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Used-car marketplace Vroom nabs $254M to take its growth up a gear

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There have been a lot of bumps in the road for startups building used-car marketplaces, but now one of the longer-standing of them has closed a major round of funding — a clear sign of the mileage left in this category. Vroom has raised $254 million, a Series H that it plans to use to keep scaling the business, and specifically also to expand a product and engineering hub based out of Detroit.

Vroom is based out of New York but operates across the U.S., and its platform has to date been used by more than 250,000 buyers and sellers, according to the company. It has some 3,000 vehicles listed at any time, covering some 400 makes and models, and the company tells me that it has seen “triple-digit growth in shipped unit sales” since last year.

Vroom declined to comment on its specific valuation, but a source close to the startup confirmed it is an up round. For some context, Vroom last raised money almost exactly one year ago, $146 million, which came in at a post-money valuation of $796 million, according to PitchBook. Putting that together with this being an up round, that would, on a basic level, now put Vroom’s valuation at more than $1 billion.

This latest round of funding is being led by Durable Capital Partners LP, with participation also from funds advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, L Catterton and others that are not being named.

Vroom has now raised a total of $721 million since it launched in 2013. Previous investors have included General Catalyst, Altimeter Capital and Allen & Co.

Vroom is led by former Priceline.com CEO Paul Hennessy, and the plan is to use the injection of capital to hire more employees, particularly for product and engineering jobs. Vroom said it expects in 2020 to “significantly increase” staff at its Detroit office.

The Detroit hub opened in August 2019 and is a symbolic as well as practical location: it’s the center of the U.S. automotive industry, making it a prime place for Vroom to recruit talent and build inroads in with carmakers and others.

“This new round of funding provides the necessary resources to further grow and scale our business,”  Hennessy said in a statement. “We are thrilled to receive continued support from investors and partners, reinforcing the Vroom model as a tremendous opportunity to bring about a fundamental and enduring change in the used vehicle industry.”

More funding, indeed, is critical in what is a capitally intensive business, and for Vroom itself, it’s a sign of how its restructuring appears to be paying off. Back in 2018, Vroom laid off about 30% of its staff after a failed attempt at building brick-and-mortar car dealerships, amid a time when we were seeing several other problems hit its competitors.

Hennessy noted that using a try-anything and staying flexible approach has been a critical part of why it has managed to keep its engines running when so many others have stalled.

“We’ve taken a disciplined, asset-light approach to scaling our business. Where it makes sense for us to fully own part of our operation, like the development of our e-commerce platform, we do that. If it makes sense for us to work with others to scale our operations efficiently, like through partnerships for third-party reconditioning, we do that,” he told TechCrunch via email. “This approach gives us the flexibility to quickly adapt to market changes and consumer demand and has been instrumental in our growth.”

Vroom has focused its efforts since the layoffs on building out its leadership team. Vroom has added several executives in recent months, including Dave Jones, who spent more than a decade at Penske Automotive Group and recently joined as its chief financial officer.

The lead investor in this Series H is notable. Durable Capital Partners is the new fund led by former star T. Rowe Price portfolio manager Henry Ellenbogen, and the firm has now started investing in earnest.

This is the second investment it has made in the wider transportation category, after taking part in a $400 million round for Convoy. It also invested in a fintech startup Rapyd, which is moving into logistics now. All three of these investments have been announced in the space of a month.

Ellenbogen first became familiar with the company because T. Rowe Price made an investment in 2015.

“I’ve worked with the Vroom team for years and I’m pleased to announce that it is one of the first companies that my new firm is investing in,” he said in a statement. “We’re very excited to be a part of the future of automotive retail and support Vroom in its efforts to move the car buying and selling process online for consumers across the country.”

Vroom was part of a wave of online used marketplace startups that launched about seven years ago. Several of these companies have shuttered, while others such as Shift and Carvana have survived and even scaled.

Carvana became a public company in 2017 and its market cap is currently around $13 billion. In the meantime, others have waded into the field with alternative business models, such as Fair.com and its approach of “flexible” car ownership that looks similar to leasing (and these new players have faced their own challenges).

The center of Vroom’s business is an e-commerce platform that handles the entire transaction for buyers and sellers of used vehicles.

Vroom’s platform gives customers who want to sell or trade in their vehicles real-time appraisals, loan payoffs and at-home vehicle pickup. The company reconditions the vehicles it takes possession of and then includes them on its online catalog.

Buyers can get financing through a number of lending partners that Vroom has partnered with, including Capital One, Ally and, more recently, Chase. Once the sale is complete, Vroom delivers the vehicle directly to customers’ doorsteps in the U.S.

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2019/12/06/online-used-car-startup-vroom-raises-254m-to-scale-product-and-engineering-hub/

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Coinbase Custody selected by 21Shares for Bitcoin ETP

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Coinbase

Today we’re proud to announce that 21Shares AG has chosen Coinbase Custody to store its digital assets for its Bitcoin ETP. 21Shares AG is listing its 21Shares Bitcoin ETP (ISIN: CH0454664001 — WKN A2T64E) on the Deutsche Börse’s Xetra electronic venue on Thursday July 2nd 2020. Coinbase Custody will serve as custodian for the underlying assets of their Bitcoin ETP.

21Shares selected Coinbase Custody after reviewing our institutional-grade offline storage solution, which includes world-class security, regulatory compliance and insurance coverage. Coinbase is committed to serving a wide spectrum of institutional clients and we are excited to be the chosen custodian for the 21Shares Bitcoin ETP, Europe’s first physically-backed bitcoin ETP.

Hany Rashwan, CEO at 21Shares AG, says, “21Shares is delighted to bring this historic product to Europe. We are honored to give investors access to the best performing asset class of the last decade and we believe the next ten years as well, through our simple, transparent, and regulated crypto ETP product suite.”

Coinbase Custody is the world’s largest and most trusted crypto custodian. To learn more about Coinbase Custody click here.

Source: https://blog.coinbase.com/coinbase-custody-selected-by-21shares-for-bitcoin-etp-a1b5dd380694?source=rss—-c114225aeaf7—4

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Compound (COMP) is now available on Coinbase Earn

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Coinbase

Earn COMP while learning how to borrow crypto and earn interest with Compound

Coinbase’s mission is to create an open financial system, where anyone in the world can participate on equal terms from their computer or smartphone. To bring this vision to life, we’ll need to make blockchain technology more accessible, both in the sense of making cryptocurrencies easier to obtain and easier to understand.

Coinbase Earn is a trusted source where customers all around the world can educate themselves about new developments in crypto and earn assets as rewards. Starting today, Coinbase customers can start earning Compound (COMP) by watching lessons and completing quizzes about the Compound protocol and its governance token COMP.

Compound (COMP) is an Ethereum token that governs the autonomous Compound protocol. The protocol allows anyone to borrow and lend Ethereum tokens through a decentralized market. Lenders earn interest on the crypto they supply to the protocol and borrowers pay interest to borrow it.

The ability to earn crypto assets has become an increasingly important function in the crypto ecosystem — alongside buying, staking, voting, and mining — especially when paired with education.

Since the launch of Coinbase Earn in 2018, we’ve announced nine different assets, including 0x, Basic Attention Token, Zcash, Stellar Lumens, EOS, Dai, Tezos, Orchid and now Compound. In less than a year, asset issuers offered over $100M in crypto to distribute to our customers, and we have launched Earn internationally. As we expand globally, millions of people are gaining access to a trusted, secure, and legal bridge to the crypto economy — even if they don’t have a credit card or bank account with which to buy crypto.

Check out all Coinbase Earn campaigns through our homepage or access them directly through the Coinbase mobile app.

You can sign up for a Coinbase account here and download the iOS or Android app to start earning crypto today.

Coinbase receives a servicing fee from the participating asset issuer. Consideration for Coinbase Earn is wholly independent of our digital asset framework for new listings. Click here for our Earn FAQ and terms.

Source: https://blog.coinbase.com/compound-comp-is-now-available-on-coinbase-earn-74cb88acbf78?source=rss—-c114225aeaf7—4

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Compound (COMP) is now available on Coinbase

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Coinbase

Starting today, Coinbase supports Compound (COMP) at Coinbase.com and in the Coinbase Android and iOS apps. Coinbase customers can now buy, sell, convert, send, receive, or store COMP. COMP will be available for customers in all Coinbase-supported regions, with the exception of New York state.

Compound (COMP)
Compound (COMP) is an Ethereum token that governs the Compound protocol. The protocol allows anyone to supply or borrow Ethereum tokens through a decentralized market. Suppliers earn interest on the crypto they supply to the protocol and borrowers pay interest to borrow it.

One of the most common requests we hear from customers is to be able to buy and sell more cryptocurrencies on Coinbase. We published a process for listing assets, designed in part to accelerate the addition of more cryptocurrencies. We are also investing in new tools to help people understand and explore cryptocurrencies. We launched informational asset pages (see COMP here), as well as a new section of the Coinbase website to answer common questions about crypto.

You can sign up for a Coinbase account here to buy, sell, convert, send, receive, or store COMP today.

Coinbase owns COMP tokens as a result of a 2018 investment in Compound. Coinbase intends to maintain its investment in Compound for the foreseeable future and maintains internal policies that address the timing of permissible disposition of its digital assets, including COMP tokens.

Source: https://blog.coinbase.com/compound-comp-is-now-available-on-coinbase-de42a317790c?source=rss—-c114225aeaf7—4

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