Good morning, Term Sheet readers.
Electric scooter startup Bird officially raised a total of $300 million in venture funding at a reported $2 billion valuation. Sequoia led the round, and was joined by investors including Accel, B Capital, CRV, Sound Ventures, Greycroft and e.ventures.
At this point, you’re likely tired of my commentary on this topic, so I spoke with an investor who participated in Bird’s latest round about the massive fundraise and the challenges that lie ahead.
Below is Term Sheet’s conversation with B Capital partner Raj Ganguly, who co-founded the venture firm with Eduardo Saverin. The comments have been lightly edited for length and clarity.
• On getting comfortable with the valuation: “Bird’s ability to scale revenue with no paid customer acquisition has been incredible. It is one of the fastest growing consumer companies, which is incredible considering it is a physical product, and not software which you can scale with much lower marginal cost. Ultimately, Bird has the potential to completely change how we think about short-distance mobility.”
• On why Bird needs so much capital: “Bird will require capital to increase penetration in existing cities and launch into new geographies — and capital is part of that. The capital will generally be used for domestic and international expansion.”
• On international expansion: “One of B Capital’s largest offices is in Singapore, which is the hub for Southeast Asia, China, and India. We’ve already seen lots of transportation innovation in the region with great companies like Grab, Didi, and Gojek, and we fundamentally believe that Bird has an opportunity for growth in this region as well.”
• On navigating regulation as it expands into new markets: “Bird’s approach to working with cities is fundamentally collaborative. It shares its traffic data with cities and tries to inform them of the benefits of electric scooters: a reduction in cars on the road. Bird has to be of benefit to consumers and the public while also working with public officials and regulators. We’re confident in [Bird CEO and ex-Uber exec] Travis VanderZanden and the team here — they’ve witnessed this play out first hand in the automotive ride-sharing space and learned a lot of lessons about how to work with regulators.”
• On the company’s biggest challenges: “Like with any marketplace, Bird needs to be hyper-focused on meeting the demand with the appropriate supply in every city, at every moment in time. This means building a world-class supply chain and the logistics required to quickly deploy scooters in both existing markets and new markets where their presence on the ground may be light.”
AMAZON TAKES THE PILL: Amazon is entering the drug business after it agreed to buy online pharmacy startup PillPack for approximately $1 billion. (PillPack had reportedly been in acquisition talks with Walmart, but Amazon swooped in with a bigger offer. Walmart had reportedly bid ~$700 million.)
The tech giant continues to edge its way into the healthcare industry. In January, it announced it would partner with Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase on a venture to reduce their employees’ health-care costs. It rolled out a line of private label over-the-counter medicines and is building a business selling a wide array of medical supplies to doctors, dentists and hospitals. It also recently expanded its discounted Amazon Prime program to beneficiaries of Medicaid, the government health-coverage program for lower-income people.
Now, the PillPack deal will instantly give Amazon a platform through which to sell pharmaceuticals. As one health consultant put it, “This provides an avenue for Amazon to disrupt major pharmacy chains the way that they’ve disrupted booksellers, pet supplies, clothing and other big-box retailers.” Now, we wait and see. Read more at Fortune.
THE LATEST FROM FORTUNE…
• Dick Costolo Talks Airtable Investment, Twitter, Donald Trump, and Silicon Valley (by Jonathan Vanian)
• How E-Sports Betting Could Explode (by Jonathan Sperling)
• Adidas Warns Millions of U.S. Customers About a Potential Data Breach (by Monica Rodriguez)
• Bird CEO Explains Why His Scooter Startup Needed $300 Million
• BrightFarms, a New York-based operator of local greenhouse farms, raised $55 million in Series D funding. Cox Enterprises led the round, and was joined by investors including Catalyst Investors, WP Global Partners and NGEN Partners.
• Puppet, a Portland, Ore.-based provider of a standard for automating the delivery and operation of software, raised $42 million in funding. Cisco Investments led the round, and was joined by investors including EDBI, Kleiner Perkins, True Ventures and VMware.
• Everlaw, a Berkeley, Calif.-based provider of collaborative litigation software, raised $25 million in Series B funding. Menlo Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including Andreessen Horowitz, K9 Ventures and Ulu Ventures.
• Dreem, a Paris and San Francisco-based neurotechnology company, raised $35 million in funding. Investors include Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC and Bpifrance.
• Yoobic, a London-based platform that provides real-time monitoring of retail operations, raised $25 million in funding. Insight Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by investors including Felix Capital.
• Bumped, a Portland, Ore.-based developer of stock-based loyalty programs for brands, raised $14.1 million in Series A funding. Canaan led the round, and was joined by investors including Peninsula Ventures, Commerce Ventures and Oregon Venture Partners.
• Republic, a New York-based retail investment platform affiliated with AngelList, raised $12 million in funding. Binance Labs and NGC ECO Fund co-led the round, and were joined by investors including East Chain Co, Oyster Ventures, FBG Capital, Hazoor Capital, ZK Capital, and ZhenFund.
• Silverfort, an Israel-based authentication provider, raised $11.5 million in Series A funding. TLV Partners led the round, and was joined by investors including StageOne Ventures and Singtel Innov8.
• Unblockable, a San Francisco-based provider of blockchain technology for the sports collectibles market, raised $5 million in funding. Investors include Shasta Ventures and Lightspeed Venture Partners.
• Cerebri AI, an Austin, Texas-based developer of software products using artificial intelligence and machine learning, raised $5 million in Series A funding. M12 led the round, and was joined by investors including the University of Texas Horizon Fund, WorldQuant Ventures, and Leawood Venture Capital.
• MedRhythms, a Portland, Maine-based digital therapeutics company that devleops products for people with neurologic injuries, raised $5.3 million in Series A funding. Peter J. Werth of Werth Family Investment Associates led the round.
• Fitplan Technologies, a wellness technology company behind a mobile fitness app, raised $4.7 million in funding. Investors include Lerer Hippeau, Bullpen, Advanceit and Imaginary VC.
• MedCrypt, a San Diego-based medical device cybersecurity provider, raised $1.9 million in seed funding. Eniac Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including Sway Ventures, Nex Cubed, Oronoco Investments and Friedman BioVentures.
• QuotaPath, a Philadelphia-based sales software company, raised $1.5 million in seed funding. Investors include ATX Seed Ventures.
HEALTH AND LIFE SCIENCES DEALS
• Appello Pharmaceuticals, a Nashville-based preclinical-stage company focused on treating Parkinson’s disease, raised $10.5 million in Series A funding. Deerfield Management and Mountain Group Partners led the round.
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Windjammer acquired Rowmark LLC, a Findlay, Ohio-based maker of extruded plastic sheet and accessories for the engraving, signage and awards markets. The seller was Bertram Capital. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Domo, an American Fork, Texas-based platform that offers employees real-time data insights, raised $193 million in an IPO of 9.2 million shares priced at $21, within its $19 to $22 range. The firm posted revenue of $87.5 million in the year ending Jan. 31, 2018. Institutional Venture Partners, Benchmark Capital, BlackRock, and GGV back the firm. Morgan Stanley, Allen & Company, Credit Suisse, UBS Investment Bank, William Blair, JMP Securities, and Cowen & Company are underwriters in the deal. The firm plans to list on the Nasdaq as “DOMO.” Read more.
• GoodBulk, a Monaco-based dry bulk vessel operator, postponed its $140 million IPO. The firm posted revenue of $57.1 million in 2017. CarVal Investors (49.6% pre-offering), Lantern Asset Management (12.9%), and Brentwood Shipping (11.6%) back the firm. Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse are underwriters in the deal. The firm plans to list on the Nasdaq as “GBLK.” Read more.
• Liquidia Technologies, a Morrisville, N.C.-based maker of pulmonary arterial hypertension therapies, filed for a $57.5 million IPO. The firm posted revenue of $7.3 million in 2017. Jefferies and Cowen are bookrunners. It plans to list on the Nasdaq as “LQDA.” Read more.
• Bain Capital agreed to buy Italmatch, an Italy-based chemicals maker, from Ardian. Financial terms weren’t disclosed, but media reports peg the deal at approximately 700 million euros ($809.4 million). Read more.
• CIVC Partners sold Peak Utility Services Group, a Denver-based provider of maintenance, repair, upgrade and installation services, to ORIX Capital Partners. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
FIRMS + FUNDS
• Bullpen Capital, a San Francisco-based venture capital firm, raised $140 million for its fourth fund, Bullpen IV.
• Second Alpha Partners, a New York-based private equity firm, raised $75.6 million for its fourth fund.
• Cross Lake Partners LLC, a real estate private equity firm, has spun out from Paulson & Co.