Good morning, Term Sheet readers.
Thank you for all the newsletter/podcast recommendations yesterday. Although my inbox was absolutely, most definitely not ready for the avalanche of emails, there are some high-quality suggestions in there. I plan to publish them next week, so be on the lookout.
THE LATEST IN ELON MUSK: Well, um, how do I put this? In a spectacularly bold move after everything that’s happened, Tesla CEO Elon Musk went on Joe Rogan’s podcast where he sipped whiskey, smoked marijuana and talked about the end of the universe. On video. As for Tesla, he said, “It’s hard to run companies, especially car companies. It’s very difficult to keep a car company alive.” No kidding. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Read more at Fortune.
THE LATEST IN SPORTS BETTING: I’ve now gotten demos of both the DraftKings and FanDuel sports betting apps that they hurried to launch ahead of NFL season. Yesterday, I wrote a story about FanDuel’s new platform (which is live as of today).
DraftKings debuted its sports betting platform an entire month before FanDuel. Niko Bonaddio, the head of product at FanDuel, explained that the process has taken longer than he wanted because the company was deliberate in working closely with regulators while developing the app. “If regulators say, ‘Jump,’ we say, ‘How high?’ We could’ve taken the approach of doing first and asking for forgiveness later, but it’s just not worth it for us to do that,” he said.
The sentiment was echoed by FanDuel CEO Matt King who told me in May that his company treads carefully when it comes to regulation. “We’ve always taken a more conservative approach to the point where we deliberately didn’t innovate in certain areas because we weren’t sure if it would be deemed acceptable,” he said.
I found this idea interesting because it’s a departure from the startup mentality of “Screw your rules, we’re going to do it anyway.” King previously told me that his company has embraced regulation because “in a world not dissimilar from Uber and Airbnb where you’re creating a new market, it can be hard to know where the boundaries are.”
It begs the question — will FanDuel’s conservative approach pay off in the end or will it interfere with growth and innovation?
THE ROAD TO IPO: Robinhood, the fintech startup that offers stock, option, and cryptocurrency trades with zero fees, is taking steps to go public, starting with the hiring of a chief financial officer. The company has an eye-popping valuation of $5.6 billion and has raised a total of $539 million in funding from investors including DST Global, NEA, Index Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, Sequoia, Capital G, and Iconiq.
I’ve been following Robinhood since Fortune featured the company and its founders Vlad Tenev & Baiju Bhatt in 2015. At the time, the company had raised $16 million in total funding from Index Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz. Two years and hundreds of millions dollars later, Robinhood continues to expand its footprint. In May, the company told Term Sheet that it has doubled its user base from 2 million to 4 million people and surpassed $150 billion in transaction volume since April 2017. Read more.
THE LATEST FROM FORTUNE…
• Security Tokens Get a Boost as PayPal Vet Joins 0x Board (by Jeff John Roberts)
• Short Seller Andrew Left Is Suing Elon Musk Over His Tweet About Taking Tesla Private (by Lucas Laursen)
• Whole Foods Employees Look to Unionize Under Amazon Ownership (by Emily Price)
• Facebook to Build $1 Billion Data Center in Singapore (by Renae Reints)
• Miss Fresh, a China-based e-commerce startup that delivers fresh produce in 20 Chinese cities, raised $450 million in funding. Investors include Goldman Sachs and Tencent Holdings Ltd, according to Reuters. Read more.
• GreyOrange, a Singapore-based maker of advanced robotics systems for automation in distribution and fulfillment centers, raised $140 million in Series C funding. Mithril Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including Blume Ventures.
• iQIYI Inc, a China-based provider of online entertainment services, raised RMB 850 million (about $124 million) in Series A funding. Investors include China Sports Capital, a joint venture between CMC Capital Partners and Sequoia Capital, Yao Capital, IDG Capital, and Hui Ying Bo Run.
• Monese, a U.K.-based online banking platform, raised $60 million in Series B funding. Kinnevik led the round, and was joined by investors including PayPal, Augmentum Fintech and Investec’s INVC Fund.
• Groq, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based semiconductor startup, raised $52.3 million in funding. The target is $60 million. Groq’s previous backers include Social Capital.
• Uberall Inc, a Berlin-based provider of location marketing solutions for businesses, raised $25 million in Series B funding. HPE Growth Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including Project A and United Internet.
• Blue Medora, a Grand Rapids, Michigan-based provider of IT monitoring integration solutions, raised $10 million in funding. Edison Partners led the round.
• TripCreator, an Iceland-based provider of trip-planning solutions, raised $8 million in funding. The investors were not named.
• MarketDial, a Utah-based cloud-based software company that offers retail companies the ability to create and analyze A/B tests, has raised $7.5 million in Series A funding. Crosslink Capital led the round.
• Alaia Capital, a Darien, Conn.-based financial services firm, raised $5.5 million in funding. Centana Growth Partners led the round, and was joined by investors including ThirdStream Partners LLC.
• TAPPP, a New York-based pre-paid platform enabling access to premium live sports content, has secured $5 million in Series A funding. leAD Sports/OurCrowd’s ADvantage Fund, and was joined by investors including Accomplice, Elysian Park, Go4it, Courtside VC and Sterling.VC.
• Silvernest, a Boulder, Colo.-based home sharing platform operator, raised $3 million in Series A funding. Incenter led the round.
• Vapor IO, an Austin, Texas-based developer of hardware and software solutions for edge computing, raised Series C funding of an undisclosed amount. Berkshire Partners led the round, and was joined by investors including Crown Castle.
HEALTH AND LIFE SCIENCES DEALS
• 4D Molecular Therapeutics, a gene therapy company, raised $90 million in Series B funding. Viking Global Investors led the round, and was joined by investors including ArrowMark Partners, Janus Henderson Investors, The Biotechnology Value Fund, MiraeAsset Financial Group, Pappas Capital & Chiesi Ventures, Pfizer Ventures, Perceptive Advisors, Ridgeback Capital Investments, CureDuchenne Ventures and Berkeley Catalyst Fund.
• Twentyeight-Seven Therapeutics, a Cambridge, Mass.-based biotech firm focused on modulating non-coding RNA biology to develop treatments for cancer and other diseases, raised $65 million in Series A funding. MPM Capital and Novartis Venture Fund led the round, and was joined by investors including Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc., Vertex Ventures HC, Longwood Fund and Astellas Venture Management.
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Crestview Partners acquired Protect My Car, a Clearwater, Fla.-based provider of extended warranty products for vehicles. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Sherpa Capital acquired a majority stake in Busining, a Spain-based provider of coworking spaces. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Elanco, the Greenfield, In.-based animal vaccines maker spinning out of Eli Lilly, says it plans to raise $1.4 billion in an offering of 62.9 million priced between $20 to $23. The firm posted revenue of $2.9 billion in 2017 and loss of $310.7 million. Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley are underwriters. It plans to list on the NYSE as “ELAN.” Read more.
• Zekelman Industries, Chicago, Ill.based steel pipe and tube manufacturer, plans to raise $752 million in an IPO of 41.8 million shares priced between $17 to $19(34% insider). It posted sales of $2.6 billion and net income of $246.1 million in the 12 months ending June. Goldman Sachs and BofA Merrill Lynch are underwriters. It plans to list on both the NYSE and the Toronto Stock Exchange as “ZEK.” Read more.
• Farfetch, a London-based fashion site, said it plans to raise $600 million in an IPO of 37.5 million shares priced between $15 to $17 (20% insider). It posted revenue of $386 million and loss of $112.3 million. Kadi Group, Index Ventures, and Advent Venture Partners back the firm. Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, Allen & Company, and UBS are underwriters. It plans to list on the NYSE as “FTCH.” Read more.
• Churchill Capital, a New York-based blank check company focused on the predictive data analytics market, now says it plans to raise $600 million in an offering of 60 million units priced at $10 apiece. Previously it planned to offer 45 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.
• Eventbrite, San Francisco-based an ticketing platform, plans to raise $200 million in an IPO of 10 million shares priced between $19 to $21. It raised revenue of $201.6 million in 2017 and loss of $38.5 million. Tiger Global (21.3% pre-offering), Sequoia Capital (20.3%), and T. Rowe (6.8%) back the firm. Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, Allen & Company, and RBC Capital Markets are underwriters. The firm plans to list on the NYSE as “EB.” Read more.
• Navios Maritime Container, a Monaco-based shipping container maker, plans to raise $100 million in an offering of 5.3 million shares priced between $18 to $20. The firm posted revenue of $39.2 million in the eight months ending Dec. 31. Navios Maritime Partners backs the firm. J.P. Morgan, BofA, Citigroup, and Clarksons Platou are underwriters. The firm plans to list on the Nasdaq. Read more.
• Upwork, a Mountain View, Calif.-based marketplace for businesses to hire and manage, filed for an $100 million IPO. The company posted revenue of $202.6 million and loss of $10.6 million in 2017. Benchmark (15% pre-offering), Sigma Partners (14.2%), and Globespan Capital Partners (12.9%) back the firm. Citi, Jefferies and RBC Capital Markets are underwriters. It plans to list on the Nasdaq as “UPWK.” Read more.
• Guardant Health, a Redwood City, Calif.-based company creating blood-based cancer diagnostic tests, filed for a $100 million IPO. The firm posted revenue of $49.8 million and loss of $89 million in 2017. Softbank (39% pre-offering , Sequoia (11%) and Khosla Ventures (10%) back the firm. J.P. Morgan and BofA Merrill Lynch are underwriters. It plans to list on the Nasdaq as “GH.” Read more.
• Elastic, Mountain View, Calif.-based search software firm, filed for a $100 million IPO. The firm posted revenue of $159.9 million in the year ending April 2018 and loss of $52.7 million. Benchmark (17% pre-offering), Index Ventures (10.5%) and New Enterprise Associates (10.2%) back the firm. Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, Barclays, RBC Capital Markets, BofA Merrill Lynch, Citi, Jefferies, and Canaccord Genuity are underwriters. It plans to list on the NYSE as “ESTC.” Read more.
• Yunji Weidian, the Chinese e-commerce platform, has reportedly hired Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, and J.P. Morgan to launch an IPO in the U.S. The IPO would value the firm at around $7 billion to $10 billion, Reuters reports citing sources. Read more.
• Ares EIF acquired Paradigm Energy Partners, an Irving, Texas-based midstream company, from Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• H.I.G. Capital acquired Recochem, a Canada-based manufacturer of household chemical products, from Swander Pace Capital. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Council Capital sold Adva-Net, a Lakewood Ranch, Fla.-besed provider of an ancillary tnetwork for workers’ compensation claims for pain management, post-acute care and addiction recovery, to Paradigm Outcomes. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
FIRMS + FUNDS
• Kayne Partners promoted Leon Chen to partner and Rob Shilton to vice president.