Money in the Bank: Yesterday’s Term Sheet included a last-minute deal announcement that deserves a little extra attention today: Battery Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz and Ribbit Capital invested $28 million in Cross River Bank.
As the company’s name suggests, Cross River isn’t a hot fintech startup working out of a WeWork in SoMa. It’s a boring old FDIC-insured, deposit-taking community bank. It is eight years old and has a single branch in Teaneck, New Jersey.
So why would three venture firms throw so much money at a bank? Well, they think Cross River can become the next Bank of America. As WSJ and others reported yesterday, the bank is doing some interesting partnerships with companies like Stripe and Mastercard, as well as online lenders.
But there’s one key element that wasn’t reported in yesterday’s announcement: Cross River is stealthily building a brand-new “next generation” consumer bank.
It’s called Almond Bank, and its run by Ben Weiss, who was most recently entrepreneur-in-residence at Two Sigma Ventures. Prior to that he did business development at Opera Solutions and StockTwits.
A Cross River rep declined to share any more information about Almond Bank, but from what I understand, it’s meant to be an innovative “bank within a bank.” Based in New York, the division has been in the works for about a year. LinkedIn lists around ten employees.
One source described Almond as “if BBVA had incubated Simple instead of buying it.” You remember Simple: It was meant to be a new kind of bank with no branches and no ATM fees. It even marketed itself as an “anti-bank.” But it was plagued by outages and glitches, which led to lots of toldja-sos. (“This is what happens when your bank is an app!”) When it comes to money, trust will always trump good UX. Simple eventually sold to BBVA in 2014, and it has stayed quiet since. From the looks of it, Almond aims to pick up where Simple left off.
White House to Sand Hill Road: President Obama has hinted he would like to dabble in venture capital once he’s out of office. Many bold-faced names on his staff have already taken jobs at startups or tech giants, including David Plouffe, Lisa Jackson, Eric Holder, Ryan Metcalf, Nick Shapiro, and Demetrios Marantis.
Here’s one more to add to the list joining a venture firm: Jay Tansey, former presidential appointee and policy advisor at the U.S. Small Business Administration, has joined North Atlantic Capital, a Portland, Maine-based venture firm focused on late-stage technology companies, as a principal.
For Your Health: Fortune’s inaugural Brainstorm Health conference is underway. Follow along with the livestream, if that’s your thing, right here. Some coverage from last night’s kick-off: We’ve been treating appendicitis wrong. Arianna doesn’t love VR, does love rest. Maria Shriver talks Alzheimer’s. How to stop pandemics. Meditating with Deepak Chopra. Shrinking drug development cycles. Replacing doctors with 3D printing and AI.
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PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
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• Bertram Capital has invested in Trademark Games Holdings, a Lorain, Ohio-based wholesale distributor.
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• Strattam Capital has agreed to invest in Contegix, a Saint Louis-based IT hosting company.
• Broadcom, a Singapore-based chipmaker, said it would acquire network gear maker Brocade for $5.5 billion in cash, or $12.75 per share, 46.7% above Brocade’s Friday close. Read more at Fortune.
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FIRMS + FUNDS
Kensington Capital Partners, the manager of BC Tech Fund, has invested in Vanedge Capital II, a Vancouver-based venture capital fund focused on technology companies in cloud and Infrastructure, SaaS, cybersecurity and digital media.
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• Michael Drai and Kim Vender Moffat have both been promoted to managing director at Sterling Partners. Moffat joined the private equity firm in 1999, and Drai in 2008.
• Robbie Radant has joined Matrix Capital Markets Group as a director, where he’ll head the firm’s new Dallas office. He was previously vice president of mergers and acquisitions at 7-Eleven.