Illustration: Lazaro Gamio, Axios
Google Ventures is one of the most active and powerful venture capital firms in Silicon Valley, leveraging both its track record (Uber, Slack, Stripe, etc.) and its tech parent pedigree. But it also has a significant #MeToo problem that's been hiding in plain sight for years.
Problematic stories about Drummond have swirled for years, but first made print in late 2017 in The Information. Then, last October they reappeared in a NY Times story that mostly focused on how Google paid off Android founder Andy Rubin over a sexual harassment claim (i.e., Drummond caught a bit of a PR break).
Earlier this week Jennifer Blakely published a Medium post that not only detailed her volatile relationship with Drummond, but also alleged that he had affairs with at least two other Alphabet/Google employees.
The bottom line: GV basically inherited David Drummond, but it's time for GV's general partners to agitate for an investigation and to have Drummond at least temporarily removed from their organizational structure. How can GV plausibly insist its founders deal properly with their own workplace equality issues if it can't get its own house in order? GV didn't create the problem, but it should help solve it.
• New firm alert: Four co-founders of consumer product "unicorns" are forming a venture capital fund, Axios has learned.
• Update: Former private equity investor Tarang "Taz" Katira has been sentenced to 22 months in a West London prison, related to an assault conviction.
• Another update: Yesterday's BFD was about how clothing rental startup Le Tote agreed to buy the operations of department store Lord & Taylor for $100 million. Kia subsequently spoke with Le Tote CEO Rakesh Tondon, who says his company is still in the process of securing funds to finance the deal.
Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) confirmed its sale of a 80% equity stake in the YES Network for $3.47 billion to a consortium led by the New York Yankees.
• Mews, a Prague-based hotel experience management platform, raised $33 million in Series B funding led by Battery Ventures. http://axios.link/OAwF
🚑 EBR Systems a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based developer of a cardiac pacing system for treating heart failure, raised $30 million. Brandon Capital Partners and M.H. Carnegie & Co. co-led, and were joined by return backers Split Rock Partners, Ascension Ventures, and Emergent Medical Partners. http://axios.link/J628
• Hound Labs, an Oakland-based maker of a dual marijuana and alcohol breathalyzer, raised $30 million in Series D funding. Intrinsic Capital Partners led, and was joined by Icon Ventures and Benchmark. http://axios.link/R4Vy
• SWISSto12, a Swiss provider of telecom components to the satellite and aerospace markets, raised $18.5 million in Series B funding. Swisscanto Invest led, and was joined by Swisscom Ventures and return backers Constantia New Business. www.SWISSto12.ch
• Homee, a Tampa, Fla.-based home services platform, raised $15 million in Series B funding. Forte Ventures led, and was joined by Liberty Mutual Strategic Ventures, Active Capital Partners, Florida Funders, Deepwork Capital, and Engage. http://axios.link/Xvm3
• Urbvan, a Mexican provider of luxury transportation shuttles, raised $9 million from Kaszek Ventures, Angel Ventures, and seed backer Mountain Nazca. http://axios.link/Uron
• Alto, a Nashville-based platform that lets individual investors add alternative assets to their IRAs, raised $5.4 million in seed funding co-led by Jefferson River Capital and Moment Ventures. www.altoira.com
• Ready, a New York-based casual e-sports tournament platform, raised $5 million. Bitkraft Esports Ventures led, and was joined by Comcast Ventures and Eldridge Industries. http://axios.link/dUMM
• Knock Knock, a San Francisco-based mobile game publisher, raised $4 million in Series A funding. March Capital Partners led, and was joined by Raine Ventures, London Venture Partners, and Ludlow Ventures. http://axios.link/T9gb
• Aurelius agreed to buy MPRO and YouBuild, both Belgian building materials merchant groups, from Grafton Group (LSE: GFTU). www.aureliusinvest.com
• Smartbear, a Somerville, Mass.-based portfolio company of Francisco Partners, acquired Bitbar, a Finland-based mobile app test automation platform. http://axios.link/WdKq
• Blued, a Chinese gay-dating app, is prepping a U.S. IPO that could raise around $200 million at a $1 billion valuation, per Bloomberg. Shareholders include CDH Investments and UG Capital Partners. http://axios.link/M4Fq
🚑 Viela Bio, a Gaithersburg, Md.-based inflammation and autoimmune biotech, filed for a $150 million IPO. It plans to trade on the Nasdaq (VIE) with Goldman Sachs as lead underwriter. The company spun out of AstraZeneca (LSE: AZN) in 2017 and raised $250 million in Series A funding from 6 Dimensions Capital, Boyu Capital, Hillhouse Capital, Temasek, and Sirona Capital.
• BASF (DB: BAS) agreed to sell its pigments business for 985 million to Japanese chemical company DIC Corp. (Tokyo: 4631). http://axios.link/xsKc
• BNP Paribas (Paris: BNPP) plans to make a bid for Deutsche Bank’s (DE: DBK) equity derivatives book, per Reuters. http://axios.link/9w4F
• Brazil’s government will add public TV and radio network EBC to a list of state-owned companies to be privatized, per Reuters. http://axios.link/BBmj
• CNH Industrial (NYSE: CNHI) is considering a spinoff of commercial truck unit Iveco, which generated around $100 million in 2018 EBITDA, per Reuters. http://axios.link/vuzU
• Hilton Grand Vacations (NYSE: HGV) is exploring strategic options, including a possible sale, following private equity takeover interest, per Reuters. The Orlando-based timeshare operator has a market cap of around $2.77 billion. http://axios.link/2ShS
• Half Court Ventures, a Massachusetts-based early-stage VC firm, is raising $10 million for its second fund, per an SEC filing. www.halfcourt.vc
• Shriram Bhashyam, co-founder of EquityZen, joined Citi Ventures as an entrepreneur-in-residence, per his LinkedIn page.
• Grant Allen and Varun Jain were named general partners of SE Ventures, a new $565 million Silicon Valley venture fund backed by Schneider Electric. Allen previously led ABB Ventures, while Jain led early-stage investing for Qualcomm Ventures.
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