VENTURE CAPITAL MARKET OVERVIEW, ISSUE 40 (JUNE, 1 – 7)
Last weeks majority on news were about investing into the startups. Worth mentioning that startups that managed to raise capital, are from the “humanitarian” sphere – media projects, social networking projects. All the projects, that solve a real users’ problems.
M&A. Songkick And CrowdSurge Merge
Half of concert tickets go unsold because fans don’t know the shows are happening. To fix that, 10 million user concert discovery app Songkick is merging with white-label artist-to-fan ticket seller CrowdSurge. Under the name Songkick they’ve also raised a $16 million Series C from Access, Sequoia, and Index to grow the team.
Together, they could help people find out about nearby shows and then buy tickets straight from the artist. That lets musicians earn a bigger cut at a lower price than if concert junkies bought tickets through the venue or a traditional big seller like Ticketmaster. The added firepower will help Songkick battle its rival discovery app BandsInTown for concert dollars that are poised to grow as streaming makes it easier for casual listeners to become devout fans.
While the press and public focus on Spotify, YouTube, and iTunes, the concert industry is actually twice the size of the recorded music business and how artists make 80% of their revenue.
STARTUP. Udemy Raises $65M To Help Anyone Learn Anything
Udemy, the online education marketplace that wants to help anyone learn anything, has pulled in $65 million in new venture funding. The Series D round was led by Stripes Group, the late-stage New York-based firm that counts marketplace giants GrubHub, Elance/Odesk and Blue Apron among its portfolio. Previous investors NVP and Insight Venture Partners joined in, and Stripes Group’s managing partner Ken Fox will join the board. This brings Udemy’s total funding to $113 million since launching in 2010.
From building Excel models to learning how to rap, Udemy offers over 30,000 courses taught by 17,000 global instructors, in 80 different languages. Instructors set their own prices, which range from $20 to $100 per course on average. While Udemy monitors the courses submitted (and also provides tools to help instructors improve their content), its 7 million users provide most of the quality control. The best courses rise to the top, and competition for the best reviews means instructors are always looking for ways to improve their lessons.
A good portion of the funding will go toward growing Udemy for Business, which is currently being used by 200 corporate customers to create customized education portals for their employees. Goldman Sachs, for example, uses Udemy to train their analysts with a mix of custom content and courses selected from the public marketplace.
STARTUP. Millennial-Focused Media Startup Mic Raises $17M
The Mic announced that it has raised $17 million in new funding, and that it’s hired Madhulika Sikka, previously executive editor at NPR News, to take on the same title at Mic.
As is contractually required for any digital media company raising a big round of funding, Mic is aiming for an audience of millennials. At the same time, the tone’s a bit more serious than a site like BuzzFeed. (The site was originally called PolicyMic, and while it has rebranded to reflect a broader scope, politics is still a big part of the mix.)
The company has had some bumps (it fired news director Jared Keller after Gawker reported multiple instances of plagiarism), but it says its audience tripled between January 2014 and May 2015, from 9 million to 30 million, with 70 percent of those readers under the age of 35.
The Series B funding will play a big part in that growth. The round was led by previous investor Lightspeed Venture Partners. European media giant Axel Springer also participated, as did existing backers Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Jim Clark, Advancit Capital, Red Swan Ventures and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The company has now raised more than $32 million total.
STARTUP. PicsArt Raises $15M To Build A Community Around Photo Editing
PicsArt, a photo-sharing service that’s building a community around creatively editing pictures, has raised $15 million in a venture round led by Insight Venture Partners with Sequoia Capital also contributing.
Like Visual Supply Co. and EyeEm, PicsArt is asking investors to put in money on the basis of its ability to get users to share and engage with art from their mobile devices. PicsArt Chief Business Development Officer Wilson Kriegel told, “We deliver a single value proposition, supporting all creatives in a simplistic way. Instead of a singular functionality, we brought a suite of tools and a community around it.”
STARTUP. Doorman Raises $1.5 Million To Eliminate Missed Package Deliveries
Everyone has, at some time or another, experienced the frustration that comes from missing a delivery – that is, coming home only to find a delivery notice stuck to your door. A company called Doorman is trying to solve this problem by allowing customers to schedule their own deliveries as late as midnight, seven days a week. Now Doorman has $1.5 million in seed funding to continue to grow its business, and is also now launching its first API.
The API will allow partners to integrate Doorman’s scheduling functionality directly into their own websites and applications.
The funding was led by Doorman’s advisors, Motus Ventures, and included participation from WTI, MicroVentures, and VGO Ventures. Prior to this round, the company had raised $375,000 from smaller VCs and angel investors.
Doorman was founded by Zander Adell, a former Pixar Technical Director, who felt the frustrations of missed deliveries first-hand, he said. Though today there are a number of options for same-day deliveries from retailers like Amazon or via courier-based services like Postmates, deliveries from other online shopping destinations are still routed through package delivery companies like UPS and FedEx. With these companies, consumers have less control over the timing of a delivery’s arrival.
INVESTMENT. Steve Case’s Venture Firm Is Raising $450 Million For Third Fund
AOL founder and former chairman and CEO Steve Case has moved on to investing, and is doing so in a big way. Revolution Growth, the firm he founded in 2005 along with former AOL execs Donn David and Ted Leonsis, is raising another $450 million for its third fund to invest in growth-stage startups, according to an SEC filing.
Revolution Growth typically invests between $25 and $50 million into startups showing strong growth, and generally looks for investment opportunities outside the Silicon Valley tech “echo system.” The firm has been actively investing in tech-enabled businesses that have strong consumer brands.
Some recent investments from Revolution Growth’s second fund include self-storage marketplace Sparefoot, organic restaurant chain Sweetgreen, on-demand home services company Handy, and custom printing e-commerce startup CustomInk.
Revolution Growth III is being raised about three and a half years after the close of the firm’s second fund, which also raised $450 million. In addition to the growth fund, the firm has its Revolution Ventures Fund for investing in earlier-stage companies. The most recent fund from Revolution Ventures, which was its second, raised $200 million in 2013.