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|New Numbers Illustrate How Fast Fundraising Has Changed for Young Startups|
|Fundraising is never easy, but it’s even harder when the goal posts are being moved around. Such is the challenge facing today’s youngest startups, which are looking at very different fundraising metrics than new startups did just six or seven years ago. |
We explored the issue yesterday with Peter Wagner, who spent more than 14 years with Accel as a managing partner before cofounding the early-stage firm Wing Venture Capital in 2013 with another veteran investor, Gaurav Garg, formerly of Sequoia Capital.
Wagner has an obvious interest in how rounds are changing. Wing has to know how much is reasonable to expect to invest in a company, even while it prefers to invest in companies that don’t yet have revenue or customers. In a competitive funding landscape, its now four-person investing team is also looking to raise the firm’s profile by publishing smart industry research, including, not so long ago, on the state of IoT.
Whatever Wing’s motivations, its findings are worth tracking if you’re a founder who is thinking about raising either a seed or Series A round any time soon. More from our chat with Wagner, along with Wing’s data, follows.
Your second fund, $300 million, was nearly twice the size of your $160 million debut fund. Do you expect your third fund will be even larger? Is this going to be an Accel-size firm some day?
No, we’re actually working hard to keep a lid on our fund size. Early-stage investing doesn’t scale. For us to grow, we’d have to change our investing strategy.
So many firms are doing exactly that, with the notable exception of Benchmark, which has maintained its fund size for the last 18 years roughly.
I was at Accel when we were [expanding into] having a later-stage practice. We sought out different skills [from potential hires] because it’s a different process. It fact, the more we learned about it, the more realized how different a discipline it is.
Given that you’re so focused on early-stage financing dynamics, tell us what you’ve learned. How did you put together this new report?
We looked at companies that were funded by the 20 or so leading venture firms between 2010 and 2017. It’s 2,700 companies all together, and 5,800 financings. If a company raised a seed fund from another firm, but Sequoia led its Series A, all of its financings rounds, including that seed round, were incorporated into our research. We also focused on these companies’ downstream financings [no matter the investors].
So some of these companies are pretty new. Others are eight years old. What should founders know about the numbers?
|Après, a nearly two year-old, San Francisco-based startup that makes a plant-based protein beverage marketed for “post workouts,” has raised $1.1 million in seed funding led by Rocana Venture Partners. More here. |
Brud, the four-year-old, L.A.-based company behind one of Instagram’s most popular virtual influencers, has quietly raised $6 million, including from Sequoia Capital, SV Angel, and BoxGroup. TechCrunch has more here.
Cowboy, a 16-month-old, Brussels, Belgium-based startup that trying to build a new, smarter electronic bicycle, has raised $3 million in seed funding led by Index Ventures, with participation from France’s Hardware Club and Kima Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.
Crypt TV, a three-year-old, L.A-based digital horror network that calls itself the “Marvel for Monsters,” has raised $6.2 million in Series A funding from Blumhouse Productions, Lerer Hippeau, NBCUniversal and Advancit Capital. Deadline has more here.
Culture Trip, a seven-year-old, London-based travel site that relies heavily on local content creators, has raised $80 million in Series B funding led by earlier investor PPF Group out of the Netherlands. The company has now raised $103 million to date. TechCrunch has more here.
Extend, a 1.5-year-old, New York-based company whose mobile app lets businesses share temporary access to their corporate credit cards with freelancers, has raised $3 million in seed funding led by Point72 Ventures, with participation from Plug and Play Ventures, Reciprocal Ventures and WorldQuant Ventures. The New York Post has more here.
Guesty, a five-year-old, Hillsborough, Ca.-based startup that makes property management software for Airbnb and vacation rentals, has raised $19.75 million in new Series B funding, suggests a newly filed SEC form. TechCrunch has more here.
Leanplum, a six-year-old. San Francisco-based mobile marketing platform, has raised $5 million in new Series D funding led by Beijing-based Waterwood Group. Last November, the company had raised $47 million in Series D in funding led by Norwest Venture Partners. More here.
Marble, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based company that makes little courier robots with last-mile delivery in mind, has raised $10 million in Series A funding from Tencent, Lemnos, Crunchfund and Maven Ventures. More here.
NuProbe, a two-year-old, Boston-based molecular diagnostics company, has raised $11 million in Series A funding, including from Sequoia China, Serica Partners, and WuXi AppTec Corporate Ventures. More here.
One Championship, a seven-year-old, Singapore-based mixed martial arts firm, is reportedly raising funding at a valuation of about $1 billion. The deal is expected to close in July. Bloomberg has the story here.
Revolution Medicines, a four-year-old, Redwood City, Ca.-based developer of cancer drugs, has raised $56 million in Series B funding led by Nextech Invest, with participation from Casdin Capital, Schroder Adveq, The Column Group and Third Rock Ventures. More here.
SalesHero, an 11-month-old, San Francisco-based provider of an AI-powered sales assistant, has raised $4.5 million in seed funding, including from Baidu Ventures,CometLabs, CherryVentures, and Signals Venture Capital. Its CEO, Stefan Groschupf, was the founding CEO of another venture-backed company, Datameer. More here.
Savari, a 10-year-old, Santa Clara, Ca.-based startup whose technology is designed to create a shared communications web among cars, personal devices, and roadway signals, has raised $12 million in Series B funding led by Aviva Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of London-based insurance company Aviva. Xconomy has more here.
SEMrush, a 10-year-old, Philadelphia, Pa.-based search analytics firm, has raised $40 million in funding from Greycroft, Siguler Guff, and e.ventures. The WSJ has more here.
Templum, a year-old, New York-based developer of a trading system to sell digital assets and the secondary trading of digital assets offered as securities, has raised $10 million in funding, including from SBI Holdings and Raptor Group. More here.
Uberflip, a six-year-old, Toronto-based content marketing platform, has raised $32 million in Series A funding led by Updata Partners. More here.
Yunji, a three-year-old, China-based social e-commerce platform, has raised $120 million in Series B funding led by CDH Investment, with participation from Huaxing New Economic Fund. China Money Network has more here.
|New Funds Silicon Valley venture firm Andreessen Horowitz is preparing to launch a separate fund for crypto investments, says Recode. More here. |
Eight Roads Ventures, an investment arm of Fidelity International that has been in China since the 1990s, has launched a $275 million fund dedicated to China-based tech startups. More here.
A new Seattle-based venture firm, Flying Fish, has held a first close of $23 million on a debut fund that it hopes will reach $80 million in capital commitments. TechCrunch has more here.
Venrock, founded in 1969, has raised $400 million for its third biotech-focused public and crossover investment fund, shows an SEC filing first flagged by Axios. More here.
|Carbon Black, the venture-backed, Waltham, Ma.-based maker of endpoint security software, has set its IPO terms, disclosing in a new filing that it plans to offer 8 million shares at between $15 and $17, which would give it a fully diluted market value of $1.3 billion at the midpoint. Seeking Alpha has more here. |
China’s Didi Chuxing, one of the world’s largest ride-hailing companies, is holding discussions about a multibillion-dollar IPO that could happen as soon as this year, according to the WSJ.
Smartsheet, a Bellevue, Wa.-based SaaS platform for managing and automating collaborative work, just increased its IPO price range from between $10 and $12 per share, to between $12 and $14. The company plans to sell 11.6 million shares. GeekWire has more here.
Unity Biotechnology, a Brisbane, Ca-based developer of anti-aging therapeutics, plans to sell 5 million shares at between $16 and $18, it revealed in a new filing. Nasdaq has more here.
|According to TechCrunch, Amazon is interested in venturing into TV home shopping. Specifically, its sources say Amazon has talked with Evine Live, which operates a pay-TV home shopping channel of the same name and may even be interested in acquiring it. More here. |
Groupon founder Andrew Mason’s audio tour startup Detour has been sold toBose. The acquisition, which involves only the software and tour content — not the team — was quietly announced on Detour’s blog a few days ago, followed by an email to customers. TechCrunch has more here.
Mitel, the enterprise communications company that tried but failed to buy the voice communications company Polycom for $2 billion, is now being acquired for $2 billion itself. The company today announced that it has agreed to be acquired by Searchlight Capital Partners in an all-cash transaction, a deal that will also see the company going private. TechCrunch has more here.
Oracle has acquired Grapeshot, a startup out of Cambridge, England, whose platform helps brands, agencies, publishers and ad platforms match ads to more specific placements overall. Terms of the deal aren’t being disclosed. The startup, which had raised $22.4 million, according to Crunchbase, will become a part of the Oracle Data Cloud. TechCrunch has more here.
|Google CEO Sundar Pichai is poised to have a highly lucrative week. Tomorrow, an award of 353,939 restricted shares he received before a promotion in 2014 will vest, and as of the end of last week, that grant was worth about $380 million, reports Bloomberg. That apparently makes it one of the largest single payouts to a public company executive in recent years. |
Tia Silas has been named Chief Diversity Officer at IBM, which Silas joined in 2015 as the head of HR for its Watson Health division. Previously, she held executive roles at Pitney Bowes, Macy’s, and JCPenney.
|Aflac — as widely known for its duck mascot as its insurance products — is looking to bring aboard a venture capital associate. The job is in Charlotte, N.C. Car-hail giant Lyft is looking to add a director to its operations strategy team. The job is in San Francisco.|
|To circumvent porch thieves, Amazon will now deliver packages to the trunk of your car. |
Facebook’s hand-picked watchdogs, including the global accounting firm PwC, gave it high marks for privacy — even as it lost control of users’ data.
Sequoia Capital has accepted up to a $350 million commitment to its new global growth fund from the Washington State Investment Board. The move signals a departure from its longstanding policy not to include U.S. public pensions as limited partners owing to their transparency around fund-level performance data. (Back in 2004, Sequoia said it was forced to part ways with the University of California system, after a court ruling said the university would need to disclose the performance of the funds in which it invests.) H/T: Axios and peHUB for flagging the development.
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|Low-level light therapy. It works maybe.|