PitchBook News - 2021's rise of the unicorns

PitchBook's guide to your pitch; Eikon Therapeutics collects $517M+; The New York Times scores The Athletic; Little Otter lands $22M
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The Daily Pitch: VC
January 7, 2022
Like our newsletter? The data comes from the PitchBook Platform — our data software for VC, PE and M&A
In today's Daily Pitch, you'll find:
  • An exploration of the record number of unicorns generated during 2021.

  • Our fundraising guide for emerging managers provides a framework to help GPs prepare for success.

  • PayFit became the first European unicorn of 2022 and the latest in a string of HR tech startups to raise funding.
Today's Top Stories
The meteoric rise of US unicorns in 2021
(MadKruben/Getty Images)
The US venture industry set a new high-water mark last year by generating a record number of companies valued at more than $1 billion, surpassing the combined total of each of the past five years.

While much of the capital has gone toward late-stage mega-deals with lofty new valuations, early-stage deals also had their moment in 2021.
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A fundraising guide for emerging managers
(VectorMine/Getty Images)
Every year, more than $1 trillion is committed to private market funds worldwide. Yet fund managers, particularly those raising funds I, II, or III, often say their biggest frustration is how difficult it is to raise a vehicle.

Why the disconnect? As the fundraising environment trends toward fewer, larger vehicles, emerging managers find it increasingly difficult to attract capital.

Our recent analyst note, written by a former LP, takes the tried-and-true business framework of the five Ps and dials it up a notch to look at six facets of LP diligence that can help prepare GPs for a successful fundraise.
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HR tech startup PayFit becomes Europe's first unicorn of 2022
(WinsomeMan/Getty Images)
Europe has minted its first unicorn of 2022 with the close of payroll software developer PayFit's €254 million (about $287 million) Series E.
  • The round values the French startup at €1.82 billion and was led by General Atlantic with participation from existing backers Eurazeo, Bpifrance and Accel. PayFit has now raised €433 million in total funding.

  • The European HR tech sector saw an explosion of VC investment in 2021 as the global shift to remote or hybrid work has made managing human capital more complex. Startups in the industry raised a total of €2.6 billion, according to PitchBook data—an increase of 289% over 2020.

  • Other notable deals in the surge include staffing agency Jobandtalent's $500 million fundraise—the largest round to date for a European startup in the sector—and Personio's $125 million Series D, which made the HR software developer the first European unicorn of 2021.
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Recommended Reads
What can the video game industry's history with monetization tell us about the future of money in the metaverse? [The New Yorker]

In 2021, more venture capital firms made moves to close the gender gap among partners. [Business Insider]

As highly valued companies stay private longer, investors are drawn into the private markets. What other trends are fueling private equity's growth? [Institutional Investor]
Since yesterday, the PitchBook Platform added:
VC valuations
See what our data software can do
Quick Takes
  The Daily Benchmark  
  2014 Vintage Global Secondaries Funds  
  VC Deals  
  Eikon Therapeutics collects $517.8M  
  Indian delivery startup nabs $240M  
  Alumis draws in $200M for Series B  
  Petal picks up $140M Series D  
  Rupifi banks $25M  
  Mental health startup Little Otter secures $22M  
  Exits & IPOs  
  The New York Times scores The Athletic for $550M  
The Daily Benchmark
2014 Vintage Global Secondaries Funds
Median IRR
Top Quartile IRR
Median TVPI
Select top performers
Greenspring Secondaries Fund I
LPE Astraeus
Lexington Capital Partners VIII
*IRR: net of fees
13 Funds in Benchmark »
Check out the latest version of PitchBook Benchmarks
VC Deals
Eikon Therapeutics collects $517.8M
Eikon Therapeutics, a California-based drug discovery startup, has raised a $517.8 million Series B from investors including the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, T. Rowe Price, EcoR1 Capital, General Catalyst and Soros Capital. The biopharma company uses live-cell super-resolution microscopy to create medicines for life-threatening diseases. Eikon raised a $148 million round at a valuation of $248 million in May 2021, according to PitchBook data.
Select Additional Investors:
AME Cloud Ventures, E15 VC, Horizons Ventures, Lux Capital, StepStone Group, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, The Column Group
View round
View 34 competitors »
Indian delivery startup nabs $240M
Bengaluru-based Dunzo has collected $240 million in new funding that's said to value it at $775 million. Reliance Retail reportedly led the round, with support from existing backers Lightbox, Lightrock, 3L Capital and Alteria Capital. Founded in 2015, the company delivers packages, groceries, medicine, pet supplies and more. Dunzo intends to use the funds in part to expand to eight more cities, TechCrunch reported.
View round
View 14 competitors »
Alumis draws in $200M for Series B
Alumis has raised a $200 million Series B from investors including an affiliate of Matrix Capital Management. The company is a developer of precision medicines intended to treat autoimmune diseases.
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View similar company »
Petal picks up $140M Series D
Petal has raised $140 million in a round led by Tarsadia Investments, with support from RiverPark Ventures, Afore Capital, Gaingels and others. The new funding values the New York- and Virginia-based company at $800 million, TechCrunch reported. Petal provides credit cards to users based on income, spending and savings history. It was valued at $375 million in March, according to PitchBook data.
Additional Investors:
Valar Ventures, Gopher Asset Management, Volery Capital Partners, CUNA Mutual Group, Encore Bank
View round
View 62 competitors »
Rupifi banks $25M
Rupifi has raised $25 million in a round co-led by Tiger Global and Bessemer Venture Partners, TechCrunch reported. The Bengaluru-based company offers a buy now, pay later platform for small and medium-sized enterprises.
Additional Investors:
Ankur Capital, Quona Capital
View round
View 14 competitors »
Mental health startup Little Otter secures $22M
Little Otter has raised a $22 million Series A led by CRV. Based in the Bay Area and launched last May, the company is the creator of a mental health platform for children and families, offering on-demand care via parenting specialists, pediatric psychiatrists and other professionals. Little Otter's services are offered in California, Colorado, North Carolina and Florida; it intends to make them available nationwide by 2023.
Additional Investors:
Able Partners, BoxGroup, G9 Ventures, Hinsdale, Springbank Collective, Torch Capital, Vast Ventures
View round
View similar company »
PitchBook Webinar: Technology trends impacting AI, climate and food
Join Pitchbook's Emerging Tech team on Jan. 13 to hear their analysis and expectations for emerging tech market growth and investment opportunities in AI and machine learning, climate tech and foodtech.

During the webinar, PitchBook analysts will share insights on specific technologies ripe for growth and expectations for the space in 2022, including:
  • AI and machine learning, and the shifting priority toward more data preparation.

  • Which carbon negative technologies are driving growth in climate tech.

  • Foodtech's remarkable progress and expectations for growth among alt-protein providers in 2022.
Register here to secure your spot.
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Exits & IPOs
The New York Times scores The Athletic for $550M
The New York Times Company has agreed to acquire The Athletic for $550 million in cash. The sports media specialist, which has received venture backing from Evolution Media Capital, CourtsideVC, Founders Fund and others, had been shopping a deal for months. Founded in 2016 and based in San Francisco, The Athletic has about 1.2 million subscribers.
View details
View 11 competitors »
Chart of the Day
Source: PitchBook's 2021 DACH Private Capital Breakdown
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