Morning Report: Snap may be building spectacles again, but that’s not even the silliest thing going on this morning.
Hello and welcome to the business cycle that refuses to end.
Today we’re not going to try to understand why Snap, a company that is quite unprofitable, may be working on a replacement for its expensive Spectacles fiasco. Yes, the company that managed to pull in a greater than -100 percent net margin in the final quarter of 2017 and a -417.6 percent net margin in calendar 2017, is working in the hardware world once again.
But today, we have to look at the truly silly, not merely a faux-camera company pushing back into a space that cost it $40 million in write-downs. And if we are going to truly work into the realm of the ridiculous, we need to talk about crypto.
EXCLUSIVE: Ripple, the FinTech startup behind the XRP coin, made a $25 million investment in the form of its own cryptocurrency into a dedicated sidecar vehicle alongside Blockchain Capital’s fourth venture fund.
Blockchain Capital, the oldest venture capital firm dedicated to blockchain technology, announced last month that it raised $150 million to invest in equity and cryptocurrency assets.
So, here we have Ripple, a payments company of sorts, deploying a reserve of XRP, its crypto token that may or may not be critical to its mission, to a crypto vehicle that will invest in other crypto projects.
This is odd for a few reasons. First, that Ripple would be willing to bet XRP on other cryptos isn’t entirely confidence inspiring in its own efforts; if you believe in your own company, why invest a portion of its assets into a vehicle to spend those funds on other, potentially rival companies’ work? Secondly, how much XRP is $25 million-worth isn’t clear. XRP has traded as high as $3.75 this year, before collapsing to less than fifty cents per token.
But Ripple probably can’t do much worse in Blockchain Capital (I dropped by their offices the other month for a chat and had a perfectly enjoyable time) than it could either holding XRP or putting its reserves into a crypto hedgefund. Those things are crashing hard at the moment.
What’s unclear to me is what, from all of this, will still be standing when the market corrects:
From The Crunchbase Daily:
- Alibaba’s financial technology affiliate Ant Financial is reportedly raising $9 billion in fresh funding as it preps for an IPO. The financing, said to be at a $150 billion valuation, makes China-based Ant the world’s most highly valued unicorn.
- Knotel, a provider of flexible-term office space rentals, has raised $70 million in a Series B round led by led Newmark Knight Frank and The Sapir Organization. To date, the two-year-old company has opened forty locations across New York, London and San Francisco.
- Scandal-ridden Theranos has reportedly laid off most of its remaining employees as it tries to avoid bankruptcy. The cuts are said to reduce the number of remaining workers at the blood-testing company to fewer than two dozen.
- Expel, a provider of software for businesses to manage cybersecurity operations, has raised a $20 million Series B round led by Scale Venture Partners.
Illustration Credit: Li Anne Dias
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