Boom Supersonic, developer of a new class of supersonic commercial aircraft, has raised $33 million in Series A funding. Backers include Y Combinator Continuity Fund, RRE Ventures, Palm Drive Ventures, Caffeinated Capital and 8VC. As part of the deal, YC president Sam Altman and former Sequoia Capital partner Greg McAdoo have joined Boom's board of directors.
Why it's the BFD: It's been more than a decade since the Concorde was grounded, which was more about post 9/11 economics than supersonic technology. Boom is hoping to significantly decrease the cost-per-flight, in part because of two major development advancements since the time of Concorde:
- Even though Boom is already testing in real wind tunnels, it can do a lot of simulation via software.
- Companies like Boeing and Airbus have spent billions of dollars helping to develop and gain approvals for carbon fiber, which can help a plane go faster and use less gas.
Proceeds from this financing are expected to get Boom to its first supersonic flight in 2018 (a bit later than originally expected), with later plans to have passengers flying in the 2020's. Interim financing would be aided by a previously-announced $5 billion in pre-orders from companies like Virgin, with expectations that additional airline orders will be disclosed later this year.
Bottom line: There currently is a U.S. ban on supersonic flight over land, which is why Boom's initial plan is to run on existing supersonic corridors like LA-Tokyo and NYC-London. "The aircraft speed limit is one of the worst ideas in aviation policy history," Boom CEO Blake Scholl tells Axos. "Boom is working to overturn this, but not counting on that in our business model."
Private Equity Deals
• Avaloq, a Swiss provider of banking software, has raised $300 million in private equity funding from Warburg Pincus. http://reut.rs/2n6Yq0o
• Birch Hill Equity Partners has acquired Cozzini Bros, a Des Plaines, Ill.-based knife sharpening rental and exchange company, from Audax Group. No financial terms were disclosed. www.cozzinibros.com
• The Carlyle Group and TPG Capital have expressed recent interest in acquiring Java House, a Nairobi-based coffee shop chain, according to the FT. A deal could be valued at upwards of $100 million. http://on.ft.com/2mTNx1c
• CSF Corp., a Somerset, N.J.-based toll-free provisioning company owned by Alpine Investors, has acquired Aerialink, a Bettendorf, Iowa-based SaaS provider of mobile messaging and location services. www.csfcorp.com
• Golden Gate Capital has acquired Cole-Parmer, a Vernon Hills, Ill.-based maker of fluid handling and other specialty lab equipment, from GTCR. No financial terms were disclosed. www.coleparmer.com
• KPS Capital Partners has agreed to acquire Winoa, a French manufacturer of steel abrasives. No financial terms were disclosed. Sellers include a special situations affiliate of KKR. www.winoagroup.com
• OutSolve, a a Metairie, La.-based provider of affirmative action planning and compliance services for federal contractors, has acquired New Orleans-based Pinnacle Affirmative Action Services. No financial terms were disclosed. OutSolve is a portfolio company of LNC Partners. www.outsolve.com
• Summit Partners has sponsored a majority recap of Ascentis Corp., a San Mateo, Calif.-based provider of SaaS human capital management and payroll solutions. Sellers include Catalyst Investors. www.ascentis.com
• Valence Surface Technologies, a Gardenia, Calif.-based portfolio company of Trive Capital, has acquired MAPSCO, a Seattle-based provider of metal finishing services to the aerospace and defense industries. No financial terms were disclosed. www.valencesurfacetech.com
• Alibaba Group (NYSE: BABA) has acquired Chinese event ticketing platform Damai.cn. No financial terms were disclosed. Damai had raised over $14 million in VC funding from firms like Legend Capital. http://bit.ly/2nJiRnv
• The Blackstone Group is prepping either a sale of IPO of Logicor, its European warehouse property business, according to the WSJ. The business could be valued at more than €10 billion. http://on.wsj.com/2nmvnIy
• Francisco Partners has hired Morgan Stanley to find a buyer for Plex Systems, a Troy, Mich.-based maker of manufacturing facility management software, according to Reuters. The deal could be valued at more than $1 billion (including debt). http://reut.rs/2nJdd4D
• Providence Equity Partners has agreed to sell the Professional Association of Diving Instructors, a Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.-based scuba certifier, to "a group of wealthy families and endowments for more than $700 million," according to the WSJ. http://on.wsj.com/2nPBAug
• Panasonic Corp. of Japan has agreed to acquire an additional 20% stake in Spanish auto parts maker Ficosa International for an undisclosed amount, giving it an overall control position of 69%. http://reut.rs/2ncYttb
• Marlin Equity has closed is fifth flagship private equity fund with $2.5 billion in capital commitments. It also has closed its second Heritage fund, focused on lower middle-market companies in North America, at $750 million. www.marlinequity.com
• May River Capital, a Chicago-based private equity firm focused on lower mid-market industrial companies, has closed its debut fund with $165 million in capital commitments. www.mayrivercapital.com
• Octopus Ventures of London has raised £120 million for a fund focused on British AI startups. • http://on.ft.com/2nQQv7z
• Värde Partners, a Minneapolis-based ", has closed its twelfth multicredit fund with $1.74 billion in capital commitments. http://bit.ly/2nRa1R5
• Pritzker Group Asset Management has promoted Terra Fuller to chief investment officer. She joined the firm in 2014 as director of research. www.pritzkergroup.com