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TechNode Global: The Ministry of Small and Medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and Startups (MSS) in South Korea said it will invest around KRW 1 trillion ($748.43 million) in a fund of funds this year to boost the venture capital sector in the country.

MSS said in a statement the fund will induce the raising of feeder funds exceeding KRW 2 trillion ($1.49 billion) and the MSS currently applies full-scale incentives, such as management and performance fees, to encourage venture capital firms to promptly execute an investment surplus of around KRW 11 trillion ($8.23 billion) as of the end of 2022.

The MSS is planning to enhance its research and development (R&D) support in the deep tech field through the Super Startup 1000+ project, etc. and actively help ventures/startups in cutting-edge fields grow and enter the global market by pursuing bold regulatory innovations, such as introducing global innovation special zones, and increasing the global fund raised.

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🗒️ WeWork has frittered away $46.7 billion in value as the stock sinks below 50 cents, one of the biggest startup failures of all time, and venture capitalists haven't learned a thing

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Business Insider: Last week, WeWork was forced to issue an embarrassing press release warning that it was in danger of being delisted from the NYSE because the stock has traded below $1 for so long.

In 2019, prior to a disastrous attempt to go public that resulted in the exodus of its flamboyant, controversial founder, Adam Neumann, WeWork was valued at $47 billion. As of Monday, with shares trading at $0.47 and a market cap of $345.7 million, the company has lost some $46.7 billion in value over four years — vanishing like a sand sculpture left in the wind.

In 2021, the company briefly looked like its fortunes could turn around. It was acquired by BowX, a blank-check special-purpose-acquisition company from Vivek Ranadivé, the founder of the software company Tibco who is perhaps better known as a former owner of the Golden State Warriors and, more recently, the Sacramento Kings. WeWork's valuation at that time was $9 billion, CNBC reported.

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🗒️ These 16 Startups Raised the Largest US Funding Rounds of Q1 2023

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Alley Watch: Houston-based business services platform Hello Alice is teaming up with New York-based Mastercard Inc. (NYSE: MA) on a new financial product.

In partnership with Mastercard and First National Bank of Omaha, Hello Allice is launching a "Hello Alice Small Business Mastercard" to broaden its portfolio of capital products, the company announced Aug. 16. The product features several offerings tailored specifically for small businesses, including on-demand access to professional business advisers and rewards for purchasing things like office supplies, wireless telephone services, business software and more.

The product was also designed to maximize access to capital and opportunities to build credit for small-business owners, Hello Alice said. Business owners with limited or poor credit history can use a specific credit-building credit card to access the card's full benefits while improving their credit. They can then graduate from a secured card, which requires a security deposit in order to open an account, to an unsecured card with a revolving line of credit.

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🗒️ Down rounds are prevailing as power shifts to VCs again

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TechCrunch: It appears things are not going well for startups these days.

Down rounds, or a funding round in which a startup raises capital at a lower valuation than its last investment, have become more common than the venture community has seen in nearly half a decade. According to data from Carta, down rounds nearly quadrupled in number in Q1 2023 compared to a year earlier.

Down rounds are bad because they can lead to outsized dilution, unhappy investors, employees fretting over the value of their equity and other less than winsome events. They are new to many startups and were quite rare during the most recent venture boom, when so many startups were raising multiple up rounds in the same year that it became a mini-trend.

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