A FEW THINGS
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A CAFFEINATED BUY: The Coca-Cola Company is buying U.K.-based Costa Limited, a global coffee chain with almost 4,000 retail outlets, for a whopping $5.1 billion. Costa is the U.K.’s leading coffee chain and operates several hundred outlets in China. Why does this make sense for Coca-Cola? The coffee industry is growing at a 6% annual clip, said Coca-Cola president and CEO James Quincey, and “it’s more important than ever that Coca-Cola make a serious and significant investment in the category, because it’s the right thing to do to serve our consumers with more of the drinks they want.” Quincey added that Costa offered an attractive global supply chain. Read more.
SCOOTER WAR WINNERS: Santa Monica has given electric scooters the green light to operate in the city. Bird, Lime, Lyft and JUMP Bikes (owned by Uber) will be granted permits to operate both electric scooters and/or bikes in the city as part of its 16-month pilot program beginning September 17. The city will allow Bird and Lime to each manage 750 scooters, while Lyft and JUMP get 250 scooters and 500 bikes each.
This wasn’t an easy battle to win. Just two weeks ago, Lime and BIrd suddenly shuttered operations in the city of Santa Monica after officials recommended giving control of the shareable scooters in the city to two ride-sharing companies — Lyft and Jump (owned by Uber). Bird subsequently sent an email to local riders that read: “Giving complete control of sustainable transportation alternatives to two rideshare corporations is like giving Exxon and BP Oil a monopoly on solar power.”
Expect to see more city-by-city fights such as this one. Although it’s hard to match Uber & Lyft’s experience in aggressively setting up local operations around the country, it seems that they lost that fight in San Francisco. The city chose much-smaller players Skip and Scoot as its launch partners, effectively shunning the 800-pound scooter gorillas.
PEOPLE MOVES: Social Capital continues to bleed people. Mike Ghaffary, a partner at the firm, announced he’s leaving to focus on angel investing. Ghaffary’s departure follows the exodus of three partners in June. Will keep you posted as we learn more.
RECOMMENDED READ: If you read one thing today, let it be this story about Vinod Khosla’s unrelenting fight to keep private a piece of beach that abuts his property on the Pacific coast. The tech billionaire doesn’t even like the beach or spend any time there, but he is willing to keep litigating this for the rest of his life and has about $3 billion to spend on it.
The profile has details like this:
“When a company was trying to ‘screw’ the firm, Mr. Kaul brought up news articles about the beach at a meeting. ‘I said: ‘My boss is going to the Supreme Court for a beach he’s never gone to. We’re not posturing here. This guy’s not going to settle,’ Mr. Kaul said. “And then I just sat there.”
And tidbits like this:
“When somebody sends me a gift — I get a lot of gifts — I ask Ruthie to not say, ‘That was wonderful,’ he says. ‘If it wasn’t, I have her send a nice note back saying, ‘Thank you, that was very interesting.’”
• Makeblock, a China-based STEAM education solution provider, raised approximately $44 million in Series C funding. CICC ALPHA led the round, and was joined by investors including Yuexiu Industrial Investment Fund, GX Capital and Everest Capital.
• Zadara, a provider of enterprise cloud storage, raised $25 million in funding. IGP Capital led the round.
• SkyRyse, a Hayward, Calif.-based technology-enabled air mobility company, raised $25 million in seed and Series A funding. Venrock led the round, and was joined by investors including Eclipse, Stanford University, Industry Ventures, Trucks VC, Cantos, and Engage Ventures.
• Loot Crate, a Los Angeles-based subscription commerce platform for fans of entertainment and sports franchises, raised $23 million in funding. Atalaya Capital led the round.
• infinite io, a developer of a network-based storage controller, raised $10.3 million in Series B funding. Chris Galvin and David Galvin co-led the round, and were joined by investors including Chicago Ventures, John Anderson, Dougherty and Company, Equus Holdings, and PV Ventures.
• Flock Safety, an Atlanta-based neighborhood surveillance startup, raised $9.59 million in funding. The investors were not named.
• Metricly, a Reston, Va.-based cloud monitoring provider, raised $9 million in Series A funding. Rembrandt Venture Partners led the round.
• IngeniousIO, a Chicago-based company that manages construction projects, raised $4 million in funding. American Family Ventures led the round.
• Paravel, a New York-based luggage and accessories brand, raised $3.2 million in seed funding. 8VC and Fitz Gate Ventures co-led the round.
• Openland, a professional messenger for real estate, raised $2.25 million in funding. Investors include Gagarin Capital, Sinai Ventures, Soma Capital, Liquid 2 Ventures, Rainfall Ventures, Y Combinator, and Day One Ventures.
• Lambda, a blockchain infrastructure project, raised funding of an undisclosed amount. Investors include FBG Capital.
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Prism Spectrum Holdings LLC, which is backed by White Oak, acquired Abatement Industries Group Inc, a West Haven, Conn.-based asbestos abatement and selective demolition contractor. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Dot Family Holdings, the Tracy Family‘s investment office, acquired TAGG Logistics, a St. Louis, Mo.-based e-commerce fulfillment platform. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• LDC, a private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group, acquired FC Business Intelligence, a London-based B2B events and information business. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Lyft, the San Francisco-based ride-hailing app, has reportedly hired an advisor for a 2019 IPO, Bloomberg reports. The firm hired Class V Group. Read more.
• Grindr, a dating app geared toward gay and bisexual men, is expected to IPO outside of China. Kunlun Group backs the firm. Read more.
• Arvinas, a New Haven, Conn.-based maker of protein therapies for metastatic cancer, filed for an $100 million IPO. The firm posted revenue of $7.6 million in 2017 and loss of $28.6 million. Canaan Partners (18.5% pre-offering) and 5AM Partners (18.5%) back the firm. Goldman Sachs, Citi, and Piper Jaffray are underwriters. It plans to list on the Nasdaq as “ARVN.” Read more.
• Wilshire Phoenix Capital named Garrette Furo as partner and chief investment officer.