TRUMP, VERIHOO, LAYOFF WATCH
Yesterday the Titans of Tech met with Trump, drank his Trump-branded water, rode his Trump-gold elevator. A few notes for those of you that didn’t spend the afternoon refreshing Twitter for new photos of CEOs looking miserable:
- Some thought, given many tech leaders’ vocal opposition to Trump, that this would go down like his closed-door evisceration of the media elite. But instead Trump went in for the charm and offered his help.
- But not without one subtle twist of the knife: “Right now everybody in this room has to like me at least a little bit,” he said, taking credit for the recent stock market bump. That incredible sentence was four things at once: A power play (he is President-Elect, they’re merely CEOs), a subtle dig (the market bounce hasn’t affected most of the tech companies there), an expression of values (celebrating short-term stock movements over long term growth), and a risk (if you take credit for the market going up, get ready to take blame when it goes back down).
- Twitter was excluded, officially because it was too small, unofficially because of some petty flap over an emoji. This entire event was supposedly about jobs, so it’s fair to exclude Twitter, which only employs around 3860 people. (Compare that to, say, Cisco or Alphabet’s approximately 70,000.) But that’s still more than the latest available headcount on the only privately held company represented: Palantir and its CEO Alex Karp. Yes, Palantir’s $20 billion paper valuation is higher than Twitter’s market cap, but this was clearly Peter Theil playing favorites.
- That favoritism pales in comparison to the people who truly should not have been there: Trump’s children, who will supposedly control his business in a blind trust, and his son-on-law, who got a prime seat in the middle of the table.
- Since the tech titans refused to talk to the press on their way in and out, we were left with Trump’s prepared remarks and a bunch of miserable-looking photos. (Jeff Bezos and Safra Catz at least put out official statements.) I’m wondering if they were hoping their critical employees and disappointed industry peers might let them off the hook if they telegraphed exactly how much they hated this with their eyes.
Layoff watch: Iron.io has laid off 18 of its 56 employees, the company confirmed to Term Sheet. “We reduced headcount to focus on a new business model but company is alive and strong with over 400 customers and almost cash flow breakeven,” said CEO Chad Arimura.
Iron.io is a San Francisco-based provider of an open-sourced serverless computing platform. The company has raised $17 million in funding from Baseline Ventures, Bain Capital, Sapphire Ventures, Right Ventures, Ignition Partners, Divergent Ventures, and Cloud Capital Partners.
Uh-oh: The Yahoo and Verizon deal could very well fall apart. Deal negotiations were re-opened earlier this year when Yahoo revealed 500 million accounts were hacked. It’s not clear whether management knew and failed to disclose it to potential buyers during diligence. Verizon can obviously use this to negotiate a lower price, but nobody seemed to think it jeopardized the deal actually happening. (The initial rumors were that Verizon’s side tried to knock $1 billion off the $4.8 billion price, but would likely land on something closer to $100 million.)
But yesterday Yahoo revealed the hacking was far worse: A billion more accounts were compromised. Verizon’s official line is that it “will review” the situation. Yahoo’s official line is “uh-oh.”
Quiz time: As the year winds down, it’s time to clean out Term Sheet’s tip jar. But I need some audience participation to do so. Here’s the first clue:
Which e-commerce startup is nearing a deal to sell itself after months of trying to raise a new round?
P.S. Leo’s other venture fund was obvious. As in, Obvious Ventures.
THE LATEST FROM FORTUNE...
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• The first fruits of Trump’s industrial policy
• Uber’s self-driving car ran a red light.
• Facebook’s ‘not a media company’ claim getting harder to swallow
• Logicworks, a New York City-based cloud automation and managed services provider, raised $135 million from Pamplona Capital.
• Hopper, a Cambridge, Mass.-based maker of a mobile app that analyzes and predicts airfare, raised $82 million CAD ($61.6 million) in Series C funding. Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec led the round, with participation from BDC, Capital IT Venture Fund, and existing investors Brightspark Ventures, Accomplice, OMERS, and Investissement Québec.
• Next Entertainment, a Beijing-based video technology company, raised $25 million in new funding from FunPlus, Inke, GSR Ventures, Mayfield, and Signia Venture Partners, according to VentureBeat. Read more. This item has been corrected to say Next Entertainment is located in Beijing.
• Goldfinch Bio, a Cambridge, Mass.-based company focused on discovering and developing precision therapies for patients with kidney disease, raised $55 million in Series A funding from Third Rock Ventures.
• BillFront, a London-based financial technology company that helps digital media businesses access their media revenues, raised $35 million in debt and equity. Investors include 4Finance, NIBC Bank and FinLeap.
• Amino Apps, a New York-based startup behind more than 250,000 niche communities centered on interests ranging from Pokémon to K-Pop, raised $19.2 million in Series B funding. Investors include GV, Venrock, Union Square Ventures, Time Warner Investments, Goodwater Capital, and Box Group. Read more at Fortune.
• Hippo, a Mountain View, Calif.-based company that provides home insurance, raised $14 million in Series A funding. Horizons Ventures led the round, with participation from RPM Ventures, Propel Venture Partners, GGV Capital, Pipeline Capital, and other investors.
• Ynsect, a French company that specializes in breeding insects, raised $15.2 million in Series B funding. Future Positive Capital and Bpifrance Ecotechnologies led the round, with participation from existing investors Emertec, Demeter, Vis Vires New Protein Capital, and Business Angels.
• Springbot, an Atlanta-based ecommerce marketing platform, raised $10 million in Series B funding. Harbert Growth Partners led the round, and was joined by Tech Operators and TTV Capital.
• Ember Technologies, a Westlake Village, Calif.-based maker of a container for hot beverages, raised $8.5 million in funding from Demi Lovato, Joe Jonas, Nick Jonas, and other entertainers and professional athletes.
• Traxo, a Dallas-based traveler data aggregator, raised $5.2 million in Series B funding. TripAdvisor led the round, with participation from Aristos Ventures and existing investors Thayer Ventures, Advantage Capital Partners, and Silver Creek Ventures.
• Tilt Biotherapeutics, a Helsinki-based company developing cancer treatments, raised $4.3 million in funding from Lifeline Ventures Ltd, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation, and the European Commission.
• Stonestep, a Swiss insurance technology company, raised $4 million in Series A funding from XL Innovate.
• Healthcare Asset Network, a Prospect, Ky.-based platform for buying and selling medical supplies and surgical equipment, raised $3 million in funding. Investors include Kentucky Science & Technology Corporation and Tamarind Hill.
• Alinto, a French email software provider, raised €2.3 million ($2.4 million) from Cic Lyonnaise De Banque and has acquired Cleanmail, a Swiss spam filtering company.
• Maxwell Financial Labs, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based platform that connects home buyers, agents, and lenders, raised $1.95 million in funding from MATH Venture Partners, Techstars Ventures, Zelkova Ventures and Sovereign’s Capital.
• Growth Capital Ventures, a London-based platform that connects entrepreneurs with investors, raised £1.1 million ($1.4 million) in funding from Maven Capital Partners.
• SAXX Underwear, a Vancouver-based maker of men’s premium underwear, raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Brentwood Associates.
• SwissPay, a Swiss company that helps news publishers monetize their content by selling access to individual articles, raised funding from Polytech Ecosystem Ventures and Edipresse Group.
• Luminance, a London-based provider of document analytics software for the legal industry, raised an undisclosed amount in funding from Talis Capital.
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Hygiena, backed by Warburg Pincus, will acquire the global food safety diagnostics business of DuPont, a Wilmington, Del.-based chemical manufacturer. Financial terms were not disclosed.
• Mercer Advisors, backed by Genstar Capital, has acquired Fabian Wealth Strategies, a Costa Mesa, Calif.-based registered investment advisory firm. Financial terms were not disclosed.
• Benford Capital Partners has acquired Droplet Measurement Technologies, a Boulder, Colo.-based manufacturer of scientific cloud and aerosol particle measurement instruments.
• Draper Esprit (AIM:GROW) has invested £8 million ($10 million) in Clavis Insight, a Dublin-based online and ecommerce analytics company.
• The Jordan Company, a New York City-based private equity firm, has agreed to buy industrial company Vectra Co.’s Borchers business division. Terms were not disclosed.
• Cortec Group, a New York City-based private equity firm, has recapitalized The Eye Academy of America, a Denver, Colo.-based operator of ophthalmology clinics and ambulatory surgery centers. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
• Bain Capital Private Equity has agreed to acquire Innocor Inc., a Red Bank, N.J.-based manufacturer of foam products for commercial and retail channels, from Sun Capital Partners. Terms were not disclosed.
• Aircraft Technical Publishers, owned by private equity firm ParkerGale Capital, has acquired CaseBank Technologies, a Toronto-based provider of diagnostic, troubleshooting, and fault detection solutions for the aviation, aerospace and defense industries.
• Liberty Media Corp plans to raise $1.55 billion to fund its acquisition of Formula One racing car series. Investors including Coatue Management, D. E. Shaw, and Jana Partners have committed to purchase some of Liberty’s Series C common stock at $25 per share.
• Grifols SA (BME:GRF) has agreed to buy Hologic Inc.‘s (NasdaqGS:HOLX) stake in the two company’s shared blood screening business for $1.85 billion in cash, according to Reuters. Read more.
• Lufthansa (DB:LHA) has agreed to purchase the 55% stake in Brussels Airlines it doesn’t already own for €2.6 million ($2.8 million) from SN Airholding, according to Reuters. Read more.
• Twenty-First Century Fox (NasdaqGS:FOXA) has made a $14.6 billion bid to buy the 61% of Sky (LSE:SKY) it doesn’t already own. At £10.75 ($13.4) pounds per share, the offer represents around a 40% premium on the stock’s closing price the day before the initial proposal was announced. Read more at Fortune.
• Keane Group, a Houston, Texas-based provider of services for the hydraulic fracturing industry, is seeking to raise up to $288 million in an initial public offering. It plans to trade on the NYSE under the ticker symbol FRAC.
• Just Eat (LSE:JE.), in two separate deals, has agreed to acquire SkipTheDishes, a Canadian food delivery startup, and Hungry House, online food ordering platform Delivery Hero’s U.K. business, according to the Telegraph. It will pay £66.1 million ($82 million) for SkipTheDishes, which raised an undisclosed amount in funding from investors including Founder Collective and FJ Lab. And it has agreed to pay up to £240 million ($300 million) for Hungry House. Read more.
FIRMS + FUNDS
• Warburg Pincus, a New York City-based private equity firm, raised $2 billion for Warburg Pincus China, its first fund dedicated to making investments in China.
• HGGC, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based private equity firm, raised $1.84 billion for its third fund, HGGC Fund III.
• Flagship Ventures changed its name to Flagship Pioneering. The firm also announced it raised $285 million for a follow-on capital fund.
• Alven Capital, a Paris-based early-stage venture capital firm, raised €250 million ($260.3 million) for its fifth fund.
• Kevin Zhang has been promoted to partner at Upfront Ventures, a Los Angeles-based venture capital firm. Zhang joined the firm in 2012 as an associate.
• Sapphire Ventures has promoted four of its colleagues: Rajeev Dham, who joined the firm in 2013, is now a principal; Phil Orr, who joined in 2015, is now a senior associate; Shruti Tournatory, who joined in 2014, is now VP of market development; and Laura Moir, who joined in 2015, is now a marketing manager.
• Norwest Equity Partners has made a series of promotions: Taylor Moore and Jason Sondell are now principals, Emma Gergen is now a director, and Brandon Ressler is now an assistant controller.