an undisclosed amount.

In an exclusive interview with TechCrunch, Quicken CEO Eric Dunn did share some other details about Quicken’s performance since that last transaction, as well as its plans for the future. Dunn has a history with the company, so can speak pretty comfortably about where it’s been, and where it’s going.

While he took over as CEO of Quicken in 2016, he first joined previous parent company Intuit as employee No. 4 in 1986 when Quicken was its only software product. During his tenure at Intuit, he served as the CFO through the 1993 IPO and merger with ChipSoft (now known as TurboTax). While he was CFO, Dunn was also a software developer who worked on almost all of the early versions of Quicken, and was the first VP/general manager of the business.

Since the H.I.G. buy, it appears that Quicken has grown quite a lot. It currently has 2 million active users, which Dunn said is “significantly higher” than what it had at the time of its spinoff from Intuit. The executive declined to reveal hard revenue (Read more...)

DigitalOcean enhances serverless capabilities with Nimbella acquisition



As developers look for ways to simplify how they create software, serverless solutions, which enable them to write code without worrying about the underlying infrastructure required to run their applications, is becoming increasingly popular. DigitalOcean announced today that it is enhancing its existing offering in this area with the acquisition of serverless startup Nimbella. The companies did not share the terms of the deal.

With Nimbella, the company is getting a platform for building serverless applications that is built on the open source container orchestration platform, Kubernetes and Apache OpenWhisk, which is itself an open source serverless development platform.

DigitalOcean CEO Yancey Spruill, who took over two years ago, refers to Nimbella’s capabilities as Function as a Service with the goal being to simplify serverless development in an open source context for its target customers.”Serverless kinds of capabilities are taking a whole level of the infrastructure burden away from developers and businesses and we absorb that. We’ll allow our customers to have more configurability around the tools, which just removes burdens for them and allows them to go faster,” he said.

In practical terms, Nimbella CEO Anshu Agarwal says that means they are providing a specific set of tools to build sophisticated serverless applications and connect to other DigitalOcean services. “The capabilities that we will be adding to DigitalOcean portfolio are a fast solution, a function as a service solution that also integrates with the underlying DigitalOcean services [like] managed databases, storage and other services that make it (Read more...)

Ramp and Brex draw diverging market plans with M&A strategies



Earlier today, spend management startup Ramp said it has raised a $300 million Series C that valued it $3.9 billion. It also said it was acquiring Buyer, a “negotiation-as-a-service” platform that it believes will help customers save money on purchases and SaaS products.

The round and deal were announced just a week after competitor Brex shared news of its own acquisition — the $50 million purchase of Israeli fintech startup Weav. That deal was made after Brex’s founders invested in Weav, which offers a “universal API for commerce platforms”.

From a high level, all of the recent deal-making in corporate cards and spend management shows that it’s not enough to just help companies track what employees are expensing these days. As the market matures and feature sets begin to converge, the players are seeking to differentiate themselves from the competition.

But the point of interest here is these deals can tell us where both companies think they can provide and extract the most value from the market.

These differences come atop another layer of divergence between the two companies: While Brex has instituted a paid software tier of its service, Ramp has not.

Earning more by spending less

Let’s start with Ramp. Launched in 2019, the company is a relative newcomer in the spend management category. But by all accounts, it’s producing some impressive growth numbers. As our colleague Mary Ann Azevedo wrote this morning:

Since the beginning of 2021, the company says it has seen its number (Read more...)

Ramp raises $300M at a $3.9B valuation, makes its first acquisition



Less than five months after raising $115 million, spend management startup Ramp announced today it has raised $300 million in a Series C round of funding that values the company at $3.9 billion.

That’s more than double the $1.6 billion that New York-based Ramp was valued at in April at the time of its Series B.

Founders Fund led the latest round, which brings the fintech’s total equity and debt raised to date to over $625 million since its March 2019 inception. Redpoint Ventures, Thrive Capital, D1 Capital Partners, Spark Capital, Coatue Management, Iconiq, Altimeter, Stripe, Lux Capital, A* Partners, Definition Capital and other existing backers participated in the financing. Founders Fund also led Ramp’s $15 million Series A in February 2020.

It’s been a good year for Ramp, which first launched its corporate card in August of 2019. Since the beginning of 2021, the company says it has seen its number of cardholders on its platform increase by 5x, with more than 2,000 businesses currently using Ramp as their “primary spend management solution.” The transaction volume on its corporate cards has tripled since April, when its last raise was announced. And, impressively, Ramp has seen its transaction volume increase year over year by 1,000%, according to CEO and co-founder Eric Glyman. Given the company’s business model (it makes money mostly off interchange fees), Ramp also saw its revenue increase by the same amount during that time frame.

(Read more...)

Mobility startup Plentywaka picks up $1.2M seed, acquires Ghana’s Stabus



Lagos and Toronto-based mobility startup Plentywaka has raised a $1.2 million seed round to scale its operations on the back of leaving the Techstars Toronto accelerator program last month. 

Canadian-based VC firm The Xchange led the round, SOSV and Shock Ventures participated, while Techstars Toronto made a follow-on investment. Nigerian firms Argentil Capital Partners and ODBA & Co Ventures took part in the seed round, alongside some angel investors from Canada, other parts of Africa, and the U.S.

In March, when TechCrunch covered Plentywaka, CEO Onyeka Akumah said the two-year-old company eyed both regional and global expansion. There hasn’t been much development on the latter except that the company set up its headquarters in Canada. However, for the former, it’s in the form of an acquisition. The company says it has fully acquired Ghanaian mobility startup Stabus but declined to comment on the acquisition price.

Plentywaka is primarily a bus-booking platform but, per its website, has over 900 vehicles ranging from cars to vans to buses. The company provides intrastate travel (via its Dailywaka offering) and interstate travel (via its Travelwaka offering) for its users via a mobile application. Since going live in September 2019,  Plentywaka says it has acquired over 80,000 users while completing up to half a million rides.

Stabus, on the other hand, commenced operations in Ghana a month after Plentywaka’s launch. Its co-founder and CEO, Isidore Kpotufe, shared that the startup has since moved over 100,000 people within the country’s (Read more...)