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Reddit valued at $3 billion after raising $300 million in latest funding round

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Reddit valued at $3 billion after raising $300 million in latest funding round

FILE PHOTO: Reddit mascots are displayed at the company’s headquarters in San Francisco, California April 15, 2014. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

(Reuters) – Social media network Reddit Inc said on Monday it raised $300 million in its latest funding round, led by Tencent Holdings Ltd, giving it a market valuation of $3 billion.

The series D funding round saw a $150 million investment from Tencent and the company’s former investors, including Sequoia, Fidelity, Tacit and Snoop Dogg.

The investment from a China-based company, news of which started making the rounds around five days ago, quickly ignited censorship fears on Reddit, which calls itself the “front page of the internet.” Reddit is banned in China under the country’s censorship laws. bit.ly/2Gl7J9E

Barring the latest funding, San Francisco, California-based Reddit has raised more than $250 million in three other funding rounds. Its last funding was on Aug. 1, at a valuation of around $1.8 billion. The company has over 20 investors, including Advance Publications, which owns Conde Nast, Reddit’s one-time parent company.

The company recently faced a user data breach where a hacker broke into its systems and accessed data, including current email addresses and a 2007 database backup containing old encrypted passwords. However, Reddit largely shrugged it off, saying the attacker gained read-only access to some systems that contained the backup data.

Reddit has more than 330 million average monthly active users, with 14 billion screenviews per month, as of Nov. 12, 2017, it said on its website.

Reporting By Aparajita Saxena in Bengaluru; Editing by James Emmanuel

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LendingClub forecasts bigger-than-expected first-quarter loss

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LendingClub forecasts bigger-than-expected first-quarter loss

(Reuters) – Online lender LendingClub Corp forecast a bigger-than-expected first-quarter loss on Tuesday, and revenue that missed Wall Street estimates, sending its shares down 5 percent in after-market trading.

FILE PHOTO: A Lending Club banner hangs on the facade of the the New York Stock Exchange in New York, New York, United States December 11, 2014. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

For the first quarter, the company expects net revenue between $162 million and $172 million, below analysts’ estimates of $181.2 million, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

LendingClub also forecast a first-quarter loss between $20 million and $15 million, compared to Wall Street estimates of a loss of $5.14 million.

For the full-year 2019, LendingClub forecast a loss that was bigger than Wall Street estimates. However, the company said it was targeting profitability on an adjusted basis in the second half of the year.

LendingClub CEO Scott Sanborn said in an interview that the lower-than-expected guidance was due in part to seasonal weakness in the first quarter and economic uncertainty both in the United States and overseas.

“There is a lot of uncertainty both globally and domestically,” Sanborn said.

He added that the company would focus on achieving profitability in the second half of the year by cutting costs through initiatives such as outsourcing some business processes.

The company plans to transition its loan servicing platform, to an off-the-shelf solution operated by a third party, Sanborn said. This would allow LendingClub to redeploy engineers to more “value-add” activities, Sanborn said.

LendingClub is one of the largest companies that operates an online platform that connects consumers looking for loans with individuals or institutional investors such as banks.

The San Francisco-based lender has been working to boost investor confidence since May 2016 when an internal investigation into loan malpractices led to the ouster of then-CEO and founder Renaud Laplanche.

Like other online lenders, it has also faced concerns from investors who fear companies in the nascent sector may struggle to grow fast while keeping the quality of their loans in check.

Excluding items, the company posted a smaller loss in the reported quarter on the back of higher loan originations which rose 18 percent to $2.87 billion.

LendingClub’s overall revenue rose 16 percent to $181.5 million.

The San Francisco-based company posted an adjusted loss of $4.1 million, or 1 cent per share, in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, compared to a loss of $7.3 million, or 2 cents per share, a year earlier. (reut.rs/2EiMdjC)

Reporting by Anna Irrera in New York and Bharath Manjesh in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Susan Thomas

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Image recognition startup ViSenze raises $20M Series C – TechCrunch

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Image recognition startup ViSenze raises $20M Series C – TechCrunch

ViSenze, a startup that provides visual search tools for online retailers like Rakuten and ASOS, announced today that it has raised a $20 million Series C. The round was co-led by Gobi Ventures and Sonae IM, with participation from other backers including returning investors Rakuten and WI Harper.

Founded in 2012, ViSenze has now raised a total of $34.5 million (its last round was a Series B announced in September 2016). The Singapore-based company, whose clients also include Urban Outfitters, Zalora, and Uniqlo, bills its software portfolio as a “personal shopping concierge” that allows shoppers to find or discover new products based on visual search, automatic photo tagging, and recommendations based on their browsing history. ViSenze’s verticals include fashion, jewelry, furniture, and intellectual property.

ViSenze’s latest funding will be used to develop its software through partnerships with smartphone makers including Samsung, LG, and Huawei. The company has offices in Asia, Europe, and the United States, and claims an annual revenue growth rate of more than 200 percent. Other startups in the same space include Syte.ai, Slyce, Clarifai, and Imagga.

In a statement, Rakuten Ventures partner Adit Swarup said “When we first invested in ViSenze in 2014, retailers had just started seeing the benefits of powering product recommendations with image data. Today, ViSenze not only powers recommendations for the largest brands in the world, but has helped pioneer a paradigm shift in e-commerce; helping consumers find products inside their favorite social media videos and images, as well as initiate a search directly from their camera app.”

Other participants in the round included returning investors Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) Ventures, Raffles Venture Partners, Enspire Capital, and UOB Venture Management, as well as new investors Tembusu ICT Fund, 31Ventures Global Innovation Fund, and Jonathan Coon’s Impossible Ventures.

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Tesla prepares to offer Model 3 leasing to boost demand: Electrek

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Tesla prepares to offer Model 3 leasing to boost demand: Electrek

FILE PHOTO: A row of new Tesla Model 3 electric vehicles is seen at a parking lot in Richmond, California, U.S. June 22, 2018. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

(Reuters) – Elon Musk’s Tesla Inc is preparing to launch its leasing products for Model 3 to boost demand, news website Electrek said on Tuesday, citing an email sent to employees.

The email stated that employees will be able to lease a Model 3 within the next two weeks, Electrek reported citing sources familiar with the matter.

The email did not say when consumers could lease the sedan.

A Tesla representative said that no decision has been made about when Model 3 leasing will be available.

Over the past year, Tesla has talked about using leasing to boost demand for the Model 3, but the automaker has been reluctant to introduce the measure because of its effect on GAAP financials.

Reporting by Rishika Chatterjee and Philip George in Bengaluru; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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