Skip to Content

Term Sheet — Thursday, September 28


Good morning, Term Sheet readers!

I’m interviewing Casper CEO Philip Krim at the TAP Conference this morning. If you’re attending, say hi! If you’re not, I’ll share a recap of our conversation here tomorrow.

BITCOIN SOUND OFF: The Wolf of Wall Street has spoken. Jordan Belfort, the former stockbroker who pled guilty to fraud, called Bitcoin, well, a fraud in an interview with The Street yesterday. Belfort added, “The biggest problem I see with Bitcoin — and why I would never buy it — is that they can steal them from you. They can hack into their phone. I know people who have lost all their money like that.”

Here’s what others on Wall Street are saying about Bitcoin:

— JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon also called it a fraud: “It’s worse than tulip bulbs. It won’t end well. Someone is going to get killed. Currencies have legal support. It will blow up.”

— Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman said it was more than just a fad: “I haven’t invested in it. I’ve talked to a lot of people who have. It’s obviously highly speculative but it’s not something that’s inherently bad. It’s a natural consequence of the whole blockchain technology.”

— Fidelity CEO Abigail Johnson has a mining rig in her office: “I’m a believer. I’m one of the few standing before you today from a large financial services company that has not given up on digital currencies. We set up a small bitcoin and ethereum mining operation…that miraculously now is actually making a lot of money.”

DEAL TALKS: The Uber saga continues. As you know, Softbank, General Atlantic and Dragoneer Investment Group are in active talks with Uber about a potential $1 billion investment at a $69 billion valuation, while buying as much as $9 billion in shares from existing investors.

Yesterday, Bloomberg reported that SoftBank Group agreed to block any attempts to make Travis Kalanick CEO or chairman at the company. Benchmark is so insistent on making sure Kalanick doesn’t return to power, the venture capital firm sought a guarantee from SoftBank in writing. In other words, Benchmark would be willing to sell off some of its shares — but only under those conditions. As Bloomberg noted, this could be the largest private stock sale ever … or it could be a gigantic waste of time if Uber can’t get a handle on its internal politics. We can only guess what happens next.

HOT TAKES: Now that Twitter is enabling users to tweet up to 280 characters, I’m curious — who’s the most interesting dealmaker you follow on Twitter and why?


• Airbnb might become an app you use every day (by Lucinda Shen)

• Amazon has a stunning number of people working on Alexa (by Jonathan Vanian)

• 5 moves Walmart is making to compete with Amazon and Target (by Andrew Nusca)

• Uber is killing off its car-leasing business (by Kirsten Korosec)

• How Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin wants to revolutionize the ICO (by Jen Wieczner)


San Francisco sues Equifax. Here’s where the most millionaires are being minted. The SEC hack provides warning for other regulators. The middlemen of the diamond world are being wiped out.


Royole Corp, a China and California-based maker of human machine interface technologies and products, raised $800 million in Series D funding. This figure includes $240 million in equity financing from Warmsun Holding Group, Hanfor Capital, SPD Bank, Zhonghai Shengrong Capital, and TanShi Capital; and $560 million in debt financing from Bank of China, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China CITIC Bank, Agricultural Bank of China, and Ping An Bank.

New Spring Holdings, NewSpring’s buyout strategy, raised $75 million in Series B funding. 17Capital led the round.

LogTrust, a Madrid, Spain-based big data analytics company, raised $35 million in Series B financing. Insight Venture Partners led the round with participation from Kibo Ventures.

​Onfido, an identity ​verification ​provider, raised ​$30 million ​in ​funding. Crane ​Venture ​Partners led the round, and was joined by investors including ​Microsoft Ventures and ​Salesforce ​Ventures.

Stockpile, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based brokerage pioneering fractional share stock investing, raised $30 million in Series B funding. Eight Roads Ventures led the round, and was joined by Mayfield, Arbor Ventures, Hanna Ventures, Wang Ventures, and others.

Integra Holdings, an Israel-based investment company focused on life science innovations, raised $25 million in funding. Temasek led the round with participation from Arie Capital and The Israeli Teachers’ and Kindergarten’s Study Funds.

PatientSafe Solutions, a San Diego, Calif.-based provider of mobile clinical workflow and communication services, raised $25 million in funding. HighBar Partners led the round, and was joined by Merck Global Health Innovation Fund, Camden Partners, Psilos Group and TPG.

BuildingConnected, a San Francisco-based construction platform for general contractors, subcontractors and owners, raised $22 million in Series B funding. Lightspeed Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by investors including Crosslink Capital, Homebrew, Freestyle, Bee Partners and Brick & Mortar.

Chime, a San Francisco-based mobile banking company, raised $18 million in Series B funding. Cathay Innovation led the round.

Jobcase, a Cambridge, Mass.-based social media platform for blue collar workers seeking employment, raised $7 million in Series A funding. Savano Capital Partners led the round.

SpotRight, a Little Rock, Ark.-based audience insights and targeting platform for brands and agencies, raised $6.75 million in funding. Investors include TechOperators and Silicon Valley Bank.

Iris Plans, an Austin, Texas-based provider of healthcare planning for people with serious medical conditions, raised $5.1 million in funding. Activate Venture Partners and LiveOak Venture Partners led the round, with participation from investors including Better Ventures.

TRIPP, a company developing mood altering experiences in VR, raised $4 million in Series A funding. Mayfield led the round.

Klue, a Vancouver, Canada-based corporate intelligence platform, raised $4 million in funding. OMERS Ventures led the round, and was joined by BDC Venture Capital, Vancouver Founder Fund, and SK Ventures.

Passage.AI, a Mountain View, Calif.-based AI-driven conversational interface platform, raised $3 million in seed funding. Investors include Engineering Capital, Storm Ventures, Seabed VC, Milliways Ventures, Array VC, Gunderson Dettmer, NeoTribe Ventures, and Eleven Two Capital.

Tia, a San Francisco-based health platform for millennial women, has secured $2.5 million in seed financing. Investors include Combine and Homebrewand Compound.

CallDesk, a Paris-based maker of a virtual agent for customer support calls, raised €2.1 million ($2.5 million) in funding, according to TechCrunch. Investors include Point Nine Capital and EQT Ventures. Read more.

Tespack, a Helsinki-based mobile energy and wearable technology company, raised €2 million ($2.4 million) in funding. WOW Ventures Saudi Arabia led the round, and was joined by Neal Dempsey of Bay Partners.

Shenzhen Suishou Technology, a Shenzhen, China-based personal finance management platform, received an undisclosed amount ins Series C funding from KKR.

•  Yooji, a French maker of organic baby food, raised an undisclosed amount in funding from Danone, according to Reuters. Read more.


Autolus, a London-based biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing T-cell therapies, raised $80 million in Series C funding. Investors include Arix Bioscience plc, Cormorant Asset Management, Nextech Invest, Syncona and Woodford Investment Management.

Magenta Medical, an Israeli medical device company in the field of transcatheter heart failure therapy, raised $15 million in Series B funding. Investors include Abiomed Inc., Pitango Venture Capital and JAFCO Co.

LNC Therapeutics, a French company specializing in the research and development of gut microbiota directed drugs for the treatment of obesity and associated cardiometabolic diseases, raised €6.5 million ($7.7 million) in Series C funding.


Blackstone Group and Apollo Global Management have teamed up to bid for the business of Westinghouse Electric, a Cranberry Township, Pa.-based provider of nuclear power plant products and services to utilities that filed for bankruptcy in March, according to Reuters. Read more.

HGGC provided additional funding to its portfolio company FPX, a Dallas-based provider of configure price quote solutions. HGGC acquired FPX in April.

Enlightenment Capital invested an undisclosed amount in CyberCore Technologies, a Elkridge, Md.-based provider of national security services and technologies. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. CyberCore is a portfolio company of Moelis Capital Partners.

•  P2 Consulting, a London-based provider of program management services owned by Lonsdale Capital Partners, acquired Certeco, a U.K. business technology change consultancy.


Toshiba Corp. agreed to sell its memory chip unit for Yen 2 trillion ($17.7 billion) to a group led by Bain Capital. Read more.

•  Dassault Systemes, a French provider of software applications and services, has agreed to acquire Exa Corp (Nasdaq:EXA) for $400 million, according to Reuters. Read more.


Mosaic Acquisition, a blank check company seeking a manufacturing, consumer products, or business services acquisition, filed to raise up to $300 million in an IPO. The company, formed by Fortress, plans to offer 30 million shares at $10 a piece. Deutsche Bank, RBC Capital Markets, and J.P. Morgan are joint bookrunners in the deal. The company plans to list as “MOSC.U” on the NYSE.

Roku, A streaming device maker based out of Los Gatos, Calif., raised $219 million by offering 15.7 million shares at $14 a piece. In 2016, the company posted revenue of  $399 million and loss of $42.8 million. Roku is backed by Menlo Ventures(35.3% pre offering), Fidelity(12.9%), Globespan Capital Partners(6.1%), and Twenty-First Century Fox(7%). Morgan Stanley and Citigroup Global are lead underwriters in the deal. The company plans to list as “ROKU” on the Nasdaq.

Deciphera Pharmaceuticals, a Waltham, Mass.-based cancer drug maker focused on kinase-inhibiting treatments, said it raised $128 million in an offering of 7.5 million shares at $17 a piece, the high end of its range. The company shed $25.9 million in 2016. Brightstar Associates(67.85% pre-offering), and New Leaf Ventures(15.3%) back the company. J.P. Morgan and Piper Jaffray are underwriters in the deal. The company plans to list on the Nasdaq as “DCPH.”

NuCana, an Edinburgh, U.K.-based chemotherapy biotech, raised $100 million in an offering of 6.7 million shares at $15 a piece, at the midpoint of its range. In 2016, the company posted loss of about $6.1 million. Sofinnova (45% pre-offering) and Morningside Venture(12%) back the company. Citi, Jefferies, and Cowen & Co. are joint bookrunners in the deal. The company planes to list on the Nasdaq as “NCNA.”

Nightstar Therapeutics, a London-based gene therapy company focused on retinal diseases, raised $75 million in an offering of 5.4 million shares priced at $14 a piece. The company previously estimated that it could raise $86 million. In 2016, the company posted loss of $13.6 million, and has yet to posts a revenue. The company is backed by Syncona Partners and New Enterprise Associates. Jefferies, Leerink Partners and BMO Capital Markets are leader underwriters in the deal. The company plans to list on the Nasdaq as “NITE.”

RumbleOn, a Charlotte, N.C.-based motorcycle e-marketplace, said it plans to raise $19 million in an IPO of 2 million shares at about $.9.49 a piece. In 2016, the company posted revenue of $138,141 on loss of $1.8 million. Ralph Wegis(9.9% pre-offering) and NexGen Dealer(16.9%) back the company. Roth Capital and Maxim Group are bookrunners in the deal. The company plans to list as “RMBL” on the Nasdaq.


365 Data Centers acquired, a Boca Raton, Fla.-based data center services provider serving two southeast Florida markets, from Canadian private equity firm Novacap. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. 365 Data Centers is owned by Chirisa Investments, Lumerity Capital and Longboat Advisors.

Audax Private Equity acquired Wellspring Consumer Healthcare, a Sarasota, Fla.-based manager of a portfolio of consumer healthcare brands that include Emetrol, Bonine, Bactine, GlaxalBase, and FDS. The seller was Sentinel Capital Partners. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

Daimler, the German car maker, acquired flinc, a Ludwigshafen, Germany-based ride-sharing company, according to Reuters. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. Flinc raised an undisclosed amount in venture capital from investors including General Motors Ventures and Deutsche Bahn. Read more.

•  NXC, gaming giant Nexon’s parent company, acquired Korbit, a South Korean bitcoin exchange, in a deal that values the company at around $120 million, according to TechCrunch. Korbit raised $6.5 million in venture funding from backers including Softbank Ventures Korea and Pantera Capital. Read more.


BC Partners, a London-based private equity firm, is raising between €6.5 billion ($7.7 billion) and €6.7 billion ($7.9 billion) for its 10th flagship buyout fund, Private Equity International has learned.


Leah Busque has joined Fuel Capital as a general partner.

GTCR promoted John Kos and Jeff Heh to principal.

Mark Barrett joined Frazier Healthcare Partners as an entrepreneur-in-residence.

Paola Nealon joined Meketa Investment Group as senior vice president.


View this email in your browser.

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