Welcoming Yotpo to the Unicorn club

The once exclusive Israeli Unicorn club continues to grow. This time Yotpo - an eCommerce marketing platform - joins the ranks with a massive funding round and a $1.4 billion valuation. The Israeli startup scores $230 million in Series F funding from Bessemer and Tiger Global, with a secondary component allowing existing investors and employees to realize options in the company. Also participating in the round were existing investors Claltech Investment, Coin Ventures, Hanaco, Vertex Ventures, Vintage Investment Partners, among others.

$300M in 6 months

Yotpo’s data-backed platform provides loyalty, SMS Marketing, reviews, and more, empowering brands to create smarter, higher-converting experiences that spark and sustain customer relationships. Over the past two years, Yotpo has made a few powerful acquisitions that have added to their arsenal of skills. In 2018, the company acquired Swell Rewards, which added a platform where customers could build referral and loyalty programs.

At the beginning of last year, Yotpo purchased SMSBump, which added SMS marketing abilities. This channel allows customers to keep in contact with their end consumers, update them on package arrivals, sales, and customized offers. The company also launched a simple builder for galleries and analytics systems for online stores. Just last August, Yotpo saw $75 million light up the bank account, bringing the company’s total raised funds to $300 million in a little less than six months.

“We have always believed that eCommerce would become the dominant form of shopping, but 2020 was an incredible acceleration. The eCommerce arena is the most important place to be. Everyone is selling everything online now, from entrepreneurs setting up shop in their basement to some of the largest brands in the world. But this also means it’s only going to get more difficult, expensive, and inefficient to market to customers,” said Tomer Tagrin, CEO & Co- founder, Yotpo.

With the latest fundraise, Yotpo plans to double its product and R&D team to accelerate the rollout of its full platform experience, doing the behind-the-scenes work of connecting its products — which to date include Yotpo SMS Marketing, Yotpo Loyalty & Referrals, Yotpo Reviews, and Yotpo Visual UGC. This connected suite of solutions unlocks unified customer data that will allow brands to get more from every campaign and maximize their ROI.

Yotpo founders Left - Omri Cohen Right-Tomer Tagrin Photo - Mor Shani

Fireblocks scores big on crypto rise

The rejuvenation of interest in the crypto market, and more specifically due to Bitcoin’s rise, has us feeling like it’s 2017 all over again. From Tesla investing heavily in Bitcoin and Goldman Sachs reopening its crypto unit to NFTs, which refuse to drop from headlines, it’s the perfect time to be part of the growing crypto and blockchain future. Israeli startup Fireblocks rides the crypto wave to one of the biggest funding rounds this year in the Israeli tech ecosystem, with a $133 million Series C.

The investment was led by Coatue, Ribbit, and Stripes, with participation from newcomers The Bank of New York Mellon and SVB, in addition to existing investors Paradigm, Galaxy Digital, Swisscom Ventures, Tenaya Capital and Cyberstarts Ventures.

This round brings the company’s total fundraising to $179 million to date, with the last round coming just a few months ago when they secured a humble $30 million. At the time, Fred Ehrsam joined the company’s board - he may sound more familiar as the founder of digital currency exchange and wallet Coinbase.

Although the company’s valuation is still up in the air, reports put it at very near the billion-dollar mark.

Everything a bank needs to deal in crypto

"Fintechs and banks require not only a specialized custody and settlement infrastructure to ensure customers’ funds are safely managed, but a platform that enables new lines of digital offerings," said Michael Shaulov, CEO of Fireblocks.

The Fireblocks team

Fireblocks architecture is based on proprietary technology that provides a secure transfer environment, which enables free flow of digital assets between financial institutions and the market. The secure transfer environment uses the company’s Hot Vault system to allow users to transfer assets from various storage solutions.. In addition, Fireblocks adds that by using the platform, banks and fintechs can rapidly deploy custody, tokenization, asset management, trading, lending and payment solutions across public and private blockchain networks.

"While we have no plans to become a bank, we believe our infrastructure will lend itself perfectly to power an entirely new era of financial services. We are humbled to have the top VCs in Fintech, and the most important strategic partners support our mission to replatform the financial ecosystem into digital assets. Their financial backing guarantees the long term stability, technology superiority and service delivery to our exponentially growing customer base."

Fireblocks was founded in 2018 by CEO Michael Shaulov, VP R&D Pavel Berengoltz, and CTO Idan Ofrat, all formerly of cyber giant Check Point. Fireblocks serves over 200 financial institutions, and plans to use the new funds to add to its over $400 billion in digital assets.