Airbnb could run out of cash in one year, even with the $1 billion it just raised, because of how devastating the coronavirus is on its business
The $1 billion in cash Airbnb announced Monday that it has raised likely won't last the company very long. Even before the coronavirus epidemic hit, the travel startup was losing money; thanks to the crisis, its losses and cash burn have likely exploded. In a worst-case scenario, it might not have enough cash to last a year, despite the new funding. More likely, thanks in part to some cost cuts, it can extend its life beyond that, but not by much, particularly if the crisis and associated economic downturn linger. Click here for more BI Prime stories.
The $1 billion financing that Airbnb said it secured Monday gives it a vital resource as the coronavirus squeezes its business. But even with the 10-figure cash infusion, the company's long-term survival remains in question so long as the pandemic and the associated economic downturn persist. Indeed, Airbnb could still run out of cash in as little as a year, depending on how hard its revenue is being hit and how much it's able to control its expenses, according to Business Insider's interpretation of some of the company's financial figures which news organizations have previously reported. The question of just how much cash Airbnb has and how long that stockpile will last the company has become an urgent one because of the coronavirus pandemic. The outbreak has disrupted the travel industry as a whole, as governments around the world have urged or required citizens to stay home to try to limit the spread of the disease. Those steps have halted economic activity throughout the US and in large parts of the world. It's unclear how long the epidemic will last or when the US or global economy will recover. Worryingly, in the US, there have been massive numbers of layoffs over the last two weeks and a growing number of business closures, both of which could portend an extended economic downturn. So, companies of all kinds and sizes are having to assess whether they have enough cash on hand to see them through the crisis. Airbnb has experienced a sharp reversal of fortune That Airbnb should be in a position where its survival is in question represents a sharp change of fortunes for the company. As recently as a few months ago, the company was widely considered one of the standouts among the group of jumbo-sized venture-backed startups. With a proven business model and a past history of profits, Airbnb was gearing up for a widely anticipated initial public offering.
Those plans having almost certainly been shelved, Airbnb turned to private investors for new funding. As part of the deal announced Monday, Airbnb will raise $1 billion from Silver Lake and Sixth Street Partners through a combination of debt and equity financing. The company didn't say exactly how it would use the funds, but said $5 million of it would go into a fund it created to offer grants to its superhosts — property managers who offer popular and highly rated accommodations through its service — to help them pay their mortgages, rent, and utilities. The San Francisco startup is almost certainly reserving the bulk of the funds to pay its ongoing operating costs. To understand why — and why the company's still in danger of running out of cash — it's helpful to look at Airbnb's finances, to the extent that they are known. As a still-private company, Airbnb does not publicly release its financial statements, and a company representative declined to answer questions about its finances and cash stockpile. But before the latest funding, Airbnb likely had somewhere between $1 billion and $3 billion in cash on hand. In February, in a story about the company's third-quarter results, The Wall Street Journal reported that Airbnb had $3 billion in cash. Last month, in an article about Airbnb's fourth-quarter results, Bloomberg reported the company had more than $2 billion. However, neither story made clear when Airbnb had the amount of reported cash, whether that amount was current as of the end of the third or fourth quarter, respectively, or as of the date of the articles. With Monday's cash infusion, Airbnb, at worst, now has less than $3 billion on hand. At best, it likely has somewhere around $4 billion. No one is travelling, but Airbnb still has lots of expenses That's a lot of money, but it doesn't amount to even a year's worth of revenue for Airbnb. Last year, the company posted about $4.8 billion in sales, according to figures compiled from The Information, The Journal, and Bloomberg. That comparison is important, because the company's business — like those of other travel companies — has been pummeled by the pandemic. Some 90% of reservations made through its service with check-dates of between March 18 and April 7 have been cancelled, according to data from AirDNA, an industry research firm. And few new bookings are being made, AirDNA's data indicates. "They've probably got close to 0 revenues or very, very low revenues," Siegel said. While Airbnb's revenue has been slashed, it still has ongoing expenses. Among other things, it has thousands of employees, office space in San Francisco, and the costs involved in keeping its online service up and running. Last year, those costs exceeded the company's revenue. All told, the company appears to have had $5.1 billion in expenses for all of 2019, at least on an EBIDTA — earnings before interest, depreciation, taxes, amortization — basis, based Business Insider's back-of-the-envelop analysis of the select financial figures reported in The Information, The Journal, and Bloomberg. That would amount to expenses of about $1.3 billion a quarter.
There's little information available about Airbnb's recent cash burn rate. But EBIDTA is supposed to be a proxy for that, because it excludes certain non-cash charges. So, if you assume that Airbnb has no revenue right now and it continued to spend at the same rate it did last year, its cash outflow would equal its EBIDTA expenses of $1.3 billion a quarter. At that rate, it would blow through the $1 billion in new funding it just got in less than 90 days. If you figure it has less than $3 billion in the bank even after that new funding, its coffers would be empty within three quarters at that spending rate. But Airbnb's revenue probably hasn't completely disappeared... To be sure, that's a worst-case scenario. Airbnb is almost certainly in better shape and will likely will last longer than that scenario suggests, even if it doesn't raise any more money and even if the pandemic lingers on. While cancellations have soared and new bookings have fallen off a cliff, Airbnb is still seeing some activity on its site. Some consumers, particularly city dwellers hoping to get out of hard-hit urban areas, have used its service to book accommodations in more rural areas for 30, 60, or even 90 day stays, according to AirDNA CEO Scott Shatford. Those kinds of long-term reservations now make up nearly half of all bookings on Airbnb's service, he said. So, it does have some revenue — potentially a significant amount — coming in. Meanwhile, the company is reportedly cutting its expenses. It's stopped all of its marketing spending, largely frozen new hiring, and is delaying paying out bonuses, according to a report last month in The Information. Cutting the marketing budget alone will save the company $800 million this year, according to the report. Those two factors — some amount of revenue coming in and less cash going out than before — should allow Airbnb to extend its life well beyond the worst-case scenario. But that doesn't mean it's out of danger. It's still likely burning lots of cash Let's generously say Airnb's sales are now one-third of what they were a year ago. That would mean that it's pulling in about $300 million in revenue quarterly. Let's also say that thanks to cost-cutting measures it's managed to slash its expenses by about $300 million a quarter — $900 million over the last three quarters of this year. That would mean that its quarterly expenses would be about $1 billion. So, its cash burn rate would now be around $700 million a quarter. At that rate, it will gobble up its new $1 billion in funding within two quarters. And if you generously assume it has $4 billion total cash, it would eat that up within six quarters. If it has less than $3 billion, that stockpile would last it little more than a year. It's quite possible the economy will rebound or Airbnb will be able to attract more funding if its current cash starts to run low. And many analysts think it's likely, if it gets through this crisis, that the company will bounce back stronger than ever. Still, a month or two ago, few would have thought that Airbnb — of all startups — would be in position where its survival was even theoretically on the line. Got a tip about Airbnb? Contact Troy Wolverton via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, message him on Twitter @troywolv, or send him a secure message through Signal at 415.515.5594. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.
Read more about Airbnb: Airbnb could boom after the coronavirus downturn, assuming it survives the crisis Airbnb's hosts aren't impressed with the company's $260 million package to make up for coronavirus cancellations. 'People see it for what it is — it's PR.' Airbnb's CEO compared the coronavirus crisis to Hurricane Maria, saying its business will bounce back, just as it did after the storm that ravaged Puerto Rico Airbnb is paying hosts $250 million after they criticized the company for leaving them on the hook for coronavirus cancellations SEE ALSO: Airbnb hosts are furious that the company is sticking them with the cost of letting guests cancel due to the coronavirus crisis Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Watch Elon Musk unveil his latest plan for conquering Mars
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Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky says the US is its strongest market right now, as the pandemic drives many consumers out of cities to set up temporary rural homes
Summary List Placement Airbnb's business was upturned by the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in...Summary List Placement Airbnb's business was upturned by the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in this country and around the world. Given that the epidemic is still raging in the US — while being largely checked in most other developed countries — you might expect that the online travel company's home market would be among its worst-performing ones right now. But the opposite is true, according to CEO Brian Chesky. The US is actually its strongest market right now, Chesky told Business Insider in an interview Thursday. "The US is very surprising in its strength," he said. The company is also seeing strong demand for its services in Northern Europe, particularly in France and the UK, Chesky said. The reason each of those areas is doing well is that they have huge domestic travel markets, he said. Due to the lingering epidemic, international travel remains in a rut around the globe. But in-country travel has been surging in some countries, particularly those in which Airbnb is seeing strength. People in those countries aren't traveling for business and aren't going to conferences, Chesky said. But they have been traveling for leisure. And, especially in the US, but elsewhere too, many people have been trying to get away from the stress and pandemic in big cities and setting up temporary homes in more rural areas, he said. "There's a shift from traveling to living," Chesky said. "While fewer people are traveling, we're picking up a lot of ground [from] longer-term stays." Globally, Airbnb's coronavirus rebound has been uneven The rebound in the US market comes despite the fact that it remains one of the epicenters of the epidemic with far more cumulative cases and deaths than any other country. On a global basis, the rebound Airbnb has seen has been uneven. While Northern Europe and North America are strong, Southern Europe and South America are not, he said. Asia, particularly Southeast Asia, isn't doing as well as Europe or North America. Brazil, which has had the second-largest coronavirus outbreak after the US, is starting to recover. If you divide the world into four quadrants, "the West is doing better than the East. The Northern Hemisphere is doing better than the Southern Hemisphere," Chesky said. Airbnb's business was hammered earlier this year when governments around the world started shutting down their economies and limiting the movement of their citizens to try to limit the spread of COVID-19. Chesky suggested to Business Insider that his company's revenue fell 80% in eight weeks, due to the crisis. The company has since seen a rebound as the US and other countries have reopened their economies and lifted restrictions on movement. Chesky has felt confident enough about Airbnb's business to move forward with a planned public offering, confidentially filing its offering paperwork last month. Got a tip about Airbnb? Contact Troy Wolverton via email at email@example.com, message him on Twitter @troywolv, or send him a secure message through Signal at 415.515.5594. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop. Read more about Airbnb: Airbnb's Brian Chesky says what it was like to watch his company's revenue plunge 80% in eight weeks and how he decided to go public anyway in exclusive interview Airbnb's growth momentum was destroyed by the coronavirus crisis. These 2 charts show just how bad it was — and how quickly it could bounce back. Airbnb, last valued at $18 billion, has confidentially filed for an IPO Airbnb's revenue reportedly plunged 67% in the second quarter as COVID-19 wreaks havoc on its business Airbnb reportedly plans to confidentially file for an IPO later this month SEE ALSO: Airbnb unfroze its IPO plans thanks to bookings rebound, but the $18 billion startup has built its comeback on very thin ice Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why thoroughbred horse semen is the world's most expensive liquid
Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky told employees that the company is resuming preparations for an IPO, The...Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky told employees that the company is resuming preparations for an IPO, The New York Times first reported Wednesday and Business Insider confirmed. The company has said that it intends to go public sometime this year, but Bloomberg reported that the timeline could be pushed to 2021 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Airbnb, which was reportedly losing money even before the pandemic, saw business plummet as travel ground to a halt. But the company is also under pressure to go public from employees whose stock options could start expiring soon. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Despite taking a major hit to its business during the pandemic, Airbnb is once again gearing up to go public, The New York Times first reported Wednesday and Business Insider confirmed. "This is something I never would have imagined telling you," CEO Brian Chesky told employees, according to The Times. Airbnb has said since last fall that it intends to go public sometime "during 2020," but Bloomberg reported in March that the company might push its target date back to next year due to coronavirus fears and massive economic fallout. At the time, Airbnb's urban bookings had dropped as much as 96% in some cities since the virus halted global travel, and the Financial Times reported in early April that Airbnb had slashed its internal valuation to $26 billion — a 16% drop from the company's previous valuation of $31 billion, according to PitchBook. In May, the company cut its workforce by 25% — 1,900 jobs — in an attempt to cut costs. Airbnb has shown some small signs of a rebound since then, reporting in June that bookings had surged as some travel resumed, but still has a long road to recovery — let alone profitability, with The Wall Street Journal reporting in April that Airbnb lost $674 million in 2019. Airbnb is also under pressure from employees, with The New York Times reporting last year that some could see stock options expire starting this November if the company doesn't go public by then. But with COVID-19 cases surging again in many states, the realities of the pandemic could still hold Airbnb back. "We're not committing to going public this year, but we're not ruling it out, either," Chesky told employees following the meeting in an email seen by Business Insider. "When the market is ready, we will be ready, because Airbnb was down but we were not out."Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why Pikes Peak is the most dangerous racetrack in America
The top 20 most valuable venture-backed AI companies, including Palantir, UiPath, and Databricks — valued at $120 billion total (UBER, GOOG)
A list of the 20 most valuable venture-backed companies in artificial intelligence boasts a combined valuation...A list of the 20 most valuable venture-backed companies in artificial intelligence boasts a combined valuation of some $120 billion. Most of the list are privately-held startups; some of them — namely Waymo and Uber Advanced Technology Group — are subsidiaries of much larger companies, but that are said to be eyeing IPOs of their own. Investment remains robust despite an uncertain economy, a reflection of the great potential of AI innovation, analysts say. Seven of the 20 make autonomous car technology, a challenging field that will require time to mature. Other technologies on the list include AI applications to farming, data management, hiring, and writing. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. In an uncertain economy where valuations are slipping, the 20 highest-valued venture-backed companies in artificial intelligence combined are worth about a staggering $120 billion, according to PitchBook, in a reflection of the promising innovation of the sector. To put it in perspective, these 20 young companies — many that have yet to produce actual products — are worth more than Ford, American Express, and US Steel combined. Top startups also continue to close major fundraising rounds and command multi-billion valuations for technology ranging from automation tools to self-driving cars. And despite the economic headwinds caused by the coronavirus pandemic, expert studies and venture capitalists say the market remains steady. "All the fundamental parts of the innovation cycle that have AI broadly employed in it are somewhat untouched by a COVID-like pandemic scenario," said Rohit Sharma, a partner at early stage VC firm True Ventures. "We don't really see a slowdown or any kind of impact." But there are obstacles ahead for even the most valuable startups. Seven of the 20 top, according to data provided by PitchBook, are builders of self-driving car technology, which experts say is a sector that demands capital and patience — two things that could be in shorter supply in a jittery recession. "A lot of the business case assumptions and model assumptions, historically, have started to fall apart as people really started to realize just how challenging this robo-taxi problem really is," Austin Russell, CEO of Luminar, told Business Insider's Troy Wolverton recently. Most of the companies on this list are relatively small, independently-held startups. Notably, however, a few of the companies on PitchBook's list are independent subsidiaries of larger organizations — at the top of the list is Waymo, which began as Google's self-driving car unit, and is now reportedly mulling a public offering at some point in the future after raising venture cash all its own. Joining Waymo is Uber's own autonomous vehicle division – a separate entity from the ride-sharing firm with its own CEO and IPO possibilities. And Zoox may be the poster child for how challenging the market can be. Amazon reportedly bought the firm for far less than its previous valuation. Beyond the parking lot of autonomous cars are a variety of interesting companies, all using the tech in different ways. The one thing they have in common, however, is they are backed by wealth many other of tech would envy. Big-data company Palantir is beginning the process to go public. Other standouts on the list include AI farming startup Indigo Ag, hiring firm Checkr, and AI writing company Grammarly. All valuation data is from PitchBook. All companies asked to verify valuation, and where they did it is noted. Business Insider unpacked the top 20 most valuable, VC-backed AI companies below:Waymo: $30.75 billion CEO: John Krafcik Headquarters: Mountain View, California Total funding raised: $3 billion Last funding round: The company raised $3 billion of venture funding in a deal led by Silver Lake Management, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Mubadala Investment Company in May. Valuation: $30.75 billion Waymo is a self-driving car company that uses integrated sensors and artificial intelligence to detect pedestrians, cyclists, vehicles and road workers, enabling users to travel on-demand in autonomous vehicles. In May, Waymo raised roughly $750 million, expanding the size of its first external investment round to $3 billion. Until last spring, Waymo had been funded entirely by Google and its corporate parent, Alphabet. Palantir Technologies: $20.33 billion CEO: Alex Karp Headquarters: Palo Alto, California Total funding raised: $3.35 billion Last funding round: The company received $549.73 million of financing from Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Holdings on July 1. Valuation: $20.33 billion Palantir makes a data analysis platform that integrates, visualizes, secures and sifts through information. The company helps human experts evaluate data at scale through machine-assisted analysis. Some of that data sifting has led to controversy. Activists have protested Palantir for taking big government contracts to work with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement to fight undocumented immigration. Palantir's creators have in turn criticized tech companies that don't work with the US government. The company has confidentially filed a draft version of the paperwork for a public listing of its stock. The move sets Palantir up for what could be the highest-profile market debut of the year, after the coronavirus pandemic effectively froze the market for some of the most anticipated IPOs. Uber Advanced Technologies Group: $7.25 billion CEO: Eric Meyhofer Headquarters: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Total funding raised: $1 billion Valuation: $7.25 billion (Verified by company.) Last funding round: The company raised $1 billion of venture funding from Toyota Motor, Denso and SoftBank Investment Advisers in April of 2019. Uber Advanced Technologies Group – a separate entity from its parent company Uber – develops car technology for self-driving cars. The company's system uses various sensors and cameras to detect and analyze driving scenarios, enabling clients to create self-driving cars that reduce human error. Self-driving is notoriously expense to develop, but autonomy is also key to Uber's pitch to investors. The company has revealed that paying drivers is among its top expenses — removing them from the equation could help Uber reach profitability. UiPath: $7.1 billion CEO: Daniel Dines Headquarters: New York Total funding: $977.23 million Valuation: $7.1 billion Last funding round: The company raised $568 million through the combination of Series D-1 and Series D-2 venture funding in a deal led by Coatue Management in April of 2019. UiPath makes robotic automation software that performs tedious and redundant tasks. The company says it can help companies adapt to new needs with a configurable software platform that controls robotic machinery. The coronavirus pandemic could accelerate UiPath's plans to go public, CEO Danile Dines has said, predicting his firm "will have one of the biggest IPOs of 2021." Automation Anywhere: $6.8 billion CEO: Mihir Shukla Headquarters: San Jose, California Total funding: $840 million Valuation: $6.8 billion Last funding round: The company raised $290 million of Series B venture funding in a deal led by Salesforce Ventures in November of 2019. Automation Anywhere makes robotic process automation (RPA) software to augment the human workforce by automating repetitive business processes. The company's solution provides a platform for building and executing software bots powered by artificial intelligence, which the company says reduces costs and programming errors. The firm says stiff competition from Microsoft has forced it to invest more in research and development, and last spring it announced 100 new R&D open positions. Databricks: $6.2 billion CEO: Ali Ghodsi Headquarters: San Francisco Total funding: $897.36 million Valuation: $6.2 billion (Verified by company.) Last funding round: The company raised $400 million of Series F venture funding in a deal led by Andreessen Horowitz in October. Databricks makes an analytics platform that simplifies evaluation of big data. The company's cloud and machine learning platform unifies data science, engineering and business, enabling data science teams to work faster and more securely. Databricks, which rolled out a new strategy last month, has a stockpile of more than $500 million to ride through the recession to an IPO thanks to disaster preparedness by its cautious CEO. Samsara: $5.4 billion CEO: Sanjit Biswas Headquarters: San Francisco Total funding: $930 million Valuation: $5.4 billion Last funding round: The company raised $700 million of Series F venture funding from Dragoneer Investment Group, Warburg Pincus and General Atlantic in May. Samsara makes Internet of Things sensors and cameras designed to increase efficiency, safety and sustainability. The company's suite of technology works in an integrated, real-time platform, enabling businesses to improve the safety and quality of business operations. Last year Samsara said it more than doubled its customer base to 10,000, and expanded into 10 new countries, while growing revenue at over 200% annually. Tempus Labs: $5 billion CEO: Eric Lefkofsky Headquarters: Chicago Total funding: $620 million Valuation: $5 billion Last funding round: The company closed on $100 million of Series G venture funding from Novo Holdings, New Enterprise Associates and Baillie Gifford in March. Tempus Labs makes a healthcare data-analytics platform that helps physicians to deliver personalized care for patients through an interactive analytical and machine learning platform. Since launching in 2015, the oncology-focused startup has stocked up a bank of clinical data and architected a system that uses machine learning, genomic sequencing, and other AI tech to enhance clinician understanding of patients' cancer and tailor effective treatments. Indigo Ag: $3.45 billion CEO: David Perry Headquarters: Boston Total funding: $1.12 billion Valuation: $3.45 billion Last funding round: The company raised $500 million of Series F venture funding through a combination of debt and equity in June. Indigo Ag provides agricultural services to predict which microbes are most beneficial to the health of crops and supply seed coatings that enable farmers to reduce risk and increase profitability. The fast-growing firm has picked up speed during the COVID-19 pandemic, causing some analysts to predict acquisition or an initial public offering in the near future. C3.ai: $3.3 billion CEO: Tom Siebel Headquarters: Redwood City, California Total funding: $355.74 million Valuation: $3.3 billion Last funding round: The company raised an estimated $50 million of Series H venture funding from BlackRock in September. C3.ai's cloud software uses machine learning to expedite the integration and analysis of enterprise data to provide companies with predictive maintenance, fraud detection, and energy management to improve operations. CEO Tom Siebel recently said his hot AI startup did $160 million in revenue last year, but that it won't go public until the economy is fully recovered. Aurora: $3.07 billion CEO: Chris Urmson Headquarters: Palo Alto, California Total funding: $765.6 million Valuation: $3.07 billion Last funding round: The company raised $69.51 million of Series B1 venture funding from Hyundai, Kia Motors and Millennium Technology Value Partners in September of 2019. Aurora makes an autonomous car technology that uses advanced machine learning software and hardware to power self-driving cars. Founded in 2017 by veterans of Google, Tesla, and Uber's self-driving car projects, the startup plans to act as a supplier to automotive, tech, or logistics companies. Pony.ai: $3 billion CEO: James Peng Headquarters: Fremont, California Total funding: $726 million Valuation: $3 billion Last funding round: The company raised $462 million of Series B venture funding in a deal led by Toyota Motor in February. Pony makes an autonomous driving technology intended for the manufacturing of automated vehicles. The company's platform takes advantage of artificial intelligence and algorithms to accurately perceive the vehicle's surroundings in order to predict the surrounding drivers' actions and maneuver accordingly. Convoy: $2.75 billion CEO: Dan Lewis Headquarters: Seattle Total funding: $668 million Valuation: $2.75 billion Last funding round: The company raised $400 million of Series D venture funding in a deal led by Generation Investment Management and T. Rowe Price in November. Convoy makes an efficient digital freight network that connects shippers and carriers. The company's technology and data help solve the problem of waste and inefficiency in the trucking industry by matching trucking companies with shippers that need to move freight. The Jeff Bezos-backed trucking startup also raised money from Al Gore's fund in an effort to dominate the digital-freight market. Nuro: $2.7 billion CEO: Jiajun Zhu Headquarters: Mountain View, California Total funding: $1.03 billion Valuation: $2.7 billion Last funding round: The company raised $940 million of Series B venture funding from SoftBank Investment Advisers in February of 2019. Nuro makes a suite of robotics that include autonomous vehicle programs that help to transport goods quickly, safely and affordably. The delivery startup was the first self-driving vehicle company to get permission from the US government to ditch side mirrors and windshields on its delivery vehicles – which experts say could be a precedent for streamlining designs due to greater trust in vehicle safety. SambaNova Systems: $2.5 billion CEO: Rodrigo Liang Headquarters: Palo Alto, California Total funding: $460.6 million Valuation: $2.5 billion Last funding round: The company raised $250 million in a Series C round of venture funding in a deal led by BlackRock in February. SambaNova Systems makes an advanced systems platform and hardware designed to power machine learning and data analytics, enabling manufacturers with AI-powered hardware to create faster and more efficient algorithms. The tech is based on the research of its two former Stanford professor cofounders. The third cofounder, Christopher Ré, was awarded a MacArthur Genius Grant for his work in data analysis. Grammarly: $2.3 billion CEO: Brad Hoover Headquarters: San Francisco Total funding: $200 million Valuation: $2.3 billion Last funding round: The company raised $92 million of Series 2 venture funding in a deal led by General Catalyst in October. Grammarly goes beyond just an automated grammar-checker, dictionary, and thesaurus. It uses the linguistic branch of AI called natural language processing to help people write more clearly and effectively by aiding with word choice and tone. In 2018, Grammarly expanded its use to Google Docs, and can be downloaded in beta form. Uptake: $2.3 billion CEO: Bradley Keywell Headquarters: Chicago Total funding: $293 million Valuation: $2.2 billion (Verified by company.) Last funding round: The company raised $117 million of Series D venture funding in a deal led by Baillie Gifford in November 2017. Uptake makes a predictive analytics platform that collects and interprets sensor data, enabling businesses to improve uptime, streamline operations and spot growth opportunities. The company says it boasts 1.3 million industrial machines monitored, 2.4 billion hours of machine learning, and failure data from more than 800 different systems. Quanergy: $2.27 billion CEO: Kevin J. Kennedy Headquarters: Sunnyvale, California Total funding: $325 million Valuation: $2.27 billion Last funding round: The company raised an undisclosed amount of venture funding in a deal led by Rising Tide Fund on April 1, 2020. Reshape Holdings and other undisclosed investors also participated in the round. Quanergy makes sensors for self-driving cars. The company's sensors help high-definition mapping data and object detection, tracking and classification. The firm's light detection and ranging technology senses and sizes the location of objects to monitor and detect real-time movement within an indoor space. Checkr: $2.2 billion CEO: Daniel Yanisse Headquarters: Sunnyvale, California Total funding: $309.74M Valuation: $2.2 billion (Verified by company.) Last funding round: The company raised $160.63 million of Series D venture funding in a deal led by T. Rowe Price in September. Checkr makes an enterprise platform enabling businesses to hire at scale, improve compliance and streamline operations. The background check software startup has a program that helps delivery services and other essential companies hire new employees on the same day they apply. Zoox: $1.2 billion CEO: Aicha Evans Headquarters: Alpharetta, Georgia Total funding: Not disclosed Valuation: Amazon will pay a reported $1.2 billion to acquire Zoox; PitchBook reports its last private valuation in 2018 at $3.2 billion after a Series C round. Last funding round: The company raised an undisclosed amount of angel funding in June of 2018. Zoox makes an autonomous mobility ecosystem that includes self-driving vehicles, control systems, AI and a ride-sharing service to improve urban mobility. This summer Amazon announced that it plans to buy Zoox for $1.2 billion — a fraction of its previous private valuation — in a move which industry experts told Business Insider is a sign of how competitive this sector is becoming, and how there could be more consolidation to come.