AIRBNB’S GRAND PLAN
While no one was looking, Airbnb has quietly turned into a powerful investor in Silicon Valley.
The home-sharing startup is leading a $160 million funding round in Lyric, a San Francisco-based startup that turns new apartment buildings into hotel-like properties for business travelers. The company plans to use the money to help expand its footprint beyond the 13 U.S. cities in which it currently operates.
Airbnb’s investment in Lyric, in some ways, helps its own business. Lyric leases entire floors of apartment buildings, designs the spaces for travelers, and then lists them on its own site and on other sites like Airbnb.
Lyric, founded in 2014, has long had ties with Airbnb. Lyric CEO Andrew Kitchell rented his apartment through Airbnb during Airbnb’s first year as a startup. Kitchell even once hosted Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky at his home.
The relationship between Lyric and Airbnb grew over time. Kitchell said that Lyric provides Airbnb with reliable inventory that follows city regulations, “so [Airbnb’s] investment in us makes a lot of sense.”
Airbnb declined to comment on Lyric’s funding beyond a vague statement praising the company’s technology and its skill in designing the interiors of its apartments.
The home rental behemoth has been tight-lipped about its capital deployment. You might remember that just a few weeks ago, Airbnb invested $150 million to $200 million in Indian hotel chain OYO. It also poured money into The Wing, a network of community spaces designed for women, in December. Other than a statement to TechCrunch that said, he is “incredibly inspired” by The Wing and is “thrilled to support them,” Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky didn’t divulge much more.
So what’s Airbnb’s play here? In my opinion, players like Airbnb and WeWork are trying to figure out how to capitalize on physical communities in an increasingly digital world. By investing in these companies, they get a lot of intel about the business model, and it open doors for experimentation through partnerships and integrations. If companies like Lyric and The Wing can move beyond their physical tight-knit networks and successfully scale digitally, don’t be surprised if they turn into alluring acquisition targets for some of these real estate-turned-tech-company-turned-venture-investor giants.
PS: I am coming to San Francisco and possibly Los Angeles next week. If you’re a VC and you want to meet, shoot me a quick note about your availability at email@example.com.
• Sila Nanotechnologies, an Alameda, Calif.-based battery materials company, raised $170 million in Series E funding. Daimler AG led the round, and was joined by investors including 8VC, Bessemer Venture Partners, Chengwei Capital, Matrix Partners, Siemens Next47 and Sutter Hill Ventures.
• Outreach, a Seattle-based sales engagement platform, raised $114 million in Series E funding at a $1.1 billion valuation. Lone Pine Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including Meritech Capital Partners, Lemonade Capital, DFJ Growth, Four Rivers Group, Mayfield, Microsoft Ventures, Sapphire Ventures, Spark Capital and Trinity Ventures.
• PathAI, a Cambridge, Mass.-based provider of artificial intelligence-powered technology for pathology, raised $60 million in Series B funding. General Atlantic led the round, and was joined by investors including General Catalyst.
• Pilot, a provider of bookkeeping services for startups and small businesses, raised $40 million in Series B funding. Index Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including Stripe.
• Bardy Diagnostics Inc, a Seattle-based provider of ambulatory cardiac monitoring technologies and custom data solutions, raised $35.5 million in Series B funding. River Cities Capital Funds led the round, and was joined by investors including HealthQuest Capital, Aperture Venture Partners, Aphelion Capital, Lumira Ventures, Rex Health Ventures, SV Health Investors, Health Enterprise Partners and Ascension Ventures.
• Salary Finance, a London-based provider of financial education and salary-linked savings and loans for employees, raised $32.8 million in Series C funding. Blenheim Chalcot and Legal & General co-led the round.
• Cytora, a London-based provider of AI-powered solutions for the commercial insurance industry, raised £25 million ($32.6 million) in Series B funding. EQT Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including Cambridge Innovation Capital and Parkwalk.
• Bizzabo, an Israel-based developer of event software, raised $27 million in Series D funding. Investors include Viola Growth, Next47, Pilot Growth, and Maor Investments.
• Aidoc, an Israel-based startup using AI to analyse medical scans, raised $27 million in Series B funding. Square Peg Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including. Investors include TLV Partners, Magma Ventures and Emerge.
• 6sense, a San Francisco-based account-based orchestration platform powered by AI, raised $27 million in funding. Industry Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including Bain Capital Ventures, Battery Ventures, Costanoa Ventures, Salesforce Ventures and Venrock.
• Unqork, an enterprise software company, raised $22 million in Series A funding. Goldman Sachs Principal Strategic Investments led the round, and was joined by investors including Broadridge Financial Solutions.
• Returnly, a post-purchase payments company, raised $19 million in Series B funding. Craft Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including David Sacks and Affirm.
• Amenity Analytics, a New York-based AI-enabled insights platform, raised $18 million in Series B funding. Investors include STARR Companies, Allstate, Intel Capitaland State of Mind Ventures.
• Owl Labs, a video conferencing company, raised $15 million in Series B funding. Spark Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including Matrix Partners and Playground Global.
• Checkerspot Inc, a Berkeley, Calif.-based materials innovation company, raised $13 million in Series A funding. Builders VC led the round, and was joined by investors including Breakout Ventures, Viking Global Investors, KdT Ventures, Plug and Play Ventures, Sahsen Ventures and Godfrey Capital.
• AllyAlign Health, a Richmond, Va.-based developer and administrator of Medicare Advantage special need plans, raised $10 million in funding. McKesson Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including Heritage Healthcare Innovation Fund, Health Enterprise Partners and the LinkAge Fund.
• Spur, a Huntsville, Ala.-based employment platform for hourly workers, raised $8 million in Series A funding. Third Prime led the round, and was joined by investors including Mark Bezos and John Griffin.
• Bev, a Los Angeles-based canned rosé brand, today raised $7 million in seed funding. Founders Fund led the round.
• Software, a Reston, Va.-based data platform built for developers, raised $7 million in funding. 8VC and Next47 co-led the round.
• Slingshot Aerospace, an analytics company, raised $5 million in seed funding. ATX Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by investors including Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, Okapi Capital, Stage Venture Partners, Sway Ventures and Techstars Ventures.
• Citcon, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based cross-border mobile payment and commerce solution provider, raised $5 million in Series B funding. East West Bank led the round.
• Co – Star, a developer of an astrology app, raised $5 million in seed funding. Maveron led the round, and was joined by investors including Female Founders Fund, Aspect Ventures, and 14W.
• Chainalysis Inc, a New York-based provider of investigation and compliance solutions to combat against illicit cryptocurrency activities, raised funding of an undisclosed amount, from MUFG Innovation Partners Co. Ltd.
HEALTH AND LIFE SCIENCES DEALS
• Panorama Medicine, a Philadelphia-based RNA therapeutics startup, raised $3.7 million in seed funding. WI Harper Group led the round.
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Apollo Global Management will acquire Smart & Final Stores Inc (NYSE:SFS) for approximately $1.1 billion, including debt.
• Variant Equity acquired Coach USA, a Paramus, N.J.-based provider of passenger transportation and mobility services, from Stagecoach Group plc for about $271.4 million.
• Zoom Video Communications, a San Jose, Calif.-based video conferencing system, now plans to raise $730 million (53% insider) in an IPO of 20.9 million shares priced between $33 to $35 — up from $28 to $32 apiece. It values the firm at 10.2 billion. It posted revenue of $330.5 million in the year ending 2019 and income of $7.6 million. Emergence Capital, Sequoia, and Li Ka-shing back the firm. Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs, and Credit Suisse are underwriters. Read more.
• Finablr, the payments firm behind Travelex, is planning to raise $200 million IPO in London. Read more.
• Turning Point Therapeutics, an San Diego-based biotech developing tyrosine kinase inhibitors for cancer, now plans to raise $150 million in an offering of 8.8 million shares priced between $16 to $18. The firm posted loss of $24.8 million in 2018. Lilly Asia Ventures, OrbiMed, and venBio Partners back the firm. Goldman Sachs, SVB Leerink and Wells Fargo Securities are underwriters. It plans to list on the Nasdaq as “TPTX.” Read more.
• Afya SA, a Brazilian for-profit education group, is planning a New York IPO, Reuters reports citing sources. Crescera Investimentos backs the firm. Read more.
• GAC New Energy Automobile, a chinese electric car maker, is readying for an IPO of its NEV unit, per Bloomberg.
• Vimeo agreed to acquire Magisto, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based video creation service. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. Magisto had raised approximately $22.5 million in venture funding from investors including Qualcomm Ventures, SanDisk Ventures, and Horizons Ventures.
• Continuum Global Solutions, which is backed by Skyview Capital LLC, has acquired King TeleServices, a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based provider of contact center services. The seller was AST Financial. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Marlin Equity Partners acquired Skuid, a Chattanooga, Tenn.-based provider of a cloud application development platform. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. Skuid had raised approximately $31 million in venture funding from investors including Iconiq Capital and K1 Investment Management.
• Stripe acquired Touchtech Payments, a Dublin-based startup that helps banks manage their authentication processes. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. Touchtech had raised approximately $1.4 million in funding from investors including Enterprise Ireland.
FIRMS + FUNDS
• Shore Capital Partners, a Chicago-based private equity firm, raised $293 million for its third fund.
• Elliott Robinson joined Bessemer Venture Partner as an investor in its growth-stage practice.
• Monk’s Hill Ventures named Michele Daoud and Justin Nguyen as partners.