Business Startups Venture

Hey, Look! A Profitable-ish Unicorn

Morning Report: TransferWise posts quickly expanding revenue and something that looks like profit. Let’s explore.

When the correction inevitably comes, it seems that at least one yet-private unicorn won’t instantly vaporize.

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TransferWise, a London-based money-transfer startup, had its recent financial performance reported by Bloomberg, yielding a host of new details. To wit, the core bits:

  • Fiscal 2016 revenue: £28 million.
  • Fiscal 2017 revenue:£67 million (+139 percent).
  • On track for “120 million pounds in revenue this year,” according to Bloomberg (+79 percent).
  • Fiscal 2017 operating loss of £56,o00.
  • Fiscal 2017 EBITDA £2 million.

TransferWise’s growth and now near-profit came at a cost — the firm has raised over $396 million to-date — but likely one that few mind. The firm’s rapid revenue growth and break-even operations are notable for their health, at least as far as we can determine from a few data points.

Sixty-seven million euros, or $88.4 million, is IPO-territory, of course, making TrasnferWise an obvious flotation candidate. However, TransferWise’s total funding tally of nearly $400 million is nearly misleading. The firm raised $280 million of the whole earlier this month, or just around 70 percent.

So TransferWise is incredibly well-capitalized for a private company on the cusp of profit while still comfortably in its growth phase. With that in mind, I’d wager an IPO is a ways off.

Still, a nearly-profitable unicorn!

From the Crunchbase Daily:

US VCs steer clear of Russia

  • U.S. investment in Russian venture deals has slowed to a halt. While U.S.VCs were somewhat active in Russia several years ago, backing big rounds for regional online category leaders, they’ve since stopped making new investments, a Crunchbase News analysis finds .

TechShop closes, declares bankruptcy

  • TechShop, operator of a chain of workshops for do-it-yourselfers, has shut down and is filing for bankruptcy. Founded in 2006, TechShop was popular with the maker community, with paid memberships offering access to workspace, classes and equipment for welding, 3D printing, crafts, and other activities.

Native Deodorant sells for $100M

  • Consumer products giant Procter & Gamble is acquiring Native Deodorant, a natural deodorant brand, for $100 million in cash, TechCrunch reports. San Francisco-based Native previously raised seed funding from Azure Capital Partners.

Lessons from Lessonly Series B

  • What lessons can be learned from this week’s Series B funding announcement for Lessonly, an Indianapolis-based developer of team learning software? One is that investors reward companies that hit or exceed performance goals for their favored metric: revenue and customer growth.