Jun 7, 2017

Axios Pro Rata

Dan Primack
Top of the Morning

• VC tree grows in Cambridge: Yesterday we reported some changes atop veteran VC firm Highland Capital Partners, prompting a reader to point out how many other venture firms have been founded by HCP alums (immediately after leaving the firm). Here's the list, which doesn't even include Highland Capital Partners Europe (which is now an independent firm):

  • AlphaX Partners (Chuan Thor)
  • Causeway Media Partners (Wyc Grousbeck, Bob Higgins)
  • Commerce Ventures (Dan Rosen)
  • Elephant Ventures (Andy Hunt, Jeremiah Daly)
  • Kepha Partners (Jo Tango)
  • NaviMed Capital (Bijan Salehizadeh)
  • Waterline Ventures (Robbie Greengrass)

• Surge stuff: Uber yesterday said that it has fired 20 employees in connection with an investigation by law firm Perkins Coie into workplace harassment and bullying (which is separate from Eric Holder's investigation, the results of which are expected to be shared at next Tuesday's all-hands).

But the key number here isn't 20. It's 37. That's the percentage of existing HR claims reviewed by Perkins Coie that resulted in either a termination, written warning or requirement or training/counseling. Again: Existing claims. These are complaints that Uber already knew about and didn't adequately address.

It's a massive HR failure, even if the offending employees only represent a tiny fraction of Uber's overall employee base. And it makes me scratch my head even more furiously at the recent comments made by new HR chief Liane Hornsey to USA Today, where she suggested that Uber's sexual harassment issues are par for the corporate course.

• Optical illusion: Jonathan Swan reports that President Trump told Congressional GOP leaders yesterday that they ought to act on the debt ceiling after the August recess "so it doesn't cloud the messaging [presumably on healthcare]." For calendar context, "after the August recess" is basically the drop dead date that Treasury has given Congress, which is particularly worrisome given that some in the House want spending cuts included rather than voting on a clean bill (OMB director Mick Mulvaney also has suggested the same, putting him at odds with Treas Sec Mnuchin). None of this is lost on Mitch McConnell and company, so expect them to move sooner rather than later, siding with responsibility over presidential optics.

• Post-Paris: Trump also proposed covering his border wall with solar panels as a "beautiful" funding mechanism.

  • "If you really believe that putting solar on the border wall would make it 'pay for itself', that means you believe in the positive economics of solar. So why not put solar on all government buildings and new construction?" ― Shayle Kann, GTM Research.
  • "Wouldn't the panels be mainly on the south side of the wall? Mexico would see the beauty! And be able to shade them." ― @KenGoldshall

• Global view: KKR's chief economist Henry McVeigh today is making the bull case for Indonesia, suggesting that its demographic tailwinds are finally being matched by fiscal tailwinds:

"Government funding for infrastructure projects jumped by over 20% in the latest 2017 budget, and it now stands at 2.5 times what was allocated just three years ago. Meanwhile, the country's reserve base is now near record levels, and unlike many other EM countries we visit, there is no excessive credit overhang about which to worry. Maybe more important, though, is that central bankers, government officials, and CEOs all now seem more committed to delivering on the 'game plan' that is needed to elevate Indonesia into one of the EM market's elite destinations for investor capital."

Also worth noting that KKR has been knocked out of the Fortune 500. But before you send notes of condolence, KKR was always annoyed about being put on the list in the first place...


Illumio, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based developer of "adaptive segmentation technology" to prevent cyber attacks, has raised $125 million in Series D funding. No valuation information was disclosed, but the company was valued at around $1 billion in its Series C round last April. J.P. Morgan Asset Management led the new transaction, and was joined by return backers Andreessen Horowitz, General Catalyst, 8VC, Accel and Data Collective.

  • Why it's the BFD: Illumio not only aims at the large end of the enterprise market ― nine of America's 15 largest financial companies are clients ― but also experiences massive volume within accounts, saying that a typical deployment secures 10,000 workloads. One even hit 32,000 workloads.
  • Bottom line: "While there are firewalls and a number of other cross-network security options, the idea behind Illumio is that by segmenting workloads, it's able to manage them and potential breaches better, and in cases where something bad has gotten through, contain them better to prevent a cascading or ripple effect." ― Ingrid Lunden, TechCrunch
Venture Capital Deals

🚑 Earlens, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based hearing aid maker, has raised $73 million in Series C funding. Vertex Healthcare led the round, and was joined by Cochlear Ltd, RK Mellon, Windham Venture Partners Sightline Partners and return backers NEA, Aisling Capital, Lightstone Ventures and Medtronic. The company also secured $45 million in debt funding from CRG. http://bit.ly/2sD1QdQ

• Cadre, a New York-based online investment marketplace focused on real estate, has raised $65 million in Series C funding at around an $800 million valuation. Andreessen Horowitz led the round, and was joined by Breyer Capital, Ford Foundation, General Catalyst, Khosla Ventures, Thrive Capital, DST, Founders Fund and SL Green. Company co-founders include Jared Kushner. http://bit.ly/2s3PgY2

• Coursera, a Mountain View, Calif.-based online learning company, has raised $64 million in Series D funding at around an $800 million valuation (per TechCrunch). Backers include The Lampert Foundation, GSV Asset Management, NEA, Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers and Learn Capital. http://tcrn.ch/2r5DuqT

• TheRealReal, a San Francisco-based online luxury consignment shop for men and women, has raised $50 million in new equity funding from Great Hill Partners. The company previously raised around $120 million from firms like Greenspring Associates, Greycroft Partners, e.Ventures, InterWest Partners, Canaan Partners, DBL Partners and Industry Ventures. http://tcrn.ch/2s0f6My

• Coocaa, the Internet television unit of Chinese TV maker Skyworth Digital Holdings (HK: 751), has raised $44 million in funding from Tencent at a $590 million valuation. http://bit.ly/2r4RcdQ

• Riversand Technologies, a Houston-based provider of master data management and product information management solutions, has raised $35 million in Series A funding led by Crestline Investors. http://bit.ly/2rUD5Mh

• Trilogy Education Services, skills-based training startup that partners with universities, has raised $30 million in Series A funding. Highland Capital Partners led the round, and was joined by Rethink Education and First Light Capital. http://bit.ly/2rZz7CH

• Plynk, an Ireland-based money messaging app, has raised €25 million in Series A funding led by Swiss Privée Ltd. http://bit.ly/2rU69TT

• Armis, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based enterprise IoT security startup, has raised $17 million in VC funding from Sequoia Capital and Tenaya Capital. http://bit.ly/2sSgwoM

• Scout RFP, a San Francisco-based provider of e-sourcing software, has raised $15.5 million in Series B funding. Menlo Ventures led the round, and was joined by NEA. www.scoutrfp.com

• Autopilot, a provider of visual marketing software with offices in Australia and San Francisco, has raised $12 million in new VC funding. Blackbird Ventures led the round, and was joined by return backers Rembrandt Venture Partners, Salesforce Ventures and Southern Cross Venture Partners. http://tcrn.ch/2sdkxaz

• Workey, an Israeli online recruitment platform, has raised $8 million in Series A funding co-led by PICO Partners and Magma VC. http://tcrn.ch/2rwxP0B

🚑 Digital Pharmacist, an Austin, Texas-based online platform that enables communication between patients and pharmacies, has raised $6.5 million in Series B funding from Activate Venture Partners and LiveOak Venture Partners. http://bit.ly/2sCK8qV

• Carsome, a Malaysia-based online used-car marketplace, has raised $6 million in new VC funding. Gobi Partners led the round, and was joined by Lumia Capital, Innoven and return backers 500 Startups and Spiral Ventures. http://bit.ly/2rAp4CB

🚑 Savonix, a San Francisco-based neurocognitive assessment and data platform, has raised $5.1 million in Series A funding. DigiTx Partners led the round, and was joined by Rethink Impact. http://bit.ly/2rAqEo9

• Wiretap, a Columbus, Ohio-based provider of security solutions for enterprise social and collaboration networks, has raised $4.9 million in Series A funding from Draper Triangle Ventures, Rev1 Ventures, JumpStart and Ohio Innovation Fund. www.wiretap.com

• CybelAngel, a Paris-based cybersecurity startup focused on data leak detection on the non-indexed Internet, has raised €3 million in VC funding from Serena Data Ventures. http://bit.ly/2rAoFQJ

• WaystoCap, a cross-border B2B e-commerce platform for Africa, has raised between $2.5 million and $3 million in new VC funding, per TechCrunch. Backers include Y Combinator, Battery Ventures, Soma Capital, Palm Drive Capital, Amino Capital, Endure Capital, Story Ventures, Lynett Capital, Neon Capital and 4DX. http://tcrn.ch/2rKPSi7

• Strivr Labs, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based provider of VR-based training software, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from the National Football League, per the WSJ. http://on.wsj.com/2sKo1xK

• Coinbase, a San Francisco-based digital currency platform for bitcoin transactions, is seeking to raise around $100 million in new funding at a valuation north of $1 billion, according to the WSJ. To date the company has raised over $140 million, most recently at around a $500 million post-money valuation, from firms like Andreessen Horowitz and DFJ Growth. http://on.wsj.com/2qTevMd

• Anders Holch Povlsen, owner of Danish fashion retailer Bestseller, is buying at least a 10% stake in Klarna, Sweden-based online payments company that has been valued at around $2.25 billion by backers like Sequoia Capital and General Atlantic. http://reut.rs/2rAlCIb

Private Equity Deals

• Advent International has acquired a majority equity stake in GMD, a Peruvian telecom and IT company from Graña y Montero for up to $84.7 million (including $37.3m up-front). www.gmd.com.pe

• CI Capital Partners has acquired a majority stake in SavATree, a Bedford Hills, N.Y.-based provider of tree, shrub and lawn care services. No financial terms were disclosed. www.savatree.com

• GTCR has agreed to acquire GreatCall, a San Diego-based provider of health and personal emergency response services for seniors. No financial terms were disclosed. GreatCall had raised over $70 million from firms like Court Square Ventures, CRV, Nauta Capital, Steelpoint Capital Partners and Sumitomo Corp. www.greatcall.com

• Highland Capital Management has acquired Structural and Steel Products Inc., a Fort Worth, Texas-based maker and distributor of products for the highway construction end-market, from Merit Capital Partners. No financial terms were disclosed. www.s-steel.com

• Ideal-Tridon, a Smyrna, Tenn.-based specialty clamps and couplings maker owned by Industrial Growth Partners, has acquired the assets of Fast-Lok from Deco Products. No financial terms were disclosed. Fast-Lok is a manufacturer of preformed and open-ended hose clamps, strapping, and buckles. www.idealtridon.com

• Investcorp has agreed to acquire Abax, a UK-based provider of vehicle monitoring software, from Norvestor for $210 million. http://bit.ly/2rLdGSV

• KKR has offered to acquire Australian telecom company Vocus Group for A$2.18 billion, or A$3.50 per share (22% premium to Tuesday's closing price). https://bloom.bg/2s2Y4gQ

• P4G Capital Partners has acquired the assets of Fore Machine Co. (Harem City, Texas) and Aero Components (Fort Worth, Texas), both providers of machining, coating and related services for the aerospace and defense sectors. No pricing terms were disclosed for the deal, which included financing from NewSpring Capital and Southfield Mezzanine Capital. www.foremachine.com

• Princeton Growth Ventures, a new telecom, media and tech infrastructure acquisition platform led by former Tata Communications exec Rangu Salgame, has secured a $300 million equity commitment from Warburg Pincus. https://bloom.bg/2r1FIfS

• Wind Point Partners has acquired Valicor Environmental Services, a Middletown, Ohio-based provider of non-hazardous wastewater treatment services. No financial terms were disclosed. www.valicor.com

More M&A

🚑 Bausch & Lomb, a subsidiary of Valeant Pharmaceuticals (NYSE: VRX), is in talks to sell its ocular surgical products business to Germany's Carl Zeiss Meditec for upwards of $2 billion, according to Bloomberg. https://bloom.bg/2sckufc

• MediaMath, a New York-based operating system for marketers and ad agencies, has secured a $175 million credit facility led by Goldman Sachs with participation by Santander Bank. The company has raised over $100 million in VC funding from backers like Spring Lake Equity Partners, Akamai Technologies, Safeguard Scientifics, Catalyst Investors and Observatory Capital. www.mediamath.com

• Ucar Group, a listed Chinese e-hail company owned by auto rental company Car Inc., has raised around $353 million in new funding from PICC Asset Management, a unit of People's Insurance Company of China Ltd. http://bit.ly/2rArFN8


• Builders Union, a Singapore-based hedge fund focused on companies that could benefit from millennial spending habits, has been launched by Alexander Bruells (ex-KKR) and Markus Bihler (ex-CEO of German e-commerce co. Tirendo). http://on.wsj.com/2rUEZfC

• Hamilton Lane has closed its fourth private equity secondaries fund with $1.9 billion in capital commitments. www.hamiltonlane.com

• PSP Investments, a unit of Canada's Public Sector Pension Investment Board, is preparing to launch a private equity secondaries business that will have offices in both Montreal and London. http://bit.ly/2rAvTEp

It's Personnel

• Andriy Mykhaylovskyy and Landon Tucker have joined Fifth Wall Ventures as a principal/COO and entrepreneur-in-residence, respective. Mykhaylovskyy previously was with Elliot Management, while Tucker was a senior analyst with Trian Fund Management. www.fifthwall.vc

• Bessemer Venture Partners has promoted Michael Segal to vice president. www.bvp.com

🚑 Christoph Westphal has stepped down as CEO of Flex Pharma (Nasdaq: FLKS), and will return full-time to venture capital firm Longwood Fund, which he co-founded. He will remain chairman of Flex Pharma's board of directors, while R&D chief William MCVicar will serve as interim CEO. http://bit.ly/2r1A7WU

Dan Primack