Good morning, Term Sheet readers.
Heilan Home Co Ltd, a China-based clothing company, will raise 10 billion yuan ($1.59 billion) from Tencent, JD.com, and Vipshop Holdings. The proposed deal represents a recent push by Tencent, China’s biggest social network and gaming company, into brick-and-mortar retail to further compete with Alibaba. From Reuters:
The recent moves reflect a wider, long-running stand-off between Tencent and Alibaba, which have made competing investments in areas as diverse as bike-sharing apps, food delivery and gaming.
Alibaba has spent roughly $1.72 billion buying at least 50 startups and small businesses since 2013, while Tencent has doled out at least $780 million over the same period, according to Nikkei Asian Review. As two of the world’s richest and fastest-growing companies, the rivals regularly end up bidding against one another for investments and acquisitions, wielding the power to decide the fate of many emerging startups.
THIS JUST IN: Jeff Immelt, former CEO and chairman of General Electric, has joined VC firm New Enterprise Associates as a venture partner. This is an important addition for NEA as he’ll be working closely with technology and healthcare investments. Some of NEA’s portfolio companies include CloudFlare, 23AndMe, and Bright Health.
KODAK REGRETS: Investors seeking to buy Kodak’s photo-centric cryptocurrency, KodakCoin, are facing an unexpected wait. The company announced that it’s delaying its initial coin offering due to “large interest” in the venture, “with over 40,000 potential investors” lining up for the previously scheduled Jan. 31 ICO.
The company said it needs to verify the “accredited investor” status of every potential buyer. It’s encouraging to see a well-publicized crypto offering taking the necessary steps to comply with the existing laws. It expects the vetting process to take several weeks.
After Kodak announced its coin, the company’s share price nearly quadrupled in one day. But the co-creator of KodakCoin says he regrets that the stock surge ever occurred. He told The Chicago Tribune, “It ... caught everybody by surprise, internally. It's been a terrible distraction and I really wish it didn't happen." Too late for that now.
FLAMETHROWER UPDATE: I know I was making fun of Elon Musk’s $500 flamethrowers earlier this week, but he sold out of his 20,000 burning fuel devices, bringing in roughly $10 million in committed funds. As Tim Draper said, “He’s willing to accept all the heat that he gets from all the people who think he’s crazy.”
THE LATEST FROM FORTUNE...
• India caused the price of Bitcoin to slide again (by David Meyer)
• Tencent has formed an electronic dance music label with Sony (by Casey Quackenbush)
• A new VC firm tied to the Koch brothers plans to take on government regulations (by Alana Abramson)
• Why Jeff Bezos might be the one to crack the health care challenge (by Adam Lashinsky)
• Insightec, an Israel and Miami-based provider of MRI-guided focused ultrasound, raised $150 million in Series E funding. Koch Disruptive Technologies, a subsidiary of Koch Industries, led the round.
• Nuro, a Mountain View, Calif.-based developer of a self-driving delivery vehicle, raised $92 million in Series A funding, according to Reuters. Banyan Capital and Greylock Partners co-led the round. Read more.
• Trifacta, a San Francisco-based big data company, raised $48 million in Series D funding. Investors include Google, New York Life, Deutsche Börse, Ericsson and Columbia Pacific. Existing investors Accel, Greylock Partners, Cathay Innovation, Ignition Partners and Ridge Ventures participated.
• Caffeine, a social broadcasting platform, raised $46 million in funding across two rounds. Investors include Andreessen Horowitz and Greylock Partners.
• QuVa Pharma, a Sugar Land, Texas-based platform for sterile compounding pharmacy services, raised up to $40 million in debt and equity funding. The funding includes $15 million from investors including Bain Capital Private Equity, a $20 million term loan from Silicon Valley Bank and a $5 million lease facility from Farnam Street Financial.
• Joymode, a Los Angeles, Calif.-based company that rents leisure equipment for periodic and short-term use, raised $14.4 million in Series A funding. Investors include Naspers Ventures.
• Mammoth Media, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based creator of storytelling app Yarn, raised $13 million in Series A funding. Greylock Partners led the round.
• Juniper Square, a San Francisco and Austin-based real estate tech firm, raised $6 million in Series A funding. Felicis Ventures led the round.
• Lambda School, a San Ramon, Calif.-based provider of computer science education training services, raised $4 million in seed funding. Investors include Y Combinator and Tandem Capital.
• Pulse Labs, a Seattle-based voice startup, raised $2.5 million in funding. Madrona Venture Group led the round, and was joined by investors including the Amazon Alexa Fund, Bezos Expeditions, and Techstars Ventures.
• Furnishare, a New York-based furniture sharing service, raised $2 million in seed funding. Investors include Lerer Hippeau, Correlation Ventures and Max Ventures.
• SkyWatch, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based data analysis, risk-assessment, and active risk-reduction platform for the drone industry, raised $2 million in seed funding. Investors include F2 Capital, Verizon Ventures, and Kaedan Capital.
• Downstream.ai, a San Francisco and New York-based developer of a self-serve mobile programmatic advertising platform, raised $1.5 million in seed funding. London Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by investors including Olive Tree Capital, Otter Consulting, Gramercy Fund, Ride Ventures and Rising Tide.
• nCino, a Wilmington, N.C.-based provider of cloud banking, raised funding of an undisclosed amount. Salesforce Ventures led the round.
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Prospect Partners LLC recapitalized Minuteman Security Technologies Inc, an Andover, Mass.-based provider of security management systems. in partnership with management. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
• Bestop Inc, which is backed by Kinderhook Industries LLC, acquired PRP Seats, a Temecula, Calif.-based maker of custom seats, harnesses, storage bags and accessories for off-road vehicles. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
• Liquid Web LLC, which is backed by Madison Dearborn Partners, acquired iThemes, an Oklahoma City, Okla.-based provider of WordPress plugins. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
• Palamon Capital Partners acquired a majority stake in Thomas International, a U.K.-based provider of psychometric assessment solutions with a focus on small to medium-sized businesses. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
• Daxko, a portfolio company of GI Partners, acquired Club Automation, a Chicago-based provider of club management software to over 400 facilities. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
• Liberty Mutual Insurance is selling roughly $1 billion of its private equity and real estate stakes, according to The Wall Street Journal. Read more.
• Accel-KKR sold PageUp People, an Australia-based SaaS-based talent management platform. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
• On Assignment Inc agreed to buy ECS Federal LLC, a Fairfax, Va.-based government services contractor providing cybersecurity and cloud solutions, for $775 million in cash. The sellers were Roy Kapani and Lindsay Goldberg.
• ATPCO acquired Routehappy, a New York-based provider of a product differentiation platform for air travel. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
• Hudson, a Middlesex, U.K.-based travel retailer, said it raised $748.6 million in an IPO of Dufry AG backs the company. Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley and UBS back the firm. The company plans to list on the NYSE as “HUD.”
• Sol-Gel Technologies, an Israel-based topical acne cream maker, raised $75 million in an upsized IPO of 6.25 million shares priced at $12 a piece. Moshe Arkin backs the company. Jefferies and BMO Capital Markets are joint bookrunners in the deal. It says it plans to list on the Nasdaq as “SLGL.”
• ESW Capital, LLC acquired ScaleArc, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based provider of database load balancing software. Financial terms weren't disclosed. ScaleArc had previously raised more than $51 million in venture funding from investors including Bain Capital Ventures, Accel Partners, and Trinity Ventures.
• AEA Investors acquired Spectrum Plastics Group, an Alpharetta, Ga.-based specialty plastics manufacturer, from Kohlberg & Company LLC. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
FIRMS + FUNDS
• Platform Partners LLC, a Houston-based private equity and venture capital firm, raised $129 million for its new fund.
• Gridiron Capital LLC promoted Kevin Jackson to senior managing partner.
• Paul Willard joined Storm Ventures as a partner.