Last week I asked if you could name the “tech incubator (of sorts) that just got a big-name private equity backer?”
The answer was Science Inc., the Los Angeles-based digital media and commerce group, which has quietly secured $20 million in debt financing from Silver Lake Waterman (okay, “private equity backer” might have been a bit tricky… apologies).
The deal actually had its genesis last July at Fortune Brainstorm Tech, when Science’s Jason Rapp and Silver Lake’s Mike Bingle first got to chatting at Aspen’s Hotel Jerome. Bingle had interest in what Science was doing, particularly in moving away from a model whereby they invested in outside companies and toward one where they create and (at least initially) fund almost everything in-house. The trouble was that Science was much too small for a typical Silver Lake investment, having previously raised $30 million in VC funding at around a $100 million pre-money valuation. Even at a major step-up, it was below the private equity giant’s threshold.
But Silver Lake does have a debt fund called Waterman (co-led by Shawn O’Neill, who managed this process), which has done deals for such VC-backed companies as Everyday Health and Mavenir. So the two sides began working together on what Science (which previously had zero debt) viewed as later-stage growth financing with a debt wrapper instead of a preferred stock wrapper — which would provide needed working capital and let the group delay a planned equity offering.
Science portfolio companies include Dollar Shave Club, DogVacay, Medium and Coindesk.
• From the filings: Social Leverage Capital is raising up to $30 million for its second fund, according to a regulatory filing. This is the early-stage and seed-stage VC firm led by Howard Lindzon (founder of StockTwits), Tom Peterson (former president and COO of NASDAQ) and serial entrepreneur Gary Bennit (Assistly, Goowy Media).
• Coming attractions: Real-money fantasy sports site FanDuel is seriously considering a new fundraising round that would value the company at $1 billion or more, we have learned from multiple sources.
This comes just five months after the New York-based company raised $70 million from an investor group that included Shamrock Capital Group, KKR, NBC Sports Ventures and prior backers like Comcast Ventures. No valuation was publicly disclosed for that round, but one source familiar with the situation says that the post-money valuation was well south of $400 million.
FanDuel’s board of directors has not yet approved a new stock sale, but is talking about a round that likely would add at least another $100 million to the company’s coffers. The goal would be to accelerate customer acquisition and pro sports partnership efforts, with an eye toward going public in 2016.
A FanDuel spokeswoman declined to comment.
• Update: Yesterday we reported that Stephen Murray had suddenly left CCMP Capital, the multi-billion dollar buyout firm where he had served as president and CEO. A firm spokeswoman says it was for “health-related” reasons, but provided no additional details (including what the plans are for CCMP succession, his board seats, a note of well wishes, etc.).
• Courthouse: Ellen Pao’s gender discrimination case against former employer Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers officially entered the trial phase yesterday, although opening arguments aren’t expected until next week. Two quick related notes, neither of which relate to the merits or demerits of Pao’s allegations:
1. It is easy to view this case as a microcosm of Silicon Valley sexism or, more specifically, Sand Hill Road sexism. In fact, I’ve seen such characterizations in much of the recent news coverage. Truth is, however, this situation is fairly unusual. Not because of the alleged discrimination per se, but because precious few venture capital firms have any female investors on staff, let alone ones on partner-tracks or as actual partners. To be clear, this is not a defense of KPCB (nor a condemnation). Simply pointing out that the firm’s gender demographics are not the norm, whether or not Pao’s allegations are proven out.
2. When Pao originally filed her suit in 2012, there were some concerns raised that the case could backfire in the sense of male-dominated VC firms becoming (even more) reticent to hire female partners. Over the past couple of months, I have heard three male limited partners say (on background, natch) that the case has caused them to view gender-mixed firms as more of a negative than a positive because of extra litigation risk (none said they wouldn’t invest, just that it was a data point that they consider). On the one hand, it’s an extremely distressing development, since LPs arguably are the only outside group that can effectively agitate for VC industry change. On the other hand, I talk to lots of LPs. And perhaps the fact that I’ve only heard this sentiment from a small number is indicative of a silent majority in the other camp…
• Ch-ch-changes: Last summer, Fortune launched The Broadsheet, a daily email newsletter focused on women in business. Sadly, writer Caroline Fairchild is moving on to warmer pastures (namely LinkedIn, arguably because it has an AC/DC pinball machine in its HQ lobby).
But while we are disappointed to lose Broadsheet’s inaugural voice, we are pleased to announce that Kristen Bellstrom (@kayelbee) will take over, beginning on March 8. She previously was a senior editor with Money. Fortune reporter Deena Shanker (@deenashanker) will pinch-hit in the interim. Really looking forward to what Kristen does with the newsletter, which you can sign up for at www.GetBroadsheet.com
THE BIG DEAL
• Snapchat Inc. is seeking to raise upwards of $500 million in new “venture capital” funding at a valuation that could reach $19 billion, as first reported by Bloomberg. Read more.
VENTURE CAPITAL DEALS
• WorldRemit, a London-based online platform that helps migrants and expats to send remittance payments to families and friends abroad, has raised $100 million in second-round funding. Technology Crossover Ventures led the round, and was joined by return backer Accel Partners. www.worldremit.com
• Gilt Groupe, a New York-based flash sales site, has raised $50 million in new VC funding led by existing backer General Atlantic. The company has now raised more than $280 million in VC funding. Read more.
• Betterment LLC, a New York-based online platform for personal investment management, has raised $60 million in new funding led by Francisco Partners. Existing backers include Citi Ventures, Globespan Capital Partners, Northwestern Mutual Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners, Menlo Ventures and Anthemis Group. www.betterment.com
• Tealium, a San Diego-based provider of enterprise tag management and unified marketing solutions, has raised $30.7 million in Series D funding. Georgian Partners led the round, and was joined by Bain Capital Ventures and return backers Battery Ventures, Tenaya Capital and Presidio Ventures. www.tealium.com
• Message Systems, a San Francisco-based provider of email infrastructure solutions, has raised $27 million in new VC funding. Hercules Technology Growth Capital was joined by return backers LLR Partners and NewSpring Capital. The firm also secured an $8 million line of credit from Hercules. www.messagesystems.com
• TraceLink Inc., a Wakefield, Mass.-based provider of pharmaceutical serialization solutions, has raised $20 million in third-round funding, according to Dow Jones. Existing shareholders include FirstMark Capital. www.tracelink.com
• Glint, a Redwood City, Calif.-based real-time employee engagement platform, has raised $15.5 million in new VC funding. Backers include Norwest Venture Partners, Shasta Ventures and Ev Williams. www.glintinc.com
• Coffee Meets Bagel, an online dating app, has raised $7.8 million in Series A funding. Existing backer DCM led the round, and was joined by Question Ventures and Azure Capital. Read more.
• Firefly Games Inc., a Los Angeles-based mobile games studio, has raised $8 million in Series A funding from Skyocean International Holdings, Ceyuan Ventures and GuangZhou. www.fireflygames.com
• Mobeewave, a Montreal-based provider of NFC mobile payment acceptance services, has raised C$6.5 million in Series A funding led by SBT Venture Capital. www.mobeewave.com
• NoRedInk Corp., a San Francisco-based online grammar and writing skills startup that leverages popular media content, has raised $6 million in first-round funding. True Ventures led the round, and was joined by The Social+Capital Partnership, Kapor Capital and ReThink Education. www.noredink.com
• Sindeo, a San Francisco-based online mortgage marketplace, has raised $5 million in Series A funding led by Renren. The company previously raised a $1.5 million seed round. www.sindeo.com
• BlueTalon, a Redwood City, Calif.–based provider of data entitlement solutions for Hadoop, has raised $5 million in new VC funding from Signia Venture Partners, Biosys Capital, Bloomberg Beta, Stanford-StartX Fund, Divergent Ventures and return backers Data Collective. www.bluetalon.com
• Onfido, a UK-based provider of automated background checks for on-demand companies, has raised $4.5 million in Series A funding. Wellington Partners led the round, and was joined by CrunchFund and individual angels. Read more.
• Apptimize, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based provider of optimization tools for mobile apps, has raised $4 million in Series A funding led by Costanoa Venture Capital. www.apptimize.com
• Lineage Labs, a Boston-based maker of a hybrid physical storage and cloud backup device for personal photos and video, has raised $4 million in Series A funding led by Blade. Read more.
• Michelson Diagnostics, a UK-based developer of multi-beam optical coherence tomography technology for medical devices, has raised £2.5 million in the first tranche of its Series B round. Smith & Nephew led the round, and was joined by Kent County Council. www.michelsondiagnostics.com
• APImetrics, a Seattle-based API performance monitoring solution, has raised $500,000 in seed funding led by Bain Capital Ventures. www.apimetrics.io
• Springpath (f.k.a. Storvisor), a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based provider of enterprise-grade data platform software, came out of stealth mode today, and announced that it has raised $34 million in VC funding since its May 2012 inception. Investors are Sequoia Capital, New Enterprise Associates and Redpoint Ventures. www.springpathinc.com
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Advantage Rent A Car, a car rental company owned by The Catalyst Capital Group, has acquired E-Z Rent-A-Car. No financial terms were disclosed. www.advantage.com
• Corepoint Health, a Frisco, Texas-based provider of health data integration and exchange solutions for healthcare providers, has raised an undisclosed amount of private equity funding from Audax Group. www.corepointhealth.com
• Intermediate Capital Group has agreed to acquire a 31% stake in Groupe Charlois, a French maker of wood products like oak cooperages, from Ardian. No financial terms were disclosed. www.charlois.com
• Lynx Equity has acquired Kitchen Creations Inc., a Canadian maker and installer of kitchen and bath cabinetry. No financial terms were disclosed. www.lynxequity.com
• Myers Industries Inc. (NYSE: MYE) has completed the $115 million sale of its lawn and garden business to Wingate Partners. www.myersindustries.com
• New Mountain Capital has acquired Diversified Foodservice Supply Inc., a Mt. Prospect, Ill.-based distributor of equipment maintenance, repair and operations for the U.S. foodservice industry, from, KRG Capital Partners. No financial terms were disclosed. www.newmountancapital.com
• Pro-Vigil, a Texas-based provider of remote video surveillance and monitoring services for large outdoor properties, has raised an undisclosed amount of private equity funding from The Riverside Company. www.pro-vigil.com
• Solis Capital Partners has acquired an unspecified equity stake in Lindora, a Costa Mesa, Calif.–based provider of weight loss and weight management programs. No financial terms were disclosed. www.lindora.com
• Arcadia Biosciences Inc., a Davis, Calif.-based developer of “agricultural products that benefit the environment and human health,” has filed for an $86.25 million IPO. It plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol RKDA, with Credit Suisse, J.P. Morgan and Piper Jaffray serving as lead underwriters. Shareholders include Mandala Capital (11.5% pre-IPO stake). www.arcadiabio.com
• Carbylan Therapeutics, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based developer of a therapy for sustained relief from pain associated with osteoarthritis, has postponed its IPO, according to Renaissance Capital. The company recently set its IPO terms to 5.8 million shares being offered at between $12 and $14 per share, and plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol CBYL. Leerink Partners is serving as lead underwriter. Shareholders include InterWest Partners (33.2% pre-IPO stake), Atla Partners (30.2%) and Vivo Ventures (27.8%). www.carbylan.com
• Center Parcs, a British resorts operator owned by The Blackstone Group, has hired BofA Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley to lead a UK IPO, as first reported by Sky News. Blackstone previously had been running a dual exit process for Center Parcs, but reportedly is leaning toward IPO after rejecting a takeover offer late last year from BC Partners and the Canada Pension Plan. Read more.
• Inotek Pharmaceuticals Corp., a Lexington, Mass.-based provider of products for the treatment of glaucoma, has cut its IPO terms to 6.67 million shares being offered at $6 per share. It previously planned to offer 4.64 million shares at between $13 and $15 per share. The pre-revenue company still plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol ITEK, with Cowen & Co. and Piper Jaffray serving as lead underwriters. Shareholders include Devon Park Bioventures (25.7% pre-IPO stake), Rho Ventures (20.4%), Care Capital (17.8%), MedImmune Ventures (16%) and Pitango Venture Capital (11.6%). www.inotekcorp.com
• Philadelphia Energy Solutions, a Philadelphia-based oil refinery owned by The Carlyle Group, has filed for a $100 million IPO. It plans to trade on the NYSE under ticker symbol PESC, with BofA Merrill Lynch and Credit Suisse serving as lead underwriters. The company reports $156 million in net income on $10.25 billion in revenue for the first nine months of 2014. www.pes-companies.com
• Ardian has agreed to sell its 31% stake in Groupe Charlois, a French maker of wood products like oak cooperages, to Intermediate Capital Group. No financial terms were disclosed. www.charlois.com
• TPG Capital has agreed to sell a 17.5% stake in Indonesian lender PT Bank Tabungan Pensiunan Nasional for $462 million to Summit Global Capital Management (which would hold a 20% stake). Read more.
• Altice (Amsterdam: ATC) has offered to buy Vivendi’s 20% stake in French broadband and mobile provider Numericable-SFR (Paris: NUM) for €3.9 billion. Read more.
• Berkshire Hathaway disclosed that is has acquired 4.7 million shares of 21st Century Fox (Nasdaq: FOX). Read more.
• Japan Post Holdings has agreed to acquire Australian package and freight delivery company Toll Holdings (ASX: TOLL) for A$6.5 billion. Read more.
• Lotte Group said that it has been chosen as the preferred bidder for South Korean auto rental company KT Rental Corp., which is being sold by KT Corp. for upwards of $900 million. Affinity Equity Partners had also made an offer. Read more.
FIRMS & FUNDS
• Silicon Valley Bank said that it is opening a satellite office in Houston, which would be its third in Texas. www.svb.com
MOVING IN, UP, ON & OUT
• John Casesa has joined Ford Motor Co. as vice president for global strategy. He previously led automotive investment banking at Guggenheim Partners. Read more.
• Jacques Chillemi has joined Swiss private bank Pâris Bertrand Sturdza as head of private equity. He previously led private equity for more than a decade at Pictet & Cie. www.bkpbs.com/en
• Michael Wallace has joined Darby Private Equity as a managing director of marketing and investor relations. He previously was a managing director with Pinnacle Trust Partners. www.darbyoverseas.com
• Perella Weinberg Partners has fired the head of its restructuring advisory practice, Michael Kramer, and three other colleagues for allegedly trying to poach clients for a new firm, according to the NY Times. Read more.
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