Venture Capital (VC) investment in the U.S. continued performing at a high level during Q1 ’19 with $32.6 billion invested as the U.S. economy remained strong, and increased IPO activity set the stage for further investment at all points of the deal spectrum — from early stage to late stage, according to KPMG’s Venture Pulse Q1′ 2019 report.
The largest deals in Q1’19 included a $5 billion raise by shared-space provider The We Company (formerly WeWork), and a $1 billion raise by freight logistics company Flexport – earning that company coveted unicorn status.
“In the past five years, the number of U.S. unicorns has more than doubled to over 160 as private capital is readily available allowing companies to stay private longer,” said Brian Hughes, National Co-leader, KPMG Venture Capital practice in the U.S. “We finally saw some unicorns choosing to go public in late 2018, and this unicorn IPO trend is expected to continue well into this year, spurred by recent high profile offerings and the ongoing strength of the public markets.”
Lyft hosted a successful IPO on Nasdaq in late March, raising $2.3 billion to value the company at $24 billion. It is the first in a line of large IPO unicorns expected in 2019, with ride-hailing company Uber also expected to file publicly, amongst others. The good performance of these unicorn companies in the early part of 2019 will trigger more investor interest in mature unicorns later in the year, in addition to providing additional capital for early stage deals.
U.S. investors continued to invest in established verticals in Q1’19, including food-delivery, healthcare and transportation, while mega-funds gained a significant amount of attention, coupled with strong activity in smaller-size funds.
Growth and Innovation Occurring Beyond Silicon Valley
The report found a growing boom of VC investment outside of Silicon Valley and the West Coast. In 2018, while 39 percent of VC deals occurred on the West Coast, 20 percent occurred in the Mid-Atlantic region, 9 percent in New England, and 9 percent in the Great Lakes region. These numbers reflect the growing number of innovation hubs appearing in cities such as New York, Boston and others –a trend continuing this year.
In Q1’19, New York and New Jersey both attracted big deals, such as The We Company’s $5 billion raise, and Knock’s $400 million raise.
Among companies headquartered in Silicon Valley, there has been a shift toward scaling outside of the Valley in order to access or attract talent and better manage labor and space costs. Late in 2018, for example, Slack announced a new Denver Office, while other companies set up offices in Arizona, Salt Lake City and beyond. This trend is only expected to continue as companies look to balance a presence in the Valley with the need to scale and grow efficiently.
Digital Banking Heats Up
The digital banking space in the US continued to gain traction in Q1’19. Chime’s Q1’19 $200 million raise earned it unicorn status, with a number of non-U.S.-based banks voicing plans to raise capital to fund a U.S. expansion.
The U.S. is well positioned for growth
The maturing fintech sector is also expected to see more M&A activity as companies are looking for scale and consolidate market share. In Q1’19, FIS announced plans to acquire Worldplay in a $34 billion deal.
“The story in the U.S. continues to be very positive. The 2018 IPOs generally performed very well and the pre-public companies that have completed financings recently have been at high valuations,” said Conor Moore, National Co-Lead Partner, KPMG Venture Capital practice in the U.S. “This should encourage greater investment at all points on the investment spectrum from seed to late stage.”
SOURCE KPMG LLP
Wirex Launches Enhanced Cryptoback™
Today, payments platform Wirex launched a supercharged update of their revolutionary Cryptoback rewards programme. Customers can now earn up to 1.5% back in Bitcoin on Wirex Visa card purchases.
Released in 2018, Cryptoback was the world’s first rewards programme that paid out 0.5% in cryptocurrency for all in-store spending with the Wirex Visa card. Thanks to the recent launch of the Wirex Token (WXT), customers can now triple the amount of BTC they earn – making investing in cryptocurrency easier than ever before.
Depending on the amount of WXT held, in-store Wirex card purchases now generate up to 1.5% in Bitcoin. There are three levels of crypto rewards available:
- 500,000 WXT = 1.5% Cryptoback
- 100,000 WXT = 1.0% Cryptoback
- 50,000 WXT = 0.75% Cryptoback
Wirex have calculated that the average UK consumer stands to earn more than £300 in Cryptoback every year, just by using their Wirex Visa card for day-to-day spending. Unlike many other cashback programmes, Wirex doesn’t impose restrictions on what customers can do with their rewards. Cryptoback can be redeemed instantly into their Bitcoin accounts, or quickly and easily exchanged into fiat for spending.
Enhanced Cryptoback is just one of the ways that holding Wirex Tokens allows customers to get even more out of their account. They can also enjoy heavily discounted fees based on the same structure, with access to premium products, merchant offers and airport lounges coming soon. As Wirex co-founder Pavel Matveev explains:
“We created the Wirex Token to be something that provides tangible value and benefits for holders beyond its market trajectory. Enhanced Cryptoback is the perfect example of this, as it allows customers to earn and invest in digital currency with a minimum of fuss. We’re looking forward to introducing even more benefits for WXT holders soon.”
Aegis Capital Corp. is pleased to announce its commitment to Equity Research
Aegis Capital Corp. continues to expand its equity research platform with the addition of Benjamin Zucker and James Jang. Benjamin joined in May 2019 as Head of Specialty Finance and James joined in June 2019 to head up the Maritime & Special Situations. These new coverage areas will bolster Aegis’ existing research footprint in the Internet/TMT and Healthcare sectors.
Mr. Zucker joined Aegis from BTIG LLC, where he was a Director and lead analyst covering Mortgage REITs and real estate finance companies. Prior to BTIG, Mr. Zucker was a Vice President at JMP Securities LLC where he covered similar sectors. Benjamin began his career in equity research at Pritchard Capital Partners. At Aegis, Mr. Zucker’s coverage will span across several Specialty Finance sub-sectors including Mortgage REITs, Equity REITs, Business Development Companies (BDCs) and Financial Technology firms (FinTech). Benjamin’s current coverage list includes: Medalist Diversified REIT (MDRR), Sachem Capital Corp. (SACH), and Saratoga Investment Corp. (SAR).
Mr. Jang joined Aegis from Maxim Group LLC, where he was a Senior Vice President and lead analyst covering the Industrials, Infrastructure and Clean-Technology sectors. Previously, Mr. Jang was a senior analyst at Sidoti & Co. covering furniture and textiles and was an equity research associate at Canaccord Genuity covering Maritime and Upstream E&P companies. Since joining, Mr. Jang has expanded Aegis’ research platform into the Agriculture, Oilfield Services, and Industrial Technology sectors with coverage of Profire Energy (PFIE), Marrone Bio Innovations (MBII), Yield10 Bioscience (YTEN) and Sigma Labs (SGLB).
Michael Pata Aegis’ Head of Business Development commented: “Hiring Benjamin and James continues to show Aegis’ commitment to equity research, which brings institutional quality analysis to the small and mid-cap universe.”
SOURCE Aegis Capital
LexinFintech Announces US$300 Million Private Placement of Convertible Notes with PAG
LexinFintech Holdings Ltd. (NASDAQ: LX) (“Lexin” or the “Company”), a leading fintech platform for educated young adults in China, today announced that it has entered into a convertible note purchase agreement with PAG, a leading Asia-focused private equity firm with over US$30 billion in capital under management, pursuant to which the Company will issue and sell convertible notes in an aggregate principal amount of US$300 million to PAG through a private placement. The private placement is subject to satisfaction of customary closing conditions and is expected to close on or around September 16, 2019. The gross proceeds raised from this placement will be approximately US$296.4 million.
The convertible notes will mature in seven years, bearing interest at a rate of 2.0% per annum. The notes will be convertible into fully paid Class A ordinary shares of the Company or ADSs at a conversion price of US$14 per ADS at the holder’s option from the date that is six months after the issuance date. The holder of the notes will have the right to require the Company to repurchase for cash all or any portion of the notes on the fourth anniversary of the issuance date.
At closing, the Company will appoint to its Board of Directors one person designated by PAG.
Mr. Jay Wenjie Xiao, Founder, chairman and chief executive officer of the Company, said, “We are excited to have PAG as our new investor. This investment will enable Lexin to further develop and enhance our consumption-based ecosystem, improve product offerings to our educated adult customers, continue to invest in technology, build up additional consumption scenarios, and provide more consumer benefits to our customers.”
“PAG has a strong commitment to and deep understanding of China’s financial services industry, and we have a demonstrated track record of seeking out and engaging with the industry’s leading companies,” said PAG Chairman & CEO Weijian Shan. “Lexin has an unparalleled platform for meeting young consumers’ credit needs while strictly controlling and minimizing credit risks, which makes it unique, and we are looking forward to supporting the company as it embarks on its next stage of growth.”
Goldman Sachs (Asia) L.L.C., BofA Merrill Lynch and China Renaissance acted as the private placement agents to Lexin on the transaction.
SOURCE LexinFintech Holdings Ltd.
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