The dealmakers embracing the chaos

November 23, 2020, 2:36 PM UTC

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For better or for worse, 2020 is chaos.

A raging pandemic smashed into a seemingly unending U.S. presidential election. And while the economy remains uncertain, dealmaking and megafunds (ahem just look for a16z below) have returned with a vengeance.

Embracing the chaos—or rather Innovating in Times of Crisis—is the central theme of Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech Conference on December 1 and 2. Typically hosted at the height of the summer in Aspen, when tech aficionados fly in from all over, this year’s conference is all virtual. 

Among those ringing in from the comforts of their homes and offices will be Paul Ryan, 54th speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, who will discuss his new SPAC; SoftBank Opportunities Fund’s Stacy Brown-Philpot on investing in the pandemic; Slack CEO Steward Butterfield; the CEO of SoftBank’s sometimes rival Raukten, Mickey Mikitani; and many others.

If you’re interested in attending this year’s Brainstorm Tech event, please sign-up here. Would love to speak with you there.

IPO STANDS FOR INTERMINABLE PROCESSION OF OVERLY LARGE UNICORNS ALL GOING PUBLIC AT THE SAME TIME: Do you remember last week? I hardly do because it felt like an entire month. Consumer-facing unicorns decided this was their moment, with Airbnb, Roblox, and Affirm filing for IPOs following DoorDash the week earlier. Then on Friday, e-commerce marketplace Wish also filed for its IPO

Its differentiator? It is a discount retailer competing with the likes of Dollar General and TJ Maxx as well as Amazon and Alibaba, keeping prices low by largely using merchants in China. Wish posted revenue of $1.7 billion in the nine months ending September 2020, up 32% from the year prior, and a net loss of $176 million, up from $12 million.

The company’s largest shareholders include DST Global, the Founders Fund, Formation8 Partners, GGV Capital, and Temasek.

Lucinda Shen
Twitter: @shenlucinda


- TuSimple, a U.S.-Chinese self-driving truck startup, raised around $350 million in Series E funding, Forbes reports citing sources. VectoIQ reportedly led the round. Read more.

- Chainalysis, a New York-based provider of blockchain compliance services, raised $100 million, per Forbes citing sources. Addition is reportedly leading the round with participation from Accel, Benchmark, and Ribbit Capital. Read more.

- Factory_OS, a Vallejo, Calif.-based designer and builder of homes using prefabricated components for multifamily housing, raised $55 million in Series B funding. Lafayette Square Holdings led the round and was joined by investors including Autodesk, Citi, Facebook, Google, and Morgan Stanley.

- Stackline, a Seattle-based maker of enterprise tools for retailers and brands to manage their e-commerce business, raised $50 million in Series A funding. Goldman Sachs Growth Equity led the round.

- Boulevard, a Los Angeles-based management system for salons and spas,  raised $27 million in Series B funding. Index Ventures and Toba Capital co-led the round and were joined by investors including VMG Partners, Bonfire Ventures, Ludlow Ventures, and BoxGroup

- Gatik, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based company making autonomous vehicles for business-to-business short-haul logistics, raised $25 million in Series A funding. Wittington Ventures and Innovation Endeavors led the round and were joined by FM Capital, Intact Ventures, Dynamo, Fontinalis Partners, and AngelPad.

- GT Medical Technologies, a Tempe, Ariz.-based brain tumor treatment company, raised $16 million in Series B funding. MVM Partners led the round and was joined by investors including MedTech Venture Partners and BlueStone Venture Partners. 

- Funnel, a New York-based maker of leasing software formerly known as Nestio, raised $14 million. RET Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Trinity Ventures and Camber Creek

- Observable, a San Francisco-based maker of data visualization software, raised $10.5 million in a Series A funding. Sequoia Capital and Acrew Capital led the round.

- Kea, a Mountain View, Calif.-based company automating phone ordering, raised $10 million in Series A funding. Marbruck led the round and was joined by investors including Streamlined Ventures, Xfund, Heartland Ventures, DEEPCORE, Barrel Ventures, and AVG Funds.

- Connect Homes, a Los Angeles-based maker of pre-made homes and models, raised $5 million. Brick & Mortar Ventures led the round.

- AllRight, a Wilmington, De.-based maker of online English language classes, raised $5 million in Series A funding. Genesis Investments led the round and was joined by investors including TMT Investments, TerraVC, and Flashpoint and Misha Lyalin. Read more.

- Encantos, a Culver City, Calif.-based edtech focused on digital and physical play for kids, raised $5.7 million from a group of renowned investors. That includes a $3.2 million seed round led by Precursor Ventures who were joined by Angeles Ventures, Concrete Rose Capital, Metrodora Ventures, Next Play Ventures, Portfolia’s Rising America Fund, and Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund.

- Friday, a Portland, Me.-based remote work company, raised $2.1 million in seed funding. Bessemer Venture Partners led the round and was joined by investors including Active Capital, Underscore, El Cap Holdings, TLC Collective, and New York Venture Partners.


- CVC Capital Partners is competing with Clayton Dubilier & Rice for Bilfinger SE,a German for German industrial services provider, per Bloomberg citing sources. Read more.

- CVC Capital Partners, Advent International and FSI agreed on Thursday to acquire a 10% stake in a new media business created by Serie A, the Italian soccer league. They agreed to pay €1.7 billion (about $2 billion). Read more.

- BRS sold Simpson Performance Products, a New Braunfels, Tx.-based provider of safety equipment for the motorsport industry. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Rhône Capital acquired a minority stake in illycaffè S.p.A., an Italy-based coffee brand. Financial terms weren't disclosed.


- GoGuardian, backed by Sumeru Equity Partners, merged with Pear Deck, a Iowa City, Ia.-based platform for online learning. Pear Deck was backed by investors including Growth Street Partners and Village Capital. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- GI Partners acquired Valet Living, a Tampa, Fla.-based amenity service provider to property owners and residents, from Ares Management and Harvest Partners. Financial terms weren't disclosed.


- The Competition Commission of India, India’s antitrust watchdog, approved Reliance Retail’s $3.4 billion deal to acquire assets of Future Group, a rival retailer backed by Amazon. Read more.

- Merck (NYSE: MRK) agreed to acquire OncoImmune, a Rockville, Md.-based biopharmaceutical company with a Covid-19 drug, for $425 million in cash. Firms including 3E Bioventures Capital backed OncoImmune.

- Western Union acquired a 15% stake in stc pay, the digital unit of Saudi Arabia’s STC Group, for $200 million. It values the firm at 5 billion riyals ($1.3 billion). Read more.

- Zurich Insurance Group AG is in talks to acquire the U.S. property and casualty business of MetLife Inc. (NYSE: MET). Financial terms weren't disclosed. Read more.


- AbCellera Biologics, a Canadian drug discovery company working with Eli Lilly & Co. on its Covid-19 drug, filed for an IPO. DCVC, Viking Global, and Peter Thiel back the firm. Read more.

- Backblaze, a San Mateo, Calif.-based cloud storage provider, is considering an IPO in 2021 that could value it around $1 billion, per Reuters. TMT Investments backs the firm. Read more.

- Olema Pharmaceuticals, a San Francisco-based biotech developing therapies for women's cancers, raised $209 million. Backers include BVF Partners, Cormorant Asset Management, and Janus Capital Management. Read more.


- AvePoint, a Jersey City-based data management provider for the Microsoft cloud backed by Sixth Street, agreed to combine with Apex Technology Acquisition (NASDAQ: APXT), a SPAC. The deal values the combined firm at $2 billion.

- UpHealth Holdings and Cloudbreak Health, two digital healthcare companies, agreed to merge with GigCapital2, a SPAC, Reuters reports citing sources. The deal values the company at $1.35 billion. Read more.

- Revolution Acceleration Acquisition filed to raise $250 million. The firm is seeking a business in the technology, government policy, and regulation sectors. John Delancey, a former member of the House of Representatives, leads the firm. Read more.

- Nebula Caravel Acquisition a blank check company formed by True Wind Capital seeking an acquisition in the tech sector, filed to raise $250 million. Read more.

- Aequi Acquisition raised $200 million after lowering the number of warrants it planned to sell by a third. The firm is seeking to acquire a tech company. Read more.

- Fortress Value Acquisition III, a firm formed by executives at Fortress Investment Group, filed to raise $200 million. Read more.

- Americas Technology Acquisition, which is seeking a target in the technology, media, and telecommunications sectors, filed to raise up to $100 million. Read more.

- Frazier Lifesciences Acquisition, a SPAC formed by Frazier Healthcare Partners seeking a target in the biotech industry, filed to raise $100 million. Read more.

- Andrea Pignataro, the Italian businessman behind financial-data provider ION, is considering raising a SPAC, per Bloomberg citing sources. Read more.


- KKR & Co. is preparing to raise another European buyout fund that is likely to be larger than its €5.8 billion ($6.9 billion) fifth fund, raised just a year earlier. Read more

- Blackstone Group is seeking to raise at least $5 billion for its second private equity fund focused on Asia, per Bloomberg citing sources. Read more.

- Andreessen Horowitz raised $4.5 billion across an early and growth fund. The firm raised $1.3 billion for its seventh early-stage fund and $3.2 billion across a second growth fund.

- Teleo Capital, a middle market private equity firm, closed its first fund with $250 million in commitments.


- Siris Capital, a private equity firm, named Prosper Vignone as an investment principal.

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