The software company Uber announced that it plans to start new funding round in which it will raise up to $2 billion. If this happens, Uber will turn into the company with the highest value in the world, backed by venture capital – $50 billion, in the moment it takes the second place in the world. Uber’s evaluation is $41 billion and over it stands only the Chinese electronic behemoth Xiaomi, according to Dow Jones it worths $46 billion.
If the round goes how planned, it will be the fourth financial round that crosses the billion-dollar limit for Uber. The company’s prime product is mobile application that connects passengers with contract drivers and eliminates the need of taxis. For the past year this product have spawned a lot of discussions in some of the 53 countries where Uber operates. Despite this their shares keep on raising.
A round of that size will stay just under the record that the company put on its previous E Series funding round in February – $2.8 billion. Before it in San Francisco there was Series D funding that gave the company $1.2 billion. Uber has put an unprecedented record with such monstrous-size investment rounds in the tech venture financing . We shouldn’t forget the mind-blowing pace of these rounds – twice a year at least! This is real record on the private market that wouldn’t be possible on the public one.
These money don’t come from traditional venture companies anymore. Among the investors of Uber you can spot pension, mutual and hedge funds; foreign governments and private equity firms.
In 2014 Uber had almost $400 revenue, after the account for the drivers’ payment. If the investment round reaches the desired proportions, Uber will worth its trailing value 120. According to the market specialists this is an evidence for a trend of hyper-speed ever-growing funding rounds. Uber has turned into leader of the so called quasi-public companies, i.e. new breed of companies that have grown than the private market but they remain on it for the bigger opportunities for funding and the stratospheric size of the funding rounds.
The two-year old startup Zenefits raised venture capital of $584 million in C round series of funding. In the round took part some new investors like TPG, Ashton Kutcher, Fidelity and Guy Oseary and some of the previous ones like Jared Leto. The money will be used for the bolstering of the company’s marketing and sales teams that serve Zenefits’ 10,000 business customers in 48 states.
Two years ago in its funding round Zenefits gained the seismic sum of $500 million that gave them a good base that led to its nowadays worth of $4.5 billion. According to experts, till 2016 Zenefits is expected to have $100 million annual run rate.
As whole, Zenefits is a company with 1,000 employees, founded in April 2013 in San Francisco by Laks Srini, a tech wiz, and Parker Conrad, entrepreneur and ex-founder of SigFig, online tool for wealth management. Their software product allows medium-sized and small businesses owners to manage the HR needs of their companies, including the health insurances and payroll. What makes this software different from the other HR programs on the market is that it comes to its users for free. The platform generates revenue through collection of commissions from the providers of health care.
According to one of the Andreessen Horowitz general partners, Lars Dalgaard, the achieved momentum of the software startup Zenefits is unprecedented for the last two years. Zenefits is the biggest investment of Andreessen Horowitz to date.
Xiaomi is fast growing Chinese hardware company popular for its production of cheap smartphones. Today in a Facebook release Bin Lin, co-founder and president of Xiaomi, announced that the company has risen through funding $1.1 billion at a valuation of $45 billion. He named also the companies that have participated in the round: DST, All-Stars Investment, Hopu Fund, Yunfeng Capital and GIC. This late round was announced at first at Wall Street Journal a week ago. Its previous valuation was $10 billion (August 2013) and after this one the company’s valuation has gone up to $45 billion, this was announced by the director of Xiaomi, Hans Tung.
The risen capital will most probably be used for increasing of the sales on key growth markets like Mexico, India, Brazil (the smartphones will be launched there in the first half of 2015, it will be the first launch out of Asia) and Southeast Asia. For now the Xiaomi devices can be found in Hong Kong, mainland China, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Taiwan, Indonesia and India. The company’s headquarters are situated in Beijing. This round of funding shot Xiaomi far ahead than its compatriot rival Lenovo, whose assets have been evaluated on $14.4 billion.
In October the company was listed as the third in world smartphones vendor. The evaluation was made on the numbers from shipment volume according to IDC and Strategy Analytics. For 2013 they sold 19 million units of its smartphones, till the end of 2014 the expectations are that this number will be doubled.
Let’s make brief list of the fundings of Xiaomi:
- December 2010 – $41 million – before the initial launch of its first smartphone the company was developing its MIUI OS, based on Android platform;
- December 2011 – $90 million – came after the launch of the first Xiaomi phone in September of the same year;
- June 2012 – $216 million – at that point the company’s valuation was $4 billion;
- August 2013 – Series D funding with no announced value – valuation $10 billion;
- October 2014 – $1 billion bank loan – Three year loan given by 29 banks overseas;
- December 2014 – $1.1 billion;
In his Facebook statement Lin add also that this trust is based on the great performance of the company in the last four years and mark for the new phase in its development. He didn’t miss the opportunity to say that next month Xiaomi will present its new flagship device.
Redfin’s performance, ability to scale and strong growth in the real estate industry for $50 billion has attracter large investors.
In the middle of December the customer-first real estate brokerage Redfin declared $70.9 million funding in a round led by institutional investors as Glynn Capital Management, LLC and Wellington Management Company, LLP, along with Annox Capital Management and Brothers Brook, LLC. Also there were participants from the November 2013’s $50 million funding round – Tiger Global Management, LLC and T. Rowe Price Associates’ funds and accounts.
Over the last year Redfin doubled the served markets’ number and the received funding will continue the expanding of the Redfin’s consumers’ number – the unique blend of technology and full-service real estate will be made available to even more people. Part of the money will recharge the new technology’s ongoing development – its aim is to make home-selling and buying consumers friendly process.
The CEO Glenn Kelman said that the money will be put to good use. As Redfin’s business grows, their agents become more local and the company’s ability to get the people in home increases quickly. The bigger is the market-share, the bigger pairing efficiency of sellers and buyers will be.
Redfin serves 48 major U.S. markets nowadays. With award-winning mobile tools and website, together with talented team of real estate agents that really put the customers on first place the company is a leader in the end-to-end companies’ category. The company’s agents have completed home sales deals on worth of $20 billion and have saved $200 million in real estate fees to their customers.
The company’s technology started from map-based real estate search. When it was build, it developed to make every step of buying-selling real estate process better. It covers all aspects from the on-the-spot tour-scheduling till the online deal room and targeted digital campaign for each listing.
The on-demand service model that company uses lowers the pressure on its agents. Their bonus comes from the customers’ satisfaction and not on the value of the deal.
The company’s clients save up to $10,000 in fees. Redfin refunds up to 50 percent of the buyer’s agent fee and allows saving of 1.5 percent of the home’s value to a typical client.