November 27, 2021

Excellent Pix

Unlimited Technology

VC Daily: Lime Scoots Out of Pandemic Blues, CEO Says

Good day. Shared electric-scooter rental startups took a huge hit when the pandemic all but froze their critical commuter and tourism-rider segments.

But scooter startup Lime’s Chief Executive Wayne Ting said in an interview for The Wall Street Journal’s Tech Live conference on Monday that his company’s 2021 third-quarter revenue is close to pre-pandemic 2019 revenue.

Mr. Ting said that San Francisco-based Lime, which is incorporated as Neutron Holdings Inc., was profitable in the third quarter on an adjusted Ebitda basis.

The acronym stands for earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, and strips out various capital costs such as scooter depreciation, which has been one of the central hurdles for Lime’s and other scooter companies’ efforts to become profitable. These companies largely earn revenue on a per-ride basis and increasing the longevity of their scooters allows them to maximize the unit economics of each scooter.

Mr. Ting attributed the company’s growth in part to more rides being taken for errands, social visits and entertainment, and to cities incorporating more bike lanes onto streets, making riders feel safer.

“The trend is 100% a tailwind for us,” Mr. Ting said about cities’ investments in creating bike lanes.

And now on to the news…

Top News

Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai spoke at WSJ Tech Live.

Call for government action. Sundar Pichai, chief executive of Google and parent company Alphabet Inc., said the U.S. government should take a more active role in policing cyberattacks and encouraging innovation with policies and investments. In the wake of recent cybersecurity breaches attributed to Chinese and Russian hackers, Mr. Pichai said the time had come to draft the equivalent of a Geneva Convention for technology to outline international legal standards for an increasingly connected world. “Governments on a multilateral basis…need to put it up higher on the agenda,” Mr. Pichai said in a recorded interview for The Wall Street Journal’s Tech Live conference on Monday. “If not, you’re going to see more of it because countries would resort to those things.”

More Video From WSJ Tech Live:

Ohanian Says Regulators Must Catch Up to Changing Technology

VC Backs Founders ‘Paying That Transparency Tax Up Front’

Carmelo Anthony’s Investment Advice: Personal Values Are Key

3.6%

Information technology budgets, which are expected to increase 2% this year, are forecast to grow 3.6% in 2022, according to research by Gartner Inc. (WSJ)

Rent the Runway Targets Valuation of Up to $1.5 Billion in IPO

Rent the Runway Inc. is seeking a valuation of as much as $1.5 billion in its initial public offering next week, in what would cap a comeback for the clothing-rental business, The Wall Street Journal’s Corrie Driebusch reports. The New York company is aiming to sell shares at between $18 and $21 apiece for a fully diluted valuation of $1.24 billion to $1.46 billion, it said in a securities filing Monday. The roadshow for company management and their underwriters to pitch the shares to potential investors begins Tuesday and the shares are to start trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market next Wednesday.

German Fintech N26, Newly Valued at $9 Billion, Again Draws Regulator’s Eye

N26 Bank GmbH, a Berlin-based digital bank that is now as valuable as the country’s second-largest lender, said Germany’s financial regulator had temporarily capped the number of new customers it can sign up, the third regulatory action in six months aimed at improving controls at the startup, Patricia Kowsmann reports for the Journal. N26 on Monday said the regulator, BaFin, had ordered it to limit new European customers to 70,000 a month. A spokeswoman declined to disclose its monthly sign-up numbers, though N26 said it has added more than 2 million customers in the past year.

Also on Monday, N26 said it raised $900 million in new funding that valued it at $9 billion, close to the market capitalization of Germany’s second-largest bank, Commerzbank AG. Investors in the latest round include Third Point Ventures and Coatue Management, as well as Dragoneer Investment Group.

Industry News

Funds

UP.Partners closed its inaugural early-stage venture capital fund with $230 million in commitments to back transportation and logistics companies. Investors in the fund included Alaska Air Group Inc., Woven Capital, Standard Industries and OSM Maritime. Santa Monica, Calif.-based UP.Partners has invested in ten companies to date, including flight autonomy company Skydio, manufacturing quality assurance provider UnitX and electric vertical aircraft developer Beta Technologies.

Separately, Alaska Air Group Inc. launched Alaska Star Ventures, a new investment arm focused on sustainable technologies that will help the company’s efforts to reduce its carbon emissions. The new firm partnered with UP.Partners for its inaugural investment.

Children’s entertainment company Spin Master provided an initial allocation of $100 million toward Spin Master Ventures, which will make strategic minority investments focusing on toys, entertainment and digital games. In connection with the fund launch, the new vehicle has made investments in Stockholm-based game developer Nørdlight and Canadian online tutoring service Hoot Reading.

People

Dell Technologies Capital, the venture capital arm of Dell Technologies, appointed Radhika Malik as a principal investor; Dan Fitzpatrick as principal, business development and executive programs; and Ronda Scott as head of marketing and communications. Ms. Malik joins DTC from Samsung Catalyst Fund. Mr. Fitzpatrick previously worked at Gartner Research Board and at Forrester Research. Ms. Scott most recently led marketing for General Catalyst.

Identity management startup Strata Identity named Drew Prante as chief revenue officer. He joins the company from OneLogin. Earlier this year, Strata raised $11 million in Series A funding led by Menlo Ventures.

Exits

Mobile gaming company Scopely Inc. agreed to acquire GSN Games from Sony Pictures Entertainment. The purchase price is approximately $1 billion, half of which will be paid in cash and the remainder in preferred equity, giving SPE a minority interest in Scopely. Last year, Scopely raised a $340 million Series E round from investors including Wellington Management, NewView Capital, Battery Ventures, Greycroft and Highland Capital Partners, at a post-money valuation of $3.3 billion.

CallMiner Inc., a developer of speech-analytics software powered by artificial intelligence, acquired OrecX, an audio and screen capture provider for recording, analytics and machine-based learning. Terms weren’t disclosed. Waltham, Mass.-based CallMiner has raised funding from Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s GS Growth, NewSpring Capital and Sigma Prime Ventures.

Behavioral health marketplace SonderMind Inc. purchased predictive analytics platform Qntfy for an undisclosed sum. Denver-based SonderMind recently raised funding from Drive Capital, Premji Invest, General Catalyst, Partners Group, Smash Ventures, Kickstart Fund and F-Prime Capital.

New Money

Deel, a San Francisco-based payroll and compliance software provider for international teams, secured $425 million in Series D financing, valuing the company at $5.5 billion. Coatue Management led the round, which included contributions from Altimeter Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Y Combinator Continuity, Spark Capital and Neo.

Zopa, a London-based peer-to-peer loan provider, landed $300 million in pre-IPO funding led by Softbank Vision Fund 2.

Aura, a Burlington, Mass.-based provider of digital security to consumers, raised $200 million in Series F funding, valuing the company at $2.5 billion. Madrone Capital Partners led the round, which included participation from TenEleven Ventures, General Catalyst, WndrCo, Warburg Pincus and Accel. Earlier this month, Aura appointed Kelly Merryman as president and chief operating officer.

Saildrone Inc., an Alameda, Calif.-based autonomous-sailboat company that collects oceanic data, completed a $100 million Series C round led by BOND. New investors XN, Standard Investments, Emerson Collective and Crowley Maritime Corp. also contributed to the round, along with previous backers Lux Capital, Social Capital and Tribe Capital. Noah Knauf, general partner at BOND, will join the board.

GO, a Philadelphia-based car subscription startup, picked up a $41 million investment led by Synterra Capital Management.

H3 Dynamics, a Singapore-based aerial mobility startup, closed a $26 million Series B round. Sparx Asset Management’s Mirai Creation fund led the investment, which included additional support from the venture arm of Singapore’s Economic Development Board, Capital Management Group, Grosvenor Group, Audacy Ventures, Ascent Hydrogen Fund and ATEQ.

vFunction, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup whose technology accelerates application and cloud modernization efforts, grabbed a $26 million Series A round. Zeev Ventures and Hewlett Packard Pathfinder led the funding, which saw participation from Engineering Capital, Primera Capital and Shasta Ventures.

TripleBlind, a Kansas City-based startup offering proprietary cryptographically-enforced data privacy technology, raised $24 million in an oversubscribed Series A round. General Catalyst and Mayo Clinic led the funding, which saw participation from Basecamp Fund, Accenture Ventures, Clocktower Technology Ventures, Dolby Family Ventures, Flyover Capital, KCRise Fund, NextGen Venture Partners and Wavemaker Three-Sixty Health.

(MORE TO FOLLOW) Dow Jones Newswires

October 19, 2021 09:22 ET (13:22 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

Source News