Greetings from the home office. Just a reminder that we're off Monday for the MLK holiday, so have a great long weekend and we'll chat again Tuesday. Okay, here we go...
Top of the Morning
Vanity Fair recently published an excerpt from an upcoming book by Bloomberg reporter Emily Chang, claiming that a high-profile venture capitalist had hosted a summer party that included heavy drug use, "cuddle puddles" and other sexual activity that made at least one female attendee extremely uncomfortable. It was explosive stuff, and caused a lot of Silicon Valley wondering about the host's identity.
Axios yesterday published additional text from the book, showing that the party was held at the Half Moon Bay home of Steve Jurvetson.
Since then, several party attendees — including Elon Musk and Mary Lou Jepsen — have taken issue with Chang's depiction of the events, arguing that it was a tech networking event absent of visible drug use or sexual activity.
I wasn't there, so can't vouch for either characterization. But here's what I do know:
- The party invite went to all attendees of DFJ's one-day Big Think Conference (which was held near Jurvetson's home), plus other people personally invited by Jurvetson. As such, many conference attendees viewed it as part of the broader event, thus merging the personal and professional. If Chang's allegations are true, then this could have easily shifted from "consenting adults" to "sexual harassment."
- DFJ has known for a while that it would be identified in Chang's book. And my understanding is that all of this did, at least indirectly, contribute to Juvertson's ultimate departure from the firm.
- DFJ hints at this in a statement provided after Axios first published: "We were dismayed to learn of behavior at the party that was completely at odds with DFJ’s culture, which has been, and will continue to be, built on the values of respect and integrity. We would never want anyone to feel uncomfortable and we are sorry if that happened. The decisive action we’ve taken in recent months reflects our steadfast commitment to our values."
- Jurvetson has not responded to a request for comment, but he did like several tweets that support more staid descriptions of the party.
• Quotable from the JPM Healthcare Conference:
"We are in the middle of a bubble in all healthcare asset classes."— Bijan Salehizadeh, NaviMed Capital. Axios' Bob Herman digs in here.
• Quotable from the White House:
"I don’t think [Davos] is a hangout for globalists."— Treasury Sec. Steve Mnuchin, who will be among those accompanying President Trump to what is apparently a populist labor camp.
• Deal scoop: First Alert, a subsidiary of Newell Brands (NYSE: NWL), has quietly acquired Luma, a home WiFi system maker that had raised $22 million in VC funding from firms like Accel Partners and Amazon.
• Go Pats!
Braeburn Pharmaceuticals, a Princeton, N.J.-based developer of treatments for opioid addiction, has raised $110 million in new funding led by Wellington Management. Other investors include Avista Capital Partners, RA Capital Management, New Leaf Venture Partners, Deerfield Management, Rock Springs Capital and return backer Apple Tree Partners.
- Why it's the BFD: Because Braeburn recently received FDA priority review for its lead candidate, which would become the market's first long-acting implant drug to help combat what has become a national epidemic.
- Capital context: The company pulled an IPO offering in early 2017, but has since progressed in its regulatory process and named a new CEO.
- Bottom line: "The company has posted positive Phase III data on the drug and is now looking to set up a commercial launch, with the PDUFA date looming in a few days after a positive advisory committee vote." — Endpoints News
Venture Capital Deals
• Meicai.cn, a Chinese e-commerce platform for fresh produce that connects farmers with restaurants, has raised $450 million in Series E funding co-led by Tiger Global Management and CMC Capital Partners. http://axios.link/L70R
• Chronext, a Swiss online marketplace for secondhand luxury watches, has raised $34 million in new funding Endeit Capital and Tengelmann Ventures. http://axios.link/YBFI
• Voyage, a robotaxi startup, has raised $15 million in new funding from backers like Khosla Ventures and Jaguar Land Rover’s corporate venture arm, per The Information. http://axios.link/GBKs
🚑 SmithRx, a San Francisco-based pharmacy benefits manager, has raised $9 million in Series A funding. Founders Fund led, and was joined by Blumberg Capital, NextGen Venture Partners and Box Group. www.smithrx.com
• Qualifio, a Belgium-based interactive marketing and data collection platform, has raised €3 million in Series A funding from Volta Ventures and SRIW. www.qualifio.com
• Fritz, a Boston-based edge computing platform for mobile developers, has raised $2 million in seed funding. Eniac Ventures led, and was joined by Uncork Capital and Hack VC. www.fritz.ai
• Acorns Grow, a Newport Beach, Calif.-based micro-investing platform, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from The Rise Fund. http://axios.link/jvd1
Private Equity Deals
🚑 Alliance HealthCare Services, an Irvine, Calif.-based outsourced health services company owned by Tahoe Investment Group, has agreed to acquire e+CancerCare, a Nashville, Tenn.-based cancer care services provider, from Kohlberg & Co. http://axios.link/nNSI
• The Blackstone Group and The Carlyle Group have expressed interest in acquiring postage meter maker Pitney Bowes (NYSE: PBI), which has a current market cap of around $2.5 billion, according to Bloomberg. Lazard is managing the process. http://axios.link/fMDX
• Delphon Industries, a Hayward, Calif.-based manufacturer of device protection and adhesive products, has raised an undisclosed amount of equity funding from PWP Growth Equity. www.delphon.com
• Evive, a Chicago-based provider of enterprise benefits engagement software, has raised $43 million in funding from Susquehanna Growth Equity. www.goevive.com
• Huron Capital has invested in Pueblo Mechanical & Controls, a Tucson, Ariz.-based provider of HVAC replacement, retrofit and repair services. www.pueblo-mechanical.com
• Incline Equity Partners has invested in Continental Batteries, a Dallas-based distributor of aftermarket batteries to the automotive, commercial, golf, marine and industrial markets. www.continentalbatteries.com
• Prospect Partners has acquired Bland Landscaping Co., an Apex, N.C.-based landscape design and services company for commercial properties and “high-end” residences. www.blandlandscaping.com
• Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners has completed its previously-announced purchase of euNetworks, a London-based provider of bandwidth infrastructure services, from shareholders like Columbia Capital. http://axios.link/cMXa
⛽ Hyundai Oilbank, a South Korean refiner, has picked Hana Daetoo Securities and NH Investment & Securities, to lead an IPO that could raise more than $1 billion, according to IFR. http://axios.link/ZA4e
• Victory Capital Holdings, a Brooklyn, Ohio-based asset management firm with $59 billion in AUM, filed for a $100 million IPO. It plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker VCTR, with J.P. Morgan serving as lead underwriter. Shareholders include Crestview Partners and Reverence Capital Partners. www.victoryconnect.com
• Goldman Sachs and Vestar Capital Partners are seeking a buyer for Hearthside Food Solutions, a Downers Grove, Ill.-based contract manufacturing baked goods contract manufacturer that could fetch around $2.5 billion, according to Bloomberg. http://axios.link/LS5t
• ANZ (ASX: ANZ) has abandoned plans to sell its vehicle finance unit to China’s HNA Group for $460 million, due to New Zealand regulators’ concerns about HNA’s ownership structure. http://axios.link/1f8W
• GKN (LSE: GKN), a struggling British engineering company, said that it has rejected an unsolicited takeover bid from rival Melrose Industries (LSE: MRON) and that it will split its business in two. http://axios.link/m2HU
• Nestle (Swiss: NESN) has sold Australian chocolate bar brand Violet Crumble to local confectionery group Robern Menz. http://axios.link/AKLB
• Alchemy Partners has closed its third special situations fund with £900 million in capital commitments, according to Private Equity News. http://axios.link/YuDm
• Mid Europa Partners, a private equity firm focused on Central and Eastern Europe, is raising its fifth fund with a €800 million target, according to PE International. http://axios.link/AP61
• Warburg Pincus is premarketing its thirteenth flagship fund with a $13.5 billion target, according to PE International. A formal fundraising launch is expected to occur in May. http://axios.link/Lrz3
• BoxGroup, a New York-based VC firm, has promoted Nimi Katragadda to partner. http://axios.link/nyYi
• David Fallace has left The Investment Fund for Foundations, where he had spent two years as a managing director, per his LinkedIn profile. He also has become an advisor to Polaris Partners.
• Kelly Graziadei, former director of media partnerships at Facebook, has joined VC firm Foundation Capital as an entrepreneur-in-residence. www.foundationcapital.com
• Niten Malhan has stepped down as a managing director and co-head of India for Warburg Pincus, and plans to launch a public equities fund. http://axios.link/vQ8a
• Jamey Sperans has left Morgan Stanley Alternative Investments to join Foundry Group as a partner on is VC fund-of-funds platform. www.foundrygroup.com
• Wynnchurch Capital has promoted Carl Howe and Brian Riordan to vice presidents and JD Frank and Kevin Hanley to senior associates. www.wynnchurch.com
- Dropbox has filed confidentially for its IPO.
- More from Credit Suisse report, lead authored by Michael Nemeroff: "As we enter 2018, the correlation strength (R2 ) between valuation and sales growth remains at approximately 50%, which is fairly consistent with the prior two years. This analysis suggests that subscription software companies that can demonstrate faster revenue growth (>+21% yr/yr for 2018) should continue to command a premium valuation to the peer group average."