Qualcomm’s former exec chair will exit after exploring an acquisition bid

There’s a new twist in the BroadQualm saga this afternoon as Qualcomm has said it won’t renominate Paul Jacobs, the former executive chairman of the company, after he notified the board that he decided to explore the possibility of making a proposal to acquire Qualcomm. The last time we saw such a huge exploration to acquire a company was circa 2013, when Dell initiated a leveraged buyout to take the company private in a deal worth $24.4 billion. This would be of a dramatically larger scale, and there’s a report by the Financial Times that Jacobs approached Softbank as a potential partner in the buyout. Jacobs is the son of Irwin Jacobs, who founded Qualcomm, and rose to run the company as CEO from 2005 to 2014. Successfully completing a buyout of this scale would, as a result, end up keeping the company that his father founded in 1985
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Enterprise subscription services provider Zuora has filed for an IPO

Zuora, which helps businesses handle subscription billing and forecasting, filed for an initial public offering this afternoon following on the heels of Dropbox’s filing earlier this month. Zuora’s IPO may signal that Dropbox going public, and seeing a price range that while under its previous valuation seems relatively reasonable, may open the door for coming enterprise initial public offerings. Cloud security company Zscaler also made its debut earlier this week, with the stock doubling once it began trading on the Nasdaq. Zuora will list on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker “ZUO.” Zuora CEO Tien Tzuo told The Information in October last year that it expected to go public this year. Zuora’s numbers show some revenue growth, with its subscriptions services continue to grow. But its losses are a bit all over the place. While the costs for its subscription revenues is trending up, the costs for
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Zscaler soars 106% on first day of trading

It was a big debut for enterprise cloud security company Zscaler, which saw its shares skyrocket 106% on its first day of trading. After pricing at $16, shares opened at $27.50, and closed at $34. This was also well above the original expected price range for its IPO of $10 to $12. The company ultimately raised $192 million. In other words, there was significantly better-than-expected demand for Zscaler. But not everyone likes a big pop. This means the company could have technically sold shares for more and raised more money. Zscaler works with enterprises and says it counts 200 of the Forbes Global 2000 companies as customers. In an interview with TechCrunch, CEO Jay Chaudhry described the business as “the platform which was built in the cloud for the cloud.” He went on to explain that his business was designed to help companies stay secure with a
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Detectify raises €5M for its crowdsourced website vulnerability scanner

Sweden-based Detectify, which offers a website vulnerability scanner that is in part powered by the crowd, has raised €5 million in new funding. The round was led by New York-based venture capital and private equity firm, Insight Venture Partners. Existing investors, Paua Ventures and Inventure, also participated. Founded in late 2013 by a self-described group of “white-hat hackers” from Sweden, the now 20-person strong company offers a website security tool that uses automation to scan websites for vulnerabilities to help customers (including developers) stay on top of security. The more unique part of the service, however, is that it is in part maintained — or, rather, kept up to date — via the crowd in the form of Detectify’s ethical hacker network. This sees top-ranked security researchers submit vulnerabilities that are then built into the Detectify scanner and used in customers’ security tests. The really clever part is that
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Stock trade app Robinhood raising at $5B+, up 4X in a year

By adding a cryptocurrency exchange, a web version and stock option trading, Robinhood has managed to quadruple its valuation in a year, according to a source familiar with a new round the startup is raising. Robinhood is closing in on around $350 million in Series D funding led by Russian firm DST Global, the source says. That’s just 11 months after Robinhood confirmed TechCrunch’s scoop that the zero-fee stock trading app had raised a $110 million Series C at a $1.3 billion valuation. The new raise would bring Robinhood to $526 million in funding. Details of the Series D were first reported by The Wall Street Journal. The astronomical value growth shows that investors see Robinhood as a core part of the mobile finance tools upon which the next generation will rely. The startup also just proved its ability to nimbly adapt to trends by building its cryptocurrency trading
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TheSkimm raises $12 million for its snarky newsletters

Seven million women (and men) love TheSkimm.  With its daily newsletters designed to keep you in the loop on the latest news and pop culture, TheSkimm has developed a loyal following, and even recruits fans called “Skimm’bassadors” to help spread the word. That word-of-mouth hype is helping and the startup has seen enough growth to warrant more funding. TheSkimm is announcing a $12 million round led by GV (Google Ventures), with participation from Spanx founder Sara Blakely as well as existing investors like RRE Ventures and Homebrew. Co-founded in 2012 in New York by former TV news producers Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg, the company has expanded beyond its newsletters targeting millennial women and offers subscription products, too. TheSkimm’s app includes a calendar of upcoming news and televised events. It also has podcasts and an e-commerce business. Revenue is said to have more than doubled year over year since 2016,
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Here’s why Spotify will go public via direct listing on April 3rd

Spotify explained why it’s ditching the traditional IPO for a direct listing on the NYSE on April 3rd today during its Investor Day presentation. With no lockup period and no intermediary bankers, Spotify thinks it can go public without all the typical shenanigans.

Spotify described the rationale for using a direct listing with five points:

  • List Without Selling Shares  – Spotify has plent of money with $1.3 billion in cash and securities, has no debt since it converted that into equity for investors, and has positive free cash flow
  • Liquidity – Investors and employees can sell on public market and sell at time of their choosing without investors shorting a lockup expiration, while new investors can join in
  • Equal Access – Bankers won’t get preferred access. Instead, the whole world will get access at the same time. “No underwriting syndicate, no limited float, no IPO allocations, no
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