Some notes to kick off your Tuesday, as I fingers are tired from blurbing out a ridiculous amount of deal news:
• Price adjustment? Carl Icahn yesterday morning published an open letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook, arguing that the tech giant’s stock is worth $240 per share – or nearly 84% higher than where Apple stock had just opened trading. At that price, the company’s market cap would be a whopping $1.38 trillion.
But here’s the big problem: Icahn’s rationale was, in part, based on his belief that Apple would enter the TV market next year by launching a UltraHD product. Just hours later, the WSJ reported that Apple actually scrapped its plans to make such a set more than a year ago.
• Speaking of Carl: Last Friday, Icahn announced that he had invested $100 million into ride-sharing company Lyft as part of a new $150 million round. That makes Icahn de facto partners with existing Lyft backer Marc Andreessen, with whom he battled last year over the future of eBay. For example, Icahn said of Andreessen: “It’s sort of a known fact that he’s screwed more people than Casanova,” and that he “tried to listen to [Andreessen] but he talks in a high squeaky voice and, you know, when he talks you can’t really hear him in my opinion.” For his part, Andreessen referred to Icahn as an “evil Captain Kirk.”
So I reached out to Andreessen for comment on this new alliance. His reply was shaded by all sorts of eBay: “Rumors that Lyft is spinning off the ride-sharing business from the mustache-licensing business are completely untrue.”
• Full-stack education: Earlier this month I mentioned how a number of Silicon Valley types seem to be embracing the notion of “full stack education” startups, rather than makers of ed-tech that then must be sold school-by-school (or district-by-district).
So I was interested to hear recently that Khan Academy, which is known for its online education videos, actually has a working “micro-school” on the first floor of its Mountain View headquarters. Not kids sitting in front of video screens all day, but real teachers who utilize Sal Khan’s materials and methods. If ultimately deemed successful (this is its first year), don’t be surprised if Khan Academy tries to create a network of branded schools.
• Marissa explains it all: Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer last night was interviewed by Fortune’s Pattie Sellers, at a dinner in New York City. Among the topics of conversation were why Yahoo didn’t buy AOL: “Some people on the outside saw similarities between the companies. We didn’t.” Read more here.
• Personnel note #1: Andrew Weinberg has quietly left Lindsay Goldberg, the New York-based private equity firm that he joined back in 2003 from Goldman Sachs. No word yet on his future plans.
• Personnel note #2: James Zhang is no longer a partner with VC firm Formation8, which he helped to co-found. Instead, he now is an entrepreneur-in-residence with the firm, and recently became chief strategy officer of a Formation8 portfolio company called Centrillion Technologies.
THE BIG DEAL
• MuleSoft, a San Francisco-based integration platform for apps, data sources and devices, has raised $128 million in new VC funding at a $1.5 billion valuation.
Salesforce Ventures led the round, and was joined by Adage Capital Management, Brookside Capital, Sands Capital Ventures, Cisco Investments and return backers NEA, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Meritech Capital Partners, Bay Partners, Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, Morgenthaler and Sapphire Ventures.. Read more.
VENTURE CAPITAL DEALS
• Switch Communications (f.k.a. FireSpotter Labs), a New York-based provider of cloud-based communications software, has raised $35 million in new VC funding. Amasia Associates led the round, and was joined by Felicis Ventures, SoftBank, Work-Bench Ventures and return backers Andreessen Horowitz and Google Ventures. Read more.
• Ripple Labs, a San Francisco-based provider of distributed payments technology, has raised $28 million in Series A funding. Backers include IDG Capital Partners, CME Group, Seagate Technology, AME Cloud Ventures, ChinaRock Capital Management,China Growth Capital, Wicklow Capital, Bitcoin Opportunity Corp., Core Innovation Capital, Route 66 Ventures, RRE Ventures, Vast Ventures and Venture 51. www.ripple.com
• Samsara, a new startup that wants to “make large-scale wireless sensor systems a reality,” has raised $25 million in first-round funding from Andreessen Horowitz. The company was formed by Meraki co-founders Sanjit Biswas and John Bicket. Read more .
• iSpot.tv, a Bellevue, Wash.-based provider of real-time TV and digital ad analytics, has raised $21.9 million in Series B funding. Insight Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by Madrona Venture Group. Read more.
• Feedzai, a San Mateo, Calif.-based provider of fraud prevention and detection solutions, has raised $17.5 million in Series B funding. Oak HC/FT led the round, and was joined by Sapphire Ventures and Espirito Santo Ventures. www.feedzai.com
• Akosha, an India-based messaging platform for connecting businesses to their customers, has raised $16 million in Series B funding led by return backer Sequoia Capital. www.akosha.com
• Farmers Business Network, a San Carlos, Calif.-based farmer-to-farmer information network, has raised $15 million in new VC funding. Google Ventures led the round, and was joined by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and DBL Investors. www.farmersbusinessnetwork.com
• Hightower, a New York-based leasing management platform for the commercial real estate industry, has raised $13 million in Series B funding. RRE Ventures led the round, and was joined by Bessemer Venture Partners, Thrive Capital, and Pritzker Group Venture Capital. www.gethightower.com
• Justworks, a New York-based provider of HR and employee payment solutions, has raised $13 million in Series B funding. Bain Capital Ventures led the round, and was joined by return backers Thrive Capital and Index Ventures. Read more.
• Stox, a London-based online stock broker, has raised $8 million in Series A funding led by Singulariteam. www.stox.com
• Exablox, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based provider of cloud-managed storage solutions, has raised $7 million in new Series C funding from Toshiba America Electronic Components. The round total is now $23 million, including an earlier close led by Dell Ventures. Other shareholders include DCM, Norwest Venture Partners and US Venture Partners. www.exablox.com
• Trafi, a Lithuania-based public transport app for travel-planning, has raised $6.5 million in Series A funding. Octopus Investments led the round, and was joined by EBRD Venture Capital Investment Programme and BaltCap. Read more.
• DataHero, a San Francisco-based provider of self-service cloud business intelligence, has raised $6.1 million in Series A funding led by seed backer Foundry Group. The company also named former Xythos CEO Ed Miller as CEO. www.datahero.com
• BetterCompany, a San Francisco-based social platform “centered around employees’ work days,” has raised $6 million in Series A funding led by BlueRun Ventures. The company previously raised $1.7 million in seed funding. www.bettercompany.co
• AlphaDraft, a fantasy e-sports site, has raised $5 million in new VC funding. Metamorphic Ventures led the round, and was joined by William Morris Endeavor Entertainment. Read more.
• Bd4travel, a predictive analytics platform for the travel industry, has raised $4.2 million in Series A funding. Hoxton Ventures led the round, and was joined by Talis Capital and Robin Klein (The Accelerator Group). www.bd4travel.com
• Speakeasy, a San Francisco-based provider of mobile conference calling software, has raised $5 million in Series A funding from Bessemer Venture Partners and Salesforce Ventures. www.speakeasy.co
• Cove, a Washington, D.C.-based provider of shared “productive spaces,” has raised $2.8 million in Series A funding. No investors were identified. www.cove.is
• EnergySage, a Brookline, Mass.-based online marketplace for solar and other clean energy technologies, has raised $1.5 million in Series A funding. Launchpad Venture Group led the round, and was joined by The New York Angels and the Clean Energy Venture Group. www.energysage.com
• Zaption, a San Francisco-based online video interaction platform for educational applications, has raised $1.5 million in seed funding from NewSchools Venture Fund, Redcrest Enterprises and Telegraph Hill Capital. www.Zaption.com
• Shelvspace, a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based provider of a cloud-based mobile SaaS platform for the consumer packaged goods market, has raised $1 million in seed funding from backers like Tallwave Capital and the AngelList Syndicates Fund. www.shelvspace.com
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• AirAsia Bhd of Malaysia is in talks to sell a minority stake in its customer loyalty program to private equity firms, in a deal that could value the unit at around $330 million, according to Reuters. Read more.
• Covenant Review, a New York-based provider of information on bond and loan covenants, has acquired CapitalStructure, a London-based provider of news on and analysis of the European sub-investment grade credit market. No financial terms were disclosed. Covenant Review is a portfolio company of Leeds Equity Partners. www.covenantreview.com
• The Learning House Inc., a Louisville, Ky.-based provider of online education solutions for schools and universities, has acquired Acatar, a Pittsburgh-based platform that helps teachers design and deliver courses online. The Learning House is backed by Weld North, while Acatar was founded by Carnegie Innovations. www.acatar.com
• Littlejohn & Co. has agreed to acquire PlayPower Holdings Inc., a Huntersville, N.C.–based provider of play, sport and recreation facilities and equipment, from Apollo Investment Corp. (Nasdaq: AINV). No financial terms were disclosed.
• Permira has agreed to acquire GFKL, a German provider of debt collection services, from Advent International. No financial terms were disclosed, but Dow Jones puts the price tag north of €500 million. www.gfkl.com
• Sandbox Partners has acquired Family Education Network (FEN), a Boston–based “children’s online world,” from Pearson (LSE: PSON). No financial terms were disclosed. www.sandboxandco.com
• WME|IMG, a portfolio company of Silver Lake, has acquired Professional Bull Riders Inc., a Pueblo, Colo.-based bull riding circuit, from Spire Capital. No financial terms were disclosed. www.pbr.com
• AppFolio Inc., a Goleta, Calif.-based provider of cloud software for small and mid-sized businesses in the property management and legal industries, has filed for a $100 million IPO. It plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol APPF, with Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse serving as lead underwriters. The company reports a $3.6 million net loss on nearly $16 million in revenue for Q1 2015, compared to a $1 million net loss on nearly $10 million in revenue for the year-earlier period. Shareholders include BV Capital (14.5% pre-IPO stake). www.appfolio.com
• Celyad SA, a Belgium-based provider of cell therapy treatments with an initial focus on cardiology and oncology, has filed for a $115 million IPO. It plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol CYAD, with UBS and Piper Jaffray serving as lead underwriters. The company’s stock has traded on both the Euronext Brussels and Euronext Paris since July 2013. www.celyad.com
• Green Plains Partners LP, an Omaha, Neb.-based owner and operator of ethanol transportation and storage assets. The company is a master limited partnership backed by Green Plains Inc. (Nasdaq: GPRE). It plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol GPP, with Barclays and BofA Merrill Lynch serving as lead underwriters. www.gpreinc.com
• Shopify Inc., an Ottawa-based cloud commerce platform for small and mid-sized businesses, has increased its proposed IPO pricing range from $12-$14 per share to $414-$16 per share. It still plans to offer 7.7 million shares, and trade on the NYSE and TSX under ticker symbols SHOP and SH, respectively. Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse and RBC Capital Markets are serving as lead underwriters. Shopify reports a $22 million net loss on $105 million in revenue for 2014, compared to a $5 million net loss on $50 million in revenue for 2013. It has raised around $122 million in VC funding from firms like Bessemer Venture Partners (30.28% pre-IPO stake), FirstMark Capital (11.87%), OMERS Ventures (6.05%), Georgian Partners (5.48%) and Felicis Ventures. www.shopify.com
• Xactly Corp., a San Jose, Calif.-based provider of cloud-based incentive compensation solutions for employee and sales performance management, has filed for a $75 million IPO. It plans to trade on the NYSE under ticker symbol XTLY, with J.P. Morgan and Deutsche Bank serving as lead underwriters. The company reports an $18.5 million net loss on $61 million in revenue for the fiscal year ending Jan. 31, 2015. The company has raised over $80 million in VC funding from firms like Rembrandt Venture Partners (15.2% pre-IPO stake), Bay Partners (11.7%), Alloy Ventures (11.5%), Key Venture Partners (11.2%), Bridgescale Partners (9.4%), Outlook Ventures (8.4%), Illuminate Ventures and Glynn Capital Management. www.xactlycorp.com
• Dave & Buster’s Entertainment (Nasdaq: PLAY), a Dallas-based restaurant and arcade chain in which Oak Hill Capital Partners holds around a 62% ownership stake, has filed for a secondary public offering of 8.5 million shares, which would be worth around $285 million at yesterday’s closing price. www.daveandbusters.com
• Whirlpool Corp. (NYSE: WHR) has agreed to acquire American Dryer Corp., a Fall River, Mass.-based maker of coin-operated industrial and specialty laundry equipment. No financial terms were disclosed. The seller was Stonebridge Partners. www.amdry.com
• Brookfield Asset Management (NYSE: BAM) has agreed to acquire GrafTech International Ltd. (NYSE: GTI), an Independence, Ohio-based provider of graphite and carbon material science-based solutions, for around $693 million. The $5.05 per share offer represents a 2% premium over last Friday’s closing price. Read more.
• Nanotronics Imaging, a Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio–based provider of nano-imaging solutions, has acquired Franklin Mechanical & Control Inc., a Hollister, Calif.-based maker of mechanical and optical equipment. No financial terms were disclosed. Nanotronics Imaging is a portfolio company of Founders Fund. www.nanotronicsimaging.com
• Tahzoo, a Washington, D.C.–based provider of digital customer experience consulting services and solutions, has acquired Dutch digital agency HintTech. No financial terms were disclosed. www.tahzoo.com
FIRMS & FUNDS
• Mayfair Equity Partners, a UK-based private equity firm formed last year by ex-LDC professionals, has held a first close on over £200 million for its debut fund, according to LBO Wire. www.mayfairequity.com
MOVING IN, UP, ON & OUT
• Bessemer Venture Partners has promoted Charles Birnbaum to vice president. He joined the firm in 2013, and sits on the board of portfolio company United Capital. www.bvp.com
• Deutsche Bank has put its co-heads of Asia corporate finance on leave, according to Bloomberg. Douglas Morton was put on leave “over a suspected breach of internal compliance rules,” while Venky Vishwanathan was put on leave “as the bank faces civil court cases over alleged mis-selling of derivatives by a group he helped oversee.” Read more.
• Heath Lukatch has joined TPG Biotech as a partner and managing director. He previously was a partner with Novo Ventures. www.tpgbiotech.com
• Sorenson Capital has promoted LeGrand Lewis to managing director. He has been with the firm since 2008, and served on the boards of portfolio companies RTC, Suncrest Solar, ReBath, IDC, and Cradlepoint. www.sorensoncapital.com
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