Affirm, Airbnb, C3.ai, Roblox, Wish file for tech IPO finale of 2020

Editor’s note: Get this free weekly recap of TechCrunch news that any startup can use by email every Saturday morning (7 a.m. PT). Subscribe here.

The wait was long but this week the time was right: Airbnb finally filed its S-1 and so did Affirm, C3.ai, Roblox, and Wish. We are likely to see these five price on public markets before the end of an already superlative year for tech IPOs. The ongoing pandemic and political turmoil were not scary enough, apparently.

This coming decade, you have to think that we’ll see a more even spread of tech companies going public. Many of the companies above have been bottled up for years behind privately funded growth strategies. Today, however, the industry has a better grasp of SPACs and direct listings, and various funding routes. Companies have more options from their founding for how they might grow and exit one day. Public investors in 2020 also seem to have a deeper appreciation for the current revenue numbers and future growth opportunities for tech companies. Why, I can still remember all the geniuses who bragged about shorting the Facebook IPO not so long ago.

Will we see a more even spread of where IPOs come from? While all of this week’s filers are headquartered in San Francisco or environs, that now feels almost like a coincidental reference to the years when these companies were founded. More states have been minting their own unicorns, with Ohio-based Root Insurance recently going public and Utah-based Qualtrics heading (back) that way. Tech startups are now global, meanwhile, and plenty of countries are working to keep their unicorns closer to home than New York.

On to the headlines from TechCrunch and Extra Crunch:

If you didn’t make $ 1B this week, you are not doing VC right (EC)

Affirm files to go public

Inside Affirm’s IPO filing: A look at its economics, profits and revenue concentration (EC)

Airbnb files to go public

5 questions from Airbnb’s IPO filing (EC)

The VC and founder winners in Airbnb’s IPO (EC)

Roblox files to go public

What is Roblox worth? (EC)

Wish files to go public with 100M monthly actives, $ 1.75B in 2020 revenue thus far

Unpacking the C3.ai IPO filing (EC)

With a 2021 IPO in the cards, what do we know about Robinhood’s Q3 performance? (EC)

(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

What does a Biden administration mean for tech?

What does Joe Biden intend as president around technology policy? On the one hand, tech companies might not be returning to the White House too fast. “All told, we’re seeing some familiar names in the mix, but 2020 isn’t 2008,” Taylor Hatmaker explains about potential presidential appointments from the industry. “Tech companies that emerged as golden children over the last 10 years are radioactive now. Regulation looms on the horizon in every direction. Whatever policy priorities emerge out of the Biden administration, Obama’s technocratic gilded age is over and we’re in for something new.”

However, tech industries and companies focused on shared goals might find support. In a review of Biden’s climate-change policies, Jon Shieber looks at major green infrastructure plans that could be on the way.

Any policies that a Biden administration enacts would have to focus on economic opportunity broadly, and much of the proposed plan from the campaign fulfills that need. One of its key propositions was that it would be “creating good, union, middle-class jobs in communities left behind, righting wrongs in communities that bear the brunt of pollution, and lifting up the best ideas from across our great nation — rural, urban and tribal,” according to the transition website. An early emphasis on grid and utility infrastructure could create significant opportunities for job creation across America — and be a boost for technology companies. “Our electric power infrastructure is old, aging and not secure,” said Abe Yokell, co-founder of the energy and climate-focused venture capital firm Congruent Ventures. “From an infrastructure standpoint, transmission distribution really should be upgraded and has been underinvested over the years. And it is in direct alignment with providing renewable energy deployment across the U.S. and the electrification of everything.”

Rebar is laid before poring a cement slab for an apartment in San Francisco CA.

Image Credits: Steve Proehl (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

The future of construction tech

A skilled labor shortage is piling on top of the construction industry’s traditional challenges this year. The result is that tech adoption is getting a big push into the real world, Allison Xu of Bain Capital Ventures writes in a guest column for Extra Crunch this week. She maps out six main construction categories where tech startups are emerging, including project conception, design and engineering, pre-construction, construction execution, post construction and construction management. Here’s an excerpt from the article about that last item:

  • How it works today: Construction management and operations teams manage the end-to-end project, with functions such as document management, data and insights, accounting, financing, HR/payroll, etc.
  • Key challenges: The complexity of the job site translates to highly complex and burdensome paperwork associated with each project. Managing the process requires communication and alignment across many stakeholders.
  • How technology can address challenges: The nuances of the multistakeholder construction process merit value in a verticalized approach to managing the project. Construction management tools like ProcoreHyphen Solutions and IngeniousIO have created ways for contractors to coordinate and track the end-to-end process more seamlessly. Other players like Levelset have taken a construction-specific approach to functions like invoice management and payments.

Virtual HQs after the pandemic?

Pandemic-era work solutions like online team meeting spaces are heading towards a less certain, vaccine-based reality. Have we all gone remote-first enough that they will have a real market, still? Natasha Mascarenhas checks in with some of the top companies to see how it’s looking, here’s more:

With the goal of making remote work more spontaneous, there are dozens of new startups working to create virtual HQs for distributed teams. The three that have risen to the top include Branch, built by Gen Z gamers; Gather, created by engineers building a gamified Zoom; and Huddle, which is still in stealth.

The platforms are all racing to prove that the world is ready to be a part of virtual workspaces. By drawing on multiplayer gaming culture, the startups are using spatial technology, animations and productivity tools to create a metaverse dedicated to work.

The biggest challenge ahead? The startups need to convince venture capitalists and users alike that they’re more than Sims for Enterprise or an always-on Zoom call. The potential success could signal how the future of work will blend gaming and socialization for distributed teams.

Around TechCrunch

Head of the US Space Force, Gen. John W. ‘Jay’ Raymond, joins us at TechCrunch Sessions: Space

Amazon’s Project Kuiper chief David Limp is coming to TC Sessions: Space

Across the week

TechCrunch

Against all odds: The sheer force of immigrant startup founders

S16 Angel Fund launches a community of founders to invest in other founders

Pre-seed fintech firm Financial Venture Studio closes on debut fund to build on legacy of top investments

How esports can save colleges

Why are telehealth companies treating healthcare like the gig economy?

A court decision in favor of startup UpCodes may help shape open access to the law

Extra Crunch

Will Zoom Apps be the next hot startup platform?

Is the internet advertising economy about to implode?

Surging homegrown talent and VC spark Italy’s tech renaissance

Why some VCs prefer to work with first-time founders

3 growth tactics that helped us surpass Noom and Weight Watchers

A report card for the SEC’s new equity crowdfunding rules

#EquityPod

From Alex Wilhelm:

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast (now on Twitter!), where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

This week wound up being incredibly busy. What else, with a week that included both the Airbnb and Affirm IPO filings, a host of mega-rounds for new unicorns, some fascinating smaller funding events and some new funds?

So we had a lot to get through, but with Chris and Danny and Natasha and your humble servant, we dove in headfirst:

What a week! Three episodes, some new records, and a very tired us after all the action. More on Monday!

Equity drops every Monday at 7:00 a.m. PDT and Thursday afternoon as fast as we can get it out, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercastSpotify and all the casts.

Startups – TechCrunch

File Server for Rapidly Growing Distributed Team

I was wondering how you all manage and share documents? We are looking for a cloud based solution for a team of 15+ people and growing, all of whom are working remotely. I know there are services like Dropbox, Google Drive, etc… but it seems like they really eschew the traditional file server model with structured folders and enterprise grade admin access controls.

Ideally we want a solution that makes it easy to onboard new people and grant access to specific folders based on their department/role. Additionally, we want employees storing all documents in centralized folders rather than having to individually shares files and folders with colleagues. Lastly, we need an ability to cut off access to employees when they leave the organization while still retaining all of their documents and data for the rest of the company to use.

Unfortunately, I think any self hosted service is beyond the current abilities of the team so we really want a provider with a turn-key solution.

Any suggestions on services or methodologies would be greatly appreciated.

submitted by /u/bem3891
[link] [comments]
Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

American Justice Department to file landmark antitrust case against Google on Tuesday – ETTelecom.com

American Justice Department to file landmark antitrust case against Google on Tuesday  ETTelecom.com
“nigeria startups when:7d” – Google News

Public investors stay in love with tech, as Root and Affirm file to IPO

Editor’s note: Get this free weekly recap of TechCrunch news that any startup can use by email every Saturday morning (7 a.m. PT). Subscribe here.

Why are there so many tech IPOs right now? Startups are finding that they can get higher valuations from public markets than private ones these days, because so many public investors want to put serious money in tech. Also, the lure of the future, the benevolence of the Fed, the retail investor boom, the sheer number of unicorns that have been waiting for any decent moment to go, the new ways a company can go public… these are some of the reasons Alex Wilhelm found after reviewing the latest listings and quarterly data about tech in public markets.

Various political and economic turmoils threaten to end the run, but the impact to the startup world has arrived. Consider it for a minute before the newsletter dives into stocks, SPACs, emerging industries and other useful startup news.

From this IPO boom, there’ll be another wave of startup employee wealth flooding into adjacent real-world spaces, but spread more broadly outside of the Bay Area than the days of Facebook and Twitter IPOs. Some of those employees will become investors and maybe founders, and the now-public startups will replace those positions with big-company people. The dynamics around tech hiring will be further reshaped in surprising new ways, all combined with the other changes happening like remote work.

Today, if you’re founding a startup now, you can now confidently chart new ways to build your company long-term that previous generations of founders could barely imagine.

This coming decade, we might see a startup go public that raises from pre-seed rolling funds first, pulls in newly legalized crowdfunding, matches with the right VCs from among the thousands that have are operating these days — or perhaps the startup raises debt because it’s doing that well. It could stay private as long as it wants using the various financing and secondary market possibilities that have been figured out over the last decade. Then, when it is ready to go public, it could choose between traditional options, the perfect SPAC and a direct listing, and keep the shareholder pool in favor of the true believers who have been with the company over the course of the journey.

This current group of IPOs also demonstrates something else. Tech is no longer defined as some profitless, highly valued consumer tech startup in San Francisco. It can come from anywhere, it can solve practical problems, it can make real money, and it can keep building and growing — provided you’re okay with some ongoing risk. No wonder public markets like tech these days.

Take a look at Root Insurance, an insurtech unicorn that has already helped define the Columbus, Ohio startup scene. It’s a “startup Rorscach test,” as Alex details this week about its new IPO filing. “You can find things to like (improving adjusted margins! revenue growth!), and you can find things to not like (spiraling losses! negative margins!) very easily.”

Here’s more from the Extra Crunch article:

It appears that the tailwind that many insurance providers have seen during COVID-19 has provided Root with a nice boost (driving fell during the pandemic, leading some insurance providers to return premiums.) Root is taking advantage of the moment by filing when it can show sharply improved economics.

That’s smart. But how do those improved economics bear out in traditional accounting? Let’s find out:

  • Root’s revenue has skyrocketed from $ 43.3 million in 2018 to $ 290.2 million in 2019. In the first half of 2020, Root managed $ 245.4 million in revenue, up 135.73% from what it managed in the first half of 2019.
  • Root’s losses have also shot higher, from a net loss of $ 69.1 million in 2018 to $ 282.4 million in 2019. The startup has managed to consistently lose more money over time. This was also true more recently, when its H1 2020 net loss of $ 144.5 million dwarfed its H1 2019 loss of $ 97.0 million.

The other filing this week is for Affirm, which provides a point-of-sale credit for customers (without all the tricks of credit cards). It’s also a symbol of how innovation works across the decades, for those future founders who are studying the IPO experiments of unicorns today.

The company is a high-flying unicorn with a practical purpose from serial entrepreneur Max Levchin, who has also helped shape the concept of the modern startup — from cofounding Paypal and making numerous angel investments over the years, to Slide, a profitless, highly valued consumer tech company in San Francisco a decade ago. It’s not widely understood outside of tech, Slide and other social media companies helped pioneer the growth and engagement techniques that subsequent startups applied across SaaS, e-commerce, fintech and real-world sectors. Today, Root and Affirm and many of the other companies in this era of IPOs are standing on the lessons of those years.

Image Credits: Getty Images

SPAC growing pains

Special Purpose Acquisition Companies are sure to provide valuable lessons, as a growing group of startups use these investment vehicles to ease into public markets. Here’s the latest look at the action, starting with this disturbing quote that Connie Loizos got from one expert this week.

According to Kristi Marvin, a former investment banker who now runs the data site SPACInsider, she’s having, and hearing about, conversations with a much wider range of people interested in launching SPACs than in past years — and not all of them are necessarily equipped to manage the vehicles.

“You ask, ‘Have you ever acquired a company for $ 500 million or more? Do you have operating experience in the vertical that you’re targeting? Do you understand the reporting requirements involved?’ Often,” she says, “the answers are no.”

That was in the context of a controversial former Uber executive starting a SPAC; Connie also looked at gender representation in this emerging slice of high finance. Like other parts of that world, the people involve are almost entirely men (which is also continuing to be the case in startup funding, actually, Alex reports).

Meanwhile, Catherine Shu examined how troubled electric vehicle startup Faraday Futures is approaching SPAC plans, while Alex took a closer look at the challenges and opportunities facing Opendoor.

micromobility-ebikes-scooters

Image Credits: Getty Images

The future of mobility

Our annual conference on mobility and the future of transportation happened online this year, which means we have lots of easily accessible conference coverage to share for readers (and for Extra Crunch subscribers). Here are a few key headlines to help you focus your clicks:

What micromobility is missing

Quarantine drives interest in autonomous delivery, but it’s still miles from mainstream

Transportation VCs suggest frayed US-China ties will impact mobility markets (EC)

GettyImages 1063730694

Image Credits: Getty Images

Investor Surveys: APIs, Helsinki and Amsterdam

“I am surprised at how open companies are to a SaaS API for something as critical as cybersecurity,” Skyflow founder Anshu Sharma explains about the explosion of SaaS companies, and specifically API service providers like his company. “While I have spent over a decade in SaaS including some very large deals during my time at Salesforce, the scope of the projects by large companies including banks and healthcare companies is simply beyond what was a possibility just a few years ago. We have truly moved from ‘why SaaS’ to a ‘why not SaaS’ era.” Alex and Lucas Matney surveyed a range of top investors and founders in this exploding niche, and you can read the full thing on Extra Crunch.

Elsewhere in investor surveys, Mike Butcher checked out the Helsinki startup scene and has another about Amsterdam in progress.

Across the week

TechCrunch

Nobel laureate Jennifer Doudna shares her perspective on COVID-19 and CRISPR

Podcast advertising has a business intelligence gap

Standing by developers through Google v. Oracle

Dear Sophie: Now that a judge has paused Trump’s H-1B visa ban, how can I qualify my employees?

A clean energy company now has a market cap rivaling ExxonMobil

Extra Crunch

Understanding Airbnb’s summer recovery

Accel VCs Sonali De Rycker and Andrew Braccia say European deal pace is ‘incredibly active’

4 sustainable industries where founders and VCs can see green by going green

Six favorite Techstars startups ahead of its next rush of demo days

To fill funding gaps, VCs boost efforts to find India’s standout early-stage startups

#EquityPod

From Alex:

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast (now on Twitter!), where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

This week Natasha was on vacation, so Danny and your humble servant had to endeavor alone. She’s back next week, so we’ll be back to full strength as a collective soon enough.

But even with a depleted hosting crew, we had a mountain of news to get through. And to joke about, as Danny was in the mood for a laugh. Here’s the rundown:

That was a lot. We did our best. Hugs and chat with you next week!

Equity drops every Monday at 7:00 a.m. PT and Thursday afternoon as fast as we can get it out, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercastSpotify and all the casts.

Startups – TechCrunch

India’s Zomato raises $100M from Tiger Global, says it is planning to file for IPO next year

Indian food delivery startup Zomato has raised $ 100 million from Tiger Global and is preparing for the next phase of its journey: an IPO.

Tiger Global financed the capital through its investment vehicle Internet Fund VI, according to a regulatory filing. Info Edge, a major investor in Zomato, confirmed the development Thursday evening, adding that the new round valued Zomato at $ 3.3 billion post-money.

In an email to employees earlier today, Zomato co-founder and chief executive Deepinder Goyal said the startup had about $ 250 million cash in the bank and several more “big name” investors would be joining the current round to increase its cash reserve to about $ 600 million “very soon.”

“Important note — we have no immediate plans on how to spend this money. We are treating this cash as a ‘war-chest’ for future M&A, and fighting off any mischief or price wars from our competition in various areas of our business,” he added in the letter, reviewed by TechCrunch.

Zomato, which acquired the Indian food delivery business of Uber early this year, competes with Prosus Ventures-backed Swiggy in India. A third player, Amazon, has also emerged in the market, though it is currently servicing food delivery in only select suburbs of Bangalore.

Goyal told employees that the 12-year-old startup is also working for its IPO for “sometime in the first half of next year.” (It’s unclear how Zomato plans to achieve this target, but it is likely looking at listing in the U.S. or some other market. Current Indian law requires a startup to be profitable for at least three years before they could publicly list in India — though there has been some proposal to relax this requirement.)

The new pledge from Zomato is the result of a major economic improvement in its business in recent quarters. Until mid-last year, Zomato was losing more than $ 50 million a month to win and sustain customers by offering heavy discounts.

The Gurgaon-headquartered firm, which like Swiggy eliminated hundreds of jobs in recent months as coronavirus ruined the appetite of Indians ordering food online, said in July that its losses for the month would be less than $ 1 million.

The startup also faced obstacles in raising new capital. It kickstarted its financing round a year ago, but had secured only $ 50 million as of a month ago. The startup had originally anticipated closing this round, at about $ 600 million, in January this year.

In an emailed response to TechCrunch queries in April, Goyal had attributed the delays to the spread of coronavirus and said he expected to close the round by mid-May. He wrote to employees today that Tiger Global, Temasek, Baillie Gifford and Ant Financial had already participated in the current round.

Startups – TechCrunch

Unity, JFrog, Asana, Snowflake and Sumo Logic file for IPOs in rapid-fire fashion

After far too few startups appeared ready to take advantage of warm public market conditions and ecstatic IPO receptions, a deluge of private companies filed to go public yesterday.

There was Sumo Logic in the morning and JFrog a bit later on. Unity filed in there as well. Snowflake also dropped, along with Asana later in the day. If you were dog-tired just reading Twitter, we understand. This morning, we’re going to catch you up on the key facts from each offering.


The Exchange explores startups, markets and money. You can read it every morning on Extra Crunch, or get The Exchange newsletter every Saturday.


But we’re not going to discuss every recent IPO filing. We’re not including X-Peng, a Chinese electric vehicle company that feels a bit afield from the largely-SaaS cohort that just went public (more on it here, if you’d like). Or AmWell, which does health stuff. And we’re going to leave Corsair, a gaming hardware company that’s going public, alone as well.

We have to focus, so we’re niching down to the most traditional venture capital and startup fare on offer. It’s not like we’ll lack for things to say. What follows is a digest of basic facts and IPO details just for you.

Five IPOs and Alex’s funeral

For each company, we’ll discuss what they do, how much they have raised, their initial IPO raise expectations and their financial performance. We’ll wrap with valuation notes as we can.

In alphabetical order, then:

Asana

  • Asana provides a team-focused task-management service. In competition with startups like Monday.com, Asana has raised $ 213.5 million, according to PitchBook data, along with around $ 210 million in debt most recently. The company is pursuing a direct listing, so it does not have a traditional IPO raise target. You can read its filing here.

    Startups – TechCrunch

Airbnb to file IPO in August, to rope in Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group

Late in 2019, the popular home-sharing rental business, Airbnb announced its plans to become a public company. As expected, the company plans to file paperwork for an IPO with the US Securities and Exchange Commission in the next few weeks. 

Working with Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs

According to the Wall Street Journal, Airbnb is preparing to go public within this year and working with Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. on the same. The company lost millions as coronavirus has thrown the tourism industry into chaos. Notably, Airbnb set aside $ 250 million in refunds to hosts whose guests canceled their stays.

Brain Chesky, CEO of Airbnb wanted to take the initial steps towards IPO in March, but his plans got called-off due to a coronavirus outbreak. Also, the company laid off 25% of the workforce to survive. Recently, Airbnb was valued at $ 18 billion (approx €15.2 billion) down from an earlier valuation of $ 31 billion (approx €26.2 billion). 

Quarterly revenue plunged 67%

Back in April, Airbnb raised $ 1 billion in funding from private equity firms Silver Lake and Sixth Street Partners. The company’s quarterly revenue plunged 67% with revenue falling to $ 335 million in the second quarter ended June 30. However, the San-Francisco company showed some signs of recovery towards the end of the quarter. 

Airbnb is an online community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book accommodations around the world. Founded in August of 2008 by Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia, it is based in San Francisco, California, Airbnb connects people to unique travel experiences, at any price point, in more than 33,000 cities and 192 countries.

This platform acts as the easiest way for people to monetize their extra space and showcase it to an audience of millions. Headquartered in San Francisco, Airbnb has satellite offices in Dublin, London, Barcelona, Paris, Milan, Copenhagen, Berlin, Moscow, São Paulo, Sydney, and Singapore.

Main image credits: BigTunaOnline/ Shutterstock

The post Airbnb to file IPO in August, to rope in Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group appeared first on Silicon Canals .

Startups – Silicon Canals

Airbnb could file to go public this month

According to the Wall Street Journal, Airbnb could file confidentially to go public as early as this month. The same report states that Airbnb could follow that filing with an IPO before year’s end. Morgan Stanley and Goldman are helping the former startup with its IPO process, the Journal writes.

The news that Airbnb’s IPO could be back on caps a tumultuous year for the home-sharing unicorn, which promised in 2019 to go public in 2020. The company was widely tipped to be considering a direct listing before COVID-19 arrived, crashing the global travel market, and with it, Airbnb’s financial health.

Airbnb declined to comment on its IPO plans.

As travelers stayed home, the company was forced to sharply cut staff, and take on billions in capital at prices that compared to its late 2019-momentum looked rather expensive.

But since those blows, Airbnb has began to make noise about positive progress regarding its platform usage, and, implicitly, its financial performance.

In June Airbnb said that between “May 17 to June 6, 2020, there were more nights booked for travel to Airbnb listings in the US. than during the same time period in 2019” and that “globally, over the most recent weekend (June 5-7), we saw year-over-year growth in gross booking value” for “the first time since February.”

And in July, the company that said that its users had “booked more than 1 million nights’ worth of future stays at Airbnb listings” globally in a single day, the first time since March 3rd that that had happened.

Precisely how far Airbnb has financially clawed its way back is not clear. But the company’s cost basis in the wake of its layoffs could lower the revenue base it needs to recover to reach something akin to profitability, a traditional IPO benchmark though one that has lost luster in recent years.

And with local travel taking off — slowly-improving airline occupancy rates are, therefore, not indicative of Airbnb’s performance or health — the company could have retooled its business in the wake of COVID to something that can still put up attractive revenues at strong margins.

Needless to say I am hype to read the Airbnb S-1, so the sooner it drops the happier I’ll be. Getting an in-depth look at what happened to the unicorn during COVID-19 is going to be fascinating.

Airbnb joins DoorDash, Coinbase, Palantir, and others on our IPO shortlist. More as we have it.

Startups – TechCrunch