CASPER THE FRIENDLY UNICORN
Another day, another unicorn. Casper just raised $100 million in funding at a post-money valuation of $1.1 billion. The startup will use the capital to expand internationally and grow its physical retail stores. Investors include Target, New Enterprise Associates, IVP, Norwest Venture Partners, Dani Reiss (the chief executive officer of Canada Goose Holdings) and Gordon Segal (co-founder and former chairman of Crate & Barrel.)
What struck me about this funding round is that Target continues to double down on its investment. You may remember that Target offered to buy the startup for a billion dollars in 2017. Casper turned it down, so the retailer opted to invest $75 million instead. I interviewed Casper CEO Philip Krim a few months after this happened, and he told me an acquisition didn’t make sense this early on as the company still had time “to build an iconic brand.” Casper revealed that it brought in revenue of more than $400 million in 2018, and the company is also looking to hire underwriters for an initial public offering, according to Reuters.
Some of you may be wondering — Why is a direct-to-consumer startup using venture funding to open brick-and-mortar stores? Doesn’t that defeat the point? I mean, technically yes, but as Krim told me in 2017, “We’ve never been anti-retail — just anti-mattress retail.” Casper opened its first store in New York City in 2018 and has plans to open another 200 stores. Mattress Firm, on the other hand, closed nearly 660 stores.
Regardless of what you think about the funding or valuation, Casper dominates in marketing. It has spent a significant amount of capital on things like napmobiles, a cruise around Manhattan, and a hotline that helped people fall asleep. (I once attended an extravagant, formal Casper-sponsored dinner ... for famous dogs.)
If Casper does indeed go public in the near future, I can’t wait to see what the public market appetite is like given that its rival Mattress Firm emerged from bankruptcy, shuttered hundreds of stores, and its parent company Steinhoff International was entangled in an accounting scandal involving billions of dollars. Even with its millennial-friendly marketing, we have yet to see if Casper will continue to succeed where other mattress brands have failed.
NEW FIRM: Renata Quintini is stepping down as a partner at Lux Capital to form a new venture capital firm with IVP partner Roseanne Wincek, according to Axios. Quintini has invested in companies including Cruise (acq. by GM), Dollar Shave Club (acq. by Unilever), Bonobos (acq. by Walmart), and Rigetti Computing. She spoke with Term Sheet last year about investing in moonshot projects and the importance of a strong ethical foundation in tech. Read the Q&A here.
FEEDBACK: Here are some Term Sheet reader reactions to yesterday’s column on Goldman Sachs partnering with Apple to launch a credit card:
Will: I was also thinking about this when the Apple Card was announced but I would consider using the card. Goldman is no saint but I’d still rather give my data to GS than most tech companies. Goldman’s job is to take my money while the job of many tech companies is to take my data and sell it to advertisers. At least with GS I’m the customer rather than the product. GS (I think) has less incentive to misuse my data. I could definitely be wrong/naïve. You’re right – it’s crazy to see how sentiment can change so quickly.
Jennifer: Totally amazed too [that] “in Goldman” we trust after living through 2008.
Frank: Before trusting Goldman Sachs with all your personal financial data, I would suggest everyone pause and read The Billion Dollar Whale. [TS note: The book documents the financial exploits of Jho Low, a businessman accused of stealing hundreds of millions from Malaysian state investment vehicle 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). Malaysia has filed criminal charges against Goldman Sachs and two of the bank’s former employees tied to the ongoing 1MDB investigation.]
• Kyriba, a San Diego, Calif.-based treasury management technology firm, is in advanced talks to raise $160 million from Bridgepoint. The deal would value Kyriba at $1.2 billion.
• Pagantis, a Spain-based provider of an online payment platform, raised $75 million in Series B funding. Investors include Prime Ventures, SPF Investment Management and Rinkelberg Capital Group.
• MineralTree, a Cambridge, Mass.-based accounts payable and payment automation solution provider, raised $50 million in funding. Great Hill Partners led the round, and was joined by investors including .406 Ventures and Eight Roads Ventures.
• Saama Technologies Inc, a Campbell, Calif.-based clinical data analytics platform firm, raised $40 million in funding, from Perceptive Advisors.
• 3D Hubs, a Netherlands-based manufacturing platform, raised $18 million in Series C funding. Investors include Endeit Capital, Hearst Ventures, EQT Ventures and Balderton Capital.
• Radar, a New York-based platform that fuses RFID and computer vision to automate inventory management, raised $16 million in funding. Investors include Sound Ventures and NTT Group.
• Seal Software, an artificial intelligence software provider, raised $15 million in funding from DocuSign (Nasdaq: DOCU).
• Qupital, a Hong Kong-based online, small and medium enterprise trade financing platform, raised $15 million for its Series A funding. CreditEase FinTech Investment Fund led the round, and was joined by investors including Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund and MindWorks Ventures.
• Dvele, manufacturer of prefabricated houses, raised $14 million in Series A funding. Crescent Real Estate Holdings led the round.
• Proxy, a startup that provides a universal identity signal, raised $13.6 million in Series A funding. Kleiner Perkins led the round, and was joined by investors including WeWork, Y Combinator, and Coatue Management.
• Xealth, a digital prescribing platform, raised $11 million in Series A funding. Investors include McKesson Ventures, Novartis, Philips, ResMed, Threshold Ventures (formerly DFJ Venture), Providence Ventures, UPMC and Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin Health Network.
• Matador, a wealth management platform, raised approximately $9 million in seed and Series A funding. Accel and Greycroft co-led the rounds.
• PhotoShelter, a digital asset management platform for visual storytellers, raised funding that brings its total to $8 million. Investors include Level Structured Capital.
• Empowered Education, an online school provider for health coaches and wellness practitioners, raised $8 million in Series A funding from Rethink Education.
• Boundless Immigration, a Seattle-based tech firm that helps immigrants navigate the green card and citizenship processes, raised $7.8 million in Series A funding. Foundry Group led the round, and was joined by investors including Industry Ventures, Forefront Venture Partners, Trilogy Equity Partners, Pioneer Square Labs, Two Sigma Ventures, and Founders’ Co-op.
• Biolinq, a San Diego-based health technology company, raised $4.75 million in Series A funding. Investors include JDRF T1D Fund, Aphelion Capital, LifeSci Venture Partners, M Ventures and Hikma Ventures.
• MotoRefi, an Alexandria, Va.-based auto refinance startup, raised $4.7 million in seed funding. Accomplice led the round, and was joined by investors including QED Investors and Motley Fool Ventures.
• Amenify, a San Francisco-based real estate tech company, raised $2.7 million in funding. RET Ventures led the round.
• Teraki, a Germany-based developer of software for the automotive industry, raised $2.3 million from Horizons Ventures and American Family Ventures.
• OpsCompass, an Omaha-based subscription service business that helps enterprises migrate workload to the public cloud, raised $1.5 million in funding. Investors include Dundee Venture Capital, M25, Invest Nebraska, Nelnet, and the Nebraska Angels.
• SightPlan, a provider of maintenance and resident service software for the multifamily industry, raised funding of an undisclosed amount, from RET Ventures.
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• SK Holdings Co Ltd agreed to invest $300 million in Blue Racer Midstream LLC, an owner and operator of midstream assets in the Utica and Marcellus Shale plays of the United States.
• Thomas H. Lee Partners agreed to recapitalize Fortna, a Reading, Penn.-based automation, engineering services and software company. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
• ClearCourse Partnership LLP acquired Circdata, a U.K.-based provider of event technology. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
• Bustle Digital agreed to buy The Outline, a digital tech and culture publication. Financial terms weren't disclosed. The Outline had raised approximately $10 million in venture funding from investors including Boat Rocker Ventures, Advancit Capital, RRE Ventures, and NextView Ventures.
• Ardian in in exclusive talks to sell its 50% stake in Indigo Group, a car parking and individual mobility services company, to Mirova and MEAG. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
• The Carlyle Group and TA Associates acquired Weiman, a Gurnee, Ill.-based provider of specialty cleaning products, from Cortec Group. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
• Brad Page joined Baird as a managing director.
• The Riverside Company named Karsten Langer as a managing partner for the Riverside Europe Fund.
• Norwest Venture Partners promoted Rob Arditi to general partner, and Stew Campbell and Ran Ding to principal.
• Scale Venture Partners promoted Jeremy Kaufmann to principal.