The private equity world was shocked yesterday by the sudden death of Alex Navab, the former top North American deal-maker at KKR who had launched his own eponymous firm earlier this year.
Alex and I last met in April at the Milken Global Conference, where he was in great spirits and outwardly excited about the prospects for Navab Capital Partners, which he felt would do the sorts of deals that KKR and Blackstone had dominated when they were smaller. It also would have a significant philanthropic arm.
In short: He relished being an entrepreneur, after a career spent with other people's names on his business cards.
Statement from Navab Capital Partners:
“It is with deep sadness that we share the news of the untimely passing of our founder, Alexander ("Alex") Navab. He passed away unexpectedly on Sunday while on holiday with his family. Alex was an accomplished business leader and generous philanthropist who loved his family and played an important role in the professional and personal lives of many. Our thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones, and we ask that their privacy be respected at this very difficult time.”
Statement from Henry Kravis and George Roberts:
“We are heartbroken. A longtime member of the KKR family, Alex was an outstanding investor, leader, mentor and a friend to many. His contributions in business and philanthropy over his lifetime will forever remain part of his remarkable legacy. Our deepest condolences to his family who we know he cherished more than anything else.”
Alex is survived by his wife and three children. May he rest in peace.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Virgin Galactic, the commercial space tourism company founded by Richard Branson, said it will go public via a reverse merger with Social Capital Hedosophia (NYSE: IPOA), a special purpose acquisition vehicle formed in 2017 by venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya.
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• Signpost, a New York-based marketing cloud for local businesses, raised $52 million from HighBar Partners, BMO Bank and return backers Georgian Partners and Spark Capital. www.signpost.com
• Sensibill, a Toronto-based receipt management startup, raised C$31.5 million in Series B funding. Radical Ventures led, and was joined by National Bank of Canada, Information Venture Partners and First Ascent Ventures. http://axios.link/I8Xi
• 15Five, a San Francisco-based provider of continuous performance management software, raised $30.7 million in Series B funding. Next47 led, and was joined by Matrix Partners, PointNine Capital, Launch fund, Newground Ventures, Bling Capital, Chaifetz Group and Origin Ventures. http://axios.link/SOSb
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• Sinequa, a Paris-based cognitive search and analytics startup, raised $23 million in Series B funding led by Jolt Capital. www.sinequa.com
• Staffbase, a Germany-based mobile platform for internal employee communications, raised $23 million in Series C funding. Insight Partners led, and was joined by return backers e.ventures, Capnamic Ventures and Kizoo Technology Capital. http://axios.link/5KQ6
• Jacobi, an investment portfolio design platform, raised $7.7 million from Illuminate Venture Partners, 8VC and Credit Ease Venture Fund. http://axios.link/fuFL
• 4th & Heart, a Los Angeles-based food brand whose products feature grass-fed ghee, raised $7.6 million in Series C funding. Harbinger Ventures led, and was joined by Cambridge Cos SPG, Blueberry Ventures, Boulder Food Group, Monogram Capital Partners, Finn Capital Partners and Everplus Capital. http://axios.link/BDhE
🚑 Blue Water Vaccines, a Cincinnati-based developer of a universal flu vaccine, raised $7 million in seed funding led by CincyTech. http://axios.link/7IMB
• DriveNets, an Israeli networking software startup, raised $7 million in new Series A funding from C4 Ventures, Steve Luczo, Mark McLaughlin and John Thompson. The round total is now $117 million, including prior infusions from Bessemer Venture Partners and Pitango Growth. http://axios.link/EBXV
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• Aryballe Technologies, a French digital olfaction company, raised €6.2 million from IFF and Hyundai Motor Co. www.arybelle-technologies.com
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• Perq, an Indianapolis-based marketing cloud, raised $6 million in Series A funding led by Poplar Ventures. http://axios.link/yLtM
• Kaleidoscope Labs, a New York-based CBD capsule brand, raised $4 million in seed funding led by RRE Ventures. http://axios.link/oQTC
• Cinven agreed to invest in Jaggeer, a Morrisville, N.C.-based provider of procurement software for SMEs, at a valuation of around $1.5 billion. Existing shareholder Accel-KKR will maintain a stake. http://axios.link/jjFq
• Frontier Capital invested in GovQA, a Chicago-based provider of public sector compliance software. www.govqa.com
🚑 Genstar Capital completed its acquisition of Advarra, a Columbia, Md.-based provider of compliance solutions for drug development, from Linden Capital Partners. http://axios.link/qU3w
• Marlin Equity Partners acquired Clarus Commerce, a Rocky Hill, Conn.-based provider of loyalty programs for retailers. Sellers include Balance Point Capital, Trivergance, Falcon Investment Advisors and Landon Capital Partners. www.clarusmarketing.com
• Partners Group agreed to buy a majority stake in German toy manufacturer Schleich from Ardian.
• The Riverside Co. invested in Compana, a German provider of recruiting software for the temp staffing market.
• AssetMark Financial, a Concord, Calif.-based wealth management platform, set IPO terms to 12.5 million shares at $19-$21. It would have an initial market cap of $1.4 billion, were it to price in the middle, and plans to list on the NYSE (AMK) with JPMorgan as lead underwriter. The company reports $99 million of net income on $296 million in revenue for 2018, with shareholders including China’s Huatai International.
• Capital One (NYS: COF) bought BlueTarp Financial, a Portland, Maine-based credit management service company that had raised $63 million in VC funding from firms like Long Ridge, Flybridge Capital Partners and Highland Capital Partners. http://axios.link/huGH
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• Piper Jaffray (NYSE: PJC) is in advanced talks to buy investment bank Sandler O’Neill + Partners for $485 million in cash and stock, per the WSJ. Sellers would include The Carlyle Group and Kelso & Co. http://axios.link/IHt9
• Republic, a New York-based equity crowdfunding platform, acquired SheWorx, a New York-based event series and networking platform for female entrepreneurs. http://axios.link/UjWC
• Great Hill Partners, a Boston-based growth equity firm, raised $2.5 billion for its seventh fund. www.greathillpartners.com
• Maniv Mobility, an Israeli VC firm, raised $100 million for its second fund. www.maniv.com
• Prospect Hill Growth Partners, a Waltham, Mass.-based private equity firm focused on control investments for North American consumer and healthcare companies, raised $380 million for its second fund. www.phgrowth.com
• Bill Cooling joined TSG Consumer Partners as a New York-based managing director. He previously led consumer and retail M&A for Jefferies. www.tsgconsumer.com
• Joe Heyer is joining Credit Suisse as head of auto tech investment banking. He previously was head of global biz dev for Ford Motor Co. http://axios.link/buO5
• Richard McDerby joined the VC practice of law and consulting firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips as a San Francisco-based partner. He previously co-founded his own firm. www.manatt.com
• Suzanne Passalacqua joined Carrick Capital Partners as SVP of the private equity firm’s operations execution group. She previously co-founded 5Lights and, before that, was with DLJ and McKesson. www.carrickcapitalpartners.com
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• Elgin Thompson joined JMP Securities as a New York-based managing director, per his LinkedIn page. He previously pent five years as a tech investment banker with Digital Capital Advisors. www.jmpg.com
• Genstar Capital promoted Sid Ramakrishnan to principal. www.genstarcap.com
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The TED spread, a measure of perceived credit risk in the U.S. economy, last week matched its lowest level in at least 40 years. Go deeper.
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