Good day. Last week, we asked if traditional venture-capital is at an inflection point with all the new entrants.
Sapphire Ventures partner Beezer Clarkson wrote that, in addition to large late-stage rounds, non-traditional players are also joining the earliest stages. Rolling funds, syndicate funds and solo general partners investing out of non-traditional venture vehicles are also impacting the ecosystem. “A founder’s choice of where, how, when, how much and from whom to take capital is wildly different than even a few years ago.”
As founders get tempted by big bucks, venture firms will need to highlight how they can help a startup beyond the cash, said H/L Ventures Vice President of Platform Galina Ozgur. Help with networking, recruiting and operating experience “all will come into play as an added benefit to a VC check and a counterbalance to the hands-off, impersonal approach to deals done by mutual funds and pensions,” Ms. Ozgur said.
Traditional venture investors are adapting to changes like growth in family offices and strategic corporate funds, the increased availability of crowdfunding, the reduced costs of business formation and increased alternatives to late-stage funding, said Bryan Hunt, senior investment manager of Relevance Ventures.
This week’s question: How is looming crypto regulation affecting investor calculus in the sector?
Please email responses to email@example.com.
And now on to the news …
The value of data. Aumni Inc., an analytics platform for private-capital markets, raised $50 million in a funding round led by JPMorgan Chase & Co., signaling investment firms’ appetite for financial-analysis tools powered by artificial intelligence. Aumni’s AI software combined with human expertise can extract and analyze deal data buried in investment documents and legal agreements, generating insights on metrics including investment rights, fund performance and emerging investment patterns. Since it launched its primary product in 2018, Utah-based Aumni says it has analyzed more than 100,000 investment transactions, providing previously inaccessible insights to customers throughout the private capital markets, Aumni Chief Executive and Co-Founder Tony Lewis said.
Unemployment claims edged up to this number last week from a revised 349,000 a week earlier, the Labor Department said. (WSJ)
Riverstone SPACs Bet Renewable Energy Will Pay Off This Time
Riverstone Holdings LLC rode the shale boom to big profits. Now the New York investment firm is betting on technologies that would cut demand for fossil fuels, hoping for better results than its earlier push into renewables, The Wall Street Journal reports. Investors have handed Riverstone four blank checks totaling nearly $1.3 billion to acquire businesses that “advance the objectives of global decarbonization.” The last time investors gave Riverstone so much money to make clean-energy deals, some barely broke even, while others lost roughly 90%, according to public pension data. Riverstone is best known for its energy-focused private-equity funds. For its green efforts, the firm is using special-purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs.
Peloton Slashes Price on Exercise Bike, Predicts Slowing Growth
Peloton Interactive Inc. on Thursday lowered by 20% the price of its original stationary bike, a move that comes as the company expects more muted growth in the coming year. The lowest-cost Peloton Bike will sell for $1,495, down from $1,895. The higher priced Bike+ still goes for $2,495. The company has enjoyed a boom in demand during the Covid-19 pandemic as many gyms were temporarily closed. But on Thursday it predicted slower growth in demand for equipment and subscriptions.
India-based Prime Venture Partners held a first close of $75 million toward its fourth fund, which has a target of $100 million. The new fund will continue to make investments in the fintech, edtech, healthtech, consumer internet and SaaS sectors, with plans to expand into decentralized finance, electric vehicle and gaming infrastructure platforms. Prime Venture Partners raised $72 million for its third vehicle in 2018.
Foodtech and agtech investor AgFunder held the final close of New Carnivore, its alternative protein fund, with $21 million in commitments. Investors in the fund included Archer-Daniels-Midland’s ADM Ventures and Alexandria Venture Investments. The fund has backed seven companies to date and hopes to invest in 13 more. AgFunder was founded in 2013 and is based in San Francisco.
Indian firm 3one4 Capital promoted Anurag Ramdasan to partner and appointed Nruthya Madappa as principal. Richard Pinto, Yash Baid and Ashwini Thulsaram were also elevated to principals. Before joining 3one4, Mr. Ramdasan was part of the founding team at Edcast. Ms. Thulsaram previously founded and led The CoWrks Foundry as managing partner.
Clear Current Capital, which invests in early-stage plant-based food, cultivated meat and fermented food companies, added Kim Flores as principal. The firm is currently fundraising for its second fund, which launched in April.
Guzman Energy said Mark Vanderhelm will join the company as chief operating officer. He was most recently vice president for energy and facilities management at Walmart. Back in 2018, Guzman Energy nabbed a $130 million investment from Vision Ridge Partners and ZOMA Capital.
Gap Inc. purchased Drapr Inc., whose technology enables customers to quickly create 3D avatars and virtually try on clothing, for an undisclosed amount. Drapr is backed by investors including Y Combinator, Boost VC and Berkeley SkyDeck.
Roofstock Inc., an online marketplace for single-family rental home investing, acquired property-management tech platform Great Jones for an undisclosed sum. Oakland, Calif.-based Roofstock is backed by investors including SVB Capital, Citi Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Bain Capital Ventures and Lightspeed Venture Partners. Great Jones had raised more than $30 million in venture funding from investors including Crosslink Capital and Juxtapose.
Higher education learning platform Top Hat acquired Morton Publishing Co., an independent press specializing in educational content for the sciences. Terms weren’t disclosed. Toronto-based Top Hat raised a $130 million Series E round early this year. Investors in the company include Georgian, Inovia Capital, Union Square Ventures and Leaders Fund.
Emergent Cold Latin America, a São Paulo-based temperature-controlled warehousing and logistics provider, launched with a $450 million investment from Lineage Logistics, Stonepeak Partners and D1 Capital Partners.
Grafana Labs, a New York-based provider of an open and composable monitoring and observability stack, scored $220 million in Series C funding, bringing the company’s valuation up to $3 billion. Sequoia Capital and Coatue Management co-led the round, which included participation from Lightspeed Venture Partners, Lead Edge Capital and GIC. Carl Eschenbach, partner at Sequoia, and David Schneider, general partner at Coatue, will join Grafana’s board.
Cribl Inc., a San Francisco-based observability data startup, raised a $200 million Series C round. Greylock and Redpoint Ventures led the investment, which included additional support from IVP, Sequoia Capital, CRV, Citi Ventures and CrowdStrike.
Atheneum, a business-to-business research technology platform founded in Berlin, picked up $150 million in growth capital led by Guidepost Growth Equity. Roshen Menon and Chris Cavanagh, general partners of Guidepost, will join the board.
Picsart, a San Francisco-based online photo and video-editing startup, landed $130 million in Series C funding led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2, valuing the company at over $1 billion. New investors G Squared and Tribe Capital also participated in the round, along with previous backers including Sequoia Capital, DCM and Graph Ventures. Serena Dayal, investment director at SoftBank Investment Advisors, will join Picsart’s board.
DealerPolicy, a digital insurance marketplace for automotive retailers, grabbed a $110 million Series C round. The Growth Equity business within Goldman Sachs Asset Management led the new funding, which saw participation from…