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Gigster, a San Francisco-based provider of automation tools for smart software development, has raised $20 million in Series B funding. Redpoint Ventures led the round, and was joined by Michael Jordan, Marc Benioff, Adam D'Angelo and return backers Andreessen Horowitz, Y Combinator and Sound Ventures.
- Why it's the BFD: Big enterprises are turning more to outsourced tech project development as things like machine learning and blockchain gain traction within... Oh, who am I kidding? Gigster gets this spot because Michael Jordan has become the latest pro athlete to dabble in venture tourism. A company spokesman tells me the introductions to the NBA all-timer came through two existing Gigster investors: Ashton Kutcher (co-founder of Sound Ventures) and Vivec Ranadivé (who also owns the Sacramento Kings).
- Bottom line: "He was my childhood hero. It's just fun to have him on the cap table. He didn't put a ton into the round. We thought it'd be cool to have someone involved that we really look up to." — Gigster CEO Roger Dickey, via TechCrunch
• Century Park Capital Partners and Akoya Capital Partners have sold ICM Silicones Group, a Cassopolis, Mich.-based formulator and manufacturer of specialty silicone materials, to German specialty chemicals company CHT Group for an undisclosed amount.
🚑 CSL Behring, a Pennsylvania unit of Australia's CSL Ltd. (ASX: CSL), has acquired Calimmune, a Tucson, Ariz.-based developer of ex vivo hematopoietic stem cell gene therapies. The deal is valued at upwards of around $400 million, including $91 million up-front. Calimmune shareholders had included Alexandria Venture Investments, RA Capital Management and Translational Accelerator. http://axios.link/Wm0E
• LG Electronics is among the bidders for ZKW Group, an Austrian maker of automotive lights that could garner $1.2 billion, according to Korea Economic Daily. http://reut.rs/2wFvxQk
• Toromont Industries (TSX: TIH) has agreed to acquire Hewitt Group, a Canadian owner and operator of Caterpillar dealerships, for around C$1.02 billion in cash and stock. http://reut.rs/2iFZcCT
Christine Kelleher has been named chief investment officer for the National Gallery of Art, overseeing an $850 million endowment. She previously was a managing director with Avec Capital.
Bruno Werneck, a former investment banking analyst at J.P. Morgan, has joined Spectrum Equity's San Francisco office, per his LinkedIn account. www.spectrumequity.com