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"Impact investing" is so hot right now, particularly within a private equity market that has developed a lingering reputation for soulless plundering. But it remains unclear if such efforts actually have an impact beyond public relations.
Enter TPG Capital, which is in the midst of raising $3 billion for its second "Rise Fund," an impact investing effort co-founded by U2 frontman (and perennial Davos Man) Bono.
This morning TPG Capital announced the launch of Y Analytics, an independent public benefit corporation that will provide actionable data for impact investors — not only so current ones can invest smarter, but also to encourage new entrants.
- The initial focus will be on capital directed at the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which cover everything from poverty to climate change to water sanitation.
- Y Analytics will be led by former McKinsey & Co. partner Maryanne Hancock. TPG does not intend to profit from the company (i.e., won't exit).
- Per Bono: "Capitalism isn’t immoral, but it is amoral and it needs direction."
• Update: Last Friday we noted that 3-D metal printing startup Desktop Metal was raising new money at around a $1.5 billion valuation, and that the Series E round would be led by "a big industrial company." Now we have official details:
- $160 million led by Koch Disruptive Technologies, an investing affiliate of Koch Industries.
- Key for Koch was that Desktop Metal now plans to roll out its mass production system this quarter, after several months of delays. It already has a desktop prototyping system on the market.
- Koch's Byron Knight tells me that his group has been looking at several companies in the additive manufacturing space, both metals and polymers, and believes that Koch's material sciences knowledge may eventually lead it to co-develop products with Desktop Metal or other 3-D printers. "I don't view 3-D printing, overall, as a one-horse race."
🎧 Listen up: Does Davos still matter? That's the question that Felix Salmon and I discuss on the latest Pro Rata podcast. Listen here.
- Our next episode will feature a chat with ABC News' Rebecca Jarvis, who today will release the first of a 6-part documentary podcast series on Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes. It should be up by 11am EST, and here's an easy link for Apple users.
Viacom (Nasdaq: VIAB) agreed to buy Pluto TV, a Los Angeles-based free Internet TV service, for $340 million in cash.
- Why it's the BFD: Because it's a sizable bet against the growing wave of paid subscription content. Plus, it's a sizable payout for early Pluto TV investors, who in 2014 bucked conventional wisdom that TV viewership would be decimated by social media and mobile content.
- ROI: Pluto had raised around $52 million from firms like USVP, Samsung, Scripps Network Interactive, ProSiebenSat.1 Media, Luminari Capital, Chicago Ventures, Windsor Media, UTA and Thirdwave Capital Partners.
- Bottom line: "It's the latest digital technology company that Viacom has acquired over the past year to bring its brand, which consists mostly of legacy TV networks, into the digital future." — Sara Fischer, Axios
Venture Capital Deals
• Andela, a New York-based tech staffing platform focused on training and connecting African developers with U.S. companies, raised $100 million in Series D funding. Generation Investment Management led, and was joined by return backers Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, GV, Spark Capital, and CRE Venture Capital. www.andela.com
• Globality, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based B2B marketplace for business services, raised $100 million from SoftBank Vision Fund. www.globality.com
• Next, a Lynwood, Calif.-based transportation platform that connects shippers and carriers, raised $97 million in Series C funding. Brookfield Ventures led, and was joined by Sequoia Capital and GLP. www.nexttrucking.com
• Keyfactor, an Independence, Ohio-based provider of secure digital identity management solutions, raised $77 million from Insight Venture Partners. www.keyfactor.com
• Rex, a Woodland Hills, Calif.-based home buying and selling platform, raised $45 million in Series C funding. Backers include Gordon Segal (Crate & Barrel founder), Jack Greenberg (ex-McDonalds CEO) and Amit Singhal (ex-Google and sort of ex-Uber).
• Clearcover, a Chicago-based auto insurance startup, raised $43 million in Series B equity and funding. Cox Enterprises led, and was joined by American Family Ventures, IA Capital Group, Lightbank, Hyde Park Angels and Silicon Valley Bank. http://axios.link/zaUg
🚑 Immunochina Pharma, a Beijing-based maker of cancer drugs, raised $20.4 million in Series C funding from Shougang Fund, Sherpa VC, Peter Thiel, Qingzhe Capital and China Resources Innovative Equity Investment Fund. www.immunochina.com
🚑 Wren Therapeutics, a British drug developer focused on treat protein-misfolding diseases like Alzheimer’s, raised £18 million in Series A funding. Baupost Group led, and was joined by LifeForce Capital. http://axios.link/VvvM
• Hailo, an Israeli developer of a microprocessor for deep learning, raised $9 million in new Series A funding from firms like China’s Glory Ventures. The round total is now $21 million.
• Liquid Instruments, a hardware platform for test and measurement and digital signal processing, raised $8.2 million in Series A funding. Anzu Partners led, and was joined by Australia’s ANU Connect Ventures. www.liquidinstruments.com
Groww, an Indian savings and investment startup, raised $6.2 million in Series A funding. Sequoia India led, and was joined by Propel Venture Partners, YC and Kauffman Fellows. http://axios.link/M2kf
• Mooncard, a French corporate expense tracking platform, raised €5 million from Raise Ventures and Aglaé Ventures. http://axios.link/gAmO
🚑 One Health, a canine cancer treatment startup, raised $5 million in seed funding. Andreessen Horowitz led, and was joined by Lerer Hippeau and YC. http://axios.link/Nn2M
• Chowbus, a Chicago-based online food ordering platform for independent restaurants, raised $4 million in Series A funding. Greycroft Partners and FJ Labs co-led, and were joined by Hyde Park Angels and Fika Ventures. www.chowbus.com
• Hone, a San Francisco-based workplace training platform, raised $3.6 million in seed funding co-led by Cowboy Ventures and Harrison Metal. www.honehq.com
⛽ Phase Change Energy Solutions, an Asheboro, N.C.-based provider of thermal storage technology, raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Pegasus Capital Advisors, Emerald Technology Ventures and Third Prime. www.phasechange.com
Private Equity Deals
• Advent International agreed to buy a 51% stake in Argentinian credit card provider Prisma for over $700 million. http://axios.link/8dnD
• Apollo Global Management agreed to buy UK-based plastics maker RPC Group (LSE: RPC) for £3.3 billion. http://axios.link/cATm
• HaystackID acquired eTera Consulting, a Washington, D.C.-based e-discovery managed services company. HaystackID is a Boston-based portfolio company of Knox Capital, Maranon Capital and ORIX Mezzanine & Private Equity.
• L Catterton Asia is considering a takeover offer for Australian leisurewear brand Lorna Jane, which also is being eyed by Lululemon, per The Australian. www.lornajane.com
• Odyssey Investment Partners acquired Barcodes, a Chicago-based provider of barcoding software, from Cortec Group. www.barcodesinc.com
• Performance Interactive Alliance, a German portfolio company of Equistone Partners Europe, acquired United Digital Group, a German provider of digital user experience solutions, from EQT Partners. www.pia.me
• PSP Investments is investing in Newport Beach, Calif.-based insurance broker Alliant Insurance Services, with existing backer Stone Point Capital also participating. www.alliantinsurance.com
🚑 Simplura Health Group, a Lynbrook, N.Y.-based portfolio company of One Equity Partners, acquired Personal In-Home, a provider of personal assistance services to the elderly in West Virginia. www.all-metro.com
• Qualtrics, a Provo, Utah-based maker of survey software that last November agreed to be acquired by SAP for $8 billion, formally withdrew IPO registration yesterday.
🚑 Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) is considering a takeover of Auris Health, a Redwood City, Calif.-based robotic surgery platform valued at over $2 billion in its last funding round, per Bloomberg. Auris investors include Wellington Management, Partner Fund Management, D1 Capital Partners, Senator Investment Group, Mithril Capital, Lux Capital and Viking Global Investors. http://axios.link/ASY3
• Colfax (NYSE: CFX) hired Goldman Sachs to find a buyer for its Howden air and gas handling business, which could fetch around $1.9 billion. http://axios.link/Bq2k
⛽ EDF (Paris: EDF) acquired a 49% stake in African energy company Conergies Group. http://axios.link/qaFq
• Union Life Insurance, a Chinese life insurer, is planning to sell a control stake that could value the company at between $1.5 billion and $2 billion, per Reuters. http://axios.link/uYyO
• Mayfair Equity Partners raised £650 million for its second growth equity and buyout fund focused on TMT and consumer companies. www.mayfairequity.com
🚑 Marc Benatar is joining Apax Partners as a partner focused on European healthcare deals. He previously was with Kharis Capital and, before that, 3i Group. http://axios.link/SmDy
• Insight Venture Partners promoted Teddie Wardi and Matt Gatto to managing directors, and promoted Allyson White, Byron Lichtenstein and Jonathan Grossman to principals. www.insightpartners.com
More from Axios' Courtenay Brown: "Brexit" doesn't crack the top 5 of most mentioned issues. It falls behind "tax reform," "trade/tariffs," "Congress," "financial regulations" and "administration."
- Go deeper: Corporations are fleeing global chaos