Friday, March 16, 2018

Term Sheet: Mar. 16, 2018

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March 16, 2018

Happy Friday, Term Sheet readers.

Robinhood, a zero-commission stock trading platform, is raising a massive new round of funding.


The startup is in the process of raising $350 million in Series D funding being led by Russia's DST Global, according to a source familiar with the fundraise. The round values the company at a whopping $5.6 billion, up from a $1.3 billion valuation last April.

Robinhood's existing backers include Index Ventures, Thrive Capital, and NEA. Some of these investors are said to be participating in the new round as well.

The fresh infusion of capital comes on the heels of Robinhood's announcement that it's adding a cryptocurrency trading feature to its platform. In January, the company said it would allow customers to buy tokens using its same streamlined, no-commission approach it offers for stocks.

Robinhood will use part of the funding to "aggressively hire across the board," Term Sheet has learned. It just hired Greylock investor Josh Elman as its VP of product, and it's also looking for VPs of engineering and customer support.

The company is making big moves, and it's definitely one to watch in the coming months.

THERANOS SOUND-OFF: Thank you to all of you who took the time to respond to yesterday's column about Theranos' secretive operations. Here's a roundup of some of the comments I received:

"The huge elephant in the room that nobody has addressed is this: ordinary people who steal from a 7-11 store go to jail. No option to pay a fine or give up the empty candy wrapper (worthless shares). How is it they let her off scot-free?"

"The fact that this woman (and the ex CEO) are not already doing 10-12 in a federal penitentiary tells you everything that is wrong with our securities laws in America.

"The young huckster Holmes aside, the bigger story here is how the company continued to raise huge sums of money from professional investors. Due diligence is supposed to uncover and temper the exaggerations that are expected from CEOs."

"How are these not lessons that SV should not already know? Do your diligence, understand the tech and don't accept 'trade secret' BS, and check out board oversight."

WEEKEND READING: In the new issue of Fortune, my colleague Shawn Tully wrote a long-form feature on how government deficits could blow up the Trump economy. The U.S. national debt is expected to more than double in the next 10 years, and this story explains why that's dangerous — and what it'll take to fix it. Read the feature here.


What We Know So Far About James Comey's Top-Secret Book (by Natasha Bach)

Hong Kong's Richest Man, a Wartime Refugee Turned Billionaire, Is Retiring

White House Aide Tells Wall Street to 'Relax' Over Trade Worries

Nest's $229 Hello Video Doorbell Is Ready to Greet You (by Don Reisinger)


Blink Health just filed a $250 million lawsuit against a company it claims is an 'unlawful copycat scheme.' Meredith moves to sell Time, Fortune and Sports Illustrated titles. Toys 'R' Us said to eye China PE firms in $1 billion Asian sale.

VENTURE DEALS Inc, a San Francisco-based provider for bookkeeping services for startups and other small businesses, raised $15 million in Series A funding. Investors include Index Ventures.

Fortem Technologies Inc, a Salt Lake City-based provider of airspace awareness and intelligence, raised $15 million in Series A funding. Data Collective led the round, and was joined by investors including Boeing, Mubadala Investment Company, Manifest Growth, New Ground Ventures and Signia Venture Partners.

Virtuos, a China-based game developer, raised $15 million in funding. 3D Capital Partners led the round.

theSkimm, a New York-based online daily newsletter, raised $12 million round in funding. Google Ventures led the roundm and was joined by investors including 21st Century Fox, RRE and Homebrew.

180 Health Partners, a Nashville, Tenn.-based provider of care coordination between opioid addicted mothers and healthcare providers, raised $8 million in Series B funding. Spring Mountain Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including Frist Cressey Ventures, Resolute Venture Partners and Altitude Ventures.

Fazua, a Munich, Germany-based drive system provider for bike manufacturers, raised $8 million in funding. UVC Partners led the round, and was joined by investors including High-Tech Grunderfonds and Bayern Kapital.

SeamlessDocs, a New York-based eSignature and form automation platform, raised $7.5 million in funding. SJF Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including Motorola Solutions, Entrepreneur Roundtable Accelerator, NY State Innovation Ventures and CapRock.

Detectify, a Sweden-based provider of a software-as-a-service based website security scanner, raised €5 million ($6.2 million) in funding, according to TechCrunch. Insight Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by investors including Paua Ventures and Inventure. Read more.

Foxtrot, a Chicago-based mobile app that allows users to shop curated collections of food & drinks, raised $6 million in Series A funding. Fifth Wall led the round, and was joined by investors including Lerer Hippeau, Revolution's Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, Collaborative VC, BoxGroup, Maveron, M3 Ventures and The University of Chicago.

Drover, a U.K.-based marketplace for all-in car subscriptions, raised £5.5 million ($7.7 million) in funding. Investors include Cherry Ventures, Partech BP Ventures, Version One and Forward Partners.

Parachute Health, a New York-based healthcare technology platform, raised $5.5 million in funding. Investors include Greater New York Hospital Association Ventures, Loeb Holding Corporation, Anthony Welters, and Fred Browne.

PieSync, a Belgium-based intelligent data synchronization platform for organizations, has raised $3.5 million in funding. Fortino Capital led the round with participation from other investors that included Ark Angels Activator Fund, PMV and Dirk Vermunicht.

Hazel Technologies Inc, a Chicago-based agricultural technology company, raised $3.26 million in Series A funding. S2G Ventures led the round.

Andie, a New York-based e-commerce brand for women's swimwear, raised $2 million in seed funding. Two River Capital and Sonostar Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including Jesse Horwitz and Demi Moore.

Strix Leviathan, a company building a crypto-trading platform for enterprises and institutions, raised $1.625 million in seed funding. Liquid 2 Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including Founders' Co-op, Future\Perfect Ventures and 9Mile Labs.

Medinas Health, a data-driven marketplace helping healthcare organizations buy and sell their surplus and short-date medical supplies and equipment, raised $1 million in funding. Investors include Sound Ventures, Rough Draft Ventures, Precursor Ventures, Trammell Ventures and Angels.


BioLumic, a New Zealand-based creator of an ultraviolet crop yield enhancement system, raised $5 million in Series A funding. Finistere Ventures and Radicle Growth led the round.


MFG Chemical, which is owned by Platte River Equity, acquired Gulf Bayport Chemicals, a Houston, Texas-based maker of maleic anhydride derivatives.

InterVision Systems, which is backed by Huron Capital, acquired Bluelock, an Indianapolis-based provider of disaster recovery and infrastructure-as-a-service solutions. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

YFM Equity Partners invested in Ncam, a U.K.-based provider of augmented reality solutions for the entertainment industries. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

Bridger Capital Partners acquired Old Mill Brick, a Bluffdale, Utah-based provider of brick web and panel systems. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

Tritium Partners invested in RateGenius Inc, an Austin, Texas-based online auto loan refinance origination and marketplace platform. Financial terms weren't disclosed.


L'Oreal will buy ModiFace, a Canada-based beauty technology company, according to Reuters. Financial terms weren't disclosed. Read more.

Cloudian acquired Infinity Storage, a Milan-based company focused in software-defined file storage solutions. Financial terms weren't disclosed.


Helios Tower, an African mobile networks operator, has rescinded plans for a 2 billion pound ($2.8 billion) IPO in London. Read more.

Energean, a Greek oil and gas firm, raised nearly $500 million in an IPO of 72.6 million shares priced at 4.55 pounds ($6.35) in London. Read more.

HDFC Asset Management, a Mumbai-based financial firm, filed for an IPO of 25.5 million shares in India. HDFC is backed by Housing Development Financial Corp. and Standard Life Investments. Kotak Investment Bank, BofA Merrill Lynch, Citi, CLSA India, HDFC Bank, ICICI Securities, IIFL Holdings, JM FInancial, J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Nomura, and Karvy Computershare are underwriters in the deal. Read more.

Lotte Data Communication, a South Korean IT services firm, is seeking approval for an IPO in the country. Conglomerate Lotte Group backs the firm. Read more.

Cepsa, the Spanish oil and gas firm, is weighing an IPO via its owner Mubadala Investment Co. Read more.


Baring Private Equity Asia and CITIC Capital acquired Wall Street English, a China-based English language training network, for $300 million. The seller was Pearson.


The Carlyle Group (Nasdaq:CG) raised more than $15 billion for its seventh flagship fund, Carlyle Partners VII.

Clearlake Capital Group, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based private equity firm, raised more than $3.6 billion for its fifth fund.

Next Frontier Capital, a Bozeman, Minn.-based venture capital firm, raised $38 million for its second fund, Venture Fund II.


Drake Star Partners named Michael Metzger as a partner.

Alex Friedman joined Periscope Equity as vice president.

Playground Global promoted Jade Lai to principal.


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Polina Marinova produces Term Sheet, and Lucinda Shen compiles the IPO news. Send deal announcements to Polina here and IPO news to Lucinda here.

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