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A weight-loss startup gains some (desired) heft

May 19, 2021, 2:13 PM UTC

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There’s no question that digital health services have boomed over the last several months, as lockdown orders forced consumers indoors. 

Now a weight loss startup that uses a mix of human coaches and A.I. to change consumer habits is capitalizing on that boom. Noom has reportedly raised funding at a $4 billion valuation ahead of a potential IPO, per Bloomberg. Already backed by investors including Sequoia, RRE Ventures, and Qualcomm Ventures (as well as Serena Williams’s Serena Ventures), the startup has also added Silver Lake to its roster of investors.

And Noom has its eyes set on an even higher price tag: It has discussed a potential public listing that could value it at $10 billion, per the report. Last year, the company—whose plans start at about $59 a month—generated about $400 million in revenue, roughly double compared to the previous year.

The question is, will these pandemic pounds stick? Certainly there’s a massive market for weight-loss solutions and a demand for the personalized approach that Noom offers. But dieting is an infamously cyclical practice, with a multitude of potential competing plans. Just look to the stock of Weight Watchers for a hint of the volatility of the sector: Valued at $6.8 billion in 2018, the company—which also runs physical centers and changed its name to WW International in 2019—is now valued at $2.6 billion. I also can’t help but wonder to what extent marketing will play a big role in Noom’s own business model. It’s played a major role in Weight Watchers’s history—Oprah Winfrey’s endorsement in 2015 has added many to its platform.

At least for Silver Lake, it seems like the investment emphasizes its interest in digital consumer health. The tech investor last year made a bet on gym operator Equinox, just before the pandemic hit. In a statement at the time, Equinox Executive Chairman Harvey Spevak spoke of growing its online and offline presence rather than simply expanding its physical chain.

UNICORN ALERT: In December, I wrote about Vise, a Sequoia-backed startup that sells A.I. and software to independent investment advisors. Back then, it was decidedly not a unicorn. Now just five months after that funding round, the company announced that it has raised $65 million in Series C funding from Ribbit Capital, valuing it at $1 billion.

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

VENTURE DEALS

- Extend, a San Francisco-based provider of extended warranty plans, raised $260 million in Series C funding. SoftBank Vision Fund 2 led the round and was joined by investors including Meritech Capital Partners, PayPal Ventures, GreatPoint Ventures, Nationwide, Tomales Bay Capital, Launchpad Capital, 10X Capital and 40North.

- Eat Just, a San Francisco-based maker of plant-based egg products, raised $170 million. Investors were UBS O’Connor, Graphene Ventures, and K3 Ventures.

- PathAI, a Boston-based digital pathology company, raised $165 million in Series C funding. D1 Capital Partners led the round and was joined by investors including Kaiser Permanente.

- Piano, a New York City-based provider of analytics and subscription services to publishers, raised $88 million. Updata Partners led the round and was joined by investors including Rittenhouse Ventures and LinkedIn.

- BukuKas, an Indonesia-based startup digitizing small businesses, raised $50 million in Series B funding. Investors included Gokul Rajaram (a DoorDash executive), and Taavet Hinrikus (co-founder and CEO of TransferWise).

- Wheel, an Austin-based virtual care company, raised $50 million in Series B funding. Lightspeed Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including CRV, Silverton Partners, Tusk Venture Partners, J.P. Morgan, and Future Shape.

- Super, a San Francisco-based insurtech company that provides subscription care for the home, raised $50 million in Series C funding. Wells Fargo Strategic Capital led the round and was joined by investors including Asahi Kasei, AAA - Auto Club Group, Gaingels, and REACH.

- Daring, a Los Angeles-based maker of plant-based chicken-meat substitutes raised $40 million in Series B funding. D1 Capital Partners led the round and was joined by investors including Drake, Maveron and Palm Tree Crew.

- Styra, a Redwood City, Calif.-based company with a security and compliance risk platform, raised $40 million in Series B funding. Battery Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including A. Capital, Unusual Ventures, Accel, CapitalOne Ventures, Citi Ventures, and Cisco Investments

- ThetaRay, an Israeli cross-border payments company, raised $31 million. Investors included Benhamou Global Ventures and Saints Fund, as well as OurCrowd, Bank Hapoalim, and SBT.

- Assignar, a Denver-based construction operations platform, raised $20 million in Series B funding. Fifth Wall led the round and was joined by investors including Tola Capital and Ironspring Ventures.

- Informed.IQ, a San Francisco-based developer of document verification and analysis tools used by lenders, raised $20 million in Series A funding.  Nyca Partners and US Venture Partners led the round.

- Settle, a provider of capital to e-commerce and consumer packaged goods companies, raised $15 million in Series A funding. Kleiner Perkins led the round. Founders Fund led a $6 million seed in the business previously.

- Liquid Instruments, a U.S.- and Australia-based software instrumentation platform, raised $13.7 million. Investors included Anzu Partners and ANU Connect Ventures as well as new investors F1 Solutions and Moelis Australia’s Growth Capital Fund.

- LucidLink, a San Francisco-based cloud file technology company, raised $12 million in Series A funding. Headline led the round.

- Educative, a Seattle-based interactive hands-on skill development platform for software developers, raised $12 million in Series A funding. Matrix Partners led the round and was joined by investors including Trilogy Equity Partners.

- emocha Health, a Baltimore, Md.-based digital health company focused on medication adherence, raised $6.2 million in Series A funding. Claritas Health Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Healthworx, BlueCross BlueShield, Kapor Capital, and PTX Capital

- Somewhere Good, a social media company centered around people of color, raised $3.8 million in seed funding. True Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Dream Machine, Debut Capital, Canvas Ventures, Slauson & Co., NextView Ventures and 2PM.

- Cortex, a San Francisco-based reliability code company, raised $2.5 million in seed funding. Sequoia Capital led the round.

- Uptrust, a San Francisco-based startup focused on the incarceration process, raised $2 million in seed financing. the De-carceration Fund, Luminate, and Stand Together Ventures Lab led the round.

PRIVATE EQUITY

- TZP Group led a $40 million investment in Knix, a Canada-based intimate apparel brand. Investors included Acton Capital and model Ashley Graham.

- BlackRock invested in Grupo Axo, a Latin American multi-brand retail platform, valuing it above $1 billion. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Peak-Ryzex, backed by Sole Source Capital, acquired Bar Code Direct, a North Grafton, Mass.-based reseller of hardware and accessory equipment. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Reedy Industries, a portfolio company of Audax Private Equity, acquired Standard Plumbing and Heating Company and Sheet Metal Crafters, a Canton, Oh.-based provider of HVAC, plumbing, sheet metal fabrication, and other mechanical services. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Sheridan Capital Partners invested in SimiTree Healthcare Consulting, a provider of consulting, outsourcing and talent solutions for healthcare companies.

- Smartronix, backed by OceanSound Partners, acquired C2S Consulting Group, a Herndon, Va.-based cloud solution provider. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Sylvan Group, a portfolio company of Blue Point Capital Partners, acquired Great Lakes Mechanical, a Dearborn, Mich.-based industrial and commercial contracting company. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

EXITS

- Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board acquired Mitratech, a maker of legal tech software, from investors including TA Associates. The deal values Mitratech at about $1.6 billion.

- The Hershey Company (NYSE: HSY) acquired Lily’s, a Boulder-based confectionery brand, from VMG Partners. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Alinda Capital Partners acquired ACL Airshop, a Greenville, S.C.-based air logistics company, from Argosy Private Equity. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Smartly.io acquired Viralspace.ai, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based digital advertising A.I. startup. Viralspace investors have included Lightspeed Venture Partners and Quest Venture Partners.

OTHER

- Heineken is in talks to acquire Distell, a South African drinks maker, per Reuters. Distell has a valuation of about $2.3 billion.

- TF1 and M6, France’s two biggest private broadcasters, agreed to merge.

- IBM (NYSE: IBM) agreed to acquire Waeg, a consulting partner for Salesforce. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

IPOS

- Huitongda Network, a Chinese e-commerce platform focused on rural areas, is weighing a Hong Kong IPO to raise as much as $1 billion, per Bloomberg. Alibaba Group backs the company.

- WalkMe, a Tel Aviv-based seller of enterprise software, filed for an IPO. Its investors include Insight Partners, Greenspring Associates, and Scale Venture Partners.

SPACS

- Angel Pond Holdings, a New York-based blank check company focusing on Greater China, raised $250 million.

- Catalyst Partners Acquisition, a Cambridge, Mass.-based SPAC formed by General Catalyst, raised $300 million.

- Tiket.com, an Indonesia-based online travel company, is in talks to merge with COVA Acquisition, a SPAC. A deal would value it at $2 billion.

F+FS

- TPG Capital is targeting $3 billion for its TPG Tech Adjacencies II fund, per the Wall Street Journal.

- Revival Healthcare Capital, an Austin-based private equity firm, closed RVLHC II with $500 million. 

- 7wireVentures, a Chicago-based digital health venture capital, closed its Connected Consumer Fund with $150 million.

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