Top VC deals: Amazon buys Ring, while Spotify and Dropbox prepare to go public

  • Amazon acquired smart home hardware start-up Ring in a deal valued over $1 billion.
  • Spotify and Dropbox are both preparing to go public.
  • Aurora, a maker of self-driving vehicle systems, raised a $90 million series A round. The start-ups founders are former Uber, Tesla and Waymo engineers.

Here's a round-up of the most important deals in venture capital from the past week.

Exits

Amazon acquired Ring, a smart doorbell maker, in a deal that's valued around $1 billion. Ring previously raised $209 million in venture funding from investors including Charles River Ventures, DFJ Growth Fund, Goldman Sachs Investment Partners, Qualcomm Ventures and Amazon's Alexa fund. Credit Suisse says Amazon's acquisition of Ring will help its Amazon Key in-home delivery offering.

Spotify, the top streaming music service in the U.S., filed to go public on Wednesday. It will begin trading on the New York Stock exchange under the ticker name SPOT. The company reported 71 million paying subscribers and more than 159 million monthly active listeners as of December 2017. Its closest competitor, Apple Music, is far behind at 36 million subscribers. However, Spotify is not profitable — it lost $1.5 billion last year. The company's initial offering of shares will not be underwritten, meaning there is no price set by its underwriters.

Last Friday, cloud storage company Dropbox filed to go public, with plans to raise $500 million through the offering. A long-awaited prospectus revealed who will make money on this deal. Sequoia Capital, which led Dropbox's seed round in 2007 and first venture round the following year, owns 23 percent, followed by Accel at 5 percent and T. Rowe Price at 3.5 percent.

Start-ups

DoorDash delivery person
DoorDash
DoorDash delivery person

Softbank Vision Fund led a $535 million round of funding for DoorDash, the food delivery start-up that's taking on Grubhub, Uber EATS and Square-owned Caviar. SoftBank was joined by Sequoia Capital, an earlier DoorDash backer, and Singapore's GIC. The deal values DoorDash at about $1.4 billion.

Alibaba led a $150 million investment in the Indian food delivery startup Zomato this week, Reuters reported. The company offers restaurant search and food delivery in 24 countries.

India's answer to Spotify, Gaana, raised $115 million from Tencent and Times Internet. The company told CNBC it would use the money to develop a paid subscription product, and add "personalization" features to its streaming music service via machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Source: Aurora

Aurora, a start-up working on systems to enable fully self-driving cars, has raised $90 million from investors including Index Ventures and Greylock Partners. The company was founded by engineers who formerly worked in the self-driving vehicle divisions of Google, Uber and Tesla. Aurora is already working with Volkswagen, Hyundai and Byton, a Chinese automaker developing electric vehicles.

Citadel Defense, A maker of military grade counter-drone systems, raised $12 million from Lightspeed Venture Partners. According to a company statement, Citadel has six current military and government clients, including the United States Department of Defense. Its drones are used to keep soldiers, medics and others safe in conflict zones.

Alison Darcy, CEO and founder of Woebot Labs
Alison Darcy, CEO and founder of Woebot Labs

Woebot Labs raised $8 million in series A funding. The company has developed therapy chatbots, mixing machine learning and cognitive behavioral therapy. CEO Alison Darcy has said her company is not out to replace human therapists with chatbots, but to help people attain "mood management" and mental health help affordably, at any hour of the day. Investors include New Enterprise Associates and Andrew Ng's AI Fund.

Edgybees raised a $5.5 million seed round to add an augmented reality layer of data to label aerial images of cities and other places monitored by drones. Doing this allows first responders to make sense of aerial imagery from camera-equipped drones and other vehicles during urgent events like a fire or other natural disaster. Roads in an image could be labeled, for example, when signs aren't readable from overhead. Investors include the venture arms of Motorola and Verizon, 8VC, NFX, Aspect Ventures and OurCrowd.