The economy’s hurting. What does that mean for startups who plan to go public in 2020?

March 12, 2020, 1:49 PM UTC

After the The World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic, President Donald Trump announced a travel suspension from Europe to the U.S. for 30 days beginning late Friday. 

The temporary travel ban will undoubtedly have profound effects on businesses. It will shake up tourism-dependent industries and disrupt the plans of many firms both domestically and abroad. 

Yesterday also marked the end of the impressive, 11-year-long bull run investors have been enjoying. My colleague Bernhard Warner gave us an important refresher in this morning’s Bull Sheet:

“There are many kinds of bear markets. They’re either cyclical, secular, or event-driven. Take your pick. They can last months or even years. What everybody wants to know—how long will this one last? —is almost impossible to predict with any certainty. The 2007-2009 bear market lasted 17 months, and the Dow fell 54% over that stretch.”

It’s also an important reminder about how quickly things can turn. Just several weeks ago, Term Sheet readers took a market confidence survey. A whopping 72% of the record 614 readers who took the survey said they earned more in 2019 than the prior year, with only 16% earning less. A full 69% expected to earn still more in 2020. One reader said, “I continue to be amazed at how damn easy it is to make money.”

But not even a month later, investors find themselves in the midst of fear and uncertainty. Ironically, 2020 was supposed to be the year of the IPO. Silicon Valley darlings Airbnb and DoorDash are supposed to make their public market debut this year, but their peers aren’t faring so hot at the moment. Companies like Uber and Lyft fell 9.4% and 11.8%, respectively, pushing them even further under their IPO prices.

There’s still a lot of uncertainty about what the outbreak paired with the market volatility means for startups and dealmaking, but for now, taking precautionary measures, ensuring employee safety, and maintaining slow growth are key.

BIG WINDFALL: In a bombshell deal, Rockstar Energy Drink’s billionaire founder Russ Weiner is selling his energy drink empire to PepsiCo for $3.85 billion. Weiner owns a hefty 85% of the company, which puts his worth at still approximately $3.9 billion, according to Forbes. Read more.

HEY, WHAT’S UP WITH MAGIC LEAP? Remember Magic Leap, the secretive startup that raised more than $2 billion in venture funding, unveiled a $2,300 augmented-reality headset in 2018, and promised that its technology would rival the television or the telephone in terms of societal impact?

Well, it’s now exploring a sale, according to a new report in Bloomberg. It could “fetch more than $10 billion if it pursues a sale,” the story notes. This is mind-boggling to say the least. The company has yet to release a product to consumers (the first version of Magic Leap’s device is for developers), but this hasn’t stopped investors from pouring money, reporters writing stories, and the overall hype building. 

Magic Leap could be developing the most disruptive technology of our lifetime … or it could fail to meet the overblown expectations it’s built up over the years. If there is an interested buyer, they’ll have to take quite the (magic) leap to justify that kind of valuation. 

Polina Marinova
Twitter: @polina_marinova


- Lyra Health, a Burlingame, Calif.-based provider of innovative mental health benefits for employers, raised $75 million in Series C funding. IVP led the round, and was joined by investors including Meritech Capital Partners, Casdin Capital, Crown Venture Fund, Glynn Capital, Greylock Partners, Providence Ventures, Tenaya Capital, and Venrock.

- Arctic Wolf, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based security operations center-as-a-service company, raised $60 million in Series D funding. Blue Cloud Ventures and Stereo Capital co-led the round, and was joined by investors including Delta-v Capital and NextEquity Partners. 

- Albert, a personal finance startup, raised $50 million in Series B funding. CapitalG led the round. 

- Deep North, a computer vision and AI-powered video analytics startup, raised $25.7 million in Series A funding. Celeres Investments led the round, and was joined by investors including Engage, AI List Capital

- Remesh, a Brooklyn-based software company utilizing artificial intelligence to reinvent the way organizations conduct research, raised $25 million in Series A2 funding. General Catalyst led the round, and was joined by investors including LionBird and North Coast Ventures.

- Interos, an Arlington, Va.-based multi-tier, multi-factor third-party risk management platform, raised $17.5 million in Series B funding. Venrock led the round, and was joined by investors including Kleiner Perkins.

- Validere, a Canada-based informatics platform that helps energy companies realize efficiencies through product quality insights, raised $15 million in Series A funding. Wing VC led the round, and was joined by investors including Greylock Partners and Sallyport Investments.

- Akur8, a Paris-based AI insurance pricing solution, raised €8 million ($9 million) in Series A funding. Investors include BlackFin Capital Partners and MTech Capital.

- Cleanshelf, a San Mateo, Calif.-based SaaS spend optimization solution, raised $8 million in Series A funding round. Dawn Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including LAUNCHub.

- Perimeter 81, a secure access service edge (SASE) provider, raised $4.5 million in Series A funding. Toba Capital led the round.

- Pragma, a gaming back-end engine, raised $4.2 million in seed funding. Upfront Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including Advancit Capital.

- Monograph, a San Francisco-based technology company, raised $1.9 million in funding. Homebrew Ventures and Parade Ventures co-led the round, and were joined by investors including Designer Fund, Hustle VC. 


- Kymera Therapeutics, a biotechnology company aimed at targeted protein degradation to invent breakthrough protein degrader medicines for patients, raised $102 million in Series C funding. Biotechnology Value Fund and Redmile Group co-led the round, and was joined by investors including Wellington Management Company, Bain Capital Life Sciences, Janus Henderson Investors BlackRock, and Rock Springs Capital.

- Silverback Therapeutics, a Seattle-based biopharmaceutical company, raised $78.5 million in Series B funding. U.S. Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by investors including Nextech Invest Ltd., Hunt Investment Group, Pontifax Venture Capital, Colt Ventures LP, NS Investment, OrbiMed Advisors LLC, Bristol-Meyers Squibb and Alexandria Venture Investments.

- ZBiotics, a San Francisco-based maker of genetically engineered probiotics, raised $2.3 million in seed funding. Oyster Ventures led the round.


- ICV Partners acquired Diversified Restaurant Holdings, a group of Troy, Mich.-based franchisees for Buffalo Wild Wings with 64 sports bars across five states. Financial terms weren't disclosed. 

- Xirgo Technologies, a portfolio company of HKW, acquired the assets and technology of Owlcam, a Palo Alto-based developer of security cameras for cars. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.


- Kantar acquired Mavens of London, a London-based data-led, digital marketing and analytics consultancy. Financial terms weren't disclosed. 


- Imara, a Boston-based biotech developing small molecule therapies for rare genetic disorders, raised $71 million in an offering of 4.5 million shares priced at $16 apiece, the low end of its range. It posted a loss of $23.5 million in 2019. New Enterprise Associates (31.8% pre-offering), Lundbeckfond Invest (16.3%), and Pfizer (11.2%) back the firm. It plans to trade on the Nasdaq as “IMRA.” Read more.


- First American Financial Corporation acquired Docutech, an Idaho Falls, Idaho-based provider of document, eClose, and fulfillment technology for the mortgage industry. The seller was Serent Capital.

- Edison Partners sold Scivantage, a Jersey City, N.J.-based provider of financial markets data and insights, trading platforms, and open data and technology platforms, to Refinitiv. The exit generated a nearly 3x return for Edison Partners.


- Felicis Ventures, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based venture capital firm, raised $510 million for its seventh fund. 


- Sandra Ackermann-Schaufler joined Meketa Investment Group as a principal.

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