Alpaca – Commission Free Stock Trading API


Zillionize is proud to invest in Alpaca, a commission-free API first stock brokerage.

Alpaca launched in October 2018 and recently took part in YC W19. The platform allows users to build and trade with real time market data for free.

Developers can build algorithmic trading, trading bots and artificial intelligence using the simple RESTful API.

Driven by a talented team and experienced founders, Alpaca is already on its way to shaking up the financial services industry processing over $25 million and 7 million API calls by March 2019.

“Alpaca is going to transform stock trading by making available to retail traders all of the technology and science that has transformed institutional trading,” said co-founder Yoshi Yokokawa on their initial launch.

“In the beginning, individual coders who build algorithmic strategies will be able to connect those algorithms with our commission-free trading API and begin trading on our platform. Over time, we’ll make algorithmic investment strategies available there to non-coder investors who want to manage their investment with customizable strategies such as automated asset allocation and rebalancing strategies, and they’ll never have to manually execute a buy or sell order again.”

Over the past 12 months Alpaca has continued to evolve into an easy to use, well documented API, supporting several open-source SDKs, tutorials and third party integrations.

We look forward to being a part of Alpaca changing how the world interacts with financial systems. To learn more about Alpaca check out

Rent the Backyard – Earn money renting out an apartment in your backyard

Rent the Backyard

Rent the Backyard allows homeowners to earn up to $12,000 by renting out a backyard studio apartment. The ambitious startup hopes to help fix housing shortages and will provide an additional source of income for homeowners.

Zillionize is excited to have recently invested in the company who participated in YC S19 Early Decision.

Rent the Backyard offers apartments at zero cost upfront for homeowners and also takes care of the construction and permitting. The apartments contain everything needed to live independently. Rental profits are split 50/50 providing a new monthly source of income for the homeowner.

Affordable housing is a rising problem with California lawmakers recently acknowledging this and providing a great opportunity for Rent the Backyard which has been featured on TechCrunch, ABC and NBC.

We look forward to seeing the strong team of co founders Brian Bakerman and Spencer Burleigh make a difference to homeowners and tenants.

For more information, check out

Featured Portfolio Based on Funding Size or ARR

Recently VisionOne VC shared their Fund I performance with $15m raised in 2012, deployed in 2.5 years into 20 startups, measured in return multiples as of June 30, 2019. You may check out their blog post for more details and see their chart listed below – it clearly illustrates how “power law” returns work in Venture Capital.

I may one day publish Zillionize’s performance as well but since we are a single LP evergreen fund, we don’t really check the paper valuations and calculate IRRs as often as most other funds do for reporting requirements. In other words, we know our outstanding fund performance “by heart”, and are very patient on this journey for the long term with all the wonderful founders we’ve backed since the beginning.

So for now, I’ll list a few featured portfolio startups below based on their funding size (all public info) or ARR (no specific numbers shared here for obvious reasons), which doesn’t necessarily correlate with a startup’s paper valuation due to (lack of) funding or exit events like acquisition or IPO. You may also visit my AngelList.


- acquired by GM in 2016 for $1 Billion


 - raised $184M+, Series C


 - raised $141M, Series B


 - raised $120M+, Series B

 - raised $100M, Series C


 - raised $63M+, Series C


 - (SPV) raised $52M, Series A


 - raised $51M+, Series D


 - raised $50M Series B +$100M Debt Financing


 - raised $48M+, Series B


 - raised $44M, Series B

 - raised $42M, Series B


 - raised $40M, Series B


 - raised $40M+, Series B


 - raised $34M, Series C


 - raised $22M+, Series A


 - raised $23M, Series A


 - raised $22M+, Series A


 - raised $17M, Series A


 - raised $16M+, Series A


 - raised $12.8M, Series A

 - raised $12M, Series B


 - raised $11M, Series A


 - raised $9M+, Series A


 - raised $7M, Series A


 - raised $1.3M, super capital efficient and high growth+ARR


 - raised $1.4M, super capital efficient and high growth+ARR


100 more

Bevi, The Smart Water Dispenser, Raised $35M Series C. What’s Next?

If you watch HBO (TV series) “Silicon Valley”, you may have caught a glimpse of Bevi, a beautiful and high-tech smart water dispenser. In Jan. 2019, the Boston-based (MIT spinoff) startup announced their $35M Series C led by Bessemer Venture Partners, which brings their total funding to date to more than $63M. Existing investors also participated, such as Horizon Ventures and former Starbucks backer Trinity Ventures. Zillionize invested in seed round in Sept. 2014.

Silicon Valley: Season 5, Ep 3 – Chief Operating Officer
Bevi has been mission driven since day 1 to help eliminate waste from bottled beverages (another Zillionize portco GiveMeTap shares similar mission). Since the company’s founding in 2013, Bevi says they have diverted over 65 million bottles and cans from entering landfills and oceans, at over 30,000 bottles per machine annually.

Bevi is essentially LaCroix on tap and comes in 2 models: Standup and Countertop. It’s hooked up to an existing water line and filters water directly to provide still, sparkling and flavored water on demand, including lemon, lime mint, coconut, blueberry, cucumber and more 0 or low calorie choices from fruit essence. By 2020, these machines will have more customizable additions, Bevi CEO Grundy added. Some potential features include temperature control, wider control over carbonation, an option to add functional ingredients such as vitamins to the beverage and features that can help track hydration and nutrition.

Currently, Bevi has offices in Boston, SF, NYC, and Chicago, and its clientele includes more than 2000 corporate offices (like Microsoft, Apple and Lyft), startups (like Peloton), health care facilities (like Texas Medical Center and Danbury Hospital), universities, law firms, and financial service companies (like Fidelity). It’s rapidly expanding in metropolitan areas across U.S. (more than 30 states) and Canada.

Bevi also plans on hiring significantly this year to add at least 40 employees in innovation (software, hardware and customization options), operations, sales and marketing to its current staff of 90 people strong. “We’ve been recruiting executives from the best of the best in order to become one of the best ourselves,” Grundy says. Their notable executive hires since last year included COO out of Amazon, a VP of Hardware Engineering out of Boston Dynamics, a VP of Finance from Placester, and Sales Executive from PepsiCo and Starbucks.

Calling customized drinks a new category that Bevi has the potential to “own,” Grundy believes customization will play an important role in the beverage industry moving forward, pointing to PepsiCo’s $3.2 billion purchase of Israel-based SodaStream in late 2018. I remain excited to see Bevi continue building a meaningful brand to serve all their customers. If you want to have it at your place, please request here.

BTW, can someone help me understand what this quote means “I can smell that you were the gibbon”?

SendBird, #1 Chat Platform for Apps and Websites, Raised $102M Series B. What’s Next?

SendBird, a complete chat platform with Messaging SDKs and Chat API, recently closed $102M Series B. $50M was announced in Feb. 2019 led by Iconiq Capital, which claims such big-name backers as Mark Zuckerberg. Another $52M Extension was announced in May 2019 led by Tiger Global Management. Existing investors Shasta Ventures, August Capital, Y Combinator and Funders Club also participated, and Zillionize invested in the seed round in March 2016.

The company has similar value propositions as Twilio for communications or Stripe for payments. It enables developers to integrate chat and messaging features into their mobile apps or websites with a couple of lines of code. With the new funding, SendBird will re-invest in their product, hiring, go-to-market, and is well positioned for more aggressive growth and International expansion to solidify their #1 leading position by number of users, revenue and growth rate (doubling and tripling)!

SendBird has very flexible, highly scalable, fully customizable, white label messaging capability. “We come with a fully managed infrastructure. So basically, you can log into any mobile applications or websites out there, and use our messaging capability.” company founder and CEO John Kim explained.

It is applicable in any application that requires communication, including gaming (like Nexon, Glu Mobile and Dream11), dating apps (like Hinge), on-demand delivery services (like GoJek and Delivery Hero), and marketplace (like Dubizzle) – any case where two people need to communicate quickly. SendBird’s other notable customers include Yahoo!, NBA, Managed by Q (WeWork), and KeepTruckin etc. all over the world.

Feel free to catch Bloomberg’s LIVE interview with CEO John Kim here on July 08, 2019. When asked about SendBird’s runway and if profitable, John commented, “We’ve been growing and operating very capital-efficiently so our runway could be 8 to 3 years, give or take. We can be profitable if we choose to, but we’ll reinvest so we are not profitable by choice. Our investors are very long-term thinking and would want to see us really dominate this market and continue to be the number 1, rather than turn a quick profit. In the foreseeable future, we are very financially stable. ” Doesn’t this remind you what Jeff Bezos always preaches? 🙂

In John’s spare time, apparently he thinks in much grander scheme like M&A to form new countries and test new systems. Well, after all, he’s already expanded SendBird offices from South Korea and Silicon Valley to London, Singapore and Bengaluru, so maybe one day, he’ll also take SendBird to Mars!

Onit, the Business Process Automation Platform Acquired SimpleLegal

We are glad to share that SimpleLegal, one of our portfolio startups and a hosted enterprise legal management software has been acquired by Onit, a Houston based company offering enterprise workflow solutions mostly related to legal matters like e-billing, legal spend management and contract management etc. SimpleLegal also offers modern solutions for e-billing, spend, vendor and matter management so, with this acquisition Onit would be able to combine their experience with SimpleLegal’s trendy solutions and offer better options to enterprises.

In June 2017, SimpleLegal raised $10M in a Series A round and after this recent acquisition we believe that SimpleLegal would add great value to Onit in their future success.

“Today, corporations spend more than $160 billion on their in-house legal teams,” Nathan Wenzel, CEO and co-founder of SimpleLegal, said in a news release. “The combination of Onit and SimpleLegal is a game-changer for the legal market and the future of legal operations.”

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Eric Elfman, Onit CEO and co-founder, will be CEO of the merged organization. Wenzel will be general manager of SimpleLegal.

Onit, which is privately held, has more than quadrupled its workforce in just under three years. Earlier this year, it announced raising $200 million in private equity to fuel its growth in new markets, products and deals.

“Onit and SimpleLegal share both a passion for both disrupting the legal technology space and valuing product innovation,” Elfman said in Monday’s news release. “Our shared commitment to elevate legal operations technology is an asset for all of our customers.”

Please read full story at Houston Chronicle.

Lambda School Raised $30M Series B To Empower Underserved Adults With Free Online Education. What’s Next?

Lambda School, a for-profit online coding bootcamp with Income Sharing Agreement (free until hired for more than $50,000/year and then pay 17% monthly salaries capped at $30,000 tuition in total) that Zillionize seed invested from YC S17 batch, announced its $30M Series B funding in January 2019. This round brings the total capital invested in Lambda to $48 million at a post-money valuation of $150 million.

Lambda School Cofounder Austin Allred. COURTESY: LAMBDA
As the founder and CEO Austen mentioned in this Forbes article, this round actually came inbound other than traditionally active fundraising effort. “I was getting a dozen emails a day from potential investors,” he says. “I think we were the first coding boot camp to put all the pieces together, and word gets around in Silicon Valley.”

In this post, we’ll share some more exciting news since their Series B announcement.

  • International Expansion. You may find out more here regarding its EU/UK program, and here about its partnership with PayStack to expand in Africa.

  • $2,000 Monthly Living Stipend. You may participate in the Q&As here via hacker news or apply to join their waitlist on their website here
Check out the blog post here
  • Loaner Laptops. You may read more about Anthony’s story on his own blog here

  • Charity Fund. You may kindly donate here to help cover internet bills, rent checks, etc for Lambda School students who are out of options financially. True story: a mere $400 was separating a student from graduating and 2 months after Lambda briefly covered his rent, he got a full-time job making $70,000/year.
  • “Summer Hacker Program for Women launched by YC co-founder Jessica Livingston with Lambda School. “I’m going to give 40 women $9000 stipends to cover their living expenses while they take Lambda School’s programming course. Lambda School has created a 15-week program designed to fit during the summer break and have generously agreed to cover these 40 students’ $12,000 tuition. We’re calling it the “Summer Hackers Program.” And you may read more why Livingston started this program here.
  • Inspiring success hire stories @HumansOfLambda. My most recent favorite would be this unnamed hero beating all the odds to find her way to a better life: single parent with 5 small children, no work experience and half a degree, teenager kid challenge, early stage cancer diagnosis, enrolled in and graduated from Lambda School with 6-figure salary (and more than one job offer)!
In addition, feel free to check out Lambda School’s CIRR Outcomes Report for H1 2018 cohort to let these numbers convince and impress you!
You may also listen to Austen’s podcast with YC to learn more about this non-traditional founder building a non-traditional but life-changing startup.

    1. grew up in Utah
    2. served as a Mormon missionary in Ukraine before college
    3. dropped out of college
    4. lived in a car for 3 months in Palo Alto
    5. hustled to sell 300 football tickets to pay for car tow
    6. failed a previous startup with Series A investor pulling out last minute, but hence published a successful book writing about growth (Cindy’s note: I actually had to dig into my notes 2yrs ago to find this reddit thread that got me convinced (together with his other qualities) to back Austen on his new venture: “I’ve been doing whatever the hell you call this my whole life. SEO, ads, CRO, SQL, a little data modeling to make it work at scale. Even wrote a book about it that I’ve made $130k from in the past year.”
    7. launched Lambda School with a fellow BYU dropout Ben Nelsonor
    8. the rest is history (in the making)

Better yet, follow Austen on Twitter to see why the hype?! Like me, you may not even need your 2nd cup of coffee everyday after reading all those inspiring stories from Lambda School graduates! 🙂

Proxy – Bluetooth Based Digital Identity Platform Raised $13.6M

Proxy, a San Francisco based digital identity platform that allows users to create and use their unique IDs to get authenticated and communicate with real world devices through Bluetooth signals of their smartphones or wearables has raised $13.6M in a Series A round.

The funding round was led by an American VC firm, Kleiner Perkins in participation with WeWork Creator Fund, Y Combinator, Coatue Management & Justin Mateen. After this round, Proxy’s total funding amount has raised to $16.8M since its last seed funding in August 2016.

Best of luck to the founders (Denis Mars and Simon Ratner) of Proxy for their continued efforts.

The startup lets you instantly unlock office doors and reserve meeting rooms using Bluetooth Low Energy signal. You never even have to pull out your phone or open an app. But Proxy is gearing up to build an entire Bluetooth identity layer for the world that could invisibly hover around its users. That could allow devices around the workplace and beyond to instantly recognize your credentials and preferences to sign you into teleconferences, pay for public transit or ask the barista for your usual.

Opening office doors isn’t super exciting, though. What comes next is. Proxy is polishing its features that auto-reserve conference rooms when you walk inside, that sign you into your teleconferencing system when you approach the screen and that personalize workstations when you arrive. It’s also working on better office guest check-in to eliminate the annoying iPad sign-in process in the lobby. Next, Mars is eyeing “Your car, your home, all your devices. All these things are going to ask ‘can I sense you and do something useful for you?’ ”

After demoing at Y Combinator, thousands of companies reached out to Proxy, from hotel chains to corporate conglomerates to theme parks. Proxy charges for its hardware, plus a monthly subscription fee per reader. Employees are eager to ditch their keycards, so Proxy sees 90 percent adoption across all its deployments. Customers only churn if something breaks, and it hasn’t lost a customer in two years, Mars claims.

Please read the full story at TechCrunch.

Chewse – Online Office Catering Service in California Raises $19M

Raising the total funding amount to $33.9M, Chewse – a San Francisco based online office catering service with corporate meal programs has bagged another $19M after going through its Series C funding round. The funding round was led by Foundry Group with participation from other investors including 500 Startups and Gingerbread Capital.

Chewse was added to our portfolio in 2014. In September 2015 and June 2017, Chewse went through Series A and Series B rounds respectively. Now, Chewse is serving Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco and Silicon Valley markets.

“We initially started with a contractor model but then very quickly started to realize our customers often mentioned the host or the driver in their feedback,” Chewse CEO and co-founder Tracy Lawrence told TechCrunch.

“I know there’s a lot of other companies that are like food tech or logistics but for us, it’s all about elevating and improving company culture,” Lawrence said. “We have technology but we’re investing in it to create an exceptional real-life experience.”

“On the tech side, we’re using a ton of machine learning and algorithms to learn what people like to eat and create custom meal schedules,” Lawrence said.

Please read the full story at TechCrunch.

Drivezy – Self Drive Rental Service in India Raises $20M

Two years ago, we added Drivezy (formerly JustRide) to our portfolio and in such a short span of time, Drivezy has become one of the biggest marketplaces in India for renting cars and motorbikes.

Drivezy is constantly adding more funds to keep its fuel tank full for a long and successful journey. For instance, it has raised $20M in Series B round led by Das Capital (other investors include Yamaha Corporation, Axan Partners and IT-Farm). Not just that, Drivezy has also signed a $100M asset financing deal with Japan based ICO (Initial Coin Offering) advisory service, AnyPay which is great. Keep driving forward, Drivezy!

Abhishek Mahajan, one of the company’s five co-founders, told TechCrunch in an interview that the fleet should add a further 50,000-60,000 new vehicles, 75 percent of which would be two-wheelers, thanks to the AnyPay deal.

Mahajan said that Drivezy is currently market leader when it comes to self-drive two-wheelers — “self-drive” meaning vehicles that can be rented for a trip — with motorbikes and scooters accounting for “the bulk” of transactions, but just 20 percent of revenue. (That’s opposed to 80 percent for cars.) Revenue itself is 25 percent of the cut of a rental.

Aside from the asset financing deal — which will see AnyPay’s Harbourfront Capital vehicle own the new assets — Drivezy uses peer-to-peer and dealership partners for its fleet. The peer-to-peer appeal centers around increasing the utility of vehicles (and providing additional income to owners); that’s a similar pitch to car dealerships, who can draw income from vehicles used on Drivezy that would otherwise sit idle waiting to be purchased.

But the AnyPay deal is a “game changer,” according to Mahajan.

“When we fast-forward five years, we can’t imagine a scenario that car ownership in India goes from eight percent [right now] to U.S. level of 80 percent. India will have to skip a cycle on the culture of ownership and move into a sustainable sharing of cars model,” he added.

Please read the full story at TechCrunch.