A MOBILITY SMORGASBORD
Good morning, Term Sheet readers.
Ford is entering the scooter wars.
The automaker is acquiring Spin, a San Francisco-based electric scooter company, in a deal pegged at approximately $80 million to $90 million. The startup had raised ~$8 million in venture funding at a $40 million valuation, which pales in comparison to e-scooter rivals Bird and Lime. It had expanded to nine cities, including Charlotte, Durham, and Detroit, as well as five college campuses.
This acquisition makes it crystal clear that Ford is feeling the pressure from the increasing popularity of the electric scooter industry. The automaker is preparing for a future that will look very different than it does today — one that could include more scooters and bikes than cars on the road. Ford’s new CEO Jim Hackett has repeatedly emphasized the need for automakers to invest in new transportation services to avoid getting left behind.
In a Fortune feature from September 2017, Hackett laid out his ambitious plan as the new chief of Ford. He said he’ll focus the company on revenue sources beyond just building and selling cars. That includes producing electric and autonomous vehicles as well as offering services like the Ford-owned Chariot “micro-transit” system and “curb-management” software that helps reduce congestion in cities. Under Hackett’s leadership, Ford has acquired three startups in the last year, which is more than any given year on record.
Hackett referred to the opportunities ahead as a “mobility smorgasbord,” adding that, “We don’t want to cede the future to anybody else.” Although his vision is admirable, let’s not forget that to win the mobility wars, Hackett has to go head-to-head with heavyweights Bird, Uber, and Lyft because they’re not willing to cede the future to anybody else either.
… AND A FACT-CHECK: You might remember that five months ago, Spin was said to be in the process of finalizing a $125 million security token offering, according to reports in Axios and TechCrunch. The company would raise money from accredited investors, who would then be entitled to a portion of the revenue from Spin’s electric scooter operations.
There was further discussion on Twitter this morning about what would happen to the token holders following the Ford acquisition. Though a security token offering would’ve made for an interesting twist on this deal, Spin co-founder Euwyn Poon told Term Sheet the company did not conduct an STO and no tokens were issued.
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HEALTH AND LIFE SCIENCES DEALS
• Force Therapeutics, a New York-based provider of episode-based digital care delivery, raised $21 million in funding. Insight Venture Partners led the round.
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
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• Leggett & Platt agreed to buy Elite Comfort Solutions Inc, a provider of specialized foam technology for the bedding and furniture industries, for $1.25 billion. Arsenal Capital Partners is the seller.
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FIRMS + FUNDS
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