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Salesforce acquired Slack, Discord is valued at $7 billion, Justin Timberlake invested in Step — these and other news of November 30-December 4

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Friends, we are back with our News section. We decided to refresh and lighten the format a little: now these will be small notes with short comments and analytics — #speednews. For lovers of details, we’ve kept links to the sources, feel free to click on the headings. Let's get started!

Startup Jedi

We talk to startups and investors, you get the value.

1. Salesforce acquired Slack for $27.7 billion

Enterprise messenger Slack was launched in 2013 and reached a valuation of $3.8 billion in 2016. A little over a year ago, Slack went public, then it was valued at $23.5 billion.

Why did the deal happen? In 2016, Microsoft launched Teams and added it to the Office suite of apps. In 2020, Slack didn’t publish data on the number of its users (in 2018 there were 18, in 2019 it was already known about 20 million), while Teams had 115 million active users in 2020. Obviously, Slack has lost the battle for the attention of corporate workers, because often employees themselves do not choose such tools. Therefore, the strategy of finding a buyer who would add Slack to their service package was probably chosen.


2. Discord prepares for a new rounds, following which the company’s value will reach $7 billion

Discord started out as a platform for the gaming community, but with the onset of the pandemic, it has become increasingly used as a working tool for various companies. Discord’s audience nearly doubled to 120 million monthly active users in 2020.

Just in June, the project raised $100 million at an estimated $3.5 billion. In total, the company has raised $379.3 million since its foundation in 2012.


3. Facebook acquired Kustomer — a project for customer support for $1 billion

Kustomer specializes in building chatbots and other business platforms. It will likely improve Facebook’s communication with its customers and users on WhatsApp and Messenger. The founders of Kustomer already sold their company (by the way, it’s also in the field of customer support) Salesforce in 2011.

The trend of investing in customer support continues Softbank! Last week, it invested in Sinch, a cloud service to support users, for a deal worth $690 million. The service went public in 2015.


4. Step teen banking receives $50 million

Step registers a bank account for teenagers and makes a Visa card. It does not take any service fees and the limit of available money on the card is $250 thousand.

The startup received investment from a 16-year-old Charli D’Amelio, who was named the reigning queen of TikTok (101 million subscribers) by The New York Times, she published a book and starred in a TV series. Well, she also became a partner of Step =)

Timberlake, The Chainsmokers and venture capitalists also invested in the project.

Now the application has 500 thousand users, and this despite the fact that the startup was launched 2 months ago.


5. Unacademy raised $2 billion investments

Unacademy is an online learning platform based in India. The startup raised from $75 million to $100 million, and this despite the fact that the team closed the previous round of $150 million in September. The startup has already invested in funds such as Sequoia Capital India and Facebook. Interestingly, for 2 out of 3 founders, Unacademy is already the 2nd startup: the previous ones are still alive, but not very successful. Also, all three founders are actively investing as business angels.

In 2018, the online education market in India was only $530 million, but the pace of its growth is so high that analysts predict it should reach $5 billion by 2024.


6. Scale AI hits $3.5 billion valuation

Scale AI is a data platform for training neural networks on demand from large businesses. The startup has closed a $155 million round D from Tiger Global Management. Its founder is 23 years old and this is his first startup. Also Scale AI bought the Helia project in the field of computer vision a couple of days ago.

In 2019, the size of the market for collecting and tagging dates was only $1 billion.

8 Dec 2020


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