Hey D.C. readers: Tomorrow morning you're invited to a breakfast discussion on the role that policy, business and education can play in offsetting the "skills gap."
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Opportunity zones, a new federal policy aimed at bringing investment to low-income communities, are not benefiting rural areas and many other impoverished communities.
More from Axios' Stef Kight:
• Scott Gottlieb yesterday resigned as FDA Commissioner, seemingly catching all of D.C. by surprise.
🔒 Locked out: J.P. Morgan yesterday announced that it will no longer finance operators of private prisons and detention centers. It gave no explanation, except that say it has "a robust and well established process to evaluate the sectors that we serve."
• New firm alert: Acorn BioVentures has quietly launched to invest in both late-stage private biotech companies and small/mid-cap public biotech companies.
🎧 Pro Rata Podcast: Yes, it will return on Monday. Promise.
Aon PLC (NYSE: AON) said that it has abandoned plans for a $24 billion all-stock takeover of rival insurance brokerage Willis Towers Watson (Nasdaq: WLTW). It gave no explanation for its decision.
• Chime, a San Francisco-based U.S. challenger bank, raised $200 million in Series D funding at a $1.5 billion post-money valuation. DST Global led, and was joined by Coatue Management, General Atlantic, ICONIQ Capital, Dragoneer Investment and return backers Menlo Ventures, Forerunner Ventures and Cathay Innovation. http://axios.link/V2aG
🚑 Beam Therapeutics, a Cambridge, Mass.-based developer of genetic medicines via base editing, raised $135 million in Series B funding from Redmile Group, Cormorant Asset Management, GV, Altitude Life Science Ventures and return backers F-Prime Capital, Arch Venture Partners, Eight Roads Ventures and Omega Funds. http://axios.link/c5g9
• Pantheon, a San Francisco-based website operations platform for marketers, raised $40 million in Series D funding. Sageview Capital led, and was joined by return backers Foundry Group, Scale Venture Partners and Industry Ventures. www.pantheon.io
• Zinier, a San Francisco-based provider of field service automation solutions, raised $22 million in Series B funding. Accel led, and was joined by Founders Fund, NGP Capital, Qualcomm Ventures and Newfund. http://axios.link/XajJ
• Blueground, a New York-based renter of “tech-equipped” apartments, raised $20 million from VentureFriends, Endeavor Catalyst, Jabbar Internet Group and Kevin Ryan. www.theblueground.com
• Functionize, a San Jose, Calif.-based provider of cloud software testing solutions, raised $16 million in Series A funding led by Canvas Ventures. http://axios.link/6z5p
• RackTop Systems, a Fulton, Md.-based data storage and security startup, raised $15 million in Series A funding. Razor’s Edge Ventures and Grotech Ventures co-led, and were joined by Maryland Venture Fund, Blu Venture Investors and Gula Tech Adventures. http://axios.link/ZObQ
• Brodmann17, an Israeli developer of automotive computer vision technology, raised $11 million in Series A funding. OurCrowd led, and was joined by Maniv Mobility, AI Alliance, UL Ventures, Samsung and Sony. http://axios.link/ayd0
• Wade & Wendy, a New York-based recruitment platform, raised $7.6 million in Series A funding. Jazz Venture Partners led, and was joined by Randstad Innovation Fund, ff Venture Capital and Indicator Ventures. http://axios.link/xtPa
🚑 Tasso, a Seattle-based blood collection startup, raised $6.1 million led by Vertical Venture Partners. http://axios.link/WYng
• Alto, a Nashville-based platform that lets investors add alternative assets to their IRAs, raised $2.8 million in seed funding. Mountain Group Partners led, and was joined by Foundation Capital, Sequoia Capital's Scout Fund and Amplify.LA. www.altoira.com
⛽ The Carlyle Group is in pole position to acquire a 30% stake in Spanish oil company Cespa for upwards of €3 billion, according to Reuters. http://axios.link/bUZn
• Centerbridge Partners is in talks to back Ice Cube’s bid to buy the regional sports networks being sold by Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS), per Bloomberg. http://axios.link/maKk
• Cinven acquired INSEEC U, a French operator of 16 global campuses and online business education schools. www.inseec.com
• Climate Pros, a Glendale Heights, Ill.-based portfolio company of Saw Mill Capital, acquired Market Mechanical, a Brooklyn Park, Minn.-based provider of refrigeration and HVAC services. www.climateprosinc.com
• Cologix, a Denver-based portfolio company of Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners, acquired Metro Optic, an operator of data centers in Montreal and Toronto. www.cologix.com
• DiscoverOrg, a Vancouver, Wash.-based portfolio company of The Carlyle Group, acquired NeverBounce, a Cleveland-based provider of email verification and list cleansing services. www.discoverorg.com
• Investindustrial acquired a majority stake in British sports-car maker Morgan Motor Company. http://axios.link/eopD
🚑 New Heritage Capital invested in Rhythmlink, a Columbia, S.C.-based maker of disposable neurodiagnostic devices and consumables. www.rhythmlink.com
• Nintex, a Bellevue, Wash.-based portfolio company of Thoma Bravo, acquired EnableSoft, an Orlando-based provider of robotic process automation software. www.nintex.com
• One Equity Partners agreed to buy Walterscheid Powertrain Group, a Woodridge, Ill.-based maker of drivelines and gearbox for agricultural equipment, from GKN Ltd. www.gkn-walterscheid.com
• Wellspring Capital Management agreed to buy Paragon Films, a Broken Arrow, Okla.-based maker of stretch films for unitizing pallet loads, from Wind Point Partners. www.paragonfilms.com
• Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR) agreed to acquire Mist Systems, a Cupertino, Calif.-based provider of cloud-based wireless networks, for $405 million. Mist had raised around $88 million from GV, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Norwest Venture Partners, Cisco, Dimension Data and NTT Docomo Ventures. http://axios.link/6K8X
🚑 Pacira Pharmaceuticals (NYSE: PCRX) agreed to buy Myoscience, a Fremont, Calif.-based developer of pain-relief devices, for upwards of $220 million (including $120m of upfront cash). Myoscience had raised around $150 million from firms like Accuitive Medical Ventures, American Equities Overseas, DeNovo Ventures, Nexus Medical Partners, Valiance and Sobera Capital. http://axios.link/F5yV
• SurveyMonkey (Nasdaq: SVMK) will pay $80 million in cash and stock to acquire Usabilla, an Amsterdam-based voice-of-customer technology provider that had been seeded by Boralis. http://axios.link/wwwO
• Barington Capital, an activist investor, is pushing L Brands (NYSE: LB) to separate its Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works. http://axios.link/OUQi
• .406 Ventures of Boston is raising up to $250 million for its fourth flagship fund and up to $100 million for its second opportunities fund, per regulatory filings. www.406ventures.com
• aMoon, an Israeli VC firm focused on later-stage healthcare startups, raised $660 million for its second fund. http://axios.link/aca0
• Bain Capital Credit raised 1.25 billion for a new European special situations fund. http://axios.link/s3Qz
• Capital Dynamics is raising $100 million for its first fund-of-funds focused on Japanese mid-market buyouts, per PE International. http://axios.link/whAi
• Project A Ventures of Germany is raising up to €225 million for its third fund, per a regulatory filing. www.project-a.com
• Seminal Capital Partners is raising up to $150 million for its debut fund, per a regulatory filing. The Radnor, Penn.-based buyout firm will focus on lower and mid-market cloud software and services companies, and is led by former Actua execs Walter Buckley, John Loftus and Vince Menichelli. www.seminalcapitalpartners.com
• Summit Partners raised $4.9 billion for its tenth flagship growth equity fund. www.summitpartners.com
• Alicia Gregory has been named head of The Future Fund’s A$20 billion private equity program. She previously led private equity for MCL Investment Management. http://axios.link/WuYw
• GGV Capital promoted Robin Li to principal. www.ggvc.com
• Minnie Ingersoll, co-founder of Shift and a former exec with Google.org, joined LA-based seed firm TenOneTen Ventures as a venture partner. http://axios.link/azvE
• Ryan Merket is joining Firebrand Ventures as a partner and head of a new Austin, Texas office. He previously ran startup biz dev for Amazon Web Services. www.firebrandvc.com
• NextView Ventures promoted Melody Koh, former product chief for Blue Apron, to partner. http://axios.link/Ur64
• Rethink Education promoted Michelle Dervan to partner and Ebony Pope to principal. www.rethink.vc
• Route 66 Ventures promoted Pat Wilson to partner. www.route66ventures.com
• David Smoot stepped down as CEO of Dubai International Capital, after a decade-plus run.
• Matt Steinfeld, former director of policy communications for Facebook, is joining SoftBank Group as director of corporate communications.
• Mike Zappert has stepped down as a direct investing partner with Adams Street Partners after 10 years, per an automated email reply. No word yet on future plans.