THE PET WARS
Good morning, Term Sheet readers.
HOUSEKEEPING: As a reminder, Term Sheet won’t be in your inbox on Monday because of Memorial Day. But in the meantime, feel free to tweet at me here. Have a great weekend, and see you next week!
UP AGAINST SOFTBANK: Rover, the pet-sitting and pet-walking company, is raising $125 million in funding, along with $30 million of debt, to keep growing in the face of increasing competition. It will use the capital to expand in Europe, starting with the U.K.
The funding comes on the heels of the $300 million in funding that rival Wag raised from SoftBank just a few months ago. Both companies are playing with serious money now, and it appears that Rover & its lead investor T. Rowe Price are not afraid to challenge SoftBank’s kingmaker strategy.
Both startups are entering each other’s turf, both have a nearly identical paw logo, and both are very well-funded. In total, Rover has raised ~$311 million while Wag has raised ~$362 million.
Like I’ve said before, money matters when competing with a SoftBank-backed startup. The pet service startup wars are heating up, and I have a hunch that SoftBank won’t put down its capital cannon just yet.
EXCLUSIVE: Albert, a financial service startup, raised $5 million in Series A funding from investors including QED, American Express Ventures, and Portag3. This brings its total funding to approximately $7.5 million. Read the full story here.
WEEKEND LONG-READS: If you have some time during this three-day weekend, here are 6 longform stories to add to your reading list:
• Inside Pfizer’s Drug Supply Problem: How a much-touted acquisition by America’s biggest pharmaceutical company helped turn the country’s chronic drug shortage into a full-blown crisis. Read more.
• How JPMorgan Chase Learned to Love the Blockchain: America’s biggest bank is figuring out how to collaborate with cryptocurrency hacker types like Amber Baldet and Patrick Mylund Nielsen—and the cultural collision could soon pay off. Read more.
• What the Hell Happened at GE?: Few corporate meltdowns have been as swift and dramatic as General Electric’s over the past 18 months—but the problems started long before that. Read more.
• Why Nordstrom Is Betting on High-Touch Tech: No department-store chain has embraced technology more aggressively. But will that strategy help Nordstrom avoid the slump in higher-end retail? Read more.
• Facebook’s Fix-It Team: The social-media giant is deploying AI and thousands of moderators to fight bad content. But will the clean-up efforts create a new mess over user privacy? Read more.
• How Amazon Is Using Whole Foods in a Bid for Total Retail Domination: The Seattle giant believes selling you groceries is the key to selling you everything else. Read more.
• ICEYE, an Earth observation data company, raised $34 million in Series B funding. True Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including Draper Nexus, Draper Associates, Seraphim Capital, Space Angels, OTB, Tesi, Draper Esprit and Promus Ventures.
• BRD, a Switzerland-based bitcoin and cryptocurrency mobile wallet, has raised $32 million in funding. Investors include East Ventures.
• Phenom People, a Horsham, Penn.-based talent relationship marketing platform, raised $22 million in Series B funding. AXA Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by investors including Sierra Ventures, Sigma Prime Ventures and Omidyar Ventures.
• Surkus Inc, a Los Angeles-based provider of event technology, raised $10 million in Series B funding. EOS.global led the round.
• Crowd Cow, a Seattle-based small-batch craft meat company, raised $8 million in Series A funding. Madrona Venture Group led the round, and was joined by investors including Sound Ventures and Joe Montana.
• Porter Road, a online whole animal butcher shop, raised $3.7 million in seed funding. Investors include Max Ventures, Slow Ventures, BoxGroup, Tribeca Venture Partners, Collaborative Fund, and Great Oaks VC.
HEALTH AND LIFE SCIENCES DEALS
• Brii Biosciences, a China-based biotechnology company, raised $260 million in funding. Investors include ARCH Venture Partners, 6 Dimensions Capital, Boyu Capital, Yunfeng Capital, Sequoia Capital and Blue Pool Capital.
• Riot Blockchain, Inc invested in The Block Crypto, Inc, an online community focused on blockchain technology and cryptoassets.Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• CentralReach acquired Chartlytics, a State College, Penn.-based real-time behavior change analytics software provider. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Razer acquired MOL Global, Inc, a Malaysia-based operator of a payments platform. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Greensky, an Atlanta, Ga.-based sales platform, raised $874 million in an IPO of 38 million shares priced at $23, an upsized IPO at the tip end of its range (previously, the firmplanned to sell 34.1 million shares priced between $21 to $23). Pacific Investment Management Company and TPG back the firm. Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, and Morgan Stanley are underwriters in the deal. The firm listed as “GSKY” Thursday on the Nasdaq. Read more.
• Focus Financial Partners, a New York-based wealth management firm, filed for an $100 million IPO. The firm posted revenue of $662.9 million in 2017. Goldman Sachs, BofA Merrill Lynch, and KKR are underwriters in the deal. The firm plans to list on the Nasdaq as “FOCS.” Read more.
• Magenta Therapeutics, a Cambridge, Mass.-based focused on bone marrow transplants, filed for a $100 million IPO. J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs, and Cowen are underwriters in the deal. The firm has yet to post a revenue. Third Rock Ventures (28.9%), Atlas Venture (17.5%), and Alphabet (12%) back the firm.
• Kezar Life Sciences, a South San Francisco-based small molecule therapeutics maker for autoimmune diseases and cancer, filed for an $80.5 million IPO. The firm has yet to post revenue. Morningside Venture Investments (15.5% pre-offering), Cormorant Asset Managers (9.9%), Onyx Therapeutics (8.4%), and Cowen Healthcare Investments (7.6%) back the firm. Jefferies, Cowen, Wells Fargo, and William Blair are underwriters in the deal. The firm plans to list on the Nasdaq as “KZR.” Read more.
• Scholar Rock Holding, a Cambridge, Mass.-based biotech developing diseases in which protein growth plays a main factor, raised $75 million in an IPO of 5.36 million shares priced at midpoint of $14 a share. Fidelity (15%), Polaris Venture (14%), ARCH Venture (14%), and Artal International (10%) back the firm. Jefferies, Cowen, and BMO Capital Markets are underwriters in the deal. The firm listed on the Nasdaq as “SPRK” Thursday. Read more.
• Xeris Pharmaceuticals, a Chicago-based Glucagon pen maker, filed for a $75 million IPO. Palmetto Partners (14% pre-offering), Deerfield Management (12.3%), and Redmile Group (12.3%) back the firm. Jefferies, Leerink Partners, RBC Capital, and Mizuho Securities are underwriters in the deal. The company plans to list on the Nasdaq as “XERS.” Read more.
• A consortium led by Partners Group Holding will buy Techem, a Germany-based provider of energy billing and energy management services for real estate, from Macquarie in a deal that values the company at a value of 4.6 billion euros ($5.4 billion).
FIRMS + FUNDS
• Draper Esprit, a U.K.-based venture capital firm, raised £176 million (€200 million) in capital.
• Contrary, a university-focused VC fund, raised $2 million for its first fund.