PitchBook News - US PE adjusts after volatile Q1

A16z launches entrepreneur-focused program; The Sandbox eyes $4B+ valuation; Chipotle reveals $50M VC fund; A Shoc Energy grabs $29M
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The Daily Pitch: VC
April 20, 2022
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In today's Daily Pitch, you'll find:
  • After rewriting the record books in 2021, the US PE industry is adapting to a changing world in 2022.

  • Blackstone is adding to its large real estate portfolio with a $13 billion college housing takeover.

  • US startups founded by women raised $1.47 billion in Q1, a 34% decline from the previous quarter.
Today's Top Stories
After a volatile Q1, US PE investors anticipate a steadier future
After rewriting the record books last year, US PE activity got off to a tepid start in 2022. Already under pressure from the threat of rising interest rates, dealmakers hit pause for weeks after Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and market volatility and valuation adjustments combined to stymie the exit landscape.

Yet markets appear to be moving forward, with signs that investors may be expecting calmer waters and a more normalized dealmaking environment ahead, according to our Q1 2022 US PE Breakdown, sponsored by Stout. Among the takeaways:
  • PE investors closed 2,166 deals worth a combined $331 billion, as the war in Ukraine wreaked havoc in lending markets and banks held on to billions of dollars in syndicated loans for LBOs.

  • Despite an ongoing focus on ESG, turbulence in the energy sector is likely to create opportunities for investors in traditional oil and gas assets.

  • Exit value totaled just $90 billion last quarter, as exits to other sponsors held steady but public listings all but disappeared.

  • The overall fundraising environment remains positive, yet the fight for commitments is fierce, as GPs return to the fundraising trail quickly and seek more capital than LPs can provide.
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Blackstone doubles down on real estate with $13B college housing takeover
(Five Stars/Getty Images)
Blackstone has agreed to purchase American Campus Communities in a wager that college campus rents will rise as more students return to in-person classes.

The firm on Tuesday inked a $12.8 billion takeover deal for the owner, developer and manager of college-living properties, agreeing to pay $65.47 per share. The transaction is just the latest in a long line of similar acquisitions by Blackstone.
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Female founders wrap Q1 with nearly $1.5B in VC funding
(Ponomariova_Maria/Getty Images)
US startups founded by women raised $1.47 billion in venture funding during the first three months of 2022, according to PitchBook data.

That figure represents a 34% decline from the highs of Q4 2021 and comes alongside a 26% drop in overall US VC funding.
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Insurance brokers' allure drives rise in European PE dealmaking
(Nikolay Pandev/Getty Images)
Among the many records set by PE dealmakers in 2021 was a new high-water mark of deal volume for European insurance brokers. The insurance subsector has accounted for the majority of PE activity in Europe's financial services industry, particularly as a buy-and-build strategy.

The trend is expected to continue, as a convergence of factors drives demand for tailored insurance coverage, according to our recent analyst note. While the insurance subsector is not without risk, emerging tech trends are also poised to transform the space.
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Recommended Reads
Why venture capitalists are sounding the alarm on the tech bubble that never burst. [The New York Times]

The goal of both sentiment analysis and emotion AI is to understand individuals' attitudes and feelings, but many researchers agree that the tools are two very different things. [Protocol]

The European Union has set a year-end deadline to cut two-thirds of its Russian gas imports. Can it be done? [Financial Times]
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Quick Takes
  The Daily Benchmark  
  2015 Vintage Global Debt Funds  
  Partner Perspectives  
  How New York's venture ecosystem fared in 2021  
  VC Deals  
  The Sandbox could be valued at $4B+  
  Tessera snags $300M+ for gene writing tech  
  Laiye wraps up Series C with $160M  
  Indian crypto exchange valued at over $2B  
  Seon secures $94M in Series B  
  BlockApps brings in $41M  
  A Shoc Energy grabs $29M  
  Obvious Ventures leads $23M round for Nue Life  
  One More Game scores $22M  
  Exits & IPOs  
  Blockchain.com mulls IPO  
  Fundraising  
  Impression Ventures closes fourth fintech fund on $64M  
  Chipotle reveals $50M VC fund  
  Investors  
  Andreessen Horowitz announces new entrepreneur-focused program  
 
 
The Daily Benchmark
2015 Vintage Global Debt Funds
Median IRR
9.12%
Top Quartile IRR
11.32%
1.22x
Median TVPI
Select top performers
ICG Europe Fund VI
TA Subordinated Debt Fund IV
Escalate Capital III
*IRR: net of fees
76 Funds in Benchmark »
Check out the latest version of PitchBook Benchmarks
Partner Perspectives
How New York's venture ecosystem fared in 2021
New York has long been a prominent area for venture activity, and 2021 was no exception. Dealmaking and exit activity in the region surged as companies and firms alike sought to take advantage of lively market conditions.

First Republic Bank's New York Venture Ecosystem Review explores key trends in the region, including:
  • Analysis of record-breaking deal and exit value.
  • Sector breakdowns examining New York's most active investment areas.
  • Deal activity among women-led companies.
Read the report here
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VC Deals
The Sandbox could be valued at $4B+
The Sandbox is mulling a $400 million fundraise from new and existing backers that would value it at over $4 billion, Bloomberg reported. The company, which offers a virtual world where players can monetize digital assets via the ethereum blockchain, raised a $93 million Series B led by SoftBank in November 2021.
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Tessera snags $300M+ for gene writing tech
Tessera Therapeutics has collected over $300 million in Series C funding from a subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, SoftBank Vision Fund 2, Artis Ventures and others. The biotech startup is developing genetic medicine that cures diseases by allowing scientists and clinicians to write therapeutics into the human genome. Tessera was valued at $780 million in January 2021, according to PitchBook data.
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Laiye wraps up Series C with $160M
Beijing-based Laiye has added $70 million to its Series C, bringing the round's total to $160 million. Hopu Magnolia led the latest tranche, with Lightspeed China and Lightspeed also supporting the round. The startup offers AI-based robotic process automation, intelligent document processing and a chatbot for customers in communications, electric power, finance and other sectors.
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View 18 competitors »
 
Indian crypto exchange valued at over $2B
CoinDCX has raised over $135 million in a Series D led by Steadview and Pantera, valuing it at more than $2 billion. Based in Mumbai, the company's cryptocurrency exchange and Web3 platform has over 10 million users. CoinDCX first reached a unicorn valuation in 2021, according to reports.
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View 25 competitors »
 
Seon secures $94M in Series B
IVP has led a $94 million Series B for Hungary-based Seon, the creator of a fraud prevention platform for fintech companies. The startup, which raised a Series A last year, will use the new funds to expand in North America, Latin America and the Asia-Pacific.
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BlockApps brings in $41M
Enterprise blockchain specialist BlockApps has raised a $41 million round led by Liberty City Ventures. The New York-based company's projects include TraceCarbon, a blockchain-powered carbon emissions tracking network, and TraceHarvest, an application that follows the full lifecycle of food and agricultural products.
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A Shoc Energy grabs $29M
Energy drink maker A Shoc Energy has raised a $29 million Series B from a roster of investors including MLB stars Aaron Judge and Freddie Freeman and pro golfer Brooks Koepka. Founded in 2019 and based in Orange County, Calif., the company is backed by Keurig Dr Pepper, which also participated in the new funding, Forbes reported.
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Obvious Ventures leads $23M round for Nue Life
Nue Life Health has raised a $23 million Series A led by Obvious Ventures. Founded last year and based in Miami, the telehealth startup offers ketamine therapy, a companion app and virtual aftercare programs for those experiencing mental health issues.
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One More Game scores $22M
One More Game has raised a $22 million Series A led by Lightspeed, with participation from investors including Andreessen Horowitz and Griffin Gaming Partners. The online gaming specialist is developing its debut title.
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Exits & IPOs
Blockchain.com mulls IPO
Crypto specialist Blockchain.com has spoken with banks regarding an IPO that could occur this year, Bloomberg reported. The London-based company, which was reportedly valued at $14 billion in March, has received prior backing from investors including Baillie Gifford, DST Global, Lightspeed and Vy Capital.
View details
 
View 33 competitors »
 
Fundraising
Impression Ventures closes fourth fintech fund on $64M
Toronto-based Impression Ventures has raised $64 million for its latest fintech fund. The vehicle will focus on early-stage financial products and services companies in the US and Canada.
View fund
 
View 19 investments »
 
Chipotle reveals $50M VC fund
Chipotle Mexican Grill has announced the creation of Cultivate Next, a new venture fund that will make early-stage investments in companies that support tech and innovation, expand access and convenience for consumers, and more. The vehicle, financed solely by Chipotle, will have an initial size of $50 million.
View details
 
View 2 investments »
 
Investors
Andreessen Horowitz announces new entrepreneur-focused program
Andreessen Horowitz has revealed the official launch of its Start program, which provides early-stage founders with one-on-one support, network introductions and as much as $1 million in financing. The program is backed by a16z's seed fund, which raised $400 million in August 2021.
View details
 
View 784 investments »
 
Chart of the Day
"VC deals with nontraditional investors rose in value and volume in 2021. In turn, record round sizes and valuations were produced in Europe. Strong historical return profiles, mounting technological adoption, and future growth prospects linked to shifts towards digital economies have enticed nontraditional investors to participate."

Source: PitchBook's 2021 Annual European VC Valuations Report
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