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September 16, 2021

This is the web version of Term Sheet, a daily newsletter on the biggest deals and dealmakers. Sign up to get it delivered free to your inbox.

Goldman Sachs’ push into consumer banking is endlessly fascinating.

The banking giant was not a household name like say Wells Fargo or Clorox before it was identified  as a villain during the Financial Crisis. Termed a ‘Vampire Squid’ in a 2010 Rolling Stone article for, the moniker stuck.

But as it sought more steady streams of revenue than say investment banking, the stalwart has fought for consumer attention, and hoped the layman has largely forgotten or stopped caring about its reputation from the late 2000s. In its branding, it favored the more casual “Marcus”—the first name of its founder—over the more stern and serious “Goldman Sachs.”

On Wednesday, the banking giant made its consumer banking ambitions even more certain: The company acquired GreenSky, a fintech with buy-now-pay-later capabilities, for $2.2 billion.

“We have been clear in our aspiration for Marcus to become the consumer banking platform of the future, and the acquisition of GreenSky advances this goal,” says David M. Solomon, Goldman’s chairman and CEO, in a statement.

Marcus has inked notable partnerships including with Apple, and it has launched in the robo-advising space.

The deal is notable because BNPL has been the hotspot in fintech in recent months. The big elephant in the room being Square’s mega purchase of AfterPay in Australia. It’s no secret, Goldman Sachs, founded in 1869, wants to be young again. It wants to be cool. Beyond the preponderance of demand from younger consumers for buy-now-pay-later products, investors in the space say BNPL players also own the consumption data directly—potentially allowing such players to better assess who is able to pay back a loan and get business from customers that were previously excluded from using credit cards, but perhaps were no less credit-worthy. On the flipside, consumer advocates worry it could open the door to overspending because it makes one big purchase look more digestible.

A GRANDE MESS: We don’t discuss real estate much in this newsletter, but the Evergrande story is one to keep on our radar. With liabilities estimated at about $300 billion, the overstretched Chinese property giant has warned that it could default on its debt if it cannot raise more funding—an event that could send shockwaves through an economy. In 2018, China’s central bank included Evergrande as one of the companies it said could pose a systemic risk to the country’s financial stability. Now the big question is, will the government step in to help soften Evergrande’s impact on the economy?  

Beyond a broader crackdown on the property sector by China’s central government (in which analysts believe is in part an attempt to reign in high property prices in favor of affordability), Evergrande’s story is also one of just not-so-good old corporate mismanagement. Beyond its enormous debt burden, it had for example, inexplicably, an electric vehicle unit and also dove into infant baby formulas. Disgruntled investors have since descended upon the company’s headquarters in Shenzhen, China, to protest. Read more.

Lucinda Shen

Jessica Mathews compiled the IPO and SPAC sections of this newsletter.




- Discord, the chat app maker, raised $500 million at a $15 billion valuation. Dragoneer Investment Group led the round and was joined by investors including Baillie Gifford & Co, Coatue Management, Fidelity Management & Research Co., and Franklin Templeton. 

- Apna, an Indian job search platform, raised $100 million. Tiger Global led the round valuing it at $1.1 billion.

- Pine Labs, an Indian merchant commerce platform, raised $100 million. Invesco Developing Markets Fund invested.

- Omaze, a Los Angeles-based social impact fundraising platform, raised $85 million. Louis Bacon’s Moore Strategic Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including FirstMark Capital, Wndrco, Telstra Ventures, Causeway Media Partners, Mockingbird Ventures, BDMI, and Pegasus Ventures.

- Grailed, a New York City-based marketplace for men’s luxury, streetwear, sneakers, and vintage fashion, raised $60 million in Series B funding. GOAT Group led the round and was joined by investors including Groupe Artémis, Gucci CEO Marco Bizzari, Thrive Capital, and Index Ventures. 

- Francis Medical, a Minneapolis-based medical device company focused on prostate, kidney, and bladder cancer, raised $55 million in Series B funding. Solas BioVentures led the round and was joined by investors including Arboretum Ventures, Coloplast A/S, H2Oey Ventures, and Tonkawa.

- Glean, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based maker of a digital work assistant, raised $55 million in funding. General Catalyst led the round and was joined by investors including Kleiner Perkins and Lightspeed.

- Outer, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based outdoor furniture company, raised $50 million in Series B funding. Kathy Xu of Capital Today led the round and was joined by investors including Tribe Capital, C Ventures, TRAC VC, and Upfront Ventures

- CodeSignal, a San Francisco-based maker of tools for the hiring process, raised $50 million in Series C funding. Index Ventures led the round.

- Skello, a French workforce management tool maker, €40 million in Series B funding. Partech led the round and was joined by investors including  Xange and Aglaé Ventures.

- Self Financial, a consumer fintech, raised $50 million in Series E funding. Altos Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Meritech Capital and Conductive Ventures.

- Statespace, a New York City-based e-sports and sports training solution, raised $50 million. Khosla Ventures and Lux Capital led the round and were joined by investors including FirstMark, June Fund, West Ventures, AME, Bessemer Venture Partners, Modern Venture Partners, Mirae Assets, Animal Capital, Riverside, and Gaingels.

- Open Mineral, a Swiss metal trading platform, raised $33 million. Mubadala Investment Company led the round.

- Relyance AI, an privacy law compliance startup, raised $25 million in Series A funding and $5 million in seed. Menlo Ventures and Unusual Ventures led the Series A, while Unusual led the seed round. 

- Pyxis One, a Burlingame, Calif.-based marketing and consumer analytics platform, raised $17 million in Series B funding. Celesta Capital and Premji Invest co-led the round and were joined by investors including Chiratae Ventures, pi Ventures, and Exfinity Venture Partners. 

- Axelera AI, a Netherlands-based A.I. semiconductor startup, raised $12 million in seed funding. Bitfury led the round and was joined by investors including Innovation Industries and imec.xpand. 

- Chaldal, a Bangladesh-based grocery delivery platform, raised $10 million in Series C funding. Taavet Hinrikus (co-founder of Wise), Sten Tamkivi (CPO of Topia), and Xploration Capital invested.

- Sorcero, a Washington D.C.-based medical technical language A.I. company, raised $10 million in Series A funding. CityRock Venture Partners and Harmonix Fund led the round and was joined by investors including Rackhouse, Mighty Capital, and Leawood VC.

- SmarterTravel, a Cambridge, Mass.-based travel company, raised $9.5 million in Series B funding. Link Ventures with Second Alpha led the round.

- DeepHow, a Detroit-based startup focused trade work skill training, raised $9 million in pre-Series A funding. Sierra Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Osage Venture Partners and Qualcomm Ventures.

- VROMO, Dublin, Ireland-based restaurant delivery SaaS business, raised $8 million. No Such Ventures invested.

- Foxquilt, a Toronto-based insurtech, raised $8 million. Luge Capital led the round and was joined by investors including AmTrust Financial, Extreme Venture Partners, and Side Door Ventures. 

- Cortical.io, a Vienna and San Francisco-based company, raised $6 million in Series A funding. Ezpada led the round.

- Concreit, New York-based real estate investing platform, raised $6 million in seed funding. Matrix Partners led the round and was joined by investors including Hyphen Capital.

- Stardust, a platform for adding NFTs to games, raised $5 million in Series A funding Framework Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Kleiner Perkins, Blockchain Capital, Distributed Global, and Maven 11.

- Ascend, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based insurance payment company, raised $5.5 million in seed funding. First Round Capital led the round and was joined by investors including Susa Ventures, FirstMark Capital, and Box Group.

- Private AI, a  Toronto-based developer of machine learning and natural language processing tools, raised $3.2 million in seed funding. M12 and Forum Ventures led the round.

- ThriveFantasy, a New York City-based fantasy sports and esports platform, raised $3 million. Cardinal Sports Capital led the round.


- KKR ended talks to acquire Zooplus, a German online pet shop.

- Bridgepoint Group invested in Blume Global, a Pleasanton, Calif.-based supply chain tech company, valuing it at  $500 million. Apollo Global Management and EQT remain investors.

Fairbanks Morse Defense, a portfolio company of Arcline Investment Management, acquired Hunt Valve Company, a maker of naval valves. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Sagewind Capital invested in Federal Advisory Partners, an Arlington, Va.-based consulting firm for public and private organizations. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Platinum Equity acquired Petmate, an Arlington, Texas-based maker of pet products. Financial terms weren't disclosed.


- Pretium Packaging, backed by Clearlake Capital Group, agreed to acquire Alpha Consolidated Holdings, a provider sustainable packaging solutions, from Irving Place Capital.  Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.


- Canadian Pacific Railway (NYSE: CP) will acquire Kansas City Southern (NYSE: KSU), the rail operator, for about $31 billion in cash and stock.

- Fortitude Re acquired Prudential Financial (NYSE: PRU) subsidiary, Prudential Annuities Life Assurance, for about $2.2 billion.

- Great Western Bancorp (NYSE: GWB) and First Interstate BancSystem  (NASDAQ: FIBK) agreed to merge in an all-stock merger that values Great Western at approximately $2 billion.

- Byju’s acquired Tynker, a Calif.-based coding platform for K-12 students, valuing it at $200 million, per TechCrunch.


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- Rivian, an Irvine, Calif.-based electric truck and SUV company, is planning to raise between $5 to $8 billion in an IPO, according to Reuters. Amazon and Ford Motor back the firm.

- Volvo Cars, a Swedish-headquartered car company, is planning to go public in the country, per Reuters. An IPO would value the company at $20 billion. Geely Holding owns the firm.

- Mercury Retail, the company owning Russia’s largest alcohol retail chain, chose investment bankers for an IPO as early as this year, per Bloomberg. An IPO would value the company at up to $20 billion.

- ForgeRock, a San Francisco-based digital identity verification company, raised $275 million in an offering of 11 million shares priced at $25 per share. It had previously planned to charge up to $24 per share. The company posted $127.6 million in revenue in 2020, and reported a net loss of $41.8 million. Accel, Riverwood Capital, and Meritech Capital back the firm.

- Enact Holdings, a mortgage insurance and lending company, raised $252.9 million in an offering of 13.3 million shares priced at $19 per share. The company posted $1.1 billion in revenue in 2020 and net income of $370 million. Enact Holdings is a subsidiary of life insurance company Genworth Financial. 

- Cue Health, a San Diego, Calif.-based healthcare company that makes COVID tests, plans to raise up to $212.5 million in an offering of 12.5 million shares priced between $15 to $17 per share. The company posted $15.4 million in revenue in 2020 and reported a net loss of $19.3 million. ACME Capital, Decheng Capital, and Madrone Capital Partners back the firm.

- Theseus Pharmaceuticals, a Cambridge, Mass.-based cancer treatment company, filed for an initial public offering. The company reported a net loss of $12 million in 2020 and has yet to post revenue. OrbiMed Advisors, Foresite Capital, and Takeda-owned oncology company ARIAD Pharmaceuticals back the firm.


- Prenetics, a COVID testing company in Hong Kong, agreed to go public via a merger with Artisan Acquisition Corp., a SPAC, according to Bloomberg. A deal would value the company at $1.25 billion.


- SoftBank Group launched SoftBank Latin America Fund II with $3 billion, and may raise more.

- Flexpoint Ford, a Chicago-based private equity investment firm, closed Flexpoint Asset Opportunity Fund II at $825 million.

- Inspired Capital, a New York City-based early-stage venture capital firm founded by Alexa von Tobel and Penny Pritzker, closed its second fund with $281 million.

- 500 Startups, a San Francisco-based venture capital firm, closed a $140 million global flagship fund.

- 3TS Capital Partners, a European technology-focused growth capital investor, announces the first closing of its Fund IV with 50 million.

- Commonfund Capital, a Wilton, Ct.-based investor, closed its Commonfund Capital Global Private Equity Partners III at $236.6 million.


- One Rock Capital Partners added Allison L. Spector as Head of ESG.

- Battery Ventures promoted Jordan Welu to partner.

- Hyde Park Venture Partners named Dawn Nguyen and Carlos Covarrubias as associates. 

- Accelmed Partners added Katherine Relle as a vice president.

- Monroe Capital expanded to Asia with the appointment of Alex Kim as managing director and Head of Asia. 

- SoftBank added Rodrigo Baer and Marco Camhaji as managing partners for its LatAm funds. Both will be based in São Paulo and report to Marcelo Claure.

- NightDragon added John Cordo as a principal.

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