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Alpaca raises $10M Series A for its API-powered equities trading service

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This morning Alpaca, a startup that helps other companies add commission-free equities trading to their own products, announced a $10 million Series A. The new capital event was led by Portag3, and included prior investors Social Leverage, Spark Capital, Fathom Capital and Abstract Ventures.

The company previously raised a $6 million pre-Seed and $6 million Seed round that TechCrunch covered last November.

Alpaca is a company that has cropped up in our coverage of the startup and private capital markets recently, adding its perspective to our discussion of API-powered startups and their recent success.

By our math, the new round pushes Alpaca to around $22 million in total funding.

It’s done a lot with the pre-existing funds, including driving its transaction volume sharply higher over the last year. As we’ve seen with commission-free broker Robinhood, transaction volume can be robustly lucrative. In a prior interview with Alpaca CEO Yoshi Yokokawa, the startup confirmed that it generates revenues from routing order flow through specific market makers.

So, as Alpaca’s trading volume grows, so too does its revenue. This matters as we have notes on Alpaca’s trading volume in 2020, and how some of those figures compare to its 2019 results. The data helps explain why, and how the startup attracted new capital.

Here’s the startup’s historical trading volume in dollars, generated via customer’ use of its API:

  • January: $388.1 million
  • February: $591.4 million
  • March: $999.0 million
  • April: $853.6 million
  • June: $1.59 billion
  • July: $1.58 billion
  • August: $959.3 million
  • September, 2020: ~$2 billion

Per the company, that $2 billion result in September is up 10x its year-ago performance, implying that revenue at Alpaca has soared in recent quarters. Fast revenue growth, and possible 10x revenue expansion, is investor catnip. The company’s Series A, therefore, is not a surprise event.

What’s next

Off the heels of this growth, Alpaca wants to go after more enterprise customers and double-down on building features into its API so that it can pursue a vision of providing financial services to everyone on the planet, according to Yokokawa. That hope, by the way, is why the company is building infrastructure tech and not consumer-facing tooling. Alpaca wants to sit behind the scenes, the world ’round, powering other players so that it can have maximum reach. (If it powers lots of different companies’ trading tooling, the startup might be able to reach more total end-users than trying to accrete the world’s trading population to a single, first-party service.)

To accomplish its aspirational goal, the startup needs more folks to build more things. Similar to many startups, Alpaca has gone fully remote and is taking its fresh cash to hire around the world. I asked the CEO if he was adding mostly, say, in-market salespeople as Alpaca looks to expand its customer base globally. He responded that most of its distributed hires have been developers, though some have been marketers as well.

After reducing staff to around 10 when COVID-19 arrived, Alpaca is now 35 people strong. Those folks will help Alpaca grow across two vectors, namely geographic expansion and growth into the enterprise, powered by API development. The company’s work on broker-dealer features is part of its international growth plan.

The API-space is hot. The fintech world is on fire. And inside of fintech itself, we’ve seen a savings and investing boom. Alpaca straddles all of three of those worlds. Let’s see how far it can get with $10 million more.

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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

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Apple will replace AirPods Pro for free with faulty noise cancellation, static or crackling

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Today, exactly one year after Apple first launched the AirPods Pro — and thus the same day the very first AirPods Pro owners will see their one-year warranties expire — Apple has launched a repair program that offers free repairs or replacements for another whole year if your AirPods Pro experience issues with noise cancellation or static.

Specifically, Apple will fix:

Crackling or static sounds that increase in loud environments, with exercise or while talking on the phone

Active Noise Cancellation not working as expected, such as a loss of bass sound, or an increase in background sounds, such as street or airplane noise

Apple says only a “small percentage of AirPods Pro” are affected by the issues, but it apparently wasn’t just an early batch — Apple says affected units were manufactured “before October 2020,” meaning every AirPods Pro ever made might be eligible. That’s quite a recall if so. Apple says it will repair faulty AirPods Pro for two years after you first buy them.

We’ve heard complaints about degraded noise cancellation before, and at least one Verge editor has replaced their AirPods Pro under warranty. It’s nice to hear that Apple isn’t just cutting buyers off as soon as that warranty expires.

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This 55″ 4K TCL Smart TV Hangs on Your Wall for $200

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Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

TCL 55″ S434 4K Smart TV | $200 | Best Buy

Best Buy has an insane deal going for a brand new 55″ 4K TCL smart TV. It’s the S434, which is pretty baseline for TCL’s lineup, but at just $200, there’s little to complain about. TCL’s panels are plenty sharp and accurate, and with this set, you’ll get HDR10 compliance for enhanced color and brightness in supported games and video content. This model has Android TV onboard for all your app needs, and with an included voice remote, all your favorite content is just a shout away with the help of Google Assistant.

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