Sep 20, 2019

Axios Pro Rata

Top of the Morning

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Wall Street is scared of Elizabeth Warren, which puts its many never-Trumpers in an electoral pickle.

  • Warren regularly aims her ire at professional financiers, whereas progressive rival Bernie Sanders is typically more generic in his "millionaires and billionaires" rhetoric.

Sources I speak with are split on the depth of Warren's actual knowledge of financial markets. Some say she knows more than almost anyone else in D.C., while others say she knows just enough to be dangerous.

  • Warren worries were a persistent theme on the sidelines of a CNBC conference yesterday.
  • CNBC's Jim Cramer said earlier that the message he hears from Wall Street about Warren is that "she's got to be stopped."
  • Steve Rattner, the onetime private equity exec and Obama car czar, recently told MSNBC that his fellow Democratic donors have "enormous nervousness" about Warren.
  • Fox Business Network's Stuart Varney last week said: “Warren would force all big companies to take a lot of their profit away from shareholders. And it would be given to the workforce, the community, customers, the local and global environment, and community and societal factors (whatever that is).”
    • Assume Varney is also aghast at the 181 big company and Wall Street CEOs who signed onto the Business Roundtable's new mission statement.

The bottom line is that this hand-wringing will intensify if Warren's polling momentum persists, but Wall Street ultimately will try figuring out how to best work with a possible Warren White House, rather than against it. After all, that's what it's largely done with Trump.

IPO calendar: Airbnb yesterday issued a 15-word press release about its intentions to become a public company in 2020. No word yet on if it's filed confidentially, or if it plans to pursue a traditional IPO, direct listing, or combination of the two. One source says the announcement was to stop folks like me from incessantly asking.

  • Postmates yesterday announced a $225 million infusion from GPI Capital at a $2.4 billion valuation. The company filed confidential IPO papers earlier this year, and says it still intends to go public in 2019.
  • Stripe also announced new money yesterday (see BFD), but co-founder and president John Collison tells me there is no target IPO date. The new raise, he says, is partially to help give employees and other early shareholders a sense of the company's market value.

🎧 Pro Rata Podcast talks second acts with Andrew Mason, the Groupon co-founder who was fired as CEO in 2013. He just raised $15 million for a podcast creation and editing platform that includes a controversial feature. Listen here.


Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Stripe, a San Francisco-based online payment infrastructure company, is raising $250 million in new funding at a $35 billion valuation. Return backers include Sequoia Capital, General Catalyst and Andreessen Horowitz.

  • Why it's the BFD: This would put Stripe third on the highest-valued U.S. startup list, but the two companies ahead of it are WeWork and Juul.
  • Investors: Note the active verb tense. This round is not yet closed, as the company remains in discussions with new investors. Stripe co-founder and president John Collison declined to say if the entire $250 million is spoken for by insiders, who then would cut back their allocations for newbies, or if some of it still needs to be filled.
  • Bottom line: "Investors view payments companies like Stripe as a way to get exposure to a basket of fast-growing public and private tech companies, since Stripe’s revenues are tied to its customers’ growth. The market for payments services is also expanding as more commerce moves away from physical stores and toward digital storefronts." — Peter Rudegeair, WSJ
Venture Capital Deals

🚑 Ginkgo Bioworks, a Boston-based designer and developer of microorganisms for such purposes as flavoring, raised $290 million in Series E funding led by T. Rowe Price.

🍴 Kitchen United, a Pasadena, Calif.-based cloud kitchen company, raised $40 million in Series B funding. RXR Reality and GV co-led, and were joined by Fidelity Investments Canada, DivcoWest, and G Squared.

Built Robotics, a San Francisco-based maker of guidance systems for transforming construction equipment into autonomous robots, raised $33 million in Series B funding from Next47, Founders Fund, and NEA.

HappyOrNot, a Finnish maker of a customer feedback monitoring platform, raised $25 million in Series A funding. Verdane led, and was joined by return backer Northzone.

Groww, an Indian platform for investing in mutual funds, raised $21.4 million in Series B funding. Ribbit Capital led, and was joined by return backers Sequoia Capital and YC.

Darkstore, a San Francisco-based on-demand delivery fulfillment platform, raised $21 million in Series B funding led by EQT Ventures.

AvantStay, a hospitality startup focused on high-end, short-term rentals, raised $20 million in Series A funding. 3L Capital led, and was joined by Bullpen Capital, Convivialite Ventures, F-Prime Capital, Zeno Ventures and Olympian Shaun White.

Daisy Intelligence, a Toronto-based retail and insurance analytics startup, raised C$10 million in Series A funding. Framework Venture Partners led, and was joined by Sonae IM.

Red Sift, a London-based email security startup, raised $8.8 million. MMC Ventures led, and was joined by In-Q-Tel and return backers White Star Capital and Oxford Capital.

Plutoshift, a data intelligence startup focused on industrial processes, raised $8 million in Series A funding from backers like Fall Line Capital and Unshackled Ventures.

Jorsek, a Rochester, N.Y.-based provider of knowledge management software for technical documentation, raised $2.7 million. Armory Square Ventures led, and was joined by Greycroft, and Draker Ventures.

🚑 Voro, a social network for doctor recommendations, raised $2.5 million in seed funding. Floodgate led, and was joined by Basecamp Fund and Ride Ventures.

Private Equity Deals

Apollo Global Management, The Blackstone Group, GIP, and KKR each have interest in a majority stake of Western Midstream Partners, which is being sold by Occidental Petroleum (NYSE: OXY), per Bloomberg.

EQT Partners and Digital Colony Partners are partnering on a bid for CyrusOne (Nasdaq: CONE), a Dallas-based digital infrastructure REIT with a market cap of $8.6 billion, per Bloomberg. Digital Realty Trust also has interest.

Pacific Equity Partners paid A$340 million for the Asia Pacific business of Horizon Global (NYSE: HZN), a manufacturer of branded towing and trailering equipment.

Wind Point Partners acquired a control stake in U.S. Nonwovens, a Brentwood, N.Y.-based maker of laundry products.

Public Offerings

Latitude Financial, an Australian lender whose backers include KKR and Deutsche Bank, is prepping an IPO that could value the company at A$3.7 billion, per Reuters.

Ping An Insurance is prepping a November IPO in New York for OneConnect, a subsidiary that provides tech solutions to small and mid-sized financial institutions, per Reuters.

Procore Technologies, a Carpinteria, Calif.-based project management platform for construction, hired Goldman Sachs to lead an IPO that could value the company north of $4 billion, per Bloomberg. It raised over $400 million in VC funding, most recently at a $3 billion valuation, from firms like Bessemer Venture Partners, Dragoneer, Tiger Global, Lumia Capital, and Iconiq Capital.

Liquidity Events

HP (NYSE: HPQ) paid an undisclosed amount to acquire Bromium, a Cupertino, Calif.-based end point security startup that had raised around $115 million from Andreessen Horowitz, Forgepoint Capital, Ignition Partners, Highland Capital Partners, Intel Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Meritech Capital Partners.

More M&A

Casino (Paris: CASP) said it’s in talks to sell French discount retailer Leader Price to Germany’s Aldi for a reported €400 million.

DHL, the logistics arm of Deutsche Post (DE: DPWG), reportedly will seek to sell its Africa supply chain business operations for around €500 million, per a German media report.

Oi, a troubled Brazilian telecom company, in in talks to sell its mobile network to Spain’s Telefonica, per Reuters.

It's Personnel

Accomplice promoted Ash Egan from principal to partner.

Battery Ventures made three promotions to vice president: Dillon Joyce, Max-Julian Kaye and Aaron Rinberg.

Ignition Partners promoted Cameron Borumand to principal.

Domenic Perri joined Vertex Ventures US as a partner. He previously was director of biz dev at Dropbox and, before that, global head of M&A integration at Tesla.

Diego Piacentini, Amazon’s former SVP of international consumer business, joined KKR as a senior advisor, focused on TMT investments.

Sam Smith-Eppsteiner joined VC firm Innovation Endeavors as an investment partner. She just received her MBA from Stanford and, before that, led Bain & Co.’s nonprofit group in San Francisco.

Final Numbers
Source: Refinitiv

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