Brian Chesky reacts to IPO pop, a distressed-home platform nabs $36M

We’re all Brian Chesky

Eyebrows raised and stammering.

That’s how the Airbnb CEO reacted on live TV when he found out the company’s shares had skyrocketed 113 percent to $144.7 during its stock market debut Thursday. “That’s the first time I’ve heard the number,” he managed to say. “Um, that is, that’s … I … I don’t know what else to say.”

Ahead of its IPO, which raised $3.5 billion, Airbnb priced shares at $68. Even without a pop, that was already a remarkable feat given a volatile year that saw major layoffs and a $2 billion funding lifeline. The 12-year-old hospitality startup now has a market cap of $100.7 billion — more than Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt combined. And that’s without any physical assets. By comparison, and Expedia have market caps of $86 billion and $18 billion, respectively.

That said, expect scrutiny over money left on the table in the coming days. That’s what fueled a mad dash toward blank-check deals — for companies like Opendoor — in the first place. In Airbnb’s case, had bankers priced shares at $146, it could have raised an additional $4 billion.

If you can survive a global pandemic that shuts down global travel, you can survive anything.
u2014 Alfred Lin, partner at Sequoia Capital and Airbnb board memberu00a0

After mega rounds, SoFi eyes SPAC

Online lender SoFi is the latest SoftBank-backed startup to eye a public offering through a blank-check company.

The San Francisco-based company has held talks with several special-purpose acquisition companies about an IPO, reported CNBC. SoFi did not comment.

SoFi appears to be capitalizing on a hot IPO market, along with SoftBank-backed companies including Lemonade, Opendoor, View and Compass. Some 208 blank-check companies have raised $70 billion so far this year, according to SPAC Research. Rocket Companies, the parent company of Rocket Mortgage and Quicken Loans, also went public in August.

Founded in 2011, SoFi has raised $3 billion from investors (including $1 billion from SoftBank in 2015). It was valued at $4.3 billion in a 2017 funding round. Last year, it raised $500 million at the same valuation.

Cherry on top

Sundae — a marketplace to sell distressed properties online — just raised $36 million. The Series B was led by QED Investors, Founders Fund, Susa Ventures, Navitas Capital and Prudence Holdings. It comes less than six months after the company raised a $16.55 million round, also led by QED.

Launched in 2019, Sundae purchases homes directly and offers $10,000 cash advances to all sellers. It also gives investors a platform to purchase “homes that need love,” CEO Josh Stench told TechCrunch. Sundae claims it has annualized run rate revenue of $400 million.

Hooking investors on ConTech

Construction tech startup Versatile just raised $20 million to add AI to its core product: a crane-mounted piece of hardware that captures video and analyzes data from construction sites.

The Series A brings the company’s total funding to $34 million. The round was led by Insight Partners and Entree Capital, with Robert Bosch Venture Capital GmbH, Root Ventures and Conductive Ventures. Based in San Francisco, Versatile gives users a picture of construction progress, and specifically aims to eliminate redundancies. “We are just scratching the surface of what we can do,” CEO Meirav Oren said in a statement.



Sequoia Capital’s huge returns this year, according to Bloomberg

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Reap what you sow

On the heels of a $69 million funding, Orchard is adding insurance and warranty services to a platform that offers home-buying and selling services.

“We’re radically simplifying the way people buy their homes,” CEO Court Cunningham said in a statement.

The New York City-based company has said it wants to be the Amazon of real estate. It already offers home loans, title insurance and search tools to customers in Colorado, Georgia and Texas.

FSBO gets an overhaul

While Covid wreaked havoc on traditional residential brokerages, a digital, do-it-yourself platform for homesellers is in growth mode.

HomeLister, a platform for homeowners that pushes listings out to local multiple-listing systems for a flat fee, raised $4.5 million this summer from MetaProp and Homebrew. Now, it claims it has saved clients $17 million in commissions since the onset of the pandemic.

Co-founded by Lindsay McLean and Jennifer Stein in 2015, HomeLister only represents sellers and charges a flat fee starting at $599. Sellers choose how much (or little) help they want from HomeLister. With the most basic package, listing is free and sellers only pay when their home sells.

Zach Aarons, a MetaProp co-founder, called the platform “intuitive” and said MetaProp invested, in part, because it saw the business as “scalable.”

Small bytes

? French home insurance startup Luko raised €50 million from EQT Ventures, Accel, Founders Fund and Speedinvest.

? Canada-based virtual brokerage Real raised $20M from Insight Partners.

? Metechi, an AI-powered debt trading platform, raised $5M led by Brack Capital Group’s Shimon Weintraub.

? iBuyer Opendoor will start trading on Nasdaq on Dec. 21, under the ticker “OPEN.”

? Facebook earmarked $150M of its $1B investment in housing to the lowest-income tier in San Francisco.

? Co-living startup Quarters opened its fourth NYC location, a 41K-sf space in Williamsburg with 160 bedrooms.

⚒AppFolio, a property management software company, will pay $4.25M to settle an FTC complaint that it violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act.


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