Weekly Update #2

USD 547.51m in capital raised, Q&A with HouseStay CEO & more

Data from the Week 📊

Last week, I tracked USD 547.51m, across 55 deals, in early stage startup investment (up to and including Series A), down from USD 714.31m the week prior. The median amount raised was 4.4m.

Of the companies that raised capital last week, I tracked 158 job postings, across all skill levels and including internships. However, that number is likely much higher as 27 of the 55 companies had no public job postings.

The average number of Twitter followers for all companies that raised capital last week was 759.42 and the average following was 420.1.

In last week’s update, I provided some dismal number on women in tech and we’ll continue to track those numbers over the months ahead.

If you would like a full list of early stage capital raises tracked last week, please email chris[at]pdreporter.com.


Highlighted Deals 📌

Here’s some background information on recent deals from the founders and CEOs that the rounds.

Included in the numbers from last week’s update:

Trizic raised a USD 10m Series A. The company, which raised and closed the round within a few months, spoke to 10 to 12 lead investors for the round, and has raised approximatley USD 15m since CEO Drew Sievers joined the company, according to a Mr. Sievers. Trizic will mostly look to use capital raised on sales and engineering.

Included in the numbers from this week’s update:

Voicera raised a USD 13.5m Series A. The company started raising the round in November and settled on a term sheet three weeks later; the company then began to engage strategics in discussions, Mr. Cory Treffiletti, Voicera’s Chief Marketing Officer, told me. During the initial term sheet discussions, Voicera spoke with between five to seven potential lead investors, he noted. Capital from the round will be used to from beta to paid launch. Voicera has raised a total of USD 20m to date.

Blockdaemon raised a USD 3.3m seed round. The company, which wasn’t initially seeking capital but was prompted to raise funds due to enormous interest, raised the round in four weeks, Mr. Konstantin Richter, CEO and founder of Blockdaemon, told PD Reporter. Blockdaemon spoke with approximately 10 investors for the round and raised capital, in a heavily oversubscribed round, at a valuation between USD 10m and USD 20m.

Redeam raised a USD 7.7m Series A. Redeam raised the round in approximately four months, which amounted to a full-time job for the company’s CEO, Mr. Kevin McLaughlin, founder and CEO told PD Reporter. The company has raised a total of USD 7.7m to date.


Apartment Rental Space 🏡

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been speaking with founders and investors in the apartment rental space.

HouseStay is seeking to raise a seed round, followed by an USD 8m to USD 10m Series A round over the next 8 to 12 months, as the company has now found product market fit, Mr. Manu Bhagatjee tells PD Reporter. What follows is a portion of my interview with HouseStay’s CEO.

What sets HouseStay apart from others in the apartment rental space? What geographies and/or niches does HouseStay serve?

MB: HouseStay is the only technology enabled platform focused on providing fully furnished turnkey apartments and homes for rent on a monthly basis. We take the pain out of the rental process for both landlords and tenants by servicing both stakeholders. We vet every listing onboarded on the HouseStay platform and screen every tenant after a host accepts a booking request. HouseStay also signs a lease with tenants, which serves as a confirmation for each booking on Housestay. We currently serve the greater Los Angeles area and will soon be launching the service in San Francisco and NYC.

Who do you see as competitors in the space?

MB: The space is very fragmented on the supply and demand side and most operators in the space are using antiquated Search and Booking processes. The closest competitor of HouseStay is a company called 2ndaddress, which is an attempt to rebrand a company called HomeSuite.com. However, 2ndaddress offers nightly stays so isn’t exclusively focused on monthly/extended stays.

There’s been some talk amongst VCs that while total amount of venture capital investment is up over the past couple years, early stage investing has become harder to secure. What’s been your experience as you’ve talked to prospective investors? Have the milestones for investment changed? 

MB: VCs currently seem to have a winner take all mentality. We weren’t very aggressive in securing a seed round as we realized we could find product market fit without the seed, however seed funding is certainly harder to secure for early stage companies not based in Silicon Valley. Investors also seem to be focused on unit economics when evaluating seed stage deals as opposed to some of the other metrics used in the past.


Interesting Reads 🤓

Cargo is an NYC-based startup that allows ridesharing drivers to make additional money by selling snacks to passengers. “Cargo claims that it can help drivers earn up to $500 a month in extra commissions, referrals and performance bonuses.” Technica.ly|DC

Upfront Ventures published a Medium post describing an inclusion clause which they began introducing into their term sheets in 2017. The clause seeks to have companies create a policy that “at least one woman and/or member of a population currently underrepresented within the company shall be formally interviewed for any open executive position.” Medium

General Assembly, in partnership with Planted, The Muse, and Y Combinator, published an interesting report on how to land a job at a startup. (note: email address required to access report). General Assembly


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