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Forget About Unicorn Companies … Decacorns Are All the Rage in 2019: Term Sheet

Why be a unicorn when you can be a decacorn instead? (What’s a decacorn? A company with a valuation of more than $10 billion, of course.)

🦄 STRIPE 🦄: Payment processing company Stripe announced earlier this month that it was expanding into lending and credit. Now, it’s got more news. Stripe is raising a whopping $250 million in funding at a $35 billion valuation. Investors include Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital, and General Catalyst. 

The new valuation catapults Stripe ahead of other members of the Silicon Valley elite, namely Airbnb, SpaceX, and Palantir. Only WeWork and Juul Labs are the only private tech startups in the U.S. more valuable than Stripe.

As its peers gallop toward making their public debut, Stripe plans to remain private. But there may be other news on the horizon soon. Stripe CEO Patrick Collison tweeted: “Lots more in the works. The internet economy is still in its early innings.” 

🦄 AIRBNB 🦄: Following the news that WeWork will postpone its IPO, home-sharing startup Airbnb came out with a cheerful one-liner: “Airbnb, Inc. announced today that it expects to become a publicly-traded company during 2020.” 

And honestly, even though it’s not very specific, I’m glad they at least told us the year because Airbnb has been the biggest tease of them all. In 2017, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said it’s a two-year project to get the company IPO-ready, and “we’re probably halfway through this project,” insinuating it could go public in 2018. This year, Airbnb co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk said, “We have already said that we are taking the steps to be ready to go public in 2019. That doesn’t mean we will go public in 2019.” 

So 2020 it is! And remember, Airbnb, which is valued at $31 billion, might not go to the traditional IPO route. It may decide to conduct a direct listing where it lists its shares on the public market without raising additional money, following in the footsteps of Slack and Spotify. Can’t wait for more teasers.

….and one unicorn for good measure:

🦄 POSTMATES 🦄:  Every time I think food delivery service Postmates is about to go public, it just raises hundreds of millions of dollars instead. In September, it raised $300 million and CEO Bastian Lehmann told me, “We have a beautiful path to an IPO in 2019.” And then! It raised $100 million more in January! It filed for an IPO in February. And then! It raised an additional $225 million yesterday from GPI Capital at a valuation of $2.4 billion! No person or business has ever toyed with my emotions the way Postmates has. 

There have been IPO rumors, fundraising rumors, and of course, the rumors that Postmates will sell, causing Lehmann to dismiss them as idle gossip, saying: “People talk so much shit about us at the barber shop, they forget to get a haircut.”

VENTURE DEALS

Kitchen United, a Pasadena, Calif.-based commercial kitchen space company, raised $40 million in Series B funding. RXR Realty led the round, and was joined by investors including GV, Fidelity Investments Canada ULC, DivcoWest and G Squared. 

AppLearn, a U.K. and San Francisco-based provider of digital adoption solutions, raised $25 million in funding. K1 Investment Management led the round.

HappyOrNot, a Finland and Florida-based provider of a feedback management system, raised $25 million in funding. Verdane led the round.

Darkstore, a San Francisco-based provider of on-demand delivery services, raised $21 million in Series B funding. EQT Ventures led the round.

Agorapulse, a Europe-based social media management platform, raised $18.5 million. Investors includeHi Inov Dentressangle, Cipio Partners and Entrepreneur Venture.

Smarter Sorting, an Austin-based startup that creates granular, chemical-level data about consumer products, raised $17 million in Series A funding. US Ecology led the round, and was joined by investors including RTP Ventures.

Tethr, an Austin, Texas-based AI-powered conversational intelligence platform for listening enterprises, raised $15 million in funding. IAG Capital Partners led the round, and was joined by investors including GroTech Ventures, MissionOG and Falmouth Ventures.

Robin Healthcare, a Berkeley, Calif.-based health technology company, raised $11.5 million in Series A funding. Norwest Venture Partners led the round.

Tempest, a virtual program focused on sobriety, raised $10 million in Series A funding. Maveron led the round, and was joined by investors including Slow Ventures, Female Founders Fund, AlleyCorp, Refactor, and Green D Ventures.

Daisy Intelligence, a Canada-based SaaS company for retail that transforms transaction log data into weekly promotion and pricing, raised $10 million CDN ($7.53 million) in Series A funding. Framework Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by investors including Sonae IM

Plutoshift, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based and Denver-based provider of data intelligence for industrial processes, raised $8 million in Series A funding. Investors include Fall Line Capital and Unshackled Ventures.

HEALTH & LIFE SCIENCES DEALS

Boundless Bio, a San Diego-based biotech firm, raised $46.4 million in Series A funding. ARCH Venture Partners and City Hill Ventures led the round.

Versantis, a Switzerland-based developer of therapies for rare liver and pediatric diseases, raised CHF 16 million ($16.13 million) Series B in funding. Swisscanto Invest by Zürcher Kantonalbank led the round, and was joined by investors including Esperante Ventures, investiere, Redalpine HealthEquity and Zürcher Kantonalbank Start-up Finance.

PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS

Knox Capital made an investment in a360inc, a Carrolton, Texas-based legal and financial services technology and outsourcing company. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc (NYSE: AXL) agreed to sell its U.S. iron casting operations to Gamut Capital Management for $245 million. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. 

The Riverside Company agreed to invest in Bike24, a Germany-based cycling e-commerce specialist. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. 

Entrepreneurial Equity Partners acquired Daniele International LLC, a Pascoag, R.I.-based producer of specialty Italian charcuterie. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. 

Best Life Brands LLC, which is backed by The Riverside Company, acquired Blue Moon Estate Sales, a North Carolina-based estate sale franchise. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. 

OTHER DEALS

Clutter acquired The Storage Fox, a New York-based self storage company, for $152 million.

IPOs

One Connect, Ping An Insurance’s financial technology unit, is aiming for an IPO in New York in Mid November, Reuters reports citing sources. SoftBank backs the firm. Read more.

EXITS

Thoma Bravo sold Elemica, a Wayne, Penn.-based cloud-based digital supply network, to Eurazeo. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. 

BallerTV acquired FieldVision, a New York-based livestraming sports site. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.  FieldVision had raised approximately $200,000 in venture funding from investors including Chaac Ventures.

PEOPLE

Gridiron Capital promoted Chris King and Doug Rosenstein to principal. 

Accomplice VC promoted Ash Egan to partner.

Battery Ventures promoted Dillon Joyce, Max-Julian Kaye and Aaron Rinberg to vice president, and it also promoted Dawit Workie to associate.