Coinbase looks across the pond for inspiration
Coinbase may be the most well-known crypto exchange in the U.S., but there are many companies in the broader space doing bolder things.
And it seems that Coinbase knows this—and looks to these players for inspiration.
That’s according to Coinbase COO Emilie Choi, when asked about how the company differentiates from its competition in mid-October, just before she stepped on stage at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit. As Marvel movies lifted the tide for superhero movies as a genre (and likely benefited even its rival, DC), Coinbase views increased competition from the likes of Square, JPMorgan, Binance, and FTX as beneficial to growing the overall crypto economy.
But that doesn’t mean the competition is not fierce. While Choi sees Coinbase as advantaged against the former two names because they came to the industry later in the game (“our whole DNA is crypto first,” she says), the now remote-first business looks for inspiration from crypto companies—like the latter two—that are now often outside of the U.S.
“When I think of the really, really crypto-forward players, many of them are located outside of the United States. And they’re super bleeding edge—Binance, FTX, and some others that you’ve never heard of,” she says. “In fact, crypto forward players are just so bleeding edge on testing new features with users that we can kind of understand where things are going and how the ecosystem is going to evolve.”
It’s worth mentioning that Choi’s words come after Coinbase applied to trade crypto futures in September—a comparatively late move considering the likes of Binance and FTX as well as U.S. players like CME Group, already in the crypto derivatives fray. Also earlier this month, the company decided to launch an NFT marketplace that looks to be potentially in competition with OpenSea.
Still, the lack of regulatory certainty has been a barrier to entry for U.S.-based companies. FTX.US, the U.S.-focused arm of the Bahamas-based company that made derivatives its bread and butter, only made a move into derivatives in August after acquiring LedgerX. In the same vein, crypto exchanges have also avoided offering margin trading—a risky method of using leverage to potentially boost returns—to stateside customers. The Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) earlier this year fined Kraken $1.25 million, accusing the company among other things of offering the product to U.S. customers that weren’t eligible.
No doubt this is part of the reason why Coinbase is calling so adamantly for a single agency to regulate crypto.
I also asked Choi for an update on Coinbase’s controversial decision to take on an apolitical stance, which resulted in the exit of 5% of employees. “To be honest with you, I think it’s the best thing we’ve ever done as a company, it feels like we’re being so transparent about who we are, and that we are Mission First,” she said. “Yes, it was hard to lose those folks. But it was actually a super clarifying moment for us.”
Still, wouldn’t that stance, which allegedly happened at least in part due to the Black Lives Matter movement, discourage diverse candidates from entering the space in the future?
Choi says Coinbase does care about diversity, and also employs the Rooney Rule, a hiring practice that requires one woman and one underrepresented minority to be considered for a job.
“In fact, I think I may have been hired because of the Rooney Rule,” she said. “And it wasn’t because I was a woman. It was because I was included in the consideration set for my role.”
The most definitive answer as to whether the company is moving the needle on diversity however is in the numbers—but Coinbase does not share those at the moment.
Watch the video interview here.
SEQUOIA NEW FUND STRUCTURE: “The traditional 10-year fund cycle of VC has become obsolete,” wrote Roelof Botha, partner at Sequoia upon announcing the Sand Hill Road investor’s new fund structure that sent gasps through the industry. In a move away from the traditional venture capital funding cycle, Sequoia Capital unveiled a single Sequoia Fund for its U.S. and Europe operations, made up of public stocks that will then in turn allocate capital to closed-end sub-funds that will make venture investments. There will be no time horizon on investments, the firm’s blog post read.
There’s a few trends at play here: Time to IPO is getting longer, yes, but investors are also seeing outsized value in holding some companies for longer even after they IPO. One big example: E-commerce company Shopify, which is up 4,588% since its listing in 2015. Meanwhile, founders are looking for long-term holders that can protect them from the ups-and-downs of public markets—allowing them to pursue longer-term projects, or at least, that’s the argument. Meaning even as public market investors like hedge funds begin to move into the private realm, private market investors too are expanding.
PSA: I’m on the road Thursday and Friday. In the meantime, my colleagues Anne Sraders and Jessica Mathews will be taking over. Please send deals and tips their way: email@example.com for Thursday news, and Jessica.firstname.lastname@example.org for Friday. See you on the other side of the week.
Jessica Mathews compiled the IPO and SPAC sections of this newsletter.
- ClickUp, a San Diego, Calif.-based productivity tools maker, raised $400 million in Series C funding, valuing it at $4 billion. Andreessen Horowitz and Tiger Global led the round and were joined by investors including Lightspeed Venture Partners and Meritech Capital Partners.
- InCloudCounsel, an outsourced legal services company, raised $200 million in Series B funding. Blackstone Growth led the round and was joined by investors including Battery Ventures.
- Skyryse, a Los Angeles-based helicopter automation startup, raised $200 million in Series B funding. Fidelity Management & Research Company and Monashee Investment Management led the round and was joined by investors including ArrowMark Partners, Republic Capital, Raptor Group, Infinite Capital, Embedded Ventures, Fortistar, K3 Ventures, Rosecliff, SV Pacific Ventures, former Blackstone CFO Laurence Tosi, and Dmitry Balyasny (founder of BAM Hedge Fund).
- Truepill, a San Mateo, Calif.-based digital health company, raised $142 million in Series D funding. Initialized Capital and TI Platform Management led the round valuing the company at $1.6 billion.
- Logicbroker, a Shelton, Conn.-based e-commerce software company, raised $135 million. K1 Investment Management led the round.
- DeHaat, an Indian agriculture software company, raised $115 million. Sofina and Lightrock led the round and were joined by investors including Temasek, Prosus Ventures, RTP Global, Sequoia Capital India, and FMO.
- Crossbeam, a Philadelphia-based enterprise-focused startup, raised $76 million in Series C funding. Andreessen Horowitz led the round and was joined by investors including Redpoint Ventures, FirstMark Capital, First Round Capital, and Uncork Capital.
- Infinium, a Sacramento, Calif.-based electrofuels production company, raised $69 million. Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund and NextEra Energy Resources led the round and were joined by investors including AP Ventures, 8090 Partners, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and Pavilion Capital.
- Mozart Therapeutics, a Seattle-based biopharmaceutical company focused on autoimmune and inflammatory disease, raised $55 million in Series A funding. ARCH Venture Partners led the round and was joined by investors including Sofinnova Partners, Eli Lilly & Company, MRL Ventures Fund, Leaps by Bayer, Altitude Life Science Ventures, and Alexandria Venture Investments.
- VavaCars, a Turkey-based online trading platform for buying and selling used cars, raised $50 million. Duquesne Family Office founded by Stanley F. Druckenmiller) invested.
- ShiftMed, a McLean, Va.-based healthcare workforce job search company, raised $45 million. Panoramic Ventures and Healthworx led the round and were joined by investors including Blue Heron Capital, Motley Fool Ventures, and 3TS Capital Partners.
- Gluware, a Sacramento, Calif.-based network automation company, raised $43 million. Bain Capital led the round and was joined by investors including Acadia Woods Partners.
- Extend, a New York City-based fintech startup, raised $40 million in Series B funding. March Capital led the round and was joined by investors including B Capital, Point72 Ventures, Fintech Collective, Reciprocal Ventures, Wells Fargo, and Pacific Western Bank.
- Zolve, a San Francisco-based neobanking startup focused on immigrants, raised $40 million. Partners of DST Global led the round, valuing it at $210 million. Other investors included Tiger Global, Alkeon Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Accel.
- QuintessenceLabs, an Australian quantum cybersecurity company, raised $25 million in Series B funding. Main Sequence and TELUS Ventures led the round and were joined by investors including InterValley Ventures and Capital Property Group.
-Fellow, a San Francisco-based meeting productivity and team management tool, raised $24 million in Series A funding. Craft Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including iNovia, Felicis, Garage Ventures, Formentera, and SVB.
- Pragma, a Los Angeles-based game engine maker, raised $22 million in Series B funding. Insight Partners led the round and was joined by investors including Greylock Partners, Upfront Ventures, and Advancit Capital, Daher Capital, Overwolf, Kevin Lin (Twitch), and Ted Gill (Unknown Worlds).
- HiveWatch, a Los Angeles-based company using sensors to detect physical security threats, raised $20 million in Series A funding led by Dick Costolo and Adam Bain led the round.
- Cogniac, a San Jose, Calif.-based A.I. image and video analysis company, raised $20 million in Series B1 funding. National Grid Partners led the round.
- UserGems, a San Francisco-based platform to find sales leads, raised $20 million in Series A funding. Craft Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Battery Ventures, Tiger Global, and Uncork Capital.
- Skydropx, a Mexico City-based logistics management software maker, raised $20 million in Series A funding. 645 Ventures and Base10 Partners led the round.
- Bridgit, a Toronto-based job search site for the construction industry, raised C$24 million ($19.4 million) in Series B funding. Camber Creek and Storm Ventures led the round and were joined by investors including Nine Four Ventures, BDC Capital’s Women in Technology Venture Fund, StandUp Ventures, Sands Capital, and Vanedge Capital.
- Hedron, a Cambridge, Mass.-based on-orbit communications company, raised $17.8 million in Series A funding. Fine Structure Ventures led and was joined by investors including Lockheed Martin Ventures, Republic Labs, Lime Street, and Explorer 1.
- Shiru, an Emeryville, Calif.-based maker of ingredients based on plants, raised $17 million in Series A funding. S2G Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Lux Capital, CPT Capital, Y Combinator, and Emles Venture Partners.
- Resilient Power, an Atlanta-based electric vehicle fast-charging company, raised $5 million for its seed round. Energy Transition Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund and GS Futures.
- Billy, a New York City-based maker of a way for construction companies to manage insurance, raised $3.5 million in funding. MetaProp and Coelius Capital led the round and were joined by investors including Global Village, Shadow Ventures, Hustle Fund, and Laguna Canyon Group.
- Voxel, a security camera tech maker for warehouses, raised $3 million in seed funding. MTech Capital led the round.
- Bain, Blackstone, and KKR are among those bidding for Yayoi Co., a Japanese software maker, pricing it at over 200 billion yen ($1.8 billion), per Bloomberg. Orix owns the company.
- Mission Lane, a Richmond, Va.-based fintech, raised $150 million in redeemable preferred equity. Oaktree Capital Management led the round and was joined by investors including Invus, QED Investors, and LL Funds.
- Assembly, backed by Advent, acquired Pacvue, a Bellevue, Wash.-based marketplace advertising, sales and intelligence company. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Auxo Investment Partners acquired Genesis Rail Services, a Bluefield, W.V. and Roanoke, Va.-based railroad maintenance company. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Novvia Group, backed by Kelso & Company, acquired Crystal Lake, Illinois-based Fox Valley Containers, a Crystal Lake, Ill.-based plastic, metal, corrugated, and glass packaging products maker. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Partners Group acquired a minority stake in Breitling, a Swiss watchmaker. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Summit Partners invested in Hairstory, a haircare brand. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Valence Surface Technologies, a portfolio company of ATL Partners and British Columbia Investment Management, acquired H&W Global Industries, a provider of surface treatment for highly engineered products in the aerospace and defense market.
- Sentinel Capital Partners acquired Controlled Products Acquisition, a Dalton, Ga.-based manufacturer and distributor of synthetic turf for sports, from Clearview Capital. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- DraftKings (NYSE: DKNG) has walked away from its roughly $22 billion bid for Entain (LSE: ENT), an Irish gambling company. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Informatica, a Redwood City, Calif.-based data software company, raised $841 million in an offering of 29 million shares priced at $29 per share. The company reported revenue of $1.3 billion in 2020 and a net loss of $168 million. CPP Investments and Permira back the firm.
- Rent the Runway, a Brooklyn-based clothing rental company, raised $357 million in an offering of 17 million shares priced at $21 per share—it had previously planned to sell 15 million shares. The company posted $158 million in revenue in the 12 months ending in Jan. and a loss of $171 million. Bain Capital Ventures, Highland Capital, Technology Crossover Ventures, and Ares Management back the firm.
- NerdWallet, a San Francisco-based personal finance education website and app, plans to raise up to $138 million in an offering of 7.3 million shares priced between $17 and $19 per share. The company posted $245 million in revenue in 2020 and net income of $5 million. Institutional Venture Partners, RRE Ventures, and iGlobe Partners back the firm.
- Arteris IP, a Campbell, Calif.-based on-chip communications company for semiconductor devices, raised $70 million in an offering of 5 million shares priced at $14 per share. The company reported $32 million in revenue in 2020 and a net loss of $3 million. Ventech backs the firm.
- Valneva, a French vaccine development company, filed for an IPO in the U.S. The company plans to issue 5.5 million ADSs and hasn’t set a price range for its shares. The company reported $146 million in total revenue in 2020 and a net loss of $2 million. Groupe Grimaud La Corbière and Bpifrance back the firm.
- Evotec, a German drug discovery and development company, plans to raise up to $576 million in the U.S. in an offering of 22 million ADSs priced at $26.16 per ADS. The company posted revenue of $581 million in 2020 and net income of $7 million. Novo Holdings, Mubadala Investment Company, and T. Rowe Price back the firm.
- Tiger Global held the first close of its fifteenth fund with $8.8 billion, per Bloomberg.
- Andreessen Horowitz is looking to raise about $6.5 billion for a pair of funds, per The Wall Street Journal reported.
- Platinum Equity is looking to raise as much as $15 billion for its latest buyout fund, per Bloomberg.
- Caltius Equity Partners, a Los Angeles-based middle-market investor, promoted Justin Benshoof to managing director and Ryan Matthews to vice president.