Good morning! Happy Thursday, and wow, congratulations to Emergence Capital, which saw an early, $4 million invested into the enterprise software company Veeva transformed into well north of $1 billion yesterday. More details below in IPO news.
Top News in the A.M.
Can an ‘Airbnb’ of Outdoor Gear Work?
Everyone wants to be the Airbnb of something. Spinlister is among them. Launched with much fanfare last year as a bike-sharing marketplace, the platform failed to gain traction, its owners ultimately deciding to sell the business to one of their earliest investors, Brazilian businessman Marcelo Loureiro. Despite Spinlister’s lack of momentum, Loureiro isn’t fundamentally altering the business. Instead, he shut it down and relaunched it with an eye towards renting many more types of outdoor equipment. And he recently raised a $1.65 million seed round from friends and family to help the process along.
The question remains whether enough people want to rent their outdoor goods. Yesterday, I chatted briefly with Loureiro about why they should, and what he hopes to do about it.
Your business seems very hard to scale. Is that fair?
We need to connect with the right audiences first. Originally, we were just connecting with the tech community, and a lot of bikes got listed, but not a lot of users joined. Now, we’re targeting more hard-core cyclists, and while we’re not seeing exponential growth, it’s solid and constant.
When are you broadening out Spinlister’s offerings?
In mid-December, when we have enough inventory, we’re planning on opening up the platform for other sports equipment, starting with skis and snowboards. Afterwards, we’ll add skateboards and surfboards and camping gear and kayaks — anything you have in your garage that you aren’t using. A lot of cyclists have snowboards or skis, and a lot of snowboarders have bikes, but we weren’t talking to them. There’s a whole community that’s just sitting on gear and we’re now very focused on creating awareness [within that community].
People rent their bikes for $20 a day on average. How much of that fee do you collect?
I take 30 percent: 12.5 percent on the renter’s side as a service fee as 17.5 percent as a lister’s fee. It sounds like a lot, but it’s what we need right now to keep the lights on. We do have people making [real] money renting bikes. If you have a good bike or bikes in a good location, you’re going to get the business.
Where are you seeing the most traction?
We have bikes listed all over the world. But right now, we have the most inventory in San Francisco and New York, with 350 bikes in New York and 500 bikes in SF.
Is that more or fewer bikes than people are trying to rent in those cities?
We have more demand than supply. My fulfillment [rate] is around 35 to 40 percent of requests because I don’t have the inventory, or sometimes the bike’s owner isn’t available in time or the bike is broken.
Other complicating factors must include drop-off and pick-up, along with theft, (despite that you cover damages). Why are you so convinced in this model?
Access trumps ownership; it’s where things are headed. You used to own CDs; now you access Spotify whenever you want. I think similarly, people will access, versus own, their gear. I talked recently with [big wave surfer] Laird Hamilton, and he [suggested that with Spinlister] everyone who lives by the beach who has a few boards can have a business without having a shop. It’s the same with people who own multiple bikes.
Down the road, there are lots of opportunities to [capitalize] on the knowledge we’re amassing about what kind of equipment people like to use. That kind of data could be very valuable to brands, for example, who could also test new gear within the platform.
It’s early. This year has been about building and fixing a lot of stuff; in 2014, we go after the users.
AppLife, a year-old, Berlin-based, mobile games marketing platform, has raised $7 million from existing investor Prime Ventures. The company has raised $20 million altogether from Prime.
Boxer, a year-old, Austin, Tex.-based email management system, has raised $3 million in funding led by Sutter Hill Ventures.
G1 Therapeutics, a five-year-old, Chapel Hill, N.C.-based pharmaceutical company that’s largely focused on cancer therapies, has raised a $12.5 million Series A round led by MedImmune Ventures. Hatteras Venture Partners and Mountain Group Capital also participated in the funding.
Kii, a provider of tools for mobile developers, has closed on $7.3 million in funding from Fenox Venture Capital and other investors. The company, which has offices in San Francisco and Tokyo, was formed in 2010 through the merger of Servo Software and Synclore Corp., companies that were focused on mobile data synchronization and backup.
Mapbox, a three-year-old, Washington, D.C., has raised $10 million in Series A funding from Foundry Group. The company’s cloud-based map platform allows users like designers and news outlets to create and share interactive Web maps.
Mintingo, a four-year-old, San Mateo, Calif.-based marketing intelligence company, has raised $10 million in Series C funding led by Adams Street Partners. Sequoia Capital and Giza Venture Capital, which led Mintigo’s $9 billion round, also participated.
Sage Therapeutics, a two-year-old, Boston-based company that’s developing medicines for central nervous system disorders, has raised $20 million in Series B financing from investors ARCH Venture Partners and Third Rock Ventures. To date, the company has raised $57.8 million.
Stitch Fix, a 3.5-year-old, San Francisco-based online shopping platform, has raised $12 billion in Series B funding from Benchmark Capital. The round brings the company’s total funding to date to $16.8 million. Earlier investors include Baseline Ventures, Lightspeed Ventures Partners, and Western Technology Investment.
Usermind, a new, Seattle-based startup whose software aims to make business operations people more productive, has raised a $7.6 million led by Andreessen Horowitz, which was joined by Charles River Ventures and SV Angel. (Vator News has much more here.)
5AM Ventures, a 12-year-old, San Francisco-based seed and early-stage venture capital firm focused life science companies, is looking to raise a fourth, $240 million fund, according to an SEC filing. The Form D says the firm has yet to begin fundraising; it lists the firm’s three managing directors: John Diekman, Scott Rocklage, and Andy Schwab.
Camden Partners, an 18-year-old, Baltimore based firm that specializes in growth capital opportunities, is raising its fifth fund, according to an SEC filing. The first sale has yet to occur, according to the firm; no target is listed.
Javelin Venture Partners, a four-year-old, San Francisco-based early-stage venture firm, has raised $125 million for its third fund. It also promoted principal Alex Gurevich to partner. Javelin had raised $105 million for its most recent fund in 2011.
SoftTech VC is raising a fourth, $85 million, fund, according to an SEC filing, which says the first sale has yet to occur. The firm, founded by Jeff Clavier, raised a $55 million third fund in January 2012. Clavier alone is listed on the filing.
SMS Masterminds, a small, San Luis Obispo, Calif., loyalty marketing business, is being acquired by SpendSmart Payments Company, a Des Moines-based prepaid payments services company. Terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed.
Veeva Systems, a 6.5-year-old, Pleasanton, Calif.-based maker of CRM software for life sciences companies, went public yesterday, selling more than 13 million shares at an offering price of $20 per share. The stock soared throughout the day, closing at $37.16, up 85.8%. The company’s biggest institutional backer is Emergence Capital Partners, which owns 31 percent of the company, according to SEC filings. Emergence’s LPs include the California Public Employees’ Retirement System and the University of Michigan. Bloomberg has more here.
In San Francisco, you might want to check out day two of the GigaOm Mobile event. Details are here.
It’s also day two of the MobileCon 2013 conference in San Jose.
Meanwhile, in Chicago today and tomorrow: Erikson’s TEC Center, Columbia College Chicago, and Catherine Cook School are hosting an early childhood technology conference that focuses on tech use in early childhood programs (and features app developers). You can find out more here.
Velos Partners, one of L.A.’s newest venture firms, is looking an analyst with two years of work experience in a related field. (VC, private equity, banking, and management consulting all count.)
Maybe it’s time to stop making fun of fusty old AOL? ComScore says it’s now the biggest video ad property in the U.S.
The new, new thing? Private music festivals. (You’re no one until you are invited to Burning Lamb.)
A Sydney company thinks it has solved the same-day delivery problem and its attendant expenses: Flying robots.
The National #Selfie Portrait Gallery opens this week at the Moving Image Contemporary Art Fair in London.
Pants that make us wonder: do men’s clothing designers hate men?
The flask for people who pretty clearly don’t understand the point of flasks.
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