Quibi is out. But other companies will still try to build in its place

October 22, 2020, 3:07 PM UTC

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Quibi, the heavily funded and heavily doubted short-form streaming service founded by former Disney executive Jeffrey Katzenberg, officially threw in the towel Wednesday‚ a mere six months after its launch.

In its brief life, the company struggled to attract and keep viewers with its roster of content, even with $1.75 billion in funding. The company has reportedly sought to sell itself, but failed to find a buyer. 

“We feel that we’ve exhausted all our options,” Katzenberg and CEO Meg Whitman wrote a Medium post. “As a result we have reluctantly come to the difficult decision to wind down the business, return cash to our shareholders, and say goodbye to our colleagues with grace. We want you to know we did not give up on this idea without a fight.”

The company will still need that fighting spirit: It won’t be an easy wind down. Of the $1.75 billion, some $350 million will be returned to investors, according to the Wall Street Journal.

You’ve probably already encountered the deluge of takes on Quibi’s remarkably quick burnout. Some assign blame to billionaire hubris, some to an overly competitive streaming ecosystem, to a lack of clear strategy (why watch Quibi, when you can watch YouTube for free?), to lackluster content, to too much funding, to a lack of experimentation, and, of course, to the pandemic. The reality probably lies somewhere in between all of the above.

As the story developed Wednesday, I was surprised to see my inbox full of streaming and video CEOs being offered up for comment on Quibi’s downfall—CEOs that weren’t of the Netflixs, Amazons, YouTubes, or Twitches of the world. On one hand, that can be read as opportunistic: Startups in the space are hoping for recognition by riding on the Quibi news cycle. On the other, it’s optimistic: Founders are still seeing opportunity to build in a space that has been locked in by the aforementioned giants. 

The pandemic has led to a boom in video streaming. But is that enough to shift consumers to a plethora of options? I’m not so sure about that.

STRIPE INVESTS IN A CARTA COMPETITOR: The payments darling and fintech investor led a $10 million investment in Pulley, a new competitor to equity management platform Carta. Pulley hopes to offer an alternative with better user experience to the now $3.1 billion company. The investment adds to the many fintech bets Stripe has made in recent months, and is notable for Stripe’s personal experience with cap table management software. The company is a customer of Morgan Stanley’s Shareworks. Read more.

Lucinda Shen
Twitter: @shenlucinda
Email: lucinda.shen@fortune.com


- Arctic Wolf, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based cyber security company, raised $200 million in Series E funding valuing it at over $1 billion. Viking Global Investors led the round and was joined by investors including DTCP.

- Bind Benefits, a Minneapolis-based health insurance company, raised $105 million in Series B funding. Investors included Ascension Ventures.

- Faire, a San Francisco-based wholesaler, is in talks to raise over $100 million in Series E funding at a valuation of over $2 billion, per Bloomberg. Its investors have included Lightspeed Venture Partners, Founders Fund, Forerunner Ventures. Read more.

- Rokt, a New York-based e-commerce technology company, raised $80 million. TDM Growth Partners led the round and was joined by investors including Square Peg.

- Be Biopharma, a Cambridge, Mass.-based company developing B cells as medicines, raised $52 million in Series A funding. Atlas Venture and RA Capital Management led the round and was joined by investors including Alta Partners, Longwood Fund and Takeda Ventures.

- Azura Ophthalmics, a clinical-stage company developing innovative therapies for Meibomian gland dysfunction and related eye diseases, raised $20 million. Investors included OrbiMed, TPG Biotech, Brandon Capital’s Medical Research Commercialization Fund, and Ganot Capital.

- Klar, a Mexico City-based fintech, raised $15 million in Series A funding. Prosus Ventures led the round.

- Sym, a Boston and San Francisco-based platform for engineers, raised $9 million in Series A funding. Amplify Partners led the round and was joined by investors including  Gerhard Eschelbeck (former CISO of Google), Sri Viswanath (CTO of Atlassian), and Jason Warner, (CTO of GitHub).

- Budderfly, a Shelton, Conn.-based energy efficiency platform, raised $7.8 million in funding. Edison Partners and Balance Point Capital co-led the round and were joined by investors including Connecticut Innovations.

- DANCE, a Berlin-based e-bike subscription company, raised €15 million in Series A funding. HV Holtzbrinck Ventures led the round.

- Intellimize, a San Mateo, Calif.-based website optimization company, raised $12 million in additional Series A funding. Addition led the round and was joined by investors including Amplify Partners, Homebrew, and Precursor Ventures.

- WoHo, a Cambridge, Mass.-based construction startup, raised $4.5 million in seed funding. The Engine led the round.

- Textel, a St. Louis-based provider of a texting platform for contact centers, raised $4 million in Series A funding. Cultivation Capital led the round and was joined by investors including Stout Street Capital and Capital Midwest Fund III

- Secureframe, a San Francisco, Calif.-based provider of compliance software, raised $4.5 million in seed funding. Base10 Partners and Gradient Ventures led the round and were joined by BoxGroup, Village Global, Soma Capital, Liquid2, Chapter One, Worklife Ventures, and Backend Capital.

- Pillar, a New York-based maker of a platform for storing family information, raised $1.5 million in extended seed funding. Kleiner Perkins led the round.


- Carlyle and KKR have expressed interest in taking over Canyon Bicycles, a German bicycle company. Financial terms weren't disclosed. Read more.

- Brookfield Asset Management and Carlyle Group are bidding for Siemens AG’s mechanical drive unit, per Bloomberg. The deal could be worth 2 billion euros ($2.4 billion). Read more.

- Bain Capital and Cinven are joining to bid on Switzerland-based Lonza Group’s specialty ingredients unit, per Bloomberg. The deal could be worth $3.9 billion, per Bloomberg. Read more.

- Clearview Capital Fund IV recapitalized Capitol Imaging Services, a Metairie, La.-based provider of outpatient diagnostic imaging services. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Searchlight Capital Partners and Abry Partners acquired Clearspan from Mitel. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Vista Equity Partners invested in SmartBear, a Somerville, Ma.-based provider of software development tools. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- H.I.G. Capital agreed to acquire Capstone Logistics, a Georgia-based supply chain logistics company, from The Jordan Company. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- HarbourVest Partners acquired a minority stake in Finalsite, an education technology provider. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Madison Dearborn Partners invested in Carnegie Learning, a Pittsburgh maker of artificial intelligence for education and formative assessment. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Levine Leichtman Capital Partners acquired Ducares B.V., a Netherlands-based provider of feed testing services, from First Dutch Innovations. Financial terms weren't disclosed.


- Advent is looking to sell Mediq, a Dutch medical supplier, in a deal that could raise 1.2 billion euro ($1.4 billion), per Reuters citing sources. Read more.

- Lightyear Capital and the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan agreed to acquire Allworth Financial from Parthenon Capital Partners.


- New Enterprise Associates, the venture capital firm, is in talks to sell a minority stake in itself, per Bloomberg. Read more.

- Sun Life Financial (NYSE: SLF) plans to acquire a majority stake in Crescent Capital Group, a Los Angeles-based alternative credit investment manager for up to $338 million.

- Moody’s acquired Acquire Media, a financial services-focused content provider, from Naviga, a portfolio company of Vista Equity Partners. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Uber (NYSE: UBER) offered to acquire Daimler and BMW's joint mobility services company Freenow, for €1 billion ($1.2 billion). Read now.


- Ant Group, the fintech giant backed by Alibaba, has won the approval from Chinese securities watchdogs for its $35 billion dual-listing. Read more.

- ThredUp, an Oakland, Calif.-based resale clothing company, filed confidentially for an IPO. Investors including Trinity Ventures and Redpoint Ventures back the firm.

- McAfee, the cybersecurity company, raised $620 million in its IPO.


- T-Mobile (NASDAQ: TMUS) announced T-Mobile Ventures, an investment fund focused on early and emerging growth companies developing 5G products and services for the T-Mobile network.

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