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Ahead of an IPO, Robinhood agrees to pay $65 million to settle SEC charges

December 17, 2020, 3:23 PM UTC

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Robinhood has raised hundreds of millions in recent months as the pandemic has multiplied demand.

Just in: The online brokerage agreed Thursday to pay $65 million to settle accusations from the Securities and Exchange Commission that it misled consumers between 2015 and 2018. The U.S. watchdog said the company failed to adequately execute trade orders at best prices and also failed to disclose how it made much of its money: by selling stock trades.

Robinhood has neither admitted nor denied the accusations. This all comes as Robinhood has been getting its house in order ahead of a rumored IPO in 2021.

A BARKING SPAC: Pet subscription company BarkBox agreed to go public via merger with Northern Star Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company in a deal that will value the company at about $1.6 billion. The duo will list on the NYSE as “BARK.” 

Alongside the capital from the SPAC itself, which is led by Snap and Sonos board member Joanna Coles as well as majority owner of the New York Islanders Jon Ledecky, BarkBox will also get some $200 million from accompanying transactions from investors including Fidelity and Senator Investment Group.

The deal comes amid a surge in interest for pet supplies. Petco filed for an IPO just this month. BarkBox meanwhile is backed by venture capital firms including RRE Ventures and Lerer Hippeau.

THE WORST FIRST-DAY LISTING OF A 2020 UNICORN: Shares of Wish, the discount e-commerce retailer, dropped in their first day of trading Wednesday, valuing the company at $14 billion or so on a fully diluted basis by the end of the day. Falling about 16.6% by the market’s close that day, Wish’s debut is the worst among the 31 billion-dollar-plus companies to have gone public this year. The debut comes as other unicorns seeking to go public such as Affirm and Roblox have pushed their IPO timelines to next year after seeing the much maligned “first-day pops” of DoorDash and Airbnb’s respective listings. When asked why Wish didn’t also push its timeline back, Wish CFO Rajat Bahri told Term Sheet he believed the IPO to be “one step of many,” adding: “There is never perfect timing, and markets are good right now.” How the company performs in the long term is what is key.

Lending marketplace Upstart meanwhile jumped 47% in its debut on Wednesday.

IT’S YOUR LAST CHANCE!: What will 2021 bring for the dealmaking world? 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?). 

You know where to find me—either email me at Lucinda.shen@fortune.com or tweet at this new Twitter thread by end of day Thursday.

On Friday, I’ll feature highlights from your answers, alongside your name and title, unless you explicitly indicate that you’d only like to use your first name.

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

***

In this week’s episode of our Brainstorm Tech podcast, Michal Lev-Ram talks to Lise Buyer of Class V Group about non-traditional methods of going public: SPACs and the auction model. Both are gaining popularity; Buyer explains why. Then, Brian O’Keefe speaks with Threshold Ventures’ Emily Melton about how the rush to go public looks from the VC world, and what trends she’s seen that will carry over into 2021. Listen to the episode here.

VENTURE DEALS

- WeDoctor, a Chinese health tech company backed by Tencent, is nearing a $350 million raise ahead of its IPO, per Bloomberg. Read more.

- Lalamove, a Hong Kong-based logistics company, is look to raise at least $500 million at a roughly $8 billion valuation, per Bloomberg. Read more.

- Bolt, an Estonian Uber rival, raised €150 million (about $182 million). D1 Capital Partners led the round.

- Paxos, a New York-based blockchain infrastructure company, raised $142 million in Series C funding. Declaration Partners led the round and was joined by investors including Mithril Capital, PayPal Ventures, RIT Capital Partners, Ken Moelis, Alua Capital, and Senator Investment Group.

- Neuron23, a South San Francisco and Munich-based biotech focused on neurological and immunological diseases, raised $113.5 million in Series A and B funding. Westlake Village BioPartners and Kleiner Perkins led the $33.5 million Series A while Redmile Group led the round the $80 million Series B.

- Oscar, a New York-based health insurance company, raised $140 million. Tiger Global Management led the round and was joined by investors including Dragoneer, Baillie Gifford, Coatue, Founders Fund, Khosla, Lakestar, and Reinvent.

- Lydia, a Paris-based fintech, raised an additional $86 million in Series B funding. Accel led the extension.

- Brainly, a New York-based online learning company, announced today raised $80 million in Series D funding. Learn Capital led the round and was joined by investors including Prosus Ventures, Runa Capital, Manta Ray, and General Catalyst Partners

- Bestow, a Dallas, Texas-based life insurance company, raised $70 million in Series C funding. Investors included Breyer Capital, Valar Ventures, New Enterprise Associates, Core Innovation Ventures, Morpheus Ventures, and Sammons Financial.

- Epirus, a Los Angeles-based maker of software applications for the defense and commercial sectors, raised $70 million in Series B funding. Bedrock Capital led the round and was joined by investors including L3Harris Technologies, Piedmont Capital Investments, 8VC, Fathom Capital, and Greenspring Associates.

- BigID, a New York-based privacy and data protection company, raised $70 million in Series D funding valuing it at over $1 billion. Salesforce Ventures and Tiger Global led the round.

- H1, a New York-based maker of a tech platform for healthcare organizations, raised $58 million in Series B funding. IVP and Menlo Ventures led the round and were joined by Transformation Capital, Lux Capital, Lead Edge Capital, Novartis dRx, and Y Combinator.

- Aceable, an Austin, Texas-based online driver’s ed company, raised $50 million. HGGC led the round.

- Cargo.one, a Berlin-based maker of a digital booking platform for air cargo, raised $42 million in Series B funding. Bessemer Venture Partners led the round and was joined by investors including Index Ventures, Creandum, Point Nine, and Next47.

- Cypress.io, an Atlanta, Ga.-based testing framework  for software developers, raised $40 million in Series B funding. OpenView Venture Partners led the round.

- Lyte, a San Francisco-based maker of a ticketing platform for live events, raised $33 million in Series B funding. Investors include Social Capital, musician Quincy Jones, Rocketship VC, Jackson Square Ventures, Accomplice, and Correlation Ventures.

- Ramp, a New York-based corporate card company, raised $30 million in funding from D1 Capital and Coatue Management.

- Salary Finance, a U.K.-based fintech company, raised $27 million in Series D funding. Experian and Legal & General led the round.

- ZeroAvia, a Hollister, Calif.-based company focused on hydrogen-fueled flight, raised $21.4 million in Series A funding. Breakthrough Energy Ventures and Ecosystem Integrity Fund led the round and were joined by Amazon Climate Pledge Fund, Horizons Ventures, Shell Ventures, and Summa Equity.

- Little Spoon, a New York-based maker of baby foods, raised $22 million. Valor Equity led the round.

- CloudTrucks, a San Francisco, Calif.-based virtual trucking company, raised $20.5 million in funding. Caffeinated Capital led the round and was joined by investors including Craft Ventures, Khosla Ventures, SciFi VC, Kindred Ventures, Abstract Ventures, and Better Tomorrow Ventures

- Diameter Health, a Farmington, Conn.-based clinical insights and data company, raised $18 million in Series B funding. Centene Corporation led the round and was joined by investors including Optum Ventures, LRVHealth, Connecticut Innovations, and Activate Venture Partners

- Crehana, a Mexico-based skills training platform, raised $17.5 million in Series A funding. Mountain Nazca led the round and was joined by investors including Endeavor Catalyst, IFC World Bank Group, Salesforce Ventures, Alive Ventures, Dila Capital, and Rethink Education.

- Bambee, a Los Angeles-based company offering HR managers, raised $15 million in Series B funding. QED Investors led the round and was joined by investors including Alpha Edison and Mucker Capital.

- Carlsmed, a San Diego, Calif.-based medical device company, raised $10 million in Series A funding. U.S. Venture Partners led the round and was joined by investors including The Vertical Group, Cove Fund, and Wavemaker Three-Sixty Health.

- Projector, a San Francisco-based maker of a collaborative graphic design platform, raised $10 million. Foundry Group led the round and was joined by investors including Mantis Venture Capital, Van Wickle Ventures, Upfront Ventures, Mayfield Fund, and Upside Partnership.

- Motorq, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based API company for cars, raised $7 million in Series A funding. Story Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including FM Capital and Monta Vista Capital.

- Storyboard, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based company for creating podcasts, raised $4.5 million in seed funding. CRV led the round and was joined by investors including Harry Stebbings (20MinuteVC), Operator Partners, Slack Fund, Dave Ambrose, and Matt Ziskie.

- OpenSensors, a London-based internet of things company, raised $4 million in seed funding. Crane Ventures led the round.

- Runway, a Brooklyn, New York-based company with video and photo editing tools powered by A.I., raised $8.5 million in Series A funding. Amplify Partners led the round and was joined by investors including Lux Capital and Compound Ventures

- Revi, a San-Francisco-based startup serving restaurants, raised $2 million in seed funding. Ubiquity Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Precursor Ventures and Designer Fund.

- Deed, a New York-based maker of a social impact and volunteering platform for businesses, raised $2 million in seed funding. Paua Ventures led the round.

- Gr4vy, a cloud payments company, raised $1.1 million. Activant Capital and Global Founders Capital led the round.

PRIVATE EQUITY

- EQT agreed to acquire a majority stake in Storable, an Austin-based maker of tech for self-storage businesses, valuing it at about $2 billion, including debt. Cove Hill Partners will retain a minority stake.

- Pivotal Group invested in SnapNurse, an Atlanta, Ga.-based nurse and medical staffing company. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Cimbria Capital agreed to acquire Madeira Global, a St. Petersburg, Fla.-based environmental, social and governance reporting firm. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Corsair Capital acquired a majority stake in Identity Intelligence Group, a Temecula, Calif.-based credit report and identity theft monitoring company. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Knox Lane invested in Fingerpaint, a Saratoga Springs, New York-based health and wellness marketing agency. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital led a $150 million investment in The Lifetime Value Co, a New York-based creator of online consumer and business information brands. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Providence Equity Partners is in talks to acquire a stake in Groupe La Centrale, a French classifieds group, from Axel Springer. Financial terms weren't disclosed. Read more.

- TA Associates and Rx3 Growth Partners invested in Mid America Pet Food, a Mount Pleasant, Texas-based maker of pet foods, acquiring their stakes from Trinity Hunt Partners. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Traject, backed by ASG, acquired Planoly, an Austin, Texas-based social marketing platform. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Spectrum Automotive Holdings, backed by Cornell Capital, acquired CalTex Protective Coatings, a  Schertz, Texas-based provider of automotive appearance protection products. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

EXITS

- Bain Capital and Clayton Dubilier & Rice are bidding for Mediq, a Dutch health-care services provider owned by Advent International, per Bloomberg. Read more.

- Bertram Capital acquired Safety Products Holdings, an Oakbrook, Ill.-based maker of cutting tools, from Levine Leichtman Capital Partners. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- QuestionPro acquired Enprecis Group, a Dallas, Texas-based customer service platform for the automotive industry, from Bregal Sagemount. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Tailwind Capital acquired ArrowStream, a Chicago-based maker of supply chain management software for the foodservice from Diversis Capital.

- The Vistria Group invested in Mission Health, a San Diego, Calif.-based home health and hospice services provider. HCAP Partners exited the investment.’

OTHER

- LGT will acquire UBS’s Austrian wealth management business. Financial terms weren't disclosed.Read more.

- Tilray (Nasdaq: TLRY) agreed to merge with Aphira (Nasdaq: APHA), a Canadian cannabis company, in a deal valued at about $3.9 billion.

IPOs

- The CI Galaxy Bitcoin Fund, a cryptocurrency fund from CI Financial, raised $72 million. Read more.

F+FS

- The Carlyle Group's AlpInvest Partners raised $9 billion for its most recent private equity secondaries fund, per Bloomberg. Read more.

- Gridiron Capital closed its fourth fund with $1.4 billion.

PEOPLE

- Maveron, a consumer-focused venture firm, hired Veronica Reaves and Jerry Lu as senior associates.

- Behrman Capital, a private equity firm, promoted Michael Rapport to partner, Calvert Thomas to principal, and Kyle Grace to vice president.

- Steadfast Financial, a New York-based investment advisor, hired Matt Buchwald, previously of D2iq, and Vivek Ramaswami, previously of Redpoint Ventures, as principals in the firm's venture practice.