Musk vs Twitter Bots

Musk says Twitter has too many bots, Goldman Sachs is giving senior staff "unlimited vacation", Mastercard is testing facial-recognition, Disney revealed an ad-supported version of Disney+, Nestlé is shipping more baby formula to the US, and homebuilder sentiment has fallen to a two-year low.

Litquidity Capital
May 18, 2022

Together with

Good Morning,

The team is out here in West Palm Beach for the Permissionless conference. Send Lit or Mark a DM if you're around. 

Musk says Twitter has too many bots, Goldman Sachs is giving senior staff "unlimited vacation", Mastercard is testing facial-recognition, Disney revealed an ad-supported version of Disney+, Nestlé is shipping more baby formula to the US, and homebuilder sentiment has fallen to a two-year low.

We've got another investment opportunity coming up for our accredited investor community. If you're accredited and want to see some early-stage VC deal flow, pls fill out this short survey.

Lastly, shoutout to today's sponsor, Here. They've created the first platform to offer fractionalized ownership of vacation properties (like Airbnbs). Currently staying in one so this is meta af. 

Let's dive in.

Before The Bell

As of 5/17/2022 market close.

If you want to learn more about crypto trading strategies and the world of DeFi, check out our Foot Guns newsletter.

Markets

  • US stocks rose yesterday, gaining momentum in an attempted rebound after weeks of losses
  • Retail sales numbers came in right around the expectation, rising 0.9% in April
  • Earnings reports will also continue to trickle in and inform investors of inflationary effects
  • A tightening monetary environment, Russia / Ukraine war, and China covid outbreak will continue to weigh on investor sentiment globally

Earnings

  • Walmart shares fell after reporting a wide miss for Q1 earnings and lowered profit expectations as it faces cost pressure from fuel prices, higher inventory levels, and overstaffing (CNBC)
  • Home Depot posted a beat-and-raise report fueled by its strongest Q1 sales on record as consumer demand holds up amid rising prices (CNBC)
  • What we’re watching today: Target, Lowe’s
  • Full calendar here

Headline Roundup

  • Elon Musk says Twitter must prove bot claims for $44B deal to proceed (BBG)
  • Goldman Sachs allows senior staff to take unlimited vacation (BBG)
  • US is set to block Russian debt payments, raising odds of default (BBG)
  • Hungary says ditching Russian oil to cost at least $810M (BBG)
  • Mastercard begins facial-recognition rollout with retailers (BBG)
  • Plan to grant paid leave for period pain stirs tensions in Spain (BBG)
  • Disney vows to show very few commercials on ad-supported Disney+ (WSJ)
  • Gerber owner Nestlé to fly extra baby formula to the US (WSJ)
  • Chinese hospitals cancel medical scans because of dye shortage (WSJ)
  • Allianz fund collapse ends in guilty plea for fraud and $5.8B payment (BBG)
  • Homebuilder sentiment falls to 2-year low on declining demand and rising costs (CNBC)
  • FDA authorizes Pfizer Covid booster dose for kids 5 to 11 years old (CNBC)

A Message From Here

Diversify Like Never Before

Airbnbs are expensive. You want to go to the beach, but it’s $300 a night for a 1BR apartment. The slope-side ski cabin in Colorado is $800 a night.

Now imagine how much money you could make if you invested in these properties instead.

Thanks to Here, you can! And you can get started for as little as $100.

Here is the first platform to offer fractionalized ownership of premiere vacation properties around the country. You no longer need hundreds of thousands of dollars to enter the real estate market either, Here has lowered the barriers to entry for the everyday investor.

The best part? Here handles everything from property inspections to upkeep, and you get a pro-rata claim on cash flow.

Deal Flow

M&A / Investments

  • KKR agreed to buy London-listed power generation company ContourGlobal for ~$2.2B (RT)
  • Gulf Islamic Investments agreed to buy a stake in Saudi Arabian dental and dermatology care provider Almeswak Dental Clinics for $530M (BBG)
  • Walmart's Indian payments unit PhonePe is acquiring two wealth management firms, WealthDesk and OpenQ, for a combined ~$75M bringing the retail giant head-to-head with Amazon in the country's expanding money management segment (BBG)
  • US insurance plan provider Voya Financial will acquire the bulk of Allianz Global Investors' US business after it was banned for a decade from some fund services in the nation (BBG)
  • Tata Consumer Products, the food and beverage arm of the Indian conglomerate, wants to go on an acquisition spree and is in discussions to buy up to five brands (BBG)

VC

  • SpaceX, Elon Musk's launch and satellite company, is in talks to raise a funding round at a ~$125B valuation (BBG)
  • Updater, an app and technology developer for residential relocation services, received $215M in financing from the credit investment arm of Vista Equity Partners (BBG)
  • Warehouse robotics startup GreyOrange raised a $110M round led by Mithril Capital Management (TC)
  • Banking software startup Unit raised $100M at a $1.2B valuation in an equity funding round led by Insight Partners (BBG)
  • Fashinza, a B2B supply chain marketplace for fashion brands, raised a $100M Series B: $60M in equity and $40M in debt led by Prosus Ventures and Westbridge (TC)
  • Real time database startup Imply raised a $100M Series D at a $1.1B valuation led by Thoma Bravo (TC)
  • Infinitum Electric, a startup creating sustainable air core motors, raised an $80M Series D led by Riverstone Holdings (BW)
  • Vivun, a startup digitizing pre-sales, received a $75M investment led by Salesforce Ventures (TC)
  • Elwood Technologies, a crypto-focused platform founded by hedge fund billionaire Alan Howard, raised a $70M Series A led by Goldman Sachs and Dawn Capital (TC)
  • Cornami, a developer of software-defined ‘TruStream’ computing architecture, raised a $68M Series C led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2 (BW)
  • AI-enabled construction management startup Buildots raised a $60M Series C led by Viola Growth and O.G. Tech (PRN)
  • Mirvie, a startup predicting pregnancy complications, raised a $60M Series B led by Decheng Capital (BW)
  • Instabug, a startup which aims to help developers monitor and fix bugs, raised a $46M Series B led by Insight Partners (TC)
  • FirstClose, a provider of data and workflow solutions for mortgage and home equity lenders, received a $35M investment from Lateral Investment Management (BW)
  • Vyriad, a startup developing oncolytic virus therapies, raised a $29.5M Series B led by Stine Seed Farms (PRN)
  • Arrived Homes, a real estate investing platform, raised a $25M Series A led by Forerunner Ventures (PRN)
  • Pangea Cyber, an startup building APIs for application security, raised a $25M Series A led by Ballistic Ventures (BW)
  • LucidLink, a startup connecting creative teams around the world, raised a $20M Series B led by Headline Global Growth (PRN)
  • Pipedream, a workflow automation platform, raised $20M in funding led by True Ventures (TC)
  • Coinshift, a treasury management infrastructure platform for decentralized applications, raised a $15M Series A led by Tiger Global, Sequoia Capital India, and Alameda Ventures (PRN)
  • Tractian, a startup developing a product to monitor the status of machines and electrical infrastructure, raised a $15M Series A led by Next47 (TC)
  • Credo AI, a startup building a responsible AI governance platform, raised a $12.8M Series A led by Sands Capital (PRN)
  • Accessibility software startup Fable raised a $10.5M seed round led by Five Elms Capital (TC)
  • Healthcare tech startup Carepoint raised a $10M seed round led by TRB Advisors (TC)
  • UtilityAPI, a startup providing secure, standardized access to utility data, raised a $10M Series A led by Aligned Climate Capital (BW)
  • Parcl, the blockchain-based real estate platform that allows users to invest in digital real estate in lucrative neighborhoods, raised a $7.5M strategic funding round from Fifth Wall, JAWS, IA Capital, and others (PRN)
  • Arieca, a startup developing liquid-metal therma interface materials for semiconductor devices, raised a $6.5M Series A-led by Nissan Chemical and 412 Venture Fund (BW)
  • EnCode Club, a startup training web3 developers, raised a $5M seed round led by Lemniscap Galaxy Digital (TC)

IPO / Direct Listings / Issuances / Block Trades

  • Saudi Aramco is considering an IPO of its trading arm, Aramco Trading, which could be worth $30B+ (BBG)
  • The Weststar Group is considering an IPO of its helicopter services unit Weststar Aviation Services, that could raise $300M+ (BBG)

Fundraising

  • European early-stage VC Earlybird raised a $369M fund (TC)
  • Ballistic Ventures, a new venture capital firm primarily focused on cybersecurity, raised a $300M fund (BW)
  • New York-based early stage venture fund Tusk Venture Partners closed its third fund with $140M in capital commitments (TC)
  • Fortis Digital Ventures closed a $100M crypto fund aimed at bridging the gap between old and new finance (TC)
  • Flying Fish Partners raised a $70M Fund II to invest in early-stage startups (BW)

Crypto Corner

  • Robinhood launches DeFi wallet to rival Metamask (TBC)
  • Justice Department charges defendant with sending $10M in BTC to sanctioned country (DC)
  • Coppola-backed Decentralized Pictures launches Web3 film funding platform (DC)

Exec's Picks

  • a16z has been one of the most active VC firms in the crypto markets over the last decade. Yesterday, they released their 2022 State of Crypto Report. Check out their breakdown here.

Big Swinging Decks Podcast

🚨 BIG SWINGING DECKS IS BACK 🚨

This week, Titan co-founder Clay Gardner sits down with Lit and Mark to discuss how his company is giving the power back to the average investor. Titan aims to make you the smartest, wealthiest investor you can be, and they’re doing it all from the former headquarters of Hinge. Check out the video on YouTube, because Clay even gives us a little tour!

Catch the latest episode of our Big Swinging Decks podcast, presented by CoinFLEX.US, on SpotifyApple, and YouTube 🤝 

The Hiring Block

  • If you're looking to break into finance, lateral, or move out, check out our job board on Pallet, where we curate highly relevant roles for you. We've got 40+ jobs spanning IB, S&T, VC, tech, private equity, DeFi, crypto, CorpDev and more. We sift through all the noise on LinkedIn, Indeed, Monster, etc. so you don't have to.
  • Featured Job Listing: For anyone considering a career change, Stirlingshire, a startup looking to fix the full-service broker-dealer model, is looking to hire new brokers and advisors. Stirlingshire is offering a 100% payout, 100% WFH, and equity to all first-year hires. Interested? Check out their posting on our job board 🤝

Meme Cleanser

Catch the latest episode of our Big Swinging Decks podcast, presented by CoinFLEX.US, on SpotifyApple, and YouTube 🤝 

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