Jun 11, 2020

Axios Pro Rata

📧 Quick reminder that you can send me news tips or feedback via email or my anonymous tip-box (http://axios.com/tips). I'm also on all the messaging apps. Okay, here we go...

Top of the Morning

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Facebook is launching a corporate venture capital group, Axios' Ina Fried and Kia Kokalitcheva scoop.

Why it matters: This leaves Apple as the only major U.S. tech company without a formalized program to invest in startups.

Details: Facebook posted and then pulled a job opening saying it was looking to hire a "head of investments" for its New Product Experimentation (NPE) team, ideally someone with 10 years of tech experience.

"In this role, you will manage a multi million dollar fund that invests in leading private companies alongside top venture capital firms and angel investors. You will develop investment and impact theses, lead the execution of new investments, and support existing portfolio companies as needed."

Facebook tells Axios that it has hired someone to fill the role but declined to name the person or say say how large the fund would be.

  • We do know, however, that Shabih Rizvi has joined Facebook to work on the effort in some capacity. He's a Kleiner Perkins vet who most recently was with Gradient Ventures, Google's AI-focused corporate venture fund.
  • The social network has toyed with creating a corporate VC program in the past, but had never gotten past the informal conversation stage with potential hires.

The goal, like with almost all corporate venture programs, will be to help identify emerging tech trends, competitive threats and complimentary businesses.

  • Facebook may choose to compensate its investment staff like a traditional venture fund (carried interest, etc.), but Facebook isn't a cash-poor company chasing venture returns. It wants to find the next Instagram or WhatsApp before they cost billions of dollars.

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Just Eat Takeaway (Amsterdam: TKWY) agreed to acquire Chicago-based restaurant meal delivery company Grubhub (NYSE: GRUB) in an all-stock deal.

  • Why it's the BFD: Because this is just as much about the deal that didn't happen, as Uber reportedly became "exasperated" with Grubhub and its CEO Matt Maloney.
  • Pricing: The deal was valued at around $7.6 billion when it was first announced late yesterday afternoon. But then Just Eat stock tanked more than 10% on the news, pushing the current transaction value below $6.5 billion.
  • Sign of the times: Maloney and Just Eat CEO Jitse Groen have known each other since 2017, when the pair spent a day together in Chicago. But they haven't met in person since merger talks began due to travel restrictions.
  • The bottom line: It's easy to read this as a win for Democratic Party politicians who had expressed concerns about the antitrust implications of a Grubhub-Uber tie-up. And Maloney himself acknowledges that the Just Eat deal presents less regulatory risk. But don't discount the fact that spurning Uber lets Grubhub management retain more independence, and continue to focus on its historically profitable marketplace business rather than go all-in on meal delivery.
Venture Capital Deals

Postman, a San Francisco-based platform for API development, raised $150 million in Series C funding. Insight Partners led, and was joined by return backers CRV and Nexus Venture Partners. http://axios.link/EPdC

NS8, a Las Vegas-based provider of online fraud prevention solutions for merchants, raised $123 million in Series A funding co-led by Lightspeed Venture Partners and AXA Venture Partners. http://axios.link/svMa

🚑 Cue Health, a San Diego-based portable diagnostics lab, raised $100 million in Series C funding from backers like Decheng Capital, Foresite Capital, Madrone Capital Partners, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, and ACME Capital. http://axios.link/YMwZ

🚑 Verve Therapeutics, a Cambridge, Mass.-based developer of cardiovascular therapies, raised $63 million in Series B funding from GV, Arch Venture Partners, F-Prime, and Casdin Capital. http://axios.link/SrDP

🚑 Kyruus, a Boston-based provider of search and scheduling software for health systems, raised $30 million in fifth-round funding from Francisco Partners. http://axios.link/yktt

Wave, a virtual concert platform, raised $30 million from Griffin Gaming Partners, NTT DoCoMo Ventures, Avex, Superfly Ventures, Convivialite Ventures, and Raised in Space. http://axios.link/qs1t

Transcend, a San Francisco-based provider of a data privacy infrastructure, raised $25 million in Series A funding. Index Ventures led, and was joined by Accel and South Park Commons. http://axios.link/hSjc

Alkemics, a French supplier-retailer collaboration and product launch platform, raised €21 million in Series C funding. Highland Europe led, and was joined by Cathay Innovation, Index Ventures, SEB Alliance, and Serena Capital. http://axios.link/pDwk

iBanFirst, a French cross-border business payments platform, raised €21 million in Series C funding. Elaia and Bpifrance co-led, and were joined by return backers Serena Capital and Breega. http://axios.link/ZPSW

RapidSOS, a New York-based startup that provides data for emergency response situations, raised $21 million. Transformation Capital led, and was joined by C5 Capital and Laerdal Million Lives Fund. http://axios.link/bPmD

🚑 Alpha Health, a South SF-based unified automation startup focused on health care, raised $20 million in Series A funding. Andreessen Horowitz led, and was joined by Costanoa Ventures. http://axios.link/NfpE

OnTruck, a Spanish digital road freight platform, raised €17 million. OGCI Climate Investments led, and was joined by Endeavor Catalyst and return backers Cathay Innovation, Atomico, Idinvest Partners, and Total Carbon Neutrality Ventures. http://axios.link/mF0C

Planck, a New York-based data platform for insurance underwriting, raised $16 million in Series B funding. Team8 Capital led, and was joined by Viola FinTech, Arbor Ventures, Nationwide, and Hannover Digital Investments. http://axios.link/qkI9

Ethyca, a New York-based data privacy startup, raised $13.5 million from IA Ventures, SciFi VC, Abstract Ventures, and individual angels. http://axios.link/qCFh

🚑 Conversa Health, a Portland, Ore.-based virtual care and communication platform, raised $12 million in Series B funding. Builders VC and Northwell Ventures co-led, and were joined by P5 Health Ventures, Nassau Street Ventures, and UH Ventures. www.conversahealth.com

Journera, a Chicago-based real-time data exchange platform for travel companies, raised $11.6 million in Series B funding. Andreessen Horowitz and B Capital co-led, and were joined by return backers Pritzker Group VC and The Boston Consulting Group. http://axios.link/nWdZ

Codat, a London-based financial data aggregation platform for small businesses, raised $10 million from Index Ventures. http://axios.link/Ew1i

Whatifi, an interactive storytelling app, raised $10 million. Andreessen Horowitz led, and was joined by Matrix Partners. http://axios.link/vW2i

Flatfile, provider of a drop-in spreadsheet importer, raised $7.6 million in seed funding. Two Sigma Ventures led, and was joined by Afore Capital, Designer Fund, and Gradient Ventures. www.flatfile.io

🚑 Protera, a Chilean protein engineering startup, raised $5.6 million in Series A funding. Sofinnova Partners led, and was joined by SOSV. www.proterabio.com

Vendr, a Boston-based software procurement platform, raised $4 million led by Craft Ventures. http://axios.link/S1Qi

Vectice, a San Francisco-based data science management software startup, raised $3 million in seed funding co-led by Spider Capital and Crosslink Capital. www.vectice.com

Peppy, a British employee health care benefits platform, raised £1.7 million in seed funding. Outward VC led, and was joined by Seedcamp, Hambro Perks, and Form Ventures. http://axios.link/CqmA

Private Equity Deals

• Captrust, a portfolio company of GTCR, acquired Lakeside Wealth Management, a Chesterton, Ind.-based registered investment advisor with $1.6 billion in AUM. http://axios.link/fmSf

• National Seating & Mobility, a Franklin, Tenn.-based portfolio company of Cinven, acquired Canadian rival Active Mobility Products. www.nsm-seating.com

• StarStone US, a property and casualty insurance unit of Enstar Group (Nasdaq: ESGR), secured $610 million in new equity funding from SkyKnight Capital, Dragoneer, and Aquiline Capital Partners. http://axios.link/eyKE

Vista Proppants & Logistics, a Fort Worth, Texas-based frac sand provider backed by First Reserve and Ares Capital, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. http://axios.link/r9ZM

Public Offerings

🚑 Generation Bio, a Cambridge, Mass.-based gene therapy company initially focused on hemophilia and phenylketonuria, increased its IPO terms from 7.4 million shares at $16-$18 to 10 million shares at $18-$19. It would have a market cap of $816, were it to price in the middle of the new range, and plans to list on the Nasdaq (GBIO) with JPMorgan as lead underwriter. The pre-revenue company raised over $230 million in VC funding from firms like Atlas Venture (37% pre-IPO stake), Fidelity (14.9%), T. Rowe Price (8.9%), and Invus (5.9%). http://axios.link/En35

uCloudlink, a Hong Kong-based mobile data traffic sharing marketplace, raised $36 million in its IPO. The company priced 2 million shares at $18 (low end of range), for a fully diluted market value of $532 million. It will list on the Nasdaq (UCL), used I-Bankers Securities and Valuable Capital as lead underwriters, and reports $5.2 million of net income on $158 million in revenue for 2019. Shareholders include Haitong Momentum Investment Fund and Beijing Cash Capital Venture Partners.

More M&A

Assicurazioni Generali (BIT) G) of Italy is exploring a possible sale of its Swiss insurance business, which generates around $205 million in annual revenue, per Bloomberg. http://axios.link/XJ2k

Simon Property Group (NYSE: SPG) canceled Wednesday its $3.6 billion deal for rival shopping mall operator Taubman Centers (NYSE: TCO), citing a material adverse effect caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Taubman said it will sue to enforce the contract. http://axios.link/XByV


Apollo Global Management is seeking to launch its own India credit business, per Bloomberg. This also would result in the end of a joint venture with ICICI Bank. http://axios.link/bDSo

Matrix Partners China raised $750 million for its sixth fund, per an SEC filing. www.matrixpartners.com.cn

Max Ventures, a New York-based early-stage VC firm, is raising $35 million for its second fund, per an SEC filing. www.maxventures.vc

Summit Partners invested in CoderPad, a San Francisco-based platform for assessing technical skills. www.coderpad.io

It's Personnel

Tammy Mahn joined Verizon Ventures as a Tel Aviv-based managing director. She previously was with Agrination. www.verizonventures.com

Cultivian Sandbox, a Chicago-based VC firm focused on agrifood startups, promoted Amanda Donohue-Hansen to managing director. www.cultiviansbx.com

Final Numbers
Data: U.S. Employment and Training Administration via FRED; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

🙏 Thanks for reading Axios Pro Rata! Please ask your friends, colleagues, and corporate investors to sign up.