February 22, 2022

Welcome back to work after the three-day weekend. Dan is taking his birthday week off to ride roller coasters (the real kind, not the news cycle), so I'll be your deal news captain for the next few days.

  • 🚨 Reminder: Feel free to send me tips or comments by replying to this email or on Twitter @imkialikethecar.
  • Situational awareness: This morning, following President Putin's decision to send troops into eastern Ukraine, Germany has halted the certification of the Nord Stream 2, while the U.K. announced sanctions on five Russian banks and three wealthy individuals. Follow along with the latest developments at Axios.com.

Top of the Morning

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The flow of SPAC news continues to feature new vehicle formations, IPOs, and some mergers — but soon, it's also likely to include a whole lot of liquidations.

Driving the news: A number of SPACs are approaching their deadlines to either find a company to acquire, or liquidate and return investors' money.

  • In March, six will hit their deadlines. There are three in April, nine in May, and seven in June, per SPAC Research.

Why it matters: 2020 (and the first months of 2021) brought a euphoric SPAC boom, with seemingly every investor and exec forming their own vehicle (or several) to get a piece of the action.

  • SPACs are notably lucrative for sponsors — the group putting together the vehicle — traditionally yielding them a 20% stake in the SPAC despite only putting up a small fraction of the capital. (Though sponsor concessions have been growing.)
  • And they usually get their financial rewards even if the company that the SPAC acquires isn't a great pick.

Between the lines: A slew of liquidations would undermine the belief that there are more than enough quality companies that should go public, as some SPAC optimists argued amid the boom.

  • Sure, some companies that have go public via this route are great businesses and will thrive in the public market over the long term.
  • But, a number went public thanks to unfounded enthusiasm for the promises of the futuristic tech they're developing, while others lost investor excitement as they released underwhelming quarterly earnings.
  • Overall, companies that have gone public via SPACs have not performed well over the past couple of years — which was made even worse over the last few months by a broader market selloff.

The bottom line: Some SPACs running up against their deadlines could get their shareholders to agree to extensions to give them more time — but we still may see a stream of SPAC liquidations in the coming months.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to note that sponsors traditionally get 20% of the SPAC (not of the combined company).


Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

SoFi has agreed to acquire Technisys, a Latin America-based banking software company, for $1.1 billion in an all-stock deal. SoFi estimates that the acquisition will generate up to $800 million in additional revenue and up to $85 million in cost savings through 2025.

Why it's the BFD: SoFi, which recently became a bank after acquiring Golden Pacific Bancorp, is continuing its acquisition spree, which has included Galileo Financial Technologies for $1.2 billion in 2020.

Details: ​​Technisys' shareholders will receive approximately 84 million shares of SoFi common stock, less than 10% of SoFi's fully diluted share count as of Sept. 30, 2021.

The bottom line: "The deal gives SoFi control of its own core-banking platform, the back-end technology that banks use to power mobile-banking apps, open accounts and keep track of customer deposits." — Peter Rudegeair, WSJ

Venture Capital Deals

Tingo, a Nigerian financing and e-commerce platform, is seeking $500m in debt and equity financing, according to Bloomberg. http://axios.link/34pn

🚙 Volta Trucks, a Sweden-based maker of electric trucks and delivery vehicles, raised €230m ($260m) in Series C funding at a reported $490m valuation led by Luxor Capital, with Byggmästare Anders J Ahlström, Agility and B-FLEXION also participating. http://axios.link/VrHs

Amber Group, a Singapore-based cryptocurrency-trading company, raised $200m in funding at a reported $3b valuation from Temasek, Sequoia China, Pantera Capital and Tiger Global. ​​http://axios.link/FZHf

PrimaryBid, a U.K.-based IPO investment startup, raised $190m led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2. http://axios.link/lRBt

ICON, an Austin-based 3D printer of homes, raised $185m in additional Series B funding at a reported valuation near $2b led by Tiger Global, with some existing investors also participating. http://axios.link/ly61

Fenbeitong, a Chinese payment and expense management software company, raised $140m in Series C funding led by DST Global, with D1 Capital Partners, Whale Rock Capital, Hillhouse Capital, Ribbit Capital, Eight Roads Ventures, Glade Brook Capital Partners and BitRock Capital also participating. http://axios.link/uGEN

ViaBill, a Danish "buy now, pay later" startup, raised $120m in equity and debt led by Fasanara Capital. http://axios.link/aQa9

Groundfloor, an Atlanta-based real estate crowdfunding platform, raised $118m in new funding from Medipower and others. http://axios.link/Hfi7

Beauty for All Industries, a San Mateo, Calif.-based beauty company, raised a $96m in new funding led by TPG Growth. www.bfaindustries.com

Federated Wireless, an Arlington, Va.-based wireless internet company, raised $58m in Series D funding led by an affiliate of Cerberus Capital Management, with Allied Minds and GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund also participating. www.federatedwireless.com

TVG Hospitality, a U.K.-based operator of music and hospitality venues founded by Mumford & Sons’ Ben Lovett, raised $50m in new funding led by Nat Zilkha and Gibson Brands, with investors from the music and tech industries also participating. http://axios.link/qFBr

Automata, a U.K.-based lab robotics startup, raised $50m in Series B funding led by Octopus Ventures, with Hummingbird, Latitude Ventures, ABB Technology Ventures, Isomer Capital, In-Q-Tel and others also participating. http://axios.link/dZhE

MarketForce, a Kenya-based maker of software tools for merchants, raised $40m in Series A funding led by V8 Capital Partners, with Ten13 VC, SOSV Select Fund, Vu Ventures, Vastly Valuable Ventures, Uncovered Fund, and existing investors also participating. http://axios.link/lQh5

SKAEL, a San Francisco-based work automation startup, raised $38m in Series A funding led by RTP Global, with Bonfire Ventures and Dell Technologies Capital also participating. www.skael.com

Facilio, a New York-based property operations software provider, raised $35m in Series B funding led by Dragoneer, with Brookfield Growth, Accel India and Tiger Global also participating. www.facilio.com

Propelld, an India-based education-focused fintech platform, raised $35m from WestBridge Capital, with participation from Stellaris Venture Partners and India Quotient. http://axios.link/VjsA

PayMongo, a Philippines-based payments fintech, raised $31m in Series B from Justin Mateen’s JAM Fund, ICCP-SBI Venture Partners, Lisa Gokongwei’s Kaya Founders, Global Founders Capital, and SOMA Capital. http://axios.link/tAJo

Neosapience, a South Korea-based synthetic voice and video startups, raised $21.5m in Series B funding led by BRV Capital Management, with Stic Ventures, Quantum Ventures, Company K Partners, Albatross Investment Capital, Daekyo Investment, and TimeWorks Investment also participating. www.neosapience.com

⛽️ LEKO Labs, a Luxembourg-based carbon negative construction company, raised $21m in Series A funding led by 2150, with the Microsoft Climate Innovation Fund, Tencent, AMAVI, Rise PropTech Fund, Extantia and Freigeist also partcipating. www.lekolabs.com

Dowsure Technologies, a Chinese cross-border payments startup, raised $20m in Series B funding led by an undisclosed strategic investor, with VenturesLab, Qianhaiyifang, and Plug & Play China also participating. http://axios.link/Shd1

🚙 Zoomo, a New York-based maker of electric last-mile delivery vehicles, raised $20m in additional Series B funding led by Collaborative Fund, with Mitsubishi UFJ, SG Fleet, WIND Ventures, COPEC, and Akuna Capital also participating. www.ridezoomo.com

🚑 V-Ensure Pharma Technologies, an India-based pharmaceuticals company, raised INR 1.3b ($17.5m) in new funding led by Investcorp, with Tanas Capital also participating. http://axios.link/LGTF

SeMI Technologies, a Netherlands-based developer of open source software, raised $16m in Series A funding led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and Cortical Ventures. http://axios.link/JB9W

Increff, an India-based e-commerce inventory optimization startups, raised $12m in Series B funding led by TVS Capital Funds, Premji Invest, and 021 Capital also participating. http://axios.link/0bhN

🚑 HerMD, a Cincinnati-based women’s health startup, raised $10m in Series A fundraise led by Jazz Venture Partners. http://axios.link/rzCc

Nous, a U.K.-based household finance startup, raised $9m in seed funding led by Mosaic Ventures, with angel investors also participating. http://axios.link/sN4I

PerchPeek, a U.K.-based maker of employee relocation tools, raised £8m in Series A funding led by Stage 2 Capital and AlbionVC. http://axios.link/Ulz1

Jambo, a Congo-based web3 banking app for the African continent, raised $7.5m in seed funding from Coinbase Ventures, Polygon Studios, Delphi Ventures, 3 Arrows Capital, Alameda Research, AllianceDAO, Tiger Global, DeFiance Capital, Hashed, UOB, Signum Capital, BH Digital, Yield Guild Games, and others. http://axios.link/m2Y6

Upflowy, an Australia-based software A/B testing startup, raised $4m in new funding led by Counterpart Ventures, with Tidal, Global Founders Capital, Black Nova and Antler also participating. http://axios.link/vQvx

EWA, a Singapore-based language learning app, raised $2.7m in new funding from Day One Ventures, Elysium and angel investors from Semrush, Zynga, Niantic and Zynga. www.appewa.com

Semarion, a U.K.-based materials engineering and cell biology company from Cambridge University, raised £2.14m in seed funding led by Parkwalk Advisors, with the University of Cambridge Seed Funds, Martlet Capital, and angel investors also participating. www.semarion.com

EdfaPay, a Saudi Arabia-based mobile payments startup, raised $1.6m in pre-seed funding from Nuwa Capital, InspireUs VC, Wallan Investment group, and other strategic investors. http://axios.link/2PB4

🚑 Nabta Health, a Dubai-based women's health care startup, raised $1.5m in new funding led by Basim Anwer, with Priya Oberoi, Sarper Tanli, and Nadia Mannell also participating. www.nabtahealth.com

Umazi, a U.K.-based due diligence startup, raised $1m from Innovate UK and angel investors. http://axios.link/6Gh4

Private Equity Deals

Georgian and Caisse de dépot et placement du Québec (CDPQ) have agreed to acquire a $325m stake in eSentire, a Canada-based cybersecurity company, in part from majority-owner Warby Pincus, valuing the company at over $1b.

Veritas Capital has agreed to acquire Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, a Boston-based online education company, for $21 per share in cash at a 36% premium on its Jan. 13 closing price, at an implied valuation of $2.8b. http://axios.link/Lk9k

Hambro Perks has invested in Altum Technologies, a Finland-based maker of power ultrasound tech to clean fouling from industrial equipment without stopping production. www.altumtechnologies.com

Funds advised by Equistone Partners Europe have acquired a majority stake in eperi, a Germany-based provider of cybersecurity software for cloud apps, from Evolution Equity Partners and btov. www.eperi.com

🚙 MidOcean Partners has acquired Cloyes, a Fort Smith, Ark.-based manufacturer and distributor of timing drive systems for the auto aftermarket, from Hidden Harbor Capital Partners. www.cloyes.com

Standard General agreed to acquire Tegna, a Tysons, Va.-based TV stations operator, for $24 a share, valuing the company at $8.6b, and including the assumption of debt. http://axios.link/l8pp

KKR has agreed to acquire a majority stake in Refresco, a Netherlands-based beverage manufacturer. http://axios.link/XroP

🚙 Repairify, a portfolio company of Kinderhook Industries, has acquired AutoMobile Technologies, a Parkland, Fla.-based maker of vehicle reconditioning software. www.amt.company

🚙 EQT Infrastructure has agreed to acquire InstaVolt, a U.K.-based operator and owner of electric vehicle charging stations, from Zouk Capital. www.instavolt.co.uk

🚑 Warburg Pincus has agreed to invest $210m into Meril, an India-based medical devices company. http://axios.link/htLQ

Brookfield is reportedly in talks to acquire the payments arm of Abu Dhabi First Bank for more than $1b. http://axios.link/zBk3

Public Offerings

The Gladstone Companies, a McLean, Va.-based alternative asset management firm, filed to raise up to $50m in an IPO. http://axios.link/BYJc

🚑 Wearable Devices, an Israel-based developer of non-invasive neural input technology for consumer electronics, filed to raise up to $18m in an IPO. http://axios.link/7xt4

🚑 Blue Water Vaccines, a Cincinnati-based preclinical developer of vaccines for the flu and other infectious diseases, raised $20m by offering 2.2 million shares at $9, within its range of $8 to $10. http://axios.link/hW2J

SPAC Stuff

PowerUp Acquisition, a blank check company targeting media and entertainment businesses, raised $250m by offering 25 million units at $10, up from the planned 22.5 million units. http://axios.link/mqTq

Liquidity Events

The London Stock Exchange Group has agreed to acquire TORA, a U.S.-based maker of asset trading software tools, for $325m. http://axios.link/OBqb

More M&A

Webster Financial agreed to acquire Bend Financial, a cloud-based provider of health savings accounts. http://axios.link/dKC9


Front Porch Venture Partners, a Raleigh-based venture capital firm, has closed a $5m fund for investing in funds and startups in the U.S. Southeast. www.frontporchvp.com

Chiratae Ventures, an Indian VC firm, is seeking up to $700m for two new funds to invest in local companies. http://axios.link/pgGm

General Catalyst, a Boston and Bay Area-based VC firm, raised $4.6b across three new funds. http://axios.link/OZw5

Backed, a U.K.-based VC firm focused on European startups, raised €150m across two new funds. http://axios.link/JnfM

⛽️ Revent, a German climate-focused VC firm, raised €60m ($68m) for its debut fund. http://axios.link/HRSj

Lyric Capital Group, a music royalties-focused PE firm, is reportedly raising a new $500m fund. http://axios.link/zvVl

Semillero Partners, a minority-owned, early and growth stage investment fund with a focus on sustainable food, beverage, and food tech, is raising $100m for its second fund, per an SEC filing. semilleropartners.com

It's Personnel

Gemspring Capital, a Westport, Conn.-based middle-market private equity firm, has promoted Rav Chanana to managing director. www.gemspring.com

CalPERS has hired Nicole Musicco as its chief investment officer. She was previously at RedBird Capital Partners where she led the firm's Canadian investment business. http://axios.link/yjAM

Final Numbers

Stock price for companies targeted by ESG activists
Data: Google Finance; Chart: Axios Visuals

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