Porsche to make high-performance batteries in joint venture with Customcells

Luxury sports car manufacturer Porsche AG is going into the battery business. The automaker said Monday it plans to open a new factory that will produce high-performance cells through a joint venture with lithium-ion battery developer Customcells.

Porsche invested in “the high double-digit millions” in the new joint venture, dubbed Cellforce Group GmbH, executive board member Michael Steiner told reporters in a media briefing ahead of the announcement. The factory also benefited from a €60 million ($71.4 million) investment from the German government and the state of Baden-Württemberg, where it will be located. Chemical company BASF SE was selected to supply the cathode materials.

The batteries will use silicon as the anode material, which Porsche says will significantly boost the energy density and their capacity to withstand high temperatures – both important variables for racing cars, which must be recharged quickly, but challenging in battery production (batteries don’t tend to like getting very hot).

For that reason, the factory will be small scale, at least compared to other automakers such as the 35 gigawatt-hour “gigafactory” capacity at the Tesla and Panasonic joint facility in Sparks, Nevada or even its parent company VW’s plan to bring 240 GwH of production to Europe by 2030. Porsche and Customcells’ aim is an annual capacity of 100 megawatt-hours, or around enough batteries for 1,000 vehicles, starting in 2024. The initial workforce is expected to grow from around 13 people to up to 80 by 2025.

The automaker has no plans to scale the technology for use in Porsche’s more mainstream lineup of vehicles, Steiner said, though he noted that there may be a chance for higher volume in the future if the company sees a potential to bring down production costs. “In this market, we are looking for special purpose cells for high-end cars and motorsports, and this is not available in the market today,” he said.

It may be a challenge to scale this technology to passenger vehicles. The silicon anode-based cell chemistry has not shown the capacity to function in very cold conditions or to remain stable over many charging cycles, Porsche said in a statement. But it wouldn’t be the first time that a Porsche vehicle benefited from technology developed for the race track: its leading electric model Taycan borrowed many of its technical features from the Porsche 919 Hybrid racing car.

Although the first vehicles to use these batteries will be Porsche-made, Steiner said the technology will be made available to other brands in the Volkswagen Group, like Lamborghini or Bugatti.

“The battery cell is the combustion chamber of the future,” Porsche CEO Oliver Blume said in a statement Monday. “This joint venture allows us to position ourselves at the forefront of global competition in developing the most powerful battery cell and make it the link between the unmistakable Porsche driving experience and sustainability. This is how we shape the future of the sports car.”

Investor Michael Brown, newly elected to chair the powerful lobbying group NVCA, shares his agenda

Michael Brown, a longtime general partner with Battery Ventures, was just elected to the role of chairman of the National Venture Capital Association three years after joining its board of directors. Earlier this week, we caught up with Brown to ask about his new, year-long role with the 48-year-old trade group — and what issues he sees as top of mind right now for the many American VCs he is now representing.

TC: VCs are always concerned about tax treatments, but these are obviously even more top of mind, given Joe Biden’s proposal last month to raise the top rate on long-term capital gains to 39.6% from 20%. What do you think of that proposal?

MB: So you’re gonna hit me right in the face with a two-by-four on taxes in the first question, I love it.

This is the NVCA’s position, this is my personal position and if you ask most venture capitalists, this position is pretty widely held: what Biden is trying to do with the Build Back Better Plan . . . we are fully supportive of that and we are actively working with both the administration and policymakers in Congress to get done a lot of what he wants to get done. A lot of what he’s talking about — whether it’s the physical infrastructure, like bridges, roads, planes; or the digital infrastructure, meaning internet broadband access more broadly and cybersecurity; or climate infrastructure, [around] how we transition the economy and the country to a greener carbon-neutral or even carbon-negative world — venture capital is required to fund the entrepreneurs to do all of those things . . . It’s really almost hand in glove. He wants this to happen, we want it to happen, and we can help facilitate that [because] it’s not going to come from corporate America, we know that.

TC: To your point, the money does have to come from somewhere. Is there a number at which you would feel more comfortable?

MB: I don’t want to speak on behalf of the NVCA around what is our target rate. I will say that people in Congress and other talking heads talk about the revenue-maximizing rate in and around 25% to 28% . . . and I think that’s kind of where people feel it is reasonable to go to. What we do believe is that long-term investment should be rewarded and not disincentivized through tax structure.

What happened under the Trump administration, where they extended the time frame to three years [from one year] before you could receive long-term capital gains treatment, we were fine with that because we’re investing for longer than three years and I think having some time component to decide what is long term and what is not worked very well.

TC: Another topic that comes up time and again is the IPO market. It sure seems healthy right now. Will you have any suggestions for the current administration relating to taking companies public?

MB: We are obviously very supportive of the capital markets. That being said, if you look at the number of public companies today versus the number of public companies 20 years ago — and this is not just true of technology companies —  it’s roughly half the number. We think that’s a function of a few things. One is just how the capital markets function today — the ability to get research, etcetera, caused by [specific] legislation; regulatory issues; and just the burdens that a public company have versus a private company. You’ve also got other [rules] that have been passed over the last few years that impact the accessibility of the capital markets for private companies, and that’s why you’re seeing companies raise more money and stay private longer, which is not to the benefit of everyone.

TC: What reform here would you press for most immediately?

MB: Going back a ways now, in 2012, there was a piece of legislation called the Jobs Act that helped open up the public markets by addressing some of the risks and costs associated with going public and the regulatory burden. That needs to be updated. That’s something in particular that if we can modify it and make it current, it will help create that on ramp for smaller companies to access the public markets sooner and earlier.

TC: What do you think of SPACs, these special purpose acquisition companies that are being raised to take companies public, including, oftentimes by those companies’ own earlier investors?

MB: It’s good to have more alternatives and more ways for companies to access capital markets. That being said, those vehicles need to be appropriately regulated, and SPACs is one area where regulation has not kept up with kind of the realities on the ground. I think Chairman Gensler and even before him in the previous administration, [the agency] also felt like there needs to be better controls on the stock market.

One of the benefits of a SPAC is the ability to offer forward guidance. You can’t have that in an IPO or even a direct listing and I would not be surprised if the SEC comes out with either revised guidance and or a complete restriction on the ability to provide forward guidance. There’s probably something that should be done there, but we’ll see.

As for conflicts of interest related to the economics centered on investors buying companies within their own portfolio, I don’t know if there’ll be regulatory remedies for the conflicts. The SEC has the ability to review any of these [deals] if they want, but in the meantime, we’re seeing the market actually changing the economic terms. You’re seeing reduced promotes by the SPAC sponsors. You’re seeing reduced warrant coverage or even the elimination of warrant coverage. You have some SPACs that look like venture funds, where there’s really no promote but instead a success fee if the SPAC completes the merger and does well. You’re also seeing the vesting of the sponsor interest over a period of time, so they’re locked in over a longer-term horizon. The market is figuring out a lot on its own.

TC: The NVCA has long been pro-immigration. What are some of your proposals on this front? What would you like to see change or instituted?

MB: We took a very aggressive stance in the previous administration around the International Entrepreneur Rule and even [successfully] sued the Trump administration to have them enforce or at least roll out the rule, which enables the entrepreneur to come to the U.S. as long as they have a minimum number of dollars in financing to build their business here.

Look, we’re in a competitive market. If you look at venture capital 15 or 20 years ago, 85% of the dollars that were invested went to companies in the United States, and a lot of those went to companies founded by immigrant entrepreneurs. Today, that number stands at just over 50% [including because] founders who are coming here and getting educated and going back home and founding a company.

We want founders to start their companies here and grow their companies here to create jobs and spread the wealth. The International Entrepreneur Rule was a stopgap to ultimately what is called the Startup Visa, an official visa status that would enable entrepreneurs to come in and give them certainty that they can stay in the United States and start a company and build it. This is something that’s been in the works for a long time, and we’re hoping that Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren out of the 19th District of California will reintroduce this visa bill soon, so that we can put this as part of the Build Back Better Plan, because we need immigrant entrepreneurs to come here and start companies and employ the broader U.S. population.

If you think about the technologies that we used to get through COVID it was Zoom, it was Moderna, it was even Pfizer, dating back 100 years. All three were founded by immigrant entrepreneurs who came to the United States to start their business.

TC: Is this a role you volunteered to do? Is there a game of hot potato that happens amid the NVCA’s board of directors every year?

MB: [Laughs.] It is not just a hot potato that got passed. [NVCA president and CEO] Bobby Franklin and the outgoing chair discuss who they think would be good based on participation in board meetings and how engaged someone is with the things the NVCA is doing in Washington and who can be a good advocate for the industry and for the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

I think it’s a pretty cool time to have this job; intellectually, this is going to be super interesting, and it’s super important to the industry [because] these are big policy initiatives and we’re a very important part of the solution here, and that needs to be well-known and well-understood by the administration and Congress. That’s our mission.

Homebuying startup Flyhomes closes $150 million Series C

Amid a recent tear in residential real estate investment, venture capitalists are looking to get a piece of homebuying startup Flyhomes.

The five-year-old startup announced today that they’ve closed a $150 million Series C co-led by Norwest Venture Partners and Battery Ventures. Fifth Wall, Camber Creek, Balyasny Asset Management, Zillow’s Spencer Rascoff, and existing investors Andreessen Horowitz and Canvas Partners also participated in the round. Norwest’s Lisa Wu and Battery’s Roger Lee are joining Flyhomes’ board as part of the deal.

The end-to-end residential real estate startup says they handle “every step of the homebuying process, from brokerage to mortgage,” building financial tools that customers need throughout the process. The company has now raised some $310 million in total.

The startup is well-positioned during a historic run-up of home prices in the US that has made deals more competitive than ever for prospective buyers. A recent report by Redfin notes that more than half of US homes are selling above their asking price right now, up from 1 in 4 a year ago. A Zillow report notes that nearly half of US homes are selling within one week of going on the market.

Flyhomes’s Cash Offer lending product allows consumers purchasing homes to make more attractive all-cash offers to sellers, with the company noting that even if a buyer ends up backing out of the deal, Flyhomes will still buy the home themselves. Central to the startup’s business is sellers being more amenable to all-cash offers, allowing consumers making them to win deals even when they aren’t the highest bidders.

The company says it has bought and sold more than $2.5 billion worth of homes since launching in 2016.

Fashion wholesale marketplace Joor opens China office

Joor, an online marketplace that connects fashion brands and retailers around the world, has opened its first China office in downtown Shanghai as it eyes growth in the region.

The 11-year-old New York-based company works as a virtual showroom for brands, which traditionally would meet with their retail partners in physical venues to showcase the latest collections. With Joor, showrooms become live videos, a feature that has no doubt proven useful during COVID-19.

The company also gives brands a set of data tools to analyze their sales that can inform future productions. For buyers, the benefits are similar — they are able to see which brand or product is trending and make better forecasts.

The expansion into China follows a robust year for Joor in APAC and the opening of its offices in Melbourne and Tokyo. Joor’s wholesale volume ordered by retailers in the region grew 139% year-over-year in 2021, and wholesale volume for APAC-based brands was up 419%, the company said in an announcement.

“The establishment of JOOR Shanghai will allow us to provide frictionless wholesale management to the range of fine brands and retailers across the country,” said Joor’s CEO Kristin Savilia in a statement. “It builds on our existing leadership position in North America and Europe, and we expect continued expansion across the Asia-Pacific region.”

Joor’s marketplace boasts more than 12,500 brands and over 325,000 retailers around the world to date. The company has raised over $35 million in funding, according to its disclosed rounds. Its investors include venture capital firms Battery Ventures and Canaan Partners as well as the 71-year-old Japanese trading house Itochu.

HoneyBook raises $155M at $1B+ valuation to help SMBs, freelancers manage their businesses

HoneyBook, which has built out a client experience and financial management platform for service-based small businesses and freelancers, announced today that it has raised $155 million in a Series D round led by Durable Capital Partners LP.

Tiger Global Management, Battery Ventures, Zeev Ventures, 01 Advisors as well as existing backers Norwest Venture Partners and Citi Ventures also participated in the financing, which brings the New York-based company’s valuation to over $1 billion. With the latest round, HoneyBook has now raised $215 million since its 2013 inception. The Series D is a big jump from the $28 million that HoneyBook raised in March 2019. 

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit last year, HoneyBook’s leadership team was concerned about the potential impact on their business and braced themselves for a drop in revenue.

Rather than lay off people, they instead asked everyone to take a pay cut, and that included the executive team, who cut theirs “by double” the rest of the staff.

“I remember it was terrifying. We knew that our customers’ businesses were going to be impacted dramatically, and would impact ours at the same time dramatically,” recalls CEO Oz Alon. “We had to make some hard decisions.”

But the resilience of HoneyBook’s customer base surprised even the company, who ended up reinstating those salaries just a few months later. And, as corporate layoffs driven by the COVID-19 pandemic led to more people deciding to start their own businesses, HoneyBook saw a big surge in demand.

“Our members who saw a hit in demand went out and found demand in another thing,” Oz said. As a result, HoneyBook ended up doubling its number of members on its SaaS platform and tripling its annual recurring revenue (ARR) over the past 12 months. Members booked more than $1 billion in business on the platform in the past nine months alone. 

HoneyBook combines tools like billing, contracts, and client communication on its platform with the goal of helping business owners stay organized. Since its inception, service providers across the U.S. and Canada such as graphic designers, event planners, digital marketers and photographers have booked more than $3 billion in business on its platform. And as the pandemic had more people shift to doing more things online, HoneyBook prepared to help its members adapt by being armed with digital tools.

Image Credits: HoneyBook

“Clients now expect streamlined communication, seamless payments, and the same level of exceptional service online, that they were used to receiving from business owners in person,” Alon said.

Oz and co-founder/wife, Naama, were both small business owners themselves at one time, so they had firsthand insight on the pain points of running a service-based business. 

HoneyBook’s software not only helps SMBs do more business, but helps them “convert potentials to actual clients,” Oz said.

“We help them communicate with potential clients so they can win their business, and then help them manage the relationship so they can keep them,” Naama said.

The company plans to use its new capital toward continued product development and to “dramatically” boost its 103-person headcount across its New York and Tel Aviv offices.

“We’re seeing so much demand for additional services and products, so we definitely want to invest and create better ways for our members to present themselves online,” Alon told TechCrunch. “We’re also seeing demand for financial products and the ability to access capital faster. So that’s just a few of the things we plan to invest in.”

The company also wants to make its platform “more customizable” for different categories and verticals.

Chelsea Stoner, general partner at Battery Ventures, said her firm recognized that the expansive market of productivity tools to serve small businesses and entrepreneurs was “a market of discrete and separate productivity tools.”

HoneyBook, she said, is a true platform for SMBs, “providing a huge array of functionality in one cohesive UX.”

“It unites and connects every task for the solopreneurs, from creating and distributing marketing collateral, to organizing and executing proposals, to sending invoices and collecting payments,” Stoner said. “The company is constantly innovating and iterating in response to its members; we also see a lot of opportunity with payments going forward…And, due to Covid-19 and other factors, the company is sitting on pent-up demand that will accelerate growth even more.”

Billion-dollar B2B: cloud-first enterprise tech behemoths have massive potential

More than half a decade ago, my Battery Ventures partner Neeraj Agrawal penned a widely read post offering advice for enterprise-software companies hoping to reach $100 million in annual recurring revenue.

His playbook, dubbed “T2D3” — for “triple, triple, double, double, double,” referring to the stages at which a software company’s revenue should multiply — helped many high-growth startups index their growth. It also highlighted the broader explosion in industry value creation stemming from the transition of on-premise software to the cloud.

Fast forward to today, and many of T2D3’s insights are still relevant. But now it’s time to update T2D3 to account for some of the tectonic changes shaping a broader universe of B2B tech — and pushing companies to grow at rates we’ve never seen before.

One of the biggest factors driving billion-dollar B2Bs is a simple but important shift in how organizations buy enterprise technology today.

I call this new paradigm “billion-dollar B2B.” It refers to the forces shaping a new class of cloud-first, enterprise-tech behemoths with the potential to reach $1 billion in ARR — and achieve market capitalizations in excess of $50 billion or even $100 billion.

In the past several years, we’ve seen a pioneering group of B2B standouts — Twilio, Shopify, Atlassian, Okta, Coupa*, MongoDB and Zscaler, for example — approach or exceed the $1 billion revenue mark and see their market capitalizations surge 10 times or more from their IPOs to the present day (as of March 31), according to CapIQ data.

More recently, iconic companies like data giant Snowflake and video-conferencing mainstay Zoom came out of the IPO gate at even higher valuations. Zoom, with 2020 revenue of just under $883 million, is now worth close to $100 billion, per CapIQ data.

Graphic showing market cap at IPO and market cap today of various companies.

Image Credits: Battery Ventures via FactSet. Note that market data is current as of April 3, 2021.

In the wings are other B2B super-unicorns like Databricks* and UiPath, which have each raised private financing rounds at valuations of more than $20 billion, per public reports, which is unprecedented in the software industry.

With an ARR topping $250 million, LA’s vertical SAAS superstar ServiceTitan is now worth $8.3 billion

Who knew building a vertical software as a service toolkit focused on home heating and cooling could be worth $8.3 billion?

That’s how much Los Angeles-based ServiceTitan, a startup founded just eight years ago is worth now, thanks to some massive tailwinds around homebuilding and energy efficiency that are serving to boost the company’s bottom line and netting it an unprecedented valuation for a vertical software company, according to bankers.

The company’s massive mint comes thanks to a new $500 million financing round led by Sequoia’s Global Equities fund and Tiger Global Management.

ServiceTitan’s backers are a veritable who’s who of the venture industry, with longtime white shoe investors like Battery Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners and Index Ventures joining the later stage investment funds like T. Rowe Price, Dragoneer Investment Group, and ICONIQ Growth.

In all, the new $500 million round likely sets the stage for a public offering later this year or before the end of 2022 if market conditions hold.

ServiceTitan now boasts more than 7,500 customers that employ more than 100,000 technicians and conduct nearly $20 billion worth of transactions providing services ranging from plumbing, air conditioning, electrical work, chimney, pest services and lawn care.

If Angi and Thumbtack are the places where homeowners go to find services and technicians, then ServiceTitan is where those technicians go to manage and organize their own businesses.

Based in Glendale, Calif., with satellite offices in Atlanta and Armenia, ServiceTitan built its business to solve a problem that its co-founders knew intimately as the children of parents whose careers were spent in the HVAC business.

The market for home services employs more than 5 million workers in the US and represents a trillion dollar global market.

Despite the siren song of global expansion, there’s likely plenty of room for ServiceTitan to grow in the U.S. Home ownership in the country is at a ten-year high thanks to the rise of remote work and an exodus from the largest American cities accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A focus on energy efficiency and a desire to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will likely cause a surge in residential and commercial retrofits which will also boost new business. Indeed these trends were already apparent in the statistic that home improvement spending was up 3 percent in 2020 even though the broader economy shrank by 3.5 percent.

“We depend on the men and women of the trades to maintain our life support systems: running water, heat, air conditioning, and power,” said Ara Mahdessian, co-founder and CEO of ServiceTitan. “Today, as both homeownership rates and time spent at home reach record highs, these essential service providers are facing rising demand from an increasingly tech-savvy homeowner. By providing contractors with the tools they need to deliver a great customer experience and grow their businesses with ease, ServiceTitan is enabling the hardworking men and women of the trades to reach the level of success they deserve.”

Do we need so many virtual HQ platforms?

Teamflow, founded by ex-Uber manager Flo Crivello, has raised an $11 million Series A just three months after raising a $3.9 million seed for its virtual HQ platform. The latest round in the startup was led by Battery Ventures, with Menlo Ventures leading its previous financing event.

Teamflow’s raise comes just days after competitor Gather announced a $26 million Series A round led by Sequoia Capital. Another company, Branch, has raised a $1.5 million seed round from investors such as Homebrew and Gumroad’s Sahil Lavingia and is currently raising its Series A.

All these startups want to bring into the mainstream a game-like interface for people to toggle through during their work day. The reality is, all three companies (and dozens of others) likely can’t win. The winning difference lies in strategy, Teamflow’s Crivello tells me.

“I think in the early days, the biggest differentiator is going to be UX and our aesthetic,” he said. “A lot of the other players have a very gamified approach, and we’re big fans of that, but we think that people don’t want to have their [work] meetings in a Pokémon game.”

A tour through Teamflow’s office shows that the company is more focused on productivity than gamification. Integrations include a Slack-like chat feature as well as file and image sharing. It is working on an in-platform app store so users can download the integrations that work best with their team, Crivello said. There are games too.

Teamflow’s virtual HQ platform.

This focus has helped Teamflow gain traction with employers instead of event organizers, a more stable source of revenue per the founder. The company currently hosts thousands of teams within startups on its platform, wracking in “hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue.” Gather, a competitor, recently told TechCrunch that it gets the majority of its revenue from one-off events. Gather’s monthly revenue is currently $400,000, according to founder Philip Wang.

Gather, alternatively, looks and feels very different from Teamflow in that it is closer to the feel of Sims.

Gather’s virtual HQ platform.

Branch’s Dayton Mills said that it has been able to stay competitive through becoming “much more gamified.” It has added levels, in-game currencies and XP to encourage employees to customize their office space.

“Productivity isn’t broken, but culture, fun and social interaction is,” Mills told TechCrunch. “So when it comes to work and play we’re aiming to fix the play part, not the work. Work comes as a side effect.” Branch has not made revenue yet.

The next ambition for Teamflow is expanding its customer base beyond the hip experimental team at startups. Crivello noted that Zoom brings in about 40% of its revenue through enterprise sales, and Teamflow is resultedly “doubling down on enterprise readiness.”

The company will work on being compliant and upholding privacy standards so it can onboard healthcare and biotech companies, what it views as “buttoned up verticals” that might not want the other gamified approaches.

Crivello is clear about his vision for the startup: He wants to make it harder to move out of a virtual office than a physical office. If Teamflow can become an operating system of sorts long-term, adding on applications and bringing in a high quality of standards, it might be able to bring on a broader set of clients.

Understanding how investors value growth in 2021

We’re not digging into another IPO filing today. You can read all about AppLovin’s filing here, or ThredUp’s document here.

This morning, instead, we’re talking about an old favorite: software valuations. The folks over at Battery Ventures have compiled a lengthy dive into the 2020 software market that’s worth our time — you can read along here; I’ll provide page numbers as we go — because it helps explain some software valuations.

The Exchange explores startups, markets and money. Read it every morning on Extra Crunch, or get The Exchange newsletter every Saturday.

There’s little doubt that there is some froth in the software market, but it may not be where you think it is.

The Battery report has a lot of data points that we’ll also work through in this week’s newsletter, but this morning, let’s narrow ourselves to thinking about rising aggregate software multiples, the breakdown of multiples expansion through the lens of relative growth rates, and cap it off with a nibble on the importance, or lack thereof, of cash flow margins for the valuation of high-growth software companies.

We’ll look at the changing public market perspective, and then ask ourselves if the aggregate image that appears is good or not good for software startups.

I chatted through pieces of the report with its authors, Battery’s Brandon Gleklen and Neeraj Agrawal. So, we’ll lean on their perspective a little as we go to help us move quickly. This is our Friday treat. Or at least mine. Let’s get into it.

Rising multiples

Let’s start with an affirmation. Yes, software valuations have risen to record-high multiples in recent years. Here’s the Battery chart that makes the change clear:

Page 31, Battery report

EquityBee raises $20M to help startup employees actually afford their stock options

EquityBee, a stock option marketplace startup, has raised $20 million in a Series A round of funding.

Group 11 led the financing, which also included participation from Oren Zeev Ventures, Battery Ventures and ICON Continuity Fund. It brings the company’s total raised to over $28 million since its 2018 inception.

EquityBee CEO and co-founder Oren Barzilai says his company’s mission is to help educate startup employees on the meaning of their stock options, as well as provide them with funds to be able to purchase them.

“I have seen many of my friends and colleagues negotiate a $500 salary increase, but completely disregard their stock options package, from lack of knowledge due to the whole field of startup stock options being opaque,” said Barzilai, who also founded Tapingo, which was acquired by Grubhub in 2018 for $150 million. “As a founder I saw my team members who helped build the company not take part in our success because they left prematurely and didn’t exercise their stock options.”

The way it works is fairly straightforward. EquityBee provides capital to startup employees so they can purchase stock options. The employees get money to cover the cost of exercising their stock options and the taxes. The investors who helped provide the funding so they could do that get a return, or a share of the profit, if there’s “a liquidity event.” EquityBee makes money by charging an upfront fee from the investor on the investment day, as well as any carried interest upon a successful exit or IPO.

Barzilai said that many employees don’t realize they have about 90 days to exercise options before they expire once they leave a company. And even if they do, they may not always have the money to exercise them. That’s where EquityBee wants to help.

The company was originally founded in Israel before launching in the U.S. market, and moved its headquarters to Silicon Valley in February 2020. Since then, it’s funded employees from “hundreds” of companies, including Airbnb, Palantir, DoorDash and Unity, with capital provided by family offices, funds and high-net individuals. Its investor community is made up of 8,000 funds, family offices and high-net worth individuals.

2020 was a good year for EquityBee, according to Barzilai, who says it grew by more than 560% the amount of money it raised to fund employee stock options. It also saw a 360% increase in the number of individual employees funded through its platform.

Looking ahead, the 33-person company plans to use the money toward hiring and expanding product offerings.

Dovi Frances, founding partner of Group 11, said it doubled down on EquityBee after backing the company in its $6.6 million funding round in February 2020 because it’s impressed by what it described as the company’s “perfect product market fit” and triple-digit growth.

WeWork co-founder Adam Neumann led the company’s $1.5 million seed round in September of 2018.