Good morning, Term Sheet readers.
It was another full day here in Guangzhou where I’m covering Fortune’s Global Forum conference. In a star-studded lineup, business leaders from all over the world sat down with my colleagues to talk about investing, innovation, and global expansion.
Today, we had Alibaba’s Jack Ma, Apple’s Tim Cook, Tencent’s Pony Ma, and Ford’s Bill Ford. You can find the full coverage of those panels on Fortune.com.
The Tim Cook interview was one that stood out. While in China, he addressed some of the criticism coming his way from media outlets at home. Below is an excerpt from my story on his response to those who shook their heads at his keynote speech at China’s World Internet Conference.
“I never base my actions on how people will feel about it or whether I’d take any criticism,” Cook said, while speaking at the Fortune Global Forum Conference in Guangzhou, China, on Wednesday. “If I did, I’d never do anything.”
Cook gave the Sunday speech at the opening ceremony of a conference designed to promote China’s vision of the Internet—one that is more closed and censored, Bloomberg reports.
“The theme of this conference—developing a digital economy for openness and shared benefits—is a vision we at Apple share,” Cook said at the time. “We are proud to have worked alongside many of our partners in China to help build a community that will join a common future in cyberspace.”
The Apple CEO was criticized for appearing to endorse the Chinese government’s Internet policy, which tightly controls the flow of information in the communist nation. Speaking at the Fortune Global Forum, Cook said that what is missing from society is that there aren’t enough people willing to listen, understand, and participate. “
I’ll get criticized for going to any meeting,” he added. “I get criticized for going to meetings in the United States—and I don’t really care at the end of the day.”
So how did he react when the Chinese government decided to pull apps from the App Store? When companies choose to enter a new country and participate in the market, Cook said, they are subject to the laws and regulations of that country.
“From my American mindset, I believe strongly in freedoms. They are at the core of what being an American is, and I have no confusion on that,” he said. “But I also know that every country in the world decides their laws and regulations.”
Cook said he’s optimistic that some of the censored apps will soon return to the App Store, hinting that he’s likely having conversations with Chinese officials about this. In other words, everyone has an agenda. It’s naive to think Cook delivered a keynote speech to Chinese government officials at an Internet conference if it wasn’t beneficial to Apple in some capacity.
NO LONGER A COPYCAT: Neil Shen, the founding partner of Sequoia Capital China, had some advice for Silicon Valley entrepreneurs: Maybe you can learn a thing or two from China’s playbook. On Wednesday, he busted the long-standing myth that China’s tech founders are simply copycats of American technology. “Yes, a lot of U.S. companies still think China is about copycats, which is a totally, totally wrong perception,” he said. “I would suggest that U.S. companies should actually try to learn from China.” I thought about my own conversations with American founders following his interview. Many are proud to recount tales of how they were inspired by so-and-so company before they launched their own. So my question is: How fine is the line between taking inspiration from a company you admire and being labeled a copycat of their strategies and technologies? Read the full story here.
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• Indigo Ag, Inc., a Boston, Mass.-based firm helping farmers sustainably feed the planet, raised $47 million in Series D funding round after a $156M closing in late September. The largest investor in the second close was Investment Corporation of Dubai.
• Sonim Technologies, a San Mateo, Calif.-based smartphone maker raised $37 million from B. Riley Financial, Inc.
• 4NEW, a UK-based operator of waste to energy treatment plants, raised $30.5 million in funding. The investors were not named.
• Contentful, a Berlin, Germany-based content infrastructure company, raised $28 million in Series C fund. General Catalyst Partners led the round and was joined by investors including Benchmark Capital, Balderton Capital and Point Nine Capital.
• Fetch Robotics Inc., a San Jose, Calif-based firm, raised $25 million in Series B funding from investors led by Sway Ventures, and was joined by investors including O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, Shasta Ventures and SoftBank’s SB Group US. Read more.
• NGDATA, a New York-based customer experience management solutions firm, raised $19 million in Series C funding round for $19 million led by HPE Growth Capital.
• honeygrow, a Philadelphia-born fast-casual, raised $18 million in Series E funding led by Miller Investment.
• Simplus, a Sandy, Utah-based provider of quote-to-cash solutions, raised $9.3 million in Series B funding. EPIC Ventures and was joined by investors including Salesforce Ventures and Cross Creek Advisors.
• HealthiPASS, a Chicago-based healthcare payments technology provider, raised $7.2M in Series A funding led by FCA Ventures, and was joined by investors including OCA Ventures, Healthy Ventures, HealthX Ventures and Waterline Ventures.
• VirtualHealth, a New York City-based provider of population health and care management technologies, raised $7 million in funding led by Edison Partners.
• PatientPay, a Raleigh, N.C.-based patient payments partner for specialty care, raised $6 million in funding. The round was led by Teaghlach Family Office, Esping Family Office and Mosaik Partners.
• Alcide, an Israel-based data center firm, raised $5.2 million in a seed round of led by Intel Capital and Elron. financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Integrated Biometrics, a Spartanburg, S.C.-based a maker of FBI-certified fingerprint sensors, raised $2 million in funding. The investors were not named.
• Merkata Smart POS, a Russia-based small retail business solutions firm, raised an undisclosed amount of funding led by FinSight Ventures.
HEALTH AND LIFE SCIENCES DEALS
• SQZ Biotech, a Somerville, Mass.-based a preclinical stage biotechnology company, raised an undisclosed amount of funding from JDRF T1D Fund.
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Investors include Oaktree-managed OCM Growth Holdings invested $275 million in Runway Growth Credit Fund Inc, a Woodside, Calif.-based provider of term debt to companies seeking an alternative to raising equity.
• Oak Spring Holdings and Wentworth acquired Purshe Kaplan Sterling, a Albany, N.Y.-based financial services firm. Monroe Capital provided $43.5 million in financing to support the acquisition. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Growth Catalyst Partners and PSP Capital acquired a majority stake in Beachfront Media, an Ormond Beach, Fla.-based mobile video monetization company. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Shamrock Capital acquired a minority stake in Branded Cities, a Phoenix, Ariz.-based out-of-home media company. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• In-Q-Tel (IQT) invested in Enveil, a Washington D.C.-based data security company. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• One Equity Partners acquired OneLink, an outsourcing offshoring service with offices in Guatemala and El Salvador, as outlined further in the attached press release. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Shire invested in Rani Therapeutics, a San Jose-Calif-based maker of robotic pills that will enable injected drugs to be taken orally. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Apis Partners and other investors invested $60 million in Greenlight Planet Inc., a Nairobi, Kenya-based provider of off-grid solar products and solar financing for underserved populations around the world.
• Zeta Global acquired Disqus, a San Francisco-based audience engagement platform. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• RESIDE Worldwide, a portfolio company of Westbridge Capital, acquired ABODA, a Seattle-based provider of housing solutions. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Oasis Outsourcing, a portfolio company of Stone Point Capital and Kelso, acquired Staff One HR, Dallas-based based provider of human resources services. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Prosci, a portfolio company of Leeds Equity Partners, acquired Being Human Pty Ltd, a Sydney, Australia-based change management services firm. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• China Broadband Capital invested in investment in Payoneer, a New York City-based digital payments company. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• H.I.G. Capital acquired Velocity Solutions Inc, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based provider of software and solutions to financial firms. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Bain Capital Ventures and Silversmith Capital Partners acquired Swift Prepaid Solutions Inc, a Buffalo Grove, Ill.-based provider of prepaid solutions for global incentive and reward programs. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Canadian pension funds and private equity investors are lining up to buy German metering company Techem with a multi-billion euro sale expected to launch in early 2018, sources familiar with the matter said.
• Global ID, a portfolio company of Paine Schwartz Partners, acquired Bioagricert, a Bologna, Italy-based provider of organic certification services. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• ABRY Partners acquired a majority stake in Breakthrough Technology Group, a Morganville, N.J.-based private cloud service provider. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• VPI Holding Co, a portfolio company of Wind Point Partners, acquired Aware Products, a Los Angeles-based beauty industry branding firm. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• The Federal Trade Commission sued Tuesday to keep Tronox Ltd. from going ahead with its $2.2 billion acquisition of chemical mining and processing company Cristal, warning that the combination of the two biggest producers of a white pigment called titanium dioxide would harm competition. Read more.
• TMT Crypto Fund, plans to raise $60 million from LPs investing cash and investments via crypto-tokens.
• Nestle agreed to acquire Atrium Innovations, a Canadian vitamin maker, from Permira Funds for $2.3 billion. Read more.
• Equistone Partners Europe agreed to acquire Bien-Zenker and Hanse Haus, Germany-based prefabricated home manufacturers, from ADCURAM Group AG. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Callidus Software agreed to acquire Learning Seat, a Melbourne, Australia-based an online compliance training company, from The Riverside Company. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Onex Corp acquired IntraPac International Corp, a Mooresville, N.C.-based maker of rigid packaging solution for $120 million from CI Capital Partners.
• Crane Co. agreed to acquire Crane & Co., Inc., a Boston, Mass.-based micro-optic security technology maker, from Lindsay Goldberg, members of the Crane family, and other shareholders for $800 million.
• QualTek agreed to acquire Velocitel, a Northbrook, Ill.-based wireless network services company, from Willis Stein Private Equity. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• The Chamberlain Group agreed to acquire Systems Holdings, a Germantown, Wis.-based maker of hydraulic, pneumatic, and mechanical loading dock leveling equipment, from Huron Capital. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
FIRMS + FUNDS
• Frontier Capital, a Charlotte-based growth equity firm closed its significantly oversubscribed $700 million Frontier Fund V.
• Viola, a Tel Aviv, Israel tech investment group, raised $100 million toward a target of $120 to $150 million for a new global fintech fund.
• Acceleprise, a San Francisco-based B2B SaaS focused accelerator, raised $7 million in its second fund.
• Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, Microsoft Chairman John Thompson and former CTO at Goldman Sachs Paul Walker are among a financial services and technology leaders joining Motive Partners’ new Global Advisory Council.
• Hilarie Koplow-McAdams has joined NEA as venture partner. Previously, she was New Relic’s president
• Beth Ferreira was appointed managing director at FirstMark Capital. Learn more. • Vinny Lingham was named general partner of Multicoin Capital. Lingham is the co-founder and CEO of Civic, a blockchain tech company.
• Steve Pusey joined Bridge Growth Partners as a London-based Senior Advisor. Previously, he was former Chief Technology Officer of Vodafone Group.