New money: Carmera, a New York City-based 3D mapping startup, is emerging from stealth mode with $6.4 million in new funding led by Matrix Partners with participation from Resolute Ventures, Notation Capital, Joe Montana, Bre Pettis, Semil Shah and others.
The company is notable because it’s partnering with delivery vehicle fleets to create up-to-date maps of cities. That kind of data is desirable to anyone creating self-driving technology because it helps solve the dense, urban area problem.
Self-driving cars are great on the open road. Call that problem solved. But dense, urban areas? Not so much. Humans are unpredictable. We jaywalk, we ride our bikes the wrong way down a one-way, we don’t alert mapping companies when we have initiated a construction project that blocks off half the road, or installed a new curb.
The data options for identifying and predicting that sort of thing aren’t great. Google’s 3D mapping data isn’t for sale. Mapping companies like TomTom and Here don’t update their maps very frequently, and they’re only for sale to OEMs. Open source options aren’t reliable enough. Carmera aims to offer data that’s “good, but efficient, affordable, and accessible,” Gupta says.
“While we believe in [autonomous vehicles] and the impact to society, we don’t think the enabling tech to get there should be in the hands of a few big car companies,” Gupta says.
The mapping data that Carmera collects through its delivery fleet partners (and one of its own cars) is valuable to more than just self-driving companies. Gupta adds: “The big tech companies have way too much control over the underlying data and they’re not furthering a lot of use cases that the data could help.” Architecture firms, city planners, and others are already using its data.
Hardi Meybaum, general partner at Matrix Partners, Carmera’s lead investor, notes, “What Ro and his team have built goes way beyond autonomous vehicles to solve very real problems for cities right now.”
Burnt money: Odyssey, a college media startup that raised $30 million in funding and grew to 150 employees, has hit a rough patch. The company recently laid off staff and removed founder Evan Burns from the CEO role. Fortune’s Polina Marinova and Laura Entis (who Term Sheet readers will recognize from their fine work on this newsletter) have a gripping, detailed story of an overly ambitious startup which has fallen very short of its goals (and operated in a less-than-savory manner along the way).
IPO mishegas: While Spotify’s direct listing plans are getting lots of attention, there’s another, less buzzy way to go public without Wall Street, the Wall Street Journal recently explained. Regulation A+, a provision of the JOBS Act, is an intriguing alternative for small companies to go public. They can use Reg A+ to raise up to $50 million from any investors – not just the so-called “sophisticated” ones.
Some of the Reg A+ stocks aren’t listed on exchanges. Some are! Myomo, a medical robotics company, plans to list on NYSE. The company views its Reg A+ IPO has an alternative to raising venture capital. It’s risky, writes WSJ:
Proponents of the new rules, known as Regulation A+, appear to be “willing to risk a little more fraud if the dollar risk is less,” said David Feldman, an attorney who has championed the rule and is providing legal guidance for several offerings.
This morning’s deal roundup includes another one: Knightscope, a security company, announced a $3 million capital investment from Konica Minolta, a Japanese technology company. Of the investment, $1 million is up front and the other $2 million will be invested via Knightscope’s Reg A+ “mini-IPO” offering of Series m preferred stock, if the company hits certain milestones. Knightscope is selling 6.67 million shares at $3 each for total proceeds (after costs) of $18.3 million.
Blind item: Which billion-dollar startup makes more revenue throwing conferences than on its actual core technology?
THE LATEST FROM FORTUNE...
• Grail passes an early test in its quest to find cancer in blood.
• Did Apple actually change the world?
• Why diversity has stalled in corporate America.
• Toyota sells its final Tesla stake.
Yao Ming’s private equity fund. Another valuation warning to private equity. The 17-year-old king of Musical.ly. Walmart accused of punishing workers for sick days. Amazon’s cash machine. The bitcoin comedian. Why hasn’t the peer-to-peer car rental business taken off the same way Airbnb did? How Microsoft missed mobile. Dissecting Marissa Mayer’s paycheck. How LeEco borrowed so much money. The blue collar workers at tech companies. Rapper IPO. Bunge vs. Glencore.
• Evolve Vacation Rental Network, a Denver, Colo.-based vacation rental management company, raised $11 million in funding. T. Rowe Price Associates led the round, and was joined by investors including Annox Capital, Allen & Company, and PAR Capital Ventures.
• Yogome, a digital education provider with locations in San Francisco and Mexico, raised $6.6 million in Series A funding. Seaya Ventures led the round, and was joined by Variv Capital and Endeavor Catalyst.
• DealCloud, a Hoboken, N.J.-based deal management and workflow services provider, raised $4.5 million in funding. Cultivation Capital FinTech and Hamilton Lane led the round.
• Knightscope, a Mountain View, Calif.-based developer of advanced physical security technologies, announced a $3 million funding commitment from Konica Minolta, Inc.
• Krypt.co, a Boston-based security startup, raised $1.2 million in seed funding. Rough Draft Ventures/General Catalyst led the round, and was joined by Slow Ventures, SV Angel, and Akamai Labs.
• Lorem Technologies, a New York City-based website development services provider, raised $1.1 million in seed funding. Flybridge led the round, and was joined by Founder Collective, Randy Parker and Frederick Townes.
• Owl’s Brew, a New York-based tea cocktail mixer maker, raised Series A funding of an undisclosed amount. Investors include Cambridge Companies SPG and ZX Ventures.
• Palmer Luckey, the founder of Oculus, is working on a new surveillance technology startup, according to The New York Times. The company’s technology could reportedly be “deployed on borders between countries and around military bases.” Founders Fund is planning to invest, according to the report. Read more at Fortune.
HEALTH AND LIFE SCIENCES DEALS
• BrainCheck, a Houston, Texas-based mobile brain health tracking platform, raised $1.5 million in funding. Investors include True Wealth Ventures.
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Blackstone Group offered to buy all shares in Sponda (HLSE:SDA1V), a Finland-based real estate investment company, for about 1.8 billion euros ($2.0 billion), according to Reuters. The 5.19 euros ($5.83) per share cash offer represents a premium of about 20.7% compared to Sponda’s last closing price. Read more.
• Osisko Gold Royalties agreed to buy a precious metals portfolio from Orion Mine Finance Group, a New York-based private equity firm specializing in mining companies, for C$1.13 billion ($839.40 million). Read more.
• GTCR has agreed to acquire Sage Payment Solutions, a Reston, Va.-based payment processing provider, for $260 million.
• Convergint Technologies, a portfolio company of KRG Capital Partners, acquired Integrated Security Systems, a Miami-based provider of security, fire and life safety solutions. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Shore Capital Partners recapitalized Behavioral Innovations, a Texas-based in-home behavior analysis therapy services provider, and formed SCP Behavioral Innovations HoldCo.
• Sentinel Capital Partners sold National Spine & Pain Centers, a Rockville, Md.-based pain management service provider. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Bregal Sagemount acquired Lux Research, a Boston-based market intelligence services provider. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Validor Capital acquired The Marwin Company, a West Columbia, S.C.-based maker of stairways and other specialty building products. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Apple and Amazon.com will join Foxconn’s bid for Toshiba Corp‘s (TSE:6502) semiconductor business. The two companies reportedly plan to “chip in funds.” The unit has been valued for at least 2 trillion yen ($18 billion). Read more at Fortune.
• Investindustrial has invited Blue Pool Capital to submit a joint bid of more than 800 million euros ($900 million) for The Body Shop, a U.K.-based beauty and cosmetics manufacturer which is currently owned by L’Oreal (ENXTPA:OR), according to Reuters. Read more.
• D.R. Horton Inc offered to buy 75% of Forestar Group (NYSE:FOR), an Austin, Texas-based real estate company, for about $520 million. The $16.25 per share offer represents a 14% premium to the price offered by Starwood Capital Group to buy all of Forestar, according to Reuters. In April, Forestar agreed to be bought by Starwood for $14.25 per share. Read more.
• The sale by Petronas (KLSE:PETGAS), a Malaysia-based gas infrastructure operator, of an estimated $1 billion stake in a local upstream gas project has moved to the second round, according to Reuters. It has reportedly attracted the interest from bidders including Royal Dutch Shell and ExxonMobil Corp. Read more.
• Accenture (NYSE: ACN) agreed to acquire LabAnswer, a Sugar Land, Texas-based research and laboratory informatics technology consulting firm. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Prometheus Group acquired Pipeline Group, a Santa Ana, Calif.-based business process services provider. It also acquired Sage Technology, an Australia-based company focused on industrial safe work solutions. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Societe Generale, the French banking giant, said Monday that it plans to launch an IPO of its autoleasing unit, ALD, on the Euronext Paris. The bank may choose to list as much as 23% of ALD, or 92.9 million shares, at a range of 14.20 euro($15.97) to 17.40 euro($19.57)—potentially raising as much as $1.8 billion. ALD manages a fleet of over 1.4 million vehicles, and is expected to begin trading on the Euronext on June 16.
• Guangzhou Rural Commercial Bank, launched its Hong Kong IPO for as much as $1.1 billion Monday, Reuters reports. The bank, which is the fifth-largest rural commercial bank by assets in China, plans to list under ticker symbol “GRCB” and offer some 1.58 billion shares at a range of HK$4.99(64 US cents) to HK$5.27(68 US cents), according to a term sheet seen by Reuters. Already, units of HNA Group and Aeon Life Insurance have already pledged funding of about $195.1 million each. Pricing terms have yet to be disclosed.
• Dova Pharmaceuticals, a Durham, N.C.-based company focused on a low blood platelet count disorder, filed for an $75 million IPO Friday. The company plans to list on the Nasdaq under “Dova,” with J.P. Morgan, Jefferies, and Leerink Partners as book-running managers. PBM Capital(pre-IPO 84.8%) and Perceptive Advisors(5.4%) back the company. Dova has yet to generate revenue, and posted a loss of $27.2 million between April and December 2016.
• Athenex, a Buffalo, N.Y.-based cancer biotech company, set the terms of its IPO Friday, saying it would raise $72 million in an offering of 6 million shares. The company set per share price range of $11 to $13 with the help of lead underwriters Credit Suisse and J.P. Morgan. Athenex insiders also plan to purchase about $55 million in the offering. The company, which reported revenue of $20.6 million on loss of $87.7 million, is backed by Mandra Capital (pre-IPO 16.2%), Tencent CEO Ma Huateng (9.9%), Pharminex (6.5%), and Charter Link International (6%).
• Aileron Therapeutics, a cancer treatment biotech based out of Cambridge, Mass., said Friday that it plans to raise $69 million in its IPO. Bank of America and Jefferies are joint bookrunners in the deal, which is expected to trade on the Nasdaq under symbol “ALRN.” Pre-IPO, the company is backed by Apple Tree Partners (22.4%), Novartis BioVentures (20.8%), Glaxo Smith Kline’s S.R. One (10.6%), as well as Excel Medical Fund(8.7%), Lilly Ventures Fund(7.7%), and Roche Finance(5.3%). The company has yet to post revenue, and reported a loss of $18.1 million in 2016. Exact pricing terms have yet to be disclosed.
FIRMS + FUNDS
• Sequoia Capital, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based private equity and venture capital firm, raised more than $4 billion across four venture and growth funds in the United States, China, India and elsewhere in the world, according to filings with the SEC. It raised approximately $2 billion for its Sequoia Capital Global Growth Fund II, $899.5 million for its Sequoia Capital China Growth Fund IV, $694.8 million for its Sequoia Capital India IV, and $474.5 million for its Sequoia Capital U.S. Venture Fund XIV.
• Draper Esprit, a London-based private equity and venture capital firm, raised about 160 million pounds ($206 million) in funding.
• Michael Sackler, founder of Rooks Nest Entertainment, formed Rooks Nest Ventures, a new London-based venture capital firm with a focus on media, entertainment and technology, according to TechCrunch. It has raised £28 million ($36 million). Read more.
• Benjamin Shriner joined EdgeLine Capital Partners as a partner. Previously, Shriner was at Zelnick Media Capital.
• Nancy Wang joined California Technology Ventures as a director. Previously, Wang was at Horsley Bridge.
• John Fan joined Blumberg Capital as an associate. Previously, Fan was at Foundation Capital.
• McNally Capital promoted Adam Lerner to partner and Catherine Lien, Josh Brown and Ravi Shah to vice president.
• Macquarie Capital appointed Tom Amster as a senior managing director and Hershel Gerson as a managing director.