Good morning, Term Sheet readers.
SCOOP: Stellar is in talks to acquire Chain, the San Francisco-based startup building blockchain technology for the financial industry, according to people familiar with the deal. Fortune understands the sale price to be ~$500 million in Stellar’s digital currency Lumens.
Chain previously raised more than $43 million in venture funding from investors including Khosla Ventures, RRE Ventures, Blockchain Capital, Pantera Capital, Nasdaq, Visa, Citi Ventures, Thrive Capital, BoxGroup, and Haystack. Read more.
GOLDMAN’S PLEDGE: Goldman Sachs will invest $500 million into companies led, founded or owned by women. The program will also help clients invest directly in private, late-stage companies or provide seed capital for women starting their own funds. The program, along with its 10,000 Women Initiative, aims to close the gender funding gap.
But will it work?
The strategy isn’t new. XFactor Ventures invests in companies with at least one female founder in their ranks, Female Founders Fund backs female-founded tech companies, Backstage Capital invests in companies founded by underrepresented entrepreneurs, BBG Ventures invests in startups with least one female founder, and Melinda Gates’ Pivotal Ventures is putting money behind female-led or minority-focused venture firms.
However, female-led and female-focused firms are relatively small when compared to the more traditional firms on Sand Hill Road. In other words, a $50 million fund has less cash to dole out than a $500 million fund.
While female- and minority-led companies could technically be well-funded in the early stages of the venture process, the funding tends to dry up as founders go out to raise further capital necessary to grow.
As Backstage Capital founder Arlan Hamilton told Fortune in January, “The reality is that the best and brightest and most deserving — even with the numbers, even with the traction — are being shut out. So I don’t know the answer to that until the larger investors really take this seriously and put money behind it.”
This is the gap that Goldman Sachs could potentially help fill. Armed with a $500 million war chest, the investment bank could write larger checks and pump additional capital into companies trying to accelerate growth. In this case, financing stage and check size matter. Read more.
ALIBABA VS. TENCENT: When I attended Fortune’s Global Forum in Guangzhou last December, one thing was clear — Alibaba and Tencent are locked in a heated rivalry for domination of China’s digital economy. At the summit, Tencent CEO Huateng “Pony” Ma compared his nemesis Alibaba CEO Jack Ma to a greedy landlord, saying that Alibaba’s market-leading Taobao e-commerce site charges merchants listing fees.
My colleague Adam Lashinsky wrote a spectacular feature on the relentless competition between two of the world’s richest and fastest-growing companies. From Adam’s story:
“[Alibaba and Tencent both] have market capitalizations that hover around half a trillion U.S. dollars. Both command sectors of the rapidly growing Chinese digital landscape: Tencent owns the leading gaming and messaging platform, while Alibaba rules e-commerce. Both are aggressive investors inside and outside China. Each is the pride of their not-quite-first-tier hometowns: Alibaba of the ancient city of Hangzhou near Shanghai and Tencent of shiny-new Shenzhen across the border from Hong Kong. Finally, both touch an astounding percentage of the world’s most populous country: Alibaba’s various online marketplaces count 552 million active customers; Tencent’s WeChat messaging service recently surpassed 1 billion accounts.
“For all these similarities, Tencent and Alibaba are sharply distinct companies, as different in culture, style, and approach as Apple is from Google. The duo sprang from the same era, the late 1990s, when China was discovering the Internet, and for years they built giant businesses more or less out of each other’s way. Yet as they’ve grown, each inevitably has begun to encroach on the other’s turf.”
THE LATEST FROM FORTUNE...
• Alibaba v. Tencent: Taking the Fight to Southeast Asia (by Clay Chandler & Eamon Barrett)
• Why Uber Is Paying Drivers More to Go Electric (by Monica Rodriguez)
• Tesla Sues Former Employee It Says Stole Data (by Sarah Gray)
• Robinhood CEO Takes Aim at Bitcoin Exchanges’ High Fees (by Jeff John Roberts)
• Swiggy, an India-based food ordering and delivery platform, raised $210 million in funding at $1.3 billion. Naspers led the round, and was joined by investors including DST Global, Meituan Dianping and Coatue Management. Read more.
• TouchBistro, a New York-based developer of iPad point of sale solutions, raised C$72 million ($54 million) in Series D financing. OMERS Ventures and JPMorgan Chase co-led the round, and were joined by investors including Napier Park Financial Partners, Recruit Holdings Co, Ltd, BDC IT Venture Fund, and Relay Ventures.
• Seal Software, a Walnut Creek, Calif.-based contract discovery and contract management software provider, raised $30 million in funding. Investors include Toba Capital.
• Bossa Nova, a San Francisco-based provider of product data for the global retail industry, raised $29 million in Series B-1 funding.Cota Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including China Walden Ventures and LG Electronics.
• SmartAsset, a New York City-based fintech company, raised $28 million in Series C funding. Investors include Focus Financial Partners, Javelin Venture Partners, TTV Capital, IA Capital and Citi Ventures.
• Whistle Sports, a media entertainment company, raised $28 million in Series D funding. Investors include Aser, Liberty Media, Emil Capital, and Jeffrey Katzenberg’s WndrCo.
• Beamery, a London-based HR recruitment software provider, raised $28 million in funding. Investors include EQT Partners and M12.
• Calm, a San Francisco-based meditation and relaxation app, raised $27 million in Series A funding. Insight Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by investors including Ashton Kutcher’s Sound Ventures and Harry Styles.
• Urban Airship, a Portland, Ore.-based digital growth company, raised $25 million in Series F funding. Foundry Group led the round, and was joined by investors including True Ventures, August Capital, Intel Capital, Verizon Ventures, QuestMark Partners and Franklin Park Associates.
• CloudBolt Software Inc, a Rockville, Md.-based developer of a self-service hybrid cloud platform, raised a $23 million in Series A funding. Insight Venture Partners led the round.
• Immuta, a College Park, Md.-based data platform, raised $20 million in Series B funding. DFJ Growth led the round, and was joined by investors including Dell Technologies Capital, Citi Ventures, Drive Capital and Greycroft.
• Blinkist, a Berlin-based micro-learning app and platform, raised $18.8 million in Series C funding. Insight Venture Partners led the round.
• SharesPost Inc, a San Francisco-based liquidity provider for the private technology growth asset class, raised $15 million in Series C funding. LUN Partners and Kenetic Capital led the round.
• MYCS, a Germany-based furniture e-commerce company, raised €10 million ($11.5 million) in funding. Beringea led the round, and was joined by investors including Zimmerman Investments.
• Stensul Inc, a New York City-based technology company focused on email marketing, raised $7 million in Series A funding. Javelin Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by investors including Arthur Ventures, First Round Capital, Uncork Capital, Lowercase Capital and Scott McCorkle.
• Scratchpay Financial, a Los Angeles-based provider of financial services for the veterinary care industry, raised $6.4 million in Series A funding. The Companion Fund led the round, and was joined by investors including TTV Capital, Struck Capital and SWS Venture Capital.
• Prifender, a Bellevue, Wash.-based provider of identity-aware technology, raised $5 million in seed funding. Firsttime VC led the round, and was joined by investors including Shaked Ventures and iAngels.
• TinyTap, a Tel Aviv-based educational game creation platform, raised $5 million in funding. Aleph led the round, and was joined by investors including Inimiti, Radiant and ReInvent.
• Finless Foods, a Berkeley, California-based maker of lab-grown seafood, raised $3.5 million in funding. Draper Associates led the round, and was joined by investors including Softmatter VC, Starlight, U-Start Club, Blue Horizon, Hemisphere Ventures, Babel Ventures, Yakumi Investment, Olive Tree Capital and Harrison Blue Ventures.
• StreetCred, a New York City-based mapping technology company for application developers, raised $1 million in seed funding. Investors include Bowery Capital and Notation Capital.
HEALTH AND LIFE SCIENCES DEALS
• iTeos Therapeutics, a Belgium-based biopharmaceutical company, raised 64 million euros ($74 million) in Series B funding. MPM Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including HBM Partners, 6 Dimensions Capital, Curative Ventures and VIVES Louvain Technology Fund.
• Emulate Inc, a Boston-based biotech firm, raised $36 million in Series C funding. Founders Fund led the round.
• Vium, a San Mateo, Calif.-based developer of medical technology, raised $24 million in Series B funding. Lux Capital and Data Collective (DCVC) led the round, and were joined by investors including Dolby Family Ventures, Founders Fund, and Tony Fadell’s Future Shape LLC.
• AdoRx Therapeutics, a Scotland-based drug discovery company, raised $10 million in funding. Investors include Epidarex Capital and CRT Pioneer Fund.
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Serent Capital made an investment in Axiom Medical, a Texas-based incident case management and occupational health services provider. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Nubox, which is backed by Riverwood Capital, acquired Colppy, an Argentina-based provider of cloud-based financial management solutions for entrepreneurs. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• TPG agreed to acquire a minority stake in Anastasia Beverly Hills, a Beverly Hills, Calif.-based beauty company. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Correction: Term Sheet erroneously stated that EverQuote plans to list on the NYSE. It plans to list on the Nasdaq.
• Cushman & Wakefield, the Chicago-based real estate firm, filed for a $100 million IPO. The firm posted revenue of $6.9 billion in 2017. TPG (44.7% pre-offering) and PAG Asia (33.6%) back the firm. Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs, and UBS are underwriters. Read more.
• New Frontier, a Hong Kong-based blank check company seeking a business in healthcare, tech, or education sectors in China, now says it plans to raise $230 million in an IPO of 23 million shares priced at $10, up from a previous $200 million. New Frontier Group’s Carl Wu is CEO of the firm. Credit Suisse and UBS are underwriters. It plans to list on the NYSE as “NFC.U.” Read more.
• Twelve Seas Investment Company, a London-based blank check company seeking a business in Eurasia, raised $180 million in an upsized offering of 18 million units priced at $10, above its previous $100 million planned raise. Dimitri Elkin of Twelve Seas Capital is CEO of the firm. EarlyBirdCapital is the underwriter. It plans to list on the Nasdaq as “TWLVU.” Read more.
• LF Capital Acquisition, a New York-based blank check company,raised $15 million in a downsized offering of 13.5 million units priced at $10 apiece. The firm plans to acquire a firm in the commercial banking and financial tech industry. Level Field Management backs the firm. B. Riley FBR and Raymond James are underwriters in the deal. The firm plans to list on the Nasdaq as “LFACU.” Read More.
• Aptinyx, a Evanston, Ill.-based clinical stage biotech treating brain and nervous system disorders, raised $102 million in an upsized offering of 6.4 million shares priced at $16, the high end of its range. The company posted revenue of $4,962 in 2017 from collaborations and grants. Adam Street Partners (14.9%), New Leaf Ventures (11.6%), Longitude Venture Partners (11.6%), Frazier Life Sciences (11.6%), and Bain Capital (7%) back the firm. J.P. Morgan, Cowen, Leerink Partners, and BMO Capital Markets are underwriters in the deal. It plans to list on the Nasdaq as “APTX.” Read more.
• Tilray, a British Columbia-based cannabis supplier, filed for a $100 million IPO. It posted revenue of $20.5 million in 2017. Privateer Holdings back the firm. Cowen, Roth Capital Partners, and Northland Capital Markets back the firm. It plans to list on the Nasdaq as “TLRY.” Read more.
• Avrobio, a Cambridge, Mass.-based clinical stage gene therapy firm focused on rare diseases, raised $100 million in an upsized IPO of 5.3 million shares priced at $19, above its $16 to $18 range. The firm has yet to post a revenue. Atlas Venture (26.6%), Clarus Life Sciences (16.6%), and SV Life Science (15.3%) back the firm. Morgan Stanley, Cowen, Wells Fargo, and Wedbush are underwriters. The firm plans to list on the Nasdaq as “AVRO.” Read more.
• Magenta Therapeutics, a Cambridge, Mass.-based focused on bone marrow transplants, plans to raise $100 million in an IPO of 6.7 million shares priced at $15, the midpoint of its $14 to $16 range. J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs, and Cowen are underwriters. The firm has yet to post a revenue. Third Rock Ventures (28.9%), Atlas Venture (17.5%), and GV (12%) back the firm. It plans to list on the Nasdaq as “MGTA.” Read more.
• i3 Verticals, a Nashville, Tenn.-based payments software firm, raised $86 million in an IPO of 6.7 million shares priced at $13, the high end of its range $13. The firm posted revenue of $293 million in the 12 months ending March. Front Street Equities, Harbert Management, and Capital Alignment Partners back the firm. Cowen, Raymond James, and KeyBanc are underwriters in the deal. It plans to list on the Nasdaq as “IIIV.” Read more.
• Xeris Pharmaceuticals, a Chicago-based Glucagon pen maker, raised $86 million in an upsized offering of 5.7 million shares priced at $15, the midpoint of its $14 to $16 range. 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.
• Kezar Life Sciences, a South San Francisco-based small molecule therapeutics maker for autoimmune diseases and cancer, raised $75 million in an upsized IPO of 5 million shares priced at $15, the midpoint of its $14 to $17 range. 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. The firm plans to list on the Nasdaq as “KZR.” Read more.
• Match Group Inc. (NASDAQ: MTCH) acquired Hinge, a New York City-based dating and relationship app. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. Hinge had raised approximately $20.6 million in venture funding from investors including Lowercase Capital, Brainchild Holdings, Slow Ventures, Shasta Ventures, Eniac Ventures, and Great Oaks Venture Capital. Read more at Fortune.
FIRMS + FUNDS
• Carlyle Group, a Washington DC-based investment firm, raised $6.5 billion for its Asia fund.
• Redpoint Ventures, a Menlo Park-based private equity and venture capital firm, raised $400 million for its seventh early-stage fund.
• Grey Rock Energy Partners, a Dallas, Texas-based private equity firm, raised $232.5 million, for its new fund.
• Jerusalem Venture Partners, an Israel-based venture capital firm, raised $168.4 million toward a $200 million eighth venture-capital fund.
• Catalyst Investors promoted Kapil Desai to vice president.