Архив рубрики: Startups

Revolut lets you track your subscriptions, adds savings bonus in the US

Fintech startup Revolut has rolled out a handful of additional features over the past few days. The financial app lets you track all your subscriptions that you pay with your Revolut account or your card. In the U.S., Revolut is adding a savings bonus based on your purchasing habits. Finally, business customers can now order metal cards.
Let’s start with subscription tracking. For customers in Europe, Revolut is trying to make it easier to stay on top of your various subscriptions. Direct debit or card transactions are automatically marked as recurring. You can also manually mark transactions as subscriptions in case they aren’t automatically marked.
After that, you can see all your recurring payments from the app and check how much you’re spending with each merchant. If you spot a subscription that you completely forgot, you can block it — future payments will be declined.

And if you don’t have a lot of money on your account, you receive a notification warning you that a subscription payment is coming up. Subscriptions can be accessed from the Payments tab under Scheduled.
If you have multiple bank accounts, some users might switch their payment information to their Revolut card just to keep all their subscriptions in Revolut. It could boost usage.
4.5% bonus on savings accounts in the U.S.
In some markets, Revolut offers savings vaults. As the name suggests, those sub-accounts let you put some money aside and earn interest. You can round up card transactions and save spare change in a vault, you can set up weekly or monthly transactions or you can transfer money manually whenever you want.
In the U.S., customers earn 0.25% annualized percentage yield (APY) with their savings vaults. If you pay for a premium subscription, you get 0.5% APY with a Revolut Premium or Revolut Metal plan.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, you get a generous bonus on top of your normal interest rate: Revolut calculates how much you spent with your Revolut debit card the previous month; that amount is eligible for a 4.5% APY bonus.
For instance, if you spent $400 with your card last month and you have $500 in your savings vault, you’ll receive the 4.5% bonus on $400. You’ll also earn 0.25% to 0.5% on the entire savings vault.
If your savings vault balance is lower than how much you spent with your card last month, your entire vault is eligible for the bonus. Interest is calculated daily using an annualized rate and paid out the first business day of the following month.
Once again, the new feature should boost engagement in the U.S. for both card transactions and savings vaults. Revolut has 13 million customers in total, including 150,000 in the U.S.

Revolut partners with Flagstone to offer savings vaults in the UK

Metal cards for business customers
People care about metal cards. That’s why many fintech startups now offer expensive monthly plans with metal cards — N26, Bunq, Curve and Revolut.
But Revolut Business customers have been limited to plastic cards (or virtual cards). If you use Revolut Business for your company, you can now order metal cards depending on your plan.
Revolut Business customers with a free account or a freelancer account can’t order metal cards. Customers on the Grow, Scale or Enterprise plans receive one, two or five metal cards respectively.
And if you want to order more metal cards, it costs £49 per card. You can choose a card among five different colors — black, gold, rose gold, space grey and silver.
Other than a new look, metal cards don’t differ from standard cards. It’s a small perk that you get with a paid plan. Revolut has managed to attract 500,000 customers for its Revolut Business product.

Revolut extends Series D round to $580 million with $80 million in new funding

Revolut lets you track your subscriptions, adds savings bonus in the US

Unity Software has strong opening, gaining 31% after pricing above its raised range

Whoever said you can’t make money playing video games clearly hasn’t taken a look at Unity Software’s stock price.
On its first official day of trading, the company rose more than 31%, opening at $75 per share before closing the day at $68.35. Unity’s share price gains came after last night’s pricing of the company’s stock at $52 per share, well above the range of $44 to $48 which was itself an upward revision of the company’s initial target.
Games like “Pokémon GO” and “Iron Man VR” rely on the company’s software, as do untold numbers of other mobile gaming applications that use the company’s toolkit for support. The company’s customers range from small gaming publishers to large gaming giants like Electronic Arts, Niantic, Ubisoft and Tencent.

Unity’s IPO comes on the heels of other well-received debuts, including Sumo Logic, Snowflake and JFrog .
TechCrunch caught up with Unity’s CFO, Kim Jabal, after-hours today to dig in a bit on the transaction.
According to Jabal, hosting her company’s roadshow over Zoom had some advantages, as her team didn’t have to focus on tackling a single geography per day, allowing Unity to “optimize” its time based on who the company wanted to meet, instead, of say, whomever was free in Boston or Chicago on a particular Tuesday morning.

Unity IPO aims to fuel growth across gaming and beyond

Jabal’s comments aren’t the first that TechCrunch has heard regarding roadshows going well in a digital format instead of as an in-person presentation. If the old-school roadshow survives, we’ll be surprised, though private jet companies will miss the business.
Talking about the transaction itself, Jabal stressed the connection between her company’s employees, value  and their access to that same value. Unity’s IPO was unique in that existing and former employees were able to trade 15% of their vested holdings in the company on day one, excluding “current executive officers and directors,” per SEC filings.
That act does not seemed to have dampened enthusiasm for the company’s shares, and could have helped boost early float, allowing for the two sides of the supply and demand curves to more quickly meet close to the company’s real value, instead of a scarcity-driven, more artificial figure.

Bear and bull cases for Unity’s IPO

Regarding Unity’s IPO pricing, Jabal discussed what she called a “very data-driven process.” The result of that process was an IPO price that came in above its raised range, and still rose during its first day’s trading, but less than 50%. That’s about as good an outcome as you can hope for in an IPO.
One final thing for the SaaS nerds out there. Unity’s “dollar-based net expansion rate” went from very good to outstanding in 2020, or in the words of the S-1/A:
Our dollar-based net expansion rate, which measures expansion in existing customers’ revenue over a trailing 12-month period, grew from 124% as of December 31, 2018 to 133% as of December 31, 2019, and from 129% as of June 30, 2019 to 142% as of June 30, 2020, demonstrating the power of this strategy.
We had to ask. And the answer, per Jabal, was a combination of the company’s platform strength and how customers tend to use more of Unity’s services over time, which she described as growing with their customers. And the second key element was 2020’s unique dynamics that gave Unity a “tailwind” thanks to “increased usage, particularly in gaming.”
Looking at our own gaming levels in 2020 compared to 2019, that checks out.
This post closes the book on this week’s IPO class. Tired yet? Don’t be. Palantir is up next, and then Asana .

Unity Software has strong opening, gaining 31% after pricing above its raised range

As low-code startups continue to attract VC interest, what’s driving customer demand?

Investor interest in no-code, low-code apps and services advanced another step this morning with Airtable raising an outsized round. The $185 million investment into the popular database-and-spreadsheet service comes as it adds “new low-code and automation features,” per our own reporting.
The round comes after we’ve seen several VCs describe no- and low-code startups as part of their core investing theses, and observed how the same investors appear to be accelerating their investing pace into upstart companies that follow the ethos.

The Exchange explores startups, markets and money. You can read it every morning on Extra Crunch, or get The Exchange newsletter every Saturday.

Undergirding much of the hype around apps that allow users to connect services, mix data sources and commit visual programming is the expectation that businesses will require more customized software than today’s developers will be able to supply. Low-code solutions could limit required developer inputs, while no-code services could obviate some need for developer time altogether. Both no- and low-code solutions could help alleviate the global developer shortage.
But underneath the view that there is a market mismatch between developer supply and demand is the anticipation that businesses will need more apps today than before, and even more in the future. This rising need for more business applications is key to today’s growing divergence between the availability and demand for software engineers.
The issue is something we explored talking with Appian, a public company that provides a low-code service that helps companies build apps.
Today we’re digging a little deeper into the topic, chatting with Mendix CEO Derek Roos. Mendix has reached nine-figure revenues with its low-code platform that helps other companies build apps, meaning that it has good perspective into what the market is actually demanding of itself and its low-code competition.
We want to learn a bit more about why business need so many apps, how COVID-19 has changed the low-code market and if Mendix is accelerating in 2020. If we can get all of that in hand, we’ll be better equipped to understand the growing no- and low-code startup realm.
A growing market
Mendix, based in Boston, raised around $38 million in known venture capital across a few rounds, including a $25 million Series B back in 2014. In 2018, Mendix partnered up with IBM to bring its service to their cloud, and later sold to Siemens for around $700 million the same year.

As low-code startups continue to attract VC interest, what’s driving customer demand?

Dorian raises $3.25M for its no-code, interactive storytelling platform

With Dorian, co-founder and CEO Julia Palatovska said she’s hoping to empower fiction writers and other storytellers to create their own games.
The startup is announcing that it has raised $3.25 million in seed funding led by March Capital Partners, with participation from VGames, Konvoy Ventures, London Venture Partners, Michael Chow (co-creator of the Twitch series “Artificial”), Andover Ventures and talent management company Night Media.
In addition, John Howell, the former vice president of partnerships at Twitch, has joined the board as an independent director.

Palatskova previously worked in gaming as the head of business development at G5 Entertainment, and she said she’d also become entranced by narrative games and interactive fiction. And while there are existing interactive fiction platforms, she saw “an opportunity that I felt was missing,” particularly in the fact that those platforms are “entirely single player, with no opportunity to play and collaborate with other people.”
So she gave me a quick tour of the Dorian platform, showing me how, without coding, a writer can essentially design characters and backgrounds by choosing from a variety of visual assets (and they’ll eventually be able to upload assets of their own), while using a flowchart-style interface to allow the writer to connect different scenes in the story and create player choices. And as Palatskova noted, you can also collaborate on a story in real-time with other writers.
“In terms of writer productivity, I would say there is almost no difference between creating interactive fiction on our engine and just writing fiction,” she said.

Image Credits: Dorian

From what I could see, the resulting games look similar to what you’d find on platforms like Pocket Gems’ Episode, where there aren’t a lot of technical bells and whistles, so the story, dialogue and character choices move to the forefront.
When I brought up the open-source game creation software Twine, Palatskova said Twine is “just a tool.”
“We want to be more like Roblox, both the tools and the distribution,” she said.
In other words, writers use Dorian to create interactive stories, but they also publish those stories using the Dorian app. (The writer still owns the resulting intellectual property.) Palatskova noted that Dorian also provides detailed analytics on how readers are responding, which is helpful not just for creating stories, but also for monetizing via premium story choices.
In fact, Dorian says that in early tests involving around 50,000 players, writers were able to improve monetization by 70% after only one or two iterations. And Palatskova noted that with Dorian’s games — unlike an interactive film such as “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” —”It’s fast and easy to test multiple branches.”
Dorian is currently invite-only, but the plan is to launch more broadly later this year. Palatskova is recruiting writers with and without gaming experience, but she also expects plenty of successful contributions to come from complete novices. She wants Dorian to be “a completely open platform, like Roblox or Twitch for writers.”
“Dorian’s success in creating an interactive platform that values storytelling while prioritizing monetization for its writers is a game-changer,” said March Capital’s Gregory Milken in a statement. “Julia and her team are creating a community that is primed to capture the attention of today’s influential but underrepresented audiences of diverse content creators.”
Update: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Dorian had raised $3.15 million.

Roblox raises $150M Series G, led by Andreessen Horowitz, now valued at $4B

Dorian raises $3.25M for its no-code, interactive storytelling platform

Take-Two Interactive acquires Two Dots game developer for $192M

Playdots — developer of the mobile games Dots, Two Dots and Dots & Co. — has reached an agreement to be acquired by publisher Take-Two Interactive.
Take-Two will pay $192 million for the deal, $90 million in cash and the remaining $102 million in stock.
Playdots was founded in 2014 by Paul Murphy and Patrick Moberg, spinning out of startup studio betaworks with $10 million in funding led by Tencent and Greycroft. It’s currently led by CEO Nir Efrat, a former King.com executive who joined Playdots in 2018.

In the acquisition announcement, Take-Two (best known for publishing major franchises like BioShock and NBA 2K, plus — through its Rockstar Games subsidiary — Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption) says that Erfat will continue to lead Playdots’ 70-person team.
Apparently the various Dots games have been downloaded more than 100 million times, with more than 80 million of those downloads coming from the most popular title, Two Dots.
In a statement, Michael Worosz, Take-Two’s executive vice president and head of strategy and independent publishing, said:
Our acquisition of Playdots will diversify and strengthen further Take-Two’s mobile game offerings, particularly within the casual, free-to-play segment. Two Dots continues to grow its audience and under the leadership of Nir, the addition of scavenger hunts, social leader boards and live-ops technology are enhancing the game and driving meaningful, long-term consumer engagement. We are very pleased to welcome Nir and the entire team at Playdots to the Take-Two family and are excited by the potential of their development pipeline and positive, long-term contributions to our business.

Take-Two Interactive acquires Two Dots game developer for $192M