This Week in History: May 12-16 – Electric Cars, Lightspeed and Express
May 12, 2014
On this day in 2011, one of two well-known startups making electric cars received a $100 million venture round in one of its final attempts to generate the money it needed to continue development of its new vehicle. By now you’ve guessed it’s not Tesla Motors, but in fact Fisker Automotive.
The car-maker, founded by Danish automobile designer Henrik Fisker in 2007, ultimately went bankrupt and had its assets sold, but not before collecting some $1.7 billion in loans and venture financings, much less than what Tesla required to get off the ground. Fisker’s $100 million Series C round on May 12, 2011, came when we weren’t sure which company would win the electric-car startup battle, or whether either would have long-term success. In hindsight, it’s clear Tesla got it right by being meticulous and focusing on the technology powering the car.
Other big names raising VC money this week in history include AirWatch ($225 million on May 16, 2013), BrightSource Energy ($115 million on May 14, 2008) and Palantir Technologies ($56 million on May 16, 2012).
Staying on the venture capital side, the largest fund of 2008 closed this week six years ago. Lightspeed Venture Partners’ $800 million eighth fund has since invested in several high-profile companies, such as Snapchat, Bonobos and Nest Labs, which recently entered into an agreement to be acquired by Google for $3.2 billion. According toPitchBook’s fund returns data, Lightspeed Venture Partners VIII has a DPI of 1.11x and a TVPI of 3.32x, suggesting that while it has already made its LPs whole, it still has plenty of portfolio companies left to sell.
This week in history hasn’t been as exciting on the private equity side as on the VC side, though there is one notable transaction. Retailer Express went public on the New York Stock Exchange on May 13, 2010, valuing the company at $1.5 billion. Express was previously carved-out of Limited brands by Golden Gate Capital for $602 million in 2007.
On the fundraising front, The Blackstone Group closed its second mezzanine fund this week in 2006. The $1.1 billion vehicle is now fully invested and has generated a 7.8% IRR and 1.07x DPI as of 3Q 2013. There is still $244.2 million in value remaining in the fund, meaning more yet could still reach investors by the time it’s fully distributed.