“Why would we go public?”
That’s what TransferWise co-founder and chairman Taavet Hinrikus said in an interview after being asked about his IPO plans. It’s a good question given that the company is growing fast and has no problem raising large amounts of capital.
TransferWise, which offers a cross-border money transfer service, announced a new $292 million secondary round that values the company at $3.5 billion. This is double its last reported valuation, and it’s now reportedly the most valuable fintech company in Europe. Lead Edge Capital, Lone Pine Capital and Vitruvian Partners co-led the round. Andreessen Horowitz and Baillie Gifford expanded their holdings, and BlackRock also acquired a stake.
The share purchase was a so-called secondary sale, meaning it consisted entirely of investors purchasing shares form earlier investors. The sale allows early TransferWise employees and investors to cash in on some or all of their stake.
In an interview with Fortune, TransferWise co-founder Kristo Kaarmann said the company plans to stay private for the foreseeable future. “An IPO is not going to happen anytime soon. It’s very unlikely to happen this year,” he said. “Remaining private, for now, means we can remain focused on our mission and long-term strategy, without any distractions from the markets… Lastly, in terms of capital, we’re quite confident in our financial position. We love to be funded by our users.”
TransferWise, which now has 5 million customers in over 170 countries, its transfer fees are typically well under 0.5%, while a fifth of its transactions take place in 20 seconds or less. And then the most important part: TransferWise is profitable! Profits are coming both from its traditional money transfer business, and from its newer business products.
“We have been a profitable company for the past two years, we have a significant amount of cash sitting on our balance sheet,” Hinrikus told CNBC. “The company does not need any cash.”
Well, that’s something you don’t hear every day.
• AppHarvest, a Lexington, Ky.-based company building and operating large-scale, high-tech greenhouse farms, raised $82 million in funding. ValueAct Spring Fund led the round, and was joined by investors including Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund.
• People.ai, a San Francisco-based revenue intelligence system provider, raised $60 million in Series C funding. ICONIQ Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Lightspeed Venture Partners, GGV Capital and Y Combinator.
• KaiOS Technologies, a San Diego, Calif.-based mobile operating system for smart feature phones, raised $50 million in Series B funding. Cathay Innovation led the round, and was joined by investors including Google and TCL Holdings.
• Aperia Technologies Inc., a Burlingame, Calif.-based supplier of tire management technologies, raised $36 million in Series C1 funding. Blackhorn Ventures and Tenfore Holdings co-led the round.
• Biofourmis, a Singapore and Boston-based provider of digital therapeutics, raised $35 million in Series B funding. Sequoia India led the round.
• Wild Earth, Inc., a Berkeley, Calif.-based pet food producer, raised $11 million in Series A funding. VegInvest led the round, and was joined by investors including Radical Investments, Felicis Ventures, Founders Fund, and Mars Petcare.
• AmazeVR, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based cloud-based platform for VR content creation and mass distribution, raised $7 million in funding. Mirae Asset Group led the round.
• Interplay Learning, an Austin, Texas-based provider of online training for skilled trades utilizing virtual reality and 3D simulations, raised $5.5 million in Series A funding. S3 Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including Shasta Ventures, Sierra Ventures, Holt Ventures, Wild Basin Investments and Shelter Capital Partners.
• Veego, an Israel-based developer of artificial intelligence technology for eliminating malfunctions in the connected home, raised $5 million in seed funding. Investors include Robert Bosch Venture Capital GmbH, State of Mind Ventures and North First Ventures.
• VOOM, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based on-demand insurance platform for specialized mobility, raised $5 million in Series A funding. Arbor Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including F2 Capital, Verizon Ventures, and Kaedan Capital, as well as new partner Plug and Play Ventures.
• Silo, a technology-driven marketplace that uses AI to streamline supply chains for perishable agribusiness, raised $3 million in series seed funding. Initialized Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including Haystack Ventures, Kevin Mahaffey and Matt Brezina and The Penny Newman Grain Company.
• Upswing, a Dallas, Texas-based education technology startup, raised $2 million in funding. Investors include Impact America Fund, Rethink Education, Lumina Foundation, and Strada.
• Commando Pressure Control, a Houston, Texas-based provider of technology solutions for zipper manifolds and hydraulic fracturing equipment, raised funding of an undisclosed amount. Investors include SCF Ventures and B-29 Investments.
HEALTH AND LIFE SCIENCES DEALS
• Locana, Inc., a San Diego, Calif.-based RNA-targeting gene therapy company, raised $55 million in Series A funding. ARCH Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by investors including Temasek, Lightstone Ventures, UCB Ventures and GV.
• Cala Health, Inc, a Burlingame, Calif.-based bioelectronic medicine company, raised $50 million in Series C funding. Investors include Novartis, Baird Capital, LifeSci Venture Partners, TriVentures, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc, Lux Capital, Lightstone Ventures, Action Potential Venture Capital, dRx Capital and GV.
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Clayton, Dubilier & Rice invested $150 million in MOD Super Fast Pizza Holdings LLC, a Seattle-based owner and operator of a network of company-owned and franchised pizza restaurants.
• Seaport Capital made an investment in All Traffic Data Services Inc, a Wheat Ridge, Colo.-based provider of traffic data collection and reporting, consulting services and transportation asset management. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Frontier Capital invested in Phone2Action, an Arlington, Va.-based digital advocacy platform that connects citizens to lawmakers. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Solabia Group, backed by TA Associates, acquired Algatech Ltd, an Israel-based biotechnology company. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Pret A Manger acquired EAT, a London-based retail company producing, making, serving, and creating food products. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Arabian Centres, the Saudi Arabian shopping mall giant, raised $659 million, 2.47 billion saudi riyal, in an IPO in the country. Read more.
• Garbe Industrial Real Estate, a commercial property group in Germany, is planning a Frankfurt floatation this year, Reuters reports citing sources. The deal could value Garbe at around $782 million. Read more.
• Blue Sage Capital sold Cobalt Environmental Solutions, an operator of oilfield wastewater disposal and hydrocarbon extraction facilities in the region, to Bison. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Zendesk acquired Smooch, a Canada-based omnichannel messaging platform. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. Smooch had raised approximately C$10 million ($7.5 million) in venture funding from investors including inovia capital.
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