Axios Pro Rata

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July 21, 2021

Top of the Morning

Photo illustration of Tom Barrack behind bars.
Photo illustration: Trent Joaquin/Axios. Photo: Chris Goodney/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Tom Barrack is an extraordinarily successful private equity and real estate investor, building a multi-billion-dollar empire that spans data centers to hotels to telecom towers. He's also under arrest and being held in federal custody.

Driving the news: Barrack, a longtime friend of Donald Trump and chair of his 2017 inaugural fund, was charged with acting as an unregistered foreign agent for the United Arab Emirates.

  • DOJ alleges that the financier attempted to advance UAE interests by influencing foreign policy positions of Trump's 2016 campaign and subsequent administration.
  • He's also accused of obstruction of justice and making multiple false statements during a 2019 interview with federal law enforcement agents.
  • The charges are under the same foreign agent stature that was used to charge Russian agent Maria Butina and other alleged spies, not under the Foreign Agent Registration Act.
  • The indictment also includes obstruction of justice and making multiple false statements during a 2019 interview with federal law enforcement agents.
  • Barrack didn't enter a plea yesterday during a hearing in Los Angeles, although a spokesman says he plans to plead not guilty. A bail hearing is scheduled for Monday. Barrack didn't return my emailed request for comment (shocking, I know).

Background: Barrack founded Colony Capital in 1991, raising billions of dollars for private equity funds. It went public as a REIT in 2015, and soon began to stray a bit from its real estate strategy — including its ill-fated attempts to bail out Harvey Weinstein's production company. He stepped back from the firm last fall, as it rebranded to DigitalBridge and refocused on digital infrastructure.

Investment angles: Under Barrack's leadership, Colony raised fund capital from UAE and also bought some funds from scandal-plagued, UAE-based private equity firm Abraaj Capital.

  • One of his co-defendants, Matthew Grimes, is president of a SPAC that Barrack chairs. filed for an IPO back in March, but hasn't yet priced.

The bottom line: Tom Barrack had past dealings with Harvey Weinstein and Arif Naqvi, walking away from both unscathed. His relationship with Trump, however, landed him in jail.


Illustration of a pixelated coin hovering above a pedestal.
Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

FTX, a Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency exchange that launched in 2019, raised $900 million in Series B funding at an $18 billion valuation.

  • Why it's the BFD: It's the largest-ever VC round for a crypto company, let alone for an exchange that prohibits Americans from trading on its primary marketplace.
  • What FTX is tweeting: "We'd like the fanciest bean bag you have sir."
  • Investors include Paradigm, Sequoia Capital, Thoma Bravo, SoftBank, Ribbit Capital, Insight Partners, Third Point, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Altimeter, BOND, NEA, Coinbase Ventures, Willoughby Capital, 40North, Senator Investment Group, Sino Global Capital, Multicoin, the Paul Tudor Jones family, Izzy Englander, Alan Howard, VanEck, Hudson River Trading and Circle.
  • For your ears: Axios Re:Cap digs into the conflict between climate and crypto, with investor Anthony Pompliano. Take a listen.
  • For your eyes and ears: The ₿ Word event today will host a live conversation on Bitcoin with Elon Musk, Jack Dorsey and Cathie Wood.
  • The bottom line: "The financing comes after a boom in cryptocurrency trading in the past year, which has sent investors flooding into the sector. VCs have invested $7.3 billion in nearly 670 cryptocurrency startup deals since the start of 2021, according to PitchBook, already surpassing the dollar total for all of last year." — Miles Kruppa, FT

Venture Capital Deals

🚑 Carbon Health, a San Francisco-based primary and urgent healthcare company, raised $350 million. The Blackstone Group led, and was joined by Atreides, Homebrew, Hudson Bay Capital, Intersect Capital, Fifth Wall, Lux Capital, Silver Lake Waterman, BlackRock and insiders Dragoneer Investment Group and Brookfield Technology Partners.

Ethos, a San Francisco-based life insurance platform, raised $100 million from SoftBank Vision Fund 2 at a $2.7 billion valuation.

Tilting Point, a New York-based free-to-play games publisher, raised $235 million in its first round of outside funding. General Atlantic led, and was joined by Red Ventures and Kamerra.

Soldo, a London-based business expense management platform, raised $180 million in Series C funding. Temasek, Advent International and Citi Ventures co-led, and were joined by insiders Accel, Battery Ventures and Dawn Capital. The company also secured debt from SVB.

Untether AI, a Toronto-based developer of chips for inferencing AI workloads, raised US$125 million. Intel Capital and Tracker Capital Management co-led, and were joined by CPPIB and Radical Ventures.

🚑 Woebot Health, a San Francisco-based developer of relational tools and technologies for mental health, raised $90 million in Series B funding. Jazz Venture Partners and Temasek co-led, and were joined by BlackRock, Owl Ventures, Mirae Asset Capital, Kicker Ventures, Alumni Ventures, Gaingels, NEA and AI Fund.

🚑 Turnstone Biologics, a developer of cancer immunotherapies, raised $80 million in Series D funding. PFM Health Sciences and Point72 co-led, and were joined by Eventide Asset Management, Surveyor Capital, Ridgeback Capital Investments, Takeda Ventures, CaaS Capital, JM Family Enterprises, Northleaf Capital Partners, 404 Bio and insiders Versant Ventures, OrbiMed, F-Prime Capital, Sectoral Asset Management, Sixty Degree Capital, Brace Pharma Capital and Teralys Capital.

Yapily, a London-based open banking platform, raised $51 million in Series B funding led by Sapphire Ventures.

🚀 Accion Systems, a Boston-based developer of electrospray in-space propulsion systems, raised $42 million in Series C funding led by Tracker Capital.

Lev, a New York-based commercial real estate lending startup, raised $30 million at a $130 million valuation. Greenspring Associates led, and was joined by First American Title and insiders NFX, Canaan Partners, JLL Spark, Animo Ventures and Ludlow Ventures.

Numerade, a subscription service for short-form STEM videos, raised $26 million at a $100 million valuation from IDG Capital, General Catalyst, Mucker Capital, Kapor Capital and Interplay Ventures.

Titan, a New York-based "operating system for active investment management," raised $58 million in Series B funding at a $450 million valuation. General Catalyst led, and was joined by BoxGroup and Sound Ventures.

Phononic, a Durham, N.C.-based developer of solid-state cooling and heating tech, raised $50 million. Goldman Sachs led, and was joined by insiders Temasek, Franklin Templeton, Venrock and Oak Investment Partners.

Little Spoon, a New York-based children's meal subscription service, raised $44 million in Series B funding. Valor Equity Partners led, and was joined by Kairos HQ.

Properly, a Canadian real estate brokerage startup, raised US$35 million in Series B funding. Bain Capital Ventures led, and was joined by FCT and Intact Ventures.

DNSFilter, a Washington, D.C.-based provider of enterprise DNS protections, raised $30 million in Series A funding from Insight Partners.

Paro, a Chicago-based provider of freelance accounting and finance staffing, raised $25 million in Series B funding. Madrona Venture Group led, and was joined by insiders Revolution Ventures, Sierra Ventures and KGC Capital.

Dwolla, a Des Moines, Iowa-based enterprise payments platform, raised $21 million. Foundry Group led, and was joined by Park West Asset Management, USV, Detroit Venture Partners, Firebrand Ventures and Next Level Ventures.

Fabric8Labs, a San Diego-based metal 3D printing company, raised $19.3 million in Series A funding. Intel Capital led, and was joined by Lam Capital, TDK Ventures, SE Ventures, imec.xpand, Stanley Ventures and Mark Cuban.

BlueOcean, a San Francisco-based brand intelligence platform, raised $15 million in Series A funding from Insight Partners.

CityRow, a New York-based connected fitness startup, raised $12 million in Series A funding. JW Asset Management led, and was joined by Sol Global and K2.

ClimateAi, an enterprise climate planning platform, raised $12 million in Series A funding co-led by Radical Ventures and Footprint Coalition Capital.

Percent, a British "Stripe for donations," raised $5 million led by Morpheus Ventures.

🚑 Oliva, an employee mental health platform with offices in Spain and the UK, raised $2.2 million led by Moonfire Ventures.

Private Equity Deals

Bain Capital agreed to buy PartsSource, an Aurora, Ohio-based medical equipment parts and services company, from Great Hill Partners at a reported $1.25 billion valuation.

Bain Capital, Carlyle Group, KKR and Teleperformance were shortlisted for Hexaware, an Indian IT services firm that’s being sold by Baring Private Equity Asia for nearly $3 billion, per Reuters.

The Carlyle Group agreed to invest up to $700 million into Copia Power, a new developer of renewable power generation and storage projects.

RealPage, a Richardson, Texas-based portfolio company of Thoma Bravo, agreed to buy G5 Search Marketing, a Bend, Ore.-based provider of marketing and advertising solutions to the real estate sector.

Public Offerings

Clearwater Analytics, a Boise, Idaho-based provider of investment portfolio management software, hired Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley for an upcoming IPO that could value the company north of $4 billion, per Bloomberg. Backers include Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, Permira and Warburg Pincus.

🚑 IsoPlexis, a Branford, Conn.-based developer of single-cell functional proteomics, filed for an IPO. It plans to list on the Nasdaq (ISO) and raised naely $200 million from Connecticut Innovations, Danaher, BlackRock, Northpond Ventures, Perceptive Advisors, Spring Mountain Capital and North Sound Ventures.

Paycor, a Cincinnati-based provider of human capital management software backed by Apax Partners, raised $426 million in its IPO. It priced at $23 per share, versus $18–$21 range, and will list on the Nasdaq (PYCR).

👗 Rent The Runway, a New York-based clothing rental company, said it's filed confidential IPO papers. The company has raised nearly $700 million from firms like Advance Venture Partners, Highland Capital Partners and TCV.

SPAC Stuff

Core Scientific, a Bellevue, Wash.-based blockchain infrastructure and software firm, agreed to go public at an implied $4.3 billion valuation via Power & Digital Infrastructure Acquisition (Nasdaq: XPDI). Core Scientific raised nearly $100 million in VC funding (plus got a PPP loan) from backers like Bollinger Investment Group.

Athena Consumer Acquisition, a consumer products SPAC led by Isabelle Freidheim (Starwood VC) and Jane Park (Tokki), filed for a $200 million IPO.

🚑 BioPlus Acquisition, a life sciences SPAC led by Ross Haghighat (Triton Systems) and Leighton Read (Alloy Ventures), filed for a $220 million IPO.

🌵 Cactus Acquisition 1, a SPAC led by Ofer Gonen (Clal Biotech), filed for a $100 million IPO.

Pacifico Acquisition, a SPAC led by Edward Wang (The Balloch Group), filed for a $50 million IPO.

Liquidity Events

🚑 BD (NYSE: BDX) acquired Velano Vascular, a San Francisco-based developer of a needle-free blood collection system. Velano had raised over $60 million (plus got a PPP loan) from firms like Intermountain Healthcare, Kapor Capital and Eastward Capital Partners.

More M&A

AT&T logo unspooling.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

AT&T (NYSE: T) is in talks to sell ad unit Xandr to India's InMobi, according to Axios' Sara Fischer. Go deeper.

🎬 Imagine Entertainment, the production house led by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, is the subject of takeover talks, per Variety. A deal could fetch more than $800 million.

Volvo agreed to buy out Zhejiang Geely Holding from their joint ventures in China.


New Jersey’s police and fireman pension system is preparing to split off its operations from the state’s Division of Investment, of which it represents around one-third of $90 billion in AUM.

Pillar VC, a Boston-based venture firm, raised $169 million for its third flagship fund and $23 million for a select fund.

Q-Energy, a Madrid-based renewable energy-focused investment firm, raised €1.1 billion for its fourth fund.

Moxxie Ventures, the early stage VC firm founded by Katie Stanton, is raised $85 million for its second fund.

It's Personnel

President Biden nominated Jonathan Kanter to lead the Justice Department’s antitrust division.

  • Axios' Kim Hart writes: "Kanter, known for his strong views that the feds should do more to rein in the power of large corporations, has been a favorite of progressives who share those beliefs."

Bessemer Venture Partners promoted Mike Giampapa to vice president.

Crystal Huang (ex-NEA) and Sangeen Zeb (Databricks) joined GV as investing partners.

Luis Mercader joined Turnspire Capital Partners as director of ops and finance. He previously was a principal consultant with Etonien.

Sheila Patel, former chair of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, is joining B Capital Group as vice chair.

Keiko Sydenham, a former Tokyo-based managing director of IR for The Blackstone Group, is launching an alternative asset fundraising platform called LUCA, per PE International.

Todd Weber, former CTO of Optic, joined cybersecurity-focused Ten Eleven Ventures as an operating partner.

Final Numbers

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