Archives: Media Mentions

Uber, Lyft per-driver costs in California could jump 30% under gig work law

September 17, 2019

Santosh Rao, head of research at Manhattan Venture Partners, said if costs go up for Uber and Lyft and the ride-hailing companies have to pay for employee benefits, they will hire fewer drivers but those drivers will work longer hours.

Flexibility is key with gig economy companies, Rao added, since otherwise it might as well be a traditional job.

“It’s not about economic stability. It’s about flexibility with economic incentives,” Rao said in an interview. “People like flexibility.”

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WeWork and Saudi Aramco Pose Big Tests for JPMorgan’s Resurgent Underwriting Business

September 13, 2019

“There is a public relations situation that needs to be managed; the last thing [JPMorgan] wants is to be called greedy and a mercenary,” says Santosh Rao, head of research at Manhattan Venture Partners, a boutique merchant bank focused on pre-IPO companies. “But they will definitely make it work, because the stakes are very high and there is the chance of repeat business.”

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New Venture Studio Aims To Put DraftKings In The Driver’s Seat For Sports Tech Innovation

September 13, 2019

DraftKings tabbed their former Chief Marketing Officer, Janet Holian and veteran venture capitalist and athlete/celebrity investment adviser, Rashaun Williams to spearhead the new venture. Williams, who manages a $300 million-dollar fund for Manhattan Venture Partners and who was also an integral part in hip hop legend, Nas’ Queensbridge Venture Partners has been amassing a massive network of current and former athletes interested in tech and venture capital for a number of years. As he puts it, “DraftKings and I were running on two parallel tracks, me on the athlete network side and of course DraftKings being one of the biggest and most successful sports tech companies of all time. We ended up meeting during NBA All-Star Weekend in February and came to the realization that 1+1=5, which is how DRIVE was born.”

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The startups that hack your devices, WeWon’t, and Goldman Sachs ruffles feathers

September 9, 2019

Graham Rapier talked to Santosh Rao, head of research at Manhattan Venture Partners, who explained why he thought WeWork’s original valuation was way too high.

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A venture-capital insider dishes on why WeWork’s original valuation was way too high

September 9, 2019

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Boston Tech Watch: DraftKings Drives, The Engine Revs, NuTonomy Swaps

September 3, 2019

DraftKings says it has launched a sports tech matchmaking venture and athlete-entrepreneur network both under the brand DRIVE. While DraftKings says the venture itself doesn’t plan on investing in the sports tech startups, it plans to match early stage companies with its network of current and former athletes and other investors. The venture is “partially owned” by DraftKings and has funding from General Catalyst, Accomplice, and Boston Seed. Janet Holian, a sports tech veteran and DraftKing’s former marketing head, is co-founding DRIVE with venture investor Rashaun Williams. Holian will be CEO and Williams will be president of DRIVE.

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DraftKings spinoff aims to make Boston a ‘Title Town’ for sports tech

September 3, 2019

Janet Holian and Rashaun Williams sure hope so. They have joined forces to launch a new venture here called Drive by DraftKings that aims to build a support system for sports tech entrepreneurs as well as pro athletes interested in investing and working in the field.

Drive’s launch, unveiled Thursday, has been in the works for months. DraftKings, the Boston-based tech company best known for its fantasy sports competitions, had wanted to launch a “venture studio” to foster the next generation of sports tech firms. Holian stepped down as chief marketing officer at DraftKings, which employs more than 700 people in Boston, to help make that happen. Holian connected with Williams, an Atlanta-based venture capitalist and DraftKings investor who also coaches pro athletes about investing and entrepreneurship. Together, they decided to fold his work into this new venture, offering classes and other kinds of support to athletes and startups.

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DraftKings announces new initiative aimed at sports startups, athletes

September 3, 2019

Williams said that the impetus to create Drive came from DraftKings’ interest in supporting budding sports technology firms and building a support network of sorts.

“They kept thinking, ‘What can we do to foster this community and build this community here in Boston,’” Williams said. Williams, who has previously acted as a “coach” for athletes and entertainers looking to make investments, also indicated that Drive could provide opportunities to athletes who might otherwise be locked into sports-adjacent careers.

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DraftKings Announces Initiative That Is Aiming To Be An Ecosystem For The Sports Technology Intersection

September 3, 2019

“The DRIVE Athlete Network puts athletes at the center of everything we do, providing them with rare, real-world opportunities to embed with leading VC firms and cutting-edge tech companies,” said Rashaun Williams, DRIVE co-founder and president. “DRIVE fills a resource gap for current and former professional athletes, who despite their wealth and public fame, are often stuck on the outside looking in at the tech companies revolutionizing their own sports.”

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DraftKings bets on sports tech firms and athletes’ off-field careers with new venture

September 3, 2019

The venture, called “Drive” launched Thursday at DraftKings’ headquarters in Boston. It will consist of an athlete network, complete with internships and residency programs designed to boost their business acumen. It will also feature the Drive Venture Studio which will provide sports tech entrepreneurs with access to key figures and executives across the U.S. sports landscape. Former DraftKings executive Janet Holian and venture capitalist Rashaun Williams co-founded the initiative, which counts venture firms Boston Seed, Accomplice, General Catalyst and DraftKings itself as financial backers.

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Proust Goes Tech With Andrea Walne, Partner At Manhattan Venture Partners

September 3, 2019

It’s not about pontificating on Twitter or in secret slack groups all day, says Andrea Walne, a partner at Manhattan Ventures Partner. Instead, in order to score deals and meet the right people, she’s found success in a casual iMessage group chat. And, of course, meeting people in real life.

Walne is the newest partner at Manhattan Venture Partners, coming from a background as a founder and operator in the startup world. She has a soft spot for supply chain, and doesn’t mind when her friends laugh at that nerdy tidbit.

For this Proust Goes Tech, we catch up with Walne and learn about why she doesn’t mind ignoring Slack sometimes, how slow walkers make her miserable, and which book is in her top three favorite business books of all time.

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WeWork Continues Consolidation Spree with Acquisition of Spacious

August 29, 2019

“That’s their whole differentiating factor—they want to be the go-to place for on-demand space,” Santosh Rao, head of research at Manhattan Venture Partners, told Fortune. “WeWork wants to be ubiquitous, and to meet any needs for everyone. Big, small, anytime, anywhere—that’s their goal, that’s their mission.” Because of their supposed everything-for-everyone mentality, Rao suggests, the Spacious acquisition “beef[s] up their portfolio” given the company’s specialty in retail-level space.

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Macro and geopolitical events driving market volatility: Santosh Rao, Manhattan Venture Partners

August 27, 2019

It is in the best interest of both US and China to come to a point where both think that they won, says Santosh Rao, head of research, Manhattan Venture Partners.

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Investors Jostle for Pre-IPO Stake in Impossible Foods

August 25, 2019

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Andrea Lamari Walne, a San Francisco-based partner at merchant bank Manhattan Venture Partners, adding that interest picked up after Beyond Meat went public in May. “Investors from Turkey through the U.K. are calling us at all hours. They’re trying to find a way to get in the stock.”

The company hasn’t shared any plans to go public. However, at the time of Impossible’s most recent fundraise, Chief Financial Officer David Lee said the financing likely would be the company’s last or second-to-last private round before an initial public offering.

Manhattan Venture Partners recently obtained more than $20 million of stock in Impossible Foods through an investment vehicle, Ms. Walne said.

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Sarah Kunst’s Cleo Capital Raises $3.5 Million To Boost Women Decision Makers In VC

August 21, 2019

Andrea Walne, a partner at Manhattan Venture Partners, told me last month about how she’s noticing a growing class of female venture capitalists. No longer are we in a world where venture capitalists have to come from a male-dominated semiconductor and computer chip industry, she said. Walne herself came into venture capital from an “untraditional” path, coming from a job as a director at Carta, which helps startups manage equity for employees.

“There’s a new subset of venture capitalists,” she said, referring to a rising class of female venture capitalists.

That said, Walne said  “there’s no one better suited than Sarah to utilize the network effects of the strongest females in the Valley to identify untapped, female-led opportunities.”

“She understands that there are so few women who have built recognizable startups that when they spot a good opportunity they know exactly which characteristics make them attractive investment opportunities,” she added.

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Expect one more rate cut by Fed, not sure beyond that: Santosh Rao, Manhattan Venture Partners

August 1, 2019

More than Trump, the Fed’s hand was forced by the emerging markets, by the rest of the world slowing down, says Santosh Rao, Head of Research, Partner, Manhattan Venture Partners. Excerpts from an interview with ETNOW.

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Beyond Meat Insiders Plan to Unload Shares in Secondary Offering, Spooking Investors

July 31, 2019

“The biggest thing is, do you pass the ‘smell test,’ so to speak,” says Santosh Rao, head of research at Manhattan Venture Partners. “Are they selling because they think it’s maxed out and there’s no more upside? Or are they selling because they’re early stage guys?… They’ve been there for 9, 10 years.” Rao suggests that VC funds may be matured and want to get a return to “recycle the money into new investments.” He believes the follow-on isn’t a negative thing. “They can use that money, they need it,” Rao says of Beyond Meat. “If you have to do this, this is the time.”

The last tech company to do a secondary offering less than three months after their IPO was Splunk in 2012, according to FactSet data.

Rao thinks Beyond’s issuing is tied to balancing supply and demand in the market and allowing matured shareholders to cash in. The company says it wants to use the funds raised from the offering to bolster production and supply—something essential to compete in the heating-up space.

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‘Doesn’t Pass the Smell Test’: Investors Question Recent Developments at WeWork Ahead of IPO

July 26, 2019

“It just gives the appearance of self-dealing,” Santosh Rao, head of research at Manhattan Venture Partners, says of Neumann’s business dealings. “He’s not doing anything illegal, but it just doesn’t pass the smell test. No founder wants to sell at a low—they always believe that their company is undervalued and the value is going to go up.”

Rao acknowledges that “founders deserve to make money” on their product, and that Neumann could well still be deeply invested in his company via a “sizable stake.” But while Neumann is believed to still be WeWork’s largest shareholder, no one will know just how large his stake is until WeWork puts out its public prospectus, and Rao stresses that a CEO like Neumann “cannot give the appearance [to public investors] that you’re cashing out.”

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What’s the rationale for selling a private company’s stock ahead of an IPO?

July 22, 2019

Santosh Rao, head of research at Manhattan Venture Partners, says if Neumann has to take out money now, it’s a good time to do it.

The practice of selling stock in a private company before it goes public is becoming more common. Companies are waiting longer before going public, which makes the incentive for founders to cash out even stronger.

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These Major IPOs are Still Slated to Debut in 2019

July 15, 2019

2019 is well on its way to being the year of the high-profile IPO.

Still, the year that gave investors the likes of Uber, Slack and Beyond Meat is just getting started, according to Wall Street insiders.

“This has been the year when cloud-based companies and on-demand services came of age,” Santosh Rao, head of research at Manhattan Venture Partners, told Fortune.

Rao suggests 2019 in particular has been a “perfect set up for an IPO” due to a hunt for high-growth stocks, scarcity of large companies coming to market and the fact that investors “don’t want to miss out” on the next big IPO, Rao says. And to boot, he believes companies are equally aware of the rush to market—”You don’t know when the party’s going to end.”

Still, while it’s clear investors are hungry for IPOs, Rao says the market has some criteria. “[IPOs this year] need to show two things. One, their top-line is growing, and second, there is definitely a path to profitability,” he says.

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WeWork Must Do These 3 Things Before Its IPO to Avoid Uber’s Mistakes

July 10, 2019

This preview of how the market received Lyft and Uber is a major benefit for the workspace company, Santosh Rao, head of research at Manhattan Venture Partners, believes. “I think they’ve seen the writing on the wall, so to speak,” Rao says.

WeWork’s model largely focuses on short-term leases, but the company is beginning to diversify by looking to buy buildings and expand globally, Rao says. And as the company takes on more debt (WeWork already has some $702 million raised last year with a hefty 7.9% interest rate), moving into enterprise renting and long-term leases would provide WeWork with the recurring revenue that is attractive to bond holders, Rao says.

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Large IPOs Set Record Pace in First Half

July 8, 2019

Enterprise-technology startups are better received than consumer-facing companies, said Andrea Lamari Walne, a partner at Manhattan Venture Partners. That is because most of these companies, with mostly corporate clients, have healthier finances than consumer-facing companies, she said.

“There’s certainly no less than absolute insane excitement around enterprise tech IPOs,” Ms. Walne said.

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Laz Alonso, Reginald Hudlin, Kirk Franklin, Tasha Cobbs Leonard, Kel Mitchell, Kellita Smith, and More Deliver Enlightening Insights for July on the Hit Show “Money Making Conversations,” Hosted by Rushion McDonald

July 1, 2019

“The guest* lineup expected on “Money Making Conversations” for July includes:”…”Rashaun Williams, Venture Capitalist, Tech Coach to athlete and entertainers, General Partner of Manhattan Venture Partners’ All-Star Fund.”

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Manhattan Venture Partners taps Andrea Walne as partner

July 1, 2019

New York-based Manhattan Venture Partners, a merchant bank focused on the secondary market for late-stage, pre-IPO companies has tapped Andrea Lamari Walne as partner. She will lead the firm’s San Francisco regional office and help build its West Coast presence. Previously, she was at Carta and before that was West Coast director for Nasdaq Private Market.

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Secondary Market Investment Firm Manhattan Venture Partners Appoints Andrea Walne as Partner, Opens San Francisco Regional Office

June 26, 2019

“Andrea is a valuable and respected addition to our team. Her success in facilitating more than $10 billion in secondary market transactions is unprecedented. This, combined with her experience as a startup operator and her knowledge of the investment side, makes her exceptionally qualified to lead our West Coast operations,” said Jared Carmel, Managing Partner of MVP.

“Coming into this position I feel fortunate to carry the perspective of someone who’s seen all sides of the triangle – from being a founder of one of the secondary liquidity online platforms, a shareholder of a late-stage startup, and now in the role as a VC,” said Walne. “MVP was an easy choice – they’re the firm that carries the best reputation in the space and service is at the heart of all they do for clients. We are of likemind in taking all players in this process into consideration, and institutionalizing versus democratizing a very personal and important life event for those that have worked so hard.”

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