Airbnb gets a $1 billion lifeline

April 7, 2020, 1:41 PM UTC

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Dear unicorn: Is Silver Lake your coronavirus-era Warren Buffett?

Airbnb has found some relief after reeling from the coronavirus’s brutal impact on the travel industry.

On Monday, the company announced that it had raised $1 billion in debt and equity from private equity shop Silver Lake and investment firm Sixth Street Partners. Airbnb reportedly cut its valuation internally from $31 billion to $26 billion as consumers cancelled reservations.

One name that jumps out: Silver Lake co-CEO Egon Durban. In roughly the last month alone, the investor jumped into two companies that were under pressure. Twitter, dogged by activist investors, and Waymo, a moonshot for Alphabet.

Oh right, he’s also here in the Airbnb announcement: “While the current environment is clearly a difficult one for the hospitality industry, the desire to travel and have authentic experiences is fundamental and enduring.”

As Fortune’s Adam Lashinsky puts it: “In the financial crisis of 2008-09, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway was here, there, and everywhere, providing capital to stressed but otherwise sound companies…Today, Egon Durban’s private-equity fund Silver Lake seems to be playing a similar role.”

Private equity firms at large are sitting on a record amount of undeployed cash, and are now actively looking for deals in sectors hit by the coronavirus outbreak—sectors that will ostensibly bounce back once the pandemic is resolved.

So, dear unicorns and public tech companies…who’s next?

Separately, the Airbnb deal raises a lot of questions: 

The valuation. While it’s been reported that the company had lowered its valuation from $31 billion to $26 billion internally, Airbnb has declined to comment on the terms of the most recent deal.

Airbnb’s plans to go public. The company had planned to go public this year. Airbnb was said to be considering either an IPO or a direct listing—a way of going public that doesn’t issue new shares or raise new capital. Those plans are in murkier waters now.

Employee equity. There’s another reason why Airbnb felt the need to go public this year. Airbnb reportedly meted out two tranches of employee stock options—one of which expires November 2020. That equity will reportedly become worthless should the company still be private by then.

Dear readers: As we all try to understand who is eligible for the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, I wonder, are any venture capital firms thinking about waiving certain governance rights, so that their startup may qualify? Let me know if you’ve got tips.


- MiningLamp Technology, a Beijing-based big data company that has been called “China’s Palantir,” raised $300 million in funding. Temasek Holdings and Tencent led the round. Read more.

- PsiQuantum, a Palo Alto-based quantum computing firm, raised $215 million in Series C funding that closed in January. Atomico led the round. Read more.

- Kurly, a South Korea-based online grocery delivery startup, raised $150 million. Sequoia Capital, Hillhouse Capital, and DST were the investors. Read more.

- Intellifusion, a Shenzhen, China-based AI chip maker, raised $141 million (1 billion yuan). Utrust VC, Forebright Capital and existing investor Walden International led the round. Read more.

- Podium, a Lehi, Ut.-based customer messaging platform for local businesses, raised $125 million in Series C round of funding led by YC Continuity

- Accellion, a Palo Alto-based provider of the enterprise content firewall backed by Bregal Sagemount, raised $120 million. Bregal Sagemount led the round.

- CircleCI, a San Francisco-based platform for software development, raised $100 million in Series E funding. IVP and Sapphire Ventures led the round.

- Pure Harvest Smart Farms, a startup developing technology-enhanced greenhouses in the Middle East, received a commitment of up to $100 million from Wafra, Kuwait’s national investment company. Read more.

- AISpeech, a Suzhou, China-based voice recognition technology developer, raised 410 million yuan ($58 million) in a Series E funding. CTC Capital led the round. BAIC Capital, and CITIC Securities’ private equity unit Goldstone Investment also participated. Read more.

- Swiggy, an Indian online food delivery business, raised $43 million. Existing investor Tencent and new investors Ark Impact, Korea Investment Partners, Samsung Ventures, and Mirae Asset Capital Markets made the investment as part of its ongoing Series I round. 

- 98point6, a Seattle, Wash.-based-based virtual healthcare tech firm, raised $43 million in Series D funding. Backers include Goldman Sachs’ merchant banking division; Larry Fink, Jim Sinegal, David Viniar, and Nader Naini.

- Glassbox, a New York-based platform for site optimization and customer experience, raised $40 million in Series C funding. Brighton Park Capital led the round.

- Bringg, a Chicago-based delivery platform, raised $30 million in Series D funding Viola Growth led the round. Next47, Salesforce, OG Tech Ventures and GLP participated.

- Xpension, a German, online platform for pensions and life insurance, raised $27 million (€25 million) in its Series C funding. HPE Growth led the round. Cinco Capital and Armada Investment also participated. Read more.

- Lunar, a Danish challenger bank, extended its Series B round with an additional $21.6 million (€20 million) in funding for a total of €46 million in the round. Seed Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including Greyhound, Socii, and Augustinus. Read more.

- SonderMind, a Denver, Colo.-based therapy telehealth network, raised $27 million in Series B funding. New investors General Catalyst and F-Prime Capital participated alongside existing investors Kickstart Seed Fund, Diōko Ventures, and Jonathan Bush.

- GPB Scientific, a Vista, Calif. and Richmond, Va.-based developer of therapeutic cell production and bioprocessing, raised $25.5 million in funding. Vensana Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including Amgen Ventures.

- OctoML, a Seattle-based startup using machine learning to optimize ML models, raised $15 million Series A funding Amplify, and was joined by investors including Madrona Ventures. Read more.

- Okera, a San Francisco-based company focused on secure data access, raised $15 million. The strategic investment was led by ClearSky Security led the round. 

- AlertMedia, an Austin-based emergency communication software provider, raised $15 million in Series C funding. The round was led by existing investors including JMI Equity, Next Coast Ventures, and Silverton Partners.

- Yapily, a London-based provider of opening banking API, raised $13 million in Series A funding. Leading the round is Lakestar led the round, and was joined by existing investors HV Holtzbrinck Ventures and LocalGlobe.

- Halo Labs, a Burlingame, Calif.-based instrumentation company developing tools for biologics researchers, raised $12M in Series B1 funding. Research Corporation Technologies led the round, and was joined by investors including BroadOak Capital Partners, BioAdvance, and Paul McEwan.

- DeHaat, a Gurugram, India-based full-stack agritech platform, raised $12 million in Series A funding. Sequoia India and FMO led the round, and was joined by existing investors Omnivore and AgFunder.

- Valispace, a Germany-based collaboration platform for engineers, raised a Seed Extension funding round of $2.4 million (€2.2 million) in seed extension funding. JOIN Capital led the round, and was joined by HCVC.

- Neat, a Hong Kong-based fintech for SMEs and startups, raised $11 million in Series A funding.  Pacific Century Group led the round, and was joined by investors including Visa and MassMutual Ventures Southeast Asia.

- Spot & Tango, a New York City-based direct-to-consumer pet health and wellness brand, raised $4.2million in seed funding led by Guild Capital.

- Cyolo, a Tel Aviv, Israel-based network security startup, raised $4.2 million in seed funding. Flint Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including Global Founders Capital and Differential Ventures.

- Miso Robotics, a Los Angeles-based kitchen automation company, has $3 million in committed capital for its planned $30 million Series C crowdfunding campaign.


- Bruin Sports Capital terminated the sale process of Deltatre, an Italian streaming tech provider, Bloomberg reports citing sources. Read more.

- Palatine Private Equity invested in Acora, a U.K.-based IT services provider. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Welltower is said to have pulled out of a $3.1 billion (£2.5 billion) bid to buy Barchester Healthcare, a nursing home group majority-owned by Irish magnates JP McManus, Dermot Desmond and John Magnier. Read more.

- CMI, backed by Capital Partners, acquired Engineered Plastic Systems, an Elgin, Ill.-based maker of plastic lumber products. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Kronos Foods, a portfolio company of Entrepreneurial Equity Partners, agreed to merge with Grecian Delight Foods, an Elk Grove Village, Ill.-based maker of Mediterranean foods. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

- H.I.G. Capital invested in investment in Modern Logistics, a Brazilian freight logistics company. Financial terms weren't disclosed.


- Vir Biotechnology (Nasdaq: VIR), a San Francisco-based biotech, raised $250 million from GlaxoSmithKline to collaborate on potential antibody treatments for the new coronavirus.

- Hexcel and Woodward, two Boeing suppliers based respectively in Fort Collins Colo. & Stamford, Conn.-, terminated plans for a $6.4 billion merger. Read more.

- Cisco plans to acquire Fluidmesh Networks, a Brooklyn, New York-based company focused on wireless backhaul systems that delivers reliable and resilient wireless solutions for industrial Internet of Things. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) acquired Voysis, a Dublin, Ireland-based natural language platform for digital voice assistants. Financial terms weren't disclosed. Read more.

- Highwire PR acquired Wonderscript, digital communications consultancy. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Xcel Energy agreed to sell its natural gas-fired power plant in southern Minnesota to Southwest Generation for $680 million.

- MaxLinear agreed to acquire Intel’s home internet connection platform in a $150 million deal.


- Australia’s The Citadel Group acquired Wellbeing Software, a U.K.-based provider of radiology and maternity software solutions to manage patient workflow and data, for £103 million from Elysian Capital. Read more.

- Foursquare plans to merge with Factual, a Los Angeles-based location data company. Financial terms weren't disclosed. Factual has raised a total of $104 million most recently from Upfront Ventures and Felicis Ventures. Read more.

- ICV Partners acquired a significant stake in Mintz Group, a New York-based investigative and enterprise risk management service, from  WestView Capital Partners and Mintz Group management.

F + FS

- Ikhlas Capital will close its inaugural fund in the middle of this year, reassessing a planned $500 million target due to the coronavirus, per Reuters. Read more.

- Deerfield Management Company raised $840 million for its Deerfield Healthcare Innovations Fund ll.

- HarbourVest Partners raised $636 million forits Secondary Overflow Fund IV, per an SEC filing.

- American Pacific Group closed American Pacific Group Fund I with $450 million of committed capital. 

- Roark Capital raised $1.4 billion for the Roark Diversified Restaurant Fund II. Read more.

- Activant Capital raised $257 million for a new fund.

- Ophelia Brown, the founder of Blossom Capital, launched angel program Cultivate. Cultivate will make up to 20 investments of $250,000 per startup in the next 12 months, a total of $5 million.


- The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPP Investments) appointed Judy Wade as a managing director, Head of San Francisco. 

- TPG appointed Michael Stone as the co-managing partner of TPG Growth.

- Delta Capital Partners Management appointed Gabriel Olearnik as managing director for its Europe business.

- Base10 Partners hired Chris Zeoli, formerly at SignalFire and Insight Partners, as a principal.

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