economy

Pitchbook now offers users suggested companies when they search

This one’s for all the due diligence fiends and competitive landscape mapping mavens out there. Pitchbook, the data and analytics service for private equity and public markets, is rolling out an automated suggestions feature for premium users when they’re doing searches on companies for market intelligence. The new service is based on machine learning technology that scours Pitchbook’s financially focused information and data set. Each word in a description is represented in 300 dimensional space using the global vectors for word representation software lifted from researchers at Google and Stanford, and those vectors are then applied to companies to determine their various relationships. “The differentiator for why the output of this is going to be high quality. When we look up a company ...

TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield is coming soon to Beirut, São Paolo and Lagos

Everyone knows there are thriving startup communities outside of obvious hubs, like San Francisco, Berlin, Bangalore and Beijing, but they don’t always get the support they deserve. Last year, TechCrunch took a major page from its playbook, the Startup Battlefield competition, and staged the event in Nairobi, Kenya to find the best early stage startup in Sub-Saharan Africa, and also to Sydney, Australia, to find the same for Australia and New Zealand. Both were successes, thanks to talented founders and the hard traveling TechCrunch team. And now we’re pleased to announce that we’re stepping up our commitment to emerging ecosystems. TechCrunch is once again teaming up with Facebook, our partner for last year’s Nairobi event, to bring the Startup Battlefield to three major cities representi...

Naspers is in talks to invest in Southeast Asia’s Carousell

Naspers, the South Africa-based firm that famously backed Chinese giant Tencent in its infancy, is in talks to invest in Singapore-based startup Carousell, according to two sources with knowledge of discussions. Carousell offers a mobile app that combines listings with peer-to-peer selling across Southeast Asia, Taiwan and Hong Kong. That makes it well-aligned with Naspers’ portfolio, which features some of the world’s largest classifieds services including OLX, which covers 45 countries, Letgo in the U.S. and Avito in Russia. TechCrunch understands that Naspers is pursuing a deal with Carousell with a view to making it the firm’s key play in Southeast Asia and other parts of the APAC region. Discussions are at a relatively early stage so it isn’t clear what percentage of the company that ...

US startups off to a strong M&A run in 2018

Joanna Glasner Contributor More posts by this contributor Scaling startups are setting up secondary hubs in these cities Here is where CEOs of heavily funded startups went to school With Microsoft’s $7.5 billion acquisition of GitHub this week, we can now decisively declare a trend: 2018 is shaping up as a darn good year for U.S. venture-backed M&A. So far this year, acquirers have spent just over $20 billion in disclosed-price purchases of U.S. VC-funded companies, according to Crunchbase data. That’s about 80 percent of the 2017 full-year total, which is pretty impressive, considering we’re barely five months into 2018. If one included unreported purchase prices, the totals would be quite a bit higher. Fewer than 20 percent of acquisitions in our data set came with reported prices.1 ...

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, Calif. It was a surprisingly busy week, so we had our work cut out for us. Without further ado: GitHub! The biggest story in tech this week was right up our alley: Microsoft bought the venture-backed GitHub for $7.5 billion, bringing a massive portion of the developer world under its auspices. Whether developers want passports to Redmond remains up for debate, but from a corporate perspective, Microsoft’s move has largely been well-received. The transaction also provided a huge bump for GitHub’s investors, including a16z. Domo! Another tech compa...

Real estate property manager and developer JLL launches a $100 million tech investment fund

The multi-billion dollar real estate developer and property manager JLL is getting into the tech investment game with the launch of a new $100 million fund run by corporate subsidiary JLL Spark. Initially envisioned as a technology-focused business unit of the multinational real estate company, the firm eventually turned to the more traditional venture capital investment model as a way to get more exposure to all of the new technologies that are coming to market, according to JLL SPark’s co-chief executive Mihir Shah. For Shah and his co-founder Yishai Lerner running the real estate company’s investment firm is the first foray by either executive into the world of real estate or property technology. But both men have been working in the startup world of the Bay Area for at over a decade. I...

Monetizing computing resources on the blockchain

Ben Dickson Contributor Ben Dickson is a software engineer and the founder of TechTalks. More posts by this contributor Unlocking the potential of eye tracking technology Can you trust crypto-token crowdfunding? A while back, a blockchain startup approached me with their pitch, a decentralized social media application in which users can earn money by simply doing what they already do on other platforms, such posting updates, photos and videos. I would have been intrigued had they sent me the message a couple of years ago. But not so much after observing the space for more several years. Several blockchain applications profess to enable users to monetize various resources, whether it’s their unused storage and CPU power, or the tons of data they generate every day. Regardless of whether the...

Nigeria’s Piggybank.ng raises $1.1M, announces group investment product

Jake Bright Contributor More posts by this contributor Africa Roundup: Safaricom unveils Bonga, Africa’s Talking gets $8.6M, TechCrunch visits Nigeria, Ghana Safaricom rolls out Bonga social networking platform to augment M-Pesa Seeking to tap into Africa’s informal savings groups the Nigerian investment startup Piggybank.ng closed $1.1M in seed funding and announced a new product — Smart Target, which offers a more secure and higher return option for Esusu or Ajo group savings clubs common across West Africa. The financing was led with a $1 million commitment from LeadPath Nigeria, with Village Capital and Ventures Platform contributing $50,000 each. Founded in 2016, Piggybank.ng offers online savings plans — primarily to low and middle income Nigerians — for deposits of small amounts on ...

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 ...

Southeast Asia’s Carro raises $60M for its automotive classifieds and car financing service

Carro, an automotive classifieds service and car financing startup based in Singapore, has closed a $60 million Series B round to scale its business in Southeast Asia. The deal was co-led by SoftBank Ventures Korea, Insignia Ventures — the firm from ex-Sequoia Asia partner Yinglan Tan — and Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin’s B Capital Group. Other participants include IDG Ventures India founder Manika Arora (via his family fund) and existing Carro backers Venturra,Singtel Innov8, Golden Gate Ventures and Alpha JWC. Carro raised a $12 million Series A round in March 2017. This latest capital takes it to $78 million from investors to date, according to Crunchbase. The 2.5-year-old company said in an announcement that $250 million of vehicles were sold last year across its three markets: I...

How did Thumbtack win the on-demand services market?

Earlier today, the services marketplace Thumbtack held a small conference for 300 of its best gig economy workers at an event space in San Francisco. For the nearly ten-year-old company the event was designed to introduce some new features and a redesign of its brand that had softly launched earlier in the week. On hand, in addition to the services professionals who’d paid their way from locations across the U.S. were the company’s top executives. It’s the latest step in the long journey that Thumbtack took to become one of the last companies standing with a consumer facing marketplace for services. Back in 2008, as the global financial crisis was only just beginning to tear at the fabric of the U.S. economy, entrepreneurs at companies like Thumbtack andTaskRabbit were already hard at work...

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