M1 Finance closes $45M Series C mere months after it raised its $33M Series B

Just months after it announced a $33 million Series B, Chicago-based M1 Finance today disclosed a $45 Series C.

The new financing event was led by Left Lane Capital, the same investor that led M1’s Series B. Bear in mind that so-called inside rounds are now a bullish sign in 2020, as opposed to in prior VC eras when they were viewed more cooly. Other M1 investors include Jump Capital, Clocktower Technology Ventures and Chicago Ventures, though only the first two appear to have taken part in this round.

Per M1, the Series C comes just 120 days after it raised a Series B. A good question is why M1 has raised more capital, and why Left Lane Capital wanted to lead two rounds for the consumer-focused fintech provider. Going back to our prior coverage, we can figure it out.

In February, we reported that M1 Finance had reached the $1 billion assets under management mark, or AUM.

The startup combines three different traditional fintech services into one (roboadvising, neobanking and lending), allowing it to price the package aggressively. The model appears to be working. When M1 raised its Series B a few months later in June, it had reached the $1.45 billion AUM, or about 45% growth in just over a quarter. That’s very good.

Today, the company announced that it has surpassed the $2 billion AUM mark, up more than 38% in the last four months.

M1 posted slower AUM growth in percentage terms and greater growth in raw AUM over a similar time frame heading into its Series C. But regardless of that nuance, the company’s AUM grew quickly.

That fact helps explain its new round. If you were Left Lane Capital, had just led a round into the company, and then watched it keep growing rapidly,

Amazon Price Target Raised to Wall Street High by Pivotal

Investors and analysts have been framing the Amazon  (AMZN) – Get Report sum-of-the-parts valuation wrong, according to a Pivotal Research analyst, who raised his price target for the internet retail giant to $4,500 from $3,925.

Shares of the Seattle-based Amazon were up 1.6% on Thursday to $3,200.08.

Analyst Michael Levine, who kept a buy rating on the shares, said in a note to clients that Amazon’s advertising was only 5% of revenue, but is a “far greater contributor” to overall non-Amazon Web Services EBIT margins than Wall Street recognizes.

“Said differently,” the analyst said, “if advertising was viewed as a stand-alone business unit … it would represent well north of 300% of 2020E non-AWS EBIT.”

Based on his view that there is “massive upside” to estimates by fiscal year 2024, the analyst increased the firm’s target to a Wall Street-high of $4,500. 

Levine thinks investors are “materially underestimating” the earnings power of the ad business. He called Amazon the “best mega-cap on a multi-year basis.”

“Ironically, AMZN over the last few years has gone from the mega-cap disclosing the least to the one disclosing the most,” he said.

Levine estimated that at least 85% to 90% of the Amazon business today is sponsored listings.

“In this scenario,” he said, “an advertiser pays for higher placement within the sort order, the user stays on AMZN, and AMZN keeps the transaction and transaction data.”

Separately, Jefferies analyst Brent Thill said the company hosted a conference call with a supply chain/logistics expert to discuss the current state of Amazon’s fulfillment network.

Thill, who has a buy rating and a $3,144.88 price target, said increased customer demand is causing Amazon to expand capacity at an unprecedented pace and that expanded same-day delivery could be just 12 months away. 

In addition, he said,

Indian Startups Raised $63 Bn During 2016-20: Report

A joint report by Praxis Global Alliance and Indian Private Equity & Venture Capital Association (IVCA) shows that India has emerged as the third largest tech startup hub in the world

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Indian startups have raised close to USD63 billion during 2016-20, shows a report by Praxis Global Alliance and Indian Private Equity & Venture Capital Association (IVCA).

Titled Overview of Indian Startup Ecosystem, the report said India has emerged as the third largest tech startup hub in the world in view of the investments raised by startups. During 2019, USD 34 billion was invested in Indian ecosystem with an additional USD 17 billion in 2020 (till May). In particular, tech-enabled players continue to drive investor’s interest and have dominated the early stage funding landscape in India.

The same period has also seen the emergence of 27 Indian unicorns.

The report points out that this phase of startup ecosystem growth has been fuelled by availability of technical talent pool with  positive perception around entrepreneurship, learning and adapting from global tech companies, increased government support through infrastructure investment and funding and large amount of foreign capital flowing into the country, motivating domestic capital pools to participate as well.

 “This is a great report covering data and insights on the booming Indian tech startup ecosystem, carrying a fresh perspective about developers and service demand. The growth stage startup and venture capital ecosystem is poised for the next leap with an increasing number of unicorns, soonicorns and minicorns, even amidst the current crisis of COVID-19,” said Rajat Tandon, president, IVCA.

“The ecosystem has been relentlessly working