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Have a nice Saturday everyone. I hope that you are in good spirits and in good health. I’m learning to take naps, something that has become a requirement in my life after realizing that the message cycle will never slow down. And because my partner and I have adopted a third dog who likes to get up early, please take an adult nap with me so we can all rest for the vaccination summer. It’s almost there.
On work topics, I have a few things for you today, all of which concern important data points: M&A data for the first quarter of 2021, March VC results from Africa, and some surprising (at least to me) podcast numbers.
The first time, Dan Primack shared some first quarter data points through Refinitive that I wanted to share. According to the financial data firm, global M&A activity totaled $ 1.3 trillion in the first quarter of 2021, a 93% increase over the first quarter of 2020. In the first quarter, the US M&A Activity an all time high. Why do we care? Because the data underlines how hot the last three months have been.
I expect the venture capital data for the quarter will be similarly impressive. But as everyone is remarking this week, there are some cracks in the IPO market early in the second quarter that could turn the second quarter of 2021 into a whole different beast. Not that the venture capital world is slowing down, especially considering Tiger just reloaded $ 6.7 billion.
On venture capital, Africa-focused data company Briter Bridges reports that “in March alone, over $ 280 million was invested in technology companies operating across Africa,” which is partly due to “Flutterwaves’ a whopping $ 170 million in one Valuation of $ 1 Billion “is due.
The data point is important as it represents the most active March the continent of Africa has seen in terms of venture capital since at least 2017 – and I would ever guess it. African startups tend to raise more capital in the second half of the year, so the March result is not a record for a single month. Even so, it’s bullish and helps bolster our general belief that the first quarter venture capital results could be great.
Finally, Index Ventures’ Rex Woodbury tweeted some Edison data stating, “80 million Americans (28% of the US population age 12 and older) are weekly podcast listeners, + 17% year-on-year.” 62% of the US population over 12 (approximately 176 million people) are online weekly audio listeners “.
As we discussed on Equity this week, the non-music streaming audio market is being used by a wide variety of gamers given Clubhouse’s success as a consumer breakout social company over the past few months. These data points back up the bets from Discord and Spotify and others. People love to listen to other people talk. Far more than I would have imagined as a music first person.
How nice it is to be back to a time when consumer investments are decent. B2B is great, but not everything can be Enterprise SaaS. (In particular, however, it appears that the clubhouse is struggling to hold onto its own hype.)
I can’t keep up with all the damn venture capital rounds
TechCrunch was early stage this week, which went pretty well. But having an event meant I did fewer laps this week than I would like. So here are two I would have guessed if I had the free hours:
- Striim’s $ 50 million Series C. Goldman directed the transaction. Striim, pronounced Stream, I believe is a software startup that helps other companies move data in real time in their cloud and on-prem setups. Given the activity of the data market today, I expect the TAM for Striim to be deep. Fast flowing? You can provide a better stream-centric word at will.
- Kudo’s $ 21 Million Series A. I covered Kudo last July when it grossed $ 6 million. The company offers video chat and conferencing services with real-time translation support. It had a good COVID era as you can imagine. Felicis topped the A after taking part in the seed round. I’ll see if I can extract some new growth metrics from the company next week. One to watch.
And two more rounds, which you might have missed, shouldn’t be. Holler raised $ 36 million on a Series B. According to our own Anthony Ha[y]You may not know what conversational media is, but there’s a good chance you used Holler’s technology. For example, if you’ve added a sticker or GIF to your Venmo payments, Holler actually manages the app’s search and suggestion experience for that media. “
I feel old.
And in case you don’t pay enough attention to Latin American technology, this $ 150 million Uruguayan round should help you remedy the situation.
Different and different
Finally some good news this week. If you’ve read The Exchange for any length of time, you’ve had to make me gossip about the Bessemer Cloud Index, a basket of public software companies that I treat with oracular respect. Now there is a new index on the market.
Meet the Lux Health + Tech Index. According to Lux Capital, it is an “index of 57 listed companies that together best represent the rapidly emerging health + tech investment theme.” Sure, this is branded in that, similar to the Bessemer collection, it has a certain focus the backing venture capital firm is tied. However, as with the Bessemer collection, the new Lux Index will track how a particular venture company itself tracks public payments for its portfolio.
That’s a useful thing. More of that, please.