Category: Finance

June 3, 2019 Off

WorldRemit raises $175M at $900M+ valuation to help users send money to contacts in emerging markets

By Jill T Frey

The value of remittances globally continues to rise, and today a startup that has built a business targeting money transfers into emerging markets has raised a large round of growth funding to capitalize on that. WorldRemit, the London startup that has focused on enabling competitively-priced, quick money transfers from migrant workers and immigrants living in developed countries back home, typically in developing countries, has raised $175 million in a Series D round of funding from TCV, Accel and Leapfrog.

The company has to date focused on providing remittance services to individuals, specifically to help people  living and working abroad to send money to friends and family back home, by way of an app. That business now covers 50 ‘send’ countries and 150 ‘receive’ countries, and some 4 million users, with the US (where it has a license to operate in all states) its biggest ‘send’ market today.

(This … Read the rest

June 2, 2019 Off

Where are all the biotech startups raising?

By Jill T Frey

Where are all the biotechnology companies raising these days? We crunched some numbers to arrive at an answer.

Using funding rounds data from Crunchbase, we plotted the count of venture capital funding rounds raised by companies in the fairly expansive biotechnology category in Crunchbase. Click the chart below and you can hover over individual data points to see the number of venture rounds raised in a given metro area between the start of 2018 and late May 2019 (as of publication). Although there are biotechnology companies located throughout the world, we focused here on just the U.S.

Unlike in the software-funding business, where New York City (and … Read the rest

June 1, 2019 Off

Startups Weekly: Will the real unicorns please stand up?

By Jill T Frey

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 [email protected] 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 … Read the rest

May 31, 2019 Off

Slack narrows losses, displays healthy revenue growth

By Jill T Frey

Workplace messaging powerhouse Slack filed an amended S-1 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday weeks ahead of a direct listing expected June 20.

In the document, Slack included an updated look at its path to profitability, posting first-quarter revenues of $134.8 million on losses of $31.8 million. Slack’s Q1 revenues represent a 67% increase from the same period last year when the company lost $24.8 million on $80.9 million in revenue.

For the fiscal year ending January 31, 2019, the company reported losses of $138.9 million on revenue of $400.6 million. That’s compared to a loss of $140.1 million on revenue of $220.5 million the year prior.

Slack is in the process of completing the final steps necessary for its direct listing on The New York Stock Exchange, where it will trade under the ticker symbol “WORK.” A direct listing is an alternative approach to the stock … Read the rest

May 31, 2019 Off

Is the tech press too positive in its coverage of startups?

By Jill T Frey

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

It’s our first week in the new TechCrunch podcast studio, or it was for Kate Clark and Chris Gates. Alex Wilhelm will be back in SF next week. For now, we fired up the mics and dug into what was a veritable barrage of news.

First, Paul Graham’s contentious comments. The co-founder of Y Combinator tweeted some criticism of the tech press on Thursday; naturally, Kate and Alex had a few thoughts. In summary, Graham doesn’t seem to understand what it is we tech journalists do, and that’s a problem.

Next … Read the rest

May 30, 2019 Off

EV Growth closes $200M fund to cover Southeast Asia’s Series B funding gap

By Jill T Frey

East Ventures has long been known as one of Indonesia’s longest-serving and most active seed-stage investors, but now it has officially moved up the food chain after it announced a final close of its growth fund at $200 million.

Called EV Growth, the fund is a joint venture between East Ventures, SMDV — the VC arm of Indonesian conglomerate Sinar Mas — and YJ Capital, which is associated with Yahoo Japan. The fund was first announced last year with a target of $150 million, but this final close has already surpassed that thanks to contributions from LPs that include SoftBank Group, Pavilion CapitaI and Indies Capital.

EV Growth is already active, with 40% of the fund deployed to date, according to East Ventures’ founding partner Willson Cuaca, who serves as partner for the new fund alongside Roderick Purwana from SMDV and  YJ Capital’s Shinichiro Hori.

“We thought ‘There’s a gap … Read the rest

May 29, 2019 Off

Allbirds, Everlane investor Maveron turned away more than $70M for its latest fund

By Jill T Frey

Maveron, a venture capital fund co-founded by Starbucks mastermind Howard Schultz, has closed on another $180 million to invest in early-stage consumer startups.

The capital represents the firm’s seventh fundraise and largest to date. To keep the fund from reaching mammoth proportions, the firm’s general partners said they turned away more than $70 million amid high demand for the effort.

“It takes discipline to do something different from the rest of the herd, but we know that we’re not in the business of AUM, we’re in the business of generating cash-on-cash returns,” they wrote. “We know in this market it is hard to adhere to the idea that size is the enemy of performance but we believe in that truth here.”

In a phenomenon dubbed “The SoftBank Effect,” early- and late-stage venture firms have upped the ante when it comes to the size of their funds. Andreessen Horowitz, for … Read the rest

May 28, 2019 Off

Upsie nabs $5M to build a direct-to-consumer warranty service

By Jill T Frey

Warranties for purchased products is a $40 billion annual market. But in their current form, they are considered by some to be one of the bigger scams in the world of retail because they cost so much and often return too little.

Now there is an alternative emerging. A startup out of Minneapolis, Minn. called Upsie has decided to wage war on the old warranty, with more reasonable pricing (typically 70% lower than what the retailer offers) and a much more modern approach to selling and managing the warranty.

Its bet is that lower prices, and more flexible options for ordering, tracking and claiming against warranties, will drive more users to its service and take some business away from the retailers that largely dominate the market today. Today it’s announcing that it has raised $5 million led by True Ventures to build out that business in the U.S. Techstars Ventures, … Read the rest

May 28, 2019 Off

Seedlegals closes $4M Series A, led by Index Ventures, to automate startup fundraisings

By Jill T Frey

When SeedLegals launched in 2017 in the UK, I’d say many of us thought “why has that not been done before?”. After all, two things have happened which make this an obvious idea for a startup: startup funding rounds are now so common that there is no reason large amounts of automation could be done. If you can buy a divorce online, surely you can organise funding rounds?

The second trend is the sheer level of automation happening in legal software today. After all, we now have “Uber for Lawyers” (Lexoo, Linkilaw, Lawbite) and AI-driven legaltech (KIRA, Luminance, ThoughtRiver). (Eventually, we will have blockchain smart contracts do ALL the work, but that’s for another time…).

So it’s not unsurprising that today SeedLegals announces it has closed a $4 million Series A led by venture capital firm Index Ventures (London/SF/etc) with participation from Kima Ventures (Paris/TelAviv), The Family (Paris) … Read the rest

May 25, 2019 Off

Startups Weekly: VCs are drunk on beverage startups

By Jill T Frey

Hello and welcome back to Startups Weekly, a newsletter published every Saturday that dives into the week’s most noteworthy venture deals, fundraises, M&A transactions and trends. Let’s take a quick moment to catch up. Last week, I wrote about an alternative to venture capital called revenue-based financing and before that, I jotted down some notes on one of VCs’ favorite spaces: cannabis tech. Remember, you can send me tips, suggestions and feedback to [email protected] or on Twitter @KateClarkTweets.

This week, I want to share some thoughts — questions, rather — on beverages. Just as my inbox has been full of cannabis-related pitches, it’s also been packed with descriptions of new…drinks. Perhaps the most noted so far is Liquid Death, canned water for the punk rock crowd, because why not? Liquid Death has attracted nearly $2 million in funding from angel investors like Away co-founder Jen Rubio and … Read the rest