Good morning, Term Sheet readers.
PROFIT SECURED: Tesla’s stock surged as much as 15% Wednesday, after posting earnings in the third quarter that blew away Wall Street’s profit forecasts as the company began selling the enough of its new Model 3 cars to push the company well into the black. Tesla reported a profit of $311.5 million, or $1.75 per share, in the third quarter.
One longtime skeptic of the company, Andrew Left of Citron Research, reversed his position on Tesla this week. It was a remarkable reversal for Left, who had been loudly shorting Tesla stock for more than two-and-half-years, until this week, when he declared in the report that he was now long Tesla stock.
“Plain and simple, Tesla is destroying the competition,” Left wrote. “Like a magic trick, while everyone is focused on Elon smoking weed, he is quietly smoking the whole automotive industry.”
In order for Tesla to live up to its valuation, the company must continue to replicate and deliver results like these again and again. As my colleague Jen Wieczner notes, “Now all Musk has to do is prove that Tesla deserves investors’ newfound bullishness.”
‘THE AMAZON OF TRANSPORTATION:’ Speaking of living up to its valuation, let’s talk about Uber. As the ride-hailing giant prepares for a blockbuster IPO in 2018, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi is laying out an ambitious plan.
“We want to invest very, very significantly in pool technology and mass transit, and we want to take that 100 million to a billion,” he said at a Financial Times event in London.
Ahead of its public debut, Khosrowshahi wants to emphasize the potential of Uber — it plans to capitalize on electric bike/scooter opportunities as well as bets on public transportation, delivery drones, and self-driving vehicles. But it’s important to remember that Uber has burnt through billions of dollars in venture capital to build its business in the last 10 years. The company reported a $4.5 billion net loss in 2017, and its core rides business is still not profitable.
In July, Khosrowshahi told Fortune he doesn’t think Uber needs to be profitable before going public. So, potential investors have to ask themselves — Am I comfortable owning a piece of a high-growth company that’s burning through heaps of cash? Can I tolerate the losses? How much is Uber really worth? Do I believe that Uber should be valued as the cash-intensive ride-hailing business it is today or the ‘Amazon of transportation’ it says it will become? Do Khosrowshahi’s ambitions match reality?
CATALYSTS FOR CHANGE: All Raise, the organization founded by women in venture capital, has its next project: VC Champions, a mentorship and networking program that will match principal-level investors—women and underrepresented men—with top general partners in Silicon Valley.
All Raise is targeting up-and-coming investors at the principal level, just below partner. Investors who apply and are accepted to the inaugural class of about 25 will be matched with a different general partner for a one-on-one meeting each quarter. One of the priorities? Get more men involved — both as participants as well as mentors.
I recently asked Upfront Ventures partner Kara Nortman about the inception of the organization and why its existence is necessary in VC today. She said:
An organization of this type has been necessary for a long time, but the key is that it is also now possible because women and men feel empowered to dedicate both the time and money to changing the gender ratio as a core part of our jobs … While the mission drives us, the opportunity around the economic impact is being fully understood by men and women for the first time. Firms who want to compete and thrive in the next decade cannot afford not to care.
• Algorand, a Boston-based blockchain payments platform, raised $62 million in funding. The investors were not named.
• Tado, a Germany-based smart thermostat and AC control maker, raised $50 million in funding. Investors include Amazon, E.ON, Total Energy Ventures, Energy Innovation Capital, Inven Capital, and the European Investment Bank. Read more at Fortune.
• Metrc, a Lakeland, Fla.-based provider of regulatory solutions for the cannabis industry, raised $50 million in funding. Tiger Global Management and Casa Verde Capital co-led the round.
• Yellowbrick Data, a Palo Alto, California-based provider of analytic solutions for the hybrid cloud, has raised $48 million in Series B funding. Next47 led the round, and was joined by investors including DFJ Growth.
• Scale Computing, an Indianapolis-based company focused on edge computing and hyperconverged solutions, raised $34.8 million in Series F funding. Investors include Lenovo.
• Innovusion, a developer of LiDAR technology for the autonomous vehicle markets, raised approximately $30 million in Series A funding. Investors include NIO Capital, Eight Roads Ventures, F-Prime Capital, and Gaorong Capital.
• Coople, a Switzerland-based operator of an on-demand staffing platform, raised $21 million in funding. Investors include One Peak Partners, Goldman Sachs Private Capital and Harbert European Growth Capital.
• Geltor, a San Leandro, Calif.-based bio-design company behind Designer Collagen, raised $18.2 million in Series A funding. Cultivian Sandbox Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including GELITA and ADM Ventures.
• K4Connect, a Raleigh, N.C.-based provider of solutions for older adults and individuals living with disabilities, raised $12 million in Series B funding. AXA Venture Partners led the round.
• Wahed Invest, a New York-based robo-advisor, raised $8 million in funding at a $100 million valuation. Investors include Cue Ball Capital and BECO Capital.
• Ople, Inc., a Silicon Valley-based artificial intelligence software company, raised $8 million in Series A funding to expand the capabilities of its AI building AI platform. Triage Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including Hack VC.
• Summersalt, the St. Louis based direct-to-consumer swimwear brand, raised $6.1 million in Series A funding. Founders Fund led the round, and was joined by investors including Lewis and Clark Ventures, Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, Dundee Venture Capital, Breakout Capital, Cultivation Capital, Victress Capital, Amplifyher Ventures, M25 and Giuliana and Bill Rancic.
• Futrli, a U.K.-based provider of forecasting and reporting solutions for business owners and accountants, raised 4 million pounds ($5.2 million) in Series A funding. Investors include e.ventures, Notion Capital and firstminute Capital.
• Neat, a Hong Kong-based provider of mobile current account solutions for underbanked people and companies in Asia, raised $3 million in funding. Linear Capital led the round.
• Alpaca, a San Mateo-based fintech startup, raised $3 million in funding. Investors include Global Brain and Archetype.
• Promethium, a Menlo Park-based provider of self-service data governance and business intelligence analytics, raised $2.5 million in seed funding. Zetta Venture Partners led the round.
• CYR3CON, a Temple, Ariz.-based cybersecurity startup, raised $1.5 million in seed funding. Scout Ventures led the round.
• CSPA, a San Francisco-based assessment company that makes a standardized exam for software engineers, raised $1.5 million in seed funding. Investors include Y Combinator, Amino Capital, Sinai Ventures, Ocean IQ Partners, Mehta Ventures, VentureSouq, Pascal Capital, Kutlu Kazanci, Peter Pezaris, Noah Ready-Campbell, Dylan Field, Vincent Shortino, and Yoshio Osaki.
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Palm Beach Capital made an investment in Blue Team, a Boca Raton, Fla.-based provider of disaster restoration, emergency services and remediation solutions, specifically servicing the commercial sector. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Bain Capital Private Equity made an investment in Dealer Tire, a Cleveland, Ohio-based distributor of replacement tire and parts programs for car dealerships. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• LEARN Behavioral, a portfolio company of LLR Partners, acquired Total Spectrum, an Elmhurst, Ill.-based provider of applied behavior analysis services for families and children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• NexPhase Capital, LP recapitalized Action Behavior Centers, an Austin-based provider of Applied Behavior Analysis therapy for children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.
• Summer Street Capital Partners LLC made an investment in Coastal Waste and Recycling, a Pompano Beach, Fla.-based solid waste disposal and recycling company. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Kar’s Nuts, a portfolio company of Palladium Equity Partners, acquired Morley Candy Makers, a Clinton Township, Mich.-based maker of premium confectionery products sold under the Sanders Fine Chocolatiers brand. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Seacoast invested $10 million in DI Overnite LLC, a Cerritos, Calif.-based provider of last-mile logistics, specializing in overnight, same day and scheduled delivery services. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Gemspring Capital made an investment in Fiesta Insurance Franchise Corporation, a Las Vegas-based player in the markets for non-standard auto insurance and tax preparation services. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Unity Technologies agreed to acquire Digital Monarch Media, a Canada-based company centered around virtual cinematography. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Cheddar agreed to acquire Rate My Professors, a New York-based website that rates teachers and professors, according to Axios. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• TuanChe, a Beijing-based car marketplace in China, filed for an $150 million “best efforts” IPO. It posted revenue of $42.4 million and loss of $17.1 million in 2017. Maxim Group LLC and AMTD Asset Management are underwriters. It plans to list on the Nasdaq as “TC.” Read more.
• YETI Holdings, Austin-based cooler seller, raised $288 million in an IPO of 16 million shares priced at $18, below its $19 to $21 range. BofA Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, and Jefferies are underwriters. It posted revenue of $639 million in 2017 and net income of $15.4 million. The firm initially filed in 2016, and plans to list on the NYSE as “YETI.” Read more.
• StoneCo, a São Paulo, Brazil-based online payment processor, raised $1.2 billion in an IPO of 50.7 million shares priced at $24, above its $21 to $23 range. It lost $27.2 million in 2017. Madrone Capital and Tiger Global back the firm. Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, Citi, Itau BBA, Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley, BofA Merrill Lynch, and BTG Pactual are underwriters. It plans to list on the Nasdaq as “STNE.” Read more.
• HelloFresh acquired Chefs Plate, a Toronto-based meal kit provider. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. Chefs Plate had raised approximately $18 million in venture funding from investors including Acton Capital Partners, Emil Capital Partners, BrandProject, and Investeco Capital.
• Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (NASDAQ: CHKP) acquired Dome9, a Tel Aviv, Israel-based developer of a SaaS platform that delivers security and compliance across public cloud infrastructure environments. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. Dome9 raised approximately $30 million in venture funding from investors including Softbank, JAL Ventures, ORR Partners, Opus Capital, and Pinnacle Financial Partners.
FIRMS + FUNDS
• Roark, an Atlanta-based private equity firm, raised a total of $6.5 billion across two new funds. Roark Capital Partners V LP raised $5 billion and Roark Capital Partners II Sidecar LP raised $1.5 billion.
• PineBridge Investments, a New York-based investment firm, raised $880 million for its fund, PineBridge Secondary Opportunity Partners.