Briefing Venture

The Briefing: DOJ Hits Visa with Antitrust Suit Over $5.3B Plaid Deal, Vivid Money Raises $17M, And More

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Here’s what you need to know today in startup and venture news, updated by the Crunchbase News staff throughout the day to keep you in the know.

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DOJ files antitrust suit over Visa’s acquisition of Plaid

The U.S. Department of Justice filed an antitrust lawsuit challenging credit card network Visa’s proposed $5.3 billion acquisition of fintech company Plaid, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

We reported last month on fintech startups leading the charge toward rebundling of financial services, and San Francisco-based Plaid is one example of a hot startup that has drawn attention from a big financial services company.

Thursday’s lawsuit dovetails a petition filed on Oct. 27 by the Justice Department to enforce Bain & Company’s compliance with the department’s Civil Investigative Demand (CID). The DOJ alleges Bain, the consulting firm on the acquisition deal, “withheld important documents demanded under the CID, asserting unsupported claims of privilege over the documents, thereby stymying the Antitrust Division’s investigation.”

The DOJ’s new lawsuit, brought in a Northern California federal court, alleges Visa’s acquisition of Plaid would eliminate competition in the online debit market and thereby enable Visa to have a monopoly, WSJ reports.

“Visa seeks to buy Plaid—as its CEO said—as an ‘insurance policy’ to neutralize a ‘threat to our important US debit business,’” the Justice Department said in its lawsuit.

ByteDance Seeks $2B Prior To Listing

Chinese company ByteDance Ltd., parent to TikTok, is hoping to raise $2 billion before listing some of its businesses in Hong Kong, according to a report by Bloomberg.

Sequoia is reportedly one of the investors in talks with ByteDance over funding to boost its valuation to $180 billion. ByteDance has raised a total of $7.4 billionin funding over 10 rounds, according to Crunchbase data. Its latest funding was raised on March 30 from a Secondary Market round.


  • Airbnb may publicly file for IPO next week: Airbnb plans to make a public IPO filing next week, putting it on course for a New York stock market debut in December, according to a Reuters report on Thursday citing two people familiar with the matter. [Read more here.]

Funding news

  • Cytek closes on $120M for immunotherapy treatments: Cytek Biosciences, a Fremont, California-based provider of cell analysis for immunotherapy and infectious disease treatments, announced a $120 million Series D funding round co-led by RA Capital and Hillhouse Capital, with participation from OrbiMed and LYFE Capital. The investment will be used to expand globally, scale and further develop Cytek’s technology platform.
  • Vivid Money raises $17.6M for online banking: German fintech startup Vivid Money raised $17 million in a Series A round led by Ribbit Capital.  The company offers online bank accounts for payments and interest-bearing savings, as well as a rewards platform.
  • ByteDance eyes fundraise at $180B valuation: TikTok parent company ByteDance is in discussions to raise over $2 billion in fresh financing at a valuation of around $180 billion before listing some of its businesses in Hong Kong, according to a Bloomberg report citing unnamed sources.
  • Ushur brings in $25M for customer service: AI company Ushur, based in Santa Clara, California, announced a $25 million round of Series B funding led by Third Point Ventures, with participation from existing investor 8VC.
  • Koa Health closes on $16.5M for digital mental health: Koa Health, a Netherlands-based digital mental health care provider, spun out of Telefónica’s moonshot factory, Alpha, with $16.5 million of a potential $35 million Series A funding round. The investor group included Ancora Finance Group and Wellington Partners in a Series A funding round. Koa Health was previously known as Alpha Health.
  • Provizio drives in $6.2M: Provizio, an Ireland-based accident prevention technology company, raised $6.2 million in seed funding for development of its AI on-the-edge sensor. Investors in the round included Bobby Hambrick, the European Innovation Council and ACT Venture Capital.
  • Unlearn adds $3M to Series A: Clinical studies startup Unlearn, based in San Francisco, brought in another $3 million for its Series A to bring the total to $15 million. We reported on the San Francisco-based company’s $12 million Series A close back in April. Eisai, Epic Ventures and Alumni Ventures Group are new investors in this round.
  • Cado Security raises $1.5M for cyber forensics: Cado Security, a London-based provider of cloud-native cyber forensics and response platform Cado Response, closed on a $1.5 million seed round led by Ten Eleven Ventures.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

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