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Turning Talents Into Tender: West Tenth Bags $1.5M For Women’s Digital Marketplace

The company helping women turn nontraditional talents into flexible businesses run from home.

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The global pandemic changed the way women thought about their careers, with many choosing to leave their jobs in order to stay home and care for family members.

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West Tenth, a digital marketplace that is helping women turn nontraditional talents into flexible businesses run from home, closed $1.5 million in seed funding led by Better Ventures. Joining the firm was Stand Together Ventures Lab, Kapital Partners, The Community Fund, Backstage Capital, Wedbush Ventures and Gaingels. The funding gives West Tenth $1.75 million in total funding, according to Lyn Johnson, co-founder and CEO.

Johnson and Sara Sparhawk founded the Los Angeles-based company in 2019 after recognizing that many women turn to home-based businesses if traditional employment does not work out.

“We are supportive of women leaving the workforce, but terrible at supporting them on the way back in,” Johnson said. “As a result, women are turning to micro-entrepreneurship. However, it is hard to see all of those microbusinesses. Many are not on Google or Yelp and have to get word of mouth or be on some sort of social media.”

Prior to the pandemic, 28 million women in the United States did not participate in the workforce, Johnson told Crunchbase News. It is estimated that approximately 2.4 million women exited the workforce over the past year, compared with 1.8 million men, according to an NBC News report.

West Tenth app example

West Tenth’s app enables women to monetize their domestic talents, such as baking, photography or home organization, and then connects them with people in their communities who would like to purchase their products or services.

It is free to have a storefront on the app and people can purchase from the platform, with West Tenth collecting a portion of the purchases, Johnson said.

By Sparhawk’s count, there are more than 9 million home-based businesses, so the company will be using the new funds to build out its product team to get the marketplace into more hands, providing education and a community. The company is also spearheading a program called “The Foundry by West Tenth” that will have guest speakers and networking events focused on topics relevant to women, Sparhawk said in an interview.

The company’s marketplace started with 20 businesses and has grown to 600. It primarily operates in Southern California and Salt Lake City, and West Tenth is planning to expand into Boise and Phoenix later this year, but is also accepting new home-based businesses every day from women across the U.S.

Meanwhile, Lyndsey Boucherle, principle at Better Ventures, said in a written statement that the firm likes to back founders that are democratizing access to opportunity and prosperity.

“West Tenth provides a platform and community for women entrepreneurs to build their own businesses, at a time when women have left the workforce in record numbers,” Boucherle added. “We are excited to support their mission to enable these women to turn their skills and talents into successful home-based businesses.”

Feature photo of West Tenth co-founders Lyn Johnson and Sara Sparhawk, as well as app inset photo courtesy of the company.
Blogroll illustration: Li-Anne Dias

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

Johnson and Sara Sparhawk founded the Los Angeles-based company in 2019 after recognizing that many women turn to home-based businesses if traditional employment does not work out.

Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/turning-talents-into-tender-west-tenth-bags-1-5m-for-womens-digital-marketplace/

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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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Card Issuer Marqeta Valued At More Than $17B in Nasdaq Debut

Chief Marketing Officer Vidya Peters tells Crunchbase News that the IPO “has been a wonderful validation of the modern card issuing industry.”

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Shares of Marqeta, an Oakland-based modern card issuing platform, popped on the first day of trading Wednesday, closing at $30.52 per share, up 13 percent from opening price of $27. Marqeta is listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol MQ.

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Marqeta now has a market value of $17.3 billion, according to Yahoo, which is based on 586 million of outstanding shares.

The company filed in May to go public via an initial public offering. Since its inception in 2010 by Jason Gardner, Marqeta has raised a total of $528 million in known venture capital, according to Crunchbase data. Its last disclosed round in May 2020 valued the company at $4.3 billion.

Vidya Peters, chief marketing officer for Marqeta, told Crunchbase News that the IPO “has been a wonderful validation of the modern card issuing industry and what we have done over the last decade.”

She went on to say that there is a “massive $74 trillion market opportunity ahead of us, which provides an endless runway.”

And, as a payments infrastructure company, being publicly traded enables Marqeta to be transparent on its financial health to stakeholders and customers.

“It also provides a massive arsenal to accelerate our product roadmap and fuel our global expansion,” Peters added. “We are already in 36 countries and now we can accelerate even faster.”

To complement prepaid and debit card offerings, in the past year Marqeta added credit, which Peters touted as being the first company to offer all three.

She also believes this is just the start for what Marqeta can enable with innovative offerings, such as open APIs so that developers can build their own card-issuing products.

“Marqeta is just scratching the surface with cards,” Peters added. “Imagine being able to have your check deposited onto your card, buy now, pay later, peer-to-peer payments and even monetize your cryptocurrency. The possibilities are endless, and in our next chapter we are in a position to unlock all of that with our card types.”

Among the S-1 statement disclosures, Marqeta touts customers, such as Affirm, DoorDash, Instacart, Klarna and Square, which it reported was its largest customer, accounting for 70 percent of its net revenue in 2020.

It reported $350 million in fourth-quarter 2020 annualized net revenue, operates in 36 countries, and has issued more than 320 million debit, credit and prepaid cards to date.

The company reported $107.9 million in revenue for the first quarter ended March 30, 2021, more than double from the same three-month period in 2020. It narrowed its net loss to $12.8 million during the quarter from $14.5 million last year.

Prominent backers include 83North II, Coatue, ICONIQ Capital, Granite Ventures and Discover Financial Services, according to its filings. With the exception of Discover, all of the remaining entities led investments into the company, according to Crunchbase data.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

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

The company filed in May to go public via an initial public offering. Since its inception in 2010 by Jason Gardner, Marqeta has raised a total of $528 million in known venture capital, according to Crunchbase data. Its last disclosed round in May 2020 valued the company at $4.3 billion.

Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/card-issuer-marqeta-begins-trading/

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ID Verification Company Clear Files To Go Public As Travel Picks Up

If you’ve walked through security at a major airport in the United States, you’ve likely seen signage for Clear, which allows enrolled members to pass through a security checkpoint quickly by scanning their eyes and face.

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Clear, the company known for using biometric data to verify identities, has filed to go public.

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If you’ve walked through security at a major airport in the United States, you’ve likely seen signage for Clear, which allows enrolled members to pass through a security checkpoint quickly by scanning their eyes and face.

While it’s perhaps best known for its airport usage (investors in the company include United Airlines and Delta Air Lines), Clear is also used for identity verification and security at live events. The New York-based company reported having 5.6 million cumulative enrollments. Clear is available in 38 airport locations and works with 26 sports and entertainment partners, according to the company.

Among the largest stockholders in the company are Delta Air Lines, General Atlantic, and T. Rowe Price.

Clear is heavily reliant on travel and live events, both of which were essentially put on pause during the COVID-19 pandemic. But even though travel and live events took a hit, Clear still grew its memberships and revenue, and brought down its losses, according to its S-1.

The company reported nearly $230.8 million in revenue last year, up 20 percent from $192.3 million in 2019. Though the company’s total bookings declined 10.6 percent from 2019 to 2020, its net losses shrunk down from $54.2 million in 2019 to $9.3 million in 2020.

The company acknowledged in the “Risk Factors” section that the pandemic limited its growth in airports, the entertainment industry, and events.

“We experienced a decrease in enrollments for our airport service and a decrease in membership renewals,” the company wrote. “In fiscal year 2020, our Annual CLEAR Plus Net Member Retention declined to 78.8% (compared to 86.2% in fiscal year 2019). We expect that COVID-19 will continue to adversely impact our airport enrollments and business in 2021 and possibly beyond.”

Clear also acknowledged that its performance is dependent on the strength of the travel industry, since it “derived substantially all of our historical revenue from members who enroll in CLEAR Plus, which includes our Registered Traveler Program service at U.S. airports, and one of our growth strategies is to continue expanding in our domestic aviation network.”

Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan are among the underwriters for the IPO. The company intends to list on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker YOU.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

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

Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/id-verification-company-clear-files-to-go-public-as-travel-picks-up/

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