Mar 13, 2020

Axios Pro Rata

By Dan Primack
Dan Primack
Top of the Morning

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Venture capitalists are almost all working from home, but they have not stopped investing in startups.

  • Axios yesterday spoke or emailed with 40 different U.S. firms, and every single one of them reports that they are still actively doing deals — several signing term sheets within the past week.

Why it matters: Startups and their employees are particularly vulnerable to economic shocks, given that they often are unprofitable or even pre-revenue. Venture capitalists are sitting on enormous amounts of dry powder, and so far haven't been scared off from using it.

  • Yes, some pricing is beginning to soften, while at least a few deals have collapsed or been delayed.
  • There also are questions on whether some in-process sales to public companies will be retraded (particularly now that WHO has declared a pandemic). And for still-active negotiations throughout M&A, we're hearing that "material adverse effect" definitions and closing conditions are being revised.

What they're saying:

"What else are we going to do all day stuck at home except look at deals?"
"We're investing, but a bit more slowly because we're no longer learning about new opportunities at community events."
"Some of the best VC investments are made in a downturn."
"At first Zoom was a huge win for its investors. Now it's a huge win for all of us."

Look ahead: U.S.-based venture capitalists are sitting on record amounts of dry powder, having raised over $100 billion in fund capital over the past two years. That could become the industry's saving grace due to the denominator effect and the fact that recent fund returns could plummet (particularly for firms that held onto public securities from recent IPOs).

The bottom line: For venture capital, it's business as unusual.

The BFD

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Confluent, a Mountain View, Calif.-based event streaming platform, is seeking to raise between $200 million and $300 million at around a $5 billion valuation, per Bloomberg.

  • Why it's the BFD: The company helps users process huge amounts of data in real-time, enabling decision-making, which is particularly valuable in the current environment.
  • History: Confluent to date has raised $125 million, most recently at a $2.5 billion valuation, from such firms as Benchmark, Index Ventures, and Sequoia Capital.
  • The bottom line: "IPOs of software companies have fared well in the past year. Globally, shares of those companies have gained 58% overall based on a weighted average from their offer prices, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That compares with an increase of 20% for all IPOs." — Bloomberg

Editor's note: This was corrected to better describe how Confluent helps its users.

Venture Capital Deals

NinjaRMM, a San Francisco-based provider of remote monitoring and endpoint management software, raised $30 million in equity funding led by Summit Partners. http://axios.link/Vp4q

🚑 Exuma Biotech (fka F1 Oncology), a West Palm Beach, Fla.-based developer of CAR-T therapies for solid and liquid tumors, raised $19 million in Series B funding from MSD Partners and F1 BioVentures. http://axios.link/F8KJ

Validere, an informatics platform for energy companies, raised $15 million in Series A funding. Wing VC led, and was joined by Greylock Partners and Sallyport Investments. http://axios.link/qO7h

🚑 VIDA Diagnostics, a Coralville, Iowa-based provider of lung imaging analytics, raised $11 million in Series C funding. First Analysis led, and was joined by Blue Heron Capital, UnityPoint Health Ventures, and return backers Next Level Ventures, Chartline Capital Partners, Rural Vitality Fund, Rittenhouse Ventures, Iowa First Capital Fund, and The Angels' Forum. www.vidalung.ai

Ride Report, a Portland, Ore.-based provider of scooter and bike-share management programs for cities, raised $10 million in Series A funding led by Unusual Ventures. http://axios.link/O2vu

🚑 Heartbeat Health, a digital cardiac care startup, raised $8.2 million in Series A funding. 406 Ventures and Optum Ventures co-led, and were joined by Kindred Ventures, Lerer Hippeau, Designer Fund and Max Ventures. http://axios.link/z0rs

UrbanLeap, a San Francisco-based public sector marketplace and discovery platform, raised $4.2 million in seed funding. StageOne Ventures led, and was joined by return backer Lool Ventures. http://axios.link/UOEr

🚑 Bloomer, a Cambridge, Mass.-based maker of a bra-like electrocardiogram device for women, raised $3 million in seed funding led by Material Impact. www.bloomertech.com

Planet FWD, a San Francisco-based regenerative food platform, raised $2.7 million in seed funding led by BBG Ventures. http://axios.link/Jhjc

Airwallex, an Australian cross-border payments business, is seeking to raise $200 million in Series D funding at a $1.5 billion pre-money valuation, per Bloomberg. To date it’s raised around $100 million from firms like Sequoia Capital China, DST Global, and Horizons Ventures. http://axios.link/g0M8

Private Equity Deals

Agilitas backed a management buyout of Learning Curve Group, a British upskilling company. www.learningcurvegroup.co.uk

🚑 Charter Health Care Group, a portfolio company of Pharos Capital Group, acquired two hospice service providers: St. Luke’s Home Hospice (Las Vegas) and Arizona Select Hospice (Phoenix). www.charterhcg.com

Monomoy Capital Partners acquired Mac Papers, a Jacksonville, Fla.-based distributor of paper, packaging, wide format and envelope products. www.macpapers.com

Public Offerings

Seriously? No, there aren't any IPOs today.

Liquidity Events

🚑 Fullerton Healthcare, a Singapore-based provider of corporate health care solutions, is considering a sale of the company or spin-off of its digital unit, per Bloomberg. The company scrapped a proposed IPO in 2016, subsequently raising over $121 million in a private funding round led by the investment arm of Chinese insurer Ping An. http://axios.link/1vX6

Thomas H. Lee Partners will seek a buyer for Auction.com, an online marketplace for bank-owned residential properties, per PE Hub.

More M&A

Banco Santander (Milan: SAN) agreed to pay €30 million for a majority stage in Mercury TFS, a Spanish provider of trade finance software. http://axios.link/znel

Epic Games agreed to buy Cubic Motion, a U.K.-based computer vision platform for facial animations that had raised £20 million from NorthEdge Capital. http://axios.link/X50r

Mirae Asset’s proposed $5.8 billion purchase of a U.S. luxury hotel portfolio from China’s Anbang “is at risk of collapsing," per Bloomberg, after a Goldman Sachs-led lender group failed to garner enough investor interest in the $4 billion of CMBS required to finance the deal. http://axios.link/aFNr

Oman Insurance Co. is considering a bid for the Middle Eastern operations of French insurer AXA, per Bloomberg. Barclays is managing the process. http://axios.link/pZ8g

Sinclair Oil is reviewing multiple takeover offers that could value the company at between $2 billion and $3 billion, per Reuters. http://axios.link/itPm

Fundraising

Congruent Ventures, a San Francisco-based sustainable tech VC firm, is raising up to $125 million for its second fund, per an SEC filing. http://axios.link/MBSf

Renegade Partners, the new VC firm led by Renata Quintini (ex-Lux Capital) and Roseanne Wincek (ex-IVP), is raising up to $300 million for its debut fund, per an SEC filing.

Coronavirus Consequences

Lufthansa has halted the proposed sale of the international operations of its airline catering unit, which had been expected to fetch around €1 billion, per Reuters. http://axios.link/rByZ

Xerox (NYSE: XRX) said that it is proceeding with its efforts to acquire HP (NYSE: HPQ), but will “postpone releases of additional presentations, interviews with media and meetings with HP shareholders so we can focus our time and resources on protecting Xerox’s various stakeholders from the pandemic.”

Final Numbers
Expand chart
Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios
Dan Primack

🙏 Thanks for reading Axios Pro Rata! Please ask your friends and colleagues, and social distancers to sign up.