Reports published late last month indicated Brex, the fast-growing fintech startup, was raising yet another round. Today, the San Francisco-based company is confirming it’s closed on $100 million in Series C-2 funding at a valuation of $2.6 billion.
Kleiner Perkins has lead the round via former general partner Mood Rowghani, who left the fund last year to form Bond alongside Mary Meeker and Noah Knauf. Existing investors DST Global, IVP, Y Combinator and Greenoaks Capital have also participated in the round.
The Y Combinator graduate, which provides corporate cards tailored for startups, is also announcing the launch of its third product: a card made specifically for life sciences companies. With a focus on pharmaceutical, biotech and cosmetic businesses, Brex has customized its underwriting model for the life sciences sector and crafted targeted rewards, including cash back on lab supplies and conference fees.
Hello and welcome back to Startups Weekly, a newsletter published every Saturday that dives into the week’s noteworthy venture capital deals, funds and trends. Before I dive into this week’s topic, let’s catch up a bit. Last week, I wrote about the proliferation of billion-dollar companies. Before that, I noted the uptick in beverage startup rounds.Remember, you can send me tips, suggestions and feedback to email@example.com or on Twitter @KateClarkTweets.
Now, time for some quick notes on Peloton’s confirmed initial public offering. The fitness unicorn, which sells a high-tech exercise bike and affiliated subscription to original fitness content, confidentially filed to go public earlier this week. Unfortunately, there’s no S-1 to pore through yet; all I can do for now is speculate a bit about Peloton’s long-term potential.
What I know:
Peloton is profitable. Founder and chief executive John Foley said at one point that he
Thumbtack, one of the first players in what is now known as the gig economy, has hit the fundraising circuit once again.
The online services marketplace that matches customers with nearby professionals is raising up to $120 million in Series H shares, according to a Delaware stock authorization filing uncovered by the Prime Unicorn Index. Thumbtack did not respond to a request for comment.
At more than 10 years old, the business has previously raised nearly $300 million in a combination of debt and equity funding. The upcoming round comes at a flat valuation to its 2015 Series G funding of $125 million, which valued Thumbtack at $1.3 billion. Scottish asset manager Baillie Gifford led that round, which increased its valuation roughly 60% from $804 million, according to PitchBook:
Extra Crunch offers members the opportunity to tune into conference calls led and moderated by the TechCrunch writers you read every day. This week, TechCrunch’s Connie Loizos sat down with Scott Kupor, managing director at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz to dig into his new book Secrets of Sand Hill Road, discuss his advice for new founders dealing with VCs and to pick his brain on the opportunities that excite him most today.
Scott gained inspiration for Secrets of Sand Hill Road after realizing he was hearing the same questions from different entrepreneurs over his decade in venture. The book acts as an updated guide on what VCs actually do, how they think and how founders should engage with them.
Scott offers Connie his take on why, despite the influx of available information on the venture world, founders still view VC as a black box. Connie and Scott
When starting a tech company, there seems to be a playbook that most entrepreneurs follow. While some may start with a bit of bootstrapping, most will dive straight into raising seed money through investors. In many cases, this is a great path. It’s a path I’ve taken twice myself, first with GroupMe, and then again with Fundera.
Ironically, though, my second venture-backed company is a business focused on helping entrepreneurs find debt financing—a process I’ve gone through only once myself. But after five years of building and scaling this business, it’s made me take a step back and consider the question of when and where debt financing might be a better option for a business than equity financing, and vice versa.
I view these financing vehicles differently now than I did half a decade ago, and think it’s time we start to think a bit wider and diversely about
Aaron Rodgers is an athlete, an influencer and now, a venture capitalist.
The football star, Super Bowl champion and long-time quarterback for the Green Bay Packers has teamed up with ROTH Capital Partners’ Nate Raabe and Byron Roth to launch Rx3 Ventures. Today, the trio are announcing a $50 million debut fund focused on the consumer market.
The fund is supported by influencers in the sports and entertainment market, with a goal of giving them a stake in the companies for which they are hired to be spokespeople. Influencer marketing continues to gain traction; Rx3 wants to ensure authentic, equitable relationships between brands and public figures.
Slack wants to be the new operating system for teams, something it has made clear on more than one occasion, including in its recent S-1 filing. To accomplish that goal, it put together an in-house $80 millionventure fund in 2015 to invest in third-party developers building on top of its platform.
Troops is the latest to land additional capital from the enterprise giant. The New York-based startup helps sales teams communicate with a customer relationship management tool plugged directly into Slack. In short, it automates routine sales management activities and creates visibility into important deals through integrations with employee emails and Salesforce.
Today, Peloton is a bonafide success. The company, which sells $2,245 internet-connected exercise bikes, boasts a $4 billion valuation and a cult following.
That hasn’t always been the case. For years, Peloton battled for venture capital investment and struggled to attract buyers. Now that it’s proven the market for tech-enabled home exercise equipment and affiliated subscription products, a whole bunch of startups are chasing down the same customer segment.
Mirror, a New York-based company that sells $1,495 full-length mirrors that double as interactive home gyms, is closing in a round of funding expected to reach $36 million, sources and Delaware stock filings confirm, at a valuation just under $300 million. It’s unclear who has signed on to lead the round; we’ve heard a number of high-profile firms looked at Mirror’s books and passed. The company has previously raised a total of $38 million from Spark Capital, First Round Capital, Lerer
It’s a cautionary tale we hear far too often: Company A, hiring staff and growing rapidly, finalized a 10-year lease for office space. One week after move-in they had filled their space to the brim, with engineers sitting on top of sales staff, interns working in the hallways and the CEO operating out of a small conference room.
Company A had backed themselves into a corner, in desperate need for more room with no easy solution to the problem, and looking to swiftly dispose of their inadequate space.
In the startup environment, everything moves at a breakneck pace. Raising venture capital, hiring staff, assembling a board, etc. – all while working day-in and day-out to refine a product or service meant to disrupt the world. With senior staff pulled in different directions, there is little time for a strategic analysis of office space needs.
Hello and welcome back to Startups Weekly, a newsletter published every Saturday that dives into the week’s noteworthy venture capital deals, funds and trends. Before I dive into this week’s topic, let’s catch up a bit. Last week, I wrote about the sudden uptick in beverage startup rounds. Before that, I noted an alternative to venture capital fundraising called revenue-based financing. Remember, you can send me tips, suggestions and feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @KateClarkTweets.
Here’s what I’ve been thinking about this week: Unicorn scarcity, or lack thereof. I’ve written about this concept before, as has my Equity co-host, Crunchbase News editor-in-chief Alex Wilhelm. I apologize if the two of us are broken records, but I think we’re equally perplexed by the pace at which companies are garnering $1 billion valuations.
Here’s the latest data, according to Crunchbase: “2018 outstripped all previous years in terms of
Jumia may be the first startup you’ve heard of from Africa. But the e-commerce venture that recently listed on the NYSE is definitely not the first or last word in African tech.
The continent has an expansive digital innovation scene, the components of which are intersecting rapidly across Africa’s 54 countries and 1.2 billion people.
When measured by monetary values, Africa’s tech ecosystem is tiny by Shenzen or Silicon Valley standards.
But when you look at volumes and year over year expansion in VC, startup formation, and tech hubs, it’s one of the fastest growing tech markets in the world. In 2017, the continent also saw the largest global increase in internet users—20 percent.
If you’re a VC or founder in London, Bangalore, or San Francisco, you’ll likely interact with some part of Africa’s tech landscape for the first time—or more—in the near future.
After a decade in the peculiar world of venture capital, Andreessen Horowitz managing director Scott Kupor has seen it all when it comes to the dos and don’ts for dealing with Valley VCs and company building. In his new book Secrets of Sand Hill Road (available on June 3), Scott offers up an updated guide on what VCs actually do, how they think and how founders should engage with them.
TechCrunch’s Silicon Valley editor Connie Loizos will be sitting down with Scott for an exclusive conversation on Tuesday, June 4 at 11:00 am PT. Scott, Connie and Extra Crunch members will be digging into the key takeaways from Scott’s book, his experience in the Valley and the opportunities that excite him most today.
Tune in to join the conversation and for the opportunity to ask Scott and Connie any and all things venture.
Let’s rewind a decade. It’s 2009. Vancouver, Canada.
Stewart Butterfield, known already for his part in building Flickr, a photo-sharing service acquired by Yahoo in 2005, decided to try his hand — again — at building a game. Flickr had been a failed attempt at a game called Game Neverending followed by a big pivot. This time, Butterfield would make it work.
To make his dreams a reality, he joined forces with Flickr’s original chief software architect Cal Henderson, as well as former Flickr employees Eric Costello and Serguei Mourachov, who like himself, had served some time at Yahoo after the acquisition. Together, they would build Tiny Speck, the company behind an artful, non-combat massively multiplayer online game.
Years later, Butterfield would pull off a pivot more massive than his last. Slack, born from the ashes of his fantastical game, would lead a shift toward online productivity tools that fundamentally
In 2009, coming out of Techstars, SendGrid set out to raise a seed round. The original target was $300,000. They ended up raising $750,000 in that round. Eight years later, they went public at around a $1B valuation. Shortly thereafter, Twilio acquired SendGrid for $2B.
Great success stories have humble beginnings. This was true for SendGrid.
I hope you find this deck useful or at least entertaining to see.
Here’s a video where we break down their pitch a few years after their demo day at Techstars.
Last week, I did a talk as part of YPO Innovation Week on “managing distributed innovation.” Effectively, this was about strategies and tactics for innovating using globally distributed teams. We have approximately 300 employees at Techstars and those people live and work in about 60 different cities around the world. The YPO group was very interested in one particular comment I made about how we communicate.
I said something like “It’s really important that the team have a universally understood prioritization of various communication channels.”
Tools like Slack, email, text messaging, and to-do lists are great. But what is the priority of each for your peers? Which of the 5,000 weekly emails should we respond to first? In what order? Should a slack message interrupt me now, or tomorrow? Or is next week ok? Or do I even need to check it regularly? If you call my cell
We have a lot of hardware companies in our portfolio so I’ve been living in the world of “what to do about tariffs” for several quarters. My fantasy at the beginning was “ignore and hope they go away.” This quickly evolved through “are there any ways around this” to land at “deal with the reality of increased cost, research, and compliance.”
It also became apparent, almost right away, that startups had a huge disadvantage over larger companies that had significant U.S. lobbying activities. We explored a few paths to engaging with the U.S. government