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The wait was long, but this week the time was right: Airbnb finally submitted its S-1, and so did Affirm, C3.ai, Roblox and Wish. We're likely to see these five prices before the end of an already stellar year for tech IPOs in the public markets. The ongoing pandemic and political unrest apparently weren't scary enough.
In the next ten years one has to assume that the number of tech companies going public will be more even. Many of the above companies have been behind privately funded growth strategies for years. Today, however, the industry has a better understanding of SPACs and direct listings, as well as various funding avenues. Since their inception, companies have had more options as to how they can one day grow and exit. Public investors in 2020 also seem to have a better understanding of current sales numbers and future growth opportunities for tech companies. I can still remember all the geniuses who not long ago bragged about shortening the Facebook IPO.
Will we see a more even distribution of IPO origins? While all of the filers are headquartered in or around San Francisco this week, it now feels almost like a random reference to the years when these companies started out. More states have minted their own unicorns, with Ohio-based Root Insurance recently going public and Utah-based Qualtrics going (back) in that direction. Tech startups are now global and many countries are working to keep their unicorns closer to home than New York.
On to the headlines of TechCrunch and Extra Crunch:
If you haven't made $ 1 billion this week, you're not doing VC right (EC)
Acknowledge files are going public
Inside Affirm's IPO Filing: A Look At Profitability, Profits, and Revenue Concentration (EC)
Airbnb files are published
5 questions from Airbnb's IPO registration (EC)
The VC and founder winners in the IPO of Airbnb (EC)
Roblox files are published
What is Roblox worth? (EG)
Wish files with 100 million monthly activity go public, which equates to $ 1.75 billion in revenue in 2020
Unpacking the C3.ai IPO registration (EC)
After an IPO in 2021, what do we know about Robinhood's Q3 performance? (EG)
What does a Biden administration mean for tech?
What does Joe Biden intend as technology policy president? On the one hand, tech companies may not be able to return to the White House too quickly. "Overall, we're seeing some well-known names in the mix, but 2020 isn't 2008," said Taylor Hatmaker, explaining possible industry presidents. “Tech companies that started out as golden children over the past 10 years are now radioactive. Regulation is looming in all directions. Regardless of the political priorities that emerged from the Biden administration, Obama's technocratic, gilded age is over and we are facing something new. "
Tech industries and companies focused on common goals could find support, however. In a review of Biden's climate policy, Jon Shieber examines key green infrastructure plans that may be on the way.
Any policies a Biden government adopts would have to focus largely on economic opportunity, and much of the proposed plan from the campaign meets that requirement. One of his main suggestions was to "create good union and civic jobs in abandoned communities, eradicate injustice in communities that bear the brunt of pollution, and bring the best ideas from our great nation – rural, urban and tribal," it says on the Transition website. An early focus on grid and utility infrastructure could create significant job creation opportunities across America – and boost tech companies. "Our electricity infrastructure is old, aging and unsafe," said Abe Yokell, co-founder of energy and climate-focused venture capital firm Congruent Ventures. “From an infrastructure standpoint, transmission distribution really needs to be improved and has not been adequately invested over the years. And it's directly in line with US renewables deployment and electrification of everything. "
The future of construction technology
A shortage of skilled workers adds to the traditional challenges of the construction industry this year. The result is technology adoption is getting a big boost in the real world, writes Allison Xu of Bain Capital Ventures in a guest column for Extra Crunch this week. It maps six main categories in which tech startups emerge, including project conception, design and engineering, pre-construction, construction, replica and site management. Here is an excerpt from the article about this last article:
How it works today: Construction management and operations teams manage the end-to-end project with functions like document management, data and insights, accounting, finance, payroll, etc.
Key challenge: The complexity of the construction site leads to highly complex and time-consuming formalities that are associated with every project. Managing the process requires communication and alignment of many stakeholders.
How technology can address challenges: The nuances of the multi-stakeholder construction process deserve value in a vertical approach to managing the project. Design management tools like Procore, Hyphen Solutions and IngeniousIO have created opportunities for contractors to coordinate and track the end-to-end process more seamlessly. Other actors such as Levelset have taken a design-specific approach to functions such as invoice management and payments.
Post pandemic virtual headquarters?
Pandemic-era work solutions like online team meeting rooms are approaching a less secure, vaccine-based reality. Are we all so far away that they will still have a real market? Natasha Mascaren checked out some of the top companies to see what it looks like. Here's more:
With the goal of making remote work more spontaneous, dozens of new startups are working to create virtual headquarters for distributed teams. The three that rose to the top include Branch, which was built by Generation Z players; Gather created by engineers who build a gamified zoom. and huddle that is still hidden.
All platforms are trying to prove that the world is ready to be part of virtual workspaces. Leveraging the multiplayer gaming culture, the startups are using spatial technology, animation, and productivity tools to create a metaverse for work.
The biggest challenge ahead of us? The startups need to convince venture capitalists and users alike that they are more than Sims for Enterprise or an all-time Zoom call. The potential success could signal how the future of work will combine gaming and socialization for distributed teams.
All about TechCrunch
The head of the US Space Force, General John W. "Jay" Raymond, accompanies us at TechCrunch Sessions: Space
Amazon's Project Kuiper boss David Limp comes to TC Sessions: Space
In the course of the week
Against all odds: the sheer power of the founders of immigrant startups
The S16 Angel Fund creates a founding community to invest in other founders
Pre-seed fintech company Financial Venture Studio is closing its debut fund to build on its legacy of top investments
How sport can save universities
Why are telehealth companies treating healthcare like the gig economy?
A court decision in favor of the startup UpCodes can help to create open access to the law
Will Zoom Apps be the next hot launch platform?
Is the internet advertising industry about to implode?
The growth of local talent and VC sparked Italy's technical renaissance
Why some VCs prefer to work with first-time founders
3 Growth Tactics That Helped Us Outperform Noom and Weight Watchers
A testimony to the SEC's new crowdfunding rules
From Alex Wilhelm:
Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch's venture capital-focused podcast (now on Twitter!) Where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.
This week has been incredibly busy. What else, with a week that included both Airbnb and Affirm IPO registrations, a variety of mega-rounds for new unicorns, some fascinating smaller funding events, and some new funds?
So we were very busy, but with Chris and Danny and Natasha and your humble servant, we went headlong:
Affirm has submitted to go public! The fintech unicorn is big, growing and losing less money over time. We were pretty impressed at first sight. Then, with a little more time, we dug deeper and found a weakness or two. Even so, Affirm is going public and is not in bad shape.
Airbnb submitted and we jumped into an equity shot ASAP on Tuesday to catch up on the news. Since then, Danny has scoured the circle of venture capitalists – a surprisingly small group of companies! – and we came up with some of the questions I had about the company's finances.
Robinhood is said to have an IPO on the books, so we talked a little about what we know about third-quarter growth.
And then, as always, there was edtech. This week we talked about how Tencent is supporting Udemy, raising Duolingo again, and Transfr picking up a Serie A that we thought was super interesting.
Danny wanted to talk about the Trust & Will series A. We tried not to make so many jokes.
ZenBusiness also raised $ 55 million in an oversized Series B.
Financial Venture Studio has put together a new fund to cut small checks for seed-stage fintech startups. We think that's great. Especially considering what we know about developments in the fintech venture world.
And Natasha took us through her last deep dive, a glimpse into the world of the virtual headquarters. This led to the show's worst joke.
What a week! Three episodes, some new records and a very tired episode. More on Monday!
Equity declines every Monday at 7:00 a.m. PDT and as fast as possible on Thursday afternoon. So subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify and all casts.