What happens if there’s no Vision Fund II?


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While I’d like to recommend panicking as a general response to the world, a smaller or fully neutered Vision Fund II won’t crash everything in the sphere of giant private companies.

Recent headlines describe a world that might never see a Vision Fund II. The Wall Street Journal reported over the weekend, for example, that “SoftBank Faces Challenges Raising Latest $100 Billion Fund.” The Washington Post this morning noted that SoftBank’sMasa Finds Not Everyone Shares His Vision.” And so on.

What matters for tech shops, startups and unicorns alike is that instead of their being an eventual Brady Bunch of Vision Funds, vision-ing around the world like buzzy, cash-laden drones, the franchise might halt after its first installment.

The $100 billion-ish vehicle has caused disturbances of all sorts in the fabric of the private capital markets, deploying cash with hurricane speed. Checks into companies of

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Where are all the biotech startups raising?


This post is by Alex Wilhelm from TechCrunch


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Where are all the biotechnology companies raising these days? We crunched some numbers to arrive at an answer.

Using funding rounds data from Crunchbase, we plotted the count of venture capital funding rounds raised by companies in the fairly expansive biotechnology category in Crunchbase. Click the chart below and you can hover over individual data points to see the number of venture rounds raised in a given metro area between the start of 2018 and late May 2019 (as of publication). Although there are biotechnology companies located throughout the world, we focused here on just the U.S.

USA_Biotech_2018-May2019

Unlike in the software-funding business, where New York City (and

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Startups net more than capital with NBA players as investors


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If you’re a big basketball fan like me, you’ll be glued to the TV watching the Golden State Warriors take on the Toronto Raptors in the NBA finals. (You might be surprised who I’m rooting for.)

In honor of the big games, we took a shot at breaking down investment activities of the players off the court. Last fall, we did a story highlighting some of the sport’s more prolific investors. In this piece, we’ll take a deeper dive into just what having an NBA player as a backer can do for a startup beyond the capital involved. But first, here’s a chart

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As the term ‘unicorn’ goes broke from overuse, what’s actually rare?


This post is by Alex Wilhelm from TechCrunch


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On Wednesday a few unicorns were born. You’ve already forgotten their names if you learned them at all (Tip: It was Marqeta and Ivalua.)

Don’t worry, I’m not cross with you. It’s merely that there are so many unicorns in the market today — they stampede by the hundred in 2019 — that they are impossible to keep tabs on.

In fact, so many firms now make the cut that we’ve gotten into the habit of torturing the word “unicorn” to mean more than what it was originally tasked to describe. As we wrote recently, there are undercorns now, and decacorns. Toss in minotaurs and horses and the inevitable centacorns and

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As Amex scoops up Resy, a look at its history of acquisitions


This post is by Alex Wilhelm from TechCrunch


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American Express (also commonly known as AmEx), a popular credit and banking company, recently announced that it purchased a company called Resy. Resy helps people get seats at restaurants, or as AmEx describes it, provides “a digital restaurant reservation booking and management platform.”

The deal might not be as big a surprise as it feels, given that

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New a16z funds, a $200M round, and the latest from WeWork and Slack


This post is by Alex Wilhelm from TechCrunch


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

This week brought the ever-excellent Danny Crichton back to the show, along with myself. The two of us opted to do a bit of a news run, so strap in for a host of topics. Of course, we had to cover some IPO news at the end, but here’s what else happened this week that caught our eye:

Unicorns, undercorns and horses: A guide to the nonsense


This post is by Alex Wilhelm from TechCrunch


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It’s been more than a half-decade since Aileen Lee of Cowboy Ventures kicked off the unicorn craze. Noting in a well-read post for TechCrunch that an interesting cohort of private companies worth a billion dollars or more was worth examining, the post brought the “unicorn” into its current usage inside of tech.

And then tech itself did the term a favor, building and financing hundreds more. Now unicorns swarm like fleas, and simply snagging a $1 billion valuation these days is something that has been done in mere months and is a well-known vanity tactic used to juice hiring.

Anyway.

This has now gone on so long that many of us in the tech-focused journalism space are sick of saying the word. Kate Clark, Equity co-host and cool person, literally has “I am so sick of the buzz word [sic] ‘unicorn’ ” on her Twitter page. I agree with

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Ride-hailing, bike and scooter companies probably raised less money than you thought


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After years of fierce competition as private companies, Uber and Lyft are going public on U.S. markets. Scooter service providers, the transportation trend du jour, raised hundreds of millions of dollars to scatter scooters on city sidewalks (to the chagrin of residents and regulators alike) throughout 2017 and 2018. On the other side of the Pacific, Grab and Go-Jek are raising gobs of cash as they continue to scale upward and outward.

Of all the seed, early and late-stage venture funding raised over the past couple of years, how much of the total went to companies in the ride-hailing, food delivery and last-mile transportation categories (which encompasses bikes and

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It’s not so obvious that this VC firm is focused on impact


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Obvious Ventures was founded in 2014 by Medium CEO and Twitter co-founder Ev Williams, along with Vishal Vasishth and James Joaquin. Its mission? To invest in startups that make a positive impact on the world.

It’s a bold idea, and in its marketing material, San Francisco-based Obvious specifically states that it “invests only in companies where every dollar of revenue is also delivering some environmental or social impact.”

Despite that promotional language, the firm doesn’t want you to call it an impact investor. So to settle the confusion, we asked the firm directly to find out if we were getting caught up in semantics, or if

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To get big faster, younger unicorns start buying startups sooner


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In the name of getting big quick, it seems like some of the most valuable private tech companies are turning to mergers and acquisitions (M&A) as a way to accelerate business growth. So-called “unicorns”—privately-held technology companies which achieve billion-dollar valuations sometime before (or as a direct result of) going public or exiting via M&A—are chomping at the bit to make their first acquisitions, suggesting a mounting pressure on companies to grow even quicker.

Analysis of Crunchbase data indicates that, on average, recently founded unicorn companies are more likely to make their first M&A transactions sooner after founding than their older counterparts. In other words, younger unicorns buy other companies earlier. Here’s the data.

The narrowing gap between founding and first M&A

Using M&A data for companies in Crunchbase’s unicorn list, we found out when unicorn companies made their first M&A transactions on average. (We detail a bit more of

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Uber’s IPO targets April, Stash stacks cash, and YC shakes it up


This post is by Alex Wilhelm from TechCrunch


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

This week was a lot of fun. Connie Lozios took the captain’s chair in San Francisco while I manned the sails, and we had Female Founders Fund’s founder Anu Duggal in the studio to round out our crew.

It was a week of conclusions. Our prior notes on YC and Uber and a few other things came home to roost. But, you’re busy so let’s sink our teeth into the good stuff:

Uber’s IPO lands in April: Right before we hit record, news broke that Uber’s IPO will land in April. This isn’t an unexpected result, but it is one that is long-expected. With Lyft’s S-1 live, and in the wild, it’s time for Uber to, ahem, shift and catch up? Regardless, the company’s possible $1 billion raise to fund

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Small VC funds continue to raise, despite pressure from above


This post is by Alex Wilhelm from TechCrunch


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Recently, we bore out with data what has been felt for several years in most U.S. tech scenes: a rising venture market raises funds of all sizes. But it’s a trend that most favors entrenched firms, which raise ever-larger funds to accommodate a shift in the startup life cycle. Private companies are dawdling at the exit door, postponing graduation to public markets because private-market money is cheap and plentiful, for now.

In a time when “blitzscaling” is the business strategy du jour, some high-growth companies raise supergiant nine and 10-figure VC rounds to help them build moats around walled-garden markets they’re trying to build up from both sides, or they’ll

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Two Austin-based VC firms are each raising $100M funds


This post is by Alex Wilhelm from TechCrunch


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Texas startups will soon have two new sources for capital.

Crunchbase News has learned that two Austin-based venture capital firms, ATX Seed Ventures and Quake Capital, are in the process of each raising $100 million funds.

The news comes off a period in which the Austin tech scene saw a number of wins. Tech giants Apple and Google recently committed to expanding their presence in the Texas capital in a big way. And venture investing in the city is picking up at an impressive pace. In January alone, Austin startups raised nearly as much as was raised in all of the 2018 fourth quarter.

While both firms have different investment strategies, they share some

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Airbnb, Automattic and Pinterest top rank of most acquisitive unicorns


This post is by Alex Wilhelm from TechCrunch


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It takes a lot more than a good idea and the right timing to build a billion-dollar company. Talent, focus, operational effectiveness and a healthy dose of luck are all components of a successful tech startup. Many of the most successful (or, at least, highest-valued) tech unicorns today didn’t get there alone.

Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) can be a major growth vector for rapidly scaling, highly valued technology companies. It’s a topic that we’ve covered off and on since the very first post on Crunchbase News in March 2017. Nearly two years later, we wanted to revisit that first post because things move quickly, and there is a new crop of

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Investor momentum builds for construction tech


This post is by Alex Wilhelm from TechCrunch


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Although it’s not the sexiest of industries, the hefty construction sector in 2018 attracted not only the attention but, more importantly, the dollars of investors.

Historically, the multi-trillion-dollar sector has been slow to adopt new technologies, as builders rely on a variety of disparate systems to manage projects, traditional building methods to construct homes and non-smart materials.

But a wave of startups is looking to capitalize on opportunities within the sector. Companies that have developed software solutions aimed at streamlining processes and increasing efficiencies are increasingly common. Prefab construction has evolved thanks to innovation in that space, and 3D printing technology can create homes in a matter of days.

Investors are taking notice. Funding in U.S.-based construction technology startups

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Peloton peddles toward an IPO, self-driving is big business and SaaS’s new highs


This post is by Alex Wilhelm from TechCrunch


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

This week was a treat. We had TechCrunch’s own Connie Loizos in the studio along with your humble servant and General Catalyst’s Niko Bonatsos. A fine group for a busy week.

We had to pare our topic list some for length, but after working out what qualified as the biggest news from our usual orbit, we decided to touch on:

Companies raising supergiant VC aren’t getting any younger


This post is by Alex Wilhelm from TechCrunch


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This week, point-to-point “microtransit” service company Lime announced it raised $310 million in a Series D round, which valued the company at $2.4 billion, post-money. That is pretty impressive for a startup founded just a couple of years ago. Since 2017, Lime has raised more than $765 million in venture funding, which is due in part to the pretty daunting economics of the bike and scooter business. It takes a lot of capital to acquire and deploy that hardware.

Lime isn’t the only company to raise supergiant ($100 million or more) VC rounds right out of the gate. Despite the fact that

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Spotify


This post is by Alex Wilhelm from TechCrunch


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

This week Kate Clark and I sat down to get through the biggest news in the venture and startup world. This is our regular episode of the week after a shot focused on the Slack IPO, and an interview concerning Facebook. So, back to our roots. And as has been the case for months and months now, there was a lot to get through.

Podcasting took center stage this week, with music giant Spotify snapping up podcasting tool startup Anchor and podcast production company Gimlet. The latter was expected, but the combined $230 million pricetag may have come as a surprise to some.

Spotify says that it isn’t done investing in the space. It won’t be alone, however, in hoping to drive big dollars with original audio shows. Himalaya

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Equity Shot: All About Slack’s Confidential IPO Filing


This post is by Alex Wilhelm from TechCrunch


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

Today we’re bringing back an old Equity format: The Shot.

No, I haven’t started drinking again, Equity Shots are short takes on breaking news. And no news was more explosive recently than word that Slack has filed to go public confidentially. Confidentially in that we don’t get to see the numbers (yet), but publicly in that the company went ahead and told the world that it had filed, privately, with the SEC.

Which, as our own Danny Crichton points out, is open once again now that the government has reopened.

If you want to follow along with the numbers as we talk, this post is where most of my notes are, and you can read all of TechCrunch’s Slack coverage here.

We’re back in a flash with our regular weekly episode

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Coastal startups don’t have a monopoly on raising big at early-stage


This post is by Alex Wilhelm from TechCrunch


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Early-stage startups throughout much of the U.S. are able to raise larger sums today than any other point in at least a decade, and there are more early-stage rounds than ever, both in North America and globally. (Note: “Early-stage” is defined here as Series A and Series B rounds, plus smaller rounds from several other round types, including equity crowdfunding and convertible notes.)

In analysis published earlier this week, we found that the nationwide average early-stage deal grew more than 20 percent between 2017 and 2018. We quantified that companies on the coasts raise more than their inland counterparts and found

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