Freshworks’ valuation could crest $10B in upcoming IPO

Earlier today, TechCrunch examined the new IPO price range for Toast. The U.S. software-and-fintech company moved its valuation materially higher in anticipation of pricing tomorrow after the bell and trading on Wednesday. It was not alone in doing so.

Freshworks is also targeting a higher IPO price range, it disclosed today in a fresh SEC filing. The customer service-focused software firm now expects to charge between $32 and $34 per share in its debut, up from the $28 to $32 per-share range that it initially disclosed.

Doing some back-of-the-envelope math, Freshworks’ IPO valuation could just pass the $10 billion mark, calculated on a fully diluted basis. Its simple IPO valuations, while rising, are lower than that figure.

Mathing that out, Freshworks expects to have 284,283,200 shares outstanding when public, inclusive of its underwriters’ option, but not inclusive of vested shares present in RSUs or options. At its new IPO price range, Freshworks would be worth between $9.1 billion and $9.7 billion.

#freshworks, #fundings-exits, #initial-public-offering, #ipo, #renaissance-capital, #startups, #tc, #tiger-global, #toast

Toast raises IPO price range, providing a Monday bump to fintech valuations

U.S. technology unicorn Toast filed a new S-1 document this morning detailing a higher IPO price range for its shares. The more expensive range indicates that Toast may be worth more in its debut than it initially expected, a bullish sign for technology companies more broadly.

Toast’s rising valuation may provide a boon to two different sub-sectors of technology: software and fintech. The restaurant-focused Toast sells software on a recurring basis (SaaS) to restaurants while also providing financial technology solutions. And while it is best known as a software company that dabbles in hardware, Boston-based Toast generates the bulk of its aggregate top line from financial services.

Software revenues are valuable thanks to their high margins and recurring structure. Toast’s financial-services revenues, by contrast, are largely transaction-based and sport lower gross margins. The company’s IPO price, then, could help the private markets more fairly price startups offering their own blend of software-and-fintech incomes.

The so-called “vertical SaaS” model, in which startups build software tailored to one particular industry or another, has become a somewhat two-part business effort; many startups today are pursuing both the sale of software along with fintech revenues. Toast’s IPO, then, could operate as a bellwether of sorts for a host of startups.

To see Toast raise its range, therefore, got our eyebrows up. Let’s talk money.

Toast’s new IPO range

From a previous range of $30 to $33, Toast now expects to price its IPO between $34 and $36.

Toast now expects its IPO price to clear its previous upper-end guidance at the low end of its new range. That’s bullish — and indicative of a thus-far receptive market for the company’s equity.

#fintech, #fundings-exits, #ipo, #saas, #startups, #tc, #toast

Inside GitLab’s IPO filing

While the technology and business world worked towards the weekend, developer operations (DevOps) firm GitLab filed to go public. Before we get into our time off, we need to pause, digest the company’s S-1 filing, and come to some early conclusions.

GitLab competes with GitHub, which Microsoft purchased for $7.5 billion back in 2018.

The company is notable for its long-held, remote-first stance, and for being more public with its metrics than most unicorns — for some time, GitLab had a November 18, 2020 IPO target in its public plans, to pick an example. We also knew when it crossed the $100 million recurring revenue threshold.

Considering GitLab’s more recent results, a narrowing operating loss in the last two quarters is good news for the company.

The company’s IPO has therefore been long expected. In its last primary transaction, GitLab raised $286 million at a post-money valuation of $2.75 billion, per Pitchbook data. The same information source also notes that GitLab executed a secondary transaction earlier this year worth $195 million, which gave the company a $6 billion valuation.

Let’s parse GitLab’s growth rate, its final pre-IPO scale, its SaaS metrics, and then ask if we think it can surpass its most recent private-market price. Sound good? Let’s rock.

The GitLab S-1

GitLab intends to list on the Nasdaq under the symbol “GTLB.” Its IPO filing lists a placeholder $100 million raise estimate, though that figure will change when the company sets an initial price range for its shares. Its fiscal year ends January 31, meaning that its quarters are offset from traditional calendar periods by a single month.

Let’s start with the big numbers.

In its fiscal year ended January 2020, GitLab posted revenues of $81.2 million, gross profit of $71.9 million, an operating loss of $128.4 million, and a modestly greater net loss of $130.7 million.

And in the year ended January 31, 2021, GitLab’s revenue rose roughly 87% to $152.2 million from a year earlier. The company’s gross profit rose around 86% to $133.7 million, and operating loss widened nearly 67% to $213.9 million. Its net loss totaled $192.2 million.

This paints a picture of a SaaS company growing quickly at scale, with essentially flat gross margins (88%). Growth has not been inexpensive either — GitLab spent more on sales and marketing than it generated in gross profit in the past two fiscal years.

#computing, #crowdstrike, #datadog, #ec-news-analysis, #enterprise-software, #fundings-exits, #git, #github, #gitlab, #ipo, #microsoft, #saas, #software, #software-engineering, #startups, #tc, #twilio, #version-control

Gingko Bioworks, valued at $15B, begins trading today: Here’s how their business works

Gingko Bioworks, a synthetic biology company now valued at around $15 billion, begins trading on the New York Stock Exchange today.

Gingko’s market debut is one of the largest in biotech history. It’s expected to raise about $1.6 billion for the company. It’s also one of the biggest SPAC deals done to date — Gingko is going public through a merger with Soaring Eagle Acquisition Corp., which was announced in May. 

Shares opened at $11.15 each this morning under the ticker DNA — biotech dieharders will recognize it as the former ticker used by Genentech. 

The exterior of the NYSE is decked out in Gingko decor. The imagery is clearly sporting Jurassic Park themes, as MIT Tech Review’s Antonio Regalado pointed out. It’s probably intentional: Jason Kelly, the CEO of Ginkgo Bioworks, has been re-reading Jurassic Park this week, he tells TechCrunch. 

The decor also sports a company motto: “Grow everything.”

Ginkgo was founded in 2009, and now bills itself as a synthetic biology platform. That’s essentially premised on the idea that one day, we’ll use cells to “grow everything,” and Gingko’s plan is to be that platform used to do that growing. 

Kelly, who often uses language borrowed from computing to describe his company, likens DNA to code. Gingko, he says, aims to “program cells like you can program computers.” Ultimately, those cells can be used to make stuff: like fragrances, flavors, materials, drugs or food products. 

The biggest lingering question over Gingko, ever since the SPAC deal was announced, has centered on its massively high valuation. When Moderna, now a household name thanks to its Covid-19 vaccines, went public in 2018, the company was valued at $7.5 billion. Gingko’s valuation is double that number. 

“I think that surprises people to be honest,” Kelly says. 

How is Gingko going to make money? 

Ginkgo’s massive valuation seems even starker when you look at its existing revenues. SEC documents show that the company pulled in $77 million in revenue in 2020, which increased to about $88 million in the first 6 months of 2021 (per an August investor call) The company has also reported losses: including $126.6 million in December 2020 and $119.3 million in 2019. 

Gingko is aiming to increase revenue a significant amount in 2021. SEC documents initially noted that the company aimed to draw about $150 million in revenue in 2021, but the August earning call updated that total for the year to over $175 million. 

Gingko aims to make money in two ways: first it contracts with manufacturers during the research and development phase (i.e. while the company works out how to manufacture a cell that spits out a certain fragrance, bio-based nylon, or a meatless burger). That process happens in Gingko’s “foundry” a massive factory for bioengineering projects. 

This source of money is already starting to flow. Gingko reported $59 million in foundry revenue for 2020, and anticipates $100 million in 2021, per the August investor call

This revenue, though, isn’t covering the full costs of Gingko’s operations according to the information shared by the company in SEC documents. It is covering an increasing share, though, and as Gingko scales up its platform, costs will come down. Based on fees alone, Kelly projects Gingko will break even by 2024 or 2025. 

The second type of revenue comes from royalties, milestone payments, or in some cases equity stakes in the companies that go on to sell products, like fragrances or meatless burgers, made using Gingko’s facilities or know-how. It’s this source of income that will make up the vast majority of the company’s future worth according to its expectations. 

Once the product is made and marketed by another company, it requires little to no more work on Gingko’s part – all the company does is collect cash. 

The company is often hesitant to incorporate these earnings into projections, because they rely on other companies bringing products to market. That means it’s hard to know for sure when these downstream payments will emerge. “In our models, we are very sensitive that, at the end of the day, they’re not our products. I cannot predict when Roche might bring a drug to market and give me my milestones,” says Kelly. 

Kelly says there’s evidence this model will start to work in the near-term. 

Gingko earned a “bolus” milestone payment of 1.5 million shares of The Cronos Group, a cannabis company, for developing a commercially viable, lab grown rare cannabinoid called CBG for commercial use (there are seven more in strains development, says Kelly). These milestone payments (in cash or shares) are earned when a company achieves some predetermined goal using Gingko’s platform. 

Gingko has also worked with Aldevron to manufacture an enzyme critical to the production of mRNA vaccines, and plans to collect royalty payments from that relationship — though no foundry fees were collected from this project. 

Finally, Gingko has negotiated an equity stake in Motif Foodworks, a spinout company based on its technology. That company has so far raised about $226 million, and will aim to launch a lab-grown beef product developed at Gingko’s foundry, paying Gingko the aforementioned foundry fees already for this contribution.

“The biggest value driver” of Gingko, according to Kelly

This rich source of cash will depend a lot on the outside contractor’s ability to manufacture and sell products made using Gingko’s platform. This opens the company up to some risk that’s beyond its control. Maybe, for instance, it turns people don’t want bio-manufactured meat as much as many anticipated – that means some types of downstream payments may not materialize. 

Kelly says he’s not particularly worried about this. Even if one particular program fails, he’s planning on having so many programs running that one or two are bound to succeed. 

“I’m just sorta like: some will work, some won’t work. Some will take a year, some will take three years. It doesn’t really matter, as long as everybody is working with us,” he says. “Apple doesn’t stress about what apps are going to be the next big app in the app store,” he continues.  

One key metric to watch for Gingko going forward will be how many new cell programs they’re managing to close. So far, Gingko has added thirty programs this year, says Kelly. Last year, there were 50 programs. 

Remember: some of the projects are Gingko spinouts, like Motif Foodworks, not customers that come to the platform on their own. And historically, the number of companies Gingko has partnered with has been a point of criticism. Per SEC documents, the majority of revenue came from two large partners in 2020 – though Kelly told Business Insider that this was a pandemic-related downturn. 

The more programs Gingko has, the more it becomes insulated from the success or failure of any one product. Plus it’s a sign that people are at least using the “app store” for biology. 

“The biggest value driver of Gingko is how quickly we add programs,” Kelly says. 

#biotech, #dna, #exit, #gingko-bioworks, #initial-public-offering, #ipo, #soaring-eagle-acquisition-corp, #spac, #startups, #tc

Swedish caller-identification service Truecaller seeks to raise over $100 million in IPO

Truecaller, which operates an eponymous caller-identification service, said on Wednesday it is looking to raise $116 million in an initial public offering on Nasdaq Stockholm.

The 12-year-old Stockholm-headquartered firm, which counts India as its biggest market by users, is aiming for a valuation of about $3 billion in the IPO, according to earlier local media reports. The company said it plans to do its listing by fourth quarter of this year.

The firm, which has amassed 278 million monthly active users, has been working on its initial public offering for at least two years, according to past interviews Truecaller co-founder and chief executive Alan Mamedi has given to TechCrunch.

The firm counts Sequoia Capital and Atomica among its earlier investors. It has raised over $95 million over the years, according to Crunchbase. Six years ago, the firm engaged with some investors to raise an additional $100 million at a valuation of $1 billion, TechCrunch reported, but the deal never materialized.

“One of our objectives this year has been to prepare Truecaller for an IPO. Thanks to the strong feedback that we’ve received from potential investors, it feels very exciting to take the next step in this process. A listing of Truecaller is not only a milestone for Nami [the other co-founder], myself and all of our employees who have contributed to building Truecaller to the fantastic platform that it is today, but also to the growing Swedish tech ecosystem,” he said in a statement Wednesday.

“Even though we are twelve years into our incredible journey, we believe that this is just the beginning and we have a clear strategy to continue to grow and develop our services and products. I look forward to welcoming existing and new shareholders on this journey.”

Truecaller’s service allows users to avoid spam calls by identifying the callers, and also filters similar texts. The service is popular in many parts of the world, but India, where everyone receives dozens of such calls each month, is Truecaller’s biggest market by users.

Even as Apple and Google have improved the caller ID feature in their mobile operating systems in recent years, and taken several other steps to curb spam calls, Truecaller’s offerings remain unmatched.

The firm — which reported an operating revenue of $57 million in 2020, up from $22 million in 2018 — has expanded to additional categories such as financial services in recent years in India.

“Truecaller has made communication smarter, safer and more efficient across the world. As smartphone usage increases globally, fraud and unwanted communication has followed, and Truecaller has turned into an indispensable platform for consumers and businesses. With a clear focus on innovation and growth, Truecaller is on an exciting journey to reach even more users with even better products,” said Shailesh Lakhani, Managing Director at Sequoia Capital India, in a statement.

#fundings-exits, #india, #ipo, #stockholm, #truecaller

Rivian vehicles are now ready for sale in all 50 states, following key certifications

Rivian vehicles have received certifications from three agencies, the final hurdle that allows the electric automaker to sell and deliver its R1T pickup truck and R1S SUV in all 50 U.S. states.

Rivian confirmed to TechCrunch in an email that the vehicles are fully certified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board. Bloomberg also reported that Rivian has received regulatory approval to deliver vehicles to customers.

Rivian has a direct sales model, in which customers can order its vehicles online. Dealer protection laws in many states prohibit companies like Rivian from having its own stores, where customers can take test drives and learn about financing options. However, there are no restrictions from customers ordering online from those states.

Today, 22 states allow for all vehicle manufacturers to sell vehicles to customers, according to the NRDC. In those states, Rivian can set up stores, display vehicles, offer test rides and importantly discuss financing. Another 11 states allow for only Tesla, which also has a direct sales model, to sell vehicles, often in a limited number of locations throughout the state.

Rivian plans to begin deliveries of the R1T launch edition this month. Deliveries of the R1S SUV are expected to follow this year.

Confirmation of the certifications from the state and two federal agencies followed a trio of announcements in the past several weeks that , including the first production Rivian R1T electric pickup truck in “Rivian blue” rolling off the assembly line Tuesday morning at the company’s factory in Normal, Illinois. The company’s two vehicles also received official EPA ranges of 314 miles for the first edition version of its all-electric R1T pickup truck and 316 miles for the R1T SUV.

All of this follows Rivian confidentially filing paperwork with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to go public. The company, backed by a host of institutional and strategic investors including Ford and Amazon, has not size and price range for the proposed offering.

Sources familiar with Rivian’s IPO plans said the company has not yet started the “roadshow,” a process in which an underwriting firm and company management make a series of presentations to potential investors before going public.


#automotive, #electric-trucks, #electric-vehicles, #ipo, #rivian, #transportation

Casper cuts its CMO, CTO and COO amid further layoffs

Casper has laid off dozens of employees, including three C-Level executives: its chief marketing officer, chief technology officer and chief operating officer, sources say. The mattress company declined to comment.

The round of layoffs, communicated to employees on Friday, largely impacted retail and operations teams, signaling that the business may be undergoing a broader restructuring. Laid-off employees were offered severance packages.

Notably, the impacted executives were all fairly recent additions to the team. CTO Ben Clark has been with the company since July 2019, while former CMO Lisa Pillette joined Casper in March 2020. Casper COO Charles Liu had only been at the company for eight months before this round of layoffs.

Casper’s CFO remains at the startup, but that role has had some significant turnover as well. In an April 2020 business update, Casper announced that Gregory Macfarlane, its CFO and COO at the time, was leaving the company. Interim CFO Stuart Brown eventually took the role, and three months later resigned. The latest CFO, Michael Monahan, took the position effective August 31, 2021.

Over a year ago, Casper announced it was shutting down its European operations, cutting 21% of its global workforce. The move was then attributed to Casper’s new goal of  “achieving profitability,” which included a focus on North American operations.

The business hinted then that the temporary closure of its retail stores impacted its overall direct-to-consumer channel, forcing it to take steps to minimize operating costs. Now, the startup is going one step further by eliminating roles within its retail and operations teams.

One founder in the direct-to-consumer space, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to her lack of direct knowledge with the company, said that Casper’s layoffs could also be a response to iOS 14.5, Apple’s latest software that will crack down on apps that track users’ data without permission. The setting restricts the advertising data that companies can access, making it harder to justify budget and understand the efficacy of their sales strategy.

“Performance marketing through paid channels, specifically Facebook and Instagram, is wonky right now,” the person said. “So, if they were really reliant on that channel that could be something that is affecting their sales.”

Casper priced its IPO shares at $12 and debuted at $14.50 a share just as the COVID-19 pandemic was gaining momentum in February 2020. The company dove nearly 72% from its opening price before recovering, reaching a more recent peak of nearly $11 in February 2021. Today, the company trades at just above $5, a decline of more than half from its opening.

#casper, #casper-sleep, #direct-to-consumer, #ipo, #personnel, #tc

What to make of Freshworks’ first IPO price range

Two major private tech companies announced IPO price ranges this morning, with Toast targeting a market value of nearly $18 billion at the top end of its range and Freshworks looking to price its equity between $28 and $32 per share. TechCrunch calculates that the company would be worth around $8.9 billion at $32 per share, not employing a fully diluted share count.

Inclusive of shares represented by fully vested options and the like, Freshworks’ valuation could reach $9.6 billion, Renaissance Capital reports.

Unlike Toast, with a revenue mix including four distinct products, Freshworks is a more straightforward software company. That means we can do much more interesting work to understand its valuation. So, this morning, let’s unpack how Freshworks is considering valuing itself in its IPO at its present range, look at some market comps, and come to a conclusion regarding whether or not we expect the unicorn to raise its valuation before it floats.

Lies, damned lies and revenue multiples

As a refresher, in the first half of 2021 (Q1 and Q2), Freshworks posted revenues of $168.9 million. That annualizes to $337.9 million, thanks to numerical rounding.

At a valuation of $9.6 billion — recall that simple IPO valuations for the company and lower share-price points from its IPO range generate lower valuations and therefore more conservative multiples than what we’ll be discussing here — Freshworks would be worth 28.4x its current revenue run rate, set during H1 2021.

#freshworks, #fundings-exits, #ipo, #renaissance-capital, #startups, #toast

Quizlet plans for IPO over a year after hitting unicorn status

Quizlet, a flashcard tool turned artificial intelligence-powered tutoring platform, is planning an initial public offering nearly a year after it was valued at $1 billion. According to people familiar with the matter, Quizlet is considerably far along in the process to go public. A recent job filing shows that it is hiring for senior roles to “help build the financial systems and processes as we move towards an IPO.”

In an email to TechCrunch, the San Francisco-based edtech startup declined to comment. Quizlet hasn’t said much about its revenue specifics or if it’s profitable. Last year, the still-private startup claimed it was growing revenue 100% annually. On its website, Quizlet says that it has 60 million monthly learners, up 10 million learners compared to its 2018 totals.

Quizlet has built a large-scale business around simple to share and simple to use products. Its free flashcard maker helps students spin up study guides on topics to prepare for exams. Those insights fuel Quizlet Plus, the startup’s subscription product that charges $47.88 a year for access to more features, including tutoring services.

Quizlet’s tutoring arm, also known as Quizlet Learn, is the company’s most popular offering, per CEO Matthew Glotzbach. As a student goes through the system, Quizlet Learn consistently assesses students to see where they are making mistakes — and where they are making progress.

“It obviously doesn’t yet replace and can’t come anywhere close to replacing a human, but it can provide that guidance and point you in the right direction and help you spend your time in the right places,” he said. “Just even helping you set goals is such a critical step in learning.”

Most recently, Quizlet announced the launch of explanations, a feature that offers a step-by-step solution guide for problem sets from popular textbooks. The feature is “written and verified by experts” and is aimed to help “students better understand the reasoning and thought process behind study questions so they can practice and apply their learnings on their own,” it said in a statement. It also reclaimed the Q from its less fortunate predecessor, amid an entire rebrand.

Quizlet’s quiet march toward the public markets has been slow yet steady. The startup was founded in 2005 by a 15-year-old, Andrew Sutherland. It was fully bootstrapped until 2015. Glotzbach, who was previously an executive at YouTube, then joined in 2016. The startup still doesn’t appear to have a CFO, which is rare for companies that are going public.

Quizlet has raised a majority of its $62 million in venture capital under Glotzbach. Now, investors in the company include General Atlantic, Owl Ventures, Union Square Ventures, Costanoa Ventures and Altos Ventures.

Quizlet’s pursuit of the public markets comes as other edtech companies are proving the market’s reception to the sector. Duolingo, for example, is another consumer-focused education company, albeit one that focuses on one vertical versus Quizlet’s choice to stay broad. Duolingo went public in July, and is currently trading above its open price at $169.75 per share.


#edtech, #education, #exit, #ipo, #public-markets, #quizlet, #startups, #tc

#DealMonitor – Chronext geht an die Börse – Qualcomm kauft Wikitude – Kroschke-Gruppe investiert in Faaren

Im aktuellen #DealMonitor für den 10. September 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.


+++ Das junge Uhren-Startup Chronext geht – wie erwartet – an die Börse. Der Börsengang an der SIX Swiss Exchange soll im vierten Quartal dieses Jahres über die Bühne gehen. “Der Börsengang wird voraussichtlich eine Kapitalerhöhung von circa 250 Millionen Schweizer Franken (230 Millionen Euro) sowie eine Platzierung bestehender Aktien bestimmter Aktionäre umfassen”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. Im vergangenen Jahr erwirtschaftete Chronext einen Umsatz in höhe von rund 100 Millionen Euro. Zu den Investoren von Chronext, 2013 von Philipp Man und Ludwig Wurlitzer in der Schweiz gegründet gegründet, gehören Slingshot Ventures, Endeit Capital, Tengelmann Ventures, Partech Ventures, Capnamic Ventures, NRW.BANK, InVenture Partners und Octopus Ventures. Mehr als 100 Millionen Eigen- und Fremdkapital flossen in den vergangenen Jahren in die Jungfirma., die auch in Köln residiert. Mehr über Chronext 


+++ Der kalifornische Chip-Gigant Qualcomm übernimmt das 2009 gegründete Salzburger Augmented Reality-Unternehmen Wikitude – siehe brutkasten. “Fest steht, dass Qualcomm den Extended Reality-Bereich seit Jahren stark forciert und mit seinen Snapdragon-Prozessoren Hardware-Zulieferer für viele der bekanntestes VR- und AR-Produkte ist”, heißt es im Artikel. Wikitude wurde in den vergangenen Jahren unter anderem von Tecnet, Hermann Futter und der Cielo Privatstiftung unterstützt.


+++ Die Kroschke-Gruppe, ein Dienstleister rund um Kfz-Themen, investiert eine ungenannte Summe in Faaren. Das 2018 von Daniel Garnitz, Maximilian Renoth, Konstantin Stenzel, Eike Ben Seifert und Fabian Hage gegründete B2B-Unternehmen unterstützt Autohändler, die ins Abo-Konzept einsteigen möchten. Der Helvetia Venture Fund, ein Ableger der Helvetia Schweizerische Versicherungsgesellschaft, investierte zuletzt gemeinsam mit den Flixbus-Gründern eine siebenstellige Summe in das junge Auto-Abo-Startup aus Rottendorf. Mehr über Faaren

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, #chronext, #faaren, #ipo, #koln, #qualcomm, #rottendorf, #venture-capital, #wikitude

#DealMonitor – ryd sammelt 10 Millionen ein – Ledgy bekommt 10 Millionen – AnaCap übernimmt WebID – Babbel geht an die Börse

Im aktuellen #DealMonitor für den 7. September 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.


+++ bp ventures, der Investmentableger von bp, investiert 10 Millionen Euro in ryd. Das Münchner Startup, ehemals TankTaler, bietet mit ryd pay eine bargeldlose Bezahlfunktion direkt an der Zapfsäule an. ryd box, ein OBD2-Stecker, wiederum verwandelt jedes Auto in ein Smartcar. “Die Investition von bp wird ryd helfen, seine marktführende Position zu stärken, in neue internationale Märkte zu wachsen und sein Angebot weiter auszubauen”, teilt die Jungfirma mit. Mastercard und ein süddeutscher Automobilhersteller investieren zuletzt bereits einen zweistelligen Millionenbetrag in das Startup. Mehr über ryd

+++ Der amerikanische Geldgeber Sequoia, der Visionaries Club aus Berlin, btov Partners, Creathor Ventures, VI Partners und diverse Business Angels investieren 10 Millionen US-Dollar in Ledgy. Das Startup, 2017 von Yoko Spirig, Ben Brandt und Timo Horstschaefer in Zürich gegründet, entwickelt eine Software, die Unternehmen bei der Verwaltung von Vermögenswerten helfen soll, indem es etwa Eigenkapitalpläne und Mitarbeiterbeteiligungspläne bündelt. Die Jungfirma schreibt zum Investment: “On our way to fulfil our mission and vision, our next step is to strengthen our presence in the rest of continental Europe as well as in the UK to finally establish a standard way for companies to manage ownership. Second, we will increase our feature set to better support public companies as well – a number of them are on Ledgy already”. Mehr über Ledgy 

+++ Der Impact Investing-Pionier Impact Partners investiert 6 Millionen Euro in NeuroNation. Das Berliner Health-Startup, das 2011 von Ilya Shabanov und Rojahn Ahmadi gegründet wurde, setzt auf “hocheffektives Gedächtnistraining mit über 30 zielgerichteten Übungen”. In der Presseaussendung heißt es zum Investment: “Das gemeinsame Ziel von Impact Partners und NeuroNation: die Forschung stärken und das digitale Gesundheitsangebot für  möglichst viele Menschen zugänglich machen”.

+++ Peak Pride Management, die HPH Start-Up Unit und APEX Ventures investieren 2 Millionen Euro in contextflow. Das Spin-Off der Medizinischen Universität Wien unterstützt Nutzer:innen “mit dem Einsatz von Deep Learning Radiologen bei der Bildinterpretation und verkürzt die Zeit für eine genaue Diagnose”. B&C Innovation Investments, TTIP Beteiligungs GmbH und APEX Ventures, Crista Galli Ventures, IST cube, Nina Capital und Novacapital investierten zuletzt 4,7 Millionen Euro in die Jungfirma.


+++ Der britische Finanzinvestor AnaCap Financial Partners übernimmt die Mehrheit am Identitätsdienst WebID. “Das Unternehmen mit Sitz in London wird erhebliches Wachstumskapital bereitstellen und mit CEO und Gründer Frank S. Jorga sowie dem bestehenden Managementteam zusammenarbeiten, um das Produktangebot von WebID auf neue Branchen weltweit auszuweiten und das Wachstum weiter zu beschleunigen”, heißt es in der Presseaussendung. WebID, gegründet 2012, ermöglicht die staatlich anerkannte Identifikation per Videochat. 2019 erwirtschaftete das Unternehmen einen Umsatz in Höhe von 13 Millonen Euro, 2020 waren es 20 Millionen. In diesem Jahr peilt WebID 30 Millionen Euro Umsatz an. Die Höhe des Investments oder gar die Bewertung sind nicht bekannt. Eine Bewertung bei rund 100 Millionen Euro sollte aber im Bereich des Möglichen liegen. Mehr über WebID

+++ Das Wiener Unicorn GoStudent übernimmt Fox Education, das Unternehmen hinter SchoolFox, KidsFox und TeamFox. “Das Unternehmen, die Marken, die Produkte, das Team und das Management von FoxEducation bleiben bestehen und werden durch den starken Rückenwind des EdTech-Unicorns GoStudent international ausgebaut”, teilen die Unternehmen mit. Fox Education, wurrde 2016 von Stefan Siegl, David Schalkhammer und Julian Breitenecker in Wien gegründet. Die Jungfirma, die rund 30 Mitarbeiter:innen beschäftigt, zählt nach eigenen Angaben knapp 6.000 Schulen und Kitas mit insgesamt 1.3 Millionen Nutzer:innen zu seinen Kunden. GoStudent , 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. Mehr über GoStudent


+++ Der langjährige Lakestar-Macher Mark Schmitz startet nach unseren Informationen mit Equaition einen Fond of Fonds-Anbieter, der sich gezielt an First Time-Fonds richtet. Zur Seite steht Schmitz dabei TUM-Professor Reiner Braun. In der Eigenbeschreibung des Münchner Unternehmen heißt es: “Technology Asset Management. Rooted in Science. Driven by Data”. Mehr im Insider-Podcast #EXKLUSIV


+++ Der Berliner Sprachlerndienst Babbel, der sich über den Verkauf von Abos finanziert, geht – wie erwartet – an die Börse. Der Börsengang an der Frankfurter Wertpapierbörse soll noch in diesem Jahr Jahr erfolgen, teilt das Unternehmen, das 2007 gegründet wurde, mit. Das Angebot umfasse “voraussichtlich” neue Aktien aus einer Kapitalerhöhung mit einem angestrebten Bruttoemissionserlös von rund 180 Millionen Euro. “?Babbel beabsichtigt, den Bruttoerlös aus dem Verkauf der neu ausgegebenen Aktien für die Ausweitung seines B2B-Geschäfts, die Einführung neuer Lernerfahrungen und/oder den Zugang zu neuen geografischen Märkten sowie für die Abgeltung bestimmter Ansprüche aus bestehenden Mitarbeiter-Beteiligungsprogrammen zu verwenden”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. Der Umsatz des Unternehmens stieg 2019 um 16 % von 106,4 Millionen Euro auf 123,9 Millionen. Der Konzernjahresfehlbetrag lag 2019 bei rund 3 Millionen. Im Vorjahr waren es noch 12,4 Millionen. 2020 erwirtschaftete Babbel laut Presseaussendung einen Umsatz in Höhe von 147 Millionen Euro. Mehr über Babbel


Osmans Töchter
+++ In der ersten Folge der zehnten Staffel investierte Familien-Löwin Dagmar Wöhrl 170.000 Euro in Osmans Töchter und sicherte sich dabei 25 % am Unternehmen. Die junge Food-Firma setzt auf türkische Meze im Glas. Ursprünglich wollten die Berliner 170.000 Euro für 20 % einsammeln.

+++ In der ersten Folge der zehnten Staffel investierte Regal-Löwe Ralf Dümmel 70.000 in Astalea und sicherte sich dabei 20 % am Unternehmen. Das Unternehmen, in der Sendung noch als Asalea bekannt, entwickelt einen Aroma-Duftstein für das Armaturenbrett.

+++ In der ersten Folge der zehnten Staffel investierten Pharma-Löwe Nils Glagau und Sales-Löwe Carsten Maschmeyer  280.000 Euro in Laufmaus und sicherten sich dabei 25,1 % am Unternehmen. Das Unternehmen bietet ein Griffelement an, dessen Handhabung automatisch für eine entspannte und gesündere Körperhaltung sorgt. Ursprünglich wollte das Team 280.000 Euro für 17,5 % einsammeln.

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, #asalea, #astalea, #babbel, #berlin, #bp-ventures, #btov-partners, #creathor-ventures, #edtech, #equaition, #fox-education, #gostudent, #impact-partners, #ipo, #kidsfox, #laufmaus, #ledgy, #munchen, #neuronation, #osmans-tochter, #ryd, #schoolfox, #sequoia-capital, #teamfox, #venture-capital, #vi-partners, #visionaries-club, #webid

Private equity giveth, and private equity taketh away

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

Natasha and Alex and Grace and Chris gathered to dig through the week’s biggest happenings, including some news of our own. As a note, Equity’s Monday episode will be landing next Tuesday, thanks to a national holiday here in the United States. And we have something special planned for Wednesday, so stay tuned.

Ok! Here’s the rundown from the show:

That’s a wrap from us for the week! Keep your head atop your shoulders and have a great weekend!

Equity drops every Monday at 7:00 a.m. PDT, Wednesday, and Friday morning at 7:00 a.m. PDT, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercastSpotify and all the casts.

#allbirds, #compound-foods, #databricks, #drift, #equity-podcast, #hum-capital, #ipo, #s-1, #sustainability, #tc, #toast, #vista-equity-partners, #y-combinator

#DealMonitor – the nu company sammelt 14 Millionen ein – Boxine geht per SPAC-IPO an die Börse – Carbonfuture bekommt 2,8 Millionen

Im aktuellen #DealMonitor für den 31. August 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.


the nu company
+++ DLF Venture, Five Seasons Ventures und DX Ventures, der Inevstmentableger von Delivery Hero, investieren gemeinsam mit Formel-1-Weltmeister Nico Rosberg, BackBone Ventures sowie Square One Foods 14 Millionen Euro in the nu company. Das Food-Startup aus Leipzig, das 2016 gegründet wurde, bietet unter der Marke nucao vegane und zuckerreduzierte Schokoriegel an. “Die Series A hilft uns dabei weitere Produkte auf den Markt zu bringen, die eine echte positive Veränderung im Massenmarkt herbeiführen können”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. ForestFinance, Formel-1-Weltmeister Rosberg, Develey-Geschäftsführer Michael Durach und Square One Foods investierten zuletzt rund 3,7 Millionen Euro in the nu company.

+++ Der Zürcher ClimateTech-Investor Übermorgen Ventures, Wi Venture und seed + speed Ventures, der Frühphaseninvestor von Carsten Maschmeyer, investieren 2,8 Millionen Dollar in Carbonfuture – siehe Gründerszene. Das Freiburger Startup positioniert sich als “Marktplatz und Plattform für hochwertige und wirkungsvolle Kohlenstoffsenken-Credits”. Es geht somit um den Handel mit Emissionsrechten. “Wir unterstützen Unternehmen und Organisationen weltweit auf ihrem Weg zu echter Klimaneutralität”, teilt die Jungfirma mit. Carbonfuture wurde 2020 von Matthias Ansorge, Marcel Eichler, Natasha Schaufler, Hannes Junginger und Andreas Hölzl gegründet.

Der High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF), Patrick Pöschl (Scalable Capital), Christopher Oster (Clark), Florian Gschwandtner (Runtastic), Johann “Hans” Hansmann und Frank Westermann (mySugr) investieren 1,8 Millionen Euro in Coinpanion. Das Startup, das 2019 von Alexander Valtingojer, Matthias Zandanel, Saad J. Wohlgenannt und Aaron Penn in Wien gegründet, ermöglicht seinen Nutzer:innen Krypto-Investments. “Die 1,8 Millionen Euro Kapital sollen vor allem in das weitere Wachstum fließen. Wir wollen unser starkes Nutzer*innen-Wachstum weiter ausbauen. Außerdem planen wir, innerhalb eines Jahres von 18 auf 50 Mitarbeiter zu wachsen”, teilt das FinTech mit.

+++ Germany’s Next Topmodel-Star Bruce Darnell investiert in PlusDental. Der Einstieg erfolgt im Rahmen einer Werbekooperation. Der TV-Star wird “Brand-Ambassador von PlusDental in TV-Spots sowie einer Out-of-Home-Kampagne”. Das Berliner Startup, das 2017 von Constantin Bisanz, David Khalil, Peter Baumgart und Lukas Brosseder ins Leben gerufen wurde, positioniert sich im Bereich “digitale Zahnmedizin und ästhetische kieferorthopädische Korrekturen mit transparenten Zahnschienen”. Insgesamt flossen in den vergangenen Jahren schon knapp 100 Millionen Euro in das Unternehmen. Mehr über PlusDental


+++ Das Düsseldorfer Unternehmens Boxine, bekannt für die Toniebox und die Tonies, geht – wie erwartet – via 468 SPAC I an die Börse.  “Im Rahmen des Unternehmenszusammenschlusses wird Boxine mit einem pro-forma Unternehmenswert von 870 Millionen Euro und einem pro-forma Eigenkapitalwert von 990 Millionen Euro bewertet”, teilen die Unternehmen mit. Mit der Toniebox und den dazugehörigen Tonies haben die Gründer Patric Faßbender und Marcus Stahl 2014 ein Audiosystem für Kinder erschaffen. In diesem Jahr peilt das Unternehmen einen Umsatz in Höhe von 170 Millionen Euro an. Im Vorjahr waren es 137 Millionen. Der SPAC-IPO wird Boxine “voraussichtlich einen Bruttoerlös von 400 Millionen Euro einbringen”. Hinter 468 SPAC I verbirgt sich der noch junge Geldgeber 468 Capital (unter anderem Ex-Rocket Internet-Macher Alexander Kudlich). Die Münchner Industrieholding Armira, der Movinga-Investor Santo Venture Capital und Zalando-Gründer Robert Gentz kauften das Düsseldorfer Unternehmen Boxine 2019, wohl für rund 300 Millionen Euro. Mehr über Boxine

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

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

Foto (oben): azrael74

#468-capital, #468-spac-i, #aktuell, #backbone-ventures, #boxine, #carbonfuture, #climatetech, #coinpanion, #dlf-venture, #dusseldorf, #fintech, #five-seasons-ventures-und-dx-ventures, #food, #freiburg, #high-tech-grunderfonds, #ipo, #nico-rosberg, #plusdental, #promi-investor, #seed-speed-ventures, #spac, #square-one-foods, #the-nu-company, #ubermorgen-ventures, #venture-capital, #wi-venture, #wien

#Gastbeitrag – Alles zu Börsengängen – und wie sie gelingen

Die Nachrichten zu Börsengänge überschlagen sich in den letzten Monaten: Ant, Coinbase und erst kürzlich das britische Fintech Wise. Die Scale-Up-Szene wird erwachsen. Daher stellen sich immer mehr Unternehmen die Frage: Sollen wir auch den Schritt an die Börse wagen? Und wenn ja: Wie? Und was müssen Unternehmer:innen bei einem Börsengang beachten? Dieser Beitrag geht auf die Grundlagen von Börsengängen ein.

An die Börse, aber warum? Es gibt viele gute Gründe für einen Börsengang. Die Börse bietet gelisteten Unternehmen eine standardisierte, einfache und schnelle Kapitalaufnahme, sowie ein vervielfachtes Wachstumspotential. Wenn man einen Exit anstrebt, können die Aktien zu Fusionen mit anderen Unternehmen als Akquisitionswährung genutzt werden. Zuletzt sprechen die erhöhte Sichtbarkeit und Wahrnehmung durch den Börsengang selbst, sowie die erhöhte Transparenz durch die regulatorischen Erfordernisse für einen Börsengang.

Was müssen Unternehmer:innen beachten? Börsengänge bringen viel Arbeit mit sich. Im Vorfeld sollten sich Unternehmer:innen also mit einer gewissen Anzahl an Fragen beschäftigen: Welche Art von Börsengang ist die richtige für mein Unternehmen? Was bringt ein Börsengang mit sich? Wann sollte ich den Schritt an die Börse wagen? Und welche Fehler kann ich vermeiden?

Klassischer IPO, Direct Listing oder SPACs

Die gängigste Art eines Börsengangs ist der klassische IPO, kurz für Initial Public Offering. Bei einem IPO werden erstmalig Aktien eines Unternehmen an der Börse angeboten. Hier müssen viele Regularien beachtet werden und das Unternehmen wird entsprechend des gewählten Handelsplatzes von einer lokalen Investmentbank und einer Anwaltskanzlei begleitet. Bei einem Direct Listing bedarf es keines Vermittlers und es findet auch kein IPO statt, sondern die Aktien des Unternehmens werden direkt an der Börse notiert. Demnach erhalten die Unternehmen auch keine Garantie für den Aktienverkauf, weshalb diese Form von Börsengang mit mehr Risiken verbunden ist als ein klassischer IPO. SPACs (Special Purpose Acquisition Companies) haben dieses Jahr für viel Aufruhr gesorgt. Bei dieser Form des Börsengangs werden Unternehmen als Hülle an die Börse gebracht, erhalten daraufhin Kapital mit dem sie dann ein Unternehmen akquirieren, das nicht an der Börse gelistet ist.

Der richtige Zeitpunkt

Es gibt nicht “den einen richtigen Zeitpunkt” für einen Börsengang und jedes Unternehmen ist anders. Nichtsdestotrotz gibt es Richtwerte, an denen man sich orientieren kann. An der Börse sein ist eine kostspielige Angelegenheit. Daher sollte ein Börsengang erst anvisiert werden, wenn das Unternehmen – abhängig vom Geschäftsmodell – einen mindestens acht- oder neunstelligen Umsatz schreibt. Im SaaS-Bereich sind die Fixkosten geringer, daher kann der Umsatz auch niedriger ausfallen. Zudem sollte ein Unternehmen vor einem Börsengang bereits profitabel sein oder einen klaren Pfad zur Profitabilität haben.

Womit Unternehmen rechnen müssen

Wie eingangs erwähnt, bringen Börsengänge für Unternehmer:innen einen erheblichen Mehraufwand und Kosten mit sich. Das liegt in erster Linie an der durch Regularien notwendigen Transparenz. Für börsennotierte Unternehmen gibt es Reportingpflichten, Ergebnisse und Unternehmensaktivitäten müssen regelmäßig kommuniziert werden. Daher gibt es zwei Maßnahmen, die auf Unternehmen an der Börse zukommen: Investoren- und Jahreshauptversammlungen sowie Öffentlichkeitsarbeit und Finanzkommunikation. Die Kosten, die allein durch die Tatsache entstehen, dass ein Unternehmen börsennotiert ist, betragen mindestens 250.000 Euro im Jahr.

Mögliche Fehler

Vor dem Hintergrund des beschriebenen Mehraufwands und der Mehrkosten, können insbesondere Neulinge typischen Fehlern aus dem Weg gehen. Einer ist der Hang zu Überbewertung, zu dem Investmentbanken tendieren können, wenn sie einen IPO attraktiv machen wollen. Daher sollten Unternehmer:innen unbedingt realistisch bleiben. Außerdem sollte man einen Börsengang keinesfalls überstürzen. Wie erwähnt, sollte die notwendige Liquidität vorhanden und die Profitabilität (fast) erreicht sein.

Fazit. Auch wenn es eine Menge an Dingen gibt, die man beachten sollte, gibt es leider kein Geheimrezept für einen Börsengang. Jedes Unternehmen schreibt seine ganz individuelle Unternehmensgeschichte und daher gibt es nur grobe Richtwerte. Nichtsdestotrotz sollten Unternehmer:innen sich vor einem Börsengang in Ruhe folgende Fragen stellen:

* Warum ein Börsengang? Mit welchem Ziel?

* An welcher Börse soll mein Unternehmen notieren? Und in welchem Segment?

* Ist das Unternehmen groß genug und kann es sich den Börsengang leisten?

* Ist das Team bereit dazu?

* Ist das Unternehmen bereit für die notwendige Transparenz?

TippWarum Startups sich ernsthaft mit SPACs befassen sollten

Über den Autor
Daniel Wild, Gründer und Aufsichtsrat der Mountain Alliance AG, einer operativen Beteiligungsgesellschaft, ist Serienunternehmer und hat bereits in den Nullerjahren sein erstes Unternehmen getmobile AG per SPAC, beziehungsweise SPV (England) an die Börse gebracht.

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

Foto (oben): Shutterstock

#aktuell, #gastbeitrag, #ipo, #spac

D2C specs purveyor Warby Parker files to go public

Did you miss IPOs? I sure did. They could be coming back after a summer lull.

Warby Parker, a D2C glasses company backed by over a half-billion dollars of private capital, filed to go public yesterday. For investors like General Catalyst, Tiger Global and Durable Capital Partners, it’s an important debut. Having taken on equity capital since at least 2011, investors have been waiting a long time for Warby to float.

The Exchange explores startups, markets and money.

Read it every morning on Extra Crunch or get The Exchange newsletter every Saturday.

And there’s quite a lot to like about the company, the first parse of its IPO filing reveals. There are some less attractive elements to its business worth discussing, and we need to examine how COVID-19 impacted the company’s 2020 performance.

Warby last raised known private capital in August 2020, a $120 million Series G that valued the company at just over $3 billion on a post-money basis. D1 Capital Partners led that transaction, which included both Durable Capital and Baillie Gifford.

For D2C startups, the Warby IPO is something of a do-over. The Casper IPO from early 2020 is now a cautionary tale for companies employing the business model; the company reduced its IPO range, priced at $12 per share and today trades for just over $5.

But there’s more to Warby Parker’s IPO than just the D2C category. It’s a public benefit corporation, which it says in its filing means that it is “focused on positively impacting all stakeholders” as opposed to merely shareholders. And the company has a charitable bent to its efforts through a foundation and donation model of giving away eyewear when customers purchase their own set. Warby also has a hybrid sales model, leaning on both IRL and digital retail channels. There’s lots to dig into.

So let’s parse Warby’s growth history, its profitability progress over time and how the company is blending IRL shopping with digital channels. We’ll close by examining just how the company was priced last year, taking a guess at what it might be worth in today’s public markets.

Inside Warby Parker’s historical growth

Looking at Warby’s full-year results for 2020 is not inspiring. The company grew well from 2018 to 2019, expanding from $272.9 million in revenue to $370.5 million in revenue, or around 36%. That’s not an astounding pace of growth, but it’s more than respectable for a company of Warby’s age and size.

Then in 2020 the company only managed to eke out 6% growth to $393.7 million in top line. What happened to slow the company’s growth rate from Just Fine to Not Fine At All? COVID, it appears.

#baillie-gifford, #d1-capital-partners, #durable-capital-partners, #eyewear, #fundings-exits, #general-catalyst, #ipo, #luxottica, #retail, #startups, #tc, #the-exchange, #tiger-global, #warby-parker

ForgeRock files for IPO as identity and access management business grows

ForgeRock filed its form S-1 with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) this morning as the identity management provider takes the next step toward its IPO.

The company did not provide initial pricing for its shares, which will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol FORG. The IPO is being led by Morgan Stanley and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., with the company being valued as high as $4 billion, according to Bloomberg, which is a significant uplift over the $730 million post-money value that PitchBook had for the company after its last round in 2020.

With the ever-increasing volume of cybersecurity attacks against organizations of all sizes, the need to secure and manage user identities is of growing importance. Based in San Francisco, ForgeRock has raised $233 million in funding across multiple rounds. The company’s last round was a $93.5 million Series E announced in April 2020, which was led by Riverwood Capital alongside Accenture Ventures. At that time, CEO Fran Rosch told TechCrunch that the round would be the last before an IPO, which was also what former CEO Mike Ellis told us after the startup’s $88 million Series D in September 2017.

While the timing of its IPO might have been unclear over the last few years, the company has been on a positive trajectory for growth. In its S-1, ForgeRock reported that as of June 30, its annual recurring revenue (ARR) was $155 million, representing 30% year-over-year growth. 

While revenue is growing, losses are narrowing as the company reported a $20 million net loss down from $36 million a year ago. There certainly is a whole lot of room to grow, as the company estimates that the total global addressable market for identity services to be worth $71 billion. 

Among the many competitors that ForgeRock faces is Okta, which went public in 2017 and has been growing in the years since. In March, Okta acquired cloud identity startup Auth0 for $6.5 billion in a deal that raised a few eyebrows. Another competitor is Ping Identity, which went public in 2019 and is also growing, reporting on August 4 that its ARR hit $279.6 million in its quarter ended June 30, for a 19% year-over-year gain. There have also been a few big exits in the space over the years, including Duo Security, which was acquired by Cisco for $2.35 billion in 2018.

“ForgeRock has a good access management tool and they continue to be a strong player in customer identity and access management (CIAM),” commented Michael Kelley, senior research director at Gartner.

Kelley noted that in 2020, ForgeRock converted most of its core access management services to a SaaS delivery model, which helped the company catch up with the rest of the market that already offered access management as SaaS. Also last year the company expanded into identity governance, introducing a brand new identity, governance and administration (IGA) product.

“I think one of the more interesting products that ForgeRock offers is ForgeRock Trees, which is a no-code/low-code orchestration tool for building complex authentication and authorization journeys for customers, which is particularly helpful in the CIAM market,” Kelly added.

ForgeRock was founded in 2010, but its roots go back even further to an open-source single sign-on project known as OpenSSO that was created by Sun Microsystems in 2005. When Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems in early 2010, a number of its open-source efforts were left to languish, which is what led a number of former Sun employees to start ForgeRock. 

Over the last decade, ForgeRock has expanded significantly beyond just providing a single sign-on to providing an identity platform that can handle consumer, enterprise and IoT use-cases. The company’s platform today handles identity and access management as well as identity governance.

The ability to scale is a key selling point that ForgeRock makes in the S-1, noting that its platform can handle over 60,000 user-based access transactions per second per customer. 

“As of June 30, 2021, we had four customers with 100 million or more licensed identities, the company stated in the S-1. “Our ability to serve mission-critical needs in complex environments for large customers enables us to grow our base of large customers and expand within each of them. “


#access-management, #cloud-applications, #duo-security, #exit, #forgerock, #identity-management, #initial-public-offering, #ipo, #okta, #ping-identity, #san-francisco, #security, #startups

Car-sharing startup Turo has filed confidentially for an IPO

Turo, the peer-to-peer car-sharing startup, has initiated the confidential process of filing for an initial public offering with the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission.

The number of shares to be offered in the IPO and the price range have not yet been determined, the company said in a statement. Turo declined to provide additional information to TechCrunch.

The eleven-year-old Turo’s marketplace is analogous to AirBnB, letting car owners post an ad to rent out their vehicle on its app and website. Cars are available to rent in more than 5,500 cities across four countries, Turo says on its website. That includes Germany, where Turo took over Daimler AG’s car-sharing subsidiary Croove alongside an investment deal.

The company had a $250 million Series E in July 2019, which pushed the company into unicorn status and “past the billion-dollar valuation mark,” CEO Andre Haddad said in a blog post. Turo followed that up with a $30 million extension round the following February, bringing its total funding to date to over $500 million.

Turo did not have a completely smooth ride during the pandemic; like other transportation startups Bird and Getaround, Turo laid off 30% of its workforce, or 108 employees, in March 2020 according to data tracker

#automotive, #car-sharing, #car-sharing-startup, #ipo, #peer-to-peer, #startups, #transportation, #turo

The tale of two edtech IPOs

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. Last week, Natasha and Alex jumped on Twitter Spaces to discuss the tale of two edtech IPOs: Duolingo, the consumer language learning company, and Powerschool, the enterprise K-12 software platform. It was a rare moment in the sun for the recently-revitalized sector, which saw two companies list on the NASDAQ on the same dang day.

Special shout out to our producer Chris Gates for handling this impromptu live chat, tech difficulties and all, and bringing it to your ears on this lovely Monday. Don’t forget that Equity is largely on break this week!

Here’s what we got into, featuring some edtech entrepreneurs nice enough to drop on by:

  • China’s edtech crackdown and how it is impacting startups both internationally and domestically. The regulations, one of which will force for-profit tutoring companies to turn into non-profits, are also getting the cold shoulder from U.S. edtech VCs, it seems.
  •  As Lightspeed Ventures investor Mercedes Bent so aptly put it, the news is somewhat ironic: “[T]he US edtech IPO market is on fire (after being dormant for so long) and the China edtech market is crumbling (after being on fire for so long).”
  • Evidence of that can be found in the Duolingo IPO pricing arc. The company first posted a strong estimate of its worth, raised its range, priced above that raised interval, and still managed to trade higher. The company is still up more than $30 from its IPO price.
  • Powerschool was a bit different. It priced at $18 per share, the low-end of its $18 to $20 range. The company is up from its IPO price, albeit a much more modest two, or three percent in today’s early trading.

In the second half of the show, we brought on the following host of edtech founders to share their hot takes about the current state of edtech:

Before we go, Equity is on a “break” this week, as we do some soul searching and refresh before our next run of shows. Obviously we still had to shaare this episode, and um, are recording another episode this week too, but you, my dear friend, will hear from us again next Monday.

Equity drops every Monday at 7:00 a.m. PDT, Wednesday, and Friday morning at 7:00 a.m. PDT, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercastSpotify and all the casts.

#duolingo, #edtech, #education, #equity, #fundings-exits, #ipo, #powerschool, #startups, #tc

How to prepare for M&A, your most likely exit avenue

Despite the plentiful headlines about mega billion-dollar M&A transactions, record IPOs and the rapid growth of SPACs, small deals will continue to be the most likely exit for the vast majority of tech startups. In the over 30 years I’ve worked on M&A at White & Case, Barclays and my current firm Ascento Capital, I have seen too many startups that are not prepared for an exit via a merger or sale. This article will provide specific recommendations on how to prepare your startup for M&A.

While it is good to strive for a billion-dollar-plus sale, a successful IPO or a SPAC deal, it is practical to prepare your startup for a smaller transaction.

Global M&A hit record highs in the second quarter with a total deal value of $1.5 trillion, but smaller transactions vastly outnumber mega billion-dollar deals. The U.S. saw a total of 16,672 deals in the year ended June 31, but only 583, or 3% of that number, were valued at more than a billion dollars (FactSet). The IPO market is healthy again, but M&A still represents 88% of exits: So far this year, there were 503 IPOs and 5,203 deals, according to the CB Insights Q2 2021 State of Venture Report. After the SEC announced in early April that it was considering new guidance on SPAC IPOs, the rate of new SPAC issuances fell by around 90%.

While it is good to strive for a billion-dollar-plus sale, a successful IPO or a SPAC deal, it is practical to prepare your startup for a smaller transaction.

Here are a few recommendations that will prepare your startup for an M&A exit:

Track M&A in your subsector

Set up an alert on Google News for M&A activity in your subsector. For example, if your startup is in the IoT subsector, search for “IoT acqui” and this will pick up news stories on acquisitions in the IoT space. Save the search so you can go to Google News on a regular basis. Also track your closest competitors on Google News, particularly to see who is selling their company.

Prepare a list of likely acquirers

Prepare a list of the companies or firms most likely to buy your startup. This list should include domestic and international companies, businesses in non-tech industries, private equity firms and their portfolio companies, as well as VC-backed companies. Track these likely acquirers on Google News as well.

Consider executing a parallel track

Consider approaching the top 10 likely acquirers when you are raising the next round of capital. If your startup gets M&A offers and VC term sheets at the same time, this will provide your board of directors choices on the path ahead. Knowing the M&A activity in your startup’s subsector and the 10 most likely acquirers will impress VCs and increase the chances of being funded.

#column, #ec-column, #ec-how-to, #exits, #fundings-exits, #ipo, #ma, #mergers-and-acquisitions, #money, #private-equity, #spac, #special-purpose-acquisition-company, #startups

Duolingo’s IPO could cast golden halo on edtech startups

Edtech giant Duolingo set an initial price range for its impending IPO today. The unicorn expects to price in its public debut at $85 to $95 per share, selling 3,700,000 in the deal.

Another 1,406,113 shares are being sold by existing shareholders, and 765,916 shares are being offered to underwriting banks as part of the transaction. All told, the company may see 5,872,029 shares trade hands in its IPO, worth some $557,842,755. Duolingo itself can raise as much as $424,262,020 in gross proceeds at its current range, provided that its underwriting banks exercise their option.

The IPO is a material fundraising event for the company. Before its public offering, the largest single hit of capital that Duolingo raised was a $45 million Series D from 2015.

Let’s dig into what Duolingo, which we profiled in much more detail here, is worth at its IPO price and peek at its preliminary second-quarter results. Our goal will be to understand its valuation in the context of its growth. From there, we’ll be able to draw some general conclusions about the larger edtech startup market.

What’s it worth?

After its IPO, Duolingo will have 35,892,152 shares outstanding, sans its underwriter’s option. At the lower and upper bounds of its simple IPO valuation, Duolingo is worth $3.1 billion to $3.4 billion.

As with every company going public, Duolingo’s IPO valuation rises if we include shares that have vested in RSU or options form, but have yet to be exercised. In the case of Duolingo, its share count rises to 43,776,271, per an initial TechCrunch analysis of the company’s RSU and options details provided in its S-1 filing. At that share count, Duolingo is worth $3.7 billion to $4.2 billion.

For every number provided, the company’s underwriter’s option adds modestly.

All valuations listed above are a premium over the company’s final private price set during its November 2020 Series H round of funding. That $35 million round valued the company at around $2.4 billion.

At first blush, then, the company’s IPO price range feels strong, regardless of whether we lean on simple or fully diluted share counts to come to a new price for the firm. But how do its new valuations stack against its recent revenue? Let’s find out.

#duolingo, #ec-edtech, #edtech, #education, #fundings-exits, #ipo, #s-1, #tc

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 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

The price differential for engineers is declining

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture-capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

The whole crew was here this week, with Danny and Natasha and Alex  together with Grace and Chris to sort through a very, very busy week. Yep, somehow it is Friday again which means it’s time for our weekly news roundup.

Here’s what we got to in our short window of time:

Like we said, a busy week! Chat you all on Monday morning, early.

Equity drops every Monday at 7:00 a.m. PDT, Wednesday, and Friday morning at 7:00 a.m. PDT, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercastSpotify and all the casts.

#affirm, #ai, #apple, #artificial-intelligence, #beyond-meat, #bnpl, #china, #chorus-ai, #commodity-capital, #discord, #early-stage-startup, #edtech, #emerging-fund-manager, #equity, #equity-podcast, #fintech, #gourmey, #india, #ipo, #jianzhi-education, #klarna, #next-gen-foods, #nooks, #public-market, #reddit, #sentropy, #tc, #venture-capital, #virtual-hq, #zomato, #zoominfo

Q3 IPO cycle starts strong with Couchbase pricing and Kaltura relisting

Today we have new filings from Couchbase and Kaltura: Couchbase set an initial price range for its IPO, something we’ve been waiting for, and Kaltura’s offering is back from hiatus with a new price range and some fresh financial information to boot.

Both bits of news should help us get a handle on how the Q3 2021 IPO cycle is shaping up at the start.

TechCrunch has long expected the third quarter’s IPO haul to prove strong; investors said as 2020 closed that quarters one, three and four would prove very active in terms of public market exits this year. Then the second quarter surpassed expectations, with more companies going public than at least some market observers anticipated.

With that in mind, you can imagine why the newly launched Q3 could prove an active period.

So! Let’s start with a dig into the filing from NoSQL provider Couchbase, working to understand its first price range and what the numbers may say about market demand for technology debuts. Here’s our first look at the company’s value. Then we are taking the Kaltura saga back up, checking into the pricing and second-quarter results from the technology company that provides video streaming software and services.

Frankly, I’ve been waiting for these filings to drop. So, let’s cut the chat and get into the numbers:

Couchbase’s IPO price range

In its new S-1/A filing, Couchbase reports that it anticipates a $20 to $23 per share IPO price. With a maximum sale of just over 8 million shares, Couchbase could raise as much as $185.15 million in its public offering.

The company will have 40,072,801 shares outstanding after its IPO, not including 1,050,000 shares that are reserved for possible release. The math from here is simple. To calculate Couchbase’s possible simple IPO valuation we can just do a little multiplication:

  • Couchbase simple valuation at $20 per share: ~$802 million
  • Couchbase simple valuation at $23 per share: ~$922 million

If you want to include the company’s reserved shares, add $21 million to the first figure, and $24.2 million to the second. Notably, TechCrunch wrote before it priced that using a historical analog from the Red Hat-IBM sale — both Couchbase and Red Hat work in the OSS space — the company would be worth around $900 million. So, we were pretty close.

#couchbase, #ec-cloud-and-enterprise-infrastructure, #ec-enterprise-applications, #fundings-exits, #ipo, #kaltura, #private-equity, #startups

California has no water and lots of liquidity

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

Danny, Natasha, and Alex were on-deck this week, with Grace on the recording and edit. But, if you want to hear more about Robinhood, this is not the episode for you. If you want to learn more about the consumer fintech company’s IPO filing this is the episode you want. Basically, Robinhood filed after we had wrapped taping, so we had to do a special pod for the news.

So, this is the everything-but-Robinhood episode. And here’s what’s inside of it:

A four-episode week! With only Grace handling production! She’s amazing.

Equity drops every Monday at 7:00 a.m. PST, Wednesday, and Friday morning at 7:00 a.m. PST, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercastSpotify and all the casts.

#acceleprise, #articulate, #bessemer, #brave, #china, #daylight, #didi, #duolingo, #edtech, #equity, #equity-podcast, #fintech, #forum-ventures, #fundings-exits, #hinge-health, #ipo, #neeva, #peanut, #robinhood, #search, #sentinelone, #startups, #tc, #zipline

Robinhood is going public and we’re very excited

It’s a sweltering day here in New York City, and that means Wall Street is on fire, and so is Robinhood, apparently. The popular stock trading app officially filed its Form S-1 with the SEC a few hours ago to go public, where it will trade under the ticker “HOOD.”

The Equity crew has been yammering about Robinhood for years now, and we have been chomping on the bit to see those S-1 results for what feels like ages. Well, we finally got the numbers, we chomped that bit (or at least Alex and Danny did, since Natasha went on vacation about 15 minutes before the IPO hit the wires), and so here’s a special Equity Shot to talk about all the highlights.

We talked about so much in an itsy-bitsy 15-minute episode: crazy revenue growth, crazy revenue concentration from two major sources, regulatory hurdles that the company has been clearing up, better financials with a bit of nuance on the company’s Q1 finances, and the company’s special plan for its IPO.


Here’s what we got up to:

  • Historical growth and profitability.
  • Revenue mix and revenue concentration, along with constituent concerns.
  • The importance of options-related incomes for the company.
  • Dogecoin.
  • Why the company’s adjusted income may help it assuage investors who have their eyes pop out of their skulls when they see its GAAP Q1 2021 results.

And a lot more. Of course, if you hate Robinhood, we will be back with our normally-scheduled Friday episode of Equity tomorrow.

Equity drops every Monday at 7:00 a.m. PST, Wednesday, and Friday morning at 7:00 a.m. PST, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercastSpotify and all the casts.

#crypto, #dogecoin, #equity-podcast, #exit, #finance, #fundings-exits, #ipo, #podcasts, #robinhood, #s-1, #sec, #startups

Robinhood files to go public after squeaking to profitability in 2020

This afternoon Robinhood, the popular investing app for consumers filed to go public. The company intends to list on the NASDAQ under the symbol “HOOD.”

That Robinhood released an S-1 filing today is not a surprise. The company privately filed to go public back in March, leaving the startup-watching world waiting for the eventual filing drop. Robinhood’s public offering document includes a placeholder $100 million raise figure, though that will change the closer we get to its debut.

The company is pursuing a public listing after a period of rapid growth. Robinhood saw its revenues soar from $277.5 million in 2019 to $985.8 million in 2020.

The company’s first-quarter numbers are even more impressive. During the first three months of 2021, Robinhood generated revenues of $522.2 million, up around four times from its Q1 2020 result of $127.6 million. TechCrunch expected Robinhood to post a strong first quarter based on previous filings relating to its payment-for-order-flow (PFOF) business.

Notably, Robinhood was profitable in 2020, generating net income of around $7.4 million during the one-year period. However, the company’s most recent period includes an epic $1.49 billion cost relating to “change[s] in fair value of convertible notes and warrant liability,” leading the company to post an astronomical net loss of $1.44 billion in the first quarter of the year. That compares with a net loss of $107 million for 2019.

For the three-month period ended March 31, Robinhood posted $463.8 million in operating expenses, inclusive of “brokerage and transaction” costs. The company’s business then, apart from its fair-value changes, had a good start to the year in profitability terms.

That Robinhood closed the first quarter of 2021 on a more than $2 billion annual run rate is notable; the firm has quickly scaled to mammoth size on the back of rising consumer interest in investing in both stocks and cryptocurrencies.

Robinhood has proved to be a lightning rod for oversight, fines, mass usage and culture in the last year. And it raised billions this year after running into operational issues regarding trading of certain stocks that retail investors found particularly appealing.

Turning to investor results, DST Global, Index Ventures, New Enterprise Associates and Ribbit capital are listed as shareholders with more than 5% of the company apiece, though certain information in the S-1 filing is yet to be included, including share counts for most of those groups. DST’s 58,102,765 Class A shares, however, are listed.

Robinhood has three classes of shares, including Class A shares with one vote, Class B shares with 10, and Class C shares with none.

TechCrunch is parsing the S-1 and will have more in a following piece. 


#california, #fundings-exits, #ipo, #new-enterprise-associates, #ribbit-capital, #robinhood, #short-selling, #startups, #techcrunch

Sources: SentinelOne expects to raise over $1B in NYSE IPO tomorrow, listing with a $10B market cap

After launching its IPO last week with an expected listing price range of $26 to $29 per share, cybersecurity company SentinelOne is going tomorrow with some momentum behind it. Sources close to the  tell us that the company, which will be trading under the ticker “S” on the New York Stock Exchange, is expecting to raise over $1 billion in its IPO, putting its valuation at around $10 billion.

Last week, when the company first announced the IPO, it was projected that it would raise $928 million at the top end of its range, giving SentinelOne a valuation of around $7 billion. Coming in at a $10 billion market capitalization would make SentinelOne the most valuable cybersecurity IPO to date.

A source said that the road show has been stronger than anticipated, in part because of the strength of one of its competitors, CrowdStrike, which is publicly traded and currently sitting at a market cap of $58 billion.

The other reason for the response is a slightly grimmer one: cybersecurity continues to be a major issue for businesses of all sizes, public organizations, governments and individuals. “No one wants to see another SolarWinds, and there is no reason that there shouldn’t be more than one or two strong players,” a source said.

As is the bigger trend in cybersecurity, Israel-hatched, Mountain View-based SentinelOne‘s approach to combat that is artificial intelligence — and in its case specifically, a machine learning-based solution that it sells under the brand Singularity that focuses on endpoint security, working across the entire edge of the network to monitor and secure laptops, phones, containerised applications and the many other devices and services connected to a network.

Last year, endpoint security solutions were estimated to be around an $8 billion market, and analysts project that it could be worth as much as $18.4 billion by 2024 — another reason why SentinelOne may have moved up the timetable on its IPO (last year the company’s CEO Tomer Weingarten had told me he thought the company had one or two years left as a private company before considering an IPO, a timeline it clearly decided was worth speeding up).

SentinelOne raised $267 million on a $3.1 billion valuation led by Tiger Global as recently as last November, but it has been expanding rapidly. Growth last quarter was 116% compared to the same period a year before, and it now has more than 4,700 customers and annual recurring revenue of $161 million, according to its S-1 filing. It is also still not profitable, posting a net loss of $64 million in the last quarter.

#enterprise, #ipo, #security, #sentinelone

Duolingo filed to go public

Duolingo, a Pittsburgh-based language learning business last valued at $2.4 billion, has officially filed to go public.

The 400-person company, which we explored in great detail in our EC-1, was co-founded by Luis von Ahn, the inventor of CAPTCHA and reCAPTCHA, and Severin Hacker. One of the most revealing bits of its story? It’s a route to monetization as a then rare edtech consumer business based outside of Silicon Valley. The company has had a somewhat circuitous journey — full of trial and error — on finding the perfect business model. It eventually landed on subscriptions, despite an original distaste for it thanks to its mission to provide free education.

Luckily, the S-1 reveals that its earlier decisions led to sharp revenue growth at the company.

The vast majority of Duolingo’s revenue comes from subscriptions. In the most recent calendar year, for example, the edtech giant generated 73% of its total top line from subscription incomes. That revenue was followed by advertising incomes and the Duolingo English Test (DET), which represented 17% and 10% of its top line in 2020. (Notably, von Ahn hoped that the DET would be 20% of Duolingo’s revenue by 2019, a figure that it failed to reach by some margin.)

Its multi-part business model appears to be paying off. The company’s revenue grew from $70.8 million in 2019 to $161.7 million in 2020, a 129% increase. Of course some of that growth would have happened sans the recent global pandemic, but it’s not hard to see some COVID-related acceleration in the figures. Duolingo also reported $55.4 million in revenue during the first quarter of 2021, representing a 97% growth from the year-ago period.

The company recently turned profitable on an adjusted basis.

But in more strict accounting terms, net losses have grown for Duolingo. In the three months ended March 31, 2021, for example, the company had net losses of 13.5 million, a sharp increase compared to the same period last year when it had net losses of $2.2 million. And from 2019 to 2020, the company’s GAAP net losses expanded from $13.6 million to $15.8 million.

It should be noted that the company’s net margin improved in 2020, as its revenue more than doubled and its losses barely crept higher. The company’s profitability or lack thereof should not prove to be a problem during its impending listing.

In its S-1 filing, Duolingo provided a placeholder $100 million figure for the funds it expects to raise; we’ll get a better idea of how much capital the edtech unicorn may onboard during its IPO when it sets an IPO price range after its roadshow.

The former startup is effectively the kick-off to the Q3 2021 IPO season, one that several inventors have told TechCrunch will be more than active.

Duolingo has raised $183.3 million in venture capital to date. Investors that have meaningful stakes in the company include NewView Capital, Union Square Ventures, CapitalG, Kleiner Perkins, and General Atlantic, which recently got a spot on the cap table through a secondary transaction.

At a run rate of around $220 million today and growth of more than 100%, Duolingo should not have a problem clearing its privately set $2.4 billion price tag. Unless public-market investors are concerned that the edtech market’s growth is mostly behind it. That Duolingo grew by nearly 100% in the first quarter could temper such concerns.

Factoids and other joy

TechCrunch is still digging its way through Duolingo’s IPO filing, but we’ve found a number of details that add more than a little color to its recent growth and business results. Here are some standouts:

  • A “record low” attrition rate in 2020 in which only four employees, or 2% of its workforce left the company.
  • The company eventually plans to launch a “Duolingo Proficiency Score” across its offered languages, with the hopes of creating a “widely accepted indicator of language proficiency level and make Duolingo a global proficiency standard.”
  • It cited Apple’s “Translate” tool, an iOS app launched in 2020 that allows users to translate text sentences or speech between several languages, as a competitor in the ‘risk factors’ section.
  • And finally, it confirmed that it is seeking potential acquisition candidates to add complementary services to its startup.

Duolingo plans to list on the NASDAQ stock exchange using the ticker symbol DUOL.



#duolingo, #edtech, #ipo, #tc

BuzzFeed Confirms Plans to Go Public Through SPAC Deal

The digital media company, which will merge with a publicly listed shell company in what is known as a SPAC deal, also lined up about $150 million in debt financing.

#buzzfeed-inc, #ipo, #mergers-acquisitions-and-divestitures, #peretti-jonah-h, #spac

#DealMonitor – #EXKLUSIV Forto wird mit Softbank-Millionen zum Unicorn – Isar Aerospace bekommt 57 Millionen – Sanity Group sammelt 35 Millionen ein

Im aktuellen #DealMonitor für den 14. Juni 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.


+++ Der japanische Kapitalgeber Softbank investiert gemeinsam mit Altinvestoren 200 Millionen US-Dollar in Forto. Die Bewertung steigt auf 1,2 Milliarden Dollar. Damit ist Forto das neueste deutsche Unicorn. Forto früher als FreightHub bekannt, wurde 2016 von Ferry Heilemann, Fabian Heilemann, Erik Muttersbach und Michael Wax gegründet. Die Jungfirma vermittelt Aufträge zur Container-Beförderung an Transportunternehmen. In den vergangenen Jahren investierten Geldgeber wie Inven Capital, Iris Capital, Rider Global, Northzone, Cherry Ventures und der italienische Risikofonds H14 bereits 126 Millionen Dollar in das junge Logistik-Startup. Mehr im aktuellen Insider-Podcast #EXKLUSIV

Isar Aerospace
+++ Eine Schweizer Privatbank und Altinvestoren wie HV Capital investieren 57 Millionen Euro in Isar Aerospace. Die Bewertung liegt bei 500 Millionen Euro (Pre-Money). Lakestar, Earlybird, Vsquared Ventures, Airbus Ventures, Apeiron und HV Capital sowie Bulent Altan, Ann-Kristin und Paul Achleitner investierten zuletzt 75 Millionen Euro in Isar Aerospace. Das 2018 von Daniel Metzler, Josef Fleischmann und Markus Brandl gegründete Unternehmen will kleinere Satelliten kostengünstiger in den Orbit befördern und entwickelt deswegen unter anderem an alternativen Antrieben für Trägerraketen. Mehr im aktuellen Insider-Podcast #EXKLUSIV

Sanity Group
+++ Redalpine, Navy Capital und SOJE Capital investieren 35 Millionen Euro in die Sanity Group. Das Cannabis-Startup Sanity Group, das 2018 von Finn Hänsel und Fabian Friede gegründet wurde, ist derzeit mit Vayamed (früher: Sanatio Pharma), Vaay und der Kosmetiklinie This Place unterwegs. Auch der amerikanische Rapper, Schauspielerin Alyssa Milano, TV-Moderator Klaas Heufer-Umlauf, Ex-Fußballer Dennis Aogo und das deutsche Model Stefanie Giesinger investieren bereits in das Berliner Cannabis-Startup. Die Bewertung liegt bei rund 160 Millionen (Post-Money).  Mehr im aktuellen Insider-Podcast #EXKLUSIV

ROQ Technology
+++ Flash Ventures aus dem Hause Rocket Internet investiert rund 10 Millionen Dollar in ROQ Technology. Hinter ROQ Technology verbirgt sich eine Art Spryker für SaaS-Applikationen. “ROQ is an innovative platform to build, launch and operate web applications”, heißt es in der Selbstbeschreibung der Firma. Das Berliner Startup wird vorangetrieben von Fabian Wesner, ehemals CTO bei Project A, und Tim Niemeier, EX-CTO bei Rocket Internet. 40 Mitarbeiter:innen wirken derzeit für ROQ Technology.

+++ MA Ventures, der Venture-Ableger der Genossenschaft Migros Aare, das Medienhaus Ippen sowie Family Offices und Business Angels investieren 6,4 Millionen Euro in Lykon. Das Unternehmen, 2015 gegründet, sieht sich als “Deutschlands Marktführer für personalisierte Ernährungskonzepte, deren Grundlage als Medizinprodukt zertifizierte Blut- und DNA-Tests bilden”. Das frische Kapital soll “zur weiteren Verbesserung der Customer Journey und Ausbau der Technologie genutzt” werden.

Edgeless Systems
+++ Acequia Capital, Inventures, die Six Group und einige Business Angels investieren 1,45 Millionen Euro in Edgeless Systems. Das Bochumer Unternehmen, das 2020 von Felix Schuster und Thomas Tendyck gegründet wurde, entwickelt eine “hochsichere relationale Datenbank für die Cloud”. Durch eine Kombination aus “sicherer Hardware und innovativem Software-Engineering” verspricht das Startup dabei “echte Ende-zu-Ende Verschlüsselung und Verifizierbarkeit”.


+++ Der Energieversorger EnBW übernimmt die Mehrheit an DZ-4, einem dezentralen Stromversorger mit Sitz in Hamburg, und investiert eine zweistellige Millionensumme in die Jungfirma. “DZ-4 operiert nach Abschluss der Finanzierungsrunde weiterhin als eigenständiges Unternehmen, das Management sowie die Mitarbeiter:innen bleiben erhalten”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. EnBW investierte bereits 2015 in DZ-4.


Mister Spex
+++ Der Berliner Brillen-Shop Mister Spex geht im dritten Quartal an die Börse. “Mister Spex beabsichtigt, aus der Kapitalerhöhung mindestens 225 Millionen Euro einzunehmen, die vor allem zur Beschleunigung der Wachstumsstrategie und der internationalen Expansion des Omnichannel-Geschäftsmodells verwendet werden sollen”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. 2019 erwirtschaftete Mister Spex einen Umsatz in Höhe von 139 Millionen Euro. Das bereinigte EBITDA lag bei 2 Millionen Euro (2018: 0,2 Millionen Euro). Mehr über Mister Spex

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

Foto (oben): azrael74

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Equity Tuesday: Everyone is raising money at the same time

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

This is Equity Monday Tuesday, our weekly kickoff that tracks the latest private market news, talks about the coming week, digs into some recent funding rounds and mulls over a larger theme or narrative from the private markets. You can follow the show on Twitter here and myself here.

We are back from a long weekend here in America. But not break here in the States can stop the flow of global tech news. So, here’s the rundown:

Welcome back, America, to the week. It’s nice to see you, everyone else. Maybe Robinhood will file this week.

Equity drops every Monday at 7:00 a.m. PST, Wednesday, and Friday at 6:00 AM PST, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercastSpotify and all the casts!

#belvo, #bigbasket, #china, #chip, #chipper-cash, #cloudera, #equity, #equity-monday, #equity-podcast, #europe, #fundings-exits, #idwall, #india, #ipo, #malt, #nio, #sennder, #spac, #sprinklr, #startups, #tata, #truebill, #wefox, #wejo, #zenyum