Venture Capital

In Q2 2018, late-stage deals led the world’s venture capital market

Here is what you should take away from the state of the global venture capital market: late-stage deals dominated Q2. Using projected data provided by Crunchbase, Crunchbase News reported that Q2 2018 marks new post-dot com highs for both VC deal and dollar volume around the world, the latter of which was propelled by a surge in late-stage deals (Series C and above). The chart below plots growth in projected late-stage deal and dollar volume over time. This remarkable growth in dollar volume — more than doubling since the same period in 2017 — has led to the late-stage deal market looming large over the venture landscape. For perspective, late-stage rounds accounted for about 42 percent of dollar volume in Q2 2017, but it made up 64 percent of dollar volume in Q2 2018. To be clear, this is...

‘Airbnb mafia’ fund Wave Capital makes it official, closing its debut fund with $55 million

A couple of weeks ago, Airbnb announced some major changes to the ways it compensates employees before it goes public. At least two former Airbnb employees and a longtime VC will be ready to fund those who leave when it does. They’ve been waiting on this moment since last summer, in fact. That’s when former Airbnb data scientist Riley Newman left the firm to start work on a venture firm, quickly enlisting the help of his colleague of several years, Sara Adler (Airbnb’s former head of corporate development) and former Madrona Venture Group principal David Rosenthal. What they set out to do with that fund, Wave Capital, is fund marketplace startups, including — especially, even — those founded by other former employees of the home-rental giant. It’s an idea that has resonated with investors....

Scale Venture Partners has a new $400 million fund to invest in enterprise companies

Scale Venture Partners, an 18-year-old, early-stage venture firm that focuses on software companies, has closed its sixth fund with $400 million, up slightly from the $335 million the firm had raised in early 2016. Among its biggest hits: the e-signature company Docusign, which went public in April; the online data storage company Box, which went public in 2015, and the marketing software company Hubspot, which went public in 2014. We talked late last week with firm cofounder Rory O’Driscoll, who runs the firm with a handful of longtime colleagues, to learn where the team plans to invest their newest dollars. Our conversation has been lightly edited here for length. TC: Congrats on your new fund. The size isn’t so afield from your last fund. Are there any dramatic changes from a staffing s...

The electric aircraft is taking off

Evan Gaj Contributor Evan Gaj is a mechanical engineering graduate from LeHigh University currently on a Fulbright Scholarship in Warsaw studying drones. In 2008, the electric motor vehicle experienced a rebirth triggered by a rise in oil prices. Now in 2018, it is the time for another rebirth — in electrical aviation. Over the decades, advances have been made across the aviation field and on all fronts. In 1986, Burt Rutan made the first non-stop, unrefueled flight around the world. Now, 30 years later another trip around the world was completed, marking the first electrical powered circumnavigation. The lofty journey started in Abu Dhabi and 16 months later landed back where its journey began. This plane, unlike others that have made the journey before, emitted no emissions and burned no...

There’s a new, $100 million fund expressly for women founders of color

When Richelieu Dennis came to the U.S. from his home in Liberia to attend Babson College, he wasn’t expecting to stay. But unable to return home owing to the first Liberian civil war, stay he did, building the personal care products company SheaMoisture with his college roommate Nyema Tubman in Harlem and later establishing a larger holding company, Sundial Brands, that would oversee a suite of product lines focused on women of color. Among them, SheaMoisture, Nyakio, Nubian Heritage, and Madame C.J. Walker, named after a  philanthropist and social activist and one of the earliest female founders of color. (Walker, the daughter of slaves, died a wealthy woman at the age of 51 in 1919, after herself developing a line of beauty and hair products for black women.) All that hard work was seemi...

Jina Choi, SF Regional Director of the SEC, is coming to Disrupt to talk ICOs and more

The Securities & Exchange Commission, the federal agency responsible for protecting investors and maintaining fair and orderly functioning of our securities markets, has 11 regional offices, including in Miami, New York, Boston, and Chicago, None has quite the workload as the SEC’s San Francisco regional office, where a major area of focus in recent years has been investor fraud in pre-IPO companies, particularly the many startups that in an earlier era would have either have gone public or else out of business, but which today linger as privately held outfits because there’s so much money sloshing around. Among the companies to find themselves in the SEC’s sights in recent years is HR software outfit Zenefits and its founder, Parker Conrad; they were fined $1 million last October as p...

ISAI closes new $175 million fund

French venture capital firm ISAI just raised a new $175 million fund (€150 million) called ISAI Expansion II. This fund is designed for later stage investments. The firm says that it managed to raise this fund in less than three months. This is a growth fund and the team plans to invest between $6 million and $35 million per deal (between €5 million and €30 million). ISAI first started with a seed fund back in 2010. The company raised a $41 million fund (€35 million) and invested in BlaBlaCar shortly after that. The firm has raised a growth fund and another seed fund since then. If you include today’s new fund, ISAI has raised over $350 million in total (€300 million). So ISAI Expansion II is by far the biggest fund to date. Limited partners include dozens of successful tech entrepreneurs ...

Old VC firms hold entrenched position in fundraising despite fresh entrants

On Tuesday, news broke that Sequoia Capital has closed $6 billion out of what could end up being an $8 billion growth-stage fund with global scope. Crunchbase News covered that particular financing, but also found that Sequoia Capital is potentially raising billions more across funds focused on China, the U.S. and India, according to press reports and regulatory filings we examined. Apart from the sheer size of its third “Global Growth” investment vehicle, there isn’t anything surprising about an old stalwart like Sequoia raising a big-dollar fund. But the fact that it’s unsurprising points to an important trend in venture capital fundraising. And it’s that trend we’ll explore today. New money versus old money Here’s what we found: Older firms raise bigger funds, and appear to account for ...

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...

Jay-Z has a new venture fund and a Silicon Valley partner

Jay-Z is behind a new venture fund called Marcy Venture Partners that is being launched with Walden Venture Capital managing director Larry Marcus and longtime business partner Roc Nation president Jay Brown, according to California regulatory filings. The fund was first reported by Axios. Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter is no stranger to the venture world. The rap artist, producer and entrepreneur invested in Uber’s Series B round in 2011 when the company had a pre-money valuation of $300 million. Jay-Z has also invested in JetSmarter and Julep. Roc Nation backed Promise, a decarceration startup. Jay-Z and Jay Brown were looking for a Silicon Valley partner for their fund last year. And at one time, it appeared they had landed on Sherpa Capital, a VC firm created by some of Uber’s other early invest...

New York’s RRE Ventures raises $265M for its new fund

RRE Ventures has raised $265 million for its latest fund. The firm was founded back in 1994, and this is its seventh fund (eighth if you include a separate “opportunity” fund for making follow-on investments). Exits in the last few years include Bitly (acquired by Spectrum Equity), Business Insider (acquired by Axel Springer) and TapCommerce (acquired by Twitter). General Partner Raju Rishi said that RRE will continue to follow its current investment strategy. That means putting about 60 percent of its money into Series A investments, 5 to 10 percent into seed deals and the rest in B or C rounds. It also means investing making about half its investments on the East Coast — mostly New York City, where RRE is based. Rishi suggested that with the growth of “a very virtualized tech community o...

VC Brian O’Malley jumps from Accel to Forerunner Ventures

Brian O’Malley may be the most-poached venture capitalist in Silicon Valley. While rising through the ranks at the global investment firm Battery Ventures, where O’Malley had led deals in Hotel Tonight among others, he was plucked out of the firm by Accel Partners in 2013, where both O’Malley and Accel thought he could be even more successful. Now, fast forward five years, and O’Malley is announcing today (through Forbes) that he just joined Forerunner Ventures, the top e-commerce investing firm launched in 2010 by founder Kirsten Green. That O’Malley is willing to make moves is hardly a knock. For someone whose job it is to create and manage promising portfolios, he seems to be managing his career with that same, smart mindset. The move also reflects well on Forerunner, a much younger fir...