Term Sheet — Thursday, November 30
A WILD WEDNESDAY
Good morning, Term Sheet readers.
Bitcoin has been on such a wild ride that I’m having trouble keeping up. I have 15 tabs open trying to figure out how this has played out.
Here’s a quick summary of what’s been going on: Bitcoin blew past the $9,000 per coin mark on Sunday. Then, all hell broke loose on Wednesday. That day, it breached $10,000, soared to $11,300, and then plunged as much as 20%. Even with all the volatility, if you bought $1,000 worth of bitcoin a year ago, it would be worth $13,820 today.
It takes a special kind of investor to be able to stomach these kinds of price swings. Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz is not one of them. He’s in the “bitcoin is a bubble and we will all lose our money and die alone” camp. Stiglitz said the cryptocurrency will “give a lot of people a lot of exciting times as it rides up and then goes down.”
In an interview with Bloomberg, he argued that bitcoin is successful only because of its lack of oversight. And then he boiled it down to these five words: “It ought to be outlawed.”
But that doesn’t look like it’ll happen. Why? Because Wall Street can’t wait to get in the game. The financial industry has devised a nifty solution to make people feel more comfortable — bitcoin derivatives. In October, the CME Group announced that it hopes to introduce bitcoin futures contracts by the end of the year. Yesterday, the Nasdaq exchange said it plans to launch bitcoin futures in the first half of 2018, according to the WSJ. Separately, broker Cantor Fitzgerald also plans to launch bitcoin derivatives on an exchange it owns, also in the first half of next year. This is a pretty significant move because a futures market would make it easier for big banks and retail investors to trade bitcoin — AKA letting Wall Street play. Expect 2018 to be crazier than 2017 as more and more institutional money pours into the virtual currency.
For those of you who still think that crypto is a fad, I’m here to burst your bubble (pun intended). Shawn Matthews, chief executive of Cantor Fitzgerald & Co., told The Journal, “The asset class is not going away. If you look at the next level, it will be the institutions coming in and being larger participants in the marketplace, especially as liquidity gets better.”
Bitcoin is diving as we speak. Buckle up because the wild ride is far from over.
THE LATEST FROM FORTUNE...
• Bitcoin’s price swings have been especially crazy (by David Meyer)
• Europe is pouring a staggering amount of cash into new cryptocurrencies
• The airline for hipster-millennials takes off this week (by Keshia Hannam)
• Russia could be completely banned from the Winter Olympics (by Chris Morris)
Inside the revolution at Etsy. The surgeon who wants to put a chip in your brain. Elon Musk’s Boring Company to bid for Chicago airport link project. Inside the low-profile, high-stakes world of venture lending.
• Uptake, a Chicago-based predictive analytics software provider, raised $117 million in Series D funding at a $2.3 billion valuation. Baillie Gifford led the round, and was joined by investors including Revolution Growth and GreatPoint Ventures.
• ElectroCore, a Basking Ridge, N.J.-based bioelectronic medicine healthcare company, raised more than $70 million in Series B funding. Core Ventures led the round.
• H2O.ai, a Mountain View, Calif.-based company bringing AI to enterprises, raised $40 million in Series C funding. Wells Fargo and NVIDIA led the round, and was joined by investors including New York Life, Crane Venture Partners, Nexus Venture Partners and Transamerica Ventures.
• Thrive Global, a New York City-based behavior change media and technology company, raised $30 million in Series B funding. IVP led the round, and was joined by investors including Marc Benioff, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Greycroft Partners, Blue Pool Capital, Advancit Capital, Canvas Ventures and Female Founders Fund.
• Mojio, a Canada-based connected car cloud platform company, raised $30M CAD ($23.2 million) in Series B funding. Kensington Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including Trend Forward Capital, Innogy Ventures, Amazon Alexa Fund, BDC IT Venture Fund, Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners and Relay Ventures.
• ReversingLabs, a Cambridge, Mass.-based threat detection solutions company, raised $25 million in Series A funding. Investors include Trident Capital Cybersecurity and JPMorgan Chase.
• eLocal, a Pennsylvania-based provider of digital performance marketing and new customer acquisition, raised $25 million in funding. Investors include LLR Partners.
• Prognos, a New York-based healthcare AI company, raised $20.5 million in Series C funding. Investors including Cigna, Hermed, Hikma Ventures, Maywic, Merck Global Health Innovation Fund, Safeguard Scientifics and GIS Strategic Ventures.
• Deposit Solutions, a Germany-based open banking platform for deposits, raised $20 million in funding. Investors include e.ventures and Greycroft.
• Revel, a Minneapolis, Minn.-based health engagement company, raised $17 million in funding. Investors include TT Capital Partners.
• Pwnie Express, a Boston-based provider of internet of things security solutions, raised $8 million in funding. Investors include 406 Ventures, Ascent Venture Partners, Fairhaven Capital and the Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies.
• Akouos, a Brookline, Mass.-based biotechnology company focused on restoring and preserving hearing, raised $7.5 million in seed funding. 5AM Ventures and New Enterprise Associates led the round, and was joined by investors including Partners Innovation Fund.
• Replika, a consumer AI that enables people to build a digital friend, raised $6.5 million in Series A.2 funding. Investors include Khosla Ventures, Sherpa Capital, Phil Libin, and Richard Socher.
• Artesian Solutions, a U.K.-based artificial intelligence-driven service for businesses, raised $5 million in funding. The investor was Columbia Lake Partners.
• Empiric Health, a Salt Lake City, Utah-based healthcare startup, raised $3 million in funding. The investor was Intermountain Healthcare.
• Enjoius, a Los Angeles-based lifestyle platform for event designing and planning services, raised $1.4 million in seed funding. Investors include Nancy Tellem, Daniel Murray, Angela Mathes and Kent Wakeford.
• Apexian Pharmaceuticals, an Indiana-based clinical stage biotechnology company, raised Series A funding of an undisclosed amount. Investors include Elevate Ventures.
• Jaanuu, an El Segundo, Calif.-based manufacturer and seller of medical apparel, raised funding of an undisclosed amount. Investors include Dan Nordstrom, Georg Richter, Innovation Global Capital and Maywic Select Investments.
HEALTH AND LIFE SCIENCES DEALS
• Semma Therapeutics, a Cambridge, Mass.-based biotechnology company focused on the development of novel regenerative medicines, raised $114 million in Series B funding. Eight Roads Ventures and Cowen Healthcare Investments co-led the round, and was joined by investors including MPM Capital, F-Prime Capital Partners and ARCH Venture Partners, existing strategic partners Novartis, Medtronic and the JDRF T1D Fund, and new investors including ORI Healthcare Fund, Wu Capital, 6 Dimensions Capital and SinoPharm Capital.
• Codiak BioSciences Inc, a Cambridge, Mass.-based exosome therapeutics company, raised $76.5 million in Series C funding. Investors include ARCH Venture Partners, Flagship Pioneering, Fidelity Management and Research Company, the Alaska Permanent Fund, Alexandria Venture Investments, Qatar Investment Authority, Boxer Capital of the Tavistock Group, Sirona Capital, EcoR1 Capital and Casdin Capital.
• Fractyl Labs, a Lexington, Mass.-based startup developing treatments for diabetes, raised $44 million in Series D funding, according to TechCrunch. Investors include GV, True Ventures, the IDO Fund, General Catalyst, Bessemer Venture Partners, Domain Associates, Mithril Capital Management, Emergent Medical Partners, L.P., and Deerfield Management Company, L.P. Read more.
• Y-mAbs Therapeutics Inc, a New York City and Denmark-based developer of cancer treatments, raised $30 million in funding. Investors include Sofinnova Ventures and Scopia Capital Management.
• NanoCellect Biomedical Inc., a San Diego, Calif.-based developer of microfluidic cell sorting technologies for cell-based assays, raised $10 million in Series B funding, including convertible notes. Investors include Illumina Ventures, Anzu Partners, Vertical Venture Partners, 5 Prime Ventures, FusionX Ventures and Agilent Technologies.
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• NetDocuments, which is backed by Clearlake Capital Group LP, acquired ThreadKM, an Alpharetta, Ga.-based provider of collaboration technology. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
• Red Monkey Foods, a portfolio company of San Francisco Equity Partners, acquired San Francisco Salt Company, a San Francisco-based specialty salt provider. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
• Bullhorn, which is backed by Insight Venture Partners, acquired Atlanta-based Peoplenet, an Atlanta, Ga.-based provider of cloud-based workforce management solutions. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
• Topspin Partners acquired Remedy Health Media, a New York-based digital health platform specializing in inspirational video-based storytelling. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
• BV Investment Partners made a majority investment in Apps Associates, an Acton, Mass.-based IT services organization. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
• GFL Environmental, a Canadian waste management firm, is planning a C$1 billion or $778 million IPO, Reuters reports. GFL is backed by HPS Investment Partners and Macquarie Infrastructure Partners. Read more.
FIRMS + FUNDS
• Y Combinator, a Mountain View, Calif.-based accelerator, submitted financial documents for a second and third venture fund, according to filings with the SEC. The accelerator is raising up to $1 billion, according to Axios. Read more
• Anchorage Capital Partners, an Australia-based private equity firm, raised A$350 million ($265 million) for its third fund, Anchorage Capital Partners Fund III.
• Catalyst Investors promoted Susan Bihler to partner.
• Sofinnova Partners appointed Maina Bhaman as a partner. Previously, she was at Touchstone Innovations.
• Andrew J. Gustin joined Platte River Equity as a principal, head of business development. Previously, Gustin was at Hammond, Kennedy, Whitney & Company Inc.