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Elon Musk’s secretive brain-machine venture, Neuralink, offers a glimpse

August 28, 2020, 2:48 PM UTC

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Good morning, Term Sheet readers. A few things to keep track of, on what could have been a sleepy Friday:

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has no shortage of futuristic, and quite literally moonshot projects in the works. Neuralink, a neurotechnology company founded ostensibly to keep humans on par with advanced machines and A.I., is among them.

On Friday at 3 p.m. PT, the secretive brain-machine company founded by Musk plans to show a working “V2” of the device it first revealed a year ago. “It will blow your mind,” Musk wrote in a tweet.

What exactly the technology is capable of is still a topic of fascination, and at the center of  daydreams for any sci-fi nerd. Neuralink’s product is a small chip implant stitched into the brain via a network of wires, with the goal of one day building an implant that is capable of helping people control computers and smartphones with a thought. Last year, Neuralink showed a product designed to eventually treat those with traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries. However, the plan expands perhaps even beyond that: On Twitter, Musk has painted a picture of a product that could one day treat addiction and depression, manage obsessive compulsive disorder, and help manage conditions ranging from autism to ALS. Even when asked if Neuralink’s product would allow users to stream music, Musk responded “yes” via Twitter.

As exciting as it is, the venture, which also has raised funding from Craft Ventures and DFJ Growth, is not the only company trying to build a human-machine interface. There’s also CTRL-Labs (acquired by Facebook in 2019), which is developing a non-invasive method of translating muscle impulses into digital signals. Another, called Kernel, also has been operating in the arena.

For now, it’s still the early innings for Neuralink—the company is awaiting approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

Walmart gets in on TikTok: Yes, Walmart is now pursuing TikTok’s U.S. operations, aligning itself with Microsoft as Oracle reportedly stands with Sequoia and General Atlantic with a competing bid. So why would a retailer insert itself in a tech fight? Well, technology is eating the world and Walmart is hoping to boost its digital footprint as it goes head-to-head with Amazon—and it has a lot of room to make that transition: Walmart’s online business is just 5% of its total sales. The retailer’s interest in TikTok also signifies a bet on the youngest generation of consumers, given that the app’s average user skews toward Gen Z.

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

VENTURE DEALS

- proteanTecs, a Haifa, Israel-based developer of solutions for electronic health and performance monitoring, raised $45 million in funding. Koch Disruptive Technologies led the round and was joined by investors including Valor Equity Partners and Atreides Management.

- Shopmonkey, a San Jose, Calif.-based software company serving the automotive industry, raised $25 million in Series B funding. Bessemer Venture Partners led the round and was joined by investors including Index Ventures, e.ventures, and I2BF. 

- Verta, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based A.I. model management and operations company, raised $10 million in Series A funding. Intel Capital led the round and was joined by investors including General Catalyst.

- harbor, an emergency readiness platform, raised $5 million in funding. 25madison led the round. Read more.

- PrizePool, a San Francisco company seeking to incentivize Americans to build savings, raised $4.3 million in seed funding. Investors included Accomplice, Bling Capital, Coatue, SciFi VC, and World Innovation Lab.

- Fiddler, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based provider of an A.I. monitoring solution, received a strategic investment from the Amazon Alexa Fund. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

PRIVATE EQUITY

- Goldman Sachs' merchant banking division and Everstone Group agreed to acquire a significant stake in QMetry, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based provider of a continuous testing platform. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Bain Capital Private Equity plans to invest $750 million in Nutanix (Nasdaq: NTNX), a San Jose, Calif.-based provider of enterprise cloud computing solutions.

- Accel-KKR made a majority investment in Navtor, an Egersund, Norway-based navigational software maker for the maritime industry. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- AFC Industries, a portfolio company of Incline Equity Partners, acquired Master Distribution, a Brunswick, Ohio-based distributor of channel and pipe fittings. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Levine Leichtman Capital Partners agreed to acquire BigHand, a London-based workflow software maker, from Bridgepoint Development Capital and minority co-investor LDC. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

OTHERS

-Kioxia Holdings, the world’s second-largest maker of flash memory chips, plans to list on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Oct. 6. Bain Capital backs the firm. Read more.

IPOS

- Accountable Healthcare America Inc., a Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based  population health management company, will go public by merging with GreenVision Acquisition Corp., a blank-check company. The combination gives the company a $150 million enterprise value.

- Xpeng, a Chinese manufacturer of smart electric SUVs, raised $1.5 billion in an offering of 99.7 million ADSs priced at $15, above its $11 to $13 range. 

- CF Finance Acquisition II, the second blank-check company formed by Cantor Fitzgerald, raised $500 million in an IPO. Read more.

- FG New America Acquisition, a blank-check company from TD Ameritrade chairman Joseph Moglia, filed to raise $225 million through an IPO. It is targeting a company in the fintech and insurtech space. Read more.

EXIT

- MidOcean Partners acquired Music Reports, a  provider of music rights data, administration, and management services, from ABRY Partners. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Delivery Hero agreed to acquire InstaShop, a Dubai-based online grocery delivery business, for up to $360 million.

F+FS

- Everstone Capital, an India- and Southeast Asia-focused private equity firm, is planning its fourth buyout fund aiming at likely raising $1 billion. Read more.

- ArchiMed, a health care-focused private equity firm, raised €1 billion for its MED Platform I fund. 

PEOPLE

- Talis Capital named Beatrice Aliprandi and Kiirll Tasilov as principals, and Tom Williams as a partner.

- Saudi Aramco appointed Mahdi Aladel to run its $500 million venture capital and investments arm, Energy Ventures, per Bloomberg.  Read more.