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Term Sheet — Thursday, Dec 6, 2018


Good day. Lucinda here taking over for Polina, who returns Friday.

Over dinner at the G20 summit on Saturday, U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping brokered a 90-day tariff truce that made time for negotiations between the two economic giants. Around the world investors breathed a sigh of relief, with Trump celebrating the ceasefire as an “incredible deal.”

But news emerged Wednesday that could throw a major wrench in such talks: the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, the Chief Financial Officer of one of China’s most successful companies, Huawei.

On the same day Xi and Trump were dining on steak discussing a ceasefire in Buenos Aires, Canadian authorities were arresting Meng after the U.S. alleged the telecom giant had violated sanctions against Iran. The U.S. is currently seeking the extradition Meng, who is also the daughter of Huawei founder, Ren Zhengfei.

On Wednesday, the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa demanded that Meng be freed.

The effects of an arrest of a senior executive in a Chinese company that is considered key to China’s mission toward a self-sufficient tech sector cannot be understated. Global markets were sent spiraling, with the S&P 500 down 1.6% in early trading Thursday as investors worried over how the arrest would affect negotiations, and whether U.S. and Canadian tech firms may also have to be wary of a similar retaliation by the Chinese government in this tit-for-tat trade war.

Though it bears reminding that the negotiations were never exactly on solid footing. Leading up to the meeting between Trump and Xi, the U.S. called for foreign allies to avoid Huawei, according to reports. And since this weekend, China has been slow to acknowledge the existence of the 90-day truce, while Trump has appointed a known hardliner toward China, Robert Lighthizer, to lead negotiations.

LYFTING THE BAR: Ride-hailing giant Lyft has filed confidentially for an IPO with the Securities and Exchange Commission, giving credence to claims of such an offering in 2019. The company is valued at about $15.1 billion after a fresh $600 million round of funding in July.

The disclosure certainly amps up the pressure for Uber, another ride-hailing giant that is expected to go public in the same year.

That filing also comes as the two transportation-tech companies seek to ensure they aren’t disrupted by newer entrants. Lyft became the largest bike-sharing operator after buying Motivate earlier this year, while Uber is now reportedly discussing a potential takeover with Bird and Lime.


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Looker, a Santa Cruz, Calif.-based business intelligence and analytics company, raised $103 million for its Series E funding. Premji Invest led the round, and was joined by investors including Cross Creek Advisors.

Amplitude, a San Francisco-based product intelligence company, raised $80 million in Series D funding at a $850 million valuation. Sequoia Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including Lead Edge, Benchmark Capital, IVP and Battery Ventures.

LightStep, a San Francisco-based provider of application performance management for organizations adopting microservices and serverless, raised $41 million in Series C funding. Altimeter Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including Redpoint, Sequoia, Cowboy Ventures and Harrison Metal.

Tenfold, an Austin-based customer engagement platform, raised $14 million in Series B funding. Next Coast Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including Salesforce Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz.

Forge.AI, a Mass.-based platform that transforms human targeted information into real time structured event streams, raised $11 million in Series A funding. Underscore VC led the round, and was joined by investors including Accomplice, Boston Seed Capital, Imagination Capital and Project 11 Ventures.

Forethought, a San Francisco-based developer of AI systems that boost customer support productivity by embedding information retrieval into existing workflows, raised $9 million in Series A funding. NEA led the round, and was joined by investors including K9 Ventures and Village Global.

springbig, a provider of loyalty marketing programs for cannabis businesses, raised $5 million in Series A funding. Altitude Investment Partners led the round, and was joined by investors including Green Acre Capital and members of The Arcview Group.

Snapt, Inc., an application delivery controller company, raised $3 million in Series A funding. Investors include Convergence Partners, Nedbank Ltd, and Sanari Capital.

Copper Cow Coffee, a Los Angeles-based coffee company, raised $3 million. Investors include Silverton Partners, CRCM Ventures, and 500 startups.


Cross River Bank, a Fort Lee, N.J.-based bank for fintech firms, raised $100 million in funding. KKR led the round, and was joined by investors including CreditEase and LionTree Partners.

Marlin Equity Partners acquired MOBI, an Indianapolis, Ind.-based provider of cloud-based managed mobility services software solutions. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

Luminate Capital Partners acquired a majority stake in AutoQuotes, a Jacksonville, Fla.-based technology company for the foodservice equipment and supplies industry. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

CIVC Partners, L.P. invested in Magna Legal Services, a legal services company specializing in legal support services. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

NEWSCYCLE Solutions, a portfolio company of Vista Equity Partners, acquired Marketing G2, a Pennsylvania-based software company that develops digital tools for online subscriptions, customer engagement, data discovery and audience lifecycle management. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.


Shopko, a midwestern retailer backed by Sun Capital, has reportedly failed to find a buyer and now is planning for a possible bankruptcy, Bloomberg reports citing sources.


Alight Solutions, a healthcare and retirement benefits provider, is reportedly readying for an IPO, Reuters reports citing sources. Blackstone backs the firm.


CommonBond, a higher education fintech, acquired NextGenVest, a New York-based AI-powered financial platform. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. NextGenVest had raised approximately $3.9 million in venture funding from investors including the Kauffman Foundation.


Costanoa Ventures, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based venture capital firm, raised $75 million for its Opportunity Fund.

Building Ventures a San Francisco-based early-stage VC, closed its first fund at $53 million.


Catalyst Investors promoted Mia Hegazy to principal, Samantha Lexton to vice president of investor relations and Patty Xu to CFO.


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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.