Posted In:

M&A, Records, Startups

Inorganic Growth: Not Just For The Corporate Crowd


Jul 24, 2021


Posted In:

M&A, Records, Startups


Jul 24, 2021



It isn’t just the financing section of FTC’s newsletter that’s grown in 2021, startup-to-startup M&A is up to record highs this year. According to a recent Crunchbase report, intra-startup M&A (VC-backed companies acquiring VC-backed companies) reached a record high of 286 deals YTD, which is more than the previous full year record of 203 deals set in 2016. This trend comes on the back of record VC funding and IPO volumes in 2021.

In addition to startups being flush with cash, one school of thought believes these deals are encouraged because selling founders have developed a liking for stakes in high-growth startups. Equity in high-growth technology firms is often more attractive to today’s sellers than the all-cash corporate offers of yesteryear. Acquisitions are also moving more quickly -- some of these deals close in only 30 days vs the previously typical ~60-90 day timeline.

Strategically, these buyouts are enabling startups to quickly expand their reach into new regions. Last year, Stripe acquired Paystack for over $200m to supercharge their African expansion ambitions. Klarna bought Sofort to double its merchant numbers. Other subtle factors drive startup M&A as well. Though not new, the ‘acqui-hire’ is now not always seen negatively, but rather as an acquirer willing to pay a premium to keep a full engineering or product team intact.

Time will tell whether this Gen Z inspired shopfest will last … but we wouldn’t be surprised to see the word inorganic on pitch decks in the months to come.

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Inorganic Growth: Not Just For The Corporate Crowd

2021 set a record for H1 IPOs - YTD, c. $80b has been raised via IPOs which surpasses the c. $78b raised throughout 2020. Experts suggest that 2021 is set to break records for IPO volumes by year's end. Read more

Quick thoughts on the acqui-hire - Experts from Latham & Watkins share their perspectives on the acqui-hire. Notably, this tactic is used increasingly to ensure that an entire team stays intact at the purchasing firm and can save effort vs individual recruiting efforts. Read more

Startup-to-startup M&A hitting record highs - A record number of VC-backed startups have acquired other VC-backed startups in 2021. 268 of these deals have happened already YTD, which suppresses the full year record of 203 deals set in 2016. Read more

Industry News

Biggest private crypto deal ever is closed - Antigua-based crypto derivatives exchange FTX closes a record $900m fundraise at an $18b valuation. Read more

Grab taps Adyen to extend BNPL offering across Southeast Asia - Grab has deepened its partnership with Adyen by enabling more merchants – starting in Singapore and Malaysia – to offer PayLater payment options to consumers, and address increasing consumer demand for deferred payment methods. Read more

Low-income lending rules set for broad overhaul - Top U.S. banking regulators said they would work jointly to modernize rules governing how banks lend hundreds of billions of dollars annually in lower-income communities. Read more

Nasdaq, SVB, Citi, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley launch new platform for trading private company stock - Nasdaq Private Market will be contributed to a standalone, independent company, which will receive strategic investments from SVB, Citi, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley. Read more

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Venmo removes public news feed over privacy concerns - After years of defaulting public posts and joke transaction descriptions, Venmo has removed its global social feed. This comes after increasing privacy concerns and security leaks amongst notable users such as President Biden. Venmo has 70m users. Read more

Visa acquires Currencycloud, which makes APIs for remittances and currency transfers, in a $963m deal - Visa acquired Currencycloud for $963m. To date, Currencycloud had raised c. $188m and was a leading provider of API-enabled cross currency payments. Read more

Vodafone’s booming M-Pesa shines a light on valuable Africa fintech start-ups - Vodafone has reported surging growth at its African mobile money platform M-Pesa. The UK company said that the number of transactions conducted over the mobile payments system shot up 44% in the 3 months to June to 4.5bn, with €63bn of funds transferred over it during that time. Read more

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Select Financings

Capchase - New York City based recurring revenue financing startup raised $280m in funding led by i80 Group. Read more

Dwolla - Iowa based maker of an API for payments raised $21m in funding led by Foundry Group. Read more

Ethos - San Francisco based insuretech platform raised $100m in Series D funding led by SoftBank. Read more

GudangAda - Indonesia based B2B marketplace raised $100m in Series B funding led by Asia Partners and Falcon Edge. Read more

Lev - New York based commercial real estate financing platform raised $30m in Series A funding led by Greenspring. Read more

Paro - Illinois based provider of on-demand financial expertise raised $25m in Series C funding led by Madrona Venture Group. Read more

Properly - Canada based tech-enabled real estate brokerage raised $35m in Series B funding led by Bain Capital Ventures. Read more

Soldo - UK based pay and spend automation platform raised $180m in Series C funding led by Temasek. Read more

Spendesk - France based corporate spend management service raised $118m in funding led by General Atlantic. Read more

Sundae - San Francisco based real estate marketplace raised $80m in Series C funding led by Fifth Wall and General Global Capital. Read more

Titan - New York based investment management platform raised $58m in Series B funding led by Andreessen Horowitz. Read more

Yapily - UK based open banking API raised $51m in Series B funding led by Sapphire Ventures. Read more


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