Home / News & Analysis / VCs are hungry for Instacart, big money for bikes and a slew of enterprise IPOs

VCs are hungry for Instacart, big money for bikes and a slew of enterprise IPOs

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

This week was a damn corker. Instacart is fighting back! Zuora went public and it went well! There were other IPOs! Uber loves bikes! And what is #AllRaise? We happily had a good crew on hand to sift through the mix, including Katie Roof, myself, and Kara Nortman, a general partner at Upfront Ventures.

Up top we dug into the massive new Instacart round, the completion of its Series E. The new $150 million brings Instacart’s valuation to a staggering $4.35 billion, up from $4.2 billion when it closed the first $200 million of its latest round of capital. It’s an incredible bet from the private markets, and we dug into it as a possible anti-Amazon bet.

Moving along, it was an IPO run for the ages:

  • Zuora went public, and it went super well for the subscription billing firm. I had a few questions about why it went so well, but, at a minimum, the company had an amazingly good run: it raised its range, priced above that range, and then popped miles higher. Not bad.
  • Carbon Black is bringing more security equity to the public markets with its new S-1, which we spent a few minutes poking into. Sadly, who actually understands what security companies do? I don’t.
  • And finally, Pivotal Software is going public. We unpack its revenue mix and try to figure out why it thinks that it is worth what it does. Mysteries all abound!

Moving along, we wandered back into the hottest region of Silicon Valley conversation: bikes scooters. The JUMP-Uber deal finally wrappedas expected — and we discussed the finer points of what a scooter is and how they fit into our lives.

We wrapped on #AllRaise and the fact that Kara may or may not have been on the cover of a magazine.

Hit play and we’ll see you all next week!

Equity drops every Friday at 6:00 am PT, so subscribe to us on iTunes, Overcast, Pocketcast, Downcast and all the casts.

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Amazon is reportedly working on a home robot

For Amazon’s latest hardware trick, the company has apparently been working on a home robot under the codename, “Vesta.” That nugget comes via Bloomberg sources, who report that the online retail giant expects to start trialing the device in employee homes this year, with plans to launch it to consumers as early as 2019. The project has apparently been in the works for a number of years, but things are finally starting to take off, as the company lists openings for a number of gigs in and around robotics, with titles like “Software Engineer, Robotics.” No word on precisely what such a robot would do, and Amazon, naturally, isn’t commenting. The home market has been a tough one of the robotics industry to crack — a feat not really accomplished by any devices, beyond the Roomba and derivative cleaning robots. A number of assistant robots have bubbled up over the years, essentially adding moving parts to a smart speaker category. Certainly Alexa functionality is a given for whatever Amazon might be working on — even the Roomba has added that feature in the last year. Other companies like Sphero spinoff, Misty Robotics, are hoping to bring more advanced functionality to the market, though they’ve given themselves what equates to a 10 year runway. But while the industry appears bullish about the future of robots in the home, it may well take a tech giant like Amazon to really crack the code as it did a few years back with the Echo. Jeff Bezos, of course, is a well-known friend to robots. He’s been seen around town with the likes of SpotMini recently, and before that, the company acquired Kiva Systems to form Amazon Robotics. That department, however, has been primarily focused on fulling Amazon’s own shipping and logistics requirements with industrial warehouse robots. Vesta, on the other hand, is said to be the product of Lab126 — the Amazon R&D center that gave the world the Echo and a bevy of Fire devices.

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