Udemy Raises $50 Million From Benesse Holdings; Valuation Stands At $2 Billion- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

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Online learning platform Udemy raises a fresh round of $50 million funding from its long time investor based in Japan, Benesse Holdings. The company’s valuation stands at $2 billion and it plans to expand to more markets. 
The funds will be used for developing a base in markets across the world and also expand its headquarters in San Francisco. Denver, Dublin, Colorado, Gurgaon, Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Ankara are some places it is looking at to set up and grow offices. 
CEO of Udemy, Gregg Coccari said in a statement that the company is on a mission to improve lives through learning, and so is Benesse. They believe that 2020 will be a milestone year where they will serve millions of more students and enable thousands of businesses and governments to upskill their employees. For this growth to be possible, they need their expert instructors and partner to be with them at every step to build business. 
The San Francisco headquartered company believes that 57,000 expert instructors on their portal are helping millions of students learn new skills and their diverse range of courses adds to this. A year back, Udemy’s saw growth in its subscriptions by expanding internationally and offering courses in Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese and German languages as well. They did this while keeping their product local and also the experts on it. 
The learning platform has above 5000 customers globally which include Adidas, Booking.com, Toyota, and Wipro. 

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Unacademy Raises New Funds; Valuation Raised To $510 Million- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

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Edtech startup Unacademy has raised $110 million from Facebook, and US private equity firm General Atlantic. This places Unacademy’s valuation to $510 million. 
Investors like Sequoia Capital, Nexus Venture Partners, Steadview Capital, and Blume Ventures also participated in the round. This was apart from investments by Flipkart CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy and Udaan co-founder Sujeet Kumar.
Edtech startup Unacademy usually focusses on preparing students for competitive exams. They are likely to utilise the money to increase the number of competitive exams, and also bring top educators onto its platform, by improving the quality of content.
Reports say that Unacademy has over 90,000 active subscribers, who log in to be tutored through livestream by 10,000 educators on its platform. Unacademy also hosts video tutorials on YouTube, where as per them, it receives more than 150 million monthly views, and also acts as a funnel in bringing learners onto its platform.
Experts have said that around 70 percent traffic comes from tier 2 and tier 3 cities, especially because there is a lack of access of top educators. As of now, Unacademy has its content catering to 32 competitive exams. 
With this investment, Unacademy becomes one of the most highly valued ed-tech startups in India. This was especially after ed-tech giant Byju’s was valued at $8.2 billion. Mark Zuckerberg’s foundation has also invested in Byju’s. 

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After Raising Funds, Rebel Foods Targets A Valuation Of $1 Bn- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

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Just a week after Rebel Foods, raised INR. 35 crore debt from Mumbai-based VC firm Alteria Capital, it’s eyeing a valuation of $1 billion. Rebel foods runs cloud kitchens like Faasos, Oven Story Pizza, and Behrouz Biriyani. This is because it’s looking forward to mop up a new round of funding of around $100-150 million. 
Read:
Rebel Foods Receives 35 Crores Debt From Alteria Capital
A dozen of virtual restaurant brands are being run by Rebel, where it sells directly through its own application, besides food tech platforms like Zomato and Swiggy. Also, the new funding round comes in less than six months, after the Mumbai-based company had raised its previous round of $125 million, which valued it at $525 million.
In this fresh round of funding, Rebel’s existing backer Coatue Management could be seen investing around $550 million. The remaining capital is supposed to be raised from other existing investors. 
Also, Japan’s SoftBank Vision Fund, recently expressed an interest in Rebel again, although it’s yet not sanguine. However, reports say that SoftBank has held discussions with Rebel last year, but nothing fructified.
Also Read:
SoftBank Partner Is Leaving At Its $100 Bn Vision Fund
A major attraction in this sector, is the increasing spends on home delivery with the proliferation  of online food delivery applications. In the US, companies like DoorDash and Uber Eats has come up, also companies like Meituan Dianping in China, has become one of the most valued listed internet companies after Alibaba and Tencent.
Uber’s Travis Kalanick had also picked up a small stake in Rebel last year. Rebel is expected to close the year ending March 2020 with total revenues of INR. 600-650 crores, with a current revenue of around INR. 75 crore. 

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Tesla crosses US$100 billion stock market valuation – Finance- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Tesla Inc became the first US$100 billion (A$146 billion) publicly listed US carmaker in extended trading on Tuesday, in a sign of Wall Street’s confidence in an all-electric future.
The milestone comes less than a month after Tesla’s stock crossed US$420, the infamous price at which chief executive officer Elon Musk had tweeted he would take the electric car maker private.
Musk tweeted he had “funding secured” to take Tesla private in August 2018, when its shares were trading in the mid-$330s, only to later give up under investor pressure and regulatory concerns.
Tesla shares were last up 1.4 percent at US$555 after the bell, building on a 7.2 percent gain during trading when brokerage New Street Research raised its price target to $800.
Tesla’s market value also puts Musk a step closer to earning the first US$346 million tranche of options in a record-breaking pay package.
The US$100 billion valuation needs to stay for both a one-month and six-month average in order to trigger the vesting of the first of 12 tranches of options granted to Musk to buy Tesla stock.
Tesla, which is already valued more than Ford Motor Co and General Motors Co combined, has seen its stock more than double in the last three months, fuelled by a rare quarterly profit in October, news of production ramp-up in its China factory and better-than-expected annual car deliveries.
In another win, Tesla reached a settlement with Michigan to allow it to directly deliver its vehicles to customers in the state, a person familiar with the agreement said on Tuesday.

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Alphabet becomes fourth US company to hit $1 trillion valuation – Blog – 10 minute

What just happened? While stock analysts give very little weight to market cap valuations, companies like to tout the numbers as a measure of growth. Only a handful of companies have reached $1 trillion and Alphabet is the latest.
On Thursday, Google’s parent company Alphabet closed trading at $1,450.16 per share and breaking a $1 trillion market cap. The company will be reporting its fourth-quarter earnings next month, and Motley Fool analysts predict around 20-percent growth year-over-year with revenue of $46.9 billion.
Alphabet it the fourth US company to break the trillion-dollar barrier — $1.01 trillion as of this writing. Apple was the first in 2018, followed by Amazon. However, the online retail giant quickly dipped back under the mark (now at $924B). Microsoft hit the threshold last year and has maintained its cap along with Apple valued at $1.27T and $1.38T, respectively.

PetroChina was the first to reach the valuation in 2007, if only briefly. CNN Business notes, Saudi Aramco hit $2 trillion last December but has taken a deep dive down to $119 billion. Both companies have struggled to maintain valuation after their IPO due largely to a shaky and unstable oil market, showing that market caps are not necessarily a good gauge of a company’s financial health.
Facebook is another company poised to break into the trillion-dollar club. Its current market cap sits at $632 billion, although it is hard to predict how long it will take to reach $1T.

While its growth has been steady, trading in Facebook stock has been volatile in the short term. Shares plummeted more than 40 percent in the last half of 2018 in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and it is just now reaching its previous levels.
With only a small margin over the trillion-dollar cap, it’s hard to say whether Alphabet can hold on to its valuation. However, with Google making headway with its Stadia platform, including a partnership with BT to bundle the service with broadband packages, further growth seems all but guaranteed.
Image credit: Alphabet site under magnifying glass by dennizn

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Shape Security hits $1B valuation with $51M Series F – gpgmail


Anti-fraud startup Shape Security has tipped over the $1 billion valuation mark following its latest Series F round of $51 million.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company announced the fundraise Thursday, bringing the total amount of outside investment to $183 million since the company debuted in 2011.

C5 Capital led the round, along with several other new and returning investors, including Kleiner Perkins, HPE Growth and Norwest Ventures Partners.

Shape Security protects companies against automated and imitation attacks, which often employ bots to break into networks using stolen or reused credentials. Shape uses artificial intelligence to discern bots from ordinary users by comparing known information such as a user’s location, and collected data, like mouse movements, to shut down attempted automated logins in real time.

The company said it now protects against two billion fraudulent logins daily.

C5 managing partner André Pienaar said he believes Shape will become the “definitive” anti-fraud platform for the world’s largest companies.

“While we expect a strong financial return, we also believe that we can bring Shape’s platform into many of the leading companies in Europe who look to us for strategic ideas that benefit the entire value-chain where B2C applications are used,” Pienaar told gpgmail.

Shape’s chief executive Derek Smith said the $51 million injection will go toward the company’s international expansion and product development — particularly the capabilities of its AI system.

He added that Shape was preparing for an IPO.

Correction: A draft of the company’s funding news said Shape had raised $173 million to date. The company said this was a typo and has in fact raised $183 million.


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Root Insurance valuation hits $3.65 billion in latest round led by DST Global and Coatue – gpgmail


Root Insurance,  lang=”EN”>an Ohio-based car insurance startup that uses smartphone technology to understand individual driver behavior, said Monday it has raised $350 million on a $3.65 billion valuation in a Series E funding round. 

The amount of the round was reported last month, citing anonymous sources. This official announcement fills in the remaining details, including that DST Global and Coatue led the funding round. Existing investors Drive Capital, Redpoint Ventures, Ribbit Capital, Scale Venture Partners, and Tiger Global Management all participated in this round, along with several new investors, according to the company.

The car insurance company, founded in 2015, has now raised $523 million with an additional $100 million in debt financing. The funding will be used to scale up in the 29 U.S. states where it currently operates and expand into new markets. The additional capital will also be used to develop new product lines, Root said.

The company said last year it planned to be in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., by the end of 2019. 

“Root is transforming auto insurance, the largest property and casualty insurance market in the U.S., by leveraging technology and data to offer consumers lower prices, transparency, and fairness,” Tom Stafford, managing partner of DST Global, said in a statement.

Root provides car insurance to drivers. The company has differentiated itself by using individual driver behavior along with other factors to determine the premium customers pay.

Drivers download the Rootmobile app and take a test drive that typically lasts two or three weeks. Root provides a quote that rewards good driving behavior and allows customers to switch their insurance policy. Customers can purchase and manage their policy through the app.

Root has said its approach allows good drivers to save more than 50 percent on their policies compared to traditional insurance carriers. The company uses AI algorithms to adjust risk and sometimes provide discounts. For example, a vehicle with an advanced driver assistance system that it deems improves safety might receive further discounts.

The company’s business model has attracted customers. Root wrote more than $187 million in insurance premiums in the first six months of 2019, 824% growth over the same period in 2018.


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SoftBank-backed Getaround is raising $200M at a $1.5B+ valuation – gpgmail


Getaround, a used car marketplace and winner of gpgmail Disrupt New York Battlefield 2011, will enter the unicorn club with a roughly $200 million equity financing.

The deal values Getaround, founded in 2009, at $1.7 billion, according to an estimate provided by PitchBook. Getaround declined to comment, citing internal policy on “funding speculation.”

“Getaround and our investors work closely together on our growth strategy, and we’ll definitely plan to share more when we’re ready,” a spokesperson said in response to gpgmail’s inquiry Thursday morning.

The news follows the company’s $300 million acquisition of Drivy, a Paris-headquartered car-sharing startup that operates in 170 European cities.

Getaround closed a Series D funding of $300 million last year, a round led by SoftBank with participation from Toyota Motor Corporation. Existing investors in the business, which allows its some 200,000 members to rent and unlock vehicles from their mobile phones at $5 per hour, include Menlo Ventures and SOSV.

Assuming an upcoming $200 million infusion, Getaround has raised more than $600 million in equity funding to date.

Whether SoftBank has participated in Getaround’s latest financing is unknown. The business is an active investor in the carsharing market, with investments in Chinese ride-hailing business Didi Chuxing, Uber and autonomous driving company Cruise. We’ve reached out to SoftBank for comment.

In conversation with gpgmail last year, Getaround co-founder Sam Zaid emphasized SoftBank’s capabilities as a mobility investor: “What we really liked about [SoftBank] was they take a really long view on things,” he said. “So they were very good about thinking about the future of mobility, and we have a common kind of vision of every car becoming a shared car.”

Getaround was expected to expand into international markets with its previous fundraise. Indeed, the company has moved into France, Germany, Spain, Austria, Belgium and the U.K. where it operates under the brand “Drivy by Getaround,” and in Norway under the “Nabobil” brand.

The business initially launched its car-sharing service in 2011, relying on gig workers, who can list their car on the Getaround marketplace for $500 to $1,000 a month in payments, depending on how often their car is rented.

Since Getaround entered the market, however, a number of competitors have entered the space with similar business models. Turo and Maven, for example, have both emerged to facilitate car rental with backing from top venture capital funds.


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We Company reportedly mulls slashing its valuation ahead of its initial public offering – gpgmail


The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the company formerly known as WeWork is considering slashing its valuation as it looks to woo public market investors.

The company is reportedly considering a valuation of somewhere in the $20 billion range for its initial public offering, a figure that’s far less than the $47 billion valuation it received when it raised its last round of private funding.

Since filing for its initial public offering earlier this summer, questions have swirled around the viability of The We Company (as it’s now known).

According to the Journal, the company’s chief executive officer and co-founder Adam Neumann flew to Tokyo last week to meet with SoftBank Group — one of the company’s largest investors.

Neumann went to see if SoftBank would make another investment into the company — reportedly coming in as an anchor investor for the public offering and taking a big bite of the $3 billion to $4 billion the company was looking to raise. Neumann also reportedly discussed using SoftBank cash to delay the public offering until 2020.

A few billion here and a few billion there, and soon you’re talking about real money.

SoftBank has already balked at putting more cash into the We Company ahead of the public offering, and it’s not clear whether the company will step in as a white knight now.  

What is clear is that We needs money and its long term viability as a business is contingent on the infusion of massive amounts of cash.

Indeed, the company has a $6 billion line of credit at stake, which would be pulled if the public offering underperforms.

If the company fails to hit the $3 billion mark in its public offering, then the credit line promised from the big banks that are underwriting the public offering goes away.  That would be a pretty devastating turn of events for a company that’s currently racking up losses in the billions of dollars.

All of this comes during a shuffling of deck chairs designed to make the company look somewhat better to institutional investors and the public. Stories like this, however, don’t instill confidence that the We Company can avoid the iceberg that is its own business model.


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ThoughtSpot hauls in $248M Series D on $1.95B valuation – gpgmail


ThoughtSpot was started by a bunch of ed-Googlers looking to bring the power of search to data. Seven years later the company is growing fast, sporting a fat valuation of almost $2 billion and looking ahead to a possible IPO. Today it announced a hefty $248 million Series D round as it continues on its journey.

Investors include Silver Lake Waterman, Silver Lake’s late-stage growth capital fund along with existing investors Lightspeed Venture Partners, Sapphire Ventures and Geodesic Capital. Today’s funding brings the total raised to $554 million, according to the company.

The company wants to help customers bring speed to data analysis by answering natural language questions about the data without having to understand how to formulate a SQL query. As a person enters questions, ThoughSpot translates that question into SQL, then displays a chart with data related to the question, all almost instantly (at least in the demo).

It doesn’t stop there though. It also uses artificial intelligence to understand intent to help come up the exact correct answer. ThoughtSpot CEO Sudheesh Nair says that this artificial intelligence underpinning is key to the product. As he explained, if you are looking for the answer to a specific question like ‘What is the profit margin of red shoes in Portland?” there won’t be multiple answers. There is only one answer, and that’s where artificial intelligence really comes into play.

“The bar on delivering that kind of answer is very high and because of that, understanding intent is critical. We use AI for that. You could ask, ‘How did we do with red shoes in Portland?’ I could ask, ‘What is the profit margin of red shoes in Portland?’ The system needs to know that we both are asking the same question. So there’s a lot of AI that goes behind it to understand the intent,” Nair explained.

image 10

Image: ThoughtSpot

ThoughtSpot gets answers to queries by connecting to a variety of internal systems like HR, CRM and ERP and uses all of this data to answer the question as best it can. So far, it appears to be working. The company has almost 250 large company customers, and is on a run rate of close to $100 million.

Nair said that the company didn’t necessarily need the money with $100 million still in the bank, but he saw an opportunity, and he seized it. He says the money gives him a great deal of flexibility moving forward including the possibility of acquiring companies to fill in missing pieces or to expand the platform’s capabilities. It also will allow him to accelerate growth. Plus, he sees the capital markets possibly tightening next year and he wanted to strike while the opportunity was in front of him.

Nair definitely sees the company going public at some point. “With these kind of resources behind us, it actually opens up an opportunity for us to do any sort of IPO that we want. I do think that a company like this will benefit from going public because Global 2000 kind of customers, where we have our most of our business, appreciate the transparency and the stability represented by public companies,” he said.

He added, “And with $350 million in the bank, it’s totally [possible to] IPO, which means that a year and a half from now if we are ready to take the company public, we can actually have all options open including a direct listing, potentially. I’m not saying we will do that, but I’m saying that this kind of funding behind us, we have all those options open.”


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