According to a recent letter sent to its investors, Tiger Global Management, the New York-based investing powerhouse, is raising a new $3.75 billion venture fund called Tiger Private Investment Partners XIV that it expects to close in March.
The fund is Tiger Global’s 13th venture fund, despite its title — the partners might be superstitious — and it comes hot on the heels of the firm’s 12th venture fund, closed exactly a year ago, also with $3.75 billion in capital commitments.
A spokesperson for the firm declined to comment on the letter or Tiger Global’s broader fundraising strategy when reached this morning.
It’s a lot of capital to target, even amid a sea of enormous new venture vehicles. New Enterprise Associates closed its newest fund with $3.6 billion last year. Lightspeed Venture Partners soon after announced $4 billion across three funds. Andreessen Horowitz, the youngest of the three firms, announced in November it had closed a pair of funds totaling $4.5 billion.
At the same time, Tiger Global has seemingly has a strong case to potential limited partners. Last year alone, numerous of its portfolio companies either went public or was acquired.
Yatsen Holding, the nearly five-year-old parent company of China-based cosmetics giant Perfect Diary, went public in November and is now valued at $14 billion. (Tiger Global’s ownership stake didn’t merit a mention on the company’s regulatory filing.)
Tiger Global also quietly invested in the cloud-based data warehousing outfit Snowflake and, while again, it didn’t have a big enough stake to be included in the company’s S-1, even a tiny ownership percentage would be valuable, given that Snowflake is now valued at $85 billion.
And Tiger Global backed Root insurance, a nearly six-year-old, Columbus, Oh.-based insurance company that went public in November and currently boasts a market cap of $5.3 billion. Tiger owned 10.3% sailing into the offering.
As for M&A, Tiger Global saw at least three of its companies swallowed by bigger tech companies during 2020, including Postmates’s all-stock sale to Uber for $2.65 billion; Credit Karma’s $7 billion sale in cash and stock to Intuit; and the sale of Kustomer, which focused on customer service platforms and chatbots, for $1 billion to Facebook.
Tiger Global, whose roots are in hedge fund management, launched its private equity business in 2003, spearheaded by Chase Coleman, who’d previously worked for hedge-fund pioneer Julian Robertson at Tiger Management; and Scott Shleifer, who joined the firm in 2002 after spending three years with the Blackstone Group. Lee Fixel, who would become a key contributor in the business, joined in 2006.
Shleifer focused on China; Fixel focused on India, and the rest of the firm’s support team (it now has 22 investing professionals on staff) helped find deals in Brazil and Russia before beginning to focus more aggressively on opportunities in the U.S.
Every investing decision was eventually made by each of the three. Fixel left in 2019 to launch his own investment firm, Addition. Now Shleifer and Coleman are the firm’s sole decision-makers.
Whether the firm eventually replaces Fixel is an open question, though it doesn’t appear to be the plan. Tiger Global is known for grooming investors within its operations rather than hiring outsiders, so a new top lieutenant would almost surely come from its current team.
In the meantime, the firm’s private equity arm — which has written everything from Series A checks (Warby Parker) to checks in the multiple hundreds of millions of dollars — is currently managing assets of $30 million, compared with the $49 billion that Tiger is managing more broadly.
A year ago, Tiger Global, which employs 100 people altogether, was reportedly managing $36.2 billion in assets.
According to the outfit’s investor letter, the firm’s gross internal rate of return across its 12 previous funds is 32%, while its net IRR is 24%.
Tiger Global’s investors include a mix of sovereign wealth funds, foundations, endowments, pensions, and its own employees, who are collectively believed to be the firm’s biggest investors at this point.
Some of Tiger Global’s biggest wins to date have include a $200 million bet on the e-commerce giant JD.com that produced a $5 billion for the firm. According to the WSJ, it also cleared more than $1 billion on the Chinese online-services platform Meituan Dianping, which went public in 2018.
Tiger Global also reportedly reaped $3 billion from majority sale of India’s Flipkart to Walmart in 2018, though the Indian government has more recently been trying to recover $1.9 billion from the firm, claiming it has outstanding tax dues on the sale of its share in the company.
One outcome that might surprise even Tiger Global’s investors ties to the connected fitness company Peloton, 20% of which the firm owned at the time of Peloton’s 2019 IPO (a deal that Fixel reportedly brought to the table, along with Flipkart). Fueled by users trapped at home during the pandemic, Peloton — which was valued by private investors at $4 billion and doubled in value immediately as a publicly traded company — now boasts a market cap of $48.6 billion.
Tiger Global has invested its current fund in roughly 50 companies over the last 12 months.
Among its newest bets is Blend, an eight-year-old, San Francisco-based digital lending platform that yesterday announced $300 million in Series G funding, including from Coatue, at a post-money valuation of $3.3 billion.
It also led the newly announced $450 million Series C round for Checkout.com, an eight-year-old, London-based online payments platform that is now valued at $15 billion. And it wrote a follow-on check to Cockroach Labs, the nearly six-year-old, New York-based distributed SQL database that just raised $160 million in Series E funding at a $2 billion valuation, just eight months after raising an $86.6 million Series D round.
Another of its newest, biggest bets centers on the online education platform Zuowebang, in China. Back in June, Tiger Global co-led a $750 million Series E round in the company.
Last month, it was back again, co-leading a $1.6 billion round in the distance-learning company.
Pictured: Scott Shleifer, managing director of Tiger Global Management LLC, right, speaks with an attendee during the UJA-Federation of New York Wall Street Dinner in New York, on Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2011.
Sennder, a large digital road freight forwarder based out of Germany, has raised $160m in Series D financing. The round was led by an unnamed party, but round participants included Accel, Lakestar, HV Capital, Project A and Scania. To date, Sennder has raised more than $260m, allowing it to lay claim to a potential $1bn valuation.
Sennder directly connects enterprise shippers with trucking companies, thus disintermediating the traditional freight model. It says it will move over 1 million truckloads this year. So far it’s concentrated on the lucrative European market. In June 2020 it merged with French competitor Everoad and acquired Uber Freight’s European business last September. The European logistics and freight sector has a market size of $427bn.
Sennder competes with large incumbents like Wincanton and CH Robinson as well as other startups such as OnTrac in Spin, and Instafreight.
The whole digital freight forwarding market is booming. Only last November, Germany’s Forto, a digital freight forwarder raised another $50 million in funding taking its total raised to $103 million. And in 2018 FreightHub, another European digital freight forwarder, raised $30 million in Series B financing.
Sennder’s new investment will mean it can expand in European markets. It already partners with Poste Italiane in Italy, as well as Scania and Siemens, and is now supplying transport services to over 10 organizations listed in the German DAX 30, and 11 companies comprising the Euro Stoxx 50.
Since its founding in 2015 by David Nothacker, Julius Köhler and Nicolaus Schefenacker, the company has grown to 800 employees and seven international offices.
David Nothacker, CEO and Co-Founder of Sennder, said: “We are now an established industry player on equal terms with other more traditional sector pioneers, but have maintained our founding spirit. As a data-driven company, we contribute to making the logistics industry fit for a sustainable future; ensuring transparency, flexibility and efficiency in the distribution of goods. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the importance of a digitalized logistics industry.
Sonali De Rycker, Partner at Accel commented: “It is always fantastic to see a portfolio company reach such a significant milestone. 2020 highlighted the value that Sennder’s innovative digital offering brings to the freight industry.”
As the pandemic took hold in 2020, companies accelerated their move to cloud services. Lacework, the cloud security startup, was in the right place at the right time as customers looked for ways to secure their cloud native workloads. The company reported that revenue grew 300% year over year for the second straight year.
It was rewarded for that kind of performance with a $525 million Series D today. It did not share an exact valuation, only saying that it exceeded $1 billion, which you would expect on such a hefty investment. Sutter Hill and Altimeter Capital led the round with help from D1, Coatue, Dragoneer Investment Group, Liberty Global Ventures, Snowflake Ventures and Tiger Capital. The company has now raised close to $600 million.
Lacework CEO Dan Hubbard says one of the reasons for such widespread interest from investors is the breadth of the company’s security solution. “We enable companies to build securely in the cloud, and we span across multiple different categories of markets, which enable the customers to do that,” he said.
He says that encompasses a range of services including configuration and compliance, security for infrastructure as code, build time and runtime vulnerability scanning and runtime security for cloud native environments like Kubernetes and containers.
As the company has grown revenue, it has been adding employees quickly. It started the year with 92 employees and closed with over 200 with plans to double that by the end of this year. As he looks at hiring, Hubbard is aware of the need to build a diverse organization, but acknowledges that tech in general hasn’t done a great job so far.
He says they are working with the various teams inside the company to try and change that, while also working to support outside organizations that are helping educate under represented groups to get the skills they need and then building from that. “If you can help solve the problem at an earlier stage, then I think you’ve got a bigger opportunity [to have a base of people to hire] there,” he said.
The company was originally nurtured inside Sutter Hill and is built on top of the Snowflake platform. It reports that $20 million of today’s total comes from Snowflake’s new venture arm, which is putting some money into an early partner.
“We were an alpha Snowflake customer, and they were an alpha customer of ours. Our platform is built on top of the Snowflake data cloud and their new venture arm has also joined the round with an investment to further strengthen the partnership there,” Hubbard said.
As for Sutter Hill, investor Mike Speiser sees Lacework as one of his firm’s critical investments. “[Much] like Snowflake at a similar point in its evolution, Lacework is growing revenue at over 300% per year making Lacework one of Sutter Hill Ventures’ most important and promising portfolio companies,” he said in a statement.
It’s been a busy year of expansion for the large cloud providers, with AWS, Azure and Google aggressively expanding their data center presence around the world. To cap off the year, Google Cloud today announced a new set of cloud regions, which will go live in the coming months and years. These new regions, which will all have three availability zones, will be in Chile, Germany and Saudi Arabia. That’s on top of the regions in Indonesia, South Korea, the U.S. (Las Vegas and Salt Lake City) that went live this year — and the upcoming regions in France, Italy, Qatar and Spain the company also announced over the course of the last twelve months.
In total, Google currently operates 24 regions with 73 availability zones, not counting those it has announced but that aren’t live yet. While Microsoft Azure is well ahead of the competition in terms of the total number of regions (though some still lack availability zones), Google is now starting to pull even with AWS, which currently offers 24 regions with a total of 77 availability zones. Indeed, with its 12 announced regions, Google Cloud may actually soon pull ahead of AWS, which is currently working on six new regions.
The battleground may soon shift away from these large data centers, though, with a new focus on edge zones close to urban centers that are smaller than the full-blown data centers the large clouds currently operate but that allow businesses to host their services even closer to their customers.
All of this is a clear sign of how much Google has invested in its cloud strategy in recent years. For the longest time, after all, Google Cloud Platform lagged well behind its competitors. Only three years ago, Google Cloud offered only 13 regions, for example. And that’s on top of the company’s heavy investment in submarine cables and edge locations.
The aerospace industry has seen an explosion of activity from the world of startups, where bright engineers are foregoing jobs at large corporations and opting instead to raise funding from increasingly ambitious venture capitalists to build their own startups to turn moonshots into business realities. In the latest development, a startup out of Munich has raised the largest round to date in European space tech.
Isar Aerospace, which is building a micro-satellite launcher significantly smaller and thus lower in price than bigger launchers on the market today, has picked up €75 million ($91 million) in funding. It plans to use the money to continue its research, development and production en route to its first commercial launches, planned for early 2022.
The launcher is not just significant for its design innovation, but if it proves successful, it would make Isar the first European space company to build a successful satellite launcher to compete in the global satellite market.
The round, a Series B, is being led by Lakestar, with previous backers Earlybird and Vsquared Ventures also contributing significantly, the company said. Earlybird and strategic backer Airbus Ventures led Isar’s previous round of $17 million in December 2019.
The startup is a spinout of TUM — the famous Munich Technical University — where co-founders Daniel Metzler, Josef Fleischmann, and Markus Brandl had all studied engineering. Fleishmann had a small claim to fame before Isar: he was part of the team from TUM that built the winning vehicle for the famous Hyperloop competition in the US. It was an achievement that landed him a very interesting job offer with a very high profile space venture in the US that will go unnamed; he opted to come back to Germany to build his own company, which became Isar.
As Metzler described it in an interview, there is a lot of pent-up demand among companies that need or would like to use satellite technology to augment or replace other data sources: this comes from not just the usual suspects of government or communications entities, but also navigation, GPS and mapping specialists, agribusiness interest, media and internet companies and any organizations that need the kind of high speed, far-reaching data access that can only be achieved from space.
The issue is that today’s technology makes launching satellites into orbit a costly and time-sucking operation.
Launchers are large and go up infrequently, so reserving space on them takes a lot of lead time and investment, and even then a launch can hit a snag over a technical or weather issue.
That issue has somewhat been addressed by the growth of private companies like SpaceX, which are building more rockets to address demand; and a proliferation of more launch centers in a larger range of locations to increase the number of launch events.
Isar, on the other hand, is taking a very different approach, building not just a new kind of launchpad but a new kind of rocket that will be smaller and less expensive. The idea will be that by doing so, it will make it cheaper, easier and more flexible for more organizations to book satellite launches. The aim will be to carry a payload of over 1,000 kilograms.
As Metzler describes it, the innovations that Isar has built into its system includes the propulsion systems with a design that relies on a different, lighter fuel than what is typically used today in launchers. It’s also taking a different, simplified approach to the design to further reduce the cost of production.
Metzler said that typically the price for a satellite launch today can be in the range of between $30,000 and $40,000 per kilogram. “We aim to go more in the direction of $10,000 per kilogram,” he said.
The proposition is interesting enough that Isar says it has already racked up $500 million in “customer inquiries” — essentially a loose commitment for sales as and when it gets its launchers ready to run.
The company sees satellite launches as an obvious bottleneck that needs addressing.
“Going to space once a week is very different from planning launches three years in advance,” he said of how Isar envisions the future to look, versus how it looks now. And just to note, he said that Isar is building with sustainability in mind: if a piece does not return to earth to be re-used, it’s designed to be broken up and burned in the atmosphere, leaving no trace of the launcher.
Longer term, Isar might also consider space exploration and other areas of development, an ambitious roadmap (or skymap, as the case may be) that investors seem willing to support.
“We are proud to accompany Isar Aerospace as the largest institutional investor on its way to commercially develop space for Europe. Micro-satellites in the low Earth orbit will become a key platform technology with enormous innovation and business potential in the coming decades. That is why we need a competitive space industry in Europe if we do not want to witness the next technological leaps as a spectator,” said Hendrik Brandis, Co-Founding Partner of Earlybird. “I am particularly pleased that we are able to back a financing round of this magnitude entirely with German money. This is a clear sign of how successfully the start-up and VC industry has developed in this country in recent years.”
Shares of the company’s stock were up $16.86, or 47.05%, in early trading on the Nasdaq stock exchange.
For the company’s fiscal first quarter, which ends Oct. 31, Stitch Fix reported earnings of 9 cents a share. The company booked $490.4 million in revenue, a beat on analysts’ expectations that the company would see $481.2 million and lose 20 cents per share, according to Refinitiv data reported by CNBC.
For its fiscal first quarter ended Oct. 31, Stitch Fix reported earnings of 9 cents per share on revenue of $490.4 million, topping estimates for a loss of 20 cents per share on revenue of $481.2 million, according to Refinitiv data.
“In Q1, we delivered $490 million in net revenue, reflecting 10% year-over-year growth, and grew our active client count to nearly 3.8 million, reflecting 10% year-over-year growth,”said the company’s chief executive Katrina Lake . “We’re excited about the momentum in our business, confident in the future ahead, and we expect to deliver between 20% and 25% growth for the full year.”
Even as traditional retail suffers, due to government responses to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, online retail is grabbing increasing shares of the market. Stitch Fix’s business is no exception.
“In a time period where many traditional brick and mortar retailers are still experiencing double-digit year over year revenue decreases in their most recent quarter, we delivered an increase of over 240,000 net active clients quarter over quarter, a return to double-digit, year-over-year active client growth, which we expect will increase further this fiscal year,” Lake wrote in a letter to shareholders.
IT security software company Ivanti has acquired two security companies: enterprise mobile security firm MobileIron, and corporate virtual network provider Pulse Secure.
In a statement on Tuesday, Ivanti said it bought MobileIron for $872 million in stock, with 91% of the shareholders voting in favor of the deal; and acquired Pulse Secure from its parent company Siris Capital Group, but did not disclose the buying price.
The deals have now closed.
Ivanti was founded in 2017 after Clearlake Capital, which owned Heat Software, bought Landesk from private equity firm Thoma Bravo, and merged the two companies to form Ivanti. The combined company, headquartered in Salt Lake City, focuses largely on enterprise IT security, including endpoint, asset, and supply chain management. Since its founding, Ivanti went on to acquire several other companies, including U.K.-based Concorde Solutions and RES Software.
If MobileIron and Pulse Secure seem familiar, both companies have faced their fair share of headlines this year after hackers began exploiting vulnerabilities found in their technologies.
Just last month, the U.K. government’s National Cyber Security Center published an alert that warned of a remotely executable bug in MobileIron, patched in June, allowing hackers to break into enterprise networks. U.S. Homeland Security’s cybersecurity advisory unit CISA said that the bug was being actively used by advanced persistent threat (APT) groups, typically associated with state-backed hackers.
Meanwhile, CISA also warned that Pulse Secure was one of several corporate VPN providers with vulnerabilities that have since become a favorite among hackers, particularly ransomware actors, who abuse the bugs to gain access to a network and deploy the file-encrypting ransomware.
AWS has launched a new tool to let developers move data from one store to another called Glue Elastic Views.
At the AWS:Invent keynote CEO Andy Jassy announced Glue Elastic Views, a service that lets programmers move data across multiple data stores more seamlessly.
The new service can take data from disparate silos and move them together. That AWS ETL service allows programmers to write a little bit of SQL code to have a materialized view tht can move from one source data store to another.
For instance, Jassy said, a programmer can move data from DynamoDB to Elastic Search allowing a developer to set up a materialized view to copy that data — all the while managing dependencies. That means if data changes in the source data lake, then it will automatically be updated in the other data stores where the data has been relocated, Jassy said.
“When you have the ability to move data… and move that data easily from data store to data store… that’s incredibly powerful,” said Jassy.
Per the company’s own accounting, it will have 596,399,007 or 601,399,007 shares outstanding, depending on whether its underwriters exercise their option. That gives the company a valuation range of $26.2 billion to $30.1 billion at the extremes.
The company’s simple share count does not include a host of other shares that have vested but not yet been exercised. Including those shares, the company’s fully diluted valuation stretches to $35 billion, by CNBC’s arithmetic.
The top-end of Airbnb’s simple valuation places it near its Series F valuation set in 2017. Its fully-diluted valuation exceeds that $30.5 billion valuation and is far superior to the $18 billion, post-money valuation that it raised at during its troubled period early in the COVID-19 pandemic.
For those investors, Silver Lake and Sixth Street, the company’s initial IPO price range is a win. For the company’s preceding investors, to see the company appear ready to at least match its preceding private valuation is a win as well, given how much damage Airbnb’s business sustained early in the pandemic.
But how do those Airbnb valuation numbers match up against its revenues, and will public market investors value the company based on its current results, or expectations for a return-to-form once a vaccine comes to market? And if so, is Airbnb expensive or not?
Shares of Booking Holdings, which owns travel services like Kayak, Priceline, OpenTable and others, have almost doubled in value since its pandemic lows and is within spitting distance of its all-time highs. This despite its revenues falling 48% in its most recent quarter. There’s optimism in the market that travel companies are on the cusp of a return to form, buoyed — we presume — by good news regarding effective coronavirus vaccines.
My expectation is that Airbnb is enjoying a similar bump, as investors intend to buy its shares not to bask in awe of its Q4 2020 results, but instead to enjoy what happens in the back half of 2021 as vaccines roll out and the travel industry recovers.
But happens if we stack Airbnb’s revenues against its valuation today?
AI and data analytics company Databricks today announced the launch of SQL Analytics, a new service that makes it easier for data analysts to run their standard SQL queries directly on data lakes. And with that, enterprises can now easily connect their business intelligence tools like Tableau and Microsoft’s Power BI to these data repositories as well.
SQL Analytics will be available in public preview on November 18.
In many ways, SQL Analytics is the product Databricks has long been looking to build and that brings its concept of a ‘lake house’ to life. It combines the performance of a data warehouse, where you store data after it has already been transformed and cleaned, with a data lake, where you store all of your data in its raw form. The data in the data lake, a concept that Databrick’s co-founder and CEO Ali Ghodsi has long championed, is typically only transformed when it gets used. That makes data lakes cheaper, but also a bit harder to handle for users.
“We’ve been saying Unified Data Analytics, which means unify the data with the analytics. So data processing and analytics, those two should be merged. But no one picked that up,” Ghodsi told me. But ‘lake house’ caught on as a term.
“Databricks has always offered data science, machine learning. We’ve talked about that for years. And with Spark, we provide the data processing capability. You can do [extract, transform, load]. That has always been possible. SQL Analytics enables you to now do the data warehousing workloads directly, and concretely, the business intelligence and reporting workloads, directly on the data lake.”
The general idea here is that with just one copy of the data, you can enable both traditional data analyst use cases (think BI) and the data science workloads (think AI) Databricks was already known for. Ideally, that makes both use cases cheaper and simpler.
The service sits on top of an optimized version of Databricks’ open-source Delta Lake storage layer to enable the service to quickly complete queries. In addition, Delta Lake also provides auto-scaling endpoints to keep the query latency consistent, even under high loads.
While data analysts can query these data sets directly, using standard SQL, the company also built a set of connectors to BI tools. Its BI partners include Tableau, Qlik, Looker and Thoughtspot, as well as ingest partners like Fivetran, Fishtown Analytics, Talend and Matillion.
“Now more than ever, organizations need a data strategy that enables speed and agility to be adaptable,” said Francois Ajenstat, Chief Product Officer at Tableau. “As organizations are rapidly moving their data to the cloud, we’re seeing growing interest in doing analytics on the data lake. The introduction of SQL Analytics delivers an entirely new experience for customers to tap into insights from massive volumes of data with the performance, reliability and scale they need.”
In a demo, Ghodsi showed me what the new SQL Analytics workspace looks like. It’s essentially a stripped-down version of the standard code-heavy experience that Databricks users are familiar with. Unsurprisingly, SQL Analytics provides a more graphical experience that focuses more on visualizations and not Python code.
While there are already some data analysts on the Databricks platform, this obviously opens up a large new market for the company — something that would surely bolster its plans for an IPO next year.
Mozart Data founders Peter Fishman and Dan Silberman have been friends for over 20 years, working at various startups, and even launching a hot sauce company together along the way. As technologists, they saw companies building a data stack over and over. They decided to provide one for them and Mozart Data was born.
The company graduated from the Y Combinator Summer 2020 cohort in August and announced a $4 million seed round today led by Craft Ventures and Array Ventures with participation from Coelius Capital, Jigsaw VC, Signia VC, Taurus VC and various angel investors.
In spite of the detour into hot sauce, the two founders were mostly involved in data over the years and they formed strong opinions about what a data stack should look like. “We wanted to bring the same stack that we’ve been building at all these different startups, and make it available more broadly,” Fishman told TechCrunch.
They see a modern data stack as one that has different databases, SaaS tools and data sources. They pull it together, process it and make it ready for whatever business intelligence tool you use. “We do all of the parts before the BI tool. So we extract and load the data. We manage a data warehouse for you under the hood in Snowflake, and we provide a layer for you to do transformations,” he said.
The service is aimed mostly at technical people who know some SQL like data analysts, data scientists and sales and marketing operations. They founded the company earlier this year with their own money, and joined Y Combinator in June. Today, they have about a dozen customers and six employees. They expect to add 10-12 more in the next year.
Fishman says they have mostly hired from their networks, but have begun looking outward as they make their next hires with a goal of building a diverse company. In fact, they have made offers to several diverse candidates, who didn’t ultimately take the job, but he believes if you start looking at the top of the funnel, you will get good results. “I think if you spend a lot of energy in terms of top of funnel recruiting, you end up getting a good, diverse set at the bottom,” he said.
The company has been able to start from scratch in the midst of a pandemic and add employees and customers because the founders had a good network to pitch the product to, but they understand that moving forward they will have to move outside of that. They plan to use their experience as users to drive their message.
“I think talking about some of the whys and the rationale is our strategy for adding value to customers […], it’s about basically how would we set up a data stack if we were at this type of startup,” he said.