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Top of the Morning

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase this morning filed to go public via a direct listing. It includes a $1 billion placeholder figure, but that's likely to change.

Why it matters: Coinbase could go public at a higher initial valuation than any other U.S. tech company since Facebook.

  • It was recently valued at over $100 billion via the latest in a series of secondary share sales, which were partially designed to help the company determine a reference price for its direct listing.
  • But, but, but: The initial secondary share sale, held Jan. 29, valued Coinbase at only $54 billion. In other words, good luck to those trying to determine a valid reference price.

Financials: Coinbase reports $322 million of profits on $1.28 billion in revenue for 2020, compared to a $30 million net loss on $534 million in revenue for 2019. That's right, this one can claim a more legit unicorn title because it's actually profitable.

  • It has more than $1 billion of cash on hand, which helps explain why it feels no pressure to do a traditional IPO.
  • It claimed to have $90 billion of crypto assets on its platform as of year-end 2020, which represented an 11.1% share of the total crypto market. Around 70% of that was Bitcoin.
  • Coinbase has been working to increase its non-investing revenue, via storage, lending and other subscription products. That alt revenue more than doubled to $44 million last year, but that still represented just 3.5% of total 2020 revenue.

Investors: Coinbase raised around $525 million in VC funding, most recently in late 2018 at an $8 billion valuation. Its largest outside shareholders are Andreessen Horowitz, Union Square Ventures, Ribbit Capital and Tiger Global.

Risk factor: Congress, if it doesn't confirm Gary Gensler as SEC chair next month.

  • Gensler is on record as calling Bitcoin "a modern form of gold," which means he views it as an asset instead of a security. That's very important for Coinbase, given its stated opposition to trading securities and its reliance on Bitcoin.
  • Were Gensler's nomination to fail, it might take a bite out of crypto confidence.

Primary source: Read the S-1 filing.

The bottom line: Coinbase going public should help further legitimize the crypto industry, particularly among institutional investors.

The BFD

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Truvian Sciences, a San Diego-based developer of a benchtop blood testing platform, raised more than $105 million in Series C funding.

  • Why it's the BFD: This sounds a lot like the mission of Theranos, but hopefully without the fraud and megalomania.
  • Investors: TYH Ventures led, and was joined by Wittington Ventures and Glen Tullman, managing partner of 7wire Ventures who previously was CEO of both Livongo Health and Allscripts.
  • Court talk: The trial of former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes doesn't begin until July, but she and the government this week bickered over who's at fault for missing evidence.
  • Bottom line: Medical offices and pharmacies learned their lesson from Theranos, so none of them will buy or install desktop blood analyzers before FDA approval. Truvian says it hopes to apply to the FDA by year-end, and also plans to submit its data to at least one peer-reviewed medical journal this spring. It claims its tech can perform 36 different tests, and deliver results in around 20 minutes.
Venture Capital Deals

Wallapop, a Barcelona-based P2P marketplace, raised €157 million at a €690 million valuation. Korelya Capital led, and was joined by insiders Accel, Insight Partners, 14W, GP Bullhound and Northzone. http://axios.link/aVBZ

BetterUp, a San Francisco-based corporate coaching startup, raised $125 million in Series D funding at a $1.73 billion valuation. Iconiq Growth led, and was joined by Salesforce Ventures, Sapphire Ventures, Mubadala Capital and insiders Lightspeed Venture Partners, Threshold Ventures and Plus Capital. http://axios.link/zJpG

Infra.Market, an Indian logistics and materials procurement platform for the construction and real estate markets, raised $100 million in Series C funding. Tiger Global led, and was joined by Foundamental, Accel Partners, Nexus Venture Partners, Evolvence India Fund and Sistema Asia Fund. http://axios.link/ktP3

Madison Reed, a San Francisco-based provider of at-home hair coloring products, raised $52 million in Series F funding. Existing backer True Ventures led, and was joined by Goldman Sachs, Motley Fool Ventures, Portfolia and insiders Norwest Venture Partners, Comcast Ventures and Shea Ventures. http://axios.link/Ob5j

Lob, a San Francisco-based direct mail platform, raised $50 million in Series C funding led by YC Continuity. www.lob.com

Otter.ai, a Los Altos, Calif.-based note-taking app, raised $50 million in Series B funding. Spectrum Equity led, and was joined by Horizons Ventures, Draper Associates, GGV Capital and Draper Dragon Fund. www.otter.ai

Sorare, a developer of blockchain-based digital soccer cards, raised $50 million in Series A funding. Benchmark led, and was joined by Accel, Alexis Ohanian, Gary Vaynerchuk and Antoine Griezmann. www.sorare.com

🚑 Redox, a Madison, Wis.-based integration platform for digital healthcare applications, raised $45 million in Series D funding. Adams Street Partners led, and was joined by Avenir and insiders Battery Ventures, .406 Ventures, and RRE Ventures. http://axios.link/LmF9

Doubtnut, an Indian math and science learning startup that recently rebuffed a takeover by Byju's, raised $31 million in Series B funding. SIG and James Murdoch’s Lupa Systems co-led, and was joined by insiders Sequoia Capital India, Omidyar Network India and Waterbridge Ventures. http://axios.link/9BcY

Armorblox, a Sunnyvale-based provider of enterprise email security solutions, raised $30 million in Series B funding. Next47 led, and was joined by Polaris Partners, Unusual Ventures and General Catalyst. www.armorblox.com

Medisafe, a Boston-based medical management company, raised $30 million in Series C funding. Sanofi Ventures and Alive Israel HealthTech Fund co-led, and were joined by Leumi Partners, Menora Mivtachim, Consensus Business Group and insiders Pitango Ventures, 7Wire Ventures, Merck Ventures, Octopus Ventures, Lool HealthTech, Triventures and Ourcrowd. www.medisafe.com

NIL Technology, a Denmark-based developer of optical solutions for 3D sensing, raised €26 million co-led by Jolt Capital, NGP Capital and Vækstfonden. www.nilt.com

Borrowell, a Canadian fintech and credit education startup, raised C$25 million from Kensington Capital Partners, BDC Capital, iA Financial Group, Impact Engine and insiders Portag3 Ventures, White Star Capital, National Bank of Canada and Equitable Bank. It also acquired Refresh Financial, an affordable credit provider to underserved Canadians. http://axios.link/qLYt

Dispo, a retro photo-sharing app co-founded by YouTube star David Dobrik, raised $20 million in Series A funding led by Spark Capital at a valuation of about $200 million, per Axios. http://axios.link/qGbZ

Maze, a user testing platform, raised $15 million in Series A funding. Emergence Capital led, and was joined by Amplify Partners, Partech and Seedcamp. http://axios.link/Y9we

PureStream Trading, a New York-based alternative trading system, raised $14 million in Series A funding from Nasdaq Ventures, Goldman Sachs, BMO Financial Group, BofA, AllianceBernstein and MaC VC. http://axios.link/T6zj

Next Gen, a Singapore-based maker of plant-based poultry, raised $10 million in seed funding from Temasek, K3 Ventures, EDB New Ventures, NX-Food, FEBE Ventures and Blue Horizon. http://axios.link/uH7H

Nyobolt, a British auto battery startup, raised $10 million in Series A funding. IQ Capital led, and was joined by Cambridge Enterprise. http://axios.link/vS4W

StorageOS, a London-based provider of cloud-native storage management, raised $10 million in Series B funding. Downing Ventures led, and was joined by Chestnut Street Ventures and insiders Bain Capital Ventures, Uncorrelated Ventures and MMC Ventures. http://axios.link/M1Zy

TradeCafe, a Toronto-based B2B marketplace for protein commodities, raised C$10 million from Round13 Capital. www.tradecafe.com

TreeCard, a British credit card startup, raised $5.1 million in seed funding. EQT Ventures led, and was joined by Seedcamp and Episode 1. http://axios.link/LWJP

Stitch, a South African fintech API startup, raised $4 million in seed funding co-led by Firstminute Capital and The Raba Partnership. http://axios.link/UxQo

Aquarium, a machine learning data management startup, raised $2.6 million in seed funding led by Sequoia Capital. http://axios.link/Ui12

Natural Fiber Welding, a Peoria, Ill.-based textile fibers company, raised $2 million from shoemaker Allbirds. www.naturalfiberwelding.com

Private Equity Deals

Francisco Partners paid a reported $600 million to buy MyHeritage, an Israeli lineage tracking site that had raised around $56 million from Accel, Index Ventures, NFX, Saul Klein and Bessemer Venture Partners. http://axios.link/ziHm

🚑 Learn Behavioral, a Baltimore-based portfolio company of Gryphon Investors, acquired the Behavior Analysis Center for Autism, a provider of ABA services to Indiana's autistic community. www.learnbehavioral.com

Public Offerings

Advent International is consider a sale process or IPO for Sovos Brands, a Berkeley, Calif.-based food and beverage company whose brands include Rao's Homemade, per Bloomberg. http://axios.link/yIe1

Leonardo (BIT: LDO), an Italian defense and aerospace group, plans to list up to 30% of its defense electrics unit (DRS) in New York later this year, per Reuters. http://axios.link/4Gxz

🚑 WeDoctor, a Chinese mobile medical scheduling and information company backed by Tencent and Sequoia Capital China, is planning to file for its Hong Kong IPO as soon as next month, per Bloomberg. Late last year it raised $400 million at a $6.8 billion valuation. http://axios.link/jM2l

SPAC Stuff

Markforged, a Watertown, Mass.-based maker of industrial 3D printers, agreed to go public at a $2.1 billion valuation via reverse merger with ONE (NYSE: AONE), a SPAC led by Kevin Hartz. Markforged had raised over $200 million from firms like Summit Partners, Matrix Partners, M12, North Bridge Venture Partners, Next47 and Porsche. http://axios.link/4l15

B. Riley Principal 250 Merger, the fourth SPAC formed by B. Riley Financial, filed for a $250 million IPO. http://axios.link/zzvK

EJF Acquisition, a financial services SPAC formed by EJF Capital, raised $250 million in its IPO. http://axios.link/73Ak

• Gaw Capital of Hong Kong of is prepping a $200 million Asia tech SPAC, per Bloomberg. http://axios.link/OABJ

Global Consumer Acquisition, a consumer products SPAC led by Rohan Ajila (FIDES Business Partner), filed for a $200 million IPO. http://axios.link/Y8mi

Golden Arrow Merger, a healthcare SPAC led by Timothy Babich (Nexxus Holdings founder), filed for a $250 million IPO. http://axios.link/mxKe

INSU Acquisition IV, an insurance-focused SPAC formed by Cohen & Co., filed for a $220 million IPO. http://axios.link/kxkD

Sierra Lake Acquisition, a SPAC led by ex-Sterlicycle CEO Charles Alutto, filed for a $300 million IPO. http://axios.link/WXWg

Tech and Energy Transition, a SPAC formed by Macquarie, filed for a $350 million IPO. http://axios.link/xHBo

Tekkorp Digital Acquisition II, a digital media and leisure SPAC, filed for a $150 million IPO. http://axios.link/DmZb

Liquidity Events

EQT Partners agreed to sell Innovyze, a Portland, Ore.-based provider of water infrastructure software, to Autodesk (Nasdaq: ADSK) for $1 billion. http://axios.link/P97U

Fundraising

JMI Equity is targeting $1.7 billion for its tenth flagship growth equity fund, per public pension docs. http://axios.link/l6Wi

Lightbank, a Chicago-based VC firm led by Eric Lefkosky, raised $180 million for its second fund. http://axios.link/W3dq

Motion Ventures, a Singapore-based VC firm focused on the maritime market, is raising $30 million for its debut fund. Initial LPs include Wilhelmsen and HHLA. http://axios.link/y5ox

Primary Venture Partners, a VC firm focused on New York City startups, raised $150 million for its third flagship fund and $50 million for its second overage fund. It also promoted Jason Shuman to partner and added veteran HR exec Rebecca Price as an operating partner. http://axios.link/BhN9

It's Personnel

Don't know why we made this illustration. But I love it so, so much. Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Paul Ryan, former House speaker and current chairman of a SPAC, joined private equity firm Solamere Capital as a fulltime partner. Solamere was co-founded by Mitt Romney, who picked Ryan as his presidential running mate, and is now led by Romney's son Tagg.

Ignacio Blasco joined H.I.G. Capital as a Madrid-based managing director in its direct lending group. He previously was with Houlihan Lokey. www.higcapital.com

Jonathan Costello has left Stone Point Capital, where he had been expected to launch a secondaries investment business, per Secondaries Investor. He previously led secondaries at PJT Park Hill. http://axios.link/YabN

Oak HC/FT promoted Billy Deitch to partner and added Tess Munsie (ex-General Atlantic) as a senior associate and Chelsea Chan (TA Associates) as an associate. www.oakhcft.com

Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe named Anthony de Nicola as chairman, Scott Mackesy as managing partner, Michael Donovan has head of healthcare and Eric Lee as head of diversity and inclusion. www.wcas.com

Final Numbers
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Data: FactSet, Chart: Axios Visuals

Go deeper: Lucid's confusing road to going public

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