Private Equity

A new $124 million for Brazil’s Movile proves that investors still see promise in Latin American tech

Brazil’s macroeconomic picture may be gloomy, but technology investors still see hope in the nation’s burgeoning technology sector — and a recent $124 million financing for the mobile conglomerate Movile is the latest proof that that the pace of investment isn’t slowing down. Brazil was already the hottest spot for technology investment throughout Latin America — with Sao Paulo drawing in the majority of the record-breaking $1 billion in financing that the region’s startups attracted in 2017. And with this latest funding for Movile, led by Naspers, that trend looks likely to continue. Indeed, Naspers investments in Movile (supplemented by co-investors like Innova, which participated in the most recent round) have been one of the driving forces sustaining the Brazilian startup community. In...

Hellman & Friedman acquires controlling interest in SimpliSafe

SimpliSafe, the company behind the well-received SimpliSafe home security service, today announced that Hellman & Friedman, the massive venture fund and private equity firm, has taken a controlling interest in the company. While the two companies didn’t disclose the terms of the transaction, sources close to SimpliSafe tell us that the deal valued the company at about $1 billion. Hellman & Friedman also currently own a number of other brands. ranging from Grocery Outlet to insurance software specialist Applied Systems (and which owned companies like Getty Images, Scout24 and others in the past). Ahead of today’s announcement, SimpliSafe had raised about $57 million, mostly thanks to a funding round led by Sequoia Capital in 2014. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter o...

Nigerian logistics startup Kobo360 accepted into YC, raises $1.2 million

Jake Bright Contributor More posts by this contributor Breaking down France’s new $76M Africa startup fund Africa Roundup: African startup investments turn to fintech this winter season When Nigerian logistics startup Kobo360 interviewed for Y-Combinator’s 2018 cohort a question stood out to founder Obi Ozor. “‘What’s holding you back from becoming a Unicorn?’ they asked. My answer was simple: ‘working capital,’” said Ozor. Kobo360 was accepted into YC’s 2018 class and gained some working capital in the form of $1.2M in pre-seed funding round led by Western Technology Investment announced this week. Lagos based Verod Capital Management also joined to support Kobo360. The startup — with an Uber -like app that connects Nigerian truckers to companies with freight needs — will use the funds to...

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 ...

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...

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 ...

Trump Chooses Cerberus’s Stephen Feinberg to Lead Spy Advisory Panel

President Donald Trump has chosen billionaire investor Stephen Feinberg to lead his intelligence advisory board, the White House said Friday. Trump intends to appoint Feinberg, the co-founder and co-chief executive officer of Cerberus Capital Management in New York, to chair the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, which plays a role in overseeing the intelligence community, deriving its influence from direct access to the president and his senior staff. Among Cerberus’ holdings is the military contractor DynCorp International, which receives the vast majority of its $3 billion in annual revenues from the federal government. The New York Times reported last July that Steve Bannon, then the White House chief strategist, and Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and adviser, had aske...

The formula behind San Francisco’s startup success

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 Why has San Francisco’s startup scene generated so many hugely valuable companies over the past decade? That’s the question we asked over the past few weeks while analyzing San Francisco startup funding, exit, and unicorn creation data. After all, it’s not as if founders of Uber, Airbnb, Lyft, Dropbox and Twitter had to get office space within a couple of miles of each other. We hadn’t thought our data-centric approach would yield a clear recipe for success. San Francisco private and newly public unicorns are a diverse bunch, numbering more than 30, in areas ranging from ridesharing to online l...

Investing in frontier technology is (and isn’t) cleantech all over again

Shahin Farshchi Contributor More posts by this contributor Investing in frontier technology is (and isn’t) cleantech all over again The dos and don’ts of crafting frontier-tech companies I entered the world of venture investing a dozen years ago.  Little did I know that I was embarking on a journey to master the art of balancing contradictions: building up experience and pattern recognition to identify outliers, emphasizing what’s possible over what’s actual, generating comfort and consensus around a maverick founder with a non-consensus view, seeking the comfort of proof points in startups that are still very early, and most importantly, knowing that no single lesson learned can ever be applied directly in the future as every future scenario will certainly be different. I was fortunate to...

New York’s programming ed tech startup, General Assembly, sells to Adecco for $413 million

The European human resources services company Adecco Group said that is acquiring the New York-based, programming, design, and management training startup General Assembly for $413 million. With the acquisition, Adecco adds to its ability to provide job training and re-skilling services for businesses. It’s proof that General Assembly’s own business has come a long way since its early days as a startup offering continuing education or training programs for new entrants into the tech-enabled white collar workforce. General Assembly was worth $440 million after its last, $70 million investment round, according to a report in Axios, which means that early stage investors will see a nice return on their investment while many later stage backers — including Wellington Management and Fresco Capi...

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