Category: Venture Capital

April 25, 2019 Off

A quick look at how Series A and seed rounds have ballooned in recent years, fueled by top investors

By Jill T Frey

Wing, an eight-year-old, Silicon Valley venture firm co-founded by veteran VCs Peter Wagner and Gaurav Garg, produces interesting research about its own industry every now and then, based on smaller data sets than firms like PitchBook or CB Insights tend to use. Instead of looking at funding activity broadly, the firm tracks deal-making at the top 21 venture firms in the U.S. to “really focus on the signal,” as Wagner has explained to us in the past. Last year, for example, the firm determined that the funding pullback that everyone was worried about had actually happened in 2016.

More recently, Wing has been tracking deal sizes, capturing the details of 6,205 financings of 2,982 companies funded by one of those 21 firms over the last nine years to discern the ways in which round sizes are changing. And the results, while not shocking, are still eye-opening.

Starting with seed … Read the rest

April 25, 2019 Off

The venture firm SOSV has already raised its biggest fund to date, and it isn’t quite closed

By Jill T Frey

SOSV, a multi-stage venture firm that was founded as the personal investing vehicle of entrepreneur Sean O’Sullivan after his company went public in 1994, then re-launched as a traditional venture firm with outside backers in 2015, has raised $218 million for its third fund.

The vehicle has a $250 million target that SOSV expects to meet by year’s end, but already, it’s substantially larger than the firm’s previous fund, which closed with $150 million.

SOSV is best-known for the numerous accelerators it has created and oversees, including hardware-focused HAX, and IndieBio for life sciences startups. Yesterday, we were in touch with SOSV partner Daniel Eichner — who’s in charge of raising capital for the outfit, as well as introducing its portfolio companies to potential future investors — to learn more about what else is new at its eight offices around the world, including in Cork, Ireland; Princeton, N.J.;

Read the rest
April 25, 2019 Off

Mejuri raises $23M Series B to serve women buying jewelry for themselves

By Jill T Frey

New Enterprise Associates, the 42-year-old venture capital firm, has invested in the $23 million Series B round for Mejuri, a startup capturing millennial women’s penchant for affordable and treat yo’ self type of jewelry rather than diamonds and precious stones for special occasions.

It’s the latest instance of startups drawing investor interest with their direct-to-customer retail model. Based in Toronto and Buenos Aires, four-year-old Mejuri designs, makes and sells jewelry directly to women online and through offline showrooms, bypassing middle-person costs. Besides striving for reasonable prices, Mejuri also wants to upend an entrenched practice in its industry.

Traditional jewelry, the startup points out, targets men for gifting and makes higher markups acceptable. With its D2C play, Mejuri believes it’s putting the purchasing decision back with women; indeed, it found 75 percent of its customers are buying for themselves. Its team of 120 employees is constantly on the watch for … Read the rest

April 24, 2019 Off

Robotics VCs on what’s real, what’s coming, and what to keep in mind

By Jill T Frey

Last week, at TechCrunch’s robotics event at UC Berkeley, we sat down with four VCs who are making a range of bets on robotics companies, from drone technologies to robots whose immediate applications aren’t yet clear. Featuring Peter Barrett of Playground Global, Helen Liang of FoundersX Ventures, Eric Migicovsky of Y Combinator and Andy Wheeler of GV (pictured above), we covered a lot of terrain (no pun intended), including whether last-mile delivery robots make sense and how much robots should be expected to do without human intervention.

We also discussed climate change and how it factors into their bets, and why the many private enterprises focused on creating fully automated vehicles may need to do much more to empower the cities in which they plan to operate. You can find excerpts of our talk below. And for access to the full transcript, become a member of Extra Crunch. Learn more Read the rest

April 24, 2019 Off

Mary Meeker raises $1.25B for Bond, her debut growth fund

By Jill T Frey

As the Kleiner Perkins empire crumbles, Mary Meeker builds her own.

The author of the Internet Trends Report has $1.25 billion in capital commitments for her debut growth fund, Bond Capital, as first reported by Axios and confirmed to TechCrunch by a source close to the firm.

Bond Capital has declined to comment.

Meeker spun-out from the Kleiner Perkins growth investing practice in September 2018 to form Bond after an internal power struggle between her and Mamoon Hamid, who joined Kleiner in 2017 from Social Capital, left no other option. According to a recent Fortune feature on the formerly revered venture capital firm, Kleiner recruited Hamid to refuel the firm’s early-stage efforts but his purported plan to increase the size of the early-stage funds’ stakes was a step too far onto Meeker’s turf.

“Hamid, say Kleiner insiders, saw himself as helping; Meeker’s team viewed Hamid’s offers as meddling,” Fortune … Read the rest

April 23, 2019 Off

Luxury consignment e-tailer The RealReal to enter the unicorn club with new funding

By Jill T Frey

The RealReal, an online retailer for authenticated luxury consignment, has authorized the sale of up to $70 million in new shares, per a Delaware stock authorization filing discovered by the Prime Unicorn Index. If the company raises the entire amount, it would reach a valuation of $1.06 billion, cementing its status as the newest e-commerce unicorn.

The filing doesn’t guarantee The RealReal will sell the full amount of authorized shares. The company declined to comment on its fundraising plans.

The RealReal is led by founder and chief executive officer Julie Wainwright (pictured), the former CEO of Pets.com, a company now synonymous with the dot-com bust. It has raised quite a bit of capital to date — a total of $288 million from venture capital and private equity backers, including Great Hill Partners, Sandbridge Capital, PWP Growth Equity, Industry Ventures, Greycroft Partners and Canaan Partners. Most recently, The RealReal … Read the rest