The five highest-funded San Francisco startups
The total amount of venture capital funding in the US is currently on track to top US$100bn in 2018. San Francisco Bay Area startups received $25bn of the total funds already, according to The San Francisco Business Journal. Here are the five San Francisco-based startups that received the most funding in 2018.
Founded in 2015 by former Tesla interim CEO Michael Marks, Katerra raised a total of $865mn in 2018. The funding was secured exclusively from SoftBank Core’s Vision Fund. The company is based in Menlo Park and specializes in offsite design and construction solutions that are disrupting the US residential construction market. The startup was named Construction Dive’s Innovator of the Year 2017 and promises “to fuse architecture and design prefabrication techniques into a linear, end-to-end design-build process through offsite ‘constructuring’ of cross-laminated timber, windows, walls and other components scored by its own end-to-end supply chain.”
Grocery delivery service Instacart partners with over 300 chains to provide same-day delivery of food and household items. The startup, which netted total funding of $1.22bn in 2018, is headquartered in the San Francisco Financial District. As of November, following a lowering of the company’s price-per-order, Food and Wine Magazine found that Instacart was a cheaper way of getting home delivery from grocery chain Whole Foods than Amazon, which owns Whole Foods.
3. Juul Labs
With 1,500 employees in San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighborhood, Juul Labs is the leading disruptor of the global tobacco industry. The startup raised $1.24bn in 2018 to fund the design, production and distribution of its nicotine vaporizer products. As of this week, “Juul is engaged in conversations to sell a significant minority stake of itself to tobacco company Altria Group Inc.”, Bloomberg reports. “A deal with Altria could help Juul meet demand for its popular products, fight regulators and expand globally -- Juul aims to sell in 12 more countries in Europe and Asia by mid-2019”.
2. Uber Technologies
The premier ride-sharing software company in the world, Uber Technologies Inc. controls an estimated 74% of the US ride-hailing market. In addition to ride-sharing, Uber operates its food delivery service, UberEats across 200 cities worldwide. The company received total funding of $1.75bn in 2018. Uber is expected to file an IPO in 2019 and has been valued by leading banks at as much as $120 billion.
Controlling an estimated 35% market share of the US ride-hailing industry, Lyft is the San Francisco startup that received the most funding in 2018, with a grand total of $2.3bn. Unlike Uber, which operates across over 70 countries, Lyft still restricts its operations to the US, although it reached the 300 city milestone early last year. This week, Lyft filed paperwork for an IPO, beating its rival, Uber, in the race to go public. The company was last valued at $15bn, although Reuters sources suggest that the final valuation would be between $20bn and $30bn.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.