A TPG IPO, a tie-up for TikTok and Shopify, and a possible Discord deal that would value the company at $15 billion

August 24, 2021
 
Hello, all! Also, in California, that recall election is coming up fast (we weren't paying enough attention), and the alternatives to Gavin Newsom are dizzying. A college student, a former homicide detective, Angelyne. It's . . . something.
Top News
 
TPG has hired JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs Group to underwrite its planned IPO, according to the WSJ. The Journal reported in June that TPG was in the early stages of weighing a public listing that could value it at some $10 billion. Now, it says the outfit has chosen the traditional IPO route over a merger with a special purpose acquisition company, which it was also considering earlier. More here.
 
Dragoneer Investment Group is expected to lead an investment that would value popular video game chat platform Discord at around $15 billion, according to Bloomberg. The round is reportedly expected to include participation by several existing investors and to raise at least $500 million. More here.
 
The S&P 500 today notched its 50th record close of 2021, which, yay(?).
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Fika Ventures Nearly Triples Its Assets as Market Goes Bonkers: "It's Definitely a Crazy Time"
 
Fika Ventures is a five-year-old, L.A.-based seed stage fund that has been funding mostly business-to-business startups, as well as fintech companies and a sprinkling of healthcare IT startups — as long as they don’t involve hardware or FDA approval.
 
The firm’s investors apparently think it’s doing a decent job. After raising $41 million for its debut fund, followed by a $77 million fund that Fika closed in 2019, the outfit is today announcing a third flagship fund with $160 million to invest, along with an opportunity-type fund with $35 million in capital commitments.
 
That’s a major endorsement for such a young firm. Still, even with upwards of 10 promising portfolio companies — including Formative, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based platform for K-12 teachers to create assessments that raised $70 million in June; Pipe, a Miami-based startup that lets companies sell their recurring revenue streams on its platform and raised $250 million at a $2 billion valuation in May; and Papaya Global, an Israeli startup that’s sells payroll, hiring, onboarding and compliance service and raised $100 million earlier this year — it’s getting harder right now to do what they do, say firm cofounders Eva Ho and TX Zhou.
 
“It’s definitely a crazy time,” Ho offers.
 
Massive Fundings
 
Atavistik Bio, a months-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based biotech focused on metabolite-protein interactions, has raised $60 million in Series A funding led by The Column Group, with participation from Lux Capital and Nextech Invest. BioSpace has more here.
 
Bungalow, a 4.5-year-old, New York-based online marketplace for residential real estate, has more than tripled its valuation to more than $600 million after raising $75 million in equity funding. Deer Park Road Management led the round, with participation from earlier investors including Coatue, Khosla Ventures, Founders Fund and Atomic. The company was last valued at $192 million in 2019, according to PitchBook data. Bloomberg has more here.
 
Bridge to Life, a 15-year-old, Northbrook, Il.-based company focused on organ preservation and transportation, has raised $56 million led by Perceptive Advisors. More here.

Cora, a two-year-old, Brazil-based lender to small and medium-size businesses, has raised $116 million in Series B funding led by Greenoaks Capital. with participation from other new backers Tencent and Tiger Global. TechCrunch has more here
 
Grafana Labs, a seven-year-old, New York-based open source software platform built to support monitoring, visualization, and metric analytics, has raise $220 million in funding co-led by Sequoia Capital and Coatue Management, with participation from earlier investors Lightspeed Venture Partners, Lead Edge Capital and GIC. According to Bloomberg, the company is now valued at $3 billion, a tenfold increase from two years ago.
 
ICON, a nearly four-year-old, Austin, Tx.-based developer of 3D-printed homes, has raised $207 million in Series B funding led by Norwest Venture Partners. Other investors in the round include 8VC, Bjarke Ingels Group, Bond, Citi Crosstimbers, Ensemble, Fifth Wall, LENx, Moderne Ventures and Oakhouse Partners. The Austin-American Statesman has more here.
 
Plentific, an eight-year-old,  London-based property management services marketplace, has raised $100 million in Series C funding. Highland Europe and Brookfield Technology Partners co-led the round, joined by Mubadala, RXR Digital Ventures and earlier investors A/O PropTech and Target Global. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Ramp, a 2.5-year-old, New York-based corporate card and expense management platform, has raised $300 million in Series C funding. Founders Fund led the round, joined by Redpoint Ventures, Thrive Capital, D1 Capital Partners, Spark Capital, Coatue, Iconiq, Altimeter, Stripe, Lux Capital, A* Partners (which is serial entrepreneur Kevin Hartz's firm), Definition Capital, Vista Public Strategies, Honeycomb and Kinetic. The company has now raised $610 million altogether, judging by Crunchbase data, and is valued at $3.9 billion by its investors. CNBC has more here.
 
Shield AI, a six-year-old, San Diego, Ca.-based company that says its self-driving technology enables swarms of unmanned systems to operate on the edge without GPS, communications, or remote pilots, has raised $210 million from investors, including Disruptive Technology Advisers, which valued the company at about $1.25 billion. Bloomberg has more here.
 
Upstream, a 4.5-year-old, Herzliya, Israel-based automotive cybersecurity startup, has raised $62 million in Series C funding led by Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance, with participation from I.D.I. Insurance, 57 Stars, La Maison Partners and earlier investors Glilot Capital, Salesforce Ventures, Volvo, Nationwide and Delek US. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Big-But-Not-Crazy-Big Fundings
 
Covera Health, a four-year-old, New York-based patient care analytics startup focused on reducing medical errors, has raised $25 million in Series C funding led by Insight Partners, with participation from Equity Group Investments. MobiHealth News has more here.
 
Equum Medical, an 11-year-old, New York-based acute care telehealth company that connects patients with physicians with tele-critical care experience, has raised $20 million from Heritage GroupMore here.
 
Hunters, a three-year-old, Newton, Ma.-based startup focused on fighting supply chain security attacks, has raised $30 million in Series B funding. Bessemer Venture Partners led the round, joined by earlier investors YL Ventures, Blumberg Capital, M12 and USVP. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Sora, a three-year-old, San Francisco-based HR automation software startup, has raised $14 million in Series A funding led by Two Sigma Ventures, with participation from earlier backers First Round and Elad Gil. The company has now raised roughly $20 million altogether. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Xalud Therapeutics, an 10-year-old, New York-based developer of nonviral gene therapies to treat pathologic inflammation, has raised $30 million in Series C funding led by earlier backer PBM Capital. More here.
 
Smaller Fundings
 
Armored Things, a five-year-old, Boston-based crowd analysis and intelligence software startup, raised $12 million in Series A funding. Nimble Ventures led the round, joined by Gutbrain Ventures, PBJ Capital, Micromanagement Ventures and earlier investors Glasswing Ventures, Will Ventures and iNovia Capital. More here.

Shimmy, a year-old, Boston-based hand sanitizer brand that hopes to turn its touchless dispensers into home decor, has raised $3 million in seed funding led by Wayfund. The Boston Globe has more here
 
Tango, a year-old, L.A.-based Chrome extension that auto-captures workflow best practices so that teams can learn from their top performers, has raised $5.7 million in seed funding. Wing Venture Capital led the round, joined by General Catalyst, Global Silicon Valley, Outsiders Fund and Red Sea Ventures. TechCrunch has more here.
 
Not-Saying-How-Much Fundings
 
Xiaodu Technology, an AI voice assistant unit of Baidu, said it raised Series B funding at a $5.1 billion valuation, though exact terms of the deal were not disclosed. Xiaodu is the developer of DuerOS, a voice assistant system based on AI that supports television, speakers and other smart home appliances. It completed its Series A funding in November 2020 at a post-money valuation of $2.9 billion, said Baidu. Reuters has the story here.
New Funds
 
Sequoia Capital China, the Chinese affiliate of the Silicon Valley venture capital firm, has quietly launched a new fund to buy and sell shares of publicly listed health and biotech companies, reports The Information. The move marks the firm’s second hedge fund "as the traditional boundaries between public and private market investors continue to blur and as the firm hopes to tap the global biotech boom," notes the outlet. More here.
Exits
 
Vox Media says it's buying Punch, a cocktail website founded by Bertelsmann’s Penguin Random House, which appears a bid to deepen its coverage of food and drinks. Terms of the deal aren't being disclosed, but according to the WSJ, the deal comes as Vox—owner of the Verge, Vox.com, and SB Nation—is considering several fundraising options that range from going public through a SPAC, a traditional IPO, or raising additional funding. More here.
(Also) Going Public
 
Warby Parker the 11-year-old eyewear company, filed paperwork with U.S. regulators for a direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange today, revealing a 53% surge in revenue for the first half of 2021 compared with last year, when Covid was first taking hold in the U.S. The company hasn't yet disclosed the number of Class A common shares its stockholders are looking to sell. It will not receive any proceeds from the sale of such shares. The New York-based outfit  -- which appears to have raised around $535 million over the years, including from Tiger Global Management, Forerunner Ventures, and General Catalyst, and which was valued by them at $3 billion a year ago --  said in June it had filed confidentially for a stock market listing. Reuters has more here.
 
ForgeRock, an 11-year-old, San Francisco-based digital identity and access management software company has registered plans to go public with the SEC without providing initial pricing for its shares. The company could be valued as high as $4 billion, according to Bloomberg. It has raised $233 million over the years, says TechCrunch. More here.
People
 
OnlyFans founder and CEO Tim Stokely says banks were behind the online fundraising platform’s recent ban on sexually explicit content. “The change in policy, we had no choice — the short answer is banks,” Stokely tells the FT. More here.
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Essential Reads
 
TikTok and Shopify, the e-commerce platform, say they're working together to add the ability for consumers to shop directly in the TikTok app for the first time.
 
The SEC will seek input on whether digital customer engagement innovations used by financial firms like robo-advisory outfits should be governed by existing rules or may need new ones, commission chair Gary Gensler told Reuters today
Detours
 
The cotton tote crisis.
 
The best restaurants in Paris right now.
 
I'm the badass new teacher at this high school.
Retail Therapy
 
Mail a potato face.
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