Why Sequoia Capital’s new crypto investments will look a little different
Let’s tackle a few things this fine Friday.
First, Sequoia Capital. The firm is out fundraising for three sub-funds, looking for $500 million to $600 million particularly for a crypto fund, dubbed Sequoia Crypto Fund. (You’ll remember that last year Sequoia restructured as a registered investment adviser in an attempt to add more fluidity to and remove expiration dates from its investments, hence the sub-fund.)
Sequoia has already been investing in crypto for more than five years out of its pre-existing funds, and more than 20% of the firm’s investments went into this sector last year. But this sub-fund will focus on token activity—staking tokens, trading them, providing liquidity, and participating in governance, for example.
“Founders and builders we respect have asked us to be more active with our tokens,” Michelle Bailhe, partner and crypto investor at Sequoia wrote in a Tweet yesterday about the new sub-fund.
This in and of itself is interesting. In general, founders of a traditional private company would want investors to hold onto their shares, rather than trade them in the market, and they often set parameters and lockup periods to ensure exactly that. But token activity and trading levels can serve as a meaningful signal of engagement and value for a community, so it’s not altogether surprising that a Web3 project might want its shareholders to take a more active approach. It’s yet another way in which crypto investments are proving to be a rather unique investment opportunity in the venture capital sphere.
A detour to Saudi Arabia. There was a piece in Bloomberg this morning that gives an updated overview of Saudi Arabia’s enormous (and growing) Public Investment Fund, which has reached a staggering $580 billion in assets and is seeking to swell to $2 trillion by 2030.
Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund has its hands tied in the likes of SoftBank’s Vision Fund 1, and it holds stakes in a plethora of companies we’re all familiar with including electric carmaker Lucid Motors and video game studios Activision Blizzard and Electronic Arts.
The fund has been trying to issue a green bond to invest in environmentally friendly projects, which, given that all of Saudi Arabia’s immense wealth has stemmed from the oil industry, is rather ironic.
I’ll point out that some funds steer clear of Saudi Arabian cash over human rights concerns. Women were only recently allowed to start driving as well as obtain a passport without permission from a male guardian. One in three women are subject to domestic abuse within the country, according to research. And the brutal murder of journalist and Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi, who was strangled in an embassy, then cut to pieces with a bone saw in 2018—an abomination the U.S. later tied to Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman—has tainted opinion of the country’s royalty to much of the rest of the world.
Confidence and such. I wrote about this year’s Semaphore results on Monday, including how nearly half of investors don’t think the Theranos-Holmes scandal was an outlier. You can read the rest of this year’s sentiment survey results here if you like.
Before you run off. What are you reading at the moment? What books have caught your eye? They can be deals-related or not, but I would like to hear from you.
In observance of Presidents’ day, I will be taking Monday off. Term Sheet will be back in your inboxes on Tuesday.
Jackson Fordyce helped curate today’s deals section.
- Helium, a San Francisco-based decentralized hotspot network, raised $200 million in Series D funding from investors including Tiger Global and FTX Ventures, according to Axios.
- Synthego, a Redwood City, Calif-based genome engineering company, raised $200 million in Series E funding from investors including Perceptive Advisors, SoftBank Vision Fund 2, Declaration Partners, and RA Capital Management.
- Evolve, a Denver-based rental management platform, raised $100 million led by Durable Capital Partners and was joined by investors including Winslow, Arrowmark, Foxhaven, and PAR Capital.
- Convictional, a Dover, Del.-based B2B e-commerce platform for multi-channel selling, raised $40 million in Series B funding led by YC Continuity.
- Classiq, a Tel-Aviv, Israel-based quantum computing software company, raised $33 million in Series B funding from investors including Hewlett Packard Pathfinder, Phoenix, Spike Ventures, Samsung NEXT, Walden International founder and chairman Lip-Bu Tan, and Square Wave Ventures managing partner Harvey Jones.
- Protecht Group, a Sydney, Australia-based enterprise risk management software company, raised AUD $42 million ($30.29 million) from Arrowroot Capital.
- Exodigo, a Tel-Aviv, Israel-based A.I. image mapping platform, raised $29 million in seed funding led by Zeev Ventures and 10D Ventures and was joined by investors including SquarePeg Capital and JIBE Ventures.
- Kubecost, a San Francisco-based cost monitoring and managing company, raised $25 million in Series A funding led by Coatue Management and was joined by investors including First Round Capital and Afore Capital.
- AKHAN Semiconductor, a Gurnee, Ill.-based technology company specializing in lab-grown electronics-grade diamond materials, raised $20 million in funding from investors including Zahid Group Holdings.
- Flow, a San Francisco-based private market software solutions company, raised $20 million in Series A funding led by SVB Financial Group and was joined by investors including Frontier Ventures, GFR Fund, HOF Capital, L’Attitude Ventures, WOCstar Fund, and Mantis.
- Talespin, a Culver City, Calif.-based spatial computing company focused on workforce talent development and skills mobility, raised $20 million in Series C funding co-led by SEEK Investments and Allomer Capital and was joined by investors including Pearson Ventures, Accenture Ventures, Go1, and Sony Innovation Fund.
- Subskribe, a San Ramon, Calif.-based quoting and billing platform, raised $18.4 million in seed and series A funding from Slow Ventures, 8VC, and others.
- Anvyl, a New York-based platform for supply chain relationship management, raised $15 million in Series B funding led by B Capital Group and was joined by investors including AlleyCorp, Company Ventures, First Round Capital, and Redpoint Ventures.
- Arcion, a San Mateo, Calif.-based data mobility platform, raised $13 million in Series A funding led by Bessemer Venture Partners and was joined by other investors including Databricks.
- Vanilla Vida, an Ashdod, Israel-based proprietary cultivation process developer, raised $11.5 million in Series A funding led by Ordway Selections and was joined by investors including FoodSparks.
- Multis, a Paris-based crypto wallet app company, raised $7 million in funding led by Sequoia Capital and was joined by investors including Long Journey Ventures, Sound Ventures, MakerDAO, White Star Capital, eFounders, and Y Combinator.
- Advisr, a New York-based sales operating system for B2B companies, raised $5.75 million in Series A funding led by Next Frontier Capital and was joined by Granite Capital.
- Earnipay, a Lagos, Nigeria-based fintech company that provides flexible and on-demand salary access to income-earners in Africa, raised $4 million in Series A funding led by Canaan and was joined by investors including XYZ Ventures, Village Global, Musha Ventures, Voltron Capital, and Ventures Platform.
- Uni, a Los Angeles-based bodycare company, raised $4 million in funding led by SOUNDWaves.
- Viva Translate, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based artificial intelligence software company that translates email and other written communications, raised $4 million in funding from investors including General Catalyst, AIX Ventures, Fellows Fund, Hyphen Capital, and First Check Ventures.
- Liefergrün, a Munich, Germany-based shipping platform, raised €3 million ($3.41 million) in funding led by Speedinvest.
- Qualifi, a Noblesville, Ind.-based on-demand phone interview platform, raised $2.5 million of funding led by Rally Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Techstars, Sixty8 Capital, Elevate Ventures, Debut Capital, Flywheel Fund, gener8tor, Converge, and Service Provider Capital.
- SPOKE, a London-based music mindfulness app, raised £1.1M ($1.25 million) in funding led by Ada Ventures.
- Access Industries Holdings agreed to recapitalize DAZN, a London-based sports streaming service, for $4.3 billion.
- Advent International will invest R$1.35 billion ($236 million) in Grupo Tigre, a Joinville, Brazil-based civil construction and water treatment company. Advent will hold a 25% stake in the company.
- Warburg Pincus led a $100 million investment into Sólides, a Belo Horizonte, Brazil-based HRTech software company.
- CORE acquired Haven Manufacturing, a Grand Haven, Mich.-based mechanical machine parts manufacturer. Financial terms were not disclosed.
- SFW Capital acquired RDI Technologies, a Knoxville, Tenn.-based vision-based analytical solutions provider for predictive maintenance and test and measurement applications. Financial terms were not disclosed.
- Tailwind Capital acquired a majority stake in Axis Portable Air, a Phoenix, Ariz.-based climate control company. Financial terms were not disclosed
- Verdane acquired a minority stake in EVA Global, a Tampere, Finland-based electric vehicle service provider. Financial terms were not disclosed.
- Novartis acquired Gyroscope, a London-based gene therapy company for eye diseases, from Syncona, for $800 million in cash, and up to $700 million more pending certain milestones.
- Clayton, Dubilier & Rice acquired PwC’s mobility tax and immigration services business, now called Vialto Partners, from PwC. Financial terms were not disclosed.
- An unidentified buyer agreed to acquire Myanmar's Yetagun gas project from Petronas and Mitsubishi. Financial terms were not disclosed.
- Celanese agreed to acquire a majority stake in the mobility and materials business of DuPont de Nemours for $11 billion in cash.
- Energisa Transmissao de Energia agreed to acquire Gemini Energy, a Brazilian power transmissions business, for $158.9 million.
- Bowery Farming acquired Traptic, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based AI-powered fruit, vine, and crop harvesting company. Financial terms were not disclosed.
FUNDS + FUNDS OF FUNDS
- Cherry Ventures, a Berlin-based venture capital firm, launched a $34 million fund focused on web3 and crypto.
- AlbionVC, a London-based venture capital firm, hired Molly Gilmartin as health tech investor. Formlerly, she was with Mckinsey & Company.
- The Halifax Group, a Washington, D.C.-based private equity firm, hired Tom Cassidy as a vice president. He was formerly with High Road Capital Partners.
- Nyca Partners, a New York-based fintech venture capital firm, promoted Stephanie Khoo to partner and hired Jasleen Kaur as principal. Formerly, she was with CE Innovation Capital.
- Palladium Equity Partners, a New-York based private equity firm, hired Katherine Lehman, Edwin Moss, and David MacDonald to focus on B2B and industrial investments.
- RCP Advisors, a Chicago-based private equity firm, promoted Alex Abell to managing partner, Calvin Kleinschmidt to partner, and Raj Patel to partner. It also hired Mary Hunt as principal and Jamaine Cook as vice president.
- Vertex Ventures HC, a San-Francisco-based venture capital firm, hired Christine Brennan as managing director. Formerly, she was with MRL Venture Funds.