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Oscar Health’s initial IPO price is so high, it makes me want to swear

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Amidst all the hype that Lemonade (IPO), Root (IPO), Metromile (SPAC-led debut) and other insurtech players have generated in the last year, it’s been easy to forget about Oscar Health. But now that the company founded in 2012 is approaching the public markets, one of the early tech-themed insurance companies is catching up on the attention front.


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There is some naughty language in The Exchange today. It is necessary. We’ll get back to PG-ifying this column tomorrow. — Alex

So this morning we’re digging into Oscar Health’s first IPO pricing interval, hoping to understand how the market is valuing its unprofitable health-insurance enterprise.

Recall that Oscar Health was valued at around $3.2 billion in March of 2018. That datapoint, via PitchBook, is dated. Oscar Health raised hundreds of millions since (per several venture-capital tracking databases, including Crunchbase) but we lack a final private valuation for the company.

Regardless, with Oscar Health now targeting a $32 to $34 per-share IPO range, we can get our hands dirty.

Let’s get some valuation numbers and then decide if Oscar Health feels cheap or expensive at that price.

Billion-dollar IPO

Oscar Health is looking to reap as much as $1.21 billion in its IPO, a huge sum. The company is selling 30,350,920 shares, with 4,650,000 additional shares reserved for its underwriters. Existing shareholders are selling another 649,080 shares.

This means that after the IPO, Oscar Health will have 197,037,445 Class A and B shares in circulation, or 201,687,445 after counting shares reserved for its underwriters.

Using the company’s $32 to $34 per-share range, we can calculate a valuation minimum of $6.31 billion for the company (lower share count, low-end of price range) and $6.86 billion (higher share count, high-end of price range). That’s the company’s simple IPO valuation.

Oscar Health may also sell up to $375 million of its shares at its IPO price to three different funds. The company advises that the “indication of interest is not a binding agreement or commitment to purchase,” so we can ignore it for now.

Lyron Foster is a Hawaii based African American Musician, Author, Actor, Blogger, Filmmaker, Philanthropist and Multinational Serial Tech Entrepreneur.

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At Least 6 Protesters Killed In Latest Myanmar Unrest

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A crackdown on anti-government protests in Myanmar showed no signs of letting up, a day after after Southeast Asian foreign ministers issued a tepid call to end to the violence.

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Identiq, a privacy-friendly fraud prevention startup, secures $47M at Series A

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Israeli fraud prevention startup Identiq has raised $47 million at Series A as the company eyes international growth, driven in large part by the spike in online spending during the pandemic.

The round was led by Insight Partners and Entrée Capital, with participation from Amdocs, Sony Innovation Fund by IGV, as well as existing investors Vertex Ventures Israel, Oryzn Capital, and Slow Ventures.

Fraud prevention is big business, which is slated to be worth $145 billion by 2026, ballooning by eightfold in size compared to 2018. But it’s a data hungry industry, fraught with security and privacy risks, having to rely on sharing enormous sets of consumer data in order to learn who legitimate customers are in order to weed out the fraudsters, and therefore.

Identiq takes a different, more privacy-friendly approach to fraud prevention, without having to share a customer’s data with a third-party.

“Before now, the only way companies could solve this problem was by exposing the data they were given by the user to a third party data provider for validation, creating huge privacy problems,” Identiq’s chief executive Itay Levy told TechCrunch. “We solved this by allowing these companies to validate that the data they’ve been given matches the data of other companies that already know and trust the user, without sharing any sensitive information at all.”

When an Identiq customer — such as an online store — sees a new customer for the first time, the store can ask other stores in Identiq’s network if they know or trust that new customer. This peer-to-peer network uses cryptography to help online stores anonymously vet new customers to help weed out bad actors, like fraudsters and scammers, without needing to collect private user data.

So far, the company says it already counts Fortune 500 companies as customers.

Identiq said it plans to use the $47 million raise to hire and grow the company’s workforce, and aims to scale up its support for its international customers.

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Zynga acquires Echtra, maker of Torchlight 3, to double down on RPG games

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Games company Zynga has been on an acquisition tear the last several years to beef up its activity in particular in mobile and casual-puzzle games, spending over $3 billion to pick up a range of startups across Europe (specifically Turkey and Finland) in the process. Today, however, it’s taking a turn towards more immersive, highly graphic cross-platform experiences. The company has announced that it is acquiring San Francisco’s Echtra Games, the role-playing game publisher behind Torchlight III, which is available on Steam, XBox One, PS4 and Nintendo Switch.

The team will be working on releasing a new title in partnership with Zynga’s NaturalMotion studio, the company said. No other details on that were released for now.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. It’s also not clear who backed Echtra, if anyone.

But Echtra is in some ways a classic example of a gaming startup built out of a burning idea, rather than cold, calculated moneymaking — perhaps the best kind of company you can have.

Max Schaefer, the co-founder and CEO, had previously been at Runic Games, the developer of the original Torchlight series, as well as Diablo and others. Runic was shuttered by its owner, Perfect World, and so in 2016, Shaefer went on to form a new company, Echtra, with some of his Runic colleagues and others in the industry because he saw more life left in the franchise.

The plan will be to bring on Echtra’s team and expertise both to continue building the franchise and to more generally help Zynga build out more of a footprint in cross-platform games, and also gaming technology, in particular around tools built on Unreal Engine, the platform of choice at the moment for RPG and other immersive applications.

“Max and his team at Echtra Games are responsible for some of the most legendary game properties ever created, and they are experts in the action RPG genre and cross-platform development.  I’m excited to welcome the Echtra Games team into the Zynga family,” said Frank Gibeau, Chief Executive Officer of Zynga, in a statement. “This acquisition will be instrumental in growing our iconic licenses and brands from mobile to PCs and consoles, while helping to further expand Zynga’s total addressable market.”

“Echtra Games is delighted to be joining the Zynga family,” added Max Schaefer. “We share Zynga’s vision that cross-platform play is an essential part of the future of RPGs and interactive entertainment and are eager to apply our vast experience and talents to this effort.”

Gaming has been one of the bright spots in the last year — no surprise, since people are spending so much more time indoors and at home because of the pandemic. Zynga, as a consequence of that, has also been on a roll in recent times, with its fourth quarter earnings, released last month, beating analyst expectations. Its revenues of $616 million are the highest ever quarterly bookings posted by the company. Acquisitions are major part of its strategy these days, the company said at the time.

Going for more immersive RPG titles outside of mobile is an ambitious and potentially more expensive undertaking and is a very notable swerve away from the company’s acquisitions in recent years, which have included a majority stake in Turkey’s Rollic for $228 million, Peak for $2.1 billion, 80% of Small Giant Games for $718 million; and Gram Games for $299 million.

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