Good morning, Term Sheet readers.
Let’s check in with Europe. PitchBook released its Q1 European Venture Report, which uncovered a steadily maturing European venture ecosystem on pace to match capital deployed in 2017. Deal sizes continue to grow as the European venture community matures and firms raise larger and larger funds.
Here are some key takeaways:
• In the first quarter of 2018, European investors deployed €4.4 billion across 571 deals, which is on pace to match last year’s decade-high in capital invested (€18.3 billion).
• Deal count slid for the fifth consecutive quarter. The decline is likely a result of increasing competition and higher investors expectations.
• Europe’s VC exit market was sluggish in Q1, with €1.5 billion in disclosed exit value across 64 reported deals.
• European venture investors closed 18 vehicles totaling €2.1 billion in commitments in the first quarter. Median fund size reached a decade-high (€86 million) as VCs begin writing larger checks.
There are some similarities between the American and European VC ecosystems. For instance, investors are pumping larger amounts of capital into fewer companies. In the U.S., deal counts have dropped to an all-time low since 2012. Massive fund sizes (which are only getting bigger) have given rise to numerous mega-deals. (We're seeing more and more mega-deals move overseas.) As we’ve noted before, this is a somewhat troubling trend as investment firms are sitting on unprecedented levels of dry powder, participating in larger deals, and helping create a sluggish exit market.
GAWKER DRAMA OVER: Peter Thiel has agreed not to buy Gawker. The reason? Avoid a potential countersuit for secretly funding the litigation that drove the news & gossip blog’s publisher out of business, according to The Wall Street Journal. This marks the end of a year-long legal battle and clears the road for a potential Gawker sale.
THE LATEST FROM FORTUNE...
• As China Censors MeToo Activists, Ethereum's Blockchain Proves to Be an Unlikely Ally (by Lucinda Shen)
• On Sale Near You: Your Local Mall Operator (by Phil Wahba)
• Flight Records for Jeff Bezos's Private Jet Are Hinting at Amazon's HQ2 Choice (by Natasha Bach)
• Revolut, a London-based fintech company that offers a digital banking account and other financial services, raised $250 million in Series C funding at a $1.7 billion post-money valuation, according to TechCrunch. Investors include DST Global, Index Ventures, and Ribbit Capital. Read more.
• Innovium, a San Jose, Calif.-based provider of networking solutions for data centers, raised $77 million in Series D funding. Investors include Greylock Partners, Walden Everbright, Walden Riverwood Ventures, Paxion Capital, Capricorn Investment Group, Redline Capital, S-Cubed Capital and Qualcomm Ventures.
• BigCommerce, an Austin, Texas-based operator of an e-commerce platform to manage an online store, process orders, and sell products online, raised $64 million in funding. Goldman Sachs led the round, and was joined by investors including General Catalyst, GGV Capital and Tenaya Capital.
• RStor, a platform that aggregates and automates compute resources from private data centers and public cloud providers, raised $45 million in Series A funding. Cisco Investments led the round.
• IFTTT, a San Francisco-based provider of a utility for users to connect their apps, services and smart devices, raised $24 million in funding. Salesforce Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including IBM, Chamberlain Group and Fenox Venture Capital.
• Ready Robotics, a Columbus, Ohio-based provider of robotics as a service or RaaS, raised $15 million in funding. Drive Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including Eniac Ventures and RRE Ventures.
• Rocketrip, a New York-based travel management platform for employees, raised $15 million in Series C funding. GV led the round, and was joined by investors including Bessemer Venture Partners and Canaan Partners.
• NuMat Technologies, a Skokle, Ill.-based a company building molecularly-programmed systems, raised $12.4 million in funding. OS Fund led the round, and was joined by investors including Osage University Partners and Tin Shed Ventures.
• Allegro.AI, a deep learning computer vision platform, raised $11 million in funding. Investors include MizMaa Ventures, Robert Bosch Venture Capital GmbH (RBVC), Samsung Catalyst Fund and Dynamic Loop Capital.
• PlaySight Interactive, an Israel-based provider of a sports activity analysis platform, raised $10 million in Series C funding. Investors include SoftBank Ventures Korea and CE Ventures.
• Africa’s Talking, a Kenya-based based enterprise software company, raised $8.6 million in funding. IFC Venture Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including Orange Digital Ventures and Social Capital.
• Rookout, a rapid production debugging platform, raised $4.2 million in seed funding. Investors include TLV Partners and Emerge.
HEALTH AND LIFE SCIENCES DEALS
• Cardiac Dimensions, a Kirkland, Wash.-based developer of minimally invasive treatments for patients with heart failure, raised $39 million Series B funding. Investors include Hostplus, Oxford Finance LLC, M. H. Carnegie & Co., Arboretum Ventures, Lumira Capital, LSP Health Economics Fund and Aperture Venture Partners.
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Susquehanna Private Capital will recapitalize Skin & Cancer Associates, a Miami, Fla.-based dermatology group practice. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
• Vector Solutions, a portfolio company of Providence Equity Partners, acquired Convergence Training, a Vancouver, Wash.-based developer of professional learning courses and provider of training software. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Ascensus, a portfolio company of Genstar Capital and Aquiline Capital Partners, agreed to buy Benefit Planning Consultants Inc, a Champaign, Ill.-based provider of employee benefits and retirement administration services. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• AXA Equitable Holdings, the U.S. insurance arm of France’s AXA, said it plans to raise $3.5 billion in an IPO of 137.25 million shares priced between $24 to $27. The firm posted revenue of $12.5 billion in 2017. Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan, Barclays, and Citigroup are underwriters in the deal. Read more.
• Avast, the London-based cybersecurity firm, is targeting an IPO that would value the firm between 2.5 billion to 3.2 billion pounds ($3.5-4.5 billion). CVC Capital Partners and Summit Partners back the firm. Read more.
• Innovent Biologics and Ascentage Pharma, two Chinese biotech firms, dropped plans to list in New York in favor of $800 million IPOs in Hong Kong, Reuters reports citing sources. Fidelity backs the firms. Read more.
• Ceridian HCM Holding, a Minneapolis-based maker of human resources software, raised $452 million in an IPO of 21 million shares priced at $22, above its $19 to $21 range. The firm posted loss of $9.3 million on revenue of $750.7 million in 2017. Thomas H. Lee Partners and Cannae Holdings back the company. Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan are joint bookrunners in the deal. The company plans to list on the NYSE and Toronto Stock Exchange under undisclosed symbols. Read more.
• Elio Motors, a Phoenix, Ariz.-based maker of fuel-efficient vehicles, withdrew plans for an IPO, saying it plans to launch an ICO under the name ElioCoin. The firm previously planned to raise $100 million. The firm has yet to post any revenue. Drexel Hamilton was underwriter in the deal. The firm planned to list on the Nasdaq under the symbol “ELIO.” Read more.
• Evo Payments, an Atlanta-based payments firm, filed to raise $100 million in an IPO. The firm posted revenue of $504.8 million. BlueApple and Madison Dearborn Partners back the firm. J.P. Morgan, BofA, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, and SunTrust Robinson Humphrey are among the underwriters. Read more.
• nLight, a Vancouver, Wash.-based semiconductor and fiber laser maker, raised $96 million in an IPO of 6 million shares priced at $16, an upsized IPO above its $13 to $15 range. The firm posted revenue of $138.6 million in 2017, and income of $1.8 million. Greenover Group (5.8% pre-offering), Wellington Management (12.1%), Menlo Ventures (21.5%), Mohr, Davidow Ventures (18.9%), and Oak Investment Partners (20%) back the firm. Stifel and Raymond James are lead underwriters in the deal. Nlight plans to list on the Nasdaq as “LASR.”
• Tooling Technology Group, a portfolio company of GenNx360 Capital Partners, acquired CTG Holdings, an operator of Century Tool & Die and Bel-Kur. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. First Capital Partners LLC is the seller.
• Pamplona Capital Management is selling Partner in Pet Food, a producer of private label wet and dry pet food, to Cinven. Financial terms weren't disclosed. [This item has been updated.]
FIRMS + FUNDS
• Thoma Bravo, a Chicago, Ill.-based private equity firm, raised $2.4 billion for its recent Discover fund.
• Apollo Aviation Group, a Miami, Fla.-based alternative investment manager specializing in commercial aviation, raised $950 million for its fourth flagship aviation fund.
• Black Diamond Ventures promoted Ana Quintana to managing partner.
• John Kerry joined TPG’s Rise Fund as a senior adviser.