Ridesharing IPOs and $850M for Luckin, Plaid and Zymergen

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

This week we had the regular crew back together, which was good fun. Connie took point, we had Danny mic’d up in New York and I was onsite to help the crew natter along with Bubba Murarka, a former VC and founder who now cuts checks on his own.

Thematically, this was a week of mega rounds, so we had little choice but to go over more than a few. And Uber is out there doing its IPO thing. So, we started with cars and pivoted to rounds.

Regarding Uber and Lyft, it’s mostly been said, but we took a noodle through the historical context of two other temporally close IPOs between rivals, Visa and Mastercard, and talked about the impending offerings for a minute, as we couldn’t resist. Do they lose too much money? Is there an advantage to going first? That sort of thing.

After, we got to the new funding rounds. First up was the Luckin Coffee $200 million round. The rise of Luckin in China has been simply astounding. I wanted to know some boring financial results, which our guest found a bit old-fashioned, but we all agreed that the company has hit on something big. And something big in China to boot, which means the company has been heading straight north.

Next, we touched on Plaid and its own $250 million infusion. The Kleiner-sourced round was far more money than the financial API company had raised before. It was a staggering amount of capital. Coming on the heels of the recent public-market success of Twilio and the private-market success of Stripe, both API-based companies, may have played a part in the rounds construction.

The good times are not merely coffee and software-focused, however. Zymergen also picked up a nine-figure round: $400 million.

So much for a seasonal slowdown. Hang tight, we’ll be right back.

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