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House lawmakers call for greater antitrust crackdowns on Big Tech

October 7, 2020, 2:48 PM UTC

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After a 16-month investigation into the tech giants, Democratic lawmakers have released a sprawling report on Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google, accusing the companies of anti-competitive behavior.

“To put it simply, companies that once were scrappy, underdog startups that challenged the status quo have become the kinds of monopolies we last saw in the era of oil barons and railroad tycoons,” the report reads.

The Democratic majority recommended “structural separations and prohibitions” that would prevent dominant platforms from operating in adjacent lines of business, which may allude to potential divestments.

It’s unclear the level of bipartisan support the recommendations will receive. Republican Congressman Ken Buck wrote in a draft response to the report that he also worried about Big Tech’s acquisition sprees, but disagreed with the “thinly veiled call to break up Big Tech firms.”

Why am I talking about it in a newsletter about dealmaking?

Well, the dominance of the Apples and Googles have pushed many startups away from the consumer tech space for fear of going head-to-head with the giants. These platforms are also now a gate through which many startups and small businesses must pass by if they hope to reach their audiences. And don’t forget: They also acquire and invest in startups—for better or for worse.

GREYCROFT RAISES $680 MILLION: The venture firm with investments in Bird and Bumble raised $680 million across two funds—$310 million for early-stage bets and $368 million for growth-stage companies, much of which was raised in the middle of the pandemic.

Greycroft cofounder and partner Ian Sigalow told me what he was interested in investing in (the connected home and telehealth) as well as what the sentiment was among limited partners. While the two funds are the firm’s largest yet, Sigalow says that in the broader landscape, some LPs have become conservative about investing as a result of the pandemic. In particular, Sigalow pointed to hospital systems.

 “A lot of hospital systems have been particularly hurt because they effectively closed elective procedures for two quarters.” Sigalow said. “So a lot of hospital systems have just looked at their endowments and pension plans and said we can’t allocate this year because we don’t know what our liquidity requirements are going to be.”

Earlier in the pandemic, LPs I spoke to held a common suspicion: New venture capital funds would struggle to raise funding as LPs piled solely into ones they already had relationships with. Sigalow’s experience matches this. Onboarding newer LPs, he said, is trickier. “In some cases, they even flew out during COVID to meet us, because it was in their bylaws that they have to have an in-person meeting.”

It’s a hard time for folks trying to raise their first or even second fund.

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

VENTURE DEALS

- Acesso Digital Tecnologia da Informação S.A., a Brazil-based software company, raised R$580 million ($108 million) in Series B funding. General Atlantic and SoftBank invested. 

- A2 Biotherapeutics, an Agoura Hills, Calif.-based biotech developing therapies for solid tumor cancer patients, raised $71.5 million in Series B funding. Investors include The Column Group, Vida Ventures, Samsara BioCapital, Nextech Invest, Casdin Capital, Euclidean Capital, UC Investments and Hartford HealthCare Endowment.

- Chargebee, a San Francisco-based billings and compliance startup, raised $55 million in Series F funding. Insight Partners led the round and was joined by investors including Steadview Capital and Tiger Global Management.

- Onapsis, a Boston-based cybersecurity and compliance company, raised $55 million in Series D funding. Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec led the round and was joined by investors including NightDragon, .406 Ventures, LLR Partners and Arsenal Venture Partners. 

- Walden Biosciences, a Cambridge, Mass.-based biotech focused on kidney disease, raised $51 million in Series A funding. Arch Venture Partners and UCB Ventures led the round.

- Envisics, a Milton Keynes, U.K.-based maker of holographic technologies for augmented reality head-up displays in cars, raised $50 million. Investors include Hyundai Mobis, General Motors Ventures, SAIC Motors and Van Tuyl Companies.

- Newlight Technologies, a Huntington Beach, Calif.-based maker of an ocean-degradable biopolymer, raised $45 million in Series F funding. Valedor Partners led the round.

- Cerebral, a San Francisco-based online mental health management platform, raised $35 million in Series A funding. Oak HC/FT led the round and was joined by investors including Liquid 2 Ventures, Gaingels, and Air Angels.

- Shogun, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based e-commerce experience platform, raised a $35 million in Series B funding. Accel led the round and was joined by investors including Initialized Capital, VMG Partners, and Y Combinator.

- Illusive Networks, a New York and Tel Aviv-based provider of cybersecurity solutions, raised $24 million in B1 funding. Investors inlcuded Spring Lake Equity Partners, Marker, New Enterprise Associates, Bessemer Venture Partners, Innovation Endeavors, Cisco, Microsoft, and Citi.

- Thirdverse, a  Tokyo-based virtual reality game development platform, raised $8.5 million in Series A funding. JAFCO led the round and was joined by investors including Presence Capital, Sisu Ventures, and Incubate Fund.

- Hometree, a London-based Insurtech, raised £7 million in funding. Anthemis led the round and was joined by investors including DN Capital and Literacy Capital.

- NormShield, a Boston-based cyber risk rating company, raised $7.5 million in Series A funding. Moore Strategic Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Glasswing Ventures and Data Point Capital

- Atom Finance, a startup that delivers markets-oriented information, raised $6 million in funding. Greycroft and General Catalyst were the investors. Read more.

- Good Buy Gear, a Denver-based online marketplace for second-hand baby, toddler and kid gear, raised $6 million in Series A funding. Revolution Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Access Venture Partners and Relay Ventures.

- Veritonic, a New York-based audio intelligence platform, raised $3.2 million in funding. Greycroft led the round and was joined by investors including Lerer Hippeau and Audible.

- Zira, a San Francisco-based automated management platform for shift-based workforces, raised $3.1 million in seed funding. General Catalyst and Abstract Ventures led the round.

- Nivelo, a New York-based payments fraud and cybersecurity monitoring startup, raised $2.5 million in seed funding. FirstMark Capital, Barclays and Anthemis co-led the round.

- Skillshare, a New York-based online learning platform, raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Adobe.

PRIVATE EQUITY

- TPG and Onex Corp. plan to bid on Donlen, bankrupt Hertz Global Holdings’ car leasing business. The bid could value the asset at $1 billion, per Bloomberg. Read more.

- A unit of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority plans to invest 55.1 billion rupees ($750 million) in Reliance Retail Ventures, the retail arm of Reliance. Read more.

- Gridiron Capital invested in Cubii, a maker of a stationary exercise peddler. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- MidOcean Partners made a majority investment in InterVision Systems, an IT services company. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Monte Nido & Affiliates, a portfolio company of Levine Leichtman Capital Partners, acquired Rosewood Ranch, a Phoenix, Ariz.-based operator of eating disorder treatment facilities. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Pritzker Private Capital recapped Energy Distribution Partners, a distributor of propane and light fuels in North America. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Susquehanna Private Capital acquired Brandywine Coach Works, a CHadds Ford, Pa.-based auto repair operator. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

OTHERS

- Veolia acquired a 29.9% stake in Suez, a waste and water treatment company, from Engie SA. The deal values Suez at about €11.3 billion.

- Accenture (NYSE: ACN) has agreed to acquire Myrtle Consulting Group, a Houston-based industrial operations consulting firm. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

SPACS

- Momentus, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based space infrastructure company, plans to go public via merger with Stable Road Acquisition, a SPAC, in a deal valued at $1.2 billion.

F+FS

- NewRoad Capital Partners raised $176 million in capital commitments for NewRoad Fund III.

PEOPLE

- CAVU Venture Partners named Alexandre Cohen as a partner.

PEOPLE

- Shamrock Capital named Michael Wilkins as a Partner.

- Downing Ventures named Joe Raffa as a Venture Partner.