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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.

54 mins ago - Health

DeSantis to bar Florida schools from mandating masks

Photo: Michael Reaves via Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said Friday he will issue an executive order "very soon" barring local school districts from requiring students to wear masks when they return to school next month, NBC News reports.

Why it matters: The spread of the Delta variant has led to a spike in new infections across the U.S., triggering another round of debate about COVID guidelines in schools.

Trump's tax returns must be released to Congress, DOJ says

President Trump at the end of a rally to support Republican Senate candidates at Valdosta Regional Airport in Valdosta, Georgia on December 5, 2020. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP

The Treasury Department "must" release former President Trump's tax returns to the House Ways and Means Committee, the Department of Justice said in a memo Friday.

The big picture: The DOJ memo comes after a long dispute between the committee, which first sought to obtain the former president's returns two years ago, and Trump, who fought to keep his finances private.