Top VC deals: Kroger buys Home Chef, PayPal buys iZettle and Rover raises $155 million

  • PayPal is acquiring Swedish payment tech start-up iZettle for $2.2 billion.
  • Kroger is buying a meal-kit company called Home Chef.
  • A site that connects pet owners with sitters and walkers, Rover, raised $155 million.

Here's a round-up of the most important deals in venture capital from the past two weeks.

Exits

PayPal announced plans to acquire iZettle for $2.2 billion last Friday. The Swedish company makes mobile credit card readers and other payment technology for small businesses. The merger should catapult PayPal into hundreds of thousands of brick-and-mortar storefronts globally and into greater competition with companies like Square. Investors in iZettle included Intel, MasterCard, American Express, Index Ventures and Victory Park Capital. It had raised about $235 million in venture funding.

Source: Walmart

Kroger is buying Home Chef as online meal kit companies continue moving into grocery stores. The deal is valued at $200 million but could go up to $700 million over the next five years in exchange for Home Chef meeting certain milestones around growth of in-store and online meal kit sales, the companies said. Home Chef generated $250 million in revenue last year and posted two profitable quarters. It had raised around $55 million in venture funding from firms including L Catterton, Guild Capital and others.

Start-ups

Former Grail CEO Jeff Huber, who stepped down in August 2017.
Source: Business Wire
Former Grail CEO Jeff Huber, who stepped down in August 2017.

Grail, a company trying to make early cancer detection faster and more accurate, has raised $300 million in a series C funding round led by Ally Bridge Group and including health investors Sequoia Capital China and genomics database company WuXi NextCODE. Grail spun out of Illumina, a genomic sequencing company, in 2016. The new round brings Grail's total capital raised to $1.5 billion.

Rover, a site for booking pet sitters and dog walkers, has raised $125 million in a new round of equity funding led by T. Rowe Price, the companies announced on Thursday. Rover also attained a $30 million credit facility from Silicon Valley Bank. In the U.S. pet care market, Rover primarily competes with the dog-walking app Wag, which is backed by SoftBank.

Honor has raised $50 million in a series C round led by Naspers Ventures to expand its network of home-care providers for seniors. Honor aims to help older adults live at home in good health and comfort as long as they possibly can. Honor has raised a total of $115 million from investors including Thrive Capital, 8VC, Andreessen Horowitz and Syno Capital.

ICEYE engineers test hardware on one of the company's satellites in an anechoic chamber
ICEYE
ICEYE engineers test hardware on one of the company's satellites in an anechoic chamber

Finnish space-tech venture ICEYE raised $34 million in a series B funding round led by True Ventures along with Draper Nexus, Space Angels and other advanced tech funds. The company develops micro-satellites for earth observation. Its satellites employ synthetic aperture radar (or SAR) tech, which can generate imagery almost any time it's wanted, even at night or through cloud cover.

Valimail raised $25 million for tech that helps different organizations prevent email "spoofing" or impersonation. Tenaya Capital led the round, joining Shasta Ventures, Flybridge Capital and Bloomberg Beta as Valimail backers. The company's early customers include Uber, Yelp and Fannie Mae among others.

Boston health-tech startup OM1 raised $21 million in a series B funding round. The company uses health data and machine learning algorithms to help doctors and patients compare potential treatments and predict the health outcomes resulting from each. Polaris Partners led the round joined by General Catalyst and 7wire Ventures.

Funds and firms

Sinovation Ventures has closed a $391 million AI-focused fund, which will be based in Guangzhou, China. Sinovation was founded by Kai-Fu Lee, the former president of Google China. Lee is famous for, among other things, declaring that robots and AI will obliterate half of all jobs in the next decade.

Former TechCrunch editor-in-chief Alexia Bonatsos has launched a new venture firm called Dream Machine, adding to the ranks of funds founded and run by women.