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VC Lindy Fishburne on the sudden democratization of science — and deep tech investing - techcrunch

VC Lindy Fishburne on the sudden democratization of science — and deep tech investing

Deep science investor Lindy Fishburne cofounded the seed- and early-stage venture firm Breakout Ventures several years ago, after cofounding Breakout Labs within the Thiel Foundation back in 2011, and she has made a wide array of interesting bets in the process. Among her firm’s portfolio companies is Cortexyme, a now publicly traded company that’s currently […]
techcrunch - 2 hours ago
A first look at Coursera’s S-1 filing - techcrunch

A first look at Coursera’s S-1 filing

After TechCrunch broke the news yesterday that Coursera was planning to file its S-1 today, the edtech company officially dropped the document Friday evening. Coursera was last valued at $2.4 billion by the private markets, when it most recently raised a Series F round in October 2020 that was worth $130 million. Coursera’s S-1 filing […]
techcrunch - 11 hours ago
Snowflake latest enterprise company to feel Wall Street’s wrath after good quarter - techcrunch

Snowflake latest enterprise company to feel Wall Street’s wrath after good quarter

Snowflake reported earnings this week, and the results look strong with revenue more than doubling year-over-year. However while the company’s fourth quarter revenue rose 117% to $190.5 million, it apparently wasn’t good enough for investors who have sent the company’s stock tumbling since it reported Wednesday after the bell. It was similar to the reaction […]
techcrunch - 12 hours ago
The owner of Anki’s assets plans to relaunch Cozmo and Vector this year - techcrunch

The owner of Anki’s assets plans to relaunch Cozmo and Vector this year

Good robots don’t die — they just have their assets sold off to the highest bidder. Digital Dream Labs was there to sweep up IP in the wake of Anki’s premature implosion, back in 2019. The Pittsburgh-based edtech company had initially planned to relaunch Vector and Cozmo at some point in 2020, launching a Kickstarter […]
techcrunch - 12 hours ago
Deep Science: AI adventures in arts and letters - techcrunch

Deep Science: AI adventures in arts and letters

There's more AI news out there than anyone can possibly keep up with, but you can stay tolerably up to date on the most interesting developments with this column.
techcrunch - 13 hours ago
Tesla has closed its forums to launch a social platform and fans are not happy - techcrunch

Tesla has closed its forums to launch a social platform and fans are not happy

Tesla plans to shut down the forums section on its website as it launches a new social platform called the Tesla Engagement Platform, a move that’s raised the ire of a community of its most ardent supporters. Tesla first announced the new engagement platform with a notice at the top of its forums page that […]
techcrunch - 13 hours ago
How and when to hire your first product manager - techcrunch

How and when to hire your first product manager

In the world of early-stage startups, job titles are often a formality. In reality, each employee may handle a dozen responsibilities outside their job description. The choose-your-own-adventure type of work style is part of the magic of startups and often why generalists thrive here. However, as a company progresses and the team grows, there comes […]
techcrunch - 15 hours ago
How Rani Therapeutics’ robotic pill could change subcutaneous injection treament - techcrunch

How Rani Therapeutics’ robotic pill could change subcutaneous injection treament

A new auto-injecting pill might soon become a replacement for subcutaneous injection treatments. The idea for this so-called robotic pill came out of a research project around eight years ago from InCube Labs—a life sciences lab operated by Rani Therapeutics Chairman and CEO Mir Imran, who has degrees in electrical and biomedical engineering from Rutgers […]
techcrunch - 16 hours ago
Address cybersecurity challenges before rolling out robotic process automation - techcrunch

Address cybersecurity challenges before rolling out robotic process automation

The security aspect of RPA isn’t implemented in the early stages of development — leaving organizations vulnerable to cybercriminals.
techcrunch - 16 hours ago
Eco raises $26M in a16z-led round to scale its digital cryptocurrency platform - techcrunch

Eco raises $26M in a16z-led round to scale its digital cryptocurrency platform

‍Eco, which has built out a digital global cryptocurrency platform, announced Friday that it has raised $26 million in a funding round led by a16z Crypto. Founded in 2018, San Francisco’s platform is designed to be used as a payment tool around the world for daily-use transactions. The company emphasizes that it’s “not a bank, […]
techcrunch - 17 hours ago
Early-stage investor Mayfield shows how to scaleup your biotech startup at TC Early Stage in April - techcrunch

Early-stage investor Mayfield shows how to scaleup your biotech startup at TC Early Stage in April

Founders in the earliest stages of startup life face a hefty learning curve. Just some of the core competencies you need to lock down include how to raise VC funding, recruiting the right people, finding product-market fit, and building a killer go-to-market team. The list goes on and on…and on. You’ll learn about all those […]
techcrunch - 17 hours ago
Albertsons taps Tortoise for remote-controlled grocery delivery robots - techcrunch

Albertsons taps Tortoise for remote-controlled grocery delivery robots

Albertsons Companies, the grocery giant that owns Safeway and Jewel-Osco, has launched a pilot program that will test grocery delivery using remote-controlled delivery robots developed by Silicon Valley startup Tortoise. The pilot will start at two Safeway locations in Northern California, although Tortoise co-founder and president Dmitry Shevelenko said if successful, he expects the pilot […]
techcrunch - 18 hours ago
The technology selloff is getting to be somewhat material - techcrunch

The technology selloff is getting to be somewhat material

Tech stocks are getting hammered today, with previously high-flying shares of software companies taking even more damage. For a sector that has enjoyed a year in the sun, recent trading sessions have punctured a period of market adoration. It is too soon to say that the market is repricing tech stocks, but the selloff has […]
techcrunch - 18 hours ago
3 Ways Businesses Can Tackle Disinformation Campaigns - readwrite

3 Ways Businesses Can Tackle Disinformation Campaigns

In an age that everything goes viral on social media within a few hours, disinformation and black propaganda is the last thing that a business needs. An unhappy customer, competitors, or even foreign government-affiliated attackers can be the director of a wide-scale disinformation campaign. Big brands are usually the common targets of disinformation campaigns due […] The post 3 Ways Businesses Can Tackle Disinformation Campaigns appeared first on ReadWrite.
readwrite - 18 hours ago
YC-backed Pangea discusses growth, fundraising ahead of demo day - techcrunch

YC-backed Pangea discusses growth, fundraising ahead of demo day

Pangea, a marketplace startup that wants to connect college freelancers and companies in need of digital help, is seeing its growth rate accelerate as it races toward the impending Y Combinator demo day. It’s traditional around this time that startups in the accelerator reach out to say hello. Provided that they are willing to chat […]
techcrunch - 18 hours ago
Understanding how investors value growth in 2021 - techcrunch

Understanding how investors value growth in 2021

We’re not digging into another IPO filing today. You can read all about AppLovin’s filing here, or ThredUp’s document here. This morning, instead, we’re talking about an old favorite: software valuations. The folks over at Battery Ventures have compiled a lengthy dive into the 2020 software market that’s worth our time — you can read […]
techcrunch - 18 hours ago
SoftBank makes mountains of cash off of human laziness - techcrunch

SoftBank makes mountains of cash off of human laziness

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. Natasha and Danny and Alex and Grace were all here to chat through the week’s biggest tech happenings. It was yet another crazy week, but did our best to get through as much of it as we could. Here’s the rundown, in case you […]
techcrunch - 19 hours ago
Virgin Galactic Chairman Chamath Palihapitiya sells off remaining personal stake in the space company - techcrunch

Virgin Galactic Chairman Chamath Palihapitiya sells off remaining personal stake in the space company

The man who arguably ushered in the current SPAC rush with the merger of Virgin Galactic with his Social Capital Hedosophia holding company has divested the remainder of his personal holdings in the space tourism company. Chamath Palihapitiya, who serves as the Chairman of Virgin Galactic’s board, still holds 6.2% ownership in the company in […]
techcrunch - 21 hours ago
Scrum Ventures launches new program to connect startups with Japanese corporations - techcrunch

Scrum Ventures launches new program to connect startups with Japanese corporations

Headquartered in San Francisco and Tokyo, Scrum Ventures is known for its accelerator programs focused on sports, food and smart city tech. Today it announced the launch of a new incubator program that will help startups from business partnerships with Japanese corporations. Called Scrum Studio, it will be spun out as an independent entity from […]
techcrunch - 22 hours ago
What China’s Big Tech CEOs propose at the annual parliament meeting - techcrunch

What China’s Big Tech CEOs propose at the annual parliament meeting

The annual meetings of the Chinese parliament and its advisory body are underway in Beijing this week. Top executives from some of China’s largest tech firms are among the thousands of delegates who attend and put forward their opinions. Here is a look at what the tech bosses are proposing for China’s digital economy. Pony […]
techcrunch - 1 day ago
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techcrunch
Is anything too big to be SPAC’d?

Is anything too big to be SPAC’d?

techcrunch - 1 month ago

While many deemed 2020 the year of SPAC, short for special purpose acquisition company, 2021 may well make last year look quaint in comparison.

It’s probably not premature to be asking: is anything too big to be SPAC’d?

Just today, we saw the trading debut of the most valuable company to date go public through a merger with one of these SPACs: 35-five-year-old, Pontiac, Michigan-based United Wholesale Mortgage, which is among the biggest mortgage companies in the U.S.

Its shares slipped a bit by the end of trading, closing at $11.35 down from their starting price of $11.54, but it’s doubtful anyone involved is crying into their cocktails tonight. The outfit was valued at a whopping $16 billion when its merger with the blank-check outfit Gores Holdings IV was approved earlier this week.

Why is this interesting? Well, first, despite UWM’s size, unlike with a traditional IPO that can require 12 to 18 months of preparation, UWM’s path to going public took less than a year, beginning with Gores Holdings IV completing its IPO in late January 2020 and raising approximately $425 million in cash.

Alec Gores, the billionaire founder of of the private equity firm Gores Group, led the deal. It isn’t clear when Gores approached UWM, but the tie-up was announced back in September and ultimately included a $500 million private placement. (It’s typical to tack-on these transactions once a target company has been identified and accepts the terms of the proposed merger. Most targets are many times larger than the SPACs. In fact, according to law firm Vinson & Elkins, theres no maximum size of a target company.)

Also notable is that UWM is a mature company, one that says it generated $1.3 billion in revenue in the third quarter of last year alone. UWM CEO Mat Ishbia, whose father started the company in 1986, said last fall that the company is “massively profitable.”

It’s a story unlike that of many other outfits to go public recently through the SPAC process. Many — Opendoor, Luminar Technologies, Virgin Galactic — are still developing businesses that need capital to keep going and which might not have found much more from private market investors. Indeed, today’s deal would seem to open up a new world of possibilities, and for companies of all sizes.

Either way, it isn’t likely to hold the record for ‘biggest SPAC deal ever’ for long. Not only is interest in SPACs as feverish as ever, billionaire investor William Ackman is still sitting on a $4 billion SPAC to which he has said he’ll throw in an additional $1 billion in cash from his hedge fund, Pershing Square Capital.

You can bet the deal will be a doozy. Reportedly, Ackerman was at one point looking to take public Airbnb with his SPAC, which began trading in July. When Airbnb passed on the proposed merger, he reportedly reached out to the privately held media conglomerate Bloomberg (which Bloomberg has said is untrue).

Because SPACs typically complete a merger with a private company in two years or less, speculation continues to run rampant about what Ackman will put together. In the meantime, there have already been 59 new SPAC offerings this year — as many as in all of 2019 — that have raised $16.8 billion, and there’s seemingly no end in sight.

Just this week, Fifth Wall Ventures, the four-year-old, L.A.-based proptech focused venture firm, registered plans to raise $250 million for a new blank-check company.

Intel Chairman Omar Ishrak, who previously ran medical device giant Medtronic, is planning to raise between $750 million and $1 billion for a blank-check firm targeting deals in the health tech sector, Bloomberg reported on Sunday.

Gores Group isn’t done, either. On Wednesday, it registered plans to raise $400 million in an IPO for its newest blank check company. It will be the outfit’s seventh to date.

There are now so many companies to go public through a SPAC exchange-traded funds are beginning to pop up, putting together baskets of SPAC deals for investors who want to hedge their bets.

The very newest fund, reported on earlier this week by the WSJ and overseen by hedge fund Morgan Creek Capital Management and  fintech company Exos Financial, will be actively managed and snap up stakes in firms that recently went public by merging with a SPAC, as well as shell companies that are still on the prowl.

It will be joining the worlds first actively managed exchange-traded fund focused on SPACs, the Calgary-based Accelerate Arbitrage Fund, which launched in April of last year.

A second ETF, the Defiance NextGen Derived SPAC ETF, emerged in October.

sauce: techcrunch
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