I knew it wouldn’t be long before #NotAllRealEstateStartups became a thing.
Compass, a New York real estate startup valued at $6.4 billion, had been rumored to be eyeing an IPO. But following the WeWork saga, the SoftBank-backed brokerage is now busy outlining the differences between itself and the other real estate behemoth.
Kristen Ankerbrandt, the CFO of Compass, sent employees an eight-point memo to relieve their worries. For one, she noted Compass has no debt and is valued at a revenue multiple comparable to traditional publicly traded real estate companies. She also boasted about Compass’ wide array of investors, including Dragoneer Investment Group and Qatar Investment Authority. In other words, they haven’t put all of their eggs in the SoftBank basket.
But my personal favorite point of difference? Ankerbrandt highlighted that Compass has a frugal leadership team that “books coach tickets and does not fly on private jets.” 😂
Nothing says “We’re not WeWork” like a coach class ticket on a commercial airline.
A DESIGNER UNICORN: While no one was looking, Australia-based online design platform Canva raised $85 million at a valuation of $3.2 billion. Investors include Bond Capital, General Catalyst, Bessemer Venture Partners, Blackbird and Sequoia China.
You might remember we wrote about Canva earlier this year when it raised $70 million in funding at a $2.5 billion valuation. It was Mary Meeker’s first investment out of Bond Capital, the new firm she and her partners launched after spinning out of Kleiner Perkins last year.
Armed with fresh funding, Canva hopes to launch an enterprise product that will offer a brand kit, marketing and sales templates, and a dashboard to manage teams and assign roles. Roughly 85% of Fortune 500 companies use Canva’s services, and the company boasts more than 20 million monthly active users.
The funding also makes Canva, co-founded by 32-year-old CEO Melanie Perkins, one of the most valuable female-led technology startups in the world.
A CEO’S CALL FOR REGULATION: This morning, TheNew York Times published an op-ed by Foursquare CEO Jeff Glueck, in which he calls on Congress to regulate the location technology industry. Well, that’s funny, you might think, isn’t Foursquare one of the largest location technology platforms?
Yes it is. Foursquare launched in 2009 as a consumer app that allowed users to “check in” and share their location with friends, but it later pivoted to an enterprise player to provide location data and software to businesses.
Now, its CEO writes that location data can be abused. Glueck says:
“There are no formal rules for what is ethical — or even legal — in the location data business. We could all take a Hippocratic oath for data science (as in medicine: “First do no harm”), and hope that living by such an oath would curb abuses. But even in the best of circumstances, that oath is voluntary.
“It’s time for Congress to regulate the industry.”
His column calls for a privacy law that should include the following three components:
- Apps on mobile devices should not be allowed to ask for location data unless they offer the user a clear enhanced service that depends on that data;
- A new privacy law must require greater transparency for what consumers are signing up for, and ways that their data will be used or shared, not just buried in terms and conditions;
- A privacy law must establish the obligation and duty on those collecting location data (even with consent) to “do no harm,” or a Hippocratic Oath.
I’ve met Glueck several times, and he’s hyper-aware of people’s growing skepticism around how their data is used by private companies. It’s a smart move for Foursquare to take the lead and work with Congress on regulation that will affect the company’s future. If you’re a tech giant in an industry ripe for regulation, now is not the time to bury your head in the sand.
- Pendo.io, a Raleigh, N.C.-based product cloud company, raised $100 million in Series E funding at a valuation of $1 billion. Sapphire Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including General Atlantic, Tiger Global, Battery Ventures, Meritech Capital, FirstMark, Geodesic Capital, and Cross Creek.
- Invoca, a Santa Barbara, Calif.-based AI-powered call tracking and conversational analytics company, raised $56 million in funding. Upfront Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including H.I.G. Growth Partners, Accel and Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment Partners.
- Sisu, a San Francisco-based diagnostic platform for structured data, raised $52.5 million in Series B funding. NEA led the round, and was joined by investors including Andreessen Horowitz, the a16z Cultural Leadership Fund, and Green Bay Ventures.
- Wheels, a Des Plaines, Ill.-based micromobility company, raised more than $50 million in funding. DBL Partners led the round, and was joined by investors including TDK Ventures.
- Corelight, a San Francisco-based provider of network visibility solutions, raised $50 million in Series C funding. Insight Partners led the round, and was joined by investors including Accel.
- Lively Inc, a San Francisco-based health savings account provider, raised $27 million in - Series B funding. Costanoa Ventures led the round with participation from Ally Ventures, Liquid 2 Ventures, PJC, Teamworthy Ventures, Streamlined Ventures and Y Combinator.
- Science Exchange, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based SaaS-enabled marketplace for outsourced research and development, raised $20 million in funding. Maverick Ventures and Norwest Venture Partners led the round.
- Realtime Robotics, a Boston-based creator of responsive motion planning for industrial robots and autonomous vehicles, raised $11.7 million in Series A funding. SPARX Asset Management led the round, and was joined by investors including Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, Hyundai Motor Company, OMRON Ventures, Toyota AI Ventures, Scrum Ventures and the Duke Angel Network.
- Adroit Worldwide Media Inc, an Aliso Viejo, Calif.-based vision technology company powered by artificial intelligence, computer vision and machine learning, raised $11 million in financing. Impact Venture Capital led the round.
- Ekos, a developer of business management software for independent craft beverage companies, raised $8 million in Series A funding. Noro-Moseley Partners led the round.
- SharpCloud Software, a London-based provider of visual business collaboration software for strategic portfolio management, raised 4.5 million pounds ($5.8 million) in Series A funding, from YFM Equity Partners.
- Strapi, a headless content management system, raised $4 million in seed funding. Accel and Stride.vc led the round.
- Evervault, an Ireland-based company building a data protection solution for developers, raised $3.2 million in seed funding. Sequoia led the round, and was joined by investors including Kleiner Perkins, Frontline, and SV Angel.
- Rentgrata, a Chicago-based renter insights platform, raised $1 million in funding. M25 led the round.
- Fitt, a Pittsburgh-based location-based platform that connects people to living experiences across fitness, food, outdoors, and events, raised funding of an undisclosed amount. Mountain State Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including Riverfront Ventures, MINDBODY and TNC Ventures.
- Carfit, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based autotech and connected car startup, raised seed funding of an undisclosed amount. Investors include CIC Capital Ventures, the North American venture capital arm of Crédit Mutuel Alliance Fédérale and PlugandPlay.
HEALTH & LIFE SCIENCES DEALS
- Healx, a U.K.-based technology company focused on treating rare diseases, raised $56 million in Series B financing. Atomico led the round with participation from other investors that included Intel Capital, Global Brain, btov Partners, Balderton Capital, Amadeus Capital Partners and Jonathan Milner.
- Amarna Therapeutics, a Netherlands-based biotech firm, raised 10 million euros ($11.1 million) in funding. Flerie Invest AB led the round.
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
- Applied Systems, which is backed by CapitalG, acquired Policy Works, a Canada-based platform for commercial lines business. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Atar Capital acquired Keypoint Intelligence, a Fairfield, N.J.-based provider of data analytics, laboratory testing and advisory services for the global digital imaging industry. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- GHK Capital Partners acquired Dura Supreme Cabinetry, a Howard Lake, Minn.-based based vertically integrated manufacturer of premium semi-custom and custom cabinetry. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Cornell Capital made an investment in Lorom Holding Co., Ltd, a manufacturing solutions provider focusing on specialized cable manufacturing and assembly. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- The Hilb Group, a portfolio company of Abry Partners, acquired New Agency Partners, a Parsippany, N.J.-based insurance brokerage. No financial terms were disclosed.
- Toscafund agreed to invest 25 million euros ($27.8 million) into Lemon Way, a Paris-based payment processor that focuses on the online marketplace and e-commerce segments.
- BellRing Brands, a St. Louis-based protein powders and bars maker spinning off of Parent Post Holdings, raised $480 million in an offering 34.3 million shares priced at $14, below its intended range. The firm posted sales of $827.5 million and profit of $96.1 million in the year ending 2018. It plans to list on the NYSE as “BRBR.” Read more.
- Endeavor Group, the company behind Hollywood’s largest talent agency, withdrew plans for a $398 million IPO. The firm posted revenue of $3.6 billion and income of $316.5 million in 2018. Silver Lake (41.3% post-offering), Jasmine Ventures (8.6%), and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (8%) back the firm. It plans to list on the NYSE as “EDR.” Read more.
- Cabaletta Bio, a Philadelphia-based biotech focused on autoimmune diseases, plans to raise $87 million in an IPO of 5.8 million shares priced between $14 to $16 apiece. It posted a loss of $12.2 million in 2018. 5 AM Ventures (19%), Adage Capital Partners (19%), and Baker Bros (19%) back the firm.It plans to list on the Nasdaq as “CABA.” Read more.
- Platinum Equity acquired TruckPro, a Memphis, Tenn.-based distributor of heavy-duty truck and trailer parts, from Harvest Partners. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
FIRMS + FUNDS
- Permira, a U.K.-based private equity firm, raised 11 billion euros ($12.2 billion) for its fund, Permira VII.
- Sofinnova Partners, a France-based venture capital firm, raised 333 million euros ($370 million) for its latest venture capital fund, Sofinnova Capital IX.
- Gallant Capital Partners, a Los Angeles, Calif.-based private equity firm, raised $162.5 million for its debut fund, according to an SEC filing. The target is $300 million.
- Sean Liu has stepped down as investment director at SoftBank’s Vision Fund to join Legalist a the chief financial officer.
- KKR promoted Pete Stavros and Nate Taylor to co-lead the private equity business in the Americas. In Europe, Mattia Caprioli and Philipp Freise were promoted to co-lead the private equity business. In Asia-Pacific, Hiro Hirano and Ashish Shastry were promoted to co-lead the private equity business.