The venture capitalist at the center of the coronavirus fight
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How do you get a message from liberal-leaning scientists into a flaming-red White House in the middle of the pandemic?
A group of scientists and billionaires that came together to fight coronavirus have managed to do so, per a fascinating read at the Wall Street Journal.
Scientists to Stop Covid-19 culled together a 17-page report for officials on how best to battle the virus. Unlike with other recommendations that fade into obscurity, government agencies appear to be actually reading and implementing guidance to lower manufacturing regulations around specific coronavirus drugs.
At the helm of the effort: The 33-year-old and very-much-under-the-radar venture capitalist Tom Cahill, who leads life sciences-focused Newpath Partners. Cahill completed his M.D. and PhD at Duke University a mere two years ago before landing at blue-chip investment firm Raptor Group through a friend. He went on to found Newpath with some $125 million after impressing well-connected names like venture capitalist Peter Thiel and Vista Equity Partners co-founder Brian Sheth.
As the pandemic spread, Cahill turned his attention toward fighting Covid-19, his connections now becoming his main asset in his efforts. It was through Sheth, for example, that Scientists to Stop Covid-19 connected with the co-chairman of the Republican National Committee, Thomas Hicks Jr.
Cahill and his group have also been in frequent contact with Nice Ayers, a longtime aide to Vice President Mike Pence. It was only following a call to Ayers that the FDA gave Regeneron—which needed to shift manufacturing abroad in order to produce its promising coronavirus treatment in sufficient quantities—permission to take production to Dublin, per the story.
Certainly a group to watch.
Deals drop off: EY released its first quarter survey of the private equity landscape Tuesday. Activity was strong heading into the year, but coronavirus (surprise) threw a wrench into those trends. Now PE firms are slowing down, as are LPs.
- Global deal activity rose 9% in the first quarter compared to a year earlier. But investors have begun to shy away from large bets, with the volume of deals worth over $100 million, falling 10% year-over-year.
- While fundraising in general declined from $182 billion a year earlier to $146 billion, the average size of each fund jumped 13% in the same period, suggesting investors are growing wary and moving toward big, well-known funds.
- The majority of the industry appears to think it is better prepared than in 2008 for a coronavirus-induced downturn. But a still sizable 22% said they were perhaps less prepared than 12 years earlier.
- Exits via M&A dropped off a cliff—falling 31% to $82 billion in the quarter on a year-over-year basis. Buuuuut sales between PE firms rose 53% in the quarter.
Tune in: Don’t miss Fortune executive editor Adam Lashinsky’s Zoom chat with longtime tech analyst Gene Munster about how he sees the investing environment playing out. Watch the conversation and join the Q&A Wednesday, April 29, at 10:00 Pacific/1:00 Eastern. Register here for free.
- Erasca, a San Diego, Calif.-based firm treating cancer, raised $200 million in Series B funding. Arch Venture Partners and Cormorant Asset Management led the round, and were joined by investors including EDBI, Invus, Terra Magnum Capital Partners, City Hill Ventures, Colt Ventures, and LifeSci Venture Partners.
- SkyCell, a Switzerland-based maker of container solution for pharmaceuticals, raised $62 million in growth funding. MVM Partners led the round. Existing investors including the Swiss Entrepreneurs Fund and BCGE Bank’s growth fund also participated.
- Oriente, a Hong Kong-based financial data science company, raised $50 million in its ongoing Series B funding round. Peter Lee, Co-Chairman of Henderson Land, led the round, and was joined by investors including Wix.com.
- Cheetah, a San Francisco-based ecommerce platform for food and supplies, raised $36 million in Series B funding. Eclipse Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including ICONIQ Capital, Hanaco Ventures, and Floodgate Fund.
- Brain Corp., a San Diego, Calif.-based maker of autonomous systems for cleaning robots, raised $36 million. SoftBank led the round, and was joined by investors including ClearBridge Investments, Satwik Ventures, and Qualcomm Ventures. Read more.
- Avalyn Pharma, a Seattle-based biopharmaceutical company focused on therapies for pulmonary diseases, raised $35.5 million in Series B funding. Norwest Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by investors including Pivotal bioVenture Partners, and existing investors F-Prime Capital, Novo Holdings A/S, RiverVest Venture Partners, and TPG Biotech.
- LifeSprout, a Baltimore, Md.-based regenerative medicine company, raised $28.5 million in Series A funding. Redmile Group led the round, and was joined by investors including Nexus Management, LP, Emerald Development Managers, and the Abell Foundation.
- VELO3D, a Campbell, Calif.-based 3d printing startup, raised $28 million in a Series D funding. New investors Piva and TNSC joined the round, along with existing investors Bessemer Investment Partners, Playground, and Khosla Ventures.
- Medici, an Austin, Texas-based virtual healthcare company, raised $24 million in Series B funding. Existing investors including Barry Sternlicht, Chairman of Starwood Capital Group; Howard Jenkins of Publix; Kenneth Griffin, CEO of Citadel; and Nathan Kirsh, head of Jethro, participated.
- enVerid Systems, a Boston based maker of HVAC load reduction technology, raised $20 million in Series B funding. Breakthrough Energy Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including Ajax Strategies, Building Ventures, and OurCrowd.
- Scopio Labs, a Tel Aviv, Israel-based digital microscopy company, raised $16 million in funding. Olive Tree Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including Aurum Ventures, OurCrowd, and LR Group.
- Factorial, a Barcelona-based HR management platform, raised €15 million ($16 million) in Series A funding. CRV led the round.
- BrainBox AI, a Montreal-based autonomous building technology maker, raised $12 million in funding. Esplanade Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Desjardins Capital.
- Codota, an Israeli startup providing an AI tool to developers, raised $12 million in Series A funding. E.ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including Khosla Ventures, along with new investors TPY Capital and Hetz Ventures. Read more.
- Particle Health, a New York-based API that allows third party developers to access healthcare data, raised $12 million in Series A funding. Menlo Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including Collaborative Fund, Story Ventures, and Company Ventures.
- Paytronix Systems, a Newton, Mass.-based customer loyalty platform, raised $10 million in funding. Great Hill Partners led the round.
- Glofox, a Los Angeles gym management software company, raised $10 million in funding. Octopus Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including Notion Capital, Partech, Silicon Valley Bank, and Tribal VC.
- Tomorrow Health, a New York-based healthcare platform for home-based care, raised $7.5 million in funding. Andreessen Horowitz backs the firm.
- Orthogonal Thinker, a Kihei, Hawaii-based company focused on psychoactive compounds, raised $6 million in seed funding. Investors include Republic Labs and Pay It Forward.
- Accurics, a Pleasanton, Pa.-based cybersecurity firm, raised $5 million in funding. Investors include ClearSky, WestWave Capital, Firebolt Ventures, and Secure Octane.
- Corsight AI, an Israeli-based maker of facial recognition software, raised $5 million in funding to market and continue the development of its real-time facial biometrics platform, according to NoCamels. The funding round was led by Canadian intelligence and security technology-focused fund Awz Ventures.
- BuyMed, a Vietnamese startup focused on Southeast Asia’s pharmaceutical distribution networks, raised $2.5 million in pre-Series A funding. Investors include Sequoia Capital India’s Surge, Genesia Ventures, and returning investor Cocoon Capital. Read more.
- Buymie, an Irish grocery delivery start-up, raised €2.2 million ($2.4 million) in funding. ACT Venture Capital Partners invested.
- Checkly, a Berlin-based active monitoring and testing platform for DevOps teams, raised $2.25 million in seed funding. Accel led the round. Mirko Novakovic, CEO of Instana; Guillermo Rauch, CEO of Vercel; and Ott Kaukver, former CTO of Twilio also joined.
- Muve, a London-based law firm using tech for property transactions, raised £1.1 million ($1.4 million). Investors include Origin Capital, The Angel CoFund, and MI Investment.
- Equilibria, a Chicago-based CBD company, raised $1.97 million in seed funding. Salveo Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including Hyde Park Angels.
- Docupace, a Los Angeles-based cloud-based software for wealth management firms, raised an undisclosed sum from FTV Capital.
- American Track Services, a portfolio company of Hilltop Private Capital, acquired Savage Industrial Rail Services’ track inspection, maintenance and repair services. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Aquiline Technology invested in Flueid Software, an Austin based real estate insurtech company. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Altair Acquisitions acquired Wildtree, a Lincoln, R.I.-based maker of organic spices, oils, mixes, sauces, and meal replacement products. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Computex Technology Solutions, backed by Navigation Capital Partners, has merged with American Virtual Cloud Technologies, a Houston-based integrated IT solutions provider. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Infracapital agreed to acquire a majority stake in Fortum Recharge, an operator of public electric vehicle charging points in the Nordics. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- KKR took a minority stake in o9 Solutions, a Dallas, Texas-based business planning platform. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Syndigo, a portfolio company of The Jordan Company, acquired Kwikee, a Peoria, Ill.-based distribution platform for branded product content, from sgsco. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Tecum Capital Partners invested in Midwest Equipment Sales, a Columbus, Oh.-based provider of tracks, tires, and undercarriage parts. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- thinkproject, a portfolio company of TA Associates, acquired RAMM Software, an Auckland, New Zealand-based asset management and operations platform for local and national governments. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- TSG, a portfolio company of Advent International, acquired TrueCoach, a Boulder, Colo.-based provider of online fitness software. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Tencent Music Entertainment (NYSE: TME) invested in Radio Music Warehouse, a provider of music streaming solutions for business use in China. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Proxy acquired Motiv, a San Francisco-based maker of a smart fitness ring. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Rapid7 (NASDAQ: RPD) agreed to acquire Divvy Cloud Corporation, an Arlington, Va.-based cloud security company. Rapid7 will acquire DivvyCloud for roughly $145 million in cash and stock.
- Scopely acquired PierPlay, a Los Angeles-based mobile game developer. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Starbucks struck a partnership with Sequoia Capital China to co-invest in technology businesses in the country. Read more.
- Social Capital Hedosophia II, a Palo Alto-based partnership co-founded by the team that brought Virgin Galactic public, raised $360 million to fund a tech acquisition in the U.S. Read more.
- Shenzhen New Industries Biomedical Engineering Co., an in-vitro diagnosis biomedicine company, plans to raise 1.29 billion yuan ($183 million) on the ChiNext board in Shenzhen. Sequoia backs the firm. Read more.
- NBC News sold its entire stake in Euronews, a pay TV news network, to Media Globe Networks. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Constitution Capital Partners closed Ironsides V with a $1 billion in committed capital.
- Consonance Capital Partners closed Consonance Private Equity II, L.P. at its hard cap of $856 million.
- DeltaV, a venture capital firm founded by former Lyft COO Jon McNeil, launched after raising $40 million.
- Partech closed its seed fund with $100 million in commitments.
- SignalFire hired Josh Constine as a Principal and Head of Content. He was previously TechCrunch’s Editor-at-Large.