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March 23, 2022

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Top of the Morning

Illustration of gold coins stacked upwards over binary code
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Katie Haun yesterday announced that she's raised $1.5 billion for a pair of crypto-focused VC funds, just months after leaving Andreessen Horowitz to hang her own shingle.

Why it matters: This is a staggering amount of money for a first-time fundraise, topped by just a few others, let alone one completed in just a few months. It's a stupefying amount of money for a solo GP fund, easily besting all comers. And it's a mind-bending amount of money when that solo GP is a woman, given that venture capital remains dominated by men.

What it says: Limited partners have major FOMO when it comes to crypto.

  • Many institutional investors, including college endowments and charitable foundations, are using efforts like Haun Ventures to surge from zero to 60. It's also why we've recently seen giant first-time fundraises from groups like Hivemind Capital and Paradigm (plus the ongoing Andreessen Horowitz empire-build).
  • Haun says she got no LP blowback on not yet having any other investing partners, although she does plan to eventually hire, further reflecting the LP fervor.

Details: The $1.5 billion is split between a $500 million early-stage fund and a $1 billion expansion fund, both of which will have flexibility to invest in multiple crypto strategies.

  • Haun Ventures isn't yet a registered investment advisor, which would remove limits on liquid investments (i.e., digital tokens), but it will soon begin that process.

Quotable: "We'll invest through all layers of the web3 stack," explains Haun, a former federal prosecutor who sits on the boards of crypto exchange Coinbase and NFT marketplace OpenSea. "I still think there's innovation potential at specialized layer one projects, but think layer two — which deals with scalability on the blockchain — might hold the key for how to solve some issues of the Web 2.0 era, like identity and security."

  • She adds that the funds also will look at "picks and shovels" companies, including developer tools, end-to-end NFT services and crypto tax software.
  • I also asked Haun for lessons taken from Meta's failed crypto efforts (Libra/Diem), which she had helped champion. She replied that decision-making within the coalition, which included Andreessen Horowitz, proved difficult to manage, but that a number of "amazing projects" have emerged from the wreckage.

The bottom line: It's a digital gold rush, and Katie Haun is one of the most popular prospectors.

The BFD

Illustration of a marijuana plant traveling through a grocery store checkout line.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Cresco Labs, a Chicago-based pot producer, agreed to buy New York-based rival Columbia Care for $2 billion in stock.

Why it's the BFD: This would create the largest U.S. cannabis company by sales.

Details: Both companies are listed in Canada and trade over-the-counter in the U.S. Cresco will pay the equivalent of C$4.57 per share, representing more than a 15% premium on Columbia Care's closing price on Monday.

The bottom line: "People familiar with the matter have said the buyout would require significant divestitures as the companies' footprints overlap in multiple states, including New York where only 10 firms have cannabis licenses." — Reuters

Venture Capital Deals

Yuga Labs, creator of the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT project, raised $450m at a $4b valuation. Andreessen Horowitz led, confirming an Axios report from last month, alongside LionTree, Sound Ventures, Thrive Capital, FTX and MoonPay. http://axios.link/Oxgk

Astronomer, a Cincinnati-based data orchestration platform, raised $213m in Series C funding. Insight Ventures led, and was joined by Meritech Capital, Salesforce Ventures, Sutter Hill Ventures, Venrock and Sierra Ventures. http://axios.link/AUL4

🚑 Affini-T Therapeutics, a developer of cell therapies for treating solid tumors, raised $175m. Vida Ventures and Bayer co-led, and were joined by Humboldt Fund, The Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, Catalio Capital Management, Agent Capital, Alexandria Venture Investments, Erasca Ventures and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. http://axios.link/DePy

🚑 LifeMine Therapeutics, a fungi-based drug discovery engine, raised $175m in Series C funding. Fidelity led, and was joined by Invus, 3W Partners Capital, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), GV, Arch Venture Partners Blue Pool Capital and MRL Ventures. The Cambridge, Mass.-based company also secured a strategic collaboration with GSK that included a $70m upfront payment. http://axios.link/v79J

RapidAPI, an API marketplace, raised $150m in Series D funding at a $1b valuation. SoftBank led, and was joined by Citi Ventures, Qumra Capital and insiders Andreessen Horowitz, M12, Viola Growth, Green Bay and Grove Ventures. www.rapidapi.com

Island, a Dallas-based enterprise browser, raised $115m in Series B funding at a $1.3b valuation. Insight Partners led, and was joined by insiders Stripes and Sequoia Capital. http://axios.link/stTt

Rockid, a Chinese AR company backed by Tencent, raised $110m in Series C funding from undisclosed investors. http://axios.link/EmQ9

TokenEx, an Edmond, Okla.-based cloud tokenization provider, raised $100m in Series B funding from K1 Investment Management. www.tokenex.com

🚀 Firefly Aerospace, a Cedar Park, Texas-based rocket developer, raised $75m in Series B funding led by AE Industrial Partners. http://axios.link/ZkcW

Tera Drone, a Japanese drone service provider, raised $70m in Series B funding. Mitsui & Co. led, and was joined by SBI Investment, Tokyu Land Corp., Kushu Electric Power, Seika, JOIN and insider Venture Lab Investment. http://axios.link/vDQR

Lucca, a Paris-based provider of HR software to SMBs, raised €65m in Series A funding from One Peak. www.lucca.fr

Hex, an S.F.-based data science collaboration platform, raised $52m in Series B funding from Andreessen Horowitz, Snowflake, Databricks and insiders Redpoint Ventures and Amplify Partners. http://axios.link/JLVH

Datagen, an Israeli synthetic data solution for computer vision teams, raised $50m in Series B funding. Scale Venture Partners led, and was joined by insiders TLV Partners, Spider Capital and Viola Ventures. http://axios.link/7rta

KoRo, a Berlin-based based natural food brand, raised €50m. HV Capital led, and was joined by Five Seasons Ventures and Partech www.korodrogerie.de

Theta Lake, a Santa Barbara, Calif.-based provider of collaboration security and compliance solutions, raised $50m in Series B funding. Battery Ventures led, and was joined by Cisco, RingCentral, Zoom, Salesforce Ventures, Neotribe Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Wells Fargo. http://axios.link/IOem

🚑 TimeDoc Health, a Chicago-based virtual care management startup, raised $48.5m in Series B funding. Aldrich Capital Partners led, and was joined by Grand Ventures and Vocap Partners. http://axios.link/bHaE

MixMode, a Santa Barbara, Calif.-based predictive cybersecurity startup, raised $45m in Series B funding. PSG led, and was joined by Entrada Ventures. http://axios.link/gkKz

ChargeAfter, a New York-based BNPL startup, raised $44m in Series B funding. The Phoenix led, and was joined by Citi Ventures, Banco Bradesco and MUFG. http://axios.link/xOhm

Tomo, a "PayPal for mortgages," raised $40m at a $640m valuation. SVB Capital led, and was joined by Ribbit Capital, NFX, Zigg Capital, Parker89, and Telesoft Partners. http://axios.link/Kd8M

WorkRamp, an S.F.-based employee learning platform, raised $40m in Series C funding. Salesforce Ventures, Slack Fund and Susa Ventures co-led, and were joined by OMERS Ventures, GTMfund, PeopleTech Angels and UpHonest Capital. www.workramp.com

🚑 Players Health, a Minneapolis-based digital risk management platform for kids sports, raised $28m from SiriusPoint, Mastry Ventures, RPM Ventures, EOS Venture Partners and Will Ventures. www.playershealth.com

Lightlytics, an Israeli cloud configuration deployment startup, raised $26m in Series A funding. Energy Impact Partners led, and was joined by Cervin Ventures, TLV Partners VC and Glilot Capital Partners. http://axios.link/WxGj

Beep, a Lake Nona, Fla.-based autonomous EV shuttle startup, raised $25m in Series A-1 funding. ABS Capital led, and was joined by Intel Capital, Blue Lagoon Capital, TDF Ventures and Hidden Creek Management. www.ridebeep.com

D-ID, an Israeli AI-generated face platform, raised $25m in Series B funding led by Macquarie Capital. http://axios.link/NRKP

Lucky, an Egyptian smart wallet, raised $25m in funding. Nclude led, and was joined by PayU, Global Ventures, National Bank of Egypt, Venture Souq, Banque Misr, Banque du Caire, Endeavor Catalyst, OTF, Arzan Capital and Disruptech. http://axios.link/PZ4q

🚑 Alife Health, an SF-based in vitro fertilization startup, raised $22m in Series A funding co-led by Lux Capital, USV and Maveron. www.alifehealth.com

Upshot, an NFT appraisal startup, raised $22m. Polychain Capital led, and was joined by Framework Ventures, CoinFund, Blockchain Capital, Slow Ventures, Mechanism Capital and Delphi Digital. http://axios.link/2hzU

🚑 PreludeDx, a Laguna Hills, Calif.-based molecular diagnostics and precision medicine startup focused on breast cancer, raised $20m led by Evidity Health Capital. www.preludedx.com

🚑 Recora, a New York-based home care platform for heart attack survivors, raised $20m in Series A funding. SignalFire led, and was joined by Valor Equity Partners and Pear VC. http://axios.link/RFvO

Wealth, a Tempe, Ariz.-based digital estate planning platform, raised $16m in seed funding led by Anthos Capital. www.wealth.com

Dongnae, a South Korean apartment rental startup, raised $16.4m in Series A equity and $4.1m in debt from NFX, Daol Investment, Hana-Magna, Hana Financial, MetaProp, Fursys, Han River Partners, Flybridge and Maple. http://axios.link/2xB8

🚑 COR, an in-home blood testing startup focused on nutrition and wellness, raised $12m in Series A funding. Khosla Ventures and Founders Fund co-led, and were joined by West Ventures and Bellamack Partners. www.thecor.com

Ribbon, a DiFei startup focused on crypto derivatives, raised $8.8m led by Paradigm. http://axios.link/VkNJ

Tea, a Puerto Rico-based developer of an open source software platform on the blockchain, raised $8m in seed funding led by Binance Labs. http://axios.link/01Rs

CloudFrame, a New York-based mainframe modernization startup, raised $7m in Series A funding. Eldridge led, and was joined by Henry Kravis and New York Angels. http://axios.link/fG1L

Nocnoc, a Uruguayan e-commerce marketplace startup, raised $7m in seed funding co-led by Mouro Capital and Quona Capital. www.nocnocstore.com

• Blidz, a Helsinki-based social shopping app, raised 6m co-led by General Catalyst and Peak. http://axios.link/mPM6

Boom & Bucket, an Austin, Texas-based heavy equipment marketplace, raised $5.5m in seed funding. Human Capital and Brick and Mortar Ventures co-led, and were joined by 8VC, GFC, Streamlined Ventures, Quiet Capital and MaC VC. www.boomandbucket.com

Fairwords, a New York-based communications protection software startup, raised $5.25m in Series A funding led by Fintop Capital. www.fairwords.com

Haystacks.ai, a New York-based data aggregation and intelligence platform for real estate investors, raised $3m co-led by RRE Ventures, Assurant and Preface Ventures. www.haystacks.ai

Monterosa, a London-based real-time engagement platform for sports and entertainment brands, raised £3.5m. 24Haymarket led, and was joined by ACF Investors. www.monterosa.co

🌎 Flylogix, a provider of drones that measure methane offshore, raised £3m from BP Ventures. http://axios.link/vvad

Waitroom, a streaming platform for host-led live broadcasts, raised $3 million in seed funding, per Axios Pro's Kerry Flynn. Craft Ventures led, and was joined by Ari Emmanuel. http://axios.link/MnZt

Glass Imaging, an S.F.-based smartphone imaging improvement startup, raised $2.2m in seed funding led by LDV Capital. http://axios.link/ifss

FreightFlows, a Boston-based maritime predictive intelligence startup, raised $1.8m in seed funding led by Motion Ventures. www.freightflows.com

Unstoppable Domains, an S.F.-based blockchain naming system provider, is in talks to raise around $60m at a $1b valuation, per TechCrunch. http://axios.link/euvE

Viva Republica, a South Korean fintech that's building a super-app, is seeking to raise up to $1b in new funding in order to better rival Grab, per the FT. To date it's raised more than $940m, most recently at a $7.4b valuation. http://axios.link/15Z8

Private Equity Deals

Broad Sky Partners invested in Fair Harbor, a New York-based “sustainable lifestyle brand.” http://axios.link/NiBd

Macquarie Asset Management and PSP Investments offered to buy Australian telco Uniti Group (ASX: UWL) for around A$3.4b, or A$5 per share, per Bloomberg. http://axios.link/I1it

SPAC Stuff

Hub Security, an Israeli cryptography platform, agreed to go public at an implied $1.28b valuation via Mount Rainier Acquisition Corp. (Nasdaq: RNER), a tech SPAC led by Matthew Kearney (LeadingResponse). Hub backers include AXA Ventures and OurCrowd. http://axios.link/MHPK

Lanvin Group, a French luxury fashion group owned by China’s Fosun International, agreed to go public at an implied $1.5b valuation via Primavera Capital Acquisition Corp. (NYSE: PV). http://axios.link/NvHC

Liquidity Events

Actis is seeking to sell SIS Group, an Indonesian private education group that could fetch around $100m, per Bloomberg. http://axios.link/ohFJ

Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) reportedly paid around $150m to buy Credit Kudos, a London-based open banking startup that had raised around $10m from firms like Albion Ventures. http://axios.link/Gu8O

🚑 Francisco Partners is seeking a buyer for Trellis Rx, an Atlanta-based specialty pharmacy services provider for health systems, per Axios Pro's Sarah Pringle. http://axios.link/ZD6d

PAI Partners hired Citigroup to find a buyer for M Group Services, a British infrastructure services firm that could fetch $2b, per Bloomberg. http://axios.link/rUPp

More M&A

FTX Ventures invested $100m into banking app Dave (Nasdaq: DAVE), and also struck a strategic partnership. http://axios.link/G0ln

Leonardo DRS, a Virginia-based satellite firm that last year postponed an IPO, agreed to sell its satellite communications unit to Luxembourg-based SES for $450m. http://axios.link/5Y6v

Microsoft's proposed $68.8b takeover of Activision Blizzard includes multibillion dollar termination fees, including if the deal is blocked by regulators, the companies disclosed. http://axios.link/CnlS

Toshiba (Tokyo: 6502) has received interest in its elevator unit, which could be valued at around $4b, from Otis Worldwide (NYSE: OTIS) and Chinese conglomerate Midea Group, per Bloomberg. http://axios.link/t6Vl

Fundraising

Certares Management, a travel and hospitality investment firm led by Hertz chair Greg O'Hara, is targeting at least $5b for its second fund, per Bloomberg. http://axios.link/ALqD

Iconiq is raising $5.75b for its seventh growth equity fund, per public pension docs. http://axios.link/8jbq

LFM Capital, a Nashville-based lower midmarket PE firm focused on manufacturing and industrial services companies, raised $307m for its third fund. www.lfmcapital.com

New Era Capital Partners, an Israeli VC firm, raised $140m for its second fund. http://axios.link/CifZ

Tekin Salimi, a former general partner of Polychain Capital, raised $125m for a seed fund called dao5. www.dao5.com

Serent Capital, a growth equity firm focused on founder-led B2B companies, raised $1.1b for its fifth fund. www.serentcapital.com

It's Personnel

David Fuller, former president of Rogers Wireless, joined Searchlight Capital Partners as an operating partner. www.searchlightcap.com

John Kenney (ex-Legg Mason) joined Allspring Global Investments as head of strategic initiatives. www.allspringglobal.com

🌎 Cynthia Kueppers joined Riverstone as a managing director focused on decarbonization growth equity deals. She previously was with A3 Ventures. www.riverstonellc.com

Final Numbers

Data: PitchBook, American Investment Council; Table: Thomas Oide/Axios

Go deeper: Private equity's pandemic-era health push

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