It’s been 50 years since Venrock established itself to expose investors to venture capital opportunities. Today, the global venture capital industry tracks just south of $200 billion and continues to grow as new entrepreneurs, engineers, financiers, and thought leaders create the economy of tomorrow. The DailyAlts VC channel tracks the trends, opportunities, key thought leaders, and next-generation industries that will generate billions in returns.
Sony (NYSE: SNE) announced Thursday its deal to buy a minority stake in Epic Games, the private company behind the battle-royale juggernaut of a game known as Fortnite. It is the world’s largest game with over 350 million accounts and 2.5 billion friend connections. Sony is paying $250 million for its 1.4% stake in Epic, which also develops Unreal Engine – the software used by game developers the world over and which powers the top games across the globe.
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Samir Vasavada and Runik Mehrotra founded Vise in 2016 intending to empower financial advisors with an AI-powered platform. The Vise platform now serves financial advisors by helping design personalized portfolios for clients, managing portfolios, and providing up to date status information. Vise raised $14.5 million in a Sequoia-led Series A funding. Reportedly, clients onboard the platform account for nearly $800 million in assets under management.
DispatchTrack, which solves last-mile logistical challenges for its customers, from complex routing to real-time ETAs, has raised its first ‘investment’ of $144 million led by Spectrum Equity. DispatchTrack’s platform addresses the last-mile problems faced by merchants, delivery service providers, and consumers across various industries. The platform enables smooth and seamless deliveries in the new era of Amazon-like, at-home service.
Judo Bank, an Australian bank has a mission to make it easier for Australian SME businesses to get funding starting from $250,000. The bank offers business loans, line of credit, equipment loans and finance lease. It announced Thursday its third equity funding round of $250 million at a post-money valuation of well over $1 billion. Judo did not release details of its latest valuation.
The pandemic has unleashed turmoil in urban transportation, and it’s showing up in deal-making. Lime, the electric scooter sharing service that was laid low due to lockdowns and social distancing, has managed to snag $170 million in its eighth round of funding. Uber (NYSE: UBER) led the round. Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOGL), Alphabet’s VC arm GV, and Bain Capital, among others, also participated.
The 2019 Annual Research Report from the Michigan Angel Community is out. The report showed that angel investing in the high-tech sector in 2019 was in fine fettle. Both the number of angel investors and the amount they invested during the year grew impressively in percentage terms.
ApplyBoard is an online platform that assists international students from around the world with their applications to study abroad. It’s a SaaS-enabled recruitment platform that was recognized in 2019 by Deloitte as Canada’s fastest-growing tech company.
ApplyBoard scored a phenomenal 12,525% GAAP revenue growth between 2015 and 2018.
On Tuesday it announced the closure of its series C funding round worth C$100 million (US$75 million).
Singapore-based parcel delivery startup Ninja Van raised $279 million from top-notch investors as the coronavirus epidemic triggered a huge surge in online transactions from people forced to stay at home. The funding round was led by existing investor Europe’s GeoPost with two sovereign wealth funds. Other investors included Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin’s B Capital, ride-hailing firm Grab, Monk’s Hill Ventures, and Golden Gate Ventures Growth Fund.
Welcome to foodtech, another sector whose fortunes have turned amidst the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis. Within foodtech, plant-based proteins are stepping in as meat substitutes to meet the shortfall in meat supply due to the closure of large meat processing plants across the U.S.
Andreessen Horowitz, the hallowed venture capital firm from Silicon Valley, has pulled off a coup by raising $515 million for its second crypto-facing fund. The fund will invest in late-stage networks, payment blockchains as well as decentralized finance (deFi) initiatives.
Pivot Bio is an agriculture tech startup that uses microbial technology to supply plants with clean nitrogen. The company’s products will displace the synthetic nitrogen from commercial fertilizers, reduce emissions, and increase crop yields. It raised $100 million in a Series C round.
Bioenterprise and Farm Credit Canada (FCC) entered a 15-month agreement in January to promote growth and innovation in Canadian agri-businesses.
Startup Ecosystem Faces Capital Crunch over Coming Months
Optum, the technology services division of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) may acquire virtual behavioral telehealthcare provider AbleTo for $470 million. According to CNBC, which quoted informed sources, the deal talks are in an advanced stage.
Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ: SBUX) has launched a partnership with venture capital firm Sequoia. The two companies will co-invest in China and look to launch “commercial partnerships with next-generation food and retail technology companies.”
In a statement, Starbucks said it will provide retail expertise, infrastructure, and scalability to targeted companies.
As prospects for IPOs dry up, the only other option for startups looking for exits is a Merger & Acquisition (M&A) transaction. Startups are staring at uncertain funding, recessionary conditions, and falling valuations, hence more of them are looking for an out.
Danone Manifesto Ventures (DMV) will pay $10 million for a minority stake in The Sisters, Ore.-based Laird Superfood. Laird creates and markets plant-based superfoods such as creamers, coconut water, nutrition powders, drink mixes, and plant-based sugars.
San Francisco based startup Noah allows homeowners to cash their home equity in these difficult times. The startup just received $150 million in the form of platform capital which it will use to invest in homes as a portion of their equity.
Open-source Apache Kafka startup Confluent Inc drew $250 million in a Series E funding round led by Coatue Management. Existing investors Index Ventures and Sequoia Capital also participated in the round. New investors Altimeter Capital and Franklin Templeton joined in the funding.
Renowned entrepreneur, software engineer, investor and venture capitalist Marc Andreessen writes a hard-hitting essay titled “It’s time to build.” He calls our unpreparedness for the pandemic a “monumental failure of institutional effectiveness.”
The economic repercussions from the coronavirus or taking a severe toll on Southeast Asian start-ups. With revenues petering out, fresh funding in doubt and dwindling reserves of cash, these businesses are suddenly confronted with a new and basic reality – making ends meet.
In its largest funding round yet, California-based payment platform Stripe announced that it raised $600 million in an extension of its $250 million series G funding round. The unicorn said it intended to use the new money to expand its workforce, advance its software, make strategic acquisitions and expand across the globe.
Mike Abbaei, of Naples Technology Ventures, peers into the VC crystal ball in a guest article “How investment will change in a post-pandemic world,” published in Venturebeat.
In Abbaei’s view, the coronavirus pandemic is a traumatic and transformative event similar to 9/11. Just as 9/11 forever changed our approach to air traffic, travel reservations, and airport security, the pandemic will usher in permanent changes in our lifestyles and business operations, healthcare, security and the regulatory environment.
Forbes magazine has published its annual Midas List of the top 100 people in the venture capital business.
The list is put together by Forbes and TrueBridge Capital Partners ranks industry participants by the success of the companies that have funded and eventually exited.
Investors are ranked by their portfolio companies that have gone public or been acquired for at least $200 million over the past five years, or that have at least doubled their private valuation since initial investment to $400 million or more over the same period.
One-fourth of men and women on the list have been on the list for eight years.
The 2020 Midas List contains 12 newcomers and six returnees.
Durham, North Carolina-based The Climate Service (TCS) announced Tuesday the successful completion of its $3.825m Series A investment round. The startup focuses on analytics and climate risk. Persei Venture LLC led the investment round with participation from existing investors and new investors including the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA), and Synovia Capital.