PitchBook News - Can AI stand up to Saas?

Investors dine and dash on foodtech; could France become Europe's biggest PE market?; mid-market gains upper hand in PE
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The Daily Pitch: VC
March 18, 2024
Presented by SRS Acquiom
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In today's Daily Pitch, you'll find:
 
Today's Top Stories  
AI in the fast lane: Momentum with moderation
SaaS has been a cornerstone of digital development for over a decade, while AI and machine learning emerged as a disruptive force of innovation, driving a shift in VC investments. In 2023, AI and machine learning's share of total VC investment surged by approximately 13 percentage points, signaling heightened investor interest in this transformative technology.

Our Q1 2024 Quantitative Perspectives report explores the dynamic of SaaS and AI and machine learning in the face of an ever-changing venture market as we compare the challenges, opportunities and investment prospects of these two verticals.
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Investors dine and dash on foodtech
Rising food costs and inflation have led to a difficult environment for foodtech: This was the second year in a row that annual VC investment in foodtech fell by more than half. Q4 2023 saw $1.7 billion in deal value generated across 279 deals, declines of 39.8% and 9.7%, respectively.

There are still reasons to be optimistic about the vertical, writes senior analyst Alex Frederick. From startups operating within the plant-based proteins space to a resurgence in the food ecommerce segment, our Q4 2023 Foodtech Report serves up the trends, key players, and data sure to make investors full.
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A message from SRS Acquiom  
Fresh insights to help drive M&A working capital efficiencies
From the experts at
SRS Acquiom who have resolved over 2,400 PPAs, the new 2024 M&A Working Capital Purchase Price Adjustment Study reveals the latest in PPA insights and trends. The study also provides exclusive data and drafting considerations. Learn about key shifts, including:
  • Increasingly customized PPA provisions: Tailored to deal specifics and the target's financial statements
  • Bigger special escrows for PPAs: Median sizes reaching 1% of the transaction value
  • More "two-way" PPAs: Resulting in a seller-favorable surplus on approximately 2 in 5 deals, up from 1 in 4 a decade ago
Download the Study
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Mid-market gains upper hand in PE fundraising race
(Digital Vision/Getty Images)
PE funds targeting the middle market amassed roughly $141 billion in 2023—the second-highest annual tally on record. These vehicles' ability to return more capital to investors than mega-funds helped them gain the upper hand in the fundraising race.
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Paris looks to make itself more attractive to PE
(AlxeyPnferov/Getty Images)
Could France take over as Europe's biggest PE market?

France is hoping to woo private equity with a new law that lowers barriers to doing business in the country, possibly drawing further financial services away from London.
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How will AI propel infrastructure SaaS?
Startups in the infrastructure SaaS market are ready to capitalize on the sea change that AI is bringing. The sector saw an uptick in VC funding in Q4 2023—reaching $2.2 billion compared to Q3's $1.9 billion.

There is still plenty of room for growth, especially for companies focusing on data software and systems, according to our recent Emerging Tech Research. Senior analyst Derek Hernandez examines startups supporting AI and other key trends in the infrastructure SaaS space.
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Q&A: Mid-market lender expects distressed debt opportunity to rise
(Eoneren/Getty Images)
A growing batch of troubled corporate borrowers need to restructure their liabilities, creating opportunities for investors that specialize in distressed debt.

Charlesbank Capital Partners closed its third credit opportunities fund on $1.5 billion in January. The PE firm's head of credit, Sandor Hau, anticipates that the distressed debt market will be particularly active in the short term.
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The Daily Benchmark:
2017 Vintage Non-US PE Funds
Median IRR
22.21%
Top Quartile IRR
26.75%
0.60x
Median DPI
Select top performers
Summit Partners Europe Growth Equity Fund II
HgCapital Mercury 2
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VC Deals  
Crypto startup Berachain raised $69 million in a round led by Brevan Howard Digital and Framework Ventures, Bloomberg reported.

Swedish biotech startup Asgard Therapeutics raised a €30 million Series A led by RV Invest and Johnson & Johnson Innovation.

DraftWise, a legal AI startup based in New York, raised a $20 million Series led by Index Ventures.

Thirdverse, a VR game development startup, secured roughly $11.29 million in its Series D.

Web3 game studio Metacene, which is based in Singapore, raised $10 million in a round led by Folius Ventures and SevenX Ventures.

Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund ADIA is considering an investment in India's Pocket FM, which offers an audio streaming platform, TechCrunch reported.

French cloud gaming startup Gamestream raised €4.5 million from investors including Bpifrance.
 
PE Deals  
Advent International, Hellman & Friedman and Thoma Bravo are all considering making bids for the $3 billion software integrity business of Synopsys, Bloomberg reported.

Permira is considering a take-private of Paris-listed cybersecurity group Exclusive Networks, Reuters reported.

Platinum Equity has hired Goldman Sachs to explore a $2 billion sale of golf cart-maker Club Car.

A consortium of investors led by Sixth Street has completed its acquisition of home improvement lending company GreenSky.

The US arm of accounting firm Grant Thornton is selling a majority stake to New Mountain Capital, the Financial Times reported.

Charlotte-based GemSpring Capital has sold Insurvia to an affiliate of Bharcap Partners. The Las-Vegas based insurance holdings company runs operations through Fiesta Insurance and La Familia to meet the increasing demand from the Hispanic market.
 
Exits & IPOs  
Swiss buyout firm Partners Group is considering a $5 billion sale of a portion of its infrastructure assets, Bloomberg reported.

KPS Capital Partners agreed to sell IKG, a metal grating manufacturer, to Meiser International and Dubai Transport Company.

Apple has reportedly acquired Canadian AI startup DarwinAI for an undisclosed sum. Neither company has confirmed the news.
 
Fundraising  
Dutch early-stage investor DeepTechXL has closed its debut fund on €110 million.
 
Chart of the Day  
Source: Q2 2023 Global Fund Performance Report (with preliminary Q3 2023 data)
 
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