A hardware startup fails. New unicorns. Facebook in Q3'17.


There’s a lot of doom-and-gloom talk in tech about how tech IPOs are few and far between. And on top of that, well-known tech companies that have gone public recently like Blue Apron are looking like 💩.

But what about Square

When Square went public two years ago, it did so at a valuation of $2.9 billion, which was much lower than its last valuation as a private company, at $5.3 billion. 

That “down exit” led to a lot of hand-wringing (including from us) about downrounds

Now Square’s market cap is north of $14 billion, or more than 4x its IPO price. 

As we detail in our deep-dive strategy teardown on Square, the company is poised to become a one-stop-shop for small- and medium-sized businesses’ financial needs, including loans, payroll, and soon … banking. It turns out Jack Dorsey's current side-hustle is a winner.

And by the way, venture-backed tech IPOs are up this year. There have been 42 globally, compared to just 27 by this time last year.

Have a great weekend.


This week in data:
  • $41.6M: This week, smart earbud maker Doppler Labs announced it is shutting down. The company had previously raised $41.6M in total disclosed funding. Doppler Labs joins Jawbone, Juicero, Pebble, and others on the list of consumer hardware startups that have failed. Using intelligence on financing trends, failure rates, and exit activity, we recently analyzed why so many hardware startups fail.

  • $1.96B: Yesterday, food delivery company HelloFresh went public. The company raised $371M at a valuation of $1.96B in its IPO, making it a down exit for the company which was last valued at $2.1B in December 2016. Still, at a $1B+ value, HelloFresh’s IPO makes it the latest exit to appear on our real-time Unicorn Exits Tracker, which looks at billion-dollar VC-backed exits since 2009. Additionally, with HelloFresh’s IPO, 2017 has now seen 19 $1B+ VC-backed exits.

  • $586M: Quarterly funding to French tech companies reached $586M in Q3’17. France narrowly beat Germany in dollar funding for the second-consecutive quarter. Read about this and more in our 40-page Q3'17 French Tech Report in partnership with La French Tech, which digs into emerging trends, investments, and active tech investors in France. 

  • 2: The number of private companies that reached $1B+ valuations this week. Face++, a face recognition cloud services platform and a mobile game studio, raised $460M in a Series D round, at a $1 billion valuation. XiaoZhu, a Beijing-based short-term lodging sharing platform, raised $120M in a Series E, which brought its valuation to $1B. Both companies can be found on our real-time Unicorn tracker.

  • $7,000: This week, the largest cryptocurrency Bitcoin passed the $7,000-per-coin price to hit an all-time high, up from the record-setting $5,000 it crossed just last month. And it kept climbing. Early today, it was trading above $7,400. To put that in perspective, Bitcoin started the year at ~$1,000. This despite public skepticism from financial titans such as Ray Dalio and Jamie Dimon around Bitcoin’s future as an asset.
  • 488 million: In announcing its quarterly results this week, Alibaba said nearly a half billion (488 million) people now shop on its platforms annually. The company posted revenue gains of 61% for the quarter, and doubled profits. Alibaba has added some $250B to its market cap this year.
  • $1,734: After 12 years, Sony is releasing an updated version of its robotic dog, Aibo. Its primary features include “irresistible cuteness, rich expressiveness, and dynamic range of movements.” Aibo can move along a total of 22 axes, which means it can replicate various natural movements such as tail & ear wagging. The latest version of Aibo costs around $1,734 for the robot, and roughly $788 for the basic 3 year subscription plan that it requires. We recently dug into robotic pet companions for elder care here.

  • 2: Two agtech companies raised equity funding this week: Ceres Imagining ― which uses aerial imagery and spectral image processing to monitor crops ― raised $2.5M in a second Series A tranche from Romulus Capital, and Gold Farm ― provider of a farm equipment booking app ― raised $2M in a seed round from INFUSE Ventures and Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services. This Tuesday, we’ll be diving into the startups, technologies, and financing trends within the agtech space. Sign up for the briefing here.
  • 10%: Facebook estimates that “duplicate accounts may have represented approximately 10% of [its] worldwide [Monthly Active Users],” or MAUs, which would represent roughly 207 million accounts. Meanwhile fake accounts could represent up to 3% of total MAUs, or 62 million. The numbers were announced during Facebook’s Q3’17 earnings report. Overall, Facebook had a successful quarter, jumping 47% year-over-year to reach $10.3B in revenue. We recently dug into where Facebook is hiring to understand where the company might be headed.

  • $280M: The amount raised by money transfer unicorn TransferWise in Series E financing from investors including a16z, Baillie Gifford & Co., Institutional Venture Partners, Old Mutual Global Investors, and Sapphire Ventures. With the round, the company saw its valuation jump to $1.6B, up from the $1.1B last seen in 2016. The startup raised $396.3M in total disclosed funding and is featured on our Fintech 250 market map — our list of the 250 most promising private fintech companies changing the face of financial services. 

  • -41%: Funko ― manufacturer of pop culture plastic figurine toys like the catdog below― saw its stock fall 41% this week, the worst first-day return for an IPO in 17 years. The company, which went public yesterday, raised $125M at a market cap of $580M in a downsized IPO priced at $12 per share. Funko had previously raised $189M in total disclosed funding from ACON Investments and Gladstone Investment Corporation.

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