Aug 11, 2020

Axios Pro Rata

By Dan Primack
Dan Primack

Welcome back, readers! Dan is still on vacation, I'm still your captain, and TikTok has 35 days left to find a U.S. buyer or shut down (per Trump).

🚨 Join us tomorrow at 12:30pm ET for a conversation on how the coronavirus has accelerated a nationwide shift to e-commerce with Ellevest co-founder and CEO Sallie Krawcheck and Kroger chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen.

Top of the Morning

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Yoshikazu Tsuno/Getty Images

SoftBank and its Vision Fund made a comeback this past quarter. But chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son has already moved on to a new project: a $550 million vehicle for investing in blue-chip public tech stocks like Facebook, Amazon and Apple.

Why it matters: This is part of Son’s ongoing plan to transform SoftBank Group into an investment company.

  • “By having cash on hand, we will be able to enhance our defense power,” Son said during Tuesday’s earnings presentation.
  • To make the point further, SoftBank Group will no longer report operating profit, a metric Son says isn’t as relevant for an investing business. (Though some reporters seemed unconvinced during Tuesday’s presentation.)

By the numbers: SoftBank Group posted a $12 billion net profit for quarter ending in June.

  • SoftBank is also 95% through its asset monetization program (¥4.3 trillion out of ¥4.5 trillion, or $40.4 billion out of $42.3 billion), which it thought would take a year.

Other updates from SoftBank’s latest earnings report:

  • ARM: Son confirmed that SoftBank is evaluating selling a stake in the chip company or an IPO, though he declined to name potential buyers.
  • Vision Fund: After reporting an $18 billion loss last quarter, the Vision Fund is back in the black, with an investment gain of $2.8 billion for this quarter. Son also said that “five or six companies” in its portfolio are currently preparing to go public, though he didn’t name them (of course).

Bonus: Today (Aug. 11) is Son’s 63rd birthday!

Also...

Valence, a LinkedIn-meets-AngelList company for Black professionals and startup founders (that we recently covered here), has raised $5.25 million in Series A funding led by GGV Capital, with Upfront Ventures also participating. GGV’s Hans Tung is joining the board.

  • Valence plans to generate revenue from charging companies that want to access its databases and network of professionals and company founders.
  • It also plans to facilitate community interactions, though CEO Guy Primus didn’t want to share too much about what the company is cooking up.

🎧 August recess was supposed to start for Congress this week, but stimulus negotiations fell apart last week. "Axios Re:Cap" dives into what happens next — for President Trump's executive actions and for congressional negotiations — with Washington Post White House economics reporter Jeff Stein. Listen here.

The BFD

Photo: Barry Brecheisen/Getty Images for American Express

American Express is in advanced talks to acquire online small-business lender Kabbage in an all-cash deal that would value the company at as much as $850 million, including retention payments, according to Bloomberg.

  • Why it’s the BFD: Kabbage is one of the fintech companies that jumped in to help small businesses tap into the Paycheck Protection Program despite furloughing hundreds of workers at the beginning of the pandemic.
  • The bottom line: “AmEx is already the largest provider of small-business credit cards in the country. With Kabbage, it could be a bigger provider of loans to mom and pop shops as well — a strategy it’s already pursuing within its consumer-card business.”— Jennifer Surane, Gillian Tan, Bloomberg.
Venture Capital Deals

Trumid, a NYC-based bond trading platform, has raised $200 million in new funding at a valuation of more than $1 billion led by Dragoneer, with funds and accounts managed by T. Rowe Price Group, BlackRock, TPG and others also participating. http://axios.link/qvVH

🚑 Atomwise, a San Francisco-based small-molecule drug discovery company, has raised $123 million in Series B funding led by B Capital Group and Sanabil Investments, with DCVC, BV, Tencent, Y Combinator, Dolby Ventures, AME Cloud Ventures, and two insurance companies also participating. www.atomwise.com

Coda, a San Francisco-based maker of online document software, has raised $80 million in funding at a valuation of $636 million led by Kleiner Perkins, with Greylock, Khosla Ventures and General Catalyst also participating, per Forbes. http://axios.link/dLxm

Parsable, a San Francisco-based maker of employee software for heavy industry, has raised $60 million in a Series D funding led by Activate Capital and Glade Brook Capital Partners, with Alumni Ventures Group, Cisco Investments, Downing Ventures, Evolv Ventures, Princeville Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Future Fund, B37 Ventures, Honeywell and Saudi Aramco also participating. www.parsable.com

Pattern, a Salt Lake City-based maker of e-commerce software, has raised $52 million in funding led by Ainge Advisory and KSV Global. www.pattern.com

Perimeter 81, an Israel-based security software company, has raised $40 million in Series B funding led by Insight Partners. www.perimeter81.com

Mux, a San Francisco-based maker of API-based video streaming tools and analytics, has raised $37 million in Series C funding led by Andreessen Horowitz, with Accel and Cobalt also participating. http://axios.link/M8lQ

K2View, a Dallas-based maker of data management software, has raised $28 million in funding round led by Forestay Capital, with Genesis Partners also participating. www.k2view.com

Arevo, a Milpitas, Calif.-based composites manufacturing startups, has raised $25 million in Series B funding led by Defy Partners and GGV Capital, with Khosla Ventures, Alabaster, and others also participating. www.arevo.com

Simpplr, a Redwood City, Calif.-based intranet software company, has raised $10 million in Series B funding led by Norwest Venture Partners, with Salesforce Ventures also participating. www.simpplr.com

JetClosing, a Seattle-based maker of real estate sale closing software, has raised $9 million in Series B funding led by funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, with Pioneer Square Labs (PSL) and Trilogy Equity also participating. www.jetclosing.com

Vitesse, a London-based provider of cross-border payments for businesses, has raised $8.65 million (£6.6 million )in Series A funding led by Octopus Ventures, with Hoxton Ventures and various angel investors also participating. http://axios.link/r4HO

Parabola, a San Francisco-based maker of data automation software, has raised $8 million in Series A funding led by Matrix Partners, with Thrive Capital, Elad Gil, angels and existing investors also participating. www.parabola.io

WayScript, a NYC-based maker of tools for business software development, has raised $5 million in seed funding led by Greycroft, with Tectonic Ventures, Contour Venture Partners, Michael Stoppelman, and Donald Fischer also participating. www.wayscript.com

The Demex Group, a D.C.-based climate-related insurance firm, has raised $4.2 million in seed funding from Anthemis and IA Capital Group. www.thedemexgroup.com

Symmetry Systems, a San Francisco-based maker of data security software, has raised $3 million in seed funding led by ForgePoint Capital and Prefix Capital. www.symmetry-systems.com

Transcend Software, a Princeton, N.J.-based developer of generative design and software tools for engineered infrastructure, has raised $3 million in Series A funding from Vespucci Partners. It’s also spun out from Organica. http://axios.link/3Eec

SMBX, a San Francisco-based marketplace for small businesses and investors, has raised $2.5 million in seed funding led by Better Ventures, with Impact America Fund, Unusual Ventures and others also participating. www.thesmbx.com

Keyless, a London-based biometrics and identity management startup, has raised $2.2 million in funding led by P101 SGR, with Maire Investments, Luiss Alumni 4 Growth, Primomiglio SGR, and Xpring also participating. http://axios.link/mIUl

🚑 Brio Systems, a Boston, Mass.-based maker of a COVID-19 testing system for the workplace, has raised $1.9 million in seed funding from One Way Ventures, Techstars Ventures, Nimble Ventures, and Castor Ventures. www.getbrio.com

🚑 Clearstep Health, a NYC-based provider of software for matching patients to health care, has raised $1.3 million in pre-seed funding from RRE Ventures, Newark Venture Partners, and OCA Ventures. www.clearstep.health

CakeResume, a Taiwan-based job search service, has raised $900,000 in seed funding from Mynavi. http://axios.link/onlP

Editor's note: The item was updated with the correct description of Transcend Software.

Private Equity Deals

🚙 Align Capital Partners has acquired Electronic Transaction Consultants Corporation, a Richardson, Texas-based provider of software for tolling and mobility, from parent company Atlantia SpA. www.etcc.com

Forensic Engineering Services, backed by Trinity Hunt Partners, has acquired Scientific Analysis, a Dallas-based provider of accident reconstruction forensic engineering services. www.scientificanalysisinc.com

🚑 Arsenal Capital Partners has completed the acquisition of Cello Health, a London-based healthcare advisory firm, for a total enterprise value of £181.8 million. www.cellohealth.com

TA Associates has agreed to acquire Surfaces Group, an Italy-based supplier of abrasive tools and consumables used in the manufacturing process of high-end materials, from Astor. http://axios.link/2lqw

Public Offerings

🚑 Harmony Biosciences Holdings, a Plymouth Meeting, Penn.-based commercial stage biotech company, announced IPO terms. It plans to raise $100 million by offering 4.7 million shares at a price range of $20 to $23. At the midpoint of the proposed range, it would command a fully diluted market value of $1.4 billion. It plans to list on the Nasdaq under the symbol HRMY. Goldman Sachs, Jefferies and Piper Sandler are the joint bookrunners on the deal. It is expected to price during the week of Aug. 17. http://axios.link/KR7w

FaceBank Group, a NYC-based live sports streaming company under the name fuboTV, filed to raise up to $100 million in an IPO. The company is currently listed on the OTCQB under the symbol "FUBO." It plans to list under the symbol FUBO but has not selected an exchange yet. Evercore ISI, BMO Capital Markets, Needham & Co., Oppenheimer & Co., Roth Capital and Wedbush Securities are the joint bookrunners on the deal. http://axios.link/BjDJ

SPAC Stuff

CuriosityStream and Software Acquisition Group have entered into a definitive business combination agreement. http://axios.link/yDb2

Fundraising

TPG is raising its fifth Growth fund, per an SEC filing. No target was specified.

Firebrand Ventures has closed over 90% of a $40 million target for its second fund, which was formed via a merger with Boulder-based Blue Note Ventures. www.firebrandvc.com

It's Personnel

Sash Rentala has joined PJ Solomon as managing director to lead its newly formed Financial Sponsors Group. He was previously at Moelis & Company. www.pjsolomon.com

Blake Heyde, Philip Purcell and Mike Manno have been appointed as vice presidents at Flexpoint Ford. www.flexpointford.com

Final Numbers
Data: Yahoo Finance; Chart: Axios Visuals

Go deeper: Nikola stock surge shows power of corporate buys of electric vehicles

Dan Primack

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