Category: Funding

June 10, 2019 Off

Vectra lands $100M Series E investment for AI-driven network security

By Jill T Frey

Vectra, a seven-year old company that helps customers detect intrusions at the network level, whether in the cloud or on premises, announced a $100 million Series E funding round today led by TCV. Existing investors including Khosla Ventures and Accel also participated in the round, which brings the total raised to over $200 million, according to the company.

As company CEO Hitesh Sheth explained, there are two primary types of intrusion detection. The first is end point detection and the second is his company’s area of coverage, network detection and response or NDR.  He says that by adding a layer of artificial intelligence, it improves the overall results.

“One of the keys to our success has been applying AI to network traffic, the networking side of NDR, to look for the signal in the noise. And we can do this across the entire infrastructure, from the data center to … Read the rest

June 7, 2019 Off

Economic development organizations: good or bad for entrepreneurial activity?

By Jill T Frey

In developing VC markets such as the Midwest, some may think that funding from the government or economic development organizations are a godsend for local entrepreneurs. Startups are often looking for all the help they can get, and a boost in funds or an attractive set of economic incentives can be perceived as the fuel they need to take the next step in their growth journey.

While this type of funding can be helpful, a startup should ensure that funding from these sources is … Read the rest

June 7, 2019 Off

Weighing Peloton’s opportunity and risks ahead of IPO

By Jill T Frey

Exercise tech company Peloton filed confidentially for IPO this week, and already the big question is whether their last private valuation at $4 billion might be too rich for the appetites of public market investors. Here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons leading up to the as-yet revealed market debut date.

Risk factors

The biggest thing to pay attention to when it comes time for Peloton to actually pull back the curtains and provide some more detailed info about its customers in its S-1. To date, all we really know is that Peloton has “more than 1 million users,” and that’s including both users of its hardware and subscribers to its software.

The mix is important – how many of these are actually generating recurring revenue (vs. one-time hardware sales) will be a key gauge. MRR is probably going to be more important to prospective investors … Read the rest

June 7, 2019 Off

Fintech platform Synapse raises $33M to build ‘the AWS of banking’

By Jill T Frey

Synapse, a San Francisco-based startup that operates a platform enabling banks and fintech companies to easily develop financial services, has closed a $33 million Series B to develop new products and go after international expansion.

The investment was led by Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from existing backers Trinity Ventures and Core Innovation Capital . Synapse — which recently rebranded (slightly) from “SynapseFi” — announced a $17 million Series A back in September 2018, so this deal takes it to $50 million raised to date.

The startup was founded in 2014 by Bryan Keltner and India-born CEO Sankaet Pathak, who came to the U.S. to study but grew frustrated at the difficulty of opening a bank account without U.S. social security history. Inspired by his struggles, Synapse, which operated under the radar prior to that Series A deal, is focused on democratizing financial services.

Its approach to doing that is … Read the rest

June 7, 2019 Off

Swiftly raises $10 million Series A to power real-time transit data in your city

By Jill T Frey

Swiftly just raised a $10 million Series A round led by VIA ID, Aster Capital, Renewal Funds and Wind Capital to grow its software-as-a-service business for cities’ transportation agencies. lt works by helping cities manage their transit systems and identify points in the schedule or route that negatively impact service efficiency and reliability.

Swiftly also offers real-time passenger info that will “predict when the bus will arrive in a way that is much more accurate than the current system,” Swiftly co-founder and CEO Jonny Simkin told TechCrunch. In fact, Simkin says Swiftly is up to 30% more accurate than current systems.

“It’s one thing to tell someone their bus is 10 minutes delayed, but if we can get to the root of the problem, it’s better for the city and stimulates the economy,” he said.

That’s where Swifty’s data platform comes in to gather insights and analyze historical data to … Read the rest

June 7, 2019 Off

Depop, a social app targeting millennial and Gen Z shoppers, bags $62M, passes 13M users

By Jill T Frey

The rising popularity of omni-channel commerce — selling to customers wherever they happen to be spending time online — has spawned an army of shopping tools and platforms that are giving legacy retail websites and marketplaces a run for their money. Now, one of the faster growing of these is announcing an impressive round of funding to stay on trend and continue building its business.

Depop, a London startup that has built an app for individuals to post and sell (and mainly resell) items to groups of followers by way of its own and third-party social feeds, has closed a Series C round of $62 million led by General Atlantic. Previous investors HV Holtzbrinck Ventures, Balderton Capital, Creandum, Octopus Ventures, TempoCap and Sebastian Siemiatkowski, founder and CEO of Swedish payments company Klarna, all also participated.

The funding will be used in a couple of areas. First, to continue building … Read the rest

June 6, 2019 Off

The Ticket Fairy is tech’s best hope against Ticketmaster

By Jill T Frey

Ticketmaster’s dominance has led to ridiculous service fees, scalpers galore and exclusive contracts that exploit venues and artists. The moronic approval of venue operator and artist management giant Live Nation’s merger with Ticketmaster in 2010 produced an anti-competitive juggernaut. It pressures venues to sign ticketing contracts under veiled threat that artists would otherwise be routed to different concert halls. Now it’s become difficult for venues, artists and fans to avoid Ticketmaster, which charges fees as high as 50% that many see as a ripoff.

The Ticket Fairy wants to wrestle away from Ticketmaster control of venues while giving fans ways to earn tickets for referring their friends. The startup is doing that by offering the most technologically advanced ticketing platform that not only handles sales and check-ins, but acts as a full-stack Salesforce for concerts that can analyze buyers and run ad campaigns while thwarting scalpers. Co-founder Ritesh Patel says … Read the rest

June 6, 2019 Off

Thumbtack is raising up to $120M on a flat valuation

By Jill T Frey

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:

Thumbtack’s funding history

June 2009: $650,000 Series A | $3.3M valuation

Jan. 2012: $4.4B Series C | $16.5M valuation

Read the rest
June 6, 2019 Off

Unraveling the “Secrets of Sand Hill Road” and the VC thought process, with Andreessen Horowitz’s Scott Kupor

By Jill T Frey

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 … Read the rest

June 5, 2019 Off

Which type of funding is actually best for your business?

By Jill T Frey

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 … Read the rest