FTX, the crypto exchange founded by 29-year-old Sam Bankman-Fried, announced on Tuesday that it had raised $900 million in series B financing, implying a valuation of $18 billion.
“I’m incredibly humbled by the support we’ve gotten,” Bankman-Fried said in a statement. “It’s our first large fundraise, but through it we’ve formed a hugely valuable set of partners.”
The fundraising round drew in high-profile participants including Masayoshi Son’s SoftBank, Paul Tudor Jones, and Sequoia Capital.
Alfred Lin, a partner at Sequoia, said in a statement that Bankman-Fried was the “perfect founder” for FTX, which could soon “become the leading financial exchange for all types of assets.”
Though a touch lower than the $20 billion Bankman-Fried had previously sought, the valuation has come on the back of startling growth. FTX, founded in 2019, saw its average daily trading volume shoot up 11-fold between October and April of this year. The exchange now handles more than $10 billion in volume on an average day.
The real estate and construction industries are undergoing a major tech transformation, as startups touting everything from online home-buying to interactive office management software attract millions of dollars in venture funding.
While the property technology space, known as proptech, grew in size and dollars raised year over year, it has exploded during the pandemic. Stragglers who hadn’t yet adopted digital workflows were forced to, and venture capitalists have been pouring money into the firms offering compelling new products in residential real estate, commercial real estate, construction tech, and short-term rentals and hospitality.
Insider has collected 16 pitch decks that the most successful firms have used to raise funding from VCs and private equity firms.
Check out the full collection below. And bookmark this page, because we will continue to update it with new pitch decks.
Residential real estate
Residential real estate, more than any other segment of the market, has been on fire during the pandemic, with home prices and rents in almost every corner of the country skyrocketing. Venture investment into the tech that powers the industry – and helps take it online and streamline formerly tedious processes – has followed. Startups that help investors purchase and manage homes from afar, tools for residential brokers and leasing agents, and digital closing companies that digitize paper-heavy real estate transactions have all raised impressive sums.
Even though COVID-19 has left many offices partially filled and retail stores vacant, startups that help companies make their spaces virus-safe – by, say, keeping track of social distancing or monitoring building ventilation – became extremely important. Firms that promised to reduce friction (and costs) in day-to-day operations by digitizing them also attracted venture investment.
Early in the pandemic, hospitality businesses stalled as travel halted across the globe. Once things opened back up, short-term rental companies with rural locations or a presence in smaller cities started to see the reservations – and funding – pour in. As a vaccinated travel boom looms, the tech-enabled companies rivaling Airbnb that enable flexible tourism, digital nomadism, and remote work are poised to benefit.
Former President Donald Trump and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham are teaming up to raise money for their political group and other Republican interests with a Florida golf tournament.
The Trump Graham Golf Classic, which will be held at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach on May 2, will cost participants $25,000 each. The fundraiser will benefit a few GOP political action committees and the Senate Republicans’ campaign arm, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, according to a Monday email announcement.
Graham has had a rocky relationship with the former president, who he once called a “kook” and “unfit for office,” and he criticized Trump’s attempts to overturn the presidential election. But the senator, who was largely a staunch Trump ally over the last four years, has since cozied up to the former president again and positioned himself as a leader of the MAGA movement.
The senator, a longtime golf partner of Trump’s, recently argued that Trump will remain an integral part of the GOP going forward.
“If he ran, it would be his nomination for the having,” Graham said of the former president in an interview earlier this year. “I don’t know what he wants to do. Because he was successful for conservatism and people appreciate his fighting spirit, he’s going to dominate the party for years to come. The way I look at it, there is no way we can achieve our goals without Trump.”
He told Fox News’ Sean Hannity in February, “We don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of taking back the majority without Donald Trump. If you don’t get that, you’re just not looking.”
In addition to being the CEO of ThirdLove, I am an active angel investor – predominantly in consumer-focused women-led startups. As an angel investor, I am always receiving inbound pitches from founders looking to raise their pre-seed, seed, and Series A rounds.
Despite what the pandemic has done to businesses, the economy, and society as a whole, there has been no slowdown in deal flow for early-stage investors. If anything, the general consensus in the entrepreneurship community is that now is a terrific time to start a company – because there are an abundance of problems still to be solved in the world.
That said, just because a lot of entrepreneurs want to start a business doesn’t mean they all receive funding.
As an angel investor and someone who has built and is still running a company that is scaling, there are a few things I look for in every founder and startup I invest in. So if you are starting a business, thinking about starting a business, or already well on your way and looking to raise your next round, here are a few things I encourage you to do to build excitement and successfully raise funding.
1. Make your business easy to understand. Do one thing, and do it extremely well.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. One of the biggest reasons entrepreneurs struggle to raise money is because they can’t decide which one of their ideas is their “core competency” and, as a result, try to build them all.
What this does, however, is make it very difficult for customers, investors, and even employees to get a firm grasp on what it is the business actually does. What’s the goal? What’s the one thing the business will be known for? What’s the problem, what’s the unmet need, and (in a single sentence) what’s the solution? Bam, bam, bam.
If you can’t explain what problem your business solves, how, and why, in a sentence or two, then chances are you aren’t quite sure either. And if you aren’t 100% sure of what problem your business is solving in the world, investors aren’t going to know what they’re investing in.
2. Become close to profitable before trying to raise money
Almost all the investments I’ve made over the past few years have been in companies that were profitable or very close to profitable.
This isn’t true for every angel investor (there are plenty of investors in Silicon Valley who bet on companies knowing they won’t be profitable for many, many years). But since I primarily focus on consumer businesses, I expect the founding team to have already made a bit of money before seeking additional investment. The reason is that, in 2021, it has never been easier to beta test consumer products, gather feedback from customers, and start generating revenue on the Internet.
Once that milestone has been reached, and the team has gathered some data around their unit economics, customer acquisition costs, and so on, the business becomes much more investable – because now, as an investor, I know my money is being used to accelerate something that’s already working.
3. Show you have the energy and dedication to build a meaningful company
At the end of the day, angel investors bet on founders and founding teams.
I have certainly made a few investments that bet much more on the founder than on the business. I call these types of founders “hustlers,” because something about their energy tells you they are willing to do whatever it takes to build a business. They might need to go through a few different iterations to get there, but they are determined to get there.
A few signals I look for:
The founders have great energy, and a true passion for what they are building and how they are helping consumers.
The founders have some sort of unfair advantage, such as access to other influential people, a large social media following, a unique combination of skill sets, etc.
The founders are good listeners, they are curious, and they showcase grit.
That said, at the end of the day, your business needs to make sense for investors to get on board. Very few angels will “take a chance” on someone just because that person is excited about entrepreneurship (and those angels are almost always family members or family friends). The real way to determine whether or not your business is investable is if you share what you’re working on with someone and they immediately say, “I love it. How can I help?”
That’s a sign you’re on to something, and your business is ready to move to the next level.