PitchBook News - Q&A: Investing in enterprise AI

Unpacking France's private markets; buy now, pay later propels retail fintech; analyzing cash flow across asset classes
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The Daily Pitch: VC
March 26, 2024
Presented by CIBC Innovation Banking
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In today's Daily Pitch, you'll find:
 
Today's Top Stories  
Former Microsoft enterprise IT exec on AI investing and her new $230M fund
Sheila Gulati (Courtesy of Tola Capital)
Sheila Gulati, managing director of Seattle's Tola Capital, knows a thing about enterprise software. At Microsoft, she led the enterprise IT strategy and launched the Azure cloud platform. Now, her firm has raised $230 million for its third flagship fund.

Gulati spoke to PitchBook about why more of her former Microsoft peers are jumping into venture, how Tola raised its new fund, and how to better invest in AI.
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French economy shows resilience while private markets falter
The French economy is expected to see higher growth than its European peers this year, although it will be lower than previous projections. The country's public markets have performed better than other European markets, with the CAC 40 finishing 2023 up 16.5%, according to our Q4 2023 France Market Snapshot.

Private market dealmaking in France remained muted over the past year. VC deal value fell in Q4 but was slightly higher than Q4 2022. On the PE side, deal value sunk 19.9% year-over-year in 2023. Exit activity was quiet all year with no public listings for PE and only four for VC-backed companies. Only two new unicorns were added in 2023: Mistral AI and Ledger.
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A message from CIBC Innovation Banking  
How do start-ups find stability in an unpredictable market?
When markets are unpredictable, high-growth companies can find it harder to meet their funding needs. That’s why some start-up founders are turning to a banking partner that specializes in the innovation economy. CIBC Innovation Banking combines deep expertise of early-stage companies with the historical stability of one of North America's leading banks. And they're helping their clients find the steady footing they need.

Discover what makes CIBC Innovation Banking the banking partner of choice for companies from coast to coast.
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Ownership of London's Heathrow still up in the air
(Ugurhan/Getty Images)
A rumored multibillion-pound deal for a stake in London's iconic Heathrow Airport didn't happen yesterday. But with three investors apparently looking to take off, there may soon be other deals on the runway.

Heathrow is a prized asset but also heavily in debt. And it's not the only UK airport facing debt worries. Whatever deals eventually land, it looks like PE will play a big role in shaping the future of London's airports.
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A look into funds' cash flow turbulence
Tracking the ebb and flow of fund cash flows is pivotal for determining the outlook of an institutional portfolio's liquidity. For LPs, capital call activity and net cash flows of funds are just as important to allocation planning and portfolio maintenance as the well-documented distribution dearth.

Our recent analyst note looks across thousands of funds and analyzes distributions relative to net asset values and capital calls compared to uncalled commitments across asset classes, offering a fuller picture of the LP perspective on the changing exit and dealmaking environment.
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Earnings growth bolsters credit markets despite still-hawkish Fed
(Hermen van Laar/Getty Images)
Improvement in earnings growth for leveraged borrowers has helped reinvigorate credit markets this year.

Still, coverage measures remain perilously thin for a wide swath of borrowers, as the Federal Reserve remains hawkish with a higher-for-longer rate policy.
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How buy now, pay later will propel retail fintech forward
Retail fintech saw slight growth in Q4 with deal value ticking up to $2.6 billion, a 5% increase from the previous quarter. While deal count declined to 148 deals—a 10.8% decrease from Q3—a new crop of buy now, pay later startups are poised to energize the space.

The Q4 2023 Retail Fintech Report dives into the new wave of BNPL startups, with financial analysis of the major players and trends investors need to know.
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Since yesterday, the PitchBook Platform added:
14
VC valuations
552
People
234
Companies
11
Funds
See what our data software can do
 
The Daily Benchmark:
2013 Vintage Global PE Funds between $500M-$1B
Median IRR
17.81%
Top Quartile IRR
24.45%
1.43x
Median DPI
Select top performers
Accel-KKR Capital Partners IV
Pamlico Capital Fund III
Altaris Health Partners III
*IRR: net of fees
25 Funds in Benchmark »
Check out the latest version of PitchBook Benchmarks
 
VC Deals  
FundGuard, which provides an AI asset class investment and accounting platform, has raised a $100 million Series C led by Key1 Capital.

AI video- and voice-generation startup HeyGen is in talks to raise $60 million in a round led by Benchmark, The Information reported.

Ohio-based Finite State, a risk management software startup, has raised a $20 million growth round led by Energy Impact Partners.

Virginia-based Iron Sheepdog, a trucking technology startup for brokers and contractors, has raised a $10 million Series B led by SJF Ventures.

New York-based Goalsetter, a fintech startup focused on financial education, has extended its Series A with $9.6 million led by MassMutual and an affiliate of Edward Jones.

Firecell, a French provider of private 5G mobile networks, has raised €6.6 million in a round led by Ventech and Matterwave Ventures.

Circular, which is based in San Francisco, has raised $5.3 million for its sustainable sourcing platform from Eclipse, Maniv and Oxygea.
 
Don't miss our upcoming webinar
In 2023, the European VC deal value and deal count generated by female-founded companies reached record totals, with their proportion of deal value growing by 36%. And while they represented a growing proportion of annual deal counts over the past decade, our data shows there is still progress to be made.

In this webinar, a panel of expert speakers will share insights from our inaugural European edition of the All In report, sponsored by UBS Wealth Management, Shoosmiths, and Enterprise Ireland. The discussion will analyze the current landscape for European female entrepreneurs, focusing on how female founders have fared in these challenging times. Key topics include:
  • Activity for female-founded companies followed a similar trend compared to the broader VC environment in 2023, slowing for the second year in a row but remaining elevated when compared to the past decade.

  • Women represent 15% of all European decision-makers at VC firms with $25 million or more in AUM.

  • All-female founding teams amassed €681 million (about $739.46 million) in 2023, and their total deal count dropped by 31%.
Register now to secure your spot.
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PE Deals  
Blackstone held talks with advisers for a £1.5 billion sale of flexible workplace company The Office Group, The Telegraph reported.

Advent International and CVC Capital Partners are bidding for Partner in Pet Food, a Hungary-based pet food company owned by Cinven and previously valued at roughly €2 billion, the Financial Times reported.

Morgan Stanley Private Credit led a $220 million recapitalization of media tech company Grass Valley.

TDR Capital made a buyout offer to Nasdaq-listed Target Hospitality, a hospitality services group based in Texas.
 
Portfolio Companies  
VC-backed biotech startup AnHeart Therapeutics was acquired by Nuvation Bio in an all-stock deal.
 
Exits & IPOs  
NYSE-listed industrial solutions company Ingersoll Rand agreed to acquire ILC Dover from New Mountain Capital for an upfront cash purchase price of approximately $2.3 billion.

NYSE-listed Clean Harbors acquired Hepaco, which provides environmental and emergency response services, from Gryphon Investors for $400 million.

American Express Global Business Travel agreed to acquire CWT at a $570 million valuation. CWT offers solutions for business travel and meetings.
 
Fundraising  
Healthcare-focused PE firm Hildred Capital has raised a $750 million continuation fund, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Golding Capital Partners has raised nearly €280 million for its latest secondaries fund, Secondaries Investor reported.

London-based 1991 Ventures has launched a £15 million early-stage fund targeting Ukrainian and Central and Eastern European startups.

London-based early-stage venture firm Ascension VC has raised about £17 million for the first close of an institutional impact fund. The firm aims for a second close in 2025 on £50 million total.
 
Chart of the Day  
Source: 2023 Annual European VC Valuations Report
 
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