#DealMonitor – Dr.Smile-Mutter Straumann kauft gescheitertes Unicorn PlusDental – nilo.health bekommt 8 Millionen


Im #DealMonitor für den 23. Mai werfen wir einen Blick auf die wichtigsten, spannendsten und interessantesten Investments und Exits des Tages in der DACH-Region. Alle Deals der Vortage gibt es im großen und übersichtlichen #DealMonitor-Archiv.

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

PlusDental
+++ Der Schweizer Zahnimplantate-Hersteller Straumann Group, der schon das Aligner-Startup Dr.Smile übernommen hat, übernimmt nun auch das Berliner Zahnschienen-Startup PlusDental. “PlusDental hat ein breites Netzwerk von Praxen in ganz Europa aufgebaut, das die Expansion der Gruppe insbesondere in den Niederlanden, Schweden und Großbritannien beschleunigen wird.”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. Der Kaufpreis liegt bei 135 Millionen Schweitzer Franken (derzeit rund 131 Millionen Euro). Das Zahnschienen-Unternehmen, das 2017 unter dem Namen SunshineSmile 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”. Investoren wie der Münchner Private-Equity-Fonds Cadence Growth Capital, Global Voyager Fund, HV Capital, Lakestar und Kreos Capital investierten in den vergangenen Jahren rund 100 Millionen Euro in das Unternehmen. Der Exit an Straumann bzw. den Wettbewerber Dr.Smile ist ein herber Rückschlag für die Investoren der Jungfirma und das gesamte PlusDental-Team rund um Eva-Maria Meijnen, die das Unternehmen seit Ende 2019 führt. Noch 2021 sah sich die PlusDental-Mannschaft bis 2022 auf dem Weg zum Unicorn. “Wir sind auf dem besten Weg, das erste Unicorn in Deutschland zu werden, das von einer Frau geführt wird”, sagte Meijnen etwa im Mai 2021.  Doch schon Ende 2021 lief es nicht mehr rund bei PlusDental: Gründerszene berichtete damals von Massenentlassungen. Mehr als 60 Mitarbeiter:innen mussten das Unternehmen verlassen. Der Exit des Fast-Unicorns an den Wettbewerber für gerade einmal rund 131 Millionen Euro wird somit quasi zum Fast-Firesale. Mehr über PlusDental

INVESTMENTS

nilo.health
+++ Speedinvest, Profounders, Vorwerk Ventures und Altinvestor Atlantic Labs investieren 8 Millionen US-Dollar in nilo.health – siehe Handelsblatt. Das Berliner Unternehmen, das 2019 von Ines Räth, Catalina Turlea und Jonas Keil als Mila gegründet wurde, beschreibt sich selbst als “ganzheitlichen Anbieter für mentale Gesundheit am Arbeitsplatz”. Die Jungfirma bietet neben Videositzungen mit Psycholog:innen auch digitale Trainings. Atlantic Labs investierte bereits 2020 gemeinsam mit Angel-Investoren wie Julian Blessin, Alan Poensgen, Andreas Schneider und Friedrich A. Neuman in das Unternehmen. Mehr über nilo.health

Creatorspace, Fides, SureIn, Twain
+++ Sequoia Arc, das Frühphasenprogramm von Sequoia Capital, investiert jeweils 1 Million US-Dollar in Creatorspace (Zürich), Fides (München), SureIn (Berlin) und Twain (Berlin). Neben Sequoia Arc investieren zudem auch System.One, Tarek Müller (About You) und die sennder-Gründer in Twain. Insgesamt fließen dabei 2,5 Millionen in das Unternehmen. Twain, von Thomas Metcalfe und Mohamed Chahin gegründet, setzt auf einen Kommunikationsassistenten für Sales-Verantwortliche.

Sqin 
+++ Accel, APX, A Round Capital und Angel-Investoren wie Jens Apermann, Thomas Faschian und Michael Schummert investieren eine sechsstellige Summe in Sqin. Beim Berliner Health-Unternehmen dreht sich alles um gesunde Haut. Sqin bietet seinen Nutzer:innen “eine personalisierte, KI-basierte 360°-Plattform für die Haut, sowie eine langfristige dermatologische Betreuung durch niedergelassene Fachärzte”.

DeepImmo
+++ Nicht genannte Investor:innen investieren eine sechsstellige Summe in DeepImmo. Das Münchner PropTech, das von Tim Godejohann und Lars Eickhoff gegründet wurde, kümmert sich um die Standortanalyse von Immobilien. “Mit individuellen Standortanalysen von DeepImmo sparen Sie als Makler Zeit und Nerven, gewinnen leichter neue Objekte und erzielen mehr Umsatz, schreibt die Jungfirma in eigener Sache.

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

Foto (oben): azrael74

#a-round-capital, #accel, #aktuell, #apx, #atlantic-labs, #creatorspace, #deepimmo, #e-health, #fides, #munchen, #nilo-health, #plusdental, #profounders, #proptech, #sequoia-arc, #sequoia-capital, #speedinvest, #sqin, #straumann-group, #surein, #twain, #venture-capital, #vorwerk-ventures

Instacart’s Pandemic Boom Is Fading

The grocery delivery start-up changed its leadership, slashed its valuation and shifted its strategy after sales slowed.

#appointments-and-executive-changes, #boards-of-directors, #computers-and-the-internet, #delivery-services, #doordash-mobile-app, #e-commerce, #instacart, #mehta-apoorva, #sequoia-capital, #simo-fidji, #supermarkets-and-grocery-stores, #uber-technologies-inc

#Portfolio – Auf diese deutschen Startups steht der Top-Geldgeber Sequoia Capital


Der amerikanische Geldgeber Sequoia Capital investiert bereits seit 1972 in aufstrebende Startups. In den vergangenen Jahrzehnten finanzierte der renommierteste Venture Capitalist Unternehmen wie airbnb, Apple, Cisco, Dropbox, Google, Instagram, Linkedin, PayPal und YouTube. In Deutschland investierte 2013 erstmals – in 6wunderkinder. Die Premiere wurde schnell zum Erfolg, 2015 kaufte Microsoft das Berliner Unternehmen. 2018 stieg Sequoia Capital dann beim Berliner Travel-Unternehmen Tourlane ein.

Inzwischen ist der bekannte Geldgeber auch bei Unternehmen wie n8n, Trade Republic und xentral an Bord. Gemeinsam mit Tiger Global, Meritech, Visionaries Club und Freigeist investierte Sequoia dabei 75 Millionen US-Dollar in xentral, mehr als 100 Millionen in Tourlane – unter anderem mit HV Capital, Spark Capital und DN Capital -, und 14 Millionen Dollar in n8n – unter anderem mit Felicis Ventures,, firstminute Capital und Harpoon Ventures. Hier nun alle deutschen Startups, auf die Sequoia Capital derzeit setzt.

Sequoia Capital in Deutschland

Clarisights
+++ Clarisights, das 2018 von Arun Srinivasan gegründet wurde, positioniert sich als Marketing-Tool. “Clarisights streamlines reporting for sophisticated performance marketing teams. It automatically integrates, processes and visualises all your data from all of your marketing, analytical and attribution sources”, heißt es auf der Website. Clarisights hat starke Wurzeln in Berlin, auch wenn der Firmensitz inzwischen Palo Alto ist. Neben Sequoia Capital sind auch Cavalry Ventures und signals Venture Capital beim Unternehmen an Bord. Mehr über Clarisights

n8n
Die Berliner No-Code-Jungfirma n8n, die 2019 von Jan Oberhauser gegründet wurde, bezeichnet sich selbst als “Free and Open Workflow Automation Tool”. Mit der Software des Startups können Nutzer verschiedenste Webanwendungrn ohne Programmierkenntnisse miteinander verbinden bzw. synchronisieren. Sequoia Capital, Felicis Ventures,, firstminute Capital und Harpoon Ventures investierten bereits 14 Millionen Dollar in das Unternehmen. Mehr über n8n

Tourlane
Das Berliner Travel-Startup, das 2016 von Julian Stiefel und Julian Weselek gegründet wurde, vermittelt “maßgeschneiderte Traumreisen” im höheren Preissegment. Insgesamt flossen nun schon mehr als 100 Millionen US-Dollar in Tourlane – unter anderem von Sequoia Capital, HV Capital, Spark Capital und DN Capital. Sogar mitten im Corona-Jahr 2020 investierten Sequoia Capital, HV Capital, Spark Capital und DN Capital 20 Millionen Dollar in Tourlane. Mehr über Tourlane

Trade Republic
+++ Der  Berliner Neobroker Trade Republic, das 2015 von Christian Hecker, Thomas Pischke und Marco Cancellieri gegründet wurde, wurde zuletzt mit 5 Milliarden US-Dollar bewertet. Sequoia Capital, TCV, Thrive Capital Accel, Creandum, Founders Fund und Project A Ventures investierten zuletzt 900 Millionen US-Dollar in Trade Republic. Hinter Trade Republic verbirgt sich ein mobiler und provisionsfreier Broker mit dem Kunden mobil und provisionsfrei mit Aktien, ETFs und Derivate handeln können. Mehr über Trade Republic

xentral
+++ Hinter xentralvon Benedikt und Claudia Sauter in Augsburg gegründet, verbirgt sich ist ein flexibles ERP-/CRM-System mit eigenem App-Store und bietet Schnittstellen zu allen gängigen Online-Shop-Systemen, Marktplätzen und Zahlungsanbietern. Sequoia Capital, Tiger Global, Meritech, Visionaries Club und Freigeist investierten zuletzt 75 Millionen US-Dollar in xentral. Sequoia und Visionaries Club investierten kurz zuvor 20 Millionen Dollar in das Unternehmen. Mehr über xentral

Bonus: Auch bei Ledgy aus Zürich ist Sequoia an Bord. In der Vergangenheit unterstützte der Geldgeber zudem Auto1 (IPO) und 6Wunderkinder (Exit an Microsoft)

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

Foto (oben): Shutterstock

#6wunderkinder, #aktuell, #auto1-com, #clarisights, #ledgy, #n8n, #portfolio, #sequoia-capital, #tourlane, #trade-republic, #venture-capital, #xentral

#DealMonitor – #EXKLUSIV Insight und Atomico investieren in Y42 – Headline investiert in Sparetech – Sequoia investiert in Clarisights


Im aktuellen #DealMonitor für den 4. Oktober werfen wir wieder einen Blick auf die wichtigsten, spannendsten und interessantesten Investments und Exits des Tages in der DACH-Region. Alle Deals der Vortage gibt es im großen und übersichtlichen #DealMonitor-Archiv.

INVESTMENTS

Y42
+++ Insight Partners und Atomico investieren nach unseren Informationen zwischen 25 und 30 Millionen US-Dollar in Y42. Die Bewertung soll bei rund 150 Millionen (Pre-Money) liegen.La Famiglia sowie die Gründer von Foodspring, Personio, AeroMobil und Petlab investierten erst im März dieses Jahres 2,9 Millionen US-Dollar in das Unternehmen, das früher als Datos Intelligence bekannt war.  Die Jungfirma beschreibt sich so: “y42 is a no-code business intelligence platform for loading, cleaning, connecting, visualizing and sharing data”. y42 wurde 2020 von Hung Dang gegründet. Mehr im Insider-Podcast #EXKLUSIV

Sparetech
+++ Der Berliner Geldgeber Headline (früher als e.ventures bekannt), der ehemalige Klöckner-Chef Gisbert Rühl, Pitch-Gründer Christian Reber, BCG Digital Ventures-Macher Stefan Gross-Selbeck und Staffbase-Gründer Martin Böhringer investieren nach unseren Informationen eine Millionensumme in Sparetech. Das Unternehmen aus Stuttgart entwickelt “eine Kollaborations-Plattform auf der produzierende Unternehmen ihren Bestand an Ersatzteilen digitalisieren, den Bedarf verwalten, Ersatzteile verschiedener Anbieter vergleichen und passende Teile bestellen können”. Das Unternehmen wurde 2018 von Martin Weber und Lukas Biedermann gegründet. Mehr im Insider-Podcast #EXKLUSIV

Clarisights
+++ Der amerikanische Top-Geldgeber Sequoia Capital investiert nach unseren Informationen in Clarisights. Das Startup, das 2018 von Arun Srinivasan gegründet wurde, positioniert sich als Marketing-Tool. “Clarisights streamlines reporting for sophisticated performance marketing teams. It automatically integrates, processes and visualises all your data from all of your marketing, analytical and attribution sources”, heißt es auf der Website. Clarisights hat starke Wurzeln in Berlin, auch wenn der Firmensitz inzwischen Palo Alto ist. Cavalry Ventures und signals Venture Capital unterstützen das Unternehmen schon länger. Mehr im Insider-Podcast #EXKLUSIV

PSPDFkit 
+++ Insight Partners investiert 100 Millionen Euro in PSPDFkit. Das Wiener Startup, das 2013 von Peter Steinberger gegründet wurde und bisher komplett gebootstrappt war, kümmert sich darum, dass verschiedene Dokumenten-Formate, allen voran PDFs und Bilder überall richtig und nutzerfreundlich angezeigt werden. “PSPDFKit develops software development toolkits and related frameworks which enable document creation, manipulation, collaboration, and innovation within its customers’ applications”, teilt das Unternehmen in eigener Sache mit. Unternehmen wie Dropbox, DocuSign, SAP, IBM, Volkswagen und Fabasoft nutzen PSPDFkit bereits. 60 MItarbeiter:innen arbeiten derzeit für das Unternehmen.

fruitcore robotics
+++ UVC Partners, btov Partners und CNB Capital investieren 17 Millionen Euro in fruitcore robotics. Das Konstanzer Startup entwickelt mit Horst (Highly Optimized Robotic Systems Technology) ein Robotersystem, um “die Automatisierung mit Industrierobotern für die breite Masse zu ermöglichen”. fruitcore robotics wurde 2017 gegründet und beschäftigt mehr als 80 Mitarbeiter:innen.

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

svarmony
+++ Die beiden AR-Firmen innovation.rocks und Augmentaio fusionieren zum Unternehmen svarmony. “Als einzigartiger Dienstleister am Markt bildet svarmony die gesamte Leistungskette im Bereich AR ab: von Consulting über Konzeption und Kreation bis hin zur technischen Implementierung und dem Roll-Out”, teilen die Jungunternehmen mit. Das neue Unternehmen wird von Arne Schönleben, bislang innovation.rocks, und Sascha Kiener, Gründer von Augmentaio geführt.

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, #atomico, #berlin, #btov-partners, #clarisights, #cnb-capital, #fruitcore-robotics, #headline, #insight-partners, #insight-venture-partners, #konstanz, #pspdfkit, #sequoia-capital, #sparetech, #stuttgart, #svarmony, #uvc-partners, #venture-capital, #wien

#Podcast – Insider #113: N26 – Choco – Y42 – Sparetech – Everstox – Clarisights – 468 Capital – Chronext


In unserem Insider-Podcast liefern OMR-Podcast-Legende Sven Schmidt und Alexander Hüsing, Chefredakteur von deutsche-startups.de, alle vierzehn Tage spannende und vor allem aber exklusive Insider-Infos aus der deutschen Startup-Szene.

Insider #113 – Die Themen

+++ N26 steigt zum Decacorn auf #EXKLUSIV
+++ Choco-Bewertung liegt “nur” bei 290 Millionen #EXKLUSIV
+++ Insight und Atomico investieren in Y42 #EXKLUSIV
+++ Headline investiert in Sparetech #EXKLUSIV
+++ Everstox sucht 20 Millionen #EXKLUSIV
+++ Sequoia Capital investiert in Clarisights #EXKLUSIV
+++ Erster Fonds von 468 Capital ist ausinvestiert #EXKLUSIV
+++ Chronext-IPO #ANALYSE
+++ Northern Data in der Krise #ANALYSE

Insider #113 – Der Sponsor

Die heutige Ausgabe wird präsentiert von INTEL IGNITE. Arbeitet ihr an einem Tech-Startup und habt eure Seed-Runde erfolgreich hinter euch gebracht? Jetzt steht ihr vor der Problematik eure Firma auf die nächste Stufe zu heben. Die Erwartungshaltung ist hoch. Es gilt jetzt zahlende Kunden zu gewinnen, eure innovative Technologie zu optimieren, top Mitarbeiter zu finden und richtig zu managen und die passenden Investoren für eine große Runde zu gewinnen. Dann solltet ihr von INTEL IGNITE gehört haben. Ein exklusives Startup Growth-Programm aus Tel Aviv, das es jetzt auch in Deutschland gibt. INTEL IGNITE unterstützt euer Startup dabei zu einem globalen Champion zu werden. Pro Jahr durchlaufen zwei Kohorten von jeweils 10 Startups ein 12-wöchiges individuelles Mentoren-Programm. Ihr arbeitet dabei eng mit den besten INTEL-Experten weltweit zusammen, wie auch mit erfahrenen Gründern und Industriegrößen. Die Teilnahme ist kostenlos und Intel nimmt keine Equity dafür und versteht sich als Unterstützer des Startup Ökosystems, ganz nach dem Silicon Valley Motto „paying it forward“. Bewerbt euch jetzt unter intel.de/ignite

Insider #113 – Der Podcast

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

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

Foto (oben): ds

#468-capital, #aktuell, #choco, #chronext, #clarisights, #everstox, #insider, #n26, #northern-data, #podcast, #sequoia-capital, #sparetech, #y42

Ben Rubin, who founded Houseparty, Meerkat and Slashtalk, will peer into the future of social at Disrupt

Ben Rubin understands where social is going. In fact, he understands it so well, he’s always there early.

Rubin is the current CEO and co-founder of Slashtalk and an angel investor who scouts for Sequoia Capital. He previously founded Houseparty and Meerkat — apps that pioneered group video chat and mobile livestreaming, respectively — shaping massive social trends in their earliest stages.

In 2015, Meerkat took SXSW by storm. The app seemed to have captured lightning in a bottle, and entrenched players in social noticed. Twitter was early to the trend too, having bought Periscope earlier that year, and leveraged Meerkat’s momentum to attract people to its own product. Half a year later, Facebook vaulted into the space with Facebook Live.

Meerkat didn’t keep up, but it did transform. In 2016, the same team launched Houseparty, a group video chat app geared toward connecting established friends in casual virtual hangouts rather than streaming to the masses. Three years later, in a world not yet ravaged by the pandemic, it sold to Fortnite maker Epic Games.

With people driven indoors and away from IRL social interactions, Houseparty boomed. In a single month during the pandemic’s early phase, the app saw 50 million new signups and hit the top of the charts across the iOS App Store and Google Play. But Houseparty struggled to retain users, and by fall of 2021 Epic announced that it would unceremoniously wind down the project and pull Houseparty from app stores.

Only time will tell if Houseparty’s technology will play a role in Epic’s vision for the metaverse — an interconnected series of seamless virtual worlds for people to explore and socialize in. But regardless of the app’s eventual fate, Houseparty’s take on social spontaneity and casual group video was ahead of its time.

If anyone is well positioned to know where social networks are going in the near future, it’s probably Rubin. He’s now working on Slashtalk, “an anti-meeting tool for fast, decentralized conversations.” Slashtalk’s ethos echoes both Meerkat and Houseparty’s belief in social serendipity, but this time Rubin is focused on the workplace rather than consumer social.

Rubin will join us onstage at TechCrunch Disrupt 2021 to talk about his new company and the trends powering current upheavals in social networking, from decentralization and ownership to the future of a connected post-pandemic world.

#ben-rubin, #epic-games, #events, #facebook, #house-party, #houseparty, #ios-app-store, #meerkat, #periscope, #sequoia-capital, #slashtalk, #social, #social-networking, #social-networks, #tc, #tc-disrupt-2021

Stairwell secures $20M Series A to help organizations outsmart attackers

Back when Stairwell emerged from stealth in 2020, the startup was shrouded in secrecy. Now with $20 million in Series A funding, its founder and CEO Mike Wiacek — who previously served as chief security officer at Chronicle, Google’s moonshot cybersecurity company — is ready to talk.

As well as raising $20M, an investment round co-led by Sequoia Capital and Accel, Stairwell is launching Inception, a threat hunting platform that aims to help organizations determine if they were compromised now or in the past. Unlike other threat detection platforms, Inception takes an “inside out” approach to cybersecurity, which starts by looking inwards at a company’s data.

“This helps you study what’s in your environment first before you start thinking about what’s happening in the outside world,” Wiacek tells TechCrunch. “The beautiful thing about that approach is that’s not information that outside parties, a.k.a. the bad guys, are privy to.”

This data, all of which is treated as suspicious, is continuously evaluated in light of new indicators and new threat intelligence. Stairwell claims this enables organizations to detect anomalies within just days, rather than the industry average of 280 days, as well as to “bootstrap” future detections.

“If you go and buy a threat intelligence feed from Vendor X, do you really think that someone who’s spending hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars to conduct an offensive campaign isn’t going to make sure that whatever they’re using isn’t in that field?,” said Wiacek. “They know what McAfee knows and they know other antivirus engines know, but they don’t know what you know and that’s a very powerful advantage that you have there.”

Stairwell’s $20 million in Series A funding, which comes less than 12 months after it secured $4.5 million in seed funding, will be used to further advance the Inception platform and to increase the startup’s headcount; the Palo Alto-based firm currently has a modest headcount of 21.

The Inception platform, which the startup claims finally enables enterprises to “outsmart the bad guys”, is launching in early release for a limited number of customers, with full general availability scheduled for 2022.

“I just wish we had a product to market when SolarWinds happened,” Wiacek added.

#accel, #anomali, #ceo, #computer-security, #computing, #google-cloud, #inception, #information-technology, #mcafee, #palo-alto, #security, #sequoia-capital, #solarwinds, #stairwell, #system-administration

Sequoia’s Pat Grady says it isn’t clear startups “should be accelerating” right now — here’s why

Earlier today, we joined friend and former colleague Jon Fortt of CNBC in interviewing partner Pat Grady of Sequoia Capital, and it proved a wide-ranging conversation (we wound up blabbing for an hour, which was not always the plan). You can check out the video below but we thought there were some highlights worth pulling out for some of you, including as it pertains to the current market, which has never felt frothier.

It’s more than anecdotal. According to a recent Wilson Sonsini report that we referenced during this chat, during the first quarter of this year, the median pre-money valuation for Series C and later financings hit a record $675 million — more than double the full year 2020 median of $315 million. Meanwhile, senior liquidation preferences in so-called up rounds dropped from appearing in 35% of related deals in 2017 to 20% in the first quarter — a trend that suggests that investors are removing terms in order to win deals. In some cases, founders are feeling so empowered that they are calling out investor behavior that makes them uncomfortable, which is something you didn’t see until more recently.

But Grady said not all is what it seems to those of us on the sidelines. Indeed, he said that while Sequoia’s advice to founders as recently as March of this year was to hit the gas, things have changed more recently. Specifically, he said, “In the last couple of months, a rollout of the vaccines has kind of kind of tapered, so I would say that fog has descended onto the road [and] it’s not so clear the company should be accelerating anymore.”

We also talked about whether companies can forever stay distributed, Tiger Global, and why one of Sequoia’s biggest portfolio companies, the payments giant Stripe, isn’t a public company yet (though it has reportedly hired a law firm to help with preparations). You can find that in the video if you’re so inclined.

On how COVID has impacted Sequoia’s outlook compared with the financial crisis of 2008, when Sequoia famously published its now-famous “RIP: Good Times” memo:

PG: If you go back to that RIP memo, I’d been at Sequoia for a year or so. It was the first major disruption that I had seen —  it was the first major disruption that a lot of our founders had seen. So the question we were getting was, ‘What does this mean for us?’ It was the same sort of thing that happened in March of 2020 that caused us to put out the ‘Black Swan‘ memo [when] what we said was, ‘Hey, you need to brake when you’re going into the curve, so slow down [and] make sure you kind of have your bearings.’

In March of this year what we said was, ‘Okay, now that we’re coming out of the curve, go and accelerate.’ Unfortunately, in the last couple of months, a rollout of the vaccines has kind of kind of tapered and so I would say that fog has descended onto the road [and] it’s not so clear the company should be accelerating anymore. We’re probably in the midst of more indecision now than we were a few months ago or even a year ago . . .we’re kind of stuck in the middle. And so what we’ve been telling companies today is focus on the basics.

On the signals that suggest a slight slowdown to Sequoia, when fundraising all around continues at a record clip:

We don’t pay that much attention to the fundraising numbers, but we do pay attention to employees and we do pay attention to customers, and if you look across not just our portfolio but also public companies in the market at large, attrition has spiked dramatically. There are a lot of people who said, ‘Hey, I hunkered down, I worked hard, I put in my time, but now that the world is starting to open up a little bit again, I’m going to take some time off. I’m going to travel on the see family. I’m going to find a new job. I’m going to start a company.’ And so attrition numbers are actually spiking across the board.

If we look at the customer side of things –and this is not a number that you can get out of public companies because of the way they report [but it’s a number] you can see in private companies — a lot of companies added less revenue in the second quarter than they added in the first. So we actually have seen a little bit of a pullback on the customer side of things [and] that hasn’t necessarily shown up in the fundraising numbers.

On whether that pullback is good, bad, or neutral for founders and investors:

The good news is the whole reason startups exist is to solve important problems in the world, and never have we had a broader array of important problems to be solved than we do right now, because both consumer behavior and the way that businesses operate has changed so dramatically in the last 12 or 18 months. So if what I just said sounds like bad news, we actually think that on balance, it’s great news, because we see these jobs opening up in the world that founders are rushing to fill. I think that’s probably why the fundraising numbers are what they are, because everybody sees all those opportunities and they’re eager to jump in.

On what happens when some of these many new opportunities invariably start to converge — given the current pace of startup funding —  and portfolio companies begin to collide, as happened to Sequoia in March of last year:

We have always had a policy that we do not invest in direct competitors. What defines a direct competitor? Two companies who are going after the same customers in the same market at the same moment in time. Now, if we have a company here in the U.S. going out to the US market, and our partners in India or China or Southeast Asia have a company in their market that does something similar for their market, that’s okay, and maybe someday, down the road, they all end up targeting the same sort of customers. But as long as they’re distinct markets at time zero and they don’t look like they’re converging, that’s okay.

When we’ve ended up in companies that had conflicts, either we’ve done the right thing as in the situation you referenced, or when two companies have kind of converged over time, we’ve set up information barriers and done our best to act in good faith.

So conflicts, it is tough.

There are two products in this market. There’s a product that is faster and cheaper money. And then there’s a product that is unfair advantage. The unfair advantage could be nothing more than that Sequoia doesn’t invest in a lot of companies. We don’t invest in a new company every day. We might partner with 15 to 20 new founders in any given year, and there’s some information value in the fact that Sequoia has gotten into business with a company. So if your unfair advantage is nothing more than the fact that Sequoia chose you, so to speak, that’s still a pretty good advantage when it comes to landing customers [and] landing employees. If your product is money, feel free to give it to competitive companies, because they’re going to get money from somewhere anyway.

#late-stage-venture-capital, #noom, #pat-grady, #scouts, #sequoia-capital, #stripe, #tc, #tiger, #venture-capital, #zoom

#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.

INVESTMENTS

ryd
+++ 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

Ledgy 
+++ 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 

NeuroNation
+++ 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”.

contextflow
+++ 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.

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

WebID
+++ 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

SchoolFox
+++ 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

VENTURE CAPITAL

Equaition
+++ 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

STOCK MARKET

Babbel 
+++ 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

DIE HÖHLE DER LÖWEN

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.

Astalea
+++ 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.

Laufmaus
+++ 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

Indian crypto exchange CoinSwitch Kuber in talks to raise funds at unicorn valuation

Indian crypto exchange CoinSwitch Kuber is in advanced stages of talks to raise a new financing round at up to $2 billion in valuation, several sources familiar with the matter told TechCrunch.

If the talks materialize in a deal, CoinSwitch Kuber will become the second crypto startup in the world’s second largest internet market to attain the unicorn status.

The four-year-old startup, which counts Tiger Global, Sequoia Capital India, and Ribbit Capital among its existing investors, was valued at over $500 million valuation in its Series B financing round in April this year.

It’s unclear who is positioning to lead the round. The firm has engaged closely with Andreessen Horowitz and Coinbase in recent weeks, several people aware of those discussions told TechCrunch.

A deal may finalize within this month, sources said. The size of the deal, according to one source, is over $100 million.

The startup declined to comment. Coinbase and A16z, which has yet to back any Indian startup, did not respond to a request for comment Monday. Tiger Global and Sequoia Capital India did not respond to a request for comment last week.

The investment talks come at a time when CoinSwitch Kuber has almost doubled its userbase in recent months — even as local authorities push back against crypto assets. Its eponymous app had over 7 million monthly active users in India last month, up from about 4 million in April this year, according to mobile insight platform App Annie (data of which an industry exec shared with TechCrunch).

B Capital backed CoinSwitch Kuber’s rival CoinDCX last month in a $90 million round that valued the Indian startup at about $1.1 billion.

Policymakers in India have been debating on the status of digital currencies in the South Asian market for several years. India’s central bank, Reserve Bank of India, has expressed concerns about private virtual currencies though it is planning to run trial programs of its first digital currency as soon as December.

More than two dozen Indian startups have become a unicorn this year, up from 11 last year, as several high-profile investors, including Tiger Global, SoftBank and Falcon Edge, have increased the pace of their investments in the South Asian market. TechCrunch reported last week that Tiger Global is engaging with Apna to fund a new round that values the 21-month-old Indian firm at over $1 billion.

#a16z, #andreessen-horowitz, #asia, #coinbase, #coinswitch-kuber, #cryptocurrency, #funding, #india, #sequoia-capital, #tc, #tiger-global

Monad emerges from stealth with $17M to solve the cybersecurity big data problem

Cloud security startup Monad, which offers a platform for extracting and connecting data from various security tools, has launched from stealth with $17 million in Series A funding led by Index Ventures. 

Monad was founded on the belief that enterprise cybersecurity is a growing data management challenge, as organizations try to understand and interpret the masses of information that’s siloed within disconnected logs and databases. Once an organization has extracted data from their security tools, Monad’s Security Data Platform enables them to centralize that data within a data warehouse of choice, and normalize and enrich the data so that security teams have the insights they need to secure their systems and data effectively.

“Security is fundamentally a big data problem,” said Christian Almenar, CEO and co-founder of Monad. “Customers are often unable to access their security data in the streamlined manner that DevOps and cloud engineering teams need to build their apps quickly while also addressing their most pressing security and compliance challenges. We founded Monad to solve this security data challenge and liberate customers’ security data from siloed tools to make it accessible via any data warehouse of choice.”

The startup’s Series A funding round, which was also backed by Sequoia Capital, brings its total amount of investment raised to  $19 million and comes 12 months after its Sequoia-led seed round. The funds will enable Monad to scale its development efforts for its security data cloud platform, the startup said.

Monad was founded in May 2020 by security veterans Christian Almenar and Jacolon Walker. Almenar previously co-founded serverless security startup Intrinsic which was acquired by VMware in 2019, while Walker served as CISO and security engineer at OpenDoor, Collective Health, and Palantir.

#big-data, #cloud-computing, #cloud-infrastructure, #computer-security, #computing, #data-management, #data-warehouse, #devops, #funding, #information-technology, #intrinsic, #opendoor, #palantir, #security, #security-tools, #sequoia-capital, #serverless-computing, #technology, #vmware

India’s KhataBook raises $100 million for its bookkeeping platform for merchants

Khatabook, a startup that is helping merchants in India digitize their bookkeeping and accept online payments, said on Tuesday it has raised $100 million in a new financing round as it prepares to launch financial services.

The startup’s new financing round — a Series C — was led by Tribe Capital and Moore Strategic Ventures and valued the two-and-a-half-year-old Bangalore-headquartered startup at “close to $600 million,” its co-founder and chief executive Ravish Naresh told TechCrunch in an interview.

As part of the new round — which was oversubscribed and also saw participation of Balaji Srinivasan and Alkeon Capital as well as many other existing investors including Sriram Krishnan, B Capital Group, Sequoia Capital, Tencent, RTP Ventures, Unilever Ventures, and Better Capital — KhataBook said it is also buying back shares worth $10 million to reward its current and former employees and early investors. The startup said it is also expanding its stock options pool for employees to $50 million

Even as hundreds of millions of Indians came online in the past decade, most merchants in the South Asian nation are still offline. These merchants, who run neighborhood stores, rely on traditional ways for bookkeeping — maintaining ledgers on paper — that are both time-consuming and prone to errors.

KhataBook is attempting to change that by providing these merchants with a suite of products to digitize their bookkeeping and manage their expenses and staff. The startup said it has a user in nearly every zip code in India.

“At Tribe, we believe strongly in the power of the network effect and how it can create moats for businesses. Khatabook has successfully built such a network by empowering this seismic shift among MSME businesses to move from paper to digital, literally. Despite its large early success and fast adoption to date, the company is early in its path to power the segment. We’re thrilled to be a part of its growth as it leverages its network to build additional scale,” said Arjun Sethi, co-founder and partner at Tribe Capital, in a statement.

KhataBook has expanded its product offerings in recent years to try to solve a lot of other challenges merchants face. Later this year, Naresh said, the startup will provide lending to merchants. “We are currently testing the product with both retailers and distributors,” he said.

Online lending has boomed in India in recent years, but very few companies are today attempting to cater to small- and medium-sized businesses. “The unaddressed SME credit demand in India is ~US$300-$350 billion, with more than 90% of current demand being met by banks. A typical digital SME lender focusses on Rs1-5 million ($13,575 to $67,875) ticket size with no collateral, average tenure ~12-18 months, and with some ecosystem anchor,” analysts at Bank of America wrote in a report last year.

As with scores of other firms, the pandemic was not good news for KhataBook, which lost a significant portion of the business last year after Indian states enforced lockdown to restrict mobility. But the startup has since bounced back. The month of July, said Naresh, was its all-time high. “MSMEs have come back very strongly and businesses were not as impacted by the second wave this year as they were by last year’s,” he said.

This is a developing story. More to follow…

#asia, #b-capital-group, #balaji-srinivasan, #better-capital, #funding, #india, #khatabook, #moore-strategic-ventures, #rtp-ventures, #sequoia-capital, #sriram-krishnan, #tc, #tencent, #tribe-capital, #unilever-ventures

xentral, an ERP platform for SMBs, raises $75M Series B from Tiger Global and Meritech

Enterprise Resource Planning systems have traditionally been the preserve of larger companies, but in recent years the amount of data small medium sized businesses can generate has increased to the point where even SMEs/SMBs can get into the world of ERP. And that’s especially true for online-only businesses.

At the beginning of the year we covered the $20 million Series A funding of Xentral, a German startup that develops ERP for online small businesses, but it clearly didn’t plan to stop there.

It’s now raised a $75 million Series B funding from Tiger Global and Meritech, following up from existing investors Sequoia Capital, Visionaries Club (a B2B-focused VC out of Berlin), and Freigeist.

The cash will be used to enhance product, hire staff and expand the UK operation towards a more global ERP market, which is expected to reach $32 billion by 2023.

Speaking to me over a call, Benedikt Sauter, founder and CEO of central, said: “We hook into Shopify, eBay, Amazon, Magento, WooCommerce, and also CRM systems like Pipedrive to collect the software together in one place, and try to do it all automatically in the background so that companies can really focus. Our goal is that a business owner who decides on Friday that they need a flexible ERP can implement and configure xentral over the weekend and hand it over to their team on Monday.”

The German startup covers services like order and warehouse management, packaging, fulfillment, accounting, and sales management, and, right now, the majority of its 1,000 customers are in Germany. Customers include the likes of direct-to-consumer brands like YFood, KoRo, the Nu Company and Flyeralarm.

John Curtius, Partner at Tiger Global, said: “Our diligence has uncovered a delighted customer base at xentral and a product offering that has evolved into a true mission-critical platform for ecommerce merchants globally. We are excited to partner with such product visionaries as Benedikt and Claudia as the business scales to serve customers not only in Europe but around the globe in the future.”

Xentral was Sequoia’s first investment in Europe since officially opening for business in the region this year. Sequoia backed other European startups before, including Graphcore, Klarna, Tessian, Unity, UiPath, n8n, and Evervault — but all of those deals were done from the US. Sequoia and its new partner in Europe, Luciana Lixandru, is understood to be joining Xentral’s board along with Visionaries’ Robert Lacher.

Alex Clayton, General Partner at Meritech said: “Meritech invested in NetSuite in 2008 with the vision of bringing ERP to the cloud… We believe that xentral will bring automation to hundreds of thousands SME businesses, dramatically improving multi-channel processes and data management in an ever-growing e-commerce market.”

Sauter and his co-founder Claudia Sauter (who is also his wife) built the early prototype of central originally for their first business in computer hardware sales.

#amazon, #articles, #artificial-intelligence, #berlin, #business, #business-partner, #ceo, #co-founder, #crm, #data-management, #ebay, #erp-software, #europe, #general-partner, #germany, #graphcore, #klarna, #luciana-lixandru, #magento, #meritech, #netsuite, #online-payments, #partner, #pipedrive, #sequoia-capital, #shopify, #tc, #tiger-global, #uipath, #united-kingdom, #united-states, #visionaries-club, #woocommerce, #xentral, #yfood

#DealMonitor – Bitpanda bekommt 263 Millionen – Adverity sammelt 120 Millionen in – Tiger Global investiert 75 Millionen in xentral


Im aktuellen #DealMonitor für den 17. 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.

INVESTMENTS

Bitpanda
+++ Valar Ventures (Peter Thiel), LeadBlock Partners, Jump Capital, Alan Howard und Redo Ventures investieren 263 Millionen US-Dollar in Bitpanda. Die Bewertung steigt auf 4,1 Milliarden Dollar. Im März dieses Jahres wurde Bitpanda noch mit 1,2 Milliarden bewertet. Über die Plattform des Wiener Startups können Nutzer insbesondere Bitcoins und Gold handeln. Das FinTech wurde 2014 von Eric Demuth, Paul Klanschek und Christian Trummer gegründet und zählt nach eigenen Angaben mehr als 3 Millionen Nutzer. Rund 500 Mitarbeiter:innen arbeiten derzeit für das FinTech. Zuletzt investierten Valar Ventures, DST Global und Co. 170 Millionen US-Dollar in Bitpanda. Davor pumpten Valar Ventures, Speedinvest und Hedosophia 52 Millionen Dollar in das junge Unternehmen. “The company will use the proceeds to strengthen its team and design the organisation for scale, while doubling down on state-of-the-art technology, international expansion and growth”, heißt es in der Presseaussendung. Mehr über Bitpanda

Adverity 
+++ SoftBank und der Altinvestor Sapphire Ventures investieren 120 Millionen US-Dollar in Adverity. Der amerikanische Geldgeber Sapphire Venturess, aws Gründerfonds, Felix Capital, Mangrove Capital Partners und SAP.iO investierten zuletzt 30 Millionen US-Dollar in die Jungfirma. Insgesamt flossen nun schon 165 Millionen US-Dollar in Adverity. Das Wiener Startup, das 2015 von Alexander Igelsböck, Martin Brunthaler und Andreas Glänzer gegründet wurde positioniert sich als Marketing-Analyseplattform. “Adverity erzielte zuletzt das beste Quartal seiner Unternehmensgeschichte und in den letzten vier Jahren eine durchschnittliche jährliche Wachstumsrate von 105 %. Das weltweit wachsende Team wurde seit 2019 um 300 % vergrößert”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. Das frische Kapital soll insbesondere in die “Weiterentwicklung der Plattform, vor allem in den Ausbau und die Erweiterung der verfügbaren Konnektoren sowie in die künstliche Intelligenz, die proaktiv Antworten und Insights rund um Trends, Budgetverteilung und Marketingeffizienz” fließen. Mehr über Adverity

xentral
+++ Tiger Global und Meritech sowie die Altinvestoren Sequoia Capital, Visionaries Club und Freigeist (Frank Thelen) investieren – wie bereits im Insider-Podcast angedeutet – 75 Millionen US- Dollar in xentral. Der amerikanische Geldgeber Sequoia Capital und Visionaries Club investierten erst Anfang dieses Jahres 20 Millionen US-Dollar in das Unternehmen. Das von Benedikt und Claudia Sauter in Augsburg gegründete Unternehmen ist ein flexibles ERP-/CRM-System mit eigenem App-Store und bietet Schnittstellen zu allen gängigen Online-Shop-Systemen, Marktplätzen und Zahlungsanbietern. “Mit der Investition wird xentral seine Produktentwicklung vorantreiben und das Team erweitern”, heißt es in der Presseaussendung. 120 Mitarbeiter:innen wirken derzeit für xentral. Im Januar waren es gerade einmal 65. Mehr über xentral

Penta 
+++ Die Altinvestoren investieren weiter 15 Millionen Euro in Penta – siehe Finanz-Szene.de. “Der Unternehmenswert liege jetzt bei weit über 100 Millionen Euro, sagt ein Kenner der Vorgänge. Ein Sprecher bestätigte auf Anfrage die Höhe des Fundings”, heißt es im Artikel. ABN AMRO Ventures, finleap, HV Capital, RTP Global, Presight Capital, S7V und VR Ventures investierten zuletzt 7,5 Millionen in das Berliner FinTech. Über das Startup, das 2014 von Luka Ivicevic und Lav Odorovic gegründet wurde, können  Unternehmen über Penta ein Geschäftskonto beantragen. Insgesamt flossen nun schon rund 60 Millionen Euro in Penta. Mehr über Penta

FarmInsect
+++ Der High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) und Bayern Kapital, 5x Ventures, Genea Invest, die Initiative für Industrial Innovators und einige Business Angels investieren eine siebenstellige Summe in FarmInsect. Das junge AgriTech-Startup aus Bergkirchen, das 2020 von Thomas Kuehn, Wolfgang Westermeier und Andre Klöckner gegründet wurde, bietet eine Lösung für Landwirte an, um Insektenlarven aus Ernteresten herzustellen – samt lückenloser Rückverfolgung der Erntereste über eine IT-Plattform. Mehrere Business Angels investierten zuvor bereits eine sechsstellige Summe in FarmInsect. Mehr über FarmInsect

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

#5x-ventures, #adverity, #agritech, #aktuell, #augsburg, #bayern-kapital, #bergkirchen, #berlin, #bitpanda, #farminsect, #fintech, #frank-thelen, #freigeist, #genea-inves, #high-tech-grunderfonds, #initiative-for-industrial-innovators, #jump-capital, #leadblock-partners, #martech, #meritech, #penta, #redo-ventures, #sapphire-ventures, #sequoia-capital, #softbank, #tiger-global, #valar-ventures, #venture-capital, #visionaries-club, #wien, #xentral

This Week in Apps: In-app events hit the App Store, TikTok tries Stories, Apple reveals new child safety plan

Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the weekly TechCrunch series that recaps the latest in mobile OS news, mobile applications and the overall app economy.

The app industry continues to grow, with a record 218 billion downloads and $143 billion in global consumer spend in 2020. Consumers last year also spent 3.5 trillion minutes using apps on Android devices alone. And in the U.S., app usage surged ahead of the time spent watching live TV. Currently, the average American watches 3.7 hours of live TV per day, but now spends four hours per day on their mobile devices.

Apps aren’t just a way to pass idle hours — they’re also a big business. In 2019, mobile-first companies had a combined $544 billion valuation, 6.5x higher than those without a mobile focus. In 2020, investors poured $73 billion in capital into mobile companies — a figure that’s up 27% year-over-year.

This Week in Apps offers a way to keep up with this fast-moving industry in one place, with the latest from the world of apps, including news, updates, startup fundings, mergers and acquisitions, and suggestions about new apps and games to try, too.

Do you want This Week in Apps in your inbox every Saturday? Sign up here: techcrunch.com/newsletters

Top Stories

Apple to scan for CSAM imagery

Apple announced a major initiative to scan devices for CSAM imagery. The company on Thursday announced a new set of features, arriving later this year, that will detect child sexual abuse material (CSAM) in its cloud and report it to law enforcement. Companies like Dropbox, Google and Microsoft already scan for CSAM in their cloud services, but Apple had allowed users to encrypt their data before it reached iCloud. Now, Apple’s new technology, NeuralHash, will run on users’ devices, tatformso detect when a users upload known CSAM imagery — without having to first decrypt the images. It even can detect the imagery if it’s been cropped or edited in an attempt to avoid detection.

Meanwhile, on iPhone and iPad, the company will roll out protections to Messages app users that will filter images and alert children and parents if sexually explicit photos are sent to or from a child’s account. Children will not be shown the images but will instead see a grayed-out image instead. If they try to view the image anyway through the link, they’ll be shown interruptive screens that explain why the material may be harmful and are warned that their parents will be notified.

Some privacy advocates pushed back at the idea of such a system, believing it could expand to end-to-end encrypted photos, lead to false positives, or set the stage for more on-device government surveillance in the future. But many cryptology experts believe the system Apple developed provides a good balance between privacy and utility, and have offered their endorsement of the technology. In addition, Apple said reports are manually reviewed before being sent to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).

The changes may also benefit iOS developers who deal in user photos and uploads, as predators will no longer store CSAM imagery on iOS devices in the first place, given the new risk of detection.

In-App Events appear on the App Store

Image Credits: Apple

Though not yet publicly available to all users, those testing the new iOS 15 mobile operating system got their first glimpse of a new App Store discovery feature this week: “in-app events.” First announced at this year’s WWDC, the feature will allow developers and Apple editors alike to showcase directly on the App Store upcoming events taking place inside apps.

The events can appear on the App Store homepage, on the app’s product pages or can be discovered through personalized recommendations and search. In some cases, editors will curate events to feature on the App Store. But developers will also be provided tools to submit their own in-app events. TikTok’s “Summer Camp” for creators was one of the first in-app events to be featured, where it received a top spot on the iPadOS 15 App Store.

Weekly News

Platforms: Apple

Apple expands support for student IDs on iPhone and Apple Watch ahead of the fall semester. Tens of thousands more U.S. and Canadian colleges will now support mobile student IDs in the Apple Wallet app, including Auburn University, Northern Arizona University, University of Maine, New Mexico State University and others.

Apple was accused of promoting scam apps in the App Store’s featured section. The company’s failure to properly police its store is one thing, but to curate an editorial list that actually includes the scams is quite another. One of the games rounded up under “Slime Relaxations,” an already iffy category to say the least, was a subscription-based slime simulator that locked users into a $13 AUD per week subscription for its slime simulator. One of the apps on the curated list didn’t even function, implying that Apple’s editors hadn’t even tested the apps they recommend.

Tax changes hit the App Store. Apple announced tax and price changes for apps and IAPs in South Africa, the U.K. and all territories using the Euro currency, all of which will see decreases. Increases will occur in Georgia and Tajikistan, due to new tax changes. Proceeds on the App Store in Italy will be increased to reflect a change to the Digital Services Tax effective rate.

Game Center changes, too. Apple said that on August 4, a new certificate for server-based Game Center verification will be available via the publicKeyUrl.

Fintech

Robinhood stock jumped more than 24% to $46.80 on Tuesday after initially falling 8% on its first day of trading last week, after which it had continued to trade below its opening price of $38.

Square’s Cash app nearly doubled its gross profit to $546 million in Q2, but also reported a $45 million impairment loss on its bitcoin holdings.

Coinbase’s app now lets you buy your cryptocurrency using Apple Pay. The company previously made its Coinbase Card compatible with Apple Pay in June.

Social

An anonymous app called Sendit, which relies on Snap Kit to function, is climbing the charts of the U.S. App Store after Snap suspended similar apps, YOLO and LMK. Snap was sued by the parent of child who was bullied through those apps, which led to his suicide. Sendit also allows for anonymity, and reviews compare it to YOLO. But some reviews also complained about bullying. This isn’t the first time Snap has been involved in a lawsuit related to a young person’s death related to its app. The company was also sued for its irresponsible “speed filter” that critics said encouraged unsafe driving. Three young men died using the filter, which captured them doing 123 mph.

TikTok is testing Stories. As Twitter’s own Stories integrations, Fleets, shuts down, TikTok confirmed it’s testing its own Stories product. The TikTok Stories appear in a left-hand sidebar and allow users to post ephemeral images or video that disappear in 24 hours. Users can also comment on Stories, which are public to their mutual friends and the creator. Stories on TikTok may make more sense than they did on Twitter, as TikTok is already known as a creative platform and it gives the app a more familiar place to integrate its effects toolset and, eventually, advertisements.

Facebook has again re-arranged its privacy settings. The company continually moves around where its privacy features are located, ostensibly to make them easier to find. But users then have to re-learn where to go to find the tools they need, after they had finally memorized the location. This time, the settings have been grouped into six top-level categories, but “privacy” settings have been unbundled from one location to be scattered among the other categories.

A VICE report details ban-as-a-service operations that allow anyone to harass or censor online creators on Instagram. Assuming you can find it, one operation charged $60 per ban, the listing says.

TikTok merged personal accounts with creator accounts. The change means now all non-business accounts on TikTok will have access to the creator tools under Settings, including Analytics, Creator Portal, Promote and Q&A. TikTok shared the news directly with subscribers of its TikTok Creators newsletter in August, and all users will get a push notification alerting them to the change, the company told us.

Discord now lets users customize their profile on its apps. The company added new features to its iOS and Android apps that let you add a description, links and emojis and select a profile color. Paid subscribers can also choose an image or GIF as their banner.

Twitter Spaces added a co-hosting option that allows up to two co-hosts to be added to the live audio chat rooms. Now Spaces can have one main host, two co-hosts and up to 10 speakers. Co-hosts have all the moderation abilities as hosts, but can’t add or remove others as co-hosts.

Messaging

Tencent reopened new user sign-ups for its WeChat messaging app, after having suspended registrations last week for unspecified “technical upgrades.” The company, like many other Chinese tech giants, had to address new regulations from Beijing impacting the tech industry. New rules address how companies handle user data collection and storage, antitrust behavior and other checks on capitalist “excess.” The gaming industry is now worried it’s next to be impacted, with regulations that would restrict gaming for minors to fight addiction.

WhatsApp is adding a new feature that will allow users to send photos and videos that disappear after a single viewing. The Snapchat-inspired feature, however, doesn’t alert you if the other person takes a screenshot — as Snap’s app does. So it may not be ideal for sharing your most sensitive content.

Telegram’s update expands group video calls to support up to 1,000 viewers. It also announced video messages can be recorded in higher quality and can be expanded, regular videos can be watched at 0.5 or 2x speed, screen sharing with sound is available for all video calls, including 1-on-1 calls, and more.

Streaming & Entertainment

American Airlines added free access to TikTok aboard its Viasat-equipped aircraft. Passengers will be able to watch the app’s videos for up to 30 minutes for free and can even download the app if it’s not already installed. After the free time, they can opt to pay for Wi-Fi to keep watching. Considering how easy it is to fall into multi-hour TikTok viewing sessions without knowing it, the addition of the addictive app could make long plane rides feel shorter. Or at least less painful.

Chinese TikTok rival Kuaishou saw stocks fall by more than 15% in Hong Kong, the most since its February IPO. The company is another victim of an ongoing market selloff triggered by increasing investor uncertainty related to China’s recent crackdown on tech companies. Beijing’s campaign to rein in tech has also impacted Tencent, Alibaba, Jack Ma’s Ant Group, food delivery company Meituan and ride-hailing company Didi. Also related, Kuaishou shut down its controversial app Zynn, which had been paying users to watch its short-form videos, including those stolen from other apps.

Twitch overtook YouTube in consumer spending per user in April 2021, and now sees $6.20 per download as of June compared with YouTube’s $5.60, Sensor Tower found.

Image Credits: Sensor Tower

Spotify confirmed tests of a new ad-supported tier called Spotify Plus, which is only $0.99 per month and offers unlimited skips (like free users get on the desktop) and the ability to play the songs you want, instead of only being forced to use shuffle mode.

The company also noted in a forum posting that it’s no longer working on AirPlay2 support, due to “audio driver compatibility” issues.

Mark Cuban-backed audio app Fireside asked its users to invest in the company via an email sent to creators which didn’t share deal terms. The app has yet to launch.

YouTube kicks off its $100 million Shorts Fund aimed at taking on TikTok by providing creators with cash incentives for top videos. Creators will get bonuses of $100 to $10,000 based on their videos’ performance.

Dating

Match Group announced during its Q2 earnings it plans to add to several of the company’s brands over the next 12 to 24 months audio and video chat, including group live video, and other livestreaming technologies. The developments will be powered by innovations from Hyperconnect, the social networking company that this year became Match’s biggest acquisition to date when it bought the Korean app maker for a sizable $1.73 billion. Since then, Match was spotted testing group live video on Tinder, but says that particular product is not launching in the near-term. At least two brands will see Hyperconnect-powered integrations in 2021.

Photos

The Photo & Video category on U.S. app stores saw strong growth in the first half of the year, a Sensor Tower report found. Consumer spend among the top 100 apps grew 34% YoY to $457 million in Q2 2021, with the majority of the revenue (83%) taking place on iOS.

Image Credits: Sensor Tower

Gaming

Epic Games revealed the host of its in-app Rift Tour event is Ariana Grande, in the event that runs August 6-8.

Pokémon GO influencers threatened to boycott the game after Niantic removed the COVID safety measures that had allowed people to more easily play while social distancing. Niantic’s move seemed ill-timed, given the Delta variant is causing a new wave of COVID cases globally.

Health & Fitness

Apple kicked out an app called Unjected from the App Store. The new social app billed itself as a community for the unvaccinated, allowing like-minded users to connect for dating and friendships. Apple said the app violated its policies for COVID-19 content.

Google Pay expanded support for vaccine cards. In Australia, Google’s payments app now allows users to add their COVID-19 digital certification to their device for easy access. The option is available through Google’s newly updated Passes API which lets government agencies distribute digital versions of vaccine cards.

COVID Tech Connect, a U.S. nonprofit initially dedicated to collecting devices like phones and tablets for COVID ICU patients, has now launched its own app. The app, TeleHome, is a device-agnostic, HIPAA-compliant way for patients to place a video call for free at a time when the Delta variant is again filling ICU wards, this time with the unvaccinated — a condition that sometimes overlaps with being low-income. Some among the working poor have been hesitant to get the shot because they can’t miss a day of work, and are worried about side effects. Which is why the Biden administration offered a tax credit to SMBs who offered paid time off to staff to get vaccinated and recover.

Popular journaling app Day One, which was recently acquired by WordPress.com owner Automattic, rolled out a new “Concealed Journals” feature that lets users hide content from others’ viewing. By tapping the eye icon, the content can be easily concealed on a journal by journal basis, which can be useful for those who write to their journal in public, like coffee shops or public transportation.

Edtech

Recently IPO’d language learning app Duolingo is developing a math app for kids. The company says it’s still “very early” in the development process, but will announce more details at its annual conference, Duocon, later this month.

Educational publisher Pearson launched an app that offers U.S. students access to its 1,500 titles for a monthly subscription of $14.99. the Pearson+ mobile app (ack, another +), also offers the option of paying $9.99 per month for access to a single textbook for a minimum of four months.

News & Reading

Quora jumps into the subscription economy. Still not profitable from ads alone, Quora announced two new products that allow its expert creators to monetize their content on its service. With Quora+ ($5/mo or $50/yr), subscribers can pay for any content that a creator paywalls. Creators can choose to enable a adaptive paywall that will use an algorithm to determine when to show the paywall. Another product, Spaces, lets creators write paywalled publications on Quora, similar to Substack. But only a 5% cut goes to Quora, instead of 10% on Substack.

Utilities

Google Maps on iOS added a new live location-sharing feature for iMessage users, allowing them to more easily show your ETA with friends and even how much battery life you have left. The feature competes with iMessage’s built-in location-sharing feature, and offers location sharing of 1 hour up to 3 days. The app also gained a dark mode.

Security & Privacy

Controversial crime app Citizen launched a $20 per month “Protect” service that includes live agent support (who can refer calls to 911 if need be). The agents can gather your precise location, alert your designated emergency contacts, help you navigate to a safe location and monitor the situation until you feel safe. The system of live agent support is similar to in-car or in-home security and safety systems, like those from ADT or OnStar, but works with users out in the real world. The controversial part, however, is the company behind the product: Citizen has been making headlines for launching private security fleets outside law enforcement, and recently offered a reward in a manhunt for an innocent person based on unsubstantiated tips.

Funding and M&A

? Square announced its acquisition of the “buy now, pay later” giant AfterPay in a $29 billion deal that values the Australian firm at more than 30% higher than the stock’s last closing price of AUS$96.66. AfterPay has served over 16 million customers and nearly 100,000 merchants globally, to date, and comes at a time when the BNPL space is heating up. Apple has also gotten into the market recently with an Affirm partnership in Canada.

? Gaming giant Zynga acquired Chinese game developer StarLark, the team behind the mobile golf game Golf Rival, from Betta Games for $525 million in both cash and stock. Golf Rival is the second-largest mobile golf game behind Playdemic’s Golf Clash, and EA is in the process of buying that studio for $1.4 billion.

?  U.K.-based Humanity raised an additional $2.5 million for its app that claims to help slow down aging, bringing the total raise to date to $5 million. Backers include Calm’s co-founders, MyFitness Pal’s co-founder and others in the health space. The app works by benchmarking health advice against real-world data, to help users put better health practices into action.

? YELA, a Cameo-like app for the Middle East and South Asia, raised $2 million led by U.S. investors that include Tinder co-founder Justin Mateen and Sean Rad, general partner of RAD Fund. The app is focusing on signing celebrities in the regions it serves, where smartphone penetration is high and over 6% of the population is under 35.

? London-based health and wellness app maker Palta raised a $100 million Series B led by VNV Global. The company’s products include Flo.Health, Simple Fasting, Zing Fitness Coach and others, which reach a combined 2.4 million active, paid subscribers. The funds will be used to create more mobile subscription products.

? Emoji database and Wikipedia-like site Emojipedia was acquired by Zedge, the makers of a phone personalization app offering wallpapers, ringtones and more to 35 million MAUs. Deal terms weren’t disclosed. Emojipedia says the deal provides it with more stability and the opportunity for future growth. For Zedge, the deal provides?….um, a popular web resource it thinks it can better monetize, we suspect.

? Mental health app Revery raised $2 million led by Sequoia Capital India’s Surge program for its app that combines cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia with mobile gaming concepts. The company will focus on other mental health issues in the future.

? London-based Nigerian-operating fintech startup Kuda raised a $55 million Series B, valuing its mobile-first challenger bank at $500 million. The inside round was co-led by Valar Ventures and Target Global.

? Vietnamese payments provider VNLife raised $250 million in a round led by U.S.-based General Atlantic and Dragoneer Investment Group. PayPal Ventures and others also participated. The round values the business at over $1 billion.

Downloads

Mastodon for iPhone

Fans of decentralized social media efforts now have a new app. The nonprofit behind the open source decentralized social network Mastodon released an official iPhone app, aimed at making the network more accessible to newcomers. The app allows you to find and follow people and topics; post text, images, GIFs, polls, and videos; and get notified of new replies and reblogs, much like Twitter.

Xingtu

@_666eveITS SO COOL FRFR do u guys want a tutorial? #fypシ #醒图 #醒图app♬ original sound – Ian Asher

TikTok users are teaching each other how to switch over to the Chinese App Store in order to get ahold of the Xingtu app for iOS. (An Android version is also available.) The app offers advanced editing tools that let users edit their face and body, like FaceTune, apply makeup, add filters and more. While image-editing apps can be controversial for how they can impact body acceptance, Xingtu offers a variety of artistic filters which is what’s primarily driving the demand. It’s interesting to see the lengths people will go to just to get a few new filters for their photos — perhaps making a case for Instagram to finally update its Post filters instead of pretending no one cares about their static photos anymore.

Tweets

Facebook still dominating top charts, but not the No. 1 spot:  

Not cool, Apple: 

This user acquisition strategy: 

Maybe Stories don’t work everywhere: 

#adt, #afterpay, #alibaba, #android, #ant-group, #api, #app-maker, #app-store, #apple, #apps, #australia, #automattic, #beijing, #biden-administration, #canada, #china, #cloud-services, #coinbase, #coinbase-card, #computing, #day-one, #dragoneer-investment-group, #driver, #dropbox, #duolingo, #emojipedia, #eta, #facebook, #fintech-startup, #food-delivery, #game-center, #game-developer, #general-atlantic, #general-partner, #georgia, #gif, #google, #hyperconnect, #instagram, #ios, #ios-devices, #ipad, #iphone, #italy, #itunes, #jam-fund, #justin-mateen, #kuaishou, #kuda, #law-enforcement, #london, #ma, #maine, #meituan, #microsoft, #middle-east, #mobile, #mobile-app, #mobile-applications, #mobile-devices, #online-creators, #onstar, #operating-system, #palta, #playdemic, #quora, #sean-rad, #sensor-tower, #sequoia-capital, #smartphone, #snap, #snapchat, #social-network, #social-networking, #software, #south-africa, #south-asia, #spotify, #stories, #target-global, #tc, #this-week-in-apps, #tiktok, #twitch, #united-kingdom, #united-states, #valar-ventures, #viasat, #vnv-global, #wi-fi, #wordpress-com, #zedge, #zynga

Former Facebook teammates raise $10.4M in Sequoia-led round to launch features development

Statsig is taking the A/B testing applications that drive Facebook’s growth and putting similar functionalities into the hands of any product team so that they, too, can make faster, data-informed decisions on building products customers want.

The Seattle-based company on Thursday announced $10.4 million in Series A funding, led by Sequoia Capital, with participation from Madrona Venture Group and a group of individual investors, including Robinhood CPO Aparna Chennapragada, Segment co-founder Calvin French-Owen, Figma CEO Dylan Field, Instacart CEO Fidji Simo, DoorDash exec Gokul Rajaram, Code.org CEO Hadi Partovi and a16z general partner Sriram Krishnan.

Co-founder and CEO Vijaye Raji started the company with seven other former Facebook colleagues in February, but the idea for the company started more than a year ago.

He told TechCrunch that while working at Facebook, A/B testing applications, like Gatekeeper, Quick Experiments and Deltoid, were successfully built internally. The Statsig team saw an opportunity to rebuild these features from scratch outside of Facebook so that other companies that have products to build — but no time to build their own quick testing capabilities — can be just as successful.

Statsig’s platform enables product developers to run quick product experiments and analyze how users respond to new features and functionalities. Tools like Pulse, Experiments+ and AutoTune allow for hundreds of experiments every week, while business metrics guide product teams to build and ship the right products to their customers.

Raji intends to use the new funding to hire folks in the area of design, product, data science, sales and marketing. The team is already up to 14 since February.

“We already have a set of customers asking for features, and that is a good problem, but now we want to scale and build them out,” he added.

Statsig has no subscription or upfront fees and is already serving millions of end-users every month for customers like Clutter, Common Room and Take App. The company will always offer a free tier so customers can try out features, but also offers a Pro tier for 5 cents per event so that when the customer grows, so does Statsig.

Raji sees adoption of Statsig coming from a few different places: developers and engineers that are downloading it and using it to serve a few million people a month, and then through referrals. In fact, the adoption the company is getting is “bottom up,” which is what Statsig wants, he said. Now the company is talking to bigger customers.

There are plenty of competitors for this product, including incumbents in the market, according to Raji, but they mostly focus on features, while Statsig provides insights and ties metrics back to features. In addition, the company has automated analysis where other products require manual set up and analysis.

Sequoia partner Mike Vernal worked at Facebook prior to joining the venture capital firm and had worked with Raji, calling him “a top 1% engineer” that he was happy to work with.

Having sat on many company boards, he has found that many companies spend a long time talking about sales and marketing, but very little on product because there is not an easy way to get precise numbers for planning purposes, just a discussion about what they did and plan to do.

What Vernal said he likes about Statsig is that the company is bringing that measurement aspect to the table so that companies don’t have to hack together a poorer version.

“What Statsig can do, uniquely, is not only set up an experiment and tell if someone likes green or blue buttons, but to answer questions like what the impact this is of the experiment on new user growth, retention and monitorization,” he added. “That they can also answer holistic questions and understand the impact on any single feature on every metric is really novel and not possible before the maturation of the data stack.”

 

#developer, #enterprise, #funding, #madrona-venture-group, #mike-vernal, #product-management, #recent-funding, #sequoia-capital, #startups, #statsig, #tc, #vijaye-raji

Newtopia closes first fund of $50M to invest in LatAm startups

Early-stage venture capital fund Newtopia VC launched Monday with $50 million to invest in tech startups based in Latin America.

The fund will invest between $250,000 and $1 million in startups at the seed stage to help them achieve the milestones needed on the path to raising a Series A.

Newtopia is led by five major players in the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem:

  • Patricio Jutard, co-founder of MURAL;
  • Mariano Mayer, former national secretary for entrepreneurs and SMEs in Argentina and founder of Marea Venture Partners;
  • Sacha Spitz, co-founder and partner of Yavu Ventures and former director at the Universidad de San Andrés incubation program;
  • Jorge Aguado, former national science, technology and innovation secretary in Argentina;
  • Juan Pablo Lafosse, founder and former CEO of Almundo.

The group has already invested in startups in Mexico, Brazil and Argentina, including Aleph (B2B SaaS for e-commerce), Apperto (social commerce), Choiz (healthtech), Exactly (DeFi), Elevva (e-commerce brands), Inipay (fintech), Leef (sustainability), Wibson (e-privacy) and Yerbo (wellness).

Mayer told TechCrunch that he sees a great moment happening in Latin America around global venture capital firms — like Sequoia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz and SoftBank —making bets in the region, especially targeting later-stage investments. There are home-grown venture capital firms doing well, too, citing Kazek’s $1 billion funds.

“However, we see a gap in investments in seed and road to Series A,” he added. “We aim to help entrepreneurs in those stages. Newtopia started with conversations during the pandemic, and now we see a big momentum for transformation of traditional sectors and the talent to make businesses out of these opportunities.”

Newtopia is offering both investment and a hands-on mentorship model to guide startups through the initial stages so they can grow regionally or globally. The fund has already amassed a community of more than 70 founders to invest, advise and be venture partners to the portfolio companies.

The Newtopia 10-Week Program works with companies to find product-market fit, achieve initial goals and set a foundation for further growth. The firm opened the call for applicants and will select 10 startups to receive a spot in the program and $100,000 each.

By taking a lead in early-stage investing, it will feed the rest of the venture capital firms that are doing later-stage investing, Mayer said.

He sees investments growing in Latin America every year, estimating there was a record $4 billion spread across the region, turning some companies into unicorns, including Jutard’s Mural, which raised $50 million in July. That has more than validated that there will be more money in coming years, Mayer added.

Jutard said the fund’s founders were all investing or mentoring companies on their own, but the new funding will enable them to structure that assistance to help hundreds of startups rather than a handful.

“Early-stage companies go through an emotional rollercoaster where they feel alone, encounter times when it is hard to sell their product or recruit, so we are focused on building a community of support,” Jutard added.

#andreessen-horowitz, #argentina, #funding, #latin-america, #mariano-mayer, #newtopia-vc, #patricio-jutard, #sequoia-capital, #softbank, #startups, #tc, #venture-capital

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sequoia, Jay-Z, Will Smith back Landis’ $165M debt, equity round toward making homeownership accessible to everyone

Homeownership is one of the key components to building intergenerational wealth, and Landis is working to make that a reality for renters.

U.S. homeownership rates in 2020 were about 65.8% according to Statista. The rate reached its peak of 69.2% in 2004 before falling sharply due to the economic recession of 2007-2009. The rate reached 63.7% in 2016 before steadily going back up.

To continue with its mission, Landis raised $165 million in a combination of debt and Series A equity funding. Sequoia Capital led the round and was joined by Jay-Z’s Roc Nation venture investment arm Arrive, Will Smith’s Dreamers VC and existing investor Signia Venture Partners. A group of founders also invested in the company, including those from Plaid, Cash App, Ethos, Instacart, Front, Flatiron Health and Tango. This latest funding brings Landis’ total debt and equity raised to date to $182 million.

“Landis helps families take their very first steps toward homeownership,” Roelof Botha, partner at Sequoia, said in a written statement. “By focusing on financial literacy and individualized coaching, we are giving everyone the opportunity to own their home, increasing financial inclusion and equality in America. Our technology is particularly relevant to those with low-to-moderate income who have been neglected by traditional financial solutions.”

Cyril Berdugo and Tom Petit founded Landis in 2018 and told TechCrunch that the idea for the company came after witnessing renters losing money, by, for example, paying $1,700 per month to live in a home where, based on its value, a mortgage would be $1,000 per month.

The New York-based fintech company receives referrals from real estate agents and mortgage lenders to work with prospective homeowners, who are typically unable to qualify for a mortgage due to poor credit, lack of down payment savings or debt.

It uses its underwriting technology to determine if the client will be able to afford a mortgage in the next 12 to 24 months. If so, Landis gives the client a budget to pick a property, and will purchase the home and rent it to the client, who will then work toward saving money and building a stronger financial footing to get to mortgage-readiness.

Berdugo and Petit don’t see their relationship with renters as a typical landlord-renter one, but instead as a partnership. Clients have also taught the pair that school districts matter in where they purchase a home and setting their children up for equal success is important.

“Our clients are more motivated than typical renters and really want to hang on, improve their savings, and it is working,” Petit said. “They are so much more successful. We also feel it when they call and ask for advice and even try to beat their deadlines.”

Berdugo did not disclose the round’s debt versus equity breakdown, or go into specifics about growth metrics, but did say the driver for the funding round was to expand into new states, add to Landis’ headcount and improve user experience.

The company is already operating in 29 cities in 11 states and plans to increase that to 20 states by next year. Berdugo and Petit target states where the impact will be greatest, like where rents are higher than they should be.

In addition to the funding announcement, Landis said it opened up access to its Landis Homeownership Coach mobile app for free to everyone with an iPhone. The app provides a dashboard view of credit, down payment savings and debt, with insights and actions for clients toward reaching their goal of qualifying for a mortgage.

“Inequality to financial literacy and financial services are related,” Berdugo said. “People with low-to-moderate income don’t have access to services that wealthier people have, and we are trying to bridge that gap by providing financial literacy and services to get them mortgage ready.”

#apps, #cyril-berdugo, #dreamers-vc, #flatiron-health, #funding, #instacart, #jay-z, #landis, #mortgage, #online-lending, #real-estate, #recent-funding, #roc-nation, #roelof-botha, #sequoia-capital, #signia-venture-partners, #startups, #tc, #tom-petit, #venture-capital, #will-smith

Hyper is a new fund that offers $300k checks and promise of a media slingshot for founders 

Hyper is a $60M early-stage fund co-founded by Josh Buckley, Product Hunt’s CEO along with writer, founder and designer Dustin Curtis. Two ex-Sequoia operators are part of the team at launch as well. Malika Cantor as Partner and GM and Ashton Brown as Head of Program. The fund launches today and is self-described as ‘inspired by the Product Hunt community’. 

The team will be writing $300k checks for 5% of very early companies in any arena that seems promising to the partnership in a fixed deal structure that mirrors Y-Combinator. 

The fund will exist as a ‘sister company’ to Product Hunt (though it’s going to technically own it). Product Hunt, however, is the first of what the team says will be many companies it will own, create and operate in order to provide ‘direct value’ to its portfolio companies. 

I had a chat with Buckley, Curtis and Cantor about the new fund and company and the way that they hoped to differentiate Hyper in a world of aggressively service-oriented venture firms. 

The short version is: distribution. It’s hard to argue with the overall assumption that the Hyper team is working under — capital is majorly commoditized. Frankly, sometimes that’s all you want from an investor whose value add is more of a thorn in your side than anything. But, especially at the early stage there are a few funds and firms that offer a strong value outside of writing checks in the form of, say, hiring, sales introductions or board members that have relevant operational experience. 

Where Hyper differs, says Buckley, is that they see distribution as the biggest value add for a nascent startup at the stages where the firm hopes to invest. Product Hunt is one opportunity that he points to as an example. It’s an established launch pad to an audience of extreme early adopters that can provide a seed of a real user base — Hyper itself is launching via a post on the platform. 

I’ll let the Hyper team’s words spell out what they say is its thesis:

Hyper believes that every company (B2B or B2C) needs access to distribution channels to find customers, users, and talented employees to join their teams. Hyper works with early-stage companies at three key junctures in a startup’s journey:

  • Initial customer acquisition and validation (often at the pre-Seed stage)
  • First product/company launch and hiring (often at the Seed stage)
  • Scaling customer acquisition and fundraising (before the Series A)

Founders who go through the program will remain a part of the tight-knit Hyper founder community long past their Series A.

Over the past few months, Buckley says that Product Hunt has grown headcount by around 50% in part to boost its ability to act as an enhanced distribution channel. 

A short list of some of the people involved as advisors, mentors or investors themselves includes Alexis & Serena Williams, Alfred Lin of Sequoia, Garry Tan of Initialized, Harry Stebbings, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Naval Ravikant, Owen van Natta, Ryan Hoover, Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic and Sriram Krishnan of a16z. 

It’s a pretty eclectic group, but if you squint you can see the shape of the ambitions that Hyper has reflected in the parties involved. A mix of media, venture and product figures is probably the right way to go if you want to back yourself into a media empire funded by venture capital returns. 

They’ll be building additional media products as well, especially ones that focus on areas of hyper growth and high interest in order to both generate deal flow and to feature companies in the portfolio. Interestingly, unlike many marketing-operations-disguised-as-journalistic-enterprises, Curtis says that they want these to be real, functioning media companies and that startups funded by Hyper will be presented on those sites and platforms in clearly defined sections that make it clear that they are part of the program. 

As an example, the team is careful to state that Product Hunt will remain a ‘neutral platform’ for launching products and that Hyper companies will get clearly marked slots on the site. 

Surrounding those placements will be content that is produced by editorial media arms independent of the fund (though, in the end, funded by the profits of the fund). They’re not quite up to giving specifics about how they’re going to power these media properties initially but the funds management fees as well as most of its profits from carry will go towards cultivating the distro side. The other part of the ‘most’ will, one assumes, go to the individual investors. Curtis says that there could be other ways to obtain capital to speed up this process that is allowed by the unique structure of Hyper like debt or equity financing. 

Hyper itself is trying to establish two lines of business. A portfolio of wholly owned companies like Product Hunt (which still counts AngelList as a majority investor and Ravikant on its board) and other new media brands. And the other component which includes the portfolio of Hyper funds (plural theirs) and a founder program that includes mentorship, twice-a-year-events, and other future efforts — eventually. 

The mentorship component that Hyper hopes to add for founders in the fund is an 8-week founder program that includes individuals from “partners” like Andreeessen Horowitz, AngelList, Sequoia Capital, the Twenty Minute VC Podcast and Product Hunt helping founders to solve ‘key challenges’. Some of the participants are investors in Hyper, though none of the funds participated themselves The group includes some close to home figures as well, in Product Hunt GM Ashley Higgins and founder Ryan Hoover.

The program will also offer office hours with experts, an exclusive Product Hunt launch event and a Public Hyper Demo Day and Investor Demo Day to participate in within a year of being in the program.

The Hyper concept sounds fresh in combination, if not in components. An enormous amount of ink has been spilled, for instance, on the spinning up of the VC media apparatus as a bullhorn for a tech-optimism POV. But most of that content is understood to be talking the firm’s book and not intended to be seen as journalism. Though the media publications that Hyper is planning on forming have yet to be realized, there is enough of a differentiating spark here that could make it a unique play that attempts to straddle the worlds of editorial and venture. 

I have thoughts about the way that venture and media interact, as you might imagine given what I do and waves hands at the masthead where we are having this little chat. Combining a media and investing apparatus is not a new concept — as TechCrunch readers will know. But it’s not without its complexities. Enthusiast media that works does so for a couple of major reasons, in my opinion:

  • Genuine obsession with the subject matter. The writers, editors and even business people involved must have a crazy thirst to understand and contextualize the subjects that they write about. There can be no in-between here, as they are speaking every day to an audience that is just as obsessed with it as they are and can detect any level of commitment to it that is less than 100%. 
  • A patina of either trust or candor built over time. You can go into it with some bona-fides that you buy with a big name hire or series of them, and the reputations that they’ve built elsewhere. But if you’re full of shit, you’re going to lose — no matter how well positioned and funded you are. You may ‘win’ long term by turning what you’re doing into something else, a broad interest publication in niche clothing, for instance. But you won’t win at the enthusiast level.
  • An intense, punishing commitment to momentum. The further you delve into any niche, the more knowledgeable your audience will be. This means that you must produce uniquely insightful, crisp, well-researched content every day and you must do it with a level of granularity that surpasses anyone else in your niche. Your audience lives and breathes this stuff so if you’re telling them things they’ve already read on 3 message boards, in private texts or in their work slack then you’ve lost. You’ve got to get subcutaneous and not just superficially so. 

And when you add in a layer of complexity that is proudly announcing your vested interests in the success of particular companies, it just ups the level of difficulty massively. I don’t think that it’s at all impossible to run a fund that feeds a media arm, but it’s definitely a ‘doing a really hard thing while also on fire’ kind of operation.

Which doesn’t mean that Hyper can’t pull it off. Product Hunt is the model for what they’re trying to do, creating close-to-the-ground media that attracts as many operators and investors as it does early adopters. Duplicating that in a variety of publications and events, however, is not easy at all. 

I will say that a bet on distribution as value add is still one of the better stabs that I’ve seen lately. The capital is, as Buckley told me, readily and generically available. And having your calling card be “we can help the first 10, 20 or 30 thousand people know that you even exist” isn’t a bad situation at all. It works.

This is, after all, what we do at TechCrunch, we just don’t take a cut. 

The announcement today is the Hyper the fund, and the fact that they’re opening applications to a small cohort of 25 companies. The applications are planned to open for roughly 4 weeks every quarter and the deadline for this tranche is August 10th, 2021 at midnight PT. The second cohort will open in November 2021. 

The fund is taking applicants worldwide though notes that some countries present legal complexities for investment. 

#advisors, #alfred-lin, #angellist, #ceo, #corporate-finance, #dustin-curtis, #entrepreneurship, #finance, #garry-tan, #harry-stebbings, #head, #horowitz, #hyper, #jeffrey-katzenberg, #josh-buckley, #media, #money, #naval-ravikant, #owen-van-natta, #product-hunt, #ryan-hoover, #sequoia-capital, #sriram-krishnan, #tc, #venture-capital

Colombian on-demand delivery startup Rappi raises ‘over’ $500M at a $5.25B valuation

Rappi, a Colombian on-demand delivery startup, has raised “over” $500 million at a $5.25 billion valuation in a Series G round led by T. Rowe Price, the company announced late Friday.

Baillie Gifford, Third Point, Octahedron, GIC SoftBank, DST Global, Y Combinator, Andreessen Horowitz and Sequoia Capital and others also participated in the round.

The new financing brings Rappi’s total raised since its 2015 inception to over $2 billion, according to Crunchbase. Today, the country has operations in 9 countries and more than 250 cities across Latin America. Its last raise was a $300 million a Series F funding round in September of 2020.

According to the Latin American Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (LAVCA), Rappi focused on delivering beverages and first, and has since expanded into meals, groceries, tech goods and medicine. The company also offers a cash withdrawal feature, allowing users to pay with credit cards and then receive cash from one of Rappi’s delivery agents. Today, the company says its app allows consumers to “order nearly any good or service.”

In addition to traditional delivery, it says “users can get products delivered in less than 10 minutes, can access financial services, as well as ‘whims,” and “favors.’ Whims allow users to order anything available in their coverage area. Favors offer an array of custom services, such as running an errand, going to the hardware store or picking out and delivering a gift. The two products allow users to connect directly with a courier. 

Simón Borrero, Sebastian Mejia, and Felipe Villamarin launched the company in 2015, graduating from Y Combinator the following year. A16z’s initial investment in July 2016 was the Silicon Valley firm’s first investment in Latin America, according to LAVCA.

#andreessen-horowitz, #apps, #baillie-gifford, #colombia, #companies, #delivery, #dst-global, #feature, #funding, #fundings-exits, #gic, #latin-america, #online-food-ordering, #rappi, #recent-funding, #reddit, #sequoia-capital, #softbank, #softbank-group, #startup, #startups, #t-rowe-price, #venture-capital, #websites, #y-combinator