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Biden’s Clean Energy Platform: Heavy On Clean Transport, From E-Scooters To Low Carbon Airplanes

There’s a lot of overlap between the Biden administration’s platform and the kinds of things transportation startups and growth-stage companies are doing already….

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Of the many socioeconomic challenges President-elect Joe Biden focused upon during his campaign, the safe use of electric scooters was not a top subject.

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But nonetheless, there it is, a featured topic in his official platform for modernizing infrastructure and promoting clean energy. His administration will work to help cities and towns “invest in infrastructure for pedestrians, cyclists, and riders of e-scooters and other micro-mobility vehicles.”

Scooters are one of a number of transport-focused topics covered in the document, which lays out initiatives in areas ranging from air travel to car-charging infrastructure and calls for $2 trillion in investment for infrastructure and clean energy.

Post-election, we anticipate more detailed, updated plans on climate and related areas.

But for a teaser of what’s coming, we’ll look here at the original platform. Not surprisingly, it contains several focus areas in transportation that are of particular interest for the tech and startup spheres, including:

  • Charging infrastructure: Biden wants to make major public investments in automobile infrastructure—including in 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations.
  • Battery tech: The platform plan calls for the federal government to invest $5 billion over five years in battery and energy storage technology. It will focus on accelerating R&D and developing a domestic supply chain for electric vehicles with batteries built by American workers.
  • Electric vehicles: The plan calls to “position America to be the global leader in the manufacture of electric vehicles and their input materials and parts.” Biden also hopes to restore the full electric vehicle tax credit to incentivize purchases.
  • Transit: The administration wants every American city with 100,000 or more residents to have “high-quality, zero-emissions public transportation options” and to build the world’s “cleanest, fastest and safest” rail system. It will also require new U.S.-built buses to be zero-emissions by 2030.
  • Airplanes: Biden wants to incentivize the creation of new, sustainable fuels for airplanes, as well as other changes to aircraft technology, standards and management, with an eye to reducing carbon emissions.
  • Smart traffic lights: The platform seeks to deploy more machine-learning optimized traffic lights, aimed at reducing traffic backlogs and improving safety at intersections.
  • There’s a lot of overlap between the Biden platform’s vision and the kinds of things transportation startups and growth-stage companies are doing already.

    A Crunchbase search of the largest venture and growth financings for U.S. transportation startups unearthed many in precisely the areas highlighted above. This includes  Rivian (electric pickup trucks), Joby Aviation (electric aircraft), Via (smart transit planning), Proterra (zero-emissions buses and battery packs) and Lime (electric scooters). Just those five companies alone have collectively raised more than $8.2 billion.

    Battery tech, a particular focus for Biden’s plan, has also been a hot space for VCs. They’ve poured nearly $550 million into the space since last year, per Crunchbase data. A public offering for Romeo Systems, a maker of batteries for electric vehicles, is also imminent.

    Electric vehicles and charging are also still generating a fair amount of venture activity, and exits as well. On the charging front, we’ve seen big rounds for Chargepoint, maker of electric charging stations. As for exits, electric vehicle-makers Fisker and Nikola both went public this year, with both sustaining multibillion-dollar market capitalizations.

    The Crunchbase dataset even produced one entry in the smart traffic light space: Savari, a developer of software and hardware sensor technologies that connect cars, traffic signals, pedestrians and bicycles.

    Presidential platforms are more of a wishlist than a to-do list, with chances for enactment reliant on factors, like the composition of Congress, that are beyond the administration’s control.

    That said, new startup business plans are kind of the same — full of optimistic plans and hockey stick graphs with dubious likelihood of coming to fruition. It’s less about meeting precise goals than making progress toward them.

    So, in analyzing what these plans could mean for the startup sphere, the nitty-gritty details may mean less than the general direction, which looks positive for the transportation startup sphere. Transport-focused founders and investors can expect an administration friendly to their priorities, with greater potential for grant-funded R&D and tax incentives for their customers.

    (One caveat to this is autonomous vehicles, among the biggest area for transport venture funding. Neither Democrats nor Republicans have made autonomous vehicles a big part of a national platform. In 2017, the US House of Representatives passed with sweeping bipartisan support the SELF DRIVE Act, aimed at regulating development of autonomous vehicles. But the bill stalled in the Senate, and Congress is planning to try again in 2021.)

    At the end of the day, whatever clean transportation legislation and initiatives actually get passed from the Biden platform, we wouldn’t be surprised if it draws a shrug rather than a cheer from investors in the space. That’s because it seems they don’t really care what the president thinks about electric cars or reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

    Markets and startup investors, as we’ve noted before, have long been rewarding low-carbon businesses and pushing down valuations of the big fossil fuel producers and consumers.

    Take the case of Tesla and ExxonMobil. Immediately following the election of President Donald Trump, a vocal defender of the oil and coal industries, Tesla had roughly one-tenth the valuation of ExxonMobil. Four years later, its market cap is three times that of Exxon. Would Tesla have done better under an administration more vocal about climate change risks? Maybe. But you don’t hear longtime shareholders complaining.

    Fisker and Nikola also didn’t seem too concerned about the political climate affecting their ability to garner big valuations. Nor do Romeo and other electric vehicle-related offerings in the public market pipeline.

    In sum, money goes where it goes, often regardless of who’s in the Oval Office. However, while the direction seems clear already, it should nonetheless be helpful to have an administration that wants to speed things along.

    Illustration: Dom Guzman

    Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/a-look-at-bidens-clean-energy-platform/

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    The Briefing: Traveloka Eyes $5B SPAC Deal, SnackMagic Lands Series A, And More

    Crunchbase News’ top picks of the news to stay current in the VC and startup world.

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    Here’s what you need to know today in startup and venture news, updated by the Crunchbase News staff throughout the day to keep you in the know.

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    Indonesia’s Traveloka said to eye $5B SPAC deal

    Indonesia-based online travel booking platform Traveloka is in advanced talks to go public through a merger with a blank-check acquirer, according to a Bloomberg report citing unnamed sources.

    The company is reportedly seeking to merge with Bridgetown Holdings Ltd., a SPAC backed by billionaires Richard Li and Peter Thiel. The deal could value the travel company at around $5 billion.

    Founded in 2012, Traveloka has raised at least $1.2 billion in known funding, per Crunchbase data.

    — Joanna Glasner

    Funding round

    SnackMagic picks up $15M: SnackMagic, a service for building your own snack box, has reportedly raised $15 million in a Series A round led by Craft Ventures. The company markets its offering as a potential work-from-home employee perk, a sales prospecting tool, or a gift.

    Abzu lands $6M for AI: Abzu, a Danish startup developing AI-based software for use cases including predictions and modeling, raised $6 million in a seed funding round led by Denmark’s Seed Capital and PreSeed Ventures, and Finland’s Inventure.

    — Joanna Glasner

    Illustration: Dom Guzman

    Stay up to date with recent funding rounds, acquisitions, and more with the Crunchbase Daily.

    Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/briefing-4-9-21/

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    Here’s Who’s Gone Public in 2021 (So Far)

    Another year, another list.

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    Another year, another list.

    In past years, we’ve mostly covered venture-backed tech and tech-ish IPOs in this perennial list of startups going public. Occasionally, a direct listing here and there would make the list, but the vast majority of companies going public were doing so through a traditional IPO. This year looks like it will be a bit different, with the increasing popularity of SPACs and new rule changes making direct listings more favorable, now that companies can raise capital through that route.

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    So, we’ve adapted our ever-updated Here’s Who’s Gone Public list to fit more with the times, and are including both traditional IPOs and other methods of going public. So far this year, that means IPOs and SPACs.

    While SPACs are going public at a more frequent pace than traditional IPO companies, we’ve included only the ones that have completed a merger with a target company and begun trading as a combined company.

    This list will be updated regularly to keep up with the robust IPO and SPAC pipeline coming up this year, so be sure to check back.

    Most recently updated: April 8, 2021

    IPOsAffirm

    • IPO date: Jan. 13, 2021
    • IPO price: $49
    • IPO valuation: $11.9 billion
    • Initial post-IPO arc: Positive

    In the first venture-backed tech-ish IPO of the year, Affirm saw its stock price jump 100 percent on its first day of trading before closing out at $97.24. Affirm is a big player in the increasingly-popular “buy now, pay later space,” which includes companies like AfterPay and Klarna. Since it went public in mid-January, the company’s stock has moved up and down, but overall its trajectory has been positive. Affirm’s stock closed at $105.55 on Feb. 18.

    Poshmark

    • IPO date: Jan. 14, 2021
    • IPO price: $42
    • IPO valuation: $3 billion
    • Initial post-IPO arc: Negative

    Poshmark’s stock price doubled pretty much right out of the gate, and ended up closing out its first day of trading up 140 percent. The company, which operates a marketplace for new and second-hand clothing and accessories, reached a valuation of $3 billion with its IPO, one of the first of this year. But since Poshmark’s public market debut, its stock has fallen quite a bit. The company’s stock closed at $68.39 on Feb. 18.

    Playtika

    • IPO date: Jan. 15, 2021
    • IPO price: $27
    • IPO valuation: $11 billion
    • Initial post-IPO arc: Positive

    Gaming is all the rage as people look to stay entertained at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. The market response to Playtika reflects that. Playtika’s stock price since its mid-January debut has been mostly positive. The company’s stock closed at $32.56 on Feb. 18, still above its first day of trading close of $31.62.

    Qualtrics

    • IPO date: Jan. 28, 2021
    • IPO price: $30
    • IPO valuation: $15 billion
    • Initial post-IPO arc: Positive

    Qualtrics’ IPO was significant for a couple different reasons. It wasn’t a traditional venture-backed tech company going public, but one that had already been acquired. After SAP acquired the company in 2018 before Qualtrics’ planned IPO, SAP ended up spinning it out in 2021. The IPO was also significant because it ended up being the largest IPO of a Utah-based company. Qualtrics’ public debut valued the company at $15 billion, and its stock price arc has been positive since. Qualtrics’ stock closed at $44.63 on Feb.18.

    Bumble

    • IPO date: Feb. 11, 2021
    • IPO price: $43
    • IPO valuation: $8.2 billion
    • Initial post-IPO arc: Positive

    Bumble’s IPO made founder and CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd a billionaire and the youngest woman to take a company public. It was also a big deal for Texas’ tech scene, as the dating app is a homegrown Austin company. The company raised $2.15 billion through its IPO and its stock closed 64 percent above its IPO price on its first day of trading. Overall, its post-IPO arc since then has been positive, and its stock closed at $74 on Feb. 18.

    Oscar Health

    • IPO date: March 3, 2021
    • IPO price: $39
    • IPO valuation: $7.9 billion
    • Initial post-IPO arc: Negative

    As of this writing, Oscar Health has been a public company for less than three days. So, its negative post-IPO arc should be taken with a grain of salt — especially because the market in general dipped at the end of its first week of trading. That said, Oscar’s public market debut wasn’t like many of the venture-backed IPOs we’ve seen recently where the stock surges right out of the gate. The company initially set a price range of between $32 and $34 before increasing it to between $36 and $38, and pricing at $39. The company closed its first day of trading at $34.80, and its stock closed at $31 on Friday, March 5.

    Coupang

    • IPO date: March 11, 2021
    • IPO price: $35
    • IPO valuation: $60 billion
    • Initial post-IPO arc: Negative.

    While Coupang’s stock popped around 40 percent on its first day of trading, it has trended mostly down since the company went public nearly a month ago. When the company went public in March, it made Coupang the largest IPO of the year so far, according to CNBC. The South Korean e-commerce company’s stock closed at $45.58 on Thursday, April 8.

    DigitalOcean

    • IPO date: March 23, 2021
    • IPO price: $47
    • IPO valuation: $5 billion
    • Initial post-IPO arc: Negative.

    DigitalOcean didn’t exactly start its time trading on the public markets on a high note. The company opened and closed its first day of trading below its IPO price, and its stock has pretty much gone down since then. Since DigitalOcean has been a public company, its stock hasn’t reached the IPO price of $47 that the company had set. The company closed its first day of trading at $42.50, and closed at $40.25 on Thursday, April 8.

    VIZIO

    • IPO date: March 25, 2021
    • IPO price: $21
    • IPO valuation: $3.9 billion
    • Initial post-IPO arc: Positive.

    VIZIO finally made it public this year after filing for an IPO for a second time (it first filed in 2015). The company had a less-than-stellar debut when it began trading at the end of March, with its stock opening nearly 17 percent below its IPO price of $21. Since then, the company’s stock price has increased, reaching a high of $24.72 on March 30. VIZIO’s stock price has tapered off a bit since then, closing at $21.95 on Thursday, April 8.

    ThredUp

    • IPO date: March 26, 2021
    • IPO price: $14
    • IPO valuation: $1.3 billion
    • Initial post-IPO arc: Negative.

    While ThredUp saw its stock close around 43 percent above its IPO price of $14 on its first day of trading, its stock has trended down since it went public at the end of March. ThredUp closed at $18.39 on Thursday, April 8. The company is one of a handful of clothing and accessories resale companies to go public in recent years, including Poshmark and The RealReal.

    Coursera

    • IPO date: March 31, 2021
    • IPO price: $33
    • IPO valuation: $4.3 billion
    • Initial post-IPO arc: Positive.

    Coursera closed its first day of trading at $45, about 36 percent above its IPO price. Since then, the company’s stock price has gone up, closing at $56 on Thursday, April 8. It makes sense given what a big year the edtech space has had. Coursera marks the first major edtech IPO of the year, though it’s possible it won’t be the last. Other edtech companies rumored to be 2021 IPO candidates include Duolingo and Udemy.

    Compass

    • IPO date: April 1, 2021
    • IPO price: $18
    • IPO valuation: $8 billion
    • Initial post-IPO arc: Negative.

    Compass’ IPO comes after a busy year for the residential real estate market. The company, which operates like a brokerage but gives agents a suite of digital tools to better market themselves, raised about $450 million through its IPO. However, in the week that Compass has been public, its stock price has fallen slightly, closing at $21.90 on Thursday, April 8, below its IPO price. The company priced its shares at $18, the low end of its IPO range, after lowering its price range from between $23 and $26 to between $18 and 19.

    Direct Listings

    Roblox

    • First day of trading: March 10, 2021
    • Reference price: $45
    • Valuation: $30 billion
    • Initial arc: Positive.

    Roblox marks both the first major direct listing of the year (in terms of tech companies) and one of the most-anticipated public debuts for gaming companies. The company’s stock surged 43 percent above its reference price and has had a generally positive trend since then, though of course there have been dips here and there. Roblox’s stock closed at $70.76 on Thursday, April 8.

    SPACs Clover Health

    • First day of trading: Jan. 8, 2021
    • SPAC proceeds: Up to $1.2 billion
    • SPAC valuation: $7 billion, according to the Silicon Valley Business Journal
    • Initial stock price arc: Negative

    Clover Health was the first VC-backed company to go public via a special purpose acquisition company, with Chamath Palihapitiya’s SPAC, Social Capital Hedosophia V, acquiring the company. The company’s stock since the merger was completed in early January has trended negatively since it started trading, though, with its stock closing at $10.83 on Feb.18.

    Billtrust

    • First day of trading: Jan. 13, 2021
    • SPAC valuation: $1.3 billion
    • Initial stock price arc: Positive.

    Payment cycle management platform Billtrust went public in mid-January after merging with South Mountain Merger Corp. The company raised $115 million in funding while private and announced plans to go public via a SPAC in the fall. Since the company’s stock started trading, its initial arc has been positive. Billtrust’s stock closed at $18.80 on Feb. 18.

    Hims and Hers Health

    • First day of trading: Jan. 21, 2021
    • SPAC proceeds: $280 million
    • SPAC valuation: $1.6 billion, according to Forbes
    • Initial stock price arc: Positive

    Hims and Hers Health, which initially started out as a company aimed toward men’s health issues, went public after merging with special purpose acquisition company Oaktree Acquisitions Corp. The deal was among the first major VC-backed SPAC mergers to be completed in 2021, and raised proceeds of about $280 million. Since the combined company’s stock started trading, its stock price has been trending up and closed at $19.01 on Feb. 18.

    ChargePoint Holdings

    • First day of trading: Feb. 26, 2021
    • SPAC proceeds: $450 million, according to Inside EVs.
    • Initial stock price arc: Negative

    Companies in the electric vehicle space are evidently popular targets for SPACs, and ChargePoint is among them. The company, which is based in Campbell, California, went public by merging with special purpose acquisition company Switchback Energy Acquisition Corp. Since the company completed the merger on Feb. 26 and began trading (closing at $30.83 last week), its stock has fallen a bit, closing at $26.13 on Friday, March 5.

    Metromile

    • First day of trading: Feb. 9, 2021
    • SPAC proceeds: Unclear
    • Initial stock price arc: Negative

    Digital insurance platform Metromile went public by merging with blank-check company INSU Acquisition Corp. II. The company, which is backed by investors including Index Ventures and Future Fund, follows other insurtech companies like Lemonade and Root to the public market, though through a SPAC rather than a traditional IPO. The company’s stock has mostly trended down since then, closing at $10.45 on Friday, March 5.

    Illustration: Dom Guzman

    Stay up to date with recent funding rounds, acquisitions, and more with the Crunchbase Daily.

    So, we’ve adapted our ever-updated Here’s Who’s Gone Public list to fit more with the times, and are including both traditional IPOs and other methods of going public. So far this year, that means IPOs and SPACs.

    Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/heres-whos-gone-public-in-2021-so-far/

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    The Briefing: Gupshup Raises $100M, Oda Bags Big Round For Groceries

    Crunchbase News’ top picks of the news to stay current in the VC and startup world.

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    Here’s what you need to know today in startup and venture news, updated by the Crunchbase News staff throughout the day to keep you in the know.

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    Gupshup raises $100M

    San Francisco-based Gupshup, a provider of conversational messaging tools, announced it has raised $100 million in fresh funding from Tiger Global Management.

    The financing sets a valuation of $1.4 billion for Gupshup, which says its API currently enables over 100,000 developers and businesses to build messaging and conversational experiences, used in over 6 billion messages per month.

    Gupshup has not raised a funding round since 2011, with total prior funding of around $44 million, per Crunchbase data. The company says it closed out 2020 with an annual revenue run rate of approximately $150 million.

    — Joanna Glasner

    Funding rounds

    Norway’s Oda bags $265M for grocery delivery: Oda (formerly Kolonial), a Norwegian online grocery delivery provider, raised 223 million euros ($265 million) in a funding round led by Prosus NV and SoftBank. The company plans to use the funds for international expansion.

    — Joanna Glasner

    Redis Labs raises $110M Series G: Database platform Redis Labs has closed a $110 million Series G funding round led by Tiger Global. The round brings the 10-year-old, Mountain View-based company’s valuation up to $2 billion.

    — Joanna Glasner

    Illustration: Dom Guzman

    Stay up to date with recent funding rounds, acquisitions, and more with the Crunchbase Daily.

    The financing sets a valuation of $1.4 billion for Gupshup, which says its API currently enables over 100,000 developers and businesses to build messaging and conversational experiences, used in over 6 billion messages per month.

    Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/briefing-4-8-21/

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