By Dan Primack
February 19, 2015

Random Ramblings

Yesterday’s Big Deal was that Snapchat may be raising $500 million at a valuation that could approach $19 billion. I say “may,” because subsequent reporting suggests that this is more about inbound interest than Snapchat’s own fundraising efforts, and that the company has not yet decided whether or not it will accept term sheets.

Anyway, it made me go back to a couple of things I’ve written about Snapchat over the past few years. One was a post in the wake of the company’s decision to turn down a $3 billion takeover offer from Facebook, and the other was written in the wake of a data breach for which the company would not really apologize. In short, one of my posts was right on target and the other could not have been more off base. Read more by going here.

• Fundraising figures: Palico released new data showing that there currently are 2,209 private equity funds targeting $811 billion. That’s a new record in terms of number of funds, topping the 2,043 funds that were seeking $787 billion last February. For dollars, today’s aggregate target remains lower than the all-time high of $884 billion being sought by 1,590 funds back in 2009.

• Feedback: As you might imagine, I got a lot of emails from yesterday’s issue, particularly on the subject of how certain LPs view gender-diverse VC partnerships. We’ll do a mailbag tomorrow.

• Wage hike: This morning’s big business story is that Wal-Mart will increase hourly wages for its U.S. store associates to at least $9 per hour beginning in April. Or, put another way, at least $1.75 above the federal minimum wage.

As MarketWatch’s Steve Goldstein notes, that basically means that the minimum wage is being raised for around 15% of Americans who receive it. On the flipside, a Wal-Mart employee working 40-hour weeks without a day off at $9 per hour would still make just $18,72o per year. The federal poverty line for a family of three is $20,090.

• Just asking: It has been a banner couple of years for both the VC and PE markets, with paper valuations climbing, the public exit environment vibrant and LP cash flowing. So have you sent a note of thanks yet to Ben Bernanke and Janet Yellen? For all of your hard work and delightful intelligence, they arguably have had as much to do with your fund’s success as you have.

• #GetLiquid: Our next Liquidity Event takes place this coming Tuesday night at the New England Aquarium in Boston, with more than 800 of you expected to attend. Today is the last day to add your name to the wait-list (we’re still hoping to take some folks off), so please do so by going here.

Big thanks to our event sponsors, without whom there would be no food or drink: .406 Ventures, FKA (firm formerly known as Atlas Venture), DraftKings, Citizens Commercial Banking, Murray Devine and Choate Hall & Stewart.


• Uber has expanded its Series E funding round capacity by $1 billion, meaning that it could now hit $2.8 billion. It previously had announced $1.2 billion in funding, with the ability to add another $600 million. All of this is on top of the $1.6 billion in convertible debt Uber raised from Goldman Sachs clients. Read more.


• Pinterest is in talks to raise around $500 million at an $11 billion valuation, according to the WSJ. Read more.

• ScienceLogic Inc., a Reston, Va.-based provider of IT operations and cloud management software, has raised $43 million in Series D funding. Goldman Sachs led the round, and was joined by return backers Intel Capital and New Enterprise Associates.

• Pindrop Security, an Atlanta-based provider of phone fraud prevention and call center authentication, has raised $35 million in Series B funding. Institutional Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by return backers Andreessen Horowitz, Citi Ventures, Felicis Ventures, Redpoint Ventures and Webb Investment Network.

• Stayzilla, an Indian online portal for both regular hotel bookings and Airbnb-type rentals, has raised $20 million in Series B funding. Nexus Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by return backer Matrix Partners. Read more.

• Grovo, a New York-based training platform for digital and professional skills, has raised $15 million in Series B funding. Return backers include Accel Partners, Costanoa Venture Capital, Greg Waldorf and SoftTech VC.

• RapidMiner, a Boston-based predictive analytics platform, has raised $15 million in Series B funding. Ascent Venture Partners and Longworth Venture Partners co-led the round, and were joined by return backers Earlybird Venture Capital and Open Ocean Capital.

• Lineagen Inc., a Salt Lake Ciy-based molecular diagnostics company focused on childhood development disorders, has raised $8.17 million in new Series C funding, bringing the round total to $15.8 million (including a $4 million secured debt facility with Silicon Valley Bank). HealthQuest Capital led the new tranche, and was joined by Petra Capital Partners and Mountain Group Partners. Prior backers included Sanderling Ventures, Signal Peak Ventures, PrairieGold Venture Partners, Mesa Verde Venture Partners, Archipel Capital, University Venture Fund and KickStart Ventures.

• InDinero, a San Francisco–based all-in-one accounting, taxes and payroll tool for smaller businesses, has raised $7 million in new VC funding. Backers include Coyote Ridge Ventures, SaaS Capital, Streamlined Ventures and individual angels. Read more.

• Radius Networks Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based provider of mobile proximity beacon services, has raised $6.5 million in Series C funding. Backers include Core Capital Partners, Contour Venture Partners and Trilogy Partners.

• Woolpr, an Indian social commerce startup, has raised $5 million in Series A funding from Helion Ventures. Read more.

• 17hats, a Pasadena, Cailif.-based business automation platform, has raised $1.25 million in seed funding led by Wavemaker Partners.


• AssuredPartners, a Lake Mary, Fla.-based insurance brokerage platform owned by GTCR, has acquired Amtech Insurance Brokers, a Latham, N.Y.-based provider of commercial insurance and risk management solutions. No financial terms were disclosed.

• CenterGate Capital has acquired Marketplace Holdings LLC, a Houston, Texas-based oil and gas acquisition and divestiture advisory firm. No financial terms were disclosed, except that Comerica Bank provided leveraged financing.

• K2, a Seattle-based provider of business application platforms, has raised “over $100 million” in private equity funding from Francisco Partners.

• NewSpring Capital has agreed to acquire X5 Solutions, a Seattle-based provider of custom telecom solutions. No financial terms were disclosed.

• Renaissance Learning, a Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.-based learning analytics and assessment company owned by Hellman & Friedman and Google Capital, has acquired UClass, a provider of cloud storage and content management solutions for school districts. No financial terms were disclosed. UClass had raised VC funding from Better Capital.


• Advanced Accelerator Applications SA, a French developer of molecular imaging and molecular therapy products, has withdrawn its $100 million IPO registration. No explanation was given. The company had planned to trade on the Nasdaq, with Citigroup and Jefferies serving as lead underwriters. It reports a $1.37 million net loss on around $45.5 million in revenue for the first six months of 2014. Shareholders include HBM Healthcare Investments (7.9% pre-IPO stake), Life Science Capital (6.8%) and Carpefin (5.6%).

• ArystaLifeScience Ltd., a Japanese agricultural chemical company, has formally withdrawn its U.S. IPO registration after being acquired for $3.51 billion by Platform Specialty Products Corp. (NYSE: PAH).

• SolarEdge Technologies, an Israel-based provider of distributed solar power harvesting and monitoring solutions, has filed for a $125 million IPO. It plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol SEDG, with Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank serving as lead underwriters. The company reports nearly $6 million in net income on $140 million in revenue for the second half of 2014. Shareholders include Opus Capital (14.64% pre-IPO stake), Genesis Partners (14.64%), Walden International (14.64%), Lightspeed Venture Partners (11.52%), Norwest Venture Partners (10.56%), Vertex Venture Capital (5.94%) and ORR Partners (5.47%).


• Centerbridge Partners and Goldman Sachs are launching a dual exit process for Kenan Advantage Group, a North Canton, Ohio–based trucking and logistics company, according to the WSJ. The two firms hold a control stake in Kenan, and reportedly will prep it for IPO while simultaneously soliciting takeover bids. Read more.

• Excellere Partners has completed its $170 million sale of its majority stake in U.S. Water Services, a St. Michael, Minn.-based provider of industrial solutions for water treatment to Allete (NYSE: ALE).

• Priceline (Nasdaq: PCLN) is planning to acquire Rocketmiles, a Chicago-based company that helps frequent fliers earn additional miles via hotel bookings, for approximately $20 million, according to the WSJ. Rocketmiles has raised around in VC funding, from August Capital, Chicago Ventures, Sam Yagan, Atlas Venture, Link Ventures and Peterson Ventures. Read more.

• Samsung has acquired LoopPay, a Burlington, Mass.-based mobile wallet solutions provider that is viewed as an Apple Pay rival. No financial terms were disclosed. LoopPay had raised VC funding from Synchrony Financial and Visa Inc.


• Delphi Automotive PLC (NYSE: DLPH) has agreed to sell its thermal business to Germany’s Mahle GmbH for approximately $727 million in cash. Read more.

• Natixis (Paris: KN) has agreed to acquire a 71.2% stake in French asset manager DNCA for €549 million. Read more.


• Bessemer Venture Partners has closed its ninth fund with $1.6 billion in capital commitments.

• Riverstone Holdings, a private equity firm focused on the energy and power sectors, is raising upwards of $8 billion for its latest flagship fund, according to a regulatory filing.


• TPG Growth has promoted John Bailey to partner. Bailey had joined the firm in 2010 as a principal, and leads the firm’s consumer sector practice.

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