By Dan Primack
May 14, 2015

Swifty Ifty?

When being arrested for insider trading is the least of your troubles, you’ve got some pretty major troubles.

That’s the current situation for Ifty Ahmed, the veteran venture capitalist whose deals have included GMarket (acquired by eBay), Kayak (acquired by Priceline), Circle Financial and Wonga. We reported last month on his insider trading charges, stemming from the alleged use of nonpublic information related to merger talks between publicly-traded companies. At the time, he was placed of a leave of absence by Oak Investment Partners, the multi-billion dollar VC firm where he had been a general partner since 2003.

Yesterday morning, Oak sent an email to limited partners saying that it had terminated Ahmed for cause, after uncovering possible malfeasance related to Oak’s own portfolio. The Connecticut-based firm apparently had retained outside counsel and a forensic accountant to review all of Ahmed’s past activities, and identified at least three transactions that were of enough concern that Oak shared its information with the SEC and U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Several hours after the LP letter was distributed, the SEC announced new charges against Ahmed for fraud and self-dealing related to his work at Oak. It also received an emergency court order to freeze up to $55 million of Ahmed’s assets.

In all of my time covering venture capital and private equity, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a general partner at a respected firm accused of such brazen theft.

According to the SEC complaint (which you can read by going here), one of the problematic deals had Ahmed allegedly direct Oak to invest $20 million for a stake in an Asian e-commerce joint venture for which the seller only wanted $2 million. He then is said to have arranged $18 million of the investment to flow into an account solely controlled by Ahmed (sending the other $2m to the actual seller). In another transaction, he stands accused of not disclosing to Oak that he (and/or his wife) already held stock in a U.S. e-commerce company in which he convinced Oak to invest $25 million.

Neither portfolio company is identified in the SEC complaint but, based on the timing, they seem to be Giosis Mecoxlane and (f.k.a.

In its letter to LPs (which we’ve obtained and published here), Oak says that it has “delayed the issuance of the Q1 2015 financial statements pending the outcome of our review.” No word on what all of this means for the firm’s fundraising effort — you may recall that Oak’s healthcare and financial-tech teams spun out and raised their own fund, while the remaining IT group (of which Ahmed was a key piece) was expected to do the same.

An Oak spokesman declined to comment, while Ahmed’s lead attorney did not return Fortune‘s calls.


• Percolate, a New York-based platform for enterprise marketing management, has raised $40 million in Series C funding. Lightspeed Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by return backers Sequoia Capital, GGV Capital, First Round Capital and Lerer Ventures. Read more.


• PlanGrid, a startup that lets architects and construction workers access blueprints from mobile devices and edit them like a group document has raised $18 million in VC funding led by Sequoia Capital, according to Fortune. Read more.

• Gametime, a mobile app that helps book last-minute tickets to sporting events, has raised $13 million in new VC funding led by Accel Partners. Read more.

• MDsave Inc., a Brentwood, Tenn.–based online health marketplace for cash-paying consumers, has raised $12 million in VC funding from MTS Health Investors.

• Pipedrive, a San Francisco-based provider of cloud-based sales software for small businesses, has raised $9 million in Series A funding. Bessemer Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by Paua Ventures and return backers Rembrandt Venture Partners and AngelPad.

• Ahalogy, a Cincinnati-based provider of Pinterest marketing software for brands, has raised $8 million in venture capital and debt funding from firms like Silicon Valley Bank and JobsOhio. Read more.

• Mnubo, a Montreal-based Internet-of-things data analytics startup, has raised $6 million in new VC funding. White Star Capital led the round, and was joined by McRock Capital.

• Myomo Inc., a Cambridge, Mass.-based developer of myoelectric orthotics for people with neurological disorders, has raised $5 million in Series B-1 funding led by Mountain Group Capital.

• Silversheet, a Los Angeles-based startup focused on medical credentials verification, has raised $2.9 million in seed funding. Upfront Ventures led the round, and was joined by BAM Ventures, Rincon Venture Partners, SV Angel, Slow Ventures and Cyan and Scott Banister. Read more.

• Explain Everything Inc., a New York-based developer of interactive screencasting and whiteboard mobile platform for K-12 education, has raised $2 million in Series A funding. Credo Ventures led the round, and was joined by New Europe Ventures and RTAventures.


• Accuvant Inc., a Denver-based provider of cybersecurity software, is marketing $195 million in new term loans that would be used to fund a dividend for shareholder The Blackstone Group, which acquired an 80% stake in the business just last year for $225 million (including $150m in equity). Read more. 

• Aterian Investment Partners has acquired SourceLink, an Itasca, Ill.–based direct marketing company. No financial terms were disclosed. Sellers include Silver Point Capital.

• Baring Private Equity Asia, The Carlyle Group and CVC Capital Partners are among second-round bidders for Vistra Group Ltd., according to Bloomberg. The company, owned by private equity firm IK, could sell for around €800 million. It also continues to pursue a possible Hong Kong IPO. Read more.

• CoreDial LLC, a Blue Bell, Penn.-based SaaS platform provider for the channel,” has raised $27.5 million in equity funding from LLR Prtners.

• IK and Nordic Capital are bidding to acquire German wheelchair maker Sunrise Medical, which is being sold by Equistone for around €450 million, according to Reuters. Read more.

• Nassau Reinsurance Group, a new insurance and reinsurance business led by former Fidelity & Guaranty Life (NYSE: FGL) executives, has been formed by more than $750 million in capital commitments led by Golden Gate Capital.

• Propel Equity Partners has acquired Buzz Bee Toys, a Fairfield, N.J.–based maker of active play toys under such brands as Slinky and Alex Toys. No financial terms were disclosed.

• Roark Capital Group has acquired Pet Supermarket, a Sunrise, Fla.–based pet supplies retailer. No financial terms were disclosed, except that Pet Supermarket generated over $300 million in 2014 revenue.

• Serruya Private Equity has acquired Tivoli Audio LLC, a consumer audio products company with offices in Boston and The Netherlands. Sellers include Summit Partners. No financial terms were disclosed.

• Vocalink, a British payment infrastructure company owned by a group of 17 banks (including the UK’s ‘big four’) is being circled by private equity firms like CVC Capital Partners and Permira, according to the FT. Read more.


• Biotie Therapies, a Finland-based developer of therapeutics for central nervous system disorders, has filed for a $60 million IPO. It plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol BITI, with RBC Capital Markets serving as lead underwriter. The company reports $5.8 million of net income on nearly $28 million in revenue for 2014. It currently trades in Helsinki under ticker symbol BTH1V.

• Catabasis Pharmaceuticals Inc., a Cambridge, Mass.-based developer of medicines to treat inflammatory and metabolic diseases, has filed for a $75 million IPO. It plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol CATB, with Citigroup and Cowen & Co. serving as lead underwriters. The pre-revenue company has raised over $100 million in VC funding from firms like SV Life Sciences (25.8% pre-IPO stake), Clarus Ventures (24.9%), MedImmune Ventures (14.8%), Advanced Technology Ventures (10.3%) and Lightstone Ventures (6.8%).

• Jaguar Animal Health Inc., a San Francisco-based developer of veterinary medicines derived from plants used traditionally in rain forest areas, raised $20 million in its IPO. The company priced 2.86 million shares at $7 per share (low end of $7-$9 range), and will trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol JAGX. BMO Capital Markets and Guggenheim Securities served as lead underwriters. The pre-revenue company was seeded by Napo Pharmaceuticals (53.8% pre-IPO stake), and also raised VC funding from BioVeda China Fund (31.3%).

• Nivalis Therapeutics Inc., a Boulder, Colo.-based developer of drugs for patients with cystic fibrosis, has filed for a $60 million IPO. It plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol NVLS, with Cowen & Co. and Stifel serving as lead underwriters. Shareholders in the pre-revenue company include Deerfield Management, Wellington Management Co., RA Capital and Tiger Partners.

• Vizio Inc., an Irvine, Calif.-based consumer electronics company, is interviewing banks for an IPO, according to Bloomberg. The company reportedly has more than $1 billion in annual revenue. Read more.


• No exit news this morning…


• FarFetch, a London-based online marketplace that helps independent boutiques sell their luxury wares, has acquired London fashion boutique Browns. No financial terms were disclosed. Earlier this year, Farfetch raised $86 million in new venture capital funding at a valuation of around $1 billion. Shareholders include Advent Venture Partners, Index Ventures, DST Capital, Vitruvian Partners and Conde Nast International. Read more.


• Aspect Venture Partners, the VC firm formed last yearby Jennifer Fonstat (ex-DFJ) and Theresia Gouw (ex-Accel Partners), has closed its debut fund with $150 million in capital commitments. Read more.

• Redpoint Ventures has closed its sixth fund with $400 million in capital commitments.


• Jeff Abt has joined Macquarie’s capital markets team, according to S&P LCD. He previously was a managing director of loan capital markets with J.P. Morgan Chase.

• Jérémie Berrebis has stepped down as a partner with French VC firm Kima Ventures, which he co-founded in 2010. According to an email obtained by TechCrunch, Berrebis wants to focus on building startups, including a new real estate investment platform called RoundVIP. Read more.

• Mary John Miller, former Under Secretary for Domestic Finance for the U.S. Treasury Department, has been named to the board of SVB Financial Group (parent company of Silicon Valley Bank).

• David Plouffe has stepped down as head of communications and policy at Uber, and instead will join the company’s board and serve as a senior advisor to CEO Travis Kalanick. He will be replaced as comms boss by Rachel Whetstone, who had been serving in a similar role with Google. Read more.

• Jordan Zachary has stepped down as a managing director with Raine Group in order to join Live Nation (NYSE: LYV) as chief strategy officer. Read more.

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