The Amazon Scare

December 4, 2019, 2:49 PM UTC

Amazon is everywhere.

When the online marketplace steps into an industry, it’s a blood bath for company shares. Following its $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods, shares of groceries such as Walmart and Costco shrank —a vote of confidence for Amazon’s potency.

Amazon coming into the fray has even sparked a “Death by Amazon” index—a pool of companies most vulnerable to competition from online retailers like the eponymous marketplace, according to Bespoke Investment Group. The index includes Walmart, Target, and CVS.

The threat of Amazon is even lighting fires under smaller groceries and supermarkets. Behind the scenes, grocery stores and supermarket chains are testing robots, everyday pricing software, mobile checkouts, and more following Amazon’s turn into brick-and-mortar in the form of Amazon Go and its Whole Food acquisition. Per Bloomberg, on the supermarket shift:

“In a Giant Eagle supermarket in Pittsburgh’s Fox Chapel neighborhood, a five-foot, four-inch-tall device nicknamed “Tally” traverses the aisles twice a day for an hour or two, scanning shelves for missing or misplaced items. It’s one of about 50 robots deployed at retailers in the U.S., Europe and the Middle East by Tally’s creator, Simbe Robotics. Walmart’s also rolling out shelf-scanning droids in 350 U.S. stores, made by another vendor called Bossa Nova.


Language learning platform Duolingo has joined the unicorn pen. The firm is now valued at $1.5 billion after raising $30 million in Series F funding from CapitalG, one of the company’s existing investors.

In total, it has raised $138 million from investors including CapitalG, Union Square Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, New Enterprise Associates, Drive Capital, Ashton Kutcher, and Tim Ferriss.

There’s a lot of benefits (and caveats) to becoming a unicorn. It helps a startup attract talent and eyeballs, boost employee morale, and more. More than several companies have become unicorns this year alone.

Lucinda here filling in for Polina until her return on Monday Dec. 9. In the meantime, please send deals to


- FinAccel, a Singaporean fintech offering consumer credit in Indonesia, raised $90 million in Series C funding. Asia Growth Fund (a joint venture between Mirae Asset and Naver) and Square Peg led the round.

- Highspot, a Seattle-based sales platform, raised $75 million in Series D-1 funding. ICONIQ Capital, Madrona Venture Group, OpenView, Salesforce Ventures and Sapphire Ventures participated. 

- Panorays, a New York-based provider of automated third-party security lifecycle management, raised $15 million in Series A funding. Oak HC/FT led the round and was joined by investors including Aleph VC and Lane Bess.

- Delphia, a Toronto-based investment advisor using personal data as investable capital, raised $14 million from those including Real Ventures, Lerer Hippeau, Golden Ventures, Black Jays Investments, and Day One Ventures.

- Canopy, a Lehi, Ut.-based cloud-based practice management platform for tax professional, raised $13 million in funding led by NewView Capital, Pelion Venture Partners and Tenaya Capital

- Advanced Navigation, a Sydney-based firm focused on AI and robotics sensors, raised $13 million in Series A funding from Brick & Mortar, In-Q-Tel, and Main Sequence Ventures

- Infinitum Electric, an Austin, Texas-based maker of IoT-enabled electric motors, raised $12.5 million in Series B funding. Cottonwood Technology Fund (CTF) led the round and was joined by investors including Chevron Technology Ventures (CTV) and AJAX Strategies.

- Cuvva, a UK-based pay-as-you-go insurer, raised £15 million ($19.5 million) in funding from RTP Global, Breega, and Digital Horizon.

- Farmland Finder, an Iowa-based platform that provides landowners access to buyers, sellers, and market information, raised $3 million in seed investment from Cultivian Sandbox.


-  Orthopedic Care Partners, a portfolio company of Varsity Healthcare Partners, acquired Florida Spine and Paine, an orthopedic surgery practices platform. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Tower Arch Capital recapped OSM Worldwide, a Chicago-based global parcel management company. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Walter Global Asset Management acquired a minority stake in Quadra Partners, an asset management firm. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Blackstone agreed to invest 100 million pounds ($130 million) in HH Global, a Sutton, U.K.-based global outsourced marketing provider. Financial terms weren't disclosed. 

- AE Industrial Partners acquired AIM MRO, a Miamiville, Oh.-based supplier of consumable repair products and materials in the aerospace engine aftermarket.

- Salt Creek Capital acquired Pacific Shoring, a Santa Rosa, Calif.-based manufacturer of aluminum trench shoring equipment. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Black Dragon Capital acquired Maginus, a U.K.-based e-commerce software and technology developer. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Stone Point Capital took a majority stake in PrismHR, a Hopkinton, Mass.-based HR software company. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Mercer Global Advisors, backed by Oak Hill Capital and Genstar Capital, acquired Adam Financial Associates, a Boca Raton, Fla.-based wealth management firm. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- STG Logistics, a Wind Point Partners portfolio company, acquired Veeco Holdings, a provider of logistics solutions in New York and New Jersey. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Pleatco Filtration, an Align Capital Partners portfolio company, has acquired TVS Filters, a Bessemer, Al.-based maker of filter cartridges. Financial terms weren’t announced. 

- HKW recapped Traductions Serge Bélair, a Montreal-based language service provider that supplies translation services to corporate and institutional clients. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- BARBRI, a portfolio company of Leeds Equity Partners, acquired Kaplan Altior, a U.K.-based provider of legal training courses. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Transom Capital Group acquired Scantron Corporation, a Minnesota-based maker of assessment and technology solutions. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Olympus Partners recapped Heniff Transportation Systems, an Oakbrook, Ill.-based liquid bulk transportation services provider. Financial terms weren't disclosed.


- Tenable acquired Indegy, a Tel Aviv-based, industrial cybersecurity company. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Rockwell American, a subsidiary of DexKo Global, acquired Fenders N' More, a California-based maker of trailer fenders, from C. Wolfe Industries.

- Uberflip acquired SnapApp, a Boston-based marketing personalization solution. Financial terms weren't disclosed.


- Mitchell | Genex acquired CompAlliance, a Marriam, Kansas-based workflow solutions provider, from Cobalt Ventures, the captive private equity subsidiary of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City.

- Permira is weighing the sale of John Masters Organics, an organic personal care business, Bloomberg reports, for as much as $200 million. Read more.


- Novacap has C$500 million raised C$260 million of a C$500 million target for its inaugural financial services fund. 


- Edison Partners promoted Jennifer Lee to Principal. As Vice President Lee led investments earlier this year in Fund That Flip and Bipsync.

- Tartavull Klein Capital has named Angela Blatteis as a partner.


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