Top of the Morning

Another sovereign wealth fund is opening shop in Silicon Valley. This time it's Abu Dhabi-based Mubadala Investment Co., which also is launching a $400 million direct VC fund (in partnership with SoftBank) and a $200 million VC fund-of-funds.

  • "It's more than just setting up an office — it's a real committed and genuine intent to be an active member of this community," Mubadala's Ibrahim Ajami tells Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva, who scooped the news.
  • He adds that the direct fund shouldn't compete with SoftBank Vision Fund, into which Mubadala has pumped $15 billion, given that it will be looking at earlier-stage deals. Get the full story.

• Trumpland: Gary Cohn tells Yahoo Finance that the GOP tax plan will not include any conditions on the use of repatriated corporate cash, and was sanguine about the money being used for stock buybacks. Steve Mnuchin, meanwhile, suggested to Politico that Congress should be spooked by the prospect of stocks tanking if the tax plan falters.

• New firm alert: Airbnb's former head of data science, Riley Newman, has quietly formed a venture firm with David Rosenthal (ex-Madrona Venture Group). Sources say that it's called Wave Capital, and is raising $35 million for its debut fund focused on early-stage marketplace startups, with a $50 million hard cap. No comment from Newman or Rosenthal, natch.

  • History: Newman and Rosenthal first met years ago through their wives, who grew up together. They also had business contacts when Madrona put the first check into Rover (i.e., Airbnb for dogs), and visited Airbnb to learn more about its marketplace model.
  • Why now: Wave is telling prospective LPs that it should be able to take advantage of paper-rich unicorn employees at companies like Airbnb who want to launch startups, but remain liquidity-constrained.
  • Déjà vu? Last month we reported that Airbnb vets Andrew Swain and Jonathan Golden are raising a $60 million debut fund for their own marketplace-focused VC firm. One strategy difference seems to be that Wave plans to lead most of its rounds.

• Editorial note: Going forward, I've decided to stop writing "no financial terms were disclosed" in the deal blurbs, when applicable. Really just an effort to conserve a bit of space. So if you don't see a price-tag, that means it was neither announced nor otherwise reported.


Hochtief, a listed German construction company controlled by Spain's ACS, today is expected to make a takeover bid for Spanish toll road operator Abertis, which already had agreed to be acquired by Italy's Atlantia for around $35 billion (including debt), per Reuters. Expect Atlantia to strongly consider topping any rival offer.

  • Why it's the BFD: Because Atlantia-Abertis already was the largest merger announced in 2017, intended to create the world's largest toll-road operator. A counter-bid from Hochtief/ACS likely would be a bit richer, and certainly would delay a deal close (no matter the ultimate winner).
  • Bottom line: "Sources have said that the prospect of a foreign takeover of Abertis, which manages politically sensitive concessions for motorways across Spain, has raised some concerns in Madrid." — Reuters
Venture Capital Deals

• Magic Leap, the secretive "mixed reality" startup, yesterday confirmed that it has raised $502 million in Series D funding. Temasek led the round, and was joined by EDBI, Grupo Globo, Janus Henderson Investors and return backers Alibaba Group, Fidelity, Google, J.P. Morgan Investment Management and T. Rowe Price.

• Lightspeed POS, a Montreal-based provider of point-of-sale software, has raised C$207 million in Series D funding equity and debt funding. Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec led the round with a C$170 million investment, and was joined by Investissement Québec, iNovia Capital and a credit line from Silicon Valley Bank.

• Vacasa, a Portland, Ore.-based vacation rental company, has raised $103.5 million in Series B funding. Riverwood Capital led the round, and was joined by NewSpring Capital and return backers Level Equity and Assurant Growth Investing.

• Finova Financial, a West Palm Beach, Fla.-based online lender, has raised $102.5 million in equity and credit facility funding. CoVenture led the equity tranche.

• Duo Security, an Ann Arbor, Mich.-based cybersecurity SaaS company, has raised $70 million in Series D funding at a $1.17 billion post-money valuation. Meritech Capital Partners and Lead Edge Capital co-led the round, and were joined by Geodesic Capital, Index Ventures, Workday and return backers Redpoint Ventures and True Ventures.

🚑 Prenetics, a Hong Kong-based genetic testing startup, has raised $40 million in Series B funding. Beyond Ventures and Alibaba HK Entrepreneurs Fund co-led the round, and were joined by Yuantai Investment Partners, mFund and eGarden Ventures.

• GuiaBolso, a Brazilian personal finance management app, has raised $39 million in new VC funding. Vostok Emerging Finance led the round, and was joined by Ribbit Capital, IFC and QED Investors.

🚑 Cydan, a Lincoln, Mass.-based drug accelerator, has raised $34 million in new VC funding. NEA led the round, and was joined by fellow return backers Pfizer Venture Investments, Alexandria Venture Investments, and Lundbeckfond Ventures. New investor Longitude Capital also participated.

• BankBazaar, an Indian online marketplace for customized rate quotes on loans, credit cards and insurance, has raised $30 million in funding from Experian (LSE: EXPN).

• Dave, a Los Angeles-based personal finance app that helps predict future expenses, has raised $13.8 million in VC funding, per an SEC filing. Listed directors include Bill Maris (Section 23), while known backers include The Chernin Group.

⛽ LevelTen Energy, a Seattle-based marketplace for clean power, has raised $6.8 million in new VC funding from Prelude Ventures, Techstars, Founders' Coop, Element 8, Wireframe Ventures and Avista Development.

• Allset, a San Francisco-based dining management app for restaurant-goers, has raised $5 million in Series A funding led by Greycroft.

• Backplane, a San Francisco-based startup that helps companies "manage complex software deployments," has raised $5 million in seed funding. Baseline Ventures led the round, and was joined by Harrison Metal.

• Revelo, a Brazilian online job marketplace, has raised $4.6 million in new VC funding. Valor Capital led the round, and was joined by Australia's Seek.

• BuddyGuard, a Berlin-based developer of an "AI-powered" home security camera, has raised €3.4 million in new VC funding led by Bachmann Group.

• Fluent City, an online language learning startup, has raised $3 million in new VC funding led by Lerner Enterprises.

Private Equity Deals

• Apollo Global Management has agreed to acquire a majority stake in existing portfolio company Catalina Holdings, a Bermuda-based consolidator in the non-life insurance/reinsurance run-off sector.

• Aurora Capital Partners has acquired VLS Recovery Services, a Hockley, Texas-based provider of cleaning services for railcars and large industrial containers that contain chemicals, hardened materials and pressurized gases.

• EQT Partners has acquired a majority stake in Clinical Innovations, a Salt Lake City-based provider of single-use medical devices for hospital labor and delivery departments. Sellers include Pritzker Group Private Capital.

• Genstar Capital has acquired Tekni-Plex, a King of Prussia, Penn.-based manufacturer of packaging and tubing materials, from American Securities.

• The Hilb Group, a Richmond, Va.-based portfolio company of ABRY Partners, has acquired CVC Insurance Associates, a Dover, Del.-based property and casualty insurer for businesses.

• Hony Capital has agreed to acquire a 30% stake in upscale Italian fashion company Duemmei.

• Lovell Minnick Partners has agreed to acquire Tortoise Investments, an essential assets and income investment firm with $20.2 billion in AUM.

• Orient Hontai Capital has agreed to pay $1 billion for a majority stake in Imagina, a Spanish sports rights company.

• Siris Capital Group has agreed to acquire Intralinks, a provider of data sharing and enterprise collaboration solutions, from Synchronoss Technologies (Nasdaq: SNCR) for approximately $1 billion. Siris also will purchase around $185 million worth of convertible preferred equity in Synchronoss, convertible into around 19.8% of the company's outstanding common stock.

• Snow Phipps Group has acquired Brook and Whittle, a -based private label maker of pressure sensitive and shrink sleeve packaging, from RFE Investment Partners and Charter Oak Equity.

Public Offerings

🚑 Ablynx, a Belgium-based developer of proprietary therapeutic proteins based on single-domain antibody fragments, has set its IPO terms to 7.2 million American depository shares to be offered at $20.95 (based on where Ablynx shares closed Friday in Brussels). It plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol ABLX, with BofA Merrill Lynch listed as left lead underwriter. It reports nearly €86 million in 2016 revenue, while shareholders include Perceptive Advisors (4.52% stake).

• MongoDB, a New York-based open source database system, has increased its proposed IPO price range from $18-$20 to $20-$22 per share. It still plans to offer 8 million shares, with pricing scheduled for this week. Ther company MongoDB has raised around $300 million in VC funding.

Qudian, a China-based online micro-credit lender backed by Alibaba Group's Ant Financial, raised $900 million in its IPO, pricing shares at $24 (above $19-$22 range). It will trade on the NYSE under ticker symbol QD, while Morgan Stanley was listed as left lead underwriter. The company reports $144 million of net income on $270 million in revenue for the first half of 2017.

Liquidity Events

• J.P. Morgan has agreed to acquire WePay, a Redwood City, Calif.-based online payments company that raised around $75 million in VC funding from firms like August Capital, Ignition Partners and Highland Capital Partners.

• TPG Capital has agreed to sell The Warranty Group, a Chicago-based provider of protection plans, to Assurant (NYSE: AIZ) for around $2.5 billion (including $600m of assumed debt).

More M&A

• Global Partners (NYSE: GLP) has acquired Honey Farms, a Worcester, Mass.-based grocery chain founded in the 1920s.

🏀 MGM Resorts (NYSE: MGM) has acquired WNBA franchise San Antonio Stars, and plans to move the team to Las Vegas.

🚑 Shanghai Pharmaceuticals confirmed that it has submitted a non-binding bid for the Chinese distribution unit of Cardinal Health (NYSE: CAH).

• Sinclair Broadcast Group (Nasdaq: SBGI) has received bids for up to 10 television stations that could be worth $1 billion, in preparation for its proposed purchase of Tribune Media Co. (NYSE: TRCO). It is unclear what, if anything, Sinclair will ultimately divest.


• Blockchain Capital, a San Francisco-based VC firm, has secured $60 million of a $75 million-targeted fourth fund, per an SEC filing.

• Capital Dynamics has closed its fourth middle-market, private equity co-investment fund with $383 million in capital commitments.

• Foxconn and IDG Capital are seeking to raise around $1.5 billion for a venture capital fund that would focus on the automotive sector, according to Bloomberg.

• The Halifax Group has closed its fourth private equity fund with $650 million in capital commitments.

• Next Frontier Capital, a Bozeman, Mont.-based VC firm, has held a $22 million first close on its second fund (total target is $30m).

It's Personnel

• Suzanne Brenner has agreed to join Brown Brothers Harriman as chief investment officer of its private banking business. She previously was CIO of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's endowment. BBH also said that Donald Hardie has joined as a private equity portfolio manager.

• Comcast Ventures has hired Gil Beyda (ex-Genacast Ventures managing partner) as a managing director and promoted Daniel Gulati to partner.

• Mark Fields, former CEO of Ford Motor Co., has joined TPG Capital as a senior advisor.

• Karl Karlsson has joined San Francisco-based Sway Ventures as a London-based general partner and head of European investing. He previously was a venture partner with Insight Venture Partners.

• Jayson Punwani has joined Takeda Ventures as an investment director. He previously was a principal with Pappas Ventures.

• Spectrum Equity has promoted Adam Margolin to managing director and Leah Palmer to general counsel.

Final Numbers

  • Go deeper with Axios' Steve LeVine: In a Sept. 20 speech in New York, SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son forecast that by 2047, the Earth will be populated by equivalent number of humans and robots — 10 billion each. And the robots, he said, will be "smarter than mankind." Over the last year, Son has been investing in that moment.