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SEC Approves NYSE Direct Listing Proposal

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has approved the New York Stock Exchange’s proposal to allow companies to raise capital in a direct listing.

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The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has approved the New York Stock Exchange’s proposal to allow companies to raise capital in a direct listing.

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In a direct listing, a block of shares isn’t sold to investors at a set price, as it is with a traditional IPO (you can read more about the differences between the two methods of financing here). A traditional IPO is a more expensive process, due to bank underwriting fees, but allows a company to raise capital in the going-public process. Now that’s changing.

New York Stock Exchange president Stacey Cunningham tweeted that the development was “great news for capital markets.”

“This innovation democratizes investor access and provides companies with another path to go public,” she tweeted.

Perhaps no one is happier about the news than Benchmark venture capitalist and noted IPO pricing critic Bill Gurley. Gurley has been an advocate for direct listings and has spoken out about the IPO process and stocks being mispriced and surging on their first day of trading, therefore leaving money on the table.

“This is HUGE and will hopefully end 40 years of mispriced IPOs through an old antiquated process that failed to match supply/demand and wasn’t open to all investors,” Gurley tweeted Tuesday.

A wonderful 2020 Xmas present to the founders, employees, & investors at VC-backed startups. SEC just APPROVED the ability to add primary capital (fundraise) to a direct listing. It’s very exciting to see the SEC enable innovation in this way. (more) https://t.co/ksotl0q6c9

— Bill Gurley (@bgurley) December 22, 2020

The rule change could mean more direct listings in 2021, which is already shaping up to be a busy year for companies going public. Affirm, Roblox and Poshmark are among the companies who have filed public S-1 registration statements, while companies like Coinbase and UiPath have filed confidentially.

Some notable direct listings in recent years include Spotify and Slack. This year, both Palantir and Asana chose to go public through a direct listing.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

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

“This innovation democratizes investor access and provides companies with another path to go public,” she tweeted.

Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/sec-approves-nyse-direct-listing-proposal/

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Curate Brings In $1.25M Seed For Small Business Sales, Operations Platform

The company’s platform provides back office functions so that small businesses can focus on building clientele and maximizing profits.

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After a year of helping small businesses navigate sales and operations during the global pandemic, Curate has raised a $1.25 million seed to continue developing its modern sales and operations platform for florists, caterers and other creative businesses.

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Ryan O’Neil and his wife founded the St. Louis-based company in 2013 after previously owning a wedding and event floral business together. A year in, and their event company was losing customers because it was taking too long for O’Neil’s wife to get proposals back due to the time she put into researching all of the event components and their costs.

“Sitting at the kitchen table, we realized that all of these spreadsheets and lists should be talking to each other,” he said. “We started building a tool for ours and other florist businesses, but then started having catering companies ask us for software.”

Curate’s platform enables businesses to create proposals, process payments, manage supply chains, and maintain communication with customers and suppliers so owners can spend more time on their business. It also has workflow integrations with popular tools such as Square, QuickBooks and Stripe.

The seed round was led by OCA Ventures, which was joined by Jim McKelvey, Cultivation Capital and Stout Street Capital. Prior to this investment, Curate was largely bootstrapped with a small seed round, O’Neil said.

“Coming out of COVID, there were some important opportunities we knew we had to jump on, and we knew if we were going to raise a Series A, we needed all of the pieces in order,” he added. “We ended up finding great partners, like OCA.”

O’Neil intends to use the new funding on technology development, to grow and provide new features and functionalities, especially for catering companies, as well as for a more robust customer relationship management platform for florists.

Tamim Abdul Majid, general partner at OCA Ventures, said he was introduced to O’Neil by another entrepreneur in St. Louis. The firm was looking for solid vertical SaaS solutions and was impressed with how well O’Neil had coordinated Curate’s growth.

“Ryan is the kind of customer-driven CEO that we like,” Abdul Majid said in an interview. “His numbers are really good, he has good economics and churn rates — the right kind of thing you want to see in a SaaS play. In addition, Ryan’s customers are some of the best we have had in terms of fans, who are saying ‘you can’t take this service away from me.’”

Meanwhile, O’Neil said Curate experienced “explosive demand” over the past year, with April 2021 revenue up 700 percent over the year prior. As such, he also expects to double his employee headcount to 32 people and is hiring in infrastructure and product development.

During the global pandemic, the company was working with customers to cancel events and solve supply chain issues. Within six weeks, Curate had also built a brand-new product for customers to see what their workflow would look like for one product versus another. It even hired a full-time employee to answer Paycheck Protection Program questions and help companies apply, O’Neil said.

Next up, the company will round out key roles within the leadership team and work on product development.

“As we look forward, we will be restructuring the application so it is faster and stronger,” O’Neil added. “One of the key things that showed up this year was that we can jump verticals. We are seeing dynamic growth with caterers, but also have landscapers, interior designers and creative small businesses, and we want to be the sales and operations center for all businesses.”

Illustration: iStock

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

Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/curate-brings-in-1-25m-seed-for-small-business-sales-operations-platform/

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Macrometa Locks Down $20M To Be The Amazon Prime Of Edge Computing

Palo Alto, California-based edge compute company Macrometa closed a $20 million Series A less than eight months after announcing its $7 million seed funding.

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Palo Alto, California-based edge compute company Macrometa closed a $20 million Series A less than eight months after announcing its $7 million seed funding.

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The round was led by Pelion Venture Partners, with participation from existing investors

DNX Ventures, Benhamou Global Ventures (BGV), Partech Partners, Fusion Fund, Sway Ventures and Shasta Ventures. Founded in 2017, the company has raised $29 million to date.

Macrometa allows developers to build and run data-heavy cloud applications using real-time information and analytics at the edge — speeding up the process by bringing it closer. Co-founder and CEO Chetan Venkatesh compared what Macrometa does for developers in edge computing to what Amazon Prime did for the retail space.

“Amazon Prime created local caches of local goods,” he said. “We are doing the same thing for data and applications.”

In edge compute terms, that means getting developers the data they need faster and in real-time.

“We are big data meets fast data,” he added.

Fast growth

The 62-person company began last year with a few hundreds-of-thousands of dollars in revenue, but by the end of the year saw several millions of dollars in sales, Venkatesh said. It was then he started to think about raising a fresh Series A to help scale up the company.

Chris Cooper, general partner of Pelion, already had expressed interest in leading such a series and jumped at the chance to invest in another infrastructure and cloud-related company — having prior investments in companies like Cloudflare, Red Hat and Riverbed.

“To me, this smelled like and sounded like the thing that helped build our firm,” he said.

Venkatesh said the company will use the money to continue to build its solution and go-to-market strategy. The company expects to grow revenue 3x to 4x this year, and add to its customer base that already includes about a half dozen large enterprises, he said.

Using other forecasts as guidelines, Macrometa estimates the market for data services in the cloud to be about $50 billion. However, many solutions, such as those offered by SAP, Oracle, AWS and Google, are cloud-centric, not edge-native, Venkatesh said.

That difference could help the company dominate an edge compute market just coming into focus, he added.

Cooper said there are aspects of Macrometa that remind him of Cloudflare early on.

“We didn’t know what Cloudflare could truly be back then,” he said “But these are companies that change the way we interact with data.”

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias.

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

Macrometa allows developers to build and run data-heavy cloud applications using real-time information and analytics at the edge — speeding up the process by bringing it closer. Co-founder and CEO Chetan Venkatesh compared what Macrometa does for developers in edge computing to what Amazon Prime did for the retail space.

Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/macrometa-locks-down-20m-to-be-the-amazon-prime-of-edge-computing/

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Inside Didi’s Massive IPO Filing

Backed by investors including SoftBank and Toyota, Didi last raised venture financing with a $500 million round led by SoftBank in May 2020, per Crunchbase.

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Chinese ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing has filed to go public in the United States.

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Didi is more or less the Uber of China. In fact, the company bought Uber’s operations in China back in 2016. And now it’s looking to go public in a deal that could value it at more than $70 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Backed by investors including SoftBank and Toyota, Didi last raised venture financing with a $500 million round led by SoftBank in May 2020, per Crunchbase. It also raised $1.5 billion in debt financing in April 2021.

SoftBank, Uber and Tencent are among the largest shareholders in the company, which is based in Beijing. Uber became a stakeholder in the company after selling its Chinese operations to Didi.

Didi operates in 15 countries and has 493 million annual active users, along with 15 million annual active drivers, according to its F-1. The company reported having 41 million average daily transactions on its platform.

In terms of numbers, the company reported $21.6 billion in revenue last year. Although that figure is down from the nearly $24.2 billion in revenue the company generated in 2019, it’s nothing to scoff at and can likely be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic. Its losses came out to about $2.1 billion in 2020, up from about $1.25 billion in 2019. The company isn’t profitable, and has had losses every fiscal year since it was founded in 2012.

Didi detailed how the pandemic affected its business, reporting that operations rebounded in the second half of 2020.

“The demand for our mobility offerings, as well as the supply of drivers, decreases drastically under such conditions. Our Core Platform GTV fell by 32.8% in the first quarter of 2020 as compared to the first quarter of 2019, and then by 16.0% in the second quarter of 2020 as compared to the second quarter of 2019,” the company wrote in its filing. “Our businesses resumed growth in the second half of 2020, which moderated the impact on a year-on-year basis.”

Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and J.P. Morgan are among the underwriters for the IPO.

The company applied to list on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker DIDI.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

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

Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/ride-hailing-giant-didi-chuxing-files-for-us-ipo/

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