Indian Startups Gather Interest and Venture Funding From BrokerDealers Everywhere

images (6) blog update profiles  Indian start up companies collecting interest from brokerdealers around the world for comapny funding. This blog update is courtesy of Wall Street Journal’s article, “Venture Money Floods Into Indian Startups “.

Vikram Chopra spent the past three years building an online furniture-shopping site for Indian consumers that was funded mainly by annual capital injections from a German technology incubator.

But during the past few months, investor interest in the site,, has soared, said the 32-year-old entrepreneur, who is based in the New Delhi suburb of Gurgaon. Several global venture-capital firms and hedge funds have said they are interested in investing, and Mr. Chopra is now considering another round of funding that would exceed the $20 million raised so far—even though he doesn’t expect FabFurnish to be profitable for another two years and doesn’t yet need the cash.

“A few years ago, everybody wanted to see profitability upfront,” said Mr. Chopra. “Today, it is more like how much money you need to curb the competition [and] kill everyone else.”

Global money is flooding into Indian startups as investors search for a successor to Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., the Chinese e-commerce company that raised a record $25 billion in its initial public offering last year.

To read the entire article from the Wall Street Journal, click here.

FOMO Is Leading To Cramming Of Startups According To One Capitalist blog update courtesy of the Wall Street Journal.

Venture capitalist and Benchmark partner, Bill Gurley, advised people against “cramming” too much money into startups, such as Uber, Snapchat, and WeWork, at last week’s Goldman Sachs technology conference. Following his speech, Gurley gave even further insight to investing in startups and how the slang word, FOMO, plays into investing.

After speaking about the risks of “cramming” too much money in startups at the Goldman Sachs technology conference last week, venture capitalist Bill Gurley exited the stage.

More than a dozen investors swarmed the lanky partner of Benchmark, eager to speak with him— but few were planning to heed the venture capitalist’s advice. According to Gurley, one man, who represented a large mutual fund, asked, “You don’t want us to invest in this but the big tech stocks are not delivering enough growth and my competitors are getting into these startups, so what are we supposed to do?”

Gurley says he didn’t have a good answer but he wasn’t surprised by the sentiment, which he describes as FOMO, a slang popular among millennials that stands for “fear of missing out.”

It is this infectious FOMO, according to Gurley and other venture capitalists, that has created a flotilla of billion-dollar startups with ever-soaring valuations and mixed financials.

According to The Wall Street Journal’s Billion Dollar Startup Club, there are now at least 73 private technology companies worth more than $1 billion dollars, versus 41 a year ago. Some, such as Uber, the $41.2 billion car hailing app backed by Gurley’s Benchmark, are worth enormous sums. At least 48 companies were valued at $1 billion or more for the first time, and another 23 members moved up the ranking after raising more money.

Many investors are treating these 73 companies as if they were publicly traded, says Gurley. They are investing sums of money usually reserved for IPO offerings and, sometimes, giving away those dollars with the kind of confidence usually associated with investors who’ve perused regulatory filings for detailed financial information. The investors themselves are a blend of traditional venture-capital players and typically public-market investors: hedge funds, mutual funds and banks. They are sort of meeting in the middle, with the venture capitalists investing in later-stage companies than they have historically done, through new growth funds, and the institutional investors getting in before the IPO.

“We’ve been calling this the private-IPO slice,” said David York, managing director of Top Tier Capital Partners, a fund of funds. “The valuation of risk is a public-market thought process versus a private-market thought process.”

Gurley, who has become a vocal critic of irrational behavior in the industry, says he’s also very worried about the pile-up in the “private IPO” market.

He’s worried that venture capitalists’ new bedfellows, such as mutual funds, are too new to venture capital to properly weigh the risks and realize that these billion-dollar companies are not guaranteed home runs.

“This replaces the IPO — but not all these companies are IPO level candidates,” he said. “Would you hand a teenager $200,000?”

According to data collected by The Journal, of the 29 firms that have invested in five or more current billion-dollar startups, only about half are traditional venture-capital firms. The rest are a mix of institutional investors, such as the Dragoneer Investment Group and Tiger Global Management, and strategic investors, such as Intel and Google. Near the top of the list is Tiger with 12 investments in private billion-dollar companies, and T. Rowe Price Group with 11. In this group, Tiger also raised the most money last year, keying up $4 billion, or 12% of all venture capital raised in 2014.

With such financial heavyweights jumping in, many of their peers are wondering: Can I afford to sit out?

It’s difficult to quantify exactly how much money is sloshing around at this level. Several top venture capital firms have raised large growth funds in the past few years, but total contributions from hedge funds, mutual funds and banks is practically immeasurable without knowing how much each invested in particular funding rounds. Whatever the amount, this layer of growth capital could warp prices, venture capitalists say.

“It’s like traffic on the highway, you add just 5% more cars and it slows down traffic considerably,” said Glenn Solomon, a managing partner at GGV Capital. His firm is an investor in four companies in The Billion Dollar Startup Club.

In some ways, Gurley’s firm has benefited from this influx of pre-IPO capital. His firm is an early investor in four companies in the Billion Dollar Startup Club: Uber, Snapchat, WeWork and Jasper Technologies. All four have since raised money from a big public-market investor.

For the entire article from the Wall Street Journal, click here

BrokerDealers Want To Ride With Uber

Shanghai, China. February 13th 2014. Driver images for UBER marketing content. blog update is courtesy of the New York Times’ Deal Book’s Mike Isaac.

Uber is an app-based transportation network and taxi company based out of San Francisco, California. It began in 2009 and has slowly been making its way across the United States and the world. Customers use the app to request rides and track their reserved vehicle’s location. Uber vehicles range from black luxury SUVs and town cars, to taxis, drivers’ personal vehicles. Although Uber hasn’t gone public yet, they have recently expanded their venture round to a total capacity of $2.8 billion due to high demand. Now, it is only a matter of time before the company decides to go public and the brokerdealers can’t wait. 

Uber, the ride-hailing service, likes to trumpet its popularity with consumers. Their fervor is surpassed, perhaps, only by investors’.

Facing overwhelming demand from institutional investors, Uber has expanded its Series E round of venture financing by $1 billion, according to documents filed Wednesday with the Delaware secretary of state, bringing the total capacity for the round up to $2.8 billion.

The move, which was confirmed by Uber, occurred just weeks after the company closed a $1.2 billion round of financing. At the time, Uber said it had left capacity for about $600 million in additional strategic investments, according to a Delaware filing. The company is incorporated in Delaware and based in San Francisco.

But the appetite for a piece of Uber has proved to be greater than the company had imagined. The $600 million was quickly oversubscribed, and Uber decided to raise the amount. Baidu, the Chinese Internet giant, accounts for part of the additional investment beyond the $1.2 billion round.

The most recent expansion is on top of some $4 billion Uber raised, including a recent $1.6 billion round of convertible debt financing from the clients of the private wealth arm of Goldman Sachs, the investment bank previously confirmed.

Uber’s $40 billion valuation, extraordinary by any private technology company’s standards, remains unchanged since the company announced the first part of the round in December. Uber is one of the most richly valued private technology start-ups, second only to Xiaomi, the Chinese smartphone manufacturer.

“The participation we have seen in Uber’s Series E underscores the confidence investors have in Uber’s growth,” Nairi Hourdajian, the head of global communications at Uber, said in a statement.

Even in Silicon Valley’s recent venture capital environment, where hundreds of millions of dollars and high valuations seem much easier to come by, Uber remains an anomaly. The company has raised close to $5 billion in private financing since it was founded in 2009, and it appears in no hurry to introduce itself to the public markets.

Uber is likely to need full pockets to continue its rapid growth.

The company is working to expand UberPool, its ride-sharing initiative that links multiple passengers heading toward the same destination and lets them split the cost.

Uber has also said it intends to bolster its European operations and push into the Asia-Pacific region.

It can expect to meet opposition. Uber faces stiff resistance from taxi and limousine interests in countries like Spain, Germany and Belgium, among others, and will probably need to spend heavily to market itself to win favor with locals.

To do well in China, the world’s most populous country, Uber will probably have to spend heavily to take on services like Kuaidi Dache and Didi Dache, China’s two largest taxi-hailing services, which recently announced plans to merge. That deal, if completed, would give the two services more than 90 percent of the market.

Meanwhile, Uber’s largest United States competitor is also raising money. Lyft, identified by its signature pink mustache logo, is trying to raise at least $250 million in private capital, with participation from at least one previous investor, the Alibaba Group of China.

For the original article, click here.

Grocery Delivery Service Instacart Raises $44 Million update courtesy of extracts from today’s NYT DealBook.

Companies like Uber and Airbnb have prospered by allowing people to sell their services to strangers on a smartphone-powered network.

Now venture capitalists are betting that a young start-up can use that principle to achieve success in the grocery business.

Instacart, a two-year-old grocery delivery company, announced a $44 million round of financing on Monday led by Andreessen Horowitz. Three venture capital firms that previously invested in the company, Sequoia Capital, Khosla Ventures and Canaan Partners, participated in the latest round.


The company, which is based in San Francisco, lets customers shop online from grocery stores in their area. The orders are filled by other people who have signed up to be shoppers and who receive a cut of the delivery fees. Information about a store’s inventory comes from store managers and from the shoppers. The company says it can have groceries delivered within an hour.

Jeff Jordan, a partner at Andreessen Horowitz, said he was attracted to Instacart because it was a “people marketplace.” He said the company had an advantage over other grocery delivery services, including FreshDirect, because it did not rely on warehouses, trucks or other capital-intensive infrastructure.

“Grocery is the single largest category of retail in the United States and is virtually undigitized at this point,” Mr. Jordan said in an interview. “There is an enormous opportunity if someone can figure it out.”

The founder of Instacart, Apoorva Mehta, previously worked at Amazon in the “fulfillment” division, which oversees the delivery of orders from warehouses to customers. After starting in San Francisco, Instacart has expanded to 10 cities across the country, Mr. Mehta said.

The full article can be found at NYT DealBook.