VC Daily: Venture Firm 500 startups changes name and closes largest fund

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Good day. Nostalgic people may be disappointed that prominent San Francisco-based venture capitalist 500 Startups changes its name to 500 Global. But what is even more striking is that a company that made investing in early stage companies its hallmark is now moving downstream, the latest sign that investing in companies growth and development phase is increasingly crowded.

500 Global closed its largest fund to date at $ 140 million to support its new strategy as it seeks to invest in growth and late-stage transactions, including ahead of the companies’ IPOs. At the same time, the new injection will be used to maintain the company’s extensive presence in international markets.

The company has started to solidify its global footprint since its founding in 2010 by creating local teams that can seek deals and secure allocations, an approach that gives it a competitive edge now that more US companies are expanding to abroad, said Christine Tsai, founding partner and managing director.

And now for the news …

Top news

Indian fintech. Paytm, a pioneer of mobile payments in India and one of the country’s best-known startups, set out years ago to create a ubiquitous digital finance ecosystem, much like Ant Group Co.’s Alipay in China, reports the Wall Street Journal. Now, as the owner of Paytm approaches a $ 2.2 billion list that will see him beat Ant in the public market, the company isn’t the dominant player it wanted to be and is making it. facing growing challenges in an increasingly crowded Indian payments market.

It has already been overtaken in a key area by rivals with deep pockets, including Indian startup PhonePe, backed by Google and Walmart Inc., of Alphabet Inc ..

One97 Communications Ltd., owner of Paytm, is targeting a market valuation of $ 25 billion when it goes public this fall. The listing will generate considerable profits for 43-year-old founder Vikay Shekhar Sharma and investors such as Vision Fund of SoftBank Group Corp. and Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

0.3%

By how much consumer prices rose in August on a seasonally adjusted basis, up from a 0.5% month-on-month increase in July, the Labor Department said. (WSJ)

SmartNews App Raises $ 230 Million, Considering Possible IPO

SmartNews Inc. raised $ 230 million in its most recent funding round, valuing the news discovery app at around $ 2 billion and paving the way for a potential listing of its shares, reports the WSJ. SmartNews is a news aggregation website that forms partnerships with external media such as USA Today and Time magazine to publish their content. The app prides itself on helping local news outlets, many of which have been under extreme pressure, by driving traffic to their articles through a tab that displays personalized headlines based on the user’s location.

Fintech startup Pagaya nears $ 9 billion SPAC deal

Pagaya Technologies Ltd. is set to close a deal to go public through a merger with a specialist acquisition company that would value the fintech startup at around $ 9 billion, people familiar with the matter said. Based in New York and Tel Aviv, Pagaya harnesses an artificial intelligence network to make financial transactions like lending more efficient and empower more people to borrow, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Industry News

Funds

Alexandria, Va.-Based fintech investor QED Investors closed its seventh oversubscribed fund with capital commitments of $ 1.05 billion. The new fund, which is a $ 550 million start-up fund and a $ 500 million growth fund, will continue to invest in the US, UK, Latin America and Southeast Asia . QED Investors recently participated in funding rounds for Brazilian fintech startup Cora and small business services provider Hello Alice.

People

Rally Ventures, which focuses on early-stage business technology, said Jessi Howard has joined the company as director of human resources. She previously held positions at SportsEngine, RedBrick Health and Secure Computing. With offices in Menlo Park, Calif. And Minneapolis, Rally is currently investing from its fourth fund of $ 250 million.

OpenWeb, a community engagement and audience development platform for publishers, has appointed Andrew Sullivan as chief product officer and Boris Korenfeld as chief technology officer. Mr. Sullivan was most recently senior vice president of product and strategy at Operative. Mr. Korenfeld previously held positions at Google and Gett. Founded in 2012 and based in New York and Tel Aviv, OpenWeb is backed by investors such as Insight Partners, AltaIR Capital, Norma Investments, Entrée Capital and Index Ventures.

Kepler Communications Inc., a startup working to develop a low-earth orbit satellite communications network, has appointed Stephen Bennett as COO. Most recently, he was Senior Vice President at Blue Origin. Toronto-based Kepler Communications recently raised a $ 60 million Series B funding round from Tribe Capital, IA Ventures, Costanoa Ventures and Canaan Partners.

Exits

Digital life insurance provider Bestow Inc. has acquired Centurion Life Insurance Co. for an undisclosed amount. In November 2020, Dallas-based Bestow said it had raised $ 70 million in Series C funding from Breyer Capital, Valar Ventures, New Enterprise Associates, Core Innovation Ventures, Morpheus Ventures and Sammons Financial Group.

Protective intelligence software developer Ontic has acquired Sigma Threat Management Associates for an undisclosed amount. Ontic, based in Austin, Texas, is backed by Felicis Ventures, Silverton Partners, Floodgate Fund and Village Global.

Zenoti, a provider of business management software for the spa and salon industry, purchased competitor SuperSalon for an undisclosed amount. Zenoti, based in Bellevue, Wash., Recently secured $ 80 million in Series D funding at a valuation of over $ 1.5 billion. Investors in the company include TPG, Advent International, Tiger Global Management, Norwest Venture Partners and Accel.

New money

DeepRoute.ai, a China-based Fremont, Calif., Autonomous driving technology company focused on city logistics and robots, has closed a $ 300 million Series B cycle. The Alibaba Group led the financing, which included additional backing from Jeneration Capital, Fosun RZ Capital, Yunqi Partners and Glory Ventures.

Melio, a New York-based B2B payments platform for small businesses, has secured $ 250 million in additional funding, tripling the company’s valuation to $ 4 billion since January. The Series D cycle was co-led by Thrive Capital and General Catalyst, and included participation from Tiger Global Management, Accel, Bessemer Venture Partners, Coatue Management, Corner Ventures and Latitude Ventures.

Misfits Market, a Delanco, New Jersey-based startup that helps eliminate food waste by delivering misshapen products to consumers, closed a $ 225 million Series C1 cycle, raising the company’s valuation to $ 2 billion. SoftBank Vision Fund 2 led the investment, which included the participation of Accel. Lydia Jett, investor and partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers, will join the company’s board of directors.

Canva, a free online visual communication and collaboration platform, has made an investment of $ 200 million, giving the company a valuation of $ 40 billion. T. Rowe Price led the financing, which included backing from Franklin Templeton, Sequoia Capital Global Equities, Bessemer Venture Partners, Greenoaks Capital, Dragoneer Investments, Blackbird Ventures, Felicis Ventures and AirTree Ventures. The company has offices in Sydney, Manila and Beijing.

Xendit, a payment infrastructure provider for countries in Southeast Asia, achieved unicorn status with its $ 150 million Series C round. Tiger Global Management led the investment, which included contributions from Accel, Amasia and Goat Capital.

SkyKick Inc., a Seattle-based provider of codeless, low-code cloud automation software, has raised $ 130 million in funding from Morgan Stanley, Hawk Equity, Schechter Private Capital and others.

AgBiome Inc., a developer from Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, that develops naturally occurring crop protection products, has secured $ 116 million in Series D funding co-led by Blue Horizon and Novalis LifeSciences.

Sendoso, a San Francisco-based platform for businesses that send personalized gifts, branded giveaways, e-gifts and virtual experiences, has secured $ 100 million in Series C funding. SoftBank Vision Fund 2a led the cycle, in which Oak HC / FT, Struck Capital, Stage 2 Capital, Craft Ventures, Signia Venture Partners and Felicis Ventures participated.

Versatile, a construction technology startup based in Los Altos, Calif., Has secured $ 80 million in Series B funding. Led by Insight Partners, the cycle included participation from Tiger Global Management, Robert Bosch Venture Capital, Entry Capital, Root Ventures, Conductive Ventures and others.

Ribbon, a New York and Charlotte, NC-based digital home buying platform, has raised $ 75 million in Series C equity led by Greenspring Associates, in addition to $ 75 million in working capital. Previous backers including Greylock Partners, Bain Capital Ventures, NFX, Nyca Partners and Thomvest Ventures also participated in the Series C round, as well as new investors First American Financial, Waterfall Asset Management, TriplePoint Capital, 75 & Sunny Ventures and others.

Zonos, a cross-border commerce startup based in St. George, Utah, has landed a $ 69 million Series A investment. Silversmith Capital Partners led the round, with managing partner Todd MacLean joining the board.

strongDM, an infrastructure access platform based in Burlingame, Calif., closed a $ 54 million Series B funding round. Tiger Global Management led the investment, which included contributions from GV, Sequoia Capital, True Ventures, Hearstlab and Bloomberg Beta.

(MORE FOLLOWING) Dow Jones Newswires

September 15, 2021 09:58 ET (13:58 GMT)

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