This Week in Tech - 11/8/15
The tech news even your aunt in the midwest is up on.
Payments startup Square filed SEC paperwork this week that indicates the company is seeking to make an initial public offering at $11 to $13 a share, which comes out to roughly a $4 billion valuation. That’s about a third less than the $6 billion valuation at which Square raised its last round of financing a year ago - a fact that absolutely no publication has failed to notice. The Wall Street Journal called it “a reality check” and Re/Code cawed that Square was “take[ing] an IPO Bullet for All of the Overpriced Unicorns.”
Speaking of flashy exits, the mobile gaming phenomenon Candy Crush netted its maker, King.com, $5.9 billion in cash. We’ll refrain from making a joke about toothaches.
# This Week in Bubbles
When the Final Judgment comes, can I have your loft?
The world is probably not ending any time soon. At least not if you ask Sam Altman, the YCombinator guru who says it's less of a bubble, more of a bust. Altman’s Startup Playbook also launched, #1 on Product Hunt Books for Thursday, so it's not like he's got a whole career riding on the bubble question or anything. VC blogger Fred Wilson, meanwhile, cryptically speculates that “the amplitude of the mania is inversely correlated to its duration.”
At any rate, if you think this is a bubble, you ain't seen nothin: the SEC finally approved the new regulations for Title III, which will allow non-accredited investors to participate in venture funding. This means that crowdfunding platforms will be able to move beyond donations and syndicates and offer backers equity in a project in exchange for their money.
Some interesting raises and exits caught our eye this week, though we won't go so far as to suggest they confirm or disconfirm the whole bubble theory:
Jet.com, an up-and-comer online marketplace giving Amazon a run for its money, is raising $500 million at a $1 billion pre-money valuation, more than tripling their total funds raised to date.
While some were "Pondering Homejoy's Failure," fellow home services startup Handy lived to fight another day, closing a $50 million Series C led by Fidelity Investments - the same firm that is leading Jet.com's round.
Meanwhile, Tencent invested $1 billion in an as-yet unnamed on-demand startup that, raising possibly as much as $3 billion on a $20 billion valuation, is one of the largest startup fundraising rounds in history.
# This Week in GAFA
Fabernovel released its annual report this week.
GAFAnomics Season 2: 4 Superpowers to Outperform in the Network Economy presents the firm’s analysis of the new economy through the lens of the companies that have conquered it: Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon (GAFA); and those that have skyrocketed to success on the infrastructure GAFA built, including Netflix, Airbnb, and Uber. To celebrate the report, this week we’re checking in on what each of the Fab Four is up to:
Google is serious about its commitment to Photo: the search (& everything) giant acquired the startup Fly Labs, which specializes in user-friendly photo and video editing, this week.
Apple has invested hugely in content, but we shouldn’t forget the role that tech plays alongside it. Re/Code suggested last week that if apps are the future of TV, Siri might just be the future of discovery. It’s a big bet on the future of how-we-find-things-to-watch, and as a die-hard TV lover, I hope they get it right.
Facebook was called out last week for blocking all links to Tsu.co, a teeny social network that differentiates itself primarily by sharing ad revenue with users. The irony? We had heard of Tsu.co before, . . . we think. But now it’s piqued our curiosity.
Amazon is apparently not just a company any more, but a phenomenon: Re/Code credits what it calls “The Amazon Effect” for tech retailer Best Buy’s introduction of same-day delivery in San Francisco.