Good morning, Term Sheet readers.
HOUSEKEEPING: I’ll be out of the office for the rest of the week, so please send all Term Sheet deals to my colleague Jen Wieczner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UBER IPO: Uber received proposals from Wall Street banks valuing the ride-hailing tech behemoth at as much as $120 billion in an IPO scheduled to take place sometime next year, according to The Wall Street Journal. Here’s some eyebrow-raising context: That $120 billion figure is more than General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV are worth combined.
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has been vocal about plans to take Uber public in 2019, saying that the company is in a “good position” in terms of its profitability, excluding certain expenses, and margins. According to documents the WSJ obtained, Uber indicated it won’t be profitable for at least three years.
At Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech Conference in July, Khosrowshahi said he doesn’t think Uber needs to be profitable before going public, but that there should be a very clear path to profitability.
“I don’t want to be dependent private, public, or any markets to fund the business expansion in front of us, so I look at cash before profits,” he said, referring to being cash-flow positive, a popular measure that indicates a company’s liquid assets are increasing, allowing it to settle debts and pay expenses. “But over a period of time, it is absolutely important for the business to be profitable.”
It’ll be interesting to see who will IPO first — Uber or its rival Lyft — as both companies look to launch a 2019 public offering. Either way, their listings will be among the biggest the technology sector has seen in years.
A RACE FOR INSTITUTIONAL $$$: Fidelity Investments is launching a new company for institutional clients that will trade and store cryptocurrency assets such as bitcoin and ethereum. The new company, named Fidelity Digital Asset Services, will not set up an exchange to trade cryptocurrency assets, but will connect with a number of other crypto exchanges to help its clients quickly find the best price.
Why? Because institutional money is crucial to the success of the crypto market. Fidelity, which oversees more than $7.2 trillion in client assets, is hoping the new initiative will help it tap into what it sees as a sudden and recent interest in crypto among institutional investors such as hedge funds, family offices and market intermediaries.
The endowments of Yale University, Harvard University, Stanford University, Dartmouth College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of North Carolina have made investments into at least one cryptocurrency fund. And just yesterday, Coinbase veteran Adam White joined the newly-launched cryptocurrency venture Bakkt, which has deep ties to Wall Street’s institutional investing titans and it’s pitching itself as the venture with an inside track at bringing Bitcoin mutual funds and ETFs to America’s 401(k)s.
Institutional investors have reportedly replaced high-net-worth individuals as the biggest buyers of cryptocurrencies, which currently have an aggregate $211 billion in market value. Many may see this development as a sign that the floodgates to greater inflows of institutional money into crypto are wide open, but we have yet to see whether this wave of institutional capital could reverse the prolonged crypto market slump.
EXCLUSIVES: We have two exclusive stories today from Fortune’s Most Powerful Women team:
… a funding round: A startup called Chief raised $3 million to launch a private network for women executives at the VP level and above. The network, for now based in New York, aims to keep women on track to the top instead of seeing them drop off before breaking the final glass ceiling. Read more.
… an acquisition: The period product startup Flex, which makes disposable menstrual discs, acquired the Kickstarter company Keela Cup, which makes a menstrual cup that has a tampon-like string to make it easier to use. Flex also announced that it’s raised $3.5 million this year from investors including BOW Capital, Quest Venture Partners, and Y Combinator. Read more.
• TravelPerk, a Spain-based developer of a web-based tool for business travel bookings and management, raised $44 million in Series C funding. Investors include Kinnevik, Yuri Milner and Tom Stafford.
• Garrison, a U.K.-based provider of ultra-secure web browsing technology, raised $30 million in funding. Dawn Capital led the round.
• Thread, a U.K.-based personalised menswear styling and ecommerce service, raised $22 million in Series B funding. Investors include Balderton Capital, Beringea, Forward Partners, and H&M group’s investment arm H&M CO:LAB.
• Thirty Madison, the New York-based parent company of hair loss treatment brand Keeps, raised $15.25 million in Series A funding. Maveron and Northzone co-led the round, and were joined by investors including Greycroft, Steadfast Venture Capital, First Round, ERA, HillCour and Two River.
• Adhara, a real time, multi-currency global liquidity management and international payments platform, raised $15 million in funding from ConsenSys.
• Springbot, a data-driven marketing platform for eCommerce retailers, raised $15 million in funding. North Atlantic Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including TechOperators, TTV Capital, Harbert Growth Partners, TechSquare Labs, Forte Ventures and Silicon Valley Bank.
• Yottaa Inc, a Boston-based SaaS platform for accelerating ecommerce, raised $11 million in funding. DN Capital led the round.
• Hubb, a developer of event management technology, raised a $6.3 million in Series B funding. Five Elms Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including Oregon Venture Fund and Elevate Capital.
• PERQ, an Indianapolis-based provider of online consumer engagement and shopping behavior solutions, raised $4 million in funding. Elevate Ventures led the round.
• Deep Lens Inc, a digital pathology startup, raised $3.2 million in seed funding. Sierra Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including Rev1 Ventures and Tamarind Hill Fund.
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Hearthside Food Solutions, which is backed by Partners Group and Charlesbank Capital Partners, agreed to acquire Greencore USA, a Danvers, Mass.-based provider of refrigerated, fresh-made sandwiches, entrees, and salad kits. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• SK Capital Partners acquired SI Group, a developer and manufacturer of performance additives and intermediates. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Centre Partners made an investment in Guy & O’Neill, Inc, a manufacturer and developer of household cleaning and personal care products. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Citra Health Solutions, a portfolio company of Great Point Partners, acquired DataWing Software LLC, a Portland, Ore.-based provider of technology products. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Auxo Investment Partners made an investment in Prestige Stamping Inc, a Michigan-based maker of stampings for the fastener industry. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• IQ Brands, a portfolio company of Huron Capital, acquired Wheel House Designs, a Morrisville, Vermont-based maker of of novelty socks to specialty stores and boutiques. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Group of Butchers, which is backed by Equistone Partners Europe, acquired Hartmann GmbH, a Germany-based producer of meatballs and mince-based products. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Michigan Capital Advisors made an investment in Ventech, LLC. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Jet Support Services, Inc acquired assets of S3 Aero Specialists, a provider of business aviation consulting services. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Temasek agreed to acquire Sygnia, a cyber technology and services company providing consulting and incident response support for organizations worldwide. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Transom Capital Group acquired Gene Juarez Salons & Spas, a Seattle-based fashion and beauty brand, from Evergreen Pacific Partners. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
FIRMS + FUNDS
• Amit Tiwari joined Tiger Iron Capital as a managing partner.