Good morning from Aspen! Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference kicks off today. You can watch the mainstage panels here starting at 2 p.m. Mountain Time (4 p.m. EST), and you’ll hear from:
— Doug McMillon, CEO of Walmart: As the world’s largest retailer, what do you do to stay there? Online, digitally enabled brick and mortar stores, organic food, pick-up and delivery, massive advertising—how do you keep up?
— Jamie Siminoff, founder of Ring: Ring went from Shark Tank rejection to Amazon acquisition. The CEO, who, during his “midlife entrepreneurial crisis” created the first Wi-Fi video doorbell in his garage, will share what he’s learned along the way.
— Katrina Lake, founder and CEO of StitchFix: In 2017, Katrina Lake took her company public. But first she spent years building her business, wisely leveraging data in the fickle retail and fashion worlds, and developing a sustainable new model in a highly competitive industry. How does she keep honing it to stay ahead?
… and many more. I’ll provide a synopsis tomorrow for those who are interested in reading further.
LIBRA HEARINGS: Politicians haven’t exactly welcomed Facebook’s Libra project with open arms. Politicians on both sides have expressed skepticism that Facebook can be trusted with a digital currency. Even President Donald Trump tweeted that Libra could threaten the power and dominance of the dollar.
Facebook has said repeatedly that it plans to work with regulators to get Libra off the ground, and David Marcus, the Facebook executive who has spearheaded the Libra effort, will testify before multiple congressional committees this week. Marcus is scheduled to testify before the Senate banking committee on Tuesday and the House financial services committee on Wednesday. He will likely be asked about privacy, money laundering, consumer protection and the stability of the financial system, all issues lawmakers say Libra raises.
Marcus wrote in a blog post last week that he wants to “ensure that Libra helps with the kinds of issues that the existing financial system has been fighting, notably around money laundering, terrorism financing, and more. Stay tuned because this will be one story to watch closely.
– Amperity, a Seattle-based AI-powered customer data management platform, raised $50 million in Series C funding. Investors include Tiger Global Management, Goldman Sachs, Declaration Partners, Madera Technology Partners, Madrona Venture Group, and investor Lee Fixel.
– NewsCred, a New York-based enterprise content marketing platform, raised $20 million in funding. InterWest Partners led the round.
– nTopology, a New York-based company building engineering software for advanced manufacturing, raised $20 million. Canaan led the round.
– AllBright, a London-based members’ club and digital network, raised £13 million ($16.3 million) in funding at a £100 million ($125 million) valuation. Cain International led the round.
– Exyn Technologies Inc, a Philadelphia-based developer of autonomous robot systems, raised $16 million in Series A funding. Centricus led the round, and was joined by investors including Yamaha Motors Ventures, In-Q-Tel, Corecam Family Office, Red and Blue Ventures and IP Group Inc.
– Paragraf, a U.K.-bases graphene-based electronics technology company, raised £12.8 million ($16 million) in Series A funding. Parkwalk led the round, and was joined by investors including IQ Capital Partners, Amadeus Capital Partners and Cambridge Enterprise, and the commercialisation arm of the University of Cambridge.
– Igloohome, a Singapore-based smart access company, raised $15 million in funding. Insignia Ventures Partners, Wavemaker Partners and SEEDS Capital led the round.
– Hero Labs, a London-based startup developing technology to help prevent water leaks in U.K. properties, raised £2.5 million ($3.1 million) in seed funding. Earthworm Group led the round.
– Mahmee, a Los Angeles-based provider of personalized, ongoing postpartum support to new moms, raised $3 million in seed funding. Investors include Marc Cuban and Serena Williams.
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
– Autokiniton Global Group), a portfolio company of KPS Capital Partners, agreed to acquire Tower International, Inc. (NYSE: TOWR) for $31 per share in cash. The total value of the transaction is approximately $900 million.
– Drilling Tools International, Inc, a portfolio company of Hicks Equity Partners, acquired WellFence LLC, a tech-enabled security and credentialing service offering for the oil and gas industry. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
– Carousel Capital recapitalized Armstrong Transport Group LLC, a Charlotte, N.C.-based provider of freight brokerage solutions. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
– Yak Access LLC, a portfolio company of Platinum Equity, acquired Klein’s Restoration Services, a Canton, Ohio-based provider of services including restoration, matting, site development and construction, and traffic control solutions, primarily to the powerline industry. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
– Valet Living acquired WasteRetriever, a Greenwood Village, Colo.-based doorstep trash and recycling collection company. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
– Acorn Growth Companies acquired Black Sage Technologies, a Boise, Idaho-based provider of counter-unmanned aircraft systems solutions. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
– Blackstone Group Inc. and Kirkbi AS are exploring a sale of Armacell International, the maker of specialized insulation products used by the International Space Station, according to Bloomberg. The deal could value the company at about 1.5 billion euros ($1.7 billion).. Read more.
– AB InBev, the beer maker, pulled the Hong Kong listing of its Asia unit in what would’ve been the largest listing of the year. Read more.
– CloudMinds, a Beijing-based provider of cloud AI solutions for robots, filed for a $500 million in an initial public offering. The firm posted revenue of $121 million in 2018 and loss of $160.4 million. Softbank backs the firm. The plans to list on the NYSE as “CMDS.” Read more.
– Wanda Sports Group, a Beijing-based sporting and live events firm spinning out of Dalian Wanda Group, plans to raise $450 million in an IPO of 33.3 million shares (40% insider) priced between $12 to $15. It booked $1.3 billion in 2018 and income of $61.9 million. It plans to list on the Nasdaq as “WSG.” Read more.
– OneWater Marine, a Buford, Ga.-based recreational boat retailer, filed for an $100 million. The firm posted revenue of $603 million in the year ending Sept. 2018 and income of $1.1 million. One Water Ventures, LMI Holdings, and Goldman Sachs back the firm. It plans to list on the Nasdaq under an undisclosed symbol. Read more.
– WPP Plc agreed to sell 60% of Kantar, WPP’s global data, research, consulting and analytics business, to Bain Capital for $3.1 billion.
– Equistone agreed to acquire FirstPort, a U.K.-based residential property management company. The sellers are Epiris and Chamonix Private Equity. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
– Aspen Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ: AZPN) agreed to acquire Mnubo Inc., a Montreal-based provider of purpose-built artificial intelligence and analytics infrastructure for the internet of things. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. Mnubo Inc had raised approximately CA $22.5 million ($17.2 million) in funding from investors including White Star Capital, McRock Capital, and Munich Reinsurance.