Term Sheet: Sep. 08, 2017

September 8, 2017

Good morning, Term Sheet readers.

Thank you to everyone who responded to yesterday's question: If you had $100K, what private company would you invest in right now? Why?


To the reader who said he would invest the $100K in "a massage therapy place as the Bay area has so much stress" -- trust me, New York could use more massage therapy places, too. Anyway! I spent some time researching the companies you suggested. Below, a selection of your responses (links to companies have been added & answers have been slightly edited for length).


Houston writes: Everyone I know who does any serious athletics uses Strava to track and report their achievements. We even used Strava on a tourist bike ride across New Orleans a couple weekends ago for fun... Strava is becoming the central way for athletes to share achievements but also a way to joke about being athletic or doing fake athletic things (boozy bike ride). Strava = social network for athletes = serious adult athletes typically have $$$ = possibility for strong ad revenue growth.


Nicholas writes: I would invest in What3Words. It's a geolocation company which has produced a memorable three-word "address" for every 3m x 3m square of the planet. It's useful in the developed world, especially as drone delivery grows, but transformative in the developing world where ZIPs simply don't exist (Ireland didn't even launch ZIPs until 2014!). They have a good shot at being the global ZIP code system.


Peter writes: If I had $100k, I'd be investing in Monzo right now — one of the most exciting challenger banks in the U.K. I've listened to their CEO, Tom Blomfield, speak on a couple of occasions, and it's impossible not to buy into what they are trying to do — and doing. They somehow manage to get everyday, regular, non-techie people excited about challenger banks. They're positioning themselves to be the Google or Facebook of banking, and there's no way I'd bet against them.


As always, thank you, and let me know if you have additional thoughts.


How JPMorgan Chase is fueling Detroit's revival (by Matthew Heimer)

Pfizer's EpiPen maker is on the FDA's watchlist (by David Meyer)

Can Levi's make life better for garment workers? (by Erika Fry)

Paying for t-shirts with personal data (by Natasha Bach)

London shuts down Uber competitor Taxify (by David Meyer)

The Equifax executives who dumped stock right before the data breach was announced. (by David Meyer)

Barnes & Noble's struggles continue (by Phil Wahba)


Nylon axes its print edition. Why Facebook threw a breakfast for pharmaceutical marketers. Snapchat's influencers are "fleeing" to Instagram. Doctors & hedge funds.


WuXi NextCODE, a Chinese platform for genomic data, raised $240 million in Series B funding. Investors include Sequoia China, Temasek, Yunfeng Capital, 3W Partners, Temasek, Yunfeng, 3W and Amgen Ventures.

Pineapple Payments, a Pittsburgh-based provider of payment processing technology services, raised $35 million in funding from Providence Strategic Growth.

Talkspace, a New York-based operator of an online platform that connects users with therapists, raised $31 million in Series C funding. Qumra Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including Spark.

Vekia, a French provider of machine learning in the supply chain market, raised €12 million ($14.5 million) in funding. Serena Capital and Bpifrance led the round.

Gridtential Energy, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based provider of energy storage technologies, raised $11 million in funding. Investors include 1955 Capital, East Penn Manufacturing, Crown Battery Manufacturing, Leoch International, and Power-Sonic Inc.

TraceMe, a Seattle-based social media startup founded by Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, raised $9 million in Series A funding. Madrona Venture Group led the round, and was joined by Bezos Expeditions, Alibaba co-founder Joe Tsai, and YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley, among others. Read more at Fortune.

Montage, a Deerfield, Wisc.-based provider of video and voice interviewing services, raised $8 million in funding. Plymouth Growth Partners led the round, and was joined by investors including Baird Capital, Beringea and GCI. In addition to the funding, Montage has acquired GreenJobInterview, a Costa Mesa, Calif.-based video interviewing platform.

Petal, a New York-based credit card company, raised $3.6 million in seed funding. Brooklyn Bridge Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including Afore Capital, Great Oaks Venture Capital, Rosecliff Ventures, Guild Capital and Story Ventures.  

Steamroot, a New York City and Paris-based provider of OTT video optimization services, raised $3.2 million in funding from Partech Ventures, Techstars Venture Capital Fund, Verizon Ventures, and R/GA.

Maestro, a Los Angeles-based engagement and analytics platform for enterprise live streamers, raised $3 million Series A funding. Hersh Interactive Group led the round, and was joined by Rubicon Venture Capital, and the Stanford-StartX Fund.

ReWork, an Indonesia-based provider of co-working spaces, raised $3 million in funding, according to TechCrunch. ATM Capital and Convergence Ventures led the round, with participation from UrWork, Fortune Union Investments, and ACE Capital. Read more.

DataCubes, a Chicago-based data science platform for commercial underwriting, raised $2.5 million in Series B funding. MK Capital and Seyen Capital co-led the round.

Rhino, a New York real estate technology company, raised $1.94 million in seed funding. ff Venture Capital led the round.

Taunt, an esports startup, raised $1.75 million in seed funding. Foundry Group led the round, and was joined by Vulcan Capital.

Data Genomix, a Cleveland, Ohio-based marketing technology startup, raised an undisclosed amount in Series A funding. Edward Crawford and Zanite Ventures led the round.


Gritstone Oncology, a San Francisco-based cancer immunotherapy company, raised $92.7 million in funding. Lilly Asia Ventures led the round, and was joined by GV, Trinitas Capital, Alexandria Venture Investments, Versant Ventures, The Column Group, Clarus Funds, and Frazier Healthcare Partners.


SunTx Capital Partners acquired Freedom Truck Finance, a Dallas-based commercial specialty finance company for trucks and trailers.


Tabula Rasa HealthCare (NASDAQ:TRHC) acquired SinfoniaRx, a Tucson, Ariz.-based healthcare company. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

Accenture (NYSE: ACN) agreed to acquire IBB Consulting, a Philadelphia-based consulting firm that helps broadband and mobile operators, media companies and technology providers identify emerging industry shifts. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

Collinson Group, a London-based provider of consumer insights, acquired a number of assets from Linkable Networks, a Boston-based advertising analytics company. Linkable Networks raised more than $40 million in venture funding from backers including Bain Capital Ventures, Converge Venture Partners, and Blue Chip Venture Company.


Despegar.com, a Latin American online travel agency, said it had priced its IPO at a range of $23 to $26 per share. The company plans to offer about 12.8 million shares (32% insiders), raising $313 million at the offerings midpoint. The company says it raised $411.2 million in revenue and $35.1 million in earnings in 2016. Tiger Global (57.3% pre-offering), Expedia(16.4%), and General Atlantic Partners (5.4%) back the company. Morgan Stanley and Citi are joint bookrunners in the deal. It plans to list on the NYSE as "DESP."

Celcuity, an early stage biotech based out of Minneapolis, Minn., said it would raise about $85 million in an offering of 2 million shares at a range of $8 to $10. In 2016, the company posted loss of $3.3 million, and has yet to post a profit. Globe Resources Group backs the company, as does David Dalvey of Brightstone Venture Capital. Craig-Hallum Capital Group has been named underwriter in the deal. Celcuity plans to list on the Nasdaq as "CELC."

Krystal Biotech, a Pittsburgh, Penn.-based therapy company focused on dermatological diseases, said it plans to offer 3 million shares at between $9 to $11. Krystal would raise about $30 million at the offering's midpoint.  The company said it plans to list on the Nasdaq in an offering of up to $34.5 million. In 2016, Krystal posted loss of $1.2 million. The company has yet to post a revenue. The company is backed by biotech investor Krish Krishnan (34.1% pre-offering), Suma Krishnan (34.1%), and Sun Pharma (16.5%). Ladenburg Thalmann & Co. is sole bookrunner in the deal. The company plans to list as "KRYS" on the Nasdaq.

Adial Pharmaceuticals, a Charlottesville, Va-based biotech focused on treating alcohol-use disorders, said it plans to offer 1.4 million shares at a range of $9 to $11 in its IPO filing. The company would raise $14 million at the offerings midpoint. The company has yet to post a revenue, and reported loss of $421 million in 2016. The firm is banked by Bankole Johnson and Lindengruppen, AB. Aegis Capital is sole bookrunner in the deal. Adial plans to list on the Nasdaq as "ADIL."


Genstar Capital agreed to acquire Institutional Shareholder Services Inc., an advisory and corporate governance solutions provider, from Vestar Capital Partners for $720 million.

 Freeman Spogli & Co acquired Cafe Rio, a Salt Lake City-based fast-casual Mexican restaurant company, from KarpReilly. Terms weren't disclosed.

Pendo acquired Insert, an Israel-based mobile engagement platform. Financial terms weren't disclosed. Insert raised approximately $15 million in venture funding from investors including Battery Ventures and Mickey Boodaei.


Cove Hill Partners, a private equity founded by Andrew Balson, previously of Bain Capital, raised $1 billion for its inaugural private equity fund.

Vortus Investments, a Fort Worth, Texas-based private equity firm, raised $500 million for its latest fund.


Northleaf Capital Partners hired Michael Morris as director and Kaushik (Kash) Ramki as vice president. Previously, Morris was at H.I.G. Capital, and Ramki was at British Columbia Investment Management Corp.


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Polina Marinova produces Term Sheet, and Lucinda Shen compiles the IPO news. Send deal announcements to Polina here and IPO news to Lucinda here.

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