Axios Pro Rata

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June 30, 2021

Top of the Morning

Photo illustration of Declan Kelly, former CEO of Teneo.

Photo illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images for Global Citizen

Declan Kelly is out as CEO of corporate advisory firm Teneo, more than a month after being accused of drunkenly groping women at a charity event.

Why it matters: Kelly, a former Clinton aide and noted philanthropist, has turned Teneo into one of the most influential corporate PR players, with its clients often appearing in this space. It's also been on an acquisition spree since being acquired by CVC Capital Partners, whose lead partner on the deal is also chair of the nonprofit whose event Kelly desecrated.

Plus: Kelly's abhorrent behavior likely would have been covered up, if not for reporting by the Financial Times.

Timeline: The fundraiser took place on May 2 for group called Global Citizen, with Kelly's alleged actions occurring during a cocktail party that preceded a concert.

  • On May 3, Kelly stepped down from the board of Global Citizen (chaired by CVC's Chris Stadler), which opened an investigation.
  • Also on May 3, sources say that Kelly informed Teneo's senior leadership that he was stepping back from some of his day-to-day responsibilities "due to a health issue." The firm's 1,200-person workforce was not told about the change, nor was it publicly announced.
  • Sources say that within a few days, Teneo hired outside counsel to launch an independent investigation and, although it's unclear if that effort has concluded. It also cooperated with the Global Citizen investigation.
  • The whole thing was blown open by the FT on June 24, with Kelly officially resigning yesterday (June 29). It is unclear when exit negotiations began, although they'd certainly have been complicated given Kelly's large ownership stake in Teneo.

CVC Capital Partners declined comment, but the firm has been indirectly deemphasizing Kelly for several years, via acquisitions of businesses outside of Kelly's core competency (e.g., Deloitte's restructuring practice and D.C. advisory firm WestExec).

  • "Probably around 40% of our revenue was tied to Declan when CVC first invested, but now it's probably only around 10%," says an insider.
  • Or maybe a bit less, since General Motors yesterday dropped Teneo due to the Kelly scandal.

The bottom line: Teneo, for all of its PR expertise, botched this. Yes, it was in a tough spot because its high-profile CEO behaved badly. But it also let the media set the narrative, which is exactly what you don't want to do in such situations.

  • Now, don't be surprised if rivals begin calling CVC about a takeover, smelling blood in the water.


Illustration of a hand holding a cellphone with the Didi Chuxing ap hailing a small fleet of cars, all in the shape of the Chinese flag

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Didi, the Chinese ride-hail giant, raised $4.4 billion in its IPO. This gives the company a fully diluted valuation of $73 billion, and it will trade on the NYSE (DIDI).

  • Why it's the BFD: This is somehow both a roaring success and severe disappointment. On the upside, Didi sold 28.8 million shares more than anticipated, and priced at the high end of its $13–$14 range. On the downside, we'd been hearing for months that the company was hoping to hit a $100 billion valuation.
  • The bottom line: "Unlike when Uber came to the market, Didi can boast profitability in its core rides business ... In China, Didi is shut out from the delivery sector by huge rivals Meituan and But while Didi’s main business is profitable, its margin on each ride that it books is far lower than that of international rivals, at about 3 per cent, compared to 20 per cent for Uber." — Christian Shepherd & Miles Kruppa, FT

Venture Capital Deals

🚑 Element Biosciences, a San Diego-based DNA sequencing startup, raised $276 million in Series C funding. Backers include Janus Henderson, Logos Capital, Meritech Capital Partners, Morgan Stanley Counterpoint Global, T. Rowe Price and insiders Fidelity, Foresite Capital, JS Capital Management, RA Capital Advisors and Venrock.

DataRobot, a Boston-based enterprise AI company, raised around $250 million in new funding co-led by insiders Altimeter Capital Management and Tiger Global at around a $6 billion pre-money valuation, per Axios.

🚑 4G Clinical, a Wellesley, Mass.-based provider of clinical trials software, raised $230 million led by Goldman Sachs.

Turntide Technologies, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based developer of electric motor systems, raised $225 million in convertible note funding from CPPIB, Monashee Capital, JLL Spark, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Millennium Management and Suvretta Capital Management.

Moveworks,a Mountain View-based provider of automated employee IT support services, raised $200 million in Series C funding. Tiger Global and Alkeon Capital co-led, and were joined by Lightspeed Venture Partners, Sapphire Ventures, Bain Capital, ICONIQ Growth and Kleiner Perkins.

Grofers, an Indian grocery delivery startup backed by SoftBank, raised $100 million from Indian food delivery company Zomato for a 10% stake.

Ably, a London-based digital experience synchronization startup, raised $70 million in Series B funding. Insight Partners and Dawn Capital co-led, and were joined by insiders Triple Point, Digital Horizon, Forward Partners and MMC.

Noname Security, a Palo Alto-based enterprise API security startup, raised $60 million in Series B funding. Insight Partners led, and was joined by Next47, Forgepoint, The Syndicate Group and insiders Cyberstarts and Lightspeed Venture Partners.

Orum, a New York-based provider of frictionless financial infrastructure, raised $56 million in Series B funding. Accel and Canapi Ventures co-led, and were joined by Bain Capital Ventures, Inspired Capital, Homebrew, Acrew, Primary, Clocktower and BoxGroup.

Tendo Systems, a Philadelphia-based digital engagement platform for healthcare, raised $50 million in Series B funding. Lux Capital led, and was joined by insider General Catalyst.

Quizizz, an Indian interactive ed-tech startup, raised $31.5 million in Series B funding. Tiger Global led, and was joined by Jerry Yang and insiders Eight Roads Ventures, GSV Ventures and Nexus Venture Partners.

Forum Brands, a Palo Alto-based e-commerce acquisition platform, raised $27 million. Norwest Venture Partners led, and was joined by insiders NFX and Concrete Rose.

Hyperexponential, a London-based provider of mathematical modeling software for insurers, raised $18 million led by Highland Europe.

FabricNano, a London-based cell-free biomanufacturing startup, raised $12.5 million in Series A funding. Atomico led, and was joined by Backed, Hoxton Ventures, Entrepreneur First and angels like Emma Watson and Biz Stone.

Soft Robotics, a Bedford, Mass.-based robotics startup, raised $10 million in new Series B funding (round total now $33m). Backers include Material Impact, Scale Venture Partners, Calibrate Ventures, Tekfen Ventures and ABB.

Virti, a British VR training platform, raised $10 million in Series A funding. IQ Capital led, and was joined by Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and Descenture Capital.

🐝 Beeflow, a San Francisco-based pollination services startup, raised $8.3 million in Series A funding led by Ospraie Ag Science.

Nansen, a DeFi-based crypto tracing startup, raised $12 million in Series A funding. Andreessen Horowitz led, and was joined by Coinbase Ventures, Skyfall Ventures, imToken Ventures, Mechanism Capital and QCP Capital.

Drop Fake, a multiplayer strategy gaming startup, raised $9 million in seed funding. March Gaming led, and was joined by FunPlus Ventures, CourtsideVC, 1Up Ventures and Aream & Co.

Tribe, a Toronto-based startup that helps brands build customized online communities, raised US$7.5 million in seed funding. Bessemer Venture Partners and CRV co-led, and were joined by Inovia Capital.

Givingli, a Los Angeles-based digital greeting card startup, raised $3 million in seed funding. Seven Seven Six led, and was joined by Yellow Accelerator.

🚑 MDaaS Global, a Nigerian health diagnostics startup, raised $2.3 million in seed funding from Newtown Partners, CRI Foundation, FINCA Ventures, Techstars and Future Africa.

Life360, a family communication app, raised $2.1 million led by Bryant Stibel.

Private Equity Deals

Centerfield, a portfolio company of Platinum Equity, agreed to buy Datalot, a New York-based digital distribution platform for insurance, from Lightyear Capital.

🥯 Crown Bakeries, a Nashville-based portfolio company of Arbor Investments, acquired Bagel Boy, a Lawrence, Mass.-based maker of New York-style bagels.

KKR said it would partner exclusively with renewable energy consultant Crossover Energy Partners to develop North American solar and wind power projects.

Providence Equity Partners invested in Sweetwater, a Fort Wayne, Ind.-based online retailer of musical instruments and audio equipment.

Relativity, a portfolio company of Silver Lake and Iconiq, acquired Text IQ, a New York-based provider of legal and compliance software that had raised $15 million from firms like Intel Capital, Sierra Ventures and FirstMark Capital.

🚑 SSI Strategy, a Parsippany, N.J.-based portfolio company of Amulet Capital Partners, acquired Fiore Healthcare Advisors, a Boston-based drug safety consultancy.

TA Associates formed Revalize, a new cloud software platform for manufacturers that will be led by Jim Contardi (ex-CEO of AutoQuotes and Avitru).

TPG invested more than $100 million into EIS, a core and digital platform for insurers.

Verdane agreed to buy both Silva, a provider of niche outdoor sports equipment, and Nordic Vehicle, a converter of professional and emergency vehicles, from private equity firm Karnell. www.verdane.cpom

Public Offerings

Drying Schitts Creek GIF by CBC - Find & Share on GIPHY
Source: Giphy

🚑 Aerovate Therapeutics, a Boston-based developer of inhaled therapeutics for pulmonary arterial hypertension, raised $122 million in its IPO. It priced within range at $14, for a $347 million market cap, will list on the Nasdaq (AVTE) and had raised $75 million from firms like RA Capital, Sofinnova Ventures, Atlas Venture, Coromant and Citadel.

Clear Secure, the New York-based biometric identity company known for its airport security lines, raised $409 million in its IPO. It priced at $31 (above $27-$30 range) and will list on the NYSE (YOU). Shareholders include T. Rowe Price, General Atlantic, Delta Air Lines and Durable Capital Partners.

🚑 CVRx, a Minneapolis-based developer of neuromodulation therapies for cardiovascular diseases, raised $126 million in an upsized IPO, pricing at $18. It will list on the Nasdaq (CVRX) and raised over $430 million from firms like J&J (31.8% pre-IPO stake), NEA (17%), Gilde Healthcare (12.7%), Vensana Capital (11.9%), GSK (6%) and Treo Ventures (5.8%).

Intapp, a Palo Alto-based provider of business management software for professional services firms, raised $273 million in its IPO. It priced within range at $26, for a $1.53 billion market cap, and will list on the Nasdaq (INTA). Backers include Temasek and Great Hill Partners.

Integral Ad Sciences, a digital ad measurement firm owned by Vista Equity Partners, raised $270 million in its IPO. It priced at $18 (above $15-$17 range), for a market cap of $2.68 billion., a Glendale, Calif.-based provider of online legal solutions, raised $535 million in its IPO. It priced at $28 (above $24-$27 range), for a $5.8 billion fully diluted value, and will list on the Nasdaq (LZ). Shareholders include Francisco Partners, IVP, Kleiner Perkins, TCV and Bryant Stibel.

SentinelOne, a Mountain View, Calif.-based autonomous cybersecurity platform, raised $1.2 billion in an upsized IPO. It has a market cap of $8.87 billion, will list on the NYSE (S) and had raised over $260 million in VC funding, most recently at a $3.1 billion valuation, from firms like Insight Partners (15.8% pre-IPO stake), Tiger Global (12.4%), Third Point Ventures (11.3%), Redpoint Ventures (8%), DCVC (5.2%) and Anchorage Capital (5%).

Xometry, a Gaithersburg, Md.-based online marketplace for custom-manufactured parts, raised $303 million in its IPO. It priced at $44 (above $38-$42 range) for a fully diluted value of $2 billion, and will list on the Nasdaq (XMTR). The company raised around $200 million in VC funding from firms like Highland Capital Partners, T. Rowe Price, Foundry Group, BMW iVentures,Greenspring Associates and Durable Capital Partners.

SPAC Stuff

🚑 Pardes Biosciences, a Carlsbad, Calif.-based developer of an oral antiviral therapy for COVID-19, agreed to go public via FS Development Corp. II (Nasdaq: FSII), a SPAC formed by Foresite Capital.

Liquidity Events

Shamrock Capital agreed to sell its stake in Mobilite, a San Mateo, Calif.-based wireless infrastructure firm, to Australia’s BAI Communications.

Wind Point Partners agreed to sell Pestell Nutrition, a Canadian distributor of feed additives and other ingredients to the animal markets, to Barentz International.

More M&A

Royal Dutch Shell (LSE: RDS) and Renault (Paris: RENA) are among those circling a stake in Ionity, a German EV charging group backed by Volkswagen, per Reuters.

Sky Network Television, a New Zealand broadcaster, hired Jarden to explore strategic options after receiving takeover approaches.

Sony agreed to buy Housemarque, a Finnish game developer whose titles include “Returnal.”

Telstra (ASX: TLS) agreed to sell a 49% stake in its mobile tower business for A$2.8 billion to a consortium that includes sovereign wealth fund Future Fund and pension funds Commonwealth Superannuation Corp and Sunsuper.

Wow (NYSE: WOW), an Englewood, Colo.-based broadband provider, agreed to sell its Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio service areas to Cogeco Communications (TSE: CCA) for $1.13 billion. It also agreed to sell its Chicago, Evansville, Ind. and Anne Arundel, Md. services areas to Astound Broadband for $661 million.

Zoom (Nasdaq: ZM) acquired Kites, a German provider of machine learning-based translation solutions.


Nexa Equity launched as a San Francisco-based PE firm focused on lower midmarket software and fintech businesses. It’s led by Insight Partners vet Vlad Besprozvany, who’s joined by Shelley Perry (growth partner, ex-Insight), Todd Cramer (principal, ex-Insight) and Joey Maloney (principal, ex-Luminate Capital Partners).

It's Personnel

Bessemer Venture Partners promoted India-based Anant Vidur Puri to partner.

Jennifer Cattier joined SK Capital Partners as general counsel and chief compliance officer. She previously was with Almanac Realty Investors.

Encore Consumer Capital promoted Kate Wallman to managing director.

Final Numbers

S&P 500 pullbacks during year 2 of bull markets
Reproduced from FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

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