Stripe raises $600M at $36B valuation in Series G extension, says it has $2B on its balance sheet

The economy may be contracting as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but promising startups are still continuing to raise money to shore up their finances for whatever may lie ahead.

In the latest development, Stripe, a well-known payments unicorn, today announced that it had raised another $ 600 million in new capital, money that it plans to use to continue investing in product development, further global expansion and strategic initiatives.

The company has become an active investor in a number of startups, some which are strategic partners for the company as it moves into new areas to complement its core online payments business.

It also added in its announcement that it currently has $ 2 billion on its balance sheet, a key number that underscores the message that the company is taking this investment not to survive but to further thrive, and that it may well choose to do so by remaining a private company, as it does not appear to have any need to go to the public markets to raise funds.

Making it easier to integrate payments into an online service has long been one of the reasons why Stripe has been on a growth tear: it arrived at a time when other solutions were still too fragmented and complicated, and its impact on the wider e-commerce market has seen a number of its competitors and other new entrants offer equally simplified products.

But its ease of use has taken on a new significance in recent times, with a huge surge of business coming online from consumers and businesses who can no longer transact in person because of the current pandemic, leading to a new plethora of use cases for Stripe and other payments companies.

“People who never dreamt of using the internet to see the doctor or buy groceries are now doing so out of necessity. And businesses that deferred moving online or had no reason to operate online have made the leap practically overnight,” said John Collison, president and co-founder of Stripe, in a statement (his brother Patrick, the co-founder and CEO, is pictured above). “We believe now is not the time to pull back, but to invest even more heavily in Stripe’s platform.”

The figure is also important because Stripe has never been very transparent about how many customers it has or any of its financials: this is one hint of how it is doing for the public to see.

This latest funding — its largest to date by a large margin — is coming from a number of its existing investors, including Andreessen Horowitz, General Catalyst, GV and Sequoia. It is an extension to the company’s Series G round, which was first confirmed in September 2019 with $ 250 million raised. The company’s valuation is holding steady with this new investment, and it now stands at $ 36 billion post-money (it confirmed a $ 35 billion pre-money valuation seven months ago).

The payments giant has raised around $ 1.6 billion with this new investment, according to known investment totals.

Stripe was recently in the news when one its investors, Sequoia, put $ 21 million into a payments company called Finix. It’s still not entirely clear what happened, but Sequoia walked away from the Finix deal, effectively turning its check into a grant.

In the meantime, Stripe — which started life by providing an easy to use API-based payments service for startups like itself to use in their online or app-based payment services — has continued to ramp up the size of its customers alongside overall growth of its customer base. Its users today include Zoom, Caviar, Coupa, Just Eat, Keap, Lightspeed, Mattel, NBC and Paid.

Startups – TechCrunch

Batteries, fusion, and hydropower: Meet the 24 clean-energy startups that Bill Gates is backing – Business Insider UK

Batteries, fusion, and hydropower: Meet the 24 clean-energy startups that Bill Gates is backing  Business Insider UK
“nigeria startups when:7d” – Google News

Finding insights for building enterprise software

Hey guys. Im wondering if there is any kind of getting insights about certain industries without working in them. I am considering building enterprise software but since i only worked in software and startup companies till now its hard for me getting insights trough observation.

Is there a certain analyzation process for finding problems in corporates? Basically its all about automation but what steps can you automate in enterprises?

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

Ride-Hailing Startups Go-Jek & Grab Seek Success In Southeast Asia With Localization

Southeast Asia’s ride-hailing giants Grab and Go-Jek made recent moves to bring more customers online, and to do so, they’re looking to local partners and teams to stand out amid the crowded market.
Forbes – Startups

10 Keys To Investor-Friendly New Venture Financials

entrepreneur-financial-projectionsIf you need to attract investors to your startup, your financial projections have to be as attractive as the idea. The problem is that these business financials are future projections, while the idea is “now,” so you believe the idea can do most of the selling. Your challenge is that investors recognize a good business, and they judge your idea by how you translate it into financials.

For example, every investor I know can tell you about meeting a passionate entrepreneur who is pitching a great technology innovation, but has not done the financial homework on making it a good business. Thus the investor can’t visualize any return on investment (ROI), so the entrepreneur gets no money, and a good opportunity is lost to all.

Even if you are bootstrapping the business, and not looking for outside investors, the “rules of thumb” that smart investors look for should be the same ones that you use to assess your own risks and set reasonable expectations for progress and success. In that context, I offer the following financial projection strategies, from my own experience:

  1. Forecast a business that has plenty of room to grow quickly. Find some credible opportunity statistics that can support your own revenue expectations of between $ 20 million and $ 100 million in the fifth year. A larger number exceeds most investors’ rational growth expectations, and a smaller one implies a limited return potential.

  2. Demonstrate an understanding of business operation realities. No matter what the potential, every business is constrained in growth by the time and effort required to hire people, spread the message, and deliver and support solutions. If you insist on projecting $ 100 million in sales the first year, smart investors will likely run for the nearest exit.

  3. Assume margins and prices that are realistic in your target market. As an investor, when I see projected margins below 50 percent, I see low resources for scaling the business, high risk, and likely no return on investment. Even if you work harder than everyone else, you probably won’t stay ahead of rising costs and new competitors.

  4. >Market penetration and revenue targets related to opportunity size. Five-year projections should show at least a 10 percent penetration of the market segment you target, but not more than 50 percent. Don’t assume that you can dominate the market in a few years, or that the potential is so large that even a trivial entry will mean success.

  5. Project growth equal to or better than current premium startups. Companies that get investor attention usually double their revenue or more every year. Lower targets indicate a very conservative team, or challenges that have not been disclosed. Investors want to bet on someone with aggressive targets, and a demonstrated track record, if possible.

  6. Clearly delineate the break-even point in your projections. Investors today are not interested in startups that don’t even plan to cover their own expenses for the first five years. A reasonable break-even point is two or three years out, which indicates an ability to manage your own show, and allows for investors to collect their own good return.

  7. Break funding requests into tranches, with dates and milestones. Rather than ask for a single million dollar investment now to forestall future requests, it’s much more credible to ask only for what you need in the next year. That may translate to $ 200K now, with increments of $ 400K to follow every eighteen months, based on specific milestones.

  8. Prepare an itemization of your intended use of investment money. Highest on your list of fund usage categories should be business scaling requirements, such as marketing, inventory building, and staffing. Unattractive uses, from an investor standpoint, would include research and development, buying a building, or large salaries.

  9. Define an exit strategy for investors to liquidate their share. Investors have learned that simple buy-outs of their share by owners often become major squeeze-plays. They prefer a liquidity event such as an IPO or an acquisition by an existing large industry player, with a valuation at that time of five multiples or more of your projected revenues.

  10. Back up your projections with a simple financial model. No matter how good your projections appear, you should anticipate being asked questions by investors, such as what happens if your costs go up, growth slows, or market explodes. With a simple Excel spreadsheet, you can answer these questions quickly and totally impress everyone.

Of course, projections don’t make reality, but they do force you to declare. Don’t create a fairy tale for investors, and hope to protect it with fast talk from probing and knowledgeable investors. You have only once chance for a good first impression with investors, so do your homework first and put together a plan that will get all of us excited and optimistic.

Marty Zwilling

*** First published on Inc.com on 02/27/2020 ***

Startup Professionals Musings

Bridgecrew announces $14M Series A to automate cloud security

In today’s grim economic climate, companies are looking for ways to automate wherever they can. Bridgecrew, an early-stage startup that makes automated cloud security tooling aimed at engineers, announced a $ 14 million Series A today.

Battery Ventures led the round with participation from NFX, the company’s $ 4 million seed investor. Sorensen Ventures, DNX Ventures, Tectonic Ventures, and Homeward Ventures also participated. A number of individual investors also helped out. The company has raised a total of $ 18 million.

Bridgecrew CEO and co-founder Idan Tendler says that it is becoming easier to provision cloud resources, but that security tends to be more challenging. “We founded Bridgecrew because we saw that there was a huge bottleneck in security engineering, in DevSecOps, and how engineers were running cloud infrastructure security,” Tendler told TechCrunch.

They found that a lot issues involved misconfigurations, and while there were security solutions out there to help, they were expensive, and they weren’t geared towards the engineers who were typically being charged with fixing the security issues, he said.

The company decided to solve that problem by coming up with a solution geared specifically for the way engineers think and operate. “We do that by codifying the problem, by codifying what the engineers are doing. We took all the tasks that they needed to do to protect around remediation of their cloud environment and we built a playbook,” he explained.

The playbooks are bits of infrastructure as code that can resolve many common problems quickly. When they encounter a new problem, they build a playbook and then that becomes part of the product. He says that 90% of the issues are fairly generic like following AWS best practices or ensuring SOC-2 compliance, but the engineers are free to tweak the code if they need to.

Tendler says he is hiring and sees his product helping companies looking to reduce costs through automation. “We are planning to grow fast. The need is huge and the COVID-19 implications mean that more and more companies will be moving to cloud and trying to reduce costs, and we help them do that by reducing the barriers and bottlenecks for cloud security.”

The company was founded 14 months ago and has 100 playbooks available. It’s keeping the crew lean for now with 16 employees, but it has plans to double that by the end of the year.

Startups – TechCrunch