Scooters go mad, Opendoor wants to buy your house, and Meituan’s IPO

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This week was something of a first for the crew, twice. First, we had two guests on the show, and, also, we only made it through two and a half topics. The former is good, the latter is, well, we’ll see. So, this week Matthew Lynley and I were joined by David Chao, co-founder and general partner at DCM, and Steve Vassallo, a general partner at Foundation Capital. Points to both for being guinea pigs. Heading into our first topic I’m sorry to inform you that, at least in terms of Equity, scooters are the new Uber. So, we wound up talking about both this week. We started with the fact that Bird is raising new capital at an even more staggering valuation than before ($2 billion!), and that
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The largest buys of tech’s Big Five: a look at M&A deals

In startup land, the mandate is to get bought, go public or die trying. And, as far as getting bought goes, one of tech’s Big Five could be a desirable acquirer. They have a lot of weight to throw around. Alphabet (the parent company of Google), AmazonAppleFacebook and Microsoft account for a titanic amount of market value — close to $3.9 trillion at time of writing. At least, that’s according to Crunchbase News’s dashboard of notable tech stocks. When challenged by one another, these hulking behemoths of the tech sector more often fight than flee. And when challenged by a scrappy upstart, it is likely that they will gobble up the talent, technology and business of any aspiring competitor. It’s the circle of life. And it’s those acquisitions we’re going to look at here. Taken together, tech’s Big Five account for a relatively small
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GitHub’s epic exit, Domo’s dicey math, and Dataminr’s big raise

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This time ’round we had Connie and Alex on hand with Brian Ascher, a longtime partner with Venrock down in Palo Alto, Ca. It was a surprisingly busy week, so we had our work cut out us. Without further ado:

VCs like what they are hearing out of the podcasting sector

Podcasts are television for the earbud generation. And podcasts have been around for a surprisingly long time. If you’re one of the folks who got hooked on podcasts around 2014, when Sarah Koenig and other producers from This American Life launched the wildly popular Serial podcast, you might think that it’s a brand new medium. But podcasts — audio that’s packaged and syndicated over RSS — have been around since the early 2000s. And although many podcasters make money, typically through sponsorships, the podcasting industry (such as it is) hasn’t received much in the way of venture funding until quite recently. 2017 was a pivotal year for venture investment in the industry.

A venture-ready industry?

In the chart below, we plot deal and dollar volume for venture rounds raised by companies that are either in Crunchbase’s  href="https://www.crunchbase.com/search/organizations/field/organizations/categories/podcast">podcast category or use the word “podcast” in their descriptions:

Equity podcast: More funding for scooters, Cruise gets a boost, and Chinese IPOs

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This week was fun. Back in the studio, Connie Loizos, Matthew Lynley, your humble servant, and Ramneek Gupta, managing director of Citi Ventures was with us to provide the venture perspective. As you can probably guess, we got a bit stuck in Bird’s nest, trying to vet why the young company is hoping to punch its unicorn card in nigh-record time. The firm’s potential new $150 million round may make it a unicorn, but Lime is in the chase, and the firm’s economics are still not fully understood. What did we agree on in the end? Scooters are fun, and Lynley said a swear. Moving ahead, SoftBank’s Vision Fund is cutting another check, this time to General Motors. Yes, the galactic slushfund is dropping up to
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The well-funded startups driven to own the autonomous vehicle stack

At some point in the future, while riding along in a car, a kid may ask their parent about a distant time in the past when people used steering wheels and pedals to control an automobile. Of course, the full realization of the “auto” part of the word — in the form of fully autonomous automobiles — is a long way off, but there are nonetheless companies trying to build that future today. However, changing the face of transportation is a costly business, one that typically requires corporate backing or a lot of venture funding to realize such an ambitious goal. A recent funding round, some $128 million raised in a Series A round by Shenzhen-based Roadstar.ai, got us at Crunchbase News asking a question: Just how many independent, well-funded autonomous vehicles startups are out there? In short, not as many as you’d think. To investigate further, we
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Rover’s epic raise, Uber’s Q1 results, and a trio of IPOs

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This week was fun for a few reasons. First, it was our own Connie Loizos’s first time leading, and it was our very first regular episode that included us recording remotely. I mention that as Matthew Lynley and I were in different places, meaning that we had a bump or two to smooth out. Your patience is more than appreciated. Happily, we didn’t have to adventure alone, as Jonathan Abrams of Founders Den was on hand to help us cart through the news. Up first: A huge round for Rover, bringing even more money into the dog- and pet-focused space. As you’ll surely recall, this is not the first time that a tectonic sum has been disbursed into the pet-care vertical. Hell, Rover’s $155 in new capital, while impressive, still
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With at least $1.3 billion invested globally in 2018, VC funding for blockchain blows past 2017 totals

Although bitcoin and blockchain technology may not take up quite as much mental bandwidth for the general public as it did just a few months ago, companies in the space continue to rake in capital from investors. One of the latest to do so is Circle, which recently announced a $110 million Series E round led by bitcoin mining hardware manufacturer Bitmain. Other participating investors include Tusk VenturesPantera CapitalIDG Capital PartnersGeneral CatalystAccel PartnersDigital Currency GroupBlockchain Capital and Breyer Capital. This round vaults Circle into an exclusive club of crypto companies that are valued, in U.S. dollars, at $1 billion or more in their most recent venture capital round. According to Crunchbase data, Circle was valued at $2.9 billion pre-money, up from a $420 million pre-money valuation in its Series D round, which closed in
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Equity podcast: Circle raises $110, VCs hunt liquidity, and the Vision Fund’s possible twin

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. Today Matthew Lynley, Connie Loizos and I were joined by Semil Shah, the founder of seed-stage fund Haystack and venture partner at Lightspeed. This week, we stuck to our roots: big rounds, venture capital liquidity thirst, one IPO, two Vision Funds, and three scooter jokes. Maybe more than three, but who is counting. First up we took on Circle’s new $110 million round, working to understand why the firm is raising new capital at such a huge valuation (~$3 billion!). Also in play: Circle’s new lead investor isn’t a venture capital shop, making the monetary infusion all the more interesting. (Oh, and here’s more on the Basis stable coin we brought up.) Next, we chatted through NEA’s plan to raise a fresh $1 billion to buy
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Looking for a better exit? Get out of the game early

VC investing is a game of putting money into a company and hopefully getting more out. In an ideal world, the value placed on a company at acquisition or initial public offering would be some large multiple of the amount of money its investors committed. As it happens, that multiple on invested capital (MOIC) makes for a fairly decent heuristic for measuring company and investor performance. Most critically, it provides a handy metric to use for answering these questions: For US-based companies, have exit multiples changed in a meaningful way over time? And, if so, does this suggest something about the investment landscape overall? Coming up with an answer to this question required a specific
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Equity podcast: Robinhood raises, Flipkart exits and MoviePass is running out of cash

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-themed podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This week Matthew Lynley, Connie Loizos and myself were joined by Villi Iltchev, a partner at August Capital. It was good that we had a full crew on deck, as the news flew thick and varied this week. In honor of the news cycle, we took on as much of it as we could inside a single episode. And as we’re sure that you guessed, we had to talk about the Flipkart-Walmart deal first. The staggering transaction sees the American IRL commerce giant with a proven appetite for e-commerce players bring the India unicorn into its fold. This is the second multi-billion-dollar startup deal for Walmart in recent memory. (Jet.com was the first unicorn to find new nest in the Walton’s rafters.) Amazon, naturally, was the loser in
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In Canada’s cloud services market, venture investment opportunities abound

Canada will be home to a new venture capital fund that will invest in enterprise cloud startups. Its backer? Salesforce Ventures, the global investment arm of Salesforce, a leading cloud-hosted business software provider. According to a recent press release from Salesforce, the $100 million Canada Trailblazer Fund has already taken stakes in four Canadian startups building cloud-based tools for the enterprise, including Tier1CRM, Traction Guest, Tulip and OSF Commerce. (Disclosure: Salesforce’s venture arm is an investor in Crunchbase News’s parent, Crunchbase. As with all investors in Crunchbase, Salesforce Ventures has zero input in the operation or coverage of the News team.) The companies mentioned above join a handful of other Canadian enterprise cloud companies in Salesforce’s broader investment portfolio. In the years prior to announcing the new Canada Trailblazer Fund, Salesforce Ventures made investments in Aislelabs, Vidyard and
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What did VCs study in college?

Although some colleges may offer a major program in business or entrepreneurship, there isn’t exactly a major in venture capital or angel investment. Crunchbase News has already examined where professional VCs and angel investors went to college (yes, there’s some truth to the Harvard and Stanford stereotypes) and when having an MBA matters in the world of entrepreneurial finance. But we haven’t yet looked at one facet of startup investors’ educational backgrounds: what they studied in college. So that’s what we’re going to dive into today. To accomplish this, we’re going to use the educational histories from nearly 5,000 VC American and Canadian investment partners (e.g. folks who are employed by and invest on behalf of a venture capital firm) and nearly 8,500 angel investors in Crunchbase. For those with undergraduate degrees (e.g. B.S., B.A., A.B., and all manner of other variations) and
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Security shop Carbon Black files to go public

Today Carbon Black filed to go public, publishing its S-1 document with a $100 million IPO figure as a placeholder. The security-focused firm based in Massachusetts raised more than $190 million during its life as a private company, including a $54.5 million Series F in 2015 and a more modest $14 million Series F extension in 2016. Today we’ll take a quick peek at the filing, which joins a number of other technology listings in an active IPO cycle. Carbon Black follows notable debuts such as Spotify and Dropbox, along with other, smaller debuts. Into the numbers!

The big picture

Carbon Black is a big SaaS shop, something it makes plain in the early sections of its S-1 by noting that its revenue mix has increasingly skewed toward subscriptions. Indeed, according to Carbon Black, the firm’s “[r]ecurring revenue represented 77%, 83% and 88% of our total revenue in
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Equity podcast: DocuSign files, IPOs pile up, Dropbox soars and the markets gyrate

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This week Katie Roof and Alex Wilhelm were joined by Byron Deeter of Bessemer Venture Partners, who was an excellent selection to have on deck as we tooled through the most recent news. And there was a lot to get through, as a host of companies have decided to go public before the markets turn south. Up first, we took a look at this week’s biggest filing: DocuSign, a massive firm with lots of raised capital, lots of revenue, lots of GAAP losses, and slimming cash consumption. To summarize ourselves gently, the firm is doing what it needs to do to show a path to profits while still scaling rapidly. But there were even more IPOs in the offing (not to mention two recent, China-based, US-listed IPOs this week), including
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Here are the top Midwestern states and cities for startups

The American Midwest has a long history of making stuff. During the 20th century, it was the manufacturing center for the nation, and indeed much of the world. It’s still where a surpassing majority of agricultural commodities are grown and processed. But is it also a major producer of technology startups? Maybe not as much as the coasts, but the Midwest’s bustling metropoli and vast expanses of rural land prove to be fertile ground for quite a bit of startup activity. And that’s what we’re going to take a look at here. In a similar vein to our recent analysis of startup fundraising in the South, we’ll break down the region into its constituent parts, assessing deal and dollar volume trends in the Midwest’s two primary sub-regions, some of its individual states and the most active metropolitan areas in the U.S.’s midsection. And, to be clear, this
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Here are the top states and cities for startups in the South

The American South may not be the first region that comes to mind when you hear the phrase “hotbed of tech entrepreneurship,” but, slightly misguided perceptions aside, it’s home to a diverse and growing collection of startups. Here, we’re going to take a deep dive into the startup funding data for the region.

What is “the South?”

Just like it’s a common pastime for many city dwellers to argue about the precise boundaries of neighborhoods, there’s often some disagreement about the exact contours of the U.S.’s various regions. To quash rabble-rousing from the get-go, we’re using the U.S. Census Bureau’s definition of “the South” on its official map of the United States. Below, we display a map of the states we’re going to look at today. Much like barbecue, the South is not a monolithic concept. So to incorporate some regional flavor into the following analysis,
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Magic Leap gets $461M more, Travis goes VC, and HQ Trivia scales up

 Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This week we had a corking set of news to get through, so we rounded up the usual gang (Matthew Lynley, Katie Roof, and myself), and brought in Eric Feng from Kleiner Perkins to help us get under the skin of the latest. He was the right person to have in… Read More

Roku’s reckoning, Snap’s huge CEO payout, Airbnb goes upscale and a big NYC acquisition

 Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This week the full gang was in town, with Katie Roof, Matthew Lynley and Alex Wilhelm all back in the podcast studio. The trio was joined by Hilary Gosher, a managing director at Insight Venture Partners who helped dig through the news. The packed week… Read More

Equity Shot: Twitter and Snap’s surprising, synchronized social success

 Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. Today we’re doing another Equity Shot, a short topic-centered episode where we assemble the troops to dive into one particular thing. Or, in this case, two particular things. Matthew Lynley, myself, and Katie Roof gathered to pick over Snap and… Read More