Nov 13, 2019

Axios Pro Rata

By Dan Primack
Dan Primack
Top of the Morning

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The fight for Europe's food delivery market is beginning to look like a trust fall.

  • says it won't raise its $5.5 billion offer for Just Eat, despite a $6.3 billion unsolicited bid from Prosus, the Dutch conglomerate controlled by Naspers.
  • Takeaway is betting that Just Eat will continue to use a synergy shield to swat away Prosus, as it has done so far, and eventually persuade some dissident shareholders.
  • Prosus, meanwhile, is resting on its bank account. And could even increase its existing bid, to make Takeaway's offer look even smaller.

Why it matters: This reflects how many in the on-demand delivery space view consolidation as key to profitability and, in turn, long-term viability. What's beginning in Europe will soon be exported to the U.S.

2020 watch: Deval Patrick will speak today at a financial industry conference in Colorado, which isn't where one would expect him to launch a presidential bid.

  • PE Hub reports that Warren Valdmanis quietly stepped down this summer as a managing director of Bain Capital's impact investing platform, which he co-founded with Patrick in 2015.
  • In other PE/politics news, TPG founder David Bonderman told Bloomberg that he'd support Elizabeth Warren over Donald Trump, were those his choices.

BFD Update: Alibaba today filed a draft prospectus for its massive secondary listing in Hong Kong. No official timetable was listed, but Reuters reports that the offering could launch within 24 hours.

Today in SoftBank: The NY Times today argues many SoftBank-backed startups have pulled a bait-and-switch on their users/contractors, such as Oyo convincing hoteliers to upgrade their properties but then later discounting the room rates.

It prompted Times reporter Kevin Roose to tweet:

"It’s amazing how many celebrated startups have been revealed as essentially labor arbitrage schemes disguised as cool new apps. A decade of high-frequency trading algorithms, but instead of tightening bid-ask spreads on oil futures they just find the lowest possible clearing price for human work."

🎧 Pro Rata Podcast: Tech entrepreneur David Heinemeier Hansson was given a credit limit 20 times what his wife received on the Apple Card, even though they have joint assets — and she has higher credit score.

  • Hansson joins me to talk algorithmic bias and his thoughts on the response from Apple and card issuer Goldman Sachs. Listen here.
  • Today's episode, which tapes shortly, will feature a related conversation with Carey Halio, Goldman’s retail bank CEO. What do you want to know?
Source: Giphy

Guild Education, a Denver-based education benefits platform for Fortune 1000 companies, raised $157 million in Series D funding led by General Catalyst at a $1 billion post-money valuation.

  • Why it's the BFD: Guild's mission is to help workers catch the increasingly-elusive American dream, by better enabling them to obtain degrees and credentials required for higher-paying jobs.
  • Other investors included Emerson Collective, Iconiq Capital, Lead Edge Capital, and return backers Workday Ventures, Salesforce Ventures, Next Play Capital, Silicon Valley Bank, Felicis Ventures, Bessemer Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, and Harrison Metal. General Catalyst partner Ken Chenault, former CEO of american Express, will join Guild's board of directors.
  • Bottom line: "The cost of digital education for higher ed just keeps skyrocketing, and Google and Facebook are making a killing on it. Universities typically spend between $4,000-$6,000 to acquire a Bachelor's student and up to $14,000 for a Masters degree student. We get paid out of the savings universities realize for not having to pay through those channels." —Rachel Carlson, co-founder and CEO of Guild Education
Venture Capital Deals

Convoy, a Seattle-based marketplace that connects truckers and shippers, raised $400 million in Series D funding at a $2.75 billion post-money valuation. Generation Investment Management and return backer T. Rowe Price co-led, and were joined by Baillie Gifford, Fidelity, Durable Capital Partners, CapitalG, and Lone Pine Capital.

Xpeng Motors, a Chinese electric vehicle maker, raised $400 million in Series C funding from a group of investors that includes Xiaomi. Past backers include Alibaba and Foxconn.

Tuhu, a Chinese on-demand car services platform, raised between $300 million and $400 million in a new funding round led by Tencent.

🚑 Avidity Biosciences, a La Jolla, Calif.-based biotech startup focused on rare muscle disorders, raised $100 million in Series C funding. RTW Investments led, and was joined by Cormorant Asset Management, CureDuchenne, Logos Capital, Partner Fund Management, Perceptive Advisors, ST Pharm, and return backers Alethea Capital, Alexandria Venture Investments, Boxer Capital, Brace Pharma Capital, EcoR1 Capital, and Takeda Ventures.

Spreedly, a Durham, N.C.-based provider of digital payments optimization software, raised $75 million from Spectrum Equity.

Whoop, a Boston-based maker of wearable fitness trackers, raised $55 million in Series D equity and debt funding. Foundry Group led, and was joined by Two Sigma Ventures, Accomplice, Thursday Ventures, Promus Ventures, and SVB.

Stradigi AI, a Montreal-based AI platform for businesses, raised C$53 million in Series A funding. Fonds de solidarité FTQ and Investissement Québec co-led, and were joined by the Holdun family office, Segovia Capital, and Cossette Inc.

Orbital Insight, a Mountain View, Calif.-based provider of geospatial analytics solutions, raised $50 million in Series D funding. Clearvision Ventures and return backer Sequoia Capital co-led, and were joined by Invicta Growth, Bunge Ventures, Chevron, Goldman Sachs, Tech Pioneers Fund, GV, Geodesic Capital, SKY Perfect JSAT, Intellectus Partners, and Lux Capital.

PalmPay, an Africa-focused payments startup, raised $40 million led by Chinese mobile phone maker Transsion.

🚑 Sera Prognostics, a Salt Lake City-based prenatal diagnostics startup, raised $36 million in Series D funding led by Blue Ox Healthcare Partners.

🚑 XACT Robotics, an Israeli surgical robotics company, raised $36 million from firms like Chasing Value Asset Management.

Threekit, a Chicago-based developer of immersive product experiences for brands and retailers, raised $20 million in Series A funding. Shasta Ventures led, and was joined by Salesforce Ventures and Steve Young.

Cutover, a New York-based work orchestration and observability platform, raised $17 million in Series A funding. Index Ventures led, and was joined by Sussex Place Ventures, Contour Ventures, Partnership Fund for New York, and Outrun Ventures.

Styra, a Redwood City, Calif.-based enterprise authorization service, raised $14 million in Series A funding. Accel led, and was joined by Unusual Ventures and A.Capital.

Ping, a San Francisco-based provider of automated timekeeping software for professional services like law, raised $13.2 million in Series A funding. Upfront Ventures led, and was joined by return backers BoxGroup, First Round Capital, Initialized Capital and Ulu Ventures.

LawnStarter, an Austin, Texas-based on-demand platform for outdoor services, raised $10.5 million. Edison Partners led, and was joined by return backer Lerer Hippeau.

Hive, a New York-based workplace productivity platform, raised $10.6 million in Series A funding. Comcast Ventures led, and was joined by return backers Tribeca Venture Partners, Vocap Investment Partners, and Rembrandt Venture Partners.

CoachHub, a Berlin-based digital coaching platform for employees, raised €10 million from RTP Global and return backers HV Holtzbrinck Ventures, Partech, and Speedinvest.

🚑 SonoMotion, a San Francisco-based developer of ultrasound devices for treating kidney stones, raised $10 million in Series B funding. Advanced MedTech Holdings led, and was joined by return backers MedVenture Partners and BioVentures Investors.

Total Server Solutions, an Atlanta-based provider of enterprise-grade data backup solutions, raised $8 million in Series B funding from return backer Layer 7 Capital. It also secured a $27.5 million debt facility from Crestline Investors.

Two Hat Security, a Canadian provider of content moderation software, raised C$7.5 million. Tam Holdings led, and was joined by Makers Fund and Taubman Capital.

Private Equity Deals

3G Capital is a surprise bidder for the Thyssenkrupp’s elevator unit, which could fetch nearly $19 billion. Other bidders reportedly are Kone with CVC Capital Partners, and The Blackstone Group with CPPIB.

Apollo Global Management agreed to buy Tech Data (Nasdaq: TECD) a Clearwater, Fla.-based IT equipment distributor, for $5.4 billion, or $130 per share.

Five Points Capital acquired GammaTech, an Ithaca, N.Y.-based provider of static analysis tools for software developers.

Industrial Growth Partners acquired ASPEQ, a St. Louis-based provider of of electric-heating and thermal-management technologies, from Bunker Hill Capital.

Public Offerings

Coop Pank, an Estonian bank, is prepping an IPO, per Bloomberg. This comes amid money laundering scandals at several foreign-owned lenders operating in the country.

More M&A

Chatham Financial, a Kennett Square, Penn.-based risk management advisory, acquired London-based peer JCRA Group.

Saint-Gobain (Paris: SGOB) agreed to buy Herndon, Va.-based building materials company Continental Building Products (NYSE: CBPX) for $1.4 billion in cash, or $37 per share (3.5% premium over yesterday’s closing price).

Telkom SA SOC offered to buy rival South African mobile network operator Cell C, per Bloomberg.


Blue Note Ventures of Boulder, Colo. is raising $20 million for its second fund, per an SEC filing.

Boldstart Ventures of New York raised $112 million for its fourth seed and early-stage fund, plus $45 million for its first opportunities fund.

• CVC Capital Partners raised $1.6 billion for its second growth equity fund.

It's Personnel

Citigroup named Brian Link and Sameer Singh as co-heads of North American M&A, per Reuters.

Aster Capital, a UK-based venture firm, promoted Jérome Joaug to partner.

🚑 Neil Cooper joined life sciences-focused VC firm Abingworth as CFO, succeeding the retiring James Abell. Cooper previously was finance director at Kennet Partners.

David McWilliam joined Cerberus Capital Management as an Australia-based managing director. He previously was with Macquarie and, before that, Bain Capital Credit.

Natalie Sandman left Shasta Ventures to join Spark Capital, were she’ll focus on early-state deals.

Final Numbers
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Reproduced from LPL Financial; Table: Axios Visuals
Dan Primack

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