This is The TechCrunch Exchange, a newsletter published on Saturdays based on the column of the same name. You can sign up for an email here.
It was an active week in the world of technology with big news from Facebook, Twitter and Apple. But in addition to the buzz in the headlines, there was constant bullish news for unicorns or private companies worth $ 1 billion or more.
Bull week for unicorns
The stock market spent much of the week looking at different stories from unicorns or companies that would soon meet these requirements, and it’s amazing to see how much positive financial news there was even beyond what we have to write about.
Data collection, for example, disclosed TechCrunch’s financial data before regular publication, including the fact that it increased its annual figure (non-ARR) to $ 350 million at the end of the 3rd quarter of 2020 from $ 200 million in the 2nd quarter of 2019. The IPO is ready, but not in a hurry to public markets.
Following our theme, Calm down wants more money for a huge new estimate, perhaps up to $ 2.2 billion, which is not surprising. This is more good news about the unicorn. As well as the report that “India Razorpay [became a] unicorn after its new round of $ 100 million funding, ”released this week.
Razorpay is just one of a number of Indian startups that became unicorns during COVID-19. (And here’s another collection this week about half a dozen startups that became unicorns “among the pandemic.”)
There’s been some pretty good news about the unicorn lately that we’ve lost it all. Things like seismic development have raised $ 92 million, raising its estimate to $ 1.6 billion from a few weeks ago. How did it get lost in the mix?
All of this matters because, although the IPO market has attracted a lot of attention in the last quarter or so, the unicorn world has not sat still. In fact, it is felt that the activity of the unicorn in the VC is the highest figure we have seen since 2019.
And, as we will see literally in a moment, the piece for the unicorn’s mill is replenished when we speak. So, wait for the same thing until something tangible breaks our current investment and exit pattern.
What do unicorns eat? In cash. And many, many VCs have raised cash over the past seven days.
The following is a partial list. It is possible that investors are trying to block new funds before the election, and whatever the chaos. So, in no particular order, here’s who recently made the flash:
- $ 450 million for OpenView, $ 800 million for Canaan, $ 840 million for True Ventures, $ 950 million for Lead Edge Capital
- Something called Benson Capital Partners created a $ 50 million fund. Gail Benson, after whom the firm is named, owns several New Orleans sports teams, according to Forbes.
- Plus venture capital, built by two former investors of 500 Mena startups, according to globalMENA funds, raised $ 60 million.
- First Round is looking for $ 220 million, former Google chief Kai-fu Lee Sinovation Ventures is looking for a billion, while Hosla wants a little more.
All that capital has to go to work, and that means a lot more rounds for many, many startups. This week, the exchange also caught up with a slightly new firm: Race Capital. Under the leadership of Alfred Chuang, a former BEA who is an angel investor who is now in charge of his own fund, the firm has $ 50 million to invest.
At the moment, following the private investment in startups, a lot has happened this week, about which we need to know more. As Argyle, based on the API, raises $ 20 million from Bain Capital Ventures for what FinLedger calls “unlocking and democratizing access to workbooks.” TechCrunch is currently tracking the progress of API-driven startups.
In terms of fintech technology, M1 Finance raised $ 45 million for its C-Series fintech consumer platform, while another employer, Wealthsimple, raised $ 87 million while becoming a unicorn. And while we’re in the fintech segment, this week Stripe dropped $ 200 million on Nigerian startup Paystack. We need to pay more attention to the African startup scene. At the lower end fintech Alpaca raised $ 10 million more to help other companies become Robinhood.
A few other notes before changing the grip. Kahoot raised $ 215 million through the distance education boom, another trend that cannot be avoided in 2020 as part of the big edtech boom (our own Natasha Maskarenhas has more).
Moving from the private market to the public, we only need to touch on SPAC for a moment. This week, the exchange called Toby Russell of Shift, which is now a public company, and trades after its merger with SPAC, namely Insurance Acquisition Corp. The early trades were only going so well, but the CEO gave a clear indication of why he was pursuing SPAC, which was really interesting:
- Shift could go public with an IPO, Russell said, but gave priority to his SPAC-led debut because his firm wanted to optimize for capital to support the company’s growth.
- How so? The private equity investment (PIPE) that came with the SPAC option guaranteed that Shift would have hundreds of millions in cash.
- Shift also wanted to minimize what the CEO called market risk. The SPAC agreement can take place regardless of what the wider markets have planned. And since the company made its choice to debut through SPAC in April, some caution, in our opinion, could make some sense.
Thus, Shift is publicly available and recently capitalized. Let’s see what happens to her stock when she joins the quarterly reporting group. (Obviously, if it goes down, it’s a bad estimate for SPAC, but on the contrary, successful trading can give a little more impetus to SPAC-Magedon.)
A few more things and we’re done. The unicorn’s outings had a good week. First, Datto’s IPO continues to move forward. This week, it set a starting price that could estimate it at more than $ 4 billion. Also this week, Roblox announced that it had applied for public release, albeit privately. It also costs billions. Finally, DoubleVerify seeks to go public for as much as $ 5 billion early next year.
Not all liquidity goes to public markets, as we saw this week’s purchase of the Twilio segment, an agreement that the Exchange has made to find out if it is at a high price or not.
Different and various
We’ve been running naturally for a long time, so here are some quick things to add to your mental reading of tea and coffee on the weekends!
Next week, we dig deeper into venture capital data for the 3rd quarter, a premonition of which you can find here about the founding women, a topic we returned to Friday in more detail.