Connect with us

Techcrunch

This Week in Apps: Apple scolds adtech, Facebook hit with antitrust suits, Twitter buys Squad – TechCrunch

Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the weekly TechCrunch series that recaps the latest in mobile OS news, mobile applications and the overall app economy. The app industry is as hot as ever, with a record 204 billion downloads and $120 billion in global consumer spend in 2019. Not including third-party Chinese app stores, iOS and Android […]

Published

on

Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the weekly TechCrunch series that recaps the latest in mobile OS news, mobile applications and the overall app economy.

The app industry is as hot as ever, with a record 204 billion downloads and $120 billion in global consumer spend in 2019. Not including third-party Chinese app stores, iOS and Android users downloaded 130 billion apps in 2020. Consumer spend also hit a record $112 billion across iOS and Android alone. In 2019, people spent three hours and 40 minutes per day using apps, rivaling TV. Due to COVID-19, time spent in apps jumped 25% year-over-year on Android.

Apps aren’t just a way to pass idle hours — they’re also a big business. In 2019, mobile-first companies had a combined $544 billion valuation, 6.5x higher than those without a mobile focus.

Apple defends its consumer privacy moves

Image Credits: Apple

Apple SVP Craig Federighi took aim at the adtech industry in a speech to European lawmakers this week, where he downplayed and dismissed the industry backlash against the forthcoming app tracking changes as “outlandish” and even “false.” He said that online tracking is privacy’s biggest challenge and that Apple’s forthcoming App Tracking Transparency (ATT) is the front-line of defense.

“The mass centralization of data puts privacy at risk — no matter who’s collecting it and what their intentions might be,” Federighi said, reiterating that Apple aimed to have as little data on its customers as possible.

This has been the company’s line to date, and it’s not necessarily the whole truth. Apple has so far characterized its decision to allow consumers to opt-out of being tracked as one that’s solely focused on consumer privacy. It positions Apple as consumers’ savior and the only one fighting for our privacy. But the changes are also an example of Apple leveraging its platform power, potentially in an anticompetitive way, to give itself a seat at the table of a multi-billion-dollar market today dominated by its competitors Google and Facebook.

In this case, Apple is inserting itself in the world of mobile advertising by forcing a shift from IDFA to its own SKAdNetwork, which limits the individualized data advertisers can access. This is good for consumers who don’t want to be targeted and tracked just because they’re using an app. Publishers, however, have argued they won’t be able to charge as much for ads where users opted out of tracking. This could have a snowball effect of hurting ad-supported businesses beyond the tech giants like Facebook.

Meanwhile, Apple does get to collect a lot of consumer data which it uses to personalize ads. Its own App Store and Apple News apps personalize ads unless consumers opt out in their iPhone’s Settings (and not through a scary pop-up warning like third-party apps have to display). Apple says what it does in terms of personalization doesn’t count as “tracking” because it doesn’t share the data with others or follow customers around websites and apps.

But as Apple moves into its own services businesses, the amount of data that can be used to personalize its own ads grows. Today, Apple’s ad targeting system includes users in segments based on the music, books, TV shows and apps they download, as well as in-app purchases and subscriptions. It also tracks users as they search the app search with keywords and tap to read App Store stories, and tracks location if permission has been granted to Apple News or the App Store.

In related news, Facebook-owned WhatsApp criticized Apple’s forthcoming privacy label requirements this week, saying that the labels are anti-competitive because they won’t apply to first-party apps, like iMessage, that come pre-installed on iPhones. WhatsApp also argued that they don’t allow companies to share enough details about the measures they’re taking to protect consumer data.

Apple responded by saying labels for its own apps will be on its website for those apps not distributed through the App Store.

Facebook antitrust lawsuits

Image Credits: TechCrunch

Forty-eight attorneys general across 46 states, the territory of Guam and the District of Columbia have filed an antitrust lawsuit that accuses Facebook of suppressing its competition through monopolistic business practices. The states are asking the court to restrain Facebook from making further acquisitions in excess of $10 million without notifying the plaintiffs, and is asking for additional relief, including “the divestiture or restructuring of illegally acquired companies, or current Facebook assets or business lines.”

The FTC also voted to pursue its own antitrust suit against Facebook at the federal level.

While the lawsuits are much larger than an app story alone, they do have the potential to impact the app ecosystem if the plaintiffs prevail, as they ask for the acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp, and maybe others, to be retroactively judged to be illegal and divested. This would allow for increased competition among the social app market, where Facebook leverages its power to maintain its dominant position. For instance, Facebook just integrated its messaging platform with Instagram’s, meaning users can now message friends across two of the largest social platforms via just one app — either Messenger or Instagram. WhatsApp could be integrated in the future, as well.

Twitter buys Squad

Image Credits: Twitter

Twitter on Friday announced the acquisition of the screen-sharing social app Squad. The startup’s co-founders, CEO Esther Crawford and CTO Ethan Sutin, along with the rest of Squad’s team will be joining Twitter’s design, engineering and product departments. The Squad app, which had heavily relied on Snap’s Snap Kit developer tools, will shut down.

Twitter may be shuttering Periscope as well, code reveals, which leaves some wondering what Twitter’s plans are in terms of streamlining its services. The company has more recently been experimenting with its own version of Stories, aka Fleets, and an audio-based networking product for group conversations.

Platforms: Apple

  • Reminder: Apple’s App Store Holiday shutdown is coming. The App Store will not accept new apps and app updates from December 23-27 (Pacific Time) for its annual holiday break.
  • Reminder: App privacy questions requirement starts December 8.
  • The iOS 14.3 Release Candidate arrives, adding support for the new ProRAW photo format on iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max, a new Apple TV+ tab that makes it easier to find Apple’s Originals, readies the platform for Fitness+, and makes a change to bypass launching the Shortcuts app when using custom app icons, among other things.
  • Apple Watch Family Setup arrives in Canada on December 14.
  • Apple Fitness+ launches December 14.

Platforms: Google

Image Credits: Google

  • Google is working on an ambitious project to improve GPS accuracy in apps. In dense urban areas, it’s often hard to get an accurate GPS reading — leading to issues like wrong-side-of-the-street and even wrong-city-block errors, which greatly impact ridesharing and navigation apps. Google’s new solution uses 3D mapping-aided corrections, comprised of 3D building models, raw GPS measurements and machine learning. Its Pixel Feature Drop in December adds these corrections to Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a (5G), which Google says will reduce wrong-side-of-street occurrences by approximately 75%. Other Android phones (Android 8+) have version 1 implemented in the FLP (Fused Location Provider API), which reduces those occurrences by around 50%. Version 2 will be available to the entire Android ecosystem (Android 8 or later) in early 2021.
  • Google Play Pass arrives in 7 new countries, including key Latin American markets. The subscription-based apps and games service came to Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Russia and Saudi Arabia. This brings the total number of markets where the service is live to 42.
  • Google’s Pixel Feature Drop adds Adaptive Sound, Hold for Me (where Google Assistant waits on hold for you), Extreme Battery Saver Mode, screen sharing on Duo calls and more.

Gaming

Image Credits: Microsoft

  • Microsoft confirms its Xbox cloud gaming service will launch on iOS in 2021. However, the company will route around the App Store rules by bringing the service to the iPhone and iPad in a web browser. This cuts Apple out of any revenues the game service can generate. Amazon’s Luna and Google’s Stadia are also planning to use the web browser on iOS to avoid the App Store.
  • Google’s cloud gaming service Stadia is rolling out YouTube live streaming, allowing gamers to share their gameplay to YouTube.
  • Apple asks for Epic Games’ Fortnite lawsuit in Australia to be thrown out because Epic had promised to settle disputes and litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Government and policy

  • The U.S. National Weather Service just saw a record year of weather-related disasters like the busiest Atlantic hurricane season on record and California’s wildfires. Now the agency says it’s running out of Internet bandwidth and will need to throttle the amount of data its clients and users can access. The move would impact weather consumers who get their weather from apps on their smartphones, as much of the forecasts and alerts they receive are based on Weather Service output and data.
  • California’s CA Notify contact-tracing app for COVID-19 now reaches the full state. The app uses Apple and Google’s exposure notification API.
  • Cydia files anti-competition lawsuit against Apple. Third-party App Store maker Cydia, home to jailbreak apps that often added functionality beyond what Apple permitted through its terms, is suing Apple for using anticompetitive means to destroy its rival app store. There are good examples of how denying third-party app stores a home on iOS may have been anticompetitive, but Cydia’s lawsuit may not be it. The store in its early days distributed pirated apps, not just those that fell outside Apple’s rules.

Augmented reality

Image Credits: Instagram

  • Instagram partnered with museums in the U.S. and France, including the Smithsonian, Palace of Versailles and Le Grand Palais, to bring AR versions of their exhibits to its camera’s AR effects lineup.
  • Snap partnered with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on a multi-year augmented reality project, “LACMA x Snapchat: Monumental Perspectives.” The initiative will pair local artists chosen by the museum to create site-specific monuments and murals that can be viewed in AR in the Snapchat app.

E-commerce & food delivery

Image Credits: Instagram

  • Instagram launches shopping in Reels, its TikTok rival. The feature is now one of many ways users can shop via video, including through video in Feed, Stories, Live and IGTV. Facebook Pay powers checkout for many sellers, allowing Instagram to generate revenue through transaction fees.
  • WhatsApp adds carts to make shopping easier. Facebook-owned WhatsApp added a new shopping feature that lets consumers buy multiple items from a business, and makes it easier for sellers to track orders.
  • DoorDash shares popped 92% in their trading debut to reach as high as $195.50 after raising $3.37 billion during its IPO.
  • E-commerce app Wish to price IPO between $22-$24 per share at up to $14 billion valuation.

Fintech

  • Robinhood is losing thousands of day traders to China-owned Webull, reports Bloomberg. Founded by Alibaba alum Wang Anquan, Webull has increased brokerage clients by 10x in 2020 to reach more than 2 million by offering free stock trades. Robinhood has 13 million, for comparison. Webull is expected to raise a round from private U.S. investors and expand into roboadvisor services.

Travel

Image credits: Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for WIRED25

  • Vacation rental app Airbnb began trading this week on public markets. After raising its range, the company opened at $146 per share on Thursday, more than double its $68 IPO price and valuing the company at over $100 billion. The stock closed at nearly $145.
  • China’s Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) announced it was banning 105 mobile apps for violating Chinese regulations. The majority of the apps were made by Chinese developers but the U.S.-based travel booking and review site Tripadvisor was also on the ban list, causing its shares to drop. Tripadvisor works in partnership with Nasdaq-listed Chinese travel firm Trip.com (previously called Ctrip).

Social & Photos

Image Credits: Twitter

  • Snap and Twitter worked together to make it possible for users to post their tweets to Snapchat through a native integration instead of screenshots. When Twitter users who are logged into Snapchat now share a tweet using the Snapchat icon from the share sheet in Twitter, they’ll be able to share, react or comment on the post, then send it to a Snapchat friend or post to their Story. The feature is live on iOS with Android in the works.
  • Triller says it can reach 250 million users through partnerships with Samsung and others. The app, which hosted a Pay Per View boxing match between Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. this year, is planning more events for 2021, including a concert with K-pop group Blackpink.
  • A second federal judge rules against the Trump administration’s TikTok ban, saying the government “likely exceeded IEEPA’s [the International Emergency Economic Powers Act] express limitations as part of an agency action that was arbitrary and capricious.”
  • Instagram partnered for the first time with lyrics site Genius on “Lyric Reels,” a sort of variation of Spotify’s “Behind the Lyrics” feature. The addition will see artists break down their songs’ lyrics and meanings. Participants include Megan Thee Stallion​, ​24kGoldn and ​Tate McRae.
  • Tinder makes it easier to report bad actors who use “unmatch” to hide from victims. Rival Bumble had just done the same. But in Tinder’s implementation, it’s only making it more obvious how to access its help documentation while Bumble had included a button for reporting users who had already unmatched you.
  • Google’s Photos can now sync your “Liked” images with Apple’s Photos service on iOS.

Streaming & entertainment

  • Netflix’s StreamFest, a free trial weekend in India, boosted installs by 200% week-over-week, reaching approximately 3.6 million global installs, reports Sensor Tower.
  • Stitcher, recently acquired by SiriusXM, revamped its app for the first time in years. The new version offers a dedicated “My Podcasts” tab, better search filters, result sorting, user-curated groups of shows and more.
  • HBO Max is fastest-growing SVOD in U.S. According to Apptopia, the app hit a lifetime high for daily downloads three days after its debut, at 225,000. Since its May launch, DAUs have grown 242%.
  • Spotify had to reset an undisclosed number of user passwords after a software vulnerability exposed private account information to its business partners, including things like “email address, your preferred display name, password, gender, and date of birth.”

Health & fitness

  • Nike Run Club app adds home screen widgets for iOS 14+. The widgets can show your Run Level, post-run progress and make it easier to start your next run.

Productivity

  • Google Drive users on iOS and Android will be able to see and re-run desktop and mobile searches; view and select intelligent selections as they type, including suggestions for people, past searches, keywords and recently accessed files.

Image Credits: Calm

  • Meditation app Calm raises $75 million more at $2 billion valuation, in a round led by prior investor Lightspeed Venture Partners.
  • Twitter buys video app Squad. (see above)
  • AI financial assistant Cleo raises $44 million Series B, led by EQT Ventures. The app and chatbot aimed at Gen Z connects to bank accounts to give proactive advice and timely nudges.
  • Mexican challenger banking app albo raises $45 million to expand into lending and insurance products.
  • Sweden’s MTG acquires mobile racing game studio Hutch Games, based in London, for up to $375 million. The studio produces titles like Rebel Racing, F1 Manager and Top Drives.
  • Seattle’s Freespira raises $10 million for its therapeutic device for panic attacks PTSD that worked with a connected app and proprietary software.
  • Banking app for teens GoHenry raises $40 million to build out its business in the U.S. and U.K.
  • Retail loyalty app Fetch Rewards raises $80 million Series C led by Iconiq Growth. The app offers rewards to users who scan their receipts after shopping.
  • Pear Therapeutics raises $80 million in a round led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2. The company makes prescription apps aimed at treating substance use disorders, schizophrenia and multiple sclerosis. The FDA has already approved its treatments for substance abuse, opioid use and insomnia.
  • Reface raises $5.5 million in seed funding led by a16z for its viral face-swapping video app.

Google Health Studies

Image Credits: Google

Google takes on Apple’s Research app with an alternative for Android users. The new Google Health Studies app will work in partnership with leading research institutions, which will connect with study participants through the app. The first study is timely, as it focuses on respiratory illnesses, including the flu and COVID-19. The study will use federated learning and analytics — a privacy technology that keeps a person’s data stored on the device.

Google Look to Speak

Google launched an accessibility-focused app, Look to Speak, that lets people use their eyes to choose pre-written phrases for their phone to say out loud. To use the app, people have to look left, right or up to select what they want to say from the phrase list and navigate the app. Look to Speak can also be personalized by letting users edit the words and phrases they want to say and adjust the gaze settings to their needs.

Retro Widget

Image Credits: Retro Widget 2

Gaming via a home screen widget? The fun Retro Widget 2 ($1.99) has been updated to bring the classic Snake II game from old Nokia handsets to the iPhone’s home screen. The app includes five mazes and nine levels and lets you play Snake II using the 1, 3, 7 and 9 keys.

Barter

Barter is an app designed for app developers alone. From the maker of the HomePass and HomeCam apps, Barter offers a way for app developers to view their app sales in a widget on iOS 14+ devices. The app includes no analytics or tracking beyond what Apple builds in to protect developer data. In the future, Pearce says he’ll expand the app to be able to show things like downloaded units, by product and more. The current version was an MVP to see if Apple would allow the app to pass App Review. Since it passed, it will soon be upgraded.

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2020/12/12/this-week-in-apps-apple-scolds-adtech-facebook-hit-with-antitrust-suits-twitter-buys-squad/

this-week-in-apps:-apple-scolds-adtech,-facebook-hit-with-antitrust-suits,-twitter-buys-squad-–-techcrunch

Techcrunch

Tiger Global in talks to back BharatPe at $2.5 billion valuation – TechCrunch

Indian fintech startup BharatPe is in advanced stages of talks to raise about $250 million in a new financing round led by Tiger Global, two sources familiar with the matter told TechCrunch. The new round, a Series E, is valuing the three-year-old New Delhi-headquartered firm at a pre-money valuation of $2.5 billion, sources said, requesting […]

Published

on

Indian fintech startup BharatPe is in advanced stages of talks to raise about $250 million in a new financing round led by Tiger Global, two sources familiar with the matter told TechCrunch.

The new round, a Series E, is valuing the three-year-old New Delhi-headquartered firm at a pre-money valuation of $2.5 billion, sources said, requesting anonymity as the matter is private. The round hasn’t closed, so terms may change, sources cautioned.

BharatPe, which prior to the new round had raised about $233 million in equity and $35 million in debt, was valued at about $900 million in its Series D round in February this year, and $425 million last year.

Indian news outlet the CapTable first reported about the talks between Tiger Global and BharatPe and said the round would value the startup at over $2 billion. BharatPe declined to comment.

BharatPe operates an eponymous service to help offline merchants accept digital payments and secure working capital. Even as India has already emerged as the second-largest internet market, with more than 600 million users, much of the country remains offline.

Among those outside of the reach of the internet are merchants running small businesses, such as roadside tea stalls and neighborhood stores. To make these merchants comfortable with accepting digital payments, BharatPe relies on QR codes and point of sale machines that support government-backed UPI payments infrastructure.

The startup, which serves more than 6 million merchants, said it had deployed over 50,000 PoS machines by November of last year, and enables monthly transactions worth more than $123 million. It does not charge merchants for universal QR code access, but is looking to make money by lending. Grover said the startup’s lending business grew by 10x in 2020.

On Friday, India’s central bank RBI granted an in-principle licence to Centrum Financial Services to set up a small finance bank. Centrum Financial Services has collaborated with BharatPe for the license, according to local media.

This is a big one! @bharatpeindia and Centrum at the final leg of a its Small Finance Bank license after receiving its ‘in-principle’ license.

First fintech in the offing to get a banking license in India! Changing face of fintech!https://t.co/d84GEM4NzH

— Osborne Saldanha (@os7borne) June 18, 2021

The startup is additionally also working to launch two new B2C apps, one of which will enable credit on QR UPI, another source familiar with the matter told TechCrunch. The new products will launch as soon as this month, the source said.

BharatPe operates an eponymous service to help offline merchants accept digital payments and secure working capital. Even as India has already emerged as the second-largest internet market, with more than 600 million users, much of the country remains offline.

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/06/18/tiger-global-in-talks-to-back-bharatpe-at-2-5-billion-valuation/

tiger-global-in-talks-to-back-bharatpe-at-$2.5-billion-valuation-–-techcrunch

Continue Reading

Techcrunch

Golden Gate Ventures forecasts a record number of exits in Southeast Asia – TechCrunch

Despite the pandemic’s economic impact, Southeast Asia’s startup ecosystem has proven to be very resilient. In fact, a new report from investment firm Golden Gate Ventures predicts a record number of exits will happen in the region over the next couple of years, thanks to factors like a maturing ecosystem, more secondary buyers and the […]

Published

on

Despite the pandemic’s economic impact, Southeast Asia’s startup ecosystem has proven to be very resilient. In fact, a new report from investment firm Golden Gate Ventures predicts a record number of exits will happen in the region over the next couple of years, thanks to factors like a maturing ecosystem, more secondary buyers and the emergence of SPACs.

The firm’s comprehensive “Southeast Asia Exit Landscape Report 2.0,” is a followup to a previous report published in 2019.

Here are some highlights from the latest report, along with additional insight from Golden Gate Ventures partner Michael Lints, its lead author. For both reports, Golden Gate Ventures partnered with business school INSEAD to survey general and limited partners in the region. It also draws on Golden Gate Ventures’ proprietary database, which dates back to 2012 and tracks information like the time between funding rounds and fundraising success rates, as well as public databases, reports and expert commentary from the New York Stock Exchange.

The overall exit landscape

Despite the pandemic’s economic impact, tech proved to be resilient globally (for example, there were a number of initial public offers in the United States at record prices). While Southeast Asia’s tech ecosystem is relatively younger, Lints told TechCrunch its resiliency was driven by companies founded years ago that suddenly saw an increase in demand for their services because of the pandemic.

“We’ve built infrastructure over the past eight to nine years, when it comes to e-commerce, logistics, some on the healthcare side as well, and when the pandemic happened, people were suddenly stuck at home,” Lints said. He added “If you look at the pickup for most of the e-commerce companies, they at least doubled their revenue. For last-mile logistics companies, they’ve increased their revenue. There was a lot of pickup on the digital healthcare side as well.”

While tech fared well compare to many other industries, one downside was that the COVID-19 pandemic caused overall global venture capital investment to decline. Southeast Asia’s startup ecosystem was not immune, and had less exits, but it still did relatively well, with $8.2 billion invested in 2020, according to a report by Cento Ventures and Tech In Asia.

It’s important to note that more than half of that funding was raised in very large rounds by unicorns like Grab, Go-jek and Traveloka, but Cento Ventures found there was also an increase in investments between $50 million to $100 million for other startups. These are usually Series B and C rounds, which Golden Gate Ventures says creates a strong pipeline for potential exits over the next three to four years.

“If you go back even just two years, the amount of B rounds that are happening now, I’ve never seen that number before. It’s a definite increase,” said Lints.

Investments are also continuing to flow into Southeast Asia. According to the report, there was $6 billion of funding in just the first quarter of 2021 (based on data from DealStreet Asia, PWC and Genesis Ventures), making it the strongest start to a year in the region’s history.

This bodes well for the possibility of mergers and acquisitions in 2021. The report found that there were less exits in 2019 and 2020 than in 2018, but not just because of the pandemic—many startups wanted to remain venture-backed for longer. Golden Gate Ventures expects M&A activity will pick up again. In 2021, it forecasts acquisition deals worth more than $30 million, large mergers and an increase in SPACs.

What’s in the pipeline

Golden Gate Ventures predicts that a total of 468 startup exits will happen between 2020 and 2022, compared to the 412 forecast in the previous edition of its report. This is due to more late-stage private equity investors, including secondary buyers, SPACs and a welcoming public market.

Lints said secondary buyers will include a mix of family offices, conglomerates and venture funds that want a higher allocation in a company or to pre-empt a forthcoming round.

“What I think is interesting is some of the later-stage funds, so private equity funds, and not only ones that are in Southeast Asia, but even foreign ones, are now looking to get a position in companies that they assume will be able to raise a Series D or Series E over the next few years. That’s something I haven’t seen before, it’s relatively new in the market,” he added.

Golden Gate Ventures expects M&A activity to continue being the main way Southeast Asian startups exit, potentially accounting for up to 80% of deals, followed by secondary sales (15%) and IPOs (5%).

In fact, there was a record number of M&A deals in 2020, despite the pandemic. Golden Gate Ventures estimates that 45 deals happened, especially in e-commerce, fintech, media, adtech and social networking, as larger companies acquired startups to grow their tech stacks.

More companies going public will create a cascading effect through Southeast Asia’s ecosystem. The report forecasts that companies like Gojek and Trax, who have already made several high-profile acquisitions, will continue buying startups if they list publicly and have more liquidity.

Series B and C deals

While there will be more exits, there are also more opportunities for companies to raise larger later-stage rounds to stay private, if they want to—a sign of Southeast Asia’s maturing ecosystem, said Lints.

As the pandemic unfolded in 2020, the number of pre-seed and seed deals fell. On the other hand, the report found that it became quicker for startups to raise Series B or C rounds, or less than 21 months on average.

“If you look at typical exits between 2015 to 2017, you could argue that some of those exits might have been too early because the company was still in a growth trajectory, but there was hardly any follow-on funding for them to expand to a new country, for instance, or build out a new product,” said Lints. “So their only revenue to raise money was to be acquired by a larger company so they could keep building the product.”

“I think now you’re able to raise that Series C round, which allows you to expand the company and stay private, as opposed to having to drive towards an exit,” he added. “I think that shows the maturity of the ecosystem now and, again, it’s a huge advantage because founders have these amazing things they want to build, and now actually have the capital to do so and to really try to compete, and that has definitely been a big change.”

Another good thing is that the increase in later-stage funding does not appear to be creating a pre-seed and seed funding gap. This is partly because early employees from mature companies that have raised massive rounds often branch out and become founders themselves. As they launch startups, they have the benefit of being familiar with how fundraising works and a network. For example, a significant number of alumni from Grab, Gojek and Lazada have gone on to found companies.

“They seem to be raising a lot faster, and I think the second thing that’s happening across the board is we’re seeing more scouts putting really early checks into companies,” said Lints. “My assumption is if you look at the Series A pipeline, which is still pretty long, that has to come from a large number of pre-seed and seed deals.”

Funds want to cash out

Another factor that may drive an increase in exits—especially M&A deals—are funds that have reached the point where they want to cash out. Golden Gate Ventures’ 2019 report forecast that the first batch of institutional venture funds launched in 2010 to 2012 will start reaching the end of their lifecycle in 2020. This means the general partners of these funds are exploring exit opportunities for their portfolios, leading to an increase in secondary and M&A deals.

This in turn will increase the number of secondary markets, which have typically been low in Southeast Asia. The original investors won’t necessarily push for portfolio companies to sell themselves, but instead look at secondary buyers who might be keen on mergers and M&A deals.

“The thing we’ve seen over the last 18 months is there’s been a larger pickup in the secondary markets, where later-stage investors, in some cases family-owned businesses or family offices, are looking to get access to deals that were started eight, nine or 10 years ago. You’ll see the cap tables of these companies change, and that does mean the founders will have different shareholders,” said Lints.

“These are typically for companies that are performing well, where you can foresee that they will be able to fundraise within the next 12 months. For the ones that are in a more difficult position, I think it’s going to be tricky,” he added. “When you have a portfolio of companies as a fund, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can sell all 20 of them, so I think for some founders, the impact will be that they will need to make a decision to continue the business and buy back the shares their investors are holding, or are they going to liquidate the business or look for a trade sale.”

SPAC opportunities

The biggest SPAC news in Southeast Asia was Grab’s announcement it will go public in the United States following a $40 billion SPAC deal. Lints expects more Southeast Asian companies to take the SPAC route when going public. Not only does the process give them more flexibility, but for startups that want to list in the U.S., working with a SPAC can help them.

“My guess is with New York allowing direct listings, I think more and more people will shy away from the traditional IPO route and look at what is the fastest and most flexible way to list on a stock exchange. For Southeast Asia, listing has never been easy, so I think SPACs will definitely open the floodgates,” said Lints.

Barriers not only include regulatory filings, pre-IPO roadshows and high costs, but also “concern whether the international retail investor or public markets actually understand these companies in Southeast Asia,” he added. “If you have a very strong sponsor team that is running the SPAC, they can be super helpful in positioning the company, doing the marketing and getting interest from the market as well.”

Both the Singapore Exchange and Indonesian Stock Exchange are preparing to allow SPACs in an effort to attract more tech listings.

Lints said this will allow companies to consider a dual listing in Southeast Asia and the U.S. for larger returns. “A dual listing would be an amazing option and I think through the avenue of SPACs, that makes a lot of sense.”

While tech fared well compare to many other industries, one downside was that the COVID-19 pandemic caused overall global venture capital investment to decline. Southeast Asia’s startup ecosystem was not immune, and had less exits, but it still did relatively well, with $8.2 billion invested in 2020, according to a report by Cento Ventures and Tech In Asia.

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/06/15/golden-gate-ventures-forecasts-a-record-number-of-exits-in-southeast-asia/

golden-gate-ventures-forecasts-a-record-number-of-exits-in-southeast-asia-–-techcrunch

Continue Reading

Techcrunch

Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin auctions off seat on first human spaceflight for $28M – TechCrunch

Blue Origin has its winning bidder for its first ever human spaceflight, and the winner will pay $28 million for the privilege of flying aboard the company’s debut private astronaut mission. The winning bid came in today during a live auction, which saw 7,600 registered bidders, from 159 countries compete for the spot. This was […]

Published

on

Blue Origin has its winning bidder for its first ever human spaceflight, and the winner will pay $28 million for the privilege of flying aboard the company’s debut private astronaut mission. The winning bid came in today during a live auction, which saw 7,600 registered bidders, from 159 countries compete for the spot.

This was the culmination of Blue Origin’s three part bidding process for the ticket, which included a blind auction first, followed by an open, asynchronous auction with the highest bid posted to the company’s website whenever it changed. This last live auction greatly ramped up the value of the winning bid, which was at just under $5 million prior to the event.

This first seat up for sale went for a lot more than what an actual, commercial spot is likely to cost on Blue Origin’s New Shepard capsule, which flies to suborbital space and only spends a few minutes there before returning to Earth. Estimates put the cost of a typical launch at someone under $1 million, likely closer to $500,000 or so. But this is the first, which is obviously a special distinction, and it’s also a trip that will allow the winning bidder to pretty much literally rub elbows with Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos, who is going to be on the flight as well, along with his brother Mark, and a fourth passenger that Blue Origin says it will be announcing sometime in the coming “weeks,” ahead of the July 20 target flight date.

As for who won the auction, we’ll also have to wait to find that out, since the winner’s identity is also going to be “released in the weeks following” the end of today’s live bidding. And in case you thought that $28 million might represent a big revenue windfall for Blue Origin, which has spent years developing its human spaceflight capability, think again: The company is donating it to its Club for the Future non-profit foundation, which is focused on encouraging kids to pursue careers in STEM in a long-term bid to help Bezos’ larger goals of making humanity a spacefaring civilization.

You can re-watch the entire live bidding portion of the auction via the stream below.

As for who won the auction, we’ll also have to wait to find that out, since the winner’s identity is also going to be “released in the weeks following” the end of today’s live bidding. And in case you thought that $28 million might represent a big revenue windfall for Blue Origin, which has spent years developing its human spaceflight capability, think again: The company is donating it to its Club for the Future non-profit foundation, which is focused on encouraging kids to pursue careers in STEM in a long-term bid to help Bezos’ larger goals of making humanity a spacefaring civilization.

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/06/12/jeff-bezos-blue-origin-auctions-off-seat-on-first-human-spaceflight-for-28m/

jeff-bezos’-blue-origin-auctions-off-seat-on-first-human-spaceflight-for-$28m-–-techcrunch

Continue Reading

Title

CNBC23 mins ago

Explaining the volatile stock and bond market moves this week following the Fed’s update

The Fed unleashed a huge repositioning in markets, as investor reacted to a world where the central bank no longer...

ZDNET3 hours ago

How to build business credit

Business credit is vital for businesses that need to borrow money to grow. Building business credit is not impossible; it...

Blockchain news6 hours ago

Global Financial Indexes Provider MSCI Plans to Launch Crypto Indexes

Global securities index publisher MSCI is considering launching cryptocurrency indexes. Yet, Henry Fernandez, CEO of the MSCI did not disclose...

Business insider17 hours ago

Artificial Organs Market | $ 10.90 billion growth expected during5 | Technavio

NEW YORK, June 18, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The artificial organs market is expected to grow by USD 10.90 billion during...

Crunchbase19 hours ago

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.

Entrepreneur22 hours ago

3 Simple Things You Can Do to Build a Healthy, Thriving Email List

Your list is only as good as the number of real people on it.

Techcrunch1 day ago

Tiger Global in talks to back BharatPe at $2.5 billion valuation – TechCrunch

Indian fintech startup BharatPe is in advanced stages of talks to raise about $250 million in a new financing round...

Reuters1 day ago

Largest Boeing 737 MAX model set for maiden flight -source

Boeing Co (BA.N) was readying the largest member of its 737 MAX family for its maiden flight on Friday, a...

Entrepreneur2 days ago

Free Webinar | June 22: How to Grow & Thrive in an Evolving Business Landscape

SurveyMonkey CEO, Zander Lurie, shares how he's embraced change over his 20-plus year career.

CNBC2 days ago

The Fed moves up its timeline for rate hikes as inflation rises

However, the central bank gave no indication as to when it will begin cutting back on its aggressive bond-buying program.

Review

    Select language

    Trending