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Are the Beach Boys about to be cool again?

February 19, 2021, 3:31 PM UTC

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It’s a good time for mergers and acquisitions, even in the music catalog space. The songs of former Fleetwood Mac singer Stevie Nicks and Taylor Swift, for instance, have traded hands in recent months.

Now for a real throwback: Irving Azoff, the entertainment executive and manager of Jon Bon Jovi, acquired a majority interest in the music of The Beach Boys—yes, the 1960s band. While the deal terms weren’t announced, Bloomberg pins the value of the assets at about $100 million to $200 million.

“We think The Beach Boys is an underappreciated trademark,” Azoff told Bloomberg. “They are just not as important as they could and should be.”

WHEN THE GAME WON’T STOP: Predictably, much of the five-hour-long GameStop hearing yesterday was a practice in repetition. Lawmakers relentlessly grilled Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev about the stock trading startup’s decision to pause the selling of shares in companies including GameStop. Tenev apologized repeatedly for doing so before pointing the room back to what the company has said before: The surge in trading in January led to greater collateral requirements from Robinhood’s clearing broker, and therefore led to restrictions on the trading of some securities. When asked if Citadel had any role in Robinhood’s decision, its CEO Ken Griffin also denied any collusion. 

But there was one undeniable takeaway: Lawmakers concentrated the majority of the heat on Robinhood, even with a lineup of testimonies that included Melvin Capital Management CEO Gabriel Plotkin. That was made clear just a few minutes into the testimony. When Tenev did not immediately answer a question about Robinhood’s liquidity, Rep. Maxine Water (D-Calif.) quickly interrupted, saying: “I just need a yes or no answer.”

Panel questions also centered on the industry-wide practice of payment for order flow, whether Robinhood is overly gamified, and if the company has enough controls on its platform to protect customers against more complex trading options. (Tenev did reveal some new numbers, saying some 2% of Robinhood users use margins while 13% use options.)

HAPPY FRIDAY: In preparation for the weekend, here’s a good rap that will make you smile about…SPACs. The musician behind the song, Cassius Cuvée, now has about half of his $1 million portfolio tied to SPACs, which are effectively shell companies that go public in the hopes of acquiring another business, per this story about the rapper from the Wall Street Journal.

Lucinda Shen
Twitter: @shenlucinda


- Descomplica, a Brazilian edtech, raised $84.5 million. Invus Opportunities and SoftBank led the round and were joined by investors including Valor Capital Group, Península Participações, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and Amadeus Capital Partners. The Edge, guitar player of Irish rock band U2, also joined the round.  

- Varo Bank, a San Francisco-based neobank, raised $63 million. NBA star Russell Westbrook’s Russell Westbrook Enterprises led the round.

- Photomath, a San Francisco-based maker of a math learning app, raised $23 million in Series B funding. Menlo Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including GSV Ventures, Learn Capital, Cherubic Ventures, and Goodwater Capital.

- Eseye, a U.K.-based IoT connectivity company, raised C$26.3 million ($21 million) from TELUS Ventures.

- Knock, a Seattle-based developer of property management software, raised $20 million. Fifth Wall Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Madrona Venture Group, Lead Edge Capital, Second Avenue Partners, and Seven Peaks Ventures.

- Promise, an Oakland, Calif.-based payments company for local governments and utilities, raised $20 Million in Series A funding. Kapor Capital and XYZ led the round and were joined by Bronze, First Round, and Y Combinator.

- Census, a San Francisco-based data automation company, raised $16 million in Series A funding. Sequoia Capital led the round and was joined by investors including Andreessen Horowitz.

- Grip, a London, U.K.-based market engagement platform, raised $13 million in Series A funding. Kennet Partners led the round.

- SPHERE, a Hoboken, N.J.-based cybersecurity business, raised $10 million in Series A funding. ForgePoint Capital led the round.

- Torii, an Israel-based Saas management software maker, raised $10 million in Series A funding. Wing Venture Capital led the round and was joined by investors including Entree Capital, Global Founders Capital, Scopus Ventures, and Uncork Capital. Read more.

- AccountsIQ, a Dublin-based financial software management platform, raised €5.8 million ($7 million). Finch Capital led the round.

- Pipe17, a Seattle, Wash.-based e-commerce operations platform, raised $8 million. GLP Capital Partners led the round.

- eFuse, a Columbus, Oh.-based startup operating a platform for gamers to find jobs, raised $6 million in funding. Ohio Innovation Fund led the round.

- Nest Collaborative, a Farmington, Conn.-based creator of a lactation consultation platform, raised $2.1 million in seed funding. Altitude Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Bread and Butter Ventures, Wavemaker 360, Portfolia FemTech Fund II, Connecticut Innovations, Carnrite Ventures, and the Hustle Fund.

- Rx Redefined, an Oakland, Calif.-based prescription software platform, raised $2 million in seed funding. Silverton Partners led the round and was joined by investors including Saturn Five.


- The Carlyle Group invested $200 million in Kakao Mobility, the South Korean transportation unit of Kakao, valuing it at about $3.1 billion.

- 3i Group agreed to invest $120 million in Wilson Human Capital, a Tampa, Fla.-based recruitment outsourcing company. 

- Ares Capital, Elysian Park Ventures, and Knighthead Capital led a $65 million round in The Professional Fighters League, a New York-based MMA sports league. 

- New Heritage Capital invested in FMS Solutions, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based provider of business process outsourcing services to independent grocers and retailers. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- High Street Insurance Partners, backed by Huron Capital, acquired Badge Agency, a Woodbury, New York-based insurance agency. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- HODINKEE, backed by the Chernin Group, acquired Crown & Caliber, an Atlanta, Ga.-based way to buy and sell luxury watches. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- LNC Partners invested in Kaizen Collision Center, a Phoenix, Ariz.-based collision repair shop. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Stone Point Capital invested in Allied Benefit Systems, a Chicago-based independent administrator of group health benefits to self-insured employers. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- SyBridge Technologies, backed by Crestview Partners, acquired Active Industrial Solutions and Active Industrial Solutions Tennessee, Canada-based maker of plastic injection molds and lighting reflex components for the mobility industry. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Teachers of Tomorrow, backed by Gauge Capital, acquired The Learning Liaisons, a Longwood, Fla.-based platform for teachers to make exam preparation through interactive video courses and workshops. Financial terms weren't disclosed.


- Daily Mail and General Trust agreed to sell Hobsons, its EdTech business, for $410 million in two transactions. Hobsons’ Naviance and Intersect businesses will be sold to PowerSchool for about $320 million. Hobsons’ Starfish business will be sold to EAB for about $90 million. Read more.

- MindMed (NEO: MMED) agreed to acquire HealthMode, a San Francisco-based digital medicine startup using A.I. in clinical research and patient monitoring, for about $32 million. Data Collective and Promus Ventures backed HealthMode. Read more.

- Surf Air Mobility agreed to acquire Ampaire, a Hawthorne, Calif.-based electric aviation tech company. Elemental Excelerator, the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator, and Techstars back Ampaire. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Forks Over Knives and The Beet, two plant-based lifestyle brands, merged to form Upbeet Brands. Gather Ventures backed the merger.


- Karat Packaging, a Chino, Calif.-based maker of environmentally-friendly food packaging, re-filed to raise $75 million. Read more.

- Weibo, the Chinese social media service, is planning a second listing in Hong Kong as early as this year, per Bloomberg. Read more.

- Dingdong Maicai, the Chinese grocery app, is weighing an IPO in the U.S. potentially this year, per Bloomberg. Sequoia Capital China backs the firm. Read more.


- Trine II Acquisition, a SPAC led by Leo Hindery seeking a target in the telecom, media, and tech space, filed to raise up to $425 million. Read more.

- Forest Road Acquisition II, the second SPAC formed by the same team of former Walt Disney executives that acquired Beachbody and Myx Fitness, filed to raise $300 million. Read more.

- Supernova Partners Acquisition III, another SPAC formed by executives including former Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff, filed to raise $250 million. Read more.

- Frontier Acquisition, a SPAC by German investor Christian Angermayer, filed to raise $200 million. Read more.


- Sagard Holdings  closed Sagard Healthcare Royalty Partners with $725 million.

- Savant Growth closed its inaugural fund with $500 million.

-Avid Ventures raised $68 million in funding. Read more


- Intel Capital named Anthony Lin as managing partner and head of Intel Capital.

- KKR’s Managing Director for the Asia Pacific, Terence Lee, has resigned, per Bloomberg. Read more.