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Infographic: Grading 15 tech companies that declined big takeover offers
<p>If you were to ask legendary investor Peter Thiel about the most important moment in Facebook history, he would point to an exchange in July 2006.</p> <p>Yahoo had made the lucrative offer of $1 billion for Facebook, and Peter Thiel as well as board member Jim Breyer got called into a meeting about the deal with Mark Zuckerberg.</p> <p>Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist<br /> This article was published by ValueWalk. <br /> Photo: Jason McELweenie </p>
Corruption kills entrepreneurship
<p>On Tuesday night, Nobel Laureate Professor Dan Shechtman spoke at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology about “How Technological Entrepreneurship Can Be Nurtured”. </p> <p>The distinguished chemist sees five important factors that are keys to promoting get-up-and-go risk-taking:</p> <p>“We need good basic education for everyone. And then we need a good engineering and science education, government policy and support for entrepreneurship, a free market economy, and, most important of all, no corruption, for corruption kills entrepreneurship.”</p> <p>Schechtman’s delivered his lecture at the UC RUSAL President’s Forum and HKUST 25th Anniversary Distinguished Speakers Series. UC Rusal is the world’s second biggest aluminium producer and is controlled by Oleg Deripaska, one of Russia's richest and best-connected oligarchs.<br /> Photo: Fred S.<br /> &nbsp;</p>
Recently spotted: A unicorn startup that is both profitable and from the Midwest
<p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Now here's something really different:</p> <p>A unicorn startup that is both profitable and based in the Midwest. Should we call it a uni-unicorn?</p> <p>The rare beast is Chicago-based Uptake, which has raised $45 million from GreatPoint Ventures and other investors, giving it a $1.1 billion valuation, reports The New York Times.</p> <p>Uptake partners with well known companies to create software for gathering and interpreting data. CB Insights reports a total of 139 unicorns.<br /> Photo: yosuke muroya </p>
Cash hungry Uber raising another $1 billion for its war chest
<p>You would be forgiven for thinking that you have stumbled upon a post from August, you haven't. Uber has a thirst for cash that cannot be quenched and is now allegedly scrapping together another billion a mere three months after pumping the same amount into its China business.</p> <p>The New York Times reports that the investment will value Uber at $60-70 billion making it the most valuable private startup by a country mile.</p> <p>In short, this is war money and Uber is now fighting a battle on many fronts. In China, Uber is struggling to snatch market share from giant incumbent Didi Kuaidi, while in India its up against an equally entrenched Ola.</p> <p>The same heavyweight backers behind Didi and Ola – which include Softbank, Alibaba, and Temasek Holdings – have also thrown their weight behind GrabTaxi in Malaysia, and Lyft in the U.S. Uber is also fighting legal battles in its three biggest markets: the U.S.,China and India. </p> <p>Despite the odds being stacked against them, the company is now on the cusp of reaching a valuation that soars well above Facebook's $50 billion market value when it listed in 2012. According to Business Insider, Facebook's Mark Zuckerburg has even had a word in Uber CEO Travis  Kalanick's ear, advising him to take his firm public. But Kalanick recently said:<br /> "We're maturing as a company, but we're still like eighth graders. [...] We're in junior high. And someone's telling us we need to go to the prom. But it's a little early. Give us a few years. Give us a little time."<br /> At this rate one wonders whether public market investors will ever have an appetite for Uber's insane valuations. When prom night comes, Uber may struggle to get a date.  <br /> Photo: Moyan Brenn </p> <p>&nbsp;</p>
Singapore's Vertex beats $200M target for third China fund
<p>Vertex Ventures — the venture investing arm of  Singapore's Temasek — has reportedly smashed its $200 million target for its third China fund.</p> <p>This is not really surprising as Temasek pumped $600 million into the firm earlier this month. But raising this latest fund was still no mean feat. Vertex CEO Chua Kee Lock told Deal Street Asia that around $850 million of the total raised came from outside investors.</p> <p>Its a first for Vertex's China vehicle which was a 100% captive fund in its last two incarnations. Vertex's U.S., Israel, and China funds all have external investors, among them are pensions funds, endowments, and corporate investors.   However,  Vertex is far from courting success independently of its powerful parent. Kee Lock added:<br /> "We are owned by a very strong shareholder – so we can be selective on the type of investors we can pick for our funds.”<br /> Photo: Shubhika Bharathwaj</p>
Is Xiaomi losing its magic?
<p>For a while now venture capital-backed smartphone maker Xiamoi has been the darling of Asian tech, disrupting incumbants left and right, but new sales data shows that the firm may be losing some of its lustre.</p> <p>Tech in Asia reports that the firm may be feeling the effects of a China slowdown, citing several reports that indicate Xiaomi might be fall short of its revised goal to ship 80 to 100 million units this year.</p> <p>Xiaomi is yet to release it Q3 sales figures but the consensus among research firms is that the hype might be wearing off. That said, most agree the firm could still be on course to shift around 70 million units, which is still an awful lot.<br /> Photo: nijanthan_v</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>
Startups eager for sky-high valuations should heed this cautionary tale
<p>As the IPO market tanks and startups continue to seek absurdly high valuations, they would do well to remember the 2013 listing of textbook rental service Chegg and its ill-fated use of the IPO "ratchet."</p> <p>Wall Street Journal's Venture Capital Dispatch recalls how Chegg sought to secure a higher valuation during its pre-IPO funding rounds by promising investors their share price would double by time the company went public – a term known as a "ratchet." It backfired. Massively. As early Chegg investor Oren Zeev explained in a conference this year:<br /> “While it turned out that the top line was great, the fundamentals of the business, or the assumptions we were making about the business, were a stretch. It was far less clear it was a great business.”<br /> The upshot was that the business sunk below its IPO valuation after going public and could not deliver on what it promised, and Chegg was forced to issue additional shares to Insight Venture Partners, the VC with which it had the covenant. Companies like Box Inc. and Kayak Software Corp. have also had to pay a painful price for the same reason. </p> <p>One has to wonder how many  of our newly-born unicorns managed to achieve such lofty valuations, and how they will cope when it's time to go public.<br /> Photo: Jellaluna</p>
Snapchat execs are disappearing
<p>Blink and they're gone. Snapchat's executives are disappearing like their photos, with eight upper-level execs leaving in the last year.</p> <p>It's not unusual to see leadership shuffles in startups as competition is high for talented staff, reports Business Insider. But it may be a bit concerning that Snapchat can't keep execs on board. Only one of the eight now-departed leaders lasted longer than eight months.</p> <p>Is the super-young CEO Evan Spiegel to blame, or is this just the tech world we live in?<br /> Photo: AdamPrzezdziek</p>
Watch out Silicon Valley, Asia’s VC space has you in its sights
<p>Silicon Valley may have Apple, Google, and Facebook but as far as venture capital investments are concerned, Asia’s beginning to give it a serious run for its money.<br /> “The venture capital industry in Asia has seen strong growth over the past year, and in Q3 the aggregate value of deals was comparable to the total value of deals in North America. India and China, the largest part of the Asian industry, marked 709 financings in the quarter, worth a combined $16.9bn. There were 932 venture capital deals in North America in the same period, worth an aggregate $17.5bn.”<br /> Preqin adds that total Q1 to Q3 venture capital investments in China and India have surged to $36.2 billion – an over 180% climb from 2014’s $19.9 billion total – bringing Asian VC investments just $17 billion shy of North America’s $53.5 billion for the same time period.</p> <p>Nine of the ten largest venture capital deals in the third quarter were based in Asia as well, with Didi Kuaidi’s two recent rounds bagging the top two spots.</p> <p>However, North America may still have a chance to stretch their lead. While deal numbers in the west has fallen, deal sizes continue to climb with some late stage and debt financing deals reaching “record levels.”</p> <p>Deal numbers in Asia are still climbing though, as Preqin’s Christopher Elvin notes:<br /> “The venture capital industry is developing in two different directions between emerging and mature markets. In emerging markets, particularly in Asia, rapidly developing economies like China and India are providing increasing numbers of opportunities for investors and fund managers. While average deal size is increasing slightly, the key driver of growth is the increasing number of deals.”<br /> Photo: brefoto</p>
Knight in shining armour: Alibaba's $3.5B bid for Youku Tudou
<p>It looks like Alibaba could add another string to its bow with a bid to buy US-listed Youku Tudou. For the ailing Chinese video site the timing could not be better.</p> <p>Alibaba says it's offering to pay $26.60 per American depositary share to acquire the 82% it doesn't already own. The offer represents about a 30% premium on Youku Tudou's last closing price prior to the bid going public and values the company at $5.1 billion. Tech Crunch reports that total offering is worth $3.5 billion, when taking the cash already on Youku's book already into account.</p> <p>Its a welcome development for the one-time venture capital-backed Youku which, despite its dominance as China's answer to YouTube, has had a miserable loss-making run on US public markets. Its chairman and CEO Victor Koo has already pledged his shares in support of the deal.</p> <p>Alibaba already holds an 18% stake having made a strategic investment in May 2014. The decision to gobble up the rest may be fairly opportunistic but it's a large leap for Alibaba as it looks to spread its e-commerce empire to include digital content. Daniel Zhang, chief executive officer of Alibaba Group, said this:</p> <p>"We believe that the proposed transaction, with tighter integration of our resources, will help Youku achieve exciting growth in the years ahead by leveraging Alibaba's assets in living-room entertainment, e-commerce, advertising and data analytics. Digital products, especially video, are just as important as physical goods in e-commerce."</p> <p>With Baidu’s iQiyi and Tencent’s QQ video services already operating in this space its is yet another front on which the China's internet giants are battling fiercely for dominance.<br /> Photo: Hans Splinter</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>