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Uber’s (potentially) twisty Lime deal

May 5, 2020, 1:35 PM UTC

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Here’s a company hunting for bargains during the coronavirus—even while it’s not cash rich.

Ride-hailing giant Uber is in talks to lead a $170 million round of funding in scooter-sharing business, Lime, according to the Information, citing sources. The talks come at a time when Lime’s business has ground to a halt amid the pandemic.

The deal drives straight into the playbook of many investors seeking downtrodden valuations amid the recent market upheaval. Uber, an existing investor in Lime, is seeking to significantly increase its stake at a bargain: The new deal values Lime at $510 million—79% below its last financing. 

It’s just that… Uber is not a cash-rich Apple or Google, and is, in fact, one of the worst hit amid the pandemic. Stay-at-home orders have razed demand for the ride-hailing economy, with Uber recently discussing plans to cut about 20% of the company while its restaurant delivery service, Uber Eats, discontinued operations in seven countries. Uber had plans for profitability by the end of this year, only to withdraw its guidance as the pandemic spread around the world. 

Making the deal even more interesting: As part of an agreement, per the report, Uber would offload the bike-and-scooter-rental business it acquired in 2018, Jump, to Lime in return for stock, in what seems like an admission that the in-house path to scooter-sharing dominance didn’t work out as planned.

Uber, which reports earnings on Thursday, is likely to argue that such an investment plays into its long-term strategy of becoming the “Amazon and Google of transportation”—and that the so-called last mile problem that scooters help solve isn’t going away even after the coronavirus. 

But investors believe that consumer habits could shift dramatically even after shelter-in-place orders are lifted. Consumers may continue avoiding contact with other humans and the sharing economy by proxy—which will make that an even costlier, and more far-off dream for Uber.

Fintechs get funded: Confirming previous reports, stock-trading app Robinhood announced Monday that it had raised $280 million in Series F funding valuing the company at about $8.3 billion—an up-round compared to its last raise in July which then valued the business at $7.6 billion. 

While Robinhood suffered a high-profile outage earlier this year, trading activity has continued to rise as consumers sought to capitalize on the coronavirus-induced market volatility. Sequoia Capital, an existing investor, led the round, and was joined by others including NEA, Ribbit Capital, 9Yards Capital, and Unusual Ventures. Read more.

Berlin-based neo-bank N26 meanwhile raised an additional $100 million in extended Series D funding from investors including Tencent and Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures, keeping the company’s valuation at about $3.5 billion. Notably, the branchless bank already topped up the Series D back in July—raising $170 million. The company saw a dip in user growth in March and also has cut spending on things including marketing, but insists it is not running low on cash—but wants to be “well prepared.”

VENTURE DEALS

- Ninja Van, a Singapore-based express logistics company, raised $279 million in Series D funding. GeoPost alongside two sovereign wealth funds led the round, and were joined by investors including B Capital Group and Monk's Hill Ventures

- Back Market, a New York-based refurbished electronics marketplace, raised $120 million in funding.  Goldman Sachs, Aglaé Ventures, and Eurazeo Growth were the investors. 

- Cockroach Labs, a New York-based maker of a distributed SQL database for enterprises, raised $86.6 million in Series D funding. Altimeter Capital and BOND co-led the round and was joined by investors including Benchmark, GV, Index Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, Sequoia Capital, and Tiger Capital.

- ApplyBoard, an Ontario-based platform for international students seeking to apply abroad, raised C$100 million ($71 million) in Series C funding.  Drive Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including Fidelity Investments Canada, the Business Development Bank of Canada, and existing investors including Anthos Capital, Artiman Ventures, and Plug and Play Tech Center. The company is now valued at C$2 billion ($1.4 billion). 

- MasterClass, a San Francisco-based startup offering online classes taught by celebrities, is in talks to raise at a valuation of about $800 million, Bloomberg reports citing sources. Read more.

- Ver Se Innovation, an India-based operator of online news and content platform Dailyhunt, raised $35.6 million in extended Series G funding. Lupa Systems (James Murdoch), Bytedance, Advent Management, and Goldman Sachs participated. Read more.

- NEAR Protocol, a San Francisco-based blockchain project, raised $32.6 million in funding. Andreessen Horowitz led the round and was joined by investors including  Libertus, Blockchange and Animal Ventures. Read more.

- Proxymity, a London-based investor communications platform developed within Citi’s Institutional Clients Group, raised $20.5 million in funding. Investors include BNY Mellon, Citi, Clearstream, Computershare, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, JPMorgan, and State Street

- Cloudstaff Modern Workforce, a Sydney, Australia-based cloud-based workforce provider, raised $20 million in Series B funding. Navegar led the round.

- Omilia, a Cyprus-based AI platform for call centers, raised $20 million in funding. Grafton Capital was the investor.

- Orca Security, a Los Angeles-based cybersecurity firm, raised $20 million in Series A funding. GGV Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including YL Ventures and SVCI (Silicon Valley CISO Investments). 

- Finite State, a Columbus, Oh.-based supply chain and IoT security firm, raised $12.5 million in a Series A funding. Energy Impact Partners led the round, and was joined by investors including Zetta Venture Partners, and Niloofar Howe.

- Tehama, an Ontario-based virtual office platform, announced today that it has raised $10 million in a Series A funding. OMERS Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including BDC Capital’s Industrial, nClean and Energy Technology (ICE) Venture Fund.

- Qwilr, a Sydney, Australia-based document design and automation tool, raised $7.3 million in Series A funding. Investors included AirTree Ventures, Skip Capital, and Robert Muñoz (cofounder of Typeform).

- Agicap, a Lyon, France-based startup building a SaaS platform for SMBs to manage their cash flows, raised €15 million ($16.4 million) in funding. Partech led the round and was joined by investors including BlackFin Capital Partners and Kima Ventures.

- nate, a New York-based intelligent automation company for consumers, raised $8 million in seed funding. Coatue Management and Canaan Partners led the round.

- Revuze, a Netanya, Israel-based market research company, raised $5.1 million in Series A funding. Maverick Ventures Israel led the round, and was joined by investors including existing investor Prytek.

- Instabug, a Cairo-based platform for mobile developers, raised $5 million in Series A funding. Accel led the round. Read more.

- Daily.co, a video API provider, raised $4.6 million in funding. Investors including Moxxie, Slack Fund, and SV Angel invested. Read more.

- Platform Science, a La Jolle, Calif.-based platform for fleet management software solutions, raised an undisclosed amount from Daimler Truck AG.

PRIVATE EQUITY

- Blackstone’s talks to acquire Soho China, a Chinese office property, developer, have reportedly stalled. The deal was valued at $4 billion. Read more.

- Silver Lake agreed to invest $750 million in Reliance Jio, the Indian telecom operator, valuing it at $65 billion. Facebook invested $5.7 billion in the firm less than two weeks earlier.

- Altaris Capital Partners acquired a 83% stake in Kindeva, a St. Paul, Minn.-based drug delivery system, from 3M (NYSE: MMM). The deal is valued at $650 million.

- Bought By Many, a London-based pet insurance provider, raised £78.4 million ($98 million). FTV Capital led the round.

- Sensor Tower, a San Francisco-based mobile app market intelligence firm, raised $45 million in funding. Riverwood Capital led the round. Read more.

- Kaufman Hall, backed by Madison Dearborn Partners, acquired Nashville, Tenn.-based Change Healthcare's (Nasdaq: CHNG) Connected Analytics business. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- AE Industrial Partners invested $10 million in ThayerMahan, a Groton, Conn.-based, provider of autonomous marine sensing solutions.

- Ampersand Capital Partners invested in Tjoapack Netherlands, a Netherlands-based packaging organisation (CPO) for the pharmaceutical industry. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Ardian acquired a minority stake in Argon & Co, a Paris-based management consultancy. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Cimarron, backed by Turnbridge Capital, acquired Aereon, an Austin, Texas-based provider of emissions control solutions for the energy and infrastructure industries. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Levine Leichtman acquired SiPM, a Belgium-based maker of e-learning solutions for corporations. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Safeguard Medical, a portfolio company of Water Street Healthcare Partners, acquired Water-Jel Technologies, a Carlstadt, N.J.-based maker of emergency burn care products. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- BV Investment Partners invested in StraighterLine, an education technology company. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Sauer Brands, a portfolio company of Falfurrias Capital Partners, acquired Chicago Custom Foods, a Chicago-based maker of popcorn seasonings. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Sonoma Brands acquired KRAVE, an artisanal jerky maker, from the Hershey Company. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- McGraw-Hill and Cengage Learning Holdings, two providers of textbooks, terminated their planned merger. Cengage is backed by Apax, KKR, and Searchlight Capital Partners. McGraw-Hill is backed by Apollo.

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OTHERS

- Alexion Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ALXN) agreed to acquire Portola Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: PTLA), a U.S.-based drug developer, in a deal valued at $1.41 billion.

- AmerisourceBergen is weighing a deal with Walgreens Boots Alliance’s pharmaceutical wholesaling division, per Reuters. Read more.

- AppLovin invested in Redemption Games, a San Diego, Calif.-based mobile game maker. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Namogoo acquired Personali, a New York-based company specializing in AI-powered sales analytics platform. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Hertz Global Holdings, the car rental company, is preparing for a possible bankruptcy filing. Read more.

- Zhejiang Century Huatong has submitted a takeover bid for Leyou Technologies Holdings, a Hong Kong-based gaming company, Bloomberg reported citing sources. Leyou has been in talks with iDreamSky Technology Holdings, but the deal stalled amid coronavirus. Read more.

IPOS

- Nongfu Spring, the Chinese bottled water manufacturer, is pressing ahead with its Hong Kong IPO. It plans to raise $1 billion. Read more.

- GAN Limited, a U.K.-based provider of gambling software, raised $54 million in an offering of 6.4 million shares priced at $8.50 apiece. It plans to list on the Nasdaq as “GAN.” Read more.

- Ayala Pharmaceuticals, a Rehovot, Israel-based biotech focused on small molecule therapeutics for rare and aggressive cancers, plans to raise $50 million in an offering of 3.3 million shares priced at $14 to $16 apiece. It has yet to post a revenue and posted losses of $8.8 million in 2018. Israel Biotech Fund (35% pre-offering), aMoon (25%), and Harel Insurance Company (18.5%) back the firm. It plans to list on the Nasdaq as “AYLA.” Read more.

EXITS

- Nvidia plans to acquire Cumulus Networks, an Mountainview, Calif.-based data center company. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

Sinch acquired SAP Digital Interconnect (SDI), a cloud-based engagement services for the enterprise, from SAP (NYSE: SAP) for about $250 million.

- Triangle Digital Ventures acquired Covideo, an Indianapolis-based video-messaging software company, from APCO. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

F+FS

- Apollo Global Management plans to raise $20 billion across credit and other strategies in the coming year, seeking to take advantage of the market dislocation amid the virus. Read more.

- Ara Partners closed its debut fund, Ara Fund I, with approximately $400 million in capital commitments.  

- Alumni Ventures Group is targeting an initial raise of $10 million for a new fund focused on companies working to accelerate the world’s recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. 

- Oberland Capital Management raised $1.1 billion in capital commitments for its Oberland Capital Healthcare Solutions Fund and affiliated vehicles.

- Runa Capital raised $157 million for Runa Capital Fund III.

PEOPLE

- Vista Equity Partners hired Kirk Hourdajian as a vice president and Head of ESG and Impact.