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Mar 5, 2020

Axios Pro Rata

Top of the Morning

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

A record number of female-founded startups raised venture capital in 2019, representing more than a 500% increase from 2010, based on new data from PitchBook and All Raise. Median valuations also hit all-time highs.

  • Backdrop: The bump in global deal numbers comes amidst a (slow) increase in female venture capitalists, including those with actual checkbooks, and against the backdrop of increased exits for mixed-gender founding teams (+7% in 2019, compared to a 4% year-over-year decrease for all-male founding teams).

Yes, but: Not all the new numbers were positive, particularly when it came to actual money raised. Only 16% of all venture investment dollars invested in 2019 went to startups with at least one female founder, down from 18% in 2018. So far in 2020, the figure is just 13%.

  • In terms of deal number, 21% of all funded startups in 2019 had at least one female founder.

The bottom line: Venture capital should briefly celebrate its progress, and then get back to work doing much, much better.


Viral deals: Private equity firm Permira this week sold an 11% stake in TeamViewer, a maker of remote work software that has seen a surge of interest (and stock price) due to coronavirus. Permira netted around €700 million from the disposal, and still retains around a 49% interest.

  • Hearing some increased chatter about distressed equity and debt firms forming coronavirus-specific vehicles, although no specific details yet.
  • The SEC yesterday announced “conditional regulatory relief for certain publicly traded company filing obligations under the federal securities laws.”

🥁 Happy trails: Jason Mendelson has retired from Foundry Group, the Colorado-based venture firm he helped form more than a decade ago. He now plans to focus full time on music, including an upcoming single produced by former Guns N' Roses drummer Matt Sorum.

  • Wait. What? Jason is a lawyer by training (ex-Cooley, co-founder of SRS Acquiom) and VC by happenstance (deals included Sphero, maker of Star Wars' BB-8), but his passion has always been music. The guy even built a full studio in his basement, which is where he worked on real songs while also doing a couple VC industry parodies (see here and here).
  • Mendelson met Sorum while in Palm Springs, and that the two of them are working to open a recording facility in the area.

🎧 Pro Rata Podcast digs into Mike Bloomberg's big bust, and what it means for the future of big money in politics. Listen here.


Source: Giphy

ViacomCBS (Nasdaq: VIAC) said it is seeking a buyer for book publisher Simon & Schuster, which generated $814 million in sales last year and could fetch over $1 billion.

  • Why it's the BFD: This is the consequence of consolidation. Both in the book publishing space, where S&S rivals are expected to pounce, and also in the broader multimedia sector, where megamergers like Viacom/CBS are leading to a spate of "non-core" sales.
  • The bottom line: "A sale of Simon & Schuster, one of the five largest book publishers in the country, would shake up the publishing industry, which has become a winner-take-all business dominated by huge companies and brand-name authors." — Edmund Lee & Alexandra Alter, N.Y. Times
Venture Capital Deals

Source: Giphy

Quibi, the short-form video streaming service set to launch next month, raised $350 million in new equity funding from undisclosed investors (bringing the round total to $750m). The company, led by Meg Whitman and Jeffrey Katzenberg, previously raised around $1 billion from backers like Alibaba. http://axios.link/OP1K

🚑 Cera Care, a London-based elderly home health care startup, raised $70 million in equity and debt funding. KairosHQ led, and was joined by Yabeo and Guinness Asset Management. http://axios.link/JEDo

Hailo, an Israeli AI chipmaker, raised $60 million in Series B funding from ABB Tech Ventures, NEC Corp., Latitude Ventures, and return backers like Maniv Mobility, Glory Ventures, OurCrowd, and MicroTech Ventures. http://axios.link/iwLk

🚑 Suki, a Redwood City, Calif.-based developer of a voice-enabled digital clinical assistant, raised $20 million in Series B funding. Flare Capital Partners led, and was joined by Breyer Capital, Epsilon Health, and return backers First Round Capital and Venrock. www.suki.ai

Mize, a Temple Terrance Fla.-based customer experience platform for manufacturers, raised an undisclosed amount of funding from M33 Growth. http://axios.link/SNTm

Rollbar, a San Francisco-based real-time error monitoring SaaS, raised $11 million in Series B funding. Runa Capital led, and was joined by Long Light Capital, Blossom Street Ventures, and return backers Cota Capital, Bain Capital, and Patagonia Capital. www.rollbar.com

Membrion, a Seattle-based manufacturer of ion exchange membranes, raised $6 million in Series A funding. Bellingham Angel Investors led, and was joined by WRF Capital and SeaChange Fund. www.membrion.com

Lume, an Atlanta-based provider of cloud and data center services, raised $4.3 million led by BaseCamp Capital. http://axios.link/XAfr

Zabo, a Dallas-based startup that enables financial services company to connect with their customers’ cryptocurrency wallets, raised $2.5 million. Moonshots Capital led, and was joined by Blockchange Ventures, Castle Island Ventures, Digital Currency Group, CoinShares, Tezos Foundation, and Capital Factory. www.zabo.com

Private Equity Deals

Actis is forming a $250 million acquisition platform focused on buying data centers in Africa. http://axios.link/2r6s

🚑 L Catterton acquired a minority equity stake in FYidoctors, a Calgary-based eye care company whose controlling interest will remain held by optometrists. www.fyidoctors.com

Public Offerings

Boa Vista, a Brazilian credit bureau, filed for a local IPO. http://axios.link/EDyu

Liquidity Events

HGGC is seeking a buyer for San Jose, Calif.-based marketing automation provider Selligent, per PE Hub. http://axios.link/KWxu

More M&A

Coca Cola Bottlers Japan is considering a sale of Q’sai Co., a maker of kale juice drinks and skincare products that could fetch around $300 million, per Bloomberg. http://axios.link/5IqQ

Fosun, the Chinese conglomerate, is in exclusive talks to buy German lender Bankhaus Lampe, per Reuters. http://axios.link/thfe

ProSiebenSat.1 Media of Germany agreed to pay $500 million to buy Meet Group (Nasdaq: MEET), a Pennsylvania-based social app maker in which Match Group (Nasdaq: MTCH) had reportedly expressed interest. http://axios.link/o2Zl


Argon Ventures, a Cambridge, Mass.-based pre-seed firm led by former Brightcove execs Andy Feinberg and Bob Mason, is raising $30 million for its debut fund, per an SEC filing. www.argon.vc

CVC Capital Partners reportedly plans to seek €20 billion for its seventh fund. It successful, it would become the largest-ever European buyout fund. http://axios.link/MHAy

Kleiner Perkins raised $700 million for its 19th early-stage VC fund. It also promoted Annie Case, Josh Coyne, and Monica Desai to principals. www.kpcb.com

Progress Ventures, a Boston-based firm focused on ad, marketing, and media tech startups, is raising for its fourth fund, per an SEC filing. www.progressventures.com

StandUp Ventures, a Toronto-based seed firm focused on companies founded and led by women, raised C$21 million for its debut fund. http://axios.link/ru8P

It's Personnel

Suzanne Fletcher joined deeptech-focused VC firm Prime Movers Lab as a partner. She previously led the Stanford StartX Fund, which has since shut, and before that was with Paul Capital. www.primemoverslab.com

Michael Guan joined Investindustrial as chairman of Asia and a senior principal. He previously led North Asia M&A for Deutsche Bank. http://axios.link/VS4u

Dan Nguyen Huu joined VC firm Decibel as a partner. He previously was a VP with Battery Ventures. www.decibel.vc

Harry Lambert joined London-based fund placement firm Moravia Capital as a partner. He previously was head of capital-raising and fund investments with DeBere Capital Partners. www.moraviacapital.com

Final Numbers
Source: PitchBook & All Raise

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