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Term Sheet -- Tuesday, January 16

Polina Marinova
Term Sheet -- Tuesday, January 16


Good morning, Term Sheet readers.

I got a scoop over the weekend regarding a bank’s move to curb cryptocurrency-related international wires. Here’s an excerpt:

Metropolitan Bank Holding Corp, which is used by cryptocurrency companies and investment firms for wire transfers and deposits, has ceased all cryptocurrency-related international wires effective immediately, Fortune has learned.

A Metropolitan customer confirmed to Fortune that his investment firm was notified on Thursday morning that the bank was “ceasing all international crypto-related wire transfers to and from” it effective immediately. The reason for the shutdown, according to the customer, was because the bank could not verify the compliance of international wire transfers for cryptocurrency accounts. The move is alleged to be a response to an incident of international fraud associated with one of the bank’s clients. The bank denied this claim.

A Metropolitan Bank representative said in a statement to Fortune that it “does not accept cryptocurrency-related wire transfers from non-U.S. entities.” Additionally, the bank sent a reminder to customers of its policy in response to “certain cryptocurrency-related wire transfers from non-U.S. entities that were sent to the Bank in error.” In other words, the bank claims it was not aware of the cryptocurrency-related international wires until last week.

Fortune reviewed a customer’s documentation of wires from a non-U.S.-based entity to its U.S.-based cryptocurrency-only fund that includes the word “Crypto” in the bank account’s name. The customer added that he had previously worked with the bank on numerous occasions to ensure the international wires went through. Fortune is awaiting the bank’s response to this claim.

Digital currency wallet Coinbase is among the companies that use Metropolitan for wire transfers, deposits, and its Shift bitcoin debit card.

Metropolitan has yet to provide further guidance on what might happen to the money that existing international clients have in the bank.

For more on why this matters, read the full story here.

SOFTBANK TO THE RESCUE: Auto1, a German used-car dealing platform, raised 460 million euro ($561 million) in funding from Japan’s Softbank Group. The company might’ve raised that money with a stock market flotation, but now, there’s no need. Auto1 co-founder Hakan Koc told Reuters that there’s no pressure to IPO thanks to the financial infusion. “That’s why we aren’t considering going to the market for now,” he said.

So much for the theory that the IPO market will come out of its slump in 2018. Why go public when you have Masayoshi Son?

PEOPLE MOVES: Nikhil Kalghatgi was recently named the general partner and CIO of CoVenture Crypto, a cryptocurrency asset management firm launched by CoVenture. Previously, Kalghatgi was a venture investor at SoftBank and Vast Ventures.


• IBM and Maersk are creating a new blockchain company (by Robert Hackett)

• France’s ‘Monsieur Bitcoin’ is a notable cryptocurrency skeptic (by David Meyer)

• Airbnb is letting you put off paying for your stay (by Natasha Bach)

• Facebook and journalism go their separate ways (by Adam Lashinsky)


China’s JD.com targets $2 billion fundraising at logistics unit. Lego builds digital partnership with Tencent. Sheryl Sandberg and Jack Dorsey are leaving Disney’s board. Bitcoin tumbles 20%.


Pony.ai, a Fremont, Calif. and China-based self-driving startup, raised $112 million in Series A funding. Morningside Venture Capital and Legend Capital led the round, and were joined by investors including Sequoia China, IDG Capital, Hongtai Capital, Legend Star, Puhua Capital, Polaris Capital, DCM Ventures, Comcast Ventures and Silicon Valley Future Capital.

True Fit, a Boston-based personalization platform for apparel and footwear, raised $55 million in Series C funding. Georgian Partners led the round, and was joined by investors including Jump Capital, Signal Peak Ventures, Intel Capital and Cross Creek Capital.

NA-KD, a Sweden-based fashion e-commerce company, raised $45 million in Series B funding. Partech led the round, and was joined by investors including Northzone, FJ Labs and eEquity.

Omni, a San Francisco-based operating system for physical things, raised $25 million in funding. Investors include Stefan Thomas, Chris Larsen, and Highland Capital Partners.

Nyansa, Inc, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based company focused on advanced IT analytics software technology, raised $15 million in Series B funding. Intel Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including Formation 8.

Ratehub Inc, a Toronto-based financial product comparison site provider, raised $12 million in Series A funding. Elephant led the round.

Social Bicycles Inc. a New York-based dockless electric bike share company, raised $10 million in Series A funding. Menlo Ventures led the round.

SmithRx, a San Francisco-based pharmacy benefit manager, raised $9 million in Series A funding. Founders Fund led the round with participation from other investors that included Blumberg Capital, NextGen Venture Partners and Box Group.

Connected2Fiber, a Hopkinton, Mass.-based provider of a SaaS platform used by B2B connectivity providers to manage market data, raised $8 million in funding. Investors include Ascent Venture Partners, Nauta Capital, NXT Ventures and Osage Venture Partners.

Elliot, a San Francisco-based global commerce platform, raised $3 million in funding. The investors included Bowery Capital, Susa Ventures, Acceleprise, Bam Ventures, Flexport and SV Angel.


Dyehard Fan Supply, which is backed by Teall Capital, acquired the assets and business of All Pro Championships, a Louisville, Ky.-based sports merchandising company. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

Imagine! Print Solutions, a portfolio company of Oak Hill Capital Partners, acquired GFX International, a Grayslake, Ill.-based retail design and execution firm. No financial terms were disclosed.

Mi9 Retail, a General Atlantic portfolio company, acquired JustEnough Software, an Irvine, Calif.-based provider of on demand management solutions for retail, wholesale and direct-to-consumer businesses. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

Oaktree Capital Management LLC plans to sell Hesira Group Ltd, a U.K.-based dentistry company.

Inflexion Private Equity acquired Alston Elliot, a U.K.-based provider of data-driven graphics solutions for live sports broadcasts. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

Stonewall Kitchen, a portfolio company of Centre Partners, acquired Tillen Farms, a New York-based provider of cocktail garnishes. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

Silver Lake and P2 Capital Partners agreed to acquire Blackhawk Network Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq: HAWK) in an all-cash transaction for a total consideration of approximately $3.5 billion, including debt.


Energizer Holdings will buy the global battery and portable lighting business of Spectrum Brands (NYSE:SPB) in a $2 billion cash deal. Read more at Fortune.

Shell will acquire a 43.83% stake in Silicon Ranch, a Nashville, Tenn.-based developer and operators of solar energy plants, from Partners Group for up to $217 million.

Smartsheet, a Seattle-based company, acquired Converse.AI, a U.K.-based maker of intelligent bots for business automation. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.


SoftBank Group, the Japanese giant, is weighing a listing of its Japanese wireless business that could raise $18 billion. Read more.

Huami, a Hefei, China-based maker of wearable devices maker, filed for an IPO of $150 million. Credit Suisse, Citi and China Renaissance are joint bookrunners in the deal. It plans to list on the Nasdaq as “HMI.”

IPSCO Tubulars, the Houston-based subsidiary of Russian pipemaker TMK, filed to raise up to $100 million. BofA Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan, UBS Investment Bank, Citi, Credit Suisse, Barclays and Evercore ISI are joint bookrunners in the deal. The firm plans to list on the NYSE as “IPSC.”

Cactus, a Houston oil and gas firm, filed for an IPO of up to $100 million in an initial public offering. Citi, Credit Suisse and Simmons & Co. are joint bookrunners in the deal. Cactus plans to list on the NYSE as “WHD.”

Vista Proppants and Logistics, a Fort Worth, Texas-based fracking firm, filed for an $100 million IPO. Citi, Credit Suisse and Simmons & Co. are joint bookrunners in the deal. The firm plans to list on the Nasdaq as “VPRL.”

Solid Biosciences, a Cambridge, Mass.-based Duchenne muscular dystrophy treatment maker, said it plans to raise $100 million in an IPO of 5.9 million shares priced between $16 to $18. JPMC Strategic Investments, Perceptive Advisors, Bain Capital Life Sciences, RA Capital, and Biogen Capital back the company. J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Leerink Partners are joint bookrunners in the deal. The company plans to list on the Nasdaq as “SLDB.”

ResTORbio Inc, a Boston-based clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company treating aging-related diseases, said it plans to raise $85.5 million in an IPO of 5.7 million shares between $14 to $16 a piece. Investors including OrbiMed, Fidelity Management & Research Company, Rock Springs Capital, Quan Capital and Nest Bio back the company. BofA Merrill Lynch, Leerink Partners, Evercore ISI and Wedbush PacGrow are joint bookrunners in the deal. The company plans to list on the Nasdaq as “TORC.”

Cardlytics, an Atlanta-based credit carded data firm, filed for a $75 million IPO. BofA Merrill Lynch and J.P. Morgan are joint bookrunners in the deal. The firm plans to list on the Nasdaq as “CDLX.”

Xiaomi, the Chinese smartphone maker, has tapped CLSA, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley for an IPO, Reuters reports citing sources. Read more.


Will.i.am’s tech company i.am+ acquired headphone maker Earin, a Sweden-based manufacturer of wireless earbuds, according to TechCrunch. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. Read more.

Instacar acquired Unata, a Toronto-based company that offers a platform for both grocers and consumers to interact digitally, according to TechCrunch. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. Unata had raised approximately $2.7 million in funding from investors including MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund, Golden Triangle Angel Network, and Mantella Venture Partners.

Silver Creek Midstream, which is backed by Tailwater Capital, acquired Red Butte Pipe Line, a crude oil gathering system. The seller was Merit Energy. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

Alinda Capital Partners acquired Kelling Group Limited, a U.K.-based company which owns and leases specialty equipment supporting the maintenance and upgrade of rail, road, telecommunications, street lighting, electric transmission and other critical infrastructure. The seller was Elysian Capital. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

Eureka Growth Capital sold Toxicology Holdings Corp, a Horsham, Penn.-based national toxicology laboratory, to ACM Global Laboratory, Inc. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.


Cairngorm Capital appointed Lucy Graham as investment director and Panita Vongkusolkit as investment manager.

Transom Capital Group promoted James Oh to partner.

Newfund Capital named Frederic Krebs operating partner and Augustin Sayer investment director.

Sean Giese joined True Wind Capital as a principal. Previously, he was at TCV.


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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.