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Capital Gains: Gargantuan late-stage funding rounds are the new black

Billion dollar rounds for Airbnb, Uber and Didi.

capital gains Todd Bernard / Recode

Traditionally, startups whose private valuations number in the tens of billions are racing to go public.

That’s not been the case over the last couple years.

Airbnb and Uber are the latest companies to buck convention, instead opting to raise giant late-stage debt funding rounds. And Uber’s chief China rival, Didi Chuxing, finished a whopping $7.3 billion round at a $28 billion valuation.

More on that, and other funding headlines from Silicon Valley, below:

  • Didi Chuxing, the most popular ride-hailing service in China and Uber’s chief global competitor, finished up a $7.3 billion funding round at a $28 billion valuation. A few weeks back, Didi raised $4.5 billion in equity from investors (including Apple) and received the remaining $2.8 billion from lenders.
  • To keep up with Didi, Uber is continually raising tons of money. It recently took in $3.5 billion in equity funding from the Saudi Arabian government. And now it’s looking to get $2 billion in loans to give it more cash without further diluting its cap table.
  • Airbnb wants to add other kinds of travel services to its home rental booking platform, and it eventually plans to go public. Those are a couple good reasons why it raised $1 billion in debt financing, adding to its already substantial cash pile. The company raised $1.5 billion last year at a $25.5 billion valuation.
  • A few years ago, Twitter was thinking about buying Soundcloud. Instead, it’s now investing $70 million in the music streaming service that’s in dire straits similar to Twitter’s own problems.
  • Chinese tech giants Tencent and Lenovo are part of a $50 million investment round in the augmented reality startup Meta, which makes a headset akin to Microsoft’s HoloLens (Bloomberg).
  • Crisis Text Line is a charity-startup hybrid thing that offers over-the-phone, text message- and social-media-based peer counseling. The company raised $23.8 million from Reid Hoffman, Melinda Gates, the Ballmer Group and Omidyar Network.
  • Eyeview, which builds custom video ads based on who is looking at them, raised $21.5 million in a new round led by the Israeli firm Qumra Capital.
  • Common is a startup that rents entire buildings and then sublets the rooms out as "co-living" spaces. The company just raised $16 million in a Series B round led by 8VC, with additional funding from Circle Ventures, Solon Mack Capital, the LeFrak Organization, Maveron, Lowercase Capital, Slow Ventures and Pierre Lamond (The Real Deal).
  • Talkspace, which "believes that affordable therapy is as easy as an online platform" and offers a therapy service over an app, raised $15 million in funding led by Norwest Venture Partners, with participation from Spark Capital, SoftBank, TheTime and Metamorphic Ventures (TechCrunch).

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