Category: Tel Aviv

Balance raises $25M in a Ribbit Capital-led Series A to grow its ‘consumer-like B2B checkout platform’



Balance, a payments platform aimed at B2B merchants and marketplaces, has raised $25 million in a Series A funding round led by Ribbit Capital.

Avid Ventures participated in the financing, in addition to existing backers Lightspeed Ventures, Stripe, Y Combinator Continuity Fund, SciFi VC and UpWest. Other individual investors that put money in the round include early employees and executives from Plaid, Coinbase, Square, Stripe and PayPal, such as Jaqueline Reses, formerly head of Square Capital. The financing comes just over six months after Balance announced a $5.5 million seed round.

The motivation for starting the company was simple, said CEO and co-founder Bar Geron: “We wanted to create an online B2B experience that doesn’t suck.” He and Yoni Shuster, both former PayPal employees, started the company in early 2020.

B2B payments, he said, have historically differed from B2C primarily in that they have not taken place at the moment of purchase (or at the point of sale) but rather within 30 days and with an invoice. This is not an efficient process for merchants or vendors alike, the company maintains.

Meanwhile, most businesses have avoided paying for their supply with credit cards, because cards can quickly max out, Geron said.

“The only element that keeps many merchants offline is payments,” he told TechCrunch. “It’s a process that is stuck in the flow of those marketplaces and keeping them from scaling. We got fascinated with the problem.”

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...)

Walmart acquires virtual clothing try-on startup Zeekit



Retail giant Walmart announced this morning it’s acquiring the Tel Aviv-based startup Zeekit, which allows consumers to virtually “try on” clothing when shopping online. The company leverages a combination of real-time image processing, computer vision, deep learning and other A.I. technology to show shoppers how they would look in an item by way of a simulation that takes into account body dimensions, fit, size, and even the fabric of the garment itself.

Deal terms were not disclosed. According to data from Pitchbook, Zeekit had raised over $24 million in outside capital, but we’ve confirmed that’s inaccurate. Zeekit raised a $9 million Series A in 2016, and has raised a total of $16 million since 2014.

The company had already been working with a range of retailers and brands ahead of the acquisition, including Walmart, as well Macy’s, Asos, Tommy Hilfiger, Adidas, and others. It had once worked with Rebecca Minkoff during Fashion Week to help women shop the show’s looks.

Zeekit had been founded in 2013 by CEO Yael Vizel, VP of Research and Development Nir Appleboim and CTO Alon Kristal, with the premise that if online shoppers could see how clothing would look on their own bodies, the technology could reduce the rate of returns due to non-fitting, non-flattering items.

Image Credits:

Walmart says customers will be able to use the Zeekit technology to virtually try on items brands including Free People, Champion, Levi’s Strauss, ELOQUII Elements, Free Assembly, Scoop, Sofia Jeans by Sofia Vergara, plus its own (Read more...)

Walmart acquires virtual clothing try-on startup Zeekit



Retail giant Walmart announced this morning it’s acquiring the Tel Aviv-based startup Zeekit, which allows consumers to virtually “try on” clothing when shopping online. The company leverages a combination of real-time image processing, computer vision, deep learning and other A.I. technology to show shoppers how they would look in an item by way of a simulation that takes into account body dimensions, fit, size, and even the fabric of the garment itself.

Deal terms were not disclosed. According to data from Pitchbook, Zeekit had raised over $24 million in outside capital, but we’ve confirmed that’s inaccurate. Zeekit raised a $9 million Series A in 2016, and has raised a total of $16 million since 2014.

The company had already been working with a range of retailers and brands ahead of the acquisition, including Walmart, as well Macy’s, Asos, Tommy Hilfiger, Adidas, and others. It had once worked with Rebecca Minkoff during Fashion Week to help women shop the show’s looks.

Zeekit had been founded in 2013 by CEO Yael Vizel, VP of Research and Development Nir Appleboim and CTO Alon Kristal, with the premise that if online shoppers could see how clothing would look on their own bodies, the technology could reduce the rate of returns due to non-fitting, non-flattering items.

Image Credits:

Walmart says customers will be able to use the Zeekit technology to virtually try on items brands including Free People, Champion, Levi’s Strauss, ELOQUII Elements, Free Assembly, Scoop, Sofia Jeans by Sofia Vergara, plus its own (Read more...)

HoneyBook raises $155M at $1B+ valuation to help SMBs, freelancers manage their businesses



HoneyBook, which has built out a client experience and financial management platform for service-based small businesses and freelancers, announced today that it has raised $155 million in a Series D round led by Durable Capital Partners LP.

Tiger Global Management, Battery Ventures, Zeev Ventures, 01 Advisors as well as existing backers Norwest Venture Partners and Citi Ventures also participated in the financing, which brings the New York-based company’s valuation to over $1 billion. With the latest round, HoneyBook has now raised $215 million since its 2013 inception. The Series D is a big jump from the $28 million that HoneyBook raised in March 2019. 

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit last year, HoneyBook’s leadership team was concerned about the potential impact on their business and braced themselves for a drop in revenue.

Rather than lay off people, they instead asked everyone to take a pay cut, and that included the executive team, who cut theirs “by double” the rest of the staff.

“I remember it was terrifying. We knew that our customers’ businesses were going to be impacted dramatically, and would impact ours at the same time dramatically,” recalls CEO Oz Alon. “We had to make some hard decisions.”

But the resilience of HoneyBook’s customer base surprised even the company, who ended up reinstating those salaries just a few months later. And, as corporate layoffs driven by the COVID-19 pandemic led to more people deciding to start their own businesses, HoneyBook saw a big surge in demand.

“Our members who (Read more...)

Spectral raises $6.2M for its DevSecOps service



Tel Aviv-based Spectral is bringing its new DevSecOps code scanner out of stealth today and announcing a $6.2 million funding round. The startup’s programming language-agnostic service aims to automated code security development teams to help them detect potential security issues in their codebases and logs, for example. Those issues could be hardcoded API keys and other credentials, but also security misconfiguration and shadow IT assets.

The four-person founding team has a deep background in building AI, monitoring and security tools. CEO Dotan Nahum was a Chief Architect at Klarna and Conduit (now Como, though you may remember Conduit from its infamous toolbar that was later spun off), and the CTO at Como and HiredScore, for example. Other founders worked on building monitoring tools at Elastic and HP and on security at Akamai. As Nahum told me, the idea for Spectral came to him and co-founder and COO Idan Didi during their shared time at mobile application build Conduit/Como.

Image Credits: Spectral

“We basically stored certificates for every client that we had, so we could submit their apps to the various marketplaces,” Nahum told me of his experience at Counduit/Como. “That certificate really proves that you are who you are and it’s super sensitive. And at each point at these companies, I really didn’t have the right tools to actually make sure that we’re storing, handling, detecting [this information] and making sure that it doesn’t leak anywhere.”

Nahum decided to quit his current job and started to build a prototype (Read more...)