Home » What’s Up: Week of March 22nd

What’s Up: Week of March 22nd

Turkish delivery firm Getir raises $300 million

Turkish rapid delivery company Getir had raised $300 million for international expansion in a funding round valuing the company at $2.6 billion.

Sequoia Capital and Tiger led the latest investment round. Istanbul-based Getir, established in 2015, says that through its app it can deliver thousands of grocery items “within minutes”, including eggs, ice cream, nappies and cat food. The company started operations in London two months ago.

Digital banking startup Greenwood raises $40 million

Greenwood, a digital banking startup, had raised $40 million from a host of U.S. financial institutions. They included Truist Financial Corp, JPMorgan Chase & Co, Bank of America Corp and Wells Fargo & Co. The startup will use the cash injection to build the business.

First announced in October, Greenwood was created to provide online banking services to help close the wealth gap faced by Black and Latino communities in the United States. It plans to offer services such as non-predatory loans, as well as the ability for customers to round up purchases and donate what they save to organizations aimed at advancing their communities.

Greenwood is one of several digital banks that have emerged over the past year focused on consumers and businesses that have traditionally been underserved by the mainstream financial sector. Other online banking startups include First Boulevard, Daylight and Cheese.

Founded by entrepreneur Glover, alongside Civil Rights leader Andrew J. Young and rapper and activist Michael “Killer Mike” Render, Greenwood has signed up more than 500,000 users to its waitlist since being announced.

The round was led by Truist Ventures, Truist’s corporate venture capital division.

Zhihu raises $523 million in U.S. IPO  

Chinese question and answer website Zhihu raised $523 million in its U.S. initial public offering (IPO) after pricing its shares at $9.50 each, reports Reuters.

The company, which has been described as China’s version of Quora, also raised $250 million in a placement to investors led by Alibaba and JD.Com affiliates.

Zhihu’s decision to list on the New York Stock Exchange comes as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) presses ahead with a plan for foreign companies which do not meet U.S. auditing standards to be delisted.

The move by SEC adds to the unprecedented regulatory crackdown in China on domestic technology companies which has increased the negative sentiment towards their stock prices.

In Hong Kong, Baidu Inc shares fell 5.4% Friday taking its two day loss to about 15%, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd dropped another 2.35%, and Netease Inc was down 2.2%. JD.Com bucked the trend and was trading 1.82% higher.

Self-driving truck startup Kodiak and China Hesai lidar partner up

Silicon Valley self-driving truck startup Kodiak Robotics and Shanghai-based lidar maker Hesai Technology Co Ltd announced a partnership to integrate the Chinese lidar into the autonomous trucking system, reports Reuters.

Laser-based lidar sensors help self-driving cars detect objects ahead and around the vehicle and are a key component to many self-driving systems. Kodiak will use a Hesai lidar on each side of the truck and will also keep one forward-facing Luminar lidar.

U.S. lidar maker Luminar Technologies earlier this month said it was partnering with SAIC Motor Corp, China’s largest automaker. Kodiak focuses on the software of autonomous driving and integrating hardware from suppliers.

The company was launched in 2018 to focus on long-haul trucking and delivers freight between the Dallas-Fort Worth area and Houston, operating autonomously on the highway.

Increasing deals with several big self-driving vehicle companies and momentum in the industry has helped Hesai increase it sales.

Printing firm Velo3D goes public at $1.6 billion valuation

Velo3D Inc will merge with a blank-check company backed by tennis star Serena Williams, in a deal that takes the 3D printing technology venture public at a combined value of $1.6 billion, reports Reuters.

Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam champion who joined Jaws Spitfire’s board in December to lend her expertise “as an entrepreneur, investor and brand-builder”, has long been an investor in early-stage companies.

She formed her own venture capital firm, Serena Ventures, in 2014 to back startups that “support diverse leadership, individual empowerment and creativity.”

Williams’ firm has invested in more than 50 companies with a total market value of $14 billion, including online learning platform MasterClass and tech company Propel. Silicon Valley-based Velo3D was founded in 2015 and supplies hardware and software in 3D printing technology to industrial clients, including aerospace manufacturer SpaceX.

After the merger is completed, the combined company will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “VLD”.