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The top policy battles for 2022, explained

December 15, 2021, 4:42 PM UTC

I know it’s only a Wednesday, but I’ve been quite reflective the past 24 hours as I prepare for Term Sheet’s Crystal Ball edition (more on that below). 

It’s been quite a year, hasn’t it? I uprooted my life in New York, moved to the small town of Bentonville, Ark., and purchased a mountain bike. I never saw myself having a home office (and surely never imagined I’d end up in Arkansas), but here we are.

The global threat of COVID has played out differently in each of our lives in an isolated, personal way—and, of course, at a macro level. Both dualities are just as real and consequential in the grand scheme of things, I believe.

If I’ve learned anything (I sure hope I have), it’s a fool’s game to think we can detail the year ahead of us—but it’s also negligent not to think through the possibilities, make some kind of plan, and, with a bit of luck, maybe get ahead of the curve on some things—particularly when it comes to business.

There’s a lot to be said for the insights investors glean from their work pinpointing trends, evolution, and red flags in the industries they cover—not to mention a lesson or two from late-night emergency phone calls with founders. There’s also something to be said for sharing that wisdom with the rest of us, which is one of the reasons Term Sheet has venture capitalist Bradley Tusk, co-founder and CEO of Tusk Venture Partners, share his perspective with us each December.

Tusk has a background in politics, as Mike Bloomberg’s 2009 mayoral race campaign manager, and a former Deputy Governor of Illinois. He was also Uber’s first political advisor. Now he spends his time investing in companies within highly-regulated industries, like Bird, Roman, Coinbase, and Lemonade. 

With the world moving as quickly as it is, Tusk says things are “almost never what you think they’ll be,” but it’s fun to predict where the world will go anyway. Here are the biggest policy battles he sees playing out in 2022:

  • Fintech: Now that it’s clear Decentralized Finance (DeFi) is the future of fintech, the crypto community will start to realize that being apolitical is a horrible strategy and start putting together a serious political and lobbying operation. It will take years before they’re as effective as groups like Big Pharma, but it needs to start somewhere. The Treasury Department will also designate the SEC as the sole crypto regulator in 2022. Cities like New York and Miami will compete to become the crypto capital of the U.S., with Mayors Eric Adams and Francis Suarez respectively coming up with public relations stunts to keep the community engaged. And for as long as crypto is not an actual currency in the U.S., NFTs will continue to boom because crypto holders need something to spend their gains on.
  • Transportation: This is the year we’ll finally see progress in transportation tech regulation. The supply chain fiasco will create enough political pain for the White House and U.S. Department of Transportation that they’ll be forced to act and Washington will finally start getting its act together around autonomous trucking rules. E-scooters will start hitting the streets of Manhattan and drone delivery pilots will increase significantly, especially for medical goods. 
  • E-sports: More states will legalize sports betting in 2022, with Georgia, Massachusetts, Missouri, Kansas and Kentucky all taking a hard look at it. And while e-sports betting won’t become a dominant trend in 2022 (still too early), we will look back at the year as the birth of the new industry. 
  • Worker classification: Worker classification legislation will gear up again in blue states like New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Massachusetts, Washington State, Oregon, Maryland and others. However, rather than the two binary outcomes in California (AB5 making all sharing economy workers full time employees and then Prop 22 overturning AB5), states will start to insist on a new, third category for sharing economy workers that provides some of the protections that come with full-time employee status and some of the flexibility that comes with being an independent contractor. 
  • Telemedicine: After COVID-19 made the value proposition of telemedicine abundantly clear, we’ll start seeing more and more functions normally performed at hospitals or labs either become fully remote or performed differently. For example, getting blood samples at patients’ homes rather than having the infrastructure and cost of a lab. More jurisdictions will permit prescriptions via text and multiple states will extend the licensing waiver allowing doctors in one state to treat patients digitally in another. 
  • Cannabis: Finally, with the majority of states now having legalized cannabis, the Biden administration will move cannabis off of Schedule I, opening up vast new opportunities for the sector like banking, advertising, and interstate commerce. At the same time, progressive jurisdictions will go even further, continuing to slowly decriminalize and legalize drugs like psilocybin and clinics providing access to ketamine and other drugs will start popping up in major cities. 

Does all this have you speculating on what’s ahead in 2022? Good! Because… (drum roll please)

It’s that time of year for Term Sheet’s Crystal Ball Edition: Each December we ask readers what their biggest business predictions are for the coming year. Please share your top prediction here (Yes, I know it’s hard to pick just one!). I will cuarte my favorite answers in a special Term Sheet issue that will run on the first business day of 2022, Jan. 3.

See you tomorrow,

Jessica Mathews
Twitter: @jessicakmathews
Email: jessica.mathews@fortune.com

VENTURE DEALS

- NYDIG, a New York-based Bitcoin financial services company, raised $1 billion in funding led by WestCap and was joined by investors including Bessemer Venture Partners, FinTech Collective, Affirm, FIS, Fiserv, MassMutual, Morgan Stanley, and New York Life.

- Course Hero, a Redwood City, Calif.-based education resource and tool company, raised $380 million in Series C funding led by Wellington Management and was joined by investors including Sequoia Capital, Global Equities, OMERS Growth Equity, D1 Capital Partners, GSV Ventures, NewView Capital, SuRo Capital, TPG, and Valiant Peregrine Fund.

- Anchorage Digital, a San Francisco-based digital asset platform for institutions, raised $350 million in Series D funding led by KKR and was joined by investors include Goldman Sachs, Alameda Research, a16z, Apollo, BlackRock, Blockchain Capital, Delta Blockchain Fund, Elad Gil, GIC, GoldenTree Asset Management, and others.

- Sysdig, a San Francisco-based container and cloud security company, raised $350 million in Series G funding led by Permira and was joined by Guggenheim Investments, Accel, Bain Capital Ventures, DFJ Growth, Glynn Capital, Goldman Sachs, Insight Partners, Next47, Premji Invest & Associates, and Third Point Ventures.

- Mythic Therapeutics, a Waltham, Mass.-based antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) development platform, raised $103 million in Series B funding led by Viking Global Investors and was joined by Venrock Healthcare Capital Partners, Foresite Capital, Perceptive Advisors, Highside Capital, First Round Capital, OMX Ventures, Lifeforce Capital, and Refactor Capital

- ezCater, a Boston-based online corporate catering services company, raised $100 million in additional Series D funding led by SoftBank.

- Forethought, a San Francisco-based AI-powered tool that embeds relevant information into employees’ daily workflows, raised $65 million in Series C funding led by STEADFAST Capital Ventures and was joined by investors including NEA, Sound Ventures, K9 VenturesCollaborative Fund, Frontline Ventures, and others.

- STOKE Space, a Renton, Wash.-based space vehicle components manufacturer, raised $65 million in Series A funding led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures and was joined by investors including Spark Capital, Point72 Ventures, Toyota Ventures, Alameda Research, Global Founders Capital, NFX, MaC Ventures, and others.

- CARTO, a New York-based location-based service developer and visualization engine, raised $61 million in Series C funding led by Insight Partners and was joined by investors including European Investment Fund, Accel, Salesforce Ventures, Hearst Ventures, Earlybird, and Kibo

- Dazz, a Palo Alto-based cloud security remediation company, raised $50 million in funding from Insight Partners, Greylock, Index Ventures, and Cyberstarts.

- Cequence Security, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based bot attack detection and mitigation platform, raised $60 million in Series C funding led by Menlo Ventures and was joined by investors including ICON Ventures, Telstra Ventures, HarbourVest Partners, Shasta Ventures, Dell Technologies Capital, and T-Mobile Ventures.

- Papaya, a New York-based mobile bill payment application, raised $50 million in Series B funding led by Bessemer Venture Partners and was joined by investors including Sequoia Capital, Acrew Capital, 01 Advisors, Mucker Capital, Fika Ventures, F-Prime, and Sound Ventures.

- Signal AI, a London-based media intelligence platform, raised $50 million in Series D funding led by Highland Europe and was joined by Redline, MMC, Hearst and Guardian Media Group Ventures.

- TealBook, a Toronto-based supplier data and e-procurement technology company, raised $50 million in Series B funding led by Ten Coves Capital and was joined by investors including BDC Capital, Grand Ventures, RBC, Reciprocal Ventures, Refinery Ventures, S&P Global, Stand Up Ventures, RTP Global, Workday Ventures, and Good Friends.

- Arquivei, a Brazilian tax document management company, raised $48 million in Series B funding led by Riverwood Capital and was joined by investors including the International Finance Corporation, a World Bank Group member, Constellation, NXTP, and Endeavor Catalyst.

- Medal.tv, a Netherlands-based short-form gaming video clips company, raised $45 million in Series C funding led by OMERS Ventures.

- Runway, a New York-based video editing and creative tool developer, raised $35 million in Series B funding led by David Cahn and Caryn Marooney of Coatue and was joined by investors including Amplify Partners, Lux Ventures, and Compound

- Rebag, a New York-based second-hand luxury handbag company, raised $33 million in Series E funding led by Novator and was joined by investors including General Catalyst

- Carbon America, an Arvada, Colo.-based carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) developer, raised $30 million in Series A funding from the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, ArcTern Ventures, Energy Impact Partners, the Neglected Climate Opportunities Fund, and Golden Properties

- Cylus, an Israeli rail cybersecurity technology company, raised $30 million in Series B funding led by Ibex Investors and was joined by investors including Vertex Growth Fund, Strides International Business, Magma Venture Partners, Vertex Ventures Israel, and Glenrock Israel

- Powermat Technologies, an Israeli advanced wireless power technology, raised $25 million in Series B funding from Foxconn Interconnect Technology and Hudson Sustainable Group.

- jack & annie’s, a Boulder, Colo.-based plant-based meat brand made from jackfruit, raised $23 million in Series B funding co-led by Creadev and Desert Bloom and was joined by investors including Wheatsheaf, Beta Angels, and Investeco.

- Staircase, a Philadelphia-based digital infrastructure company for the mortgage industry, raised $18 million in Series A funding led by Bessemer Venture Partners and was joined by investors including RRE Ventures, Avid Ventures, Clocktower Technology Ventures, Metaprop Ventures, and Zigg Capital

- Ilumed, a Jupiter, Fla.-based healthcare consulting and advisory services company for assisting patients, raised $16.5 million in Series A funding led by Ascend Partners and was joined by WRJM Healthcare Partners

- Edge Gaming, a Tel Aviv-based personalized gaming and esports platform, raised $10 million in seed funding led by Playtika and was joined by investors including Stardom Ventures and AnD Ventures.

- Jadu, a 3D NFT company built on the Ethereum network, raised $7 million in seed funding led by General Catalyst and was joined by investors including Metapurse, LionTree, Coinbase Ventures, The VR Fund, and PKO Investments & Progression Fund.

- Qonsent, a Westport, Conn.-based data privacy enablement and consent value exchange platform for consumers and brands, raised $5 million in seed funding from investors including Zekavat Investment GroupGary Vaynerchuk, Michael Kassan, Tom Chavez, Crosscut Ventures, Brand New Matter, and others.

- Circular Genomics, an Albuquerque, N.M.-based biotechnology and genomics company, raised $4.5 million led by Tramway Venture Partners and Cottonwood Technology Funds.

- SolSpec, a Denver-based geospatial analytics and collaboration platform for environmentally-conscious people, rebranded as Teren and raised $4 million in seed funding led by Allos Ventures.

- Orgspace, a Brooklyn-based management platform for software teams, raised $2.5 million, in pre-seed funding led by Fika Ventures and Bloomberg Beta and was joined by investors including Darling Ventures, Liquid2 Ventures, Essence VC, The New Normal Fund, and The Jarosz Family Fund

PRIVATE EQUITY

- TPG Rise, Battery Ventures, and Catalyst Strategy invested $170 million in UBQ Materials, a Tel Aviv-based climate-positive thermoplastic material developer. Other financial terms were not disclosed.

- White Oak and Fiera Comox invested $110 million in Lumio, a Lehi, Utah-based solar energy company.

- Freestone, a Tailwater Capital portfolio company, agreed to invest $20 million in Momentum Technologies, a Dallas-based lithium-ion battery and rare earth permanent magnet recycling company.

LoneTree invested in Safety Plus, a Mobile, Al.-based safety management, contractor management, and compliance software and services company. Financial terms were not disclosed.

- Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners, backed by Alphabet and OTTP, agreed to acquire Dense Air, a UK-based wireless infrastructure company. Financial terms were not disclosed.

- Vistara Growth invested in meQuilibrium, a Boston-based digital solution for organizations to address employee burnout, stress, and performance. Financial terms were not disclosed.

OTHER

- Jet Support Services acquired TRAXXALL, a Montreal, Canada-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution for aircraft maintenance tracking, parts inventory management, and aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) workflow. Financial terms were not disclosed.

- TIFIN acquired Investors Alley, a New York-based, financial education platform which helps people understand investing. Financial terms were not disclosed.

- 3M agreed to merge its food-safety business with Neogen, a Lansing, Mich.-based food testing and animal healthcare specialist. A deal values the combined company at $9.3 billion.

Houzz acquired ConX, a Sydney, Australia-based SaaS takeoff and estimation tool for construction contractors. Financial terms were not disclosed.

IPOS 

- French billionaire Patrick Drahi is weighing an IPO for Sotheby’s, a New York-based auction house, for as soon as next year, per Bloomberg.

- Samsara, a San Francisco-based operations cloud company, raised $805 million in an offering of 35 million shares priced at $23 per share. The company posted $250 million in revenue for the year ending in Jan. 2021 and reported a net loss of $210 million. A16z, Warburg Pincus, and General Catalyst Partners back the firm.

SPAC

- Cassava Technologies, a unit of African telecommunications company, is in talks to merge with Econet Global Fintech Acquisition Corp. VI, a SPAC, according to Bloomberg. A deal could value the division at more than $4 billion. 

- Athena Technology Acquisition Corp. II, the second SPAC by women-led team Magnifi co-founder Isabelle Freidheim, former SoftBank partner Kirthiga Reddy and former Evercore and J.P. Morgan investment banker Anna Apostolova, raised $250 million in its IPO.

- Near, a Pasadena, Calif.-based data intelligence platform, is in talks to go public via a merger with KludeIn I Acquisition Corp., a SPAC, according to Bloomberg

F+Fs

- Initialized Capital Management, a San Francisco-based venture capital firm, raised $700 million for two funds.

PEOPLE

- General Atlantic, a New York-based private equity firm, hired Najat Khan as a senior advisor.

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