The price differential for engineers is declining

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

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

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

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

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

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

ZoomInfo drops $575M on Chrous.ai as AI shakes up the sales market

ZoomInfo announced this morning it intends to acquire conversational sales intelligence tool Chorus.AI for $575 million. Shares of ZoomInfo are unchanged in pre-market trading following the news, per Yahoo Finance data.

Sales intelligence, Chorus’s market, is a hot space that uses AI to “listen” to sales conversations to help improve interactions between salespeople and customers. ZoomInfo is mostly known for providing information about customers, so the acquisition expands the acquiring company’s platform in a significant way.

The company sees an opportunity to bring together different parts of the sales process in a single platform by “combining ZoomInfo’s historic top-of-the-funnel strength with insights driven from the middle of the funnel in the customer conversations that Chorus captures,” it said in a release.

“With Chorus, the entire organization can make better decisions by surfacing insights and analytics that you would only get if you sat in on every sales or customer success call,” ZoomInfo CEO and founder Henry Schuck said in a blog post announcing the deal.

Ahead of the transaction, ZoomInfo was valued at just under $21 billion.

Chorus looks for what it calls “smart themes” in sales calls, which help managers steer sales teams towards the types of conversation and tone that is likely to drive more revenue. In fact, Chorus holds the largest patent portfolio related to conversational intelligence, according to the company.

Chorus was founded in 2015 and raised over $100 million along the way, according to Pitchbook data. The most recent round was a $45 million Series C last year.

Crunchbase News reports that at the time of its Series C round of funding, Chorus had “doubled its headcount to more than 100 employees and tripled its revenue over the past year.” That’s the sort of growth that venture capitalists covet, making the company’s 2020 funding round a non-surprise.

Notably PitchBook data indicates that the company’s final private valuation was around the $150 million mark; if accurate, it would imply that the company’s last private round was expensive in dilution terms. And that its investors did well in the exit, quickly more than trebling the capital that was last invested, with investors who put capital in earlier doing even better.

But we’re slightly skeptical of the company’s available valuation history given the growth that it claimed at the time of its Series C; it feels low. If that’s the case, the company’s exit multiple would decrease, making its final sale price slightly less impressive.

Of course a half-billion dollar exit is always material, even if venture capitalists in today’s red-hot, and expensive market are more interested in $1 billion exits and larger.

Chorus.ai will likely not be the final exit in the conversational intelligence space. Its rival Gong (often known by its URL, Gong.io) is one of the hotter startups in this space, having raised over $500 million. Its most recent raise was $250 million on a $7.25 billion valuation last month.

The implication of the Chrous.ai exit and Gong’s enormous private valuation is that the application of AI to audio data in a sales environment is incredibly useful, given the number of customers the two companies’ aggregate valuation implies.

#artificial-intelligence, #chorus-ai, #conversational-intelligence, #enterprise, #exit, #fundings-exits, #ma, #mergers-and-acquisitions, #revenue-intelligence, #sales-tools, #startups, #tc, #zoominfo

IPOs that could happen soon, cannot happen soon enough

Earlier today we took a look at two companies that have filed to go public, nCino and GoHealth. The pair join Lemonade in a march toward the public markets.

But those three firms are hardly alone. We know that DoorDash filed privately earlier this year (it also raised a pile of cash lately, so its IPO may not be in a hurry), and Postmates filed privately last year.

Even more, there are a number of companies whose IPOs we anticipate in short order. So, what follows is our incredibly scientific survey of impending IPOs, starting with those closest to the gate. This list is focused on companies that were at one point venture-backed startups, even if they have become behemoths in the intervening years.

We’ll start with companies that have filed and are moving toward debuts in the next few weeks:

  • nCino: This SaaS company is growing nicely, and has pretty good overall economics. We covered its financial history here. Its debut will be a win for North Carolina.
  • GoHealth: A Chicago success story that was swallowed by private equity last year, GoHealth is now an incredibly complicated company and offering that features lots of long-term indebtedness. But, its exit should provide reasonable returns to its current owner’s backers, who held onto the firm for less than a year before trying to flip it.
  • Lemonade: Lemonade’s IPO is an important moment for a number of modern insurance companies like Root, MetroMile, Kin and others. Not that they all sell the same type of insurance, mind, they don’t. Lemonade does rental and home insurance, while Root and MetroMile are focused on autos, for example. But if Lemonade manages a strong offering, it could provide tailwind to its fellow neo-insurance providers all the same.
  • Agora: We’re catching up on the Agora debut. The China-based company’s IPO filing details a company that provides other companies and developers the ability to “embed real-time video and voice functionalities into their applications without the need to develop the technology or build the underlying infrastructure themselves” via APIs. This sounds a bit like what Daily.co is building, if you recall that round. Agora is a company that has good operating income and net income before “accretion on convertible redeemable preferred shares to redemption value.” With that in hand, the company’s earnings are sharply negative. Read that how you want. Agora wants to raise between $280 million and $315 million.

And, next, companies that have filed privately but are still hanging back:

And here are companies that are making the sort of noise that one might make before finally going public:

All of the above is a jam, and I am stoked to dig through the S-1 trenches with you.

#airbnb, #asana, #bigcommerce, #doordash, #exit, #initial-public-offering, #palantir, #startups, #tc, #vroom, #zoominfo

Unpacking the nCino and GoHealth IPO filings

It’s IPO season in the United States, despite market volatility in recent months and historical blockers like an impending election. Given the public market’s return to form since March lows — paticularly the outperformance of the Nasdaq index and other tech shares — some venture-backed companies are trying to get out while the new offerings are welcome.


The Exchange is a daily look at startups and the private markets for Extra Crunch subscribers; use code EXCHANGE to get full access and take 25% off your subscription.


Used-car marketplace Vroom is an example of this phenomenon, along with ZoomInfo’s recent IPO. Vroom priced at $22 and is now worth more than $50 per share, while ZoomInfo priced at $21 per share and is worth just less than $50 per share today.

So things are looking good for debuts. Heck, even Airbnb is making noise about still going public this year. So it’s no surprise that we’ve seen a few S-1 filings tossed around after what we’ve seen thus far from insurtech player Lemonade. Today let’s dig into the numbers from two such companies: banking software company nCino and GoHealth, an insurance portal that was bought by a private equity firm last year.

(Recall that we’ve covered venture-backed insurance marketplaces quite a lot this year.)

The companies, one based in North Carolina and one based in Illinois, are a break from our usual New York and Silicon Valley fare. Here, then, is a little more evidence that you can build a public company anywhere in America.

nCino

Founded in 2011, nCino is a Wilmington, North Carolina-based banking software provided that raised a little over $213 million while private, according to Crunchbase data. In its own words, nCino is a “bank operating system.” Given how much we’ve written lately about fintech, this is right up our alley.

The company filed to go public earlier this week, showing an ownership table that includes Insight Partners, Salesforce Ventures — Salesforce’s tech helps power nCino, its website says — and Wellington Management as external owners. Insight owns the largest piece, controlling around 46.6% of the company’s shares.

#extra-crunch, #gohealth, #health, #ipos, #market-analysis, #saas, #tc, #the-exchange, #vroom, #zoominfo

The IPO window is open

Hello and welcome back to our regular morning look at private companies, public markets and the gray space in between.

ZoomInfo went public yesterday. After pricing its IPO $1 ahead of its proposed range at $21 per share, the company closed its first day’s trading worth $34.00, up 61.9%, according to Yahoo Finance. Then the company gained another 5.2% in after-hours trading.

Whether or not you feel that this SaaS player was worth the revenue multiple its original, $8 billion valuation dictated — let alone that same multiple times 1.6x — the message from the offering was clear: the IPO window is open.

This is not news to a few companies looking to take advantage of today’s strong equity prices.

Used-car marketplace Vroom is looking to get its shares public before its Q2 numbers come out, despite a history of slim gross profit generation. The company hopes to go public for as much as $1.9 billion, a modest uptick from its final private valuations.

We’ll get another dose of data when Vroom does price — how much investors are willing to pay for slim-margin revenue will tell us a bit more than what we learned from ZoomInfo, which has far superior gross margins. Investors have already signaled that they are content to value high-margin software-ish revenues richly; Vroom is more of a question, but if it does price strongly we’ll know public investors are looking for any piece of growth they can find.

This brings us to the latest news: Amwell has confidentially filed to go public. Formerly known as American Well, CNBC reports that the venture-backed telehealth company has dramatically expanded its customer base:

Telemedicine has seen an uptick in recent months, as people in need of health services turned to phone calls and video chats so they could avoid exposure to Covid-19. The company told CNBC last month that it’s seen a 1,000% increase in visits due to coronavirus, and closer to 3,000% to 4,000% in some places.

#cloud, #extra-crunch, #fundings-exits, #health, #ipo, #market-analysis, #saas, #startups, #tc, #telehealth, #the-exchange, #vroom, #zoominfo

Unpacking ZoomInfo’s IPO as the firm starts to trade

Hello and welcome back to our regular morning look at private companies, public markets and the gray space in between.

The ZoomInfo IPO slipped through our fingers in the last news cycle, so we’re going to catch up.

Founded in 2000, the company has had a somewhat complicated history. ZoomInfo raised a Series A in 2004, according to Crunchbase data, but that’s where its funding history stops. The firm, a SaaS operation that provides information on business people, later sold itself to private equity firm Great Hill Partners in 2017 for a reported $240 million. That wasn’t the end, however. ZoomInfo was later sold to DiscoverOrg for a sum reported to be more than $500 million. DiscoverOrg is a sales and marketing services company based in Washington state that has raised money from private equity.

As you can imagine given the transactions ZoomInfo has gone through, the company’s accounting is a mess to understand. It’s latest S-1/A has the following wording to describe what the IPO encompasses, just to give you a taste:

Immediately following this offering, ZoomInfo Technologies Inc. will be a holding company, and its sole material asset will be a controlling equity interest in ZoomInfo HoldCo, which will be a holding company whose sole material asset will be a controlling equity interest in ZoomInfo OpCo. ZoomInfo Technologies Inc. will operate and control all of the business and affairs of ZoomInfo OpCo through ZoomInfo HoldCo and, through ZoomInfo OpCo and its subsidiaries, conduct our business. Following this offering, ZoomInfo OpCo will be the predecessor of ZoomInfo Technologies Inc. for financial reporting purposes…..

You don’t need to understand all that. Instead, this morning, let’s take a few minutes to dig into the company’s recent earnings results, and its valuation. How is the market valuing this firm? And did its previous owners do well to pay as much as they did for the company?

IPO fundamentals

#extra-crunch, #fundings-exits, #ipo, #market-analysis, #private-equity, #startups, #tc, #zoominfo