Dec 5, 2019

Figure gets unicorn valuation, despite CEO Mike Cagney's past misdeeds

Figure founder and CEO Mike Cagney, speaking in 2017. Photo: Rob Lever/AFP via Getty Images

Figure, a San Francisco-based consumer lending platform, raised $103 million in Series C funding led by Morgan Creek Digital at a $1.2 billion valuation.

Why it matters: Figure is led by Mike Cagney, who resigned as CEO of SoFi after reports of company-wide sexual harassment problems — including Cagney's multiple relationships with female employees and at least one instance of sending unwanted texts (an incident which resulted in a financial settlement).

  • Other investors in the round include MUFG Innovation Partners, DCM, Digital Currency Group, HCM Capital, Ribbit Capital, RPM Ventures, and partners of DST Global.

Figure backers contacted by Axios are singing a consistent tune: We're confident Cagney has learned from his mistakes and his new company is "doing things better."

  • Anthony Pompliano (Morgan Creek): "Mike Cagney and others who worked at SoFi would say that they had a very 'results-oriented culture.' What that does is create a culture where people look past bad behavior when results are delivered. This is obviously not the right way to do things and the Figure team recognizes that. Mike specifically has been committed to doing things a different and better way at Figure. ... While we cannot go back and change the past, my partners and I built confidence over time that the team that has been assembled, coupled with the frequent focus and conversation around these topics, serve as a strong foundation to make sure that Figure is built in a way that doesn’t allow for those same mistakes to be repeated." 
  • David Chao (DCM): "Mike spent a good deal of time self reflecting after SoFi and I saw a clear positive change. Half of his direct reports are now women and the board proactively works with HR and legal to make sure that employees have a whistle-blower process that is best-in-class. What makes Silicon Valley special is that it’s an environment where people can make mistakes, learn from them and are given the chance to rebound. In Asia or Europe, usually it’s one strike and you are out. America loves a comeback story and Mike is more driven and motivated to build Figure into a world class company with more sensitivity."

Go deeper: SoFi CEO Mike Cagney resigns effective immediately

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Bloomberg News outlines how it will cover Mike Bloomberg's candidacy

Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Hudson River Park

Bloomberg News editor-in-chief John Micklethwait said in a note to editorial staff Sunday morning that the company will extend its policy of not investigating its owner, Michael Bloomberg, to all Democrats running for president in 2020.

"We cannot treat Mike's Democratic competitors differently from him."
Go deeperArrowNov 24, 2019

Mike Bloomberg kicks off his climate week

Bloomberg in Phoenix on Nov. 26. Photo: Rick Scuteri/AP

Mike Bloomberg will announce a climate week that kicks off on Monday with the campaign's first ad on climate change.

The big picture: It's an online-only spot in California that's called "Smoke and Fire." It calls President Trump "the climate denier," in contrast with Bloomberg's battles with the coal industry.

Go deeperArrowDec 9, 2019

Michael Bloomberg reportedly reserves biggest campaign TV ad buy in history

Michael Bloomberg prepares to speak at the Christian Cultural Center in New York. Photo: Yana Paskova/Getty Images

Former New York City mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg announced a $31 million TV ad campaign on Friday in several key primary states ahead of an anticipated announcement to enter the 2020 Democratic primary race for president, NBC News reports, citing Advertising Analytics.

Why it matters: The reported figure would be the single biggest ad buy in American campaign history, with Barack Obama holding the previous record at $30 million in 2012. Bloomberg's first ad spend comes as he has filed paperwork to jump into the race, but his campaign team says he has not made a final decision.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Nov 22, 2019