PitchBook News - Can healthtech unicorns find an exit?

VC eyes future in carbon nanotubes; unicorn creation hits 6-year low despite AI boost; European VC trends in 4 charts
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The Daily Pitch: VC
January 19, 2024
The Daily Pitch is powered by PitchBook’s industry-defining research and best-in-class data
In today's Daily Pitch, you'll find:
 
Today's Top Stories  
Can healthtech unicorns exit the pipeline?
Only two new healthtech unicorns were minted in 2023, compared with 2021 and 2022, which had 52 combined.

Not only has the rapid shift in market conditions slowed funding for healthtech specialists, but also many of the unicorns born during the COVID-19 bubble have been unable to successfully go public or seek other exit opportunities, creating a backlog of late-stage startups.

Our latest analyst note breaks down deal trends, M&A opportunities, top IPO candidates and more among healthtech unicorns.
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Despite AI boost, unicorn creation hits 6-year low
(The_burtons/Getty Images)
Fewer unicorns were minted in 2023 than any year since 2017 as valuations toppled and VCs took longer to pull the trigger on new startups. Just 45 startups reached a $1 billion valuation.

Among that cohort, generative AI dominated: 44% were AI or machine learning companies.
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2024 PitchBook Media Kit released
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Quantum computing's potential fuels record deal count
(Bpawesome/Getty Images)
While full-fledged quantum computers remain years away, last year investors backed a record number of companies building software and hardware in the nascent area. The increase in deal activity is notable amid the broader tech slump.

Investor optimism in the sector is fueled by steady technological progress and the potential for quantum computers to one day power AI development, which would alleviate current GPU shortages.
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VC eyes future in carbon nanotubes
Investors are looking for new opportunities in carbon nanotubes, according to our latest Emerging Space Brief. These small sheets of graphene rolled into a tube are used in a variety of fields, including medicine and batteries, due to their semiconducting properties. Our analysts offer an overview of the tiny tech and cover key deals and trends in the space.
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4 charts showcase European VC trends
(Jeffrey Coolidge/Getty Images)
European VC activity was down across deals, exits and fundraising last year when compared to 2022.

Four charts offer a closer look at how the asset class performed in 2023.
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VC Deals  
Forta, an AI healthcare startup based in San Francisco, has raised a $55 million Series A led by Insight Partners.

SmartLabs, a Boston-based laboratory infrastructure company, has raised a $48 million Series C from ArrowMark Partners, Winslow Capital Management and Conversion Venture Capital.

International Battery Company, a developer of large-sized rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, has raised $35 million from investors including RTP Global, Beenext and Shastra VC.

Oleria, a Washington-based cybersecurity startup, has raised a $33 million Series A led by Evolution Equity Partners.

Dutch buy now, pay later startup Billink has secured €29.5 million from Varengold Bank.

Fintech startup Kashable, which is based in New York, raised a $25.6 million Series B co-led by Revolution Ventures and Moneta Ventures.

TrusTrace, a Stockholm-based fashion supply chain traceability platform, has closed a $24 million investment led by Circularity Capital.

Recraft, a San Francisco-based AI graphic design generator, has completed a $12 million Series A led by Khosla Ventures and former GitHub CEO Nat Friedman.

Dutch quantum computing startup QphoX has raised €8 million in a round led by QDNL Participations.
 
PitchBook webinar: 2024 US leveraged loan and private credit outlook
The broadly syndicated loan and private credit segments battled a challenging leveraged finance market—and each other—in 2023, amid fallout from rate hikes and increased competition for deals. Where will the challenges and opportunities lie in 2024? Key topics of this webinar include:
  • US leveraged loan market: Trends and analysis—including a look at issuance, LBOs, credit risk, returns and supply vs. demand.

  • Private credit: Will deal activity rebound? How will tightening credit spreads impact this segment? What is the outlook for defaults and recoveries?

  • Broadly syndicated loans: Default and distressed debt outlook, including special emphasis on distressed exchanges.

  • Collateralized loan obligations: After a record year of private credit and middle-market issuance, how will this investor segment evolve?
Register now to secure your spot.
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PE Deals  
Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe acquired a majority stake in Equilend, a data and analytics provider for the securities finance industry. As part of the deal, WCAS made a $200 million strategic investment in Equilend.

Aquiline Capital Partners made a majority investment in pharmaceutical solutions provider Pharma Force.

Godspeed Capital sold MOREGroup, an architecture and design brand family, to Wind Point Partners.

Warburg Pincus made a preferred equity investment in natural gas compression service company Service Compression.

N4 Partners invested in UK-based neurological research business NeuroClin. The company is also backed by Foresight Group and Fullbrook Thorpe Investments.

Limerston Capital bought Source Stability Storage, a UK-based biotech storage facility, from Source BioScience.

One10, an incentive and rewards marketing business backed by Bow River Capital, acquired Canadian event company First Lorandus Global.

The Italian government cleared KKR's acquisition of Telecom Italia's fixed-line network, which will be worth up to €22 billion.
 
Exits & IPOs  
GI Partners and TA Associates, which own healthcare software specialist Netsmart, are exploring a sale that could value the company at more than $5 billion, including debt, Reuters reported.
 
Fundraising  
Middle-market PE firm Bertram has raised $1.5 billion for its fifth flagship vehicle.

Massachusetts-based Windjammer has raised $1.3 billion for Fund VI.

EIT InnoEnergy and Paris-based Demeter have launched an early-stage fund, targeting €500 million, to develop a resilient raw material supply chain for batteries in Europe.

Switzerland's Blue Earth Capital has raised $378 million for its climate strategy. This includes $308 million for BlueEarth Climate Growth Fund I and $70 million for a tailored mandate and co-investments.
 
Investors  
The head of asset management at Japan's Mizuho Financial Group says his firm is looking to expand further into the private markets to meet growing demand from the country's institutional investors, The Japan Times reported. Noriyuki Sato said the plan is to expand alternatives AUM to 20 trillion yen (around $135 billion) in less than 10 years.
 
Chart of the Day  
Source: Q4 2023 PitchBook-NVCA Venture Monitor
 
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