Jan 8, 2020

Axios Pro Rata

Top of the Morning

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

During his time as Uber's CEO, Travis Kalanick never sold any of his shares. It was one of the few unambiguously noble things he did, in an age in which many other CEOs were cashing in big on secondaries.

  • While we were on break, Kalanick sold his entire remaining stake in the company and resigned from its board of directors. His windfall was in the billions, even though Uber is valued well below where it went public (let alone its valuation when Kalanick was last in charge).
  • But he's not the only pre-IPO holder that's sold big.

Axios has learned that Coatue Management has distributed all of its shares to its limited partners, even though the shares are currently worth less than when Coatue invested in mid-2018.

  • Menlo Ventures, which first invested in 2012 at a $300 million valuation, distributed around 25% of its shares. This one is notable because the firm announced in November that it wasn't selling any shares at the time of lockup expiration.
  • Benchmark Capital, which led Uber's Series A investment in 2011, has distributed between one-third and one-half of its stake. In August 2017, Benchmark publicly suggested that Uber would be valued at over $100 billion within two years (its market cap when Benchmark sold was around $50 billion).
  • All three of the firms declined comment.

The bottom line: It's not surprising that VC firms are taking some money off the table, or at least letting LPs make those decisions. It's what typically happens after post-IPO lockups expire. But these moves are notable because they reflect valuation recalibration on venture's most lucrative deal of the past decade, and how Uber's old guard is leaving its post.


Sand Hill scoop: Former Google executive Bogomil Balkansky has joined Sequoia Capital as a partner.

  • Balkansky spent three years a top lieutenant to then-Google Cloud chief Diane Greene, including as go-to-market lead for a Recruiting Solutions product line, until leaving in mid-2018. Previously he was with VMWare for nearly eight years.

Update: In November we discussed the controversy over how a new private equity firm called Ethos Capital had agreed to buy Public Interest Registry, manager and operator of the .ORG domain.

  • The latest, per the NY Times: "Now, a group of respected internet pioneers and nonprofit leaders is offering an alternative to Ethos Capital’s bid: a nonprofit cooperative corporation... The goal of the group is not only to persuade ICANN, which oversees internet domain names, to stop the sale. It is also to persuade ICANN to hand it the management of .ORG instead."

Debt pile: The U.S. leveraged loan default rate for 2019 was 1.39%, compared to a historical average of 2.9%, according to S&P LCD.

  • This came in a year in which there were increasingly-vocal worries over leveraged loan levels, including from the Federal Reserve.

🎧 Pro Rata Podcast discusses how hospital mergers have been found to increase costs and lower patient satisfaction. It's the American healthcare problem that politicians don't discuss. Listen here.


Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Evolv Technology, a Waltham, Mass.-based developer of weapons screening systems for large crowds, raised $30 million in Series C funding from such backers as Jeb Bush and Bill Gates.

  • Why it's the BFD: We live in the age of mass shootings, in which attending school or a concert is potentially fatal. Evolv is an alternative to traditional, "one-person-at-a-time" metal detectors, able to simultaneously screen large flows of people, including at Lincoln Center and select schools in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
  • Jeb Bush? Yup, he has a new merchant banking firm called Finback Investment Partners, and Evolv is its first deal. Bush's partner, George Huber, says Finback was formed late last year, as a successor to Dock Square Capital (i.e., similar model, slightly different team).
  • Return backers include Gates, DCVC, General Catalyst Partners, Lux Capital, and SineWave Ventures.
  • Bottom line: "We're in the Biltmore, a high-end hotel in North Carolina, which doesn't allow guns even though North Carolina is an open-carry state. So [the hotel] is able to monitor incoming weapons without putting guests through obtrusive metal detectors, and ask those who do have guns to please go back out and put them in their car. In the first year our system was installed, that happened around 1,500 times." — Peter George, Evolv CEO
Venture Capital Deals

ClassPass, a New York-based fitness class marketplace, raised $285 million in Series E funding. L Catterton and Apax Digital co-led, and was joined by return backer Temasek. http://axios.link/eADo

AvePoint, a Jersey City, N.J.-based provider of Microsoft Sharepoint management software, raised $200 million in Series C funding. TPG Sixth Street Partners led, and was joined by return backers like Goldman Sachs. www.avepoint.com

HighRadius, a Houston-based provider of order-to-cash and treasury management software, raised $125 million in Series B funding at a valuation north of $1 billion. Iconiq Capital led, and was joined by return backers Susquehanna Growth Equity and Citi Ventures. http://axios.link/zQ34

Roofstock, an Oakland-based online marketplace for single-family rental home investments, raised $50 million in Series D funding. SVB led, and was joined by fellow return backers Khosla Ventures, Bain Capital Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Canvas Ventures. New investors include Citi Ventures, Fort Ross Ventures, and 7 Global Capital. http://axios.link/QyXW

Vecna Robotics, a Waltham, Mass.-based maker of self-driving forklifts, raised $50 million in Series B funding. Blackhorn Ventures led, and was joined by Highland Capital, Fontanalis Partners, and return backers Drive Capital and Tectonic Ventures. http://axios.link/3tD2

Spatial Networks, a St. Petersburg, Fla.-based provider of geospatial data collection and analytics for field ops, raised $42.5 million in Series A funding co-led by Kayne Partners and Kennet Partners. http://axios.link/waiV

🚑 Deep Genomics, a Toronto-based developer of drugs for rare genetic diseases, raised C$40 million in Series B funding. Future Ventures led, and was joined by Amplitude Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Magnetic Ventures, and True Ventures. http://axios.link/NRaV

🚑 NorthSea Therapeutics, a Dutch drug developer focused on NASH, raised €36 million in Series B funding. VenBio Partners led, and was joined by Sofinnova Investments and return backers Forbion, Novo Seeds, New Science Ventures, and BioGeneration Ventures. http://axios.link/kGUz

Orchard (fka Perch), a New York-based home-buying marketplace, raised $36 million. Navitas Capital led, and was joined by FirstMark Capital, Accomplice, and Juxtapose. http://axios.link/GO3w

🚑 Pieces Technologies, a Dallas-based healthcare patient analytics company, raised $25.7 million in Series B funding. Concord Health Partners led, and was joined by Children's Health of Dallas and OSF Healthcare System. www.piecestech.com

🚑 TwinStrand Biosciences, a Seattle-based generic sequencing tech startup, raised $16 million in Series A funding. Madrona Venture Group led, and was joined by Alexandria Venture Investments, Ridgeback Capital, and Sahsen Ventures. http://axios.link/kSvM

🚑 Ride Health, a New York-based non-emergency medical transportation startup, raised $6.2 million in seed funding. Activate Venture Partners led, and was joined by Newark Venture Partners, Anthro Ventures, BioAdvance, Leading Edge Ventures and Startup Health. http://axios.link/d6vs

Hitched, a Houston-based marketplace for industrial equipment rentals, raised $5.5 million in Series A funding led by Cottonwood Venture Partners. http://axios.link/rFOM

Luxury Presence, a Los Angeles-based provider of digital marketing services to real estate brokers, raised $5.4 million. Switch Ventures led, and was joined by Bessemer Venture Partners and Toba Capital. http://axios.link/zcoZ

Fishbowl, a New York-based social network for professionals, raised $5.3 million in Series A funding led by GGV Capital. http://axios.link/2TCq

Midnite, a London-based e-sports betting startup, raised $2.5 million led by Makers Fund. http://axios.link/qzEu

M1neral, a Houston-based transaction management platform for mineral royalties, raised $1.6 million co-led by Amnis Ventures and Pheasant Energy. http://axios.link/rfZ2

Private Equity Deals

3Phase, an East Bridgewater, Mass.-based elevator repair company owned by Fort Point Capital, acquired Staten Island-based Excel Elevator & Escalator Corp. www.3phaseelevator.com

Accel-KKR acquired Springbrook Software, a Portland, Ore.-based provider of ERP and payments software for local government, from Berkshire Partners portfolio company Accela. www.sprbrk.com

ACON Investments bought Pine Environmental Services, a Windsor, N.J.-based renter of environmental test and measurement equipment, from Saw Mill Capital. www.pine-environmental.com

Aquiline Capital Partners acquired Ontellus, a Houston-based outsourced records retrieval company, from CapStreet Group. www.ontellus.com

🚑 Court Square Capital Partners acquired Medical Knowledge Group, a New York-based multi-channel marketing platform for pharma, from WindRose Health Investors.

Hillhouse Capital, Permira, and Warburg Pincus made it to the second round of bidding for the Chinese unit of Switzerland’s EF Education First, which could fetch upwards of $2 billion, per Bloomberg. http://axios.link/uRda

Kymera International, a Piedmont, N.C.-based portfolio company of Palladium Equity Partners, agreed to buy Reading Alloys, a Robesonia, Penn.-based alloys manufacturer, from Ametek (NYSE: AME) for $250 million in cash. www.reading-alloys.com

M/C Partners agreed to buy the managed services unit of Chicago-based consultancy West Monroe Partners. www.westmonroepartners.com

Northleaf Capital Partners acquired a 90% stake in Douglas Terminals, a liquid bulk storage terminal in Belgium, from Hartree Partners and Ghent Transport & Storage.

Permira acquired a majority stake in Lytx, a San Diego-based provider of video telematics for driver risk management, alongside GIC and CPPIB. The deal was valued north of $2.5 billion. Sellers include GTCR and Clearlake Capital Group. www.lytx.com

Sargent & Greenleaf, a Nicholasville, Ky.-based portfolio company of OpenGate Capital, acquired Delaney Hardware, a Cumming, Ga.-based provider of locks, door hardware, and hollow metal doors, from HCI Equity Partners. www.sargentandgreenleaf.com

Thomas H. Lee Partners agreed to buy a majority stake in AmeriLife, a Clearwater, Fla.-based life and health insurer, from J.C. Flowers & Co. www.amerilife.com

Liquidity Events

BBJ Rentals of Illinois acquired La Tavola Linen, a Napa, Calif.-based event linen rental company, from Frontenac. www.bbjlinen.com

More M&A

Accenture (NYSE: CAN) agreed to buy Symantec’s cyber security services business from Broadcom (Nasdaq: AVGO). http://axios.link/YxVN

Anglo American (LSE: AAL) is in advanced talks to buy fertilizer miner Sirius Minerals (LSE: SXX) for £386 million, per Reuters. http://axios.link/kltL

Caltex Australia (ASX: CTX) confirmed a takeover approach from Britain’s EG Group, setting up a possible bidding war for the convenience store and gas station chain with Canada’s Alimentation Couche-Tard (TSX: ATD), which already submitted a A$8.6 billion bid that was rejected. http://axios.link/U4rG

Capgemini (Paris: CAP) rejected Elliott Associates’ call for it to increase its €3.6 billion bid for French engineering consultancy Altran Technologies (Paris: ALT). http://axios.link/pYz7

🍔 CITIC (HK: 0267) plans to sell its 22% stake in McDonald’s Corp.’s (NYSE: MCD) mainland China and Hong Kong business for over $300 million, likely to its own private equity arm, per Reuters. http://axios.link/gScx

Cloudflare (NYSE: NET) acquired S2 Systems, a Kirkland, Wash.-based developer of browser isolation technology. http://axios.link/HIjd

North Square Investments of Chicago agreed to buy McKee, a Pittsburgh-based institutional money manager with over $8 billion in AUM. www.northsquareinvest.com


Platinum Equity Partners raised $10 billion for its fifth fund. http://axios.link/m01z

Vistria Group, a Chicago-based mid-market private equity firm, raised $1.1 billion for its third fund. http://axios.link/mN13

It's Personnel

Emily Barron (ex-Branch International) and Brian Foley (ex-Macquarie) joined Silicon Valley Bank as co-heads of U.S. warehouse credit solutions. www.svb.com

Jovita Carranza was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration. http://axios.link/rJDL

Bryan Corbett is stepping down as a Carlyle Group partner, in order to become president of hedge fund trade group Managed Funds Association. http://axios.link/b8V7

Jim D’Aquila joined Lazard as head of its middle-market consumer, and retail group. He previously was with Rendersi. www.lazard.com

DFJ Growth promoted Jocelyn Kinsey to partner. www.dfjgrowth.com

Masha Khusid joined Ohio-based VC firm Drive Capital as a partner. She previously was with Jump Capital. www.drivecapital.com

Mark Satran joined AE Industrial Partners as a senior managing director. He previously was with Alterna Capital Partners. www.aeroequity.com

Final Numbers
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Data: EIA; Chart: Axios Visuals

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