A List Of Startups Goldman Sachs Thinks Will Most Likely IPO | TechCrunch

So who are these white-hot startups then? Well here you go! (I might be missing one or two, so if you’re on this list or know of someone who should be on this list, please email me and I will put you/them on if your story checks out.)

In alphabetical order:
















Ness computing





Rent the runway

Rue la la



Specific media

Survey Monkey



Trunk Club



Warby Parker



Each startup presented for 30 min to an audience of about 60-80, except for the four or so smaller ones like Gogobot, who presented to all 500 people for 15 minutes. Goldman did a great job of curating the overall list, even though I would have added Spotify to the mix.

via A List Of Startups Goldman Sachs Thinks Will Most Likely IPO | TechCrunch.


Founded in 2007 by Mark Pincus and Eric Schiermeyer and located in San
Francisco, CA, Zynga is the largest social‐network game developer and has
generated over $1.5 billion in cumulative bookings since its inception. Zynga
develops browser‐based games that work both stand‐alone and as application
widgets on social networking websites such as Facebook and MySpace. Zynga’s
mission is to connect the world through games by making them easily accessible
as well as simple to play. As of September 2011, Zynga’s games have over 232
million monthly active users on Facebook. Four of the five most popular social
gaming applications on Facebook are Zynga games: CityVille, Empires & Allies,
Texas HoldEm Poker and FarmVille.  Zynga has approximately 2000 employees in 5
countries including China, Japan, Germany, Toronto and India.

Zynga filed with the SEC to raise up to $1 billion in an initial public offering on July
1, 2011.
According to AppData, as of June 30, 2011, Zynga has more monthly average users
on Facebook than the next 15 social game developers combined. Additionally, as
of June 30, 2011, Zynga has more daily average users than the next 30 social
games combined.
According to Zynga’s October 13, 2011 S‐1 filing, the company has users in 166
countries. The U.S. represents 66% of Zynga’s revenues with $343 million for the
six months ended June 30, 2011. No country other than the U.S. exceeded 10% of
Zynga’s total revenues. On October 11, 2011, Zynga announced plans to develop
“Project Z,” a platform for playing social games and chatting with friends powered
by Facebook Connect.  Zynga’s relationship with Facebook includes a five‐year
agreement to exclusively use Facebook credits. All covered Zynga games that use
Facebook integration must remain exclusive to Facebook for the duration of the
agreement, and Zynga is prohibited from releasing new games on an undisclosed
list of other social networks. Zynga is also required to notify Facebook of any new
games at least a week prior to their release. In return Facebook agrees to help
Zynga reach certain growth targets for monthly unique users of covered Zynga
games, and to share ad revenues with Zynga.
According to Zynga’s October 13, 2011 S‐1 filing, the company’s Q2 2011 revenue
was $279.1 million, an increase of 15% in Q2 2011 from Q2 2011. Zynga’s
advertising revenue increased $19.5 million or 227% from the six months ended June 30, 2010 to the six months ended June 30, 2011. The increase of advertising revenue is due to a $12.2 million
increase of in‐game offers, sponsorships and engagement ads. Zynga also disclosed it conducted a “third‐party”
valuation in August 2011 that assumed a $14.05 billion value for Zynga’s stock.


Founded in 2006 by Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone and Evan Williams, Twitter is an online
social networking and micro- blogging service that enables its users to send and
receive text-based posts called ‘tweets’ of up to 140 characters via Twitter’s
website, SMS, instant messaging, or email. Twitter is a real-time information
network that allows its users to connect to the latest information about anything
they find interesting. Twitter also allows businesses to connect to customers in
real-time. Businesses use Twitter to quickly share information with followers
interested in their products and services, gather real-time market intelligence and
feedback, and build long-term relationships with customers, partners and
influential people. Twitter is based in San Francisco and is used by people in nearly
every country in the world.
In the last five years, Twitter has gained a critical mass of over 200 million users
and a central role in the micro-blogging segment. Twitter generates over 200
million tweets and over 1.6 billion search queries a day. The majority of Twitter’s
revenues are driven by advertisements. In 2010, Twitter generated $45 million in
advertising revenue and is expected to generate $139.5 million in advertising
revenue in 2011. In 2011, 96% of Twitter’s advertising revenues will derive from
the U.S. however that figure is expected to decrease as the company’s
international advertising revenue becomes a greater revenue stream. According
to Twitter’s Chief Revenue Officer, Adam Bain, the company has 1,600 advertisers
using their platform to reach customers and currently has an 80% retention rate
with those advertisers.
Twitter continues to experience remarkable growth in registered users, tweets,
and advertising revenues. Twitter was valued at $8 billion in a recent funding
round ($400 million) led by Russia’s DST.


Founded in February 2004, Facebook is a privately-owned social networking
platform that helps people and companies communicate, socialize, understand,
engage and transact more efficiently and effectively with friends, family,
coworkers, employees, customers and relevant targets. Users may create a
personal profile, integrate with third party technology applications, develop
business and consumer technology solutions, add other users as “friends”,
exchange messages and engage in certain “social” activities.
Facebook is one of the world’s largest web platforms. According to Facebook, as
of September 2011 there are over 800 million active users and an estimated 138.9
million monthly unique U.S. visitors. We also estimate that Facebook is the
dominant social network in over 100 countries. According to Royal Pingdom,
Facebook has as many users today as the whole internet had in 2004.
The majority of Facebook revenues are driven by US display ads. Facebook
accounts for one of every three display ads in the US, making it the largest US
display advertiser (larger than Yahoo and Google). 2011 US display ad revenues
are independently forecast at around $2.2 billion with global ad revenues of $3.8
billion and total projected company revenues of over $4.3 billion. Facebook also
earns significant revenues through Facebook Credits, a virtual currency that
enables people to purchase items in games and non-gaming applications on the
Facebook Platform. Facebook retains 30% and developers get 70% of all revenue
earned through Credits. According to Reuters, Facebook experienced an
impressive 30% profit margin during the first half of 2011. For comparison,
technology giants like Microsoft and Google have over 33% profit margins, while
LinkedIn has a profit margin of 4.43%.

Blodget: Okay, Now I Understand The Wacky Silver Lake – Andreessen Deal For Yahoo, And It’s Actually Not So Bad

Frustration with Yahoo’s feckless board went into overdrive recently when the board began soliciting ideas, proposals, and offers from anyone who had them.

The whole process seemed designed to avoid solving Yahoo’s fundamental problems and instead come up with a transaction–any transaction–to save face before the board rinsed their hands of the whole affair.

And the frustration only grew with the report a few days ago that the board was “leaning toward” a seemingly bizarre proposal from private-equity firm Silver Lake that would involve issuing new stock at the current (demolished) share price and then basically returning control of the company to founder and former CEO Jerry Yang.

Taking the Silver Lake deal seemed outrageous for two reasons:

Yahoo doesn’t need cash, so the issuance of new stock (and the dilution of current shareholders) seemed absurd.  What Yahoo needs is great leadership, not financial engineering.

Jerry Yang is a great guy, but he has already had his crack at running the company, and it went badly.

But now, after talking to people familiar with the details of the Silver Lake proposal and Yahoo’s other options, I understand the situation better. And the Silver Lake plan actually appears to be the best option Yahoo has. (Details below).

For one thing, Yahoo’s other options aren’t exactly appealing. They appear to be threefold:

Yahoo’s other “bid” is reportedly a similar offer from private-equity firm TPG at a slightly higher stock price–a proposal that would not include the support of Andreessen Horowitz and Marc Andreessen, which is a major benefit of the Silver Lake plan. The details of TPG’s bid have not been reported (which itself is revealing). The firm is reportedly scrambling to enlist the help of another Valley kingmaker, Greylock’s Reid Hoffman, to sweeten its offer, but Reid does not appear to be exactly jumping up and down about the idea.

China eCommerce giant Alibaba, who wants Yahoo’s Asian assets, is rumored to be “preparing” a bid for the whole company at ~$20 a share, with the help of private-equity firms Blackstone and Bain. This sounds simple, but it also seems highly unlikely to actually be a good option. For one thing, Alibaba has now had months to “prepare” this bid and it hasn’t made it yet. This suggests that the bid may never actually materialize. (Raising ~$25 billion of cash in today’s economy would be no mean feat.) And even if the cash can be raised, it’s not clear that the deal would or could actually ever get done. We’re heading into an election year, and China fears and resentment are already running high. The idea that regulators would just rubber-stamp the sale of a major American corporation to a Chinese rival seems like wishful thinking, which means that the deal would likely be tied up forever. And, in the meantime, Yahoo’s core business would likely disintegrate.

More of the status quo. Yahoo’s board has given up, the company is in purgatory, and the competitive position of the core business grows weaker by the day. The idea of doing “more of the same” at this point, therefore, is highly unappealing.

So that leaves the Silver Lake proposal, which actually has a lot to be said for it, especially relative to the alternatives.

The Silver Lake deal, it turns out, is NOT a clever way for Jerry Yang to retake control of the company. In fact, although Jerry would remain a shareholder and board member, his control and influence would be diminished.  The current board–the root of Yahoo’s problem–would basically get canned. And the dilution caused by the issuance of new stock at the current stock price would be offset by a dividend or buyback program, so the transaction would not be such a punch in the face to current shareholders.

According to a person familiar with the details. there are six parts to the Silver Lake proposal:

  • A “PIPE” (private investment in public equity) transaction that would include Silver Lake and Andreessen Horowitz buying $3 billion of newly issued preferred stock in Yahoo at $16.60 a share and then raising an additional ~$3 billion in debt financing from banks and Microsoft. The cash injection, in other words, would total about $6 billion.
  • The distribution of some or all of this cash to current Yahoo shareholders in the form of a dividend or a stock buyback. The latter would offset the dilution from the preferred stock issuance.
  • A plan for Yahoo’s Asian assets that would allow the company to “unlock” their value. This plan would involve the cooperation of Alibaba, which Silver Lake has invested in and has been working with for months.
  • A plan for recruiting the right CEO to fix Yahoo’s core business. A specific CEO has not been tapped, but Silver Lake presumably has some names in mind. The new CEO would not be either Marc Andreessen or former OpenTable CEO Jeff Jordan. Neither of these two would take any operating or executive role at the company.
  • A completely restructured board of directors. This is the key. As part of the proposal, Silver Lake would appoint three new board members, one of which would be Marc Andreessen. The new board would also include 5-6 independent directors, which might or might not include some current board members. (The details by which these board members would be selected and approved are not yet clear. Presumably they would be mutually-agreed upon by the current board and Silver Lake.) Yahoo founder and former CEO Jerry Yang would stay on the board, with Silver Lake’s blessing, but he would not control it.
  • A general strategic plan to fix Yahoo’s core business. This plan does not call for a radical transformation of the company. Rather, it involves focusing the business, streamlining decision-making, and generally just helping the company execute better. The details of this plan would obviously be worked out with the company’s new CEO.

Now, the idea that Yahoo would issue $3 billion of new preferred stock at $16.60 a share when it doesn’t know what to do with the cash it already has is, understandably, deeply unappealing. A more palatable alternative would be to have Silver Lake buy $3 billion of common stock in the open market and accumulate its 20% stake that way.

But Silver Lake’s not about to do that.

Preferred stock has a major advantage over common stock in a situation like this, which is that its downside risk is limited. If Yahoo ever gets liquidated, Silver Lake will get all its money back before common stockholders see a penny.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/yahoo-andressen-silver-lake-deal-2011-12#ixzz1fQoBeMOn

via Okay, Now I Understand The Wacky Silver Lake – Andreessen Deal For Yahoo, And It’s Actually Not So Bad.

Facebook acquires Gowalla to boost Timeline team – Dec. 2, 2011

NEW YORK CNNMoney — Facebook has acquired location sharing service Gowalla for an undisclosed sum, according to a source close to Gowalla. Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Most of Gowallas employees, including founder Josh Williams, will move to Facebooks offices in Palo Alto. The team will work on Facebooks Timeline feature, which launched at this years F8 conference and is gradually rolling out to Facebooks 800 million members.

Launched in 2009, Austin-based Gowalla went head-to-head with direct rival Foursquare — and lost. Badly trailing Foursquare in user adoption, Gowalla recently shifted directions, recasting itself as a travel guide. The site had raised around $10 million over the years from backers including the Founders Fund, Greylock Partners and a collection of angel investors.

via Facebook acquires Gowalla to boost Timeline team – Dec. 2, 2011.

WISeKey Closes $35 Million Second Round of the Company’s Three-Tranche $110 Million pre-IPO Funding – MarketWatch

GENEVA, Switzerland, December 1, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — WISeKey announced it closed the second of its three-tranche $110 million pre-IPO financing round announced last year (goo.gl/qOPsC). The $35 million second-tranche includes $12 million raised over 15 months from new and current qualified investors. The third and final-tranche will start December 2011, with 12 million shares at an intended price of $6.00 per share. The Company value of $360 million increased from its $200 million valuation set during the April 2010 first-tranche fundraising round.

WISeKey intends the proceeds to advance deployment of its Digital Brand Protection technology WISeAuthentic ( http://www.wiseauthentic.com/ ) and WISeID Personal Data Protector, the mobile app using encryption technology to store private information ( http://www.wiseid.com/ ). WISeID and its website can encrypt messages, allowing privacy over communication services, even Facebook. WISeKey is also responding to demand for WISePhone ( http://www.wisephoneplus.com/ ), which enables smartphones to make encrypted voice calls within closed groups.

via WISeKey Closes $35 Million Second Round of the Company’s Three-Tranche $110 Million pre-IPO Funding – MarketWatch.

Google in Talks with Retailers to Take on Amazon [REPORT]

Google is talking to major retailers about a new plan to undermine Amazon by giving consumers who shop on the web an option to receive their orders within 24 hours for a low fee, according to a report.

Google has pitched the idea to Macy’s, Gap and OfficeMax, among others, according to The Wall Street Journal, which cited “people familiar with the matter.” A Macy’s rep told WSJ that Google “approached us with the idea, but we haven’t made any decisions.”

via Google in Talks with Retailers to Take on Amazon [REPORT].

British Intelligence Agency Recruits via Twitter and Facebook

It’s not the first time that GCHQ, the British intelligence agency, has appealed to talent via the gaming world. In 2009, it placed content in video games like Assassin’s Creed and Call of Duty. In 2007, digital posters appeared in online games such as Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Vegas and Splinter Cell Double Agent.

This time, however, the intelligence agency is being more selective with its audience. Rather than target video games, GCHQ has circulated an online game via Twitter and Facebook, as well as other blogs and social media sites in order to reach an otherwise elusive group. The motivation, according to GCHQ, is that they need to reach the code-crackers out there with incredible skills that are not being utilized because they area uncertain of how to translate their skills to a professional environment.

The British government is eager to recruit help for fighting cyber threats from terrorists, criminals and others. Once individuals solve the code, they are brought to a screen where they can apply for a position. Several people have already solved it, and the competition remains open until Dec.12

via British Intelligence Agency Recruits via Twitter and Facebook.

Accel Invests in Brazilian Review and Search Site – NYTimes.com

SÃO PAULO, Brazil — Accel Partners has invested in Kekanto, a local review and search site based here, reinforcing its interest in the booming Brazilian consumer Internet market.

Andrew Braccia, an Accel partner who is joining Kekanto’s board, said in an interview that over the last year he had seen “an acceleration of high-quality opportunities” in Brazil and no shortage of ambition. This is the fifth Brazilian company in which Accel has invested. The Kekanto investment — the size undisclosed — was made through Accel’s $500 million XI Venture fund.

Accel, which is based in Palo Alto, Calif., was introduced to Kekanto by one of the company’s initial angel investors, Florian Otto, the chief executive of Groupon Brazil. Accel is a Groupon investor.

via Accel Invests in Brazilian Review and Search Site – NYTimes.com.