Hello Term Sheet readers—Lucinda here until Polina’s return Monday. In the meantime, send deals, thoughts, and random musings on life and what Softbank’s endgame looks like to email@example.com.
In a break from its traditional bets, Berkshire Hathaway invested in Brazilian payments firm StoneCo in November. Japanese giant Softbank earlier this year announced a $5 billion venture fund focused on Latin America.
Even if Brazil once lagged among the BRICS, it certainly looks to be making a comeback alongside its Latin American brethren.
According to the LAVCA Tech Report, VC investments rose 81% to $2 billion in 2018, from $1.1 billion a year earlier. Brazil takes the lion share of deals, at $1.3 billion of those dollars.
The largest deal was Brazil’s meals delivery company, iFood, which raised $500 million from investors including Movile, Naspers, and Innova Capital.
The second largest call was Rappi, a delivery app in Colombia that claims to deliver just about anything, which raised $402.5 million total from DST Global, Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital, and Delivery Hero.
Two billion dollars may seem like small pickings compared to the U.S. VC market, but that figure is likely to continue growing with Softbank’s interest, China’s investments in the area, and funding from investors like GGV Capital’s Hans Tung, who sees LatAm as the next big play.
MASAYOSHI SON: Son reportedly lost more than $130 million from investing in and selling Bitcoin. He made an investment in 2017, and, perhaps characteristically of his quick decision making, sold in early 2018 per the Wall Street Journal.
Now as investors watch how the rest of the SoftBank engine fares, the giant has made another sizable call. The same day that report came in, it was revealed that Softbank had made a $1 billion bet on downtrodden German digital payments firm, Wirecard. The deal comes in the form of a five-year convertible bond deal that gives the Japanese giant a 5.6% stake in the fintech firm at 130 euros per share (shares have since jumped to 135 euros).
It’s a vote of confidence for Wirecard, which has been mired in controversy in recent months. The Financial Times alleged in January that that the a senior executive in the firm’s Asia headquarters was suspected of forging contracts. The report cited a whistleblower that acted “out of a concern that no action appeared to have been taken over potentially criminal acts inside a company presenting itself as a blue-chip financial institution.” Shares of the now $18 billion company dropped some 13% in a day.
Shortly thereafter, Wirecard sued the FT for defamation. An external law firm cleared its headquarters of wrongdoing and said it did not find errors of material impact in financial reports—though did not do the same for the Singapore office, where investigations are still ongoing.
Softbank will help the firm expand into Japan and South Korea.
• China's '996' Overwork Culture Fueled Its Tech Engine. Why Workers Are Finally Burning Out (by Eamon Barrett)
• Coinbase Shuts Chicago Office as Crypto Slump Continues (by Jeff John Roberts)
• Netflix CEO Reed Hastings' Compensation Skyrocketed 48% to $36.1 Million in 2018 (by Chris Morris)
• Amazon Now Delivers Packages Inside Your Garage (by Laura Stampler)
Elsewhere: Compass’ cash burn. Alphabet’s drone-based delivery startup gets FAA approval. Murphy Oil to buy Gulf of Mexico assets for $1.38 billion. China exploits U.S. made satellites. Tom Barrack’s mixed investment record. The thorn in Uber’s side. Soros Fund’s new leader upends firm. Facebook gets $515 million for Oculus campus. Hollywood writers, compensation, and private equity. Elliott comes after SAP. Netflix to offer $2 billion in debt. DiDi and SoftBank expand ride-hailing into 13 Japanese cities. Samsung to invest $116 billion through 2030 in memory chips. Chinese businessman charged with stealing secrets from GE. SoFi seeks to raise $500 million.
• Gaosi Education Group, a Beijing-based online education provider, raised $140 million in Series D funding. Warburg Pincus led the round. Read more.
• Selina, a New York-based hospitality startup, raised $100 million in Series C funding. It is now valued at $850 million. Access Industries led the round, and was joined by investors including Grupo Wiese and Colony Latam Partners
• Harness, a San Francisco-based continuous delivery-as-a-service platform, raised $60 million in Series B funding. IVP, Google Ventures, and ServiceNow Ventures led the round.
• VDOO Connected Trust Ltd., a Tel Aviv-based maker of security automation for embedded devices, raised $32 million in Series B funding. WRVI Capital and GGV Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including NTT DOCOMO and MS&AD Ventures.
• ZAGENO, a Cambridge, Mass.-based marketplace for lab supplies, raised $20 million in Series B funding. General Catalyst led the round.
• Astound, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based enterprise software company using AI on employee services, raised $15.5 million in Series B funding. March Capital Partners led the round, and was joined by investors including Vertex Ventures, Pelion Venture Partners, Moment Ventures, and the Slack Fund.
• CEIPAL, a Rochester, N.Y. and India-based SaaS platform automating business operations of staffing companies, raised $7.5 million in funding. Investors included Resolve Growth Partners and Mistral Venture Partners.
• Voiceflow, a Toronto-based voice app creation platform, raised $4.7 million (US$3.5 million) in a seed-stage funding. True Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including ProductHunt founder Ryan Hoover, Eventbrite founders Julia and Kevin Hartz, InVision founder Clark Valberg, Webflow founder Vlad Magdalin, and Fancy founder Jack Einhorn.
• BlockGen Corp, a Boca Raton holding company for mortgage software provider LendGenuity and mortgage blockchain firm Block+Sovrin, raised an undisclosed amount i Series A funding. Cavatina Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including Charterhouse Strategic Partners.
• Deskforce a Jerusalem-based software consolidation service provider, raised an undisclosed amount in Series A funding. Cornerstone Venture Partners led the round.
• CI Security, a Seattle-based provider of managed detection and response solutions, raised $9.6 million in funding. East Seattle Partners led the round.
• Vital, an Atlanta, Ga.-based AI-powered software for patient health in hospital emergency rooms, raised $5.2 million in seed funding. First Round Capital and Threshold Ventures led the round.
• Northpass, a Parsippany, NJ-based provider of enterprise learning software to large and mid-sized SaaS businesses, raised $4 million in growth equity. Edison Partners led the round.
• Eightfold.ai, a Mountain View, Calif.-based firm using AI to find recruits, raised $28 million in a Series C funding. Foundation Capital and Lightspeed Ventures invested.
• Tellus, a electronic visit verification platform for home care, raised an undisclosed amount from investors led by Carroll Capital.
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Hitachi, Ltd. agreed to acquire JR Automation Technologies, a Holland, Mich.-based maker of automated manufacturing, from Crestview for $1.4 billion.
• NorthStar Medical Technologies, a Beloit, Wisconsin-based provider of radioisotopes in medical imaging and therapy, raised $100 million in funding. Oberland Capital was the investor.
• Jensen Hughes, backed by Gryphon Investors, acquired Hillard Heintze, a security risk management firm. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
• HCAP Partners acquired Mission Healthcare, a San Diego-based home health and hospice company. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
• Seaport Capital invested in All Traffic Data, a Wheat Ridge, Colo.-based a provider of traffic data collection and reporting, consulting services, and transportation asset management. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
• iM Global Partner acquired a minority stake in Scharf Investments, a Scotts Valley, Calif.-based investment firm. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
• Arlington Capital Partners acquired Triumph Group‘s forming and fabrication facilities to form Hot Springs, Ark.-based Radius Aerospace Inc. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
• Wynnchurch Capital acquired Alliance Designer Products, a Mirabel, Quebec-based maker of polymeric sand and related installation products for residential and commercial hardscaping projects.
• Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC is weighing a possible acquisition of Noor Bank PJSC, Bloomberg reports. Read more.
• 1518 Holdings, a Philadelphia-based private investment group, acquired a 55% stake in Weyerbacher Brewery as it undergoes Chapter 11 restructuring.
• Bain Capital is considering a sale among other options of Waystar, a healthcare technology company, Bloomberg reported. The sale could value the firm $3 billion. Read more.
• The Lycra Group, a maker of elastic materials, is exploring a $500 million IPO in the U.S., Bloomberg reports citing sources. Ruyi Group backs the firm. Read more.
• Centerbridge Partners is in talks to acquire broker-dealer Advisor Group Inc. for more than $2 billion, Bloomberg reports citing sources, from Lightyear and PSP. Read more.
• AIB Group plc and First Data Corp acquired a majority stake in Payzone for 100 million euros ($113 million) from Carlyle Cardinal Ireland.
• Partners Group agreed to acquire CapeOmega, a Norwegian natural gas transportation firm, from HitecVision. The deal values CapeOmega at around 1.2 billion euros ($1.35 billion).
• Sherpa Capital acquired a majority stake in Luxiona, a Spanish lighting solutions firm, from Aurica and Caixabank, as well as from the founding family, who will remain a minority shareholder in the firm.
FIRMS + FUNDS
• Drive Capital raised $558 million for two venture funds, per SEC filings.
• Space Capital Partners has raised nearly $15 million of a targeted $50 million for its inaugural venture fund, per SEC filings.
• Cultivian Sandbox Ventures raised $135 million for its third fund, Cultivian Sandbox Food & Agriculture Fund III, per AgFunderNews. Read more.
• Sofinnova Investments hired Maha Katabi as a partner. Katabi was previously an investor at Oxalis Capital.
• Point72 Ventures hired Adam Carson as operating partner focused on fintech on the the West Coast. Carson was previously head of digital partnerships at J.P. Morgan Chase.
• TA Associates, a global growth private equity firm, hired Andrew Tay as a senior vice president in Hong Kong.
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Lucinda Shen compiled today's Term Sheet. Send deal announcements here.