After IPOs and acquisitions, a look at Utah’s biggest venture rounds of 2019

Hello and welcome back to our regular morning look at private companies, public markets and the gray space in between. This morning we’re dialing into some late-stage venture activity in Utah. Why? Because Utah has become a hotbed of startup activity, yielding both IPOs and huge acquisitions. And as Utah isn’t a media hub in the way that San Francisco …

As 2019 closes, a look back at what happened to the altcoin boom

Hello and welcome back to our regular morning look at private companies, public markets and the gray space in between. Today we’re peeking at what’s gone on in the world of altcoins recently, the other cryptocurrencies aside from bitcoin. As 2016 came to a close, altcoins like ether and XRP saw their value soar. Toward the end of 2016 through …

Slack’s worth about 18x revenue, and there’s nothing wrong with that

One odd thing in 2019 has been Slack’s falling share price contrasted against the rising value of the Nasdaq composite, a tech-heavy index that many use as shorthand for the US tech market. Why one of tech’s hottest, and fastest-growing companies was losing altitude while tech stocks themselves broadly rose has been interesting to unpack. Whether it was software-as-a-service’s (SaaS) …

Mastercard acquires security assessment startup, RiskRecon

MasterCard announced today that it is acquiring RiskRecon, a Salt Lake City startup that uses publicly available data to build security assessments of organizations. The companies did not share the purchase price. It’s become increasingly important for financial services companies like MasterCard to help customers navigate cyber security and RiskRecon will give customers an objective score of a company’s risk …

Hardware IPOs continue to struggle

Now that the final technology IPOs of 2019 have touched down, it’s a good time to start looking back at what happened during the year. We’re hunting for trends as the clock winds down. Here’s one that’s obvious: Hardware startups are still struggling. It’s cliché to note in startupland that hardware is hard. Everyone knows it. Making hardware is difficult …

Negotiate for ‘better’ stock in equity-funded acquisitions

Timothy R. Bowers Contributor Andrew P. Dixon Contributor For many founders, building and selling a successful venture-backed company for cash is the ultimate goal. However, the reality is that some companies will instead receive an equity-funded acquisition proposal in which equity of another private venture-backed company, rather than cash, represents all or a significant portion of the purchase price. Because …

Do more startups die of indigestion or starvation?

Hello and welcome back to our regular morning look at private companies, public markets and the grey space in between. Today, we’re weighing a standard bit of startup wisdom that recently reemerged against some surprising, contrasting evidence. Does too much money hurt a startup more than it helps, or is that standard view actually mistaken? We’ll start with the traditional …

Despite winter’s chill, the Northeast’s tech ecosystem is white-hot

NYC had a record-breaking VC year, and one investor says Boston is ‘Goldilocks’ for startups Alex Wilhelm 8 hours Hello and welcome back to our regular morning look at private companies, public markets and the grey space in between. Today, we’re digging into a host of data concerning the East Coast venture capital scene, specifically looking into the performance of …

Leapfin raises $4.5M to help companies track revenue while keeping its own profitability in view

Leapfin, a startup selling corporate finance tooling, announced a $4.5 million round this morning. The funding event was led by Bowrey Capital, and included dollars from a number of former technology executives. Before its newly announced investment, the company had raised just a small seed round. The small capital amounts may seem inconsequential, but they’re more strategic than anything. According …

Spain’s Glovo grabs $166M Series E for its ‘deliver anything’ app

Spain’s Glovo, an on-demand delivery app platform which operates in Europe, LatAm and Africa delivering food but also other urban conveniences from groceries to pharmaceuticals, has bagged another €150 million (~$166M) in a fast-following Series E round led by Abu Dhabi state investment company, Mubadala. The raise follows a €150M in Series D that was announced in April, and $134M …

Tech startups going public raise 3x more today than in 2015

Hello and welcome back to our regular morning look at private companies, public markets and the grey space in between. Today we’re exploring the 2019 IPO cohort from a capital-in perspective. How much did tech companies going public in 2019 raise before they went public, and what impact that did that have on their valuation when they debuted? Looking ahead, …

Is a direct listing the right choice for your company?

Ran Ben-Tzur Contributor Ran Ben-Tzur is a corporate partner at Fenwick & West. Ran’s issuer-side initial public offerings include Facebook, Fitbit, Upwork, Zuora and Peloton Interactive. Jamie Evans Contributor Jamie Evans is the co-chair of Fenwick & West’s Capital Markets & Public Companies group. Jamie’s representative initial public offerings include Smartsheet, Redfin, Fitbit and Facebook. Spotify did it. Slack did …

Social ad company Smartly.io sells a majority stake to Providence Equity Partners

Smartly.io, a company helping advertisers automate their campaigns across Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, has sold a majority stake to Providence Equity Partners for €200 million (approximately $223 million). Helsinki-headquartered Smartly.io says it automates ad production, ad buying “and everything in between.” Founded in 2013, the company has more than 350 employees across 16 global offices, and it estimates that it …

Why is WeWork 2.0 trying to go public?

In the wake of WeWork’s embarrassing IPO rout, you might imagine that startups working in similar markets would cool it for a bit. Perhaps they could work on cutting spending, improving their gross margins, and, say, shooting for profitability. Not so, at least in one case. Instead of doing those things, China-based Ucommune filed to go public in America this month. …

LogMeIn agrees to be acquired by Francisco Partners and Evergreen for $4.3B

LogMeIn announced this morning that it has agreed to be sold for $4.3 billion to affiliates of Francisco Partners and Evergreen Coast Capital Corporation, the private equity affiliate of Elliott Management Corporation. The purchase price comes out to $86.05 per share in an all-cash deal. The company had a 52-week high of $96.87 per share and a low of $62.02. …

Fashion platform Zilingo acquires Sri Lankan SaaS startup nCinga for $15.5M

Singapore’s fashion startup Zilingo has acquired Sri Lanka’s SaaS startup nCinga in a $15.5 cash and stock deal, the two said today. nCinga, founded in 2013, offers an IoT platform to enable real-time production monitoring on factory floors and data analytics tools. Its acquisition is one of Sri Lanka’s largest tech exits in recent times, the two said. A long …

Where top VCs are investing in digital health

The world of healthcare has notoriously been described as “broken” — plagued with high-friction workflows, sky-high costs and convoluted business models. Over the past several years, a long list of innovative startups and salivating venture investors have pinned their focus on repairing the healthcare industry, but its digital transformation still appears to be in the very early innings. After a …

The newest members of the $100M ARR club

Hello and welcome back to our regular morning look at private companies, public markets and the grey space in between. Today we’re taking stock of a cohort of special companies: still-private startups that have reached $100 million in annual recurring revenue (ARR). Our goal is to understand which startup companies are actually exceptional. This late in the unicorn era, hundreds …

Bluespace.ai, a startup focused on AV technology for mass transit, gets $3.5 million in seed funding

Bluespace.ai, a new autonomous driving startup focused on mass transit, announced today that it has raised $3.5 million in seed funding led by Fusion Fund. Other investors include YouTube co-founder Steve Chen; UMC, the Taiwanese semiconductor foundry; Kakao Ventures; GDP Ventures; Atinum; Wasabi Ventures; Blue Ivy Ventures; Plug n Play; and SLV Capital. The startup develops software systems for autonomous …

Reliance Industries acquires a majority stake in SaaS startup NowFloats for $20M

Reliance Industries, one of India’s largest industrial houses, has acquired a majority stake in NowFloats, an Indian startup that helps businesses and individuals build online presence without any web developing skills. In a regulatory filing on Thursday, Reliance Strategic Business Ventures Limited said (PDF) it has acquired an 85% stake in NowFloats for 1.4 billion Indian rupees ($20 million). Seven-and-a-half-year old, …

DataRobot is acquiring Paxata to add data prep to machine learning platform

DataRobot, a company best known for creating automated machine learning models known as AutoML, announced today that it intends to acquire Paxata, a data prep platform startup. The companies did not reveal the purchase price. Paxata raised a total of $90 million before today’s acquisition, according to the company. Up until now, DataRobot has concentrated mostly on the machine learning …

Conductor execs buy their company back from WeWork

It’s been less than two years since WeWork announced the acquisition of SEO and content marketing company Conductor — but those two years have been bumpy, to say the least. Briefly: Parent organization The We Company’s disastrous attempt to go public resulted in the ouster of CEO Adam Neumann, an indefinite delay of its IPO and reports that the company …

Berlin-based streaming guide JustWatch acquires New York rival GoWatchIt

Berlin-headquartered streaming guide JustWatch has grown to over 10 million users across 38 countries in under 5 years. Now, it’s expanding its U.S. presence with the acquisition of New York-based rival, GoWatchIt, from Plexus Entertainment. Deal terms were not revealed but were a mixture of cash and stock for the smaller operation, which had just 8 people on board. JustWatch …

Airbnb invests as Zeus corporate housing raises $55M at $205M

As Airbnb absorbs more and more of the demand for housing, it’s exploring how to monetize opportunities beyond vacation rentals. A marketplace for longer term corporate housing could be a huge business, but rather than build that itself, Airbnb is making a strategic investment in one of the market leaders called Zeus Living and will list its homes on the …

French e-grocery app Jow raises $7M additional funding

Jow, the French e-grocery app — which combines recipes, recommendations and online grocery ordering — has raised $7 million in new funding. The round is led by Stride.VC, alongside Caterina Fake and Jyri Engeström from Yes VC, and Shan-Lyn Ma, the co-founder and CEO of Zola. Previous seed backers, DST global partners and eVentures, also participated. Launched in 2018 and …

Dataiku is now worth $1.4 billion following secondary round

Enterprise AI company Dataiku has announced some changes in its capitalization table. CapitalG (formerly Google Capital), Alphabet’s growth equity investment fund, is investing in the startup by buying out some of Serena Capital’s shares. Serena Capital has been an investor in Dataiku since 2014. “Serena was looking for a bit of liquidity. They invested in Dataiku when the valuation was …