Good morning, Term Sheet readers.
Well, here’s an interesting development in the world of investing.
Yale University, which boasts the second-largest endowment in higher education, is among investors that helped a new fund focused on digital assets raise $400 million, according to a new Bloomberg report.
The fund — called Paradigm — was recently formed by Coinbase Inc. co-founder Fred Ehrsam, former Sequoia Capital partner Matt Huang, and Charles Noyes, an ex-employee of crypto fund Pantera Capital.
Yale has reportedly also backed Andreessen Horowitz’s new crypto fund from its monster $30 billion endowment. The university’s bet on crypto is surprising given that 96% of endowments and foundations responding to a survey by consulting firm NEPC in February said they don’t invest in digital currencies.
Many may see this development as a sign that the floodgates to greater inflows of institutional money into crypto are wide open, but we have yet to see whether this wave of institutional capital could reverse the prolonged crypto market slump.
A BIRD AT YOUR DOOR: Bird, the electric scooter company valued at $2 billion, is attempting to woo new customers with convenience. Through its new “Bird Delivery” initiative, a rider can request a Bird to be delivered to their home by 8 a.m. The company also unveiled a new scooter design that has 60% more battery life, a digital display between the handlebars, and promises a more stable ride. At least we know where some of that $418 million in venture funding is going.
Earlier this week, Term Sheet’s very own Lucinda Shen went on her very first Bird ride in Santa Monica. Here is her very honest take on the experience:
“Well, I got on, and immediately thought of how dangerous it felt. Since the scooter is so much smaller compared to a bike — and because not all Santa Monica intersections have lights — I kept thinking a car was going to kill me. But overall, I see the appeal, and the convenience of getting on one of these for short distances. I was almost late for dinner one night, for example, but made it thanks to the scooters. Also, I must say that I could feel the glares and judgement of scooter-hating locals.”
I was thinking recently about how I’m surprised that SoftBank hasn’t invested in an electric scooter company yet (if it has & I somehow missed, let me know). Something to keep an eye on. (And yes, I realize it’s an investor in Uber, which recently acquired JUMP, but that’s largely a dockless bike-share service for now.)
…SPEAKING OF SOFTBANK, it’s reportedly doubling down on its Grab investment and closing in on a deal to invest about $500 million into the Singapore-based ride-sharing company as part of a new $1 billion-funding round. Read more.
THE LATEST FROM FORTUNE…
• The AI Wars Have Not Even Begun (by Vivek Wadhwa)
• Unilever Won’t Be Leaving the U.K. After All
• These Countries Pose the Biggest Threat to U.S. National Security (by Grace Donnelly)
• Porsche Says It Can Beat Tesla’s Charging Times by Half (by Jaclyn Trop)
Read Snap CEO Evan Spiegel’s leaked 15-page memo he sent to employees. Elon Musk is (again) trolling the SEC on Twitter. How China used a tiny chip to infiltrate U.S. companies. Mark Cuban prodded Elon Musk to settle SEC charges. CEO tenure is getting shorter.
• ZipRecruiter, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based online employment marketplace, raised $156 million in Series B funding. Wellington Management Company and IVP led the round.
• Brex, a San Francisco-based corporate card for startups, raised $125 million in Series C funding. Greenoaks Capital and DST Global co-led the round.
• Stay Alfred, a Spokane, Wash.-based hospitality startup, raised $47 million in Series B funding. Nine Four Ventures led the round.
• Huel, a London-based maker of nutritionally complete powdered food, raised $26 million in funding from Highland Europe.
• SpinCar, a New York City-based provider of digital automotive merchandising software, raised $22 million in funding. Wavecrest Growth Partners led the round.
• Rylo, a San Francisco-based camera device to capture photos and for shooting 360 degree videos, raised $20 million in Series B funding. Icon Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including Accel Partners and Sequoia Capital.
• Strivr, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based provider of immersive virtual reality training, raised $16 million in funding. GreatPoint Ventures led the round.
• Randori, a Boston-based developer of an attack platform, raised $9.75 million in funding. Accomplice led the round, and was joined by investors including .406 Ventures and Legion Capital.
• SKALE Labs Inc, a provider of blockchain scalability infrastructure, raised $9.65 million in funding. Multicoin Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including Aspect Ventures, Blockchange Ventures, Boost.VC, Canaan Venture Partners, Galaxy Digital, FLOODGATE Fund, Hack.VC, Neo Global Capital and Signia Venture Partners.
• Lilt, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based AI-enabled translation platform, raised $9.5 million in Series A funding. Sequoia Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including Redpoint Ventures, Zetta Venture Partners and XSeed Capital.
• CrowdRiff, a Canada-based AI-powered visual content marketing platform for travel and tourism brands, raised a $9 million in Series A funding. Leaders Fund led the round, and was joined by investors including High Alpha Capital and Gibraltar & Company.
• Authentic4D, a Michigan-based provider of medical imaging review technology and resolution services for casualty insurance claims, raised $5 million in Series A funding. IA Capital Group led the round.
• FactoryFour, a Baltimore-based developer of software solutions that manage and automate manufacturing processes, raised $5 million in Series A funding. August Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including Refactor Capital.
• Kooltra, a Toronto-based fintech company, raised $5 million in seed funding. Investors include Salesforce Ventures, Hyde Park Venture Partners, Real Ventures and Round 13 Capital.
• Carepoynt, a digital health startup, raised $5 million in funding. The investors were not named.
• Lexoo, a London-based legal startup, raised $4.4 million in Series A funding. Earlybird led the round, and was joined by investors including Forward Partners and Ned Staple, general counsel at Zoopla Property Group.
• Forward Health, a London-based startup that has built an app to help healthcare professionals communicate in a secure way, raised $3.9 million in seed funding. Stride.VC led the round.
• Advisable.com, an Ireland-based B2B marketplace for freelance marketing specialists, raised €1 million ($1.2 million) in funding. Investors include Frontline Ventures, Web Summit co-founder Paddy Cosgrave and former Paddy Power Betfair chief Breon Corcoran.
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Gerber Technology, which is backed by AIP, acquired Avametric, a San Francisco-based developer of cloth simulation technology. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Innovatus Capital Partners agreed to invest up to $42 million to Personal Genome Diagnostics Inc, a Baltimore-based developer of tissue-based and liquid biopsy technologies for cancer genomics.
• Cognizant (Nasdaq: CTSH) agreed to acquire Softvision, an Austin-based digital engineering and consulting company focused on agile development of innovative software solutions and platforms. Financial terms weren’t disclosed, but media reports peg the deal at $550 million.
• Collier Creek Holdings, a New York-based SPAC, raised $400 million in an upsized IPO of 40 million shares priced at $10 apiece. Pinnacle Foods Chairman Roger Deromedi, CC Capital founder Chinh E. Chu, and Senior Managing Director of CC Capital Jason K. Giordano are founders of the firm. Citi, Credit Suisse and BofA Merrill Lynch are underwriters. It plans to list on the NYSE as “CCH.U.” Read more.
• Elastic, Mountain View, Calif.-based search software firm, raised $252 million in an IPO of 7 million shares priced at $36, above its $33 to $35 range. 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.”
• Guardant Health, a Redwood City, Calif.-based company creating blood-based cancer diagnostic tests, raised $238 million in an IPO of 12.5 million priced at $19, above its $15 to $17 range. 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.
• Orchard Therapeutics, a London-based gene therapies maker, filed for a $173 million IPO. It has yet to post a revenue. F-Prime Partners and GlaxoSmithKline back the firm. J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs, and Cowen are underwriters. It plans to list on the Nasdaq as “ORTX.” Read more.
• Kodiak Sciences, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based Phase 1 biotech developing treatments for macular degeneration, raised $90 million in an IPO of 9 million shares priced at $10, below its $13 to $15 range. Baker Bros backs the firm. Morgan Stanley and BofA Merrill Lynch are underwriters. It plans to list on the Nasdaq as “KOD.” Read more.
• The Riverside Company sold Global Orthopaedic Technologies, an Australia-based maker of orthopedic implants, to Corin Orthopaedic Holdings Limited. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
FIRMS + FUNDS
• Energize Ventures, a Chicago-based venture capital fund, raised $150 million for its first fund.
• New Enterprise Associates promoted Paul Walker to general partner. Previously, he was at MPM Capital.