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August 29, 2023

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Top of the Morning

Photo illustration of Gina Raimondo, U.S. Secretary of Commerce.

Photo illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photo: Ting Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Gina Raimondo spent more than a decade in venture capital, before becoming Rhode Island's governor and then U.S. Commerce Secretary.

  • This week she's in China, in part defending the Biden administration's ban on U.S. venture capital investment in certain Chinese tech sectors.

Why it matters: Raimondo must do a delicate dance in Beijing — maintaining hawkishness without clawing into a still-vital trade relationship.

  • For all the new policies and talk about China being an "enemy" and "threat," the reality is that our two economies haven't decoupled.
  • For example, trade between the two countries hit an all-time high last year.
  • That means China's economic softening could create at least short-term pain for many U.S. companies, both publicly traded and privately held, even if it eventually strengthens America's global competitiveness.

The big picture: Raimondo is the fourth Biden cabinet official to visit China in recent months, although there hasn't been reciprocation in terms of top Chinese officials visiting D.C.

Behind the scenes: There's no indication that Raimondo has authority to negotiate on the outbound investment rule, nor on recent chip export controls, saying at the start of her visit: "In matters of national security, there is no room to compromise."

  • But Raimondo and her Chinese counterpart did agree to an "information exchange" and to set up a "working group" on trade and investment that would include private sector representation.
  • One issue that hasn't come up is TikTok, according to The Information's Jessica Lessin.

The bottom line: Many of Raimondo's former VC colleagues may be ramping down their activities in China, but her job only looks to get busier.


Illustration of a test tube pouring into a hundred dollar bill

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Danaher (NYSE: DHR), a Washington, D.C.-based life sciences conglomerate, agreed to buy Abcam (Nasdaq: ABCM), a British provider of biological reagents for $5.7 billion in cash (including debt assumption).

Why it's the BFD: Abcam is often called the "Amazon of antibodies," and will allow Danaher to provide its lab equipment customers with a broad range of consumables.

Details: Danaher will pay $24 per share, which represents around a 50% premium to where Abcam was trading before it acknowledged inbound interest. There had been speculation that the premium could be even greater, given that Abcam says it engaged with "more than 20 potential strategic acquirers."

Elsewhere: Danaher earlier this year kicked tires on New Jersey-based contract manufacturer Catalent (NYSE: CTLT), which reportedly will formally consider a sale process as part of a settlement with activist investor Elliott Management.

The bottom line: "The deal will help Danaher cushion the hit from sluggish demand for some of its products from smaller biotech companies that are grappling with a funding crunch." — Manas Mishra, Reuters

Venture Capital Deals

⚡ Redwood Materials, an EV battery recycler, raised $1b in Series D funding at a $5.25b post-money valuation co-led by Goldman Sachs, Capricorn and T. Rowe Price.

•, an SF-based provider of B2B sales intelligence and engagement software, raised $100m at a $1.6b valuation. Bain Capital Ventures led, and was joined by insiders Nexus Venture Partners, Sequoia Capital and Tribe Capital.

• Rockset, a San Mateo, Calif-based provider of tools for real-time search and data analytics, raised $37m in equity funding (plus $7m in debt). Icon Ventures led, and was joined by Glynn Capital, Four River Partners, K5 Global, Sequoia Capital and Greylock.

🚑 Better Life Partners, a provider of medical and behavioral health services for people with addictions, raised $26.5m in Series B funding. aMoon and F-Prime Capital co-led, and were joined by insider .406 Ventures.

• Allseated, an SF-based event planning platform, raised $20m from Level Structured Capital and insiders Magma Ventures, Vestech Partners, NYFF and WGG. It's also spinning out its metaverse business.

• Ideogram AI, a Toronto-based text-to-image AI generator, raised $16.5m in seed funding. Andreessen Horowitz and Index Ventures co-led, and were joined by AIX Ventures, Golden Ventures and Two Small Fish Ventures.

🚑 Radiaction Medical, an Israeli provider of radiation protection solutions for medical staffs, raised $12.6m in Series C2 funding led by InnovaHealth Partners.

•, an Austin, Texas-based industrial manufacturing troubleshooting platform, raised $10m in Series A funding. Origin Ventures led, and was joined by Amity Ventures, Tokio Marine Future Fund, S3 Ventures, GTM Fund, Alpha Square Group and FJ Labs.

• ConverSight, an Indianapolis-based data analytics startup, raised $9m in Series A funding. Surface Ventures led, and was joined by Techstars, Augment Ventures and Elevate Ventures.

•, a Sandy, Utah-based software test automation startup, raised $6.5m in seed funding. Sierra Ventures led, and was joined by Epic Ventures.

• MFast, a Vietnamese financial services distribution network, raised $6m in Series A funding. Wavemaker Partners led, and was joined by Krungsri Innovate, Headline Asia and insiders Do Ventures, JAFCO Asia and Ascend Vietnam Ventures.

• Markato, a Hong Kong-based cross-border marketplace for independent brands, raised $5m in seed funding led by Lightspeed Venture Partners.

• Modern Adventure, a Portland, Ore.-based provider of experiential travel services, raised $4.8m in Series A funding from Seal Rock Partners, Matchstick Ventures and Mischief Ventures.

• FirstMate, a platform that lets NFT creators build digital storefronts, raised $3.8m in seed funding. Dragonfly led, and was joined by Coinbase Ventures and NextView Ventures.

• Starcart, a Finnish online shopping platform, raised €3.5m in seed funding. Inventure led, and was joined by Business Finland.

Private Equity Deals

• 360Pack, a Vancouver, Wash.-based portfolio company of Shore Capital Partners, acquired Team Packaging, a Denver-based provider of custom packaging solutions.

🚑 L Catterton agreed to buy nutritional supplements maker Thorne HealthTech (Nasdaq: THRN), a New York-based provider of, for $680m, or $10.20 per share.

• SK Capital Partners acquired Isolatek, a Stanhope, N.J.-based maker of passive fireproofing technologies.

• Summit Partners invested in Certania, a Munich-based provider of testing, inspection and certification services.

• Trustly, a Swedish payments business owned Nordic Capital, acquired SlimPay, a French direct debit platform that had raised around $25m from backers like Prime Ventures. No financial terms were disclosed, but Bloomberg pegs the price at €70m.

Public Offerings

• Credit Bank, a Kenyan lender, is planning to raise nearly $7m in what would be the Nairobi Securities Exchange's first IPO since 2014.

Liquidity Events

• Tiger Global sold its remaining stake in listed Indian food delivery company Zomato for $136m.

🍔 Trustar Capital (fka CITIC Capital) plans to raise a continuation fund that would help it sell down its position in McDonald's China, per Reuters.

More M&A

• Natura, a listed Brazilian cosmetics maker, said it's considering a sale of retailer The Body Shop.

🚑 Pure Health, an Abu Dhabi-based portfolio company of ADQ, agreed to buy British hospital operator Circle Health from Centene (NYSE: CNC) for $1.2b.

⌚ Rolex agreed to buy Swiss watch seller Bucherer — news that crushed shares of rival retailer Watches of Switzerland.

It's Personnel

• Bettina Curtze, former CFO of Axel Springer unit Aviv Group, joined Swiss venture firm Redalpine as a partner and CFO.

• Laura Padilla joined Sapphire Ventures as a partner and head of biz dev. She previously was with HP Enterprise.

• Flavio Porciani joined TPG as a London-based partner focused on software and enterprise tech deals. He previously was with Warburg Pincus.

• Prudential PLC named Bill Maldonado as CEO of its asset management arm, Eastspring Investments. He's been serving as Eastspring's interim CEO since April, while continuing to serve as its chief investment officer — a position that "will be appointed in due course."

🌎 Damien Steel, former managing partner of OMERS Ventures, is becoming CEO of Deep Sky, a Montreal-based carbon removal and storage company.

Final Numbers

Data: Yahoo Finance; Chsrt: Axios Visuals
Data: Yahoo Finance; Chsrt: Axios Visuals

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