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Term Sheet — Tuesday, December 18

December 18, 2018, 2:28 PM UTC


Good morning, Term Sheet readers.

Things are looking a little shaky.

Markets are bracing themselves for rough days ahead. As the market continues to plunge, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 are on pace for their worst December performance since the Great Depression. Global markets have followed the lead of Wall Street’s sell-off.

Investor confidence has deteriorated with more fund managers expecting global growth to weaken over the next 12 months, which is the worst outlook in a decade, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s December investor survey.

The two-day Federal Reserve meeting kicks off today, and it has been expected to deliver another interest-rate increase. If investors are disappointed by the decision, the market downturn could get worse.

In a column titled, “Not Even Hindsight Could Have Helped You Make Money This Year,” Bloomberg notes that “almost nothing — not stocks, not bonds, not commodities, and not crypto” made money in 2018.

A few weeks ago, I asked Term Sheet readers to send me their business-related predictions for 2019, which I will share this Friday. It was a particularly dark list this year with many readers predicting a looming recession.

If an economic downturn does occur, it’ll be a moment of truth for many burgeoning entrepreneurs, investors, and employees who have been riding a bull market. As one reader put it, “While the fundamental drivers of technology will continue to strongly impact innovation across most sectors, an economic downturn will show us which companies, young or not-so-young, are truly able to withstand the slings and arrows of real-world economic cycles.”

It's crazy to read that quote and then look at the VC deal section below only to see five (!) companies raising $100+ million mega-rounds...What a time.

Tune in on Friday to see the full list of 2019 predictions.

...ON A LIGHTER NOTE: We all remember when Carlyle Group CEO David Rubenstein rapped a holiday greeting to investors in 2014 (I dare you to get the ‘LPs, LPs, serve the LPs’ out of your head). So with that in mind, I was a little scared to watch Blackstone’s 2018 holiday season video. But it’s a parody spin on The Office, so it’s actually funny and really well-done. Watch it here.


BYJU’S, a Bangalore, India K-12 learning app developer, raised $540 million in funding. Naspers Ventures led the round and was joined by the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board.

Graphcore, a U.K.-based AI chipmaker, raised $200 million in funding at a $1.7 billion valuation. Atomico and Sofina co-led the round, and were joined by investors including Sequoia Capital, Draper Esprit, BMWi Ventures and Microsoft.

Moonbug, a London-based entertainment company that develops and distributes content for children, raised $145 million in Series A funding. The Raine Group led the round, and was joined by investors including Felix Capital and Fertitta Capital.

Seismic, a San Diego, Calif.-based developer of a sales enablement and content management software for marketing teams, raised $100 million in Series E funding at a $1 billion valuation. Lightspeed Venture Partners and T Rowe Price co-led the round, and were joined by investors including General Atlantic, JMI Equity and Jackson Square Ventures.

Vogo, an India-based dockless scooter rental company, raised $100 million in funding from Ola. Read more.

Egress, a London-based provider of data privacy and compliance software, raised $40 million in Series C funding. FTV Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including AlbionVC.

Rothy’s, a San Francisco-based women’s footwear brand, raised $35 million in funding from Goldman Sachs Investment Partners., a London-based web data integration solution provider, raised $15.5 million in Series B funding. Talis Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including IP Group, OpenOcean, Oxford Capital and Wellington Partners.

Ada, a provider of an automated customer service, raised C$19 million ($14.2 million) in Series A funding. FirstMark Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including Leaders Fund, Burst Capital, Bessemer, Version One, and Barney Pell.

Sea Machines Robotics, a Boston-based developer of autonomous control technology for marine vessels, raised $10 million in Series A funding. Accomplice VC led the round, and was joined by investors including Toyota AI Ventures, Brunswick Corp, through its investment partner TechNexus Venture Collaborative, Eniac Ventures, and NextGen VP.

SonarMD, an Elgin, Ill.-based provider of care management for patients with complex chronic conditions, raised $10 million in funding. Investors include BCBS Venture Partners and Arboretum Ventures.

Omnivore, a Hayward, Calif.-based point-of-sale connectivity platform, raised $10 million in Series A funding. Investors include The Coca-Cola Company and Performance Food Group.

The Mom Project, a Cincinnati-based career destination for moms, raised $8 million in Series A funding. Grotech Ventures and Initialized Capital led the round, and were joined by investors including Aspect Ventures, Atlanta Seed Company, Engage Ventures, OCA Ventures, BBG Ventures, IrishAngels and Wintrust Financial.

TicketGuardian, an insurtech company focused on the live events space, raised $8 million in Series A funding. American Family Ventures and IA Capital Group co-led the round.

Cybeats, a Canada-based cybersecurity company protecting Internet of Things devices, raised $3 million in funding. Ripple Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including GreenSoil Building Innovation Fund, MaRS IAF, MLA48 and inovia capital.

Momni Inc, a Provo, Utah-based online caresharing platform, raised more than $1.75 million in funding. Tamarak Capital led the round.


Erasca, a developer of oncology drugs, raised $42 million in Series A funding. City Hill Ventures and Cormorant Asset Management co-led the round.


CVC Capital Partners is near buying a minority stake in Premiership Rugby, the holding company behind elite English rugby, for 225 million pounds ($285.6 million), according to The Financial Times. Read more.

General Atlantic is investing in Invoice Cloud Inc, a Braintree, Mass.-based provider of cloud-based customer engagement and electronic payment processing capabilities. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

Carlyle Group is near a deal to buy StandardAero Aviation Holdings Inc, an operator of repair stations for Boeing Co and Airbus SE, for about $5 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal. Read more.

Boyne Capital acquired a majority stake in Infusion Associates Management Inc, a Midwest-based ambulatory infusion practice. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

Primus Capital made an investment in BizLibrary, a Town and Country, Mo.-based provider of online employee training content and software for growing organizations. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

Pike Street Capital acquired US BioTek Laboratories, Inc, a Shoreline, Wash.-based company focused on specialty testing services for food-related allergies and intolerances. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

EPIC Holdings, which is backed by Oak Hill Capital Partners, acquired Integro Group Holdings LP, a New York-based insurance broker and consulting firm. No financial terms were disclosed.

DRS Imaging Services LLC, which is backed by HiGro, acquired DocuLynx Inc, an Omaha-based provider of document management software and services. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

Great Point Partners recapitalized Spine & Sport Physical Therapy, a provider of physical therapy and rehabilitation services. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

Spectrum Equity made an investment in DataCamp, a New York-based online interactive learning platform focused on increasing data fluency. Financial terms weren't disclosed.


Jack in the Box Inc (Nasdaq: JACK) is exploring strategic options, including a sale of the company, and has had talks with potential buyers, according to Reuters. Read more.


Cisco agreed to acquire Luxtera, a Carlsbad, Calif.-based semiconductor company, for $660 million in cash. Luxtera had raised approximately $130 million in venture funding from investors including Lux Capital, NEA, August Capital, Sevin Rosen Funds, and Western Technology Investment.

Lariat Partners sold Ecoserv Industrial Disposal, LLC, a Winnie, Texas-based non-hazardous industrial wastewater disposal solutions provider, to US Ecology, Inc.


Bain Capital, a Boston-based investment firm, raised $4.65 billion for a new Asia-focused fund, according to Reuters. Read more.

Sapphire Ventures, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based venture capital firm, raised a $115 million sports tech fund called Sapphire Sport, according to a regulatory filing.

Ridgemont Equity Partners, a Charlotte, N.C.-based investment firm, raised $1.65 billion for its latest flagship fund, The Ridgemont Equity Partners III LP.


Partners Capital promoted Kamran Moghadam and Suzanne Streeter to partner.


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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.