Situational awareness: A judge approved the settlement between Tesla and Elon Musk, who also disclosed plans to buy another $20 million of Tesla common stock during the next open trading window.
Top of the Morning
More big names have pulled out of next week's Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh, including TPG chairman David Bonderman, Uptake CEO Brad Keywell, and NYSE president Stacey Cunningham (she's citing a scheduling conflict).
But the biggest name, SoftBank, is keeping quiet. And so are several of its Silicon Valley portfolio companies, including Katerra and Plenty, whose CEOs are scheduled to speak in Riyadh (based on an archived speakers page that has since been removed from the event website).
Softbank COO Marcelo Claure repeatedly hedged on Saudi-related questions from reporters yesterday during Arm TechCon:
"I think we, like most parties in the world, are looking at events unfold; and then based on that, we’re going to make decisions in the future. But at this point in time, I think, like most companies that have a relationship with Saudi Arabia, are watching the developments and seeing where this goes. There’s developments pretty much every hour these days; so we are just, you know, monitoring...
Right now it is business as usual – we are continuing to run our company, our funds. It’s business as usual."
The bottom line is that SoftBank is running out of time, as there may not be conclusive information by the time FII is scheduled to kick off in a week from today.
- President Trump got headlines yesterday for his "innocent until proven guilty" comment about MBS, but more notable might have been a rhetorical shift when he tweeted that, during a phone call, MBS "totally denied any knowledge of what took place in their Turkish Consulate." That suggests Saudi acknowledgement that something did happen in the Consulate, and that Jamal Khashoggi didn't walk out under his own power.
🚗 Slow down: Lots of talk this week about Lyft and Uber IPO plans, including how the two ride-hail giants are in a "race" to go public first. But if they were really in that sort of competition, then one of them would have already gone public by now (particularly Lyft, which had given serious thought to a 2018 float).
All systems are go, but not beyond the speed limit.
- There is certainly some value in being first to IPO, but it's fleeting. For a comp, remember that Box went public three years before Dropbox, but Dropbox did just fine when it eventually went out.
- The FT reports that Uber is considering a spin-out of its self-driving unit, so as to secure dedicated outside investors.
- As for reports that Uber will seek a $120 billion valuation at IPO, I think NY Times reporter Mike Isaac summed it up best: "I feel like these numbers say more about the banks than they do about Uber."
• Toys story: Sen. Elizabeth Warren is the latest to take aim at the creditors that pushed Toys "R" Us into liquidation.
🏀 Pro Rata Podcast: Yesterday was NBA tip-off, and my guest was Boston Celtics co-owner (and venture capitalist) Wyc Grousbeck. We talked hoops, digital media, sports betting and the passing of Paul Allen.
Devoted Health, a Waltham, Mass.-based health insurance startup focused on Medicare Advantage plans, raised $300 million in Series B funding. Andreessen Horowitz led, and was joined by Premji Invest and Uprising.
- Why it's the BFD: Because Devoted is the third startup co-founded by Todd Park, the former U.S. chief technology officer who previously co-founded both Athenahealth (Nasdaq: ATHN) and Castlight Health (NYSE: CSLT).
- Bonus: I went to high school with the company's COO. If an unfortunate pattern holds, he will be friendly during phone calls but divulge absolutely no useful information.
- Bottom line: "Health insurers, and now venture-backed startups, are flocking to Medicare Advantage because the program has bipartisan support, offers lucrative returns and is poised to grow from aging baby boomers." — Bob Herman, Axios
Venture Capital Deals
• Chehaoduo (f.k.a. Guazi), a Chinese used car buying and selling platform, raised $162 million in new Series C funding, bringing the round total to $980 million. Tiantu Capital was joined on the new tranche by return backers DST Global, Nuoweiqi VC and CKE. http://axios.link/1Tf1
• LucidChart, a South Jordan, Utah-based visual productivity platform, raised $72 million from Meritech Capital Partners, Iconiq Capital and return backer Spectrum Equity. http://axios.link/l8V4
• Thread, a UK-based men’s fashion startup, raised around $22 million (including some debt) from Balderton, Forward Partners, Beringea and H&M. http://axios.link/BV8Y
• Unifonic, a B2B cloud communications platform focused on emerging markets, raised $21 million in Series A funding. Saudi Technology Ventures led, and was joined by Endeavor Catalyst, RTF ELM and Raed Ventures. http://axios.link/B4sA
• Crux Informatics, a New York-based data engineering and information supply chain startup, raised $20 million in Series B funding from Two Sigma, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup. www.cruxinformatics.com
• Smule, a San Francisco-based social music platform, raised $20 million from Times Bridge. Last year it raised $54 million at a $604 million post-money valuation from Tencent, Adams Street Partners and Bessemer Venture Partners. http://axios.link/jFEY
• Xqiao, a Shanghai-based maker of connected treadmills, raised $20 million in new Series B funding. Harvest Investments led, and was joined by return backers Future Capital and Aplus Capital. http://axios.link/Tpbw
• Cognata, an Israeli autonomous simulation startup, raised $18.5 million. Scale Venture Partners led, and was joined by Global IoT Technology Ventures and return backers Emerge, Maniv Mobility and Airbus Ventures. http://axios.link/qvSa
🚑 Thirty Madison, a New York-based maker of hair loss prevention lotions, raised $15.25 million in Series A funding co-led by Maveron and Northzone. http://axios.link/qo8t
🚑 Hero, a New York-based startup focused on medication management and adherence, raised $12 million in Series A funding from Brainchild Holdings, Naval Ravikant, Box Group, Third Kind Venture Capital, Refactor Capital and Spider Capital. http://axios.link/WTEm
• VayaVision, an Israeli provider of raw data fusion and perception systems for autonomous vehicles, raised $8 million in seed funding from Viola Ventures, Mizmaa Ventures, OurCrowd, Mitsubishi UFJ Capital and LG Electronics. www.vayavision.com
🚑 NowRx, a Mountain View, Calif.-based on-demand pharmacy, raised $7 million in Series A funding via the SeedInvest crowdfunding platform. www.nowrx.com
• ConveyIQ, a New York-based provider of enterprise talent communication and recruiting automation software, raised $5.5 million led by SC Ventures. www.conveyiq.com
• Memory, a Norwegian maker of a time-tracking app, raised $5 million led by Concentric. http://axios.link/YuHU
• Passport, a San Francisco-based customer service startup focused on product shipping, raised $3 million in seed funding from Resolute Ventures, Precursor Ventures and angels like Ryan Hoover, Sophia Amoruso and April Underwood. http://axios.link/ffxw
Private Equity Deals
• Aakash Chemicals & Dye-Stuffs, a Glendale Heights, Ill.-based portfolio company of CenterOak Partners, acquired Sandream Impact, a Fairfield, N.J.-based provider of colorants to the cosmetic, personal care and nutritional markets. www.aakashchemicals.com
• Altas Partners acquired a minority stake in Hub International, a Chicago-based insurance brokerage majority-owned by Hellman & Friedman. www.hubinternational.com
• Aventri, a Norwalk, Conn.-based portfolio company of HGGC, acquired ITN International, a Bethesda, Md.-based provider of mobile NFC and cloud-based event management solutions. www.aventri.com
• Devonshire Investors bought NovoEd, a San Francisco-based online learning platform for the enterprise that had raised nearly $5 million from firms like Costanoa Venture Capital. http://axios.link/pzg7
• GlobalTranz Enterprises, a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based portfolio company of The Jordan Co., completed its purchase of AFN Logistics, a Niles, Ill.-based provider of freight brokerage and logistics services. Sellers include Hilltop Opportunity Partners. www.loadafn.com
• Vestar Capital Partners is in talks to buy Chicago-based market research firm Information Resources from New Mountain Capital, per Bloomberg. http://axios.link/bbeo
• Grupo Coppel, a Mexican retailer and lender, has indefinitely postponed an IPO that was expected to raise more than $1 billion, per Reuters. http://axios.link/40WT
⛽ Riley Exploration Permian, an Oklahoma City-based oil and gas E&P focused on the San Andres formation, postponed an IPO that had been expected to offer 6.7 million shares at $14-$16. Shareholders include Yorktown Energy Partners. http://axios.link/KmUx
🚑 SI-Bone, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based spinal implant developer, raised $108 million in its IPO. The company priced 7.2 million shares at $15 (high end of range), will trade on the Nasdaq (SIBN) and reports a $7 million net loss on $26 million in revenue for the first half of 2018. Morgan Stanley was lead underwriter, while shareholders include Skyline Ventures (26% pre-IPO stake), Montreaux Equity Partners (12.9%), Arboretum Ventures (9.5%), Redline Capital (6%) and OrbiMed 5%). www.si-bone.com
• StoneCo, a Brazilian online payment processor, set IPO terms to 47.7 million shares at $21-$23. It would have a full-diluted market value of $5.6 billion, were it to price in the middle, and plans to trade on the Nasdaq (STNE) with Goldman Sachs as lead underwriter. The company reports $23 million of net income on $165 million in revenue for the first half of 2018. Shareholders include Madrone Partners and Tiger Global. http://axios.link/CenJ
• Boral (ASX: BRL), an Australian construction materials company agreed to sell U.S. Block business to Atlanta-based concrete company Quikrete Holdings for $156 million. http://axios.link/XT8s
• Samsung Electronics acquired Zhilabs, a Barcelona-based network data analytics provider. http://axios.link/1lZE
• Sprint (NYSE: S) sold Pinsight Media, a mobile data and advertising unit it formed in 2012, to InMobi, an Indian company whose backers include SoftBank. http://axios.link/qvUB
🚑 Revolution Medicines, a Redwood City, Calif.-based cancer drug developer that has raised $126 million from firms like Third Rock Ventures and Nextech Invest, is acquiring Warp Drive Bio, a Cambridge, Mass.-based antibiotics developer that in 2012 raised $125 million from Third Rock, Sanofi and Greylock. http://axios.link/bMWr
• GGV Capital raised $1.88 billion for new funds: $1.36 billion for its seventh flagship growth equity fund, $460 million for its second seed/early-stage fund; and $60 million for an entrepreneurs side-car. http://axios.link/F4ce
• SummitView Capital of China has formed a $433 million VC fund in partnership with the government of Xuzhou, to back local startups in the IoT and sensor sectors. http://axios.link/Bmke
• Version One Ventures raised US$45 million for its third fund. http://axios.link/CJEZ
- Go deeper: Central bank fears rise among investors