Unicorns, IPOs and the hidden links among the new wave of tech giants

Seattle has a new unicorn, Outreach, the sales and marketing automation company that raised a $114 million funding round, pushing its valuation to $1.1 billion.

The news sends GeekWire co-founder John Cook and and me on a startup odyssey on this episode of the GeekWire Podcast, exploring the hidden connections among the new wave of public companies and tech behemoths in Silicon Valley and Seattle, including Uber, Lyft, and Convoy.

Here’s the thread of the conversation if you want to follow along.

  • Outreach CEO Manny Medina says the company will continue to invest in its hometown, with a goal of becoming “the next enterprise beacon of Seattle.”
  • One of the most interesting aspects of the Outreach funding is that it was led by Lone Pine Capital, a relatively unknown hedge fund manager based in Greenwich, Conn.
  • Lone Pine Capital also previously invested in on-demand trucking startup Convoy, another Seattle startup that reached unicorn status last year. Convoy is listed as a competitor in Uber’s initial IPO paperwork, as a rival to Uber Freight.
  • Uber’s IPO filing is a full of twists and turns, to put it kindly. Comparing Uber’s complex income statement to Lyft’s financials shows just how much CEO Dara Khosrowshahi had to clean up when he came in. But he’s getting rewarded for the work, with a potential $100 million windfall from his stock.
  • Convoy has already raised $265 million, including a giant $185 million round this past September led by Google’s VC arm that propelled the startup to unicorn status.

This is part of the larger story about the wave of big fundings and IPOs from tech companies, sometimes called the “APLUSS” group, for Airbnb, Pinterest, Lyft, Uber, Slack, Stripe.

Meanwhile, Amazon and Microsoft are separately preparing to challenge Apple’s AirPods, according to new reports. As fans of the AirPods, we’re intrigued by the competition in this area of the tech sector, and we see this as an early step toward the new era of human-computer interaction. But we’re already seeing some unintended consequences.

Plus, on the Random Channel: Melinda Gates has a message for the tech industry, and John is determined to be a “Never Throner,” even as James Cordon makes one of his staffers watch every single episode back-to-back.

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