Author: Alex Wilhelm

Supergiant VC rounds aren’t just raised in China

TECHCRUNCH In the venture capital market, big is in. Firms are raising significant sums to finance a growing number of large startup funding rounds. In July, there were 55 venture rounds, worldwide, which topped out at $100 million or more, totaling just over $15 billion raised in nine and 10-figure mega-rounds alone. This set a record for venture dealmaking. We’ve already identified approximately when the uptick in huge VC rounds began: toward the tail end of 2013. But where in the world are all the companies raising these supergiant venture capital rounds? In response to coverage of July’s record-breaking numbers, many commenters were quick to point out that startups based in China raised six of the top 10 largest rounds from last month. Indeed, on a recent episode of the Equity podcast discussing the supergiant round phenomenon, Chinese startups’ position in the market was a hot topic of conversation. Someone suggested that a series of large venture rounds in China may have preceded the run-up in supergiant rounds being raised by U.S. startups. At least in the realm of nine and 10-figure venture rounds, that doesn’t appear to be the case. The chart below breaks down the monthly count of supergiant rounds by the company’s country of origin. Here is what this data suggests: The first major run-up in nine-figure dealmaking took place in the U.S. around Q1 2014, whereas in China that...

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Slack raises, Dropbox and Snap report earnings, and Magic Leap is real

TECHCRUNCH Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This week Matthew Lynley and Alex Wilhelm were joined by 500 Startups CEO Christine Tsai for what turned out to be a super packed episode. We kicked off with the latest from Slack: $400 million new dollars at a shiny, new $7 billion valuation, according to TechCrunch. The new capital comes after the firm raised a huge sum last year from SoftBank’s Vision Fund. We dug into why the company would raise again, and what competitors it has left after the Atlassian deal. Next...

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July sets a record for number of $100M+ venture capital rounds

TECHCRUNCH In July 2018, the tech sector’s leisure class — venture capitalists — kicked investments into overdrive, at least when it comes to financing supergiant venture rounds of $100 million or more (in native or as-converted USD values). With 55 deals accounting for just over $15 billion at time of writing, July likely set an all-time record for the number of huge venture deals struck in a single month. The table below has just the top 10 largest rounds from the month. (A full list of all the supergiant venture rounds can be found here.) It’s certainly a record high for...

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Cisco buys Duo, Brandless raises $240M, and Apple broaches $1T

TECHCRUNCH Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This week TechCrunch’s Matthew Lynley and Crunchbase News’s Alex Wilhelm were joined by Jyoti Bansal, the founder of AppDynamics and a partner at Unusual Ventures, among other startup work. Our own Connie Loizos was off this week. This episode was effectively a news grab-bag. There’s a little of everything: public company drama, big rounds, acquisitions, and more. Up top: Apple’s broaching of the $1 trillion barrier, which some people called early and some people called late. It depends on how you were counting. But the venerable consumer electronics giant did indeed manage to hoist its market cap over the trillion dollar mark, making it the first American company to do so. But as we all wind up agreeing, it’s just a round number. Moving along Sonos’s IPO had a good first day but only after a disappointing pricing run. Or as Lynley explains on the show, the firm had to price under its target range to go out, but then closed above that target range by the end of its first day’s trading. This is more evidence that pricing an IPO is an occult art of sorts. (More here on the company’s numbers.) Scooting along, Duo Security is exiting to Cisco for $2.35 billion. This deal came at quite literally the perfect moment as...

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WeWork is just one facet of SoftBank’s bet on real estate

TECHCRUNCH This week WeWork announced that its Chinese subsidiary — WeWork China — raised an additional $500 million in capital in a deal led by SoftBank, Temasek Holdings and others. The deal reportedly values the Chinese branch of the shared workspace and real estate management company at $5 billion, up from $1 billion (post-money) in the round WeWork China announced almost a year ago in July 2017. SoftBank rarely doubles down on a particular company. At time of writing, SoftBank itself has made 175 investments in 144 different companies, according to Crunchbase data. Of those, just 23 companies raised more than one round...

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Facebook’s debacle, $100M rounds and Slack links up with Atlassian

TECHCRUNCH Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This was one hell of a week. Happily, we had our own Connie Loizos, Matthew Lynley, and Alex Wilhelm on hand, along with Initialized Capital’s Alexis Ohanian to pick over the mix. First up we had zero choice but to talk about Facebook. The social company’s epic repricing in the middle of the week blotted out the news sun. It may keep us in the shade for another week, too. Facebook’s dive has implications for social startups and competing public companies alike....

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Inside the rise and reign of supergiant venture capital rounds

TECHCRUNCH There was a time not so long ago when nine-figure venture capital rounds weren’t a near-daily feature of tech business news. But now funding rounds of $100 million or more cross the wires with stunning frequency. The era of supergiant rounds is now the new normal. This is attributable, in part, to billions of dollars flowing into new venture capital funds — the largest of which are raised by the oldest, most entrenched firms — and competition from relative newcomers, like SoftBank. Q2 2018 may have set new records for worldwide VC deal and dollar volume in this post-dot com cycle, but...

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Zoox’s fresh $500M, how to spend $6.3B and Microsoft’s fine fiscal year

TECHCRUNCH Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This week we had another full house which made for a good time. Our own Connie Loizos, Matthew Lynley and I were joined by Renata Quintini, a partner at Lux Capital. Today’s episode is a grab bag of topics, including some self-driving stuff, late-stage venture noodling, and Microsoft. So, this show hit on every topic I used to have listed on my OkCupid profile. First up was Zoox’s epic $500 million infusion. The self-driving company is notable for its full-stack approach, and, as Lux is a long-time investor in the project, we had the perfect guest on hand to help us discuss it. As you can imagine, we dug around who else is working in the space, what SoftBank is up to, and why Zoox might need so much capital. Oddly enough everyone ’round the table found the dollar amount pretty reasonable. We apologize for the lack of drama. Next up we peeked at Insight Venture Partners’ epic new fund, and how some founders are looking to provide liquidity to their investors without exiting. As you can imagine, we wanted to know how these Very Large Indeed funds are going to return enough capital to make their LPs happy. We also spent some time chewing on what happens to startups that wind up growing, but...

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