Good day. While major cyber attacks have helped drive
venture-capital investments into cybersecurity startups,
early-stage deal activity hasn't returned to its pre-pandemic
heights. The findings, outlined in a report by venture firm
DataTribe, could serve as an indicator that surging startup
valuations are working to dampen deal-making activity.
Cyber seed-stage deals reached a total of 32 in the first
quarter of 2019, before dropping in 2020 to an average of 15 per
quarter. This year has seen an average of 17 seed-stage cyber deals
a quarter, and only 16 in the third quarter, according to the
report, which analyzes data from analytics firm PitchBook Data
"A possible explanation for the slower rebound, in spite of news
of headline cyber investments and a rush to invest in early stages,
is the valuation trend that continues to climb," the report
Whether this trend spreads to the broader venture sector remains
to be seen, as some investors have voiced concern over the effect
of ever-larger valuations.
And now on to the news ...
Uneven gains. U.S. public companies added the most diverse slate
of new directors on record to their boards over the past year, with
a surge of Black nominees and elevated numbers of women and
first-time directors, according to two new studies, Theo Francis
and Emily Glazer report for The Wall Street Journal.
The gains were uneven, with about half of public-company boards
adding no new members and smaller companies lagging behind their
bigger counterparts, according to one of the studies, from the
Conference Board and data analytics firm ESGauge. In addition, more
companies of all sizes have started disclosing the racial and
ethnic makeup of their boards.
The second study, by executive and board recruiting firm Spencer
Stuart, found that a third of new independent board members for
S&P 500 companies identifying director demographics were Black,
up from 11% the year before, and 7% were Latino, up from 3%. With
the new arrivals, a little over three-quarters of S&P 500 board
members were white and 70% were men, according to Spencer Stuart.
It had released preliminary data earlier this year.
SoftBank-Backed Flock Freight Raises $215 Million
SoftBank-backed Flock Freight raised $215 million in a new
funding round supporting its load-matching technology to help
shippers pool their goods on trucks to bypass freight hubs, WSJ's
Lydia O'Neal reports. The new funding, to be announced Wednesday,
will help the six-year-old company hire 300 more employees next
year and invest in its shipment-pooling algorithm and
machine-learning technology, upping the number of shipments it can
process per minute. SoftBank Group Corp.'s Vision Fund 2, an
earlier investor in Flock Freight, led the new round. Also
investing in the new round were existing investors Alphabet Inc.'s
GV investment arm, GLP Capital Partners LP and venture-capital firm
SignalFire. This round also includes Susquehanna Private Equity
Investments LLLP and Eden Global Partners LLC.
SPAC Shareholders Approve Deal That Will Take WeWork Public
Special-purpose acquisition company BowX Acquisition Corp. said
on Tuesday its shareholders approved the previously announced
business combination with shared-workspace company WeWork Inc., WSJ
reports. BowX said the deal is expected to provide WeWork with cash
proceeds of about $1.3 billion. The merger is expected to close on
or about Oct. 20, BowX said, adding shares of the combined company,
to be named WeWork, are expected to begin trading on the New York
Stock Exchange on Thursday. An attempt at an initial public
offering of WeWork in 2019 was postponed by its then-parent company
amid questions about the company's corporate governance and how
much it was worth. The company was eventually bailed out by
SoftBank Group Corp.
WSJ Tech Live
Instacart CEO Fidji Simo, right, tells WSJ Tech Live she expects
online grocery ordering to grow but said consumers see the service
as complementary to buying in stores.
Instacart Expects More Growth in Grocery Deliver
Congress Is Losing Patience With Big-Tech Resistance, Klobuchar
Responsible AI Is Better for All, Google's Engineering VP Says
Atelier Ventures, started by former Andreessen Horowitz Partner
Li Jin, is merging with Variant Fund and the combined company has
launched a $110 million fund to lead investments in early-stage
Flyover Capital Partners, which invests outside the traditional
tech hubs of Silicon Valley and the Northeast, appointed Tristan
Mace as managing partner. Kansas City-based Flyover recently closed
Flyover Capital Tech Fund II and Flyover Capital Tech Fund II-QP
with over $60 million in capital commitments.
Vertical farming startup Unfold Inc. said David Nothmann joined
the company as chief operating officer. He previously held
leadership positions at Terramera, Valent LLC, Battelle and
ArborGen. Davis, Calif.-based Unfold is backed by Leaps by Bayer
and Temasek Holdings.
Mobile business communications platform Dialpad Inc. acquired
Koopid, an omnichannel customer experience provider, for an
undisclosed amount. San Francisco-based Dialpad is backed by Omers
Growth Equity, Andreessen Horowitz, GV, Iconiq Capital and SoftBank
Corp. Koopid is listed in the portfolios of Tri-Valley Ventures and
Classy, which creates fundraising software for nonprofits, made
its first acquisition with the purchase of Fondi, a virtual and
hybrid events platform. Terms weren't disclosed. In April, San
Diego-based Classy said it raised $118 million in Series D funding
from Norwest Venture Partners, Salesforce Ventures and Hinge
HqO, a tenant-experience operating system for commercial office
buildings, acquired Office App, a tenant and employee engagement
platform, for an undisclosed sum. In April, Boston-based HqO said
it landed a $60 million Series C round from investors including
Accomplice, Insight Partners, JLL Spark, Navitas Capital, Allegion
Ventures, PruVen Capital and Suffolk Capital. Office App has
offices in Amsterdam, London and Munich, and is listed in the
portfolios of Join Capital and Pi Labs.
Gorillas Technologies GmbH, a Berlin-based on-demand grocery
delivery provider, scored nearly $1 billion in Series C financing
led by Delivery Hero. New investors G Squared, Alanda Capital,
Macquarie Capital, MSA Capital and Thrive Capital also participated
in the round, alongside previous backers including Coatue
Management, DST Global, Tencent Holdings, Atlantic Food Labs, Fifth
Wall and Greenoaks Capital Partners. According to Dow Jones
Newswires, Delivery Hero invested $235 million toward the round,
which values Gorillas at $2.1 billion pre-money, and gives Delivery
Hero a minority stake.
Cato Networks, a Tel Aviv-based secure access service edge
platform, picked up a $200 million investment at a valuation of
$2.5 billion. Lightspeed Venture Partners led the round, which
included contributions from Greylock Partners, Acrew Capital,
Coatue Management, Singtel Innov8 and company Chief Executive
Republic, a New York-based startup that operates a retail
investment platform, a private capital division and a blockchain
incubator and fund, snagged a $150 million Series B investment.
Valor Equity Partners led the round, which included support from
Galaxy Interactive, Motley Fool Ventures, HOF Capital, Tribe
Capital, CoinFund and Pillar VC. Vivek Pattipati, partner at Valor
Equity Partners, will join the company's board.
Wonolo Inc., a Nashville, Tenn.-based temporary staffing
platform, picked up a $138 million growth round. Leeds Illuminate
led the funding, with Managing Director Stephanie Nieman joining
the company's board. Franklin Templeton, 137 Ventures and G2
Venture Partners also joined in the funding.
Pismo, a Brazilian banking and payments platform, landed $108
million in Series B funding. SoftBank Latin America Fund, Amazon
and Accel led the round, which included participation from
Headline, Redpoint eventures, PruVen Capital and others.
Electric, a New York-based provider of IT technology for small-
and medium-sized businesses, raised $90 million in Series D
funding. GGV Capital led the round, which included participation
from Bessemer Venture Partners, Primary Venture Partners,
Greenspring Associates, Atreides Management, Vintage Investment
Partners and Slack.
JumpCloud Inc., a Louisville, Colo.-based cloud directory
platform, added $66 million in Series F funding, bringing the round
total to $225 million and the company's valuation to $2.6 billion.
Sapphire Ventures led the round, which included participation from
Atlassian Ventures, Steadfast Capital Ventures, Waterman Ventures,
Owl Rock Capital, Sands Capital and Endeavor Catalyst. JumpCloud
said it raised the initial Series F tranche last month.
Primer, a London-based payments infrastructure provider and
online checkout API, raised a $50 million Series B round at a $425
million valuation from Iconiq Capital, Accel, Balderton Capital,
RTP Global, Seedcamp and Speedinvest.
HR Acuity, a Florham Park, N.J.-based HR case management and
predictive insights software provider, grabbed a $47 million
investment from K1 Investment Management.
Skyflow Inc., a Palo Alto, Calif.-based customer data privacy
provider, secured a $45 million Series B investment. Led by Insight
Partners, the round included contributions from Mouro Capital,
MS&AD Ventures, Canvas Ventures and Foundation Capital.
Hash, a Brazilian payment infrastructure startup, collected $40
million in Series C financing co-led by QED Investors and
Who are the world's biggest climate polluters? Satellites sweep
Open-source startup Aiven raises $60 million in new funding
App deal highlights a push to lure workers back into offices
Comcast launches smart TV for U.S. market in bid to take on
Netflix adds more users than it predicted, boosted by 'Squid
Facebook settles with U.S. government over improperly reserving
jobs for immigrants
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
October 20, 2021 09:03 ET (13:03 GMT)
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