Sep 20, 2019

Stripe becomes the third-highest-valued U.S. startup

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Stripe, a San Francisco-based online payment infrastructure company, is raising $250 million in new funding at a $35 billion valuation.

Why it matters: This would put Stripe third on the highest-valued U.S. startup list, but the 2 companies ahead of it are WeWork and Juul.

Investors: Return backers include Sequoia Capital, General Catalyst and Andreessen Horowitz.

  • This round is not yet closed, as the company remains in discussions with new investors. Stripe co-founder and president John Collison declined to say if the entire $250 million is spoken for by insiders, who then would cut back their allocations for newbies, or if some of it still needs to be filled.

The bottom line: "Investors view payments companies like Stripe as a way to get exposure to a basket of fast-growing public and private tech companies, since Stripe’s revenues are tied to its customers’ growth. The market for payments services is also expanding as more commerce moves away from physical stores and toward digital storefronts," writes the Wall Street Journal's Peter Rudegeair.

Go deeper: The 55 minotaur companies

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How CEOs trump politicians

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Walmart, which first banned assault weapon sales and now vaping products, is providing a template of how CEOs can move beyond a monomaniacal focus on profits.

Why it matters: It’s one thing to sign an unenforceable pledge to think more about employees and society, like most members of the Business Roundtable did. It’s another to take specific action while politicians dither.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Sep 22, 2019

E-scooter company Bird raises $275 million

llustration:Rebecca Zisser / Axios

Electric scooter rental company Bird today announced $275 million in Series D funding at what we hear was a $2.5 billion pre-money valuation. CDPQ and Sequoia Capital co-led the round.

The bottom line: E-scooter companies are simultaneously working to curb losses, curry favor with city regulators, and convince investors they're the next great transportation revolution.

The unicorn myth exposed

Illustration: Aida Amer/Axios

A huge shift in American business was overshadowed amid impeachment last week: Investors are rethinking hot startups with frothy valuations and putting discipline (and reality) above the myth of the almighty and all-knowing founder.

The big picture: The market is now bringing private valuations around to reality, as skittish Wall Street investors have been punishing billion-dollar-plus initial public offerings with questionable balance sheets or paths to profitability.

Go deeperArrowSep 30, 2019