Venture Capital

500 Startups Vietnam grabs $14M to invest in local companies

500 Startups has set its sights on Vietnam, a historically dormant market that’s recently emerged as one of the most rapidly-expanding tech ecosystems in Southeast Asia. The Silicon Valley startup accelerator and venture capital fund has raised $14 million for 500 Startups Vietnam, it’s Ho Chi Minh City-based micro-fund focused on Vietnam-headquartered startups or companies catering to the Vietnamese market. The fund launched in March 2016 with a $10 million target to capitalize on a new cohort of internet-era startups. 500 Startups partners Eddie Thai and Binh Tran manage the fund. Thai is the former director of CJ CGV Vietnam, a cinema and film distribution company; and Tran is the co-founder and former chief technology officer of the social influence tool Klout, which sold to Lithium Te...

Unicorns aren’t special anymore

When Aileen Lee, the former Kleiner Perkins partner and founder of the seed-stage venture capital firm Cowboy Ventures, coined the term “unicorn” in 2013 on this very site, there were just 39 companies that had earned the title. She called them “the lucky/genius few.” Her definition: U.S. software startups launched since 2003 worth more than $1 billion. When she authored the viral post, just four companies were garnering valuations that high each year, according to her calculations. Five years later, the rate at which startups are becoming unicorns has increased 353.1 percent, according to PitchBook’s latest research. Today, there are 145 “active unicorns” in the U.S. alone, worth an aggregate valuation of $555.9 billion. Why? A couple of reasons. Namely, because companies are staying priv...

Blockchain gaming gets a boost with Mythical Games’ $16M Series A

Fortnite, the free multi-player survival game, has earned an astonishing $1 billion from in-game virtual purchases alone. Now, others in the gaming industry are experimenting with how they too can capitalize on new trends in gaming. Mythical Games, a startup out of stealth today with $16 million in Series A funding, is embracing a future in gaming where user-generated content and intimate ties between players, content creators, brands and developers is the norm. Mythical is using its infusion of venture capital to develop a line of PC, mobile and console games on the EOSIO blockchain, which will also be open to developers to build games with “player-owned economies.” The company says an announcement regarding its initial lineup of games is on the way. Mythical is led by a group of gaming i...

Pitching a $99 tax advisory service for the masses, Visor has raised $9 million

The only sure things in this life, according to Ben Franklin, are death and taxes. And a new startup called Visor has just raised $9 million in financing to make one of them as painless as possible. Unlike Nectome, Visor won’t kill anyone, but it may ring the death knell for the high end tax advisors that most Americans can’t even access to get help filing and paying their taxes.  It’s like having a personalized accountant for the cost of a high-end do-it-yourself tax-prep service. The $9 million Visor raised came from the venture capital firm, Defy, with participation from Unusual Ventures, SVB Capital and existing investors like Obvious Ventures, Fika Ventures and Boxgroup, who had put a previous $6.5 million into the company.  The idea for the company had been percolating for co-founder...

“Rent tech” focused RET closes first fund; pours $5M into management platform SmartRent

Today, Real Estate Technology Ventures (RET) Ventures announced the final close of $108 million for its first fund.  RET focuses on early-stage investments in companies that are primarily looking to disrupt the North American multifamily rental industry, with the firm boasting a roster of LPs made up of some of the largest property owners and operators in the multifamily space. RET is one of the latest in a rising number of venture firms focused on the real-estate sector, which by many accounts, has yet to experience significant innovation or technological disruption.  The firm was founded in 2017 by managing director, John Helm, who possesses an extensive background as an operator and investor in both real estate and real estate technology.  Helm’s real-estate journey began with a positio...

Poynt raises $100M for its smart payment terminal

Elavon, a U.S. Bank-owned payment processing company, and National Australia Bank have participated in the $100 million Series C for Poynt, a developer of smart payment terminals and an open operating system that powers any payment terminal worldwide. Palo Alto-based Poynt was launched in 2014 by Osama Bedier, the former vice president of Wallet and Payments at Google. Prior to joining Google in 2011, Bedier had been the head of platform, mobile and new ventures at PayPal. In four years, Poynt has brought in a total of $133 million from backers such as Google Ventures, Matrix Partners, Oak HC/FT, Webb Investment Network and Nyca Partners. In the last 16 months, it has shipped some 150,000 terminals. The company says total payment volume will exceed $25 billion in the next year. “Our vision...

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...

Travel startups are taking off

The second wave of Internet-era travel companies has captured the attention of venture capitalists. In the last five years, travel companies have raised more than $1 billion in venture capital funding. That includes short-term rental startups, travel and tourism apps, marketplaces for “experiences” and other travel or hospitality tech platforms. Airbnb, a $38 billion company and an anomaly in the category, has raised $3 billion in that same time frame, according to PitchBook. In the last few months alone, aspiring Concur-competitor TripActions and travel activities platform Klook entered the “unicorn” club with large venture rounds that valued both of the businesses at more than $1 billion. Meanwhile, luggage maker Away raised $50 million at a $400 million valuation and smaller startups in...

The top 10 cities for $100M VC rounds in 2018 so far

Crunchbase News recently profiled a selection of U.S. companies’ largest VC raised in 2018, and no surprise here: the 10 largest rounds all topped out well north of $100 million. A major driver of global venture dollar growth is the relatively recent phenomenon of companies raising $100 million or more in a single venture round. We’ve called these nine and 10-figure deals, which shine brightly in the media and are hefty enough to bend the curve of VC fund sizes upwards, “supergiants” after their stellar counterparts. And like stars, venture-backed companies tend to originate and co-exist in clusters, while the physical space between these groups is largely empty. We noticed that many of the companies behind these supergiant rounds are headquartered in just a few metro areas around the Unit...

Growing pains at venture-backed Moogsoft lead to layoffs

Eight months after bringing in a $40 million Series D, Moogsoft‘s co-founder and chief executive officer Phil Tee confirmed to TechCrunch that the IT incident management startup had shed 18 percent of its workforce, or just over 30 employees. The layoffs took place at the end of October; shortly after, Moogsoft announced two executive hires. Among the additions was Amer Deeba, who recently resigned from Qualys after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charged him with insider trading. Founded in 2012, San Francisco-based Moogsoft provides artificial intelligence for IT operations (AIOps) to help teams work more efficiently and avoid outages. The startup has raised $90 million in equity funding to date, garnering a $220 million valuation with its latest round, according to PitchBook...

Mary Meeker is said to be raising up to $1.25 billion for her new growth fund

Mary Meeker, who revealed in September plans to leave Kleiner Perkins after an eight-year run with the venture firm, is reportedly looking to raise up to $1.25 billion for her debut fund. So says Business Insider, citing multiple sources. We’ve reached out to Meeker for more information. As Meeker told Recode a couple of months ago, she is forming her own late-stage investing firm with three of her KP colleagues, including Mood Rowghani, who joined the firm as a general partner in 2014; Noah Knauf, who joined the firm as a general partner in 2016; and Juliet de Baubigny, a senior partner who joined Kleiner Perkins nearly 18 years ago. Their departures come as Kleiner Perkins was weighing whether or not to raise another growth fund, according to Recode’s report. It suggested that over time,...

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...