Jan 16, 2019

Axios Pro Rata

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Top of the Morning

Source: Giphy

Draper Fisher Jurvetson, one of Silicon Valley's oldest venture capital firms, is changing its name to Threshold Ventures, Axios has learned. Limited partners were informed last night via email.

  • What happened: None of the three name partners are still involved. Tim Draper and John Fisher left more than five years ago, as part of a larger shake-up. Steve Jurvetson was pushed out 14 months ago under still-murky circumstances.
  • Lesson learned: Don't name investment firms after people. It just creates conditions for future confusion. There are still plenty of tree species and rock types that don't yet have a sign on Sand Hill Road.
  • Fisher continues to be a partner with DFJ Growth, an independent, later-stage affiliate that is expected to retain its name.
  • DFJ will not rename existing funds, but is expected to use the Threshold brand for a new, 13th fund that is expected to hold a first close this June. It still has around $125 million of dry powder in DFJ Venture XII.
  • Threshold's two managing partners will be Josh Stein and Emily Melton. Longtime partners Andreas Stavropoulos and Bill Bryant are expected to transition into venture partner roles with the new fund.
  • When asked for comment, Stein emailed: “We’re really excited to open this new chapter for our team and plan to continue the focused and high-conviction investment strategy that we’ve followed in our prior two Venture funds."

• Speaking of new names: Acme Capital will be the new name of Sherpa Capital, according to an email sent out by Acme/Sherpa co-founder Scott Stanford to firm friends and investors. No formal announcement is expected, perhaps at least until a new fund is raised later this year.

  • Per the email: "We chose the unassuming name ACME because it captures our ethos of low-key excellence. We also love the irony of the definition of ACME - the 'pinnacle' or 'zenith' - relative to its common associations."
  • The firm also is promoting Brian Yee to partner.
  • For the uninitiated, Sherpa is the San Francisco-based VC firm thrown into disarray after co-founder Shervin Pishevar left amidst multiple allegations of sexual harassment (all of which he denied). Last November we reported on its new path forward, which included the addition of GGV Capital co-founder Hany Nada.

• I really shouldn't have to say this, but... I do not have any exposure (long or short) to XRP, Ripple or to any cryptocurrency. Not even a single sliver of bitcoin. This won't satisfy the Twitter trolls who are currently wreaking havoc on my timeline, but just wanted it on the record for you, dear readers.

• Breaking: Fiserv (Nasdaq: FISV) has agreed to buy payment processor First Data (NYSE: FDC) for $22 billion in stock.

  • The deal works out to around a 30% premium for First Data shareholders like former owner KKR, which still holds nearly a 39% equity stake.

🎧 Podcast: On our latest episode I chat with NY Times reporter Erin Griffith, about her recent piece on startup founders who are shunning venture capital. Listen here.


Source: Giphy

Eddie Lampert won a bankruptcy auction for Sears, via a sweetened $5.2 billion bid that would prevent the troubled retailer from closing and liquidating its remaining stores. Reuters was first with the news.

  • Why it's the BFD: This saves upwards of 45,000 jobs, at least for now.
  • Caveats: A bankruptcy judge still needs to sign off on Lampert's plan in a hearing later this week, and a group of creditors is expected to object.
  • Bottom line: "[Lampert] now has what might be his final chance to prove that his contrarian strategy is the right one. He has long argued that as retailing moves online, chains need fewer big-box stores. His mantra for Sears is to turn it into an 'asset-light' company." — Suzanne Kapner & Lillian Rizzo, WSJ
Venture Capital Deals

• Veeam, a Swiss provider of data backup solutions, raised $500 million from Insight Venture Partners and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. http://axios.link/9u03

• Knock, a New York-based home trade-in platform (i.e., rival to OpenDoor), raised $400 million in Series B funding. Foundry Group led, and was joined by return backers RRE Ventures, Corazon Capital, WTI and FJ Labs. http://axios.link/fsEw

• Outdoorsy, an Airbnb-style service for recreational vehicles, raised $50 million in Series C funding. Greenspring Associates led, and was joined by return backers Aviva Ventures, Altos Ventures, AutoTech Ventures and Tandem Capital. http://axios.link/Ii2y

• Bringg, an Israeli enterprise delivery logistics platform, raised $25 million in Series C funding. Next47 was joined by return backers Salesforce Ventures, Aleph VC, OG Ventures, Cambridge Capital, Coca-Cola, Ituran and Pereg Ventures. http://axios.link/q3hi

• Bold Commerce, a Winnipeg-based provider of e-commerce solutions for brands, raised C$22 million in Series A funding from Whitecap Venture Partners and Round13 Capital. www.boldcommerce.com

• Sonari Security, a New York-based provider of cloud data control solutions, raised $18.5 million in Series A funding. Polaris Partners and TenEleven Ventures co-led, and were joined by the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation. http://axios.link/6ZaM

🚑 Ciitizen, a Redwood City, Calif.-based platform to help patients collect and share medical records, raised $17 million in Series A funding. Andreessen Horowitz led, and was joined by Section32 and Verily. www.ciitizen.com

• Isotropic Systems, a London-based provider of satellite terminal solutions, raised $14 million in Series A funding. Boeing HorizonX Ventures led, and was joined by WML, Space Angels and Space Capital. www.isotropicsystems.com

• Bond-Pro, a Tampa, Fla.-based provider of surety insurance software, raised $10 million led by Volition Capital. http://axios.link/K9Aw

• AccessPay, a UK-based corporate payment management platform, raised £9 million. Beringea led, and was joined by True Ventures and Route 66 Ventures. http://axios.link/hT3w

• Chooze, a Boulder, Colo.-based maker of LucidMood-branded cannabis products, raised $4 million from Gotham Green Partners. www.lucidmood.net

Private Equity Deals

• ESW Capital acquired SLI Systems, a New Zealand-based provider of software for converting online shoppers into buyers. It’s a take-private buyout, as SLI had been listed in New Zealand. http://axios.link/IZaM

• Farallon Capital Management is nearing a deal to acquire a control stake in Brazilian toll road operator Odebrecht for around $404 million, per Valor Economico. http://axios.link/iqSN

General Atlantic agreed to buy a minority stake in Powercloud, a German energy software company. http://axios.link/u0OE

• iSolved HCM, a Charlotte-based portfolio company of Accel-KKR, agreed to buy the U.S. payroll outsourcing unit of Sage Group (LSE: SGE) for around $100 million. http://axios.link/IAEx

• Therma Holdings, a San Jose, Calif.-based portfolio company of Gemspring Holdings, acquired Yearout Mechanical, an Albuquerque-based provider of mechanical, fabrication and maintenance services. www.therma.com

• TowerCo, a Cary, N.C.-based developer and manager of wireless tower infrastructure, raised $300 million in equity funding from Peppertree Capital Management. www.towerco.com

Public Offerings

Source: Giphy

Liquidity Events

CM Group, an Australian email marketing group, has acquired email marketer Sailthru and email personalization startup Liveclicker. CM raised $250 million from Insight Venture Partners and Accel in 2014, while Sailthru had raised just under $50 million from firms like Scale Venture Partners, Benchmark and RRE Ventures. http://axios.link/fdC5

Salesforce (NYSE: CRM) is in talks to buy Israeli workforce management software provider ClickSoftware from Francisco Partners for around $1.5 billion, per Calcalist. http://axios.link/tcgJ

More M&A

Amazon Web Services, a unit of Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) acquired TSO Logic, a Vancouver-based startup aimed at maximizing cloud resource efficiency. http://axios.link/ug38

DSV, a Copenhagen-listed freight transport company, has offered to buy Swiss-listed rival Panalpina for $4.1 billion. http://axios.link/9paZ

👞 Payless ShoeSource hired investment bank PJ Solomon to explore strategic options, including a possible sale, just 17 months after exiting bankruptcy, per Reuters. Current owners include Alden Global Capital. http://axios.link/jAxf


The Blackstone Group is nearing a $20 billion final close on its latest real estate private equity fund, per Bloomberg. http://axios.link/e4eP

Maverick Ventures, the San Francisco-based VC arm of hedge fund Maverick Capital, raised $382 million for an evergreen fund. www.maverickventures.com

Warren Equity Partners, a Jacksonville, Fla.-based lower middle-market private equity firm, raised $310 million for its second fund. www.warrenequity.com

It's Personnel

Seung Lee, a former Morgan Stanley banker, joined SoftBank Ventures Asia as CFO. http://axios.link/nOx9

Madrona Venture Group promoted Hope Cochran to managing director. It also promoted Troy Cichos to COO and partner and Jennifer Chambers to administrative partner. www.madrona.com

Austin McChord, founder of data protection company Datto, is joining VC firm General Catalyst as a venture partner. www.generalcatalyst.com

SK Capital Partners, a private equity firm focused on the specialty materials, chemicals and pharma sectors, promoted Barry Penney to managing director. www.skcapitalpartners.com