WeWork last night made it official: SoftBank will pump $9.5 billion into the beleaguered company, including a $3 billion stock tender, $5 billion of new debt, and $1.5 billion that is being accelerated from an existing equity commitment.
There's been lots of talk of how this mess will impact startup valuations, business models, and IPO opportunities. But far too little on how it should impact board oversight and founder control.
Venture capital has spent more than a decade bending over backwards to appease founders, often with positive results. But along the way they've too often abdicated fiduciary obligations to limited partners, believing that their job ends at "making the deal" and then "helping out when needed," such as with introductions to potential new hires.
Investors can be founder-friendly while still packing some emergency parachutes into term sheets. And if an entrepreneur objects to even the loosest of restraints, then maybe it's not a deal worth winning.
• Tax talk: I've spent the past few days in Washington, D.C., and someone the other night noted that while none of the Democratic presidential candidates have talked much about carried interest taxation, many would seek to effectively eliminate the delta between capital gains and ordinary income rates for high earners.
• Postmates has considered a direct listing as an alternative to an IPO, according to a Delaware stock authorization filing related to its recent $225 million Series G funding.
🎧 Pro Rata Podcast double-shot:
Databricks, a San Francisco-based data analytics SaaS company, raised $400 million in Series F funding led by Andreessen Horowitz at a $6.2 billion valuation.
• Fabric, a San Francisco-based provider of automated retail logistics, raised $110 million in Series B funding. Corner Ventures led, and was joined by Aleph, CPPIB, Innovation Endeavors, La Maison, Playground Ventures, and Temasek. http://axios.link/M6bW
• PeerNova, a San Jose, Calif.-based provider of end-to-end digitization for financial institutions, raised $31 million. Mosaik Partners led, and was joined by Medici Ventures and Intuitive Venture Partners. http://axios.link/731M
• Disperse, a London-based construction tech startup, raised $15 million in Series A funding led by Northzone. www.disperse.io
• EV Connect, a Los Angeles-based provider of EV charge management software, raised $12 million in Series B funding from Mitsui & Co. and Ecosystem Integrity Fund. http://axios.link/xkWW
• Firedome, a New York-based endpoint cybersecurity startup, raised $10 million in Series A funding. Two Sigma Ventures led, and was joined by World Trade Ventures and Silvertech Ventures. www.firedome.io
🚑 LabGenius, a London-based startup focused on robotic automation for protein drug discovery, raised $10 million in Series A funding. Lux Capital and Obvious Ventures co-led, and were joined by Felicis Ventures, Inovia Capital, and Air Street Capital. http://axios.link/M50M
• Winnie, a San Francisco-based childcare and preschool marketplace, raised $9 million in Series A funding. Rethink Impact led, and was joined by Impact America Fund, Unusual Ventures, Ludlow Ventures, Afore Capital, Day One Ventures, Kairos, and April Underwood. http://axios.link/luHO
• Beam, a Boston-based provider of CBD products, raised $5 million in seed funding led by Obvious Ventures. www.beamtlc.com
• Koan, a Portland, Ore.-based corporate leadership platform, raised $5 million in seed funding co-led by Uncork Capital and Crosslink Capital. www.koan.co
• Logixboard, a Seattle-based freight logistics startup, raised $4.2 million in seed funding led by Social Leverage. http://axios.link/ZAyy
• Cerberus Capital Management agreed to buy Kellermeyer Bergensons Services, an Oceanside, Calif.-based industrial and commercial facilities management firm, from GI Partners. www.kbs-services.com
• Platinum Equity agreed to buy Chicago-based business information company Cision (NYSE: CISN) for $2.74 billion in cash. Sellers would include GTCR, which has a 34% stake. www.cision.com
• Paysafe, a London-based payments processor owned by The Blackstone Group and CVC Capital Partners, is prepping an IPO that could value the company north of $10 billion, per Reuters. http://axios.link/mYn7
• PropertyGuru, a Singapore-based property listings firm backed by KKR, canceled its planned A$245 million Australian IPO. Last week, KKR pulled an Australian IPO for portfolio company Latitude Financial Group. http://axios.link/w8jj
• Reynolds Consumer Products hired bankers for a planned 2020 IPO that could value the company at around $7 billion, per Bloomberg. http://axios.link/w80d
• Banijay, a French media company, reportedly is nearing an agreement to buy Endemol Shine, the Dutch TV production company behind The Voice and Black Mirror, from Apollo Global Management for around €250 million. http://axios.link/YW3m
🚑 Cerberus Capital Management is seeking a buyer for Covis Pharma, a Swiss drugmaker that could fetch around $800 million, per Bloomberg. http://axios.link/ieH1
• Vacasa, a Portland, Ore.-based vacation rental management startup, completed its $162 million purchase of Wyndham Vacation Rentals from Wyndham Destinations (NYSE: WYND). Vascasa has raised over $200 million in VC funding from Riverwood, Level Equity, Assurant and NewSpring Capital. www.vacasa.com
• Avenue Capital Management is seeking to raise $1 billion for an aircraft leasing fund, per Bloomberg. http://axios.link/D2e6
• Travis Bryant, a former sales exec with Optimizely and Salesforce, joined Redpoint Ventures as a partner and “head of founder experience.” http://axios.link/AIOu
• Highland Capital Partners hired Claire Fauquier (ex-Corigin Ventures), Rob Toews (ex-Bain & Co. and Zoox), and Caty Rae (ex-Rough Draft Ventures). www.hcp.com
🙏 Thanks for reading Axios Pro Rata. Please ask your friends, colleagues, and future WeWork board members to sign up.