Big Tech’s investments raise fear of the invest-and-copy
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The tech giants often get roped into the same category as startups—both seek to upend traditional industries.
It’s easy to forget that means startups are also Big Tech’s competitors and potential acquirees.
Some startups have apparently regretted taking an investment from Amazon’s Alexa Fund, and sharing information with the company, per a story from the Wall Street Journal. Entrepreneurs accused Amazon of using the deal-making process to develop competing products. (An Amazon spokesperson responded, “Any legitimate disputes about intellectual property ownership are rightly resolved in the courts.”)
Now, Facebook is approaching smaller venture capital firms about becoming an investor in their funds, the Information reports. Facebook, which also plans to invest directly in startups, has appointed Sunita Parasuraman to run the project. But Facebook has a reputation for, well, copying ideas from other companies (the company has products similar to both Snapchat and Houseparty, released after the popularity of both). Certainly its brand and reach will attract takers—but that reputation will certainly invoke pauses.
Investing in the opposite of Gen Z: Companies are investing in ever younger generations—today, millennials are old news compared to Gen Z.
So it’s interesting to see a contrary take. Eighty-five-year-old Alan Patricof (who founded Greycroft in 2006) and 45-year-old Abby Levy (who was at SoulCycle) have launched a $32 million early-stage fund aimed at startups creating products for seniors, and at entrepreneurs over the age of 40. The fund has already invested in companies like Bloom, which offers seniors online activities and learning ventures at a time when many fear the pandemic is sparking an epidemic of loneliness among the elderly.
“The more I looked at it, the more I realized it was a fertile area, a total white space. Older people’s needs are so different, from food to entertainment to technical assistance,” Patricof told my colleague Jeff John Roberts about the fund aptly called Primetime Partners. Read more.
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Anne Sraders curated today’s Term Sheet.
- TransferWise, a London-based fintech, announced a secondary sales of shares worth $319 million at a new valuation of $5 billion, an uptick of 43% since May 2019. Lone Pine Capital led the round and was joined by investors including D1 Capital Partners, Baillie Gifford, Fidelity, and LocalGlobe. Vulcan Capital also came on as a new investor.
-Thrive Earlier Detection, a Cambridge, Mass.-based early cancer detection company, raised $257 million in Series B funding. Casdin Capital and Section 32 led the round, and were joined by investors including Bain Capital Life Sciences, Brown Advisory, Driehaus Capital Management, Intermountain Ventures, Janus Henderson Investors, Lux Capital, Moore Strategic Ventures, Perceptive Advisors, Rock Springs Capital, Sands Capital, and fund managed by T. Rowe Price Associates.
-Pharmapacks, an Islandia, N.Y.-based e-commerce marketplace for health and beauty goods, raised financing of up to $150 million from GPI Capital and JPMorgan Chase Bank.
-Sema4, a Stamford, Conn.-based health care intelligence firm, raised $121 million in Series C funding. BlackRock led the round and was joined by investors including Deerfield Management Company, Moore Strategic Ventures, Blackstone, Section 32, Oak HC/FT, Decheng and the Connecticut Innovation Fund.
-Heal, a Los Angeles-based on-demand physician house calls platform, raised $100 million in Series D funding from Humana.
-Remitly, a Seattle, Wash.-based mobile provider of financial services and sending money, raised $85 million in funding. Prosus’s PayU led the round and was joined by investors including Generation Investment Management, Owl Rock Capital, Stripes, DN Capital, Top Tier, Princeville Global, and Threshold Ventures.
-Stack Overflow, a New York City-based platform for developers and technologists to develop skills, raised $85 million in Series E funding. GIC led the round and was joined by investors including Silver Lake Waterman, Andreessen Horowitz, Index Ventures, Spark Capital, and Union Square Ventures.
-Nura Bio, a South San Francisco-based biopharma company focused on neuroprotective drugs, raised $73 million in Series A funding. The Column Group led the round, and was joined by investors including Samsara BioCapital and Euclidean Capital.
-Eargo, a San Jose, Calif.-based medical device company for hearing loss, raised $71 million in funding. Gilde Healthcare and Longitude Capital led the round, and were joined by investors including New Enterprise Associates, the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation, and Nan Fung Life Sciences.
-Tempo, a San Francisco-based at-home weights training fitness company, raised $60 million in Series B funding. Norwest Venture Partners and General Catalyst led the round, and were joined by investors including DCM, Bling Capital, SignalFire, Founders Fund, and Y Combinator.
-DNA Script, a Paris, France-based enzymatic DNA synthesis technology developer, raised $50 million in extended Series B funding. Casdin Capital led the round and was joined by investors including Danaher Life Sciences, Agilent Technologies, Merck KGaA, M Ventures, LSP, Bpifrance Large Venture Fund and Illumina Ventures.
-Chorus.ai, a San Francisco-based sales conversations intelligence platform developer, raised $45 million in Series C funding. Georgian Partners led the round, and was joined by Emergence Capital, Redpoint Ventures and Sozo Ventures.
-Thought Machine, a London-based cloud-based banking software firm, raised $42 million in extended Series B funding. Eurazeo Growth led the round and was joined by British Patient Capital and SEB.
-Dialogue Technologies, a Canada-based telemedicine provider, raised $32.7 million in funding from Sun Life. It was joined by Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), Portag3 Ventures, White Star Capital, HV Holtzbrinck Ventures, First Ascent Ventures and Walter Ventures.
-Explorium, a San Mateo, Calif.-based data science platform developer, raised $31 million in Series B funding. Zeev Ventures led the round, and was joined by 01 Advisors, Dynamic Loop, Emerge and F2 Capital. Read more.
-ExeVir Bio, a Belgium-based company working on a coronavirus therapy derived from llama antibodies, raised €23 million ($27 million) in Series A funding. Fund+ led the round, and was joined by investors including VIB, UCB Ventures, and the Belgian Federal Government via SFPI-FPIM, V-Bio Ventures.
-Ermetic, a Tel Aviv, Israel-based secure cloud access company, raised $17.3 million in Series A funding. Accel led the round, and was joined by investors including Glilot Capital Partners, Norwest Venture Partners and Target Global.
RangeForce, a Manassas, Va.-based cloud cybersecurity training company, raised $16 million in Series A funding. Energy Impact Partners led the round, and was joined by Paladin Capital Group, Trind, and Cisco Investments.
-Cybellum, a Tel Aviv, Israel-based car cybersecurity risk assessment platform, raised $12 million in Series A funding. RSBG Ventures GmbH led the round, and was joined by Blumberg Capital and Target Global.
-Hevo, a San Francisco-based cloud-based data integration platform, raised $8 million in Series A funding. Qualgro and Lachy Groom, a former Stripe executive, led the round, and were joined by Chiratae Ventures and Sequoia Capital India’s Surge. Read more.
-AstrumU, a Seattle-based company that uses machine learning to put values to educational experiences in the workforce, raised $7.7 million in Series A funding. Kingdom Capital led the round, and was joined by KC Rise Fund and City Light Capital.
-boostr, a New York City-based CRM and order management platform for media companies, raised $7 million in Series A funding. Vocap Partners led the round, and was joined by Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments, Math Capital, and C2 Ventures.
-Mountain Health Technologies, a Dallas-based healthcare company geared toward millennials, raised $1.5 million in seed funding. Matchstick Ventures led the round, and was joined by Northwestern Mutual Future Fund, Techstars Ventures, Bread and Butter Ventures, and Route 66 Venture.
-Trilogy Mentors, a Richmond, Va.-based online learning management platform for tutors, raised $1.1 million in pre-seed funding. Felton Group led the round, and was joined by investors including CAV Angels.
-TrekIT Health, a Philadelphia-based electronic health records and predictive data provider, raised $1 million in a seed round. Tech Council Ventures led the round, and was joined by Boston Millennia Partners Founders Fund, Front Row Fund, IP Group, DreamIT Health, and Ben Franklin Technology Partners.
-CORE Industrial Partners formed Incodema Holdings after acquiring Incodema, an Ithaca, N.Y.-based precision sheet metal engineering manufacturer, and Newchem, Newark, N.Y.-based photo chemical etching services provider. Financial terms were not disclosed.
-Superior Plus Group, backed by Brookfield, agreed to acquire Champagne’s Energy, an Arundel, Me.-based propane distributor. Financial terms were not disclosed.
-American Discovery Capital acquired Clear Capital Advisors, a Los Angeles-based investment banking firm. Financial terms were not disclosed.
-Equality Asset Management, AXA Venture Partners and Morgan Noble Healthcare Partners invested in Mindoula, a Silver Spring, Md.-based behavioral health management company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
-Providence Strategic Growth and Verdane agreed to invest in Hornetsecurity Group, a Germany-based cloud security provider for email and data protection. Financial terms were not disclosed.
-Cognizant will acquire New Signature, a Washington, D.C.-based Microsoft cloud-based provider of technology. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
-Metamorphosis Partners acquired Barkly Pets, a Brooklyn, New York-based online platform for scheduling pet care. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
BREAKUPS, HANGUPS, AND BANKRUPTCIES
-Remington Arms Co., a gun manufacturer, filed for bankruptcy protection.
-Rocket Companies, a Detroit-based parent company of mortgage titans Quicken Loans and Rocket Mortgage, plans to raise $3.2 billion by offering 150 million shares priced between $20 to $22 in an IPO. It plans to list on the NYSE as “RKT”. Read more.
-RedBall Acquisition, a New York City-based blank check company backed by RedBird Capital Partners, plans to raise $500 million in an IPO. It is led by co-chairman Gerald Cardinale, the founder and managing partner of RedBird, co-chairman and Oakland Athletics executive Billy Beane, and CEO Alec Scheiner, a partner at RedBird and former NFL executive. It is targeting investments in sports, media, and data analytics. It plans to list on the NYSE as “RBAC.U.” Read more.
-ACE Convergence Acquisition, a Wilmington, De.-based blank check company formed by ACE Equity Partners, raised $200 million by offering 20 million shares at $10 in an IPO. It is led by CEO and chairman Behrooz Abdi, a strategic advisor at TDK. It is targeting investments in IT infrastructure software and semiconductors. It plans to list on the Nasdaq as “ACEV.U”. Read more.
-Five Arrows acquired Juvare, an Atlanta-based emergency preparedness and response software company, from Thomas H. Lee Partners. Financial terms were not disclosed.
-Zebra Technologies agreed to acquire Reflexis Systems, a Dedham, Mass.-based retail management software provider, from Great Hill Partners and Sageview Capital for $575 million.
-Thomas H. Lee Partners and Cannae Holdings plans to co-invest in a company formed after Black Knight, Inc (NYSE:BKI), agreed to acquire Optimal Blue, a provider of secondary market solutions (for an enterprise value of $1.8 billion) from GTCR, and combine it with Compass Analytics. Cannae and THL will each own roughly 20% of the new company while Black Knight will own about 60%.
-Antin Infrastructure Partners, a private equity firm focused on infrastructure investing, closed its fourth fund, raising €6.5 billion ($7.6 billion). Read more.
-HKW added Lilly Green as a vice president. Green was previously at Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe.