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Will Palantir be the first pandemic direct listing?

August 13, 2020, 2:20 PM UTC

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Bulwark cash. That seems to be the mantra for Silicon Valley startups amid the economic uncertainty right now.

So it’s interesting to see Palantir reportedly planning to go public via a direct listing, a method that does not raise additional capital, but does offer a way for existing shareholders to sell their stock. According to Bloomberg, sources say that Palantir is preparing for a direct listing in late September.

As investors scrambled to make sense of the pandemic early on, direct listings seemed dicier as companies sought to shore up funding. But the funding environment has held up stronger than anticipated. Financing continues to flow, particularly among late-stage startups in private markets, while stock markets are roaring back to nearly all-time highs, in part buoyed by the government’s stimulus package.

Rather than raising in a public offering, Palantir revealed in early July that it had raised roughly $550 million of a planned $961 million in private markets, including a $500 million investment from Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Holdings.

The much-anticipated listing also comes at a time when recent IPOs have soared in first-day trading—much to the chagrin of investors like Bill Gurley, who see the first-day pop as underpricing on the part of bankers, and have championed the direct listing instead.

Kamala Harris is a breath of relief for Big Tech: Joe Biden selected Kamala Harris as his Democratic running mate earlier this week in a move that angered the more left-wing members of the party—but could usher in popularity and funding from Big Tech for Biden. Harris has often taken a more moderate line when it comes to the tech giants, many of which operate in her home state, California.

 “The reality is that Harris is infinitely preferable to the tech industry than Biden’s other choices, as well as the Trump Administration, which has attacked Silicon Valley relentlessly,” writes my colleague, Jeff John Roberts. Read more.

Lucinda Shen
Twitter: @shenlucinda
Email: lucinda.shen@fortune.com

VENTURE DEALS

- Allbirds, the San Francisco-based direct-to-consumer shoemaker, is in talks to raise an undisclosed amount from Franklin Templeton that would value the company above its $1.4 billion valuation in 2018, per Bloomberg. Read more.

- Gong, a San Francisco-based revenue intelligence platform, raised $200 million in Series D funding bringing the company’s valuation to $2.2 billion. Coatue led the round and joined by Index Ventures, Salesforce Ventures and Thrive Capital, as well as Battery Ventures, NextWorld Capital, Norwest Venture Partners, Sequoia Capital and Wing Venture Capital. 

- Blend, a San Francisco-based digital lending solution, raised $75 million in Series F funding, Canapi Ventures  led the round and was joined by investors including Temasek, General Atlantic, 8VC, Greylock, and Emergence.

- THREAD, a Durham, N.C.-based provider of decentralized clinical research, raised up to $50 million. Water Street Healthcare Partners and JLL Partners were the investors.

- Kin Insurance, a Chicago-based insurance technology company, raised $35 million in Series B funding. Commerce Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Hudson Structured Capital Management), Flourish Ventures, QED, Alpha Edison, Allegis NL Capital, Avanta Ventures, August Capital, and the University of Chicago.

- Reify Health, a Boston-based provider of cloud-based solutions for the clinical trial ecosystem, raised $30 million in Series B funding. Battery Ventures led the round.

- Unfold, a vertical farming startup formed by Leaps by Bayer (the impact investment arm of Bayer AG and Temasek), raised $30 million in funding.

- Omaze, a Los Angeles-based online fundraising platform, raised $30 million in Series B funding. FirstMark Capital led the round and was joined by investors including Causeway Media Partners, BDMI, Tusk Ventures, Inherent Group, Gaingels, Penni Thow’s Copper and Guy Oseary

- Eden Health, a New York-based medical practice,  raised $25 million in Series B funding. Flare Capital Partners led the round and was joined by investors including principals from Stone Point Capital, Greycroft, PJC, Max Ventures and Aspect Ventures.

- High Definition Vehicle Insurance, a Chicago-based commercial auto insurance business, raised $16 million in Series A funding led by 8VC and Munich Re Ventures. They were joined by Qualcomm Ventures and Autotech Ventures

- Moka, a human resources automation startup, raised 100 million yuan ($14.4 million) in extended Series B funding. Read more.

- Natural Fiber Welding, a Peoria, Ill.-based textiles startup, raised $13 million in funding as it prepares to take its breakthrough technology to commercial scale. The round was led by Ralph Lauren.

- Labster, a Boston-based producer of virtual laboratory simulations, raised $9 million in funding. GGV Capital led the round.

- Torre, a San Francisco-based professional network for remote job seekers and recruiters, raised $5 million in seed funding. Investors include Uber's former global head of product operations Mike Shoemaker, Amazon and Apple former vice president Diego Piacentini, Instagram engineering chief Rodrigo Schmidt, and MatterScale Ventures.

- Till, a Washington D.C.-based flexible rental payments platform, raised $8 million in seed funding round led by Route 66 Ventures, MetaProp and NextGen Venture Partners.

- Elisity, Inc., a San Jose, Calif.-based zero-trust networking and software-defined access company, raised $7.5 million in seed funding led by Atlantic Bridge

- Bambi Dynamic, a Tel Aviv-based data-and-connectivity platform for mobility insurance products, raised $6 million in funding. MS&AD Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including The Phoenix Insurance Company.

- Adaptive Shield, a Tel Aviv-based security startup, raised $4 million in seed funding from Vertex Ventures Israel.

- Stacklet, an Arlington, Va.-based commercial cloud governance platform, raised $4 million in seed funding from Foundation Capital and Addition.

PRIVATE EQUITY

- L Catterton invested in Public Goods, a membership-based grocery, household, and personal care company. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Waystar, backed by EQT, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, and Bain Capital, acquired  eSolutions, a revenue tech company focusing on Medicare billing, in a deal valued at $1.3 billion. Read more.

OTHERS

- Liberty Global plans to acquire Sunrise Communications (S:SRCG), a Swiss telecom firm, for $7.4 billion. Read more.

- Pegatron Corp. acquired the rest of Casetek Holding, a device casing maker. Read more.

- Goldman Sachs is looking to buy General Motors Co’s credit card unit, per the Wall Street Journal. Barclays is also among the bidders. Read more.

- ByteDance is in early discussions with Reliance Industries about a potential investment in TikTok’s India business, per TechCrunch. Read more.

- Baker Tilly US and Squar Milner, two accounting firms, merged. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

BREAKUPS, HANGUPS, AND BANKRUPTCIES

- Thermo Fisher Scientific (NYSE: TMO) terminated its agreement to buy Qiagen (DE:QIA), a German genetic testing firm, after a tender offer valuing the latter at 11.3 billion euros ($13.4 billion)  failed to get enough support from Qiagen investors. Read more.

- Stein Mart, a Florida-based off-price retailer, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Read more.

IPOS

- KE Holdings, a Beijing-based housing platform, raised $2.1 billion ($800 million bought by insiders) in an offering of 106 million ADSs priced at $20, above its previous range. The company posted revenue of $6.5 billion and losses of $308.5 million in 2019. Firms including Tencent, SoftBank, and Hillhouse back the firm. It plans to list on the NYSE as “BEKE.” Read more.

- Mr DIY Group, a Malaysian home improvement retailer, revived plans for a  $500 million initial public offering. Read more.

- Best Inc (NYSE: BEST), a Chinese supply chain company, is seeking a Hong Kong listing for its express delivery and freight delivery businesses, per Reuters. Read more.

EXITS

- Roper Technologies Inc (NYSE: ROP) will acquire Vertafore Inc, an insurance software vendor backed by Vista Equity Partners and Bain Capital, for about $5.35 billion. Read more.