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Evaluating healthtech unicorns; could VC continuation funds pick up?; India's Krutrim crowned unicorn in $50M round
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The Daily Pitch: VC
January 29, 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 AI-powered drones fix the US farming industry?
Despite a slow quarter for agtech deals overall, agribusiness marketplaces, drone specialists and imagery startups performed strongly—especially those focusing on generative AI applications.

It may feel like doom and gloom compared to 2021, but labor shortages, climate change and supply chain disruptions will require economic transformations that agtech specialists are well positioned for, according to our Q4 2023 Agtech Report. From precision farming to optimized crop management, there's much in store for the industry in 2024.
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Energy becomes bright spot in M&A dealmaking
(Anton Petrus/Getty Images)
The energy sector has emerged as a luminous part of M&A dealmaking. The robust momentum was a byproduct of cash-rich oil and gas producers going on a buying spree to fuel growth and sustained interest from investors and corporates in energy transition projects.
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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 recent analyst note breaks down deal trends, M&A opportunities, top IPO candidates and more among healthtech unicorns.
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VCs love the idea of continuation funds—here's why there aren't more of them
(Arctic-Images/Getty Images)
Continuation funds are gaining popularity with VCs. The vehicles—common in PE—allow existing LPs to sell aging assets to new buyers or roll those investments into new funds.

At a time when there are few opportunities to sell, continuation funds could give options to LPs to realize liquidity or remain invested if they believe the companies have room to grow.

But despite massive interest, hardly any VCs are closing these vehicles. Continued pressure for liquidity and further markdowns could change that.
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VC Deals  
Indian AI startup Krutrim has reached unicorn status with a $50 million investment led by Matrix Partners India.

Thentia, an Oklahoma-based regulatory technology startup, has extended its Series B with $38 million led by Ascent Ventures, Spring Mountain Capital, BDC Capital and Espresso Capital.

Denver-based Proof Technology, a legal-tech startup, has raised a $30.4 million Series B led by Long Ridge Equity Partners.

San Francisco-based Chef Robotics, which develops robots for commercial kitchens, has secured $14.75 million from investors including MaC Venture Capital, MFV Partners and Alumni Ventures, TechCrunch reported.

Berlin-based carbon credit marketplace Ceezer has received a €10.3 million Series A led by HV Capital.

GreenSpark, a New York-based software developer for the metal recycling industry, has secured $9.4 million led by Zero Infinity Partners and Third Prime.
 
PE Deals  
Sycamore Partners is exploring a bid to take over retail chain Macy's, the New York Post reported.

Trilantic Europe has acquired a 60% stake in Aerocompact Group, an Austrian company that specializes in the production and distribution of frames for mounting solar panels, Solar Power World reported.
 
Portfolio Companies  
Logistics and shipping startup Flexport is planning to lay off almost 20% of its workforce in the coming weeks, The Information reported.
 
Exits & IPOs  
EnCap Investments is considering selling Grayson Mill Energy in a deal that would value the shale oil and gas producer at around $5 billion, Reuters reported.

Advent International has agreed to sell Sophos Solutions, which offers technology consulting services for the financial sector, to GFT Technologies, a German digital transformation specialist.

Bain Capital and Parthenon Capital are considering selling healthcare technology company Zelis, Bloomberg reported.
 
Fundraising  
Spain's Asterion Industrial Partners is raising a fund to target more than €2 billion for infrastructure investments, Bloomberg reported.
 
Chart of the Day  
"Through Q3, the number of final closes of vehicles domiciled in the Middle East in 2023 is greater than or equal to the number of final closes each full year for four of the last five years. ... When considering regional fundraising drivers, it is important to note that funds domiciled in one location can, and often do, invest across international borders. So, if there are attractive opportunities presented in the Middle East, funds raised in North America or Europe may be capitalizing on them, and vice versa."

Source: Q3 2023 Global Real Assets Report
 
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