The oddity of Jack Dorsey’s resignation letter from Twitter
In a characteristically open resignation letter posted to Twitter, Dorsey explained the situation by speaking out against the much-loved concept (at least among startups) of “founder-led” businesses, saying he believed it to be “severely limiting to a single point of failure. I’ve worked hard to ensure this company can break away from its founders and founding.”
A few additional thoughts on this:
- Investors and analysts have been generally displeased with the fact that Dorsey has been the CEO of two companies, arguing it divided his attention. Their disapproval—and relief with the news—showed in the numbers yesterday. Shares of both Square and Twitter jumped on the news of Dorsey’s departure.
- By focusing on Square, Dorsey is turning to a company that has become something of a golden child in the pandemic while Twitter has grown at a slower pace: With a big stake in the red-hot buy-now-pay-later market, small business banking, and crypto—an especial passion for Dorsey—Square is now valued at about $98 billion. Twitter meanwhile sits at about $36.6 billion.
- But Dorsey’s rationale for leaving Twitter then is really rather odd in the context of his Square position: The fintech is in fact more founder-led than Twitter. As a founder in Square, Dorsey holds about 48% voting power via his supervoting shares in Square.
- Dorsey held just 2.3% of Twitter, with no super-voting shares—which made Twitter so vulnerable to activist investors.
In that case, it makes sense that Dorsey is focusing on Square—it’s the company where he has more leeway and it’s the company that has taken off more explosively. But it is also in the context of supervoting shares in Square that make his rationale for leaving Twitter ring somewhat hollow.
THERANOS BOMBSHELL: In a bombshell day in Theranos trials, co-founder Elizabeth Holmes accused her then boyfriend and business partner Ramesh Balwani of abuse and forced sex. Accord to the New York Times, Holmes testified that Balwani entered a decade-long campaign of psychological abuse, and:
“‘He would force me to have sex with him when I didn’t want to because he would say that he wanted me to know he still loved me,’ Ms. Holmes said on the stand, while crying.”
Notably, Balwani will not go to trial until next year—meaning the story is far, far from over.
While I’m at Brainstorm Tech through Wednesday, please copy Jessica Mathews, Jessica.email@example.com, on deals news for inclusion below.
Jessica Mathews curated the deals section of today’s newsletter.
- Lessen, an Scottsdale, Ariz.-based property services platform, raised $170 million in Series B funding led by Fifth Wall and was joined by Khosla Ventures, General Catalyst and Navitas Capital.
- Cycode, a Tel-Aviv-based software supply chain security company, raised $56 million in Series B funding led by Insight Partners and was joined by YL Ventures.
- 2TM Group, the holding company of São Paulo-based crypto exchange Mercado Bitcoin, raised $50.3 million in additional Series B funding from investors including 10T and Tribe Capital, Traders Club, Pipo Capital and Endeavor. The firm has now raised $250.3 million in the round.
- Quinyx, a Stockholm-based workforce management company, raised $50 million in funding led by Battery Ventures.
- ThreeFlow, a remote benefits placement system for brokers and carriers, raised $45 million in Series B funding led by Accel and was joined by investors including Emergence Capital, Equal Ventures, and First Trust Capital Partners.
- Solutions by Text, a Dallas, Tex.-based compliant text messaging platform for consumer finance companies, raised $28 million in funding led by Edison Partners and was joined by investors including Stifel Venture Bank.
- Gradle, a San Francisco-based software and automation tool company, raised $27 million in Series C funding led by Triangle Peak Partners and was joined by investors including True Ventures, DCVC, Bain Capital Ventures, Harmony Partners, and StepStone Group.
- Mainframe Industries, a Helsinki, Finland-based game developer, raised €20.3 million ($23.1 million) in Series B funding led by a16z and was joined by investors including Riot Games, Maki.vc, Play Ventures, Sisu Game Ventures, Crowberry Capital, Twitch co-founder Kevin Lin, King.com co-founder Riccardo Zacconi, Huuuge Games CEO Anton Gauffin, and others.
- Raycast, a developer productivity platform, raised $15 million in Series A funding led by Accel and Coatue and joined by investors including Hopin CEO Johnny Boufarhat, Stripe’s Jeff Weinstein, former GitHub CTO Jason Warner, and others.
- Energy Dome, a Lonate Pozzolo, Italy-based energy storage technology company, raised $11 million in Series A funding led by 360 Capital and was joined by investors including Barclays’ Sustainable Impact Capital programme, Novum Capital Partners, and Third Derivative.
- Azos, a São Paulo-based digital life insurance provider, raised $10 million in Series A funding led by Prosus Ventures and was joined by investors including Kaszek Ventures, Maya Capital and Propel.
- Babyscripts, a Washington, D.C.-based virtual maternity care platform, added $7.5 million to its Series B funding round from investors including Cigna Ventures, Texas Medical Center Venture Fund and Atlantic Health. The firm has now raised $19 million in the round.
- Returnmates, a Venice, Calif.-based online returns company, raised $5 million in funding led by LightShed Ventures and was joined by investors including Good Friends, Chris Homer, and V1.VC.
- Trustpage, a Detroit-based team collaboration platform, raised $5 million in seed funding led by Bonfire Ventures, Ludlow Ventures, and Detroit Venture Partners and was joined by investors including Entrée Capital, Basement Fund and GTMfund.
- Upway, a Paris-based refurbished e-bike marketplace, raised €4 million ($4.6 million) from Sequoia and Global Founders Capital.
- Jump, a Paris-based benefits provider for freelancers and gig workers, raised $4.5 million in seed funding led by Index Ventures and was joined by investors including Kima Ventures, BlaBlaCar CEO Nicolas Brusson, Personio CEO Hanno Renner, and Voodoo co-founder Laurent Ritter.
- Cerbos, a London-based open source software startup, raised $3.5 million in seed funding led by Crane and was joined by investors including Earlybird Digital East, Seedcamp, 8-Bit Capital, Connect Ventures, OSS Capital, Acequia Capital, HelloWorld, Tiny, Guillaume Pousaz, Paul Forster, and others.
- Algofi, a New York-based decentralized finance lending market and stablecoin protocol, raised $2.8 million in seed funding led by Union Square Ventures, Arrington Capital, and Pillar VC and was joined by investors including Y Combinator, Formulate Ventures, and Shine VC.
- CareAlign, a Philadelphia-based compliance task management system for health care providers, raised $2.3 million in funding from investors led by Hofmann Associates, Gaingels, and Harvard Angels and was joined by investors including Tech Council Ventures, Boston Millennia Partners’ Founders Fund, Front Row Round and DreamIt.
- BV Investment Partners, acquired a majority stake in EMS Management & Consultants, a Lewisville, N.C.-based revenue cycle management and technology solution for the emergency medical services industry.
- Fenway Sports Group, which is backed by RedBird Capital Partners and DNS Capital, agreed to acquire a controlling stake in the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team.
- Searchlight Capital Partners made a strategic investment in the holding company of Greek Islands and East Mediterranean cruise line Celestyal Cruises.
- Chegg agreed to acquire Busuu, a Moorgate, England-based language learning company backed by Profounders Capital, McGraw-Hill, and others, for $436 million in cash.
- Charter Manufacturing Company acquired Aarowcast, a Shawano, Wis.-based cast metal solution company, from Industrial Opportunity Partners. Financial terms were not disclosed.
- An IK Partners fund has agreed to acquire Renta Group from Intera Partners. Financial terms were not disclosed.
- Nu Holdings, a holding company for Brazilian neobank Nubank, and its shareholders now plan to raise up to $2.6 billion in an offering in the U.S., Brazil, and other countries of 289.2 million shares priced between $8 and $9 per share—insiders had previously planned to sell shares, and the company had formerly planned to price its shares at up to $11. The company reported $737 million in total revenue in 2020 and a loss of $172 million. Sequoia Capital, DST Global, Tencent Holdings, and Tiger Global back the firm.
- HashiCorp, a San Francisco-based cloud workflow platform, plans to raise up to $1.1 billion in an offering of 15.3 million shares priced between $68 and $72 per share. The company posted total revenue of $222 million in the year ending in Jan. 2021 and reported a net loss of $84 million. Mayfield, GGV Capital, Redpoint Ventures, and True Ventures back the firm.
- The Dubai government is weighing an IPO of Emirates airline, per Reuters.
- LG Energy Solution, a Seoul-based energy company, received preliminary approval for an IPO in South Korea, according to Reuters. The firm is a subsidiary of LG Chem.
- Snapdeal, an Indian retail e-commerce platform, plans to file preliminary documents for a 2022 IPO that could raise around $250 million, according to Bloomberg. SoftBank Group and Alibaba back the firm.
- Griid Infrastructure, a Bitcoin mining company, confirmed plans to go public via a merger with Adit EdTech Acquisition Corp., a SPAC. A deal values the firm at $3.3 billion.
- Lightspeed China Partners, a Shanghai-based venture capital firm, raised $920 million for two of its funds.
- Partech, a Paris-based venture capital firm, raised €650 million ($750 million) for its second growth fund.
- Differential Ventures, a New York-based seed-stage venture capital firm, will raise $60 million for a new fund.
- Sapphire Ventures, an Austin, Tex.-based venture capital firm, raised $2 billion across its growth funds.