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Term Sheet — Thursday, October 5

October 5, 2017, 1:15 PM UTC


Good morning, Term Sheet readers.

RACING TO A CANCER CURE: 3T Biosciences, a secretive T-cell therapy startup, raised $12 million in seed funding, according to CNBC. Billionaires Peter Thiel and Sean Parker led the round. Parker, in particular, has become actively involved in the immunotherapy space. Last year, he poured $250 million into The Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, a consortium of more than 300 scientists tasked with advancing immunotherapy research. Two weeks ago, the group announced that it will sponsor its first clinical trial, a treatment for late-stage pancreatic cancer.

There’s been plenty of activity in the cancer immunotherapy space recently. In August, Gilead Sciences bought Kite Pharma, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based developer of chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy, for $11.9 billion. Just today, Immatics, an immunotherapy startup out of Germany, raised $58 million in funding (see below).

The cancer immunotherapy market is projected to reach $111.23 billion by 2021, so it’s worth paying attention to the space as more startups emerge and as capital continues to flow in.

THE FACEBOOK OF CRYPTOCURRENCY: For those of you interested in learning more about the real-life applications of cryptocurrency, here’s an interesting (and in-depth) story about a nascent social network called Steem. The company wrote a whitepaper arguing that user-generated content on social media sites, such as Facebook, has created billions of dollars of value for the company’s shareholders, while the content creators have received nothing. Steem is essentially trying to change that dynamic by rewarding users who use its platform with cash in the form of cryptocurrency. Every post and every like translates to a fraction of digital currency that can be converted and cashed out for dollars.

The Wired story notes:

“As with any other cryptocurrency, the virtual bubble that surrounds this idea could pop at any moment, and all of that time and effort you’ve invested into earning Steem could be worth nothing—which happens to be precisely the same amount you earn when you post on any other social media website.”

Read the full story here.


Trump's Puerto Rican debt comments have spooked investors (by Lucinda Shen)

Why Amazon won’t devour every retailer (by Andrew Nusca)

Why the Monopoly man trolled the Senate Equifax hearings (by John Patrick Pullen)

How to run a 170-year-old company like a startup (by Susie Gharib)


Puerto Rico is running out of money. Inside the revolt threatening to split Guggenheim Partners. Facebook and Twitter will testify to Congress on Russia. Sundar Pichai says the future of Google is AI.


PremFina Ltd, a U.K.-based insurance tech startup, raised $36 million in funding. Investors include Rakuten Capital, Draper Esprit Plc, Thomvest Ventures, Emery Capital, Rubicon Venture Capital and Talis Capital.

Bluecore, a New York-based decision platform for retail and brand marketers, raised $35 million in Series C funding. Norwest Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by investors including Georgian Partners, FirstMark Capital and Felicis Ventures.

FogHorn Systems, a Mountain View, Calif.-based developer of an IoT application platform for remote monitoring and diagnostics, raised $30 million in Series B funding. Intel Capital and Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures co-led the round, and were joined by investors including Honeywell Ventures. Existing investors March Capital Partners, GE, Dell Technologies Capital, Robert Bosch Venture Capital, Yokogawa Electric Corporation, Darling Ventures and The Hive.

Seasoned, a San Francisco-based foodservice-centric community, raised $20 million in Series A funding. TPG Growth led the round.

ThinkCERCA, a Chicago-based online educational resource, raised $10 million in Series B funding. Investors include Plum Alley Investments, Great Oak Venture Partners, Amicus Capital, Scott Cook and Signe Ostby.

Energage, an Exton, Penn.-based workplace platform, raised $10 million in funding. NewSpring Growth led the round.

Zefo, an India-based used goods marketplace, raised $9.2 million in Series B funding. Sequoia India and Helion Venture Partners led the round, and were joined by Beenext.

BroadSpot Imaging, a Richmond, Va.-based medical diagnostic company, raised $7.5 million in Series A funding. Phoenix Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by investors including Camino Real Capital Partners.

Home61, a Miami-based end-to-end real estate platform, raised $4 million in funding. Investors include FF Angel and  FJ Labs.

Farmstead, a San Francisco-based digital micro-grocer ​with technology that sources and delivers food from farm-to-fridge in 60 minutes, raised $2.8 million in seed funding. Investors include Resolute Ventures, Social Capital, Y Combinator, and Joe Montana’s Liquid 2 Ventures.

Stop, Breathe & Think, a Los Angeles, CA-based mental health and mindfulness app for kids and young people, raised $2.4 million in seed funding. Investors include the Urban Innovation Fund, Aspect Ventures, Launchpad Digital Health, and Amplify.

PartySlate, a Chicago-based digital platform for party hosts, raised $1.9 million in seed funding. Hyde Park Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by investors including Hyde Park Angels, InvestHER Ventures, Jump Investors, Wavemaker Partners and Halogen Ventures.

indico, a Boston-based provider of an artificial intelligence and deep learning software platform for content applications within the enterprise, raised $1.5 million in funding. .406 Ventures led the round.

Wala, a blockchain-powered financial services platform, raised funding of an undisclosed amount. The investor is Newton Partners.

Calcivis, a Scotland-based medical device company focused on managing tooth decay and preventive dentistry, raised funding of an undisclosed amount. Investors include Archangel Investors, the Scottish Investment Bank and Julz.


Immatics, a Germany-based cancer immunotherapy company, raised $58 million in Series E funding. Investors include dievini Hopp Biotech holding, Wellington Partners, AT Impf GmbH and Amgen.


Morgenthaler Private Equity recapitalized Bettcher Industries, a Birmingham, Ohio-based maker of food processing equipment. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

Thomas H. Lee Partners acquired a majority stake in Ten-X, an Irvine, Calif.-based online real estate marketplace. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

Stella Environmental Holdings Inc, which is backed by Hidden Harbor Capital Partners, acquired Rackleff Enterprises LLC, a Statesboro, Ga.-based transfer station management company. No financial terms were disclosed.

Primus Capital Funds made an investment in Healthcare Bluebook Inc, a Nashville, Tenn.-based provider of healthcare price and quality transparency solutions. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

Snow Phipps Group recapitalized DecoPac, Inc, an Anoka, Minn.-based direct-to-store distributor for bakeries and professional cake decorators. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.


Merlin Entertainments has approached marine park operator SeaWorld Entertainment Inc (NYSE:SEAS) about a potential deal, according to Reuters. Read more.

Aviva bought a majority stake in Wealthify, a U.K.-based robo investment startup, according to TechCrunch. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. Read more.


Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia’s state oil company, is on track for its IPO in 2018, according to the firm’s CEO. Previously, the Wall Street Journal reported that the company was torn over where to list the IPO. While the company’s executives were said to be pushing for an IPO on the London Stock Exchange, the Saudi Arabian royal family were reportedly leaning toward the New York Stock Exchange. Part of the listing is also planned on the local Saudi exchange.  Reuters.

Black Ridge Acquisition, a Minneapolis, Minn.-based SPAC, upped its IPO to $120 million. The company plans to offer 12 million shares at $10 a piece. Black Ridge Oil and Gas, which backs the company, is seeking an energy company. EarlyBirdCapital is sole bookrunner in the deal. Black Ridge plans to list as “BRACU” on the Nasdaq.

Metropolitan Bank Holding, A New York City-based bank , filed for an $100 million IPO. The company posed assets of $1.6 billion by mid-2017, with income of $5 million in 2016. J.P. Morgan, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, and Piper Jaffray are underwriters in the deals. Metropolitan plans to list on the NYSE as “MCB.”


Roark Capital Group acquired International Car Wash Group, a U.K.-based car wash operator. The seller was TDR Capital LLP. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

Ace Hardware Corporation acquired a majority stake in The Grommet, a Somerville, Mass.-based e-commerce website that markets and sells new products created by independent entrepreneurs. Financial terms weren’t disclosed, but The Grommet raised more than $3 million in venture funding from investors including Rakuten and LaunchCapital.

TSG Consumer Partners will acquire, a Norristown, Penn.-based online e-commerce company for vitamins and nutritional supplements, from GNC Holdings, Inc. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.


Align Capital Partners, a Cleveland, Ohio-based raised more than $300 million for its maiden fund, according to an SEC filing. The fund’s target is $326 million.

Reach Capital, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based venture capital firm, is seeking to raise $75 million for its second fund, according to an SEC filing.


Hardware Club named Aymerik Renard a general partner.

Joseph Hasselman joined  Basis Set Ventures as an investor. Previously, Hasselman was at IBM Watson.


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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.