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May 14, 2021

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While Airbnb’s valuation recovered quickly after the initial hit it took during the pandemic, its actual financials still lagged behind.


That changed in the first quarter of this year. Between January and March, the company’s revenue grew 5%, to $887 million compared to $842 million the year before. And in an even better sign, the figure grew even compared to the same period in 2019, in a quarter completely unblemished by a global pandemic. Gross bookings, meanwhile, rose 52% year-over-year to $10.29 billion.


Despite the growth in revenue, the impact of the coronavirus still looms in Airbnb’s earnings in other ways: Net losses for the quarter grew 132%, to nearly $1.2 billion, as the company repaid debts. That comes after the business took on $1 billion in debt and equity roughly a year ago to help it navigate the COVID crisis.


The travel booking company has weathered the pandemic better than many others in the travel space, owing in part to its asset-light model. It acts, after all, as a marketplace for listing rental locations rather than owning or renting properties outright. In the report announcing its earnings, Airbnb attributed the gains to the easing of some travel restrictions and yes, to vaccine rollouts.


“For guests aged 60 and above in the U.S., who were amongst the first groups to benefit from vaccine rollouts, searches on our platform for summer travel increased by more than 60% between February and March 2021,” the company revealed in its earnings report Thursday


This dynamic also works a bit like a double-edged sword. What happens if vaccine rollouts hit a hiccup, or new variants take advantage of global gaps in the vaccination safety net, and travel restrictions also tighten as a result? The company acknowledged the continued difficulties in making that call.


“We continue to have limited visibility for growth trends in 2021 given the difficulty in determining the pace of vaccine roll-outs and the related impact on willingness to travel. We are not providing an outlook for the rest of 2021 at this time,” the release stated.In short: Global uncertainty continues, but for now, as vaccine rollouts continue, so will Airbnb’s fortunes continue to rise.


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


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VENTURE DEALS

 - Forte, a gaming infrastructure startup using blockchain, agreed to raise $185 million at a valuation of roughly $1 billion, per Axios. Griffin Gaming Partners led the round and was joined by investors including Union Grove Venture Partners, Andreessen Horowitz, and Battery Ventures. Tiger also sought to invest in the firm, per the report.


- Cue Health, a San Diego-based health technology company, raised $235 million. Investors included Perceptive Advisors, MSD Capital, Koch Strategic Platforms, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Decheng Capital, CAVU Ventures, and ACME Capital.


- MasterClass, a San Francisco-based streaming platform with curated lessons, raised $225 million in Series F funding. Fidelity Management & Research Company led the round and was joined by investors including Baillie Gifford, Balyasny Asset Management, Eldridge, IVP, Javelin, NEA, and Owl Ventures.


- Omnio, a London-based banking tech provider, raised $36.5 million (€30 million) in funding. GrayBella Capital led the round.


- Relay, a Toronto-based digital banking platform for small businesses, raised $19.4 million in funding. That includes a $15 million Series A led by Bain Capital Ventures, who was joined by Better Tomorrow Ventures, Garage Capital, Tribe Capital, Panache, and Amaranthine


- Upsie, a Minneapolis-based consumer warranty startup, raised $18.2 million in Series A funding. True Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Concrete Rose VC, Avanta Ventures, Kapor Capital, Samsung Next, Massive, Backstage Capital, Awesome People Ventures, Draft Ventures, Matchstick Ventures, M25, Silicon Valley Bank and Uncommon VC.


- Morressier, a Berlin-based virtual conference and publishing platform for the scientific community, raised $18 million in Series A funding. Owl Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Cherry Ventures and Redalpine


- Authomize, a Tel Aviv-based security management platform, raised $16 million in Series A funding. Innovation Endeavors led the round and was joined by investors including Blumberg Capital, Entree Capital and M12.


- Liquid Death, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based beverage brand that packages water in cans, raised $15 million in funding. Investors included Live Nation, Machine Gun Kelly, Tony Hawk, Wiz Khalifa, Steve Aoki, Kelly Campbell (president of Hulu) and Michael Dubin (founder of Dollar Shave Club).


- Chef Robotics, a San Francisco-based food prep automation company, raised $7.7 million in pre-seed and seed funding. Investors include Kleiner Perkins, Promus Ventures, Construct, Bloomberg Beta, BOLD Capital Partners, Red and Blue Ventures, Gaingels, Schox VC, Stewart Alsop and Tau Ventures.


- Go, a New Zealand-based social app for planning outings, raised $6.7 million in seed funding. CAV Angels led the round.


- Legionfarm, a Redwood City, Calif.-based gaming platform for gamers to game with pro players, raised $6 million in Series A funding. Investors include SVB, Y Combinator, Scrum VC, Kevin Lin, Altair Capital, and Ankur Nagpal.


- DeepScribe, a San Francisco-based medical documentation startup, raised $5.2 million in seed funding. Bee Partners led the round and was joined by investors including Industry Ventures, Stage II Capital, Tsingyuan Ventures, 1984 Ventures, Wavemaker 360, Supernode Ventures, Skydeck, Plug and Play and Sequoia Scout Fund.


- Healionics Corporation, a Seattle-based medical device company, raised $4.7 million. Keiretsu Capital led the round.


- Alba Orbital, a Scottish company making satellites, raised $3.4 million. Metaplanet Holdings led the round and was joined by investors including Y Combinator, Liquid2, Soma, Uncommon Denominator, and Zillionize.


- Nano Technologies, a Vietnam-based startup for instant wage access, raised $3 million in seed funding. Golden Gate Ventures and Venturra Discovery led the round and was joined by investors including FEBE Ventures, Openspace Ventures, and Goodwater Capital.


- Cartwheel, a Los Angeles-based delivery management platform for restaurants and retailers, raised $1 million in seed funding. TenOneTen Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Act One Ventures and Portillo’s Hot Dogs.


PRIVATE EQUITY

- Bain Capital Tech invested $150 million in Axtria, a Berkeley Heights, N.J.-based cloud software and data analytics provider. 


- Halle Capital Management and Trilantic North America invested in Rarebreed Veterinary Partners, a Portland, Me.-based veterinary services platform. Financial terms weren't disclosed.


- Headlands Research, backed by KKR, acquired Summit Research Network, a Portland-based medical research organization. Financial terms weren't disclosed.


- H.I.G. Capital invested in Homewerks, a Lake Bluff, Ill.-based seller of home products. Financial terms weren't disclosed.


- Service Champions, a portfolio company of Odyssey Investment Partners, agreed to acquire Hobaica Services, a Phoenix-based residential HVAC company. Financial terms weren't disclosed.


EXITS

- Genstar Capital agreed to acquire a majority ownership stake in Vector Solutions, a maker of software for risk and workforce management from Golden Gate Capital. Financial terms weren't disclosed.


- Grupo Comercial Chedraui subsidiary Bodega Latina Corporation will acquire Smart & Final Holdings, a Los Angeles-based grocery warehouse store, from Apollo Global Management for about $620 million including some debt.


- Graphic Packaging Holding Company (NYSE: GPK) will acquire AR Packaging Group, a European producer of fiber-based consumer packaging, for about $1.5 billion in cash from CVC Capital Partners


- Cedar will acquire OODA Health, a San Francisco-based healthcare tech company, for $425 million. Oak HC/FT backed OODA.


- Walmart announced plans to acquire Zeekit, a Tel Aviv-based maker of a way to try on clothes virtually. Financial terms weren't disclosed.


- Apax agreed to buy a stake in Nulo, an Austin-based pet food brand, from CAVU Venture Partners and Main Post Partners. Financial terms weren't disclosed.


- PayPal will acquire Happy Returns, a Los Angeles-based return drop-off logistics company. PayPal Ventures was an investor along with US Venture Partners.


OTHER

- AbbVie's Allergan Aesthetics will acquire Soliton (Nasdaq: SOLY), a Houston-based tattoo removal and cellulite-reduction company, for $550 million.


- GoodRx (Nasdaq: GDRX) acquired Vericast’s RxSaver, a discount drug company, for $50 million, per Bloomberg. 


- Regent acquired Club Monaco, a New York-based clothing company, from Ralph Lauren (NYSE: RL). Financial terms weren't disclosed. 


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Content From DealCloud

Future-proofing your firm

Productivity and efficiency gains haven’t come easily to some capital markets firms during the pandemic - yet 80% of dealmakers agree that internal technology is the answer to remaining competitive. Will the new normal force dealmakers to change? Download the guide.


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F+FS


- Top Tier Capital Partners, a San Francisco-based firm, raised €260 million ($310 million) for a Europe-focused and Luxembourg-based fund.


PEOPLE

- Frontline Ventures, a venture firm focused on B2B companies , named Lauren Kang, a former investment associate at Overton VC, as a senior associate.


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