Sep 11, 2020

Axios Pro Rata

🎧 Axios Re:Cap digs into the NFL's new reality, from economics to politics, with ESPN's Mina Kimes. Listen via Apple, Spotify, or Axios.

💪 Both Facebook and Old Navy are giving employees paid time off to staff polls on election day. Why? Because local election officials fear staffing shortages, as many traditional poll workers (read: retirees) are out due to virus-related safety concerns, which could lead to long lines or even poll location closures.

  • Your challenge is to do the same. If you own or run a company and will follow Facebook and Old Navy's lead, please tell me and I'll highlight your company in this space. CEOs, private equity investors, etc.
  • It's nonpartisan, and it's important.
Top of the Morning

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

One of the pandemic's few silver linings came in late March, when elected officials put aside partisan differences to quickly pass a massive, across-the-board economic stimulus. Six months later, we're back to the old normal — even though many remain desperate for assistance.

Driving the news: The Senate yesterday rejected a so-called "skinny bill" championed by Republicans. It would have included a second round of Paycheck Protection Program loans for small businesses, school funding, and virus-related liability protections for businesses.

What's happening: America is more than a month past the expiration of expanded unemployment benefits and the initial PPP program, and the "V-shaped recovery" remains little more than a cable news talking point. Yet there is no urgency on either side of the aisle, and it's unconscionable.

  • Democrats want a much larger package, something closer to the House bill they passed back in May. They've already demonstrated a willingness to pass some piecemeal spending — namely the U.S. Postal Service funding bill — but hypocritically refuse to do so on broader stimulus, even though they agree with features like the revamped PPP, which could help keep countless small businesses from going under.
  • Republicans seem uninterested in meeting Democrats near the middle, and knew the skinny bill would be rejected before cynically proposing it. President Trump almost never raises the issue during speeches or other public comments, instead pretending the pandemic and its consequences are in the rearview.
  • Some on Capitol Hill would like to attach stimulus funding to a continuing resolution to fund the government past September, according to Axios' Alayna Treene, but few seem optimistic that it will happen.

The bottom line: The CARES Act was hardly perfect, and efforts like PPP were marred by both logistical hiccups and some alleged fraud. But it was, on balance, a vital lifeline for the country — one where politicians didn't let the perfect become the enemy of the good.


Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Unity Software, a San Francisco-based 3D game development platform, set IPO terms to 25 million shares at $34-$42. It would raise $950 million at a fully diluted market value of $11.7 billion, were it to price in the middle.

  • Why it's the BFD: Unity plans to employ a new online bidding process, making it the latest in a recent surge of efforts to upend the traditional listing process.
  • The bottom line: "Prospective institutional investors will be asked how many shares they wish to buy, and at what price, by an online system managed by Goldman Sachs. ... Investors can place multiple bids at difference prices. Unity will select a price for the offering after the bids are entered, allocating a portion of the shares to all investors who indicated interest above that price level." — Miles Kruppa, FT
Venture Capital Deals

Everlane, a San Francisco-based online apparel retailer focused on “ethical basics,” raised $85 million in Series F funding led by L Catterton.

🚑 Korro Bio, a Cambridge, Mass.-based developer of RNA editing therapies, raised $91.5 million in Series A funding. Wu Capital led, and was joined by Qiming Venture Partners USA, Surveyor Capital, Cormorant Asset Management, MP Healthcare Venture Management, Alexandria Venture Investments, and return backers Atlas Venture and NEA.

AeroSafe Global, a Rochester, N.Y.-based cold-chain-as-a-service company, raised $47.5 million in new equity and debt funding. Equity backers include Merck Global Health Innovation Fund, Escalate Capital, Peloton Equity, Hamilton Lane, Flexstone Partners and Wave Equity Partners.

Chairish, a San Francisco-based online marketplace for home furnishings, raised $33 million in Series B funding. Tritium Partners led, and was joined by return backers investors Altos Ventures, Azure Capital, and OATV.

🚑 Orasis Pharma, an Israeli, raised $30 million in Series C funding. Bluestem Capital led, and was joined by Visionary Ventures and return backers Sequoia Capital, SBI Innovation Ventures, Maverick Ventures Israel, LifeSci Venture Partners.

Oyster Financial, a Mexico City-based business neobank, raised $14 million in seed funding co-led by Monashees and SV Latam Capital.

🚑 Catalog, a Boston-based DNA data storage platform, raised $10 million in Series A funding. Horizons Ventures led, and was joined by Airbus Ventures and return backers EA, OS Fund, Data Collective, AME Cloud, and SOSV.

Decent, an Austin, Texas-based health insurance startup focused of small businesses, raised $10 million in Series A funding led by QED Investors.

Britive, a Los Angeles-based cybersecurity startup focused on multicloud environments, raised $5.4 million in seed funding. Upfront Ventures led, and was joined by OneWay and SmartGate.

Ribbon Experiences, a San Francisco-based platform for live and recorded events, raised $1.2 million in seed funding from OneVC, FundersClub, and FJ Labs.

Private Equity Deals

Baring Private Equity Asia agreed to buy Virtusa (Nasdaq: VRTU), a Southborough, Mass.-based IT consultant, for around $2 billion. The $51.35 per share price represents a 26.8% premium to Wednesday’s closing price.

Dynamo Software, a Watertown, Mass.-based portfolio company of Francisco Partners, acquired Imagineer Tech Group, a New York-based provider of relationship management software for the alt investment industry.

• EC Waste, a Puerto Rico solid waste services provider backed by Post Capital Partners, acquired Republic Services of Puerto Rico from Republic Services (NYSE: RSG).

Energy Alloys, a GSO Capital Partners-owned provider of oilfield metal products, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

iQor Holdings, a St. Petersburg, Fla.-based business process outsourcing company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Backers include HGGC, TRG Management, and Starr Investment Holdings.

Public Offerings

🚑 C4 Therapeutics, a Watertown, Mass.-based developer of protein degraders for cancer treatment, filed for a $100 million IPO. The pre-revenue company plans to list on the Nasdaq (CCCC) with Jefferies as lead underwriter, and raised over $240 million from firms like Cobro Ventures (11.7% pre-IPO stake), Perceptive Advisors (8.1%), Cormorant Funds (7.8%), and RTW Funds (5.3%).

SPAC Stuff

Opendoor, a home buying and selling platform that’s raised over $4 billion in VC funding, is considering a reverse merger with Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp II, a tech-focused SPAC led by Chamath Palihapitiya, per Bloomberg.

Climate Change Crisis Real Impact I Acquisition, a SPAC led by Mary Powell (ex-CEO of Green Mountain Power) and David Crane (ex-CEO of NRG Energy), filed for a $200 million IPO.

Tortoise Acquisition II, an energy-focused SPAC sponsored by Tortoise Investments, raised $300 million in an upsized IPO.

TWC Tech Holdings II, a tech-focused SPAC led by private equity investor Adam Clammer, raised $525 million in its IPO.

🚑 Vesper Healthcare Acquisition, a health care-focused SPAC led by former Allergan CEO Brenton Saunders, filed for a $400 million IPO.

Liquidity Events

🚨 President Trump said yesterday that he would not extend the Sept. 15 deadline for ByteDance to have a TikTok sale agreement, and that he won’t entertain alternative structures.

Brookfield Asset Management is seeking a buyer for Simply Safe Storage, an Orlando-based self-storage facility operator that could be worth around $1.3 billion, per Bloomberg.

TPG is seeking a buyer for Strive Communities, a Colorado Springs-based mobile-home park operator that could fetch more than $750 million, per Bloomberg.

Lone Star Funds is seeking a buyer for American Bath Group, a Savannah, Tenn.-based bathtub and shower manufacturer that could fetch upwards of $2 billion, per Bloomberg.

More M&A

Digital Currency Group acquired Luno, an international cryptocurrency exchange based in London.

Vingroup, Vietnam’s largest listed company, is considering a sale of control stakes in its medical and education units, per Reuters.


Santander, the Spanish bank, said it will spin out its venture capital unit into an independent firm named Mouro Capital. Santander will remain Mouro’s core LP with a new $400 million commitment.

It's Personnel

CPP Investments named Edwin Cass as its first chief investment officer. He’s been with CPP since 2008.

Sebastian Gass joined Quantum Energy Partners as its first chief technology officer. He previously spent 13 years with Chevron.

Never Forget
Dave Retik (left) and Chris Mello (right)

Please take a moment to remember the thousands who were murdered 19 years ago this morning.

  • Among the lost were private equity investors David Retik and Chris Mello, both of whom were on Flight 11.
  • The foundation established in their names has since awarded $2 million in grants to over 40 nonprofits, plus more than 25 scholarships.

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