SoftBank’s Layoff Spree, Our Quarterly Reports Are Back And Houston’s New Unicorn

Welcome to the Crunchbase News Weekend Update. An email form of this post went out Saturday morning. Happy reading!

Layoffs suck. The Twitter jokes are not worth it. Hugs and best wishes to everyone impacted.

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In case you missed it, a number of SoftBank-backed companies faced layoffs this week, from scooter company Lime closing operations in 12 cities to Oyo Hotel, one of India’s biggest hotel chains, reportedly firing thousands. We also covered two robot startups that laid off some humans: Zume, a robot pizza-maker, and Cafe X, a robotic coffee operation that shuttered its San Francisco stores.

As I wrote in my piece, the cycle of startups going from landing nine-figure rounds, as well as scooping up other companies, to laying off hundreds of employees is nothing new. Especially in the SoftBank world. The year 2020 might be a reckoning of sorts for the Japanese conglomerate.

Shifting gears, check out our Q4 and end of year Global VC report. It was a strong end to a good, but not fantastic, year, our chief data reporter Jason D. Rowley said. We also broke out North American venture activity for the end of the year. More to come, but to hold you over, listen to an old podcast on how Jason pulls the numbers for this quarterly series.

Turning to this week’s funding news, we covered two new unicorns: Houston’s High Radius and its $125 million Series B as well as ClassPass’ $285 million raise. Smaller, but still notable, rounds include The Guild’s $25 million for short-term travel options, and Legalpad getting $10 million to help immigrant entrepreneurs navigate the visa process. More in Last Week In Venture, as always.

In M&A, razor startup Billie was acquired by P&G, and Insight Partners scooped up Armis Security and Veeam Software.

That wraps up what feels like the first busy week in a while. Here’s hoping you have a restful weekend and that your New Year’s resolutions haven’t completely fallen off your to do list just yet.


Illustration: Dom Guzman

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