Term Sheet — Tuesday, September 4

September 4, 2018, 1:34 PM UTC


Good morning, Term Sheet readers.

Lyft is jump-starting its IPO process by hiring an adviser to help with the process, according to a Bloomberg report. The ride-hailing company reportedly plans to begin taking pitches from banks starting as early as September and is targeting a March or April 2019 initial public offering. In other words, it might beat Uber in the race to the public market.

As Bloomberg notes, “Going first would allow Lyft to set expectations for ride-hailing companies, draw attention away from its larger rival and lock up investor money before Uber. Yet in going first, Lyft risks the possibility that investors hold out for its more valuable rival.”

In June, Lyft raised $600 million in a funding round led by Fidelity Management & Research Co. at a $15.1 billion valuation. Meanwhile, Toyota most recently invested $500 million in Uber in a deal that valued the company at $76 billion.

Interestingly enough, this news comes a little more than a month after Lyft co-founder & president John Zimmer appeared on stage at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech Conference in Aspen to say he is “not on a mission of taking the company public” — at least anytime soon. His remarks came in stark contrast to Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi’s commitment to take Uber public sometime in 2019.

Looks like Zimmer & company have changed their tune.

SILICON PLATEAU? If you haven’t read this Economist feature on “why startups are leaving Silicon Valley,” I urge you to do so. It has some interesting stats like this:

— Last year more Americans left the county of San Francisco than arrived. According to a recent survey, 46% of respondents say they plan to leave the Bay Area in the next few years, up from 34% in 2016.

— In 2013, Silicon Valley investors put half their money into startups outside the Bay Area; now it is closer to two-thirds.

— The Kauffman Foundation now ranks the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area first for startup activity in America, based on the density of startups and new entrepreneurs.

The response to the article on Twitter has been mixed with some saying that “it's not rocket science to suggest that Silicon Valley may have reached its limits” while others maintain that “this reporting is wrong & reporters from the Economist should come visit instead of writing from a distance.”

I have a very interesting Q&A with a dealmaker tomorrow that touches on this subject. Stay tuned.

TAKING A STAND: Levi Strauss CEO Chip Bergh wrote a column for Fortune this morning calling on business leaders to take a stand on gun violence. He writes:

“As president and CEO of a values-driven company that’s known the world over as a pioneer of the American West and one of the great symbols of American freedom, I take the responsibility of speaking up on the important issues of our day very seriously. We can’t take on every issue. But as business leaders with power in the public and political arenas, we simply cannot stand by silently when it comes to the issues that threaten the very fabric of the communities where we live and work. While taking a stand can be unpopular with some, doing nothing is no longer an option.”

Read the full column here.


Jianke, a China-based online B2C pharmacy and healthcare services platform, raised $130 million in Series B funding. GTJA Investment Group led the round, and was joined by investors including HBM Healthcare Investments and Crescent Point.

Auterion, a Switzerland-based open source drone software company, raised $10 million in seed funding. Investors include Lakestar, Mosaic Ventures, Costanoa Ventures, and Tectonic Ventures.

Duffel, a London-based travel startup, raised $4.7 million in funding. Blossom Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including The Crankstart Foundation and Index Ventures.

Phrasee, a London-based developer of marketing language generation software, raised $4 million in Series A funding. Albion Capital Group led the round, and was joined by investors including Next Fifteen and Galvanise Capital.

Upfluence, a New York-based SaaS influencer marketing platform, raised $3.6 million in Series A funding. ISAI led the round, and was joined by investors including French Partners.


Evox Therapeutics Ltd, a U.K.-based exosome therapeutics company, raised £35.5 million ($45.4 million) in Series B funding. Redmile Group led the round, and was joined by investors including GV (formerly Google Ventures), Cowen Healthcare Investments, Panacea Healthcare Venture, Borealis Ventures, Oxford Sciences Innovation, and Oxford University.


Gryphon Investors made a majority investment Transportation Insight LLC, a Hickory, N.C.-based provider of third party logistics services for corporate clients. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

Falcon Private Holdings LLC acquired a controlling stake in Halcón Cerámicas, a Spain-based ceramic tile producer. Financial terms weren't disclosed.


Meituan Dianping, a Beijing-based online-services firm, is set to launch an IPO this week that could value it at $55 billion. Tencent backs the firm. Read more.

SIG Combibloc, a Swiss packaging firm, says it plans to raise $1.2 billion (1 billion euros) in an IPO on the Swiss Exchange. Read more.

Churchill Capital, a New York-based blank check company focused on the predictive data analytics market, now says it plans to raise $450 million in an offering of 45 million units priced at $10 apiece. Previously it planned to offer 40 million units. Jerre Stead, former CEO of IHS, and Michael Klein, managing partner at M. Klein and Company, are cofounders. Citigroup is the underwriter. It plans to list on the NYSE. Read more.

Funding Circle, the U.K.-based p2p lending platform for small businesses, says it may IPO in London for about $390 million (£300 million). Read more.

LAIX, the Shanghai-based operator of AI-powered English language learning platform Liulishuo, filed for an $100 million IPO. The firm posted revenue of $25.5 million in 2017 and loss of $37.3 million. IDG Capital (13.4% pre-offering) and GGV (11.7%) back the firm. Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs are underwriters. It plans to list on the NYSE as “LAIX.” Read more.

Principia Biopharma, a San Francisco-based maker of small molecule therapies in the area of oncology, says it plans to raise $75 million in an IPO of 4.7 million shares priced between $15 to $17 apiece. It posted revenue of $5.3 million in 2017 and loss of $28.7 million. Baker Bros (12.3% pre-offering), Morgenthaler Ventures (16.8%), and New Leaf Ventures (16.8%) back the firm.  BofA Merrill Lynch, Leerink Partners, and Wells Fargo Securities are underwriters. It plans to list on the Nasdaq as “PRNB.” Read more.


Atlassian agreed to acquire OpsGenie, a Falls Church, Va.-based company that helps DevOps and IT-operations teams manage critical IT alerts and incidents, for $295 million. OpsGenie had raised approximately $10 million in venture funding from Battery Ventures.

Munich Re acquired relayr, a Germany-based provider of industrial internet of things solutions. The deal was valued at $300 million. The company had raised approximately $66.8 million in venture funding from investors including Kleiner Perkins, Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners, and Blue Ivy Ventures.

The international arm of Britain’s Royal Mail Plc acquired Dicom Canada, a Canada-based parcel delivery company, for C$360 million ($273.3 million), from Wind Point Partners.

Bregal Investments and KKR agreed to sell Cognita, a U.K.-based operator of schools, to Jacobs Holding. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

Cipio Partners sold softgarden e-recruiting GmbH, a Germany-based developer of a recruiting-as-a-service software, to Investcorp. Financial terms weren't disclosed.


KKR named Kazuyuki Kido a managing director.

Alok Basani joined Bridge Growth Partners as an associate.

Redpoint eventures, the Brazilian arm of Redpoint Ventures, promoted Rodrigo Baer from principal to partner.


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Polina Marinova produces Term Sheet, and Lucinda Shen compiles the IPO news. Send deal announcements to Polina here and IPO news to Lucinda here.

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