Former Snapchat and Instagram executive Emily White has created a high-end personal concierge startup, according to multiple sources.
The new Santa Monica, Calif.-based startup is called Mave, and is described by one source as a “chief of staff for your household.”
Indeed, Mave’s website is adorned with the image of a woman whose shirt is covered with pinned notes like “Schedule haircuts” and “Pick up the kids at 4:00.” An archived version of the site says that the company pairs “smart, experiences virtual personal assistants — Maves — with category experts, machine learning technology, and a black book of ‘Best Of’ in your neighborhood.” Sounds like a cross between Zirtual and Facebook M, except that many of the fulltime “Maves” apparently “have supported celebs and high-profile execs.”
I’m told that the company has raised seed funding primarily from Los Angeles-area angels, but that there also have been some talks with Silicon Valley venture firms.
White spent the first nine years of her tech career at Google, before leaving in late 2010 to join Facebook (where she eventually led Instagram’s business operations). In early 2014 she left Facebook to become chief operating officer at Snapchat, but only lasted through last March.
She declined to comment on Mave, saying via email that to do so would be “premature.”
• Journo dreams: Mitt Romney today will give a speech that is expected to lay out a Republican case against Donald Trump, and there is a tiny bit of speculation that the Bain Capital founder could be positioning himself as the nominee of a brokered convention. Or even jump into the race beforehand (psst Mitt: Ben Carson’s lectern is available at tonight’s debate…). Almost impossible for me to imagine but, from a perspective of pure self-interest, I’m rooting for it.
• Classy CEO: It can’t be easy being an employee at LinkedIn right now, even if you’re celebrating a work anniversary. The company’s stock price dropped a precipitous 47% earlier this month (down over 60% from last November), and today is sitting at around $118 per share (it opened one year ago at $265 per share).
So it was welcome news yesterday to see that CEO Jeff Weiner has not only foregone his annual stock grant ― valued at around $14 million ― but asked that the shares be put back into the employee stock pool. To be sure, Jeff is still doing fine (at last check his base salary was $600k, and he holds more than $12m in existing shares), but this is clearly doing the right thing by his employees. And, in doing so, the right thing by his company and its shareholders.
• By now you’ve probably heard that Aubrey McClendon, the shale gas pioneer and former Chesapeake Energy CEO, yesterday died in an auto crash. The incident occurred just one day after McClendon was indicted by federal authorities for alleged bid-rigging on oil and gas acreage deals.
McClendon has been in this space from time to time due to his creation of American Energy Partners, and oil and gas platform whose various projects had secured financing from such firms as First Reserve, Blackstone Group’s GSO Capital and Energy & Minerals Group. In January, AEP had signed a preliminary agreement worth more than $500 million with state-run Argentinian energy firm YPF to explore shale in the Vaca Muerta formation.
It currently is unclear what will become of AEP, or its various exploration agreements (including the one with YPF, which may or may not have been finalized). I hope to have more information soon on the business ramifications of this personal tragedy. No official comment yet from First Reserve or Blackstone.
THE BIG DEAL
• BeIN Media Group of Qatar has acquired Hollywood film studio Miramax Group from Colony Capital. No financial terms were disclosed, although the original asking price was a reported $1 billion. Colony had paid around $660 million to purchase Miramax in 2010 from Walt Disney Co. Read more.
VENTURE CAPITAL DEALS
• Africa Internet Group, the operator of Africa-focused e-commerce sites like Jumia, has raised €300 million in new funding from Goldman Sachs and return backers MTN and Rocket Internet. The round also includes a previously-disclosed €75 million investment from AXA Insurance (which gave AXA an 8% ownership stake). Read more.
• XJet, an Israeli developer of 3D printing solutions for metal parts, has raised $25 million in funding led by Catalyst CEL and Autodesk. Read more.
• Oro, a Los Angeles-based provider of open-source business platforms for CRM and B2B e-commerce, has raised $12 million from Highland Europe. www.orocrm.com
• Fe3 Medical, a San Antonio, Texas-based developer of a transdermal patch for patients suffering from iron-deficiency anemia, has raised $11 million in Series B funding. Jianmin Pharmaceuticals, HG Capital and PingAn Ventures were joined by return backer InCube Ventures. www.fe3medical.com
• GoTenna, a Brooklyn-based device that lets smartphones communicate without cell towers, WiFi roters or satellites, has raised $7.5 million in Series A funding. Walden Venture Capital led the round, and was joined by MentorTech Ventures, BBG Ventures Bloomberg Beta and Wareness.io. www.gotenna.com
• Augment, a Paris-based augmented reality platform that “allows users to envision any object in their current environment through a simple mobile app,” has raised $4.7 million in VC funding led by Salesforce Ventures. www.augment.com
• LabConnect, a Seattle-based provider of central laboratory and support services for the pharma, medical device and contract research market, has raised $4 million in funding from BroadOak Capital Partners. www.labconnectllc.com
• Wrap Media, a San Francisco-based platform for creating interactive mobile media, has raised $4 million in new VC funding from Tokyo-based Dream Incubator. Read more.
• Pathmatics, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based intelligence platform for the online advertising industry, has raised $3 million in Series A funding. Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments led the round, and was joined by Wavemaker Partners, Manatt Venture Partners and return backers Upfront Ventures, Karlin Ventures, Baroda Ventures, Double M Partners and Daher Capital. www.pathmatics.com
• BigID, a New York-based enterprise platform for privacy management, has raised around $2 million in VC funding, according to a regulatory filing. Board members include Gil Beyda (Genacast Ventures) and Ed Sim (Boldstart Ventures).
• SourceKnowledge, a Montreal-based provider of video advertising technology, has raised C$1.5 million in financing from BDC Capital. www.sourceknowledge.com
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Arbor Investments has acquired South Coast Baking LLC, an Irvine, Calif.-based commercial bakery. No financial terms were disclosed. www.southcoastbaking.com
• Motion PT Group, a New York-based provider of physical therapy and occupational therapy services, has acquired Community Physical Therapy, which operates in Queens, Manhattan and Brooklyn. No financial terms were disclosed. Motion PT is a portfolio company of Pharos Capital Group. www.motionptg.com
• Pegasus Optimization Managers, a College Station, Texas-based provider of natural gas contract compression services, has launched with a $175 million equity commitment from Apollo Global Management. Pegasus is led by Randy Dean and Chad Lenamon, former presidents of CDM Resource Management LLC. www.pegasus15.com
• Worldwide Flight Services., an Irving, Texas-based portfolio company of Platinum Equity Partners, has acquired Consolidated Aviation Services, a cargo handler with operations at 45 airports, from ICV Partners. No financial terms were disclosed. www.wfs.aero
• Syndax Pharmaceuticals Inc., a Waltham, Mass.-based developer of entinostat as a combination therapy in multiple cancer indications, raised $53 million in its IPO. The pre-revenue company priced 4.4 million shares at $12 per share (below $14-$16 range), for an initial market cap of around $208 million. It will trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol SNDX, while Morgan Stanley and Citigroup served as co-lead underwriters. Syndax had raised over $170 million in VC funding — including an $80 million Series C round last year — from firms like Domain Associates (19.6% pre-IPO stake), MPM Capital (16.7%), Fidelity (11.2%), Delos Investments (9.1%), RMI Investments (7.5%), BlackRock (5.3%), EcoR1 Capital, OrbiMed Advisors, Jennison Associates, Tavistock Life Sciences, Arrowpoint Partners, Cormorant Asset Management, BioMed Ventures, RusnanoMedInvest and Forward Ventures. www.syndax.com
• Marlin Equity has agreed to sell Openwave Messaging Inc., a San Mateo, Calif.-based enterprise messaging platform, to Synchronoss Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: SNCR). No financial terms were disclosed. www.owmessaging.com
• RNTS, the listed German parent company of Fyber and Heyzap, has acquired Inneractive Ltd., an Israeli real-time bidding and mobile ad exchange platform. The deal is valued at up to $72 million, including $46 million in cash and $26 million in retention payments and possible earn-outs. Sellers include Evergreen Venture Partners and Kreos Capital. Read more.
• SugarCRM has acquired the IP rights and other assets of Contastic, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based natural language processing platform designed “to automatically recommend the best content for individuals to send to their contacts.” No financial terms were disclosed. Cupertino, Calif.-based SugarCRM has raised over $100 million from firms like DFJ, New Enterprise Associates, Goldman Sachs and Walden Venture Capital. Contastic backers included IDG Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Procyon Ventures, Social Starts and ZPark Ventures. www.sugarcrm.com
• 50 South Capital Advisors, an investment advisory subsidiary of Northern Trust (Nasdaq: NTRS), has agreed to acquire the investment management business of Aurora Investment Management, a Chicago-based provider of hedge fund solutions, from Natixis Global Asset Management. No financial terms were disclosed. www.50southcapital.com
• Samsonite International (HK: 1910) is nearing an agreement to acquire luxury luggage maker Tumi Holdings (NYSE: TUMI), according to the WSJ. A deal could be valued at nearly $2 billion. Read more.
FIRMS & FUNDS
• FreshTracks Capital, a Vermont-based venture capital firm, is raising upwards of $25 million for its fourth fund, according to a regulatory filing. www.freshtrackscap.com
• Kensington Capital Partners has closed a new venture capital fund focused on Canadian tech startups, with C$306 million in capital commitments. www.kcpl.ca
• Pfingsten, a Chicago-based private equity firm focused on middle-market manufacturing, distribution and business services companies, has closed its fifth fund with $382 million in capital commitments. www.pfingsten.com
• XPND Capital, a Quebec-based growth equity firm, has closed its second fund with C$75 million in capital commitments. Limited partners include Fonds de solidarité FTQ, Fondaction CSN and Investissement Québec. www.xpnd.com
• Tailwater Capital, a Dallas-based private equity firm focused on the energy sector, has closed its fourth fund with $218 million in capital commitments. www.tailwatercapital.com
MOVING IN, ON & UP
• Eric Dobkin, a Goldman Sachs partner who has been referred to as “the father of the modern IPO,” is retiring after 49 years with the firm. Read more.
• Fred Fraenkel has joined investment bank Cowen Group as vice chairman. He is the former vice chairman of ING Barings Furman Selz, and also founded a VC firm called Millennium 3 Capital. www.cowen.com
• Mike Goss, the former chief financial officer of Bain Capital, has joined auction house Sotheby’s (NYSE: BID) as CFO. Read more.
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