Some assorted notes to kick off your Wednesday:
• Longer-term thinking: Elevate, a Texas-based online lender focused on non-prime customers, yesterday announced that it had raised its credit facility with Victory Park Capital by $100 million, bringing the total to $545 million.
You might recall that I wrote about Elevate back in January, when it seemed poised to become the first tech IPO of 2016. But then came the overall IPO market malaise, followed several months later by the Lending Club mess and layoffs at quasi-rivals like Prosper and Avant.
The company’s IPO docs remain in registration, but CEO Ken Rees said the following to me while at Fortune Brainstorm Tech: “We were supposed to be the first tech IPO of 2016, but now we’re planning to be the first tech IPO of 2017.”
• New twist: Former Sequoia Capital partner Michael Goguen is back in the news, but not for his role as a defendant in a breach of contract lawsuit brought by former girlfriend Amber Baptiste, that was much more notable for its multiple claims of sexual abuse. Nor even for his extortion countersuit against Baptiste, whose attorney has since withdrawn from the case.
Instead, Goguen has filed suit against Missouri businessman John Brunner, who is one of four candidates in net Tuesday’s Republican gubernatorial primary in the state.
Goguen is a big supporter of Brunner rival Eric Greitens, having donated $1 million to the Greitens campaign before the Baptiste lawsuit emerged. Not surprisingly, all three of Greitens’ rivals have called on the candidate to return Goguen’s donation (he hasn’t), but Brunner went a giant step further, saying in a debate: “I refuse to be lectured by a guy who took $1 million from the owner of a teenage sex slave.”
But no matter if Goguen or Baptiste is telling the truth in their own legal dispute, there is no question that Baptiste was in her early 20’s when she first met Goguen. The venture capitalist also takes issue with the “sex slave” characterization ― words that weren’t used in Baptiste’s actual lawsuit ― although that’s much fuzzier as her complaint effectively paints herself as such.
Goguen recently asked the Brunner campaign for a retraction but did not receive a response. So now he’s suing for defamation in Missouri’s St. Charles County.
The Brunner campaign declined to discuss the situation via phone, instead emailing a political statement that did not at all address the substance of Goguen’s accusation.
• Venture quants: Today’s most interesting VC deal isn’t really a VC deal at all. Instead, Point72 Ventures ― the fintech-focused venture firm led by hedge fund manager Steve Cohen ― has agreed to let VC-backed algorithmic trading platform Quantopian manage up to $250 million of Cohen’s capital (a portion of which is contingent on Quantopian hitting certain performance metrics). Point72 also will make an investment, joining existing backers like Bessemer Venture Partners, Khosla Ventures and Spark Capital. CNBC‘s Kate Kelly has a deeper dive.
• Coming attractions: There are many more big business folks in Philly this week than there were in Cleveland, but they have not had a stage presence inside the Wells Fargo Center. In fact, the only major CEO/entrepreneur speech comes tonight, from Michael Bloomberg.
• Inside baseball: Last week I lauded Cleveland for being a phenomenal host for the Republican National Convention. And while I have historical love for Philadelphia, having gone to college just outside the city limits, this place has been a logistical nightmare. For example, I’m publishing early this morning so that I can attend a Politico event at 11am. That’s right, I’m giving myself 90 minutes to get there, and my hotel is just 17 miles away.
Now I’m not asking any of you to care about my personal inconveniences, nor those of other attendees. But having now been through two sets of political conventions, 2016 and 2012, I feel confident in saying that the RNC is better than the DNC at organizing such gatherings from a logistical standpoint. For example, the Charlotte fire marshal had to bar the DNC doors one night last time around because the Democratic Party had ticketed too many people for the arena, leaving hundreds standing outside in the heat (including some notable private equity pros).
To be sure, this lack of organization doesn’t extend to the stage, where the DNC is more consistently on message (remember Clint Eastwood?) and has better production values. But I figured it’s worth sharing that the competence being viewed by 99.9% of voters via the TV is not on display to the small number of us here in Philly.
THE BIG DEAL
• LeEco, a Chinese video streaming company whose backers include China Bridge Capital and Legend Holdings, has agreed to acquire Irvine, Calif.-based TV maker Vizio for $2 billion. Read more.
VENTURE CAPITAL DEALS
• Upthere, a “no middleman” cloud storage and organization platform founded by Apple vets, has raised $77 million in VC funding. Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Western Digital co-led the round, and were joined by Elevation Partners, Floodgate, GV and NTT Docomo Ventures Read more.
• EverFi, a Washington, D.C.-based online education platform, has raised $40 million in Series C funding. Backers include NEA, Rethink Education, Jeff Bezos and Eric Schmidt. Read more.
• True Fit, a London-based footwear and apparel’s discovery platform, has raised $25 million in Series B funding from Jump Capital, Signal Peak Ventures and Intel Capital. www.truefitcom
• Atonarp Inc., a Tokyo-based developer of spectroscopic instruments, has raised $16 million in new VC funding. Innovative Network Corp. of Japan (INCJ) led the round, and was joined by Walden-Riverwood Ventures and Innovative Venture Fund Investment. www.atonarp.com
• FogHorn Systems, a Mountain View, Calif.-based developer of “edge intelligence” software for industrial and commercial IoT applications, has raised $12 million in Series A funding. March Capital and GE Ventures co-led the round, and were joined by Robert Bosch Venture Capital GmbH, Yokogawa Electric Corporation and Darling Ventures. www.foghorn-systems.com
• Zeek, an Israel-based operator of an online marketplace for buying and selling unwanted store giftcards, has raised $9.5 million in Series B funding. Scale-Up Capital led the round, and was joined by return backers Blumberg Capital, Qualcomm Ventures, FJ Labs, Emergy Capital, Ton Ventures, Radiant Venture Capital, I Angels and Target Global. Read more.
• Big Health, a London-based developer of digital sleep improvement programs, has raised £9.15 million in new VC funding. Octopus Ventures and Kaiser Permanente Ventures co-led the round, and were joined by return backers like Index Ventures. www.bighealth.com
• Mezi, a San Francisco-based chatbot shopping app, has raised $9 million in Series A funding. Nexus Venture Partners was joined by Saama Capital and American Express Ventures. www.mezi.com
• Codeship, a Boston-based provider of hosted continuous integration solutions for software build and test automation, has raised $7 million in Series A funding led by Ascent Venture Partners. www.codeship.com
• Prospera, a Tel Aviv-based machine learning startup focused on agricultural solutions, has raised $7 million in Series A funding led by Bessemer Venture Partners. www.prospera.ag
• Influential, a Beverly Hills, Calif.-based influencer marketing platform, has raised $5 million in Series A funding led by Australia’s Capital Zed. www.influential.co
• Reflect, a Portland, Ore.-based data visualization platform for developers, has raised $2.5 million in seed funding. DFJ led the round, and was joined by Liquid 2 Ventures, Founders Co-Op, Techstars and Stanford University. www.reflect.io
• Bolstra, a Carmel, Ind.-based B2B SaaS company focused on customer success management, has raised $1.5 million in new VC funding from Elevate Ventures and individual angels. www.bolstra.com
• Intellirod Spine, an Akron, Ohio-based developer of disposable and implantable wireless RFID sensor technology for monitoring spinal rod strains, has raised over $1 million in VC funding from Queen City Angel Fist Fund and JumpStart. www.intellirodspine.com
• DataTribe, a Fulton, Md.-based startup studio focused on technologies forged by US. government R&D projects, has signed a strategic partnership with Silicon Valley venture firm Allegis Capital. www.datatribe.com
• Firmex, a Canadian provider of virtual data rooms and platform for secure document sharing, has raised an undisclosed amount of equity funding from Novacap. www.firmex.com
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Audax Private Equity has acquired RelaDyne Inc., a Cincinnati-based lubricant and fuel distributor, from AEA Investors. No financial terms were disclosed. www.reladyne.com
• Belcan LLC, a Cincinnati-based portfolio company of AE Industrial Partners, has acquired Intercom Consulting & Federal Systems, a Lansdowne, Va.-based provider of enterprise-level IT solutions for the U.S. federal government. No financial terms were disclosed www.belcancorporation.com
• Columbia Asia, a Seattle-based operator of 27 hospitals and one clinic in India, Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia, has raised $101 million in funding from Mitsui & Co. www.colpacmanagement.com
• Hylan Datacom & Electrical, a Holmdel, N.J.-based provider of communications and Internet infrastructure solutions, has raised an undisclosed amount of equity funding from Flexis Capital and TZP Group. www.hylangroup.com
• Tidemark, a Redwood City, Calif.-based provider of enterprise performance management software, has raised an undisclosed amount of growth equity funding from Marlin Equity Partners. www.tidemark.net
• First Hawaiian Inc., a Honolulu-based bank with $16.1 billion in deposits, has set its IPO terms to 21.1 million shares being offered at between $21 and $23 per share. It plans to trade on the Nasdsaq under ticker symbol FHB, with Goldman Sachs listed as left lead underwriter. www.fhb.com
• Kadmon Holdings, a New York-based developer of kinase inhibitors for autoimmune disease, fibrosis and solid tumors, raised $75 million in its IPO. The company priced 6.3 million shares at $12 per share, compared to earlier plans to offer 5.6 million shares at between $16 and $20 per share. It will trade on the NYSE under ticker symbol KDMN, with Citigroup and Jefferies serving as lead underwriters. Kadmon reports around a $33 million net loss on $10 million in revenue for Q1 2016. www.kadmon.com
• Nordic Capital has hired Goldman Sachs to find a buyer for Muntrers, a Swedish air treatment company that could be valued at around €1 billion, according to Reuters. Read more.
• PSA Group, the automaker whose brands include Peugeot, has acquired a majority stake in Autobutler, a European auto-repair marketplace. No financial terms were disclosed. Selling shareholders reportedly include Creandum and Index Ventures. Read more.
• Analog Devices (Nasdaq: ADI) has agreed to acquire Linear Technology (Nasdaq: LLTC) for approximately $14.8 billion. The $60 per share deal represents a 24% premium to Linear’s closing stock price on Monday. Read more.
• LogMeIn (Nasdaq: LOGM) has agreed to acquire videoconferencing service GoToMeeting from Citrix Systems (Nasdaq: CTXS), via a Reverse Morris Trust transaction. Read more.
FIRMS & FUNDS
• Peak Ventures, a Provo, Utah-based VC firm, is raising its second fund, according to a regulatory filing. www.peakventures.vc
MOVING IN, ON & UP
• John Brooks has joined TVM Capital Healthcare Partners as a senior advisor. He most recently was president and CEO of the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston and, before that, was a partner with Prism Venture Partners. www.tvm-capital.ae
• J.F. Lehman & Co. has promoted Glenn Shor to managing director. He had joined the aerospace, defense and maritime-focused private equity firm in 2010. The firm also promoted David Thomas to vice president and Ben Hatcher to senior associate. www.jflco.com
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