#DealMonitor – Kinexon sammelt 130 Millionen ein – Twaice bekommt 30 Millionen – eGym übernimmt Gymlib


Im #DealMonitor für den 26. April werfen wir einen Blick auf die wichtigsten, spannendsten und interessantesten Investments und Exits des Tages in der DACH-Region. Alle Deals der Vortage gibt es im großen und übersichtlichen #DealMonitor-Archiv.

INVESTMENTS

Kinexon
+++ Die Private-Equity-Firma Thomas H. Lee Partners (THL), BMW i Ventures und Telekom Innovation Pool (TIP) investieren 130 Millionen US-Dollar in Kinexon. Das Münchner Unternehmen, das 2012 von Alexander Hüttenbrink und Oliver Trinchera gegründet wurde, setzt auf eine Cloud-Software in Kombination mit Sensorik und vernetzten Geräten, die Prozesse erfassen, optimieren und automatisieren kann. Zielgruppe sind Firmen aus den Segmengten Produktion, Logistik und Sport. Unternehmen wie Continental, zalando und Intel setzen ebenso auf Kinexon wie die Sportvereine Bayer Leverkusen, RB Leipzig und Paris Saint-Germain. Das Unternehmen “wird die Mittel nutzen, um die Entwicklung seiner Automatisierungstechnologie zu beschleunigen und die Expansion in Nordamerika und Europa fortzusetzen”.

Twaice
+++ Der amerikanische Geldgeber Coatue, der Unternehmer Lip-Bu Tan und die Altinvestoren investieren 30 Millionen US-Dollar in Twaice. Das Münchner Startup, das 2018 von Stephan Rohr und Michael Baumann gegründet wurde, entwickelt eine Batterieanalysesoftware. Konkret ermöglicht die Jungfirma Batterie- und Elektrofahrzeugherstellern, Flottenbetreibern und Finanzdienstleistern Batterien hinsichtlich Effizienz, Sicherheit und Zuverlässigkeit zu optimieren. Insgesamt flossen nun schon 75 Millionen Dollar in Twaice. Zu den bisherigen Geldgebern zählen Energize Ventures, Creandum, Cherry Ventures, UVC Partners und Speedinvest. “Die Mittel werden für die weitere Optimierung der Cloud-Analytikplattform von Twaice und den Ausbau der Präsenz verschiedener Standorte in Europa und Nordamerika verwendet – einschließlich der Erweiterung des neuen Standorts in Chicago”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. Mehr über Twaice

informed
+++ HV Capital und 468 Capital investieren 5 Millionen Euro in informed. Das Berliner Unternehmen, das von von Benjamin Mateev, Martin Kaelble und Axel Bard Bringéus gegründet wurde, setzt auf ein Meta-Abo für Print-Inhalte. Das Motto dabei lautet: “The informed app bundles and curates the best trusted news sources in the world. The curation is done by humans, not purely algorithm”. 468 Capital investierte zuvor bereits 1,5 Millionen Euro in das junge Unternehmen. “The funding will be utilized to further develop informed’s product and grow its team”, heißt es in der Presseaussendung. Mehr über informed

Raus
+++ NFQ Capital, Rivus Capital, Roadsurfer, Founderment A/S, Altinvestor Speedinvest und mehrere Business-Investor:innen eine siebenstellige Summe in Raus. Insgesamt flossen nun schon 3,2 Millionen Euro in das junge Unternehmen. Das Berliner Startup, das 2021 von den Schulfreunden Christopher Eilers, Johann Ahlers und Julian Trautwein gegründet wurde, entwickelt “zeitgemäße Rückzugsorte außerhalb der Stadt mit smarten, nachhaltigen Cabins”. “Das Unternehmen wird das zusätzliche Kapital zudem einsetzen, um das einzigartige Gästeerlebnis und die Entwicklung seines eigenen Tech-Stacks auszubauen”, heißt es in der Presseaussendung. Mehr übe Raus

Smedo
+++ APEX und Brandenburg Kapital investieren 1,66 Millionen Euro in Smedo. Das MedTech aus Hennigsdorf, das 2019 von Thomas Grellner gegründet wurde, kümmert sich um das berührungslose Messung von Vitaldaten. “Die Gelder werden verwendet, um die Entwicklung und Markteinführung eines medizinischen Systems zur berührungslosen Vitaldatenmessung in Krankenhäusern und Altenpflegeheimen voranzutreiben”, teilt das Unternehmen mit.

Grewp
+++ Hessen Kapital, das Unternehmen HRpepper sowie Angel-Investoren wie Martin Baart (ecoligo), Christoph Beuck (Newsletter2Go) und Vanessa Fischer (TransAgency.org) investieren eine sechsstellige Summe in Grewp. Das HR-Startup aus Frankfurt am Main, das 2021 von Angelika Birk und Frank Marschall gegründet wurde, setzt auf einen Marktplatz für Teambuilding. So sollen Unternehmen ihren Bedarf ermitteln und “passgenaue Teambuilding-Maßnahmen finden”.

Planetics
+++ Dietmar Kruse, Ex-Managing Principal von Ebiquity, und weitere Angel-Investoren investieren eine sechsstellige Summe in Planetics. Beim Startup aus München, das 2020 von Fabian Hörst, Raphael Breitner und Alexandros Taflanidis gegründet wurde, dreht sich alles um “nachhaltige und faire Sportartikel”. Gemeint sind damit Bekleidung, Equipment und Nutrition. Bernd Geilen, Andrea Lederer, Arno Gerken und Co. investierten zuvor bereits in das Unternehmen.

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

Gymlib
+++ Das Münchner Fitness-Unternehmen eGym übernimmt seinen französischen Konkurrenten Gymlib, der sich um Corporate-Fitness kümmert. Die Bajuwaren zahlen dafür “einen hohen zweistelligen Millionenbetrag”. Das Unternehmen, das 2010 von Florian Sauter und Philipp Rösch-Schlanderer gegründet wurde, digitalisiert die Fitnesswelt. Der englische Geldgeber Mayfair Equity Partners, NGP Capital, Highland Europe, HPE Growth Capital und Bayern Kapital investierten zuletzt rund 69 Millionen Euro in eGym. Mehr als 150 Millionen an Risikokapital müssten bisher in das Unternehmen geflossen sein. Die Bewertung der Jungfirma lag zuletzt im deutlich dreistelligen Millionen-Euro-Bereich. Im Corona-Jahr 2020 erwirtschaftete das Unternehmen einen Umsatz in Höhe von 44,1 Millionen Euro (2019: 50,7 Millionen). Mehr über eGym

Druckerpatronen.de
+++ Die Tonerpartner Gruppe, die von Rivean Capital unterstützt wird, übernimmt Druckerpatronen.de, einen der Online-Shops für Druckerzubehör. “Nach der Stärkung der Marktpräsenz in Frankreich durch die Übernahme von SAS Rousselle.com im Jahr 2021 stellt die Übernahme von Druckerpatronen.de den nächsten wichtigen Meilenstein in der Buy-and-Build-Strategie von TonerPartner dar”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. Druckerpatronen.de mit Sitz in Iserlohn wurde 2010 gegründet. Tonerpartner mit Sitz in Hattingen wurde 1993 gegründet.

Pop-Up Camps
+++ Das niederländische Unternehmen Campspace, eine Plattform für kleine und ungewöhnliche Campingplätze, übernimmt den Hamburger Wettbewerber Pop-Up Camps. “Möglich wurde
dieser Schritt durch eine Finanzierungsrunde in Höhe von drei Millionen Euro unter der Leitung der schwedischen Investmentgesellschaft VNV Global sowie der Beteiligung vier namhafter Angel-Investoren, darunter die ehemaligen Booking.com-Führungskräfte David Vismans und Andrea Carini”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. Pop-Up Camps wurde 2020 von Jobst von Paepcke gegründet.

DIE HÖHLE DER LÖWEN

Le Gurque
+++ In der vierten Folge der elften Staffel investieren die Familien-Löwinnen Sarna Röser und Dagmar Wöhrl 100.000 Euro in Le Gurque und sichern sich dabei 20 % am Unternehmen. Das Hamburger Startup, das von Leonie Eißele und Niklas Heinzerling gegründet wurde, setzt auf nachhaltige Spülschwämme. Der Deal platzte nach der Show.

Read-O
+++ In der vierten Folge der elften Staffel investiert Sales-Löwe Carsten Maschmeyer 600.000 Euro in Read-O und sichert sich dabei 25,1 % am Kölner Unternehmen. Hinter Read-O verbirgt sich eine Buchfinder-App. Der Deal platzte nach der Show.

Lucky Plant
+++ In der vierten Folge der elften Staffel investiert Regal-Löwe Ralf Dümmel 100.000 Euro in Lucky Plant und sichert sich dabei 20 % am Unternehmen. Das Startup, das von Bernhard Unger, Thomas Hüster und dem ehemaligen Fußball-Star Michael Ballack gegründet wurde, setzt auf Pflanzenstärkungsmittel.

Xeem
+++ In der vierten Folge der elften Staffel investieren die Familien-Löwinnen Sarna Röser und Dagmar Wöhrl sowie Sales-Löwe Carsten Maschmeyer 300.000 Euro in Xeem und sichern sich dabei 25,1 % am Unternehmen. Hinter xeem aus Darmstadt, gegründet von Geraldine Ulrichs und Janine Weirich, verbirgt sich eine Art digitales Assessment-Center.

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, #apex-digital-health, #berlin, #brandenburg-kapital, #campspace, #coatue, #druckerpatronen-de, #founderment-a-s, #frankfurt-am-main, #grewp, #gymlib, #hamburg, #hessen-kapital, #hv-capital, #informed, #kinexon, #le-gurque, #lucky-plant, #medien, #medtech, #munchen, #nfq-capital, #planetics, #pop-up-camps, #raus, #read-o, #rivean-capital, #rivus-capital, #roadsurfer, #smedo, #speedinvest, #thomas-h-lee-partners, #tonerpartner, #travel, #twaice, #venture-capital, #xeem

#DealMonitor – GoStudent bekommt 300 Millionen – Mostly AI sammelt 25 Millionen ein – Evernest bekommt 13 Millionen


Im #DealMonitor für den 11. Januar werfen wir einen Blick auf die wichtigsten, spannendsten und interessantesten Investments und Exits des Tages in der DACH-Region. Alle Deals der Vortage gibt es im großen und übersichtlichen #DealMonitor-Archiv.

INVESTMENTS

GoStudent
+++ Prosus, Telekom Innovation Pool, SoftBank, Tencent, Dragoneer, Left Lane Capital und Coatue investieren 300 Millionen Euro in GoStudent. Die Bewertung steigt auf 3 Milliarden Euro. Erst vor sieben Monaten sammelte das Unternehmen 205 Millionenein. Die Bewertung im Sommer 2020 lag bei 1,4 Milliarden. Insgesamt flossen nun schon mehr als 590 Millionen Euro in das Unternehmen. Das Startup, das sich als E-Learning-Dienst positioniert und auf kostenpflichtige Einzelkurse setzt, wurde 2017 von Gregor Müller, Felix Ohswald und seinem Bruder Moritz Ohswald gegründet. “Die neue Finanzierung wird die drei zentralen und strategischen Säulen von GoStudent stärken: Internationale Expansion, Produkterweiterung durch Fusionen & Akquisitionen und Ausbau der Marktanteile in bestehenden Regionen”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. Über 1.300 Mitarbeiter:innen wirken derzeit für das junge Unternehmen. Mehr über GoStudent

Mostly AI
+++ Molten Ventures, Citi Ventures sowie die Altinvestoren Earlybird und 42CAP investieren 25 Millionen US-Dollar in Mostly AI. Das 2017 von Michael Platzer, Klaudius Kalcher und Roland Boubela gegründete Wiener KI-Startup bietet ein Verfahren an, mit dem Infos in synthetische Daten umwandelt werden können. Dabei soll die Aussagekraft der Daten erhalten, gleichzeitig aber die Re-Identifizierung von Personen unmöglich bleiben. “Das Unternehmen wird die Mittel nutzen, um seine Vision einer intelligenteren und gerechteren Zukunft auf der Grundlage von verantwortungsvoller KI umzusetzen”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. Earlybird, 42 CAP und Push Ventures investierten zuletzt 5 Millionen US-Dollar in das UnternehmenMehr über Mostly AI

Evernest 
+++ Der amerikanische Geldgeber Prudence, Kibo Ventures und Bonsai Partners sowie die Altinvestoren Project A Ventures und APIC investieren 13 Millionen Euro in Evernest. Das junge Hamburger Makler-Startup, das 2019 vom ehemaligen Engel & Völkers-Vorstand Christian Evers und Luisa Haxel, die bei Engel & Völkers für die Digitalstrategie zuständig war, gegründet wurde, verkauft salopp formuliert insbesondere teure Immobilien in Großstädten. Zuvor flossen bereits 6 Millionen Euro in das PropTech. “Das neue Risikokapital soll in den Ausbau der Technologieplattform sowie in die Eröffnung weiterer Standorte fließen. Das PropTech-Unternehmen legt damit das Fundament für seinen Expansionskurs in Europa in diesem Jahr”, heißt es in der Presseaussendung. Mehr über Evernest

Finanzguru
+++ VR Ventures, Coparion, Venture Stars, HDI, die Deutschen Bank und Business Angel Frank Strauß investieren 8 Millionen Euro in Finanzguru. “Mit dem frischen Kapital will Finanzguru das bestehende Angebot durch Hinzunahme des Finanz- & Versicherungsgeschäfts deutlich erweitern”, heißt es in der Presseaussendung. Das FinTech aus Frankfurt am Main, das 2015 von den Zwillingen Alexander und Benjamin Michel sowie Sandro Sonntag und Florian Hirsch gegründet wurde, positioniert sich als “digitaler und individueller Finanzassistent auf Basis künstlicher Intelligenz”. 40 Mitarbeiter:innen arbeiten derzeit für das Unternehmen. Bekannt wurde das FinTech durch einen Auftritt in der VOX-Show “Die Höhle der Löwen”, damals investierte Carsten Maschmeyer 1 Million in FinanzguruMehr über Finanzguru

Smartlane 
+++ Jova Direkt Invest, eine Investmentgesellschaft des Vaillant Family Office, investiert gemeinsam mit den Altinvestoren 4,5 Millionen Euro in Smartlane. Zudem erhält das Unternehmen eine Förderung durch die EU in Höhe von 1,7 Millionen Euro. Die Jungfirma, die von Mathias Baur, Monja Mühling und Florian Schimandl gegründet wurde, entwickelt und betreibt eine cloudbasierte Software, die Logistikfirmen hilft, ihre Flotten effizienter einzusetzen. Die Technologie der Bayern berücksichtigt dabei unter anderem Lieferzeitfenster, die Wünsche der Kunden sowie die Art und Größe der jeweiligen Flotte. In der Vergangenheit investierte unter anderem Freigeist Capital in das Unternehmen. Mehr über Smartlane

Biorena
+++ Picus Capital investiert nach unseren Informationen in Biorena. Das Münchner Startup positioniert sich als Online-Bio-Supermarkt, der innerhalb von 3 Stunden liefert. “Mit unserem Wertversprechen für lokale, frische und 100 % biologische Produkte sowie unserer #zerowaste-Philosophie sind wir einzigartig positioniert, um die Lebensmittellieferung für hochwertige Lebensmittel neu zu definieren. Biorena – biologisch, regional, nachhaltig”, teilt das junge Unternehmen mit.  Mehr im Insider-Podcast #EXKLUSIV

Plantura
+++ Vorwerk Ventures investiert nach unseren Informationen in Plantura. Das 2017 gegründete Münchner Unternehmen, das von Felix Lill und Dominik Cadmus geführt wird, positioniert sich als Gartenmagazin für Hobbygärtner samt angeschlossenem Online-Shop. Acton Capital Partners, Cavalry Ventures sowie Starstrike Ventures investierten bereits in Plantura. Mehr im Insider-Podcast #EXKLUSIV

LunarX
+++ 468 Capital investiert nach unseren Informationen in LunarX. Das Berliner Unternehmen, das auf den Namen LunarPine hört, setzt auf das “Betreiben von Medienangeboten wie Websites und Social-Media-Kanälen sowie den Verkauf und die Vermarktung von dort gezeigten digitalen und physischen Produkten”. Die Jungfirma wurde von ReachHero-Gründer Philipp John und Lucas Kollmann gegründet. Mehr im Insider-Podcast #EXKLUSIV

Hypatos
+++ DN Capital und Framework Ventures investieren nach unseren Informationen in Hypatos. Das Unternehmen aus Potsdam, das 2018 von Uli Erxleben und Janosch Novak als Spin-Off von Smacc gegründet wurde, entwickelt ein System, um Backoffice-Prozesse mit Hilfe von Deep Learning-Technologie zu automatisieren. Blackfin Tech, Grazia Equity, UVC Partners und Plug and Play Ventures investierten zuletzt 10 Millionen Euro in Hypatos. Mehr im Insider-Podcast #EXKLUSIV

Kubermatic 
+++ btov Partners investiert nach unseren Informationen in Kubermatic. Das Hamburger Startup, das 2016 von Sebastian Scheele und Julian Hansert gegründet wurde, beschäftigt sich mit Containern und sorgt so für Ordnung auf Computerservern. Nauta Capital investierte zuletzt zusammen mit den Celonis-Gründern Bastian Nominacher und Martin Klenk rund 5 Millionen Euro in Kubermatic, früher als Loodse bekannt. Mehr im Insider-Podcast #EXKLUSIV

Dermanostic
+++ Beiersdorf investiert via Oscar&Paul in Dermanostic. Zudem investiert auch Mello aus Wuppertal wieder in das Unternehmen – siehe OMR. Insgesamt sammelt das Startup so 2 Millionen ein. Das Düsseldorfer Startup, das 2020 von Ole Martin, Alice Martin, Estefanía Lang und Patrick Lang gegründet wurde, drängt in den boomenden Telemedizin-Markt. Das junge Startup fokussiert sich dabei auf Hautärzte. Nutzer der App erhalten “örtlich flexibel und ohne Wartezeit eine anonyme Beurteilung Ihrer Hautveränderung durch erfahrene Fachärzte”. Dermanostic war zuletzt auch im Startup-Radar, unserem Pitch-Podcast dabei.

Triviar
+++ Jetzt offiziell: Der Hamburger Geldgeber Hanse Ventures investiert – wie bereits Ende Dezember berichtet – in Triviar. In der Investmentrunde, bei der auch Business Angels wie Stephan Mahlow investieren, fließen 730.000 Euro in das Unternehmen. Beim Hamburger EdTech, das 2020 von Nick Koldehoff und Jonah Schröder gegründet wurde, dreht sich alles um Kurse und Aktivitäten. Jeder kann über die Plattform seine Kurse und Workshops anbieten.

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

aWATTar
+++ Das Münchner Unternehmen tado, das alte, als auch neue Heizungssysteme fit für das Internet-Zeitalter macht, übernimmt aWATTar. Das Unternehmen macht durch “zeitvariable Tarife eine Verlagerung des Stromverbrauchs in die grünsten und günstigsten Stunden” möglich. “Die Kombination der Technologien von tado und aWATTar sorgen für mehr erneuerbare Energie auf dem europäischen Energiemarkt – für eine nachhaltigere Zukunft”, teilen die Unternehmen mit. Die Noventic Group, die unter anderem intelligente Lösungen für das Ablesen von Heizungen anbietet, und die Altinvestoren investierten zuletzt 38 Millionen Euro in tado. In den vergangenen Jahren flossen bereits über 100 Millionen Dollar in tado, das 2011 von Christian Deilmann, Johannes Schwarz und Valentin Sawadski gegründet wurde. Mehr über tado

Chaos / Enscape
+++ Die beiden Unternehmen Enscape und Chaos schließen sich –  vorangetrieben durch LEA Partners und TA Associates – zusammen. Enscape, 2017 in Karlsruhe gegründet, liefert eine Technologie, die direkt mit CAD-Software in der AEC-Branche verbunden ist und Design- und Visualisierungs-Workflows integriert. Chaos, 1997 in Sofia gegründet, positioniert sich als “Marktführer im Bereich Visualisierung und Computer Graphics (CG)”. “Durch den Zusammenschluss entsteht ein weltweit führendes Unternehmen für 3D-Visuali-sierung und Design-Workflow-Technologie”, teilen die Geldgeber mit. Der High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) investierte in der Vergangenheit in Enscape.

VENTURE CAPITAL

Chapter54
+++ Der bekannte Geldgeber Partech legt mit Chapter54 ein Accelerator-Programm für europäische Scaleups, die in afrikanische Märkte expandieren möchten, auf. “Das Programm wird von Partech Shaker, der Abteilung für Innovationsprogramme von Partech, mit Unterstützung der deutschen Förderbank KfW im Auftrag des Bundesministeriums für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ) konzipiert und durchgeführt, um Wachstum und die Schaffung von Arbeitsplätzen in Afrika zu fördern”, teilt der Geldgeber mit. Das industrieunabhängige und eigenkapitalfrei Chapter54-Programm läuft bis zu acht Monate und steht allen europäischen Startups offen.

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

Foto (oben): azrael74

#42cap, #aktuell, #apic, #awattar, #biorena, #bonsai-partners, #chaos, #chapter54, #citi-ventures, #coatue, #coparion, #dermanostic, #dragoneer, #earlybird-venture-capital, #edtech, #enscape, #evernest, #finanzguru, #fintech, #frankfurt-am-main, #freigeist-capital, #gostudent, #hamburg, #hanse-ventures, #hdi, #hypatos, #jova-direkt-invest, #kibo-ventures, #kubermatic, #lea-partners, #left-lane-capital, #lunarx, #molten-ventures, #mostly-ai, #munchen, #plantura, #project-a-ventures, #proptech, #prosus, #prudence, #smartlane, #softbank, #ta-associates, #tado, #telekom-innovation-pool, #tencent, #triviar, #venture-capital, #venture-stars, #vr-ventures, #wien

India’s Groww in talks to raise funds at a $3 billion valuation

Groww, an Indian startup that is helping millennials invest in mutual funds and stocks, is in advanced stages of talks to raise a new financing round at a $3 billion valuation, according to six people familiar with the matter.

The Bangalore-based startup is negotiating to close a $250 million round, the people said, requesting anonymity as the matter is private. The round could close within weeks, they said.

Usual caveats apply: The terms of the deal may change. The startup has received several termsheets — with similar terms — in recent days. Tiger Global, Coatue, and TCV have held conversations to lead or co-lead the round, people said. And many including Insight Partners have also explored investment, the people said.

A spokesperson for Coatue declined to comment. Groww chief executive did not respond to a request for comment. Indian news outlet CapTable first reported about Groww’s upcoming financing round.

Groww is tapping into a huge market. More than 200 million people in India transact money digitally, but fewer than 30 million invest in mutual funds and stocks. The startup allows users to invest in mutual funds, including systematic investment planning (SIP) and equity-linked savings, gold, as well as stocks, including those listed at U.S. exchanges. The app offers every fund that is currently available in India.

Investors’ growing push to back — or double down on — Groww follows several months of strong growth. The Indian startup is currently on track to clock about $35 million in ARR, two people briefed on the figure said. Groww, which counts Tiger Global and Sequoia Capital India among its existing investors, was valued at $1 billion in April this year and $250 million last September.

The startup is also internally exploring expansion into the crypto space, but hasn’t made a firm decision on when it plans to offer such trading, one person said.

#asia, #coatue, #funding, #groww, #india, #insight-partners, #payments, #tiger-global

Fin names former Twilio exec Evan Cummack as CEO, raises $20M

Work insights platform Fin raised $20 million in Series A funding and brought in Evan Cummack, a former Twilio executive, as its new chief executive officer.

The San Francisco-based company captures employee workflow data from across applications and turns it into productivity insights to improve the way enterprise teams work and remain engaged.

Fin was founded in 2015 by Andrew Kortina, co-founder of Venmo, and Facebook’s former VP of product and Slow Ventures partner Sam Lessin. Initially, the company was doing voice assistant technology — think Alexa but powered by humans and machine learning — and then workplace analytics software. You can read more about Fin’s origins at the link below.

In 2020, the company pivoted again to the company it is today. The new round was led by Coatue, with participation from First Round Capital, Accel and Kleiner Perkins. The original team was talented, but small, so the new funding will build out sales, marketing and engineering teams, Cummack said.

“At that point, the right thing was to raise money, so at the end of last year, the company raised a $20 million Series A, and it was also decided to find a leadership team that knows how to build an enterprise,” Cummack told TechCrunch. “The company had completely pivoted and removed ‘Analytics’ from our name because it was not encompassing what we do.”

Fin’s software measures productivity and provides insights on ways managers can optimize processes, coach their employees and see how teams are actually using technology to get their work done. At the same time, employees are able to manage their workflow and highlight areas where there may be bottlenecks. All combined, it leads to better operations and customer experiences, Cummack said.

Graphic showing how work is really done. Image Credits: Fin

Fin’s view is that as more automation occurs, the company is looking at a “renaissance of human work.” There will be more jobs and more types of jobs, but people will be able to do them more effectively and the work will be more fulfilling, he added.

Particularly with the use of technology, he notes that in the era before cloud computing, there was a small number of software vendors. Now with the average tech company using over 130 SaaS apps, it allows for a lot of entrepreneurs and adoption of best-in-breed apps so that a viable company can start with a handful of people and leverage those apps to gain big customers.

“It’s different for enterprise customers, though, to understand that investment and what they are spending their money on as they use tools to get their jobs done,” Cummack added. “There is massive pressure to improve the customer experience and move quickly. Now with many people working from home, Fin enables you to look at all 130 apps as if they are one and how they are being used.”

As a result, Fin’s customers are seeing metrics like 16% increase in team utilization and engagement, a 25% decrease in support ticket handle time and a 71% increase in policy compliance. Meanwhile, the company itself is doubling and tripling its customers and revenue each year.

Now with leadership and people in place, Cummack said the company is positioned to scale, though it already had a huge head start in terms of a meaningful business.

Arielle Zuckerberg, partner at Coatue, said via email that she was part of a previous firm that invested in Fin’s seed round to build a virtual assistant. She was also a customer of Fin Assistant until it was discontinued.

When she heard the company was pivoting to enterprise, she “was excited because I thought it was a natural outgrowth of the previous business, had a lot of potential and I was already familiar with management and thought highly of them.”

She believed the “brains” of the company always revolved around understanding and measuring what assistants were doing to complete a task as a way to create opportunities for improvement or automation. The pivot to agent-facing tools made sense to Zuckerberg, but it wasn’t until the global pandemic that it clicked.

“Service teams were forced to go remote overnight, and companies had little to no visibility into what people were doing working from home,” she added. “In this remote environment, we thought that Fin’s product was incredibly well-suited to address the challenges of managing a growing remote support team, and that over time, their unique data set of how people use various apps and tools to complete tasks can help business leaders improve the future of work for their team members. We believe that contact center agents going remote was inevitable even before COVID, but COVID was a huge accelerant and created a compelling ‘why now’ moment for Fin’s solution.”

Going forward, Coatue sees Fin as “a process mining company that is focused on service teams.” By initially focusing on customer support and contact center use case — a business large enough to support a scaled, standalone business — rather than joining competitors in going after Fortune 500 companies where implementation cycles are long and there is slow time-to-value, Zuckerberg said Fin is better able to “address the unique challenges of managing a growing remote support team with a near-immediate time-to-value.”

 

#accel, #andrew-kortina, #arielle-zuckerberg, #artificial-intelligence, #automation, #business-intelligence, #business-process-management, #cloud, #cloud-computing, #coatue, #enterprise, #fin, #first-round-capital, #funding, #groupware, #kleiner-perkins, #machine-learning, #process-mining, #recent-funding, #saas, #sam-lessin, #slow-ventures, #startups, #talent, #tc, #twilio, #workflow

API platform Postman valued at $5.6 billion in $225 million fundraise

San Francisco-based Postman, which operates a collaborative platform for developers to help them build, design, test and iterate their APIs, said on Wednesday it has raised $225 million in a new financing round that values it at $5.6 billion, up from $2 billion a year ago.

The startup’s new financing round — a Series D — was led by existing investor New York-headquartered Insight Partners. New investors including Coatue, Battery Ventures, and BOND also participated in the new round, which brings total raise across rounds to over $430 million. Existing investors Nexus Venture Partners and CRV also participated in the new round.

APIs provide a way for developers to connect their applications to other internal and external applications. But it’s a space that until the past decade not many firms have attempted to streamline. (Developers relied on — and many continue to do so — open source CLI tools such as curl and HTTPie. That said, Postman now has a number of competitors including Stoplight, and A16z and Tiger Global-backed Kong.)

Abhinav Asthana, a former intern at Yahoo, faced this frustration first hand and built a Chrome extension for himself and friends.

Little did he know just how many developers and firms needed it, too.

The six-year-old startup’s product, which began its journey in India, is today used by over 17 million developers and over 500,000 organizations including Microsoft, Salesforce, Stripe, Shopify, Cisco, and PayPal.

The list is big: Postman co-founder and chief executive Asthana told TechCrunch that 98% of the Fortune 500 companies are customers of Postman.

“We are solving a fundamental problem for the technology landscape. Big companies tend to be slower as they have many other things on their plate,” he told me two years ago.

Postman API Platform’s offerings

“Every company in every industry in the world today uses APIs and needs an API platform. This trend is only growing with the move to cloud and digital experiences,” he said in an interview with TechCrunch Tuesday.

The startup today leads the market and doesn’t compete with many players. Which would explain the investors’ excitement. The startup, which declined to share its revenue, raised the new round at over 100 multiple of its revenue, according to an investor with knowledge of the matter.

Postman’s platform is crucial for developers, but it was only recently that the startup expanded to create a public marketplace for developers and firms to find ready-made APIs to use.

“The Postman Public API Network connects millions of developers around the world and provides them with a space dedicated to discovering, exploring, and sharing of APIs. This was ultimately driven by our creation of public workspaces, which allows users to connect across different organizations,” Asthana said.

“With the emergence of APIs, we believe that this will usher in the next generation of no-code and ‘citizen developers.’ We encourage a world filled with innovation for everyone with different backgrounds and varying levels of technical experience. More and more, we’re seeing people in sales, marketing, and finance become more comfortable with APIs and become the champions of this technology,” he said.

The startup, which employs over 425 people, plans to deploy the fresh funding to hire more employees across sales, marketing, product, and engineering divisions.

Postman will also “heavily” invest in broadening its product roadmap. “We are expanding the Postman platform across areas that technical users need along with supporting the needs of business users. At a high level, we are investing in supporting workflows for all kinds of APIs — whether they are private APIs, partner APIs, or public APIs,” he said.

Some upcoming items on the roadmap include a new version of the Postman API, support for protocols like gRPC, ProtoBuf, and more extensive capabilities for GraphQL. “We are also focusing heavily on integrations with other vendors in the software development lifecycle like AWS, Git hosting providers like GitHub and GitLab. We are also releasing our Flow Runner tool, a no-code API composition tool to enable anyone to build API driven programs.”

The startup also plans to invest in supporting students through API literacy programs and contribute toward open source projects.

“APIs have quickly become the fundamental building blocks of software used by developers in every industry, in every country across the globe—and Postman has firmly established itself as the preferred platform for developers,” said Insight Partners Managing Director Jeff Horing in a statement.

“Postman has the opportunity to become a key pillar of how enterprises build, deliver products, and seamlessly enable partnerships across the ecosystem. Their continued, rapid expansion and strong management team point to a future for Postman with virtually unlimited possibilities.”

#battery-ventures, #bond, #cisco, #coatue, #crv, #funding, #insight-partners, #kong, #microsoft, #nexus-venture-partners, #paypal, #postman, #saas, #salesforce, #shopify, #stripe

Crypto infra startup Fireblocks raises $310M, triples valuation to $2.2B

Fireblocks, an infrastructure provider for digital assets, has raised $310 million in a Series D round of funding that tripled the company’s valuation to $2.2 billion in just over five months.

Sequoia Capital, Stripes and Spark Capital co-led Fireblocks’ latest round, which also included participation from Coatue, DRW VC  and SCB 10X – the venture arm of Thailand’s oldest bank – and Siam Commercial Bank. The latter is the third global bank to invest in Fireblocks in addition to the Bank of New York (BNY) Mellon and SVB Capital. 

In February, the New York-based startup raised $133 million in a Series C round at a $700 million valuation. The latest financing brings Fireblocks’ total raised since its 2018 inception to $489 million. And as for Fireblocks’ valuation boost, the growth correlates with its increase in customers and ARR this year, according to CEO and co-founder Michael Shaulov. 

Since January, Fireblocks has seen its customer base increase to about 500 compared to 150 in January. Its ARR (annual recurring revenue) is also up – by 350% so far in 2021 compared to 2020. Last year, ARR rose by 450% compared to 2019.

“We expect to end the year up 500%,” Shaulov said. “We’ve already adjusted our revenue predictions for 2021 three times.”

Put simply, Fireblocks aims to offer financial institutions an all-in-one platform to run a digital asset business, providing them with infrastructure to store, transfer and issue digital assets. In particular, Fireblocks provides custody to institutional investors and has secured the transfer of over $1 trillion in digital assets over time. 

Fireblocks launched out of stealth mode in June of 2019 and has since opened offices in the United Kingdom, Israel, Hong Kong, Singapore, France and the DACH region. Today, it has over 500 financial institutions as customers – a mix of businesses that already support crypto and digital assets and those that are considering entering the space. Customers include global banks, crypto-native exchanges, lending desks, hedge funds, OTC desks as well as companies such as Revolut, BlockFi, Celsius, PrimeTrust, Galaxy Digital, Genesis Trading, crypto.com and eToro among others. 

Of those 500 institutions, Fireblocks is working with 70 banks that are looking to join the cryptocurrency space, and start platforming their infrastructure, according to Shaulov. Siam Commercial bank, for example, is using the company’s infrastructure to transform into a blockchain-based bank.

“Our platform creates highly secure wallets for cryptocurrencies and digital assets, where institutions can store their funds or their customer funds, and also get security insurance,” he said.

Fireblocks’ issuance and tokenization platform allows for the creation of asset-backed tokens.

“We handle all the security or compliance, all the policies and workflows,” Shaulov said. “Basically all the complicated stuff you need to do as a business when you want to start working with this new technology. So it’s a bit like ‘Shopify for crypto.’ ”

Sequoia Partner Ravi Gupta is naturally bullish on the company, describing Fireblocks as “the leading back-end infrastructure for crypto products.”

“The team has the potential to build a large, enduring business serving crypto-native companies, consumer fintech companies, and traditional financial institutions alike,” he told TechCrunch. “Their growth has been tremendous, and the quality of their product and customer sentiment are remarkable.”

Image Credits: Left to right: Fireblocks co-founders Idan Ofrat, Michael Shaulov and Pavel Berengoltz / Fireblocks

Fireblocks has also started to see businesses outside of what would be identified as fintech or finance show interest in its platform such as e-commerce websites that are looking to create NFTs on the back of their merchandise. 

The Fireblocks platform, Shaulov said, helps spread the expansion of digital asset use cases beyond bitcoin into payments, gaming, NFTs, digital securities and “ultimately allows any business to become a digital asset business.”

What that means is that Fireblocks’ technology can be white labeled for crypto custody offerings, “so that new and established financial institutions can implement direct custody on their own without having to rely on third parties,” the company says.

Shaulov emphasizes Fireblocks’ commitment to staying an independent company after a wave of consolidation in the space. Earlier this year, PayPal announced its plans to acquire Curv, a cryptocurrency startup based in Tel Aviv, Israel. Then in early May, bitcoin-focused Galaxy Digital Holdings Ltd. said it agreed to buy BitGo Inc. for $1.2 billion in cash and stock in the first $1 billion deal in the cryptocurrency industry.

“Consolidation can be painful for clients,” he told TechCrunch. “It’s Important for us that we stay independent and that’s part of the purpose of this round.

The company will also use the funds to increase its engineering and customer success operations, and expand geographically, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region.  

“Fireblocks provides the most secure and flexible platform for a wide range of customer needs,” said Sequoia’s Gupta. “It uses world-class multi-party computation technology to secure digital assets in storage and in transit, and has the most flexible platform with controls for product teams to be able to build on and manage Fireblocks effectively.”

#articles, #asia-pacific, #bank, #bitcoin, #blockchain, #blockfi, #celsius, #coatue, #cryptocurrencies, #cryptocurrency, #curv, #decentralization, #digital-currencies, #etoro, #finance, #financial-technology, #fireblocks, #france, #funding, #fundings-exits, #galaxy-digital, #israel, #money, #new-york, #paypal, #ravi-gupta, #recent-funding, #revolut, #saas, #sequoia, #sequoia-capital, #shopify, #singapore, #spark-capital, #startups, #stripes, #svb-capital, #tel-aviv, #thailand, #united-kingdom, #venture-capital

LiveControl raises $30M to help venues livestream events

One thing seems certain: The past year-and-a-half has fundamentally transformed the world of live events. The pandemic left plenty of venues scrambling for alternative revenue streams and, in many cases, shutting down for good.

On the flip side, it’s been a massive driver for those companies working to expand the reach of in-person events. Take LiveControl, which just raised a $30 million Series A led by Coatue and featuring existing investors First Round Capital, Box Group, Susa Ventures and TriplePoint. The round brings the So Cal company’s total funding to $33 million, on the heels of a $3.2 million seed led by FRC last August.

The company offers a production suite that’s a sort of plug and play solution for venues. “What if you could snap your fingers and an entire video product crew would appear, for just $150?” CEO Patrick Coyne asked, extremely rhetorically in a comment offered to TechCrunch.

Image Credits: LiveControl

LiveControl says its technology has been deployed in “hundreds” of spots in the U.S., everywhere from music venues and comedy clubs to Broadway theaters and religious institutions. With its device agnostic software and support, the company also provides third-party camera hardware as part of a package, for a more out-of-the-box solution.

The latest funding round will go toward accelerating its technology and expanding employee headcount from 40 people to 120 over the next year and a half. LiveControl and its investors are clearly bullish on the possibilities here. But there remain broader questions around how much audience members’ interest in remote viewing regresses to the mean once venues reopen across the country and world.

“Video is now table stakes for most organizations, venues and creators,” says Coyne. “We’re only seeing it accelerate, and everyone is forward leaning to make bigger investments to improve their video quality.”

 

#coatue, #entertainment, #events, #funding, #livecontrol, #livestreaming, #music, #recent-funding, #startups

Digital lending platform Blend valued at over $4B in its public debut

Mortgages may not be considered sexy, but they are a big business.

And if you’ve refinanced or purchased a home digitally lately, you may or may not have noticed the company powering the software behind it — but there’s a good chance that company is Blend.

Founded in 2012, the startup has steadily grown to be a leader in the mortgage tech industry. Blend’s white label technology powers mortgage applications on the site of banks including Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank, for example, with the goal of making the process faster, simpler and more transparent. 

The San Francisco-based startup’s SaaS (software-as-a-service) platform currently processes over $5 billion in mortgages and consumer loans per day, up from nearly $3 billion last July.

And today, Blend made its debut as a publicly-traded company on the New York Stock Exchange, trading under the symbol “BLND.” As of early afternoon, Eastern Time, the stock was trading up over 13% at $20.36.

On Thursday night, the company had said it would offer 20 million shares at a price of $18 per share, indicating the company was targeting a valuation of $3.6 billion.

That compares to a $3.3 billion valuation at the time of its last raise in January — a $300 million Series G funding round that included participation from Coatue and Tiger Global Management. Also, let’s not forget that Blend only became a unicorn last August when it raised a $75 million Series F. Over its lifetime, Blend had raised $665 million before Friday’s public market debut.

In filing its S-1 on June 21, Blend revealed that its revenue had climbed to $96 million in 2020 from $50.7 million in 2019. Meanwhile, its net loss narrowed from $81.5 million in 2019 to $74.6 million in 2020.

In 2020, the San Francisco-based startup significantly expanded its digital consumer lending platform. With that expansion, Blend began offering its lender customers new configuration capabilities so that they could launch any consumer banking product “in days rather than months.”

Looking ahead, the company had said it expects its revenue growth rate “to decline in future periods.” It also doesn’t envision achieving profitability anytime soon as it continues to focus on growth. Blend also revealed that in 2020, its top five customers accounted for 34% of its revenue.

Today, TechCrunch spoke with co-founder and CEO Nima Ghamsari about the company’s decision to go with a traditional IPO versus the ubiquitous SPAC or even a direct listing.

For one, Blend said he wanted to show its customers that it is an “around for a long time company” by making sure there’s enough on its balance sheet to continue to grow.

“We had to talk and convince some of the biggest investors in the world to invest in us, and that speaks to how long we’ll be around to serve these customers,” he said. “So it was a combination of our capital need and wanting to cement ourselves as a really credible software provider to one of the most regulated industries.”

Ghamsari emphasized that Blend is a software company that powers the mortgage process, and is not the one offering the mortgages. As such, it works with the flock of fintechs that are working to provide mortgages.

“A lot of them are using Blend under the hood, as the infrastructure layer,” he said.

Overall, Ghamsari believes this is just the beginning for Blend.

“One of the things about financial services is that it’s still mostly powered by paper. And so a lot of Blend’s growth is just going deeper into this process that we got started in years ago,” he said. As mentioned above, the company started out with its mortgage product but just keeps adding to it. Today, it also powers other loans such as auto, personal and home equity.

“A lot of our growth is actually powered by our other lines of business,” Ghamsari told TechCrunch. “There’s a lot to build because the larger digitization trends are just getting started in financial services. It’s relatively large industry that has lots of change.”

In May, digital mortgage lender Better.com announced it would combine with a SPAC, taking itself public in the second half of 2021.

 

#better-com, #blend, #coatue, #companies, #credible, #exit, #finance, #financial-services, #fintech, #fundings-exits, #ipo, #leader, #loans, #money, #new-york-stock-exchange, #saas, #san-francisco, #software, #special-purpose-acquisition-company, #startups, #tiger-global-management

Coatue direct deposits $20M into Pinwheel, a payroll API for neobanks

One of the most strategically important financial relationships for neobanks is becoming the account destination for a user’s paycheck. If you’re a bank and you own that specific relationship, users will increasingly use that account for everything from daily spending to saving (after all, that’s where their money is going). That activity in turn leads to expansive opportunities to upsell users to other financial products and generate the kinds of fees that banks love to make.

It just so happens though that users are often baffled in how to change their direct deposit instructions. To do so, they still have to go into ancient payroll systems, fill out account and routing data, verify that it’s correctly setup and more — all steps that can fluster users who will just give up.

Pinwheel is a “payroll connectivity” API designed to bridge this divide. It helps neobanks and other clients connect into a users’s payroll information system, offering everything from direct-deposit switching to income verification (a hot space these days), and paycheck-linked lending.

It’s proven very popular, particularly in the midst of the pandemic that saw millions switch jobs as well as neobanks reaching stratospheric growth as account holders searched for cheaper and more flexible banking options. The company saw 11x revenue growth last quarter and claims neobank Current and mobile payment service Square Cash as clients.

That early traction has drawn a new round of capital. Michael Gilroy of Coatue led a $20 million Series A round into the company. Gilroy, who came to Coatue about two years ago from Canaan, has long been interested in fintech, recently investing in companies like B2B receivables platform Melio, financial transaction API Quanto, and teenage neobank Step.

In addition to Coatue, Primary Ventures and Semper Virens newly joined the round, and seed investors First Round Capital and Upfront Ventures re-joined as well.

We last profiled Pinwheel a year ago with its $7 million seed round, exploring how the founders migrated from offering payroll benefits to solving the more fundamental problem of payroll connectivity. Co-founder Curtis Lee, who was then executive chairman and also a venture partner at Primary Ventures, has since moved full-time to become chairman and president of the startup. He said that the company has doubled down particularly on direct-deposit switching as a gateway to the rest of its API offerings.

“For us, it was really about picking one of those and using it as a wedge and then augmenting from there,” Lee said. “Direct-deposit switching was the most urgent and top priority for all of our customers, mostly since there wasn’t much of an alternative.” According to him, the company is becoming a market leader in that strategic niche. “In a quarter, we will be doing close to half of all direct-deposit switches in the neobank market,” he said.

Pinwheel co-founders Anish Basu (CTO), Curtis Lee (chairman and president) and Kurt Lin (CEO). Image Credits: Pinwheel

Once a client starts with direct deposits they start to migrate to other offerings like paycheck-linked lending. As low-fee neobanks build up their consumer bases, they are frantically seeking revenue streams to cover their massive growth. Lending is one rich target, and having direct access to payroll data can make it significantly easier to underwrite a loan.

Pinwheel has been aggressively growing its team, expanding from a small coterie a year ago to about 40 people. The company is reopening its office today in the Flatiron District in New York City, and Lee noted that the company is “remote-friendly” and has about a third of its staff outside the NYC metro.

Among notable hires, Lauren Crossett, formerly of Plaid and Quovo, has joined the company as head of commercial. The company has also signed a VP of Engineering, who will join in the next few weeks.

In addition to the institutional funds, a litany of individual investors joined the round, including Gokul Rajaram, Adam Nash, Jackie Reses, Raj Date, Tony Xu, Shishir Mehotra, Amit Agarwal and Shiva Rajaraman.

#coatue, #curtis-lee, #finance, #funding, #fundings-exits, #new-york-city, #payroll, #pinwheel, #startups

With backers like Tiger Global, LatAm crypto exchange Bitso raises $250M at a $2.2B valuation

Bitso, a regulated crypto exchange in Latin America, announced today it has raised $250 million in a Series C round of funding that values the company at $2.2 billion.

Tiger Global and Coatue co-led the round, which also included participation from Paradigm, BOND & Valor Capital Group and existing backers QED, Pantera Capital and Kaszek.

The news caught our attention for several reasons. For one, it comes just four months after the Brazilian startup raised $62 million in a Series B round. Secondly, the company believes the funding makes it the most valuable crypto platform in Latin America. And lastly, it also makes the company one of the most highly valued fintechs in the region.

Last year was a good one for Bitso, which says it processed more than $1.2 billion in international payments — including remittances and payments between companies — during 2020 alone. Bitso says it also has surpassed 2 million users. These two milestones, the company argues, is evidence of the growing use of crypto as an everyday financial tool in the region.

Demand for crypto assets and crypto-enabled financial products have soared in popularity both for individuals and businesses in the region, according to Bitso, which aims to be “the safest, most transparent, and only regulatory compliant platform” in Latin America. The company also says it’s the only player in the region to offer crypto-insurance for its client’s funds.

“The growth of the crypto ecosystem this year has been remarkable. It took Bitso six years to get its first million clients. Now — less than 10 months later — we have reached the 2 million mark,” said Bitso co-founder and CEO Daniel Vogel. But the metrics he is most proud of are that Bitso has also more than doubled the assets on its platform in the last five months and that its transacting volume during the 2021 first quarter exceeded the transaction volume it did in all of 2020.

Bitso was founded in January 2014 and acquired its first customer in April of that year.

Bitso’s mission, put simply, is to build next-generation borderless financial services for consumers and businesses alike. “Cryptocurrencies are the future of finance and Bitso makes the future available today,” the company says.

“Bitso offers products and services for individuals and businesses to use crypto in their everyday life,” Vogel said. “In some parts of the world, crypto is associated with speculation. Bitso’s customers rely on the technology for everyday uses from receiving remittances to engaging in international commerce.”

Image Credits: Bitso

Bitso says its “global-minded” product offerings fit the needs of local customers in Mexico, Argentina and now Brazil, where it just launched its retail operations. The company plans to use its new capital toward broadening its capabilities and product offering. It also plans to expand its operations in other Latin American countries in the coming months. In January, the Financial Superintendence of Colombia announced Bitso as one of the authorized companies in its Sandbox and crypto pilot program.

Bitso’s upcoming products include a crypto derivatives platform and interest bearing accounts for crypto.

“This is a pivotal moment for the future of finance in Latin America,” Vogel told TechCrunch. “We see a significant amount of traditional financial infrastructure in the region being replaced by crypto. We plan to use this funding to continue that trend by expanding our product offering for individuals and businesses.”

Naturally, Bitso’s investors are bullish on the company’s potential.

QED Investors co-founder and managing partner Nigel Morris admits that in the past he was “a crypto denier.”

“For the longest time, we didn’t see a way crypto fit. It wasn’t clear until recently that the use cases for crypto expanded much beyond speculative trading. There are now a whole series of conventional banking products that we can wrap around it,” Morris told TechCrunch.

Bitso’s mission, he said, is to “make crypto useful” and QED believes the company is succeeding at doing just that.

“Daniel and the entire Bitso team is passionate about taking the mystique out of crypto. Crypto is not going away; it’s going to be here for the future,” Morris said. “By sitting at the intersection of crypto and traditional financial institutions, Bitso has a promise to provide lower-cost, friction-free financial services to entire populations of individuals who otherwise would be excluded — a laudable and unique mission indeed.”

Bitso, he added, is learning from the crypto experience in the U.S. and around the world.

“Not making the same mistakes and leaning into the emerging regulatory landscape has been a competitive advantage to Bitso’s success in Mexico,” Morris said. “As Bitso grows throughout the regions, they certainly have a leg up and might even leapfrog crypto adoption in the U.S.”

“Crypto is rapidly gaining adoption in Latin America,” said Tiger Global Partner Scott Shleifer, in a written statement. “We are excited to partner with Bitso and believe they have the right team and platform to increase share in this growing market.”

Founded in 2014, Bitso has more than 300 employees across 25 different countries. That compares to 116 employees last year at this time. In particular, its growth in Brazil is increasing exponentially.

“We’ve gone from 1 to 26 Bitsonauts already based in Brazil, with many more working from abroad, and plan to 3X our number of hires in Brazil by the end of the year,” Vogel said, who acknowledged that the pandemic really impacted his company via the shift to remote work. “As we expand our reach into new territories, it has become a lot easier to meet staffing needs when the requirements are based on knowledge over geography.”

Bitso’s leadership is mostly based in Mexico, but the company also has offices in Buenos Aires, São Paolo and Gibraltar.

#argentina, #bitso, #bond, #brazil, #coatue, #colombia, #crypto-economy, #cryptocurrency, #decentralization, #finance, #financial-infrastructure, #financial-technology, #fintech, #funding, #fundings-exits, #latin-america, #mexico, #pantera-capital, #paradigm, #qed, #qed-investors, #recent-funding, #sao-paulo, #scott-shleifer, #startups, #tc, #tiger-global, #united-states, #valor-capital-group, #venture-capital

Persona lands $50M for identity verification after seeing 10x YoY revenue growth

The identity verification space has been heating up for a while and the COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated demand with more people transacting online.

Persona, a startup focused on creating a personalized identity verification experience “for any use case,” aims to differentiate itself in an increasingly crowded space. And investors are banking on the San Francisco-based company’s ability to help businesses customize the identity verification process — and beyond — via its no-code platform in the form of a $50 million Series B funding round. 

Index Ventures led the financing, which also included participation from existing backer Coatue Management. In late January 2020, Persona raised $17.5 million in a Series A round. The company declined to reveal at which valuation this latest round was raised.

Businesses and organizations can access Persona’s platform by way of an API, which lets them use a variety of documents, from government-issued IDs through to biometrics, to verify that customers are who they say they are. The company wants to make it easier for organizations to implement more watertight methods based on third-party documentation, real-time evaluation such as live selfie checks and AI to verify users.

Persona’s platform also collects passive signals such as a user’s device, location, and behavioral signals to provide a more holistic view of a user’s risk profile. It offers a low code and no code option depending on the needs of the customer.

The company’s momentum is reflected in its growth numbers. The startup’s revenue has surged by “more than 10 times” while its customer base has climbed by five times over the past year, according to co-founder and CEO Rick Song. Meanwhile, its headcount has more than tripled to just over 50 people.

When we look back at the space five to 10 years ago, AI was the next differentiation and every identity verification company is doing AI and machine learning,” Song told TechCrunch. “We believe the next big differentiator is more about tailoring and personalizing the experience for individuals.”

As such, Song believes that growth can be directly tied to Persona’s ability to help companies with “unique” use cases with a SaaS platform that requires little to no code and not as much heavy lifting from their engineering teams. Its end goal, ultimately, is to help businesses deter fraud, stay compliant and build trust and safety while making it easier for them to customize the verification process to their needs. Customers span a variety of industries, and include Square, Robinhood, Sonder, Brex, Udemy, Gusto, BlockFi and AngelList, among others.

“The strategy your business needs for identity verification and management is going to be completely different if you’re a travel company verifying guests versus a delivery service onboarding new couriers versus a crypto company granting access to user funds,” Song added. “Even businesses within the same industry should tailor the identity verification experience to each customer if they want to stand out.”

Image Credits: Persona

For Song, another thing that helps Persona stand out is its ability to help customers beyond the sign-on and verification process. 

“We’ve built an identity infrastructure because we don’t just help businesses at a single point in time, but rather throughout the entire lifecycle of a relationship,” he told TechCrunch.

In fact, much of the company’s growth last year came in the form of existing customers finding new use cases within the platform in addition to new customers signing on, Song said.

“We’ve been watching existing customers discover more ways to use Persona. For example, we were working with some of our customer base on a single use case and now we might be working with them on 10 different problems — anywhere from account opening to a bad actor investigation to account recovery and anything in between,” he added. “So that has probably been the biggest driver of our growth.”

Index Ventures Partner Mark Goldberg, who is taking a seat on Persona’s board as part of the financing, said he was impressed by the number of companies in Index’s own portfolio that raved about Persona.

“We’ve had our antennas up for a long time in this space,” he told TechCrunch. “We started to see really rapid adoption of Persona within the Index portfolio and there was the sense of a very powerful and very user friendly tool, which hadn’t really existed in the category before.”

Its personalization capabilities and building block-based approach too, Goldberg said, makes it appealing to a broader pool of users.

“The reality is there’s so many ways to verify a user is who they say they are or not on the internet, and if you give people the flexibility to design the right path to get to a yes or no, you can just get to a much better outcome,” he said. “That was one of the things we heard — that the use cases were not like off the rack, and I think that has really resonated in a time where people want and expect the ability to customize.”

Persona plans to use its new capital to grow its team another twofold by year’s end to support its growth and continue scaling the business.

In recent months, other companies in the space that have raised big rounds include Socure and Sift.

#angellist, #artificial-intelligence, #coatue, #driver, #funding, #fundings-exits, #identity-verification, #index-ventures, #machine-learning, #mark-goldberg, #persona, #recent-funding, #saas, #san-francisco, #startup, #startups, #tc, #travel, #venture-capital, #verification

Developer-focused video platform Mux achieves unicorn status with $105M funding

Barely more than eight months after announcing a $37 million funding round, Mux has another $105 million.

The Series D was led by Coatue and values the company at more than $1 billion (Mux isn’t disclosing the specific valuation). Existing investors Accel, Andreessen Horowitz and Cobalt also participated, as did new investor Dragoneer.

Co-founder and CEO Jon Dahl told me that Mux didn’t need to raise more funding. But after last year’s Series C, the company’s leadership kept in touch with Coatue and other investors who’d expressed interest, and they ultimately decided that more money could help fuel faster growth during “this inflection moment in video.”

Building on the thesis popularized by A16Z co-founder Marc Andreessen, Dahl said, “I think video’s eating software, the same way software was eating the world 10 years ago.” In other words, where video was once something we watched at our desks and on our sofas, it’s now everywhere, whether we’re scrolling through our social media feeds or exercising on our Pelotons.

“We’re at the early days of a five- or 10-year major transition, where video is moving into being a first-class part of every software project,” he said.

Dahl argued that Mux is well-suited for this transition because it’s “a video platform for developers,” with an API-centric approach that results in faster publishing and reliable streaming for viewers. Its first product was a monitoring and analytics tool called Mux Data, followed by its streaming video product Mux Video.

“If you’re going to build a video platform and do it data-first, you need heavy data and monitoring and analytics,” Dahl explained. “We built the data layer [and then] we built the streaming platform.”

Customers include Robinhood, PBS, ViacomCBS, Equinox Media, and VSCO — Dahl said that while Mux works with digital media companies, “our core market is software.” He suggested that back when the company was founded in 2015, video was largely seen as a “niche,” or “something you needed if you were ESPN or Netflix.” But the last few years have illustrated that “video is a fundamental part of how we communicate” and that “every software company should have video as a core part of its products.”

Mux founders Adam Brown, Steven Heffernan, Matt McClure and Jon Dahl

Mux founders Adam Brown, Steven Heffernan, Matt McClure and Jon Dahl

Not surprisingly, demand increased dramatically during the pandemic. During the past year, on-demand streaming via the Mux platform growing by 300%, while live video streaming grew 3700% and revenue quadrupled.

“Which is a lot of work,” Dahl said with a laugh. “We definitely spent a lot of the last year ramping and scaling and investing in the platform.”

This new funding will allow Mux (which has now raised a total of $175 million) to continue that investment. Dahl said he plans to grow the team from 80 to 200 employees and to explore potential acquisitions.

“We were impressed by Mux’s laser focus on the developer community, and saw impressive customer retention and expansion indicative of the strong value their solutions provide,” said Coatue General Partner David Schneider in a statement. “This funding will enable Mux to continue to build on their customer-centric platform and we are proud to partner with Mux as it leads the way to this hybrid future.”

#coatue, #enterprise, #funding, #fundings-exits, #media, #mux, #tc

NBA Top Shot maker Dapper Labs is now worth $2.6 billion thanks to half of Hollywood, the NBA, and Michael Jordan

From the early success of Crypto Kitties to the explosive growth of NBA Top Shot, Dapper Labs has been at the forefront of the cryptocurrency collectible craze known as NFTs.

Now the company is reaping the benefits of its trailblazing status with a new $305 million financing led by some of the biggest names in Hollywood, sports, and investing.

The new round values the company at a whopping $2.6 billion, according to multiple media reports, and comes at a time when NFTs have captured the popular imagination.

Leading the company’s financing was Coatue, the financial services firm that’s behind many of the biggest later stage tech deals. But heavy hitters from the entertainment world also took their cut — these are folks like NBA legend Michael Jordan as well as current players and funds including Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala, Kyle Lowry, Spencer Dinwiddie, Andre Drummond, Alex Caruso, Michael Carter-Williams, Josh Hart, Udonis Haslem, JaVale McGee, Khris Middleton, Domantas Sabonis, Klay Thompson, Nikola Vucevic, Thad Young, and Richard Seymour’s 93 Ventures.

Entertainment and music heavyweights including Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseary’s Sound Ventures, Will Smith and Keisuke Honda’s Dreamers VC, Shawn Mendes and Andrew Gertler’s AG Ventures, Shay Mitchell, and 2 Chainz also bought in on the action.

And from the venture world comes other strategic investors like Andreessen Horowitz, The Chernin Group, USV, Version One, and Venrock.

The company said it would use the funds to continue building out NBA Top Shot and expanding the updated digital trading card platform to other sports and a broader creator community.

Top Shot has already notched over $500 million in sales for its animated trading cards featuring things like LeBron James dunking and the sky (at least for now) is seemingly the limit for the collectible applications of blockchain.

It’s like the one thing that cryptocurrency can do really well and it’s been embraced far beyond the world of sports collectibles. The recent $69 million sale of a digital piece of art at Christies also marks a watershed moment for art world.

“NBA Top Shot is successful because it taps into basketball fandom – it’s a new and more exciting way for people to connect with their favorite teams and players,” said Roham Gharegozlou, CEO of Dapper Labs. “We want to bring the same magic to other sports leagues as well as help other entertainment studios and independent creators find their own approaches in exploring open platforms. NFTs unlock a new model for monetization that benefits the fans much more than advertising or sponsorships.”

Powering the Top Shot system and Dapper Labs’ other offerings is a new blockchain protocol called Flow, which purports to handle mainstream consumer applications at scale, and can support mass adoption.

Flow also allows for transactions using fiat currency and credit cards in addition to provide a much needed ease of cryptocurrency, and can keep customers safe from the fraud or theft common in cryptocurrency systems, according to a statement from Dapper Labs.

Flow enables NFT marketplaces and other decentralized applications that need to scale to handle mainstream demand without extremely high transaction costs (“gas fees”) or environmental concerns, the company said.

“NBA Top Shot is one of the best demonstrations we’ve seen of how quickly new technology can change the landscape for media and sports fans,” said Kevin Durant, Co-Founder of Thirty Five Ventures. “We’re excited to follow the progress with everything happening on Flow blockchain and use our platform with the Boardroom to connect with fans in a new way.”

Already companies like Warner Music Group, Ubisoft, Warner Media, and the UFC, as well as thousands of third party developers, artists, and other creators are using the Flow mainnet to sell collectible cards, and develop custodial wallets.

Additional investors in the round include: MLB players like Tim Beckham and Nolan Arenado; NFL players: Ken Crawley, Thomas Davis, Stefon Diggs, Dee Ford, Malcom Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, Jordan Matthew, Devin McCourty, Jason McCourty, DK Metcalf, Tyrod Taylor, and Trent Williams; team ownership including Vivek Ranadive (Kings), and notable sports investors Bolt Ventures.

#andre-iguodala, #andreessen-horowitz, #articles, #ashton-kutcher, #blockchain, #ceo, #co-founder, #coatue, #cryptocurrencies, #dapper, #dapper-labs, #decentralization, #finance, #kevin-durant, #lebron-james, #michael-jordan, #mlb, #national-basketball-association, #national-football-league, #nba, #nfl, #tc, #technology, #the-chernin-group, #thirty-five-ventures, #ubisoft, #venrock, #version-one, #vivek-ranadive, #warner-media, #warner-music-group, #will-smith

#DealMonitor – GoStudent sammelt 70 Millionen ein – Kolibri-Gründer investieren in heat it – Lizza-Gründer investiert in Zaunkoenig


Im aktuellen #DealMonitor für den 30. März werfen wir wieder einen Blick auf die wichtigsten, spannendsten und interessantesten Investments und Exits des Tages in der DACH-Region. Alle Deals der Vortage gibt es im großen und übersichtlichen #DealMonitor-Archiv.

INVESTMENTS

GoStudent
+++ Coatue investiert gemeinsam mit den Altinvestoren Left Lane Capital und DN Capital 70 Millionen Euro in GoStudent. Das Wiener Startup, das sich als E-Learning-Dienst positioniert, wurde 2017 von Gregor Müller, Felix Ohswald und seinem Bruder Moritz Ohswald gegründet. Left Lane Capital und DN Capital investierten zuletzt in zwei Investmentrunden rund 13 Millionen in GoStudent, das auf kostenpflichtige Einzelkurse setzt. Das frische Kapital soll vor allem “genutzt werden, um die Internationalisierung von GoStudent weiter voranzutreiben, und die bestehende Präsenz in bedeutenden Nachhilfemärkten wie Frankreich, Spanien, Italien, Großbritannien und Irland weiter auszubauen”. Über 300 Mitarbeiter:innen wirken bereits für das junge Unternehmen.

Anzeige
+++ In unserem Newsletter Startup-Radar berichten wir einmal in der Woche über neue Startups. Alle Startups stellen wir in unserem kostenpflichtigen Newsletter kurz und knapp vor und bringen sie so auf den Radar der Startup-Szene. Jetzt unseren Newsletter Startup-Radar abonnieren und 30 Tage kostenlos testen!

heat it
+++ Daniel Stammler, Janosch Sadowski und Oliver Löffler, die Gründer von Kolibri Games, Friedrich Georg Hoepfner und weitere “erfahrene Persönlichkeiten aus den Bereichen Handel und Medizin” investieren in heat it. Das Startup aus Karlsruhe, das 2018 von Lukas Liedtke, Armin Meyer, Christof Reuter und Stefan Hotz gegründet wurde, kämpft mittels Wärme gegen Mücken- und Wespenstiche. Der heat it ist ein nur Würfelzucker-großes Gerät. Er wird einfach in den Ladeanschluss gesteckt und mittels App gesteuert. Die Pre-Money-Bewertung lag nach Firmenangaben bei 5 Millionen Euro. Die heat it-Gründer waren in dieser Woche auch in der Vox-Gründershow “Die Höhle der Löwen”, konnten dort aber kein Investment ergattern.

krankenhaus.de
+++ Der E-Health-Lösungsanbieter samedi, IBB Ventures und capacura investieren 2 Millionen Euro in krankenhaus.de. Das E-Health-Startup, das 2018 von Nikolai von Schroeders, Balthasar von Hohenthal und Lukas Weiß gegründet wurde, positioniert sich als Buchungsdienst für Krankenhäuser.  IBB Ventures und capacura investieren bereits 2019 einen ungenannten Betrag in den Berliner Patientendienst.

German Autolabs
+++ Das Family Office des Schwarzwälder Boten sowie die Altinvestoren Target Partners, nbr Tech Ventures und Coparion investieren “mehrere Millionen Euro” in German Autolabs. Das 2016 von Serienunternehmer Holger G. Weiss gegründete Berliner Startup entwickelte zunächst einen nachrüstbaren smarten Sprachassistenten fürs Auto. Inzwischen setzt die Jungfirma auf “Sprachassistenzlösungen für Berufskraftfahrer, Kuriere und Zusteller”.

Packwise
+++ Der Technologiegründerfonds Sachsen (TGFS), Hüttenes hoch drei (H3) und die Golzern Holding investieren eine siebenstellige Summe in Packwise aus Dresden. Das Unternehmen ermöglicht Unternehmen der Chemie- und Lebensmittelindustrie “eine schnelle und einfache Digitalisierung ihrer Supply Chain sowie die Reduktion ihres CO2-Fußabdruckes”. Packwise wurde 2017 von Gesche Weger, Felix Weger und René Bernhardt gegründet.

Angle Audio
+++ Der Berliner Geldgeber Atlantic Labs und weitere Investoren investierten bereits im Dezember in Angle Audio. Das Startup, das 2020 von Matthias D. Strodtkoetter, Valerius Huonder und Matthias Karg gegründet wurde, positioniert sich als Clubhouse-Alternative und setzt auf “audiobasierte Gruppenkonversationen”. Die Jungfirma aus Zürich bietet zudem aber auch Funktionen wie eine Bildschirmfreigabe und eine Text-Chat Funktion an, um sich auch schriftlich austauschen zu können.

Careloop
+++ Der Swiss Founders Fund (SFF), die Mediengruppe Klambt, WestTech Ventures, HNC Capital und mehrere Angel-Investoren investieren eine “hohe sechsstellige Summe” in Careloop. Das Berliner Startup bringt sich als Personalvermittlung für ausländische Kranken- und Altenpflegekräfte in Stellung. Die Gründer Alexander Lundberg und Matti Fischer wollen dabei selbstredend “den traditionellen Bewerbungsprozess auf den Kopf stellen”.

EXITS

Icony
+++ Russmedia Equity Partners übernimmt die Mehrheit am White-Label-Dating-Anbieter Icony. Das Unternehmen bietet seinen Kunden die Möglichkeit unter einer eigener Marke eine Partnersuche bzw. Singlebörse anzubieten. “Bereits über 200 Medienhäuser und Domains nutzen dieses Netzwerk und generieren so, ohne eigene Ressourcen, relevante Umsätze mit diesem Angebot”, teilt das Unternehmen mit.

VENTURE CAPITAL

Venpace
+++ Die Kölner Firmenschmiede crossbuilders startet gemeinsam mit Ingo Küpper, Walter Botermann und Torsten Oletzky sowie den vier Versicherern Deal Versicherungsgruppe, PrismaLife, Provinzial Rheinland und Vienna Insurance Group den InsurTech-Investor Venpace. “Gemeinsam werden im InsurTech-nahen Umfeld eigene digitale Geschäftsmodelle aufgebaut und Pre-Seed- und Seed-Investments bis 500.000 Euro getätigt”, teilt der neue Geldgeber mit.

DIE HÖHLE DER LÖWEN

Back’o’Funny
+++ In der zweiten Folge der neunten Staffel investierte Regal-Löwe Ralf Dümmel 33.000 Euro in Back’o’Funny und sicherte sich 33 % am Unternehmen. Die Freundinnen Gisela Hüsges-Schnabel und Sabine Kämper haben Back’o’Funnyentwickelt, um Backen so einfach und lecker wie möglich zu machen.

Co’Ps
+++ In der zweiten Folge der neunten Staffel investierte Pharma-Löwe Nils Glagau 100.000 Euro in Co’Ps und sicherte sich dabei 20 % am Unternehmen. Finn Geldermann und Jan Weigelt, die sich seit ihrer Jugend kennen, bieten mit Co’Ps einen Schnaps aus Kaffeebohnen und Kolanuss an.

Zaunkoenig
+++ In der zweiten Folge der neunten Staffel investierten Sales-Löwe Carsten Maschmeyer und Regal-Löwe Ralf Dümmel 100.000 Euro in Zaunkoenig und sicherten sich dabei 25 % am Unternehmen, das von Patrick Schmalzried und seinem Bruder Dominik Schmalzried gegründet wurde. Hinter Zaunkoenig verbirgt sich die “leichteste Computer-Maus der Welt”. Nach der Show platzte der Deal leider. “Für viele Gamer ist das Scrollrad essentiell – ein Tool, das die Entwicklung von Patrick und Dominik nicht hatte. Dies war ein Grund, warum die Beteiligung nicht zustande kam. Sie haben sich unsere Kritik aber zu Herzen genommen und haben das Scrollrad mittlerweile eingebaut. Da war es für uns aber schon zu spät. Wir wünschen den Gründern noch viel Erfolg mit Zaunkoenig”, sagt Löwe Maschmeyer. Stattdessen investierte aber Lizza-Gründer Matthias Kramer, 2016 selbst in der Vox-Show zu Gast war, in das Unternehmen und vor allem die Gründer, die er als “langjährige Freunde” bezeichnet.

PODCAST

Insider #98
+++ Schon die neue Insider-Ausgabe mit Sven Schmidt gehört? In der aktuellen Folge geht es um: Amazd, Pitch, Planet A Ventures, Dance, Blok, likeminded, GraphCMS, Klaus Hommels, Fit Analytics, Patient 21, Enpal, Babbel, Volocopter, Lampenwelt, About You und Mister Spex.

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

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

#aktuell, #angle-audio, #audio, #backofunny, #capacura, #careloop, #cops, #coatue, #coparion, #dating, #dn-capital, #e-health, #german-autolabs, #gostudent, #heat-it, #hnc-capital, #hr, #ibb-ventures, #icony, #insurtech, #karlsruhe, #koln, #krankenhaus-de, #left-lane-capital, #nbr-tech-ventures, #russmedia-equity-partners, #samedi, #swiss-founders-fund, #target-partners, #venpace, #venture-capital, #westtech-ventures, #zaunkonig, #zurich

M1 Finance raises another rapid-fire round after scaling its AUM to more than $3.5B

Months after raising a Series C worth $45 million, Chicago-based M1 Finance announced a new round of capital today. A Series D, the new $75 million investment was led by Coatue, with two prior investors — Left Lane Capital and Clocktower Technology Ventures — also taking part.

The new financing comes after M1 raised twice in 2020, including the previously mentioned Series C and a smaller $33 million Series B.

While rapid-fire fundraising has become increasingly common in recent years, M1 Finance’s recent capital accretion remains notable for its pace and scale. And as the company has been comparatively free with both growth metrics and notes about its long-term business model, TechCrunch has been able to keep tabs on its expansion over the past few quarters.

M1 Finance’s growth

In February of 2020, M1 announced it had reached the $1 billion assets-under-management (AUM) mark after starting the year at $800 million. At the time, the company’s CEO Brian Barnes told TechCrunch that his company was targeting to generate revenues of around 1% of consumer AUM. That provided a good toe-hold into tracking how quickly the startup was scaling its revenues as it grew its asset base.

In June of 2020, the company announced its Series B and a new AUM milestone: $1.45 billion. That was something akin to 50% growth in les than half a year. Not bad.

When M1 Finance raised its Series C later that year, it had scaled to $2 billion in AUM. That was double its earlier-year tally, and was big enough to secure more of our attention. Then in January of 2021 the company announced $3 billion in AUM.

As you can quickly math out, 1% of $3 billion is $30 million in yearly income, provided that M1 is hitting its revenue goals. Today as part of its Series D, the company announced that it has reached $3.5 billion in AUM.

How did it manage such quick growth, adding $500 million in AUM in just a few months? According to Barnes, partially due to an expanding product mix. The startup added a cash-management product in early 2019. That service has reached hundreds of millions of dollars in assets, the CEO said. The company’s borrowing product has also seen rapid growth, quadrupling as a percentage of assets in the last year, he added.

AUM expansion has also been driven in part by the company’s user base. Barnes told TechCrunch that his company has around 500,00 funded accounts, a growing tally that has helped with word-of-mouth marketing in recent quarters. And, finally, AUM growth has come from existing user cohorts adding more capital to their M1 accounts over time, the CEO said.

Of course the company is not the only service in the savings, investing and spending spaces that has seen growth in the last year. Robinhood and Public have done well on the investing side of things, and Chime has scaled quickly in the spending and saving markets.

What’s ahead

M1 has more money than ever after this round, with its CEO telling TechCrunch that he had had no intention of raising new capital, and that his company had only barely touched its Series B while its entire Series C is untapped. But now with a fresh forklift of funds, perhaps M1 can boost its advertising spend to help keep its user growth strong; and the extra capital won’t hurt when it comes to competing with even better-funded rivals that also want to build consumer fintech super apps.

We’ll check back with M1 Finance when it reaches $10 billion AUM. Its CEO thinks that the company could reach double-digit billions of AUM by the end of the year, or early 2022. Let’s see how fast it reaches that next milestone.

#coatue, #fundings-exits, #m1-finance, #public, #recent-funding, #robinhood, #startups, #tc

Deliverr scores $170M to bring fast delivery to every e-commerce vendor

At a time when e-commerce is exploding due in large part to the pandemic, a business that helps any online merchant ship goods to a consumer in one or two days is going to be in demand. Deliverr is a startup that fits that bill, and today the company announced a $170 million financing round.

The round breaks down to $135 million Series D financing led by Coatue. The remaining $35 million comes in the form of a convertible note led by Brookfield Technology Partners. Existing investors Activant Capital, 8VC and GLP participated in both parts of the investment. In less than four years, the company has raced from from rounds A to D, raising $240 million along the way.

Deliverr co-founder and CEO Michael Krakaris says it has been a rapid rise, but that his business requires a lot of capital. “It has been this really kind of crazy journey, and we’ve been growing very fast, but also this space is very capital intensive, and it’s a winner-take-all market where you gain efficiency at scale. You know scale is what makes your model highly defensible in this space,” Krakaris told me.

The way Deliverr works is it uses software to determine how to get goods to warehouses in parts of the country where they are needed. It then uses these warehouses’ fulfillment departments to help pick and pack the order. The software then finds the fastest and cheapest delivery method and it gets shipped to customers with a two-day delivery guarantee. They are also ramping a next-day delivery product to expand the business.

Deliverr doesn’t actually own any warehouses. It rents out space, and part of the challenge of building this business is establishing relationships with those warehouses and working out a business arrangement, one that is still evolving as the company grows. “A year ago, I would have said we typically wanted to be 5-10% of a warehouse’s business. There are cases now where we are 100% of these warehouses’ businesses. We’ve grown to that level,” he explained.

Krakaris says that the pandemic raised major challenges for the company. Just setting up a relationship with new warehouses could require driving long distances because getting on a plane would mean quarantining when they landed. In some instances there were shortages of items. In others, COVID would shut down all of the warehouses in a given region, forcing the executive team to make a set of business adjustments on the fly, but this constant crisis mentality also helped them learn how to shift resources quickly, a lesson that is highly useful in this business.

The company started 2020 with 50 people and have added 100 employees since. They plan to double that this year, although that is variable depending on how the year goes. He say that another challenge is that he has done this hiring during COVID, and has never met a majority of his workers.

“You know, I’ve never met more than half the company in person, but I’m try to be as open as I can and learn about everyone, and we hold events to try and get to know everybody, but obviously it’s not like being together in person,” he said.

#coatue, #deliverr, #ecommerce, #funding, #recent-funding, #shipping-and-logistics, #startups, #tc, #warehouses

Want a job in tech? Flockjay pitches its sales training service as an on-ramp to tech careers

“Most people don’t even know that a job in tech sales is even a possibility,” says Shaan Hathiramani, the founder and chief executive of Flockjay, a company offering a tech sales training curriculum to the masses.

Hathiramani sees his startup as an onramp to the tech industry for legions of workers who have the skillsets to work in tech, but lack the network to see themselves in the business. Just like coding bootcamps have enabled thousands to get jobs as programmers in the tech business, Flockjay can get talented people who had never considered a job in tech into the industry.

The company, which had previously raised $3 million from investors including Serena Williams and Will Smith, along with tech industry luminaries like Microsoft chairman John Thompson; Airtable head of sales Liat Bycel; Gmail inventor Paul Buchheit; and former Netflix CPO Tom Willerer, has just raised new capital to expand its business in a time when accelerated onramps to new jobs have never been more important.

The healthcare response to the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic, which has closed businesses and torn through the American economy. The unemployment rate in the country sits at 6.4% and the nation lost 140,000 jobs again in December — with all of those job losses coming from women.

A former financier with the multi-billion dollar investment firm, Citadel, Hathiramani sees Flockjay, and the business of tech sales as a way for a number of people to transform their lives.

“We provide a premier sales academy,” Hathiramani said. “It costs zero dollars if you take the course and don’t get a job and costs 10% of your income for the first year if you do get a job. That nets out to 6 or 7K.”

A few hundred students have gone through the program so far, Hathiramani said, and the goal is to train 1,000 people over the course of 2021. The average income of a student before they go through Flockjay’s training program is $30,000 to $35,000 typically, Hathiramani said.

Upon graduation, those students can expect to make between $75,000 and $85,000, he said.

Increasing access among those students who have not necessarily been exposed to the tech world is critical for what Hathiramani wants to do with his sales bootcamp.

Flockjay founder Shaan Hathiramani. Image Credit: Flockjay

The entrepreneur said roughly 40% of students don’t have a four-year college degree; half of the students identify as female or non-binary, and half of the company’s students identify as Black or hispanic. About 80% of the company’s students find a job within the first six months of graduation.

These are students like Elise Cox, a former Bojangles’ manager and Flockjay graduate, who moved from Georgia to Denver to be a sales tech representative for Gusto. Tripling her salary from $13 an hour in the food service industry to a salaried position with wages and benefits.

“I enjoy being able to generate revenue for the company,” Cox, a 41-year-old grandmother, whose five-year plans include a sales leadership role, told Fast Company two years ago. “The revenue is the lifeblood of the company and being part of the team gives me sense of fulfillment.”

Partnerships with Opportunity@Work, Hidden Genius Project, Peninsula Bridge, and TechHire Oakland, help to ensure a diverse pool of applicants and a more diverse workforce for the tech industry — where diversity is still a huge problem.

As Hathiramani looks to take his company from training a couple of hundred students to over a thousand, the founder has raised new cash from previous investors including Lightspeed, Coatue, and Y Combinator, and new investors like eVentures, Salesforce Ventures, along with the Impact America Fund, Cleo Capital and Gabrielle Union.

For the New Jersey-born entrepreneur, Flockjay was a way to give back to a community that he knew intimately. After his family settled in New Jersey after immigrating to the United States, Hathiramani went first to Horace Mann on a scholarship and then attended Harvard before getting his job at Citadel.

Even while he was working at the pinnacle of the financial services world he started non-profits like the Big Shoulders Fund and taught financial literacy.

After a while, he moved to the Bay Area to begin plotting a way to merge his twin interests in education and financial inclusion.

“That led to me spending a year helping startups for free and trying to understand their problems with hiring and training” said Hathiramani. “It helped me surface this economic waste in plain sight. There were all these people talking to customers and they were spending three months on the job learning the job and they didn’t want to do the job or they weren’t very good at it.”

Tech salesforces were a point of entry in the system that almost anyone could access, if they could get in through the door, Hathiramani said. Flockjay wants to be the key to opening the door.

So, the company now has $11 million in new funding to bring its sales training bootcamp to a larger audience. Hathiramani also wants to make the bootcamp model more of a community with continuous development after a student completes the program. “I view education as a membership and not a transaction,” he said. “We focus on continuous learning and continuous up-skilling.”

Part of that is the flywheel of building up networks in a manner similar to YCombinator, the accelerator program from which Flockjay graduated in 2019.

“We went through YC to learn… how they manufacture the privilege in the world that they have afforded,” said Hathiramani. “How do you take some of that and provide it to someone who is starting their careers in tech. You get better at your job the more connections you have. As we accelerate the alumni piece… they can draw on other alums that they’re selling into.”

 

#chairman, #cleo-capital, #coatue, #computing, #entrepreneur, #flockjay, #harvard, #impact-america-fund, #microsoft, #netflix, #new-jersey, #paul-buchheit, #salesforce, #salesforce-ventures, #tc, #tom-willerer, #united-states, #will-smith, #y-combinator

Supabase raises $6M for its open-source Firebase alternative

Supabase, a YC-incubated startup that offers developers an open-source alternative to Google’s Firebase and similar platforms, today announced that it has raised a $6 million funding round led by Coatue, with participation from YC, Mozilla and a group of about 20 angel investors.

Currently, Supabase includes support for PostgreSQL databases and authentication tools, with a storage and serverless solution coming soon. It currently provides all the usual tools for working with databases — and listening to database changes — as well as a web-based UI for managing them. The team is quick to note that while the comparison with Google’s Firebase is inevitable, it is not meant to be a 1-to-1 replacement for it. And unlike Firebase, which uses a NoSQL database, Supabase is using PostgreSQL.

Indeed, the team relies heavily on existing open-source projects and contributes to them where it can. One of Supabase’s full-time employees maintains the PostgREST tool for building APIs on top of the database, for example.

“We’re not trying to build another system,” Supabase co-founder and CEO Paul Copplestone told me. “We just believe that already there are well-trusted, scalable enterprise open-source products out there and they just don’t have this usability component. So actually right now, Supabase is an amalgamation of six tools, soon to be seven. Some of them we built ourselves. If we go to market and can’t find anything that we think is going to be scalable — or really solve the problems — then we’ll build it and we’ll open-source it. But otherwise, we’ll use existing tools.”

Image Credits: Supabase

The traditional route to market for open-source tools is to create a tool and then launch a hosted version — maybe with some additional features — to monetize the work. Supabase took a slightly different route and launched a hosted version right away.

If somebody would want to host the service themselves, the code is available, but running your own PaaS is obviously a major challenge, but that’s also why the team went with this approach. What you get with Firebase, he noted, is that it’s a few clicks to set everything up. Supabase wanted to be able to offer the same kind of experience. “That’s one thing that self-hosting just cannot offer,” he said. “You can’t really get the same wow factor that you can if we offered a hosted platform where you literally [have] one click and then a couple of minutes later, you’ve got everything set up.”

In addition, he also noted that he wanted to make sure the company could support the growing stable of tools it was building and commercializing its tools based on its database services was the easiest way to do so.

Like other Y Combinator startups, Supabase closed its funding round after the accelerator’s demo day in August. The team had considered doing a SAFE round, but it found the right group of institutional investors that offered founder-friendly terms to go ahead with this institutional round instead.

“It’s going to cost us a lot to compete with the generous free tier that Firebase offers,” Copplestone said. “And it’s databases, right? So it’s not like you can just keep them stateless and shut them down if you’re not really using them. [This funding round] gives us a long, generous runway and more importantly, for the developers who come in and build on top of us, [they can] take as long as they want and then start monetizing later on themselves.

The company plans to use the new funding to continue to invest in its various tools and hire to support its growth.

Supabase’s value proposition of building in a weekend and scaling so quickly hit home immediately,” said Caryn Marooney, general partner at Coatue and Facebook’s former VP of Global Communications. “We are proud to work with this team, and we are excited by their laser focus on developers and their commitment to speed and reliability.”

#caryn-marooney, #cloud-computing, #coatue, #computing, #database, #developer, #firebase, #google-cloud, #nosql, #platform-as-a-service, #postgresql, #recent-funding, #serverless-computing, #startups, #supabase, #tc

Abacus.AI raises another $22M and launches new AI modules

AI startup RealityEngines.AI changed its name to Abacus.AI in July. At the same time, it announced a $13 million Series A round. Today, only a few months later, it is not changing its name again, but it is announcing a $22 million Series B round, led by Coatue, with Decibel Ventures and Index Partners participating as well. With this, the company, which was co-founded by former AWS and Google exec Bindu Reddy, has now raised a total of $40.3 million.

Abacus co-founder Bindu Reddy, Arvind Sundararajan and Siddartha Naidu. Image Credits: Abacus.AI

In addition to the new funding, Abacus.AI is also launching a new product today, which it calls Abacus.AI Deconstructed. Originally, the idea behind RealityEngines/Abacus.AI was to provide its users with a platform that would simplify building AI models by using AI to automatically train and optimize them. That hasn’t changed, but as it turns out, a lot of (potential) customers had already invested into their own workflows for building and training deep learning models but were looking for help in putting them into production and managing them throughout their lifecycle.

“One of the big pain points [businesses] had was, ‘look, I have data scientists and I have my models that I’ve built in-house. My data scientists have built them on laptops, but I don’t know how to push them to production. I don’t know how to maintain and keep models in production.’ I think pretty much every startup now is thinking of that problem,” Reddy said.

Image Credits: Abacus.AI

Since Abacus.AI had already built those tools anyway, the company decided to now also break its service down into three parts that users can adapt without relying on the full platform. That means you can now bring your model to the service and have the company host and monitor the model for you, for example. The service will manage the model in production and, for example, monitor for model drift.

Another area Abacus.AI has long focused on is model explainability and de-biasing, so it’s making that available as a module as well, as well as its real-time machine learning feature store that helps organizations create, store and share their machine learning features and deploy them into production.

As for the funding, Reddy tells me the company didn’t really have to raise a new round at this point. After the company announced its first round earlier this year, there was quite a lot of interest from others to also invest. “So we decided that we may as well raise the next round because we were seeing adoption, we felt we were ready product-wise. But we didn’t have a large enough sales team. And raising a little early made sense to build up the sales team,” she said.

Reddy also stressed that unlike some of the company’s competitors, Abacus.AI is trying to build a full-stack self-service solution that can essentially compete with the offerings of the big cloud vendors. That — and the engineering talent to build it — doesn’t come cheap.

Image Credits: Abacus.AI

It’s no surprise then that Abacus.AI plans to use the new funding to increase its R&D team, but it will also increase its go-to-market team from two to ten in the coming months. While the company is betting on a self-service model — and is seeing good traction with small- and medium-sized companies — you still need a sales team to work with large enterprises.

Come January, the company also plans to launch support for more languages and more machine vision use cases.

“We are proud to be leading the Series B investment in Abacus.AI, because we think that Abacus.AI’s unique cloud service now makes state-of-the-art AI easily accessible for organizations of all sizes, including start-ups. Abacus.AI’s end-to-end autonomous AI service powered by their Neural Architecture Search invention helps organizations with no ML expertise easily deploy deep learning systems in production.”

 

#artificial-general-intelligence, #artificial-intelligence, #bindu-reddy, #cloud, #cloud-computing, #co-founder, #coatue, #enterprise, #entrepreneurship, #funding, #fundings-exits, #learning, #machine-learning, #ml, #recent-funding, #science-and-technology, #start-ups, #startups

#DealMonitor – #EXKLUSIV Coatue investiert 40 Millionen in Gorillas – Accel investiert in Taxdoo – Cherry investiert in Saleor


Im aktuellen #DealMonitor für den 16. November 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.

INVESTMENTS

Gorillas
+++ Der New Yorker Hedgefonds Coatue, der zuletzt in Choco investierte, investiert 40 Millionen US-Dollar in Gorillas. Das junge Berliner Hype-Startup, das man als rollenden Supermarkt beschreiben kann, verspricht teilweise eine Lebensmittel-Lieferungen innerhalb von 10 Minuten. Und das alles angeblich zu “Supermarktpreisen”. Damit setzt das Startup auf das Konzept von goPuff, das in den USA schon länger unterwegs ist. Zuletzt interessierten sich auch  Insight Partners, Accel und Index für Gorillas. Die Bewertung der aktuellen Investmentrunde liegt bei 160 Millionen (Pre-Money). Der Berliner Leckerschmecker-Geldgeber Atlantic Food Labs investierte bereits in Gorillas. Das Startup wurde von Kagan Sümer und Jörg Kattner gegründet. Alle weiteren Details gibt es nur im aktuellen Insider-Podcast. #EXKLUSIV

Taxdoo
+++ Der amerikanische Geldgeber Accel Partners investiert eine unbekannte Millionensumme in Taxdoo. Das Hamburger Startup wurde 2016 von Matthias Allmendinger, Roger Gothmann und Christian Königsheim gegründet. Das junge Unternehmen ermöglicht Onlinehändlern es, ihre internationalen Umsatzsteuer-Verpflichtungen zu automatisieren. Der High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) investierte bereits in das Steuer-Startup. Alle weiteren Details gibt es nur im aktuellen Insider-Podcast. #EXKLUSIV

Loopline Systems
+++ Business Angel Andreas Burike (unter anderem Job Ad Partner), Fawkes Ventures, STS Ventures, also OnVista-Gründer Stephan Schubert, und weitere Business Angels retten das insolvente Berliner Startup Loopline Systems. Seit 2014 unterstützen Nora Heer und Christian Kaller mit Loopline Systems Unternehmen dabei ihre Führungsprozesse zu verschlanken und zu digitalisieren. STS Ventures und Fawkes Ventures, ein Zusammenschluss aus Unternehmern und Kunden von Loopline Systems, investierten noch 2018 eine siebenstellige Summe in das Startup, das einst von Project A angeschoben wurde. Mitgründer Kaller ist weiter bei Loopline an – er hält bei der Neugründung 15 % am Unternehmen. Auf den Business Angel Burike entfallen knapp 60 %. Alle weiteren Details gibt es nur im aktuellen Insider-Podcast. #EXKLUSIV – entdeckt über Startupdetector

Saleor
+++ Der Berliner Kapitalgeber Cherry Ventures, der gerade mit Flaschenpost einen gigantischen Exit hinlegen konnt, investiert in das polnische Startup Saleor. Das junge Unternehmen aus Warschau positioniert sich als “The next-generation, open-source, headless e-commerce platform”. Alle weiteren Details gibt es nur im aktuellen Insider-Podcast. #EXKLUSIV

Zeotap
+++ Der amerikanische Geldgeber SignalFire investiert rund 16 Millionen Euro in zeotap. Das Berliner Unternehmen, das 2014 von Daniel Heer und Co. gegründet wurde, betreibt eine sogenannte Customer Intelligence Platform (CIP). Damit ist es möglich Vorhersagen im Hinblick auf das Verhalten von Kunden zu treffen. Neue Capital, coparion, MathCapital und TTCER Partners investierten zuletzt gemeinsam mit den Altinvestoren 37 Millionen Euro in das Berliner Big Data Startup.

KoRo
+++ Das Berliner Unternehmen Social Chain erhöht ihre Beteiligung am Berliner Startup KoRo von 52 auf 57 %. “Die Aufstockung erfolgt im Rahmen einer Kapitalerhöhung mit zusätzlichen Finanzierungszusagen durch die der KoRo Handels GmbH insgesamt 6 Millionen Euro für die weitere Expansion zufließen werden”, teilt der Investor, hinter dem TV-Löwe Georg Kofler steckt, mit. Koro, früher als Koro Drogerie bekannt, wandelte sich in den vergangenen Jahren vom Direktvertrieb für klassische Drogerieartikel zum Online-Shop für naturbelassene Lebensmittel wie Trockenfrüchte, die das Startup als Eigenmarken vertreibt. In Sachen Marketing setzt das Startup, das von Constantinos Calios und Robert Schyska gegründet wurde, auf Influencer. Seit Dezember 2016 ist die Social Chain Group an Koro beteiligt.

EXITS

Coyo
Der amerikanische Investor Marlin Equity Partners meldete beim Bundeskartellamt den “mit­tel­ba­ren An­teils- und Kon­trol­l­er­werb” beim Hamburger Unternehmen Coyo an. Bei Gründerszene taxiert den Exit auf einen hohen Millionenbetrag. “Das Geld für den Coyo-Deal soll nach Gründerszene-Informationen aus dem Europa-Fonds des Investors fließen, der ein Volumen von rund 600 Millionen Euro hat”, heißt es über den Exit. Coyo wurde 2010 von Jan Marius Marquardt gegründet – zunächst als IT-Beratungsagentur (Mindmash). Seit 2012 bietet Coyo eine Social-Intranet-Software an. Zuletzt war zu hören, dass Coyo eine Investmentrunde plant.

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): Shutterstock

#accel-partners, #aktuell, #berlin, #cherry-ventures, #coatue, #coyo, #gorillas, #hamburg, #koro, #saleor, #signalfire, #social-chain-group, #taxdoo, #venture-capital, #zeotap

#Podcast – Insider #90 – Gorillas – Saleor – Taxdoo – AnyDesk – Komoot – Loopline Systems – Simplesurance – Urban Sports Club – Orange Brands – KW Commerce


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 #90 – Unsere Themen

+++ Choco-Investor Coatue investiert 40 Millionen in Gorillas #EXKLUSIV
+++ Cherry Ventures investiert in Saleor aus Polen #EXKLUSIV
+++ Accel investiert in Taxdoo #EXKLUSIV
+++ Insight nutzt Vorkaufsrechte bei AnyDesk #EXKLUSIV
+++ June nutzt Vorkaufsrechte bei Komoot #EXKLUSIV
+++ Neustart für Loopline Systems #EXKLUSIV
+++ Altinvestoren investierten erneut in Simplesurance #EXKLUSIV
+++ Altinvestoren investierten erneut in Urban Sports Club #EXKLUSIV
+++ Glossybox-Gründer Charles von Abercron startet Thrasio-Klon Orange Brands #EXKLUSIV
+++ JKC Holding hält knapp 25 % an KW Commerce #EXKLUSIV

Insider #90 – Unser Sponsor

Die heutige Ausgabe wird 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 www.start2grow.de. Die Teilnahme ist kostenfrei!

Insider #90 – Unser Podcast

Abonnieren: Die Podcasts von deutsche-startups.de 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

#aktuell, #anydesk, #cherry-ventures, #coatue, #dspodcast, #gorillas, #komoot, #kw-commerce, #loopline-systems, #orange-brands, #podcast, #saleor, #simplesurance, #taxdoo, #urban-sports-club

Should your SaaS startup embrace a bottom-up GTM strategy?

Many of today’s most successful software companies, from Atlassian and Datadog to Zoom, subscribe to the bottom-up SaaS go-to-market model. In this model, the user purchases software directly from a website, without ever speaking to a sales person. The product essentially sells itself.

The bottom-up model has a few key benefits: Companies spend dramatically less on sales than their peers, allowing them to invest more in product; they can sustain hypergrowth for longer because they are not as reliant on raw sales headcount to win business; and they tend to be more profitable in the long run, leading to premium valuations.

For all these reasons, more and more SaaS startups are choosing to adopt the bottom-up go-to-market model. But for every Atlassian or Zoom, there are many more companies that fail — often because they don’t understand the hidden challenges and costs that come with the bottom-up model.

Before proceeding further, it’s important to note that bottom-up is not the right starting strategy for every company. A few quick ways to see if bottom-up is the right place to start for you:

  1. Product: People can easily try your product.
  2. Decision-maker: Your decision-maker is a line-level employee (not C-Suite).
  3. Users: Teams and individuals can get value from your product (doesn’t have to be full enterprise roll-out).
  4. Data: The data involved isn’t something that compliance would need to review.

For companies that meet these criteria, there are three important questions that you must be able to answer:

  1. Who needs to work together to make a bottom-up SaaS model work?
  2. What is the value you deliver to your customer and how do you determine pricing that matches that value?
  3. When do you hire a sales team? (Spoiler alert — it’s sooner than you think!)

In this piece, we will tackle each of those questions in turn and share some of the best answers we’ve seen from companies that are making it work.

Who needs to work together to make a bottom-up SaaS model work?

Unlike most traditional companies who rely on a head of sales to keep tabs on customers and how much each one is paying, most successful bottom-up companies rely on a combination of product, sales, customer support, marketing and community teams to manage revenue.

#coatue, #column, #customer-relationship-management, #customer-success, #entrepreneurship, #growth-marketing, #marketing, #saas, #sales, #startups, #tc