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Term Sheet — Thursday, July 27

July 27, 2017, 1:50 PM UTC


Good morning, Term Sheet readers. This is Polina Marinova again, filling in for Erin. Send your feedback to, or find me on Twitter @polina_marinova.

Here are a few notes on the news:

A TALE OF TWO COMPANIES: Early this morning, Twitter reported its second-quarter earnings. Before the report dropped, analysts were cautiously optimistic. Many expected to see quarter-over-quarter monthly user growth. Perhaps Twitter was no longer “knocking on death’s door.” And then the actual results came in. They weren’t...great. Twitter struggled to add new users in Q2, and its monthly users stayed flat at 328 million. Cue the MySpace comparisons.

Meanwhile, over at Facebook things are just fine. The tech giant’s quarterly revenue rose 45% to $9.3 billion from last year’s $6.4 billion. The reason? Video ads. Of the $9.16 billion the company made in advertising revenue last quarter, 87% came from mobile.

Remember when Facebook warned that its ad growth rate could come down “meaningfully" this year because it’s running out of new places to show ads in users’ newsfeeds? Yeah, that hasn’t happened yet. Read more here.

NOT SLACKING: Messaging company Slack is raising $250 million at a $5 billion valuation, according to Bloomberg. Accel and SoftBank are leading the round. If you’ve been following along, SoftBank has aggressively invested in a number of startups since launching its $93 billion Vision Fund back in May. (Here’s a helpful article: “A running list of every company backed by the $93B SoftBank Vision Fund.”)

This is a significant increase from Slack’s previous $3.8 billion valuation, but still a long way away from the rumored $9 billion it was expected to fetch in a possible sale. Read more here.

WORKING REMOTELY: SoftBank strikes again. Co-working company WeWork raised $500 million from SoftBank and Hony Capital to set up a Chinese unit. In other words, the startup is using the funds to grow rapidly overseas.

It’ll open locations in at least five more large Chinese cities (it’s already in Beijing and Shanghai).

Why do this? CEO Adam Neumann says having separate local entities in various countries allows WeWork to take some of those units public while the others can remain under the parent company. It is targeting more than 10 properties in Greater China by the end of the year. Read more.


A Bitcoin site got fined $110 million for money laundering.

Donald Trump donated $100,000 of his salary to fund a STEM-focused camp.

Why Nokia’s profits are surging thanks to Apple.

Travis Kalanick hired an Obama administration prosecutor ahead of his Waymo deposition.

The Mark Zuckerberg-Elon Musk AI saga continues.


Inside the luxury arms race. Martin Shkreli’s odd case is wrapping up. WhatsApp hits 1 billion daily users. Shell prepares for ‘lower forever’ oil prices. Meg Whitman steps down from HP’s board.


Liulishuo, a China-based language learning company, raised approximately $100 million in Series C funding. China Media Capital and Wu Capital led the round, and were joined by investors including Trustbridge Partners, IDG Capital, GGV Capital, Cherubic Ventures, and Hearst Ventures.

Within, a Los Angeles-based virtual reality films company, raised $40 million in Series B funding. Temasek and Emerson Collective co-led the round, and were joined by WPP, MACRO Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, 21st Century Fox and Raine Ventures.

Callsign, a London-based adaptive authentication platform, raised $35 million in Series A funding. Accel and PTB Ventures led the round, and were joined by investors including Allegis Capital and David DeWalt’s NightDragon Security.

Big Switch Networks, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based data center networking technologies provider, raised $30.7 million in new funding. Investors include Dell Technologies Capital, Silverlake Waterman, Index Ventures, Morgenthaler Ventures, MSD Capital, Redpoint Ventures, Khosla Ventures, and Intel Capital., an India-based aggregator for hotel rooms, raised $25 million in Series B funding. Goldman Sachs led the round, and was joined by Accel Partners.

IonQ, a College Park, Md.-based developer of quantum computing for commercial applications, raised $20 million in Series B funding. New Enterprise Associates and GV led the round.

Rebagg, a New York City-based reseller of used luxury goods, raised $15.5 million in Series B funding. Novator and General Catalyst led the round, and were joined by FJ Labs, Crosslink Capital, Big Sur Ventures-Necotium, Kloof Capital, and U-Start.

6 River Systems, a Waltham, Mass.-based provider of fulfillment automation for e-commerce operations, raised $15 million in funding. Norwest Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by investors including Eclipse Ventures.

SkySafe, a San Diego-based drone startup, raised $11.5 million in Series A funding. Andreessen Horowitz led the round.

GearLaunch, a San Francisco-based platform provider for E2E commerce, raised $4.8 million in Series A funding. Hunt Technology Ventures led the round.

GreenMantra Technologies, a Canada-based waxes and specialty chemicals manufacturer, raised up to $3 million in funding from Closed Loop.

Cool Cousin, a London-based travel app, raised $2 million in seed funding round, according to TechCrunch. Elevator Fund led the round. Read more.

BrandTotal, an Israel-based provider of “dark marketing” data, raised $2 million in seed funding. Glilot Capital Partners led the round, and was joined by KDC Media Fund and Dick Clark Productions.

Brolly, a U.K.-based ‘insurtech’ startup, raised £1 million ($1.3 million) in seed funding, according to TechCrunch. Valar Ventures and Pi Labs co-led the round, and were joined by Entrepreneur First. Read more.


Complexa, a Pittsburgh-based clinical stage biopharmaceutical company, raised $62 million in Series C funding. New Enterprise Associates and Pfizer Venture Investments led the round, and were joined by investors including Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners and HBM Healthcare Investments.

Cyrus Biotechnology, a Seattle-based biotechnology software firm, raised $8 million in total Series A funding. Trinity Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including OrbiMed Advisors, SpringRock Ventures, and W Fund.


The Abraaj Group acquired a minority stake in Netlog Lojistik Hizmetleri AS, a Tukey-based logistics services company. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

Compeat, which is backed by Serent Capital, will acquire Ctuit, a Novato, Calif.-based provider of restaurant management software. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

Comark LLC, a portfolio company of JMC Capital Partners, acquired Data Ltd, a Florida and Taiwan-based producer of rugged mobile computing solutions. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

Parthenon Capital Partners made an investment of an undisclosed amount in Hanson McClain Advisors, a Sacramento, Calif.-based investment financial adviser.

Daiwa Securities Group Inc. agreed to acquire Sagent Advisors, a New York-based investment banking firm, and Signal Hill, a Baltimore-based technology-focused investment bank. The companies will combine operations to form a new North American-focused M&A advisory firm called DCS Advisory. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.


Mitel acquired ShoreTel (Nasdaq:SHORE), a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based business communication solutions provider, for $430 million, according to TechCrunch. Read more.

Medium acquired Talkshow Industries, a Berkeley, Calif.-based defunct texting app developer, according to TechCrunch. Talkshow CEO Michael Sippey will become Medium’s head of product. Read more.


Redfin, a Seattle-based real estate brokerage company, set its IPO terms. The company plans to sell 9.2 million units priced between $12 and $14 a share, and would raise $120 million if it priced at the midpoint of its range. Backers include Madrona Ventures (11.4%), Greylock Funds (12.4%) Draper Fisher Jurvetson (10.2%), Tiger Global (10.5%), Vulcan Capital (10%), and T. Rowe Price (7.1%). Goldman Sachs and Allen & Company served as lead underwriters on the deal. Redfin plans to trade on the NASDAQ under the ticker symbol RDFN.

Industrea Acquisition, a blank check company formed by the private equity firm Argand Partners to acquire an industrial business, raised $200 million by offering 20 million units priced at $10 per share. Industrea Acquisition plans to list on the Nasdaq under the symbol INDUU. FBR Capital Markets and B. Riley & Co. served as lead underwriters on the deal.

Sienna Biopharmaceuticals, a Westlake Village, Ca.-based clinical-stage biotech company developing medical dermatology products, raised $65 million by offering 4.3 million units at $15 a share, the midpoint of its projected range. Shareholders include ARCH Venture Partners (23.4%), Partner Fund Management(9.5%), and FMR(6.6%). The company plans to list on the Nasdaq, and trade under the ticker symbol SNNA. J.P. Morgan, Cowen, and BMO Capital Markets served as the bookrunners on the deal.

High Times Holding Co., the Los Angeles-based publisher of the marijuana magazine High Times, plans to IPO this fall, according to Reuters. Oreva Capital, the publisher’s current owner, plans to sell the company to Origo Acquisition Corp, a blank check company, for $250 million. Read more.


Stripe acquired Payable, a San Francisco-based web 1099 tax and contractor payments service provider. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. Payable had raised approximately $2 million in venture funding from investors including General Catalyst, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Sherpa Capital, Rothenberg Ventures, and Freestyle Capital.  Read more.

River Associates Investments acquired Double E Company, a West Bridgewater, Mass.-based maker of highly-engineered components for web converting applications, from Incline Equity Partners. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.


Deutsche Asset Management, a Germany-based infrastructure asset manager, raised $1.8 billion euros ($2.1 billion) for its second Pan-European infrastructure fund.

Yellow Wood Partners, a Boston-based private equity firm, raised $370 million for Yellow Wood Capital Partners II LP.

Nashville Capital Network, a Nashville, Tenn.-based partnership of professional investors, raised $34 million for its new NCN Partners Fund, LP.


Laszlo Korsos joined Citadel as a managing director and chief data officer. Previously, he was at Uber. Read more at Fortune.

Citi Private Bank appointed David Bailin as the Global Head of Investments.


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Polina Marinova produces Term Sheet, and Lucinda Shen compiles the IPO news. Send deal announcements to Polina here and IPO news to Lucinda here.