Weight-loss platform Noom bulks up on $540 million in new funding

Since the pandemic began last year, nearly 61% of adults in the United States gained weight, with the average adult surveyed gaining 15 pounds, according to a report from the American Psychological Association. Likely as a result of that rise in girths, Noom witnessed a surge of demand for its weight-loss app, generating $400 million in revenues in 2020 — almost twice the $237 million it made the year before.

Following on the heels of a banner year, and to fuel expansion into new categories and new countries around the globe, Noom announced this morning it had raised a $540 million Series F round led by Silver Lake. Other investors who participated in the round included Oak HC/FT, Temasek, Novo Holdings, Sequoia Capital, RRE, and Samsung Ventures.

“Most people want to eat healthier, exercise more, be less stressed, and get better sleep, but it’s not easy to change these behaviors,” said Saeju Jeong, co-founder and CEO of Noom in a statement. “This strategic round of funding reflects our investors’ confidence in the immense opportunity we have in building a business around helping as many people as possible live healthier lives through behavior change.”

Noom also announced the addition of two new board members, Silver Lake managing director Adam Karol, and former TaskRabbit CEO Stacy Brown-Philpot.

The Noom app may be a success now with 45 million downloads to date in 100 countries including the U.S., UK, Canada, Australia, Ireland, and New Zealand, but cofounders Jeong and Artem Petakov officially founded their startup in 2007 as a different venture entirely, experimenting with a connected bike and calorie-counting app. It had some early success, but it wasn’t until 2017, when Jeong and Petakov released a customer-focused and weight-loss-oriented app that the startup finally hit its stride, resonating with legions of people who longed to shed the weight they’d gained. The company raised $58 million of funding in mid-2019 led by Sequoia.

“If you go and you say, ‘Hey, I can solve hypertension for you, nobody cares,” explains Noom president and co-founder Artem Petakov. “So we put our heads together, and thought, ‘how do you make it work with consumers?’ Well, weight loss is a human value proposition that’s working. Can we double-down on that?”

Though the Noom app enables users to count the number of calories they consume each day — a feature that other apps like MyFitnessPal, LoseIt!, and MyPlate Calorie Counter share — Noom says the key to its users keeping the weight off in the medium-to-long term lies in its use of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, a goal-oriented psychotherapy treatment that helps people understand and combat the things that trigger negative thoughts, compulsive actions, and unwelcome consequences.

Whether Noom can maintain its momentum remains to be seen. According to a Bloomberg report last week, the startup has reportedly met with potential advisers to gear up for an IPO later this year or early next year with a targeted valuation of nearly $10 billion.

#apps, #funding, #fundings-exits, #health, #noom, #silver-lake, #startups, #weight-loss

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Clari revenue forecasting platform snags $150M investment and triples valuation to $1.6B

Clari, the revenue operations platform that helps companies predict revenue outcomes, announced $150 million Series E today on a $1.6 billion valuation, a number that more than triples its 2019 Series D valuation of $500 million.

Silver Lake led the latest investment with participation from B Capital Group and existing investors Sequoia Capital, Bain Capital Ventures, Sapphire Ventures, Madrona Ventures, Thomvest and Tenaya Capital. The company reports it has now raised a total of $285 million.

While COVID made 2020 trying for everyone, a company with a product that allows executive teams to understand and predict revenue at a granular level was obviously going to be in demand, and Clari saw a lot of interest over the last year.

“It was a surreal year for us, given the momentum we had and all of the tough news we saw going on around us. For us, the usage metrics were just off the charts, as people need visibility and predictability and control over their revenue forecasts,” company co-founder and CEO Andy Byrne told me.

While Byrne didn’t want to discuss revenue specifics, he did point out that he beat the revenue plan he submitted to his board by 110%. He said the performance has led to a lot of inbound investor interest in the company.

“That’s why we’ve had such great investor interest is that [VCs] were hearing in the investment community about how transformative Clarity has been […] just giving companies what we call revenue confidence, being able to go and understand where you’re going to be and to accurately predict the impact the pandemic is going to have on your trajectory, good or bad,” Byrne explained.

To this point, the company has been working with sales and marketing teams, but Byrne says that the company is expanding the scope of the product to bring that same predictability to other parts of an organization.

Clari has mostly focused on technology companies with customers like HPE, Workday and Adobe, but it has plans to expand beyond that vertical. In fact, one of the ways Byrne plans to put today’s investment to work is to push into other verticals, which could also benefit from this kind of revenue visibility.

The company is up 300 employees with plans to double that number by the end of 2020. Byrne says he is building a positive work culture and points to recently being recognized as one of the best places to work by Inc., Bay Area News Group, #GirlsClub and Built In. He says they have made progress when it comes to diversity hirings across a number dimensions, but admits there is still work to be done.

“We actually specifically [established] a commission around diversity and inclusion that has board level [backing] that we’re running to continue to do better work there. Having said that, we still recognize that we’re not too dissimilar to a lot of companies where we feel like there’s so much more that we need to do,” he said.

At this point in the company’s evolution with plenty of money in the bank and a healthy valuation, Byrne did not shy away from the IPO question, although as you would imagine, he wasn’t ready to discuss specifics.

“I would say the answer is unequivocally yes, and we’re building toward this. […] We don’t have a timeframe upon which we know where we’re going to go public, but the next goal is to get to the IPO starting line,” he said.

#clari, #enterprise, #funding, #recent-funding, #silver-lake, #startups, #tc

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Qualtrics prices IPO at $30 per share, above its upgraded target range

Last night, Qualtrics priced its IPO at $30 per share, selling 50.4 million shares in the process.

Notably, the company’s IPO price was harder to chase down than usual, with a formal press release in scarce supply. SEC filings indicate that the company “anticipate[s]” a price of $30 per share, and reports from media and IPO-watching entities cite the $30 figure as well.

TechCrunch has an email into the Qualtrics team asking to confirm the reports, which are sufficiently widespread and confident that we’re similarly comfortable with its final price.

At $30 per share, Qualtrics priced its IPO at $1 per share above its raised IPO range of $27 to $29 a share. TechCrunch anticipated that the company’s first IPO price interval was low; and this publication noted that we would not “fall over in shock if Qualtrics priced a dollar or two above [its] raised range.”

Quelle surprise.

At $30 per share, and with 511,138,997 shares outstanding after its debut per its most recent S-1/A, inclusive of its underwriters’ option, Qualtrics would be worth $15.3 billion. That’s just under double the $8 billion that the company was worth when it sold to SAP a few years ago. Of course, let’s wait until we get a formal, final share count before we lock in the company’s pre-trading value.

For SAP, then, the deal is a win. But it’s not alone in enjoying quick returns on Qualtrics. Silver Lake agreed to buy “15,018,484 shares at $21.64 per share” and “225 million of shares at the initial public offering price” back in December. So that means that the company has a paper gain of more than $125 million on the shares it bought for just under $22 apiece.

Not a bad trade. If Qualtrics’ gains in early trading, Silver Lake will do even better.

TechCrunch is talking to the company later today, and will have more notes on its performance and valuation when it begins to trade.

#fundings-exits, #qualtrics, #silver-lake, #startups

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In first IPO price range, Airbnb’s valuation recovers to pre-pandemic levels

This morning Airbnb released an S-1/A filing that details its initial IPO price range. The home-sharing unicorn intends to price its shares between $44 and $50 per share in its debut.

Per the company’s own accounting, it will have 596,399,007 or 601,399,007 shares outstanding, depending on whether its underwriters exercise their option. That gives the company a valuation range of $26.2 billion to $30.1 billion at the extremes.

The company’s simple share count does not include a host of other shares that have vested but not yet been exercised. Including those shares, the company’s fully diluted valuation stretches to $35 billion, by CNBC’s arithmetic.


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The top-end of Airbnb’s simple valuation places it near its Series F valuation set in 2017. Its fully-diluted valuation exceeds that $30.5 billion valuation and is far superior to the $18 billion, post-money valuation that it raised at during its troubled period early in the COVID-19 pandemic.

For those investors, Silver Lake and Sixth Street, the company’s initial IPO price range is a win. For the company’s preceding investors, to see the company appear ready to at least match its preceding private valuation is a win as well, given how much damage Airbnb’s business sustained early in the pandemic.

But how do those Airbnb valuation numbers match up against its revenues, and will public market investors value the company based on its current results, or expectations for a return-to-form once a vaccine comes to market? And if so, is Airbnb expensive or not?

Expectations, hopes and hype

Shares of Booking Holdings, which owns travel services like Kayak, Priceline, OpenTable and others, have almost doubled in value since its pandemic lows and is within spitting distance of its all-time highs. This despite its revenues falling 48% in its most recent quarter. There’s optimism in the market that travel companies are on the cusp of a return to form, buoyed — we presume — by good news regarding effective coronavirus vaccines.

My expectation is that Airbnb is enjoying a similar bump, as investors intend to buy its shares not to bask in awe of its Q4 2020 results, but instead to enjoy what happens in the back half of 2021 as vaccines roll out and the travel industry recovers.

But happens if we stack Airbnb’s revenues against its valuation today?

#airbnb, #booking-holdings, #fundings-exits, #silver-lake, #startups, #tc, #travel, #unicorn

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What if the kernel is corrupt?

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s VC-focused podcast (now on Twitter!), where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

This week, Alex is on a much-deserved vacation (but not from Twitter, it seems) so Danny Crichton and I chatted through the news and happenings of the week. Somehow we winded our way through the latest tech controversies, gave Chris Wallace a shout out and ended with some funding rounds. I’ll be out next week so don’t miss me too much, but expect the entire Equity team to be back full-speed in mid-October. Thanks, as always, to our producer Chris Gates for his patience and diligence.

Now, onto a sneak peek of what we got into:

  • Moderation continues to be the root of all problems. We got into the anti-semitic comments that were spewed on Clubhouse, and what that means for the future of the audio-only platform. As Danny so eloquently put it: if Clubhouse is having moderation problems even with an exclusive invite-only user base, the problem will grow.
  • We also talked about Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong’s blog post, which triggered a debate between us on whether tech companies can even choose to not be political. For the record, Black Lives Matter is not a political statement. It’s a human statement. Read this op-ed for more.
  • I wrote a piece about how a new program wants to be the Y Combinator for emerging fund managers. The whole “YC for X” model usually makes me roll my eyes, but listen to hear why I’m actually optimistic and bullish on programs like these taking off within tech.
  • Silver Lake added a $2 billion “long-term” hedge fund backed by Abu Dhabi to its tech finance toolkit. The strategy is a signal to privately backed startups, and potentially a slap in the face to SoftBank.
  • For a quick edtech note, I caught up with Duolingo’s CEO this week in one of his rare press interviews. Luis von Ahn explained the app’s surge in bookings, and there’s one key metric we pull out to noodle over.
  • Danny explained Gusto’s latest product launch with, wait for it, Gusto. In all seriousness, he brings up interesting points about the future of fintech feeling more full-suite, and free.
  • Funding round chatter continued when we unpacked Lee Fixel’s latest investment in India’s Inshorts.
  • Finally, we ended with LiquidDeath, which is not the name of a drinking game, but instead the name of a startup that has successfully attracted millions in venture capital for mountain water.

And with that, we will be back next week. Vote like your life depends on it, because it does.

Equity drops every Monday at 7:00 a.m. PDT and Thursday afternoon as fast as we can get it out, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercastSpotify and all the casts.

#black-lives-matter, #brian-armstrong, #clubhouse, #coinbase, #equity, #equity-podcast, #liquid-death, #silver-lake, #tc

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Silverlake adds a $2 billion “longterm” hedge fund backed by Abu Dhabi to its tech finance toolkit

Silver Lake Partners, the multi-billion dollar tech-focused investment firm, is adding a longterm hedge fund backed by Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund, Mubadala, to its array of investment vehicles to finance technology companies.

The move into multi-strategy investing represents the diversification of financing vehicles that companies have at their disposal and gives the private equity firm the tools it needs to compete in a world awash with capital and new ways for companies to access public market financing.

It’s probably not a coincidence that the public-private, long-only, investment structure is happening as more tech companies are eschewing later stage financing to find cash on public markets through things like special purpose acquisition companies (SPACS).

According to a statement from the firm, the new strategy has a 25-year deployment life cycle and can be invested across structures, geographies and industries. The agreement makes the two financial entities a couple that will really span time together.

In addition to the new strategy, Silver Lake’s partnership has a new minority shareholder in the Abu Dhabi-backed sovereign wealth fund. Mubadala took a minority stake in the firm by buying up half of the 10% chunk of the firm that Silver Lake’s partners sold to Dyal Capital Partners, a subsidiary of Neuberger Berman.

“Silver Lake is a top performer for Dyal, having innovated, evolved and expanded to prudently grow its assets under management from $23 billion when we first acquired our stake to more than $60 billion today,” said Michael Rees, Managing Director and Head of Dyal Capital Partners, in a statement. “This transaction with Mubadala and their commitment to Silver Lake’s new long-term capital vehicle is a strong endorsement of Silver Lake’s differentiated, global capabilities and underscores our conviction in the ability to generate compelling returns by owning stakes in the world’s leading private investment firms.”

It’s not the first time that the two firms have hooked up. Mubadala is a co-investor alongside Silver Lake in the talent agency and entertainment giant, Endeavor; the autonomous vehicle technology developer, Waymo; and the India-based Jio Platforms.

The firm’s co-chief executives Egon Durban and Greg Mondre said in a joint statement that the new deal would allow the firm to capitalize on a wide range of investment opportunities, including ones outside of the mandates of existing funds.

“As an institution that has long seen the potential of investing in the technology sector, we are excited to partner with Silver Lake, one of the world’s most respected technology investors, to capitalize on major opportunities within and beyond the industry,” said Khaldoon Al Mubarak, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Mubadala, in a statement.  “Technology is the bedrock of the global economy, and fundamental to all other sectors that are being significantly digitalized.  Our goal is to be well positioned to take advantage of this accelerated digital transformation and its potential, and we believe Silver Lake is the right partner and that this is an optimal structure for us.”

Mubadala’s tech portfolio investments kicked off in 2007 with an investment in the chip manufacturer AMD and then through the creation of the semiconductor manufacturing company GlobalFoundries. It’s also backed the medtech company PCI Pharma Services, and a number of ridesharing and e-commerce companies in Abu Dhabi and Silicon Valley, the company said.

The deal with Silver Lake could also be seen as a slap in the face for Softbank — a long time partner for Mubadala, which was an investor in the Japanese investment firm’s $100 billion Vision Fund and a $400 million European-focused investment vehicle which launched in February of last year.

#abu-dhabi, #amd, #finance, #investment, #jio-platforms, #money, #mubadala, #mubadala-investment-company, #neuberger-berman, #private-equity, #semiconductor, #silver-lake, #silver-lake-partners, #softbank, #softbank-group, #tc, #vision-fund, #waymo

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GoodRx offers founders $500M, nets $100M investment from Silver Lake, and makes quiet acquisition before IPO

GoodRx is a rare breed of modern tech IPO: a startup that is actually profitable and heading to the public markets. The consumer service offers coupons on prescriptions redeemable at pharmacies that can save customers significant money on their monthly drug prices.

The company filed an amended S-1 with the SEC this morning, and that included three pieces of news that hadn’t previously been reported.

First and most significantly, the company notes in its filing that it is offering its two co-founders, Douglas Hirsch and Trevor Bezdek, approximately 25 million in stock, at what the company placed as a fair-market value of $533.3 million. That stock has both a time-based component and a performance-based component, and is designed to incentivize the duo to commit to the company for the long-term.

Unlike most startups exiting these days, the two founders hold very little ownership of their company, with both Hirsch and Bezdek owning just a 1.3% stake in GoodRx prior to the IPO. The equity award — if fully realized — would roughly quadruple their individual stakes in the company.

This so-called “Founders Award” wasn’t included in the company’s initial prospectus. While companies typically offer stock grants, and sometimes bountiful stock grants, to key managers and employees, the scale of the offer here is quite high compared to the norm. That might reflect feedback from equity investors who were concerned that the founders had such diminutive stake in their own company compared to other recent technology IPO issues.

In addition to the equity award, the second bit of news is that growth equity investor Silver Lake is going to buy a $100 million stake in GoodRx through a private placement that will be set to the IPO price. Silver Lake currently owns 35.3% of GoodRx through its previous private equity investment into the company in 2018. The additional $100 million in capital will help the fund build up its position as GoodRx enters the public markets. The agreement was signed yesterday according to the company’s filing.

These “beat-the-IPO-buzzer” private placements have been a common pattern in recent weeks. Similar to Silver Lake here, Salesforce Ventures and Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway each invested $250 million into cloud data platform Snowflake in a private placement. For Berkshire, that was a first foray into an unprofitable technology company.

Third and finally, the company has noted that it quietly bought Scriptcycle, a prescription management service for retail chains, for $60.1 million back on August 31. The Asheville, North Carolina-based startup has just a handful of employees according to LinkedIn. As part of the terms of the acquisition, employees and managers are expected to receive $3 million of new stock in GoodRx, vesting over two years.

Altogether then, GoodRx’s filing indicated that it is targeting a share price of $28 for a maximum offering size of about $1.1 billion.

#finance, #fundings-exits, #goodrx, #silver-lake

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Reliance Retail to raise $1 billion from Silver Lake

Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s retail venture Reliance Retail said on Wednesday it will raise $1.02 billion from Silver Lake, kickstarting a fundraising spree months after its sister venture Jio Platforms raised $20 billion earlier this year.

The investment in Reliance Retail will grant Silver Lake a 1.75% equity stake in India’s largest retail chain. The deal values Reliance Retail at $57 billion pre-money, its parent firm Reliance Industries said in a statement.

Reliance Retail, which last month acquired several parts of Future Group (India’s second largest retail chain), has 12,000 stores across the country. In the financial year that ended in March, it reported a net profit of $726.4 million. In recent quarters, Oil-to-retail giant Reliance Industries has looked to further expand the reach of Reliance Retail by entering e-commerce space.

JioMart, a joint venture between Jio Platforms and Reliance Retail, has presence across 200 cities and towns in India.

“The success of JioMart in such a short time span, especially while India, along with the rest of the world, battles the COVID-19 pandemic, is truly unprecedented, and the most exciting growth phase has just begun. Reliance’s New Commerce strategy could become the disruptor of this decade. We are thrilled to have been invited to partner with Reliance in their mission for Indian Retail,” said Egon Durban, Co-CEO and Managing Partner of Silver Lake, in a statement.

Today’s announcement widens the bet Silver Lake has made on Ambani, India’s richest man. The Menlo Park-headquartered PE firm also invested $1.35 billion in Jio Platforms earlier this year. On Tuesday, it led a $500 million investment round in Indian edtech giant Byju’s.

“I am delighted to extend our relationship with Silver Lake to our transformational efforts of building an inclusive partnership with millions of small merchants while providing value to Indian consumers across the country in the Indian retail sector. We believe technology will be key to bringing the much-needed transformation in this sector so that various constituents of the retail ecosystem can collaborate to build inclusive growth platforms. Silver Lake will be an invaluable partner in implementing our vision for Indian Retail,” said Ambani in a statement.

#asia, #funding, #india, #reliance-jio, #reliance-retail, #silver-lake

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Reliance Jio Platforms says $15.2 billion fundraise is good for now

If your venture fund was not one of the ten investors that backed Reliance Jio Platforms in recent weeks, you won’t be able to plough cash into the fast-growing top Indian telecom network for at least a few quarters now as it is no longer scouting for fresh deals.

Reliance Jio Platforms, which has raised $15.2 billion in the past nine weeks, said today that Saudi Arabia’s PIF $1.5 billion investment on Thursday marked the “end of Jio Platforms’ current phase of induction of financial partners.”

Mukesh Ambani, who controls Reliance Industries (the parent firm of Jio Platforms and a range of other businesses), said that Jio Platforms and Reliance Retail, the largest retail chain in the country, “have received strong interest from strategic and financial investors,” but he will now “induct leading global partners in these businesses in the next few quarters.”

India’s richest man added that he plans to publicly list both Jio Platforms and Reliance Retail within the next five years. “With these initiatives, I have no doubt that your company will have one of the strongest balance sheets in the world.”

Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director of the Reliance Industries Ltd., arrives for the company’s annual general meeting in Mumbai, India, on Monday, Aug. 12, 2019. Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The announcement today caps perhaps the buzziest fundraising news cycle that lasted for nearly three months. Reliance Jio Platforms, which has amassed over 388 million subscribers in less than four years, announced in April that it had secured $5.7 billion from Facebook.

In the weeks since, the telecom operator has raised an additional $9.5 billion from a roster of nine high-profile investors including Silver Lake, KKR, and General Atlantic .

The huge capital infusion at the height of a global pandemic accounted for more than half of the investment into telecom companies globally this year, according to Bloomberg. By raising $15.2 billion, Jio Platforms, which Ambani describes as a “startup,” alone mopped up more capital than India’s entire tech startup ecosystem last year.

On Friday, Ambani also confirmed a market speculation about why Reliance Jio Platforms was raising money at all. Ambani said that the capital has helped him repay Reliance Industries’ net debt of $21 billion well ahead of schedule. The oil-to-retail giant, which was debt free in 2012, is now “net debt free,” he said.

Last August, Ambani promised shareholders that Reliance Industries, which is India’s most valued firm, would repay its debt by early 2021.

“Today I am both delighted and humbled to announce that we have fulfilled our promise to the shareholders by making Reliance net debt-free much before our original schedule of 31st March 2021,” he said.

#asia, #facebook, #funding, #general-atlantic, #india, #mukesh-ambani, #reliance, #reliance-jio, #silver-lake

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India’s Reliance Jio Platforms to sell $600 million stake to TPG

American private equity firm TPG will invest $600 million in Jio Platforms, joining a roster of high-profile investors including Facebook and Silver Lake that have backed India’s top telecom operator at the height of a global pandemic.

TPG said it is acquiring a 0.93% stake in Jio Platforms, giving the Indian firm a valuation of $65 billion. TPG, which manages $79 billion of assets and has backed several tech firms including Uber, Spotify and Airbnb, is the eighth investor who has agreed to back Mukesh Ambani’s telecom network in just as many weeks.

Reliance Jio Platforms, which has amassed over 388 million subscribers, has secured $13.49 billion by selling nearly 21% stake in the company.

More to follow…

 

#asia, #funding, #india, #mukesh-ambani, #reliance-jio, #silver-lake, #tpg, #tpg-capital

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India’s Reliance Jio Platforms to sell $750 million stake to Abu Dhabi Investment Authority

Mukesh Ambani has courted the seventh major investor for his telecommunications business in just as many weeks.

On Sunday, Reliance Jio Platforms said it will sell a stake of 1.16% for $750 million to Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), continuing its eye-catching run of investments at the height of a global pandemic.

The three-and-a-half-year-old digital unit of oil-to-retail giant Reliance Industries, the most valuable firm in India, has now secured nearly $13 billion from seven investors including Facebook, and U.S. private equity firms Silver Lake, General Atlantic by selling close to 20% stake.

Abu Dhabi Investment Authority’s announcement is the third deal Reliance Jio Platforms, which is India’s largest telecom operator with over 388 million subscribers, has secured just this week. Jio Platforms is selling $1.2 billion stake to Abu Dhabi-based sovereign firm Mubadala, it said earlier this week. The company also announced that U.S private equity firm Silver Lake was pumping an additional $600 million to increase its stake in Jio to 2.1%.

The deal further captures the appeal of Jio Platforms to foreign investors looking for a slice of the world’s second-largest internet market. Jio, which launched its commercial operations in the second half of 2016, upended the market by offering mobile data and voice calls at cut-rate prices.

“The incumbent players (Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, BSNL) in India did the opposite of what companies in their position do elsewhere in the world when a new player emerges in the market. The existing players expect the newcomer to compete aggressively on price. They often lower their prices – some times steeply — to reduce the latter’s attractiveness. Newcomers often complain to the regulators about anti-competitive practices of incumbents,” said Mahesh Uppal, director of communications consultancy firm Com First.

“In India, the opposite happened. It was the existing players who ran to regulators with complaints. So we saw a major miscalculation from incumbent players that had already missed out on taking any major step before the launch of Jio,” he said.

India has emerged as one of the biggest global battlegrounds for Silicon Valley and Chinese firms that are looking to win the nation’s 1.3 billion people, most of whom remain without a smartphone and internet connection.

Media reports have claimed in recent weeks that Amazon is considering buying stakes worth at least $2 billion in Bharti Airtel, India’s third largest telecom operator, while Google has held talks for a similar deal in Vodafone Idea, the second largest telecom operator.

Hamad Shahwan Aldhaheri, who oversees private equity deals at ADIA, said Jio Platforms is poised to benefit from major socio-economic developments and “transformative effects of technology on the way people live and work. The rapid growth of the business, which has established itself as a market leader in just four years, has been built on a strong track record of strategic execution. Our investment in Jio is a further demonstration of ADIA’s ability to draw on deep regional and sector expertise to invest globally in market leading companies and alongside proven partners.”

The new capital should help Ambani, India’s richest man, further solidify his commitment to investors when he pledged to cut Reliance’s net debt of about $21 billion to zero by early 2021 — in part because of the investments it has made to build Jio Platforms, said Uppal.

Its core business — oil refining and petrochemicals — has been hard hit by the coronavirus outbreak. Its net profit in the quarter that ended on March 31 fell by 37%.

“I am delighted that ADIA, with its track record of more than four decades of successful long-term value investing across the world, is partnering with Jio Platforms in its mission to take India to digital leadership and generate inclusive growth opportunities. This investment is a strong endorsement of our strategy and India’s potential,” said Ambani.

#abu-dhabi, #asia, #facebook, #funding, #general-atlantic, #mubadala, #mubadala-investment-company, #mukesh-ambani, #reliance, #reliance-industries, #reliance-jio, #silver-lake, #telecommunications, #united-states

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Reliance Jio Platforms to sell additional $600 million stake to Silver Lake

Silver Lake is doubling down its bet on India’s Reliance Jio Platforms. The U.S. private equity firm said Friday it is buying an additional stake worth $600 million in the top Indian telecom operator, which has now raised $12.2 billion in less than two months — at the height of a global pandemic.

The Menlo Park-headquartered firm, which invested nearly $750 million in Reliance Jio Platforms last month, said the additional infusion increases its stake in the Indian firm to 2.08%, up from 1.15%.

Silver Lake’s new investment is now technically the seventh deal Reliance Jio Platforms, a subsidiary of India’s most valued firm (Reliance Industries), has secured in just as many weeks by selling nearly 20% stake. Earlier on Friday (local time), Abu Dhabi-based sovereign firm Mubadala said it would invest $1.2 billion in Jio, a firm run by Mukesh Ambani, India’s richest man.

Mr. Egon Durban, co-chief executive and managing partner at Silver Lake, said, the recent investment momentum in Reliance Jio Platforms “validates a compelling business model and underscores our admiration for Mukesh Ambani, his team and their courageous vision in creating and building one of the world’s most remarkable technology companies.”

“We are excited to increase our exposure and bring more of our co-investors into this opportunity, further supporting Jio Platforms in its mission to bring the power of high-quality and affordable digital services to a mass consumer and small businesses population,” he added.

Silver Lake manages nearly $40 billion in combined assets and committed capital and has invested in dozens of tech firms over the years including in video game engine maker Unity, audio and video communication service Skype, consultancy firm Gartner, Alibaba’s Ant Financial, computer giant Dell, and Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing.

More to follow…

#abu-dhabi, #alibaba, #ant-financial, #asia, #companies, #dell, #didi-chuxing, #digital-services, #funding, #india, #menlo-park, #mubadala, #mukesh-ambani, #reliance, #reliance-industries, #reliance-jio, #silver-lake, #united-states, #unity

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KKR to invest $1.5 billion in India’s Reliance Jio Platforms

Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio Platforms has agreed to sell 2.32% stake to U.S. equity firm KKR in what is the fifth major investment in the top Indian telecom firm in just as many weeks.

On Friday, KKR announced it will invest $1.5 billion in the Indian top telecom operator, a subsidiary of India’s most valued firm (Reliance Industries), joining fellow American investors Facebook, Silver Lake, Vista Equity Partners, and General Atlantic that have made similar bets on the Indian firm that has amassed over 388 million subscribers.

The investment from KKR, which has wrote checks to about 20 tech companies to date including ByteDance and GoJek, values the nearly four-year-old Reliance Jio Platforms at $65 billion. The announcement today further shows the growing appeal of Jio Platforms, which has raised $10.35 billion in the past month by selling about 17% of its stake to foreign investors that are looking for a slice of the world’s second-largest internet market.

Ambani, the chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries and who has poured more than $30 billion to build Jio Platforms, said the company was looking forward to leverage “KKR’s global platform, industry knowledge and operational expertise to further grow Jio.”

“Few companies have the potential to transform a country’s digital ecosystem in the way that Jio Platforms is doing in India, and potentially worldwide. Jio Platforms is a true homegrown next generation technology leader in India that is unmatched in its ability to deliver technology solutions and services to a country that is experiencing a digital revolution,” Henry Kravis, co-founder and co-chief executive of KKR, said in a statement.

“We are investing behind Jio Platforms’ impressive momentum, world-class innovation and strong leadership team, and we view this landmark investment as a strong indicator of KKR’s commitment to supporting leading technology companies in India and Asia Pacific,” he added.

More to follow…

#apps, #asia, #companies, #facebook, #funding, #general-atlantic, #india, #kkr, #mukesh-ambani, #reliance, #reliance-industries, #reliance-jio, #silver-lake, #united-states, #vista-equity-partners

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General Atlantic to invest $870M in India’s Reliance Jio Platforms

Mukesh Ambani’s Jio Platforms has agreed to sell 1.34% stake to General Atlantic, the latest deal in a series of deals the top Indian telecom operator has secured in recent weeks.

On Sunday, General Atlantic said it would invest $869.8 million in the Indian firm, joining Facebook, Silver Lake, and Vista Equity Partners that have made sizeable bets on the three-and-a-half-year old Indian firm.

General Atlantic’s investment values Jio Platforms at $65 billion (equity valuation) — the same valuation implied by the Silver Lake and Vista deals and a 12.5% premium over Facebook’s deal, the Indian firm said.

Sunday’s announcement further illustrates the growing appeal of Jio Platforms, which has raised $8.85 billion in the last one month, to foreign investors looking for a slice in the fast-growing world’s second largest internet market.

General Atlantic, a high profile investor in consumer tech space, has invested in dozens of firms such as Airbnb, Alibaba, Ant Financial, Box, ByteDance, Facebook, India’s NoBroker, Slack, Snapchat, and Uber.

“General Atlantic shares our vision of a Digital Society for India and strongly believes in the transformative power of digitization in enriching the lives of 1.3 billion Indians. We are excited to leverage General Atlantic’sproven global expertise and strategic insights across 40 years of technology investing for the benefit of Jio,” said Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Jio Platforms-parent firm Reliance Industries, in a statement.

More to follow…

#asia, #facebook, #funding, #general-atlantic, #india, #mukesh-ambani, #silver-lake, #tc, #vista-equity-partners

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Equity Monday: Intel covets Moovit, two early stage rounds, and Uber’s earnings

Good morning and welcome back to TechCrunch’s Equity Monday, a jumpstart for your week.

Equity had a busy last few days, so to help you catch up: Friday’s episode was a lot of fun (Duolingo, Figma, OMERS, and aquafaba), and we also dropped an Equity Shot on Saturday, digging into the first major technology earnings week.

But this morning we were busy digging through what’s happened over the last few days, and what’s to come. Here’s the rundown:

We wrapped asking that’s going to come for companies that were still speculative businesses before the slowdown. They’re going to vaporize, right?

Equity drops every Monday at 7:00 AM PT and Friday at 6:00 am PT, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercastSpotify and all the casts.

#dropbox, #duolingo, #facebook, #fundings-exits, #intel, #lyft, #moovit, #paypal, #pinterest, #roku, #shopify, #silver-lake, #spotify, #startups, #techcrunch, #uber

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Silver Lake to invest $747M in India’s Jio Platforms

Weeks after Facebook invested $5.7 billion in Jio Platforms, India’s top telecom operator, private equity firm Silver Lake is following suit.

Silver Lake announced on Monday it will be investing 56.56 billion Indian rupees (about $746.8 million) in Jio Platforms for about 1.15% stake in the Indian telecom network, giving it a valuation of $65 billion, a 12.5% premium to the value implied by the Facebook investment.

The Menlo Park-headquartered PE firm, which has approximately $40 billion in combined assets and committed capital, has invested in dozens of tech firms over the years including video game engine maker Unity, Skype, consultancy firm Gartner, Alibaba’s Ant Financial, and Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing, several of it in recent weeks.

This year, Silver Lake has invested in Expedia, Twitter (in which it invested $1 billion), Airbnb, Waymo, and ServiceMax. This is the second investment Silver Lake is making in an Indian firm. In 2013, it invested in Bangalore-based commodity trading and risk management software firm Eka.

Reliance Jio Platforms, which began its commercial operation in the second half of 2016, upended the local telecom market by offering bulk of 4G data and voice calls for six months to users at no charge. A subsidiary of Reliance Industries (India’s most valuable firm by market value), Jio Platforms has amassed 388 million subscribers since its launch to become the nation’s top telecom operator.

“Jio Platforms is one of the world’s most remarkable companies, led by an incredibly strong and entrepreneurial management team who are driving and actualizing a courageous vision. They have brought extraordinary engineering capabilities to bear on bringing the power of low-cost digital services to a mass consumer and small businesses population. The market potential they are addressing is enormous, and we are honored and pleased to have been invited to partner with Mukesh Ambani and the team at Reliance and Jio to help further the Jio mission,” said Egon Durban, co-chief executive and managing partner at Silver Lake, in a statement.

Jio Platforms, previously known as just Jio, also owns a suite of services including music streaming service JioSaavn (which has plans to become a public company), smartphones, broadband business, on-demand live television service JioTV, and payments service JioPay.
In a statement, Mukesh Ambani, who oversees Reliance Industries, said, “Silver Lake has an outstanding record of being a valuable partner for leading technology companies globally. Silver Lake is one of the most respected voices in technology and finance. We are excited to leverage insights from their global technology relationships for the Indian Digital Society’s transformation.”

In the company’s earnings call last week, Ambani said several firms had expressed interest in buying a stake in Jio Platforms, in which he has invested over $30 billion, in wake of the deal with Facebook.

Facebook said that other than offering the capital to Jio Platforms for a 9.99% stake in the firm, it would work with the Indian giant on a number of areas starting with e-commerce.

Days later, JioMart, an e-commerce venture run by India’s most valued firm, began testing an “ordering system” on WhatsApp, the most popular smartphone app in India with over 400 million active users in the world’s second largest internet market.

More to follow…

#asia, #facebook, #finance, #funding, #mukesh-ambani, #reliance, #silver-lake

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Expedia raises $3.2B to ride out pandemic, names new CEO and announces austerity measures

It’s not exactly a secret that the travel industry is in free fall right now as the pandemic has brought the industry to a screeching halt. With nobody moving, travel site Expedia announced that it has raised $3.2 billion to help ride this out.

The deal consists of two separate tranches of cash with $1.2 billion coming from private placement of perpetual preferred stock and approximately $2 billion coming from new debt financing, according to the company.

Apollo Global Management and Silver Lake will be providing the funds to give the company some capital to help make it to the other side of the coronavirus pandemic. Apollo partner Reed Rayman sees a solid company going through a rough time.

“This investment helps ensure the company has the resources to sustain market leadership and emerge from the current economic environment stronger than ever,” Rayman said in a statement. While it may not emerge stronger than ever, certainly having a significant chunk of operating capital will help ensure that it simply emerges whenever this industry slump ends.

In addition, the company is making big changes in the executive team, naming vice chairman Peter Kern as CEO and company veteran Eric Hart as CFO. The company also announced these executives and members of the board will forgo salary for the remainder of the year, and senior executives will take a 25% pay cut.

In a press release, company chairman Barry Diller outlined all of the steps the company was taking, but he indicated that the management changes had been in the works even prior to the crisis that has overtaken the company and the entire industry.

As a result of the ongoing industry issues, the company will be forced to go lean and that means furloughs and reduced work weeks for certain volume of employees, at least through August 31st. The company will also be suspending 401(k) matching for the remainder of the year and asking employees to voluntarily reduce work weeks, as well.

Diller wrote that they were forced to make these moves to survive the precipitous drop in travel due to the pandemic and subsequent worldwide lockdowns.

“Since the crisis began, the company has encountered an extraordinary number of challenges, and just as governments around the world were unprepared, so too were we. We had limited online tools to support widespread cancellations and our call volume spiked 500%. Under extraordinary pressure, our tech teams built new tools and managed to bring our call center capacity to acceptable levels,” he said in the letter.

He closed his letter on a positive note, stating these moves will help them hunker down with enough cash to survive until it’s over. “We have the financing to carry us through, a superb newly named senior management team, and a very clear focus for whatever the future brings. So, we’ll seize the (next) day…,” he wrote. These moves should help them get there.

#barry-diller, #covid-19, #expedia, #silver-lake, #tc

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