Nov 10, 2020

Axios Pro Rata

Welcome back! Dan is away for the morning (he'll be back Thursday after we take a break for Veterans' Day), so I'm here to take you through the news.

🎧 Axios Re:Cap spoke with Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla about vaccine data, distribution, and politics. Listen via Apple, Spotify, or Axios.

  • Also: This afternoon, listen to John Zimmer discuss Californa's Prop 22 and what comes next for ridesharing companies and drivers on Axios Re:Cap. Axios will also cover Lyft's latest quarterly earnings after markets close!
Top of the Morning

Illustration: AΓ―da Amer/Axios

SoftBank Vision Fund posted a nearly $18 billion operating loss for the fiscal year ended in March, and wrote down about 75% of its WeWork investmentβ€”but who cares if it managed overall gains of $9.6 billion, right?

  • At least, that's the message SoftBank execs are expected to deliver to investors later today in a briefing focused on the two Vision Funds, according to a source familiar with the fund.

Why it matters: SoftBank famously raised about $100 billion in 2017 to back big tech unicorns, but disappointing bets like WeWork and Brandless raised questions about Vision Fund's, well, vision.

What they're saying: Since telling investors in May that it expects about 15 of its portfolio companies to go bankrupt, SoftBank now points out that some have raised new funding, all with lead investors not named SoftBank.

  • Some had up rounds, like Fanatics, goPuff, and Rappi.
  • Yes, but: Getaround, the peer-to-peer car rental company, saw its valuation drop to $700 million in its latest financing from $1.4 billion in the prior round. To be fair, the company was struggling even before the pandemic, yet managed to find its footing in the recent months.
  • Tokopedia had a pretty flat round, while Zymergen had a modest bump in valuation.

Meanwhile, SoftBank's second Vision fund is much smaller β€” $10 billion at the moment β€” and entirely financed by its parent company.

  • During Monday's earnings presentation, chairman Masayoshi Son told journalists SoftBank is "always to third-party investors but at the moment we are not that popular yet."
  • The source familiar with the Vision Fund's operations tells Axios that the challenge is finding good deals, not capital. Once it exhausts the initial $10 billion, Vision Fund 2 may turn to outside investors.

What's next: Hopefully it'll be filing for its SPAC soon...


Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Spotify has agreed to acquire Megaphone, a company that provides tech tools for podcast advertising and publishing, for $235 million. Megaphone's customers include ESPN and the Wall Street Journal.

  • Why it's the BFD: This is the latest move by Spotify in realizing its aggressive podcasting ambitions.
  • Bottom line: "For now, podcasting is a small but growing advertising medium. By aggregating investments in podcast monetization, delivery and content, Spotify aims to grow the podcast advertising industry significantly and secure a chunk of the revenue that goes with it." β€”Sara Fischer, Axios.
Venture Capital Deals

β€’ Nuro, a Mountain View-based autonomous delivery startup, raised $500 million in Series C funding. T. Rowe Price led, and was joined by Fidelity and Baillie Gifford.

πŸ›΄ Tier, a Germany-based e-scooter rental startup, has raised $250 million in new funding led by SoftBank's Vision Fund 2 at a valuation reportedly approaching $1 billion, with Mubadala Capital, Northzone, Goodwater Capital, White Star Capital, Novator and RTP Global also participating.

πŸš‘ Ambrx, a San Diego-based developer of precision biologics, raised $200 million from Fidelity, BlackRock, Cormorant Asset Management, HBM Healthcare Investments, Invus, Adage Capital Partners, and Suvretta Capital Management.

β€’ Hopin, a U.K.-based maker of virtual event software, has raised $125 million in Series B funding led by IVP and Tiger Global, with Coatue, GIC, and Temasek also participating. It's now valued at more than $2 billion.

β€’ Xpressbees, an Indian e-commerce logistics firm, raised $110 million in Series E funding from Investcorp, Norwest Venture Partners, and Gaja Capital.

πŸš‘ Adagio Therapeutics, a Waltham, Massachusetts-based company developing antibodies that neutralize SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV-1, and others, has raised $80 million Series B financing led by GV, with Polaris Partners, Mithril Capital, Fidelity Management & Research Company and OrbiMed, Population Health Partners, and Omega Funds also participating.

πŸš‘ Eko, a Berkeley, California-based developer of digital stethoscope tech, raised $65 million in Series C funding. Highland Capital Partners and Questa Capital co-led, and were joined by Artis Ventures, DigiTx Partners, NTTVC, and 3M Ventures.

πŸš‘ Congenica, a U.K.-based genomic data analysis company, has raised $50 million in Series C funding ledy by Tencent and Legal & General, with Xeraya, Puhua Capital and IDO Investments also participating.

β€’ Venminder, an Elizabethtown, Kentucky-based provider of third-party risk management solutions, raised $33 million in Series C funding. Silversmith Capital Partners led, and was joined by return backers Bain Capital Ventures and MissionOG.

β€’ Falkbuilt, a Canadian maker of digital construction components and software, raised C$20 million in Series A funding led by RET Ventures.

β€’ Coherent, a Hong Kong-based provider of digital tools for insurers, has raised $14 million in Series A funding led by Cathay Innovation, with Franklin Templeton also participating.

β€’ Lightico, a New York-based maker of e-signature software, has raised $12.6 million in funding by Oxx, with Capital One Ventures and Harmony Partners also participating.

β€’ Kinetic, a New York-based provider of wearables for industrial workers, raised $11.25 million in Series A funding. Primary Ventures and Crosslink Capital co-led, and were joined by Prologis Ventures and Ubiquity Ventures.

β€’ Local Logic, a Montreal-based residential real estate intelligence platform, raised C$8 million in equity and debt funding led by GroundBreak Ventures.

β€’ LingoAce, a Singapore-based language learning startup, has raised $6 million in extended Series A funding led by Sequoia Capital India, with Shunwei Capital also participating.

πŸ”Zikooin, a South Korea-based meat alternative startup, has raised $4 million in new funding mostly from U.S. venture firms, per the Financial Times.

β€’ ReSec Technologies, an Israeli cybersecurity startup focused on file-based malware, raised $4 million in Series A funding. QBN Capital led, and was joined by HDI Group, Disruptive Ventures, and Pico Venture Partners.

β€’ Scale AI, a San Francisco-based AI training startup, is reportedly raising new funding led by Tiger Global Management at a $3.2 billion pre-money valuation, per The Information.

β€’ Great Jones, a New York-based cookware startup, has raised $1.75 million in funding from NEA partner Liza Landsman and others.

Private Equity Deals

β€’ TPG and TA Associates are reportedly in advanced discussions to acquire software company Planview from private equity firm Thoma Bravo for more than $1.5 billion, including debt, according to Bloomberg.

β€’ Vance Street Capital has acquired Wytech Industries, a Rahway, New Jersey-based manufacturer of specialty core wires and related components for the interventional medical markets.

πŸš™ Battery Ventures has taken a majority stake in StoneEagle F&I, a Richardson, Texas-based provider of tech for the auto dealers.

πŸš‘ Varsity Healthcare Partners has acquired a stake in Partners First Cardiology, an Austin-based cardiology and cardiovascular physician practice management company.

β€’ PKWARE, backed by Thompson Street Capital Partners, has acquired Dataguise, a Fremont-Calif.-based enterprise security company.

β€’ Eurazeo invested in Axel Arigato, a Swedish premium sneaker, ready-to-wear and accessories brand.

β€’ TPG and the CPPIB are investing an additional $500 million into Viking Cruises.

SPAC Stuff

πŸš‘ Edoc Acquisition Corp., a blank check company targeting health care companies in North America and Asia-Pacific, raised $90 million by offering 9 million units at $10, one million fewer units than anticipated.

β€’ TS Innovation Acquisitions Corp., a blank check company formed by Tishman Speyer targeting real estate and property technology businesses, raised $300 million by offering 30 million units at $10.

β€’ Better World Acquisition, a blank check company formed by N*GEN Partners targeting wellness businesses, lowered the proposed deal size for its upcoming IPO, offering 10 million units at $10, down from 12.5 million units. It also added I-Bankers Securities as an underwriter.

Liquidity Events

Source: Giphy

β€’ Hyundai is in talks to buy robotics firm Boston Dynamics from SoftBank, per Bloomberg.

β€’ Adobe (Nasdaq: ADBE) agreed to buy Workfront, a Lehi, Utah-based marketing workflow management startup, for $1.5 billion. Sellers include Susquehanna Growth Equity, AllianceBernstein, and W Capital Partners.

πŸš‘ Centene (NYSE: CNC) agreed to buy Apixio, a San Mateo, California-based healthcare analytics startup that had raised around $47 million from firms like SSM Partners, First Analysis, GVA Capital, and Bain Capital Ventures.

β€’ The Dept. of Justice has approved Uber's all-stock $2.65 billion acquisition of food delivery company Postmates, sources tell Axios.

More M&A

⚑ NextEra Energy (NYSE: NEE) offered to buy U.S. power utility Evergy (NYSE: EVRG) for around $15 billion in stock, per Reuters.

β€’ Perspecta (NYSE: PRSP), a Chantilly, Virginia-based provider of IT services to public sector clients, is considering a possible sale, per Bloomberg. Its current market cap is around $3.2 billion.

It's Personnel

β€’ The Carlyle Group named Nathan Urquhart as global head of investor relations, according to an internal memo from Carlyle CEO Kewsong Lee that was obtained by Axios. He previously was the firm's head of global credit IR. A Carlyle spokesperson confirmed the promotion.

β€’ Kevin Mayer has joined Access Industries as an advisor. He most recently was TikTok's CEO for a brief time.

β€’ Andrew Harris has joined TA Associates as director of investor relations. He was previously at Advent International.

β€’ Ron Kuerbitz has joined Revelstoke Capital Partners as an operating partner. He was previously the CEO of agilon health.

Final Numbers
Reproduced from Charles Schwab; Chart: Axios Visuals

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