Everyone seems to want a piece of Indian mobile operator Jio Platforms.
In late April, Facebook paid $5.7 billion for a 10% stake in the company backed by India’s richest man. Two weeks later, private equity firm Silver Lake popped its own $750 million check on the company, valuing it at $65 billion, or a 12.5% premium to the value of Facebook’s investment. Vista Equity followed on days later with $1.5 billion, and General Atlantic said last Sunday it would invest $870 million.
The investments come as Jio has managed to amass 388 million mobile users in the world’s largest untapped internet market by offering cheap plans to the underserved.
So how exactly does Jio plan to serve those 388 million users, and what exactly are Facebook and Silver Lake investing? The company’s got e-commerce plans: In contrast to Amazon or Walmart’s Flipkart, which offer a central site for ordering goods online, Jio’s online shopping business JioMart is on-boarding mom-and-pop shops as hubs for ordering and delivering goods.
But Jio also wants to be so much more than that. With a digitally blank slate in India, the company wants to be a Swiss army knife of tech.
Per the Wall Street Journal: “[Chairman Mukesh] Ambani has said privately that his vision for Jio is to create a company that encompasses a telecommunications firm like Verizon Communications Inc., a service like Google, a digital payments company like PayPal Holdings Inc. and a digital content provider such as Netflix Inc., according to one of the people familiar with the executive’s thinking.”
Back to work: Truework, a San Francisco-based identity platform, raised $30 million in Series B funding led by Activant Capital Wednesday, with existing investors Sequoia Capital and Khosla Ventures joining the round. Truework says it offers a secure and fast way for lenders or rental agencies to verify employment information with companies, and gives employees the ability to consent to the transfer of information.
Truework recently rolled out a coronavirus verification tool for employers after receiving interest. Employers, says Truework CEO Ryan Sandler, wanted a way to track which employees potentially have Covid-19 while storing the information securely. So Truework devised a system with self-reported employee surveys that can be sent daily, weekly, or monthly based on known coronavirus symptoms, and asks for employees to voluntarily share official healthcare documents.
While governments are developing contact-tracing tools, companies too are figuring out how to control their populations.
- Katerra, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based construction tech company, will raise $200 million in new funding from its biggest backer, SoftBank.
Coalition, a San Francisco-based cyber insurance and security company, raised $90 million. Valor Equity Partners led and was joined by investors including Felicis Ventures and Greyhound Capital.
- Brex, the corporate credit card startup, raised $150 million in Series C extension from existing investors including DST Global and Lone Pine Capital.
- Keep, a Beijing-based fitness app, raised $80 million in Series E funding. Jeneration Capital Management led the round, and was joined by investors including GGV Capital, Tencent, Morningside VC, and Bertelsmann Asia Investments. Read more.
- Khatabook, a New Delhi-based startup focused on tracking business transactions for SMBs, raised $60 million in Series B funding. B Capital Group led the round, and was joined by Sequoia India, Partners of DST Global, Tencent, GGV, RTP Global, Hummingbird Ventures, Falcon Edge Capital, Rocketship.vc, and Unilever Ventures.
- Aqua Security, a Tel Aviv and Boston-based cybersecurity firm focused on cloud native applications, raised $30 million in Series D funding. Greenspring Associates led the round, and was joined by investors including Insight Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and TLV Partners.
- Octant, an Emeryville, Calif.-based synthetic biology drug discovery company, raised $30 million in Series A funding. Andreessen Horowitz led the round.
- PresenceLearning, a New York City-based provider of live online special education, raised $27 million in Series D funding. Bain Capital Double Impact led the round and was joined by investors including Catalyst Investors, New Markets Venture Partners and Catamount Ventures.
- Confluera, a Palo Alto, CA-based cybersecurity company, raised $20 million in Series B funding. Icon Ventures led the round, and was joined by existing investors Lightspeed Venture Partners, John W. Thompson and Lane Bess.
- Zentera Therapeutics, a Shanghai based biopharmaceutical company backed by Zentalis Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: ZNTL), raised $20 million Series A funding. Tybourne Capital Management led the round, and was joined by investors including OrbiMed Asia.
- ARTMS, a Vancouver based company focused on diagnostic imaging isotopes, raised $19 million in a Series A funding. Deerfield Management Company led the round, and was joined by investors including GHS Fund.
- C3Nano, a Hayward, Calif.-based maker of transparent conductive films, plans to raise $15 million in funding. Nitto Denko is the first investors.
- Bevy.com, an event software business, raised $15 million in Series B funding. Accel led the round, and was joined by Ryan Smith and Upfront Ventures. Read more.
- Strapi, a Paris and San Francisco-based open-sourced content management system, raised $10 million in Series A funding. Index Ventures led the round.
- Big Sky Health, a Big Sky, Mont.-based maker of a fasting app, raised $8 million in Series A funding. Greycroft led the round.
- Happeo, an Amsterdam-based social intranet, raised $12 million in Series A funding led by INKEF Capital.
- Blink, a London-based maker of a smart employee app, raised £8.2 million ($10.1 million) in funding. Partech led the round.
- Brainbase, a Los Angeles legal tech startup, raised $8 million in a Series A funding. Bessemer Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by investors including Rent-the-Runway co-founder Jenny Fleiss. Read more.
- Syndio, a Seattle-based employee compensation analysis platform, raised $7.5 million in Series A funding. Voyager Capital and the Emerson Collective led the round. Read more.
- Fountain Therapeutics, a San Francisco, Calif.-based company seeking to treat age-related diseases, raised $6 million in Series A-1 funding. Khosla Ventures led the round, and was joined by Nan Fung Life Sciences.
- Seraphina Therapeutics, a San Diego, Calif.-based, company focused on essential fatty acids, raised $5.5 million in Series A funding. Domain Associates led the round.
- Robocorp, a San Francisco-based open-source Robotic Process Automation platform, raised $5.4 million in funding from its existing investors Benchmark, Slow Ventures, and firstminute Capital.
- Command E, a San Francisco-based maker of a unified desktop search tool, raised $4.3 million in seed funding. Investors include Bain Capital Ventures, Craft Ventures, Amplify Partners, Abstract Ventures and Upside Partnership. Read more.
- Tapcart, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based mobile commerce company, raised $10 million in funding. SignalFire led the round, and was joined by investors including Greycroft and Amplify.
- Brytlyt, a London-based data analytics and visualisation tech provider, raised $4 million in Series A funding. Amadeus Capital Partners and Finch Capital were the investors.
- Encamp, an Indianapolis-based environmental, health, and safety software platform, raised $3.1 million in Series A funding. Allos Ventures and High Alpha Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including IU Ventures. Fund.
- Tava Health, a Salt Lake City-based mental telehealth platform for employers, raised $3 million in seed funding. Peterson Ventures was the investor.
- GoodData, a San Francisco-based analytics company, received an undisclosed amount of funding from Visa.
- Kitch, a Lisbon-based startup building delivery-first kitchens, raised €1 million in pre-seed funding. Seedcamp and Mustard Seed MAZE led the round, and was joined by investors including Groupe Keys Asset Management.
- Providence Equity Partners invested in Assembly, a L.A.-based e-commerce software maker. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Ontario Systems, a portfolio company of New Mountain Capital, acquired SwervePay, a payment facilitator in the healthcare industry. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- The Firmament Group invested in Citrus Extracts, a Fort Pierce, Fla.-based firm specializing in dehydrating citrus peel. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Coverys invested in VisualDx, a Rochester, N.Y.-based clinical decision support system. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Aareal Bank plans to sell a minority stake in Aareon, a German software company. Read more.
BANKRUPTCIES, HANGUPS, AND BREAKUPS
- Pyxus International, a supplier of tobacco, has begun discussions with creditors about a possible bankruptcy, per the Wall Street Journal. Read more.
- Hornbeck Offshore Services, an operator of oil supply and support vessels, filed for bankruptcy. Read more.
- Luckin Coffee, the Chinese coffee chain, is being delisted from the Nasdaq. Read more.
- Standard Cognition acquired Checkout Technologies, a Milan, Italy-based startup. Firms including Pariter Partners, CRV, and Initialized Capital backed Checkout Technologies. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Cboe Global Markets plans to acquire MATCHNow, Canada’s largest dark pool, from Virtu Financial. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Netrisk, backed by TA Associates acquired Klikpojisteni.cz, a.s, an online insurance brokerage in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, from Benson Oak Capital. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Panasonic Corporation acquired 20% of Blue Yonder, a supply chain software provider, via a secondary sale of shares that values Blue Yonder at $5.5 billion. New Mountain Capital and Blackstone back Blue Yonder.
- Lachy Groom, an early Stripe Inc. employee and an angel investor, is raising his second fund targeting about $100 million, per the Wall Street Journal. Read more.
- CapStone Holdings launched GameAbove Capital, a $50 million private venture fund focused on minority- and women-operated businesses engaged in sustainability-related products.