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Wirewatt’s $4M Funding Lights Up Solar Project Financing Platform

Wirewatt provides loans to homeowners and small and medium businesses to finance solar, battery and other energy-efficiency improvement projects.

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Clean energy financing platform Wirewatt has raised a $4 million investment from MGM Innova Capital to fund solar projects in Mexico and Latin America.

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The Monterrey, Mexico-based company, founded by brothers Andres Garcia-Galan and Joel Garcia-Galan in 2015, works with a network of more than 1,000 green contractors quoting more than $5 million in projects every month. Wirewatt provides loans to homeowners and small and medium businesses to finance solar, battery and other energy-efficiency improvement projects.

“Right now, with this winter storm, it is more important that we think about that here in Mexico — to be energy independent,” Joel Garcia-Galan, CEO, told Crunchbase News.

Electricity and other utility costs in Mexico remain among the highest in the world, with Mexicans paying, in some cases, nearly 50 percent more for electricity than Americans, driven by reasons, such as low generation capacity and regulatory restrictions. A segment of more than 4.5 million small businesses and homeowners saw an 8.4 percent increase in costs during the global pandemic, according to Garcia-Galan.

Meanwhile, the distributed solar market is poised to grow to $13 billion by 2025, according to banking industry group Asociación de Bancos de México. Though purchasing solar or energy efficiency was expensive for the last five years, solar prices are coming down, making the economics more within reach for that business and homeowner segment, he added.

“Sometimes the end customer, the homeowner or business, cannot pay for the solar project or renovation in cash,” Garcia-Galan said. “The contractor can go to our platform and get a loan in 15 minutes. We pay the contractor as the project goes on, and the customers pay us on a monthly basis.”

Wirewatt has two products: a “buy-now pay-later” 12-month interest free installment product, and an “immediate savings” 10-year lease, which enables most customers to pay for their lease with savings achieved by the solar or energy efficient projects.

The new financing, which brings the company’s total funding raised to date to $5.5 million, is expected to fund more than 1,500 loans and will also accelerate Wirewatt’s efficient refrigeration lending business by providing technical assistance and funding, Garcia-Galan said.

The strategic investment from MGM also places Wirewatt in position to raise an additional $2 million of pre-Series A money to fund its growth, as well as expand into other countries, such as Colombia and Chile, in the next two years, Garcia-Galan said.

Patrick Doyle, senior managing director of MGM Innova Capital, said in an interview that in addition to solar, MGM was attracted to Wirewatt because of its financing of energy-efficiency projects like the leasing of efficient refrigerators to replace old refrigerators in a convenience store or a mini-super market.

“Energy efficiency has been a big growth area in many countries in Latin America,” Doyle said. “We are particularly excited about battery technology. We have been watching Wirewatt for a few years and see their success in building this market.”

Image: iStock

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

“Right now, with this winter storm, it is more important that we think about that here in Mexico — to be energy independent,” Joel Garcia-Galan, CEO, told Crunchbase News.

Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/wirewatts-clean-energy-solar-project-financing/

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The Briefing: (2-26-21)

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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Brandwatch acquired by Cision for $450M

Brighton, UK-based Brandwatch, a provider of online consumer intelligence, with a focus on social media, announced that it will be acquired by Cision, a provider of social media management and marketing tools.

Under terms of the agreement, Chicago-based Cision, a publicly traded company, will pay $450 million for Brandwatch, with the deal expected to close in the second quarter of this year.

Founded in 2005, Brandwatch previously raised at least $64.7 million in known venture funding, per Crunchbase data.

— Joanna Glasner

Bessemer closes on $3.3B across two new funds

Bessemer Venture Partners is the latest longstanding VC firm to close on massive new funds.

The firm announced that it has raised $3.3 billion across two new funds. The first, BVP XI, is a flagship fund that will focus on early-stage companies spanning across enterprise, consumer, healthcare, and frontier technologies. The second, its $825 million Century II fund, is designed for growth-stage companies.

Founded 35 years ago, Bessemer today has a leadership team of 21 partners and over 45 investors, advisors and platform operators, with a presence in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Seattle, Boston, New York, London, Tel Aviv, Bangalore, and Beijing.

— Joanna Glasner

Tech news

Airbnb posts steep loss in first post-IPO earnings report: Airbnb reported a $3.89 billion loss in first quarterly report since its IPO. The company attributed much of the loss to costs stemming from its public offering. Revenue, meanwhile, came in at $859 million for the fourth quarter, down 22 percent year-over-year as the pandemic disrupted demand for travel and accommodations.

— Joanna Glasner

Illustration: Dom Guzman

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

Founded in 2005, Brandwatch previously raised at least $64.7 million in known venture funding, per Crunchbase data.

Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/briefing-2-26-21/

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The Briefing: (2-24-21)

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.

Subscribe to the Crunchbase Daily

Roblox direct listing debut planned for March 10

Roblox, the online game and game creation platform, is back on track for a public market debut, after delaying plans for its public offering last year. The company is expected to make is market debut March 10.

San Mateo, California-based Roblox had originally planned for a traditional public offering, but has opted instead to go public via a direct listing. The decision was motivated in part by concerns that giant first-day pops by companies like Airbnb and DoorDash made it hard to settle on the appropriate initial offering price for shares, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Founded in 2004, Roblox has previously raised at least $856 million in known private funding, per Crunchbase data. Its last private valuation, as of January was reportedly around $29.5 billion.

— Joanna Glasner

Joby Aviation to go public via SPAC

Joby Aviation, a Santa Cruz, California-based company developing electric aircraft, announced plans to go public on the New York Stock Exchange through a merger with a SPAC called Reinvent Technology Partners.

The deal includes $910 million of fully committed funding from multiple institutional investors as well as Uber, a strategic backer. Under terms of the agreement, venture capitalist Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn and a lead director of Reinvent Technology Partners, will join Joby’s board of directors.

Founded in 2009, Joby has previously raised at least $796 million in known funding, per Crunchbase data.

— Joanna Glasner

Funding Rounds

Truvian raises over $105M for blood testing system: San Diego-based Truvian Sciences announced the close of more than $105 million in an oversubscribed Series C financing round led by TYH Ventures, Glen Tullman of 7wireVentures, and Wittington Ventures. The funds will go toward development of Truvian’s automated benchtop blood testing system.

— 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-2-24-21/

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Briefing: Toast Said To Prep IPO, Oscar Health Sets IPO Price Range, 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.

Subscribe to the Crunchbase Daily

Restaurant software unicorn Toast eyes IPO this year

Boston-based Toast, a provider of software for restaurant management, is in talks with underwriters about a potential IPO later this year, according a report in The Wall Street Journal citing unnamed sources.

Founded in 2011, Toast has raised $902 million in venture funding to date, per Crunchbase data, including a $400 million Series F round closed a year ago.

Toast is reportedly seeking a valuation of around $20 billion for its public offering, and has tapped Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan as potential underwriters. In its last funding round a year ago, the company secured a valuation of nearly $5 billion.

— Joanna Glasner

Oscar Health sets IPO price range

Health insurance company Oscar Health intends to offer 31 million shares, priced between $32 and $34 each, to raise as much as $1.05 billion in its initial public offering, according to a regulatory filing on Monday.

Oscar filed its S-1 registration document with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Feb. 5. The company reported more than $488 million in revenue in 2019, up by around 5 percent from about $463 million in 2018.

Its losses also shrunk in that period, from nearly $406 million in 2018 to around $261 million in 2019. The company has approximately 529,000 members across 18 states.

Oscar’s health insurance model includes free virtual care appointments and a program for Medicare-eligible adults.

The company, which was co-founded by Josh Kushner, founder of Thrive Capital, raised more than $1.6 billion in funding from investors including Founders Fund, Thrive Capital, CapitalG and Fidelity.

It is estimated that Oscar’s fully diluted valuation will be approximately $8 billion, Reuters reported.

— Christine Hall

Parallel to public via SPAC

Multi-state cannabis operator Parallel announced Monday it is going public via a merger with special purpose acquisition corporation Ceres Acquisition Corp., backed by entertainment entrepreneur Scott “Scooter” Braun, in a deal that values Atlanta-based Parallel at $1.884 billion.

SPACs, also known as blank-check companies, raise money in an initial public offering and then have two years to acquire a business or businesses.

The Parallel/Ceres transaction is expected to close in the summer, according to the company. At that time, Parallel’s chairman and CEO William “Beau” Wrigley Jr. will remain in the role.

The new company will have pro forma cash on hand of $430 million at close and is expected to generate $447 million in revenue in 2021. It intends to expand its cultivation and production in the U.S.

Since being founded in 2014, Parallel has raised a total of $355.7 million in known venture-backed funding, according to Crunchbase data. It most recently raised $100 million in Series D funding in 2019, led by Edward Brown.

— Christine Hall

Funding rounds

Ageras raises $73M for accounting tools: Copenhagen-based Ageras, an online platform for businesses to find accounting services, raised $73 million in fresh financing from Lugard Road Capital. Founded in 2012, Ageras sold a majority stake to Investcorp in 2017.

— Joanna Glasner

Orka lands $40.7M for shift worker platform: Manchester, U.K.-based Orka Technology Group, a provider of online tools to help with onboarding of hourly shift workers, including an option to withdraw money just after it is earned, raised £29 million ($40.7 million) in a mixture of debt financing from Sonovate and equity funding from the British Business Bank and other backers.

— Joanna Glasner

Fintech

EquityBee banks $20M: EquityBee, which helps startup employees get capital to exercise their stock options before they expire by linking them to investors, raised a $20 million Series A financing round, led by existing investor Group 11, to make additional hires across all departments and expand product offerings. The round brings the Palo Alto-based company’s total funding to more than $28 million, which includes a $6.6 million seed round in 2020, also led by Group 11. In addition to the stock options, EquityBee posts a quarterly pre-IPO “wish list” of companies its investors want to see have a liquidity event soon.

— Christine Hall

Babytech

Nanit inks $25M Series C: Nanit, developing smart baby monitor and sleep tracker devices, closed a $25 million Series C funding round led by new investor GV. The new round brings the New York-based company’s total capital raised to $75 million. Nanit last raised a $21 million Series B in 2020, according to Crunchbase data. Nanit’s proprietary line of Breathing Wear apparel integrates with the Nanit camera to enable parents to safely monitor their baby’s breathing motion without sensors or wires. In 2020, the company doubled its user base and yielded year over year revenue growth of more than 130 percent, the company said. Years ago, babytech was considered a niche market that few investors understood or wanted to get into. Today, anyone considering adding to their family can find technology for everything from fertility to potty training and beyond. Though the market is big, experts say there is still not enough investment in startups focused on the space. Forbes estimated in 2019 that the U.S. babytech market size was about $46 billion, and reported that investors had pumped some $500 million in funding into companies within the sector since 2013. One of the success stories is baby health monitor Owlet Baby Care, which announced on Feb. 16 its plans to merge with Sandbridge Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company backed by Sandbridge Capital and PIMCO private funds. Owlet raised a total of $48 million in known venture capital investments since the company was founded in 2013, according to Crunchbase data.

— Christine Hall

Illustration: Dom Guzman

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

Founded in 2011, Toast has raised $902 million in venture funding to date, per Crunchbase data, including a $400 million Series F round closed a year ago.

Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/briefing-2-22-21/

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