Mar 23, 2017

Axios Pro Rata

Top of the Morning

Cloud race: MapR has picked Goldman Sachs to lead an upcoming IPO, Axios has learned. This comes on the heels of larger rival Cloudera hiring Morgan Stanley to lead its own offering, with the two enterprise Hadoop companies in a race to be first to market (or third, since Hortonworks has been public since 2014).

MapR is clearly the smaller of the two companies, with a most recent post-money valuation of $500 million compared to around $4 billion for Cloudera. So, not surprisingly, it only is expected to raise between $150 million and $200 million in its IPO, compared to upwards of $400 million for Cloudera. Both companies count Google among their investors ― Capital G for MapR and GV for Cloudera ― and neither has set filed a public S-1.

• Boston bust? We Bay Staters are still kinda sensitive about how Route 128 went from IT epicenter to just another thruway, and now there is an argument that history could repeat itself when it comes to biotech.

It's being made by Vijay Pande, head of Andreessen Horowitz's bio fund, who argues that healthcare innovation is quickly progressing from "hardware" (i.e., drugs and devices) to software (genomics, machine learning strategies for adoption, etc.). This isn't to say that there won't always still be a place for the former, but that the latter is where most future fortunes will be made ― a progression sure to send shudders through Boston techies old enough to remember such hardware stalwarts as DEC and Wang Labs.

• Frank wins again: After AppDynamics agreed to be acquired by Cisco for $3.7 billion on the eve of its IPO, we noted that none of the AppDynamics underwriters were technically entitled to M&A advisory fees (as the deal was actually put together by Qatalyst Partners). But we've since learned that the combined underwriter group received around $18 million, compared to $40 million for Qatalyst.

Recommended reading: America's auto manufacturing industry has been steadily moving south, due largely to a combination of tax breaks and lower wages in states like Alabama. But, as Peter Waldman reports for Bloomberg Businessweek, this "race to the bottom" is coming with some unintended (but entirely predictable) consequences:

"Parts suppliers in the American South compete for low-margin orders against suppliers in Mexico and Asia. They promise delivery schedules they can't possibly meet and face ruinous penalties if they fall short. Employees work ungodly hours, six or seven days a week, for months on end. Pay is low, turnover is high, training is scant, and safety is an afterthought, usually after someone is badly hurt. Many of the same woes that typify work conditions at contract manufacturers across Asia now bedevil parts plants in the South."

• BAML break: Chet Bozdog has stepped down as co-head of TMT banking at BofA Merrill Lynch, per multiple sources. He had served in the role since 2013, before which he led the firm's tech investment banking unit. There is no word yet on Bozdog's future plans, or if BAML plans to give remaining group co-head Anwar Zakkour the solo title. The news comes just a week after J.D. Moriarty stepped down as BAML's head of Americas equity capital markets, in order to join LendingTree as SVP of corporate development.


Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) has agreed to acquire Souq, a Dubai-based e-commerce marketplace focused on Middle Eastern consumers. No financial terms have been disclosed, although the FT reports a likely sale price of around $650 million.

Why it's the BFD: Amazon not only gets some geographic expansion for it retail dominance, but this deal also reflects how it is becoming the purchaser of only resort for e-commerce startups that don't get an offer from less acquisitive Wal-Mart or Alibaba. It also would appear to be a major disappointment for Souq's later-stage investors, as the company reportedly was valued at $1 billion via a $275 million funding round 13 months ago. Backers on that deal included Tiger Global, Naspers, GIC and Standard Chartered.

Bottom line: "As China's e-commerce market has matured, dominated by homegrown giant Alibaba and hampered by slowing growth, Amazon, Alibaba and other e-commerce companies are looking to other parts of the world for growth." ― Daphne Howland

Venture Capital Deals

• Kuai Shou, a Beijing-based video sharing app, has raised $350 million in Series D funding led by Tencent.

• MarketsandMarkets, an India-based provider of syndicated and custom research on "high-growing and niche markets," has raised $56 million in its first round of institutional funding. FTV Capital led the round, and was joined by Zodius Capital.

• DataRobot, a Boston-based machine learning automation company, has raised $54 million in a first close of a Series C round led by return backer NEA.

• HotelTonight, a last-minute hotel booking app, has raised $37 million in Series E funding. Accel Partners led the round, and was joined by fellow insiders Battery Ventures, U.S. Venture Partners, GGV Capital, Coatue Management and First Round Capital. New investors include RSC Capital, Founder's Circle and Aspect Ventures.

• BioClin Therapeutics, a San Ramon, Calif.-based developer of monoclonal antibodies for bladder cancer, has raised $30 million in Series B funding. Sofinnova Ventures and Ysios Capital co-led the round, and was joined by HealthCap, Life Sciences Partners and Tekla Capital Management.

• Dadao Financial, a Shenzhen-based online platform for real estate financing, has raised around $29 million in Series B funding. China Renaissance led the round, and was joined by PAG and Sequoia Capital China.

• WayUp, a New York-based online job marketplace for recent graduates, has raised $18.5 million in Series B funding. Trinity Ventures led the round, and was joined by return backers General Catalyst, BoxGroup, Lerer-Hippeau Ventures, Index Ventures, SV Angel, Female Founders Fund, Axel Springer, CAA Ventures and OurCrowd.

• Carro, a Singapore-based auto classifieds site, has raised $12 million in new VC funding. Backers include Venturra Capital, Singtel Innov8, Golden Gate Ventures, Alpha JWC Ventures, Skystar Capital and GMO.

• Clarity Money, a New York-based personal finance app focused on monthly bills, has raised $11 million in new VC funding from RRE Ventures and Citi Ventures.

• Lystable, a UK-based workflow management platform focused on companies with freelancers, $10 million in new Series A funding (bringing the round total to $21m). Valar Ventures led the expansion, and was joined by Glynn Capital, Wilmont Ventures, Goldcrest Capital, Kindred Capital and SciFi VC.

• MotorK, an Italian developer of digital products for the auto market, has raised $10 million in Series A funding. 83North led the round, and was joined by Sweden's Zobito.

• Ripcord, a Hayward, Calif.-based robotic digitization startup aimed at "creating a truly paperless workplace," has raised $9.5 million in Series A funding. Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers led the round, and was joined by Lux Capital, Legend Capital and Steve Wozniak.

• Drivemode, a San Francisco-based "safe platform" for smartphone use while driving, has raised $6.5 million in Series A funding. Panasonic Corp. led the round, and was joined by Miyako Capital, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance VC and Innovative Venture Fund Investment.

• Elvie, a UK-based developer of a kegal exercise tracker for women, has raised $6 million in new VC funding. Octopus Ventures led the round, and was joined by AllBright and individual angels.

• Pocketwatch, a Culver City, Calif.-based digital media startup focused on kids, has raised $6 million in Series A funding led by Third Wave Digital.

• Peak Deck, an Iowa-based provider of a real-time classroom engagement SaaS solution, has raised $4 million in VC funding from Growth Street Partners and return backers like Village Capital, Hyde Park Ventures Partners and Rise of the Rest.

• 410 Medical, a Durham, N.C.-based developer of devices for the resuscitation of critically ill patients, has raised $3.3 million in Series A funding led by Bios Partners.

• DeepScale, a Mountain View, Calif.-based developer of perceptual systems for semi-autonomous and autonomous vehicles, has raised $3 million in seed funding from backers like Bessemer Venture Partners, Greylock, Auto Tech Ventures, Andy Bechtolsheim and Jerry Yang.

•, a New York-based ecommerce site for high-end baby and children's clothing, has raised nearly $2.8 million in seed funding from firms like NEA and Thrive Capital.

• Lynkos, a New York-based B2B network, has raised $2.5 million in seed funding from backers like IC Ventures (Infocorp) and Logitech Investments.

• MPower Financing, a Washington, D.C.-based provider of student loans for international students, has raised an undisclosed amount of VC funding from Variv Capital and Chilango Ventures.

• Semma Therapeutics, a Cambridge, Mass.-based developer of stem cell-derived therapies for Type 1 diabetes, has raised an undisclosed amount of VC funding from JDRF T1D Fund. Existing backers include MPM Capital, F-Prime Capital, and strategic investors Novartis and Medtronic.

Private Equity Deals

• Advent International has withdrawn from the auction process for Pfizer Inc.'s (NYSE: PFE) Brazilian generic drugs JV (Teutu), leaving Bain Capital as the only remaining bidder, according to Reuters.

• Oak Hill Capital Partners has agreed to acquire Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, a Tampa, Fla.-based fast food chain, from Sentinel Capital Partners. The deal is valued at around $525 million.

• Superior Industries (NYSE: SUP) said that it will launch a tender offer for 100% of the shares of Uniwheels, a listed German maker of alloy wheels, at an aggregate equity purchase price of around $715 million. TPG Growth is helping to finance the transaction via a purchase of preferred equity.

Public Offerings

• Munters, a Swedish air treatment company owned by Nordic Capital, is prepping a late spring IPO that could value the business north of $1.1 billion (including debt), according to Reuters.

Liquidity Events

• Apple (Nasdsq: AAPL) has acquired mobile automation tool-maker Workflow, which had been seeded by firms like General Catalyst, Lowercase Capital and Eniac Ventures. No financial terms were disclosed.

• Snapdeal, a VC-backed ecommerce site in India, denied local media reports that it is in talks about a potential sale.

More M&A

• American Airlines (NYSE: AA) is in "advanced talks" to acquire around a $200 million stake in China Southern Airlines Co., a China-listed air carrier with a market cap of around $10 billion, according to Bloomberg.

• Dynatronics Corp. (Nasdaq: DYNT) has agreed to acquire substantially all the assets of Hausmann Industries, a Northvale, N.J.-based maker of physical therapy and athletic training products, for around $10 million in cash.

• Generali, a listed Italian insurer, has hired Rothschild to find a buyer for its units in Colombia, Ecuador and Panama, according to Reuters.

• Trican Well Service (TSX: TCW) has agreed to acquire smaller Canadian oilfield services company Canyon Services Group (TSX: FRC) for C$637 million.


• Citic Capital Partners is nearing a $2 billion final close on its third China-focused buyout fund, per Dow Jones.

• SAP (NYSE: SAP) has launched the SAP.IO Fund, focused on making investments in early-stage companies in areas like machine learning and blockchain. The company also has launched a pair of startup incubators in San Francisco and Berlin.

It's Personnel

• Peter Baird has joined Investec as head of Africa private equity. He previously held a similar role for five years with Standard Chartered, before leaving last November.

• The Riverside Company has promoted both Joe Manning (Cleveland) and Steve Spiteri (Australia) to partner.

• Garrett Ryan has joined Twin Brook Capital Partners, the middle-market direct lending unit of Angelo Gordon, as a partner and head of capital markets. He previously was with Fifth Third Bank.

Final numbers