Good morning, Term Sheet readers.
**A reminder that I’ll be out for the rest of the week, so please send all Term Sheet deals to my colleague Jen Wieczner at firstname.lastname@example.org.**
THE PATH TO IPO: The ride-hailing wars are starting to look like a game of chess. When Uber makes a move, Lyft is ready to make its own, never letting its rival get too far ahead. Yesterday, it was reported that Uber had 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.
Hours later, it was revealed that Lyft has hired J.P. Morgan Chase to lead its initial public offering that’s also scheduled for 2019. Lyft’s valuation could top $15 billion in the public markets, and it will likely go public before Uber, according to CNBC.
As the two rivals go head to head next year, they’ll have to woo investors to own a piece of their business — but at what price? As Uber and Lyft race to a much-anticipated IPO, it’s important to keep in mind that neither business has turned a profit. We’ll see just how comfortable investors are owning a piece of a high-growth company that’s burning through heaps of cash.
MO’ MONEY: Yep, looks like mega-rounds are definitely here to stay. Six months after snagging $350 million in funding, Instacart just raised another $600 million at a $7.6 billion valuation to take on Amazon’s looming grocery delivery business. Here’s what’s interesting — Instacart CEO Apoorva Mehta described the funding as “entirely opportunistic” and said that the company hasn’t spent most of the money from its previous funding rounds. So $1.2 billion is just … sitting there? I assume Instacart is bulking up in case it needs to outspend the always-looming Amazon if a delivery battle suddenly goes down. Not a bad strategy, but a potentially costly one.
…SPEAKING OF AMAZON, the Amazon Alexa Fund is making a “significant” investment in hospitality management platform SevenRooms in order to bring in-service, voice-enabled tech to restaurants for the first time. With Amazon’s Alexa voice recognition technology, the company plans to program Alexa skills so that restaurant managers can employ voice commands for in-service use, such as looking up diner information about allergies or dietary preferences. Although Amazon did not disclose the investment amount, the Alexa Fund is a $100 million pool of cash that will be distributed to companies to fuel voice technology innovation. (I wrote an in-depth profile of SevenRooms back in 2016 when the company had raised $6.2 million in total funding. You can read it here.)
THE LATEST FROM FORTUNE...
• Walmart Buys Bare Necessities, the Latest in a String of Apparel Acquisitions (by Grace Donnelly)
Civil, a Blockchain-Media Startup, Cancels Its ICO, Offering a Full Refund to Those Who Bought Tokens (by Kevin Kelleher)
• Can—Or Should—Everyday Businesses Develop Their Own Artificial Intelligence? (by Aric Jenkins)
• Here’s Why You Can Feel Optimistic About The Future Of Healthcare (by Erika Fry)
• Devoted Health, a Waltham, Mass.-based provider of a Medicare Advantage plan dedicated to delivering health care to Medicare beneficiaries, raised $300 million in Series B funding. Andreessen Horowitz led the round, and was joined by investors including Premji Invest and Uprising.
• Lucidchart, a South Jordan, Utah-based provider of collaborative diagramming software in the cloud, raised $72 million in funding. Meritech Capital, ICONIQ Capital, and Spectrum Equity led the round.
• Syncron, a Sweden-based company that offers a SaaS to help equipment and other product manufacturers move to a service model, raised $67 million in funding at a post-money valuation of $175 million. Summit Partners led the round.
• Life360, a San Francisco-based operator of a location-sharing and driving safety app, raised $28 million in Series D funding. Investors include Greencape Capital and Regal Funds Management.
• Crux Informatics, a San Francisco-based data supply and management firm, raised $20 million in Series B funding. Investors include Two Sigma, Goldman Sachs’ Principal Strategic Investment Group and Citi.
• Oh My Green, a San Mateo, Calif.-based concierge-style provider of healthy food and wellness services for corporations, raised $20 million in seed funding. Investors include Y Combinator, Initialized Capital, PowerPlant Ventures, Backed VC, ZhenFund, Talis Capital and Stanford-StartX Fund.
• Paperspace, a New York-based cloud AI company, raised $13 million in Series A funding. Investors include Battery Ventures, SineWave Ventures, Intel Capital, Sorenson Ventures and Initialized Capital.
• Hero, a healthcare startup, raised $12 million in Series A funding. Brainchild Holdings led the round, and was joined by investors including Naval Ravikant, Box Group, Third Kind Venture Capital and Refactor Capital.
• ICON, an Austin, Texas-based construction technology company raised $9 million in seed funding. Oakhouse Partners led the round, and was joined by investors including D.R. Horton, Emaar, Capital Factory, CAZ Investments, Cielo Property Group, Engage Ventures, MicroVentures, Saturn Five, Shadow Ventures, Trust Ventures, Verbena Road Holdings and Vulcan Capital.
• Vayavision, an Israel-based provider of raw data fusion and perception systems for self-driving vehicles, raised $8 million in seed funding. Viola Ventures, Mizmaa Ventures and OurCrowd led the round.
• NowRx, a Mountain View, Calif.-based on-demand pharmacy, raised $7 million in Series A funding from SeedInvest.com.
• ConveyIQ, a New York City-based provider of enterprise talent communication and recruiting automation software, raised $5.5 million in funding. SC Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including 3TS Capital Partners and StarVest Partners.
• Fourpost, a New York-based startup that curates retail and dining spaces inside malls, raised $5 million in seed funding. Social Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including Susa Ventures, Collaborative Ventures, Blumberg Capital, Ludlow Ventures, Supernode Ventures, T5 Capital, Accelerator Ventures and Hersz Capital.
• Kogniz, a San Francisco-based developer of products that use computer vision and AI to enhance secruity, raised $4 million in seed funding. The Entrepreneurs’ Fund led the round, and was joined by investors including Tom Chavez and Auren Hoffman.
• FRST, a provider of data for professional traders of digital assets, raised $3.4 million in funding. CMT Digital and Vestigo Ventures led the round, and were joined by investors including Akuna Capital, Premier Asset Management and Oak Ridge Investments.
• Atomic Capital, a New York-based startup that makes technology for issuing blockchain-based security tokens, raised $3.4 million. Investors include LedgerZ Capital, Eastmore Group and Baroda Ventures.
• Applied, a London-based recruitment software startup, raised $2 million, according to TechCrunch. Blackbird Ventures led the round, and was joined by Skip Capital, Angel Academe, Giant Leap and Impact Generation Partners. Read more.
• Journal, a machine learning and natural language processing-powered platform designed to search across web services and tools, raised $1.5 million in seed funding. Social Capital led the round.
• Applied Systems, a provider of cloud-based software for the insurance industry, raised funding of an undisclosed amount from CapitalG.
• Pr3vent, a Palo Alto, Calif-based healthcare technology company, raised funding of an an undisclosed amount from Skyview Ventures.
HEALTH AND LIFE SCIENCES DEALS
• Velicept Therapeutics, a Malvern, Penn.-based clinical stage pharmaceutical company focused on treating urological and gastrointestinal disorders, raised $15 million in funding. Samsara BioCapital led the round.
• Alvéole, a Paris-based company that makes tools for creating in vitro cell environments in research labs, raised 1 million euros ($1.2 million) in funding.
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Outward Hound, a portfolio company of J.W. Childs Associates L.P., acquired Planet Dog, a Portland, Maine-based maker of dog toys. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Compliance Solutions Strategies, which is backed by CIP Capital, acquired TradeChannel, a Stockholm-based provider of post-trade regulatory reporting, data and systems integration software solutions to the Nordic financial community.
• Roquette, a French developer of plant-based proteins, and Fortissimo Capital invested $4 million in Equinom, an Israel-based seed breeding company.
• HCS Capital invested $3 million in Jooycar, a Chile-based telematics platform focused on the insurance and fleet management space.
• Altas Partners has made a minority investment in Hub International Limited, a global insurance brokerage backed by Hellman & Friedman. The size of the investment was not disclosed, but values Hub at more than $10 billion.
• Valtech, a London-based enterprise IT company, has reportedly postponed its $100 million IPO, citring market conditions. The firm planned to list on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “VTEC.” Read more.
• Twist Bioscience, a synthetic gene manufacturer, plans to raise $75 million in an offering of 5 million shares priced between $14 and $16. Ever Glory Limited (14.9%), ARCH Venture Partners (14.8%) and Illumina (7.7%) back the firm. J.P. Morgan, Cowen, Allen & Company and Baird are underwriters. The company plans to list on the Nasdaq under the symbol “TWST.” Read more.
• Osmotica Pharmaceuticals, a Bridgewater, N.J.-based neurology drugmaker, has revised the terms of its IPO. It now plans to raise $58 million in an offering of 8.3 million shares at $7. It previously planned to raise $125 million with shares priced from $14 to $16. Avista Capital Partners (45.4%) backs the firm. Jefferies, Barclays, RBC Capital Markets and Wells Fargo Securities are underwriters. The company plans to list on the Nasdaq under the symbol “OSMT.” Read more.
• Gamida Cell, an Israel-based biotech company, plans to raise $50 million in an offering of 3.6 million shares priced between $13 and $15. Novartis Pharma (21.6%) backs the firm. BMO Capital Markets, RBC Capital Markets, Needham & Company and Oppenheimer & Co. are underwriters. The company plans to list on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “GMDA.” Read more.
• Blackstone Real Estate Partners acquired The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, the oceanfront hotel in Maui, Hawaii. The sellers were Ares Management, SMW Hospitality LLC, and Trinity Real Estate. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Pretium Partners agreed to acquire Selene, the parent company of Selene Finance LP, a residential mortgage servicing company. The sellers were Oaktree Capital Management LP and Ranieri Partners LLC. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Samsung Electronics Co. acquired Zhilabs, a Barcelona-based network analytics startup backed by Bullnet Capital. Financial terms were not disclosed.
FIRMS + FUNDS
• GGV Capital, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based venture firm that invests in the U.S. and China, raised $1.88 billion for its new funds, GGV Capital VII and VII Plus; GGV Discovery II, and GGV Capital VII Entrepreneurs Fund.
• Corviglia Capital, a Luxembourg-based investment firm, is raising $500 million for a new fund specializing in late-stage fintech startups.
• Version One Ventures, a Vancouver, Canada-based VC firm that invests in early-stage technology companies, has raised $45 million for its third fund.
• Beth Pollack and Thomas Bennet have joined Littlejohn & Co. as vice presidents.