CrunchBase

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...

The SaaS VC gap: China & other markets trail the US

Chinese startups rule the roost when it comes to total reported venture dollars raised so far in 2018. That is, mostly. In one key category at least — software-as-a-service, better known as SaaS — they do not. Ant Financial raised the largest-ever VC round in June, a mind-boggling $14 billion in Series C funding. And nearly a dozen privately held Chinese companies, including SenseTime, Du Xiaoman Financial, JD Finance and ELEME, raised $1 billion (yes, with a “b”) or more in single venture rounds thus far in 2018. But if there’s one thing to note from that shortlist of 2018’s largest China venture rounds, it’s this: almost all of them involve consumer apps and services. Despite being one of the largest economies in the world and currently holding the top spot in the national venture dollar...

Bots replacing office workers drive big valuations

Joanna Glasner Contributor More posts by this contributor Getting personal: Funding rises for software-driven tastemakers The alumni of these universities raised the most VC in the past year A lot of people still get paid to sit in offices and do repetitive tasks. In recent years, however, employers have been pushing harder to find ways to outsource that work to machines. Venture and growth investors are doing a lot to speed up the rise of these worker-bots. So far this year, they’ve poured hundreds of millions into developers of robotic process automation technology, the term to describe software used for performing a series of tasks previously carried out by humans. Process automation funding activity spiked last week with a $225 million Series C round for one of the category leaders, Ne...

Corporate venture investment climbs higher throughout 2018

Jason Rowley Contributor Jason Rowley is a venture capital and technology reporter for Crunchbase News. More posts by this contributor In VC fund creation, have we passed the peak? Supergiant VC rounds aren’t just raised in China Many corporations are pinning their futures on their venture investment portfolios. If you can’t beat startups at the innovation game, go into business with them as financial partners. Though many technology companies have robust venture investment initiatives—Alphabet’s venture funding universe and Intel Capital’s prolific approach to startup investment come to mind—other corporations are just now doubling down on venture investments. Over the past several months, several big corporations committed additional capital to corporate investments. For example, defense...

WeWork China rival Ucommune raises $43.5M more at a $1.8B valuation

Barely weeks after WeWork China raised $500 million, one of its main rivals is refueling its tanks too. Ucommune — the company formerly known as UrWork until a WeWork lawsuit forced a rebrand — announced its $43.5 million Series C round. Beijing-based Ucommune’s new round was led by real estate-focused investment firms Prosperity Holdings and RK Properties. The company said the deal gives its business a $1.8 billion post-money valuation. to date, it has raised around $450 million from investors, according to Crunchbase data. For comparison, WeWork China has pulled in $1 billion overall since being spun out of WeWork’s global business one year ago. Both investors are strategic, according to Ucommune. It said that its partnership with Prosperity, in particular, will help it expand its presen...

July sets a record for number of $100M+ venture capital rounds

In July 2018, the tech sector’s leisure class — venture capitalists — kicked investments into overdrive, at least when it comes to financing supergiant venture rounds of $100 million or more (in native or as-converted USD values). With 55 deals accounting for just over $15 billion at time of writing, July likely set an all-time record for the number of huge venture deals struck in a single month. The table below has just the top 10 largest rounds from the month. (A full list of all the supergiant venture rounds can be found here.) It’s certainly a record high for the past decade. Earlier this month, we set out to find when the current mega-round trend began. We found that, prior to the tail end of 2013, supergiant VC rounds were relatively rare. In a given month between 2007 and the start ...

Here is where CEOs of heavily funded startups went to school

Joanna Glasner Contributor More posts by this contributor What does it take to be a startup that raises huge sums quickly? Not a minimalist? Startups will gladly store, manage and deliver your items CEOs of funded startups tend to be a well-educated bunch, at least when it comes to university degrees. Yes, it’s true college dropouts like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates can still do well. But Crunchbase data shows that most startup chief executives have an advanced degree, commonly from a well-known and prestigious university. Earlier this month, Crunchbase News looked at U.S. universities with strong track records for graduating future CEOs of funded companies. This unearthed some findings that, while interesting, were not especially surprising. Stanford and Harvard topped the list, and gra...

Shared housing startups are taking off

Notice any commonalities? Yes, the startups listed are all based in either New York or the San Francisco Bay Area, two metropolises associated with scarce, pricey housing. But while these two metro areas offer the bulk of startups’ living spaces, they’re also operating in other cities, including Los Angeles, Seattle and Pittsburgh. From white picket fences to high-rise partitions The early developers of the U.S. suburban planned communities of the 1950s and 60s weren’t just selling houses. They were selling a vision of the American Dream, complete with quarter-acre lawns, dishwashers and spacious garages. By the same token, today’s shared housing startups are selling another vision. It’s not just about renting a room; it’s also about being part of a community, making friends and exploring ...

In Canada’s cloud services market, venture investment opportunities abound

Jason Rowley Contributor Jason Rowley is a venture capital and technology reporter for Crunchbase News. More posts by this contributor What did VCs study in college? Charting the adoption of direct startup investments by family offices 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, Crunchba...

Hip hop finds its beat in the startup scene

Joanna Glasner Contributor More posts by this contributor What does it take to be a startup that raises huge sums quickly? Not a minimalist? Startups will gladly store, manage and deliver your items Hip hop stars are taking their reputations to Wall Street and Sand Hill road. Unlike their rock star brethren, who’ve historically been disinterested in dabbling with startups, quite a few hip hop artists have amassed good-sized portfolios. They’ve seen a few big hits too, most recently including a massive up round for zero-commission stock trading platform Robinhood, which counted Jay-Z, Nas and Snoop Dogg among its earlier backers. But just how deep does the hip hop-startup relationship go and where is it headed? To shed some light on that question, we put together a review of Crunchbase data...

Raise softly and deliver a big exit

Jason Rowley Contributor Jason Rowley is a venture capital and technology reporter for Crunchbase News. More posts by this contributor: In the world of venture capital, the prospect of a successful “exit” looms large in the minds of investors. A VC’s business model is less about the money that goes into a startup than it is about what comes out. It’s true that most companies fail to exit gracefully, and of those that do, surprisingly few exit by going public. The majority of exits take place through mergers and acquisitions (M&A). For most investors of this ilk, it’s not always the size of the exit that matters; rather, the focus is placed on the ratio of exit valuation to invested capital (VIC). Crunchbase News has previously covered exits that delivered high VIC ratios — or those tha...

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