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Visa’s $5.3 billion acquisition of Plaid will send shockwaves through the industry

January 14, 2020, 2:41 PM UTC

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We live in a time of epic deals. I audibly gasped yesterday when I found out that Visa agreed to buy Plaid, a fintech company that connects users’ bank accounts to apps and services, for an eye-popping $5.3 billion. That’s two times more than Plaid’s most recent private valuation — a huge win for its venture investors.

In late 2018, Plaid raised $250 million in Series C funding at a $2.65 billion valuation. The round was a who’s who of Silicon Valley: Mary Meeker led the financing (from Kleiner Perkins’s growth fund), and was joined by investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Index Ventures, Goldman Sachs, NEA, and Spark Capital.

It was later revealed that competitors Visa and Mastercard both bet on Plaid through “strategic investments” in the same round. Visa said it was determined to “stay relevant” as its industry evolves. “Companies like Plaid wake up every day thinking about these [factors],” Bill Sheedy, executive vice president of Visa’s strategy group, told Fortune at the time. “It’s very different from how we’ve thought about product innovation in the past.”

My colleague Rey Mashayekhi reports that the deal is about expanding Visa’s services beyond its debit and credit card solutions and into a broader consumer experience.

“We are increasingly trying to move from being strictly focused on payments, to being focused on the movement of funds for any purpose around the world,” said Visa CEO Al Kelly in a conference call on Monday. “As big as Visa is in terms of the bank accounts that we can reach, we’re not as big as we need to be if we want to be a formidable player in money movement around the world.”

While much of tech press is focused on covering flashy companies like WeWork and Away, there are huge things happening on the non-consumer front that are arguably as exciting (and important). This is a massive power play by Visa that goes beyond the sticker price — it shows that Visa might also believe that cardless payment forms could one day fully replace their plastic cards. 

I would pay good money to see what’s going on at Mastercard’s offices today. This acquisition will send shockwaves throughout the entire financial services industry.

Polina Marinova
Twitter: @polina_marinova
Email: polina.marinova@fortune.com 

VENTURE DEALS

- Concerto HealthAI, a Boston-based real-world-data and enterprise AI technology solutions for precision oncology, raised $150 million in Series B funding. Declaration Partners led the round, and was joined by investors including Maverick Ventures, AllianceBernstein PCI, and SymphonyAI Group. 

- Trusona, a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based developer of passwordless multi-factor authentication technology, raised $20 million in funding. Georgian Partners led the round, and was joined by investors including Kleiner Perkins, M12, OurCrowd and Seven Peaks Ventures.

- SimpliField, a Paris-based retail performance platform provider, raised $11 million in Series A funding. Five Elms Capital led the round. 

- Locale, an Austin-based upscale aparthotel brand, raised $11 million in Series A funding. Amplo Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including Susa Ventures, Malkin Holdings, Rogue Insight Capital and Metropolis Capital Partners.

- Nicoya, a Canada-based provider of advanced analytical instruments for the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, raised $10 million in Series A funding. Whitecap Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by investors including Garage Capital, MaRS IAF, Laurier Startup Fund, and University of Waterloo Student Venture Fund.

- Containous, a France-based cloud-native networking company, raised $10 million in Series A funding. Balderton Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including Elaia and 360 Capital Partners.

- Curricula, an Atlanta-based provider of a security awareness training and phishing simulation platform, raised $3 million in funding, from RCP Equity. 

HEALTH & LIFE SCIENCES DEALS

- Inflammatix, a Burlingame, Calif.-based molecular diagnostics company, raised $32 million in Series C funding. Investors include Khosla Ventures, Northpond Ventures, Think.Health Ventures, and Grey Sky Venture Partners. 

- Kyverna Therapeutics, a San Francisco-based cell therapy company, raised $25 million in Series A funding. Investors include Vida Ventures, Westlake Village BioPartners, and Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ: GILD).

- Codagenix, Inc., a Stony Brook, N.Y.-based clinical-stage biotechnology company developing prophylactic vaccines and oncolytic virus therapies, raised $20 million in Series B funding. Adjuvant Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including Euclidean Capital and Topspin Partners. 

PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS

- Midland Industries, a portfolio company of Wynnchurch Capital, acquired Stainless Adapters Inc, a Houston, Texas-based supplier of stainless steel hydraulic adapters and pipe fittings. Financial terms weren't disclosed. 

- MacNeill Pride Group, a portfolio company of Centre Partners, acquired Outdoor Recreation Company of America, a Nashville, Tenn-based supplier of coolers, drinkware and other outdoor accessories. Financial terms weren't disclosed. 

OTHER DEALS

- ICF (NASDAQ:ICFI) agreed to acquire Incentive Technology Group, LLC, an Arlington, Va.-based provider of cloud-based platform services to the U.S. federal government, for $255 million. 

FIRMS + FUNDS

- Siguler Guff, a New York-based private equity firm, raised $1.575 billion for its Small Buyout Opportunities Fund IV.

- Drive Capital, a Columbus, Ohio-based venture capital firm, raised $300 million for its fund, Overdrive Fund I. 

PEOPLE

- Preeti Rathi joined Icon Ventures as a general partner. Previously, she was at Ignition Partners. 

- Tyler Lancaster was promoted to principal at Energize Ventures.

- TSG Consumer Partners promoted Alec Barnett, Sam Pritzker and James Zelnick to vice president.

- Palladium Equity Partners promoted Chris Allen, Leon Brujis, Caleb Clark, Justin Green, Daniel Ilundain and Adam Shebitz to partner.

- Tony “T2” Thomas will join Lux Capital as a venture partner.

- Sorenson Ventures named Vidya Raman as its newest principal today.

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