Earlier this month we reported that General Motors had agreed to pay more than $1 billion in cash and stock to acquire Cruise, a developer of autonomous vehicle technology. At the time I knew that Cruise had raised around $18 million in VC funding from firms like Spark Capital, Maven Ventures, Founder Collective and Y Combinator.
What I didn't realize, however, was that it also had taken investments from a pair of AngelList syndicates: One from Zach Coelius ($100k as part of Series A), and another from Tikhon Bernstam ($100k as part of Series B).
This would seem to be the first $1 billion+ exit ever for a company that has raised crowdfunded equity.
Coelius, the former CEO of Triggit (acquired by Gravity4), was old friends with Cruise founder and CEO Kyle Vogt. The pair had coffee just as Cruise was getting off the ground ― and well before its current business model took shape ― and asked to invest. "I usually prefer to do AngelList syndicates of $200,000 or more, but $100,000 is all we could get. And I'm glad we did," says Coelius, who adds that Vogt was over at his home for dinner less than one week before the GM news broke. "He didn't let the slightest hint drop, so I was absolutely shocked."
Tikhon Bernstam, co-founder of Parse and Scribd, had made a personal investment in Cruise as part of the Series A (the two are old friends who used to live in the same building), and convinced Vogt to take $100,000 from his syndicate for the Series B. He believes that GM got a steal at $1 billion, suggesting that this could be the transportation version of Facebook's deal for Instagram.
Both of the AngelList syndicates were done as invite-only, which now describes around 65% of such deals. Each also had some institutional participation from Maiden Lane and/or Upshot, two funds that are dedicated to backing AngelList syndicates. In each case, the syndicate sponsor (i.e., Coelius and Bernstam) will get carried interest.
• From the bench: CVC Capital Partners has (again) gotten extra time to respond to the lawsuit brought against it by a former investor relations director, who alleged that she was fondled by a senior CVC exec, violations of the Family Leave Act and retaliation for reporting such behaviors. The new extension is just one week, which means we should get a response next week (unless all this stalling means that settlement discussions are bearing fruit).
• Troll booth: As you might imagine, yesterday's post about Donald Trump's social media ties to white supremacists got a lot of attention from a community of avowed racists who, despite being proudly "anti-PC," take offense at an outsider calling them racists. If you've got the stomach for it, do a Twitter search for @danprimack. Long day...
• Update: Earlier this month we discussed the new financing round for DoorDash, the on-demand food delivery company that was selling Series C stock at a 15.68% discount to its Series B shares. Yesterday the company announced that the round closed out at $127 million, which means the post-money valuation is $717 million.
THE BIG DEAL
• Domo, a Lindon, Utah-based provider of a SaaS executive management platform, has raised $131 million in Series E funding from firms like BlackRock and Credit Suisse. The deal keeps Domo valued at around $2 billion (same as last April's Series D round).
Existing shareholders include TPG Growth, Dragoneer Investment Group, Fidelity Investments, Morgan Stanley Investment Management, Salesforce.com, T. Rowe, Viking Global Investors and return backers GGV Capital, Greylock Partners, IVP and Mercato Partners.
Domo also announced the creation of a $50 million VC fund to back developers building on apps on Domo. Read more.
VENTURE CAPITAL DEALS
• Quanterix Corp., a Lexington, Mass.-based developer of ultrasensitive single molecule testing capabilities, has raised $46 million in Series D funding. Trinitas Capital, Cormorant Asset Management and Arch Overage Fund co-led the round, and were joined by return backers ARCH Venture Partners, Bain Capital Ventures, Tufts University and Dr. David Walt. Hercules Capital also participated. www.quanterix.com
• Stratoscale, an Israel-based developer of “zero-to-cloud-in-minutes solution” for data centers, has raised $27 million in Series C funding. Qualcomm Ventures was joined by return backers Battery Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, Cisco Investments, Intel Capital and SanDisk Ventures. www.stratoscale.com
• Science Exchange, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based scientific research marketplace, has raised $25 million in Series B funding. Maverick Capital led the round, and was joined by Union Square Ventures, Index Ventures, OATV, Collaborative Fund, YC Continuity Fund and individual angels. Read more.
• BetterWorks, a Redwood City, Calif.-based employee goals platform, has raised $20 million in Series B funding. Emergence Capital led the round, and was joined by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and 8VC. Read more.
• HomeUnion, an Irvine, Calif.-based online real estate investment management platform, has raised $16 million in Series B funding. Backers include Colchis Capital, Northgate Capital, Tamarisc and Artiman Ventures. www.homeunion.com
• GoCardless, a UK-based bank-to-bank payment network, has raised $13 million in new VC funding. Notion Capital led the round, and was joined by return backers Balderton Capital, Accel and Passion Capital. www.gocardless.com
• FOVE Inc., a San Francisco-based developer of an eye-tracking VR headset, has raised $11 million in Series A funding. Colopl VR Fund led the round, and was joined by Hon Hai, 2020 and Samsung Venture Investments. www.getfove.com
• Start A Fire, an Israel-based social attribution tool for brands, marketers and publishers, has raised $2.5 million in Series AS funding. Canaan Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by Lool Ventures and Aleksander Totic. www.startafire.com
• Edj Analytics, a Louisville, Ky.-based developer of provider of game-based data-driven decision support solutions, has raised $2.4 million in new VC funding led by Chrysalis Ventures. www.edjanalytics.com
• Bivarus, a Durham, N.C.-based developer of patient experience analytics, has raised $2 million in new VC funding. Hatteras Venture Partners and return backer Excelerate Health Ventures co-led the round, and were joined by NueCura Partners and Boston Millennia Partners. www.bivarus.com
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Ancor Capital Partners has acquired DuvaSawko, an Ormond Beach, Fla.-based revenue cycle and practice management company for emergency physician groups and hospital-based emergency departments. No financial terms were disclosed. Yukon Partners supported the deal with an equity co-investment and mezzanine financing. www.duvasawko.com
• CapVest Partners has completed its previously-announced acquisition of IBA Molecular, a France-based provider of radiopharmaceutical products and supporting services used in molecular imaging, from SK Capital. No financial terms were disclosed. www.iba-molecular.com
• Ergon Capital Partners has acquired Looping Group, a France-based theme park operator, from H.I.G. Capital. No financial terms were disclosed. www.looping-group.com
• GI Partners has agreed to acquire Netsmart Technologies Inc., an Overland Park, Kansas-based healthcare IT company, from Genstar Capital. The deal is being done in partnership with Allscripts Healthcare Solutions (Nasdaq: MDRX), which will merge its homecare software group with Netsmart (creating a combined company with more than $250m in annual revenue). The deal is valued at around $950 million, of which $612 million is being financed via new leveraged loans. Read more.
• Medgate, a Toronto-based provider of environmental, health, safety and risk management SaaS solutions, has raised an undisclosed amount of growth equity funding. Norwest Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by Georgian Partners and BMO Financial Group. www.medgate.com
• Corvus Pharmaceuticals Inc., a Burlingame, Calif.-based developer of immuno-oncology therapies, raised $71 million in its IPO. The pre-revenue company priced 4.7 million shares at $15 per share (low end of $15-$17 range), for an initial market cap of around $306 million. Corvus will trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol CRVS, while Credit Suisse and Cowen & Co. served as lead underwriters. Shareholders include OrbiMed Advisors (29.98% pre-IPO stake), Novo AS (15.84%), Adams Street Partners (15.84%) and Fidelity (8.18%). www.corvuspharma.com
• Fosun International (HK: 656) is considering an IPO for Bermuda-based insurer Ironshore Inc., according to Bloomberg. Fosun last May paid $1.84 billion to acquire the 80% stake it didn’t already own in Ironshore. Read more.
• ABRY Partners is considering a sale of Language Line Services, a Monterey, Calif.-based provider of on-demand language interpretation services, according to Bloomberg. Language Line had pulled a proposed IPO in 2013, and last year refinanced its debt. ABRY paid $720 million to purchase the company in 2004. Read more.
• Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (NYSE: BMY) has agreed to acquire Padlock Therapeutics Inc., a Cambridge, Mass.-based developer of medicines to treat autoimmune diseases. The deal is valued at upwards of $600 million, including $225 million in upfront and near-term contingent milestone payments. In late 2014, Padlock raised $23 million in Series A funding at an $8.3million pre-money valuation from Atlas Venture, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, MS Ventures, and Index Ventures. www.padlocktherapeutics.com
• Centerbridge Capital Partners has agreed to sell Carefree Communities Inc., a Southfield, Mich.-based owner and operator of motorhome and RV communities, to Sun Communities Inc. (NYSE: SUI) for approximately $1.68 billion. www.suncommunities.com
• YTO Express, a Chinese delivery company backed by Alibaba Group, is planning to go public via a $2.7 billion reverse merger with Shanghai-listed clothing maker Dalian Dayang Trands Co. Read more.
FIRMS & FUNDS
• The Abraaj Group is targeting between $750 million and $1 billion for a new global private equity fund focused on renewable energy assets, according to Financial News. Read more.
• Apollo Global Management is targeting $750 million for a special situations fund, according to an SEC filing. Read more.
• Cherubic Ventures, an early-stage VC firm focused on the U.S. and Asia, is targeting $120 million for its new fund, according to TechCrunch. So far, it already has secured $80 million. Read more.
• IK Investment Partners has closed its first small-cap private equity fund with €277 million in capital commitments. www.ikinvest.com
MOVING IN, ON & UP
• Credit Suisse said that a new cost-cutting plan will include the elimination of around 2,000 jobs in its global markets unit. Read more.
• Sarah-Marie Martin has agreed to join Goldman Sachs as a partner in the firm’s financial sponsors group, according to Bloomberg. She previously was with Credit Suisse. Read more.
• Larry Schloss has stepped down as president of Angelo, Gordon & Co., as first reported by Reuters. He previously had led investment activities for the New York City pension system and, before that, founded private equity firm Diamond Castle Holdings. Read more.
• Norihiro Takahashi has been named president of the Japanese Government Pension Investment Fund. Read more.
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