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Dating App Bumble Files For IPO, Revealing 42M Monthly Users

Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-15 22:22

Bumble, the dating app where women make the first move, has publicly filed plans to go public.

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The Austin-based company filed IPO plans confidentially with the SEC last month, with Bloomberg reporting that it was targeting an initial public offering in February, possibly around Valentine’s Day.

Bumble is known for being a female-centric dating app where women have to make the first move by messaging their match. It competes with other popular dating apps like Tinder and Hinge (which are owned by Match Group).

While Bumble started in the dating space, it’s expanded to cater to users looking for new friends with Bumble BFF and users looking to network with other professionals with Bumble Bizz. Bumble operates the apps Bumble, which launched in 2014, and Badoo, which was first introduced in 2006.

In its S-1 registration document with the Securities and Exchange Commission filed Friday, Bumble reported that it had about 42 million monthly active users during the third quarter of 2020 and around 2.4 million paying users as of September 2020. The app has a presence in more than 150 countries, per its filing.

The company reported revenue of nearly $377 million between Jan. 29, 2020, and Sept. 30, 2020. Its losses during that period came out to about $84.1 million. The company has turned a profit in the past: It generated a profit of $68.6 million in the first nine months of 2019, when it recorded nearly $363 million in revenue.

Accel, Greycroft, and Blackstone Group are among the company’s investors, according to Crunchbase.

The app does face competition in the dating space, as it notes in its S-1 filing, with larger players like Facebook entering the space by adding dating features. It also notes in its “Risk Factors” sections that user behavior could affect the company’s performance.

“Users of our products have been, and may in the future be, physically, financially, emotionally or otherwise harmed by other individuals that such users have met or may meet through the use of one of our products,” the company wrote. “ When one or more of our users suffers or alleges to have suffered any such harm either on our platform or in person after meeting on our products, we have in the past, and could in the future, experience negative publicity or legal action that could damage our brands and our brands’ reputation. Similar events affecting users of our competitors’ products have in the past, and could in the future, result in negative publicity for the dating industry generally, which could in turn negatively affect our business.”

Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are among the underwriters for the IPO. Bumble is seeking to list on the Nasdaq under the ticker BMBL.

Illustration: Dom Guzman


Playtika Goes Public As Spotlight Turns To Gaming Companies

Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-15 20:27

Mobile gaming company Playtika’s stock opened at $33.40 on Friday, 23 percent above its initial public offering price.

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The Israel-based company raised $1.9 billion through its IPO before it began trading on the Nasdaq on Friday. At its current share price, the company has a valuation of about $11 billion.

Playtika, which is perhaps best known for its casino games, is one of a handful of gaming and gaming-related companies to go public in recent months. Sports betting company DraftKings and esports company Skillz went public via a special purpose acquisition company last year, and video game software development company Unity Technologies went public through an IPO. 

And next week, video game company Roblox is expected to go public through a direct listing.

Playtika reported nearly $1.8 billion in revenue for the first nine months of 2020, up from about $1.4 billion during the same period in 2019.

Gaming companies have seen the number of players and user engagements increase over the last year as the COVID-19 pandemic forced people to seek at-home entertainment. 

Playtika raised $1.5 million in a seed round led by Kaedan Capital before being acquired by Giant Interactive Group in October 2016, according to Crunchbase. Over the course of its lifetime, Playtika has acquired five companies including Jelly Button Games and Wooga.

Illustration: Dom Guzman


The Briefing: OneWeb Raises Big New Round, Tiger Global Eyes $3.5B Fund, And More

Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-15 13:45

The Briefing

Here’s what you need to know today in startup and venture news, updated by the Crunchbase News staff throughout the day to keep you in the know.

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OneWeb raises SoftBank-backed round for satellite network

OneWeb, the heavily funded developer of low earth orbiting communications satellites, announced that it has secured additional funding from SoftBank and Hughes Network Systems.

The Financial Times reports that SoftBank invested a further $350 million into OneWeb. The financing comes after the satellite internet company went into bankruptcy last year after being unable to secure an urgent funding round.

OneWeb’s mission is to deliver broadband connectivity worldwide. In December 2020, it launched 36 new satellites, bringing its total fleet to 110 satellites. The company says the capital raised to date positions it to be fully funded for its first-generation satellite fleet, totaling 648 satellites, by the end of 2022.

New funds

  • Tiger Global reportedly raising $3.5B: Startup and growth-stage investment firm Tiger Global Management is reportedly seeking to raise $3.5 billion for a fund called Tiger Private Investment Partners XIV that it expects to close in March.

Funding rounds

  • Oqton raises over $40M in Series A: Oqton, a startup based in Belgium and San Francisco that develops AI-driven software for the manufacturing industry, announced that it has has secured more than $40 million in a Series A funding round led by Fortino Capital, PMV and multinational engineering group Sandvik.
  • Solstice heats up residential power with $3.1M: Solstice Power Technologies, headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, closed on an oversubscribed $3.1 million funding round led by Total Carbon Neutrality Ventures. The software and customer management company is developing residential solar power capabilities.

Illustration: Dom Guzman


CES: Consumerization Will Be The Future of Digital Health

Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-15 13:30

The Consumer Electronics Show 2021 wrapped up on Jan. 14, but not before a very interesting session on what’s happening in digital health, particularly around new trends, COVID-19, companies going public and investments.

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The well-known consumer electronics show, which was virtual this year, features company showcases, keynote speakers from top global consumer companies, and a plethora of webinars on topics including the latest products to make your home smarter and what’s happening in the fintech, e-commerce and digital health industries.

Lisa Suennen, lead of the digital and technology group at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, led a panel of venture capitalists speaking at the pre-taped “Digital Health: Business Growth and Opportunities” session that included:

Wainwright Fishburn, global head of digital health at Cooley, kicked off the session with a look at the digital health landscape. He reported that investment in the space reached $14 billion-plus in 2020, with record-breaking capital being invested in some key areas of telehealth, mental/behavior and fitness/wellness.

With physicians more comfortable in using telehealth, M&A and IPO activity expected to continue, and venture capital not letting up, Fishburn said that “digital health is finally mainstream.”

Clockwise from left, Lisa Suennen, Bill Evans, Sydney Thomas, and Lynne O’Keefe

On new trends

O’Keefe: “The consumerization of health and the need for a better experience. Post-COVID has emphasized that in simplifying the experience and making it consumer-first.”

Thomas: “Yes, consumerization right now is an interesting space. The risk of going into the hospital is high today, and people are afraid. As a result, I see a lot of direct-to-consumer and at-home products. Another piece is the affordability of health care, and I am starting to see a model of breaking down components so that individual products are affordable.”

Evans: “We put an emphasis on the ‘plumbing’ of health care, the B2B models that have a huge potential to introduce efficiency and effectiveness, and not at the expense of experience.”

COVID as a sustainable business opportunity

Thomas: “COVID created some really long-lasting changes in everything. I actually don’t mind. A number of companies I did last year were being supported by the tailwinds of COVID. I am going to continue to invest in those companies. I’m not going back to the office at least for another nine months and even then, I want everyone to have the yellow dot that shows you got the vaccine. There are a lot of folks who have survived this moment and have life-changing impact.”

On investment surprises

Evans: “What surprised me was the pace at which the capital markets and rallying of public markets returned to normal at the beginning of the pandemic. Also, the pace at which investors came back, and the degree to which the venture industry and entrepreneurs knew how to deal with a crisis.”

Thomas: “I was also surprised by how much more VCs were interested in health care. People were reaching out to people they had not before. I’ve been able to get more access to different people, and that the decision to invest in health care is more important.”

O’Keefe: “It’s not like everything got hard in COVID. Those problems that were siloed in nature existed before. Entrepreneurs have come in and are thinking outside the health care system, breaking down the walls and creating better customer experiences.”

Similarly to the prediction about the consumerization of health care, sources I spoke to earlier in the month shared the same forecast as startups help us rethink health care.

Crunchbase data also showed that investors poured record amounts of investment into digital health startups in 2020: $14.2 billion globally and $9.2 billion domestically.

Meanwhile, the global pandemic increased the public’s awareness and understanding of how interconnected the world is, a view that will mature in 2021, Ann DeWitt, a general partner at The Engine, which invests in health care companies, told me.

For another CES highlight, catch my synopsis of the Jan. 12 session called “The Rise of FinTechs – Has Consumer Financial Behavior Changed Forever?” which included conversations with Ginger Baker, head of financial access at Plaid, and Erika Wool, head of payments partnership at Stripe.

Feature screenshot was taken during the session
Illustration: Dom Guzman


North American Venture Investment Rose In 2020, Culminating With Big Exits And A Strong Q4

Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-15 13:30

History will remember 2020 as a very bad year by many measures. However, venture funding will not be one of them.

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Funding for startups and growth-stage private companies in North America held up at historically high levels last year. Even amid a pandemic, widespread unemployment, and escalating small-business closures, investment was up year over year across all stages from early and beyond.

Table of contents

North America overall

Overall, venture investors put just over $150 billion to work across all stages in 2020, up around 7 percent from 2019 levels, per Crunchbase data. For perspective, here are the annual funding totals, color-coded by stage, for the past 10 years:

The fourth quarter ended on a robust note as well. Investors poured $38.7 billion into North American seed- through growth-stage deals in Q4, per Crunchbase data. Totals for Q4 of 2020 were up 16 percent year over year and down 12 percent quarter over quarter.

The narrative playing out in the private company sphere largely dovetailed the public market environment. COVID-19, political mayhem and financial distress on Main Street failed to resonate on Wall Street, with major indexes, and tech stocks in particular, reaching record valuations.

The upbeat climate on public exchanges helped spur a raft of venture-backed unicorns to carry out initial public offerings and direct listings, and follow the increasingly popular special purpose acquisition company path to market debuts. Those hitting public markets in Q4 were among the largest debuts of the year, led by Airbnb and DoorDash.

Below, we look at the tallies by stage, highlight top exits, and look at the most active investors for both the year and the just-ended quarter.

Late-stage funding

Late stage accounts for the largest share of venture dollars across any stage, so we’ll start there.

For all of 2020, venture investors put $94.5 billion into late-stage and technology growth1 deals. That’s a sizable jump from 2019, when $85.7 billion went into such deals.

While funding rose, round counts declined a bit. Crunchbase counted 1,167 late-stage and tech-growth rounds in 2020, down 10 percent from 2019, as average round sizes grew larger.  In the chart below, we lay out funding totals and round counts for the past five quarters.

The fourth quarter was the second-biggest of the year for investment totals, with $23.3 billion going to late-stage and technology-growth deals. That’s down 25 percent from Q3, which was by far the biggest quarter of 2020, but up about 18 percent from the year-ago quarter.

For both Q4 and 2020 as a whole, supergiant rounds of $100 million or more played a key role in pushing investment totals up. For the full year, there were 193 so-called supergiant rounds of $100 million and up at the late stage, per Crunchbase data, up from 156 in 2019.

The brisk pace of supergiant late-stage rounds continued in Q4, with five late-stage rounds of $340 million and up:

  • Nuro, a developer of autonomous delivery vehicles, raised a $500 million Series C;
  • Relativity Space, which focuses on 3D printed rockets, raised a $500 million Series D;
  • TuSimple, a self-driving truck company, raised a $350 million Series E; and
  • Scopely, a mobile gaming company raised a $340 million Series E.

For the full year, meanwhile, there were 26 late stage rounds of $300 million and up, with the largest—a $600 million Series E—going to payments processor Stripe.

Early-stage funding

Early-stage investment also rose in 2020, with Q4 ending the year on a high note.

For the full year, investors put $49.1 billion into early-stage rounds (Series A and B), up about 3 percent from the 2019 total. Round counts totaled just under 3,000, down around 11 percent from 2019.

The fourth quarter provided a strong close, with $13.6 billion in early-stage investment, the highest total of the past five quarters. Round counts, meanwhile, were up slightly quarter over quarter, but still down from year-ago levels. We lay the numbers out in more detail in the chart below.

In the fourth quarter in particular, we saw a proliferation of super-sized Series A and B rounds. These include:

  • Resilience, a startup looking to speed up the biopharmaceutical manufacturing process, raised $750 million in a November Series B round;
  • Uber Freight, a logistics spinout of Uber, raised $500 million in an October Series A round;
  • Heyday, a digital marketplace for consumer products brands, raised a $175 million Series A round in November; and
  • Function of Beauty, a provider of customizable beauty products, raised $150 million in a December Series B round.

Seed-stage funding

Seed-stage investment was down in 2020 compared to year-ago levels, and hit a low point in the fourth quarter, according to reported data from Crunchbase.

Overall, seed-stage companies raised $7.2 billion in all of 2020, down 10 percent from 2019. Reported round counts totaled just over 6,400, down 22 percent from 2019 levels.

For Q4, meanwhile, seed investment totaled $1.7 billion, tied for the lowest total in two years, while round counts saw steep year-over-year declines. Investment totals and round counts for the past five quarters are shown below.

Part of the Q4 and 2020 seed-stage declines may be attributed to reporting delays. Much of the seed funding data in the Crunchbase dataset is self-reported by companies. Because a sizable percentage of rounds get entered weeks or months after they close, reported funding totals historically rise over time.

That said, it does appear that seed and angel funding was down some, even accounting for the lag. It’s a trend likely attributable in part to the pandemic. After all, it was not an opportune year to launch a startup in a number of spaces, including travel, hospitality and live entertainment. Investors and founders in a range of sectors may also have taken a wait-and-see approach, preferring to launch and scale in a post-pandemic environment.

The absence of face-to-face networking opportunities probably also played a role. Investment for seed companies is more personality-driven than at other stages, since startups typically have no finished product or market traction.

Exits

Overall, 2020 was an exceptionally good year for venture-backed exits, and Q4 was a standout quarter on this front. Below we look at returns from public market debuts, followed by M&A.

IPOs, Direct Listings And SPACs

The tech sector was on fire in the public markets last year, and startups took notice. Many companies that had been talked-about candidates for public listing chose 2020 as the year to make it happen.

Markets were receptive. The year’s biggest tech market debuts included Airbnb, Palantir, DoorDash, and Snowflake, which now collectively maintain a market capitalization of over $300 billion.

Many of the year’s largest market debuts took place in Q4, as laid out in the following list.

In addition to the size and volume of public offerings, 2020 stands out for the variety of methods companies employed to make their market debuts.

While most of the largest offerings were traditional IPOs, we also saw heightened use of two other paths to the markets: direct listings and mergers with a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC.

For 2020, the largest direct listing was Palantir, which went public in late September at an initial valuation of $22 billion and has since seen its market cap balloon to $49 billion. On the SPAC side, homebuying and selling platform Opendoor closed out the year with a December debut at an $18 billion valuation following completion of its merger with a blank-check acquirer.

M&A

Venture-backed companies also got acquired at a pretty good clip in 2020, with a number of multibillion-dollar deals, including several in the fourth quarter.

Standout M&A deals for 2020 include Illumina’s $8 billion purchase of cancer screening company Grail in September and Intuit’s $7.1 billion purchase of fintech unicorn Credit Karma, which was announced in February and completed in December.

As for Q4, we saw a dozen acquisitions2 valued at $1 billion or more, with the largest of the disclosed deals listed below.

Active Investors

As mature startups exited, younger companies lined up for fresh venture funding, and an array of prominent VC firms stepped up with capital.

Below we look at the most active venture and alternative investors in Q4 of 2020, looking at both new investments and follow-on investments in existing portfolio companies.

We don’t see any big surprises here, although it’s notable that the list does favor companies active in late-stage investment and multistage investment rather than pure early-stage investors.

The Big Picture

So, having crunched the numbers, with what sweeping description may we bid adieu to 2020?

Overall, it was a bullish year for venture funding and exits amidst a grim period in many other respects.

For 2021, startups are certainly hoping the receptive public markets, readily available capital, and strong valuations remain a thing. However, it’d also be nice to see a return of some of the much-missed aspects of startup life, including a lot fewer video meetings and a lot more face-to-face human contact.

Methodology

The data contained in this report comes directly from Crunchbase, and is based on reported data for North America namely Canada and the United States.

The most recent quarter will increase over time relative to previous quarters. For funding counts, we notice a strong data lag, especially at the seed and early stages, by  as much as 26 percent to 41 percent a year out.

Please note that all funding values are given in U.S. dollars unless otherwise noted. Crunchbase converts foreign currencies to U.S. dollars at the prevailing spot rate from the date funding rounds, acquisitions, IPOs and other financial events are reported. Even if those events were added to Crunchbase long after the event was announced, foreign currency transactions are converted at the historic spot price.

Glossary of funding terms

  • Seed and angel consists of seed, pre-seed and angel rounds. Crunchbase also includes venture rounds of unknown series, equity crowdfunding, and convertible notes at $3 million (USD or as-converted USD equivalent) or less.
  • Early-stage consists of Series A and Series B rounds, as well as other round types. Crunchbase includes venture rounds of unknown series, corporate venture, and other rounds above $3 million, and those less than or equal to $15 million.
  • Late-stage consists of Series C, Series D, Series E and later-lettered venture rounds following the “Series [Letter]” naming convention. Also included are venture rounds of unknown series,  corporate venture, and other rounds above $15 million.
  • Technology growth is a private equity round raised by a company that has previously raised a “venture” round. (So basically, any round from the previously defined stages.)

Illustration: Dom Guzman


  1. Technology growth deals are private-equity rounds for private, venture-backed companies.

  2. The largest deal of Q4, Flutter’s $4.2 billion acquisition of a minority stake in Fanduel, is not a standard M&A deal, as Flutter was already a majority stakeholder. Flutter paid $4.175 billion to acquire an additional 37 percent stake in the company, bringing its total stake to 95 percent.


Strategy Session: Former U.S. HelloFresh Founder Finds Early-Stage Fix With Antler

Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-15 13:00

Strategy Session is a feature for Crunchbase News where we ask venture capital firms five questions about their investment strategies.

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Bryan Ciambella went from bringing the HelloFresh concept to the U.S.–the company went public in 2017–to a principal at B Capital Group before moving into early-stage investments.

He joined Antler as a partner in 2020, heading up the Singapore-based, early-stage venture capital firm’s U.S. operations.

What follows has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Bryan Ciambella, partner at Antler

What is your firm’s thesis, and how did you settle on it?

Ciambella: We like to be the first check-in and then double or triple down. Our general thesis is to invest in talented founders, and get in at ground zero and continue to invest all the way to the growth stage. It is super interesting being an entrepreneur doing this. When I was shaping the thesis for HelloFresh in the U.S., I wanted to start a company and have quantitative and qualitative resources, which early on for startups is friends and family. If a company has early product market fit, there is opportunity.

Why do you like being typically the first investor in a startup?

Ciambella: I think it is often the ability to craft and mold the company–getting it to find the right business model and early pilot customers. You usually only get one crack at it: Being hands-on in the beginning, you can see successful companies scale.

You say 2021 will be a big year for early-stage investments. How so?

Ciambella: If you look at 2021, all of the largest hedge funds and mutual funds have gone down from growth to venture. Large venture capital is going downstream, and I don’t think that trend will stop. There is so much crowded capital and assets are going to get picked up. We are starting to see our companies raise subsequent capital. Big tech investment is going from public to venture, and seed is the next wave.

What would you say was the biggest lesson learned during your time at HelloFresh that you took over to Antler?

Ciambella: The biggest thing is working with great people and keeping those networks close.

How do you like working with founders?

Ciambella: The interesting thing is we are vertical agnostic, but invest in trends and addressable markets. I like founders who have a strong quantitative skill set combined with grit. And they have the analytical skill set to build the business, and be married to the business. It is a personal issue to launch a company, and it comes from someone who lived in the trenches with the problem for a couple of years.

Illustration: Dom Guzman


Why More Companies Like Petco Are Going Public Again In Second-Time IPOs

Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-15 00:22

Petco went public yet again on Thursday, marking a return to the public markets for a second time after going private. The San Diego-based retailer’s latest initial public offering is part of a small but growing trend of companies returning to the public markets after being bought out by private equity firms.

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Petco began trading on the Nasdaq on Thursday under the ticker WOOF after the pet supply company raised $864 million through its IPO. The company first went public in February 2002, raising $275 million through its IPO and listing on the Nasdaq under the ticker PETC, according to Crunchbase. TPG Capital and Leonard Green & Partners took the company private in 2006. The new owners of the company flirted with the idea of taking it public again, even filing initial paperwork to do so in August 2015, but ended up selling Petco to CVC Capital Partners and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board for $4.6 billion.

Petco’s not alone in going public a second time after being spun off by a private equity firm. Cybersecurity company McAfee went public for a second time in October after being acquired by Intel in 2011 and then spun off in 2017, with TPG and Thoma Bravo investing in the company. Also in October 2020, Phoenix-based pool supply retailer Leslie’s Swimming Pool Supplies went public for a second time. The company began trading on the Nasdaq in 1991 before being taken private a few years later by private equity firms, and is now trading again on the Nasdaq under the ticker LESL.

There’s been a handful of second-time IPOs recently because of favorable market conditions like lower interest rates and private investors seeking yield in their investments, according to Louis Cordone, senior vice president of data strategy at professional services firm AST. The phenomenon is somewhat cyclical, based on how the markets perform, he said.

“If you bought these companies at a lower price and took them private, now’s a chance to really make your investment come into the positive that I think is the driver here,” Cordone said. “These companies, these PE firms that take their companies private, they’re timers.”

The phenomenon tends to occur when equity markets are outperforming, he said: “If you think about the 2000s, late ’90s stock bubbles, that was a moment when IPOs were super hot and that was driven by a lot of cash and turning to the equity markets for these yields.” 

Many companies that have gone public in recent months have seen their shares soar, despite the raging COVID-19 pandemic. Equity markets are doing well because alternative investments are underperforming, according to Endurance Advisory Partners’ managing director Steven Patrick.

Interest rates for cash are at zero and interest rates for bonds are close to zero. If and when interest rates go up, bond prices go down, he said. That asymmetric risk makes stocks more attractive to invest in.

Still, a company going public twice is a relatively rare occurrence, according to Patrick. 

“A transaction of going public and for a public company to go private, it’s often thought of as a once-in-a-lifetime kind of occurrence,” he said. “In the lifetime of a company, it’s once maybe every 20 years.”

COVID-19 stimulus programs have injected fresh cash into the economy, and that money is going into the market looking for yield and equity, Cordone said. It’s also easier for companies to  go public via IPO alternatives like direct listings or a merger with a special purpose acquisition company.

Equity markets have “skyrocketed” with the extra stimulus, Cordone said, and that, coupled with near-zero percent interest rates, has made going public increasingly attractive to investors. 

Another example of an acquired company going public now is Qualtrics, the experience management company that was acquired by SAP for $8 billion before it planned to go public in 2018. Last month SAP said that Qualtrics would be spun off for an IPO. 

“It’s more likely that we’ll see second IPOs more because we’ll see more total IPOs now because the stock market is doing very, very well,” Patrick added.

Illustration: Dom Guzman


Q&A: Menlo Ventures’ Venky Ganesan On Why It ‘Made Sense’ For Poshmark To Go Public

Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-14 16:46

Poshmark, a social platform for buying and selling clothes and accessories, is one of the many venture-backed startups that have recently joined the ranks of public companies.

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Shares of the Redwood City, California-based began trading Thursday, doubling in price almost right out of the gate. By the close of day, its shares were trading at $101.50, up 140 percent.

Poshmark is just the latest e-commerce company to go public. In the past year, a lengthy list of retailers have either started trading on the public markets or indicated they plan to go public, including  Wish, Casper, BigCommerce, DoorDash, ThredUp, Petco and BarkBox.

In filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Poshmark reported that more than 70 million users have sold more than 130 million items through the platform since its inception in 2011.

Earlier this week, I spoke to Menlo Venture’s Venky Ganesan, who has known Poshmark CEO Manish Chandra for 20 years. Ganesan chatted with me about why Menlo Ventures made its initial investment in Poshmark, how he thinks the the relationship between his firm and the company will change now that Poshmark is publicly traded, and what this all means for the e-commerce industry.

Poshmark CEO Manish Chandra (left) and Menlo Venture’s Venky Ganesan

Why did Menlo Ventures make that first investment in Poshmark in 2012?

Ganesan: Menlo loves marketplaces, and we love the business model. We are backers of similar companies, like Uber, Rover and Getaround, and in a previous life, I was an investor in Upwork. Poshmark is the future of shopping, combining the shift to online, the social element and second-hand products. The “new new” is second-hand and reused. Poshmark is unique in that it carries new inventory all the time, and it doesn’t have to touch anything. It connects a community of buyers and sellers.

What do successes like Poshmark mean for the e-commerce industry?

Ganesan: It is an incredible space for e-commerce. It has hit an inflection point and the shift to online is real. When you look back at commerce from 2006 to 2019, it grew 6 to 16 percent, but from 2019 to today, it went from 16 to 26 percent. The shift is real. In addition, Poshmark has added an element of social, as well as addressing ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) sensitivity, especially for millennials and Gen Z who care about the environment and sustainability, so reusing things is important.

How do portfolio companies initiate a conversation with their big investors about exiting, and what advice do you typically give?

Ganesan: I tell people an IPO is not an exit, it is a financial event. It is an opportunity to build a sustainable company. You should only do it if you think you have a proven business model, in a huge market, and a long clear roadmap. Poshmark had all of those, and it made sense to go public.

After a portfolio company enters the public markets, how does the relationship between company and VC change?

Ganesan: For one, I am not going to be a board member anymore, but I will continue to be a sounding board for Manish. We have had a relationship for over 20 years, and the journey is just beginning. The future they can have is breathtaking, and we will be a sounding board in every sense of the way.

I have the satisfaction of seeing someone grow up being successful and am proud of the association. Manish has built the values himself and was sensitive to the notion of diverse perspectives, so he joined with co-founder Tracy Sun and others to offer their perspectives. Then a couple of years ago, when they wanted to diversify the board, I handed the Menlo board seat to Jenny Ming, but stayed on as a board observer and was happy to see them bring on Serena Williams.

Photo of Poshmark’s CEO Manish Chandra and Menlo Venture’s Venky Ganesan courtesy of Menlo Ventures
Illustration: Dom Guzman


The Briefing: Porch Acquires More Companies, Grab Financial Group Lands $300M, And More

Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-14 14:01

The Briefing

Here’s what you need to know today in startup and venture news, updated by the Crunchbase News staff throughout the day to keep you in the know.

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Porch acquires four companies

Home services marketplace Porch announced Thursday that it acquired four companies, including Homeowners of America Insurance Company for $100 million. The company also acquired V12 for $22 million and PalmTech and iRoofing for undisclosed amounts.

Grab Financial Group lands $300M

Grab Financial Group, the fintech spinoff of Singapore-based ride-hailing giant Grab, raised $300 million in fresh financing at a reported valuation of $3 billion.

Hanwha Asset Management led the funding for the 2-year-old spinoff, which offers payments, credit and insurance.  The funding will go toward hiring, expansion and rollout of new product offerings.

Senndr raises $160M for freight forwarding

Berlin-based digital freight forwarding platform Senndr raised $160 million in a new funding round that sets a valuation of more than $1 billion for the 6-year-old company.

Backers in the Series D funding round include Accel, Lakestar, HV Capital, Project A and Scania. With this latest financing, Senndr has raised at least $260 million to date in known funding, per Crunchbase data.

Funding rounds

  • Shippeo brings in $32M for supply chain logistics: Shippeo, based in France, raised $32 million in a new round of funding co-led by Battery Ventures and existing investors NGP Capital, ETF Partners, Partech and Bpifrance Digital Venture.
  • Xentral raises $20M to develop enterprise tools: Xentral, a German company that provides an enterprise resource system for online-oriented small and medium-sized businesses, secured $20 million in Series A funding led by Sequoia Capital with participation from Visionaries Club.
  • Mosaic raises $18.5M to develop financial data platform: Mosaic, the San Diego-based company building a strategic finance platform, raised an $18.5 million Series A round of funding led by General Catalyst.
  • Tradeswell gets $15.5M for e-commerce tech: Tradeswell, a startup that makes an operating system for digital marketplace brands, said it has raised $15.5 million in a Series A funding round led by SignalFire, the same investor that led its recent seed round. Construct Capital, Allen & Company LLC and The Emerson Group were also investors in the Series A. Venture investors have poured $21.1 billion into e-commerce companies globally since 2016, according to Crunchbase data, and 2021 is poised to be another strong year for online shopping and startups that supply technology to e-commerce retailers.
  • Twisto bags 16M euros for BNPL: Twisto, headquartered in Prague, secured 16 million euros ($19.4 million) in financing led by Zip Co. and Elevator Ventures. Twisto focuses on the “buy now, pay later” space and will use the funds to expand across Europe.
  • Prometheum secures $15M for blockchain securities ecosystem: New York-based Prometheum, said it has closed on an oversubscribed funding round of more than $15 million led by undisclosed investors.
  • RecVue raises $13M for order management: Monetization platform RecVue, provider of order lifecycle management tools designed to modernize the complex order-to-cash processes for enterprises, raised $13 million in a Series A round led by Cota Capital.
  • Own Up lands $12M for home financing: Own Up, a mortgage marketplace for home financing headquartered in Boston, announced $12 million in funding led by Brand Foundry Ventures.
  • ShotTracker scores $11M for sports data platform: DDSports, also known as ShotTracker, a Merriam, Kansas-based sports technology company, raised an $11 million round of funding led by Evertz Technologies and Verizon Ventures1. ShotTracker captures performance data via sensors to provide statistics and analytics and will use the funds to accelerate its deployment across NCAA Division I Power 6 Basketball conferences.
  • Vue Storefront bags $1.5M for front-end e-commerce: Vue Storefront, an API-focused and front-end for e-commerce, closed on a $1.5 million seed round led by Movens Capital and SMOK Ventures.
  • Royale Finance banks $1.45M to merge DeFi with iGaming: Belize-based iGaming company Royale Finance raised $1.45 million to bring decentralized finance to iGaming. Contributors to the funding round include Alphabit Fund, AU21 Capital, Fomocraft Ventures, Kyros Ventures and Vendetta Capital.
  • Frankie Health secures $1.25M to target mental health: B2B mental health platform Frankie Health, headquartered in Ireland, closed on a $1.25 million investment round led by E15 VC.

More news

  • PowerPlant Ventures acquires ZICO from Coca-Cola: PowerPlant Ventures announced its fund has acquired ZICO coconut water from The Coca-Cola Company. PowerPlant Ventures, a growth equity investor, was co-founded and co-led by Mark Rampolla, who founded ZICO in 2004 and sold it to Coca-Cola in 2013. Terms were not disclosed.
  • P&G Ventures names challenge winner: P&G Ventures has named SAVRPak as the winner of its 2021 CES Innovation Challenge. The startup is developing a patch placed inside of a food storage container that removes moisture from the air and eliminates condensation to preserve food’s crispness and freshness.

Illuminate Ventures published a report Thursday entitled “Today’s MBA Student is Tomorrow’s Entrepreneur: A View of Gender’s Impact on Career Choices,” that highlighted MBA student and candidate interest in becoming entrepreneurs. It found:

  • Over 85 percent of respondents indicated that it was something they were considering as a current or future career path.
  • The top reason for not becoming an entrepreneur was the lack of financial security after graduation–a reason for both men and women–while woman respondents’ overall concern was availability of funding for a new venture.
  • For VCs, financial security was not viewed as a major barrier by either male or female investors.
  • They viewed having a unique idea as the greatest barrier to entry.

While MBAs were interested in careers in venture capital–63 percent of men and 53 percent of women–they strongly believed it is very hard to break into the space. Roughly 75 percent of female students perceived a “high barrier to entry,” as well as nearly 80 percent of male students.

Illustration: Dom Guzman


  1. Verizon Ventures is an investor in Crunchbase. It has no say in our editorial process. For more, head here.


Carbyne Secures Series B1 After 350% Growth

Permalink - Posted on 2021-01-14 14:00

Carbyne closed a $25 million Series B1 after the company watched its annual recurring revenue grow 350 percent last year.

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The funding round was led by Hanaco Ventures and ELSTED Capital Partners, with participation from former CIA Director General David Petraeus and all existing investors including Founders Fund, FinTLV and others.

The company will use the new proceeds to help build out its cloud-native emergency services platform, which helps deliver real-time information, such as location, between citizens, emergency centers and other state agencies. The platform enables live video, images, chat, voice and more, with no app being required to download.

“Carbyne tries to change how we connect with emergency services,” said founder and CEO Amir Elichai, who founded the company six years ago after being robbed on a beach and realizing a need for better emergency communications.

Room to move

The challenges of last year provided a new proving ground for Carbyne as emergency services were in demand, Elichai said. During the pandemic the company was deploying one new customer project every 10 days, and its technology now covers more than 400 million citizens and is used in 24 states, he said.

Elichai said the pandemic’s highlighting vulnerabilities of traditional emergency services in terms of communications and data-sharing helped push the U.S. House to approve a $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill, which included $12 billion in funding for next-generation 911 deployments.

Carbyne expects similar growth this year, Elichai said, adding that the company could even play a role in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.

The company monetizes through both contracting with government and law enforcement agencies, as well as its newer B2B integration allowing for better emergency services through a company’s private app.

In addition to its own growth, the company also signed two new strategic partnerships in the final quarter of 2020 with CentralSquare and Global Medical Response, which could extend its reach to nearly 90 percent of the U.S. market, Elichai said.

The robust data engine Carbyne provides can prove valuable to many partners, said Lior Prosor, general partner of Hanaco Ventures

“We can definitely help partners,” Prosor said. “Theoretically, tools that connect people, time and location are valuable. We can definitely help.”

The future

While the company has no predetermined exit, it sees a place for disruptive companies in the public sector, where legacy companies such as Motorola and Tyler Technologies still have significant market share, Elichai siad.

Prosor added there could be many potential suitors in the future, citing Tesla hinting recently at adding 911 features to its vehicles. He said insurance companies also potentially could be interested down the line.

“Both paths are viable,” Prosor said.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias.