Venture Capital

Techtonic Group raises $2 million to transform tech hiring through apprenticeships

Where the two companies are using price arbitrage between the costs of developers in emerging markets and coders in the U.S., Techtonic Group is simply offering access to talent. The company’s program pitches itself not just as a development shop, but as a recruitment and training company connecting its clients with skilled entry-level talent. The firm’s clients actually can hire Techtonic Group apprentices at no additional cost after 1,000 hours of work together. The company has fairly typical standards for the skills that its looking for, but it doesn’t require its apprentices to have a degree. Since its inception, more than 30 percent of the participants in the program have been women, half come from underrepresented minority backgrounds, and one quarter are veterans, according to a sta...

8VC has closed its second early-stage fund, seemingly with an eye on logistics and biotech

8VC, the early-stage, San Francisco-based venture firm founded in 2015 by serial entrepreneur Joe Lonsdale and four other general partners, has closed it second early-stage venture fund with $640 million in commitments, says one of its investors. The fund comes roughly two years after the firm closed its debut fund with $425 million, along with a separate, $50 million seed fund. A couple of years ago, 8VC also quietly raised a late-stage “coinvest” fund that it closed with roughly $400 million in capital commitments, meaning its total assets under management are currently around $1.5 billion. We’d talked with Lonsdale last year about 8VC, whose mantra is simply “The world is broken; let’s fix it.” Already at that time, the firm had invested in Synthego, a genetic engineering startup that p...

Mobile money-saving app Qapital raises $30 million to spend on growth

Qapital, one of a slew of mobile applications trying to make it easier for users to save money (and spend it more wisely), has raised $30 million in fresh financing as it expands beyond savings to offer investment advisory services. Since its launch in the U.S. in 2015, Qapital has amassed roughly 420,000 users that have saved nearly $500 million on the platform, according to the company. But Qapital is more than just a Digit -style savings tool these days. The company has also folded in Qapital Spending through a linked Visa Debit Card that works with money saved through the app — as well as a budgeting tool called Qapital Weekly Spending Target. The company now has designs on the robo-investment market through Qapital Invest, a new product that Qapital expects to roll out before the end ...

Ripple’s Brad Garlinghouse and Michael Arrington to talk cryptocurrency at Disrupt SF

Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse and Arrington XRP Capital founder (and TechCrunch founder) Michael Arrington will be joining us at TechCrunch Disrupt SF in September to talk money. Garlinghouse has had a long and storied career in the tech industry, serving as a Senior Vice President at Yahoo!, President of Consumer Applications at AOL, and CEO of the file collaboration service Hightail. But in 2016, Garlinghouse was promoted from COO to CEO at payment services company Ripple. Ripple’s goal is to try to make it as easy as possible to transfer money between two stores of value. Right now, that process is incredibly tedious, with no unifying structure to send money overseas or to underbanked communities. The notion of a unifying ledger is not a new one, but it’s one that’s transformed Ripple in...

US early-stage investment share shrinks as China surges

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 The global early-stage investment pie is getting bigger… a lot bigger. Just four years ago, investors were putting less than $10 billion per quarter into early-stage deals (Series A and B). The past two quarters, however, have all come in over twice that level. Q1 2018, meanwhile, looks to be a record-setting one, with Crunchbase projecting $25 billion in global early-stage investment. But while overall investment is on the rise, the U.S.’ share is dwindling. A few years ago, North American startups reliably received at least two-thirds of global early-stage investment. No more. For the past th...

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...

Lessons from cybersecurity exits

Dear F0und3r: What a month this has been for cybersecurity! One unicorn IPO and two nice acquisitions – Zscaler’s great debut on wall street,  a $300 million acquisition of Evident.io by Palo Alto Networks and a $350 million acquisition of Phantom Cyber by Splunk has gotten all of us excited. Word on the street is that in each of those exits, the founders took home ~30% to 40% of the proceeds. Which is not bad for ~ 4 /5 years of work. They can finally afford to buy two bedroom homes in Silicon Valley. Evident.IO Investment Rounds and Return estimates Date Select Investors Round Size Pre Post Dilution Estimated Returns / Multiple of Invested Capital Sep 2013 True Ventures $1.5m $5.25m $6.75 m 22% 44X Nov 2014 Bain Capital $9.8 m $18.1m $28.0 m 35% 10.7X Apr 2016 Venrock $15.7 m $35.0 m $50...

Playground is betting big on robots

You find robotics in unexpected corners of Playground Global’s Palo Alto headquarters. They’re in the lobby and scattered amongst the cubicles. Inside the venture fund’s labs, an older Spot Mini stands next to RightHand Robotics’ pick and place mechanical arm. A recent video shoot in the space shows Boston Dynamics’ latest creation meeting Playground-funded bipedal wunderkind Cassie for the first time. The former also had a run-in with Andy Rubin’s dog in the company parking lot. The poor little terrier was less impressed. Robotics is a core part of the firm’s portfolio. No surprise, really. It was, after all, co-founder Rubin’s lifelong obsession with the technology that gave Google’s mobile operating system its name. Co-founder and CTO Peter Barrett clearly shares that enthusiasm, as he ...

Subscription biller Zuora soars 43% following IPO

Subscription biller Zuora was well-received by stock market investors on Thursday, following its public debut. After pricing its IPO at $14 and raising $154 million, the company closed at $20, valuing the company around $2 billion. It was also much higher than expected. The company said in its filings that it planned to price its shares between $9 and $11, before it raised that range to $11 to $13. Founder and CEO Tien Tzuo told TechCrunch that he believes “a bet on us is really a bet on an entire shift to a new business model, to a subscription economy.” He is optimistic that subscriptions are the “business model of the future.” Zuora sees itself as an early pioneer in a growing category. The company believes that more businesses will shift their business models to subscriptions, across s...

Confirmed: Six months after leaving DFJ, Steve Jurvetson is starting new venture firm

Last year, renowned VC Steve Jurvetson parted ways with his longtime firm, DFJ, in what appeared a painful split. Six months later, he’s back with a new firm, Future Ventures, Jurvetson tells us via email. (Recode was first to take notice of its new site.) Says Jurvetson: “I am incredibly excited about the future — the future of entrepreneurship, disruptive technologies, and my [“future ventures”] to come. I strongly believe that mission-driven founders forge the future. At Future Ventures, we will support those passionate founders.” Jurvetson’s fast return to the venture scene isn’t a complete surprise. In November, we talked with numerous institutional investors who agreed that if they could invest behind a new Jurvetson effort, they would. Largely, that interest ties to Jurvetson’s trac...

Redpoint Ventures hires Uber’s Annie Kadavy as general partner

Redpoint Ventures has hired Annie Kadavy as its first female general partner. She’ll be on the early stage investment team. Kadavy has a background in venture capital, having spent several years at CRV. Most recently, she ran strategic operations at Uber’s freight division. She also has an M.B.A. from Stanford University Graduate School of Business. In a conversation with TechCrunch, Kadavy said she “wanted to focus on consumer but have the ability to do a broader set of investing.” Kadavy also “wanted to join an early stage fund that had a growth fund attached to it, so you can learn from both.” But she’ll be most focused on seed, Series A and Series B rounds. Kadavy plans to look for opportunities in the Bay Area, LA, Seattle and NYC. In her blog post, she elaborated on her decision to j...

JUMP Bikes weighing Uber $100m+ acquisition, investment offers

JUMP Bikes, the on-demand biking service that integrates with Uber, has been weighing both acquisition and investment offers. A decision has not yet been reached, but right now possible options include a sale to Uber at a price that exceeds $100 million, or a venture investment round, multiple sources tell TechCrunch. One of the possible investor names that has been floated is Mike Moritz of Sequoia Capital, but we are told that JUMP has several options. We are also told that various parties have been upping their offers over the past week, as they fiercely compete to get ownership of JUMP. “E-bikes” are expected to become more popular, where users are able to find and rent bikes quickly via apps. They are part regular bike and part electric, which makes it easier to go up hills. JUMP laun...

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