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Facebook jumps back into tech’s fight for India’s consumers

April 22, 2020, 1:47 PM UTC

Big tech has quite a bit of cash on hand—giving companies the chance to forge on amid the pandemic. 

Late Tuesday, Facebook revealed that it plans to pay $5.7 billion to acquire a near 10% stake in Jio Platforms, an Indian internet services provider that has grown explosively in recent years. The deal comes as pundits say the coronavirus will only make big tech even bigger as more and more consumers have turned to well-known online companies. (Amazon had $36.1 billion in cash and cash equivalents at the end of 2019. Facebook had $19.1 billion; Alphabet had $18.5 billion.)

For Facebook, it’s also a highly competitive growth opportunity. Chasing after a population expected to eclipse that of China’s, tech giants including Google, SoftBank, Alibaba, Amazon, and Tencent have poured billions of dollars into India at a time when roughly 600 million in the country still lack internet access.

PPP: The Senate passed a $484 billion fiscal package Tuesday, including an allocation of $310 billion in additional Paycheck Protection Program funding. But the new stimulus did little to address criticisms that loose regulations around the PPP, aimed at small businesses, have made recipients like large restaurant chains and hedge funds eligible. While the new package set aside $60 billion for small lenders and community-based financial institutions, it still leaves the nuances of who is eligible up to self-policing by banks and businesses.

In non-corona news: After the meteoric rise of stock-trading apps like Robinhood in the U.S., investors see opportunities to build out similar functions outside the States.

SoFi has acquired 8 Securities, a Hong Kong-based stock-trading app, marking the U.S.-based fintech’s first push into global markets (and second acquisition this month following its $1.2 billion purchase of fintech infrastructure provider, Galileo). The acquisition, sources with knowledge of the matter say, was valued at about $20 million and largely paid out in the form of SoFi stock valued at $15.44 apiece. 

When asked if another acquisition was in the stars for SoFi, CEO Anthony Noto told Term Sheet no—none are currently under consideration, though the current coronavirus-induced upheaval “presents different opportunities.”

VENTURE DEALS

- Epic Games, the Potomac, Md.-based maker of "Fortnite," is reportedly in talks to raise between $500 million and $1 billion in fresh funding, per Bloomberg. Read more.

- Confluent, a Mountain View, Calif.-based enterprise-ready event streaming platform,  raised $250 million in Series E funding. Altimeter Capital and Coatue Management led the round. Franklin Templeton, Index Ventures, and Sequoia Capital also participated. The deal valued Confluent at about $4.5 billion.

- Federated Wireless, an Arlington, Va.-based private wireless networks provider, raised $13.7 million in Series C funding from Allied Minds and Pennant Investors. Read more.

- H1, a New York-based provider of analytics for the healthcare industry, raised $12.9 million in Series A funding. Menlo Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including  Novartis DRX, Y Combinator, Baron Davis Enterprises, ClearPoint Investment Partners, Jeff Hammerbacher, Liquid 2 Ventures, and Underscore VC.

- Remote, a San Francisco-based HR technology startup, raised $11 million in seed funding. Two Sigma Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including Index Ventures, General Catalyst, Liquid2, INKEF Ventures, Remote First Capital, and angel investors.

- Bodhala, a New York-based data-intelligence and legal technology platform, raised $10 million in funding. Edison Partners led the round.

- Audiens, a Cambridge, U.K.-based customer data platform and audience management tool, raised £6.5 million ($8 million) in funding. NHN Corp. was the investor.

- Biobot Analytics, a Somerville, Mass.-based firm commercializing wastewater and sewage analytics, raised $6.7 million in seed funding. The Engine led the round, and was joined by investors including AmFam Institute Impact Fund, Y Combinator, and DCVC.  

- ​SoapBox Labs​, a Dublin, Ireland-based developer of voice technology for kids, raised $6.5 million in Series A funding. Elkstone Capital and Astia were among the investors.

- Vibenomics, an Indianapolis-based location-based audio advertising company, raised $6 million in Series A funding. BIP Capital led the round.

- Trovata.io, a San Diego, Calif.-based provider of cash reporting and forecasting solutions, raised $4.3 million additional funding. JPMorgan led the round, and was joined by Fintop Capital.

- Oyster, a San Francisco-based startup focused on hiring and recruiting, raised $4.2 million in seed funding. Connect Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including Sorenson Ventures, Kima Ventures, and Transferwise Co-founder Taavet Hinrikus.

- Luxury Promise, a London-based marketplace for the resale of luxury handbags and accessories, raised $3.8 million in Series A funding. Beringea led the round.

- Env0, a San Francisco-based startup focused on self-service cloud environments, raised $3.3 million in seed funding. Boldstart Ventures  and Grove Ventures co-led the round, and were joined by investors including Guy Podjarny of Snyk. Read more.

- Hone, a San Francisco-based training platform, raised $2.75 million in additional seed. Firework Ventures and NextGen Venture Partners participated.

- The Dipp, a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based subscription-only entertainment news startup, raised $2.3 million in seed financing. Defy Partners led the round.

- Bateau, a Seattle-based compliance software startup, raised $1.5 million in pre-seed funding. The Founder’s Co-op led the round, and was joined by investors including Alumni Ventures Group, Liquid 2 Ventures, and Ride Ventures. Read more.

PRIVATE EQUITY

- Apollo Global Management and Silver Lake are in talks to invest roughly $1 billion in Expedia, a Seattle-based travel-booking company, The Wall Street Journal reports. Read more.

- Trivest Partners acquired a minority stake in MGT Consulting Group, a Tampa, Fla.-based public sector management consulting and technology services firm. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- KKR agreed to acquire $500 million in convertible preferred equity in US Foods, a Rosemont, Ill.-based foodservice distributor.  The preferred stock investment carries a 7% dividend and will be convertible at $21.50 per share. 

- CentriLogic, a portfolio company of TriSpan and Long Point Capital, acquired ObjectSharp, a Toronto-based cloud-native solutions provider. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

OTHERS

- Blue Prism (AIM: PRSM), a London-based digital workforce software provider, raised £100 million ($133 million).

IPOS

- Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp. III, a blank check company formed by Social Capital and Hedosophia, raised $720 million in an offering of 72 million units priced at $10 apiece, above a previously stated raise of around $600 million. It plans to acquire a tech business outside of the U.S.. and plans to list on the NYSE as “IPOC.U.” Read more.

F+FS

- Hamilton Lane raised $875.6 million in new commitments for its  Secondary Fund V. Read more.

- BoostVC raised $40 million for its fourth accelerator fund. Read more.

PEOPLE

- Nyca Partners hired Jeremy Solomon as a Principal.