The Brilliant Approach that Allowed Hims to Reach Unicorn Status in One Year

Though founded just over a year ago, Hims' novel approach to issues of a men’s health has already allowed the company to raise more than $197 million at a reported $1 billion valuation.

A Brilliant Approach to Treating ED

The company, which specializes in men’s healthcare products was able to capitalize on Viagra’s patent expiration and developed its own ED medication using the same active ingredient. Customers consult discreetly with an online physician, then the product is sent directly to the customer’s home. In a move away from Viagra’s targeting of the older male demographic however, Hims markets primarily to a much younger demographic, often under the age of forty, and conveys the common nature of the issue through social media and celebrity sponsored ads in an effort to reduce the stigma surrounding ED treatment.

Addressing Other Men's Wellness Issues

In much the same way as its ED treatment, Hims has also taken a similar approach in manufacturing and marketing its men's hair-loss treatment. Once Merck’s patent on Propecia expired in 2014, Hims was again free to repurpose the active ingredient and sell it as its own treatment. It also doesn't hurt that one of the most common side effects of Propecia is impotence. Along with ED and hair-loss, Hims also addresses the embarrassing problem of cold sores which it combats with a pill containing the active ingredient in Valtrex, whose patent expired in 2009. All of these medications, as well as skin creams and supplements and a new women’s line, are all aggressively targeted in fun and clever ways towards a younger consumer.

An Approach That Pays

So far, the approach seems to be working. It was reported yesterday, Hims will be closing a new round of Series C funding for $100 million. The pre-money valuation of this latest round of funding has reportedly pushed the value of the company over $1 billion. This latest round of funding comes less than seven months after the company closed its last round of funding, a Series B round for $50 million. To date, Hims has raised more than $197 million after eight rounds of funding.

An Optimistic Future

While some investors balked at the $1 billion pre-money valuation, company co-founder and CEO Andrew Dudum remained undeterred. In a recent interview Dudum remarked, ‘We think what we’re building is a $10-20 billion company in the next few years.’ Whether or not the company will reach this valuation remains to be seen, but for now, Hims see,s off to a very good start.


NYC Startup Funding, Month-end Wrap-up: February 2019

February continued a solid start to the year for NYC-based startup funding. Below are five of the largest rounds of funding closed by NYC-based startups over the course of February 2019.

Aetion - $27M
Date: 2/5/19
Round: Series B
Industry: Healthcare, Enterprise Software
Lead Investor: N/A
Company: Founded in 2013, Aetion is a healthcare technology company that provides analytics and evidence for the improvement of patient care. The company's patented rapid-cycle analytics™ and the Aetion Evidence Platform™ deliver real-world evidence for life sciences companies, payers, and at-risk providers. To date, Aetion has raised over $74.6 million after three rounds of funding.

Chainalysis - $30M
Date: 2/12/19
Round: Series B
Industry: Fintech, Cryptocurrency, Financial Exchange
Lead Investor: Accel
Company: Founded in 2014, Chainalysis is a company designing and developing anti-money laundering software for Bitcoin businesses. According to Chainalysis, its products include, 'REACTOR, an interactive and investigation tool that identifies offenders, visualizes data, and shares results with people and organizations, and API, a transaction based risk scoring solution that contains source and destination of funds to measure risk.' To date, Chainalysis has raised more than $47.6 million after four rounds of funding.

VAST Data - $40M
Date: 2/26/19
Round: Series B
Industry: Data Storage, Software
Lead Investor: N/A
Company: Founded in 2016, VAST Data is an enterprise data storage infrastructure provider. According to VAST Data, their mission is to, 'bring an end to decades of complexity and application bottlenecks that have been caused by mechanical media and by the complex tiering of data across different types of storage systems.' To date, VAST Data has raised more than $80 million after three rounds of funding.  

HiberCell - $60.8M
Date: 2/7/19
Round: Series A
Industry: Biotechnology
Lead Investor: ARCH Venture Partners
Company: Founded in 2016, HiberCell is a biotechnology company specializing in the development of novel therapeutics to prevent relapse and metastasis. According to HiberCell, 'We are the first company exclusively focused on therapeutically modulating the biology and mechanisms of tumor dormancy.' To date, HiberCell has raised $60.8 million after one round of funding.

YieldStreet - $62M
Date: 2/26/19
Round: Series B
Industry: Fintech, Financial Services, Wealth Management
Lead Investor: Edison Partners
Company: Founded in 2015, YieldStreet is an investment platform allowing investors to effortlessly participate in curated investments with low market correlation and high yield, across litigation finance, real estate, and other alternative asset classes. To date, YieldStreet has raised more than $178.5 million after five rounds of funding.


Lalamove Officially Gains Unicorn Status

Hong Kong-based delivery startup Lalamove has reportedly raised a $300 million round of Series D funding at a +$1 billion valuation.

A Huge Southeast Asian Presence

Founded in 2013, Lalamove is a ride-haling delivery and logistics company like similar to Uber, which focusing on business and corporate clientele. The company - which operates out of mainland China - has over 2 million drivers across more than 130 cities, and boasts more than 28 million active users. Outside of China, Lalamove operates in seven other Asian countries, including Taiwan, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, and Thailand. The latest round of funding is anticipated to be used to further expansion into southeast Asia and India.

The Latest Large Round of Funding

The latest $300 million round of Series D funding will reportedly be split in to two halves: Hillhouse Capital will lead the ‘D1' portion, and Sequoia China will lead the ‘D2’ tranche. The exact size of each half has not been disclosed. Previous to this, Lalamove closed a $100 million round of Series C funding in 2017. To date, Lalamove has raised more than $460 million after seven rounds of funding.

Firmly in Unicorn Territory

According to reports, the latest round of funding places Lalamove firmly into unicorn status. However, according to company head of international Blake Larson, Lalamove has been, “past the unicorn mark for quite some time [but] we just don’t talk about it.” The company was reportedly just shy of a $1 billion valuation when it closed its $100 million round of Series C funding.

A 21st Century Founder and CEO

Lalamove was founded in 2013 by Stanford graduate, Shing Chow. According to Sequoia China founder and managing partner Neil Shen, “Shing is a role model for Hong Kong’s new generation of innovative entrepreneurs. Raised in Hong Kong and educated at Stanford University, Shing returned and plunged himself in the entrepreneurial wave of ‘Internet Plus,’ becoming a figure of entrepreneurial success.” By all accounts, the future seems very bright for the young CEO.


Opendoor to Raise $200 Million at $3.7 Billion Valuation

It was announced Friday that real estate startup Opendoor filed paperwork in the state of Delaware indicating its intent to raise $200 million in funding at a $3.7 billion valuation. 

A Huge New Round of Funding

According to the paperwork, the shares are described as ‘Series E-2’, which according to reports, likely means the latest round will be an extension of the company’s latest existing round of funding. That round - which closed in September of last year - initially closed for $400 million and was led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund. The new round will likely be added to that. To date, Opendoor has raised more than $1 billion after six rounds of funding. The announcement comes just months after one of Opendoor's main competitors - Knock - announced it had raised $400 million in its own round of Series B funding.

A New Way of Home-Buying

Opendoor aims to streamline the home-buying process. In order to do this, Opendoor plays the middle-man between buyers and sellers. As the company explains their role, “If you’re selling, sell your home to us to eliminate the hassles of showings and months of uncertainty. If you’re buying, we make it incredibly easy to tour hundreds of Opendoor homes so you can find the perfect one.” This model is similar to Knock, which purchases the house from the seller outright then collects a fee. 

A Company on the Rise

According to reports, more than 800,000 people toured an Opendoor home in 2018. Of those 800,000, Opendoor claims it has served over 30,000 customers. These customers are distributed across 19 metro regions in 20 cities. The company also states it currently has more than 2,000 monthly customers. To date, Opendoor has managed to attract more than 36 investors, including Andreessen Horowitz, SoftBank, GV, and others.


Electric Truck Startup Rivian Raises $700 Million

Electric auto-maker Rivian has announced it closed a $700 million round of equity funding led by Amazon.

The New Company on the Block

Reuters reported last week the company was in talks with GM and Amazon to lead the round of funding. Though GM did not ultimately participate, Amazon led the round. The funding comes just three months after the company announced its first two vehicles: a fully electric pickup, and an electric model SUV. Both vehicles will put the new company in direct competition with Tesla.

Amazon is Impressed

In a statement regarding the recent round of funding, Amazon CEO of Worldwide Consumers Jeff Wilke stated, “We’re inspired by Rivian’s vision for the future of electric transportation. RJ has built an impressive organization, with a product portfolio and technology to match. We’re thrilled to invest in such an innovative company.” Despite the latest equity round of funding led by the internet giant, Rivian insists it will remain an independent company. 

A Proud CEO

In response to the latest round of funding Rivian CEO, RJ Scaringe also remarked, “This investment is an important milestone for Rivian and the shift to sustainable mobility. Beyond simply eliminating compromises that exist around performance, capability and efficiency, we are working to drive innovation across the entire customer experience. Delivering on this vision requires the right partners, and we are excited to have Amazon with us on our journey to create products, technology and experiences that reset expectations of what is possible.”

Amazon's Move Toward Vehicles

Though Amazon led the round, just how much the tech giant invested has not been made public. The move comes mere weeks after Amazon joined Sequoia and Lightspeed Venture Partners in acquiring a stake in the autonomous vehicle startup, Aurora. Whether or not the two companies fit into a larger vision for Amazon remains to be seen. 

Building a Better Pickup

Both of Rivian’s models will feature a 180 kilowatt-hour battery pack. The battery pack - which is nearly twice the size of Tesla’s - boasts a range of more than 400 miles under optimal conditions. Such features may prove Rivian can capture the elusive market of a competitive battery-powered pickup.

Both models are expected to be made available sometime in 2020.  


DoorDash Raising $500 Million at $6 Billion Valuation

The Wall Street Journal reported recently that food delivery startup DoorDash is in the process of raising a $500 million round of funding. 

Terms of the Deal

According to the report, the round would value the company at somewhere between $6 and $7 billion. The news comes just days after one of DoorDash’s main competitors, Postmates, filed confidentially for an IPO. According to the report, the round will be led by Singaporean state investment firm Tamasek Holdings Pte. 

A Solid Track Record

This is not be the only large round of funding closed by DoorDash recently. Last year, DoorDash raised $250 million in Series E funding. At the time that round valued the company at $4 billion and was led by DST Global and Coatue Management. Previous investors in the company have included Kleiner Perkins, SoftBank, Sequoia, and others. To date, DoorDash has raised more than $1 billion after seven rounds of funding. 

Expanding to All 50 States

Earlier this year, DoorDash made news when it
officially entered all fifty states. In a statement regarding the move, company
co-founder and CEO Tony Xu remarked, “In the past year alone we’ve more than
quintupled our geographic footprint from 600 to 3,300 cities across North
America, democratizing access to door-to-door delivery for hundreds of
millions of Americans across the nation.”

A Rising Star in the Food Delivery Space

According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, DoorDash retains an 18% market-share of the food delivery services. GrubHub remains the leader with a 34% market-share. According to the report, DoorDash was also able to grow at a faster rate than any of its competitors over the first-half of last year. Other companies in direct competition in the U.S. food delivery market also include UberEats, and the aforementioned Postmates.

Just how much of the market share the new round of funding will allow DoorDash to gain remains to be seen, but at a $6 billion valuation investors certainly seem willing to let them try.


Reddit Raises $300 Million at $3 Billion Valuation

Reddit, the self-proclaimed ‘front page of the internet’ recently closed at $300 million round of Series D funding at a $3 billion valuation.

The Details of the Deal

The $3 billion post-money valuation comes just after Reddit closed its latest $300 million Series D. As reported, $150 million of the round was raised by Chinese tech giant, Tencent, while the rest came from previous investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia, and Fidelity. The new round of funding will reportedly be used to transform the platform into more of an advertising vehicle. To date, Reddit has raised over $550 million after four rounds of funding.

An Agreement with Tencent

The new investment doesn't come without controversy however. Reddit users fear the new investment by the Chinese tech company may lead to more censorship. These fears have only exacerbated in light of the fact Reddit itself is currently banned in China due to censorship concerns. As the company behind WeChat and League of Legends, as well as being the largest shareholder in Snapchat’s parent company, and a large stakeholder in the company behind the smash hit, Fortnite, Tencent is no stranger to building tech powerhouses. But, with the Trump administration's anticipated plans to limit Chinese tech investment in American corporations, the future for how the marriage will play out is anyone’s guess. 

Moving into New Territory

Founded in 2006, Reddit currently boasts over 330 million monthly active users, and more than 14 billion monthly screen-views. It was only in the past few years however that the private company began to push to monetize the site. The new effort in transforming the company into an advertising driven-platform now will put Reddit on a collision course with Google and Facebook for advertising dollars. Nonetheless, with a user-base as dedicated as Reddit's, it seems there will be no shortage of opportunities for the company to flourish.


NYC Startup Funding, Month-end Wrap-up: January 2019

2019 picked up right where 2018 left off for NYC startup funding. Below are some of the largest rounds of funding closed by NYC-based startups over the the last month.

Kustomer - $35M
Date: 1/24/19
Round: Series C
Industry: CRM, SaaS, Enterprise Software
Lead Investor: Battery Ventures
Company: Founded in 2015, Kustomer is a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software company. Rather than focusing on tickets, Kustomer is a platform which allows users to focus on their customer service and customer relationships. To date, Kustomer has raised over $73.5 million after four rounds of funding.

The Farmer's Dog - $39M
Date: 1/15/19
Round: Series B
Industry: E-commerce, Pet Food Products
Lead Investor: Insight Venture Partners
Company: Founded in 2014, The Farmer's Dog is a high-quality dog food manufacturer that delivers healthy and balanced freshly made dog food. The Farmer's Dog uses only human-grade USDA ingredient and customized its meal plans for each dog based on their individual profile. To date, The Farmer's Dog has raised more than $49.1 million after three rounds of funding.

Stelexis Therapeutics - $43M
Date: 1/8/19
Round: Series A
Industry: Therapeutics, Healthcare
Lead Investor: Deerfield Capital Management
Company: Founded in 2017, Stelexis Therapeutics goal is to develop novel drugs and to utilize its proprietary platform of targeting per-cancerous stem cells in order to become the leading cancer therapeutic company in the world. To date, Stelexis Therapeutics has raised $43 million after one round of funding.

Andela - $100M
Date: 1/23/19
Round: Series D
Industry: Recruiting, Software, Training
Lead Investor: Generation Investment Management
Company: Founded in 2014, Andela aims to address the global tech talent shortage by recruiting Africa's top software developers. Over the past four years, Andela has hired more than 1,000 developers from over 100,000 applicants, and was also named the 'Best Place to Work in Africa'. To date, Andela has raised more than $181 million after six rounds of funding.

Infor - $1.5B
Date: 1/16/19
Round: Private Equity Round
Industry: Cloud Data Service, Enterprise, Information Technology
Lead Investor: Koch Equity Development and Golden Gate Capital
Company: Founded in 2002, Infor provides enterprise software and services worldwide. Infor is the largest privately held technology provider in the world and has acquired over 40 other software companies since its founding in 2002. To date, Infor has raised more than $4 billion in funding.


NYC-based Petal Raises $30 Million Series B

Petal, the NYC-based fintech startup offering credit cards to those just starting out, has closed a $30 million round of Series B funding.

A Peter Thiel-backed Venture

The round was led by Peter Theil’s Valar Ventures and will reportedly be used to expand the company's offerings and bring on more clients. Valar Ventures previously led Petal’s $13 million Series A almost exactly one year ago. To date, Petal has raised more than $80 million in debt and equity financing after five rounds of funding.

A New Approach to Consumer Credit

Unlike traditional banks which rely heavily on an applicants FICO score, Petal primarily considers an applicant’s income streams when determining credit worthiness. The goal of this method is to be able to approve more candidates, especially those without pre-established credit, and to grant candidates higher credit limits. As an added incentive, Petal’s model only charges interest and transaction fees, which allows it eliminate overdraft fees, late fees, international fees, and annual fees.

A Good Time to be in Fintech

The success of Petal can be seen as a reflection of a growing trend in successful fintech startups as the whole. According to CB Insights, fintechs raised a record $39.57 billion in funding last year. This number marks a 120% increase over 2017. In the last quarter of 2018 alone, five fintech startups achieve unicorn status.

Is 2019 the Year of Credit Card Startups?

According to Petal CEO and co-founder Jason Gross, “If you look at the projections for 2019, this is the year where the fintechs break out in the credit card category the same way fintechs revolutionized stock trading, banking, and personal lending. Before the days of Lending Club and Prosper banks controlled nearly 100% of the consumer lending market share. Now we see that online offerings make up 35% of the overall market.”

Petal, which is on the Visa network, typically charges between 15.24% to 26.24% interest with most card limits between $500 and $10,000. The average credit limit is reportedly a few thousand dollars.


Collibra Raises $100 Million at $1 Billion Valuation

Collibra, a leader in enterprise data governance, recently announced it has closed a round of $100 million in Series E funding. The new round of funding gives the catalogue software company a post-money valuation of more than $1 billion.

Big Investors are Bullish

The latest round of funding was led by Alphabet’s growth equity investment fund, CapitalG, and also saw participation from existing investors ICONIQ Capital, Index Ventures, Dawn Capital, and Battery Ventures. The new round of funding brings the total raised by Collibra to more than $233 million after six rounds of funding.

Collibra: A Darling of Big Tech

Collibra is a company which makes sure the data that companies like Facebook and Google collect is stored in a way that complies with legal regulations. In the wake of a $57 million fine levied by the French government against Google, companies like Collibra will become more-and-more valuable to big tech. The fact that Google’s parent company Alphabet led the round which also saw participation from the Zuckerberg/Dorsey/Sanderberg-backed ICONIQ, bares testament to this fact.

A Proud Founder

According to Collibra co-founder and CEO Felix Van de Maele, “Now more than ever, we live in an economy where the most innovative companies are fueled by data. It has become our most valuable asset. This investment is a testament to Collibra’s leadership and our ability to help customers transform their market proposition through data-driven insight. With this latest round, we are well-positioned to leverage our heritage in understanding data to help our customers utilize the most cutting-edge innovation to power their digital transformation journeys.”

New Funding as a Victory Lap

According to the company statement, ‘The funding comes on the heels of a record revenue year, with an 80 percent increase in annualized recurring revenue and rapid expansion across the globe.’ The latest round of funding is expected to be used to expand the company’s product offerings and to extend its reach into machine learning and AI, as well as to fund its own growing in-house data scientist teams.

Currently, Collibra boasts more than 300 global clients across industries as varied as fintech, healthcare, retail, and tech.