“No one wants to give us capital because we have all destroyed capital and created economic waste.”
• Scott Sheffield, of Pioneer Natural Resources


Sprout.ai raises $2.5M to speed up insurance claims (techcrunch.com)
  • Sprout.ai has developed AI-based software that it says enables insurance claims to be settled within “just 24 hours”. Specifically, it uses natural language processing and optical character recognition to understand unstructured insurance claim data.
  • “Currently the average claims settlement time in the U.K. is 25 days. This is mainly caused by a lack of information at the start of the claims journey and a lot of manual touch points throughout the journey. This causes two problems: bad customer experiences and high operational costs for claims teams”.

Serverless Monitoring Platform Dashbird Raises $2.1M From Leading Global Investors (foundme.io)
  • Founded in 2017, Dashbird, is a monitoring and intelligence platform for operating serverless applications on AWS.
  • The investment was led by Paladin Capital Group, with participation from Passion Capital, Icebreaker.vc and Lemonade Stand.


Verizon is buying B2B videoconferencing firm BlueJeans (techcrunch.com)
  • It has more than $100M ARR and over 15,000 customers at this point. Notable users include Facebook and Disney. The price tag was under $500M which is lower than the last venture round valuation of about $750M. 
  • Investors included prominent VC funds, among them NEA, Accel and Battery Ventures.
  • Opinion: There has to be something wrong with the company to be sold in the times of crisis for such a low multiple. The purchase price is below 5x ARR (60x MRR), which is significant difference to Zoom that is being traded for multiples 10x higher - 50x ARR (600x MRR).


Surveying Sales Leaders - How Coronavirus is Impacting Quotas, Bookings, and Budgets (tomtunguz.com)
  • Data from RevenueCollective about impact of coronavirus on startups. RevenueCollective gather over 1700+ sales professionals mostly from US companies.
  • Only about 1% have seen a benefit and are increasing their forecasts. Typically, sales leaders have reduced sales quota somewhere between 10-50%.  About 54% of respondents have seen higher churn; the other half has seen no change.
  • 80% of respondents have paused hiring, a majority of revenue leaders believe the impact of COVID-19 will persist through 2020.

How A Goat Farmer Built A Doomsday Machine That Just Booked A 4,144% Return (forbes.com)
  • Spitznagel’s $4.3 billion (assets) firm Universa Investments earns money by making trades that nearly always lose small sums–but very rarely generate astronomical payouts in Black Swan events.
  • In the case of March, Forbes estimates that Spitznagel’s protection trades cost under $100 million to put on and yielded at least $3 billion for Universa’s clients.
  • On any given day its actual capital at work is as little as 2%-or-3%.

Knowledge of the Future by Howard Marks (oaktreecapital.com)
  • “These days everyone has the same data regarding the present and the same ignorance regarding the future.”
  • Markets work best when participants have a healthy fear of loss.  It shouldn’t be the role of the Fed or the government to eradicate it. 
  • The Fed said that BDCs can value the loans on their books at December 31 prices. Because a markdown could increase leverage above the regulatory maximum, thus limiting further lending by a BDC. In other words, we’re in a regulatory wonderland where there’s no pretense that financial statements have to be accurate or current.

In case you are interested in helping us with evaluating some companies and industries or you just want to discus any of these articles, feel free to reach out to Roman from Presto Ventures at roman@prestoventures.com or Linkedin.


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