The Philadelphia sky is gray, the political conventions are finally over and I’m just hours away from two weeks of R&R. In other words, it’s time for some Friday Feedback:
First up are replies to my recent column on VC investment in smart-gun technologies.
Ann: “Well done! We are all complicit, one way or another, unless we work against the status quo.”
Nick: “I suspect a successful approach to this would need to be two-pronged: policy lobbying and selling directly to gun manufacturers, convincing them to embed the technology. This two pronged approach was necessary and common in the cleantech space, but basically unheard of today. Insofar as VC has a charter from society to incubate the technologies that make our lives better, they ought to bring this to market. There’s a business to be built here. It’s just not as easy as selling SaaS.”
Frank: “I suspect that the fact that there is a very cheap, low-tech way to secure any gun (trgger locks) reduces the potential pay off for one of these more sophisticated solutions. Were there ever to be legislation that compelled people to secure their guns, there would be a rush to buy these cheap/simple alternatives, thereby capping any potential VC type pay off.”
Daniela: “I believe the problem is that several LPs require GPs not to invest in certain sectors delineated by their ESG guidelines. As you mentioned, smart guns would in fact do a favor to society to prevent the misuse of guns by someone else that was not the intended user. But it does not prevent killing innocent people, mass shootings and terrorism acts. And is hard for GPs/LPs to set a line where investing in guns is ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ I disagree to compare it to investing in Airbnb and pharma, as the fundamental reason for not investing in guns is not the fact that is legal or not, but the social impact it may have.”
Jim: “With all due respect, nobody cares about your social or political views (e.g. on gun violence). To believe otherwise would be very arrogant. I subscribe to your newsletter to hear about the latest news in the PE and VC community. Please stick to that.”
Jonathan Mossberg: “My company is the pioneer of this, having built fully functioning smart-guns 16 years ago. We spent over $5 million in personal funds developing our shotgun and now we need to raise money to build a handgun – but we are having a tough time finding backers. I feel very frustrated that I could have built a handgun years ago that would have absolutely prevented the [recent] takeaway shooting in Michigan.”
• Jim on the Dollar Shave Club deal: “Is a great commercial worth $1 billion? It has to be. Because I don’t think slapping a subscription model or ‘club’ onto any mass market item can be worth anything more than the NPV of what you can sell before everyone figures it out.”
• Ken on Peter Thiel’s RNC speech: “It might have been nice to note that Thiel didn’t purport to speak for most VCs or the startup ecosystem—he was just speaking for himself.” Fair point Ken, although I never said Thiel purported to speak for others. But the Trump campaign was most certainly trying to present him as a proxy.
• Publishing note: This is my last Term Sheet for the next two weeks, as I’m taking my annual summer hibernation. But you’ll be in great hands with Erin Griffith. Please be sure to follow her on Twitter @eringriffith and email her news and views at email@example.com.
Have a great weekend, and we’ll chat again soon…
THE BIG DEAL
• VytronUS, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based developer of medical devices for the treatment of cardiac arrhythmias, has raised $49 million in Series C funding. Backers include Apple Tree Partners, NEA, BioStar Ventures and Windham Venture Partners. www.vytronus.com
VENTURE CAPITAL DEALS
• Reltio, a Redwood Shores, Calif.-based data management platform-as-a-service company, has raised $22 million in Series B funding. NEA led the round, and was joined by return backers Crosslink Capital and .406 Ventures. www.reltio.com
• Wonder Workshop Inc., a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based maker of robots that teach kids computer science and coding fundamentals, has raised $20 million in Series B funding. WI Harper Group and Idea Bulb Ventures co-led the round, and were joined by Learn Capital, Charles River Ventures, Madrona Venture Group and TCL. www.makewonder.com
• Paidy, a provider of purchase settlement technology for Japan, has raised $15 million in Series B funding. Eight Roads (Fidelity) and SBI co-led the round, and were joined by Itochu Corp. and return backers Arbor Ventures and SIG Asia. Read more.
nVision Medical Corp., a Mountain View, Calif.-based provider of medical devices for treatment of female infertility caused by fallopian tube dysfunction, has raised $12 million in Series B funding. Arboretum Ventures led the round, and was joined by return backer Catalyst Health Ventures. www.nvisionmedical.com
• BP3 Global Inc., an Austin, Texas-based provider of business process and decision management software and services, has raised $10 million in growth equity funding from Petra Capital Partners. www.bp-3.com
• LeadGenius, a Berkley, Calif.-based account-based marketing platform, has raised $10 million in Series B funding. Lumia Capital led the round, and was joined by Javelin Venture Partners and return backers Sierra Ventures, Better Ventures, Bee Partners, YC Continuity Fund, Kapor Capital, Initialized Capital, Fuel Capital, Scrum Ventures and FundersClub. www.leadgenius.com
• Cloudvirga, an Irvine, Calif.-based developer of a cloud software platform for streamlining the mortgage process, has raised $7.5 million in Series A funding. Dallas Capital led the round, and was joined by Upfront Ventures and Tribeca Angels. www.cloudvirga.com
• Roomi, a New York-based roommate finder app, has raised $4 million in seed funding led by DCM. Read more.
• Cronycle, a UK-based collaborative research platform, has raised $2.6 million in Series A funding from Andurance Ventures. www.cronycle.com
• Mozio, a San Francisco-based ground transportation app for travelers, has raised an undisclosed amount of strategic funding from JetBlue Technology Ventures. www.mozio.com
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Accel-KKR has completed its previously-announced acquisition of SciQuest Inc. (Nasdaq: SQI), a Morrisville, N.C.-based provider of spend management solutions, for around $509 million, or $17.75 per share (34% premium over Friday’s closing price). www.sciquest.com
• BC Partners and Public Sector Pension Investment Board have agreed to acquire a majority stake in Keter Plastic, an Israeli maker of outdoor furniture. No financial terms were disclosed, but earlier media reports suggested a sale price of around $1.6 billion. www.keter.com
• Claire’s Stores, a fashion jewelry retailer owned by Apollo Global Management, is preparing to speak with creditors to restructure its $2.4 billion in debt, according to Reuters. Read more.
• Platte River Equity has acquired CTS Engines, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based provider of MRO services for aircraft engine platforms, from Palm Beach Capital. No financial terms were disclosed. www.ctsengines.com
• Talend SA, a French provider of big data integration software, raised $95 million in its IPO. The company priced 5.3 million shares at $18 per share (above $15-$17 offering range). It will trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol TLND, while Goldman Sachs served as lead underwriter. Talend reports a $5.3 million net loss on $22.8 million in revenue for Q1 2016, compared to a $5.9 million net loss on $17 million in revenue for the year-earlier period. It had raised around $125 million in VC funding from firms like Silver Lake Sumeru (25.4% pre-IPO stake), Idinvest Partners (20.1%), Balderton Capital (20%), Galileo Partners (8.2%) and Bpifrance (6.9%). Read more.
• NXT-ID Inc. (Nasdaq: NXTD) has acquired LogicMark LLC, a Louisville, Ky.-based provider of personal emergency response devices, from Generation3 Capital and Promus Equity Partners and $20.9 million. www.logicmark.com
• Serent Capital has agreed to sell Commissions Inc., a Marietta, Ga.-based residential real estate software platform, to Fidelity National Financial (NYSE: FNF). No financial terms were disclosed. www.fnf.com
• Thoma Bravo is exploring a sale of Deltek, a Herndon, Va.-based provider of software to government contractors, according to Reuters. The deal could be valued at upwards of $3 billion. Read more.
• Angelo American (LSE: AAL) has declined takeover approaches from Indian mining magnate Anil Agarwal, according to Bloomberg. Read more.
• Derma Sciences (Nasdaq: DSCI) has agreed to acquire BioD LLC, a Memphis, Tenn.-based developer of regenerative medicine products derived from placental/birth tissue, for upwards of $99.1 million (including a $21.3m upfront payment). www.biodlogics.com
• MUFG Investor Services has agreed to acquire the Rydex Fund Services, a 1940-Act mutual fund administration business, from Guggenheim Partners. No financial terms were disclosed. www.mufg-investorservices.com
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
• The Carlyle Group has named Alan Holt, a managing director and co-head of U.S. buyouts, has been named to a new position as chairman of U.S. buyouts. He will be succeeded as co-head of U.S. buyouts by Sandra Horbach, formerly head of the firm’s consumer and retail team, alongside existing co-head Peter Clare. www.carlyle.com
• Jake Donovan has left J.P. Morgan to join boutique investment bank LionTree Advisors as president of European operations. Read more.
• Abel Osorio and Maurice Murphy have joined Turnspire Capital Partners as a principal and operating partner, respectively. Osorio previously co-founded Montserrat Capital Management and, before that, was a VP with Battery Ventures. Murphy is chairman of Avkem International and founded MWM Global Partners. www.turnspirecap.com
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