A second act seems in the works for Anthony Levandowski

January 20, 2021, 3:41 PM UTC

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With just hours to go until Joe Biden’s inauguration, President Donald Trump handed out a flurry of pardons, including ones to former White House strategist Stephen Bannon and other longtime political allies.

But some pardons came as a surprise: The White House announced the pardons of rappers Lil Wayne and Kodak Black.

Trump also granted clemency to Anthony Levandowski, the former Google engineer sentenced to 18 months in jail for stealing trade secrets from the tech giant’s self driving car unit. U.S. District Judge William Alsup at the time of the sentencing dubbed it the “biggest trade secret crime I have ever seen.” 

Levandowski was a founding member of Google’s self-driving car project before it was known as Waymo. In 2016, the engineer left to found a self-driving car startup dubbed Otto, a business that was acquired just months later by Uber. But he was later found to have taken thousands of files from the project. Uber fired Levandowski in 2017 before settling its own lawsuit from Alphabet.

Levandowski pled guilty to stealing trade secrets and was forced to declare bankruptcy after a court in San Francisco said he would have to pay $179 million to Google.

Late Tuesday, the White House said that Levandowski’s “sentencing judge called him a ‘brilliant, groundbreaking engineer that our country needs. Mr. Levandowski has paid a significant price for his actions and plans to devote his talents to advance the public good.’”

The pardon was supported by a raft of notable Silicon Valley players, including venture capitalist Peter Thiel, Anduril founder Palmer Luckey, and former Walt Disney executive Michael Ovitz.

“My family and I are grateful for the opportunity to move forward, and thankful to the President and others who supported and advocated on my behalf,” Levandowski wrote on Twitter. Since Uber, Levandowski has gone on to co-found another self-driving startup, Pronto.

It’s hard to imagine Alphabet is pleased to hear the news, though. When asked for a statement, its self-driving car unit Waymo said it had no comment to add.

CAR BONANZA: Chasing after the next Tesla in the electric car space and the purported $7 trillion self-driving car economy, car startups are reaping in the dollars. Electric vehicle company Rivian raised $2.7 billion as it prepares to bring an SUV to market this summer. T. Rowe Price Associates led the round and was joined by investors including Fidelity, Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund, Coatue, and D1 Capital Partners. The round values the company at nearly $28 billion.

Self-driving car company Cruise meanwhile raised $2 billion, pushing its valuation $30 billion. The GM-backed business added Microsoft as a new investor as it prepares to start charging fares this year in San Francisco.


- Globality, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based sourcing services company, raised $138.3 million. Sienna Capital led the round and was joined by investors including SoftBank Vision Fund. 

- Volta, a San Francisco-based electric vehicle charging company, raised $125 million in Series D funding. Investors included  Energize Ventures.

- Quali, an Austin-based cloud infrastructure automation company, raised $54 million in funding. Greenfield Partners and JVP co-led the round. 

- Dunzo, an India-based courier service, raised $40 million. Investors include Google, Lightbox, Evolvence, Hana Financial Investment, LGT Lightstone Aspada, and Alteria. 

- Brigit, a New York-based maker of a budgeting app, raised $35 million in Series A funding. Lightspeed Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including DCM, Nyca, Canaan, DN Capital, CRV, Core, Shasta, Hummingbird, Abstract, Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, Secocha, Ashton Kutcher’s Sound Ventures, and Flourish Ventures.

- Neurent Medical, an Ireland-based company developing treatments for chronic inflammatory sino-nasal diseases, raised $25 million in Series B funding. LSP and Atlantic Bridge led the round and were joined by Fountain Healthcare Partners.

- Conversa Health, a Portland, Ore.-based virtual care and triage platform, raised an additional $8 million for a total of $20 million in Series B funding. Builders VC and Northwell Ventures led Series B round.

- Rewind, an Ottawa, Canada-based maker of a backup system, raised $15 million in Series A funding. Inovia Capital led the round.

- FLEXE, a Seattle-based logistics software company, raised an additional $10 million as part of its Series C round. The C round itself included investments from Activate Capital, Tiger Global, Madrona Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, and Prologis Ventures.

- Landbot, a Spain-based building software company, raised $8 million in Series A funding. Swanlaab led the round.

- Arbol, a New York-based weather-based insurer, raised $7 million in Series B funding. Investors included Finch Finance, Space Capital, and Mubadala Capital-Ventures.

- HiPeople, a Berlin-based human resources tech startup, raised €3 million in seed funding. Investors included Moonfire, Cherry Ventures, and Capnamic.

- Skyqraft, a Swedish maker of a drone that inspects powerlines, raised $2.2 million in seed funding. Subvenio Invest led the round and was joined by investors including Antler and Next Human Ventures.


- Elliott Investment Management invested $50 million in Removery, a provider of tattoo removal, change, and fade services in North America.

- Advent International recapitalized RxBenefits, a Birmingham, Ala.-based employee benefits company, valuing it at about $1.1 billion. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- American Construction Source, backed by Angeles Equity Partners and Clearlake Capital Group, acquired Builder’s Resource Group, a Hudson, Wi.-based group for builders. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Crosslake Technologies, a portfolio company of Falfurrias Capital Partners, merged with Corsis, a Livingston, N.J.-based provider of due diligence services for the M&A industry. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Equality Asset Management and First Analysis invested in PCMI, a Park Ridge, Ill.-based provider of administration software for insurance services. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- FranConnect, backed by Serent Capital, has acquired FranchiseBlast, a Canada-based provider of franchise management software. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Francisco Partners invested in Native Instrumentsa Berlin-based maker or music creation software and hardware. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

- GCP Capital Partners invested in ALKEME Holdings, a Ladera Ranch, Calif.-based maker of a  retail insurance platform. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- GS Foods Group, a portfolio company of Highview Capital and A&M Capital Partners, acquired  Fresno Produce, a Fresno, Calif.-based fresh produce distributor. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- IMB Partners invested in Richmond Wholesale Meat Company, a Richmond, Calif.-based food manufacturer and global exporter to the U.S. military. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- NovaQuest Private Equity acquired CoreRx, Clearwater, Fla.-based provider of clinical and commercial  manufacturing services to pharmaceutical and biotech clients. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Sixth Street invested in Talcott Resolution Life Insurance Company, a Windsor, Conn.-based investment firm. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Sycamore agreed to acquire the Azamara brand, a line of small luxury cruises, from Royal Carribean for $201 million.

- Warburg Pincus led an investment in SPINS, a Chicago-based data company focused on wellness brand. General Atlantic and Georgian also invested. Financial terms weren't disclosed.


- Naver acquired Wattpad, a Toronto-based maker of a website for storytelling for about $600 million. Wattpad investors included August Capital, Khosla Ventures, and OMERS Ventures.

- The Huntsman Corp. acquired Gabriel Performance Products, an Akron, Oh.-based manufacturer of specialty chemical, from Audax Private Equity. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Royal Philips agreed to acquire Capsule Technologies, an Andover, Mass.-based provider of data technologies for hospitals, for $625 million in cash from investors including Francisco Partners.

- Tropicale Foods, a portfolio company of Wind Point Partners, agreed to acquire Paleteria La Michoacana a Modesto, Calif.-based maker of Hispanic foods and goods, from Canum Capital Partners and Greyrock Capital Group. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Chausson Matériaux agreed to acquire Bois & Matériaux, a French building products distributor, from OpenGate Capital. Financial terms weren't disclosed.


- Office Depot’s parent company rejected Staples’ $2.1 billion acquisition offer, but offered a deal in which Staples would potentially acquire its retail business or form a joint venture. Read more.

- TeamViewer (FRA: TMV) acquired Xaleon, an Austrian customer engagement software maker backed by eQventure and tech2b. 


- Ortho Clinical Diagnostics, a Raritan, N.J.-based maker of diagnostic products, plans to raise $1.5 billion in an offering of 70 million shares priced between $20 to $23. Carlyle backs the firm. Read more.

- Shoals Technologies Group, a Portland, Tenn.-based provider of products for solar projects, now plans to raise $1 billion in an offering of 50 million shares (39.5 million of which sold by existing shareholders) priced between $19 to $21. BlackRock and ClearBridge Investments plan to acquire some $150 million and $125 million in shares during the offering. Oaktree backs the firm. Read more.

- Mytheresa.com, a Germany-based luxury online retailer, now plans to raise $391 million in an offering of 15.6 million ADSs (87% sold by existing shareholders) priced between $24 to $26.. Ares Private Equity and CPPIB back the firm. Read more.

- Vinci Partners, a Brazilian private investment company, now plans to raise $236 million in an offering of 3.8 million shares priced between $16 and $18 apiece. Read more.

- Adagene, a Chinese biotech developing antibody cancer immunotherapies, filed to raise $125 million in the U.S. F-Prime Capital Partners and Eight Roads back the firm. Read more.

- Signify Health, a Norwalk, Conn.- maker of a payment program for healthcare payors, filed to raise $100 million. New Mountain Capital backs the firm. Read more.

- Cloopen Group Holding, a Chinese cloud-based communication company, filed to raise $100 million. Sequoia Capital China and Trustbridge Partners back the firm. Read more.

- Decipher Biosciences, a San Diego, Calif.-based maker of genomic testing products, filed to raise $100 million in an initial public offering. Yonghua International, CRG Partners, and Tekla Capital Management. Read more.

- Allfunds, a Madrid-based financial services company, plans to IPO on the Euronext Amsterdam in a deal that could value it at between €6 billion to €7 billion euros ($7.3 billion tp $8.5 billion). It is backed by Hellman & Friedman, GIC, BNP Paribas, and Credit Suisse. Read more.


- Ares Acquisition, a SAPC formed by Ares Management seeking a sustainability business, filed to raise $600 million. Read more.

- Spartan Acquisition III, a SPAC by Apollo Global Management, filed to raise $400 million in an initial public offering. Read more.

- Decarbonization Plus Acquisition II, a SPAC focused on decarbonization founded by Riverstone, plans to raise $350 million, up from a previously stated $200 million. Read more.

- Sustainable Development Acquisition I, a SPAC from the Renewable Resources Group and Capricorn Investment Group, filed to raise $250 million. Read more.


- Blue Horizon Ventures, a Zurich-based sustainable food technology focused venture capital fund, raised €183 million ($222 million) for its flagship fund.

- Growth Street Partners, a San Francisco-based early growth capital firm, raised $130 million for Growth Street Partners II.

- Sheridan Capital Partners, a healthcare private equity firm, raised $306 million for its second fund. 


- Octopus Ventures, a London-based venture capital firm, named Emma Davies as Co-CEO working alongside Alliott Cole.

- Blue Point Capital Partners, a Cleveland, Oh.-based private equity firm, promoted Jonathan Pressnell to partner, Evan Cottington to vice president and Bobby Grebenc to senior associate.

- Northzone, a London-based early-stage venture firm, promoted Wendy Xiao Schadeck to partner in New York.

- Littlejohn & Co., a Greenwich, Conn.-based private investment firm, promoted Steven Kalter to managing director.

- Gryphon Investors, a San Francisco-based middle-market private equity firm, named John Schumacher as a partner.

- ParkerGale Capital, a Chicago-based private equity firm, promoted Elenor Welles-Gertz to vice president.

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