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A VC, PE view of French presidential candidates; The Boring Company hits $5.6B+ valuation; Upside Foods loads up with $400M; Pollen pockets $150M
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The Daily Pitch: VC
April 22, 2022
Like our newsletter? The data comes from the PitchBook Platform — our data software for VC, PE and M&A
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In today's Daily Pitch, you'll find:
  • Our latest European PE Breakdown reveals that Q1 dealmaking held strong despite an unpredictable macroeconomic environment.

  • Whichever way France's presidential election swings, the country's VC and PE markets will see change. We look at key takeaways from the candidates' 2022 election programs.

  • Blackstone's first-quarter financial report was headlined by its opportunistic real estate portfolio, which grew more than 10%, outperforming its other businesses.
Today's Top Stories
European PE remains resilient in Q1 amid macroeconomic uncertainty
Despite an unpredictable macroeconomic environment, European private equity dealmaking held strong in the first three months of the year, with deal value reaching a new quarterly peak of €241.3 billion. That resiliency was buoyed by record dry powder levels, softer multiples and healthy leveraged lending markets. Transaction sizes also grew, resulting in record cumulative deal value and pushing the median deal size to €50 million.

Our Q1 2022 European PE Breakdown takes a detailed look at the continent's ecosystem, dissecting activity by deal type, sector, size, region and more. Key takeaways include:
  • Drops in liquid markets, valuation adjustments, the war in Ukraine and a tighter policy environment all contributed to a sluggish start for European PE exit activity, which had its worst quarter since Q4 2020.

  • Fundraising got off to a slow start, but many key trends—including stock market volatility, lower interest rates and PE outperformance—all remain intact. Retail channels are expected to be a big fundraising growth area.

  • Two of the quarter's largest deals came from the sustainability space, a sector that investors will likely double down on in 2022.
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Comparing France's presidential candidates through a private market lens
(Chesnot/Getty Images)
French voters are set to decide on their new leader in the coming days as incumbent President Emmanuel Macron faces off against far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.

During his tenure as president, Macron has been an advocate of the private markets, pushing ahead with labor and tax reforms, as well as new funds to foster innovation. Last year, VC investors poured a record €10.7 billion (about $11.6 billion) into French startups, according to PitchBook data. While Macron is ahead in the polls, the millions of undecided voters could sway the vote in favor of Le Pen.

A victory for either party will affect France's VC and PE markets. We look at the key takeaways from the candidates' 2022 election programs and what each outcome could mean for private market investors.
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Partner Perspectives
Investing in a cleaner world
As today is Earth Day, sustainability is top-of-mind. From financing solar farms in Arizona to launching all-electric ridesharing programs in Manhattan, PE is playing a big role in boosting sustainability across the country. Willis Tower recently completed a $500 million renovation that will cut energy consumption by 20% and save over 100 million gallons of water over the next decade. AIC member Blackstone and portfolio company EQ Office were behind the effort.

In partnership with PitchBook, AIC has released Investing in a Cleaner World: Private equity and sustainability. Beyond the numbers, the report also highlights new initiatives, partnerships and sustainability funds that will ultimately pay dividends for the planet.

To download the report, click here.
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Blackstone's real estate holdings shine, distributable earnings climb in Q1
(SOPA Images/Getty Images)
Blackstone's first-quarter financial report was headlined by its opportunistic real estate portfolio, which grew more than 10%, outperforming its other businesses.

The private equity giant saw its opportunistic real estate returns climb 10.3% in the quarter, while its Core+ real estate portfolio returned 7.9%, according to the firm's latest earnings report. Blackstone increased its real estate AUM by $17 billion in the quarter, bringing the total to nearly $300 billion.

The firm saw a rise in distributable earnings—the allocation of cash that can be returned to investors—compared to the same period last year. It reported $1.9 billion for the quarter—up from $1.2 billion, but down from $2.3 billion in Q4 2021.
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Recommended Reads
Why the challenges facing Netflix could be a warning for the rest of the streaming industry. [The New York Times]

Managed futures are on track to have one of their best years, while equity sector funds are headed in the opposite direction. The result? Widely different performance experiences for hedge fund investors. [Institutional Investor]

One environmental historian explores how cities became accidental wildlife havens. [Bloomberg]
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Quick Takes
  The Daily Benchmark  
  2016 Vintage Global Real Assets Funds  
  VC Deals  
  Elon Musk's Boring Company snags $675M at $5.6B+ valuation  
  Upside Foods loads up with $400M Series C  
  Convoy picks up $260M  
  Reify Health announces $220M in new funding  
  Pollen raises $150M to curate travel experiences  
  Octant collects $80M Series B  
  Mendel nabs $40M Series B  
  TvScientific brings in $20M  
  Glide grabs $20M  
  Jarvis ML banks $16M in seed financing  
  Fundraising  
  Amazon reveals $1B logistics-focused VC fund  
 
 
The Daily Benchmark
2016 Vintage Global Real Assets Funds
Median IRR
7.80%
Top Quartile IRR
13.73%
1.26x
Median TVPI
Select top performers
Kimmeridge Energy Fund III
Tembo Capital Mining Fund II
AIM Landfill
*IRR: net of fees
48 Funds in Benchmark »
Check out the latest version of PitchBook Benchmarks
VC Deals
Elon Musk's Boring Company snags $675M at $5.6B+ valuation
The Boring Company has raised $675 million in a round co-led by Vy Capital and Sequoia. The new financing values the company at over $5.67 billion. Founded by Elon Musk, The Boring Company is a creator of transportation, utility and freight tunnels.
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View 1 competitors »
 
Upside Foods loads up with $400M Series C
California-based Upside Foods (formerly Memphis Meats) has raised a $400 million round that values the provider of cultivated meat, poultry and seafood at more than $1 billion. The funding was co-led by Temasek and the Abu Dhabi Growth Fund.
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View 10 competitors »
 
Convoy picks up $260M
Convoy has raised $160 million in Series E preferred equity led by Baillie Gifford and T. Rowe Price, as well as $100 million in venture debt funding from Hercules Capital. Based in Seattle, the company is a provider of digital fleet management tools for trucking companies.
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View 11 competitors »
 
Reify Health announces $220M in new funding
Reify Health has collected $220 million in Series D funding co-led by Altimeter Capital and Coatue, valuing the company at over $4.8 billion. Based in Boston, Reify Health offers clinical trial optimization tech and infrastructure to biopharma companies, research clinics and other healthcare organizations.
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View 6 competitors »
 
Pollen raises $150M to curate travel experiences
Pollen, the creator of a travel platform that partners with brands and entertainers to offer curated experiences, has raised $150 million in Series C financing. Founded in 2014, the company is backed by investors including Kindred, Lansdowne Partners and Northzone.
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View similar company »
 
Octant collects $80M Series B
Octant has raised an $80 million Series B led by Catalio Capital Management. The Emeryville, Calif.-based company is developing programmable biology and chemistry to create precision medicines for complex diseases, including rare genetic disorders.
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View 1 competitors »
 
Mendel nabs $40M Series B
Mendel has raised $40 million in a round led by Oak HC/FT. Based in San Jose, the company's natural language processing platform helps healthcare professionals read and understand unstructured medical data.
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View 16 competitors »
 
TvScientific brings in $20M
TvScientific, the developer of a performance measurement platform for TV advertisers, has raised a $20 million Series A led by Norwest Venture Partners.
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View similar company »
 
Glide grabs $20M
Glide has raised a $20 million Series A led by Benchmark. The company is the provider of a software development platform designed to help users build and manage applications without coding.
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View similar company »
 
Jarvis ML banks $16M in seed financing
Jarvis ML has raised $16 million in a round led by Dell Technologies Capital. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company offers a machine learning platform intended to help businesses set up revenue generating intelligence engines.
View round
 
View similar company »
 
Fundraising
Amazon reveals $1B logistics-focused VC fund
Amazon has announced the launch of a $1 billion venture fund that will be used to back industrial innovation related to customer fulfillment, logistics and the supply chain. The vehicle's first round of investments is targeting wearable tech and robotics.
View details
 
View 214 investments »
 
Chart of the Day
"Both median and average fund sizes hit all-time highs for the past decade, with average fund size exceeding even pre-global financial crisis numbers."

Source: PitchBook's 2021 Annual Private Fund Strategies Report
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