Term Sheet — Wednesday, October 24

October 24, 2018, 1:38 PM UTC


STARTUP GRAVEYARD: 2018 will forever be remembered as the year that blood testing startup Theranos took its last breath. But it wasn’t the only one. So far this year, a total of 12 companies have gone out of business, according to Pitchbook.

In 2017, VCs invested more than $1 billion in 11 startups that shut down. But 2018 is a little more terrifying — investors poured approximately $1.4 billion into 12 startups that are now dead & gone. 💀💀💀

Let’s remember the top 5 companies in the startup graveyard (ranked by valuation):

A developer of blood testing technology
Valued at $9 billion at peak
Raised $810 million in funding
Backed by The Walton Family, Rupert Murdoch, The Cox family, and many more

A developer of robots for production and research environments.
Valued at $291 million
Raised $150 million in funding
Backed by Sigma Partners, DFJ, Goldman Sachs, GE Ventures, Adveq, CRV, and Highland Capital Partners

A provider of on-demand shipping services
Valued at $275 million
Raised $62 million in funding
Backed by Kleiner Perkins, Draft Ventures, Slow Ventures, Homebrew, and Aslanoba Capital

A provider of software for developers
Valued at $90 million
Raised $56 million in funding
Backed by NEA, Ignition Partners, and Safeguard Scientifics

A company offering drone analytics tools
Valued at $59 million
Raised $100+ million in funding
Backed by GV, Andreessen Horowitz, GE Ventures, First Round Capital, NetWorld Capital, Caterpillar, Intel Capital, and KPCB Edge.

For the thrill-seekers, feel free to check out the full list here.

BIRD ECONOMICS: Electric scooter startup Bird is on pace to generate hundreds of millions of dollars annually in gross revenue, according to a new report in The Information. It has also reportedly had early discussions with investors about a new round of funding at a $4 billion to $5 billion valuation. The Information obtained a copy of a presentation that Bird provided investors. In it, the company said it expected to greatly improve its gross profit margin in the “near term” to a level that would nearly match what ride-hailing firm Lyft recorded when it was five years old. Reminder: Bird is only a year old.

From the story:

When it comes to viewing Uber and Lyft as the competition, the Bird fundraising pitch deck downplayed the threat. It said Uber and Lyft “are preparing for IPO, so they won’t invest aggressively and won’t subsidize prices.” And in general, Bird said Uber and Lyft “move slowly” and are 8 to 12 months behind. Since then, both ride-hailing companies have indicated they would invest in electric vehicles and have launched scooters in some American cities, though they have run into scooter supply constraints along with Bird and others. A person who has data on Uber’s and Lyft’s scooter and bike plans said together they already have planned to invest a combined $1 billion in the field.

Read the full report with all of the details here.

PS: It looks like Europe has also caught the Bird flu (I’ll stop I promise). There are two electric scooter/bike deals out of Germany and Belgium today (see in VC section below).


It Might Get Loud: Inside Silicon Valley’s Battle to Own Voice Tech (by Brian Dumaine)

Naya Health, the $1,000 Smart Breast Pump Startup, Has Stopped Responding to Customers (by Glenn Fleishman)

E-Sports Betting Platform Approved, Letting Video Gamers Gamble Worldwide (by Brittany Shoot)

HMNY Announces Plan to Spin Off MoviePass Into Separate Publicly Traded Company (by Don Reisinger)


How one stubborn banker exposed a $200 billion Russian money-laundering scandal. The campaign for mobile-phone voting is getting a midterm test. Head of JPMorgan’s US private bank resigns. Pixar co-founder to retire by the end of the year. How Softbank could continue investing from the Vision Fund without relying on Saudi money.


DataRobot, a developer of a machine learning automation software for enterprises, raised $100 million in Series D funding. Meritech and Sapphire Ventures co-led the round, and were joined by investors including DFJ, NEA, IA Ventures, and Intel Capital.

Knotel, a New York-based provider of agile workspaces for companies, raised $60 million in funding. Norwest Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by investors including Newmark Knight Frank and Bloomberg Beta.

Envoy, a developer of workplace technology, raised $43 million in funding at a valuation of more than $200 million, according to Forbes. Menlo Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including Initialized Capital and Andreessen Horowitz.

People.ai, a San Francisco-based artificial intelligence platform for enterprise revenue, raised $30 million in Series B funding. Investors include Andreessen Horowitz, Lightspeed Venture Partners, GGV Capital and Y Combinator.

TIER, a Berlin-based electric scooter company, raised €25 million ($28.5 million) in Series A funding. Northzone led the round, and was joined by investors including Speedinvest and Point Nine.

EyeSight, an Israel-based computer vision firm, raised $15 million in funding. Investors include Jebsen Capital, Arie Capital and Mizrahi-Tefahot Bank.

Ushur, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based provider of a SaaS service engagement platform leveraging enterprise data, raised $12 million in Series A funding. 8VC led the round.

Cowboy, a Belgium-based electric bike startup, raised 10 million euros ($11.4 million) in Series A funding. Tiger Global led the round with participation from Index Ventures and Hardware Club.

Snappy, a New York-based company focused on corporate gifting, raised $10 million in total funding. 83North led the round, and was joined by investors including Hearst Ventures.

Spatial, a cross-reality collaboration platform that turns rooms into 3D workspaces, raised $8 million in seed funding. Investors include iNovia Capital, Garrett Camp with Expa, Samsung Next, Joi Ito, Mark Pincus and Andy Hertzfeld.

Carbon Lighthouse, a San Francisco-based clean energy startup, raised $7.5 million in funding from CEAS Investments.

Assignar, an Australia and Colorado-based construction operations management platform provider, raised $6.2 million in Series A funding. Tola Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including Our Innovation Fund.

Court Buddy, a San Francisco-based legal tech company, raised $6 million in Series A funding. NFX led the round, and was joined by investors including First Round Capital, Kapor Capital, and existing investors LDR Ventures, Lightspeed’s LSS Fund, Gingerbread Capital, UpHonest Capital, L.A. Women Angels, and Venture University.

CoreStack, a Bellevue, Wash.-based multi-cloud governance platform, raised funding of an undisclosed amount. Z5 Capital led the round.


Stoke Therapeutics, a Bedford, Mass.-based biotech firm, raised $90 million in Series B funding. RTW Investments led the round, and was joined by investors including Apple Tree Partners, RA Capital Management, Cormorant Asset Management, Perceptive Advisors, funds managed by Janus Henderson Investors, Redmile Group, Sphera Funds Management and Alexandria Venture Investments.


AUA Private Equity Partners LLC acquired Joey’s Fine Foods Inc, a Newark, N.J.-based maker of dessert snacks. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

Peak Rock Capital acquired Pretzels, Inc., a Bluffton, Ind.-based supplier of pretzels and other extruded snack products. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

Battery Ventures acquired SigmaTEK Systems, a Cincinnati-based developer of nesting software solutions. Financial terms weren't disclosed.


Lancaster Colony Corporation (Nasdaq: LANC)’s subsidiary T. Marzetti Company acquired all the assets of Bantam Bagels, a New York-based bagel company, for $34 million.


Orchard Therapeutics, a London-based gene therapies maker, plans to raise $200 million in an IPO of $13.3 million ADSs priced between $14 to $16. 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.

Cloudflare, the U.S. software firm, is readying for a $3.5 billion IPO, Reuters reports citing sources. Read more.


Frontier Capital sold its stake in Zephyr, a Newark, Calif.-based provider of on-demand and real-time enterprise test management solutions, to SmartBear Software. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

BV Investment Partners sold REAN Cloud, a Herndon, Va.-based provider of IT cloud solutions to Hitachi Vantara. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

Lyft acquired Blue Vision Labs, a Los Angeles-based developer of computer vision technology designed to help self-driving cars navigate city roads, for about $72 million, according to media reports. Blue Vision Labs had raised approximately $17 million in venture funding from investors including GV, Accel, Horizons Ventures, SV Angel, and 7percent Ventures.


FJ Capital Management, a McLean, Va.-based investment firm, raised $145 million for its financial hybrid opportunity fund.


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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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