Axios Pro Rata

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July 09, 2020

🎧 Axios Re:Cap digs into the TikTok economy, as President Trump threatens to ban the app. Listen via Apple or via Axios.

Look ahead: Joe Biden today is expected to unveil the broad strokes of his economic plan, including $300 billion in new tech R&D spending.

Top of the Morning

Photo illustration of Chelsea Clinton with money floating behind her
Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Jemal Countess/Getty Images

Chelsea Clinton is in the very early stages of forming a venture capital firm, Axios has learned from multiple sources.

  • The working name is Metrodora Ventures, after the author of the first medical text known to have been written by a woman (around 2,000 years ago in Greece).

Behind the scenes: Clinton has been kicking around the idea for several months, and has committed to investing in at least two startups.

  • One of them is a pregnancy support app called Poppy Seed Health.
  • Clinton is making the early commitments personally, and would roll them into the fund if it gets raised.
  • Also involved is Caroline Kassie, currently a partner with Blockchange Ventures, who plans to join Metrodora in the future.

To reiterate, the best way to describe Metrodora right now is embryonic. Clinton is said to have not decided yet if she wants this to be her next full-time career move, but there is at least a draft pitch deck floating around and "Metrodora Ventures" was registered in New York back in April. Plus, a Twitter account was just created which describes Metrodora as a "values conscious venture capital firm focused on health and learning businesses."

  • Clinton once worked at hedge fund Avenue Capital, and currently sits on the boards of Expedia Group, IAC/Interactive Corp., and VC-backed startup Nurx.

Clinton, through a spokesperson, declined comment.


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Ant Financial, the fintech affiliate of Alibaba Group, is prepping a Hong Kong IPO that could value the business north of $200 billion, per Reuters. A company spokesperson denied the report.

  • Why it's the BFD: If legit, it would be one of the year's largest global IPOs. It also would be a big boost for Hong Kong, whose status as a global financial hub is in flux due to new security laws from Beijing, and reflects how a growing number of Chinese tech companies are bypassing New York exchanges (Alibaba first went public on the NYSE, before later listing in HK).
  • Flashback: Ant Financial in mid-2018 closed the largest-ever "venture capital" investment, securing $14 billion in Series C funding at a $150 billion post-money valuation. Overall it's raised over $23 billion.
  • Bottom line: "Hong Kong's exchange accounted for 7.6% of the global IPO market, down from a share of 11% in the same period last year, Refinitiv data showed. The fall in value ranked Hong Kong as the fourth most active exchange after the Nasdaq, mainland China’s new Star Market and the Shanghai stock market." — Scott Murdoch, Reuters

Venture Capital Deals

🚑 VillageMD, a Chicago-based primary health care provider, secured up to $1 billion in equity and convertible debt from existing backer Walgreens Boots Alliance (Nasdaq: WBA). It includes $250 million in upfront equity, with VillageMD to open at least 500 physician-staffed clinics inside of U.S. Walgreens locations over the next five years.

🚑 VelosBio, a San Diego-based developer of antibody drug conjugates to treat cancers, raised $137 million in Series B funding. Matrix Capital Management and Surveyor Capital co-led, and were joined by Adage Capital, Cormorant Asset Management, Farallon, Foresite Capital, Janus Henderson, Logos Capital, OrbiMed, T. Rowe Price, Venrock, Viking Global Investors, Wellington Management, and return backers Arix Bioscience, Decheng Capital, Pappas Capital, Sofinnova Ventures, and Takeda Ventures.

🚑 Kernel, a Los Angeles-based neuroscience startup led by Braintree founder Bryan Johnson, raised $53 million from General Catalyst. Khosla Ventures, Eldridge, Manta Ray Ventures, Tiny Blue Dot, and Johnson.

🚑 Kindbody, a New York-based provider of women’s fertility services, raised $32 million in Series B funding. Perceptive Advisors led, and was joined by return backers RRE, GV, and Freemark Capital.

LogDNA, a Mountain View-based startup focused on simplify server data logging, raised $25 million in Series C funding. Emergence Capital led, and was joined by TI Platform Management, Radianx Capital, Top Tier Capital, Trend Forward Capital and return backers Initialized Capital and Providence Equity.

MariaDB, a Finland-based open-source database development startup, raised $25 million in new Series B funding. SmartFin Capital led, and was joined by return backer GP Bullhound.

🚑 Truepill, a San Mateo, Calif.-based digital pharmacy startup, raised $25 million in Series B funding from TI Platform Fund, Optum Ventures, Initialized Capital, and Sound Ventures.

Liftit, a Colombian trucking and logistics services startup, raised $22.5 million. Cambridge Capital led, and was joined by H2O Capital, AC Ventures, 10x Capital, Alpha4 Ventures, Banyan Tree Ventures, Leonisa, and Grupo Transportes Monterrey.

Colvin, a Spanish flower delivery startup, raised $15 million in Series B funding. Milano Investment Partners led, and was joined by P101 and Samaipata.

🍪 Tiff’s Treats, an Austin, Texas-based warm cookie delivery brand, raised $15 million from backers like CIC Partners, Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital, Dirk Nowitzki, and Kendra Scott.

Yamo, a healthy food brand for babies and young kids, raised €10.1 million in Series A funding from Five Seasons Ventures, Swiss Entrepreneurs Fund, Ringier Digital Ventures, Müller Ventures, btov Partners, Polytech Ventures, BackBone Ventures, and Fundament.

Swiftmile, a San Carlos, Calif.-based developer of light e-vehicle charging stations, raised $5 million in Series A funding. Thayer Ventures led, and was joined by Alumni Ventures Group and Verizon Ventures.

Radix DLT, a London-based decentralized finance protocol, raised $4.1 million from LocalGlobe and Taavet Hinrikus (TransferWise).

Popshop Live, a Los Angeles-based livestreaming shopping app, raised $3 million in seed funding. Floodgate and Abstract Ventures co-led, and were joined by Long Journey Ventures, Cyan and Scott Banister, Shrug Capital, Backend Capital and Halogen Ventures.

Joe Coffee, a Seattle-based mobile ordering network for independent coffee shops, raised $1.3 million in new seed funding from Craft Ventures and Flying Fish Ventures.

Private Equity Deals

Attom Data Solutions, an Irvine, Calif.-based portfolio company of Lovell Minnick Partners, acquired Home Junction, a San Diego-based developer of geographic boundary datasets for neighborhoods, school attendance zones, and subdivisions.

🚑 Bain Capital again extended the acceptance deadline on its $1 billion buyout offer for Japanese nursing home operator Nichiigakkan (Tokyo: 9792), this time to Aug. 3.

🚑 Parthenon Capital recapitalized RxSense, a Boston-based provider of prescription savings solutions to consumers and pharmacy benefits administrators.

Sycamore Partners lost out on its effort to buy bankrupt home-goods retailer Pier 1 Imports, which instead will go for $31 million to retail entrepreneurs Tai Lopez and Alex Mehr.

Public Offerings

BlueCity, a Chinese online LGBTQ community and dating platform, raised $85 million in its IPO. The company priced 5.3 million shares at $16 (middle of range), for a fully-diluted market cap of $614 million. It will list on the Nasdaq (BLCT) and reports a $7.5 million net loss on $116 million in revenue for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2020. Venture backers include Shunwei Ventures, CDH, and NewQuest Partners.

Coinbase, a San Francisco-based digital currency platform, is prepping an IPO that could come as early as this year, per multiple reports out this morning. The company has raised over $500 million in VC funding, most recently at an $8 billion valuation.

🚑 Nkarta, a South San Francisco-based developer of natural killer cell therapies to fight cancer, raised its proposed IPO terms from 10 million shatres at $14-$16 to 13 million shares at $16-$17. It would have a fully diluted value of $519 million, were it to price in the middle, and plans to list on the Nasdaq (NKTX). The pre-revenue company raised $125 million in VC funding from RA Capital (13.5% pre-IPO stake), Novo Holdings (13.3%), SR One (13.3%), Samsara BioCapital (9.5%), Deerfield Management (8.4%), and Life Sciences Partners (8.4%).

🚑 Relay Therapeutics, a Cambridge, Mass.-based biotech focused on solid tumors, set IPO terms to 14.7 million shares at $16-$18. It would have an initial market cap of $1.39 billion, were it to price in the middle, and plans to list on the Nasdaq (RLAY). The pre-revenue company raised $520 million in VC funding from firms like SoftBank Vision Fund (40.7% pre-IPO stake). Third Rock Ventures (20.7%), BVF Partners, GV, Casdin Capital, EcoR1 Capital, Alexandria Venture Investments, and Section 32.

🚑 GoHealth, a Chicago-based health insurance marketplace owned by Centerbridge Partners, set IPO terms to 39.5 million shares at $18-$20. It would have a fully-diluted market value of $6 billion, were it to price in the middle, and plans to list on the Nasdaq (GOCO) and reports $1.4 million of net income on $141 million in net revenue for Q1 2020.

🚑 Therapeutics Acquisition, a biotech-focused blank check acquisition company formed by RA Capital Management, raised $118 million in its IPO.

More M&A

Alstom (Paris: ALSO) offered to sell French rail factory and its Coradia Polyvalent regional train-line, in order to win EU antitrust approval for its planned $7 billion purchase of Bombardier (TSX: BBD) transportation unit.

Arvind Fashions, an Indian youth fashion brand, raised $35 million from Walmart-owned Flipkart.

🚑 Foghorn Therapeutics, a Cambridge, Mass.-based startup focused on the body’s chromatin regulatory system, entered into a strategic collaboration partnership with Merck that could be valued at $425 million. Foghorn is backed by VC firms like Flagship Pioneering.


Crosspoint Capital, formed last year Greg Clark (ex-CEO of Symantec and Blue Coat Systems), is targeting $1 billion for its debut fund, per Buyouts.

Engineering Capital, a seed-stage VC firm led by Ashmeet Sidana, raised $60 million for its third fund.

Forbion, a European life sciences VC firm, held a €185 million first close on a new growth equity fund.

It's Personnel

Incline Equity Partners, a Pittsburgh-based PE firm, promoted both Cale Grove and Brad Phillips to principal.

Rob MacGoey joined HarbourVest Partners as CFO for the firm’s management company. Current CFO Karin Lagerlund remains on board, focused on client and fund accounting, treasury and capital markets.

Final Numbers

Data: U.S. Employment and Training Administration via FRED; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios
Data: U.S. Employment and Training Administration via FRED; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

What to watch, per Axios' Courtenay Brown:

The week ending July 25 is the last that people are eligible to receive the more generous unemployment benefits — an additional $600 per week — authorized under the federal stimulus bill. It’s unclear whether Congress will extend those benefits, which would leave tens of millions of jobless Americans with less of a cushion.

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