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Spotify CEO Daniel Ek pledges over $1 billion of his personal wealth to “moonshots”

September 25, 2020, 1:57 PM UTC

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Spotify co-founder and CEO Daniel Ek is pledging to invest the equivalent of a megafund’s worth of European “moonshots.”

During a virtual talk Thursday hosted by event organizer Slush, Ek said he would invest €1 billion ($1.2 billion) of his own personal resources over the next decade in those startups.

“I will do so by funding so-called moonshots, focusing on the deep technology necessary to make a significant positive dent, and work with scientists, entrepreneurs, investors and governments to do so,” he said, adding that he plans to invest in health care, education, machine learning, biotechnology, material sciences, and energy.

Based on the most recently available figures, Ek’s holding in Spotify (which likely accounts for the majority of his wealth) is currently valued at $3.6 billion. Making a $1 billion pledge is not only huge compared to median fund sizes in Europe (€128.4 million or $149 million), but also in contrast to his wealth.

“We created some of the world’s best known and most beloved brands. Yet in my opinion the notion of the European dream still seems elusive,” Ek said. “Europe is more than ready to have more big companies of its own—more companies like Spotify, Klarna, Zalando, Adyen, to name a few.”

Venture capitalists have turned a fresh eye on Europe. In 2019, dealmaking in the region hit a record $33 billion while the U.S. market slowed slightly. And even in the pandemic, venture activity in 2020 is on track to match, if not beat, that of 2019, according to PitchBook.

SPEAKING OF SPOTIFY… Spotify and game maker Epic have joined with other app developers to form a coalition aimed at pressuring Apple to make changes to its marketplace. They’re demanding that developers are not made to pay “unfair, unreasonable, or discriminatory fees.” Read more.

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

VENTURE DEALS

- Goat Group, an online marketplace for sneakers, raised $100 million in Series E funding. D1 Capital Partners led the round and values the firm at $1.75 billion.

- NUVIA, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based silicon design companies for processors, raised $240 million in Series B funding. Mithril Capital led the round.

- Within3, a Lakewood, Oh.-based platform for life science collaboration and communication, raised $100 million. Insight Partners led the round and was joined by investors including Silversmith Capital Partners.

- Petal, a New York-based credit card fintech, raised $55 million in Series C funding. Valar Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Rosecliff Ventures, Afore Capital, RiverPark Ventures, Great Oaks Venture Capital, GR Capital, Nelstone Ventures, Abstract Ventures, Ride Ventures, The Gramercy Fund, Adventure Collective, Starta Ventures, and NFL star Kelvin Beachum.

- ShareChat,  an Indian social network, raised $40 million. Investors included Pawan Munjal ( CEO and chairman of Hero MotoCorp), Ajay Shridhar Shriram (chairman of DCM Shriram), Twitter,  SAIF Partners, Lightspeed Ventures and India Quotient. Read more.

- Ripjar, a British data intelligence company, raised $36.8 million (£28 million) in Series B funding. Long Ridge Equity Partners led the round.

- Whitebox, a Baltimore-based ecommerce company, raised $18 million in Series B funding. Noro-Moseley Partners led the round and was joined by investors including TDF Ventures and TCP Venture Capital’s Propel Baltimore Fund. Read more.

- Silo, a San Francisco-based platform for supply chains in the perishable food system, raised $9 million in Series A funding. Andreessen Horowitz led the round and was joined by investors including Initialized Capital and Haystack Ventures.

- BookClub, a Salt Lake City-based platform for author-led book clubs, raised $6 million in seed funding. Maveron led the round and was joined by investors including GSV Ventures, Signal Peak Ventures, and Pelion Venture Partners

- Nori, a Seattle-based startup developing a marketplace for carbon removals, raised $4 million. Placeholder led the round and was joined by investors including North Island Ventures, and Tenacious Ventures.

- ArenaCX, a Raleigh-based customer service marketplace, raised $2 million in seed funding. Sovereign’s Capital led the round.

- Rephrase.ai, a Bangalore-based synthetic media production platform, raised $1.5 million in seed funding. LightSpeed Ventures and AV8 Ventures led the round.

PRIVATE EQUITY

- CVC Capital Partners is preparing to potentially sell PKP Energetyka, a Polish utility company, for 1.8 billion euros ($2.1 billion), per Reuters citing sources. Read more.

- Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec acquired a minority stake in Colisée Group, a Paris-based nursing home sector operator. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Vector Capital invested in Patron Technology, a Wexford, Penn.-based event technology platform. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Polaris Partners invested in ARInsights, a Sunny Isle Beach, Fla.-based provider of data to the analyst relations industry. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- TA Associates and Francisco Partners invested in Edifecs, a Bellevue, Wash.-based maker of healthcare tech. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

OTHERS

- E.W. Scripps agreed to acquire ION Media, a broadcaster, for $2.7 billion.

- Allianz and Athora Holding are in advanced talks to buy insurer Aviva's (LON: AV) French operations in a deal valued between 2 and 3 billion euros ($2.3-$3.5 billion). Read more.

- E Source acquired Excergy, a Denver-based utilities consultancy and provider of system implementation services, from Align Capital Partners. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- UnitedHealth Group is in advanced talks to acquire DivvyDose, an Illinois-based online pharmacy startup, for about $300 million. Read more.

- Airship acquired ReplyBuy, a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based business that completes payments over messaging. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

EXITS

- Apple acquired Scout FM, a maker of a popular podcast, as it goes up against Spotify. Read more.

- Epic Games acquired SuperAwesome, a London-based platform seeking to make platforms safer for kids, from Mayfair Equity Partners. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

IPOs

- Deliveroo, a U.K.-based food delivery service, is exploring an IPO, per Bloomberg. Amazon backs the firm. Read more.

- Yihai Kerry Arawana, the Chinese business of Singapore agribusiness Wilmar International, plans to raise 13.9 billion yuan ($2.06 billion) in an IPO. Read more.

- Hygo Energy Transition, a Bermuda-based provider of liquefied natural gas solutions in Brazil, postponed its $450 million IPO. Read more.

- VIA optronics, a German provider of display and touch solutions, raised $94 million in an offering of 6.3 million ADSs priced at $15 apiece. Read more.

SPACS

- ChargePoint, an electric vehicle charging network, will go public via merger with Switchback Energy Acquisition, a SPAC, valuing it at $2.4 billion. 

- FinTech Acquisition IV, a blank check company aiming to acquire a fintech business, raised $200 million. Managers of the Bancorp back the firm. Read more.

F+FS

- Giant Ventures launched with plans to invest $1 billion over the next decade. 

- GGV Capital is in talks to raise $2 billion across three new funds focused on tech investments in the U.S. and China, per the WSJ. Read more.