PPP loan data brings confusion and erroneously lists Bird and Index Ventures among recipients
The U.S. Treasury Department released Monday a highly anticipated trove of data identifying every company that has received a loan of more than $150,000 from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) — a list that includes some of the hottest names in the tech startup world, including Bolt Mobility, Getaround, Luminar, Stackin, TuSimple and Velodyne.
The data, which lists the names of companies that received small business loans over $150,000, was the result of a push for greater transparency around the loans. The list also provides the number of jobs that each company said it plans to retain as a result of the funds.
The PPP loans became available to help prop up companies affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has prompted local and state governments to issue stay-at-home orders and close non-essential businesses. The $2 trillion CARES Act passed by Congress and signed by President Trump, included PPP loans designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. The Small Business Administration, which handles the applications, will forgive loans if all employee retention criteria are met.
As illuminating as this dump of data is, it may contain inaccurate information. Both Bird and Index Ventures have issued statements that counter information provided by the federal government.
“Bird was erroneously listed as a company that filed for a PPP Loan,” according to an emailed statement from Bird. “We did not apply for nor did we receive a PPP Loan. We decided as a company not to file an application as we did not want to divert critical funding from small and local businesses.”
Bird CEO and founder Travis VanderZanden tweeted Monday that Citi had started an application while it awaited the company’s decision on whether to formally apply. Bird told Citi it decided not to apply and the bank told the company the temporary application had been cancelled.
Bird spoke with Citi early on, but decided not to apply for PPP b/c the money was more deserved by small and local businesses. Citi will confirm this. Not sure how we made the PPP list, but we’re investigating. https://t.co/81HUJLKy4o
— Travis VanderZanden (@travisv) July 6, 2020
Index Ventures confirmed it has not applied for or received a loan. Andreessen Horowitz, which was also listed in the PPP data, confirmed that it has not applied for or received a loan in a statement to TechCrunch.
Earlier today, there was an erroneous entry that Index Ventures applied for a PPP loan. We can confirm that Index Ventures did not apply for a PPP loan at any point. Our legal team is looking into why our name is listed and looking to correct it ASAP.
— Index Ventures (@IndexVentures) July 6, 2020
Below is a list of tech startups and companies, including some venture firms that received money, either for themselves or on behalf of portfolio companies, from the program. The story is developing and we’re seeking to confirm the loans with companies. We will update throughout the day.
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$150,000 to $350,000 range
- Stackin, which connects millennials to fintech startups, got a loan. This loan is notable because the fintech company raised a $12.6 million Series B financing in May, is listed in the loan data. CEO Scott Grimes did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
- OpenResearch, formerly named Y Combinator Research, got a loan. The nonprofit company rebranded in May, and announced that it is operating independently from Y Combinator and will no longer be affiliated with the incubator. This renaming announcement came after the nonprofit applied for a PPP grant.
$350,000 to $1 million range
- Bolt Mobility, a city micromobility upstart, plans to retain 18 jobs
- Pronto.ai, the automated driving technology startup founded by Anthony Lewandowski, plans to save 17 jobs
$1 million to $2 million range
- Kodiak Robotics, the autonomous trucking company, plans to retain 87 jobs
- SquareFoot, a New york-based office real-estate upstart, got a loan. According to The Information, CEO Jonathan Wasserstrum got $1 million to avoid cutting the staff amid real estate transactions slowing down due to COVID-19.
$2 to $5 million range
- Self-driving trucking company TuSimple plans to save 324 jobs. TechCrunch recently reported that this startup, which gained unicorn status in 2019, has hired Morgan Stanley as it seeks $250 million in new funding.
- Yeezy LLC, a company owned by Kanye West, is listed and the money will retain 106 jobs.
$5 to $10 million loan range
- Byton North America, a unit of the China-backed EV startup, plans to retain 387 jobs
- Getaround, a peer-to-peer car sharing service, plans to save 448 jobs. In a statement to TechCrunch, Getaround confirmed the loan and said that the program “helped reduce the otherwise severe impact on the health of our organization,” due to lockdowns and coronavirus restrictions.
- Faraday Future, the troubled EV startup, plans to save 237 jobs
- Luminar, a lidar sensor company, plans to retain 341 jobs
- Karma Automotive, the EV startup, plans to save 463 jobs
- Metromile plans to save 75 jobs
- Nio USA, a unit of Chinese EV automaker Nio, plans to retain 204 jobs
- Proterra, the electric bus manufacturer, plans to save 500 jobs
- Turo, a peer-to-peer car-sharing service, does not disclose the number of jobs that will be retained.
- Velodyne, a lidar sensor company, plans to save 450 jobs.
Update: A few of the job numbers were entered incorrectly and have since been corrected.
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