Cabana raises $10M series A for a new travel van experience

We are thrilled to join Cabana's series A financing and journey to disrupt the way we vacation, with an entirely new travel van experience.

Also Read:

Exclusive: Cabana Raises $10M Series A For Luxe Travel Van Rentals - Crunchbase News
Cabana, a startup that turns vans into bookable mobile hotels, raised $10 million in a Series A round led by Craft Ventures and Goldcrest Capital.

VCs back ‘vanlife’ as Seattle travel startup Cabana raises $10M for its camper rental service - GeekWire
Seattle-based startup Cabana is riding interest in “vanlife” travel and just landed $10 million to fuel the growth of its service that brings together camping, car sharing, and boutique hotel luxuries.

Original Cabana.Life post [here]

One year ago, we set out to pave the way for a new travel experience. What if you could bring your hotel with you? How much stress would be avoided if you could book your hotel and car in one reservation? How would it change travel if you had the ability to make and change plans on the fly without canceling reservations? And, could we really design a campervan that is as good or better than a hotel room?

Today, we’re celebrating a year of doing just that, with new financing under our belt. We’re thrilled to announce the close of our $10M Series A funding round, led by Craft Ventures and Goldcrest Capital, that will allow us to further improve the Cabana experience and bring that experience to travelers in new cities. Launch, Castor Ventures, Gaingels, Nordic Eye, and other key angels and syndicates joined the round as well.

With new financing and investors come new mentors for cultivating Cabana’s culture and service. Paul English, co-founder of Kayak, is excited about the prospects of Cabana. “Cabana is leading the thinking behind how Americans will vacation today and in the future. Their custom ‘hotel on wheels’ gives travelers the best of both worlds, a comfortable modern stay and the freedom of the road,” Paul explains. “It’s the best experience to get a taste of both the city and its surrounding outdoor beauty.”

Wake up to a new view every day (Photo Credit: Seattle Insiders)

More Vans and More Cities

In our first year, we expanded our fleet in our homebase of Seattle, and we launched our second market in Los Angeles. With new funding, we’ll be adding over 100 new vehicles to our fleet.

Guests have already spent over 6.7K nights out on the road with Cabana, and vanlife is continuing to gain momentum. “Cabana’s growth during the pandemic proves the increasing consumer shift away from traditional modes of travel,” explains David Sacks, co-founder and general partner of Craft. “We look forward to seeing Cabana expand into new markets and enhance its superior fleet of upscale, affordable mobile hotels.”

In addition to expanding in Seattle and LA, you’ll see us in new cities shortly! We’ve noticed you in our Instagram comments asking when we’ll be in San Francisco, Portland, Salt Lake City, Denver, and so on… and we can’t wait for the day everyone can walk down the street and hop in a Cabana. To be the first to know where we’re going next, sign up for our emails.

Family Fun

Getting your feedback over the past year has been invaluable, and our team is already making changes big and small to make your next Cabana trip even better.

One of our most exciting upcoming additions to the fleet is a four-passenger van. We’re excited to help your go-to travel team hit the road, whether it be your best friends for a West Coast wine tour or your kids for the classic national park camping trip, leveled up.

Easier, Smarter Trip Planning

Did you know that nearly 70% of our guests have never rented a campervan or RV before? We are honored that so many travelers trust us for their first trip, and we plan to continue removing barriers of entry in van travel.

When we heard that some guests had trouble knowing where to stay overnight, we launched Cabana Concierge to help plan your route, your overnight stops, and your activities along the way. Our trip planners have created over 200 unique itineraries and have helped guests find safe dispersed camping, one-of-a-kind scenic sites, and everything in between. We’ll continue to personalize our planning to fit every type of traveler, from the schedulers to the spontaneous.

Where will you explore? (Photo Credit: Mack Woodruff and Jack Coyne)

Passionate People

We wouldn’t have had the amazing year we’ve had if it wasn’t for the hard working, creative, never-say-no team of Cabana employees. We’re excited to bring on more talented individuals for the projects we’ve been dreaming about. In fact, we’re hiring now!

Platform Partners

As we expand to new cities, we’re coming up with new ways to do business, too. Working with platform partners will allow us to expand more quickly and help guests explore even more ground. Interested in becoming a partner? Contact us here.

Creating Exceptional Experiences

As excited as we are for all of the ways Cabana is about to grow, at the end of the day it’s all about you. Your time is valuable –– especially your vacation time! We’re so thankful for everyone who has chosen Cabana to make the most of theirs and given their feedback to help us improve. Our team is full of ideas of how to continue to make Cabana the most special, most seamless way to travel.

Adventure without sacrificing comfort (Photo Credit: Phil Lewis)

As we embark on our second year, we look forward to seeing you all on the road!

 


Synctera Raises $33M Series A to meet demand for their Banking-as-a-Service from community banks and fintechs

Also Read

Synctera Aims $33M Series A At Developing Banking-as-a-Service - Crunchbase

Synctera Signs on CheckAlt and Socure as Latest Partners to Continue Building Out FinTech-as-a-Service Offerings - Team Synctera

Synctera Signs on New Community Bank and FinTech, Enlists Julie Solomon, Ph.D., as Company’s First Chief Revenue Officer - Team Synctera

Follow Synctera On -> Twitter  |  LinkedIn  |  ProductHunt

 

The partnership banking solution also announces its commitment to the Cap Table Coalition aimed at increasing traditionally marginalized representation in the venture capital ecosystem.

SAN FRANCISCO (June 2, 2021)--Synctera, a new platform for partnership banking at scale, today announced a $33M Series A round led by Fin VC. The Series A included follow-on investments from Lightspeed Venture Partners, Diagram Ventures, Portage Ventures, SciFi Ventures, and Scribble ventures as well as several new strategic investors, including Mastercard, Omri Dahan (Former Chief Revenue Officer, Marqeta), Nuno Sebastiao (Chairman and CEO, Feedzai), Tim Sheehan (Co-Founder and CEO, Greenlight), Tom Williams, Johnny Ayers (CEO, Socure) and more.

Synctera’s Series A quickly follows its seed funding round from December 2020, which was led by Lightspeed Venture Partners and Diagram Ventures, and brings Synctera to $46.5M in funding to date.

Synctera enables community banks and FinTechs to create new growth opportunities by forging scalable partnerships without the hassle. For banks, Synctera streamlines day-to-day reconciliation, operations and regulatory compliance, while allowing FinTechs to launch faster with more choice via a one-stop-shop API. With Synctera, community banks can focus on serving their communities and local customers, while Synctera matches them with a FinTech to help both partners scale and grow.

"Since launch, Synctera has formed one of the best teams in the industry. Bringing on a group of investors with deep industry expertise will help us meet rapidly increasing demand in our next stage of growth," said Peter Hazlehurst, CEO and co-founder of Synctera. “For this next chapter—and to put action behind Synctera’s values—we pledge to reserve 10% of this round and all future rounds to diverse investors, allowing for more representation and collaboration to further innovate the industry.”

Demand for Synctera’s solution has been immense since its launch last year, especially as the embedded finance and Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) fintech sectors have grown exponentially. The Series A funding will help Synctera meet this demand head-on by expanding its software engineering team to rapidly accelerate the development of its product roadmap, ramping up sales and marketing to build and capture market demand, and prepare for a future international expansion.

“As soon as we met Peter, Kris, and Dominik and learned about their vision for the market, we were immediately sold,” said Logan Allin, Managing General Partner and Founder at Fin VC. “The specific focus on community banks and the world-class tech behind the platform really convinced us that they’re building a category winner that will underpin financial services of the future.”

Fin VC has a deep history of investing in some of the world’s most transformative FinTechs, like Figure, Pipe, and SoFi.

Synctera is also announcing its commitment to the Cap Table Coalition alongside other high-growth startups by allocating 10% of all funding rounds to traditionally marginalized investors. Gaingels, Neythri Futures Fund, Plexo Capital and over 20 angels participated in Synctera’s series A as a part of the coalition. By committing to the pledge, Synctera hopes that other founders and companies will join the coalition.

"It's an honor to partner with founders and entrepreneurs who stand by their values and actively create the changes they want to see," said Qiana Patterson, General Partner at Tamaa Capital and manager of Synctera's Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV). "After coordinating Finix's SPV earlier this year, the number of startups seeking to replicate the work was overwhelming, and Synctera was first in line. By providing space for underrepresented investors on its cap table, Synctera is creating a game-changing opportunity for access and wealth creation."

“As the largest investor network focused on supporting and investing in the best venture-backed companies that embrace and value diverse leadership, including LGBTQ+, Gaingels is proud of participating in Synctera’s financing,” said Gaingels Managing Director Lorenzo Thione. “We are resolved to help the company grow and scale, while building a truly inclusive company and leading the fintech sector with its commitment to DEI, as reflected in this pledge.”

As Synctera continues to build out its FinTech-as-a-Service offering, the company also continues to onboard customers, such as its latest customers Lineage Bank, a new community bank, and Ellevest, a new FinTech collaborating with Coastal Community Bank, which onboarded in May 2021. The company is also rapidly growing internally, and is actively hiring for roles across engineering, product and sales. Synctera plans to grow its team to over 150 by the end of the year.

Community partner banks and FinTechs are encouraged to reach out via Synctera’s website to learn more about how to work together. For more information, please visit www.synctera.com.

For visual assets, founder bios and headshots, FAQ and more, please access the media kit here.

ABOUT SYNCTERA

Synctera is building a partnership banking marketplace connecting community banks with FinTech platforms. The platform reduces risk, ensures compliance and speeds launches to market for FinTechs and banks alike, Synctera creates meaningful connections between community banks seeking more customers and FinTech platforms that need a licensed partner to operate in the US. Launched in 2020, the company was co-founded by CEO Peter Hazlehurst, former head of Uber Money, head of Google Wallet and CPO at Yodlee, as well as CTO, Kris Hansen and Head of Product, Dominik Weisserth. For more information, please visit www.synctera.com.

ABOUT FIN VC

Fin Venture Capital is focused on Enterprise SaaS FinTech companies and specific theses within six sub-sectors: Embedded Finance, Asset Management/Capital Markets, CFO Tech Stack, InsureTech, Blockchain Enterprise Applications, and Enabling Tech/Infrastructure. Fin VC principally focuses on the US and EU/UK. As former corporate and start-up operators, the Fin VC team takes an active value-added approach, leveraging its Operating Playbook to steward its portfolio companies with business development, capital formation, corporate development, board advisory and talent sourcing. For more information, please visit finvc.co.

ABOUT THE CAP TABLE COALITION

The Cap Table Coalition is a partnership between high-growth startups, emerging investors and fund managers who want to work to close the racial wealth gap. Its mission is to diversify the VC ecosystem by creating investment opportunities for Black, Latinx, LGBTQ+, women and other traditionally marginalized investors. A growing list of committed startups includes Finix, Synctera, Orum and more, with investment community members featuring Qiana Patterson (Tamaa Capital), Roman Leal (Lead Global Partners), Camden McRae (Matador Ventures), Marcos Gonzalez (Vamos Ventures) and Luis Robles (Viento Ventures). The Cap Table Coalition was inspired by the Act One Diversity Rider for VCs and Finix’s unique fundraising efforts to diversify startup cap tables via Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs). For more information, please visit www.captablecoalition.com.


Universal Shopping App nate Raises $38M to Expand Its Online Payment Solutions

We are thrilled to join the round and being a part of the nate's disruptive innovation journey change the way we shop, ecomerce, fintech and curators can use nate to create value. They are just scratching the surface removing all the the online & mobile shopping friction and so much more.

More news on nate:

-> Nate enters the fintech scene with buy now, pay later option on any site - Mr Mag
Nate has entered the FinTech scene with streamlined shopping in mind. Having launched the world’s first universal automated checkout late last year, the artificial intelligence shopping assistant is now simplifying the world of buy now, pay later (BNPL). With one click, consumers will finance their transactions from any online retailer in the United States, without additional fees or sacrificing data privacy. Nate is the first – and only – BNPL solution that is universally available in iOS and doesn’t require any retailer integration or charge the retailer a single cent for its service.

-> The future of buy now pay later - BusinessOfFashion.com
Paying for purchases in installments has quickly become ubiquitous online. But Klarna, Affirm and the other fintech players that dominate the space have loftier goals, and there are new payers entering the market.

FOLLOW nate on -> ProductHunt  |  InstagramTwitter

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Universal and streamlined shopping app nate raised $38M in a Series A round of funding led by Renegade Partners, with participation from Forerunner Ventures and existing investors Canaan Partners and Coatue. nate’s Series A comes a year after the fintech raised a Series Seed round, bringing the total equity raised to date to $51M.

“We’re well-capitalized and I couldn’t be happier with our choice to work with Roseanne Wincek and the Renegade team,” says CEO Albert Saniger. “Their people-first mindset and approach to human capital is refreshing and indicative of the type of venture capital that the new generation of founders like myself really value.”

Why nate? nate is the first artificial intelligence online shopping tool that centralizes purchasing onto a single platform, enabling users to buy a product from any e-commerce site with the click of a button. The app acts as a universal shopping solution, with an embedded social side, where friends can inspire each other. nate touches the consumer journey from inspiration to purchase, and enables the payment. The company recently launched their own pay later solution, and will expand its payment products. But unlike similar products, nate never compromises consumer privacy or charges merchants a single cent.

“For the first time in history, shoppers have a seamless, universal, and private way of buying anything online,” says Saniger. “Everything we do at nate is driven by cherishing what makes us human, from the people we hire to how we design our products.”

Growing a Community nate’s user base has been doubling every six weeks. The global e-commerce market size was valued at over $4T, almost $1T of which is located in the United States thus a $500B total addressable market for nate. nate users have the ability to purchase from all 2.1 million online stores in the US — representing the long-tail of the non-Amazon economy and 60% of US e-commerce.

In another step of growth, nate has also expanded its board of directors. In anticipation of this funding round, earlier this year the company appointed Linda Fayne Levinson as its first Independent Director.

Coming soon, the app will launch new social functions. nate plans to give creators cash back for any purchases followers make from their lists — an evolution that will power the monetization of the booming creator economy. Also in development is an in-app wallet where list-makers can save and use their rewards. nate lists and gifts are universally shareable and can be linked anywhere on social media.

Keep in touch with nate at nate.tech/scoop.

About nate

nate is a venture-backed artificial intelligence startup headquartered in New York, introducing the first mobile app that allows users to purchase any item at any online retailer on behalf of a customer. With AI technology that navigates the web the way humans would, nate is the only universal accelerator for mobile checkout. Committed to preserving the human experience of discovery and the path to inspiration, nate is exclusively designed to facilitate purchases once its user has chosen the product they want to buy – humans decide, machines execute. The app is available for mobile download on the App Store.

Contacts

Nour Seikaly, nour@greyhousepr.com


Kubient cloud advertising marketplace joins the Russell Microcap® Index June 28th

Congratulations to the Kubient team on their Russell Microcap Index listing June 28th.

Cloud-based software platform for digital advertising Kubient will join the Russell Microcap® Index at the conclusion of the 2021 Russell indexes annual reconstitution, effective after the US market opens on June 28, according to a preliminary list of additions posted June 4.

Membership in the Russell Microcap® Index, which remains in place for one year, means automatic inclusion in the appropriate growth and value style indexes. FTSE Russell determines membership for its Russell indexes primarily by objective, market-capitalization rankings and style attributes.

"We are pleased to join the Russell Microcap® Index, as it will help expand our equity profile across the broader investment community," said Kubient Founder, Chairman, CSO, and Interim CEO Paul Roberts. "This milestone marks an encouraging next step in our capital markets journey in conjunction with our growth trajectory on the business front. As we continue to onboard more qualified and accomplished team members and execute against our sales & go-to-market strategies, we are primed for a successful 2021 and beyond in our mission to transform the digital advertising industry to audience-based marketing."

Russell indexes are widely used by investment managers and institutional investors for index funds and as benchmarks for active investment strategies. Approximately $10.6 trillion in assets are benchmarked against Russell's US indexes. Russell indexes are part of FTSE Russell, a leading global index provider.

For more information on the Russell Microcap® Index and the Russell indexes reconstitution, go to the "Russell Reconstitution" section on the FTSE Russell website.


Tech IPOs by the numbers Hype vs Reality?

The Hype vs. Reality of Tech IPOs

Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) generate massive amounts of attention from investors and media alike, especially for new and fast-rising companies in the technology sector.

On the surface, the attention is warranted. Some of the most well-known tech companies have built their profile by going public, including Facebook by raising $16 billion in 2012.

But when you peel away the hype and examine investor returns from tech IPOs more closely, the reality can leave a lot to be desired.


Competitive intelligence platform Crayon raises $22 million Series B to empower companies

Crayon Raises $22 Million Series B to Empower Mid-market & Large Enterprises With Competitive Intelligence

AI-driven software helps increase sales with valuable data capture and analytics that inform business decisions and actions

READ MORE:

Crayon Draws Up $22M Series B To Help Companies Get That Competitive Edge - Crunchbase News

Celebrating Our 500th Customer & $22M Series B! - Crayon.Co

BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Crayon, the leading competitive intelligence platform for the enterprise, today announced a $22 million Series B financing led by Baird Capital with participation from Baseline Ventures, Bedrock CapitalC&B Capital and Oyster Funds. Crayon also welcomed Gaingels as an investor in the Series B as part of our commitment to diversity, equity & inclusion. The company’s total capital raised to date is $38 million. Crayon will use the funding to accelerate product development and expand its team. The company also announced Baird Capital’s Benedict Rocchio joined its Board of Directors.

“Traditionally, gathering this data was a highly manual, time-intensive and expensive process. But today there’s a far better way to compete that’s software driven. Our platform captures competitive intelligence programmatically in real-time and empowers teams to take timely action towards increased sales and better differentiation in their market.”

Crayon helps mid-sized and large enterprises capture, analyze and act on competitive intelligence to drive better execution & decision-making in all areas of the business. More than 500 customers including Discover, Dropbox, Gong, Intuit, SurveyMonkey, Zendesk, and ZoomInfo, rely on Crayon to power competitive intelligence efforts across their sales, marketing, product, and executive teams. Crayon’s platform looks both within the organization and externally, generating insights from more than 300 million sources and enabling customers to publish, share and leverage intelligence in a variety of formats and frequencies to match stakeholder needs. From battle cards to newsletters, alerts and dashboards, Crayon integrates with CRM, chat, sales enablement and knowledge-sharing platforms to ensure teams never miss a competitive development or opportunity.

Competitive intelligence should be a strategic priority for every company with at least one competitor in their space. Standing out and differentiating through product design, packaging, and messaging is crucial, with 75% of technology buyers claiming they don’t understand how vendors are different[1]. And with nearly one-third of all sales pitches lost to competitors[2], discovering and sharing compelling insights can mean the difference between winning or losing a competitive deal for businesses. According to Crayon’s 2021 State of Competitive Intelligence Report, which surveyed more than 1,000 companies, over 60 percent of businesses report competitive intelligence has positively impacted revenue, a 17 percent increase from their 2019 report.

“It has always been critical that businesses respond with speed and urgency to competitive shifts because competitive intelligence informs everything from product launches to pricing strategies to marketing campaigns. But there’s traditionally never been a good way to pull that off,” said Jonah Lopin, co-founder and CEO of Crayon. “Traditionally, gathering this data was a highly manual, time-intensive, and expensive process. But today there’s a far better way to compete that’s software-driven. Our platform captures competitive intelligence programmatically in real-time and empowers teams to take timely action towards increased sales and better differentiation in their market.”

“Companies are drowning in data today and dedicating more resources -- both technology dollars and human capital -- to better understand and make use of it,” said Benedict Rocchio, Partner with Baird Capital and new board member of Crayon. “As a longtime active investor in the marketing technology space, Baird Capital saw the clear need for how Crayon's approach streamlines the vast amounts of data with a single source of truth for all competitive insights. Jonah and the Crayon leadership team have a proven track record of building marketing tools that simplify this level of complexity at scale. They are putting marketers in the enviable position of offense, pursuing ideas they know will work and mitigating the risk of being blindsided by a competitor.”

Crayon leads the competitive intelligence software category - recognized by Forrester Research in their New Wave as the Leader in Market and Competitive Intelligence Platforms, and consistently a leader among multiple categories in G2, based on thousands of reviews by real customers. Based in Boston, the company has nearly 100 employees and expects to double headcount over the next 12 months.

About Crayon
Crayon is the leading competitive intelligence platform that enables businesses to track, analyze, and act on everything happening outside their four walls. More than 33,000 Competitive Intelligence professionals rely on Crayon for a current, holistic view of their business to win sales, save time and costs, and develop long-term revenue and relationships. Based in Boston, Crayon is empowering mid-market and Fortune 500 companies every day with actionable insights to win. For more information go to https://www.crayon.co.

About Baird Capital
Baird Capital makes venture capital, growth equity and private equity investments in strategically targeted sectors around the world. Having invested in more than 320 companies over its history, Baird Capital partners with entrepreneurs and, leveraging its executive networks, strives to build exceptional companies. Baird Capital provides operational support to its portfolio companies through teams on the ground in the United States, Europe, and Asia, a proactive portfolio operations team, and a deep network of relationships, which together strive to deliver enhanced shareholder value. Baird Capital is the direct private investment arm of Robert W. Baird & Co. For more information, please visit BairdCapital.com.


[1] Gartner: “The Sad State of Differentiation for Technology Providers and What to Do About It”
[2] CSO Insights: “The 2018-2019 Sales Performance Report”

Contacts

Kerry Walker
kerry@walkercomms.com


WEBINAR Join us for SPAC Investing 101: A Guide to Wall Street's Hottest Asset Class

Panel at the Planet Microcap Showcase Conference features leading SPAC practitioners

Our expert panel of industry insiders has observed firsthand what makes for a successful SPAC deal, and I can’t wait to hear what they have to say.

Marcum Bernstein & Pinchuk LLP (MBP) invites you to attend a panel on "SPAC Investing 101: A Guide to Wall Street's Hottest Asset Class" at the Planet MicroCap Showcase conference.

The panel is scheduled for 9 a.m. Eastern time on April 20, 2021, and will also be available on replay after the event. Interested parties can register for the free event here.

Register for Free Today

“SPACs have taken the IPO investment world by storm during the pandemic as high profile, and celebrity sponsors, high-flying tech companies, and retail investor enthusiasm have sent many SPAC stocks soaring,” said MBP Co-Managing Partner Drew Bernstein. "After a record year of issuance in 2020, new SPACs have dominated the U.S. IPO market in Q1 2021, with 298 deals raising $87 billion. SPACs have gone from an arcane financing vehicle to a mainstream alternative for high-growth private companies seeking to raise capital and attain public status."

Panel Moderator:

Drew Bernstein, Co-Managing Partner, MBP

Panel Speakers:

Jay Heller, Head of Capital Markets, NASDAQ. Where he has been keeping very busy with this massive surge in SPAC IPOs.
Jay has worked on major Wall Street trading desks at Pershing, American Capital Markets, and other firms before heading Capital Markets for the NASDAQ.
Connect with Jay on LinkedIn

George Kaufman, Partner and Head of Investment Banking, Chardan Capital Markets. One of the early pioneers of the SPAC format and has continued to be highly active in underwriting new SPAC IPOs from the U.S. and other parts of the world, as well as managing the SPAC merger and PIPE process that it takes to get these deals to close.
Connect with George on LinkedIn

Mitch Nussbaum, Vice-Chair, Loeb & Loeb. Where he runs a very active team with SPACs, traditional IPOs, direct listings, and PIPEs and someone who has his finger on the pulse of the latest structures and deal terms.
Connect with Mitch on LinkedIn

Peter Bordes, Founder, Managing Partner, Trajectory Capital. A veteran venture investor, entrepreneur and CEO who led the IPO of Kubient last summer on the NASDAQ, and has now founded Trajectory Capital, which has recently filed their first SPAC with the SEC and has plans to take disruptive tech companies from seed funding to public listing on an accelerated basis.
Connect with Peter on Be/PeterBordes

Recent volatility in the sector serves as a reminder that SPACs are complex investment instruments, with varying risk levels at each phase of their lifecycle and multiple strategies that sophisticated investors employ to lock in gains. This panel will present industry insiders' perspectives who have observed firsthand what makes for a successful SPAC deal. If you want to make sense of and profit from the SPAC boom, this panel is a must-attend event.

The panel will explore topics including:

  • What has led to the recent explosion in the number of SPAC IPOs and larger deal sizes?
  • What are the various phases in the SPAC lifecycle, and what makes them attractive to different investors?
  • How has the rise of celebrity SPAC sponsors and "SPAC factories" changed the game?
  • Why are many venture-backed and growth companies now embracing SPACs as an attractive way to go public?
  • "What issues determine if a SPAC will be successful as a public company once the merger closes, including financial reporting and investor relations?"

About MBP

Marcum Bernstein & Pinchuk LLP (MBP) offers specialized audit and advisory services to support SPAC sponsors and SPAC targets in Asia. MBP and our parent company, Marcum LLP, have been involved in more SPAC transactions than any other audit firm, and we are the only audit firm to have a dedicated SPAC team. MBP performs all audits for Marcum in Greater China, and MBP is a top-five auditor for Chinese companies listed in the U.S.

Our SPAC team has worked with SPAC sponsors, underwriters, and targets. We draw on wide-ranging experience with both the initial public offerings and subsequent business transactions consummated by such companies. MBP has designed our audit platform to deliver technical expertise, efficiency, and urgency required by SPAC IPOs. And we can provide high-quality, PCAOB-compliant audits for private Asian companies that are contemplating entering a SPAC merger. Learn more at www.marcumbp.com

 


TripleLift acquired for $1.4 billion by Vista Equity Partners

We are thrilled to be a part of the journey of one of the largest transactions in the history of ad tech, and an awesome outcome for the founding leadership team Eric Berry, Ari Lewine, Shaun Zacharia, members of the team, shareholders, and digital advertising industry.

TripleLift announced today that a majority stake of the company will be acquired by Vista Equity Partners, a leading private equity firm focused on software, data, and technology-enabled businesses. Vista’s involvement will accelerate global growth and further drive product innovation for TripleLift.

A big shout out to Jeffrey Silverman and the Laconia Capital Group team for managing our co-investment in the mighty TripleLift!

 

AdTech Leader TripleLift Announces Majority Investment from Vista Equity Partners

Partnership to Accelerate Global Product Expansion and Innovation in CTV

NEW YORKMarch 29, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- TripleLift, one of the largest advertising technology platforms in the world, announced today it has signed a definitive agreement to receive a majority investment from Vista Equity Partners. Vista, a leading global investment firm focused on enterprise software, data and technology-enabled businesses, will help drive further innovation across TripleLift and accelerate global growth.

"We have developed into a leader in the advertising technology space and are excited about our next chapter," said Eric Berry, Co-Founder and CEO of TripleLift. "When looking for an investment partner, we placed a premium on a deep understanding of ad tech and a willingness to lean into developing our portfolio of innovative, high-growth products. Vista is that partner."

Founded in 2012, TripleLift is driving the next generation of programmatic advertising by inventing new ad formats and building two-sided marketplaces that deliver monetization to publishers around the world. The company rose to prominence as the leader in Native programmatic advertising, expanded its offerings to display and video, and is now commercializing breakthrough products in Connected TV. TripleLift works with over 80% of the comScore 100 publishers, 100% of the Top 20 Demand Side Platforms (DSPs) and 100% of the AdAge Top 100 advertisers. Last year, TripleLift handled over 40 trillion ad transactions across desktop, mobile and connected television.

"TripleLift is a next generation ad tech company that has successfully identified and developed multiple new markets since its inception," said Michael Fosnaugh, Co-Head of the Vista Flagship Fund and Senior Managing Director. "In each case, they have created unique value to an entire ecosystem of companies, including brands, publishers, and partners, and we are thrilled to be working with Eric and the team to further scale their business."

"Vista is pleased to partner with TripleLift and we have a tremendous runway for growth," said Rod Aliabadi, Managing Director at Vista Equity Partners. "We look forward to continued market leadership in programmatic, further catalyzing our opportunity in CTV and building upon our expansion into priority international markets across Europe and Asia."

The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2021. Eric Berry will remain as CEO and will continue serving on the Board of Directors. True Ventures and Edison Partners, two early investors in TripleLift, will remain invested in the company.

Centerview Partners LLC is serving as exclusive financial advisor to TripleLift, and Goodwin Procter LLP and Reitler Kailas and Rosenblatt LLC are serving as legal counsel. JP Morgan is serving as financial advisor to Vista, and Kirkland & Ellis LLP is serving as legal counsel.

About TripleLift
TripleLift, one of the fastest-growing ad tech companies in the world, is a technology company rooted at the intersection of creative and media. Its mission is to make advertising better for everyone— content owners, advertisers and consumers—by reinventing ad placement one medium at a time. With direct inventory sources, diverse product lines, and creative designed for scale using Computer Vision technology, TripleLift is driving the next generation of programmatic advertising from desktop to television. As of January 2021, TripleLift has recorded five years of consecutive growth of greater than 70 percent. TripleLift is a Business Insider Hottest AdTech Company, Inc. Magazine 5000, Crain's New York Fast 50, and Deloitte Technology Fast 500. Find more information about how TripleLift is shaping the future of advertising at triplelift.com.

About Vista Equity Partners
Vista is a leading global investment firm with more than $73 billion in assets under management as of September 30, 2020. The firm exclusively invests in enterprise software, data and technology-enabled organizations across private equity, credit, public equity and permanent capital strategies, bringing an approach that prioritizes creating enduring market value for the benefit of its global ecosystem of investors, companies, customers and employees. Vista's investments are anchored by a sizable long-term capital base, experience in structuring technology-oriented transactions and proven, flexible management techniques that drive sustainable growth. Vista believes the transformative power of technology is the key to an even better future – a healthier planet, a smarter economy, a diverse and inclusive community and a broader path to prosperity. Further information is available at vistaequitypartners.com. Follow Vista on LinkedIn @Vista Equity Partners, and on Twitter @Vista_Equity.


Y Combinator's $300B in startups success

Techie and investor. Founder at Rebel Fund

Y Combinator recently published their latest Top Companies list online, listing the top 137 YC portfolio startups in descending order of valuation. The headline statistics are impressively shocking:

$300B+ combined valuation

125+ companies valued at $150 million+

60K+ jobs created

Since Rebel Fund’s job is to select and invest in the top 3–4% of YC startups in each new batch, we carefully study past YC startup successes to help us identify patterns that could be predictive of tomorrow’s unicorns. Many of these patterns are encoded in our proprietary Rebel Theorem machine learning algorithm, but we also like to understand them intuitively as we meet with future YC founders and decide which ones to support as a venture fund.

To that end, I’ll share some of the insights that we’ve gleamed by studying these 137 YC startup success stories creating $300B+ in total market value. While no retrospective data analysis can replace an expert assessment of an individual startup’s team, market, product and traction, there are some telling historical patterns that any smart early-stage investor should bear in mind.

Valuations

It’s best to start by highlighting how incredibly skewed value creation is in the world of tech startups. As explained in my previous post On the eery predictability of YC startup valuations, startup valuations tend to fall along a steep power-law curve and YC startups fall along one nearly perfectly.

By our math, these 137 top companies represent the vast majority of the total value of YC’s 2500+ portfolio companies, even though they represent just ~5% of them by number. To help illustrate the power-law dynamic, here’s a pie chart showing the valuation breakdown of YC’s top companies according to our research:

Just 3 companies, Airbnb, DoorDash, & Stripe, represent more than half of YC’s top companies portfolio value, and the top 10 companies represent ~75% of it.

Every one of the labeled companies on this chart are ‘unicorns’ valued at $1B+ and even the smallest unlabeled slither is a company valued at over $100M. Despite that all of these top startups are incredible successes for their founders and investors, the ‘megacorns’ still dominate the chart.

Bear in mind that most of these companies raised seed rounds at $3M to $10M valuations, so a median top company with a ~$500M valuation is now valued at a whopping 50x to 150x its seed stage valuation. For Airbnb, you can multiply that by another 20x given its ~$100B valuation, for something closer to 3000x valuation growth.

The main implication for seed stage investors is to swing for the fences since a few mega successes drive the vast majority of YC’s portfolio value. Given the massive potential upside of even a middling top company, perhaps a secondary implication is “just swing!”

Location

So where are top YC companies located?

The short answer is “San Francisco” but it’s actually more nuanced. Here’s a pie chart showing where these top startups are headquartered:

Clearly my home city of San Francisco dominates, and even more so when you consider that several runners-up are also in the San Francisco Bay Area (San Mateo, Redwood City, Oakland and Mountain View). However, as Wayne Gretzky famously said, “Skate to where the puck is going, not where it has been.”

While the top startup puck has been in Silicon Valley for quite some time, it’s slowly sliding away as I discussed in On the slow erosion of Silicon Valley’s dominance. This phenomenon can also be seen when we chart top company location by age bracket:

San Francisco’s grip on startup success is loosening over time, with the single biggest beneficiary being Bangalore, India. This is partially due to YC’s efforts to recruit there, though the logic is a bit circular since they recruit there for a reason.

Note that “Remote” is only 4.4% of the total today, but all of the remote top startups are relatively young and I expect that percentage to grow dramatically in the coming years. Startups had already been trending towards remote for several years, and covid greatly accelerated the trend.

Also note the emergence of Mexico City in the graph. While there’s only 1 LATAM startup on YC’s Top Companies list today (Rappi), we’ve seen and invested in some strong startups from this region in recent batches, and I expect many more LATAM unicorns in the years ahead.

The main implication for early stage investors is to look beyond Silicon Valley. While the SF Bay is undoubtedly still the single best location for startups, one shouldn’t ignore how colorful the younger bars above are starting to look.

Age

Next let’s examine the age of YC’s top companies. This chart shows the age distribution of these 137 top YC companies:

Before concluding that YC reached its peak 5 years ago, bear in mind this chart is distorted in a couple of ways:

  1. Newer YC batches are much larger than older batches, so the fall off after year 5 largely reflects smaller YC batch sizes in the out years, though attrition is also a factor
  2. It typically takes several years for a startup to grow to a $150M+ valuation, so the 1 to 4 year old companies likely aren’t lower quality than the 5 year old companies, they’re just still climbing up the valuation ladder

Also bear in mind that while fewer in number, the older companies are much more valuable on average, as illustrated in the chart below:

The main implication for early-stage investors is to be patient since it often takes several years for companies to grow into a $150M+ valuation, and the best ones continue to grow rapidly in value for a decade or more. YC’s top companies currently have an average age of 6.6 years, which implies its portfolio is poised for ~3x more growth even if no new investments were made. I believe YC startups will almost certainly reach $1T in total value in the coming years >>> READ MORE


The key to long term SPAC success: Leaders with an operational edge

This is very relevant research in relation to our "operators for operators" model for SPACs acquiring highly disruptive innovators when they're coming out of their "S Curve"  and entering rapid growth. Which can be hyper-accelerated leveraging SPACS, giving them the ability to dominate their industry segment, have the credibility of being public with public currency to accelerate organic growth with accretive acquisitions.

Earning the premium: A recipe for long-term SPAC success

Special-purpose acquisition companies are having a moment. But not all are thriving. One key to success: leaders with an operational edge.

As more SPACs raise funds and pursue deals, sponsors may find themselves under increasing pressure to differentiate their approaches and demonstrate returns. Having operators at the front, from the IPO to the combination and beyond, may offer SPACs a path toward better performance.

Same SPACs, new tricks

After some scandals in the 1990s and regulatory reforms in the 2000s, SPACs had a few moments of popularity. However, they generally remained small and developed a reputation as capital sources of last resort.

In the past five years, however, SPACs have reemerged. In 2020, they have attracted unprecedented, market-shifting sums of capital: as of August 2020, SPACs that were actively seeking business combinations held about $60 billion of capital (across more than 100 SPACs) and made up 81 out of 111 US IPOs.1 In one month in 2020, SPACs raised more than they had in all of 2019. While private equity (PE) firms still hold vastly more capital, with an estimated $1.4 trillion in dry powder, many PE firms (or their alums) have also decided to raise SPACs.

SPACs, at their core, have remained consistent throughout their history. They have a single objective: merge with a company and take it public (“de-SPAC”). SPAC sponsors file with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) just like any other IPO does, raise capital and place it in a trust, and publicly list their shares. The SPAC model affords sponsors great flexibility, with few constraints on the choice of target (thus SPACs are commonly called “blank check” companies). Sponsors also have relatively few responsibilities after the close: the SPAC sponsor typically takes a minority stake in the merged company (or a combination) and may also take a board seat.

So, what changed? Starting in 2015, SPACs appeared to become better-organized, more serious investment vehicles, with three notable differences from previous years:

  • More closes, fewer liquidations. More than 90 percent of recent SPACs have successfully consummated mergers (Exhibit 1). Prior to 2015, at least 20 percent of SPACs had to liquidate and return capital to investors.
  • More well-known participants. SPACs entered the mainstream by increasing their number of high-profile investors and recruiting executives from high-profile companies.
  • Increased size. The average trust size of SPACs has increased more than fivefold in the past decade, as the average leapt to more than $200 million in 2016 and $400 million in 2020.

Sponsors and investors have also begun seeing SPACs as compelling and perhaps even better alternatives to traditional IPOs. From our discussions with SPAC leaders, bankers, and lawyers, we discovered three consistent themes. First, SPACs offer a simpler IPO process that saves time and energy for all parties and gives sponsors more flexibility to set their targets’ narratives. Second, SPACs offer protections, such as the right of an investor to withdraw capital with interest at the time of a proposed business combination, which essentially creates a riskless “free option.” Third, SPACs offer their targets’ shareholders greater certainty on valuation. Those shareholders may leave less money on the table than they would in a traditional IPO, when underwriters may set an initial price below the market’s actual valuation.2

Outperformance matters—especially for sponsors

SPACs keep sponsors motivated mostly with carrots, not sticks. While sponsors may profit from mediocre deals, they can earn more if the combination modestly increases in value. In a typical $300 million SPAC, a 20 percent increase in stock price in the first year after combination can yield a double-digit multiple of up-front capital. Consider the following:

  • A promote grows larger with outperformance. Typically, the sponsor receives about 20 percent of the SPAC’s value (inclusive) in equity in the combined company. Those shares will benefit from a rising stock price.
  • Reputation can lead to repeats. The sponsor may want to raise another SPAC and enjoy an additional promote. More generally, established investors will want to guard their records for whatever fundraising may follow. The sponsor will want to secure a good deal—one that outperforms—to build a record for future fundraising.
  • Lockups create discipline. For most SPACs, the sponsor must hold the promote as equity in the combination for one year. Outperformance can end the lockup early, but in any case, the sponsor will need sustained outperformance for months after the combination.
  • Warrants magnify returns. The sponsor usually receives special warrants that convert to equity if the combination’s stock price exceeds certain thresholds. This structure has a powerful magnifying effect, as it can, in some cases, significantly increase the sponsor’s stake.
  • SPACs’ investors have a say. This term functions more like a stick: as with most merger transactions, SPACs’ investors must still vote to approve any deals. While rejections are rare, they can happen; sponsors are sensitive to the investors that choose to redeem their capital versus participate in mergers. Good deals secure sponsors’ promotes—and their reputations

Maximizing returns through the operator’s edge

Despite explosive growth, and the many incentives sponsors have to succeed, most SPACs have not outperformed. On average, SPACs since 2015 have substantially lagged behind their market indexes one year after the combination.3

Some SPACs have bucked the trend. We have observed a potential recipe for SPAC success: add the operating edge. We analyzed the 36 SPACs from 2015 to 2019 of at least $200 million with at least 12 months of publicly available trading data. One year after merging, operator-led SPACs outperformed both other SPACs (by about 40 percent) and their sectors (by about 10 percent) (Exhibit 2).4 “Operator led” means a SPAC whose leadership (chair or CEO) has former C-suite operating experience (versus purely financial or investing experience). The findings, while not statistically significant, strongly suggest that operators make a meaningful difference.

Operator-led SPACs behave differently from other SPACs in two ways: they specialize more effectively, and they take greater responsibility for the combination’s success.

 

Operator-led SPACs have a higher tendency to identify an industry focus in their initial SEC filings (Exhibit 3). Unsurprisingly, the operators generally focus on their areas of expertise. Such initial filings typically do not unduly constrain the SPAC; instead, they signal to investors that the SPAC’s leaders will focus their resources on the areas they know best. Resources are scarce, so the focus matters; SPACs only have 18 to 24 months to find a deal, with minimal working capital. A narrower, more informed search may yield more effective sourcing, higher-quality diligence, better value-creation plans, and ultimately, better-performing assets.

 

Second, operators have increasingly taken leadership roles on combinations’ boards. In almost two-thirds of combinations, operators take chair or vice-chair roles. Those roles allow the operators to put their industry experience to work for the longer term. The operators can provide more influential governance and see plans through to execution. As in PE, operators may prove better collaborators for management—or know when to find new management teams.

In short, operators have helped drive outperformance starting from the SPAC’s IPO and continuing throughout the combination’s life cycle. An operator’s expertise may serve an important role in helping the SPAC narrow and vet its targets, then in exercising influence over the combination’s governance.

Sharpening the operating edge: Practical advice

McKinsey has long observed the advantages of the “operating edge” in PE transactions. We can apply similar lessons to SPACs in three phases of their life cycle:

  • IPO and search for a target:
    • First and foremost, hire the right operators. Find seasoned executives with clear, proven experience. They serve a dual purpose in providing expertise and in signaling the SPAC’s seriousness to investors.
    • Focus the search. Narrow the SPAC’s primary search to the operator’s area of expertise. SPACs can declare this intention in their initial filing. Of course, the SPAC can remain opportunistic, but at least the initial intent will help marshal limited resources in the most efficient manner. Operators may also bring in differentiated deal flows through their networks.
  • Due diligence:
    • Leverage the experts. Bring the operators into the diligence process, from start to finish. Their experience will help quickly weed out bad deals and pressure-test targets’ fundamentals, strategic plans, and management teams.
    • Establish a value-creation plan jointly with target management. C-suite executives have long spoken with investors about their industries. Build on their knowledge to create credible value-creation plans that will translate into sensible, exciting narratives for the combination. Operators can also help tell these stories in the road shows leading up to de-SPACs.
  • Postclose:
    • Lead. Join the board—preferably in a position of leadership, such as a chair or vice chair, to help guide the combination through its value-creation plan.
    • Collaborate with (or replace) management. At the combination, SPACs dissolve into their individual shareholders. With a leadership role on the board, operators can represent sponsors’ interests with management, bolstered by their own credibility as seasoned C-suite leaders.
    • Engage in active governance. In 2005—a lifetime ago in investing circles—and again in 2008, we showed the benefits of active ownership by operating partners in PE firms. Done well, SPACs combine the best of private and public ownership: the superior rigor of PE-style governance and the lower capital costs of public firms.