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Term Sheet — Wednesday, January 23

January 23, 2019, 2:37 PM UTC


Good morning, Term Sheet readers.

It seems like everyone (except me) raised funding today — including three crypto companies with some notable backers.

Here’s the quick rundown:

  Symbiont, a blockchain platform that caters to financial institutions, announced $20 million in Series B funding led by Nasdaq Ventures. Galaxy Digital, Citi, and Raptor Group also participated in the round.

It’s interesting to note that Symbiont has a partnership with Ranieri Solutions, a fintech investment firm founded by Lewis Ranieri. Ranieri, the so-called father of mortgage-backed securities, was criticized for his role in the subprime mortgage crisis. Ironically, witnessing the destruction wreaked by the crisis is what inspired one of the Symbiont co-founders to begin looking at blockchain technology.

"[It] made me think it was a miss that technology wasn't introduced to solve these problems," says Symbiont CEO Mark Smith. "And I thought—with the hubris of an entrepreneur—well, with technology we won't need these regulations." Read more at Fortune.

Anchorage, a San Francisco-based provider of cryptocurrency custody service, is coming out of stealth today with $17 million in Series A funding led by Andreessen Horowitz. Khosla Ventures, Max Levchin, Elad Gil, Mark McCombe of Blackrock, and AngelList’s Naval Ravikant also participated in the round.

The reason this company is one to keep your eye on is that its reach extends outside of the crypto world. Its digital asset custody service could lure big-time commercial banks, endowments, pensions, mutual funds, and hedgies into the depths of blockchain. Read more at TechCrunch., a Mountain View, Calif.-based AI-powered blockchain security company, raised $2 million in seed funding led by venture firm AMINO Capital. Susquehanna Investment Group, CRCM, and Brain Robotics also participated in the round.

… BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE: A startup called Kadena is releasing a new version of blockchain for free on Amazon Web Services today.

The founders of Kadena, who helped lead JP Morgan’s once-buzzy blockchain group before striking out on their own in 2016, say their version of a blockchain, ScalableBFT, is superior to the alternatives offered by IBM and others.

In an interview with Fortune, co-founder Stuart Popejoy said existing versions of private blockchains are inadequate because they slow down when more than 20 users try to participate. This alleged flaw is significant because a primary purpose of a blockchain is to allow multiple people to see and maintain a shared ledger in near real-time.

Kadena also claimed that two Fortune 100 companies in the health and insurance sectors are using its blockchain to manage data. Read more.

… BLOCKCHAIN IN DAVOS: My colleague Claire Zillman is at the World Economic Forum in Davos this week. In today’s Broadsheet newsletter, she writes about a Tuesday panel in which Joseph Lubin, founder of blockchain software technology company Consensys, wore a "Women in Blockchain" t-shirt to speak on a Consensys-sponsored blockchain panel with … no women.

From Claire’s column:

It was almost as if Lubin wanted someone in the audience to ask about his shirt and why he wore it in such a setting.

So I did. Or rather, I asked, with a reference to his attire, what steps he and the other panelists were taking to ensure that the blockchain industry—with its claims of vast, world-changing potential—was an inclusive space.

"It's absolutely a problem; diversity is a problem. We pay a ton of attention to it," Lubin said as he plugged the group behind the shirt. Women in Blockchain works to connect women in the field and advocates for them to shape the future of the technology. On the whole, he said, the Davos panels sponsored by Consensys were close to gender parity.


Desktop Metal, a maker of 3D metal printing systems for commercial and industrial use, raised $160 million in funding at a valuation of around $1.5 billion, according to Axios. A subsidiary of Koch Industries led the round. Read more.

Andela, a New York-based company building distributed engineering teams with Africa’s top software developers, raised $100 million in Series D funding. Generation Investment Management led the round, and was joined by investors including the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, GV, Spark Capital, and CRE Venture Capital.

Globality, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based a platform that uses artificial intelligence to help companies find services, raised $100 million from the SoftBank Vision Fund. Read more.

NEXT, a Lynwood, Calif.-based technology company that connects shippers and carriers for the shipment of freight and cargo, raised $97 million in Series C funding. Brookfield Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including Sequoia Capital and GLP.

Keyfactor, an Independence, Ohio-based provider of secure digital identity management solutions, raised $77 million in funding, from Insight Venture Partners.

Dosh, an Austin, Texas-based developer of a cash back app, raised $40 million in Series B funding. Goodwater Capital and Western Technology Investment co-led the round.

Hailo, an Israel-based startup developing a chip for deep learning, has expanded its Series A funding round to $21 million. Glory Ventures led the round., a Seattle-based provider of full-service general contractor services, raised $33 million in Series B funding. Investors include WestRiver Group, Goldman Sachs, Redfin, DFJ, Madrona Venture Group, Maveron and Two Sigma Ventures.

CrediFi, a New York-based source for data and analytics for commercial real estate finance, raised $6 million in funding. Liberty Technology Venture Capital II led the round, and was joined by investors including Mitsui Fudosan, Maverick Ventures Israel, Battery Ventures, Viola Ventures and OurCrowd.

Sherpa, a Spanish language digital voice assistant, raised $8.5 million in Series A funding. Mundi Ventures led the round.

Liquid Instruments, a developer of software-configurable hardware platform for precision test and measurement and advanced digital signal processing, raised $8.16 million in Series A funding. Anzu Partners led the round, and was joined by investors including ANU Connect Ventures.

Your Super, a line of natural, organic, plant-based superfood mixes raised $5 million in Series A funding. PowerPlant Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including Doehler Ventures.

The OneHealth Company, a diagnostics company that creates a tailored treatment for dogs with cancer, raised $5 million in seed funding. Andreessen Horowitz led the round, and was joined by investors including Lerer Hippeau and Y Combinator.

Chowbus, a Chicago-based developer of an online Asian cuisine ordering app, raised $4 million in funding. Greycroft Partners and FJ Labs co-led the round, and was joined by investors including Hyde Park Angels and Fika Ventures.

Hone, a San Francisco and New York City-based reimagined workplace training platform for modern and distributed teams, raised $3.6 million in seed funding. Cowboy Ventures and Harrison Metal led the round.

Growth Intelligence, a London-based technology company, raised £1.7 million ($2.2 million) in funding. 24Haymarket led the round, and was joined by investors including MMC Ventures.


Attune Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a New York-based biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of novel, orally-administered, small molecule therapeutics for the treatment of rare diseases, raised $23 million in Series B funding. Venrock Healthcare Partners led the round, and was joined by investors including LifeSci Venture Partners, RTW Investments, RA Capital, Boxer Capital and Tang Capital.

Immunochina Pharmaceuticals, a Beijing-based provider of cancer diagnosis and treatment services, raised about $20.4 million in funding. Investors include Shougang Fund, Sherpa Venture Capital, Peter Thiel, Qingzhe Capital and China Resources Innovative Equity Investment Fund.


Tilray, a portfolio company of Privateer Holdings, acquired Natura Naturals Holdings Inc, the parent company of a licensed cannabis cultivator, for C$35 million ($26.3 million).

Enlightenment Capital made an investment in System High Corporation, a Chantilly, Va.-based provider of proactive protection, security engineering, counterintelligence, and cybersecurity solutions, serving select government and commercial customers. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

Gauge Capital recapitalized TVC Enterprises, an Oklahoma City-based provider of legal services to commercial truck drivers. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

Ardian made an investment in Optimind, a Paris-based consulting firm. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

Enlightenment Capital made an investment in System High Corporation, a provider of proactive protection, security engineering, counterintelligence, and cybersecurity solutions. Financial terms weren't disclosed.


Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIAB) agreed to acquire Pluto TV, a Los Angeles-based free streaming television service in U.S., for $340 million in cash. The company raised approximately $52 million in venture funding from investors including USVP and Samsung Ventures.

Adobe (Nasdaq:ADBE) acquired Allegorithmic, a France-based developer of technologies for use in creation of 3D content. Financial terms weren't disclosed. Allegorithmic had raised approximately $2 million in funding from investors including Sofimac Partners.

PIA, a portfolio company of Equistone Partners Europe, acquired UDG United Digital Group, a Germany-based service provider specialising in digital user experience and technology, from EQT.

Odyssey Investment Partners acquired Barcodes, Inc, a Chicago-based supplier of barcodes, mobile computing, and RFID solutions, from affiliates of Cortec Group. Financial terms weren't disclosed.


Ubiquity Ventures, a seed-stage venture capital firm, raised $30 million for its debut fund.


Unusual Ventures named Andy Johns as a partner. Johns is the former president at Wealthfront.

Värde Partners appointed Elena Lieskovska and Haseeb Malik to partner, and promoted Brad Bauer to deputy chief investment officer.

Brandon Overmyer joined GP Bullhound as a vice president.

Insight Venture Partners appointed Teddie Wardi and Matt Gatto to managing director, and Allyson White, Byron Lichtenstein, and Jonathan Grossman to principal.


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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.