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May 23, 2019
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Amazon leads $575M investment in Deliveroo

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Amazon is taking a slice of Europe’s food delivery market after the U.S. e-commerce giant led a $575 million investment in Deliveroo .

First reported by Sky yesterday, the Series G round was confirmed in an early UK morning announcement from Deliveroo, which confirmed that existing backers including T. Rowe Price, Fidelity Management and Research Company, and Greenoaks also took part. The deal takes Deliveroo to just over $1.5 billion raised to date. The company was valued at over $2 billion following its previous raise in late 2017, no updated valuation was provided today.

London-based Deliveroo operates in 14 countries, including the U.K, France, Germany and Spain, and — outside of Europe — Singapore, Taiwan, Australia and the UAE. Across those markets, it claims it works with 80,000 restaurants with a fleet of 60,000 delivery people and 2,500 permanent employees.

It isn’t immediately clear how Amazon plans to use its new strategic relationship with Deliveroo — it could, for example, integrate it with Prime membership — but this isn’t the firm’s first dalliance with food delivery. The U.S. firm closed its Amazon Restaurants UK takeout business last year after it struggled to compete with Deliveroo and Uber Eats. The service remains operational in the U.S, however.

“Amazon has been an inspiration to me personally and to the company, and we look forward to working with such a customer-obsessed organization,” said Deliveroo CEO and founder Will Shu in a statement.

Shu said the new money will go towards initiatives that include growing Deliveroo’s London-based engineering team, expanding its reach and focusing on new products, including cloud kitchens that can cook up delivery meals faster and more cost-efficiently.

[Center] Will Shu, Deliveroo CEO and co-founder, on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt London

News Source = techcrunch.com

Europol, DOJ announce the takedown of the GozNym banking malware

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Europol and the U.S. Justice Department, with help from six other countries, have disrupted and dismantled the GozNym malware, which they say stole more than $100 million from bank accounts since it first emerged.

In a press conference in The Hague, prosecutors said 10 defendants in five countries are accused of using the malware to steal money from more than 41,000 victims, mostly businesses and financial institutions.

Five defendants were arrested in Moldova, Bulgaria, Ukraine and Russia. The leader of the criminal network and his technical assistant are being prosecuted in Georgia.

The remaining five defendants, all Russian nationals, remain on the run and are wanted by the FBI, said prosecutors.

All were charged with conspiracy to commit computer fraud, conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. An eleventh member of the conspiracy, Krasimir Nikolov, was previously charged and extradited to the U.S. in 2016 and pleaded guilty in April in his role in the GozNym malware network.

The names, roles and locations of the indicted suspects. (Image: Justice Department/supplied)

The takedown was described as an “unprecedented international effort” by Scott Brady, U.S. attorney for Western Philadelphia — where a grand jury indicted the defendants — at the press conference announcing the charges.

GozNym is a powerful banking malware that spread across the U.S., Canada, Germany and Poland. The malware was developed from two existing malware families, both of which had their source code leaked years earlier: Nymaim, a two-stage malware dropper that infects computers through exploit kits from malicious links or emails; and Gozi, a web injection module used to hook into the web browser, allowing the attacker to steal login credentials and passwords.

The banking malware hit dozens of banks and credit unions since it first emerged in 2016.

Described as malware “as a service,” the leader of the network allegedly obtained the code for the two malware families and built GozNym, then recruited accomplices and advertised the new malware on Russian speaking forums. The malware used encryption and other obfuscation techniques to avoid detection by antivirus tools. Then, spammers are said to have sent hundreds of thousands of phishing emails to infect staff at businesses and banks. After the malware infected its victim computers, the malware would steal the passwords control of bank accounts, which the criminals would later log in and cash out.

Prosecutors said the malware network was hosted and operated through a bulletproof service, a domain and web hosting known for lax attitudes towards cybercrime and favored by criminals. Europol said the 2016 takedown of Avalanche, an infrastructure platform used by hundreds of criminals to host and run their malware campaigns.

Although the victims were not named, the Justice Department said at least 11 U.S. businesses — including a church, two law firms, and a casino — fell victim to the GozNym criminals.

Read more:
The hacker group behind the Triton malware strikes again
A new cryptocurrency mining malware uses leaked NSA exploits to spread across enterprise networks
Researchers find a new malware-friendly hosting site after a spike in attacks
Shellbot malware evolves to spread and shuts down other cryptominers
TrickBot malware attacks are ramping up ahead of Tax Day
New malware pulls its instructions from code hidden in memes posted to Twitter

News Source = techcrunch.com

Meet Bobbie, a baby formula delivery startup promising healthier ingredients

in Airbnb/Amazon/baby food/bolt capital/Delhi/eCommerce/Europe/food and drink/funding/Germany/India/Mothers Day/nextview ventures/Politics/San Francisco/Startups/TC/United States/Venture Capital by

Don’t like the idea of your baby guzzling down liquid candy all day? It may surprise you to find corn syrup is the main ingredient in most infant formulas in the U.S. That’s where Bobbie, a Bay Area-based baby formula delivery startup promising only wholesome ingredients, hopes to fill in.

Just go down the baby food aisle of any supermarket in America and start reading the ingredients and you’ll likely find corn syrup, soy bean oil, glucose syrup, maltodextrin and palm oil at the top. Even “organic” options often add these ingredients.

While it’s high-fructose corn syrup we should be most concerned with when it comes to diabetes (and some doctors might even recommend adding some sort of syrup to your baby’s diet to combat constipation), corn syrup is not something some parents may want their baby drinking all day.

Touting itself as “European” style, Bobbie’s first product features fresh, grass-fed cows’ milk as the main ingredient. What it does not include, however, is key for the concerned parent. There’s zero corn syrup, maltodextrin or other artificial sugars or unhealthy oils.

Of course, some babies might not be able to stomach the lactose from bovine sources, but grass-fed and corn syrup-free is music to the ears of many parents (me included) who’ve resorted to ordering bulk from Germany just to avoid feeding our kids Snickers in a bottle.

Yes, it seems crazy to order all the way from Europe when there are so many choices here in the U.S. — and there are some formula manufacturers here making an effort to offer better options — but finding something that meets the simple standard of no sugar, corn syrup or processed oils in the baby food is weirdly difficult.

The other nugget Bobbie provides is delivery. Heaven knows every second is precious when you are a new parent. Delivery can be an especially big help in maintaining some semblance of order in those early days. Sure, Amazon delivers many baby things — it even ships the popular, German-based Hipp brand of formula — but it comes at a premium price and will only ship in bulk.

You can also get the European brands delivered straight from sites like Organic Start, Huggable and a number of others easily Googled. But for those wanting something local, slightly less expensive and with presumably less of a carbon footprint than shipping from another continent, Bobbie is here for you (and we’re told will be delivered with a soft knock on the door, in case baby is sleeping).

The company was founded by two San Francisco moms and former Airbnb operation leaders Laura Modi and Sarah Hardy. Both found out how hard it was, after returning from maternity leave, to pump each day while keeping up with the demands of the job. However, neither of them liked the formula options they found at the grocery store for their own little broods.

Modi and Hardy thought it was time to give parents a more local choice in healthy formula. The two founded the company in 2018 and pulled in $2.5 million in funding last year from Bolt Capital, Nextview Ventures, Lakehouse and Precursor while Modi was pregnant, closing the round a week before giving birth to her baby boy.

Bobbie will (appropriately) begin taking orders this Mother’s Day. Unfortunately, Bobbie only delivers to the Bay Area for now. However, those interested can order one 400 g trial box for $27, which should make about 22 bottles at 6 ounces per bottle, according to a company spokesperson. You can also sign up for the subscription package for $23 per box.

Bobbie Baby – Evolving the conversation of parenthood from Laura Modi on Vimeo.

News Source = techcrunch.com

Startups Weekly: All these startups are raising big rounds

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TechCrunch’s Connie Loizos published some interesting stats on seed and Series A financings this week, courtesy of data collected by Wing Venture Capital. In short, seed is the new Series A and Series A is the new Series B. Sure, we’ve been saying that for a while, but Wing has some clean data to back up those claims.

Years ago, a Series A round was roughly $5 million and a startup at that stage wasn’t expected to be generating revenue just yet, something typically expected upon raising a Series B. Now, those rounds have swelled to $15 million, according to deal data from the top 21 VC firms. And VCs are expecting the startups to be making money off their customers.

“Again, for the old gangsters of the industry, that’s a big shift from 2010, when just 15 percent of seed-stage companies that raised Series A rounds were already making some money,” Connie writes.

As for seed, in 2018, the average startup raised a total of $5.6 million prior to raising a Series A, up from $1.3 million in 2010.

Now on to IPO updates, then a closer look at all the companies raising big rounds. Want more TechCrunch newsletters? Sign up here. Contact me at kate.clark@techcrunch.com or @KateClarkTweets.

IPO corner

Slack: The workplace communication software provider dropped its S-1 on Friday ahead of a direct listing. That’s when companies sell existing shares directly to the market, allowing them to skip the roadshow and minimize the astronomical fees typically associated with an initial public offering. Here’s the TLDR on financials: Slack reported revenues of $400.6 million in the fiscal year ending January 31, 2019, on losses of $138.9 million. That’s compared to a loss of $140.1 million on revenue of $220.5 million for the year before. Slack’s losses are shrinking (slowly), while its revenues expand (quickly). It’s not profitable yet, but is that surprising?

Uber: The ride-hail giant is fast approaching its IPO, expected as soon as next week. On Friday, the company established an IPO price range of $44 to $50 per share to raise between $7.9 billion and $9 billion at a valuation of approximately $84 billion, significantly lower than the $100 billion previously reported estimations. The most likely outcome is Uber will price above range and all the latest estimates will be way off course. Best to sit back and see how Uber plays it. Oh, and PayPal said it would make a $500 million investment in the company in a private placement, as part of an extension of the partnership between the two.

There are a lot of fascinating companies raising colossal rounds, so I thought I’d dive a bit deeper than I normally do. Bear with me.

Carbon: The poster child for 3D printing has authorized the sale of $300 million in Series E shares, according to a Delaware stock filing uncovered by PitchBook. If Carbon raises the full amount, it could reach a valuation of $2.5 billion. Using its proprietary Digital Light Synthesis technology, the business has brought 3D-printing technology to manufacturing, building high-tech sports equipment, a line of custom sneakers for Adidas and more. It was valued at $1.7 billion by venture capitalists with a $200 million Series D in 2018.

Canoo: The electric vehicle startup formerly known as Evelozcity is on the hunt for $200 million in new capital. Backed by a clutch of private individuals and family offices from China, Germany and Taiwan, the company is hoping to line up the new capital from some more recognizable names as it finalizes supply deals with vendors, according to reporting from TechCrunch’s Jonathan Shieber. The company intends to make its vehicles available through a subscription-based model and currently has 400 employees. Canoo was founded in 2017 after Stefan Krause, a former executive at BMW and Deutsche Bank, and another former BMW executive, Ulrich Kranz, exited Faraday Future amid that company’s struggles.

Starry: The Boston-based wireless broadband internet startup has authorized the sale of Series D shares worth up to $125 million, according to a Delaware stock filing. If Starry closes the full authorized raise it will hold a post-money valuation of $870 million. A spokesperson for the company confirmed it had already raised new capital, but disputed the numbers. The company has already raised more than $160 million from investors, including FirstMark Capital and IAC. The company most recently closed a $100 million Series C this past July.

Selina & Sonder: The Airbnb competitor Sonder is in the process of closing a financing worth roughly $200 million at a $1 billion valuation, reports The Wall Street Journal. Investors including Greylock Partners, Spark Capital and Structure Capital are likely to participate. Sonder is four years old but didn’t emerge from stealth until 2018. The startup, which turns homes into hotels, quickly attracted more than $100 million in venture funding. Meanwhile, another hospitality business called Selina has raised $100 million at an $850 million valuation. The company, backed by Access Industries, Grupo Wiese and Colony Latam Partners, builds living/co-working/activity spaces across the world for digital nomads.

Fresh funds: Mary Meeker has made history with the close of her new fund, Bond Capital, the largest VC fund founded and led by a female investor to date. Bond has $1.25 billion in committed capital. If you remember, Meeker ditched Kleiner Perkins last fall and brought the firm’s entire growth team with her. Kleiner said it was a peaceful split that would allow the firm to focus more on its early-stage efforts, leaving the growth investing to Bond. Fortune, however, reported this week that a power struggle of sorts between Meeker and Mamoon Hamid, who joined recently to reenergize the early-stage side of things, was a larger cause of her exit.

Plus, SOSV, a multi-stage venture firm that was founded as the personal investment vehicle of entrepreneur Sean O’Sullivan after his company went public in 1994, has raised $218 million for its third fund. The vehicle has a $250 million target that SOSV expects to meet. Already, the fund is substantially larger than the firm’s previous vehicle, which closed with $150 million.

A grocery delivery startup crumbles: Honestbee, the online grocery delivery service in Asia, is nearly out of money and trying to offload its business. Despite looking impressive from the outside, the company is currently in crisis mode due to a cash crunch — there’s a lot happening right now. TechCrunch’s Jon Russell dives in deep here.

Extra Crunch: When it comes to working with journalists, so many people are, frankly, idiots. I have seen reporters yank stories because founders are assholes, play unfairly, or have PR firms that use ridiculous pressure tactics when they have already committed to a story.” Sign up for Extra Crunch for a full list of PR don’ts. Here are some other EC pieces to hit the wire this week:

Equity: If you enjoy this newsletter, be sure to check out TechCrunch’s venture-focused podcast, Equity. In this week’s episode, available here, Crunchbase News editor-in-chief Alex Wilhelm and I chat about Kleiner Perkins, Chinese IPOs and Slack & Uber’s upcoming exits. 

News Source = techcrunch.com

African e-commerce startup Jumia’s shares open at $14.50 in NYSE IPO

in africa/alibaba/alibaba group/Amazon/Andre Iguodala/AWS/Business/ceo/Companies/Delhi/driver/e-commerce/Economy/Egypt/Germany/Ghana/golden state warriors/Goldman Sachs/India/initial public offering/IPO/jumia/kenya/Lagos/mastercard/morocco/Nairobi/Nigeria/nyse/online retail/online sales/Politics/Rocket Internet/smartphones/Startup company/TC/travel bookings/U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission/unicorn by

Pan-African e-commerce company Jumia listed on the New York Stock Exchange today, with shares beginning trading at $14.50 under ticker symbol JMIA. This comes four weeks after CEO Sacha Poignonnec confirmed the IPO to TechCrunch and Jumia filed SEC documents.

With the public offering, Jumia becomes the first startup from Africa to list on a major global exchange.

In an updated SEC filing, Jumia indicated it is offering 13,500,000 ADR shares, for an opening price spread of $13 to $16 per share, representing 17.6 percent of all company shares. The IPO could raise up to $216 million for the internet venture.

Since the original announcement (and reflected in the latest SEC docs), Mastercard Europe pre-purchased $50 million in Jumia ordinary shares.

The IPO creates another milestone for Jumia. The company became the first African startup unicorn in 2016, achieving a $1 billion valuation after a funding round that included Goldman Sachs, AXA and MTN.

There’s a lot to breakdown on Jumia’s going public. The company is often dubbed the “Amazon of Africa,” and like Amazon, Jumia comes with its own mixed buzz. Jumia’s SEC F-1 prospectus offers us more insight into the venture, and perhaps any startup from Africa, thus far.

About Jumia

Founded in Lagos in 2012 with Rocket Internet  backing, Jumia now operates multiple online verticals in 14 African countries. Goods and services lines include Jumia Food (an online takeout service), Jumia Flights (for travel bookings) and Jumia Deals (for classifieds). Jumia processed more than 13 million packages in 2018, according to company data.

Jumia’s original co-founders included Nigerian tech entrepreneurs Tunde Kehinde and Raphael, but both departed in 2015 to form other startups in fintech and logistics.

Starting in Nigeria, the company created many of the components for its digital sales operations. This includes its JumiaPay payment platform and a delivery service of trucks and motorbikes that have become ubiquitous with the Lagos landscape. Jumia has extended this infrastructure as an e-commerce fulfillment product called Jumia Services.

Jumia has also opened itself up to Africa’s traders by allowing local merchants to harness Jumia to sell online. The company has over 80,000 active sellers on the platform using the company’s payment, delivery, and data-analytics services, Jumia Nigeria CEO Juliet Anammah told TechCrunch a previously.

The most popular goods on Jumia’s shopping site include smartphones, washing machines, fashion items, women’s hair care products, and 32-inch TVs, according to Anammah.

Jumia an African startup?

Like Amazon, Jumia brings its own mix of supporters and critics. On the critical side, there are questions of whether it’s actually an African startup. The parent for Jumia Group is incorporated in Germany and current CEOs Jeremy Hodara and Sacha Poignonnec are French.

On the flipside, original Jumia co-founders (Kehinde and Afeodor) are African. The company is headquartered (and also incorporated) in Africa (Lagos), operates exclusively in Africa, pays taxes on the continent, employs 5,128 people in Africa (page 125 of K-1), and the CEO of its largest country operation (Nigeria) Juliet Anammah is Nigerian.

The Africa authenticity debate often shifts into questions of a Jumia diversity deficit, which is of course important from Silicon Valley to Nairobi. The company’s senior management and board is a mix of Africans and expats. Golden State Warriors basketball player and tech investor Andre Iguodala joined Jumia’s board this spring with a priority on “diversity and making sure the African culture is in the company,” he told TechCrunch.

Can Jumia turn a profit?

The Jumia authenticity and diversity debates will no doubt roll on. But the biggest question—the driver behind the VC, the IPO, the founders, and the people buying Jumia’s shares—is whether the startup can generate profits and ROI.

Obviously some of the world’s top venture investors, such as Jumia backers Goldman, AXA, and Mastercard, think so. But for Jumia skeptics, there are the big losses. The company has generated years and years of losses, including negative EBITDA of €172 million in 2018 compared to revenues of €139 that same year.

To be fair to Jumia, most startups (e-commerce startups in particular) rack up losses for years before getting into the black. And operating in a greenfield sector in Africa—where it had to create much of the surrounding infrastructure to do B2C online sales—has presented higher costs for Jumia than e-commerce startups elsewhere.

On the prospects for Jumia’s profitability, two things to watch will be Jumia’s fulfillment expenses and a shift to more revenue from its non-goods-delivery services, which offer lower unit costs and higher-margins. Per Jumia’s SEC F-1 index (see above) freight and shipping make up over half of its fulfillment expenses.

So Jumia has not turned a profit but its revenues have increased steadily, up 11 percent to €93.8M (roughly $106.2 million) in 2017 and up again to €130M (or $147 million) in 2018. If the company boosts customer acquisition and lowers fulfillment costs—which could come from more internet services revenue and platform investment with IPO capital—it could close the gap between revenues and losses. This reflects the equation for most e-commerce startups. With the IPO Jumia will have to publish its first full public financials in 2019, which will provide a better picture of profitability prospects.

Jumia’s IPO and African e-commerce?

There’s is, of course, a bigger play in Jumia’s IPO. One connected to global e-commerce and the future of online retail in Africa.

Jumia going public comes as Africa’s e-commerce landscape has seen its share of ups and downs, notably several failures in DealDey shutting down and the distressed acquisition of Nigerian e-commerce hopeful Konga.com.

As for the big global names, Alibaba has talked about Africa expansion, but for the moment has not entered in full.

Amazon  offers limited e-commerce sales on the continent, but more notably, has started offering AWS services in Africa.

And this week, DHL came on the scene launching its Africa eShop platform with 200 global retailers on board, in partnership with MallforAfrica’s Link Commerce fulfillment service.

Competition to capture Africa’s digitizing consumer markets—expected to spend $2 billion online by 2025, according to McKinsey—could get fierce, with more global entries, acquisitions, and competition on fulfillment services all part of the mix.

And finally, the outcome of Jumia’s IPO carries weight even for its competitors. “Many things, like business decisions and VC investments across Africa’s e-commerce sector are on on hold,” an African e-commerce exec told TechCrunch on background.

“Everyone’s waiting to see what happens with Jumia’s IPO and how they perform,” the exec said.

So the share-price connected to NYSE ticker sign JMIA could reflect not just investor confidence in Jumia, but investor confidence in African e-commerce overall.

News Source = techcrunch.com

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