Finance

Finance

Plastiq raises $27M at 2X+ value to let you pay for anything on credit

“I wasn’t asking to pay in Bitcoin!” Plastiq CEO and co-founder Eliot Buchanan recalls with a laugh. “I went to pay part of my tuition at Harvard and I was told that they didn’t (and never would) accept credit card. It was inconvenient and seemed odd. Credit cards had been around for 50 years.” That set off the a light bulb in his head. “Why couldn’t I use a credit card to pay for this important bill? So, I set out to solve my own problem.” Whether you’re trying to pay your rent or tuition on credit, or you have a business and want to invest in a new opportunity or get a better rate by paying vendors up front, Plastiq can help. For a flat 2.5 percent fee, you pay Plastiq through their credit card, and it issues the proper wire transfer, check, or deposit for up to $500,000 on your behalf t...

Quantum computing, not AI, will define our future

William (“Whurley”) Hurley Contributor William Hurley, commonly known as whurley, is an American entrepreneur and the founder of Chaotic Moon Studios, Honest Dollar, and Equals: The Global Partnership for Gender Equality in the Digital Age. He is currently chairing the Quantum Computing Working Group for the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA), and is the founder and chief executive of Strangeworks. The word “quantum” gained currency in the late 20th century as a descriptor signifying something so significant, it defied the use of common adjectives. For example, a “quantum leap” is a dramatic advancement (also an early ’90’s television series starring Scott Bakula). At best, that is an imprecise (though entertaining) definition. When “quantum” is applied to “computing,” howeve...

Poynt raises $100M for its smart payment terminal

Elavon, a U.S. Bank-owned payment processing company, and National Australia Bank have participated in the $100 million Series C for Poynt, a developer of smart payment terminals and an open operating system that powers any payment terminal worldwide. Palo Alto-based Poynt was launched in 2014 by Osama Bedier, the former vice president of Wallet and Payments at Google. Prior to joining Google in 2011, Bedier had been the head of platform, mobile and new ventures at PayPal. In four years, Poynt has brought in a total of $133 million from backers such as Google Ventures, Matrix Partners, Oak HC/FT, Webb Investment Network and Nyca Partners. In the last 16 months, it has shipped some 150,000 terminals. The company says total payment volume will exceed $25 billion in the next year. “Our vision...

In venture capital, it’s still the age of the unicorn

Howie Xu Contributor Howie Xu is the vice president of artificial intelligence and machine learning at Zscaler. He previously co-founded TrustPath and served as an entrepreneur in residence at Greylock. This month marks the 5-year anniversary of Aileen Lee’s landmark article, “Welcome To The Unicorn Club”. At the time, the piece defined a new breed of startup — the $1 billion privately held company. When Lee did her first count, there were 39 “unicorns”; an improbable, but not impossible number.. Today, the once-scarce unicorn has become a global herd with 376 companies on the roster and counting. But the proliferation of unicorns begs raises certain questions. Is this new breed of unicorn artificially created? Could these magical companies see their valuations slip and fall out of the her...

Mexican venture firm ALL VP has a $73 million first close on its latest fund

Buoyed by international attention from U.S. and Chinese investors and technology companies, new financing keeps flowing into the coffers of Latin American venture capital firms. One day after the Brazilian-based pan-Latin American announced the close of its $150 million latest fund comes word from our sources that ALL VP, the Mexico City-based, early stage technology investor, has held a first close of $73 million for its latest investment vehicle. The firm launched its first $6 million investment vehicle in 2012, according to CrunchBase, just as Mexico’s former President Enrique Peña Nieto was coming to power with a pro-business platform. One which emphasized technology development as part of its strategy for encouraging economic growth. ALL VP founding partner Fernando Lelo de Larrea sai...

Female founders have brought in just 2.2% of US VC this year (yes, again)

Despite efforts to level the playing field for female entrepreneurs, U.S. female-founded startups have raised just 2.2 percent of venture capital investment in 2018. That statistic may sound familiar; it’s the exact same portion of capital startups founded by a solo female founder or an all-female team secured last year, too, according to PitchBook. That figure has become a sort-of rallying cry for female founders and their advocates as they try to develop solutions to a long-standing problem: female entrepreneurs raise significantly less private capital than their male counterparts. Several new efforts and entire organizations, like All Raise, for example, have cropped up to ameliorate this through mentorship and programming, but it’s clearly going to take more than one year for that incr...

Brex has partnered with WeWork, AWS and more for its new rewards program

Brex, the corporate card built for startups, unveiled its new rewards program today. The billion-dollar company, which announced its $125 million Series C three weeks ago, has partnered with Amazon Web Services, WeWork, Instacart, Google Ads, SendGrid, Salesforce Essentials, Twilio, Zendesk, Caviar, HubSpot, Orrick, Snap, Clerky and DoorDash to give entrepreneurs the ability to accrue and spend points on services and products they use regularly. Brex is lead by a pair of 22-year-old serial entrepreneurs who are well aware of the costs associated with building a startup. They’ve been carefully crafting Brex’s list of partners over the last year and say their cardholders will earn roughly 20 percent more rewards on Brex than from any competitor program. “We didn’t want it to be something tha...

Messaging-based primary healthcare service 98point6 raises $50 million from Goldman Sachs

The messaging-based primary care provider 98point6 has raised $50 million in its latest round of led by the Merchant Banking Division of Goldman Sachs. It seems that Jo Natauri, the global head of healthcare investing in Goldman Sachs’ investment banking group is a fan of the concept that millennials would rather text than video chat. One millennial’s perspective: I don’t want to video chat my doctor. I want to text them and share photos. Or see them in person. But video feels weird. Still haven’t put my finger on why… — Christina Farr (@chrissyfarr) October 26, 2018 The Seattle-based company had previously raised over $36 million from investors including YIS Capital founder Jeffrey Greenstein, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. 98point6 said in a statement ...

Silicon Valley’s sovereign wealth problem

John Vrionis Contributor It’s time to bring the conversation about where Silicon Valley gets its money from out into the open. Following recent revelations into Saudi Arabia’s extensive reach and influence in the US technology sector, the willful ignorance that has defined the relationship between venture capital firms and the limited partnerships (LPs) that fund them for years now isn’t going to cut it anymore. According to the latest reports from the Wall Street Journal, Saudi Arabia is now the single-largest source of funding for US-based tech companies. Since 2016, the Saudi royal family has invested at least $11 billion into US startups directly, and in August, the Saudi Arabian government committed $45 billion to Softbank’s $92 billion Vision Fund. To put that into context, the total...

Valentin Stalf to talk about scaling N26 at Disrupt Berlin

We couldn’t put together a conference in Berlin without inviting Valentin Stalf from N26, the co-founder and CEO of one of Europe’s most promising startups. A few years ago, few people would have bet on a startup creating a bank from scratch. N26 now has over 1.5 million clients and a ton of funding. N26 originally launched at TechCrunch Disrupt London back in 2014. The company didn’t win the Startup Battlefield. At the time, the company was called Number26 and they had 0 client. It was probably too early and too risky for our panel of judges. But we wanted to bet on them and give them some stage time. I’ve covered N26 relentlessly over the years. They let me test the product back when everything was in German. They’re now available all around Europe (including the U.K.). And i...

Twilio shops, Uber and Lyft IPO scuttlebutt, and Instacart raises $600M

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This week we had the Three Excellent Friends (Connie Loizos, Danny Chrichton, and Alex Wilhelm) on hand to kick things about with Scale Venture Partner’s own Rory O’Driscoll. As I’ve written the last few weeks, what a pile of news we’ve had recently. And like the last few episodes, we had to pick and choose what to drill into. This week: Twilio-Sendgrid, Palantir, Uber, Lyft, and Tencent Music IPOs, Instacart, and Saudi Arabia. In order, I think? First, we tackled the week’s biggest venture-themed M&A: Twilio buying SendGrid. Keep in mind that they are both recent IPOs; Twilio went out in 2016, and SendGrid in 2017. The $2 billion-ish all-stock transaction i...

These are the most successful companies to emerge from Y Combinator

Earlier this month, Brex, a credit card provider to startups, announced it had raised $125 million at a $1.1 billion valuation. The round was impressive for a couple of reasons. 1. The founders are a pair of 22-year-olds that had set out to build a virtual reality company before pivoting to payments. And 2. They had only completed Y Combinator, a well-known Silicon Valley startup accelerator, the year prior. Y Combinator is responsible for many successes in the startup world, certainly more than its fellow accelerators, which are all known to provide early-stage companies with a seed investment  — in YC’s case, $150,000 — mentorship and educational resources through a short-term program that culminates in a demo day. Today, YC has released the latest list of its most successful companies s...