Is $12.4B a fair price for Qualtrics?

When the news hit Monday that Qualtrics was being acquired, it wasn’t exactly surprising. SAP never seemed enamored with the company in spite of spending a hefty $8 billion to buy it in 2018. It took the German software giant just two years before it decided to spin Qualtrics out again as a separate company. After years of expecting it to happen, Qualtrics finally went public in 2021.

While Qualtrics was operating as a separate company with its own board of directors, budgeting and ability to set its own direction, SAP was still the power behind the throne, controlling a whopping 71% of its stock.

SAP always seemed to have some buyer’s remorse when it came to Qualtrics. It was hoping to get a dose of cloud savviness and access to crucial customer data, two things that Qualtrics easily provided, but the two companies never appeared to quite fit. Acquired when Bill McDermott was still SAP’s CEO, it’s possible that his replacement, Christian Klein, didn’t feel the same affinity for the company.

Whatever the reasons, the company began shopping Qualtrics at the end of January. That decision helped boost the value of the controlled company. The best offer it received for Qualtrics came to around $12 billion from a collection of buyers including Silverlake and the Canadian Pension Board. Considering SAP’s 71% stake, its cut of that dollar figure comes out to around $8.8 billion, basically the price it purchased the company for in 2018 and not much more.

Qualtrics filed an 8-K form with the SEC over the weekend, reporting the parameters of the deal, including that Silverlake and its investment partners offered $18.15 per share. That number represents just a 6% premium over Friday’s closing price, per the Financial Times. (Note, however that Qualtrics already saw appreciation after news of its potential sale was announced earlier in the year; a sale was already priced-in.)

It’s also worth noting that this is not a done deal, although it feels unlikely that anyone will come along and beat the number on the table. Regardless, we wanted to look at this price and determine, is it fair? Is it as low as it feels at first glance? Let’s dig into the numbers and find out.

Fair or unfair

To answer our question regarding the potential sale price for Qualtrics, and whether it’s being sold on the cheap, we’ll need to interrogate its pre- and post-announcement value. While the premium over Friday’s close wasn’t large, it begins to look much better if we extend our time horizon.

Is $12.4B a fair price for Qualtrics? by Ron Miller originally published on TechCrunch lands fresh investment to grow its synthetic media platform, a self-described synthetic media production platform, today announced that it raised $10.6 million in a Series A round co-led by Silver Lake and Red Ventures with participation from 8VC. CEO Ashray Malhotra says that the plan is to put the new cash toward expanding headcount with a particular focus on Rephrase’s engineering, data science, product and business teams.

Rephrase was founded in 2019 by Malhotra, Shivam Mangla and Nisheeth Lahoti. Since their early college days, Lahoti wanted to build a “text-to-movie” engine that could take a script or storyboard as input and generate a film, Malhotra tells TechCrunch. That proved to be too ambitious, so instead, the Rephrase team developed an AI system that creates avatars of human actors by mapping their faces, synchronizing their lip movements, and mimicking the tone and tenor of their voices.

“With video becoming the default, what today bottlenecks video creation is the time and cost spent on production,” Malhotra said via email. “This is the problem Rephrase aims to solve.”

Using Rephrase’s platform, a customer can select an avatar, background and voice, and enter text that the avatar will recite. They can then export that video for use in sales tools.

The tech isn’t particularly novel. Startups like Synthesia, Neosapience and Hour One rely on similar AI systems to create custom videos for a range of use cases. Newer rivals include China-based Surreal, which aims to develop an AI video editing system that can animate not just faces but also clothing and motions. Elsewhere, video- and voice-focused firms, including Respeecher, Papercup, Resemble AI and Deepdub, have launched AI dubbing tools for shows and movies. Beyond startups, Nvidia has been developing technology that alters video in a way that takes an actor’s facial expressions and matches them with a new language.

An ad created by Image Credits: Rephrase

Rephrase has been aggressive in pursuing high-profile enterprise contracts, however, with a customer base that includes teams at Johnson & Johnson, Amazon, and Castrol. Mondelez India tapped the platform to record an avatar of Indian actor Shah Rukh Khan, which was used to create personalized ads in local stores across India.

“Since growing our sales team, we are focused on building vertical solutions for major industries like fintech, BFSI (banking, financial services, and insurance sector) and direct-to-consumer. Most of our revenue comes from large enterprises with over 1,000 employees, so this is a big focus area for us,” Malhotra said. “Rephrase’s growth comes at a time when many industries are looking for automated and scalable video solutions to business functions, especially sales and marketing. The COVID-19 pandemic has slowed traditional video production. Because real video creation is a tedious process, we are actually seeing more demand in terms of automated video creation.”

Synthetic media platforms raise all sorts of thorny ethical questions, of course, what with the rise of deepfakes and manipulated media. But Malhotra points to the company’s usage policy, which prohibits the use of Rephrase-created avatars, depending on the content of the videos in which they star. Customers — which must go through an approval process — control the copyright of any synthetic media that they create.

“Rephrase has designed its policies such that digital avatar creation is ethical by virtue of individual consent from the person concerned and relies on firsthand data of the concerned person,” Malhotra said.

San Francisco–based Rephrase has a team of 35 people and expects to hire around 35 more by the end of the year. To date, the startup has raised $12.5 million; Malhotra claims that it has roughly two years of runway. lands fresh investment to grow its synthetic media platform by Kyle Wiggers originally published on TechCrunch

European branded payments startup Recharge raises $11.8M debt round led by Kreos Capital

Online branded payments now run the gamut of anything from Spotify vouchers, Netflix vouchers, Neosurf, PaySafe cards, and everything in between. Consumers use them to pay for a variety of things. In Europe, they are an increasingly big business. Now, European branded payments company has raised €10m ($11.8m) in a debt funding round led by London-based Kreos Capital, a growth debt provider for high-growth companies. In 2019 the Dutch fintech Creative Group, which owns the and brands, took investment of €22m from Prime Ventures.

Recharge has also appointed Michael Kent – who previously founded payments companies Small World and Azimo, along with UK neobank Tandem – as its non-executive chairman. says it plans to use the funding to extend its mobile offering, product range, and expand in regions such as North America, Latin America and the GCC. It’s also aiming for sales of €450m in 2021.

Günther Vogelpoel CEO of said in a statement: “We live in a world of instant wish fulfillment, from taxis that appear on demand to same-day delivery of consumer goods. gives customers a fast, safe and simple way to fulfill their wishes, whether that’s an essential remittance or access to digital goods and services.”

Commenting, Kent said: “The era of supermarket gift cards and mobile top-ups is drawing to a close. Branded payments have exploded during the global lockdown as consumers seek digital alternatives to the high street. People are now aware that online branded payments are safe, fast, and convenient.”

Through a range of digital vouchers from brands including Apple, Google, Spotify, Xbox and PlayStation as well as cross-border remittances of call, data credits etc Recharge is attacking the market from the consumer angle.

The biggest company in this space is Blackhawk networks which is owned by private equity group Silverlake. It’s considered a large player in Europe which has a direct-to-consumer model.

As Kent told me over a Zoom call: “Nobody actually owns the consumer side of this business globally so that’s the big opportunity.”

GoodRx is coming for subscription prescription services with the launch of GoodRx Care

Several months after discreetly acquiring the online prescription service HeyDoctor, GoodRx is launching a new service based on the acquisition, GoodRx Care and offering a direct challenge to online prescription services like Hims, Hers, Nurx, Ro and others.

Already a billion-dollar giant in the world of prescription fulfillment through its cost-comparison and discount medication fulfillment business, more than 10 million consumers use the company’s services already.

With GoodRx Care, customers can use the online medical service to get a consultation, treatment, prescriptions and lab tests from doctors. The array of services on offer, which covers conditions and ailments from urinary tract infection treatments and birth control pills to erectile dysfunction medication and hair replacement supplements, mirror those pitched by white-glove online prescription services like Ro, Hims, Hers, and Nurx .

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GoodRx Care services

“Over the years, we’ve helped millions of Americans find affordable solutions for their prescription medications, but have also learned that many people struggle to get to the doctor,” said Doug Hirsch, co-CEO and co-founder of GoodRx. “By introducing GoodRx Care, we aim to help fill in the gaps in care to improve access, adherence, and affordability of medical care for all Americans.”

For Hirsch and GoodRx, the expansion into these kinds of online consultations was a natural extension of the company’s services. “One third of people who come to GoodRx . are coming to GoodRx and they may not have the prescription that they don’t think they need,” he says. “For a long time now we’ve been  telling people you may need a prescription for the service and telemedicine options are available.” 

Now the company can keep those customers in-house by offering their own telemedicine consults.

Other technology companies are also pushing deeper into the healthcare industry with Amazon making a big splash with the launch of its employee-only healthcare service offering telemedicine and on-site consultations with staff doctors. Apple, too, has its own healthcare service for employees.

Even BestBuy is seeing big dollars in the healthcare industry. It expects healthcare services to become an increasingly important component to its bottom line as more technology hardware and software is developed to cater to both the aging population, remote health solutions, and infant and childcare.

Demand for more healthcare alternatives is only increasing even as the cost of care rises and the value of healthcare services declines.

As GoodRx notes, access to primary care physicians is hard for most Americans. Some patients can wait up to three weeks to see a doctor and there’s the potential that the country could see a shortfall of up to 120,000 doctors coming within the next 15 years. Add that to the fact that over 27.5 million Americans don’t even have health insurance and the demand for low cost access to care seems obvious.

What’s less obvious is that the care Americans need is access to physicians which will prescribe hair-loss or erectile dysfunction treatments, acne treatments, eyelash growth, or metabolic assessments.

Hirsch says more services will be coming in later months. “We’re at the very early stages of telemedicine,” he says. “We want to continue to expand into more primary services as is safe and affordable and as we can.”

For now, the focus was on bringing the price point down and having more control over where to refer customers. “A lot of these services are tied to mail-order clinics and that could be hundreds of dollars [for a consultation or prescription],” Hirsch says. “We’re going to say it’s $20 for a visit. You can do it today… and you can have a pricing options… we’re saying you’ve had your doctor visit… here’s a list of prices and coupons if you want them.”

Since its launch in 2017, HeyDoctor has had over 100,000 consultations and had already been working with GoodRx, according to Hirsch. The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

The acquisition of HeyDoctor is the first big strategic gambit from the company in the year since it raised money from the private equity firm, Silverlake, in a transaction which valued the discount pharmaceutical provider at roughly $2.8 billion, according to a CNBC report.

“In an increasingly fragmented and confusing healthcare system, our goal is to provide a one-stop shop for services that address most basic healthcare needs,” said Hirsch.