Axios Pro Rata
September 29, 2021
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Top of the Morning
One of OZY Media's earliest investors has surrendered its shares in the beleaguered company, Axios has learned.
Driving the news: SV Angel, led by legendary Silicon Valley venture capitalist Ron Conway, informed OZY yesterday that it no longer wants the stock it acquired back in 2012, per multiple sources. Conway declined comment.
Why it matters: It is extremely rare for a VC firm to surrender shares; a rebuke several levels above choosing not to invest further.
What OZY is saying: Nothing. At least not to Axios.
- OZY co-founder and CEO Carlos Watson did set up a call with us for yesterday morning, and said that chairman Marc Lasry would also participate. But the scheduled time came and went, and our follow-up messages went unanswered.
- Too bad we got the 👻, particularly because we still have questions about whether or not OZY raised new funding after the Goldman deal collapsed. Several passive investors in the company tell us that they heard nothing of it. One did say OZY conveyed info that a round was in progress, but wasn't sure it ever closed.
But there have been developments since yesterday:
- OZY's board of directors last night announced that it hired an outside law firm to launch an investigation, "following reports of conduct that is not in keeping with our standards of values."
- This statement is back-peddling by a board that previously said it knew what was in the reporting, but still opted not to investigate. What's changed is the sunlight.
- OZY also said it asked COO Samir Rao to take a leave of absence, pending the investigation's results.
- As a side note, OZY was recruiting for a new COO last fall, per a pitch-deck obtained by Axios. No word on what happened with that process.
- OZY postponed a live event in Miami that was scheduled for Oct. 16, and Watson stepped down as a host of last night's News & Documentary Emmy Awards.
The bottom line: An investment in Ozy has become a reputational headache. SV Angel took the most extreme step, but others are distancing themselves, both publicly and privately.
Warby Parker is set to go public today via a direct listing. It got a $40 per share reference price, which would value the eyeglasses retailer at nearly $5 billion.
- Why it's the BFD: This could be a fraught time for direct listings, as vested employees are getting jumbled guidance from D.C. on how their potential sales would be taxed. But that didn't seem to hurt yesterday's direct listing by Amplitude, the data analytics company whose first-day performance defied the Nasdaq's worst trading session since March.
- Details: Warby is a direct-to-consumer pioneer that now generates more sales from its physical retail stores than it does via its digital channels. The company, a certified B Corp, plans to list on the NYSE (WRBY) and reports a $7 million net loss on $271 million in revenue for the first half of 2021.
- ROI: It raised over $500 million in VC funding, most recently last summer at a $3 billion valuation, from firms like Tiger Global, T. Rowe Price, General Catalyst, D1 Capital Partners and Durable Capital Partners.
- The bottom line: "We believe a direct listing is a more transparent and inclusive process for lots of fans of the brad who in a traditional IPO wouldn't have the option of getting an allocation.. It creates a fair playing field for all." — Dave Gilboa, Warby's co-founder and co-CEO, to Axios
Venture Capital Deals
• Merama, an Amazon merchant acquirer focused on Latin America, raised $225 million. Advent International and SoftBank co-led, and were joined by Globo Ventures and insiders Monashees, Valor Capital, Balderton Capital and MAYA Capital. http://axios.link/AjLw
• Andela, a New York-based tech staffing platform focused on training and connecting African developers with U.S. companies, raised $200 million in Series E funding at a $1.5 billion valuation. SoftBank led, and was joined by Whale Rock and insiders Generation Investment Management, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and Spark Capital. http://axios.link/VgXm
• Totango, a Redwood City, Calif.-based customer success platform, raised $100 million in Series D funding. Great Hill Partners led, and was joined by insiders BGV, Pitango Ventures and Canvas Ventures. http://axios.link/boD8
• Vedantu, an Indian online learning platform, raised $100 million in Series E funding at a $1 billion valuation. ABC World Asia led, and was joined by insiders Coatue, Tiger Global, GGV Capital and WestBridge. http://axios.link/gOJY
• Sisu Data, an SF-based business decision-making startup, raised $62 million in Series A funding. Green Bay Ventures led, and was joined by Andreessen Horowitz, NEA and Geodesic Capital. http://axios.link/Vjvf
🚑 Lifebit Biotech, a London-based biomedical data startup, raised $60 million in Series B funding. Tiger Global led, and was joined by insiders Eurazeo, Pentech Ventures and Beacon Capital. www.lifebit.ai
• EquityBee, a Palo Alto-based provider of stock options funding solutions, raised $55 million in Series B funding. Group 11 led, and was joined by Battery Ventures, Latitude, Local Globe, Greenfield Partners and Icon Ventures. www.equitybee.com
• Highnote, an SF-based virtual payment card enablement startup, raised $54 million in seed and Series A funding. Oak HC/FT led, and was joined by Costanoa Ventures. XYZ, SVB Capital and WestCap. http://axios.link/whnw
• Kore.ai, an Orlando-based developer of enterprise chatbots, raised $50 million in Series C funding co-led by PNC, Next Equity and Vistara. www.kore.ai
• Hedvig, a Swedish neo-insurer, raised $45 million in Series B funding. Anthemis led, and was joined by Swedish Novax, Nineyards Equity and insiders Cherry Ventures, Obvious Ventures and CommerzVentures. http://axios.link/IAFb
• DroneSeed, a Seattle-based reforestation startup, raised $36 million in Series A funding. Social Capital and Seven Seven Six co-led, and were joined by Gaingels with Flight.vc, HBS Lady Angels and Awesome People Ventures. http://axios.link/BLGx
🚑 Ceres Imaging, an Oakland-based ag analytics company, raised $23 million in Series C funding. XTX Ventures and Romulus Capital co-led, and were joined by Insight Partners and B37 Ventures. www.ceresimaging.net
• Cocoon, an SF-based employee leave platform, raised $20 million in Series A funding. Index Ventures led, and was joined by First Round Capital, SemperVirens, XYZ Venture Capital, Magnify Ventures, Springbank Collective. www.meetcocoon.com
• Nomad Homes, a Dubai-based home buying platform, raised $20 million in Series A funding. 01 Advisors and The Spruce House Partnership co-led, and were joined by Goodwater Capital, HighSage Ventures, Abstract Ventures, Partech, Class 5 Global, Precursor Ventures and Alta Park Capital. http://axios.link/PX3H
• Sureify, a San Jose, Calif.-based life insurance and annuity platform, raised $15 million in Series C funding led by Aspen Capital Group. www.sureify.com
• Benepass, a New York-based employees benefits platform, raised $12 million in Series A funding. Threshold Ventures led, and was joined by Modern Venture Partners, Operator Partners, and Alumni Ventures Group and insiders Gradient Ventures and Global Founders Capital. www.getbenepass.com
• Rize, a fintech-as-a-service startup, raised $11.4 million in Series A funding co-led by Alpha Edison and Morpheus Ventures. http://axios.link/Ou6p
🚑 Heydoc, a British medical office management software startup, raised $8.3 million in Series A funding. Smedvig Capital led, and was joined by insiders Hambro Perks, Triple Point Ventures and InHealth Ventures. http://axios.link/hQ7Y
• Archera (fka Reserved.ai), a Seattle-based cloud resource automation startup, raised $7 million in Series A funding co-led by Ridge Ventures and Amplify Partners. www.archera.ai
🥕 Carrot, an e-commerce shopping cart analysis plug-in, raised $5.5 million in seed funding from Kindred Ventures, M13, Abstract Ventures, Designer Fund, Combine, Paris Hilton, Scott Belsky, Riverpark and NextView Ventures. http://axios.link/HuCs
• Angle Labs, a developer of stablecoins based on derivatives, raised $5 million in seed funding. Andreessen Horowitz led, and was joined by Fabric VC, Wintermute, Divergence Ventures, Global Founders Capital and Alven. http://axios.link/T9ji
• MarqVision, an LA-based IP protection platform, raised $5 million in seed funding from SoftBank Ventures, YC and Bass Investment. www.marqvision.com
• Visor, a New York-based connected spreadsheet for internal app building, raised $5 million in seed funding. General Catalyst led, and was joined by Bessemer Venture Partners, Craft Ventures, Converge Venture Partners and M13 Ventures. www.visor.us
• Eternal, an NFT marketplace for Twitch clips, raised $4.5 million from backers like NFX, Mark Cuban, Arrington Capital and Coinbase Ventures. http://axios.link/EhhT
• Fiveable, a Milwaukee-based virtual study hall for high schoolers, raised $4.2 million from BBG Ventures, Metrodora Ventures, Emerson Collective, Beta Boom, gener8tor, Matchstick Ventures, Darrell Silver and Serena Williams. http://axios.link/eOTV
• RunX, an SF-based cloud infrastructure deployment startup, raised $4.1 million in seed funding led by Unusual Ventures. http://axios.link/DRIR
• Bubblehouse, a New York-based NFT marketplace, raised $4 million in seed funding. Third Kind VC led, and was joined by SV Angel, Watertower Ventures and Soma Capital. www.bubblehouse.com
• Stake, a New York-based provider of flexible payment and loyalty plans for renters, raised $4 million in seed funding led by Shadow Ventures. www.stake.rent
Private Equity Deals
• Canada Pension Plan Investment Board agreed to buy the stake it doesn’t already hold in Jersey City, N.J.-based marine terminal operator Ports America from Oaktree Capital Management. http://axios.link/AnEp
• Fort Point Capital invested in CellSite Solutions, a Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based provider of telecom infrastructure asset refurbishment services. www.cellsitesolutions.com
• Marlin Equity Partners invested in ProcessUnity, a Concord, Mass.-based provider of third-party risk and cybersecurity management software. www.processunity.com
• Marlin Equity acquired Linnworks, a British commerce automation platform for enterprise retailers. www.linnworks.com
• Smartgroup (ASX: SIQ), an Australian employee management services firm, said it would open its books to TPG, following a US$1 billion indicative buyout offer. http://axios.link/5tyo
• Spectrum Equity invested in Membersy, an Austin, Texas-based subscription dental membership management platform. www.membersy.com
• Allvue Systems, a Coral Gables, Fla.-based investment management software firm owned by Vista Equity Partners, postponed an IPO that had been expected to raise around $275 million. http://axios.link/EV0m
⚡ Fluence Energy, an Arlington, Va.-based energy storage company formed by Siemens and AES, filed for an IPO. It plans to list on the Nasdaq (FLNC) and reports a $75 million net loss on for the first nine months of 2021. http://axios.link/VbOq
• Life Time Group, a Chanhassen, Minn.-based fitness center chain backed by TPG and Leonard Green & Partners, set IPO terms to 46.2 million shares at $18-$21. It would have a $3.86 billion valuation, were it to price in the middle, and expects to list on the NYSE (LTH). http://axios.link/tIMG
• Motor Fuel Group, a British gas station operator owned by Clayton Dubilier & Rice, is considering an IPO that could value the company north of £5 billion, per Bloomberg. http://axios.link/u8Hn
• Akamai (Nasdaq: AKAM) agreed to buy Guardicore, an Israeli data center security startup, for around $600 million. Guardicore raised over $100 million from firms like Battery Ventures, 83North, Greenfield Partners and Qumra Capital. http://axios.link/7YsB
🚑 Apax Partners hired Rothschild to find a buyer for Unilabs, a Swiss diagnostics services firm that could fetch around $5 billion, per Bloomberg. http://axios.link/AS7y
🚑 AstraZeneca (LSE: AZN) will pay up to $500 million ($150m upfront) for the stake it doesn’t already hold in Caelum Biosciences, a Bordentown, N.J.-based drugmaker focused on AL amyloidosis that raised around $70 million in VC funding from Alexion (bought by AZN) and Columbia Technology Ventures. http://axios.link/j33Q
• HeidelbergCement acquired a 45% stake in Command Alkon, a Birmingham, Ala.-based provider of construction material supply chain management software from Thoma Bravo (which retains a 55% position). http://axios.link/jdo8
• CyrusOne (Nasdaq: CONE), a Dallas-based data center operator with around a $9 billion market cap, is exploring a sale, per Reuters. http://axios.link/5Hw8
• Alain Carrier agreed to become CEO of Bregal Investments. He previously spent nearly 14 years with Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, most recently as a senior MD and head of international. www.bregal.com
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