I knew it wouldn’t be long before #NotAllRealEstateStartups
became a thing.
Compass, a New York real estate startup valued at $ 6.4
billion, had been rumored to be eyeing
an IPO. But following the WeWork saga, the SoftBank-backed brokerage is now
busy outlining the differences between itself and the other real estate behemoth.
Kristen Ankerbrandt, the CFO of Compass, sent employees an
eight-point memo to relieve their worries. For one, she noted Compass has
no debt and is valued at a revenue multiple comparable to traditional publicly
traded real estate companies. She also boasted about Compass’ wide array of
investors, including Dragoneer Investment Group and Qatar Investment Authority.
In other words, they haven’t put all of their eggs in the SoftBank
But my personal favorite point of difference? Ankerbrandt
highlighted that Compass has a frugal leadership team that “books coach tickets
and does not fly on private jets.”
Nothing says “We’re not WeWork” like a coach class ticket on a commercial airline.
A DESIGNER UNICORN: While no one was looking,
Australia-based online design platform Canva raised $ 85 million at a valuation
of $ 3.2 billion. Investors include Bond Capital, General Catalyst, Bessemer
Venture Partners, Blackbird and Sequoia China.
You might remember we wrote about Canva earlier this year
when it raised $ 70 million in funding at a $ 2.5 billion valuation. It was Mary
Meeker’s first investment out of Bond Capital, the new firm she and her partners
launched after spinning out of Kleiner Perkins last year.
Armed with fresh funding, Canva hopes to launch an
enterprise product that will offer a brand kit, marketing and sales templates,
and a dashboard to manage teams and assign roles. Roughly 85% of Fortune 500
companies use Canva’s services, and the company boasts more than 20 million
monthly active users.
The funding also makes Canva, co-founded by 32-year-old CEO
Melanie Perkins, one of the most valuable female-led technology startups in the
A CEO’S CALL FOR REGULATION: This morning, The
New York Times published an op-ed by Foursquare CEO Jeff Glueck, in
which he calls on Congress to regulate the location technology industry. Well,
that’s funny, you might think, isn’t Foursquare one of the largest location
Yes it is. Foursquare launched in 2009 as a consumer app
that allowed users to “check in” and share their location with friends, but it
later pivoted to an enterprise player to provide location data and software to
Now, its CEO writes that location data can be abused. Glueck
“There are no formal rules for what is ethical — or even
legal — in the location data business. We could all take a Hippocratic oath for
data science (as in medicine: “First do no harm”), and hope that living by such
an oath would curb abuses. But even in the best of circumstances, that oath is
“It’s time for Congress to regulate the industry.”
His column calls for a privacy law that should include the
following three components:
- Apps on mobile devices should not be allowed to ask for location data unless they offer the user a clear enhanced service that depends on that data;
- A new privacy law must require greater transparency for what consumers are signing up for, and ways that their data will be used or shared, not just buried in terms and conditions;
- A privacy law must establish the obligation and duty on those collecting location data (even with consent) to “do no harm,” or a Hippocratic Oath.
I’ve met Glueck several times, and he’s hyper-aware of
people’s growing skepticism around how their data is used by private companies.
It’s a smart move for Foursquare to take the lead and work with Congress on
regulation that will affect the company’s future. If you’re a tech giant in an
industry ripe for regulation, now is not the time to bury your head in the sand.
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