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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Venture capitalists like to talk about "full stack" when it comes to software investments. Now, some are using it to describe themselves.

Driving the news: FirstMark Capital raised $360 million in an upsized IPO for its first SPAC, whose target universe will include portfolio companies of FirstMark's early-stage and growth-stage funds.

Why it matters: FirstMark can now help fund founders all the way from the garage to the public markets, which could be a compelling sales pitch for both startups and limited partners.

  • It follows a recent SPAC offering from fintech-focused Ribbit Capital, which also has early-stage and growth-stage funds.

Backstory: FirstMark partner Rick Heitzmann says the idea of doing a SPAC dates back three years, when he was at a Credit Suisse tech conference with Jason Robins, CEO of FirstMark portfolio company DraftKings. Per Heitzmann..."Jason said we should have dinner with Harry Sloan [the former MGM CEO who did his first SPAC in 2013]. I said, 'No, that's stupid, let's have dinner by ourselves.' But Jason pointed out that the worst case scenario was that we'd get some really good wine out of it because Harry's rich, so we went. "And Harry tells the SPAC story, and it's 100 times more interesting than I'd thought before. Eighteen months later, Jason begins talking about how it could be the right fit for DraftKings, which it turned out to be, and now we've raised one too with Jason on our board."

Complications: Were FirstMark's SPAC to target a FirstMark portfolio company, there are potential conflicts of interest.

  • Heitzmann says his firm would recuse itself from any relevant board votes, and that portfolio companies would likely set up a special committee that would, among other things, obtain a fairness opinion.
  • He adds that FirstMark doesn't have board control of any portfolio companies.

The bottom line: This is the beginning of a trend, not a one-off.

Go deeper

Media companies get in on the SPAC action

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs, are booming, and media companies are looking to be a part of the action.

Why it matters: SPACs have become a popular alternative for businesses seeking to go public without undertaking a traditional IPO process.

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.