The big winner of Uber's $2.65 billion Postmates acquisition is Spark Capital, a small VC firm that's enjoying a streak of hits in a gloomy 2020.
Spark Capital was one of the big winners when Uber announced its acquisition of restaurant service Postmates for $2.6 billion on Monday. The venture capital firm has invested in other major hitters in the startup world, including Slack, Plaid, and Mirror, the fitness tech startup that was sold to Lululemon for $500 million. It's unclear how big Spark's return on Postmates will be. The fund raised $1.35 billion earlier this year in order to fund other early and growth-stage startups. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
When Uber announced the acquisition of restaurant delivery service Postmates for $2.65 billion on Monday, one of the big winners was Spark Capital, a venture capital firm that was one of Postmates first backers. Spark led a $16 million investment round in Postmates in 2013, and participated in several subsequent funding rounds, resulting in what is likely a hefty return. Just one week before the Postmates news, Mirror, a fitness tech startup that was also a Spark investment, sold to workout-apparel brand Lululmon for $500 million. And Spark has had several other successes in recent months, making for a remarkably bright streak in a challenging year marked by the coronavirus pandemic and the economic downturn. Earlier this year, Spark raised $1.35 billion to fund early and growth-stage startups, according to the Wall Street Journal. With offices in Boston and San Francisco, Spark was founded 15 years ago, making it a relative youngster among VC firms. But it has quickly proved itself: According to a recent study by Pitchbook, Spark's $360 million Capital III fund was among the ten best performing funds launched between 2010 and 2012. The firm was founded by Bijan Sabet, Santo Politi and Todd Dagres, focuses on early and mid-stage "growth" companies. Some of its earlier hits include Twitter, Tumblr, and Foursquare. Nabeel Hyatt, a partner at Spark Capital, wrote in a blog post that the firm was drawn to Postmates, back when the Postmate's app was known as Get It Now. Hyatt, who was an early investor at the time, said that joining the Postmates board as one of its earliest member and working closely with Postmates CEO Bastian Lehman. It's unclear exactly how big Spark's return on Postmates will be. A representative for the company did not return request for comment. As companies continue to work remotely, workplace productivity tools like Slack are also having their moment. But Spark was way ahead of the curb, as they participated in Slack's $160 million Series E round in 2015. Here's a look at some of Spark Capital's recent big wins: Plaid: In January, Visa acquired fintech startup Plaid for $5.3 Billion. Spark Capital partner Santo Politi contributed to the startup's Series C funding round, which raised $250 million in December 2018. Mirror: As gyms remain shuttered across the country due to fears of contracting coronavirus, people are looking to workout at home. The workout-apparel brand Lululemon acquired New York-based startup Mirror, the Spark-Capital backed fitness startup that delivers interactive workout classes through their interactive mirror. Spark Capital led the $13 million funding round in 2018, when Mirror was still in stealth mode. Sonder: Spark Capital recently raised $170 for Sonder, the hospitality startup that is seen as one of Airbnb's rivals, in their Series E last June. The company is reportedly valued at $1.3 billion. Nylas: After acquiring June.ai last March, Nylas, a startup that helps people integrate emails using APIs, received $25 million in funding from Spark Capital this past June. Warby Parker: Warby Parker, the trendy retailer that sells prescription glasses and sunglasses, is also part of Spark Capital's portfolio. And while many retailers are struggling to withstand the economic blow dealt by the coronavirus pandemic, Warby Parker's strategy has always focused on letting customers pick and choose their favorite pair of glasses from the comfort of their home. JFrog: DevOps startup JFrog, valued at $1.2 billion, has added board members last April as they make preparations for going public in late 2020 or early 2021. Spark Capital participated in the startup's Series D round, which was led by Insight Partners and raised $165 million, in October 2018, Grammarly: Grammarly, the software that uses AI to improve your writing, is valued at over $2 billion. Spark Capital, along with other high-profile VC firms such as SignalFire and General Catalyst, raised $110 million for Grammarly in 2017.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why thoroughbred horse semen is the world's most expensive liquid
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Here's an exclusive look at the pitch deck scooter company VOI just used to raise a $30 million funding extension
Swedish electric scooter startup VOI has raised a $30 million extension to its previous $85 million...Swedish electric scooter startup VOI has raised a $30 million extension to its previous $85 million Series B round as part of its bid to take on its increasingly well-funded competitors. Voi's funding extension comes on the back of surge in activity for e-scooter companies following coronavirus. Voi says it was profitable in June, and hopes to be consistently profitable in 2022. "This is a capital-intensive market and we want to ensure we are sustainable in the long term," the company's cofounder and CEO, Fredrik Hjelm, previously told Business Insider in an interview. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. European scooter startups are battling to expand as city dwellers coming out of lockdown look for an alternative to public transport. Swedish scooter startup Voi, founded in 2018, has just raised a $30 million extension to its 2019 $85 million Series B round as it looks to launch in the UK. The company claims that it was profitable for the month of June following an initial downturn in activity during pandemic-induced lockdowns in Europe. The fresh cash takes the company's total funding to $165 million. Voi has expanded from its base in Stockholm to more than 40 cities in 10 European countries. People have taken 20 million rides on Voi scooters in the last two years and the startup has 4 million registered users, with 100,000 downloads in the UK already, according to a company statement on Wednesday. "This is a capital-intensive market and we want to ensure we are sustainable in the long term," the company's cofounder and CEO, Fredrik Hjelm, previously told Business Insider in an interview. "We've grown a lot and have achieved profitability in some cities and want all our operations to be profitable in the next two years." Vostok New Ventures led the new round. Previous investors including Balderton Capital, Creandum, Project A, JME Ventures, Raine Ventures, Kreos Capital, Inbox Capital, Rider Global, and Black Ice Capital participated in the round. It comes hot on the heels of a similar funding extension for rival scooter startup Tier, which raised $23 million in June. The company claims that it saw its revenues grow fifty-fold during 2019 while it increased headcount from 31 at the end of 2018 to 409 staff by the end of 2019. European scooter companies have raised significantly less than their Silicon Valley rivals but are confident of coming out on top. US firms including Bird and Lime have benefited from huge tranches of venture capital funding, raising $623 million and $935 million respectively, per Crunchbase data. Check out VOI's pitch deck below:SEE ALSO: A Lime investor predicts only 2 or 3 scooter players will win after COVID-19, meaning there's going to be a major crunch in Europe
LEAKED: A decade before Postmates was acquired by Uber for $2.65 billion, its founder used this 13-slide pitch deck to sell his idea for the new delivery service (UBER)
Postmates' original pitch deck, put together by founder Bastian Lehmann, was leaked this week to Business...Postmates' original pitch deck, put together by founder Bastian Lehmann, was leaked this week to Business Insider. The pitch deck makes clear Lehmann's broad ambitions for his startup; he wanted to created a general-purpose local courier service, not just a food delivery company. Lehmann ended up building one of the top food delivery companies in the space, outlasting competitors and raising $900 million in funding. Last week, Uber announced plans to buy Postmates for $2.65 billion. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Long before Postmates became one of the top four food delivery services in the US and agreed to be purchased by Uber for $2.65 billion this month, it was little more than an idea for a low-cost courier service. The concept originated with Bastian Lehmann, a German entrepreneur, whose efforts creating a social media company called Curated.by was struggling to gain interest from investors. Lehmann decided to pivot and focus on what he saw as a better opportunity — local delivery of goods. The company he created from that idea in 2011 — Postmates — clicked with consumers and VC investors, gaining popularity as one of the pioneering app-based services for restaurant food delivery. But in the early days when the market for restaurant delivery apps was not yet proven, Lehmann and his cofounders needed to convince venture capital investors that the idea had potential. Postmates' first pitch deck — leaked to Business Insider this week, but put together by Lehmann before the company raised its first round of seed funding back in 2011 — shows Lehmann's broad ambitions to build a new kind of general purpose courier service. At the time, according to the deck, Postmates was running a small trial in San Francisco. And food delivery was just one of multiple ideas for what Lehmann believed Postmates could provide. The headline on one slide reads "Why stop with one market?" and then lists nearly 30 different types of industries or products Postmates could eventually serve or deliver. A Postmates representative declined to comment on the pitch deck. Lehmann's ambition paid off. He built a billion-dollar company that outlasted numerous competitors. Although he failed to lead his company through a hoped-for initial public offering, he sold his company to Uber this month at a valuation that's nearly three times the $900 million that was invested in the company over the years. Here's the pitch deck Postmates used to raise its first seed round back in 2011:SEE ALSO: How Postmates went from multiple IPO setbacks to a $2.65 billion takeover by Uber Got a tip about a startup or the venture industry? 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 startups and venture capital: This VC just raised $150 million to invest in ground transportation startups. He says there are better opportunities than trying to find the next Tesla. This VC backed self-driving car startup Zoox into a big buyout by Amazon. Here's why he says that deal signals a new wave of automation. Amazon's $1.2 billion deal to buy Zoox shows just how hard building a self-driving car still is —and why even more startups could become buyout targets Palmer Luckey's military contracting startup Anduril is now worth $1.9 billion