AN IPO FREEZE
Good morning, Term Sheet readers.
Looks like the government shutdown is having an effect on the IPO market.
We were supposed to kick off 2019 with a wave of IPOs, including some of the biggest tech offerings we’ve seen in years. Well, we’re not off to great start.
According to a WSJ report, the partial closure of the Securities and Exchange Commission is forcing companies that were planning to list shares in January to sit on the sidelines for now. The companies affected include biotechnology firms Gossamer Bio Inc., Alector Inc. and Blackstone Group LP’s Alight Solutions LLC.
As part of the shutdown, the SEC has furloughed thousands of employees and stopped reviewing and approving all new and pending corporate registration statements. The WSJ reports that dozens of SEC accountants and lawyers who review IPO paperwork are prohibited from reading email or calling deal lawyers seeking to discuss complex disclosure questions.
Don’t worry though, tech startups like Uber and Lyft that are planning IPOs in 2019 shouldn’t be affected — they can just wait out the shutdown. It’s the biotech companies that are most worried as many go public early in the year in effort to raise capital for drug development.
The bigger question here is what happens when the government re-opens? Depending on how long the shutdown lasts, the backlog of requests could be crippling and the effects far-reaching. To echo Alan Denenberg’s question in the WSJ: “How does the SEC unbury itself and in what order?”
BIG MONEY: Aurora, the self-driving startup, is raising more capital, according to a new report in Recode. The company is expected to rake in approximately $500 million in fresh funding in a round led by Sequoia Capital. The deal would value the company at more than $2 billion, which is a 4x increase to its most recent valuation. Aurora works with automakers to design and develop a package of sensors, software, and data services (ie: the “full stack”) needed to deploy fully autonomous vehicles. So far, it has partnered with manufacturers including Volkswagen, Hyundai and Byton with plans to integrate its technology in their cars.
But just how far are we from true adoption of autonomous vehicles? Well, pretty far. On Monday, a panel of experts at a Fortune dinner in Las Vegas Monday night discussed the evolution of transportation. Karen Francis, a participant on the panel who invests in and advises various mobility-focused companies, cautioned that the transformation of the automotive industry into a so-called mobility industry will not happen overnight. “It will be messy,” the alumnus of Ford and General Motors said.
Although the path to autonomous vehicle adoption will be slow, messy, and painful, the impending upheaval will be, she said, “one of the fundamental, structural societal changes in our lifetime.”
THIS JUST IN: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced that he and his wife of 25 years, MacKenzie, are divorcing. “We want to make people aware of a development in our lives. As our family and close friends know, after a long period of loving exploration and trial separation, we have decided to divorce and continue our shared lives as friends,” he said via Twitter.
CONFIDENCE: A friendly reminder that Term Sheet has teamed up with Semaphore on its 11th annual confidence survey of private equity and venture capital professionals. I encourage you all to take the survey here, and I’ll publish the results early next month.
• Onit Inc, a Houston, Texas-based provider of enterprise workflow solutions, raised $200 million in funding from K1 Investment Management.
• ClearMotion, a developer of automotive technologies to improve the quality of time in cars, raised $115 million in Series D funding. Franklin Templeton led the round, and was joined by investors including J.P. Morgan Asset Management, Microsoft, Bridgestone, Qualcomm, World Innovation Lab, NewView Capital and Eileses Capital.
• TaxJar, a Boston-based sales tax automation company for eCommerce businesses and developers, raised $60 million in funding, from Insight Venture Partners.
• RainFocus, a Lehi, Utah-based event marketing platform, raised $40 million in funding from JMI Equity.
• Managed by Q, a New York-based office management platform, raised an additional $25 million as part of its Series C funding. RRE and Google Ventures co-led the round, and were joined by investors including DivCo West and Oxford Properties.
• GAN Integrity, a New York City-based cloud based compliance management software, raised $15 million in Series B funding. Aquiline Technology Growth led the round, and was joined by investors including Edison Partners.
• GeoSpock, a U.K.-based extreme-scale spatial big data integration company, raised £10 million ($12.7 million) in funding. Investors include Cambridge Innovation Capital, Parkwalk Advisors, Global Brain, 31Ventures, and KDDI Supership.
• Bowery Valuation, a New York-based developer of cloud-based appraisal software, raised $12 million in Series A funding. Investors include Corigin Ventures, Camber Creek, Navitas Capital, Fika Ventures and Builders.
• Scape Technologies, a London-based provider of visual positioning services, raised $8 million in seed funding. Investors include LocalGlobe, Mosaic Ventures, Fly Ventures and Entrepreneur First.
• Yallacompare, a Dubai-based comparison site for financial products, raised $8 million in funding. Investors include STC Ventures, Wamda Capital and Argo Ventures.
• Flytrex, a Tel Aviv-based drone technology company, raised $7.5 million in Series B funding. Benhamou Global Ventures led the round.
• Cynerio, an Israel-based developer of a platform that enables healthcare providers to secure patient data, raised $7 million in funding. Investors include Accelmed, RDC, and MTIP.
• LendingFront, a small business lending software provider, raised $4 million in Series A funding. Information Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by investors including Newark Venture Partners, Revel Partners, Contour Venture Partners, Struck Capital, ValueStream Ventures and Las Olas VC.
• LineVision, Inc, a Boston-based developer of a transmission line monitoring system for utilities, raised $2 million in Series A funding. Clean Energy Ventures led the round.
• Totle, a company aggregating fragmented decentralized trading and exchange ecosystems, raised $1 million in funding. Investors include Arrington XRP, NEO Global Capital, and Goren Helm Ventures.
HEALTH AND LIFE SCIENCES DEALS
• Apollomics Inc, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based biopharmaceutical company focused on oncology combination therapies, raised $100 million in Series B funding. CMB International led the round, and was joined by investors including OrbiMed Asia.
• GreenLight Biosciences Inc, a Boston-based developer of RNA-based solutions for agriculture and pharmaceutical applications, raised $50 million in funding. S2G Ventures, Baird Capital and Blue I/O led the round.
• Stelexis Therapeutics, a New York-based cancer therapeutics firm, raised $43 million in Series A funding. Investors include Deerfield.
• Keros Therapeutics, a Lexington, Mass.-based is focused on developing treatments for neuromuscular diseases, raised $23 million in Series B funding. Investors include Pontifax, Arkin Bio Ventures, Partners Innovation Fund, Medison Pharma and Global Health Sciences Fund.
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Blackstone acquired a minority stake in Annexus, a provider of annuities and insurance-based retirement products. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Hastings Equity Partners made an investment in A&L Industrial Services, a Deer Park, Texas-based provider of scaffolding, insulation and industrial coating services to refineries, petrochemical plants and liquified natural gas facilities across the Gulf Coast. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Nonantum Capital recapitalized RoadOne, a Randolph, Mass.-based intermodal transportation and related logistics company. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Improving, a portfolio company of Trinity Hunt Partners, acquired Innovative Architects, an Atlanta-based provider of application development and engineering services and solutions. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Salt Creek Capital acquired the lawn and snow-related assets of Beauchamp Lawn & Snow Service, a Brighton, Mich.-based provider of commercial grounds maintenance services and residential landscaping services. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Shorehill Capital acquired a majority of Functional Devices, a Sharpsville, Ind.-based manufacturer of relays, power supplies, transformers, sensors, enclosures and wireless devices. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Exeter Finance, an Irving Texas-based subprime auto lender, filed for an IPO of up to $100 million. Blackstone backs the firm. Citi and Wells Fargo Securities are underwriters. It plans to list on the NYSE as “XTF.” Read more.
• Alibaba Group acquired data Artisans, a Berlin-based provider of enterprise stream processing, for €90 million ($103 million), according to media reports. data Artisans had raised approximately €6.5 million from investors including Intel Capital and btov Partners. Read more.
• H.I.G. Capital acquired Lipari Foods, a Warren, Mich.-based provider of perimeter-of-the-store, specialty and branded food products, from Sterling Investment Partners. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Transom Capital Group acquired SemiTorr Group, an Oregon-based provider of high purity products, from Riverlake Partners. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
FIRMS + FUNDS
• Michael Cohn joined GPB Capital Holdings as a managing director and chief compliance officer.
• CAN Capital appointed Edward J. Siciliano as chief executive officer.
• Principle Capital named Raymond Lau as a vice president.
• Oak HC/FT promoted Vignesh Chandramouli to principal.
• EnCap Flatrock Midstream promoted Sam Pitts to managing partner.