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Is Plaid destined to go it alone?

April 7, 2021, 2:51 PM UTC

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The numbers are in: The Plaid-Visa breakup has handsomely paid off for Plaid’s investors.

On Wednesday, the startup founded in 2012 announced a funding round that a source says values the company at about $13.4 billion, more than double the $5.3 billion price tag Visa placed on the company roughly a year earlier.

The $425 million Series D round of funding, led by Altimeter Capital, is one that allows the company to stay private longer while taking advantage of the surge in online banking and e-commerce. Plaid has already gotten a steroid shot from the latest increase in fortunes for fintechs. While the company declined to give revenue figures for the last year, it says its customer base grew by 60% and has added Microsoft and Google as clients.

“This is a year and period of massive speed for this industry,” Plaid CEO Zach Perret told Term Sheet this Tuesday. “We need to ride the opportunity that has presented itself.”

The deal with Visa, called off in January amid a Department of Justice antitrust probe, would have undoubtedly changed the DNA of the company. But Perret’s vision for Plaid is remarkably consistent to a year ago. Every company is a fintech, he says. 

And as part of that thesis, the company has recently expanded into a buzzy area: payroll verification. Yes, it sounds dull, and if done right, consumers won’t notice Plaid’s hand in connecting payroll information to a lender or landlord. But investors are betting fintechs, banks, and employers are willing to lavish ample sums upon accessing that information.

I can’t help but wonder if Plaid plans to eventually go public. To an extent, it seems as if the universe is pushing it toward one instead of a merger. In 2018, Jack Dorsey’s Square held talks to acquire the company for about $1 billion. A deal never materialized, but the ensuing VC-fueled bidding war for a stake in the company pushed Plaid’s valuation far beyond the unicorn mark to about $2.7 billion. Years later, soaring fintech valuations and that Department of Justice probe into the Visa and Plaid deal put an end to that engagement.

Is the company destined to go it alone? Plaid’s decision to choose a lead investor in Altimeter, a firm that has made its way into many startup deals by marketing its public-market knowhow, certainly seems to point in that direction.

“I fully expect that Plaid at some point in the future will be a public company and I think we’ll be excellent partners whenever and however they choose to crossover to the public markets,” says Altimeter CEO Brad Gerstner to Term Sheet.

As for the when—that’s hazier.

“A public offering and eventual move to the public market is one we’ve certainly thought about in the long future, but it’s not on the near horizon,” Perret told me, saying the company is focused at the moment on capturing growth.

Altimeter was joined by fellow new investors Silver Lake and Ribbit Capital. A roster of existing investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Index Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, New Enterprise Associates, Spark Capital, and Thrive Capital also added to the round.

C3PO—uh, C3P1: The last 12 hours have been quite the news cycle for Clubhouse, Canva, Coinbase, and, in a break from the Cs, Patreon. I’ll keep it short and sweet.

  • CANVA: Australia-based graphic design software startup Canva is now valued at $15 billion after a $71 million round of funding. What struck me about this raise: It appears to be incredibly non-dilutive financing to employees, founders, and early investors (the company was last valued at about $6 billion in 2020)—signaling that the company had plenty of bargaining power on its side, and maybe didn’t actually need the funding in the first place. The company is profitable, per my colleague Robert Hackett, and is projected to grow revenue by 130% to $500 million in 2021. Read more.
  • CLUBHOUSE: Yesterday, this newsletter covered Clubhouse’s prioritization of growth over monetization. It may well have more funding to continue that route. Bloomberg reports that the company, one year since its launch, is in talks to raise at a $4 billion valuation. Read more
  • COINBASE: Ahead of a direct listing slated for next week, the cryptocurrency exchange revealed it had one heck of a start to 2021. It had surpassed its revenues from 2020 in just the first three months of this year alone, with revenue of $1.8 billion in the first quarter of the year compared to $1.3 billion in all of last year. That could set it up for a very positive turn in public markets, despite the recent shakiness in the market for tech stocks.
  • PATREON: The idea of the “creator economy” has taken off lately. Patreon, a platform for individuals and artists to create their own subscription service, is part of the boom. The company raised $155 million in Series F funding, led by Tiger Global Management, valuing the business at $4 billion. Read more.

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

VENTURE DEALS

- Trax, a Singapore-based image recognition company focused on retail analytics, raised $640 million in Series E funding. SoftBank Vision Fund 2 led the round and was joined by investors including BlackRock, OMERS, and Sony Innovation Fund by IGV. Read more.

- Redis Labs, a Mountainview, Calif.-based data processing startup, raised $110 million. Tiger Global led the Series G round and was joined by investors including Softbank Vision Fund 2 and TCV, valuing it at $2 billion. 

- Groww, an India-based investment app,  raised $83 million in Series D funding, valuing it at $1 billion. Tiger Global led the round and was joined by investors including Sequoia Capital India, Ribbit Capital, YC Continuity, and Propel Venture Partners.

- CaptivateIQ, a San Francisco-based sales team platform, raised $46 million in Series B funding. Accel led the round and was joined by investors including Sequoia, Y Combinator, Amity, and S28.

- Pendulum Therapeutics, a San Francisco-based biotech focused on the microbiome, raised $54 million. Meritech Capital led the round and was joined by investors including Sequoia Capital, True Ventures, and Khosla Ventures

- Blue dot, an Israel-based tax-compliance software company formerly known as VATBox, raised $32 million. Lutetia Technology Partners led the round and was joined by investors including  Lamaison Partners, Viola, and Target Global.

- Prosimo, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based enterprise infrastructure company, raised $25 million in seed and Series A funding co-led by General Catalyst and WRVI Capital. Investors also included Nepenthe Capital.

- Pica8, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based open networking software provider, raised about $20 million in Series C funding. WI Harper Group and Aspiro Capital Management led the round and were joined by investors including Vantage Point Ventures.

- Inbox Health, a New Haven, Conn.-based patient payments platform, raised $15 million in Series A funding.  Commerce Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Vertical Venture Partners, Healthy Ventures, Collaborative Fund, Fairview Capital, CT Innovations, and I2BF Global Ventures.

- Flash Coffee, a Singapore-based coffee chain, raised $15 million in Series A funding. White Star Capital led the round and was joined by investors including DX Ventures, Global Founders Capital, and Conny & Co. 

- Guardian Agriculture, a Boston-based crop protection company, raised $10.5 million in seed funding. Leaps by Bayer led the round and was joined by investors including FMC Ventures, Wilbur-Ellis’ Cavallo Ventures, Fall Line Capital, the MIT-affiliated E14 Fund, Pillar VC, and Neoteny.

- Mickey, a New York-based company focused on exports for small to midsize suppliers, raised $10 million. Lerer Hippeau and LightBank led the round.

- Dopple, a New York-based maker of an ecommerce platform for children’s apparel, raised $9.8 million in seed funding. Bullpen Capital and Precursor Ventures led the round.

- Charles, a Berlin-based conversation software maker for businesses, raised €6.4 million ($7.6 million) in seed funding. Accel and HV Capital led the round.

- Orchid, a San Francisco-based maker of a kit to screen a couple's genetics and how it may impact a child’s health, raised $4.5 million in seed funding. Investors included Refactor Capital, Village Global, Day One Ventures, Olive Capital, and Boom Capital. 

- Ark, a Boston-based investor portal designed for private equity, venture capital and real estate fund managers, raised $3.4 million in Series A funding. Vitruvian Partners led the round.

- NoCap Live, a Los Angeles-based live streaming concert platform, raised $3 million in seed funding. Tornante led the round and was joined by Saltwater, Goodwater Capital, LionTree, Ninja, and Guy Fieri.

PRIVATE EQUITY

- Crestline Investors invested $50 million in GiGstreem, a New York-based in-building gigabit internet service provider.

- Ardian agreed to invest in Deli Home, a Dutch provider of home improvement products. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- CeriFi, backed by Leeds Equity Partners, acquired CPMI, an Alpharetta, Ga.-based provider of insurance pre-licensing and education courses. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- H.I.G. Capital invested in Concord USA, a Hopkins, Minn.-based tech consulting company. Concord also acquired Upton Hill, a Minneapolis-based, healthcare-focused consulting firm. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Mill Rock Capital and Intermediate Capital Group invested in The Execu|Search Group, a New York-based recruitment firm. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- OpenGate Capital acquired Kongsberg Precision Cutting Systems, a Belgium-based dmaker of digital cutting solutions, from Esko. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Oliver, a portfolio company of Pfingsten, acquired Boutwell, Owens & Co., a Fitchburg, Mass.-based manufacturer of folding carton and blister card packaging. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Road Safety Services acquired Twin Traffic Marking and Traffic Zone Services, Kansas City, Mo.-based providers of pavement marking services and traffic control services. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Unnox Group, backed by Sherpa Capital, acquired  High Technology Masterbatches, a Spain-based maker of films for agriculture and packing. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Ascensus Specialties, a portfolio company of Wind Point Partners, acquired Strem Chemicals, a Newburyport, Mass.-based maker specialty chemicals. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

EXIT

- Oak Hill Capital Partners acquired American Veterinary Group, a Tampa, Fla.-based veterinary group, from Trive Capital and Latticework Capital Management. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

SPAC

- The Topps Company, a New York-based maker of confections and trading cards, plans to go public via merger with Mudrick Capital Acquisition II, a SPAC. A deal values the firm at about $1.2 billion.

F+FS

- SkyKnight Capital, a San Francisco-based private equity firm, closed SkyKnight Capital Fund III with $600 million.

- AXA Venture Partners, a Paris-based venture firm, raised €250 million for its first closing of AVP Growth Fund II.

PEOPLE

- Norwest Venture Partners, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based venture capital firm, promoted Kathryn Weinmann, Chris Sondej, Yoni Braun, and Connor Pike to vice president. It also promoted Hannah Kim to senior associate.

- Ara Partners, a Houston-based private equity firm specializing in industrial decarbonization investments, hired Greg Zuboff as a vice president.

- Spring Mountain Capital, a New York-based private equity firm, promoted Kenneth Soll to vice president.