Good morning, Term Sheet readers.
HOUSEKEEPING: I will be away for the majority of next week because I’m headed to Greece to run the “original marathon” from the city of Marathon to Athens. 💀 I’m accepting any & all moral support and words of wisdom here. In the meantime, please send deals and other Term Sheet-related info to my colleague Lucinda Shen at email@example.com.
NEW FUND: Steve Case’s investment firm Revolution will raise a new early-stage venture fund with a $200 million target, according to an SEC filing. The firm is known to invest in startups outside of tech hubs like Silicon Valley, New York, and Boston.
Revolution will continue making venture investments in U.S. regions that VCs often overlook while also moving into real estate investing. In July, the firm hired a pair of real estate investors to develop properties for startups in some of the lower-income areas eligible for the new capital gains exemption.
In an interview last year, Case told Term Sheet that many investors “still have blinders on.” He added, “There are still investors who believe all the great entrepreneurs are in Silicon Valley and that all breakthrough companies are going to be based there. The reality is that’s not true.”
I’m willing to bet this reality will look significantly different in the next five years as we see an influx of capital from wealthy individuals eager for a chance to erase their tax obligations. Look to areas like Detroit, Los Angeles, and Atlanta for higher home prices, job creation, and business launches in the next several years.
NEW FUNDING: Alibaba Group’s food ordering and delivery unit Ele.me has raised $4 billion in fresh funding at a valuation of up to $30 billion, according to Reuters. More than $3 billion of the capital came from Alibaba itself and SoftBank’s Vision Fund. Primavera Capital Group and Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial also participated.
This is an important development as the capital will serve as ammunition in the intense battle with main competitor Meituan Dianping for dominance of China’s online-to-offline market.
The funding news comes months after Alibaba bought full control of Ele.me in an all-cash $9.5 billion deal. Ele.me’s CEO Zhang Xuhao spoke on a panel at Fortune’s 2017 Global Forum in Guangzhou, China.
At the time, Xuhao said, “If you’re a winner in China, that means you can be a winner in the world.” (China is home to 730 million Internet users, it accounts for 40% of global retail e-commerce, and its mobile payment market is a whopping 11 times the size of the U.S. market.)
Ele.me holds 55% of market share in the country, while its rival Meituan comes in second with 41%. Here’s where it gets complicated: Alibaba was one of the original backers of Meituan before offloading its assets to focus on Ele.me. Now, SoftBank is also involved, and it has investments in UberEATS, DoorDash, and most recently Zume.
“As you expand in China, relationships become very complicated,” Xuhao said at the forum. “Sometimes [our rivals] are our friends, and sometimes they are our enemies. The competition is so fierce.”
As Ele.me expands internationally and enters more cities, the competition will become even more fierce and the relationships more murky.
• Sundar Pichai of Google: ‘Technology Doesn’t Solve Humanity’s Problems:’ Growing up in India, he slept on the floor of a house without a refrigerator. Today, the chief executive is steering Google through the most turbulent period in its history. Read more.
• Google in China: When ‘Don’t Be Evil’ Met the Great Firewall: CEO Sundar Pichai thinks the search engine should be willing to work with Chinese censors. Will employees go along with the plan? Read more.
• A Cryptocurrency Millionaire Wants to Build a Utopia in Nevada: Jeffrey Burns became a millionaire in the cryptocurrency boom, and he’s using his money to build a blockchain utopia across 67,000 acres in Reno, Nevada. So far, Burns has spent $300 million to build an experimental community where everyone’s ownership rights & voting powers will be recorded in a digital wallet. His ambitious plans involve a town, an e-gaming arena, underground vaults and lots of blockchain. Read more.
THE LATEST FROM FORTUNE...
• Hellobike, a China-based bike-share company, is reportedly in talks to raise more than $400 million in funding. SoftBank led the round, and was joined by investors including Primavera Capital. Read more.
• Turvo, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based real-time collaborative logistics platform, raised $60 million in Series B funding. Mubadala Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including G2VP and Next47.
• Samanage, a Cary, N.C.-based provider of employee service success solutions, raised $30 million in funding from Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital.
• Rael, a women’s health company, raised $17.5 million in Series A funding. Mirae Asset and GS Retail Fund led the round, and were joined by investors including Softbank Ventures Korea and BAM Ventures.
• KKday, a Taiwan-based travel platform, raised $10.5 million in funding. H.I.S.led the round, and was joined by investors including MindWorks Ventures.
• Datacoral, a San Francisco-based provider of a secure and end-to-end data infrastructure as a service inside the cloud, raised $10 million in Series A funding. Madrona Venture Group led the round, and was joined by investors including Social Capital.
• Quantela, a San Francisco-based digital technology solutions company focused on artificial intelligence and IoT, raised $10 million in funding. The investor was Digital Alpha.
• Opternative, a Chicago-based eye healthcare technology company, raised $9 million in funding. Trust Ventures and Pritzker Group Venture Capital led the round, and were joined by investors including Jump Capital.
• Plus One Robotics Inc, a San Antonio, Texas-based 3-D vision and controls developer for robotic automation in the logistics and e-commerce markets, raised $8.3 million in Series A funding. Pritzker Group Venture Capital led the round.
• BigBox VR, a Seattle-based developer of online VR multiplayer games, raised $5 million in seed funding. Shasta Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including GSR Ventures and PSL Ventures.
• Analytical Flavor Systems, a New York-based developer of an artificial intelligence platform for the food and beverage producers, raised $4 million in Series A funding. Leawood Venture Capital and Global Brain led the round, and were joined by investors including Hyperplane Venture Capital, Bits X Bites, and Cornes Technology.
• Dormify, a Rockville, Md.-based brand focused on dorm room and apartment décor, raised $3.45 million in Series A funding. AEO Inc. (NYSE: AEO) led the round.
• NueHealth, a Leawood, Kansas-based developer of specialty surgical hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers and hyper-specialty centers, raised funding of an undisclosed amount. Investors include Ares Management LP and BC Partners Credit.
• Mphasis acquired Stelligent Systems, a Reston, Va.-based technology services company specializing in DevOps automation on Amazon Web Services, for $25 million.
• Endred agreed to buy Corporate Spending Innovations, a Naples, Fla.-based provider of corporate payment solutions, in a deal valued at around $600 million.
• II-VI Incorporated agreed to acquire Finisar, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based maker of specialised laser scanners, in a cash and stock deal with an equity value of $3.2 billion, according to The Financial Times. Read more.
• TFI TAB Food Investments, an Istanbul, Turkey-based franchisee for quick serve restaurants including Burger King in the country, withdrew plans to raise $220 million in an offering 22 million ADSs at $6 to $11 apiece. In 2016, the company posted revenue of 2.9 billion lira($750 million) and loss of 253.9 million lira($26.6 million). Erhan Kurdoğlu backs the company. Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, Citi, J.P. Morgan, and Rabo Securities are joint bookrunners in the deal. The company plans to list on the Nasdaq as “QSRG.”
• Interloop, a socks supplier for Nike and Adidas, is planning to raise as much as 6.8 billion rupees ($51 million) in Pakistan’s largest IPO ever. Read more.
FIRMS + FUNDS
• Biomatics Capital Partners, a Seattle-based venture capital firm, raised $300 million for its second healthcare fund.
• National Grid formed a new venture arm called National Grid Partners with a $250 million fund to invest in growth-stage technology startups.
• Health Velocity Capital, a Brentwood, Tenn.-based venture capital firm, raised more than $185 million for Health Velocity Capital I and affiliated funds. (Disclosure: Health Velocity partner Marty Felsenthal is the brother of Edward Felsenthal, who is the editor-in-chief of TIME Magazine. TIME is a sister publication to Fortune.)
• Rockwood Capital promoted Andrew Blanchard and Niraj Shah to partners.