Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
SmileDirectClub, a provider of at-home teeth straightening systems that lets users bypass the orthodontist's office, has picked bankers for an upcoming IPO, Axios has learned.
SDC's top comp is Align Technologies, the maker of Invisalign products, which generated nearly $2 billion in revenue last year and has a market cap just north of $20 billion. One big difference is that SDC doesn't use orthodontist offices for distribution, as does Align, which has led some orthodontist organizations to file safety complaints with state dental boards.
William "Rick" Singer yesterday told a federal court that he helped the parents of 761 high school students cheat the college admissions process, through a complex scheme that included falsifying answers on standardized tests, faking athletic profiles and outright bribery.
Singer didn't detail how he recruited the parents, but I spoke with a wealthy Silicon Valley investor who says he hired Singer several years ago to help his son with standard college coaching services, but "then it got weird." Read his full story here.
Singer was a name-dropper, and still has a Facebook post up about some of the household names whose kids he helped.
Pro Rata Podcast dives into the college bribery scandal. My guest is Dan Wetzel, a columnist with Yahoo Sports. Listen here.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Uber is in talks with firms like SoftBank Vision Fund and Toyota to raise around $1 billion for its self-driving unit, at an implied valuation that could reach $10 billion.
• Newsela, a New York-based literacy and education platform, raised $50 million in Series C funding led by TCV. http://axios.link/Rdar
• Kerauno, an Indianapolis-based provider of communications workflow software, raised $25 million from backers like The Joan Hanley (Steinbrenner) Trust and Michael Andretti. http://axios.link/ZRVB
• Sketch, a Dutch digital design tool, raised $20 million from Benchmark. http://axios.link/bEUa
• Ideas United, an Atlanta-based content creation studio, raised $15 million from Kayne Partners. http://axios.link/Ngjj
• Automation Hero, a Berlin-based process automation startup, raised $14.5 million. Atomico led, and was joined by Baidu Ventures and Cherry Ventures. http://axios.link/fpNQ
• Adthena, a London-based provider of search marketing intelligence software, raised $14 million in Series A funding from Update Partners. http://axios.link/TspC
• Polarr, a Mountain View, Calif.-based photo editing platform, raised $11.5 million in Series A funding. Threshold Ventures led, and was joined by Pear Ventures and Cota Capital. http://axios.link/cWnG
• Determined AI, a San Francisco-based AI developer platform, raised $11 million in Series A funding. GV led, and was joined by Amplify Partners, Haystack and SV Angel. http://axios.link/WpzA
• Cymulate, an Israeli cybersecurity startup focused on breach and attack simulation, raised $7.5 million in Series A funding. Vertex Ventures and Dell Technologies Capital co-led, and were joined by Susquehanna Growth Equity. http://axios.link/PMzn
• Populus, a San Francisco-based mobility data analytics platform, raised $3.1 million in seed funding from Precursor Ventures and Relay Ventures. http://axios.link/BqvW
🚑 Gencove, a New York-based low-pass genome sequencing platform, raised $3 million. Spero Ventures led, and was joined by Alexandria Venture Investments, Burst Capital and return backers Third Kind VC and Version One Ventures. www.gencove.com
🐄 Breedr, a British provider of livestock data analytics for farmers, raised £2.2 million led by LocalGlobe. http://axios.link/TeaK
• W Capital Partners, Susquehanna Growth Equity and AB Private Credit purchased around $280 million in equity of Workfront, a Lehi, Utah-based enterprise work management software company, from existing shareholders like Openview Venture Partners, Greenspring Associates and JMI Equity (all of whom retain some of their stakes). www.workfront.com
• CVC Capital Partners has offered £500 million for a minority stake in Six Nations, an international rugby union tournament, per the FT. http://axios.link/KxiW
• Innovative Chemical Products, an Andover, Mass.-based portfolio company of Audax Private Equity, acquired Benefect, a Canadian provider of botanical antimicrobials. www.benefect.com
• Laurel Solutions, a San Francisco-based portfolio company of FFL Partners, acquired Servelec Technologies, a provider of remote monitoring systems and control solutions. www.laurelsolutions.com
• Network International, a Dubai-based payment processor for Africa and the Middle East, said it is planning to go public in London. Shareholders are Emirates NBD, General Atlantic and Warburg Pincus. http://axios.link/iSSS
• Shanghai Dongzheng Automotive Finance, a Chinese provider of loans for luxury cars, plans to raise upwards of $428 million in a Hong Kong IPO. http://axios.link/7l27
• Volkswagen said it will delay an planned IPO of its trucks unit until market conditions improve. The float was expected to raise upwards of $12 billion. http://axios.link/GQHv
• Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) acquired Laserlike, a Mountain View, Calif.-based content discovery and personalization platform, per The Information. Laserlike had raised around $20 million from firms like Sutter Hill Ventures, Floodgate, 500 Startups and Pejman Mar Ventures. http://axios.link/oVkH
• I.D. Systems (Nasdaq: IDSY) acquired Pointer Telocation (Nasdaq: PNTR), an Israeli provider of telematics and mobile IoT software, for around $140 million in cash and stock. http://axios.link/w2u2
• OneSavings (LSE: OSB) agreed to acquire rival British lender Charter Court (LSE: CCFS) in an all-share deal that values the combined company at £1.75 billion, per Reuters. http://axios.link/lP7G
🍷 Pernod Ricard (Paris: RI) is considering a sale of its wine unit, including the Jacob’s Creek and Campo Viejo brands, per Bloomberg. The business has annual sales of around $500 million. http://axios.link/bNBd
• Keensight Capital, a pan-European growth buyout firm, raised €1 billion for its fifth fund. www.keensightcapital.com
• Sachin Sood joined venture firm CRV as chief financial officer, per his LinkedIn profile. He previously was with Social Capital. www.crv.com
• Summit Partners promoted Peter Francis to managing director, Matt Curtis to portfolio manager, Gus Phelps to principal and Chris Bon and Jono Pagden to senior associates. www.summitpartners.com