It’s election day. Is our uncertainty about to get worse?
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In 2016, markets shook off the shock of a Donald Trump presidency quickly. While pundits opined that his mercuriality would be a negative for the economy, the stock market famously surged after his win as investors embraced his more pro-business policies just hours later.
But could the uncertainty hover around far longer this time around, as both sides of the aisle fight over which ballots will count and as the coronavirus completely reconfigures voting?
Yesterday, while parsing through how the elections would impact venture capital, I had an interesting conversation with Adam Zeplain, cofounder and managing partner at Mark VC, a venture firm in the blue dot of Austin against the historically red backdrop of Texas. The firm has invested in companies including Andela, Anduril, and Bird.
Zeplain has been preparing for potential longer-term choppiness.
“November 3 was kind of a goal—we wanted to make sure everything gets done by that day because what I do know is that markets don’t react well in times of uncertainty,” Zeplain says. “And what we don’t know is, what happens if we have a president who won’t leave the White House?”
Zeplain says he is worried the funding window could tighten following the elections, akin to how it dried up when the coronavirus first hit stateside in March, because investors will dislike the uncertainty that comes with this particular voting period.
As in March, when venture capitalists were turning inward and warning portfolio companies to hold onto cash, Zeplain says he is warning his companies to consider the same again.
“We are still looking and still active, but we are cautious,” he says.
I’m curious: How are you, readers, preparing your portfolios for the elections?
BIG MOVES AT SOFTBANK: SoftBank’s $100 billion Vision Fund is dealing with even more turnover, as its Chief Operating Officer Ruwan Weerasekera is retiring alongside five other exits, per Bloomberg. Among the names to go are investing partners Ted Fike and Justin Wilson, who went on to focus on SPACs at private equity shop Gores Group, per Axios.
Meanwhile, SoftBank portfolio company REEF Technology, which started out as management services for parking lots and has expanded into last-mile logistics including ghost kitchens, has raised $700 million led by Mubadala. It also launched a $300 million fund with Oaktree Capital Management to “acquire strategic real estate assets.” That comes as former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick’s Cloud Kitchens startup has been snapping up real estate.
But wait, there’s more: Another SoftBank-backed business, Greensill, is getting ready to sell four of its planes as it hopes to raise hundreds of millions more in additional funding, per the Wall Street Journal.
- Fast, a San Francisco-based maker of a way to checkout quickly online, is in talks to raise between $50 million and $200 million, valuing it at as much as $1 billion, per the Information. Read more.
- Flock Safety, an Atlanta, Ga.-based maker of crime-solving technology, raised $47 million in Series C funding. Meritech Capital led the round.
- Celona, a Cupertino, Calif.-based enterprise networking company seeking to bridge the gap between LTE/5G cellular wireless and enterprise IT infrastructure, raised $30 million in Series B funding. NTTVC and Qualcomm Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Lightspeed Venture Partners, Norwest Venture Partners, and Cervin Ventures.
- inRiver, a Malmö, Sweden-based provider of product information management solutions, raised $32 million in funding. Lugard Road Capital led the round and was joined by investors including Verdane, Industrifonden, Zobito, and RoosGruppen.
- Stensul, a New York-based email creation platform for the enterprise, raised $16 million in Series B funding. USVP led the round and was joined by investors including Capital One Ventures, Peak State Ventures, Javelin Venture Partners, Uncork Capital, First Round Capital, and Lowercase Capital.
- TVision, a New York-based company measuring streaming viewership, raised $16 million in funding. SIG Asia Investments led the round and was joined by investors including Susquehanna International Group, Accomplice, Golden Ventures, and Jump Capital. Read more.
- Apkudo, a Baltimore, Md.-based provider of supply chain automation solutions for connected devices, raised $14 million in Series B funding. Harbert Growth Partners and MissionOG led the round and were joined by investors including Grotech Ventures and Lavrock Ventures.
- SkyHive, a Vancouver, Canada- and San Francisco, Calif.-based-based reskilling platform, raised $8 million in Series A funding. Investors included AllegisCyber Capital, Accenture, Workday Ventures, and the Partnership Fund for New York City.
- Agora Systems, a San Francisco-based maker of materials supply chain software for commercial trade contractors, raised $7 million in Series A funding. 8VC led the round and was joined by investors including Tishman Speyer, Suffolk Construction, Kevin Hartz, Abstract Ventures, and BoxGroup.
- 3Commas.io, an Estonia-based crypto-asset management platform, raised $3 million in Series A funding. Alameda Research led the round.
- Cado Security, a London-based cloud-native cyber forensics and response platform, raised $1.5 million in seed funding. Ten Eleven Ventures led the round.
- Momi Brands, a Winston Salem, N.C.-based provider of a breast pump and an infant feeding system, raised $1 million in seed funding. Kapstone Medical and Enventys Partners led the round and was joined by investors including Start100 Fund.
- Arcus, a New York-based fintech platform, raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Citi Ventures.
- Ardian acquired Nevel Oy, a Finnish district heating and industrial energy solutions company, - from Vapo Group. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
Calligo, backed by Investcorp, acquired Cinnte Technologies, a Cavan- and Dublin-based IT managed services provider. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Foreside Financial Group, backed by Lovell Minnick, acquired Hartford, Conn.-based ICSGroup's regulatory compliance business. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Guardian Capital Partners invested in Upper Echelon Products, an Austin-based data-driven consumer products company. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Jardine Transport Group, a portfolio company of SeaFort Capital, acquired Quality Transportation Services, a New Jersey-based long-haul, dry-van trucking company. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Main Street Gourmet, backed by Shore Capital, invested in Biscotti Brothers, a Pennsylvania-based artisanal wholesale bakery. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Milton Street Capital acquired Worthington Industries’ Theodore, Ala.-based life science business and Indianapolis, Ind.-based International Cryogenics. Both make cryogenic stainless steel and aluminum storage freezers, dewars and shippers. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- NewSpring invested in Skillshare, a New York-based online learning community for creativity. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Pelican Ventures and J.C. Flowers & Co. agreed to acquire Ariel Re, a reinsurance group, from Argo Group. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Retina Consultants of America, backed by Webster Equity Partners, acquired Palmetto Retina Center, a South Carolina-based retina practice. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- OpenGate Capital acquired Aurotech, a Silver Spring, Md.-based provider of digital services and business solutions for U.S. federal healthcare and adjacent civilian agencies. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Transom Capital Group acquired BridgeTower Media, a Minneapolis, Minn.-based provider of B2B information, research, events, and marketing solutions across. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Vision Innovation Partners, backed by Centre Partners, acquired Omni Eye Specialists, a Baltimore-based multi-specialty ophthalmology group. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Coupa Software (NASDAQ: COUP) acquired LLamasoft, an Ann Arbor, Mich.-based supply chain design and planning company, for about $1.5 billion. Llamasoft has been backed by TPG and MK Capital.
- Phone2Action acquired GovPredict, a D.C.-based provider of legislative, regulatory, issue monitoring, and campaign finance intelligence. Y-Combinator backed GovPredict. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- NerdWallet acquired Fundera, a New York-based funding comparison site small and medium-sized businesses. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Royal Dutch Shell agreed to acquire full control of a gas station joint venture in China, buying out the stake it didn’t own in Chongqing Doyen Shell Petroleum & Chemical Co., per Bloomberg. Read more.
- Aeva, a Mountainview, Calif.-based self-driving car sensor startup, plans to go public via merger tih InterPrivate Acquisition Corp., a SPAC valuing the firm at $2.1 billion. Aeva is backed by investors including Lux Capital Management and Silver Lake.
- Petrichor Healthcare Capital Management closed its Petrichor Opportunities Fund I with $410 million in commitments.