’s productivity platform for freight forwarders raises $15M A round led by Bessemer

With supply chains under constant stress because of the pandemic, freight forwarding has become one of the hottest startup sectors in the last two years. Indeed, International freight forwarding is now a $199 billion market. And the evidence is mounting.

In November last year, digital freight forwarder Forto raises another $50M in a round led by Inven Capital. In April this year, Nuvocargo raised $12M to digitize the freight logistics industry. In May, Zencargo, with a freight forwarding platform, raised $42 million. In June, freight forwarder sennder raised $80M at a $1B+ valuation. In July Freightify landed $2.5M to make rate management easier for freight forwarders.

And today,, which says it helps freight forwarders improve productivity via its AI platform, has raised $15 million in a Series A led by US VC Bessemer Venture Partners. It was joined by existing investors Dynamo Ventures and Episode 1. Bessemer’s investment is yet another sign that US VC continues to make incursions into the UK and European tech scene.

Vector now plans to accelerate its international expansion plans as an automated system for freight forwarders.

The problem it’s tackling is this: Freight forwarders lose time to repetitive administrative tasks as they execute shipments, such as hunting through customer emails etc, rather than concentrating on higher-value activities. says it’s machine learning platform can automate these tasks.

Its customers now include Fracht, EFL, NNR Global Logistics, The Scarbrough Group, Steam Logistics and Navia Freight, as well as other top-10 freight forwarders.

James Coombes, Co-Founder, and CEO of, commented: “Most employees within freight forwarders spend the majority of their time communicating with the 10-25 different entities that might be associated with a given shipment and coordinating freight movement and documentation. Communication usually runs through email and attachments… The volume of freight continues to rise globally – and with the added burden of Brexit and pandemic disruptions such as the recent port closure in China – freight forwarders are facing staffing shortages, steep wage increases, and shipping delays that continue to cost companies money in lost revenue and spoiled goods. They cannot afford to keep wasting time on low-level processing, which is why we created the technology to automate basic tasks.”

Mike Droesch, Partner at Bessemer Venture Partners, said: “ is one of the early leaders in an emerging category of freight forwarding workflow automation and digitization tools. It has built an intuitive and industry-focused product – which is already winning over some of the largest freight forwarders.”

Vector competes with Shipamax out of the UK which has raised $9.5M, RPA Labs out of the US which has raised $1.2M and also in the US which has raised $75.9M.

#articles, #bessemer-venture-partners, #china, #europe, #goods, #inven-capital, #logistics, #machine-learning, #mike-droesch, #partner, #tc, #transport, #united-kingdom, #united-states, #vector

Hunters brings in $30M Series B to grow XDR security tech

With the growing volume of ransomware and supply chain security attacks, there is a need for organizations to more rapidly detect threats. It’s that opportunity that startup Hunters is looking to capitalize on as the company today announced that it has raised a $30 million Series B round led by Bessemer Venture Partners (BVP).

Hunters, which has offices in Newton, Mass. and Tel Aviv, Israel, was founded in 2018 and has raised a total of $50.4 million to date. The company raised a seed round of $5.4 million in May 2019 led by YL Ventures and Blumberg Capital. A $15M Series A round followed in June 2020 with participation from Microsoft’s M12 and U.S. Venture Partners. An additional growth round was announced in December 2020, with Snowflake Ventures investing in Hunters.

The startup  builds a technology known as Extended Threat Detection and Response (XDR) which pulls in data from different sources and sensors. All that data is then correlated and analyzed to ‘hunt’ for potential indicators of compromise. Hunters co-founder and CEO Uri May explained that his company’s Open XDR platform can help to identify the tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) that attackers use to gain access and exploit an organization. The goal is to help reduce the time to detection and accelerate the time to response for a potential security incident.

The involvement of Snowflake Ventures as an investor as well as Snowflake as a partner for Hunters is one of the reasons that attracted Bessemer to the company. Alex Ferrara, partner at BVP said that from his perspective while there are other vendors in the same space as Hunters, none of them have partnered with a cloud data warehouse vendor like Snowflake, which was a big differentiator for him. Overall, it’s the market landscape and current state of cyberattacks that makes Hunters an interesting startup for Ferrara and his firm.

“We are excited about Hunters because you know we are seeing the institutionalization of ransomware,” Ferrara, told TechCrunch. “So I think there is a need for something like Hunters that can be more proactive in a world where I think many enterprises and mid-market companies have already been compromised.”

Another key market trend that Ferrara sees Hunters fitting into is with the need to help fill the gap for talented security professionals. Hunters’ technology makes use of automation and machine learning, such that security analysts are able to be more effective in a shorter amount of time.

May said that the new funding will help to move Hunters to the next stage of the startup company’s evolution. To date, he said the company has hit its own internal milestones for customer acquisition and revenues, finding a good market fit for its XDR technology. Now he’s looking to scale the business, growing the go-to-market sales and marketing initiatives and partner efforts. May emphasized that he’s also keen to use the funding to cut through the increasingly noisy business of security technology with new innovations that will disrupt the market, providing even more capabilities to users.

Among the new innovations that Hunters is working on is enhanced machine learning technology to better understand and correlate sources of information. Expanding sources for the Hunters platform is another area where May expects to expand his company’s platform, with the future integration of more threat intelligence data feeds.

“There’s a very elaborate and unique roadmap that we’re working on in terms of innovation that is related to the research that we’re conducting around cybersecurity,” May said.


#bessemer-venture-partners, #blumberg-capital, #m12, #ransomware, #security, #snowflake-ventures, #tel-aviv, #yl-ventures

Pave gets Y Combinator to back better startup compensation tools, again

Pave, a San Francisco-based startup that helps companies benchmark, plan and communicate compensation to their employees, has raised a $46 million Series B. YC Continuity led the round, which also saw participation from Andreessen Horowitz and Bessemer Venture Partners. The round comes eight months after Pave closed a $16 million Series A round. Today’s financing puts Pave’s valuation at $400 million, up from $75 million one year ago.

Pave launched with an ambitious goal: Can it measure pay across venture-backed tech companies in real time, and help startups move their comp table off of spreadsheets? AngelList and Glassdoor have already tried to build a similar benchmark-worthy data set, but Pave may have a built-in advantage over the companies that tried to fix the same problem before. Y Combinator, which helped incubate Pave and is now leading its most recent round through its later-stage capital vehicle, is one of the largest startup accelerators in the world. Of Pave’s 900 customers to date, one-third come from Y Combinator, and CEO Matthew Schulman only sees that number growing.

“Having YC’s deep support of Pave as the YC-stamped leader in the burgeoning [compensation technology] industry is and will continue to be game changing for our distribution and ability to have ample data coverage in our benchmarking product,” Schulman said. He compared Pave’s distribution trajectory as similar to what fintech company Brex, also backed by Y Combinator Continuity, managed. The founder estimates that 60% of YC companies are active Brex customers.

The reliance on YC could engender platform risk, considering how often the accelerator invests in competitors — often within the same batch. That said, an investment from Y Combinator Continuity, which does Series B rounds and higher, may be a signal that YC has found the comptech player it wants to back. Ali Rowghani, the managing director of the fund and former COO of Twitter, is joining Pave’s board.

Data is everything for the startup, supporting each of Pave’s three main services that it offers to companies. First, Pave uses market and partner data to help companies benchmark salaries for their employees. Second, the startup integrates with HR tools such as Workday, Carta and Greenhouse to give its customers a holistic picture on how employees are currently being compensated, and what makes sense for promotion cycles and salary bumps. And third, the data work culminates into formal offers and compensation packages that employers can then offer to new and old employees.

Pave’s current customers account for data on over 65,000 employee records. The first product serves as a free top of funnel service, while the last two are paid services offered up like any ol’ enterprise software contract.

The world of compensation is rife with inequity, leading to the gender wage gap, and the gaps we can see in the market regarding minority pay disparity.

Schulman views one of Pave’s goals as getting companies to go from doing their D&I analysis from once a year, to doing it consistently. The company plans to build diversity and inclusion-specific dashboards that allow companies to see inequities and access ways or suggestions to improve their breakdown.

“What gets measured, gets improved,” Schulman said. Pave has begun to track its own compensation and diversity metrics, in an effort to be more transparent with its employees and maybe inspire some companies to do the same. About 33% of Pave’s workforce identify as women, compared to an industry average of 28.8%. Half of Pave’s executives, and half of Pave’s board members, identify as women. The company has committed to having 50% of its client-facing roles, which include customer success managers and sales members, “to be female or persons from underrepresented groups.”

While Pave is starting to disclose its own internal benchmarks, transparency around diversity isn’t yet a standard within tech companies — it’s far easier to get valuations than to get specifics around the makeup of historically overlooked individuals within organizations. Pave recently launched the Pave Data Lab, which uses its data set to showcase compensation trends and inequities within how tech workers are paid. That said, Pave doesn’t currently require the companies it works with to upload gender and race information into their benchmarking tool, and didn’t disclose what specific percentage of companies on its platform share that data.

It is hoping noise will make a difference. Pave’s compensation benchmarking data is now free for all companies to use, which will bring more data underneath its umbrella, and more standards to the confusing world of compensation.

#a16z, #bessemer-venture-partners, #pave, #recent-funding, #startups, #tc, #y-combinator, #yc-continuity

Choco bites into $100M Series B, at a $600M valuation, to build a more transparent, sustainable food supply chain

The United States estimates of the food produced here approximately 40% is wasted. Globally, $2.6 trillion annually is lost.

Berlin-based Choco, which has built ordering software for restaurants and their suppliers, is working to digitize the food supply chain and announced $100 million in Series B funding, led by Left Lane Capital, to give it a $600 million post-market valuation. Joining in is new investor Insight Partners and existing investors Coatue Management and Bessemer Venture Partners.

The new round comes just over a year after Choco’s $63.7 million Series A, raised at two different periods, a $33.5 million round in 2019 and a $30.2 million round in 2020 — at a $230 million valuation — to bring total funding to $171.5 million since the company was founded in 2018.

The company’s core food procurement technology digitizes ordering workflow and communications for restaurants and suppliers. During the global pandemic, Khachab said Choco became the go-to tool for operators to be more efficient around procurement processes and reducing expenses as they adapted to the changing market conditions.

With the food industry a $6 trillion market, Choco CEO Daniel Khachab told TechCrunch he aims to make the food supply chain more transparent and sustainable in order to help increase margins in the food service sector and combat climate change.

The company did 14 months of food waste research and found that it was central to a lot of other global problems: Food waste is the third-largest driver of climate change and is causing deforestation — as evident by news from the Amazon last year  — and the extinction of animals.

“It makes sense to try and solve it,” he added. “The food system is highly fragile, and what was shown in the first and second waves of the pandemic is how fragile and inflexible it was. It made the industry realize that it has to step up and that it can’t continue to work on pen and paper.”

Between the farmer and the end point, there are some nine parties involved, Khachab said. None are connected to another, which often means nine data silos and data not collected along the chain. It is important to connect them on one single platform so decision-making can be data-driven, he added.

As uncertainty swept across the food industry at the beginning of the pandemic, Khachab said Choco could either lay low and wait or invest in the company. He chose the latter, pumping up the team, regions and technology. As a result, Choco’s technology is stronger than it was 15 months ago and proved to be flexible amid the inflexible environment.

Choco saw orders quadruple on the platform in the past year, and gross merchandise value grew to $900 million annualized, up from $230 million, Khachab said.

As the company continues to learn how it can provide value to the food supply chain, half of the Series B funding will go into technology development. It will also go toward doubling its headcount, especially on the engineering side. Choco recently brought on ex-Uber and Facebook executive Vikas Gupta as chief technology officer, and Khachab said Gupta’s expertise will enable the company “to build the best technology team in Europe” and scale faster.

Choco is already operating in six markets, including the United States, Germany, France, Spain, Austria and Belgium. Khachab expects to expand in those markets and gain a footprint in new markets like Latin America, the Middle East and Asia.


#bessemer-venture-partners, #choco, #coatue-management, #enterprise, #food, #food-supply-chain, #food-waste, #funding, #insight-partners, #left-lane-capital, #recent-funding, #startups, #tc, #venture-capital, #vikas-gupta

Shopmonkey raises $75M Series C to help auto repair shops streamline their business

Walking into an auto repair shop can sometimes feel like taking a step into the past. The handwritten notes and receipts, the clunky point-of-sales system and scheduling tools — if those are even there — can make customers feel like they’re in the 1990s, not the 21st century.

Shopmonkey is trying to change that.

“It’s been an amazing industry to serve that I just feel like has trailed modern times and modern services by a factor of five to 10 years,” Shopmonkey CEO Ashot Iskandarian said in a recent interview with TechCrunch.

His company offers a cloud-based shop management software designed for the auto repair industry. Now, less than a year after announcing a $25 million Series B, Shopmonkey has garnered another fresh round of capital. The company has raised a $75 million Series C led by previous investors Bessemer Venture Partners and Index Ventures, as well as additional participation from returning investors Headline and I2BF, and new investor ICONIQ Growth.

The financing will be used to grow Shopmonkey’s product, sales and marketing teams, and further fuel development of its platform.

Iskandarian noticed that many auto repair shops were victims to their own processes: owners bogged down using many different tools and platforms to perform tasks like invoicing, scheduling and parts ordering. Or else they’re using a shop management system that’s downloaded on a single, local machine. “That’s the world that these shops are coming from,” he said.

Shopmonkey consolidates these different functions into a single cloud-based tool, so it can be accessed on multiple computers, tablets or smartphones. The software also helps the shop communicate with customers, by providing appointment reminders, confirmations and upsell offers.

Iskandarian founded Shopmonkey in 2017. Since that time, its workforce has grown to more than 125 people, and over 2,500 shops use the software. He said that changing demographic trends amongst shop owners and customer pressure has led more and more auto repair shops to look for a management solution.

Like many sectors, the auto repair industry took a hit during the coronavirus pandemic. But it’s bouncing back: according to one report, it’s expected to recover and grow 7% this year, as millions of people get back on the road or decide to purchase a used car. That’s good news for auto repair shops – and for Shopmonkey, which sees opportunity in this increased demand.

COVID and other dynamics have placed “massive tailwinds on the automotive aftermarket with used cars, used cars repairs, and just that whole sector,” Iskandarian said. “It’s a good time to be a founder and it’s a good time to be an auto repairer.”

#automotive, #bessemer-venture-partners, #index-ventures, #recent-funding, #saas, #shopmonkey, #startups, #transportation

After selling Bread last year for over $500M, this founder just raised millions for his new fintech startup

When Daniel Simon sold Bread, a consumer purchase finance and payments startup he’d co-founded, to Alliance Data Systems for over $500 million late last year, he quickly set his sights on building another startup.

During the pandemic, Simon says he observed how much strain was placed on what he described as ‘real-world’ businesses and their employees — such as truck drivers, plumbers, HVAC installers and last-mile delivery people — “and how little the last decade of innovation in fintech has done to meet the needs of the vast and vital fleets segment.”

So he teamed up with former Bread COO (and former Lyft exec) Andrew Woolf to found Coast, a company that is aiming to meet those needs with the mission of becoming “the financial platform for the future of transportation.”

And today, the New York-based company is announcing it has raised $6 million in an “oversubscribed” seed round of funding led by Better Tomorrow Ventures. Avid Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, BoxGroup, Colle, Foundation Capital, Greycroft, and Max Levchin’s SciFi VC — as well as more than a dozen angels including founders of Plaid, Flexport, Marqeta, Bread, Albert, Addi, Lithic, and other fintech and logistics startups — also put money in the round.

Coast co-founders Daniel Simon and Andrew Woolf

Businesses that operate fleets need to enable their drivers to pay for vehicle-related expenses when they’re on the road, such as maintenance, roadside assistance and gas.

But once a fleet reaches a size of more than just a few vehicles, traditional small business credit cards are no longer sufficient because they lack the line-item level security, visibility, and controls necessary with a mobile workforce, according to Simon. 

“Fleet owners need transactions to be authorized, for instance, for buying gas for the company van, not the personal car, and for filling up at the pump, not making other purchases in the gas station convenience store,” he said.

Historically, fleets have turned to specialized fleet and fuel credit cards which provide controls like restricting purchases to only fuel products of a particular grade or tracking expenses on a per-vehicle basis. But Simon argues that the companies that sell such cards were founded decades ago with very little innovation since.

Coast’s goal is to use technology to provide fleet business owners and their employees payments products that are intuitive and easy to use.

“They need their employee and vehicle payments integrated into the rest of their operations, and they need fair and transparent financial products that are simple to understand,” Simon said. Bottom line, he wants to bring the “same sort of ease of use and transparency that Bread brought to e-commerce consumers and retailers to a category of business and employee that is often overlooked in tech.”

Coast’s first product, which is set to launch later this year, is a commercial fuel charge card. Drivers will be able use a physical Coast card they keep in their wallet or a shared Coast card in the vehicle, and when they swipe it at a pump at any merchant that takes Visa, Simon says Coast will conduct a “rapid review of a complex set of rules to enforce the fleet business’s policies and flag potentially fraudulent transactions.”

“No need for entering data prompted by the pump – the driver fills up and is on their way,” he said.

Fleet owners and managers can use Coast’s web portal to assign drivers and vehicles, set policies and rules about who can purchase what, how much, how often, and when. They can also get reporting and alerts on their expense policies and potential abuse. At the end of the month, they will be able pay their Coast balance in full.

Down the line, the company plans to add integrations into major accounting platforms as well as into telematics platforms that provide real-time data on vehicle status and location “so it can provide actionable spending insights back to fleet managers.” Over time, Coast also plans to expand into more categories of fleet businesses’ spending as it seeks to become more of a holistic platform for the industry.

Sheel Mohnot of Better Tomorrow Ventures, who took a seat on Coast’s board as part of the financing, says his firm was impressed by both the size of the opportunity and the team at Coast that’s tackling it. 

“The space is one of those massive unsexy categories with huge incumbents that most people have never heard of but customers — who are forced to use them — universally despise. It’s the perfect recipe for a startup to come in and disrupt it with a much better experience,” Mohnot told TechCrunch via e-mail. “Similar to what Ramp or Brex do for startups, Coast does for fleet operators – it helps them control their spending so they can focus on growing their business.”

#articles, #avid-ventures, #bessemer-venture-partners, #better-tomorrow-ventures, #boxgroup, #bread, #coast, #credit-card, #daniel-simon, #driver, #finance, #financial-technology, #fintech, #foundation-capital, #funding, #fundings-exits, #lithic, #lyft, #marqeta, #money, #new-york, #payments, #plaid, #recent-funding, #startup, #startup-company, #startups, #web-portal

Bessemer replaces board member at Hinge Health following competitive tensions

Board tensions at Hinge Health, a San Francisco-based digital health unicorn, have caused Bessemer Venture Partners to switch up its board director seat, replacing the original investor at the chair with a different one. Hinge Health co-founder and CEO Daniel Perez says BVP’s original board seat went to the partner who led the his company’s Series C round. The investor was recused from the board because they did not notify Perez of a new investment that the founder sees as competitive with Hinge — New York-based Clearing.

The scenario alarmed Perez, who has requested that the investor go unnamed, given the confidential information to which his board of directors is privy.

“You don’t develop a great reputation with entrepreneurs if you invest in competitive situations, particularly without giving them a heads up.” Adds Perez, “Some investors have a strong moral compass, some do not.” The partner that left Hinge Health’s board has not taken a board seat at Clearing.

A spokesperson from Bessemer declined to comment on the event because the firm does not “publicly discuss the mechanics of private Board dynamics.”

There hasn’t been a complete break between Bessemer and Hinge Health, a now six-year-old company that was valued at $3 billion during its last round of funding in January. Initially describing the situation as a firing, Perez said that the company “separated ways” with the original partner. Elliott Robinson, a growth equity partner with Bessemer, was moved from board observer to board director at Hinge Health. The switch enables Bessemer to maintain visibility into its investment, while at the same time, letting Hinge Health make a statement to the firm and future investors about how it views transparency.

The tiff points to the increasingly nuanced tension around competition between startups, as deal velocity and volume reach all-time highs. While founders expect certain standards of conduct from investors, including that they notify them of investments in directly competitive startups, investors may be feeling more pressure to make faster decisions that clash with the founders they’ve already backed, while having different definitions of competition from their portfolios.

Defining competition

Hinge Health is a digital health startup in the musculoskeletal (MSK) space that sells its care to insurers, self-insured employers and health plans. Clearing, meanwhile, brands itself as a solution to chronic pain, which is a symptom of underlying MSK conditions. The latter is going direct-to-consumer with its service, ignoring insurance carriers altogether. The venn diagram of the two companies thus overlaps vaguely, but looks different both from a product and go to market strategy.

Certainly, Clearing CEO Avi Dorfman, previously the co-founder of Compass, does not consider the two direct competitors. Asked by TechCrunch about potential overlap for a recent piece on personalized healthcare in TechCrunch, Dorfman pointed to Bessemer’s stake in both companies as evidence that the two are taking very different tacks and targeting different end customers.

Of course, early-stage companies can evolve quickly, and even if the two aren’t competing squarely today, Hinge and Clearing have enough in common — Clearing is “competitively spirited,” says Perez — that Perez was surprised that Bessemer wouldn’t at least broach the conversation about Clearing with him.

“I think the best practice is that the investor asks the existing company how they feel about the conflict, and if they think it’ll be competitive,” says Perez via email. “Baseline, you always have to have a conversation. I’ve had 3-4 of those conversations with investors, and we understand the parameters, is there meaningful conflict, and how to ensure confidential information isn’t shared.”

No doubt plenty of founders might agree. To protect themselves, venture firms never include language in the term sheets that promises they’ll never invest in competing companies, but there has traditionally been a tacit understanding between founders and the investors who back them that the investor will avoid backing a similar company at all costs.

Andreessen Horowitz somewhat famously missed out on owning more of Instagram after also investing in a company that later veered into Instagram’s business and deciding that it needed to pick one or the other. As Marc Andreessen told TechCrunch at the time, in 2010: “This kind of stuff happens all the time. Entrepreneurs are like heat-seeking-missiles; they gravitate towards good opportunities . . . It’s less of a choice against Kevin [Systrom] and Instagram as it was we were just very excited about working with Dalton [Caldwell],” who co-founded the now-defunct Instagram rival and is today a partner with Y Combinator.

More recently, Sequoia gave away its $21 million stake in a payments company, Finix, after resolving that its early-stage investment in the company competed too directly with Stripe, among its most valuable portfolio companies.

As more and more deals get funded and faster, the possibility for competitive overlap is growing – along with the scenarios that can be considered conflicting in the first place. What happens when a startup pivots into a different market than the one that it sold its investors on, and is suddenly competitive with a portfolio company? Can a Sequoia India partner back a company that is directly competing with a Sequoia India company? Is it okay for there to be competing investments within the same firm as long as different partners are sitting on the board? While founders may deserve transparency, there has to be some sort of reasonable boundaries on what they consider competitive, as well as an understanding that not all firms make promises to avoid conflicts.

Legitimizing unspoken rules

Tania Shah, a startup lawyer and the founder of The Know Legal, often works with founders who are raising seed rounds and has to educate them on the “unspoken rule” of obligations around confidentiality and loyalty. Essentially, she explains the obligations of a passive investor versus a board member who has more access to confidential information along with voting power. Part of what she teaches is that VCs tend not to sign NDAs — even while she pushes her clients to ask for these — so founders need to be as certain as possible that they are taking money from the right sources.

“I think the role of attorneys right now is also to be teachers,” says Shah.

In the meantime, there is no shortage of horror stories. Nabeel Alamgir, CEO and founder of Lunchbox, for example, struggled to raise his first institutional check for his restaurant tech startup. He eventually found an investor who had connections to restaurants in New York City who Alamgir wanted to land, so Alamgir shared everything about Lunchbox, from its financials to its product integration road map and go-to-market strategy. The investor eventually ghosted Alamgir. Within four months, claims Alamgir, that same investor’s portfolio company launched a product that directly mimicked Lunchbox.

In February, a similar situation appeared to play out when insurtech company Sure claimed that venture firm IA Capital Group, its Series A investor, had used privileged information to launch a similar company called Boost. (IA Capital told TC at the time that the firm didn’t realize there was a potential conflict until Boost was “already well underway.” Sure has since filed a related lawsuit against Boost.)

Hinge Health’s Perez say that this conversation around competing interests and conflict has grown in the past year in his conversations with investors. After all, VCs have  ballooning funds to invest and  LP expectations to meet – and it may become impractical at some point for these same investors to fully back away from compelling bets in booming industries.

“I’ve gone through a bunch of business cycles, and so I’m seeing this business cycle where there’s a lot of deal flow,” Perez said. In his case, “We’re not going to carve out a whole field of medicine and say that you can’t play at all in this field,” But at minimum, he says, VCs and their founders have to communicate as clearly as possible about what’s happening out there right now. Says Perez, “You have to have a conversation.”

#bessemer-venture-partners, #hinge-health, #tc, #venture-capital

Toast’s Aman Narang and BVP’s Kent Bennett on how customer obsession is everything

Toast has raised more than $900 billion and is reportedly valued at over $5 billion. But back in 2011, no one knew this startup would see such meteoric success. It had a few things going for it, of course — founder Aman Narang hailed from Endeca, where he was a software engineer and product lead with a reputation for being able to ship a lot of software quickly.

But the ambitions behind Toast were big and complicated, and enough to give pause to any investor. Kent Bennett was one such VC, and while he had conviction in the founding team, he wasn’t convinced that they could tackle such a big problem.

Toast is a restaurant POS system that acts as a sort of operating system for an establishment, managing everything from online orders, deliveries and marketing to payroll and team management as well as the actual point of sale. Being able to do all that requires building a number of complex products, such as payments.

Early on, Bennett had told Narang not to build a restaurant POS. To him, it was too complicated and nuanced, which is why the systems from the ’90s were still deeply entrenched 20 years later. However, he did offer space in the Bessemer office for the Toast team to work on their product.

“I caught up with Aman and he told me that they did this interesting thing after hearing that a lot of their customers were frustrated by payments platforms, which are separate from the POS,” said Bennett. “Aman said they built their own payments platform. Once again, I was like, ‘You did what? You’re not allowed to build payments.’ But he told me that they built it and it improves their products, and that, by the way, they make a margin on it.”

Bennett said that when they added up the margins from the payments and the POS, it was impactful.

“It hit me like a ton of bricks,” said Bennett. “This is a really good business.”

From there, it became his obsession. And though it took a few more quarters to close the deal, they eventually got there. Bessemer led the company’s Series B financing in 2016.

We spoke to Bennett and Narang recently on an episode of Extra Crunch Live to explore the story of how they came together for the deal, what makes the difference for both founders and investors when fundraising, and the biggest lessons they’ve learned so far. The episode also featured the Extra Crunch Live Pitch-Off, where audience members pitched their products to Bennett and Narang and received live feedback.

Extra Crunch Live is open to everyone each Wednesday at 3 p.m. EDT/noon PDT, but only Extra Crunch members are able to stream these sessions afterward and watch previous shows on-demand in our episode library.

Despite the complexity of the Toast system, or maybe because of it, Narang says the fundamentals are the most important part of communicating the business, especially when fundraising.

#aman-narang, #bessemer-venture-partners, #ec-live, #ecl, #events, #extra-crunch-live, #extra-crunch-live-recap, #kent-bennett, #startups, #tc, #toast, #venture-capital rebrands to Lithic, raises $43M for virtual payment cards

When was founded in 2014, the company’s focus was to let anyone generate virtual and disposable payment card numbers for free.

The goal was to allow those users to keep users’ actual credit card numbers safe while allowing the option to cut off companies from their bank accounts. In an age of near-constant data breaches and credit card skimmers targeting unsuspecting websites, has made it harder for hackers to get anyone’s real credit card details.

The concept has appealed to many. At the time of its $10.2 million Series A last July, said it had issued 5 million virtual card numbers. Today, that number has more than doubled, to over 10 million, according to CEO and co-founder Bo Jiang.

“We set out to create the safest and fastest way to pay online. Our mobile app and web browser extension lets you generate a virtual card for every purchase you want to make online,” Jiang explained. “That can be especially convenient for things like managing subscriptions or making sure your kid doesn’t spend $1,000 on Fortnite skins.”

Over the years, the New York-based company realized the value in the technology it had developed to issue the virtual and disposable payment cards. So after beta testing for a year, launched its new Card Issuing API in 2020 to give corporate customers the ability to create payment cards for their customers, optimize back-office operations or simplify disbursements.

The early growth of the new card issuing platform, dubbed Lithic, has prompted the startup to shift its business strategy — and rebrand.

In the process of building out its consumer product, ended up building a lot of infrastructure around programmatically creating cards.

“If you think about the anatomy of credit/debit card transactions there’s a number of modern processors such as Stripe, Adyen, Braintree and Checkout,” Jiang told TechCrunch. “On the flip side, we’re focused on card creation and issuing, and the APIs for actually creating cards. That side has lagged the card acquiring side by five to seven years…We’ve built a lot to support card creation for ourselves, and realized tons of other developers need this to create cards.”

As part of its new strategy, announced today that it has changed its name to Lithic and raised $43 million in Series B funding led by Bessemer Venture Partners to double down on its card issuing platform and new B2B focus. Index Ventures, Tusk Venture Partners, Rainfall Ventures, Teamworthy Ventures and Walkabout Ventures also participated in the financing, which brings Lithic’s total raised to date to $61 million.

Image Credits: Lithic CEO and co-founder Bo Jiang / Lithic, the company’s consumer product, will continue to operate as a separate brand powered by the Lithic card issuing platform.

Put simply, Lithic was designed to make it simple for developers to programmatically create virtual and physical payment cards. Jiang is encouraged by the platform’s early success, noting that enterprise issuing volumes tripled in the last four months. It competes with the likes of larger fintech players such as Marqeta and Galileo, although Jiang notes that Lithic’s target customer is more of an early-stage startup than a large, established company.

“Marqeta, for example, goes after enterprise and is less focused on developers and making their infrastructure accessible. And, Galileo too,” he told TechCrunch. “When you compare us to them, because we’re a younger company, we have the benefit of building a much more modern infrastructure. That allows us to bring costs down but also to be more nimble to the needs of startups.”

The benefits touted by Lithic’s “self-serve” platform include being able to “instantly” issue a card and “accessible building blocks,” or what the company describes as focused functionality so developers can include only the features they want.

Another benefit? An opportunity for a new revenue stream. Developers earn back a percentage of interchange revenue generated by the merchant, according to Lithic. “What we’ve noticed is a lot of folks have really big ambitions to build more of a stack in-house. We offer a path for folks by bringing more of a payments piece of the world that they can build for scale,” he said. “As a result of all these things, we end up not competing head to head with Marqeta, for example, on a ton of deals.”

The company charges a fee per card for Lithic API customers (it’s free for And it makes money on interchange fees with both offerings.

For Charles Birnbaum, partner at Bessemer Venture Partners, the shift from B2C to B2B is a smart strategy. He believes Lithic is building a critical piece of the embedded fintech and payments infrastructure stack.

“We have been big fans of the team and product since the beginning, but once we started to see such strong organic growth across the fintech landscape for their new card processing developer platform the past year, we just had to find a way to partner with the team for this next phase of growth,” he said.

Index Ventures partner Mark Goldberg notes that as every business becomes a fintech, there’s been an “explosion” in demand for online payments and card issuance.

“Lithic has stood out to us as being the developer-friendly solution here — it’s fast, powerful and insanely easy to get up-and-running,” he said. “We’ve heard from customers that Lithic can power a launch in the same amount of time it takes an incumbent issuer to return a phone call.”

Lithic plans to use its new capital to expand the tools and tech it offers to developers to issue and manage virtual cards as well as enhance its offering.

#adyen, #api, #bessemer-venture-partners, #charles-birnbaum, #credit-card, #debit-card, #finance, #financial-services, #fintech, #funding, #index-ventures, #mark-goldberg, #marqeta, #money, #new-york, #online-payments, #payment-card, #payments, #payments-infrastructure, #privacy-com, #recent-funding, #smart-card, #startup, #startups, #stripe, #tc, #teamworthy-ventures, #tusk-venture-partners

Bessemer’s Tess Hatch will join us as a judge at TechCrunch Disrupt 2021

Tess Hatch, vice president and partner at Bessemer Venture Partners, will join us at TechCrunch Disrupt 2021 as a judge for our Startup Battlefield competition. By the way startups, you can still apply now until May 27 to take part in the competition here!

At Bessemer, Tess spearheads frontier tech investments, including the scaling and commercialization of revolutionary technologies, including drones, space-based observation and launch, agritech and much more. She’s focused on sourcing and reproducing tech bets that have the potential to significantly improve society in fundamental ways.

Some of Tess’s investments and board positions include Rocket Lab, Spire, DroneDeploy, Iris and more. Before her time at Bessemer and work as an investor, she worked for both Boeing and SpaceX as a payload integrator and aerospace engineer, building on her aeronautics and astronautics education from the University of Michigan and Stanford. Tess was also recently named one of Forbes’ 30 under 30 in VC.

We’ve been lucky enough to have Tess onstage at prior Disrupt events, and our TC Sessions: Space event as well. She’s definitely one of the best people in the world to talk to about cutting-edge technologies, and companies looking to solve even the most ambitious technical challenges, so she’s sure to bring great perspective to the Startup Battlefield judging panel this year.

Make sure to book your pass to TC Disrupt on September 21-23 to watch 20+ startups compete for $100k in Startup Battlefield and enjoy over 100 hours of content and thousands of enthusiastic startup fans — all for under $99! Secure your seat today!

#bessemer-venture-partners, #events, #startup-battlefield, #startups, #tc, #tc-disrupt-2021, #tess-hatch

Bessemer’s Kent Bennett and Toast’s Aman Narang to discuss how to become a unicorn on ECL

Toast has a reported valuation over $5 billion and has raised more than $900 million since launch. The restaurant POS service has clearly been on a rapid growth trajectory, but how has the company navigated the market during the pandemic, which has pushed and pulled the restaurant industry unlike ever before?

On an upcoming episode of Extra Crunch Live (May 26 at 3pm ET), we’ll find out. We’re sitting down with president and co-founder of Toast, Aman Narang, and one of the company’s investors, Bessemer Venture Partners’ Kent Bennett.

Bennett is a partner out of the Cambridge office, focusing on consumer products and services as well as consumer-facing software. Before venture, Bennett was a creative executive for an entertainment production company called Licht Entertainment.

His portfolio includes Bevi, Blue Apron, Xtime and, of course, Toast.

Narang spent seven years at Oracle, then Endeca, working on the development of the company’s business intelligence platform and mobile commerce platform.

He co-founded Toast in 2011 and has been growing the company ever since, adding new products and features to the restaurant POS system.

On Extra Crunch Live, we’ll sit down with Narang and Bennett to learn about how they came together for the company’s Series B deal, which Bessemer led. We’ll also talk about why Bennett wanted to bet on Toast, how they’ve worked together since and how they overcome challenges and disagreements. If we’re lucky, we may even get a peek at Toast’s original Series B pitch deck.

From there, we’ll head into the Extra Crunch Live Pitch-off. Members of the audience can raise their hand to pitch live on the show, and Bennett and Narang will offer their feedback. It’s always a good time, but the only way to participate is to show up live. Register here for free!

Extra Crunch Live is a free event and accessible to everyone, but only Extra Crunch members get access to the entire library of ECL episodes, all of which are packed with insights on how to raise and run a successful venture-backed company.

Register to hang out with myself, Narang and Bennett on Wednesday, May 26 at 3pm ET/noon PT.

#aman-narang, #bessemer-venture-partners, #ecl, #extra-crunch-live-announcement, #kent-bennett, #tc, #toast

The Chainsmokers, Alexis Ohanian, Amy Schumer, Kevin Hart, Mark Cuban, Marshmello, and Snoop Dogg back Pearpop

Pearpop, the marketplace for social collaborations between the teeming hordes of musicians, craftspeople, chefs, clowns, diarists, dancers, artists, actors, acrobats, aspiring celebrities and actual celebrities, has raised $16 million in funding that includes what seems like half of Hollywood, along with Alexis Ohanian’s Seven Seven Six venture firm and Bessemer Venture Partners.

The funding was actually split between a $6 million seed funding round co-led by Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseary’s Sound Ventures and Slow Ventures, with participation from Atelier Ventures and Chapter One Ventures and a $10 million additional investment led by Ohanian’s Seven Seven Six with participation from Bessemer.

TechCrunch first covered pearpop last year and there’s no denying that the startup is on to something. It basically takes Cameo’s celebrity marketplace for private shout-outs and makes it public. Allowing social media personalities to boost their followers by paying more popular personalities to shout out, duet, or comment on their posts.

“I’ve invested in pearpop because it’s been on my mind for a while that the creator economy has resulted in a lot of not equitable outcomes for creators. Where i talked about the missing middle class of the creator economy,” said Li Jin, the founder of Atelier Ventures and author of a critical piece on creator economics, “The creator economy needs a middle class“. 

“When I saw pearpop I felt like there was a really big potential for pearpop to be the one of the creators of the creative middle class. They’ve introduced this mechanism by which larger creators can help smaller creators and everyone has something of value to offer something to everyone else in the ecosystem.”

Jin discovered pearpop through the TechCrunch piece, she said. “You wrote that article and then i reached out to the team,” said Jin.

The idea was so appealing, it brought in a slew of musicians, athletes, actors and entertainers, including: Abel Makkonen (The Weeknd), Amy Schumer, The Chainsmokers, Diddy, Gary Vaynerchuk, Griffin Johnson, Josh Richards, Kevin Durant (Thirty 5 Ventures), Kevin Hart (HartBeat Ventures), Mark Cuban, Marshmello, Moe Shalizi, Michael Gruen (Animal Capital), MrBeast (Night Media Ventures), Rich Miner (Android co-founder) and Snoop Dogg.

“Pearpop has the potential to benefit all social media platforms by delivering new users and engagement, while simultaneously leveling the playing field of opportunity for creators,” said Alexis Ohanian, Founder, Seven Seven Six, in a statement. “The company has created a revolutionary new marketplace model that is set to completely reimagine how we think of social media monetization. As both a social media founder and an investor, I’m excited for what’s to come with pearpop.”

Already Heidi Klum, Loren Gray, Snoop Dogg, and Tony Hawk have gotten paid to appear in social media posts from aspiring auteurs on the social media platform TikTok.

Using the platform is relatively simple. A social media user (for now, that means just TikTok) sends a post that exists on their social feed and requests that another social media user interacts with it in some way — either commenting, posting a video in response, or adding a sound. If the request seems okay, or “on brand”, then the person who accepts the request performs the prescribed action.

Pearpop takes a 25% cut of all transactions with the social media user who’s performing the task getting the other 75%.

The company wouldn’t comment on revenue numbers, except to say that it’s on track to bring in seven figures this year.

Users on the platform set their prices and determine which kinds of services they’re willing to provide to boost the social media posts of their contractors.

Prices range anywhere from $5 to $10,000 depending on the size of a user’s following and the type of request that’s being made. Right now, the most requested personality on the marketplace is the TikTok star, Anna Banana.

These kinds of transactions do have impacts. The company said that personalities on the platform were able to increase their follower count with the service. For instance, Leah Svoboda went from 20K to 141K followers, after a pearpop duet with Anna Shumate.

If this all makes you feel like you’ve tripped and fallen through a Black Mirror into a dystopian hellscape where everything and every interaction is a commodity to be mined for money, well… that’s life.

“What I appreciate most about pearpop is the control it gives me as a creator,” said Anna Shumate, TikTok influencer @annabananaxdddd. “The platform allows me to post what I want and when I want. My followers still love my content because it’s authentic and true to me, which is what sets pearpop apart from all of the other opportunities on social media.”

Talent agencies, too, see the draw. Early adopters include Talent X, Get Engaged, and Next Step Talent and The Fuel Injector, which has added its entire roster of talent to pearpop, which includes Kody Antle, Brooke Monk and Harry Raftus, the company said.

“The initial concept came out of an obvious gap within the space: no marketplace existed for creators of all sizes to monetize through simple, authentic collaborations that are mutually beneficial,” said Cole Mason, co-founder & CEO, pearpop.  “It soon became clear that this was a product that people had been waiting for, as thousands of people rely on our platform today to gain full control of their social capital for the first time starting with TikTok.”

#alexis-ohanian, #amy-schumer, #android, #anna-shumate, #ashton-kutcher, #atelier-ventures, #author, #bessemer-venture-partners, #bytedance, #cole-mason, #founder, #gary-vaynerchuk, #instagram, #kevin-durant, #kevin-hart, #li-jin, #mark-cuban, #pearpop, #slow-ventures, #snoop-dogg, #social-media, #social-media-monetization, #social-media-platforms, #software, #tc, #techcrunch, #tiktok, #tony-hawk, #video-hosting

With an ARR topping $250 million, LA’s vertical SAAS superstar ServiceTitan is now worth $8.3 billion

Who knew building a vertical software as a service toolkit focused on home heating and cooling could be worth $8.3 billion?

That’s how much Los Angeles-based ServiceTitan, a startup founded just eight years ago is worth now, thanks to some massive tailwinds around homebuilding and energy efficiency that are serving to boost the company’s bottom line and netting it an unprecedented valuation for a vertical software company, according to bankers.

The company’s massive mint comes thanks to a new $500 million financing round led by Sequoia’s Global Equities fund and Tiger Global Management.

ServiceTitan’s backers are a veritable who’s who of the venture industry, with longtime white shoe investors like Battery Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners and Index Ventures joining the later stage investment funds like T. Rowe Price, Dragoneer Investment Group, and ICONIQ Growth.

In all, the new $500 million round likely sets the stage for a public offering later this year or before the end of 2022 if market conditions hold.

ServiceTitan now boasts more than 7,500 customers that employ more than 100,000 technicians and conduct nearly $20 billion worth of transactions providing services ranging from plumbing, air conditioning, electrical work, chimney, pest services and lawn care.

If Angi and Thumbtack are the places where homeowners go to find services and technicians, then ServiceTitan is where those technicians go to manage and organize their own businesses.

Based in Glendale, Calif., with satellite offices in Atlanta and Armenia, ServiceTitan built its business to solve a problem that its co-founders knew intimately as the children of parents whose careers were spent in the HVAC business.

The market for home services employs more than 5 million workers in the US and represents a trillion dollar global market.

Despite the siren song of global expansion, there’s likely plenty of room for ServiceTitan to grow in the U.S. Home ownership in the country is at a ten-year high thanks to the rise of remote work and an exodus from the largest American cities accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A focus on energy efficiency and a desire to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will likely cause a surge in residential and commercial retrofits which will also boost new business. Indeed these trends were already apparent in the statistic that home improvement spending was up 3 percent in 2020 even though the broader economy shrank by 3.5 percent.

“We depend on the men and women of the trades to maintain our life support systems: running water, heat, air conditioning, and power,” said Ara Mahdessian, co-founder and CEO of ServiceTitan. “Today, as both homeownership rates and time spent at home reach record highs, these essential service providers are facing rising demand from an increasingly tech-savvy homeowner. By providing contractors with the tools they need to deliver a great customer experience and grow their businesses with ease, ServiceTitan is enabling the hardworking men and women of the trades to reach the level of success they deserve.”

#armenia, #atlanta, #battery-ventures, #bessemer-venture-partners, #california, #chase-coleman, #dragoneer-investment-group, #energy-efficiency, #finance, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #iconiq-growth, #investment, #los-angeles, #sequoia, #servicetitan, #software, #t-rowe-price, #tc, #thumbtack, #tiger-global-management, #united-states

E-commerce marketing startup Yotpo raises $230M at a $1.4B valuation

Barely more than seven months after its most recent funding announcement, Yotpo is revealing that it has raised another $230 million in a Series F round that values the company at $1.4 billion (post-money).

“Our round, in my eyes, it’s all about celebrating the future of e-commerce,” co-founder and CEO Tomer Tagrin told me. “Brands don’t need to worry about connecting the marketing stack anymore.”

Where success in traditional retail has been determined by “location, location, location,” Tagrin said e-commerce is “all about consumer attention.” To capture that attention, he estimated the average brand is using 10 to 14 different marketing applications, creating a “pretty horrible experience.” So Yotpo — founded in 2011 and headquartered in New York City — aims to provide all of a brand’s e-commerce marketing needs in a single, integrated platform.

To illustrate this, Tagrin described a marketer wanting to create a customized offer just for users who had both purchased a product in the past 90 days and left a five-star review. Yotpo allows them to do that with “just the click of a button,” whereas “that experience was just not feasible before Yotpo,” he said.

The platform currently consists of four main products — Yotpo SMS Marketing, Yotpo Loyalty & Referrals, Yotpo Reviews and Yotpo Visual UGC — which integrate with each other, as well as with e-commerce platforms such as Shopify, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Adobe-owned Magento and BigCommerce.

Yotpo CEO Tomer Tagrin

Yotpo CEO Tomer Tagrin

Tagrin said Yotpo still had money leftover from the last round but it decided to raise additional money to continue investing in product and marketing, as well for strategic acquisitions. (The company acquired SMSBump at the beginning of 2020 and Tagrin said it’s “70% of the way there” towards full integration.) Among other things, the company is planning to launch new products around customer communication and measuring a customer’s lifetime value.

Yotpo also says that it has now exceeded $100 million in annual recurring revenue, with the SMS marketing product growing revenue by 170% last year, while the loyalty product saw its revenue nearly double. Big brands like Patagonia and Steve Madden use the platform, but Tagrin pointed out that it’s also used by newer direct-to-consumer businesses like Princess Polly and has 30,000 paying customers over all.

“I like to say that Victoria’s Secret will die by a thousand cuts,” he said. “These are the mini-brands … the up-and-comer brands that are going to replace the incumbents.”

Yotpo has now raised more than $400 million in total funding, according to Crunchbase. The round was led by by Bessemer Venture Partners and Tiger Global, with participation from Claltech Investment, Coin Ventures, Hanaco, Vertex Ventures, Vintage Investment Partners, Capital Group and others.

“Tiger Global has long been bullish on eCommerce as the future of retail, having invested in disruptor brands like Warby Parker and Peloton, giants like, and best-in-class SaaS companies like Stripe and Twilio,” said Tiger’s John Curtius in a statement. “We are excited by Yotpo’s approach to provide a unified marketing tech stack and the value it provides to brands and online shoppers in the process.”

#advertising-tech, #bessemer-venture-partners, #ecommerce, #funding, #fundings-exits, #startups, #tc, #tiger-global, #yotpo

Demostack announces $17.3M investment for demo building platform

Demostack, an early stage startup that wants to make it easy for companies to build software demos, announced $17.3 million in funding today. The company also announced it was coming out of stealth.

That investment breaks down into a $13.3 million Series A led by Bessemer Venture Partners with help from GTM Fund and several individual investors. They also announced a $4 million seed from last December led by Amiti Ventures with participation from Operator Collective, Cerca Partners and a slew of individual investors. All the seed investors also participated in the A round, according to the company.

Software companies of all types face challenges in building a quality demo, one that doesn’t expose actual customer information, yet shows all of the functionality in a reasonably realistic way. It’s a problem that co-founder and CEO Jonathan Friedman experienced in his previous job and he wanted to do something about it.

“We’re building a perfect demo environment. And what that means is that it’s one that is controlled by sales or marketing. […] There is no need for [engineering] at all, and it’s customized for each prospect by default,” Friedman explained.

He said that it removes that anxiety that the demo won’t work, or that you will expose data you’re not supposed to. “Demo anxiety is real. Just having to worry about PII (personally identifiable information), and having people logging on and coming in and creating stuff within our production environment was unsustainable,” he told me.

Friedman founded Demostack to change that. They provide a full demo building tool that starts with a recording of the environment, so it looks and feels like the live product, and you can create auto customization with variables like customer name that link to the CRM tool and pull in information for you as you build the demo for a particular prospect.

It’s a solution that caught the attention of Adam Fisher, partner at lead investor Bessemer Venture Partners. “Demostack gives every software business a powerful competitive advantage, allowing them to better engage their prospective customers, doing away with old school temperamental demos,” he said in a statement.

Demostack already has 20 employees with plans to triple that number by the end of this year. He said the company is already embracing diversity among its early employees, and sees this as an important building block.

“One of the main reasons that we wanted to lean into this early is because being a diverse company is not a bonus. It’s not like, ‘Oh I’ll do this to make people happy about me’. You can’t understand how people from different walks of life see reality. Everyone sees a different slice of reality. If you can’t grasp that you will never build a company that is successful,” Friedman said.

The company launched last September and released an early version of the product in February. Today, Demostack is publicly unveiling the company, although it doesn’t expect to have the complete product ready for distribution until mid-year.

#bessemer-venture-partners, #cloud, #demo-software, #demostack, #enterprise-software, #funding, #recent-funding, #saas, #startups, #tc

Bessemer Venture Partners closes on $3.3 billion across two funds

Another major VC firm has closed two major rounds, underscoring the long-term confidence investors continue to have for backing privately-held companies in the tech sector.

Early-stage VC firm Bessemer Venture Partners announced Thursday the close of two new funds totaling $3.3 billion that it will be using both to back early-stage startups as well as growth rounds for more mature companies.

The Redwood City-based firm closed BVP XI with $2.475 billion and BVP Century II with $825 million in total commitments.

With BVP XI, it plans to focus on early-stage companies spanning across enterprise, consumer, healthcare, and frontier technologies. 

Its Century II fund is aimed at backing growth-stage companies that Bessemer believes “will define the next century,” and will include both follow-on rounds for existing portfolio companies or investments in new ones.

BVP XI marks Bessemer’s largest fund in its 110-year history. In October 2018, the firm brought in $1.85 billion for its tenth flagship VC fund. This latest fund is its fifth consecutive billion-dollar fund, based on PitchBook data. 

Despite being founded more than 100 years ago, Bessemer didn’t actually enter the venture business until 1965. It’s known for its investments in LinkedIn, Blue Apron and many others, with a current portfolio that includes PagerDuty, Shippo, Electric and DocuSign. Exits include Twitch and Shopify, among many others.

With more money than ever before available for backing startups, the challenge now for VCs is to see how and if they can find (and invest in) whatever will define the next generation of tech. 

“As venture capitalists, we pay too much attention to pattern recognition and matching when in reality, the biggest opportunities exist where those patterns break,” the firm wrote in a blog post today. “Our job is to make perceptive bets on the future, especially those that others will dismiss and ridicule. We are fundamental optimists and strong believers in the power of innovation; our life’s work is putting our reputation, time, and money to help entrepreneurs realize a different future. They’re the ones pioneering something entirely new and obscure – a technology, a business model, a category.

In addition to announcing the new funds, Bessemer also revealed today that it’s brought on five new partners including Jeff Blackburn, who joins after a 22-year career at Amazon, alongside the promotion of existing investors Mary D’Onofrio, Mike Droesch, Tess Hatch, and Andrew Hedin.

Most recently at Amazon, Blackburn served as senior vice president of worldwide business development where he oversaw dozens of Amazon’s minority investments and more than 100 acquisitions across all business lines – including retail, Kindle, Echo, Alexa, FireTV, advertising, music, streaming audio & video, and Amazon Web Services.  

“Having been part of Amazon for more than two decades, I’m excited to begin a new chapter helping customer-focused founders build breakthrough companies,” said Blackburn in a written statement.  “I’ve known the Bessemer team for many years and have long admired their strategic vision and success backing early-stage ventures.” 

With the latest changes, Bessemer now has 21 partners and over 45 investors, advisors, and platform “team members” located in Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Seattle, New York, Boston, London, Tel Aviv, Bangalore, and Beijing. 

“At Bessemer, there’s no corner office or consensus; every partner has the choice, independently, to pen a check. This kind of accountability and autonomy means a founder is teaming up with a partner and board director who thoroughly understands your business and can respond quickly and decisively,” the firm’s blog post read.

Bessemer’s task is all the more difficult because there is more competition than ever before to get into the best deals.

TCV closed on a record $4 billion fund to invest in e-commerce, fintech, edtech, travel and more in late January.

Last November, Andreessen Horowitz (a16z)  closed a pair of funds totaling $4.5 billion. The firm raised $1.3 billion for an early-stage fund focused on consumer, enterprise and fintech; and closed a $3.2 billion growth-stage fund for later-stage investments.

And, last April, Insight, the firm that has backed the likes of Twitter and Shopify and invests across a range of consumer and enterprise startups, announced it had closed a fund of $9.5 billion, money it said it would be using to support startups and “scale-ups” (larger and older startups that are still private) in the coming months.

Although BVP is one of the older firms in the valley, there have been a new wave of investors, some like SoftBank with very deep pockets, and others will less money but a lot of credibility, so it will be interesting to see how these next two funds play out for the firm.

#bessemer, #bessemer-venture-partners, #bvp, #healthcare, #linkedin, #mary-donofrio, #mike-droesch, #money, #pagerduty, #redwood-city, #shopify, #tess-hatch, #venture-capital

Ex-General Catalyst and General Atlantic VC announces $68M debut fund

As of 2019, the majority of venture firms — 65% — still did not have a single female partner or GP at their firm, according to All Raise.

So naturally, anytime we hear of a new female-led fund, our ears perk up.

Today, New York-based Avid Ventures announced the launch of its $68 million debut venture capital fund. Addie Lerner — who was previously an investor with General Catalyst, General Atlantic and Goldman Sachs — founded Avid in 2020 with the goal of taking a hands-on approach to working with founders of early-stage startups in the United States, Europe and Israel.

“We believe investing in a founder’s company is a privilege to be earned,” she said.

Tali Vogelstein — a former investor at Bessemer Venture Partners — joined the firm as a founding investor soon after its launch and the pair were able to raise the capital in 10 months’ time during the 2020 pandemic.

The newly formed firm has an impressive list of LPs backing its debut effort. Schusterman Family Investments and the George Kaiser Family Foundation are its anchor LPs. Institutional investors include Foundry Group, General Catalyst, 14W, Slow Ventures and LocalGlobe/Latitude through its Basecamp initiative that backs emerging managers. 

Avid also has the support of 50 founders, entrepreneurs and investors as LPs — 40% of whom are female — including Mirror founder Brynn Putnam; Getty Images co-founder Jonathan Klein; founding partner of Acrew Capital Theresia Gouw and others.

Avid invests at the Series A and B stages, and so far has invested in Alloy, Nova Credit, Rapyd, Staircase, Nava and The Wing. Three of those companies have female founders — something Lerner said happened “quite naturally.”

“Diversity can happen and should happen more organically as opposed to quotas or mandates,” she added.

In making those deals, Avid partnered with top-tier firms such as Kleiner Perkins, Canapi Ventures, Zigg Capital and Thrive Capital. In general, Avid intentionally does not lead its first investments in startups, with its first checks typically being in the $500,000 to $1 million range. It preserves most of its capital for follow-on investments.

“We like to position ourselves to earn the right to write a bigger check in a future round,” Lerner told TechCrunch. 

In the case of Rapyd, Avid organized an SPV (special-purpose vehicle) to invest in the unicorn’s recent Series D. Lerner had previously backed the company’s Series B round while at General Catalyst and remains a board observer.

Prior to founding Avid, Lerner had helped deploy more than $450 million across 18 investments in software, fintech (Rapyd & Monzo) and consumer internet companies spanning North America, Europe and Israel. 

When it comes to sectors, Avid is particularly focused on backing early-stage fintech, consumer internet and software companies. The firm intends to invest in about 20 startups over a three-to-four year period.

“We want to take our time, so we can be as hands-on as we want to be,” Lerner said. “We’re not looking to back 80 companies. Our goal is to drive outstanding returns for our LPs.”

The firm views itself as an extension of its portfolio companies’ teams, serving as their “Outsourced Strategic CFO.” Lerner and Vogelstein also aim to provide the companies they work with strategic growth modeling, unit economics analysis, talent recruiting, customer introductions and business development support.

“We strive to build deep relationships early on and to prove our value well ahead of a prospective investment,” Lerner said. Avid takes its team’s prior data-driven experience to employ “a metrics-driven approach” so that a startup can “deeply understand” their unit economics. It also “gets in the trenches” alongside founders to help grow a company.

Ed Zimmerman, chair of Lowenstein Sandler LLP’s tech group in New York and adjunct professor of VC at Columbia Business School, is an Avid investor.

He told TechCrunch that because of his role in the venture community, he is often counsel to a company or fund and will run into former students in deals. Feedback from numerous people in his network point to Lerner being “extraordinarily thoughtful about deals,” with one entrepreneur describing her as “one of the smartest people she has met in a decade-plus in venture.”

“I’ve seen it myself in deals and then I’ve seen founders turn down very well branded funds to work with Addie,” Zimmerman added, noting they are impressed both by her intellect and integrity. “…Addie will find and win and be invited into great deals because she makes an indelible impression on the people who’ve worked with her and the data is remarkably consistent.”

#acrew-capital, #addie-lerner, #basecamp, #bessemer-venture-partners, #brynn-putnam, #canapi-ventures, #catalyst, #consumer-internet, #corporate-finance, #diversity, #finance, #foundry-group, #funding, #general-atlantic, #general-catalyst, #george-kaiser-family-foundation, #goldman-sachs, #israel, #jonathan-klein, #kleiner-perkins, #new-york, #north-america, #slow-ventures, #software, #tali-vogelstein, #tc, #tech, #techcrunch-include, #theresia-gouw, #thrive-capital, #united-states, #venture-capital

13 investors say lifelong learning is taking edtech mainstream

The venture potential of a startup that caters to individual students — instead of a slow-moving, small-pocketed institution — has a bullish aura that attracts investors.

Add in a pandemic that forced many to embrace remote learning overnight, and it makes sense that we have seen companies like Outschool and ClassDojo turn first profits while startups like Quizlet and ApplyBoard reached $1 billion valuations.

Last year brought a flurry of record-breaking venture capital to the sector. PitchBook data shows that edtech startups around the world raised $10.76 billion last year, compared to $4.7 billion in 2019. While reporting delays could change this total, VC dollars have more than doubled since the pandemic began. In the United States, edtech startups raised $1.78 billion in venture capital across 265 deals during 2020, compared to $1.32 billion the prior year.

In today’s survey, thirteen top edtech investors shared their thoughts on how growth of lifelong learning is reshaping the industry. Given the sudden extinction of snow days and yeast shortages brought on by student bakers in the early days of the pandemic, it’s easy to see how remote education extends beyond traditional school hours. As learners become more multi-layered and nuanced, so have the edtech companies that back them. 

This was a recurring theme in today’s survey, signaling a shift in how investors approach hybrid learning. The evolution of post-pandemic education will be complex, if not aggressively competitive among the growing cohort of well-capitalized edtech companies. While we asked investors about their post-pandemic tastebuds back in July, much has changed since. Higher education didn’t combust like some expected today, and today, many predict that K-12 students will return to pre-COVID formats after vaccinations are widespread. 

It puts startups in a difficult spot: if 2020 was about enabling video-based teaching, what might emerge from 2021? Integration between different edtech apps? New student collaboration tools? Are employer-led up-skilling and a renewed interest in self-improvement enlarging edtech’s TAM?

Here are the investors we spoke to, along with their areas of interest and expertise:

  • Deborah Quazzo, managing partner, GSV Ventures (an education fund backing ClassDojo, Degreed, Clever)
  • Ashley Bittner, founding partner of Firework Ventures (a future of work fund with portfolio companies LearnIn and TransfrVR)
  • Jomayra Herrera, principal, Cowboy Ventures (a generalist fund with portfolio companies Hone and Guild Education)
  • John Danner, managing partner, Dunce Capital (an edtech and future of work fund with portfolio companies Lambda School and Outschool)
  • Mercedes Bent and Bradley Twohig, partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners (a multi-stage generalist fund with investments including Forage, Clever, and Outschool)
  • Ian Chiu, managing director, Owl Ventures (a large edtech-focused fund backing highly-valued companies including Byju’s, Newsela, and Masterclass) 
  • Jan Lynn-Matern, founder and partner, Emerge Education (a leading edtech seed fund in Europe with portfolio companies like Aula, Unibuddy, and BibliU) 
  • Benoit Wirz, partner, Brighteye Ventures (an active edtech-focused venture capital fund in Europe that backs YouSchool, Lightneer, and Aula)
  • Charles Birnbaum, partner, Bessemer Venture Partners (a generalist fund with portfolio companies including Guild Education and Brightwheel)
  • Daniel Pianko, co-founder and managing director, University Ventures (a higher ed and future of work fund that is backing Imbellus and Admithub)
  • Rebecca Kaden, managing partner, Union Square Ventures (a generalist fund with portfolio companies including TopHat, Quizlet, Duolingo)
  • Andreata Muforo, partner, TLCom Capital (a generalist fund backing uLesson)

Deborah Quazzo, managing partner, GSV Ventures

What will edtech look like when students finally go back to school in person? Now that remote has become familiar, what are other concepts that you could see becoming popular?

For k12, use of digital products and platforms will now be very “normal” – companies like Lexia and Dreambox and Nearpod. Maybe this drives home usage of some products traditionally used only in schools like Lexia. Students of all ages are now very facile with zoom, this can pave the way for more zoom based synchronous learning offerings including extracurricular learning like music, dance etc. schools are now fully wired – maybe we will see schools implement home based learning programs – it’s where students spend half their time.

What are the biggest hurdles ahead for early-stage edtech startups looking to scale? What opportunities are fading as the space matures?

Edtech cos need to stay away from the me too solutions. We have seen 20 creator led learning platforms across “preK to Gray” learning in addition to incumbents like Teachable and very few have an ability to build a moat in my view. Unless someone has a very fresh take, I think that ship has sailed. Hopefully as white spaces fill with competitors, new white spaces will emerge. Emerging tech – AI/NLP/ML/VR – will continue to push the envelope. We are still not driving enough people to competency whether in prek12, higher ed or workforce so the opportunity remains vast.

How has edtech’s boom impacted your dealmaking? Has the new interest from generalist investors made valuations too bubbly, or is the market growth helping everyone?

We met on zoom with over 800 founding teams in covid all over the world. We invested in 14 new companies and are just finishing rounds in 2 more. Valuation pressures are across tech sectors. Id argue that education still lags average tech. the question for edtech is whether there is potential for a $100B company in the sector – will TAMs support it.

Ashley Bittner, founding partner, Firework Ventures

What will edtech look like when students finally go back to school in person? Now that remote has become familiar, what are other concepts that you could see becoming popular?

As it relates to our thesis, I believe that the role of employers is changing. Pre-COVID, it was estimated that as much as 1/3 of the US workforce would need to change jobs by 2030. Employers cite skills gaps as a top 3 business concern to stay competitive. Our thesis is that employers will take on more responsibility for reskilling their current workforce, and that training will become job-embeded (rather than only trying to hire to address the challenge.) Degreed was the first wave of this… Learn In is an example of the next step in this evolution. As employers look to provide more skills training (rather than compliance training), we believe that more will come from external sources (CEOs say they are unprepared to meet the reskilling challenge with existing internal resources) and that much of this training will be provided online and during work hours (to address the time barrier that is an equity issue.) I also see an opportunity for modalities like VR to become more popular as we shift to more digital and remote solutions (e.g TRANSFR.) Stats from McKinsey research.

What are the biggest hurdles ahead for early-stage edtech startups looking to scale? What opportunities are fading as the space matures? In US pre-K and K-12, high customer fragmentation (16,000 school districts, 100K+ schools…pre-K even more fragmented with little public investment), long sales cycles, budget, pedagogy, and regulation. TAM. Relatively low consumer spend on education relative to other markets. Opportunities – increasing access to broadband, increase in device penetration. In FOW, increased recognition that reskilling and upskilling is a business imperative, company culture matters for competitiveness, increased focus on DEI.

Jomayra Herrera, principal, Cowboy Ventures

What will edtech look like when students finally go back to school in person? Now that remote has become familiar, what are other concepts that you could see becoming popular?
I think activities that are fundamentally better in person will go back to [being] in person (e.g., sports, music and other enrichment activities). I think that new technology educators may have adopted during the pandemic that they have found to be helpful to their instruction will remain but all the “nice to haves” will likely fall to the wayside. We have a thesis at Cowboy that supplemental education (e.g., Juni Learning, Reconstruction or Outschool) will likely stay online, because parents will not have to worry about driving their kids to learning centers and these companies have the opportunity to make the learning fun.
What are the biggest hurdles ahead for early-stage edtech startups looking to scale? What opportunities are fading as the space matures?
For companies focused on K-12 students, it’s still really challenging to sell into schools and school districts because of the long sales cycle. This will likely become even harder, as local and state budgets tighten. In regard to what is fading, I think that tools that don’t solve a real need for educators, students and/or parents or don’t have demonstrated efficacy when it comes to student outcomes will start to fade. Consumers, especially after the pandemic, seem to be more aware of what technology has to offer and have lower tolerance for tools not having a demonstrable impact.For companies that are targeting adult learners, the biggest hurdle continues to be customer acquisition and building a brand that learners can actually trust. As the space starts to mature, consumers are getting more aware of the questions they should be asking (e.g., graduation and placement outcomes) and are less [fooled] by clever marketing.

What do you expect education to look like in five-plus years from now, when the pandemic is more of a memory?
I hope that in this pandemic we’ve realized how critical our educators are to our children’s success and we pay them more 🙂 Incentivizing our best talent to get into and stay in teaching is a critical lever we can pull to improve education.
For K-12, I expect that there will be more comfort with technology in the classroom and that tech can be partnered with in-person instruction in a way that supercharges the educator with the data needed to personalize their instruction.
For higher ed, I expect that there will be an acceleration in online learning for adults as they continue to look to reskill or upskill. There will be more opportunities to do self-paced online learning that is effective and affordable.

John Danner, managing partner, Dunce Capital

What will edtech look like when students finally go back to school in person? Now that remote has become familiar, what are other concepts that you could see becoming popular?

In K-12, education will probably continue to look much like it did, because the majority of parents are clear that child care is the principal value for their kids being at school. That said, a minority of parents are certainly rethinking education after witnessing what their children were actually learning every day for a year. My opinion is that we will continue to see a disaggregation of this care function from academics. Here’s a piece I wrote about that, which has accelerated significantly this year.

What are the biggest hurdles ahead for early-stage edtech startups looking to scale? What opportunities are fading as the space matures?

For vocational schools with a “free until you get a job” model like Lambda or SV Academy, it’s all about job placement. Lambda has had a lot of success with their new fellowship model, which has allowed them to scale significantly. For a lot of early childhood and K-12 companies working online, it’s about new parent behaviors and whether you can develop a habit like Outschool has done. For senior learning like what GetSetUp does, finding the reimbursement models through healthcare is probably the key.

What do you expect education to look like in five-plus years from now, when the pandemic is more of a memory?

I think we are in a transition to more and more academics happening in the cloud. Right now, that’s all about live experiences and human in the loop. In five years, I think we will begin seeing a significant impact of AI replacing many human functions.

#andreata-muforo, #bessemer-venture-partners, #bradley-twohig, #brighteye-ventures, #charles-birnbaum, #cowboy-ventures, #ec-investor-survey, #edtech, #education, #emerge-education, #ian-chiu, #jan-lynn-matern, #jomayra-herrera, #lightspeed-venture-partners, #mercedes-bent, #owl-ventures, #rebecca-kaden, #startups, #tc, #tlcom-capital, #union-square-ventures, #university-ventures, #venture-capital

6 investors on 2021’s mobile gaming trends and opportunities

Many VCs historically avoided placing bets on hit-driven mobile gaming content in favor of clearer platform opportunities, but as more success stories pop up, the economics overturned conventional wisdom with new business models. As more accessible infrastructure allowed young studios to become more ambitious, venture money began pouring into the gaming ecosystem.

After tackling topics including how investors are looking at opportunities in social gaming, infrastructure bets and the moonshots of AR/VR, I asked a group of VCs about their approach to mobile content investing and whether new platforms were changing perspectives about opportunities in mobile-first and desktop-first experiences.

While desktop gaming has evolved dramatically in the past few years as new business models and platforms take hold, to some degree, mobile has been hampered. Investors I chatted with openly worried that some of mobile’s opportunities were being hamstrung by Apple’s App Store.

“We are definitely fearful of Apple’s ability to completely disrupt/affect the growth of a game,” Bessemer’s Ethan Kurzweil and Sakib Dadi told TechCrunch. “We do not foresee that changing any time in the near future despite the outcry from companies such as Epic and others.”

All the while, another central focus seems to be the ever-evolving push toward cross-platform gaming, which is getting further bolstered by new technologies. One area of interest for investors: migrating the ambition of desktop titles to mobile and finding ways to build cross-platform experiences that feel fulfilling on devices that are so differently abled performance-wise.

Madrona’s Hope Cochran, who previously served as CFO of Candy Crush maker King, said mobile still has plenty of untapped opportunities. “When you have a AAA game, bringing it to mobile is challenging and yet it opens up an entire universe of scale.”

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. We spoke with:

Hope Cochran and Daniel Li, Madrona Venture Group

Does it ever get any easier to bet on a gaming content play? What do you look for?

Hope Cochran: I feel like there are a couple different sectors in gaming. There’s the actual studios that are developing games and they have several approaches. Are they developing a brand new game, are they reimagining a game from 25 years ago and reskinning it, which is a big trend right now, or are they taking IP that is really trendy right now and trying to create a game around it? There are different ways to predict which ones of those might make it, but then there’s also the infrastructure behind gaming and then there’s also identifying trends and which games or studios are embracing those. Those are some of the ways I try to parse it out and figure out which ones I think are going to rise to the top of the list.

Daniel Li: There’s this single-player narrative versus multiplayer metaverse and I think people are more comfortable on the metaverse stuff because if you’re building a social network and seeing good early traction, those things don’t typically just disappear. Then if you are betting more on individual studios producing games, I think the other thing is we’re seeing more and more VCs pop up that are just totally games-focused or devoting a portion of the portfolio to games. And for them it’s okay to have a hits-driven portfolio.

There seems to be more innovation happening on PC/console in terms of business models and distribution, do you think mobile feels less experimental these days? Why or why not?

Hope Cochran: Mobile is still trying to push the technology forward, the important element of being cross-platform is difficult. When you have a AAA game, bringing it to mobile is challenging and yet it opens up an entire universe of scale. The metrics are also very different for mobile though.

Daniel Li: It seems like the big monetization innovation that has happened over the last couple of years has been the “battle pass” type of subscription where you can unlock more content by playing. Obviously that’s gone over to mobile, but it doesn’t feel like mobile has had some sort of new monetization unlock. The other thing that’s happened on desktop is the success of the “pay $10 or $20 or $20 for this indie game” type of thing, and it feels like that’s not going to happen on mobile because of the price points that people are used to paying.

Alice Lloyd George, Rogue VC

#alice-lloyd-george, #apps, #bessemer-venture-partners, #daniel-li, #ethan-kurzweil, #gaming, #gigi-levy-weiss, #hope-cochran, #investor-survey, #madrona-venture-group, #mobile, #mobile-gaming, #nfx, #rogue-vc, #sakib-dadi, #tc, #vc-survey

StackPulse announces $28M investment to help developers manage outages

When a system outage happens, chaos can ensue as the team tries to figure out what’s happening and how to fix it. StackPulse, a new startup that wants to help developers manage these crisis situations more efficiently, emerged from stealth today with a $28 million investment.

The round actually breaks down to a previously unannounced $8 million seed investment and a new $20 million Series A. GGV led the A round, while Bessemer Venture Partners led the seed and also participated in the A. Glenn Solomon at GGV and Amit Karp at Bessemer will join the StackPulse board.

Nobody is immune to these outages. We’ve seen incidents from companies as varied as Amazon and Slack in recent months. The biggest companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon employ site reliability engineers and build customized platforms to help remediate these kinds of situations. StackPulse hopes to put this kind of capability within reach of companies, whose only defense is the on-call developers.

Company co-founder and CEO Ofer Smadari says that in the midst of a crisis with signals coming at you from Slack and PagerDuty and other sources, it’s hard to figure out what’s happening. StackPulse is designed to help sort out the details to get you back to equilibrium as quickly as possible.

First off, it helps identify the severity of the incident. Is it a false alarm or something that requires your team’s immediate attention or something that can be put off for a later maintenance cycle. If there is something going wrong that needs to be fixed right now, StackPulse can not only identify the source of the problem, but also help fix it automatically, Smadari explained.

After the incident has been resolved, it can also help with a post mortem to figure out what exactly went wrong by pulling in all of the alert communications and incident data into the platform.

As the company emerges from stealth, it has some early customers and 35 employees based in Portland, Oregon and Tel Aviv. Smadari says that he hopes to have 100 employees by the end of this year. As he builds the organization, he is thinking about how to build a diverse team for a diverse customer base. He believes that people with diverse backgrounds build a better product. He adds that diversity is a top level goal for the company, which already has an HR leader in place to help.

Glenn Solomon from GGV, who will be joining the company board, saw a strong founding team solving a big problem for companies and wanted to invest. “When they described the vision for the product they wanted to build, it made sense to us,” he said.

Customers are impatient with down time and Solomon sees developers on the front line trying to solve these issues. “Performance is more important than ever. When there is downtime, it’s damaging to companies,” he said. He believes StackPulse can help.

#bessemer-venture-partners, #developer, #disaster-recovery, #enterprise, #funding, #ggv, #recent-funding, #site-reliability, #stackpulse, #startups

VCs discuss gaming’s biggest infrastructure investment opportunities in 2021

We last polled our network of investors on the topic of gaming infrastructure startups back in May just as it was becoming clear what pandemic opportunities were in store for gaming startups.

Accel’s Amit Kumar told us at the time that “social and interactivity layers spanning across these games” were poised to be the big winners, highlighting his firm’s investments in startups like Discord and Mayhem. In December, Discord announced it was raising at a valuation of $7 billion and this month Pokémon Go creator Niantic announced it was buying Mayhem.

Following my story this week digging into investor sentiment around evolved opportunities in social gaming, I dug into gaming tools and rising platforms and pinged a handful of VCs to hear their thoughts on that market.

The broader market moves of the past several months have defied expectations with startups in the gaming world picking up substantial steam as well. This week, Roblox announced it had raised at a $29.5 billion valuation — up from $4 billion in February of last year. Game makers across the board, including Roblox, have been acquiring gaming infrastructure startups as of late.

I talked to investors about what they wanted to see more of in the space.

“We’d love to see more innovation around gaming infrastructure, which has the potential to democratize game development and allow clever indies to compete with Riot and Epic,” Bessemer’s Ethan Kurzweil and Sakib Dadi told TechCrunch.

They highlighted numerous areas for new opportunity including specialized engines, next-gen content creation platforms, and tools to port desktop experiences to mobile. The VCs we chatted with were also intrigued by latent opportunities presented by major platforms’ adopting of cloud gaming tech. The overall trend was one promoting accessibility, a desire to provide more casual experiences for platforms that may have typically catered to “hardcore” audiences.

It was also apparent from conversations that Roblox is significantly shaping investor attitudes toward the potential growth opportunities and pitfalls in the entire gaming industry, with VCs who didn’t get in on Roblox eager to dissect its success and bet on an adjacent player or one that could follow a similar recipe for success.

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. We spoke with:

  • Hope Cochran, Madrona Venture Group
  • Daniel Li, Madrona Venture Group
  • Ethan Kurzweil, Bessemer Venture Partners
  • Sakib Dadi, Bessemer Venture Partners
  • Alice Lloyd George, Rogue VC
  • Gigi Levy-Weiss, NFX

Hope Cochran and Daniel Li, Madrona Venture Group

Cloud game-streaming networks are exciting but don’t seem like a sure bet quite yet, how do you feel about them?

DL: I think the real story behind cloud gaming is “play anywhere” and the cross-platform nature of it. Gaming is just different than Netflix, it’s not like you want to have an endless library of content. When I’m playing a game, I want to play Overwatch all the time and I don’t need to have access to 1,000 other games. I think the approach that the cloud companies have taken has been more around the thinking of, what do we have and what can we build for gamers with it? More so than what do gamers want and what can we give them? It’s definitely trended toward that direction with things like giving away two free games per month, but really I think the thing that will be exciting in the longer term for cloud gaming is to play your game anywhere and play with your friends anywhere.

If users embrace desktop-class cloud gaming on mobile and there’s a broader cross-platform unification, does that spell trouble for today’s mobile gaming industry?

DL: The audiences between a Candy Crush and a Warzone are probably a little different, though I like to play both. So maybe it gets into eating some people’s lunch but I don’t think it’s anything where the number one problem for a Candy Crush is people hopping over to play desktop Call of Duty.

Are there any clear infrastructure gaps where you’d like to see new startups rise up and fill the void?

DL: Honestly just tools for building games, like next-gen Roblox Studio, next-gen Unity and Unreal type stuff — I’ve seen a couple interesting companies there. I think we’ve seen a few smaller companies focused on making sure that a network is safe for children, but I feel like a lot of the infrastructure stuff is really driven by what type of new content is coming out. So as the social games became really popular, securing that and making sure that the chats were safe became really important.

HC: I would love to see something built for helping games that were created for the triple-A environment to port over better to mobile environments. Every time I work with a gaming company on that, they seem to have to rebuild the game so it’d be really interesting to see something like that really helps them adopt to the mobile form.

#asia, #bessemer-venture-partners, #ethan-kurzweil, #gaming, #gigi-levy-weiss, #hope-cochran, #investor-survey, #madrona-venture-group, #madrona-ventures, #nfx, #sakib-dadi, #tc, #vc-survey

Sources: Hinge Health has raised $310M Series D at a $3B valuation

Hinge Health, the San Francisco-based company that offers a digital solution to treat chronic musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions — such as back and joint pain — has closed a $310 million in Series D funding, according to sources.

The round is led by Coatue and Tiger Global, and values 2015-founded Hinge at $3 billion post-money, people familiar with the investment tell me. It comes off the back of a 300% increase in revenue in 2020, with investors told to expect revenue to nearly triple again in 2021 based on the company’s booked pipeline.

I also understand that Hinge’s founders — Daniel Perez and Gabriel Mecklenburg — retain voting control of the board. I’ve reached out to CEO Perez for comment and will update this post should I hear back.

Hinge’s existing investors include Bessemer Venture Partners, which backed the company’s $90 million Series C round in February, along with Lead Edge Capital, Insight Partners (which led the Series B), Atomico (which led the Series A), 11.2 Capital, Quadrille Capital and Heuristic Capital.

Originally based in London, Hinge Health primarily sells into U.S. employers and health plans, billing itself as a digital healthcare solution for chronic MSK conditions. The platform combines wearable sensors, an app and health coaching to remotely deliver physical therapy and behavioral health.

The basic premise is that there is plenty of existing research to show how best to treat chronic MSK disorders, but existing healthcare systems aren’t up to the task due to funding pressures and for other systematic reasons. The result is an over tendency to use opioid-based painkillers or surgery, with poor results and often at even greater cost. Hinge wants to reverse this through the use of technology and better data, with a focus on improving treatment adherence.

Meanwhile, Hinge’s jump in valuation is significant. According to sources, the company’s February round produced a valuation of around $420 million, so the new valuation is more than a 6x increase.

#bessemer-venture-partners, #coatue-management, #europe, #fundings-exits, #health, #hinge-health, #insight-partners, #lead-edge-capital, #london, #physical-therapy, #recent-funding, #san-francisco, #social-software, #software, #startups, #surgery, #tc, #tiger-global-management, #united-states

#DealMonitor – bekommt 42 Millionen – Usercentrics sammelt 17 Millionen ein – Actio bekommt 8,5 Millionen

Im aktuellen #DealMonitor für den 17. Dezember werfen wir wieder einen Blick auf die wichtigsten, spannendsten und interessantesten Investments und Exits des Tages. Alle Deals der Vortage gibt es im großen und übersichtlichen #DealMonitor-Archiv.

+++ Jetzt offiziell: Der amerikanische Geldgeber Bessemer Venture Partners investiert – wie bereits im aktuellen Insider-Podcast berichtet – 42 Millionen US-Dollar in, ein noch junges Logistik-Startup. Index Ventures investierte zuletzt gemeinsam mit Next47, Creandum, Lufthansa Cargo und Point Nine Capital 18,6 Millionen US-Dollar in die Jungfirma, die sich um die digitale Distribution und Buchung von Luftfracht kümmert. cargo.ono wurde 2017 von Moritz Claussen, Oliver T. Neumann und Mike Rötgers gegründet. “Today, the company’s digital platform processes annualized volumes in Europe of more than 110,000 shipments and 45,000 tonnes with 15 airline partners including Lufthansa Cargo, Finnair Cargo, Etihad Cargo and All Nippon Airways Cargo”, heißt es in der Presseaussendung.

+++ Der amerikanische Geldgeber Full In Partners sowie die Altinvestoren Alstin Capital, Reimann Investors und Cavalry Ventures investieren 17 Millionen Euro in Usercentrics, eine SaaS Consent Management Plattform. Das Münchner Startup, das anderen Unternehmen darin unterstützt ihre Webseiten DSGVO-konform zu machen, wurde 2017 von Mischa Rürup, Vinzent Ellissen und Lisa Gradow gegründet. Alstin Capital, Cavalry Ventures und Reimann Investors investieren zuletzt einen mittleren einstelligen Millionenbetrag in Usercentrics. Mit dem frischen Kapital soll unter anderem die Expansion in die USA vorangetrieben werden. Usercentrics beschäftigt derzeit rund 100 Mitarbeiter. Full In Partners investierte bisher unter anderem in Canva, Pomelo Health und AutoRABIT.

+++ HV Capital, Cavalry Ventures, Atomico Angel Fund sowie Business Angel wie die SumUp-Gründer Stefan Jeschonnek und Jan Deepen, Fabian Siegel (Marley Spoon), Doreen Huber, Udo Schloemer (Factory), Holger Friedrich, Karl-Moritz Herrmann und die Musikproduzenten Tassilo Ippenberger und Thomas Benedix investieren 8,5 Millionen Euro in Actio. Hinter Actio stecken Lieferheld-Macher Nikita Fahrenholz und Daniel Stahlkopf, früher einmal Director Product Management bei Delivery Hero. Bei Actio geht es um eine “Plattform zur Unterstützung der körperlichen und geistigen Gesundheit”.

+++ Future Industry Ventures (FIV), Swisscom Ventures und ETF investieren 7 Millionen Euro in Flyability. Das junge Unternehmen, das 2014 von Patrick Thévoz und Adrien Briod gegründet wurde, bietet drohnenbasierte B2B-Lösungen für Unternehmen mit Fokus auf die Gas-, Öl-, Energieerzeugungs-, Chemie-, Bergbau- und Schifffahrtsindustrie an. “In den letzten 6 Jahren hat sich Flyability von einem Spin-off der EPFL in der Schweiz zu einem Unternehmen mit 100 Mitarbeitern entwickelt, das auf dem Gebiet der Erforschung und Inneninspektionen mit Drohnen in Innenräumen Pionierarbeit geleistet hat”, heißt es in der Presseaussendung.

+++ SwissHealth Ventures, der Venture-Ableger der Schweizer Krankenversicherung CSS, investiert gemeinsam mit Mutschler Ventures, PilotRock Ventures, Forty:one, EquityPitcher und Angel-Investoren, wie Ole Wiesinger, 5,5 Millionen Schweizer Franken in OnlineDoctor. Das Schweizer Telemedizin-Startup, das 2016 von Paul Scheidegger, Tobias Wolf und Philipp Wustrow gegründet wurde, sieht sich bereits heute als “Europas führender Anbieter für Teledermatologie”. Das Startup kann insbesondere Hautkrankheiten per Foto beurteilen. Rund 8 Millionen flossen bereits in OnlineDoctor.

+++ bm|t beteiligungsmanagement thüringen und Capital-E investieren 2 Millionen Euro in siOPTICA, einen Hersteller von Lösungen für sogenannte umschaltbare Privacy-Technologien, die für Beifahrer-Displays in Autos, Laptops, Tablets, Handys und Bezahlterminals zum Einsatz kommen. Der Privacy-Modus kann dabei per Tastendruck aktiviert werden. siOPTICA wurde 2013 in Jena gegründet.

+++ Der High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF), die Swiss Startup Group und die Zürcher Kantonalbank investieren 1 Million Schweizer Franken in Gilytics. Das Startup aus Zürich, das 2017 von Stefano Grassi, Heather Pace Clark und Philippe Bieri gegründet wurde, bietet eine Cloud-GIS-basierte Plattform- und Servicelösung an, “die es Anwendern ermöglicht, alternative Routen für Stromleitungen, Pipelines, Straßen und Eisenbahnen zu berechnen”.

Achtung! Wir freuen uns über Tipps, Infos und Hinweise, was wir in unserem #DealMonitor alles so aufgreifen sollten. Schreibt uns eure Vorschläge entweder ganz klassisch per E-Mail oder nutzt unsere “Stille Post“, unseren Briefkasten für Insider-Infos.

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): azrael74

#actio, #aktuell, #alstin-capital, #atomico-angel-fund, #berlin, #bessemer-venture-partners, #capital-e, #cargo-one, #cavalry-ventures, #e-health, #flyability, #full-in-partners, #future-industry-ventures, #gilytics, #high-tech-grunderfonds, #hv-capital, #jena, #munchen, #mutschler-ventures, #onlinedoctor, #pilotrock-ventures, #reimann-investors, #sioptica, #swiss-startup-group, #swisscom-ventures, #swisshealth-ventures, #usercentrics, #venture-capital, #zurich

Iris Automation raises $13 million for visual drone object avoidance tech

It’s only a matter of time now before drones become a key component of everyday logistics infrastructure, but there are still significant barriers between where we are today and that future – particularly when it comes to regulation. Iris Automation is developing computer vision products that can help simplify the regulatory challenges involved in setting standards for pilotless flight, thanks to its detect-and-avoid technology that can run using a wide range of camera hardware. The company has raised a $13 million Series B funding round to improve and extend its tech, and to help provide demonstrations of its efficacy in partnership with regulators.

I spoke to Iris Automation CEO Jon Damush, and Iris Automation investor Tess Hatch, VP at Bessemer Venture Partners, about the round and the startup’s progress and goals. Damush, who took over as CEO earlier this year, talked about his experience at Boeing, his personal experience as a pilot, and the impact on aviation of the advent of small, cheap and readily accessible electric motors, batteries and powerful computing modules, which have set the stage for an explosion in the commercial UAV industry.

“You’ve now shattered some of the barriers that have been in aerospace for the past 50 years, because you’re starting to really democratize the tools of production that allow people to make things that fly much easier than they could before,” Damush told me. “So with that, and the ability to take a human out of the cockpit, comes some interesting challenges – none more so than the regulatory environment.”

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and most airspace regulators around the world, essentially break regulations around commercial flight down into two spheres, Damush explains. The first is around operations – what are you going to do while in flight, and are you doing that the right way. The second, however, is about the pilot, and that’s a much trickier thing to adapt to pilotless aircraft.

“One of the biggest challenges is the part of the regulations called 91.113b, and what that part of the regs states is that given weather conditions that permit, it’s the pilot on the airplane that has the ultimate responsibility to see and avoid other aircraft,”  That’s not a separation standard that says you’ve got to be three miles away, or five miles away or a mile away – that is a last line of defense, that is a safety net, so that when all the other mitigations that lead to a safe flight from A to B fail, the pilot is there to make sure you don’t collide into somebody.”

Iris comes in here, with an optical camera-based obstacle avoidance system that uses computer vision to effectively replace this last line of defence when there isn’t a pilot to do so. And what this unlocks is a key limiting factor in today’s commercial drone regulatory environment: The ability to fly aircraft beyond visual line of sight. All that means is that drones can operate without having to guarantee that an operator has eyes on them at all times. When you first hear that, you imagine that this factors in mostly to long-distance flight, but Damush points out that it’s actually more about volume – removing the constraints of having to keep a drone within visual line of sight at all times means you can go from having one operator per drone, to one operator managing a fleet of drones, which is when the economies of scale of commercial drone transportation really start to make sense.

Iris has made progress towards making this a reality, working with the FAA this year as part of its integrated pilot program to demonstrate the system in two different use cases. It also released the second version of its Casia system, which can handle significantly longer range object detection. Hatch pointed out that these were key reasons why Bessemer upped its stake with this follow-on investment, and when I asked if COVID-19 has had any impact on industry appetite or confidence in the commercial drone market, she said that has been a significant factor, and it’s also changing the nature of the industry.

“The two largest industries [right now] are agriculture and public safety enforcement,” Hatch told me. “And public safety enforcement was not one of those last year, it was agriculture, construction and energy. That’s definitely become a really important vertical for the drone industry – one could imagine someone having a heart attack or an allergic reaction, an ambulance takes on average 14 minutes to get to that person, when a drone can be dispatched and deliver an AED or an epi pen within minutes, saving that person’s life. So I really hope that tailwind continues post COVID.”

This Series B round includes investment from Bee Partners, OCA Ventures, and new strategic investors Sony Innovation Fund and Verizon Ventures (disclosure: TechCrunch is owned by Verizon Media Group, though we have no involvement, direct or otherwise, with their venture arm). Damush pointed out that Sony provides great potential strategic value because it develops so much of the imaging sensor stack used in the drone industry, and Sony also develops drones itself. For its part, Verizon offers key partner potential on the connectivity front, which is invaluable for managing large-scale drone operations.

#aerospace, #articles, #bee-partners, #bessemer-venture-partners, #boeing, #ceo, #computing, #drone, #embedded-systems, #emerging-technologies, #energy, #federal-aviation-administration, #funding, #imaging, #iris-automation, #recent-funding, #robotics, #science-and-technology, #sony-innovation-fund, #startups, #tc, #technology, #tess-hatch, #unmanned-aerial-vehicles, #verizon-media-group, #verizon-ventures, #vp

#DealMonitor – #EXKLUSIV Bessemer investiert in – 468 Capital investiert in – JuwelKerze-Gründer investiert in truemorrow

Im aktuellen #DealMonitor für den 14. Dezember werfen wir wieder einen Blick auf die wichtigsten, spannendsten und interessantesten Investments und Exits des Tages. Alle Deals der Vortage gibt es im großen und übersichtlichen #DealMonitor-Archiv.

+++ Der amerikanische Geldgeber Bessemer Venture Partners investiert 40 Millionen in, ein noch junges Logistik-Startup. Index Ventures investierte zuletzt gemeinsam mit Next47, Creandum, Lufthansa Cargo und Point Nine Capital 18,6 Millionen US-Dollar in die Jungfirma. Creandum, Point Nine Capital und Lufthansa Cargo investieren zuvor bereits rund 3 Millionen US-Dollar in das Berliner Unternehmen, das sich um die digitale Distribution und Buchung von Luftfracht kümmert. cargo.ono wurde 2017 von Moritz Claussen, Oliver T. Neumann und Mike Rötgers gegründet. Hintergründe gibt es nur im aktuellen Insider-Podcast. #EXKLUSIV
+++ 468 Capital investiert in Das Startup, ein Spin-off des Deutschen Forschungsinstituts für Künstliche Intelligenz (DFKI), ist im Segment der intelligenten Dokumenten Prozessautomation (IDP) unterwegs. “Dank einer Deep-OCR können Dokumente extrem schnell und genau analysiert sowie relevante Daten extrahiert werden”, teilt das Startup mit. wurde 2019 von Christophe Hocquet, Johannes Korves und Manuel Zapp gegründet. Zuvor investierte bereits der High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) investiert eine siebenstellige Summe in Hintergründe gibt es nur im aktuellen Insider-Podcast. #EXKLUSIV

+++ Werle Ventures, also Martin Werle (Gründer von JuwelKerze), Burckhardt Bonello und Felix Schneider, Mitgründer von Dreamlines, investieren in truemorrow. Bei truemorrow finden Onliner nachhaltige Körperpflegeprodukte. “Damit du dich im Badezimmer nicht mehr zwischen deinem Wohlbefinden und der Umwelt entscheiden musst”, teilt das Startup mit. Gründer sind Simon Prinz und Matthias Vosen, beide zuletzt bei Dreamlines tätig. Hintergründe gibt es nur im aktuellen Insider-Podcast. #EXKLUSIV

Polarglow / Brands United
+++ JuwelKerze-Gründer Martin Werle investiert außerdem noch in Polarglow. Hinter Polarglow verbirgt sich eine Art stylischer Mini-Kühlschrank für Kosmetik – samt passender Kosmetiklinie. Am Unternehmen ist außerdem Liberty Ventures (Felix Swoboda, zuletzt Homebell, und Florian Swoboda, Barzahlen) beteiligt. Geführt wird Polarglow von Alexander Brenske. Hintergründe gibt es nur im aktuellen Insider-Podcast. Zudem investiert Werle in den jungen Thrasio-Klon Brands United. #EXKLUSIV

+++ Der amerikanische Geldgeber Benchmark Capital investiert in das französische Startup Sorare., Partech, Fabric Ventures, Semantic Ventures, Cygni Capital und Fußball-Weltmeister André Schürrle investierten zuvor bereits 4 Millionen US-Dollar in das junge Unternehmen. Sorare bietet auf Blockchain-Basis ein digitales Pendant zu den Fußballsammelkarten von Panini, Topps und Co. – samt Fantasy Football Manager. Hintergründe gibt es nur im aktuellen Insider-Podcast. #EXKLUSIV

+++ Der amerikanische Geldgeber Insight Partners investiert in den britischen goPuff-Klon Weezy. Zuvor investierte bereits Heartcore Capital in den rollenden Supermarkt. Der deutsche goPuff-Klon Gorillas sammelt gerade erst 44 Millionen US-Dollar ein – unter anderem von Coatue. Hintergründe gibt es nur im aktuellen Insider-Podcast. #EXKLUSIV

German Bionic
+++ Samsung Catalyst, MIG AG, Storm Ventures, Benhamou Global Ventures und IT Farm investieren 20 Million US-Dollar in German Bionic, ein Unternehmen für robotische Exoskelette. “Das Cray X von German Bionic ist das weltweit erste vernetzte Exoskelett, das, verbunden mit der Smart-Factory, selbstlernend Hebebewegungen verstärkt und Fehlhaltungen vorbeugt, und somit zum intelligenten Bindeglied zwischen Mensch und Maschine in Logistik- und Intralogistik-Prozessen wird”, teilt das Unternehmen aus Augsburg mit.

Digital+ Partners und eCAPITAL investieren 15 Millionen US-Dollar in VMRay. Das Bochum Startup, 2013 von den Informatikern Carsten Willems und Ralf Hund gegründet, analysiert Malware wie Computerviren oder -würmer, Trojaner, Spyware, Kernelrootkits und -bootkits auf ihr Verhalten. In der Series B sammelte das Unternehmen damit rund rund 25 Millionen Dollar in. Der High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) investierte bereits 2014 in VMRay.

+++ Statkraft Ventures und EnBW New Ventures investieren in das Stuttgarter GovTech vialytics. Das Unternehmen, das 2017 von Achim Hoth, Patrick Glaser und Danilo Jovicic ins Leben gerufen wurde, sorgt mit Hilfe von Künstlicher Intelligenz für bessere Straßen. vialytics erfasst den Zustand der Straßeninfrastruktur und wertet diesen automatisiert aus. Das frische Kapital “ermöglicht es vialytics den erfolgreichen Wachstumskurs als zuverlässiger Partner für Städte und Gemeinden noch stärker auszubauen”.

Isar Aerospace
+++ Lakestar, Earlybird, Vsquared Ventures, Airbus Ventures, Apeiron und HV Capital sowie Bulent Altan, Ann-Kristin und Paul Achleitner investierten gerade 75 Millionen Euro in Isar Aerospace. Jetzt ist die Bewertung klar – sie liegt nach unseren Informationen bei 300 Millionen. Das 2018 von Daniel Metzler, Josef Fleischmann und Markus Brandl gegründete Unternehmen will kleinere Satelliten kostengünstiger in den Orbit befördern und entwickelt deswegen unter anderem an alternativen Antrieben für Trägerraketen. Earlybird und Airbus Ventures investierten zuletzt gemeinsam mit den Altinvestoren beachtliche 17 Millionen US-Dollar in das Raketen-Startup. Insgesamt flossen nun schon knapp 100 Millionen Euro in Isar Aerospace. Hintergründe gibt es nur im aktuellen Insider-Podcast. #EXKLUSIV


+++ Der amerikanische Social-News-Aggregator Reddit übernimmt den TikTok-Herausforderer Dubsmash, der einst in Berlin als simpler Lip-Syncing-Dienst an den Start ging. “Dubsmash’s mission is to elevate under-represented creators. They have built a beautiful and fun product that enables their users to create unique, dynamic, interactive content. While Dubsmash will maintain its own platform and brand, we also look forward to bringing our teams together to combine the unique creator experience of Dubsmash with the community growth engine of Reddit”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. Investoren wie Index Ventures, Lowercase Capital, ENIAC Ventures, Sunstone Capital und Raine Ventures investierten in den vergangenen Jahren einen zweistelligen Millionenbetrag in Dubsmash, das von Jonas Drüppel, Roland Grenke und Daniel Taschik gegründet wurde. Dubsmash war vor einigen Monaten fast am Ende, dann folgte der Umzug nach New York, fast alle der 50 Mitarbeiter wurden entlassen und ein kompletter Neustart als Video-Dienst.

Achtung! Wir freuen uns über Tipps, Infos und Hinweise, was wir in unserem #DealMonitor alles so aufgreifen sollten. Schreibt uns eure Vorschläge entweder ganz klassisch per E-Mail oder nutzt unsere “Stille Post“, unseren Briefkasten für Insider-Infos.

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): azrael74

#468-capital, #aktuell, #andre-schurrle, #augsburg, #benchmark-capital, #benhamou-global-ventures, #berlin, #bessemer-venture-partners, #bochum, #brands-united, #cargo-one, #dubsmash, #german-bionic, #govtech, #insight-partners, #isar-aerospace, #liberty-ventures, #logistik, #natif-ai, #polarglow, #promi-investor, #reddit, #ruhrgebiet, #samsung-catalyst, #sorare, #storm-ventures, #stuttgart, #thrasio, #truemorrow, #venture-capital, #vialytics, #vmray, #werle-ventures

#Podcast – Insider #92: – – ROQ – Weezy – Sorare – Trade Republic – Isar Aerospace – Sennder – Polarglow

Im ds-Insider-Podcast liefern OMR-Podcast-Legende Sven Schmidt und ds-Chefredakteur Alexander Hüsing regelmäßig spannende Insider-Infos aus der deutschen Startup-Szene. In jeder Ausgabe gibt es exklusive Neuigkeiten, die bisher zuvor nirgendwo zu lesen oder hören waren. Zu guter Letzt kommentiert das dynamische Duo der deutschen Startup-Szene in jeder Ausgabe offen, schonungslos und ungefiltert die wichtigsten Startup- und Digital-News aus Deutschland.

Insider #92 – Unsere Themen

+++ Bessemer investiert 40 Millionen in #EXKLUSIV
+++ 468 Capital investiert in #EXKLUSIV
+++ Ex-Rocket- und Project A-CTOs gründen ROQ Technology #EXKLUSIV
+++ Insight investiert in goPuff-Klon Weezy (UK) #EXKLUSIV
+++ Project A plant goPuff/Gorillas-Konzept #EXKLUSIV
+++ Christoph Stark startet Thrasio-Klon Merx #EXKLUSIV
+++ Benchmark investiert in Sorare (FR) #EXKLUSIV
+++ Sequoia interessiert sich für Trade Republic #EXKLUSIV
+++ Isar Aerospace: Bewertung liegt bei 300 Million #EXKLUSIV
+++ Sennder plant Unicorn-Bewertung #EXKLUSIV
+++ Felmo sucht erneut Kapital #EXKLUSIV
+++ Swoboda-Brüder starten Polarglow #EXKLUSIV
+++ JuwelKerze-Gründer investiert in truemorrow und Brands United #EXKLUSIV
+++ Burckhardt Bonello setzt auf ConTech #EXKLUSIV

Insider #92 – Unser Sponsor

Die heutige Ausgabe wird erneut gesponsert von start2grow. Habt ihr eine technologische oder digitale Geschäftsidee? Braucht ihr noch Unterstützung bei der Umsetzung? Fehlt eurem Businessplan noch der letzte Schliff? In jedem Fall seid ihr bei start2grow richtig! start2grow begleitet euren Weg zum erfolgreichen Unternehmen – und bietet optimales Coaching, interessante Events, beste Kontakte zu Wirtschaft, Wissenschaft und Kapital sowie die Chance auf hohe Geldpreise. Also einen optimalen Start in die Selbstständigkeit. Der nächste Gründungswettbewerb startet am 22. Januar 2021. Meldet euch direkt an unter Die Teilnahme ist kostenfrei!

Insider #92 – Unser Podcast

Abonnieren: Die Podcasts von könnt ihr bei Amazon Music – Apple Podcasts – Castbox – Deezer – Google Podcasts – iHeartRadio – Overcast – PlayerFM – Podimo – Spotify – SoundCloud oder per RSS-Feed abonnieren.

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): ds

#468-capital, #aktuell, #bessemer-venture-partners, #brands-united, #cargo-one, #felmo, #gorillas, #isar-aerospace, #merx, #natif-ai, #podcast, #polarglow, #roq-technology, #sennder, #sorare, #trade-republic, #truemorrow, #weezy