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The final days of former Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh

December 7, 2020, 3:33 PM UTC

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The death of former Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh came as a shock. At just 46, the investor had made an enormous impact on business during his time at the shoe e-commerce company, reshaping customer service and encouraging new company cultures by eschewing hierarchy within his own.

Late last week and on Monday, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal separately published two difficult-to-read yet important pieces on the final days of Hsieh, who died at the end of November due to complications from a Connecticut house fire. 

Known for penning the 2010 business book Delivering Happiness: A Path To Profits, Passion and Purpose, Hsieh became beloved for investing some $350 million to help revitalize downtown Las Vegas. And among friends, he was known to be generous: The entrepreneur bought friends houses, apartments, and restaurants, per the WSJ.

But personally, Hsieh struggled with a deep sense of loneliness that he had previously channeled into his work. In the coronavirus pandemic, it had been exacerbated. Hsieh increasingly turned to alcohol, mushrooms, and ecstasy following his retirement earlier this year. He was also known to inhale nitrous oxide cartridges that can induce hypoxia. By August, friends and family were planning an intervention.

Hsieh died after complications related to smoke inhalation. But there are only bits and pieces of the story of the fateful house fire. Some first responders, according to radio recordings at the time, said that a victim was “trapped” in the house, while another said he was “barricaded” inside. Hsieh doesn’t appear to have written a will, and a day before the fire, he had made plans to check into a rehab facility in Hawaii, according to the Journal.

While Hsieh’s family declined to speak on the specifics around the former executive’s death, they told the Journal they plan to “carry on his legacy by spreading the tenets he lived by—finding joy through meaningful life experiences, inspiring and helping others, and most of all, delivering happiness.” Based on the outpouring of grief and sympathy from entertainers, politicians and investors following Hsieh’s death, his legacy will most certainly last. Read more.

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

VENTURE DEALS

- Catawiki, an Amsterdam-based online marketplace for collectibles, raised €150 million ($182 million). Permira led the round and was joined by investors including Accel.

- Immedis, a Dublin-based payroll solution, raised $50 million in funding. Lead Edge Capital led the round.

- Fetch Rewards, a Madison, Wis.-based savings app, raised $80 million in Series C funding valuing it at $600 million. Iconiq led the round. Read more.

- Moov, a Golden, Colo.-based maker of banking infrastructure, raised $27 million in Series A funding. Andreessen Horowitz led the round.

- GetAccept, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based maker of a sales platform, raised $20 million in Series B funding. Bessemer Venture Partners led the round.

- Neuroglee Therapeutics, a Singapore-based company that creates prescription digital therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases, raised $2.3 million in pre-seed funding. Eisai Co. led the round.

PRIVATE EQUITY

- American Industrial Partners agreed to take SEACOR Holdings (NYSE:CKH), a Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based holding company including businesses in domestic and international transportation, private in a deal valuing the firm at $1 billion, including net debt. 

- TPG and the Northstar Group will acquire an 80% stake in PT Greenfields Indonesia, the Indonesian dairy unit of Japfa (SING: JAP) for $236 million. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- CVC Capital Partners is backing a deal to take I.T Ltd.(HK: 999), a Hong Kong-based clothing retailer, private in a deal worth HK$1.3 billion ($168 million). Read more.

- Insight Partners invested £100 million ($133 million) in  Exclaimer, a U.K.-based provider of email signature management solutions. Farview Equity Partners and existing investor Livingbridge also participated.

- Baird Capital invested in HSP Group, a company offering services firm for U.S. and European companies to expand globally. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- HES Facilities, a portfolio company of Nautic Partners, acquired WFF Facility Services and Clean-Tech Company, two building services businesses in the Midwest. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Race Rock Group agreed to acquire Structural & Steel Products, a Fort Worth, Tx.-based distributor of  products used in the highway construction from Highland Capital Management. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Spartech, backed by Nautic Partners, acquired Tufpak, an Ossipee, N.H.-based maker of plastic films for medical industries. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

EXITS

- PAI Partners acquired Apleona Group GmbH, a German-based real estate and facility manager, from EQT for about €1.6 billion ($1.9 billion).

- NortonLifeLock (Nasdaq: NLOK) agreed to acquire Avira, a German cybersecurity company, from Investcorp for approximately $360 million. 

OTHER

- A subsidiary of Sino Biopharmaceutical Limited (HK: 1177) invested $515 million in Sinovac Biotech (Nasdaq: SVA), a Chinese-based company with a coronavirus vaccine it is currently distributing.

- Frasers Group is in talks to acquire Debenhams, the U.K.-based department store retailer, in a last-ditch attempt to save the company, per Bloomberg. Read more.

IPOs

- ContextLogic, the company behind discount marketplace Wish, says it plans to raise $1 billion in an offering of 46 million shares priced between $22 to $24 a piece, valuing the company at as high as $14.1 billion on an undiluted basis. Its investors include DST Global, Founders Fund, and Formation8 Partners. Read more.

- Coursera, a Mountain View, Calif.-based online education company, is considering an IPO in 2021 that could value it around $5 billion, per Bloomberg. Its investors include NEA and Kleiner Perkins. Read more.

- Intapp, a Palo Alto-based provider of software to capital markets firms, is preparing for a 2021 IPO. Temasek and Great Hill Partners back the firm. Read more.

- 17 Education & Technology Group, a provider of K-12 tutoring services in China, raised $288 million. It mosted revenue of $118.9 million in the nine months ending September 2020 and a loss of $696.7 million. Shunwei Ventures backs the firm. Read more.

- Upstart Holdings, a San Mateo, Calif.-based consumer lending platform, plans to raise $252 million (25% insider sold). It posted revenue of $144.2 million and income of $5 million in the nine months ending 2020. Third Point Ventures, Stone Ridge, and Khosla Ventures back the firm. Read more.

- Sigilon Therapeutics, a Cambridge, Mass. biotech therapies for hemophilia A and diabetes, raised $126 million. Flagship Pioneering and Eli Lilly back the firm. Read more.

SPAC

- Foley Trasimene Acquisition Corp II, a blank-check acquisition firm backed by Bill Foley, is nearing a deal to merge with Paysafe, a U.K.-based payments company, valuing it at around $9 billion including debt, per Bloomberg. Blackstone Group and CVC Capital Partners back the firm. Read more.

- Stem, a U.S.-based A.I. energy storage company plans to go public via merger with Star Peak Energy Transition Corp, a SPAC, valuing it at about $1.35 billion. Stem’s backers include Activate Capital, Constellation Technology Ventures and RWE Supply & Trading.

- Innoviz Technologies, an Israeli startup focused on lidar in autonomous vehicles, is in talks to go public via merger with Collective Growth Corp., a SPAC. The company could be valued at about $1 billion, per Bloomberg. Read more.

- Highland Transcend Partners I, a SPAC formed by Highland Capital Partners seeking a tech target,  raised $275 million. Read more.

- FinTech Acquisition V, a SPAC formed by the management of The Bancorp seeking a fintech business, raised $218 million. Read more.

FFS

- Highland Europe closed its fourth fund, with  €700 million.

PEOPLE

- Greycroft promoted Will Szczerbiak to partner and Brentt Baltimore to principal.

- Highland Europe promoted Jean Tardy-Joubert, Gajan Rajanathan and Ronan Shally to partner. 

- Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe named Nick O’Leary as a general partner.