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More than 100 startups have offices in Ukraine. Founders are rushing to protect their employees

February 25, 2022, 4:55 PM UTC

“My family is in Kyiv, and they can’t leave the country. The sky is closed. They hear explosions, and they hear sirens. They don’t know what to do.”

Those are four lines from a chilling LinkedIn post written Thursday by Olga Kravchenko, co-founder and CEO of virtual reality mobile game company Musemio, which is based in London but has employees in Ukrainian cities Kyiv, Dnipro, and Kharkiv. “No one taught me what [a] CEO needs to do when the war starts. This is not the lesson I ever wanted or was ready to learn,” she wrote.

There are 126 startups with primary or secondary offices in Ukraine that have raised venture capital funding since the beginning of 2021, according to Pitchbook data. Employees of these companies are now in a war zone.

Russia invaded Ukraine just before 6 a.m. yesterday, igniting the largest attack on another country since World War II. There have been airstrikes hitting multiple cities, and explosions across the country. Thousands of civilians have fled their homes. On Thursday, Ukraine reported dozens of people had been killed, including some children.

All of this places enormous urgency on the companies operating in or stemming from this region—which span unicorns like Grammarly, the digital writing assistant valued at $13 billion, or Github, the software development platform that went public last year. Companies like Google and Oracle hire staffers in the region. CB Insights tallies 35 startups based in Ukraine that have raised more than $1 million in funding. Some companies are working to evacuate their staff, offer financial assistance to flee the country, or set up emergency plans.

“Our employees in Ukraine are doctors, and many of them chose to stay and volunteer in the local hospitals,” Oleksandr Zakharchuk, co-founder of New York-based medical malpractice claim analysis platform Justpoint, wrote me in an email this morning.

Zakharchuk says the company has made emergency payments to all of its 50 employees in the country in case they need to evacuate, and that it has rebalanced all the company’s workload to teams outside the country. Since most employees in Ukraine don’t have local citizenship, Zakharchuk is trying to clarify whether Poland will admit them if necessary, he says. “The Polish government announced that they are open to accept Ukrainians, but the situation for the citizens of other states is still unclear,” he says.

“We have implemented our contingency plans to help our team members and their families remain safe,” a Grammarly spokesperson told me in an email yesterday. “We’ve also implemented our plans to help ensure Grammarly’s services will not be disrupted. This includes, for example, securing backup communication methods and temporary transfer of business-critical responsibilities to team members outside of Ukraine to ensure our Ukraine-based team members can focus on the immediate safety of themselves and their families.”

The CEO of Kyiv-based software development company Macpaw, Oleksandr Kosovan, said yesterday on the company’s website that it had prepared various assistance programs and launched an emergency plan for its employees in Ukraine. Freelance marketplace Lemon.io told its employees it would continue to cover their full salary if they elected to join Ukraine’s civilian defense force, according to reporting from The Information. Video and graphic design company VistaCreate has also offered financial assistance, according to a report from European tech publication Sifted.

The immediate priority is safety, but one investor is already foreseeing how the current events could likely spawn fear and lead to a withdrawal, or pause, on funding in the region. “Ukraine will continue to produce global, innovative tech products and companies no matter what happens to politics,” Blue Lake venture capital firm and accelerator founder Lyubov Guk wrote from London yesterday. She added: “The international investor community cannot turn away now.”

Until Monday,

Jessica Mathews
Twitter: @jessicakmathews
Email: jessica.mathews@fortune.com
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Jackson Fordyce curated the deals section of today’s newsletter.

VENTURE DEALS

- Somatus, a McLean, Va.-based kidney care company, raised $325 million in Series E funding led by Wellington Management and was joined by investors including RA Capital Management, GIC, Fidelity Management & Research Company, Anthem, Blue Venture Fund, Deerfield Management Company, Flare Capital Partners, Inova Health System, Longitude Capital, and Optum Ventures.

- dbt Labs, a Philadelphia-based analytics engineering company, raised $222 million in Series D funding led by Altimeter and was joined by investors including Amplify Partners, Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia, Coatue, Tiger Global, ICONIQ Growth, GV, and GIC.

- H2scan, a Valencia, Calif.-based provider of hydrogen sensors for electricity utilities and industrial markets, raised $70 million in funding from investors including LetterOne and GS Energy.

AddApptr, a Hamburg, Germany mobile ad-tech company, raised $60 million in funding from the Aonic Group.

- Redpanda, a San Francisco-based streaming data platform, raised $50 million in Series B funding led by GV and was joined by investors including Lightspeed Venture Partners and Haystack VC

- InfStones, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based blockchain infrastructure provider, raised $33 million in Series B funding from investors including Susquehanna International Group, Dragonfly Capital, Qiming Venture Partners, and others.

- Wave Sports + Entertainment, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based sports and entertainment company, raised $27 million in Series B funding led by TZP Group and was joined by investors including Crossbeam Venture Partners, GPS Investment Partners, Verance Capital, Nimble Ventures, and Milwaukee Bucks player Giannis Antetokounmpo as strategic partner. 

- Standard Metrics, a San Francisco-based investor relations platform for private capital markets, formerly known as Quaestor, raised $23.7 million in Series A funding led by 8VC and was joined by investors including Alpha Edison, January Capital, First Trust Capital Partners, Fin VC, Spark Capital, Slack Fund, Socii Capital, Not Boring Capital, and Gaingels

- Story Health, a Saratoga, Calif.-based health technology and services company that extends specialty care into patient’s homes, raised $22.6 million in Series A funding co-led by Northpond Ventures and B Capital Group and was joined by other investors including LRVHealth and existing investors Define Ventures and General Catalyst.

- CoProcure, a San Francisco-based B2B commerce marketplace for the government sector, raised $22 million in funding from Forerunner Ventures and was joined by investors including Leadout Capital, Neo, Thumbtack founder Marco Zappacostak, Stitch Fix founder Katrina Lake, and Dan Lewis, founder of Convoy. 

OpenComp, a San Francisco-based compensation intelligence company, raised $20 million in Series A funding led by K5 Global and J.P. Morgan and was joined by investors including TIME Ventures, 8VC, Circle Ventures, and Mantis Ventures.

- Depict.ai, a Stockholm-based A.I.-based product recommendation company, raised $17 million in Series A funding led by Tiger Global and was joined by investors including Initialized Capital, EQT Ventures, and Y Combinator.

- Okteto, a San Francisco-based developer tool to deploy pre-configured cloud environments, raised $15 million in Series A funding led by Two Sigma Ventures and was joined by investors including Haystack, Root Ventures, and more. 

- Made by Nacho, a New York-based cat food company, raised $14 million in Series A funding led by CAVU Venture Partners and was joined by investors including New Fare Partners and Mars' Companion Fund.

- NayaPay, a Karachi, Pakistan-based fintech platform, raised $13 million funding co-led by Zayn Capital, MSA Novo, VC Graph Ventures and was joined by investors including Saison Capital, Maple Leaf Capital, Warren Hogarth, and Lakson Group.

WorkWhile, a San Francisco-based technology platform that connects the workers to their shifts, raised $13 million in Series A led by Reach Capital and was joined by investors including Khosla Ventures, F7 Ventures, Chamaeleon, Position Ventures, and Gaingels, among others.

- Sweater, a Boulder, Colo.-based venture capital fund that is open to everyday investors, raised $12 million in seed funding. Motivate VC and Akuna Capital co-led the round and were joined by investors including co-founder of Acorns Jeffrey Cruttenden, co-founder of Betterment Eli Broverman, Litquidity Ventures, MRTNZ Ventures, Bison Venture Partners, Spacestation, First Chair Ventures, Zilliqa Capital, Monsen Ventures, Nick Perez, Jeb Bush Jr., and YouTubers Ryan Holtzman, Aaron Wolko, Peter Hollens, Andrei JikhNate O’Brian, and Jake Tran. 

- Avanti, a Calgary, Canada-based payroll and human resources software company, raised $10 million in funding led by Round13 Capital and was joined by investors including Scotiabank Technology & Innovation Banking and existing investors. 

- HUBUC, a Barcelona-based provider of embedded financial services, raised a $10 million in seed funding co-led by WndrCo and Runa Capital.  

- De La Calle, a Los Angeles-based fermented & probiotic beverage, raised $7 million in funding from investors including KarpReilly, HERE Studio, and DrinkPAK

- Nori, a Seattle-based carbon removal marketplace, raised  $7 million in Series A funding led by M13 and was joined by investors including Toyota Ventures and Placeholder

- Good-Loop, an Edinburgh, Scotland-based ad tech company, raised $6.1 million in Series A funding led by Quaestus Capital Management and was joined by other investors including SIS Ventures, First Party Capital, and investment raised on the crowdfunding platform Seedrs.

- Cortina, a New York-based retail-focused software company, raised $6 million in seed funding led by Point72 and was joined by investors including AlleyCorp, Primary VC, Blue Watch, and Lorimer.

- EverWash, a Philadelphia-based car wash membership and subscription management company, raised $6 million in Series B from Spring Mountain Capital

- PrettyDamnQuick, a Herzliya, Israel-based logistics solution for shopify merchants, raised  $6 million in seed funding led by TLV Partners and was joined by investors including Ground Up Ventures and Verissimo Ventures.

- Worldspark Studios, a Dallas, Texas-based blockchain game development studio, raised $3 million in seed funding led by Animoca Brands and Shima Capital and was joined by investors including AAG Ventures, Alameda Ventures, Double Peak Group, Forward Analytics, Infinity Ventures Crypto, Jump Capital, LD Capital, Lucid Blue Ventures, Moon Holdings, Onchain Group, Pillar VC, Sfermion, SL2 Capital, ViaBTC and YGGSEA.

- Hiveclass, a New York-based startup which specializes in youth sports and wellness education, raised $1.25M in Seed funding led by Appia Ventures

PRIVATE EQUITY

- Element Markets, backed by TPG Rise, agreed to merge with Bluesource, a Cottonwood Heights, Utah-based carbon credit developer. As part of the deal, TPG Rise will own a majority stake in the combined entity, and NGP Energy Capital Management joined as an investor. Financial terms were not disclosed. 

- Greenbriar Equity Group acquired a majority stake in JEGS Automotive, a Delaware, Ohio-based online aftermarket auto parts and accessories retailer and distributor. Financial terms were not disclosed.

EXITS

- AE Industrial Partners agreed to acquire a stake in Firefly Aerospace, a Cedar Park, Texas-based producer of launch vehicles, spacecraft, and in-space services, from Noosphere Venture Partners. Financial terms were not disclosed.

- Cygna Labs agreed to acquire Diamond IP, an Exton, Pa.-based DDI solutions provider, from BT. Financial terms were not disclosed. 

- Macquarie Asset Management and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board acquired a 31.6% stake in Puget Holdings, a Bellevue, Wash.-based provider of electric and gas utility services for decarbonization and greenhouse gas emission reduction, from Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

- Squirro acquired open.exchange, an Austin-based deal sourcing platform from BuildGroup. As part of the deal, BuildGroup invested $4 million in the company.

OTHER

Cloudflare agreed to acquire Area 1 Security, a San Mateo, Calif.-based cloud email security company for approximately $162 million. 

- Clutter acquired MakeSpace, a New York-based storage services provider. Financial terms were not disclosed. 

- Definitive Healthcare acquired Analytical Wizards, an Edison, N.J.-based company which delivers analytics to life science companies. Financial terms were not disclosed.

- illumifin agreed to acquire LTCG, an Eden Prairie, Minn.-based provider of administrative solutions and clinical services to the long-term care insurance industry. Financial terms were not disclosed. 

FUNDS + FUNDS OF FUNDS

- Lavrock Ventures, a McLean, Va.-based venture capital firm, raised $83 million for its Fund II focused on supporting management teams. 

PEOPLE

- AEA Investors, a New York-based private equity firm, hired Heidi DuBois global head of environmental, social and governance. Formerly, she was with Edelman

- HarbourVest Partners, a Boston-based private equity firm, hired Bryce Klempner as managing director focused on strategy and innovation. Formerly, he was with McKinsey & Company

- The Rohatyn Group, a New York-based asset management firm, hired Doug Meyer as executive committee partner and head of business development. Formerly, he was with First Eagle Investments.

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