What are your top business predictions for 2021?
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It’s the most reflective time of the year!
As the end to this bizarre year approaches, I want to peer into your crystal ball.
What will 2021 bring? Send me your best predictions for how the new year will unfold for dealmaking and businesses. There’s a lot of material to work with: A pandemic changed the world. IPOs are booming. TikTok battled with the Trump administration. Big Tech is cementing its place as the new Wall Street in ‘08. Quibi opened…and shuttered its doors. Bitcoin is back, and to an extent, so is VR.
I welcome your business predictions from the broad (where will be the strongest areas from M&A?) to the specific (who will Microsoft buy next? Who is the next WeWork?).
On Friday, I’ll feature highlights of your answers, alongside your name and title, unless you explicitly indicate that you’d only like to use your first name.
Here’s the great thing. Though none of you predicted a massive pandemic, some of last year’s predictions for 2020 were scarily accurate.
Sure, many of you predicted a recession in 2020. But Michael Proman, managing director at Scrum Ventures was even more precise in his prediction, correctly foreseeing increased M&A activity in home fitness companies, saying companies like Tonal, Mirror and Zwift would be “likely acquisition targets.” In June, Lululemon announced plans to acquire Mirror.
Patricia Nakache, general partner at Trinity Ventures, successfully predicted that business leaders would be increasingly forced to publicly address political issues. Even as Coinbase took what it considered an apolitical stance, it still became political, whether they liked to or not.
We are still waiting for some very promising predictions to materialize. South Central Ventures Investment Manager Pedja Predin prophesied that former T-Mobile CEO John Legere would reveal himself to be “Adam Neumann’s real biological father, or that Adam Neumann is actually Sacha Baron Cohen playing a role.” Either Baron Cohen is an excellent actor with teleportation abilities, or this particular prediction may not be panning out.
This is my way of saying: Yes, bring even your zany and far-fetched predictions.
Looking forward to hearing from you :)
ANOTHER IPO! ContextLogic, the company behind discount e-commerce platform Wish, raised $1.1 billion in an IPO of 46 million shares priced at the high end of its previously stated range: $24 apiece. The IPO is a venture capital-backed unicorn debut in public markets when Affirm and Roblox have pushed their debuts to 2021 after seeing other offerings raise higher-than-expected valuations.
The story is unfolding differently for Wish at the moment. While the pandemic has increased the need for e-commerce, Wish’s growth has been slower, with revenue up 32% in the first nine months of 2020 to $1.8 billion. Meanwhile, over 70% of sales come from “personalized browsing,” or impulse buys, rather than searches for specific items—raising questions about the company’s long term.
ESCAPE FROM SAN FRANCISCO: Many of those leaving San Francisco are loud about their grievances and reasons. But as I’ve written in the past, while “exits from the crowded and troubled city are splashy, it’s worth meditating upon who stays to understand the full impact of the changes on the city.” Most of those that stay won’t talk about it—who would announce, “Hey, I’m staying in my same old home?” But here’s one Tweet from Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky: “Airbnb is staying in California and I’m staying in California. This is a special place.”
- StockX, a Detroit-based sneaker marketplace, raised $275 million in Series E funding valuing it at $2.8 billion. Tiger Global Management led the round and was joined by investors including Altimeter Capital, Sands Capital, and Whale Rock Capital Management.
- nference, a Cambridge, Mass.-based biomedical computation company, raised $60 million in Series C funding. Matrix Capital Management led the round and was joined by investors including Matrix Partners, Mayo Clinic Ventures, and NTTVC.
- Atsena Therapeutics, a Durham, N.C.-based clinical-stage gene therapy company focused on blindness, raised $55 million in Series A funding. Sofinnova Investments led the round and was joined by investors including Abingworth and Lightstone Ventures.
- Modern Health, a San Francisco-based mental health and digital therapy company, raised $51 million in Series C funding. Battery Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Felicis Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, Founders Fund, 01 Advisors, Afore Capital, and Okta’s Frederic Kerrest.
- MinervaX, a Danish-based biotech company focused on Group B Streptococci, raised $57 million in Series B funding. Investors included Sanofi Ventures, Wellington Partners, Adjuvant Capital and Industrifonden
- Vercel, a San Francisco-based developer platform, raised $40 million in Series B funding. GV led the round and was joined by investors including Greenoaks Capital, Bedrock Capital, and Geodesic Capital in addition to existing investors Accel Partners and CRV.
- Lendeavor, a San Francisco-based company lending to healthcare practices now known as Provide, raised $34 million in Series A and B funding. QED Investors led the round and was joined by investors including Fifth Third Bank, Montage Ventures and Clocktower Technology Ventures.
- Zilch, a London based buy now, pay later startup, raised $30 million. Investors include Gauss Ventures and Simon Nixon (Seek Ventures).
- Curai Health, a Palo Alto-based virtual care company, raised $27.5 million in Series B funding. Morningside Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including General Catalyst and Khosla Ventures.
- Ovation.io, a Boston-based drug discovery platform, raised $21.5 million in Series B funding. SignalFire led the round and was joined by investors including Madrona Venture Group, Borealis Ventures, StageDotO Ventures, and David Shaw.
- Zoomin Software, a Tel Aviv, Israel-based maker of software for Saas software customers, raised $21 million. Bessemer Venture Partners, Salesforce Ventures, and Viola Growth led the round.
- ConsejoSano, a North Hollywood, Calif.-based maker of software for multicultural patient care, raised $17 million in a Series B funding. Magnetic Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including American Heart Association/Bernard J. Tyson Impact Fund, DaVita Venture Group, Salesforce Ventures, NBA All-Star Victor Oladipo, 7wireVentures, Impact Engine, Tufts Health Plan, and Wanxiang America.
- Sourcepoint, a New York-based-based privacy compliance company, raised $17 million. Arrowroot Capital led the round.
- Iris Automation, a San Francisco-based computer vision technology company, raised $13 million in Series B funding. Bessemer Venture Partners, Bee Partners, OCA Ventures, Sony Innovation Fund, and Verizon Ventures invested.
- Tive, a Boston-based supply chain visibility and insights company, raised $12 million in Series A funding. RRE Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Two Sigma Ventures, NextView Ventures, Hyperplane Ventures, One Way Ventures, and Fathom Ventures.
- Truera, a Redwood City, Calif.-based maker of a way to test A.I., raised $12 million in Series A funding. Wing VC led the round and was joined by investors including Conversion Capital and Greylock, Data Community Fund, B Capital Group, and Harpoon Ventures.
- DASH Systems, a Los Angeles-based airdrop deliveries software company, raised $8 million in seed funding. 8VC led the round and was joined by investors including Tusk Venture Partners, Loup Ventures, Trust Ventures, Perot Jain, and MiLA Capital.
- ClearTrace, an Austin-based maker of software company with automated energy and carbon accounting, raised $4 million in Series A funding. Clean Energy Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Brookfield Renewable Partners.
- RAIN, a voice and conversational A.I. company, raised $3 million in Series A funding. Stanley Ventures led the round.
- FoodMarble, a Dublin, Ireland-based digestive tracking company, raised $2.6 million in seed funding. Business Venture Partners led the round and was joined by investors including SOSV, Breed Reply, Delta Partners, and Enterprise Ireland.
- Lantern, a New York City-based startup focused on death planning, raised $2.3 million. Draper Associates led the round and was joined by investors including Amplify, XFactor Ventures, and F7 Ventures.
- GIC invested $200 million in Sinopec Green, a Chinese geothermal heating company. Read more.
- Silversmith Capital Partners led a $60 million minority investment in Microblink, a London-based A.I.-powered computer vision software maker.
- Bain Capital Credit agreed to acquire Liverpool Victoria Financial Services’ savings, retirement, and protection businesses for about $707 million. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- AnaCap Financial Partners agreed to acquire Novia Financial, a U.K.-based wealth management platform. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Capital Alignment Partners acquired American Pavement Preservation, a Las Vegas-based provider of asphalt preservation services.
- Charger Investment Partners acquired a majority stake in Advanced Composite Products and Technology, a Huntington Beach, Calif.-based maker of structures for defense, space, aviation, automotive, marine, industrial machinery and subsea telecom applications. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- J.F. Lehman & Company acquired ENTACT, a Westmont, Ill.-based construction company providing environmental remediation and geotechnical services. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Offen Petroleum, backed by Court Square Capital Partners, acquired the assets of Ozark Mountain Energy, a motor fuel distributor, and Petroleum Express, an affiliated trucking company, both based in Mt. Vernon, Mo. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Shamrock Capital invested in Excel Sports Management, a New York-based sports management and marketing agency. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- BIC acquired Rocketbook, a Boston-based maker of a smart notebook, for $40 million. Techstars backed the firm.
- MessageBird acquired Pusher, a London-based API company for $35 million. Pusher investors included Balderton Capital and Fabric Ventures.
- Odyssey Investment Partners agreed to acquire Protective Industrial Products, a Latham, N.Y.-based supplier of personal protective equipment from Audax Private Equity. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Eli Lilly (NYSE: LLY) acquired Prevail Therapeutics (Nasdaq: PRVL), a New York-based gene therapy company, valuing it at $1 billion.
- GoDaddy (NYSE: GDDY) acquired Poynt, a Palo Alto.-based payments company, for $320 million.
- bp has acquired a majority stake in Finite Carbon, a Wayne, Pa.-based Carbon-offsetter. Financial terms weren't disclosed
- IBM (NYSE: IBM) acquired Expertus Technologies, a Canadian fintech and payments processing firm. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Unity (NYSE: U) acquired RestAR, a Tel Aviv, Israel-based computer vision company allowing fashion brands to scan and render physical consumer products in 3D using a mobile device. Financial terms weren't disclosed.
- Tokopedia, the Indonesian e-commerce giant, is weighing a merger with Bridgetown Holdings, a SPAC backed by Richard Li and Peter Thiel, per Bloomberg. Backed by SoftBank, the company could seek a valuation of between $8 billion to $10 billion, per Bloomberg. Read more.
- indie Semiconductor, an Aliso Viejo, Calif.-based automotive semiconductor company, agreed to go public via merger with Thunder Bridge Acquisition II (Nasdaq: THBR), a SPAC, in a deal valuing the firm at $1.4 billion.
- Verano Holdings, a Chicago-based multi-state cannabis operator, plans to go public in Canada by merging with Majesta Minerals, a shell company. The deal values the firm at about $2.8 billion.
- AST & Science a maker of a space-based cellular broadband network, plans to go public via merger with New Providence Acquisition Corp., a SPAC. The deal values the firm at $1.4 billion.
- Tribe Capital Partners, a venture firm, is seeking to raise $200 million for a SPAC that could go public as soon as January, per Bloomberg. Arrow Capital is set to be a SPAC sponsor alongside Tribe. Read more.
- Periscope Equity, a Chicago-based private equity firm, closed its second fund at $225 million.
- Westlake Village BioPartners, a Los Angeles-based venture firm, raised $500 million across two funds. Its Opportunity 1 fund raised $70 million while its second early stage fund raised $430 million.
- XYZ Venture Capital, a San Francisco-based venture firm, raised $80 million for its second fund.
- Sova VC, a London-based venture firm, launched with plans to invest more than €50 million ($61 million) in early stage companies.
- Slack, a San Francisco-based communications company, dedicated $50 million to its second venture capital fund.
- Fifth Wall Ventures, a Marina Del Rey, Calif.-based venture capital firm focused on real estate, named Greg Smithies as a partner co-leading the firm’s Climate Technology Investment team. Previously, he was a partner at BMW i Ventures.
- Forerunner Ventures, a San Francisco-based venture firm focused on commerce, promoted Nicole Johnson to partner.
- JMI Equity, a growth equity firm, promoted Larry Contrella to general partner.