By Alan Soclof
3 BIG STORIES
1. Atlan’s Angels
Atlan, a company whose name rhymes with my name, announced a $50M Series B at a $450M valuation. The round was led by Insight Partners, Salesforce Ventures, and Sequoia Capital India.
Think of Atlan as if Github or Figma had a data baby. The company offers a platform that allows team members across various verticals to access all of a company’s data, code, spreadsheets and all of that good stuff, plus communicate with each other.
The company is on fire, growing ARR and customers by 10X in 2021 alone. Some of their clients include Plaid, WeWork, Unilever, and many more.
This is Atlan’s second major raise in less than 12 months as the company raised a $16M Series A just 8 months ago.
What jumps out to me about this raise?
Atlan is an exciting company and one I really enjoyed learning about. They have a couple-minute video breaking down the tech stack and it’s sweet.
One of Atlan’s biggest angel investors (Atlan’s Angels? 😉) goes by the name of Bob Muglia.
Bob Muglia was the CEO of one of my favorite companies, Snowflake, from 2014-2019. Snowflake is also beloved by Wall Street, represented by the ~$64B market cap and less than $1B in 2021 revenue.
Why such a high multiple? Because Snowflake’s cloud-based data warehousing company is that good.
It’s just as much about who is investing as it is how much is being invested. Which is why I predict…
Prediction: Salesforce, who also is a major investor in this round, will scoop up Atlan within the next couple of years.
2. Private Equity & VC Colliding?!
A24, the studio behind massive hits Euphoria and Moonlight, announced a $225M raise at a $2.25B valuation. The private equity firm Stripe, which has over ~$7.5B AUM, led the funding round.
(Side note: Why couldn’t they have raised $224M? That would have been so much cooler.)
This continues the trend of relatively unproven movie studios securing massive bags from private equity. In August, Reese Witherspoon sold her still very new Hello Sunshine studio to PE firm BlackRock for $900M.
What does this have to do with VC?
Follow the money! I’m always on the lookout for where the big money is going, and it’s currently flowing into the media industry, and studios specifically. It’s also interesting to point out that the lines between PE and VC are becoming more blurred over time.
Bubbles are bursting right and left in the world of business, but I don’t think that this will be the case in the media world as TV/streaming is playing a greater role than ever in our lives—which is saying something.
This means that for founders who are creating media startups, the pricing power of building strong technology/content companies could be off the charts.
Some of my favorites that I’ve covered already include:
- Deepdub—AI dubbing software for shows and movies, raised $20M Series A last month
- Filmhub—Making distribution easier for independent studios, raised $6.8M seed round led by a16z
If you are a founder building something in the media space, keep going!
Prediction: There is no bubble when it comes to media, and many will become rich because of it.
3. Stealing Robinhood’s Acorns in Public
Acorns, the financial services company, announced a $300M Series F valuing the company at ~$2B. This raise comes months after Acorns decided not to go through with their SPAC at a similar valuation.
Additionally, public.com announced the acquisition of Otis, a platform that will enable users to invest in NFTs as well as buy fractional shares of trading cards, shoes, art, etc.
What do these moves mean for the retail investing landscape?
Robinhood is screwed.
In the first-ever edition of Just Raised, I discussed how Robinhood would likely maintain dominance in the retail investment space, and Acorns, launching customizable portfolios, would slide into the second spot over public.com.
After these two serious moves by Acorns and Public, I think the landscape has changed. Acorns has the funds to become a true Robinhood competitor if they wish and pPublic.com can offer retail investors a holistic investing experience in various assets.
Also, 62% of Robinhood’s revenue is from options trading. With retail investors losing a ton of money in options over the past few months, I would not be surprised if they’re swayed away from this investing vehicle (that should be reserved for the pros) forever.
Prediction: We’ve already seen Robinhood’s brightest days.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“The goal of every Silicon Valley startup is to get to a Series E. Every once in a while an accident happens and they go public.”
-Marc Andreessen, co-founder a16z
What They Do: Company that creates financial solutions for crypto investors
Amount Raised: $17M Series A
Lead Investors: M13
Why It Matters: We all know how much money is locked up in crypto. We also know how little utility there is with that money.
Milo has created a really cool solution to this problem by creating a financial product that allows people to take out a 30-year mortgage using crypto as the principle. Best part about it? The mortgage is interest-free.
How are they making money then? Without looking too much into it, I assume that they’re taking the crypto from the mortgage and then earn a few percent of that money through crypto staking,
Milo might be the crypto company I’m most excited about yet.
What They Do: Looks to deliver the fastest and most comprehensive construction financing platform on the market
Amount Raised: $7M seed round
Lead Investors: Blackhorn Ventures, Metaprop, Tenacity
Why It Matters: Receiving financing for construction projects takes a while, sometimes up to three months. In today’s modern world, that is just too long, and CoFi recognizes this.
With construction making up almost 6.5% of the US GDP, if CoFi can do just a small percentage of the construction financing in the country, they can be incredibly successful.
I am much more bullish on this payment/financing app than Paerpay, a company I discuss just a few lines down.
What They Do: Data and advertising platform for every stage of the home-buying journey
Amount Raised: $6.1M seed round
Lead Investors: Wasatch Partners and Aperium Ventures
Why It Matters: The growth of advertising is a common theme in this newsletter. Why? Because the amount of money that companies are making off of ads are off the charts.
Think about this: over the next couple of years, streaming services anticipate that ad-supported plans are going to earn more money for their services than the premium, more expensive, ad-free ones.
This is why Disney is discussing starting an ad-tier for Disney+. Plus, this past week Netflix’s CFO,—after swearing for years to never do ads—said “never say never” regarding bringing ads to the platform.
Therefore, I love a company that is going hard in the advertising space, especially with such a clear focus on a specific industry like home purchasing.
Audience Town is growing revenue 200% year-over-year—and they’re just getting started.
What They Do: Platform that helps employees plan epic PTO vacations
Amount Raised: $3.3M seed round
Lead Investors: Kickstart Fund
Why It Matters: Unused PTO is one of the biggest issues that employers face. Even when employees have the option to take vacation, sometimes they are too focused on the grind to do so! Dónde created a platform that helps employees plan epic vacations to ensure that they are taking their PTO, and making it count.
The company now has 31 corporate customers and are using this money to improve the platform and scale.
Dónde previously raised $1.5M in pre-seed funding in late 2021. I don’t know about you, but I sent Dónde’s info right over to my boss after reading about this.
What They Do: Contactless payments in restaurants
Amount Raised: $3M seed round
Lead Investors: MassMutual
Why It Matters: Paerpay has massive aspirations to become a big player in the contactless payment world.
I am always pulling for every company, but I think it will be tough for Paerpay to find success. The payment industry is crowded with massive players like Visa and Mastercard, and newer companies like PayPal, Square, etc.
Also, Toast is one of my favorite companies out there, and I would be shocked if they’re not working on something similar.
We should be hearing more from Paerpay over the next few months as their technology is currently being deployed through a pilot program with a 500+ location fast food chain.