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PayPal announces $530M commitment to support Black businesses, strengthen minority communities and fight economic inequality

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Funds will provide immediate financial relief, sustained support and long-term investment to expand economic opportunity for Black and underrepresented minority businesses and communities

PayPal  today announced a $530 million commitment to support Black and minority-owned businesses and communities in the U.S., especially those hardest hit by the pandemic, to help address economic inequality. As part of its investment, the company is bolstering its internal programs to further increase diversity, equity and inclusion within the PayPal community.

“For far too long, Black people in America have faced deep-seated injustice and systemic economic inequality. Black lives matter and we need to drive transformative change. We must take decisive action to close the racial wealth gap that sustains this profound inequity,” said Dan Schulman, president and CEO, PayPal. “PayPal is uniquely positioned to help in this area, and we are committed to doing our part to address the unacceptable racial divide by advancing a more just economy and society. We’ve listened to leaders in the Black community about the challenges facing Black business owners and the support and investments needed to sustain Black-owned businesses and create long-term economic opportunity. The holistic set of initiatives we are implementing are designed to help address the immediate crisis and set the foundation for sustained engagement and progress towards economic equality and social justice.”

The commitment includes short-term, medium-term, and long-term investments in the community:

  • $10 million fund for empowerment grants to Black-owned businesses impacted by COVID-19 or civil unrest. These grants will provide direct support to business owners to cover expenses related to stabilizing and reopening their businesses. The fund will be managed in partnership with Association for Enterprise Opportunity, a leading national nonprofit expanding economic opportunity for Black entrepreneurs through its Tapestry Project. Interested businesses can apply for a grant at aeoworks.org/paypalgrant/.
  • $5 million fund for program grants and employee matching gifts for PayPal’s nonprofit community partners that are working to strengthen Black business owners by providing them with microloans, technical assistance, information, mentoring and access to digital solutions to speed their recovery from the impact of the pandemic. Local partners are best positioned to know the needs of their communities and these grants are intended to catalyze and further empower the necessary work they are doing to sustain Black-owned businesses. Initial organizations receiving grants through the fund include Association for Enterprise Opportunity, Baltimore Business Lending, Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives Micro Finance Group, Expanding Black Business Credit Initiative, Kiva, MORTAR, Nebraska Enterprise Fund, Opportunity Fund, Rising Tide Capital, Start Small Think Big, Walker’s Legacy Foundation and Women’s Opportunity Resource Center. As part of this the company will expand the PayPal Gives Employee Matching Gifts program. PayPal will match $2 for every $1 employees donate and $10 for every volunteer hour dedicated to racial and economic justice efforts in local communities, up to $500,000.
  • $500 million commitment to create an economic opportunity fund to support and strengthen Black and underrepresented minority businesses and communities over the long term, and designed to help drive financial health, access and generational wealth creation. This initiative will include bolstering the company’s relationships with community banks and credit unions serving underrepresented minority communities, as well as investing directly into Black and minority-led startups and minority-focused investment funds. Startups and investment funds are invited to express interest to the PayPal Ventures team here.

“AEO advocates for economic inclusion and works to create transformational change in the marketplace for small businesses,” said Connie Evans, president and CEO, Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO). “Now, more than ever, it’s critical to invest in Black-owned businesses, create a more equitable system and break through the barriers that have historically challenged Black business ownership and wealth creation.”

PayPal is committing $15 million to strengthen its internal diversity and inclusion programs to foster greater awareness, build equity, and support recruiting, hiring and career advancement of Black and minority employees. This also includes increased funding for the company’s employee resource groups as well as supporting community partners through pro bono work and secondments by its employees.

These initiatives build on the extensive financial health and small business empowerment programs PayPal already supports. They will add a particular emphasis on Black-owned businesses, sharpen the focus of that work, accelerate the deployment of PayPal’s resources and fuel employee engagement. PayPal previously announced the company was donating $500,000 to organizations doing meaningful work to build toward racial equality, healing and reconciliation, including the Chicago Urban League, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Minneapolis African American Leadership Forum, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, National Urban League, Repairers of the Breach and The Empowerment Network.

About PayPal
PayPal has remained at the forefront of the digital payment revolution for more than 20 years. By leveraging technology to make financial services and commerce more convenient, affordable, and secure, the PayPal platform is empowering more than 300 million consumer and merchant accounts in more than 200 markets to join and thrive in the global economy.

About Association for Enterprise Opportunity
AEO is the leading voice of innovation for microbusiness and microfinance. We create economic opportunity for underserved entrepreneurs throughout the United States. We engineer transformational change through Research, Incubation, Convening & Advocacy to foster a robust and inclusive marketplace. For more information, visit aeoworks.org.


Source: https://techstartups.com/2020/06/12/paypal-announces-530-million-commitment-support-black-businesses-strengthen-minority-communities-fight-economic-inequality/

Start Ups

Druva raises $147M at a valuation north of $2B as the cloud rush continues

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Druva, a software company that sells cloud data backup services, announced today that it has closed a $147 million round of capital. Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), a group that manages Quebec’s pension fund, led the round, which also saw participation from Neuberger Berman. Prior investors including Atreides Management and Viking Global Investors put capital into the deal, as well.

Druva last raised a $130 million round led by Viking in mid-2019 at around a $1 billion valuation. At the time TechCrunch commented that the company’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) backup service was tackling a large market. (TechCrunch also covered the company’s $51 million round back in 2016 and its $80 million raise from 2017.)

Since then SaaS has continued to grow at a rapid clip, including a strong 2020 spurred on by COVID-19 boosting digital transformation efforts at companies of all sizes. In that context, it’s not surprising to see Druva put together a new capital round.

A recent tie-up between Dell and Druva, first reported in January of this year, was formally announced earlier this month. The selection of Druva by Dell could help provide the unicorn with a customer base to sell into for some time. TechCrunch wrote about Druva earlier this year, during the reporting process the company said that it had “almost tripled its annual revenue in three years.”

Its new round did include some secondary shares, which Neuberger Berman managing director Raman Gambhir described as difficult to snag during a call with TechCrunch. He explained that some of the secondary sales were due to some prior funds reaching their end-of-life cycle. Druva CEO Jaspreet Singh stressed that his backers are working to do what’s best for the company instead of merely maximizing their returns during a joint interview.

Singh told TechCrunch that business at Druva is accelerating. Normally we’d note that that sounds like IPO fodder, especially as Druva passed the $100 million ARR threshold back in 2019. However, as the company has been making IPO noise for some time, it’s hard to predict when it might pull the trigger. Our coverage of the company’s 2016 round noted that the company could go public within a year. And our coverage of its 2019 investment included Singh telling TechCrunch that an IPO was 12 to 18 months away.

It probably is, now, but that’s beside the point. With refreshed accounts, a market moving in its direction, and some early-investor relieved in its latest investment the company has quarters worth of time to play with. Still, Singh did stress that its new financing round did select investors that he said is building a long-term position; that’s the sort of verbiage that CEOs break out when they are building a pre-IPO cap table.

Gambhir told TechCrunch that his firm has already requested shares in Druva’s eventual IPO. Perhaps we’ll see Fidelity show up with a $50 million check in a few months.

Every startup that raises capital tells the media that they are going to use the funds to expand their staff, double-down on their tech and, often, invest in their go-to-market (GTM) motion. Druva is no exception, but its CEO did tell TechCrunch that his company currently has over 200 open GTM positions. That’s quite a few. Presumably that spend will help the company keep its growth rate strong in percentage terms as it does, finally, look to list.

This is yet another growth round for a late-stage, enterprise-facing software company. But it’s also a round into a company that had to move its operations to the United States when it was founded, at the behest of its investors per Singh. And Druva has done some pretty neat cloud work, it told TechCrunch earlier this year, to ensure that it can defend software-like margins despite material storage loads.

It’s an S-1 that we’re looking forward to. Start the countdown.

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Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/04/19/druva-raises-147m-at-a-valuation-north-of-2b-as-the-cloud-rush-continues/

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Start Ups

Seattle startup adyn raises $2.5M from 23andMe CEO and others for birth control prescription test

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adyn CEO Elizabeth Ruzzo. (adyn Photos)

Seattle startup adyn raised a $2.5 million seed round co-led by Lux Capital and M13. The company plans to launch its flagship birth control optimization test later this year and currently has a waitlist for early access.

Adyn’s test analyzes hormone levels to identify potential side effects for women — from acne to blood clots — caused by different methods of birth control. The flagship product for consumers will be an at-home test kit; users receive data and personalized recommendations through adyn’s platform and telemedicine appointments. The company then sends prescriptions directly to customers.

The startup is led by founder Elizabeth Ruzzo, who came up with the idea for adyn after she changed her birth control prescription and “was thrown into suicidal ideation.”

“Luckily, I recognized this was due to the change in medication,” said Ruzzo, who has a Ph.D in genetics and genomics from Duke University.

The company says 52% of women try four or more methods of birth control before finding one that works.

Other participants in the seed round include Y Combinator, Ascend.VC, and Madrona Venture Group’s Pioneer Fund, an angel investor program that operates as a feeder system for the firm. Individual investors such as 23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki and Ashley Mayer of Glossier also participated.

Investors are pouring more cash into women’s digital health startups, driven in part by the pandemic and acceleration of digital health services, Bloomberg reported Monday.

“Every incentive you could possibly want to serve the well being and health of the female identifying population, it’s acutely there,” said Julie Sandler, a managing director at Pioneer Square Labs, on a recent GeekWire Studios podcast episode of 2025: Tomorrow, Today. “When you’ve got an area like that, that has just been so historically, repeatedly and sustainably underserved, and under-invested over generations, that creates opportunity.”

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Source: https://www.geekwire.com/2021/seattle-startup-adyn-raises-2-5m-23andme-ceo-others-birth-control-prescription-test/

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Artificial Intelligence

UiPath raises IPO range, still targets lower valuation than final private round

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Robotic process automation unicorn UiPath is set to go public this week, concentrating our focus on its value.

The well-known company was last valued on the private markets at $35 billion in February when it closed a $750 million round. Living up to that price as a public company, however, at least when it comes to its formal IPO price, is proving to be challenging.

In a sense, that’s not too surprising given that the red-hot IPO market cooled as Q1 2021 came to a close. UiPath raised its last private round when the markets were most interested in public offerings and is now going public in a slightly altered climate.

In numerical terms, UiPath raised its IPO range from $43 to $50 per share, to $52 to $54 per share. That’s a 21% jump in the value of the lower end of its range, and an 8% gain to the value of the upper end of its per-share IPO price interval.

UiPath is also selling more shares than before, which should make its total valuation slightly larger at the top end than a mere 8% gain. So let’s go through the math one more time. Afterward, we’ll stack its new simple, fully diluted IPO valuations against its final private price, ask ourselves if our musings on the company’s recent profitability bore out, and close by asking where the company might finally price, and if we expect it to do so above its new price range.

UiPath at $54

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Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/04/19/uipath-raises-ipo-range-still-targets-lower-valuation-than-final-private-round/

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Start Ups

Mantra Health Adds Another $2M for Digital Mental Healthcare Clinics for College Students

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According to the NIH, 71% of college students reported that stress and anxiety had increased due to COVID. Some of the most common stressors identified were concern over personal and familial health, difficulty concentrating, disruptive sleeping patterns, and decreased social interactions.  However, only 5% of these respondents reported using mental health counseling services.  Mantra Health is a digital mental health platform that partners with universities and colleges to make mental healthcare accessible to these students.  The company offers at its core, a telehealth platform that provides students with access to licensed psychiatrists and therapy providers in the Mantra network and a back-end platform that allows the university to refer and monitor their students’ cases, supported by a robust EHR system.  Students can now access vetted providers in minutes rather than weeks without worrying about cost; payment is a blend of insurance and university-sponsored.  Mantra is live at campuses across six states presently with plans to provide nationwide coverage before the fall semester.

AlleyWatch caught up with Cofounder & CEO Ed Gaussen to learn more about the importance of making mental health accessible for college students, the company’s future expansion plans, and recent seed extension.

Who were your investors and how much did you raise?

Canaan Partners, City Light Capital, and Baleon Capital were amongst the investors. Additionally, we had some strategic angels, including Dr. Nitin Nanda, the founder of Aligned Telehealth, acquired by Amwell.  We just closed an extension of $2 million bringing our total seed funding to $5.2 million.

Tell us about the product or service that Mantra Health offers.

Mantra Health is a digital mental healthcare clinic that partners with colleges and universities that offer students both psychiatric and talk-based therapy.  Mantra enables colleges and universities to offer collaborative, closed-loop mental health services with continuity of care for students. We use telehealth technology to deliver evidence-based mental health treatment by integrating directly with on-campus counseling and health centers, with the mission of improving the mental health of young adults regardless of their physical location or ability to pay.

What inspired the start of Mantra Health?

During my time in venture capital, one of my siblings had to drop out of college because of mental health challenges. During his time in college, my cofounder had a life-changing experience seeing a counselor on campus. Our stories are amongst millions: most college students today aren’t receiving the care that they need, at a time that is so crucial and formative in their lives. Mantra was built out of the realization that a mental health epidemic exists amongst our generation’s young adults – one that is used to consuming services through elegant experiences that leverage technology.

How is Mantra Health different?

Historically, counseling centers have said only 40-50% of students make it to their first appointment when referred to a community provider, with an even lower percentage among rural schools. Mantra Health integrates with on-campus health and counseling centers, allowing on-campus providers to make referrals to both board-certified psychiatric specialists and licensed therapists affiliated with Mantra Health, as well as to collaborate on evidence-based treatment plans, coordinate the administration of care, and track patient progress over time. Through a mix of software and care navigation, Mantra has seen that referral success rate spike to 97% when referring students to a Mantra-affiliated provider.

What market does Mantra Health target and how big is it?

Our target market is colleges and universities in the US who combined currently have 20 million students enrolled. We’re currently in 26 campuses across 6 states and will be expanding to all 50 states and Washington, D.C. by the fall 2021 semester.

What’s your business model?

Mantra’s patient payment mix is currently 80% university-sponsored and 20% through insurance.  At the beginning of 2021, we started to accept UnitedHealthcare, Aetna, and Cigna. Our latest capital infusion will help us bring in additional insurance carriers later this year.

How has COVID-19 impacted your business?

Mental health issues including anxiety and depression were already at a crisis level across college campuses pre-pandemic, and the rate has skyrocketed once the pandemic started. As of April, we have a patient volume of about 100 times more than this time last year.  COVID-19 has also put a spotlight on the nation’s racial and social inequities which also affect young people’s mental health.  Our off-campus referral program helps on-campus counselors match students to a pool of providers with more diverse backgrounds and specializations to ensure that students have access to a culturally competent clinician.

What was the funding process like?

Fundraising levels have certainly picked up towards the end of last year, and there is no shortage of interest in digital health from VCs and angels. This round was raised opportunistically as we look to raise a larger Series A in the near future. As ex-venture capitalists, both Matt and I had a chance to build a network and the know-how to manage a tight process. We ended up combining existing investors who were excited to increase ownership, as well as new strategic investors who we think, will add enormous value for Mantra. From initial conversations to closing, the full process took about three months.

What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?

The biggest one is always to balance operations with fundraising. It is easy to get sidetracked in taking new investor calls, especially when many have an attractive profile. But it is crucial to give yourself a clear timeline, stick to it, and cap the number of calls you’re willing to take.

What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?

We think the tailwinds behind Mantra’s core business are extremely attractive. The pandemic has exacerbated the state of mental health amongst young adults, and with campuses shutting down, there has been a massive, overnight shift towards telehealth in Higher Ed. By a verticalized approach that is clinically informed, combined with the experience of our team and the quality of our backers, we think we’re perfectly positioned to dominate this market.

We think the tailwinds behind Mantra’s core business are extremely attractive. The pandemic has exacerbated the state of mental health amongst young adults, and with campuses shutting down, there has been a massive, overnight shift towards telehealth in Higher Ed. By a verticalized approach that is clinically informed, combined with the experience of our team and the quality of our backers, we think we’re perfectly positioned to dominate this market.

What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?

We’re planning to use the funding to expand our network and gain licensure of psychiatric and therapy providers to all 50 states and Washington, D.C. in time for the Fall 2021 semester. Additionally, we are continuing to sign and support contracts with health insurance carriers across the country to increase access to evidence-based mental healthcare for the 20 million post-secondary students in America. This move will help increase payment options for colleges and universities and increase continuity of care for students during seasonal breaks and after graduation.

What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?

Start building relationships early with the right investors and have a clear handle on your runway. Try to get a clear understanding of the milestones you need to raise your next round, and give yourself some specific target dates.

Where do you see the company going now over the near term?

We’re going to stay laser-focused on becoming the leading digital mental health clinic for young adults. We spent a lot of time in the early days to build the best solution in the market, working hard with college mental health experts that have years of experience in this field. The near term for Mantra is about growth and onboarding new schools as we leverage our insurance billing capabilities.

What’s your favorite outdoor dining restaurant in NYC

As a Swissman, I’ll vote for Cafe Select on Lafayette. I’m biased, but good food and always a good atmosphere.


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Source: https://www.alleywatch.com/2021/04/mantra-health-digital-mental-healthcare-teletherapy-college-students-ed-gaussen/

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