Term Sheet — Thursday, February 22
THE KING OF RIDE-HAILING
Good morning, Term Sheet readers.
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi is pushing back on earlier statements made by its newest investor, SoftBank. SoftBank CEO and Uber board member Rajeev Misra said he wants to see the ride-hailing giant focus on growing in the United States, Europe, Latin America and Australia — not Asia.
Recently, reports emerged that Uber has decided to sell its Southeast Asia business to ride-hailing startup, Grab. Media reports suggested that this meant Uber was throwing in the towel in Asia, but Khosrowshahi weighed in on the issue. He said, “We expect to lose money in Southeast Asia and expect to invest aggressively in terms of marketing, subsidies etc.” He added: “Right now, the plan for Southeast Asia is to go forward, lean forward and to invest.”
Asia has been among the most costly and competitive regions for Uber where it has slipped behind Grab and Indonesia-based Go-Jek. Things are getting pretty tangled as it may seem like SoftBank has invested in everything. For instance, the Japanese giant is also an investor in Singapore’s Grab, China’s Didi Chuxing, and India’s Ola. As a result, Softbank has emerged as, “the real king of ride-hailing.”
As my colleague David Z. Morris put it, “An Uber deal with Grab could serve SoftBank’s push to streamline the competitive environment for ride-hailing services – or, put another way, to divide up its global kingdom into small, relatively sheltered fiefdoms.”
SEIZED BITCOIN: Ever wonder what happens to Bitcoin once it’s seized by Uncle Sam? The federal government has seized at least $1 billion worth of Bitcoin after busts in criminal cases. Where does it all go? Fortune’s Jeff Roberts wrote about the large and shadowy Bitcoin hoard amassed by federal law-enforcement agencies. Here’s an excerpt:
“Finding illicit currency won’t get any less challenging. For years, bad actors have been ‘moving to other currencies that didn’t leave the same digital bread crumbs,’ says Jud Welle, a former cybercrime prosecutor who is now a consultant with Aon.
Many have abandoned Bitcoin for coins like Monero and ZCash, which offer the same sort of secure payment options but are all but impossible to trace. And more online black markets now bake so-called tumblers, which scramble transaction records, right into their checkout services, says James Smith, the CEO of forensic firm Elliptic. It adds up to a potentially endless digital cat-and-mouse game. And if law-enforcement agents ever do go rogue, the currency they steal will be that much easier to hide.”
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• PROCEPT BioRobotics, a Redwood Shores, Calif.-based surgical robotics company, raised $118 million in financing. Viking Global Investors LP led the round, and was joined by investors including Perceptive Advisors and CPMG Inc.
• Wealthsimple, a Canada-based provider of digital based advisory services, raised $51 million ($65M CAD) in funding. Investors include Power Financial Corp.
• Cota Inc, a New York City-based healthcare real-world evidence and data analytics company, has raised $40 million in Series C financing. IQVIA led the round with participation from other investors that included EW Healthcare Partners.
• Capillary Technologies, an India-based startup that helps e-commerce businesses manage their marketing and customer engagement, raised $20 million in funding. Investors include Warburg Pincus and Sequoia.
• Prophesee SA, a Paris-based creator of a bio-inspired vision system, raised $19 million in funding. Investors include 360 Capital Partners, Supernova Invest, iBionext, Intel Capital, Renault Group and Robert Bosch Venture Capital.
• Tinyclues, a Paris-based provider of a AI-focused marketing campaign intelligence solutions, raised $18 million in Series B funding. EQT Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including Alven, Elaia Partners and ISAI.
• Greenlight Financial Technology Inc, an Atlanta-based producer of a smart debit card, raised $16 million in Series A funding. TTV Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including New Enterprise Associates Inc, Relay Ventures, SunTrust Bank, Ally Financial, nbkc bank, Canapi and the Amazon Alexa Fund.
• Zagster, a Cambridge, Mass.-based bike-sharing platform provider, raised $15 million in funding. Edison Partners led the round.
• Mabl, a Boston-based automated testing service that fixes broken tests and identifies regressions using machine learning, raised $10 million in Series A funding. Investors include CRV and Amplify Partners.
• Meritize, a Frisco, Texas-based educational lender, raised $6.8 million in seed funding. Colchis Capital, Chicago Ventures and Cube Financial Holdings led the round, and was joined by investors including ECMC, College Loan Corporation, University Ventures, City Light Capital, PC Squared and Meritize management.
• Dover Microsystems, a Framingham, Mass.-based developer of security software solutions, raised $6 Million in seed funding. Hyperplane Venture Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including Draper, Qualcomm Ventures, and the Hub Angels Investment Group.
• Teampay, a New York-based workflow software, raised $4 million in seed funding. Crosscut Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including KEC Ventures, Precursor Ventures, and CoVenture.
• Beauty By Design, a personalized platform that offers customized skincare solutions based on a customer’s skin data, raised $2.2 million in seed funding. Resolute Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including Ludlow Ventures, TenoneTen Ventures, and Troy Capital Partners.
• Serial Box, a New York-based provider of serialized entertainment for readers and listeners, raised $1.65 million in seed funding. Boat Rocker Media led the round.
• Intello, a New York City-based provider of intelligent SaaS optimization, raised $1.3 million in funding. Emerge led the round, and was joined by investors including BoxGroup, Blacktop, Kaedan and Tectonic.
• Lindora, a Costa Mesa, Calif.-based provider of weight loss and weight management programs, raised funding of an undisclosed amount. Investors include Montage Capital, Solis Capital Partners and Innovate Partners.
HEALTH AND LIFE SCIENCES DEALS
• Kallyope Inc., a New York-based biotechnology company focused on identifying therapeutic opportunities involving the gut-brain axis, raised $66 million Series B funding. Investors include Lux Capital, The Column Group, Polaris Partners, Illumina Ventures, Alexandria Venture Investments, Euclidean Capital and Two Sigma Ventures.
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Strattam Capital agreed to make an investment in SSB, a data management and analytics platform provider for the sports and entertainment, education and healthcare sectors. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
• Leeds Equity Partners LLC will invest in Endeavor Schools LLC, a Miami-based owner and operator of 37 private schools. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Marlin Equity Partners acquired Propelics Inc, a San Jose, Calif.-based mobile strategy and app development provider. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• General Atlantic will buy a 25.1% stake in NuCom Group, a Munich-based omnichannel platform for consumer services and lifestyle brands. The deal values NuCom at 1.8 billion euros ($2.2 billion).
• Gauge Capital LLC completed a majority recapitalization of Comprehensive EyeCare Partners, a Las Vegas-based vision care management services organization. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
• RAB Ventures LLC acquired a majority stake in HouseWorks LLC, a Newton, Mass.-based provider of home care, elder care and senior home care services. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
• Ryan Reynolds bought a majority stake in Aviation Gin, a Portland, Ore.-based spirit company, from Davos Brands.
• Eli Global agreed to acquire Finanzen, a Berlin-based online marketplace for retail customer leads in the finance and insurance sectors. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
• Opes Acquisition, a Mexico City-based SPAC formed to acquire a firm in Mexico, filed to raise up to $100 million in an IPO of 10 million units priced at $10 a piece. Axis Capital Management backs the firm. EarlyBirdCapital is bookrunner in the deal. The firm plans to list on the Nasdaq as “OPESU.” Read more.
• Antin Infrastructure Partners agreed to acquire FirstLight, an Albany, N.Y.-based fiber-optic bandwidth infrastructure services provider, from Oak Hill Capital Partners. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
• Robert Bosch acquired Splitting Fares, a Detroit, Mich.-based ride services company, according to Reuters. Financial terms weren't disclosed. Splitting Fares had raised approximately $1.3 million in venture funding from investors including Verizon Ventures, Wells Fargo, and InMotion Ventures. Read more.
FIRMS + FUNDS
• IK Investment Partners, a U.K.-based private equity firm, raised 550 million euro ($676 million) for its second small cap fund, IK Small Cap II.
• SaaS Ventures, a Washington D.C.-based enterprise technology SaaS focused fund, raised $10 million for its first fund.
• Tangled Little Dragon, a Los Angeles-based investment firm, raised $9.3 million for a venture fund, according to an SEC filing.
• Invesco named Carl Stanton as managing director and head of private equity. Previously, Stanton was at Wellspring Capital Management.