Earlier this year I was in an elevator with Rich Miner, the Android co-founder who has been a general partner with Google Ventures since the group was formed in 2009. We talked about our kids, and the difficulty in finding quality educational apps and other kid-focused Internet services that weren’t primarily either: (a) Babysitters; and/or (b) Ad delivery devices.
At the time, it just felt like idle elevator conversation. But that was my mistake, because Miner is now planning to launch an education-focused company within Google. This also means that he’ll be stepping down as a general partner with GV, transitioning into a venture partner role through which he’ll maintain some of his existing portfolio board seats.
“It’s not surprising that Rich wants to go build something new,” says GV CEO Bill Maris. “He’s an adventurous person who jumped into this thing with me, so what was to my benefit years ago is now to my detriment. But I’m really excited for what Rich has in front of him.”
Miner says that “walking away from GV is an incredibly hard decision for me,” but that he has spent two years thinking about how he could build something new around education.
“I first thought about this as a startup, but then talked to Larry [Page] and… pitched Sundar [Pichai] who said, ‘Let’s do it.,'” says Miner, who adds that some of Google’s existing education assets are why it’s being done as a Google project instead of as an Alphabet company.
“I don’t actually know exactly what we’re building yet,” Miner adds. “Just like Android took us our years to get the first device out and I helped create WildFire 25 years ago as a voice-based personal assistant, which is just now starting to happen. This vision is another big idea, but it will take time.”
Miner plans to remain in Cambridge, Mass., but most of his team will be based in Google’s Mountain View headquarters. Google Ventures will continue to have several investors based in Cambridge, most of whom focus on life sciences.
• Recommended reading: FBI Director James Comey today is expected to be grilled by a House panel, regarding his decision to recommend that the Department of Justice not seek an indictment against Hillary Clinton over her use of a personal email server while Secretary of State. Politico‘s Garrett Graff has a fascinating piece about how Comey’s three-year stint at Bridgewater Associates — the hedge fund led by Ray Dalio — helped prepare him for this moment. Read it here.
• Courthouse update: As expected, disgraced private equity placement agent (and apparent gambling addict) Andrew Caspersen has plead guilty to orchestrating a scheme to defraud investors like Moore Charitable Foundation of around $38.5 million, and misappropriate over $8 million from former employer Park Hill Group (now part of PJT Partners). Specifically, he plead guilty to one count of securities fraud and one count of wire fraud. Sentencing is scheduled for November. Here is some of our prior coverage.
• Coming attractions: We’ve just added a few more participants for Fortune Brainstorm Tech, which kicks off on Monday from Aspen. They include: Steve Case (chairman and CEO of Revolution), Amy Wilkinson (Stanford GSB professor and author of The Creator’s Code), Emil Michael (chief biz officer at Uber) and Sarah Personette (VP of global biz marketing at Facebook). Full agenda is available here.
THE BIG DEAL
• Avast Software, a Prague-based security software company backed by CVC Capital Partners and Summit Partners, has agreed to acquire AVG Technologies NV (NYSE: AVG), a Dutch provider of device security software. The deal is valued at approximately $1.3 billion in cash, or $25 per share (33.05% premium over yesterday’s closing price). Read more.
VENTURE CAPITAL DEALS
• Brillen.de, a German multi-channel eyewear provider, has raised EUR 45 million in new growth equity funding from Technology Crossover Ventures. www.brillen.de
• Light, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based maker of a multi-aperture co mputational camera, has raised $30 million in Series C funding. Google Ventures led the round, and was joined by Foxconn, Paul Jacobs and return backers Bessemer Venture Partners, CRV, Eclipse Ventures and StepStone Group. www.light.co
• BevSpot, a Boston-based beverage management software platform for the hospitality industry, has raised $11 million in Series B funding led by Bain Capital Ventures. Read more.
• Service Partners One, a Berlin-based digital office management company, has raised $10 million in Series A funding. EQT Ventures led the round, and was joined by Target Global, Vito Ventures, Rheingau Founders, Ringier Digital Ventures and Earlybird Venture Capital. www.servicepartnerone.com
• Post-Quantum (PQ), a UK-based quantum encryption startup, has raised GBP 8 million in Series B funding. Backers include VMS Investment Group and AM Partners. Read more.
• Black Swan Data, a London-based provider of data integration and classification services, has raised GBP 6.2 million in Series B funding. Albion Ventures led the round, and was joined by Blackstone Group and Mitsui & Co. Read more.
• Riffyn, an Oakland-based provider of cloud-based research process design software, has raised an undisclosed amount of VC funding from Siemens Venture Capital. The company has now raised a total of $4.6 million, including earlier investments from Bioeconomy Capital and OATV. www.riffyn.com
• EarnUp, a San Francisco-based platform for automating loan payments, has raised $3 million in seed funding. Backers include Blumberg Capital, Kapor Capital, Camp One Ventures and Fenway Summer Ventures. www.earnup.com
• Syntax, a Montreal-based provider of cloud and other enterprise tech solutions to North American businesses, has raised an undisclosed amount of equity funding from Novacap. www.syntax.com
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Apollo Global Management, CVC Capital Partners and Rhone Capital have made the final round of bidding for Ferro Corp. (NYSE: FOE), a Mayfield Heights, Ohio-based specialty materials company whose market cap is now around $1.1 billion, according to Bloomberg. Lazard is managing the process. Read more.
• Ardian and GHO Capital have acquired Envision Pharma Group, a Philadelphia-based scientific communications and technology company, from The Halifax Group. No financial terms were disclosed. www.envisionpharmagroup.com
• Bruckmann, Rosser, Sherrill & Co. has acquired Daisy Outdoor Products, a Rogers, Ark.-based maker of airguns, archery products and other outdoor accessories. No financial terms were disclosed. The deal was done via BRS Outdoor Sports Holdings, whose other shareholders include Frist Capital, Bixby Bridge Capital, Swift River Investments and Quilvest Private Equity. www.daisy.com
• CAI Capital Management has acquired CHP, a Canadian manufacturer of residential and commercial gas fireplaces under the Montigo brand. No financial terms were disclosed. www.montigo.com
• Confie Seguros, a personal insurance company focused on Hispanic consumers, has acquired two insurance brokerages in New York State: Sprague Insurance (Corning) and J.N. Mason (Hancock and Monticello). No financial terms were disclosed. Confie Seguros is a portfolio company of ABRY Partners. www.confieseguros.com
• GuestLogix Inc., a Toronto-based provider of onboard retail technology provider for the travel sector, has agreed to be acquired by a Canadian investor group that includes Stornoway Portfolio Management, Bridgecorp Canada, Logan Peak Capital and Klass Capital. No financial terms were disclosed. www.guestlogix.com
• Industrial Growth Partners has acquired Des-Case Corp., a Goodlettsville, Tenn.-based provider of contamination control products and services for industrial lubricants, from Pfingsten Partners. No financial terms were disclosed. www.descase.com
• New Mountain Capital has acquired Strategic Partners Inc., a Carlsbad, Calif.-based provider of medical scrubs and other uniforms, from Partners Group and Avista Capital Partners. No financial terms were disclosed. www.newmountaincapital.com
• Outlaw Beverage, a Beverly Hills, Calif.-based maker of branded energy drinks, has raised an undisclosed amount of growth equity funding from Grand Crossing Capital Partners. www.grandcrossing.com
• Arlon Group has acquired Idaho Pacific Holdings Inc., a Ririe, Idaho-based provider of dehydrated potato products, from Novacap. No financial terms were disclosed. www.idahopacific.com
• Permira has opened talks to sell Asia Broadcast Satellite (ABS), a Hong Kong-based satellite operator, in a deal that could be worth upwards of $1 billion, according to the FT. Interested suitors include Hispasat (Madrid) and JSAT Corp. (Japan). Goldman Sachs is managing the process. Read more.
• Teladoc Inc. (NYSE: TDOC) has agreed to acquire HealthiestYou, a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based mobile patient engagement platform. The deal is valued at $125 million in cash ($45m) and stock. HealthiestYou backers include Frontier Capital and UnitedHealth Group Ventures. www.healthiestyou.com
• Danone SA (Paris: BN) has agreed to acquire WhiteWave Foods Co. (NYSE: WWAV), a Denver-based maker of organic food products like Silk almond milk and Earthbound Farm Organic salad mixes, for $12.5 billion in cash, or $56.25 per share. Read more.
• Gannett Co. (NYSE: GCI) has agreed to acquire North Jersey Media Group, publisher of a group of newspapers that include The Record of Bergen County. No financial terms were disclosed, although Gannett said that acquisition would add around $90 million in annual revenue to the company. Read more.
FIRMS & FUNDS
• Partners Group announced plans to office an office in Manila this September, which would be its seventh Asia office. www.partnersgroup.com
MOVING IN, ON & UP
• Catherine Dupéré has joined Isomer Capital as a London-based principal. She previously was an associate director with BDC Capital. www.isomercapital.com
• Martyn Holman has joined UK-based venture firm Forward Partners as a partner. He previously spent three years as an investment director with Oxford Capital. www.forwardpartners.com
• Norwest Equity Partners has promoted Andrew Cantwell to partner. He joined the firm in 2006, and sits on the boards of Norwest portfolio companies Edge Fitness, Marco, Minnesota Rubber & Plastics, Movati Athletic and Stanton Carpet Corp. www.nep.com
• Kevin Turner is stepping down as COO of Microsoft in order to become CEO of Citadel Securities. Read more.
• Troy Williams and Prateek Aneja have joined University Ventures as a managing director and vice president, respectively. They previously were with Wells Fargo Securities. www.universityventures.com
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