Last night, hundreds of Term Sheet readers in Boston braved a very cold night to attend our Liquidity Event at the New England Aquarium.
It was great to see so many of you, and I'm pleased to announce that the evening raised more than $12,000 for Catie's Closet, a nonprofit that improves school attendance by providing clothing and other basic necessities to students living in poverty. Catie's Closet also happens to be supported by TUGG, a tech and VC community-led philanthropic organization that soon will announce a new "Preferred Suppliers" program whereby companies agree to donate a percentage of their order revenue to TUGG for those who mention the program or type in a code. Early participants include Amazon and Awards Co. For more information, please go here.
• Data point: Leverage multiples for large-cap buyouts have climbed over the past year, according to data from S&P Leveraged Commentary & Data. It reports average debt multiples of 5.4x for the 30 days ending Feb. 20, compared to a 5.1x multiple for the 30 days ending 2/20/14. Middle-market debt multiples have remained stable at 4.8x.
• Quiz Time: Can you name the VC-backed security company that recently filed confidential IPO docs with the SEC? Hint: It's not based in Silicon Valley.
• Changing it up: High Peaks Venture Partners this morning announced a name change to Primary Venture Partners, as a way to codify the firm's evolution from an upstate New York focus to a New York City focus. It also reflects an internal change at the firm, whereby the two general partners are now co-founder Brad Svrluga and Ben Sun, while co-founder Bela Musits has transitioned into an advisory role.
The firm continues to raise its third fund, which is expected to be significantly larger than the $26 million it raised for Fund II ($60m target according to a Dec. 14 SEC filing, although that included Musits as a GP). For more, Scrluga this morning published this blog post.
• Courtroom: Ellen Pao's gender discrimination case versus Kleiner Perkins got underway yesterday with opening arguments (you can read our recap here) that largely followed each side's pre-trial briefs. But the bombshell came in testimony from Trae Vasallo, a former partner at KPCB who transitioned into an advisory role after a 2013 management shakeup did not result in her becoming part of the firm's early-stage investment committee (despite her significant role in such deals as Nest Lab).
Vasallo testified that she was sexually harassed by Ajit Nazre, the same KPCB partner with whom Pao had a consensual sexual relationship before it allegedly turned sour and retaliatory. When she complained to Ray Lane, then a senior partner with KPCB, he allegedly replied "you should be flattered." Vasallo was not asked about the incidents with Nazre or Lane during cross-examination by KPCB's attorney.
The trial continues later this morning in San Francisco Superior Court.
THE BIG DEAL
• The Carlyle Group and French consultancy Cap Gemini held talks about a joint takeover of Computer Sciences Corp. (NYSE: CSC), according to Reuters, but the talks have since “fizzled.” CSC has a current market cap just south of $10 billion. Read more.
VENTURE CAPITAL DEALS
• Pivot3, an Austin, Texas-based provider of “hyper-converged infrastructure,” has raised $45 million in new VC funding. Argonaut Private Equity was joined by return backers S3 Ventures, InterWest Partners, Mesirow Financial Private Equity and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. www.pivot3.com
• nCino, a Wilmington, N.C.-based provider of cloud-based operating solutions to the financial services industry, has raised $29 million in Series B funding. Insight Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by return backers Wellington Management, John Mack and Gene Ludwig. www.ncino.com
• GuideSpark, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based provider of employee communications and engagement solutions, has raised $22.2 million in Series C funding. Meritech Capital Partners led the round, and was joined by return backers NEA, Storm Ventures and IDG Ventures. www.guidespark.com
• IronSource, an Israel-based digital delivery company, has raised $20 million in new VC funding led by Access Industries. It previously raised an $85 million round in September 2014. www.ironsrc.com
• Mavenlink, an Irvine, Calif.-based provider of business management software, has raised $15 million in new VC funding led by Carrick Capital Partners. The company also secured a $4 million credit facility from Silicon Valley Bank. www.mavenlink.com
• SecureKey Technologies, a Toronto-based federated authentication network, has raised C$19 million in Series C funding co-led by return backers Blue Sky Capital and Rogers Venture Partners. www.securekey.com
• Dtex Systems, a San Jose, Calif.-based “insider threat protection company,” has raised $15 million in Series A funding co-led by Norwest Venture Partners and Wing Ventures. www.dtexsystems.com
• Metamarkets, a San Francisco-based provider of real-time data analytics, has raised $15 million in new VC funding. Data Collective led the round, and was joined by John Battelle, Citi National Bank and return backers Khosla Ventures, IA Ventures, True Ventures and Village Ventures. www.metamarkets.com
• Visio Financial Services, an Austin, Texas-based residential real estate marketplace lender, has raised $6.7 million in Series B funding. Backers include Octavia Investments. www.visiolending.com
• Sikka Software, a Milpitas, Calif.-based retail healthcare cloud platform, has raised $5.5 million in Series B funding. Sierra Ventures led the round, and was joined by return backer ATA Ventures. www.sikkasoftware.com
• Vigilant Biosciences Inc., a Miami, Fla.-based provider of cancer early detection and intervention solutions, has raised $5.5 million in Series B funding. Backers include White Owl Capital Partners, venVelo and the Florida Institute for the Commercialization of Public Research. www.vigilantbiosciences.com
• Wigo, a Boston-based “who’s going out” app for college students, has raised $1.5 million in new seed funding. Great Oaks Venture Capital led the round, and was joined by Greylock Partners, GGV Capital, Blade, KEC Ventures and individual angels. www.wigo.us
• Correction: Yesterday we inaccurately described the new fundraise for Postmates, a San Francisco-based on-demand delivery service. The correct info is that it raised $35 million in Series C funding from return backer Spark Capital. Read more.
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Apax Partners has agreed to acquire Azelis Group, a pan-European specialty chemical distributor, from 3i Group. No financial terms were disclosed. www.azelis.com
• Goode Partners has hired Threadstone LP to find a “new equity partner” for Lacrosse Unlimited Inc., a Hauppauge, N.Y.–based lacrosse equipment and apparel retailer, according to Dow Jones. www.lacrosseunlimited.com
• MBK Partners and IMM, both South Korean private equity firms, have expressed interest in acquiring a control stake in the parent company of Asiana Airlines Inc., according to Reuters. Read more.
• Prospect Partners has acquired Animal Emergency Specialty Center, a Knoxville, Tenn.-based veterinary hospital operator. No financial terms were disclosed. www.prospect-partners.com
• Advent International has hired Lilja to begin preparations for an IPO of German perfume chain Douglas, according to Reuters. Read more.
• GoDaddy, a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based website hosting and services company, said that it plans to trade on the NYSE under ticker symbol GDDY. GoDaddy shares holders include KKR, Silver Lake and Technology Crossover Ventures. www.godaddy.com
• Tallgrass Energy GP LP, holder of GP and LP interests in midstream gas company Tallgrass Energy Partners LP (NYSE: TEP), has filed for an $863 million IPO. It plans to trade on the NYSE under symbol TEGP, with Citigroup and Goldman Sachs serving as lead underwriters.
• Hanesbrands Inc. (NYSE: HBI) has agreed to acquire Knights Apparel Inc., a Spartanburg, S.C.-based seller of licensed collegiate apparel for the mass retail channel, from Merit Capital Partners. No financial terms were disclosed. www.knightsapparel.com
• Hennessy Capital Acquisition Corp. (Nasdaq: HCAC) has completed its previously-announced acquisition of school bus maker Blue Bird Corp. from The Traxis Group, a portfolio company of Cerberus Capital Management. The deal was valued at $255 million in cash and stock (plus $235m of assumed debt). www.blue-bird.com
• Providence Equity Partners is considering a sale or IPO for World Triathlon Corp., parent company of the Ironman competition, according to Reuters. The company generated around $50 million in EBITDA last year, and could be worth ten times that in a sale. Read more.
• Shire PLC (LSE: SHP) has acquired Meritage Pharma, a San Diego-based drug developer focused on gastrointestinal and atopic diseases. The deal includes a $70 million up-front fee and undisclosed earn-outs. Meritage Pharma had raised more than $25 million in VC funding from Domain Associates, Latterell Venture Partners, The Vertical Group and CDIB BioScience Venture Management. www.meritagepharma.com
• Cushman & Wakefield, a New York-based commercial real estate services firm, is being put on the auction block by its controlling Agnelli family, according to the WSJ. Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are managing the process, which could garner upwards of $2 billion. Read more.
• Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) has acquired Toro, a company that helps developers promote their aps via Facebook. No financial terms were disclosed. Read more.
• Xero Ltd., a New Zealand-based provider of online accounting and business services for small businesses, has raised approximately US$100 million in new funding from Accel Partners and return backer Matrix Capital Management. www.xero.com
FIRMS & FUNDS
• Baring Private Equity Asia has closed its sixth fund with $3.99 billion in capital commitments. www.bpeasia.com
• Homebrew, an early-stage tech VC firm in San Francisco, has closed its second fund with $50 million in capital commitments. Read more.
• Goldman Sachs is raising a fund to buy the debt of troubled, publicly-traded energy companies, according to the NY Times. Read more.
• Pereg Ventures, a new early-stage VC firm in the U.S. and Israel, has closed its debut fund with $25 million in capital commitments from investors like Nielsen Cos. www.peregventures.com