Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Levi Strauss is expected to price its IPO tonight, kicking off what should be a banner year for mega-listings.
• Coming attractions: Bumble, the female-first dating app, is in talks to raise what would be its first round of traditional VC funding, Axios has learned from multiple sources. One potential investor is said to be Accel Growth.
• For the dogs: Josh Guttman, who spent more than four years as a partner with SoftBank Capital before leaving at the end of 2017, has founded a veterinary care startup that quietly raised $3.5 million in seed funding.
• CalPERS yesterday approved its much-discussed proposal to upend its private equity investment model, by creating a quasi-independent organization that could directly invest upwards of $20 billion over the next decade.
• Update: Backstage Capital, which we discussed in yesterday's issue, informed investors yesterday that Arlan Hamilton is stepping down from the Backstage Studio CEO role, with existing partner Christie Pitts taking the spot. Hamilton will remain managing partner of Backstage Capital. Per Hamilton's email:
"I will focus on brand and vision evangelizing, raising assets under management, and mentoring my team. I will no longer focus on payroll on a monthly basis or what the cost of a ream of paper is."
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The story has been corrected to show that Badoo is based in the U.K. (not Russia).
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Inmarsat (LSE: ISAT), a British satellite company, said it received a non-binding $3.3 billion takeover offer from a private equity consortium that includes Apax Partners, Warburg Pincus and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.
🚑 Doctolib, a French online scheduling platform for doctor’s visits, raised €150 million at a post-money valuation of €1.3 billion. General Atlantic led, and was joined by return backers Accel, Eurazeo, Kernel and Bpifrance. http://axios.link/AM82
• Markforged, a Watertown, Mass.-based maker of industrial 3D printers, raised $82 million in Series D funding. Summit Partners led, and was joined by Matrix Partners, M12, Microsoft’s Venture Fund, Next47 and Porsche SE. http://axios.link/C8Hz
• Mojo Vision, a Saratoga, Calif.-based “invisible computing” startup, raised $58 million in Series B funding from Advantech Capital, Gradient Ventures, HP Tech Ventures, Motorola Solutions VC, Bold Capital Partners, LG Electronics, Kakao Ventures and Stanford StartX. http://axios.link/3Hp8
🚑 Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) agreed to acquire a 15% stake in Vivet Therapeutics, a French gene therapy startup focused on liver disease, with an option to fully-acquire the rest. The deal includes $51 million upfront and upwards of $636 million in milestone and total acquisition outlays. Vivet previously raised a $41 million Series A round co-led by Novartis and Columbus Venture Partners. http://axios.link/6t96
• InstaReM, a Singapore-based cross-border digital payments startup, raised $41 million in Series C funding. Vertex Growth Fund led, and was joined by Atinum Investment. http://axios.link/IOqy
🚑 Unite Us, a New York-based healthcare coordination and outcome tracking platform, raised $35 million in Series B funding. Oak HC/FT led, and was joined by Town Hall Ventures, Define Ventures and return backers Scout Ventures, Luminate and New York Ventures. http://axios.link/8XkI
• Insta360, a Chinese maker of 360-degree cameras, raised $30 million in new Series C funding from Everest VC, MG Holdings and Huajin Capital. http://axios.link/wu3L
• NotCo, a Chilean developer of plant-based food replacements, raised $30 million. The Craftory led, and was joined by Jeff Bezos’ family office and return backers Kaszek Ventures and IndieBio. http://axios.link/0L9T
• Skedulo, a San Francisco-based mobile workforce management software provider, raised $28 million in Series B funding. M12 led, and was joined by return backers Blackbird and Costanoa Ventures. www.skedulo.com
• Marketing Evolution, a New York-based provider of marketing measurement and optimization software, raised $26.1 million. Energy Impact Partners led, and was joined by return backers Insight Venture Partners and Zetta Venture Partners. www.marketingevolution.com
• Point, a Palo Alto-based equity financing platform for homeowners, raised $22 million in Series B funding. Prudential Financial and DAG Ventures co-led, and were joined by return backers Andreessen Horowitz, Ribbit Capital and Bloomberg Beta. The company also secured a $100 million “platform capital commitment” from Kingsbridge Wealth Management. http://axios.link/lxOY
• Blameless, a Palo Alto-based site reliability engineering startup, raised $20 million co-led by Accel and Lightspeed Venture Partners. www.blameless.io
🚑 OptiScan, a Hayward, Calif.-based developer of an automated glucose monitoring system, raised $20 million in Series E funding. http://axios.link/ad4h
• Thirstie, a New York-based white-label ecommerce and delivery platform for alcohol brands, raised $7 million in Series A funding from Queens Court Capital. http://axios.link/8WXa
• Welcome Pickups, a Greek provider of in-destination travel services, raised €3.3 million in Series A funding from VentureFriends, Market One Capital, OpenFund, Howzat and Jabbar. http://axios.link/LgSV
• FrontdeskAI, a Palo Alto-based provider if AI assistants for small businesses, raised $2 million in new seed funding led by India’s Pi Ventures. http://axios.link/I6SU
• MC Group, a Mentor, Ohio-based signage company owned by Arcapita, acquired Coastal Signage + Wayfinding, an Oceanside, Calif.-based provider of signage and wayfinding products. www.mcsign.com
• KKR told Australian accounting firm MYOB (ASX MYOB) that A$3.40 per share is its “best and final” offer, amid some shareholder calls for the company’s board to reconsider its support for KKR’s bid. http://axios.link/4EhW
• PAI Partners is the frontrunner to buy the concessions catering unit of France’s Elior (Paris: ELIOR), which could fetch upwards of €1.5 billion, per Reuters. http://axios.link/fQjf
🍦 Peak Rock Capital agreed to buy Turkey Hill, a Conestoga, Penn.-based dairy products company, from Kroger (NYSE: KR). http://axios.link/SbLj
• China Feihe, a Chinese maker of baby formula, is prepping for a Hong Kong IPO that could raise upwards of $1 billion, per Bloomberg. http://axios.link/BrYQ
• Up Fintech Holding, Beijing-based online brokerage that does business as Tiger Brokers, raised $104 million in its IPO. It priced 13 million shares at $8, above the $5-$7 range, and will trade on the Nasdaq (TIGR). Citi was lead underwriter for the company, which reports a $44 million net loss on $34 million in revenue for 2018.
• Air Liquide (Paris: AI) completed its acquisition of Tech Air, a Danbury, Conn.-based distributor of industrial gasses and welding supplies, from CI Capital Partners. www.airliquide.com
• Eurazeo sold its 4.8% stake in Italian luxury clothing company Moncler (Milan: MONC) for around €445 million. http://axios.link/qRqt
• Invesdor, a Finnish crowdfunding company, agreed to buy Austrian peer Finnest in an all-stock deal. http://axios.link/0T43
• Janney Montgomery Scott agreed to buy FIG Partners, an Atlanta-based investment bank and research firm. http://axios.link/TK3M
• Nexstar Media Group (Nasdaq: NXST) agreed to sell 11 television stations to Tegna (NYSE:TGNA) and eight television stations to E.W. Scripps (Nasdaq: SSP) for a combined $1.32 billion in cash. http://axios.link/fQjf
• Tencent is considering around a $3 billion bid for around a 10% stake in Hong Kong-based health and beauty retailer A.S. Watson, per Bloomberg. The seller would be Temasek, which holds a larger overall position. http://axios.link/croY
• Ben Einstein has quietly stepped down as a general partner with Bolt, the hardware-focused VC firm he co-founded in 2012. No word yet on future plans.
• The Carlyle Group promoted Chris Finn to chief operating officer. www.carlyle.com
• Adrian Percy joined Finistere Ventures as CTO. He previously led R&D for Bayer’s crop sciences unit. www.finistere.com
• William Sorabella joined Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher as a New York-based partner focused on M&A law. He previously was with Kirkland & Ellis. www.gibsondunn.com
• Carolyn Wintner joined Charlesbank Capital Partners as head of capital markets. She previously was with Bain Capital Credit. www.charlesbank.com