LA vs NYC
Last week at the Upfront Ventures summit in Los Angeles, a number of locals excitedly speculated that Snap’s IPO could propel L.A.’s tech ecosystem above New York City’s as the #2 in the country. It pains me to say this as a New Yorker, but they had a point.
NOW HEAR ME OUT, I know it’s not a competition. I know it’s not a zero-sum game. And I know it annoys people when the press plays up tech ecosystem rivalries. I’m not trying to do that. Yay, go tech, everyone’s city is special, even you, Silicon Sandbar.
But I also know image matters when top tech talent is deciding where to live or start companies. Having a large, high profile, publicly traded “tentpole” company in your city – one that will to hire you if your startup fails, one that will mint angel investors and maybe even a “mafia” of next-generation companies and investors — is very attractive. The Bay area has obviously that in scads.
New York has a strong presence from Google and Facebook. It has the DoubleClick Mafia. And it’s home to many solid exits, including Tumblr, Jet.com, Buddy Media and Shutterstock.
But none of its companies have approached Snap-level valuations. New York’s most IPO-friendly “unicorns,” including Blue Apron, WeWork, AppNexus, BuzzFeed – are either on the sidelines or a year or more away from going public. Shares of the companies that did go public, Etsy and OnDeck Capital, have languished below their IPO prices ever since. Onetime winners Gilt Groupe and Makerbot sold, but fell short of expectations. And Fab utterly melted down.
L.A.’s tech scene is younger, but has had its own meltdowns. Nasty Gal went bankrupt. The subscription companies ShoeDazzle and Beachmint, resorted to M&A. And The Honest Company recently laid off staff in its quest for profitability. It’s had numerous small-ish IPOs, including TrueCar, Cornerstone OnDemand and Rubicon Project, as well as the $1 billion sale of Dollar Shave Club to Unilever, the $1.5 billion sale of Lynda.com to LinkedIn, and the $2 billion sale of Oculus VR to Facebook. Other promising companies include SpaceX, Hyperloop, Thrive Market, and Scopely. An IPO as large and as high profile as Snap changes everything.
I asked C.B. Insights to give me an updated side-by-side comparison of the basics and threw in Boston for posterity. I’ll post the charts online later today so you can see the direction these numbers are trending, and after the Snap IPO, I’ll compare exit data.
Funding raised from 2012 to present / Number of deals:
L.A.: $14.9 billion / 1,198
NYC: $30.1 / 3,087
Boston: $23.1 billion / 1,628
VC vs. PE: Michael Moritz of Sequoia Capital has published searing New York Times op-ed about Stephen Schwarzman, Donald Trump, and carried interest. Trump vowed to close the carried interest loophole (an indefensible quirk” that Moritz admits he benefits from at Sequoia) during his campaign. But with Schwarzman leading Trump’s business council, that’s doubtful. Same goes for reforming the private equity industry, which Moritz harshly criticizes for job losses, including Blackstone’s 841 layoffs at Travelport. He writes:
It is wishful thinking that [the business council] will ever contemplate anything so daring as to make private equity principals personally liable for the loans they assign to companies — a move that, with the stroke of a pen, would curb many abuses and protect American workers and others whose standard of living has barely budged in a couple of decades.
The lower- and middle-income Americans who voted for Mr. Trump in droves would do well to listen hard to what Mr. Schwarzman is advising. They’ll hear the sound of dollars being sucked out of their pockets and slipped into the wallets of the 1 percent.
NEVERMIND! That’s theme of the IPO market so far this year. Following the dramatic last-minute sale of IPO-ready AppDynamics, 2017’s next big IPO, Mauser Group, has sold to Stone Canyon Industries for $2.3 billion. Mauser is a packing supply company backed by Clayton Dubilier & Rice. No word on whether the deal’s bankers were shopping the sale unbeknownst to the company…
PS. I’ve collected all my coverage so far of the Snap IPO in one place. Find it here.
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Tom Price, Dr. Personal Enrichment. A quiet giant of investing weighs in on Trump. The desperate battle to destroy Isis. The FBI is reverting to Fax machines to thwart FOIA requesters. Melania Trump sues over fears she missed the opportunity to profit from her role as First Lady. Mandatory legal standards like fire codes are now copyrighted. “The slow motion terrorism of pirate capitalism.” The new face of American unemployment. Dripping is the new vaping. Articles on terror attacks. A hedge fund run entirely with artificial intelligence. Peter Thiel says he’s not running for California governor, despite a PAC in support. Venmo has a Sean Spicer problem. Tech, church, and the battle for San Francisco’s soul.
• Fuze, a Cambridge, Mass.-based provider of enterprise communications services, raised $104 million in funding. Wellington Management Company led the round, and was joined by Greenspring Associates, Summit Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners, and G20.
• Shansong Express, a Shanghai-based logistics startup, raised $50 million in Series C funding from SIG Asia Investment, Yi Capital, and Prometheus Capital.
• HackerOne, a San Francisco-based cybersecurity company that helps businesses build bug bounty programs, raised $40 million in Series C funding. Dragoneer Investment Group led the round. Read more at Fortune.
• Fungible, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based developer of hardware and software for cloud data centers, raised $32.5 million in Series A funding from Mayfield, Walden Riverwood Ventures, Battery Ventures, and Juniper Networks.
• GOAT, a Culver City, Calif.-based mobile app for buying and selling sneakers, raised $25 million in funding. Accel led the round, and was joined by Matrix Partners, Upfront Ventures, and Webb Investment Network.
• CXA Group, a Singapore-based health technology startup, raised $25 million in Series B funding. B Capital Group and EDBI led the round.
• Chatbooks, a Provo, Utah mobile app that turns digital photos into physical photo books, raised $11.5 million in Series B funding. Aries Capital Partners led the round.
• Zeitgold, a Berlin-based provider of financial administration support for small businesses, raised €4.2 million ($4.5 million) in seed funding from Battery Ventures and Holtzbrinck Ventures.
• Once Upon a Farm, a San Diego-based organic baby food maker, raised $3.1 million in a Series A funding, according to the San Diego Business Journal. Cambridge Companies SPG led the round, and was joined by Seed 2 Growth Fund and Harbinger Ventures. Read more.
• Rippleshot, a Chicago-based fraud analytics firm, raised $2.6 million in funding. KDWC led the round, and was joined by CMFG Ventures.
• Tenka Labs, a San Francisco-based smart toy company, raised $2.1 million in seed funding from unnamed investors.
• Hashed Health, a Nashville, Tenn.-based provider of support services for blockchain networks, raised about $2 million in funding. Martin Ventures led the round, and was joined by Fenbushi Capital.
• Airsorted, a London-based provider of management services for Airbnb properties, raised £1.5 million ($1.9 million) in funding. Concentric led the round, and was joined by 500 Startups and Pi Labs.
• Artemest, a Milan-based ecommerce site for Italian handmade luxury products, raised $1.2 million in seed funding. IAG led the round, and was joined by angel investors.
HEALTH + LIFE SCIENCES DEALS
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• The Carlyle Group (Nasdaq:CG) acquired a majority stake in CMC Networks, a Johannesburg-based telecommunications carrier, for more than $100 million.
• Altus Capital Partners acquired MAX Environmental Technologies, a Pittsburgh-based environmental services company that treats, stores, and disposes of industrial waste. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Baldwin Technology Company, a manufacturer and supplier of process-automation equipment backed by Forsyth Capital Investors, acquired Air Motion Systems, a River Falls, Wis.-based provider of LED UV curing technology.
• Innovative Chemical Products, backed by Audax Private Equity, acquired MinusNine Technologies, a Birdsboro, Pa.-based formulator and manufacturer of UV/EB coatings, adhesives, primers, and specialty products for graphic arts and industrial applications. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Waud Capital Partners invested in Minnesota Eye Consultants, a provider of clinical eye care services.
• Canada Goose, a Toronto-based apparel maker backed by Bain Capital, has filed to confidentially go public, using a dual-listing in New York and Toronto, according to Bloomberg. The company aims to raised between $200 million and $300 million at a $2 billion valuation. Read more.
• Saudi Aramco, a Saudi Arabia oil producer, has hired Moelis, a New York City-based boutique investment bank, as an advisor as it prepares to go public at a valuation of more than $2 trillion. Read more at Fortune.
• The Priceline Group (NASDAQ: PCLN) agreed to acquire the Momondo Group, a London-based online travel portal backed by Great Hill Partners, for $550 million in cash.
• Hootsuite, a Vancouver, Canada-based social media management company, acquired AdEspresso, a San Francisco-based company that helps businesses understand and manage their Facebook advertising campaigns. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. AdEspresso raised $3.2 million in VC funding from investors including Venture Friends, 500Startups, and angel investors.
• Brook Venture Partners, Resolute Capital Partners, and Eagle Private Capital acquired Cole Information Services, an Omaha, Neb.-based provider of consumer and business databases, from MCM Capital Partners. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
FIRMS + FUNDS
• One Equity Partners, a New York City-based middle-market private equity firm, raised $1.65 billion for its sixth fund, One Equity Partners VI.
• Vector Capital, a San Francisco-based private equity firm, raised $1.4 billion for its fifth fund, Vector Capital V.
• Green Bay Ventures, a San Francisco-based venture capital firm founded by NEA-cofounder Dick Kramlich and Anthony Schiller, raised $130 million, mostly from family offices, for its first fund, according to a person familiar with the situation. The firm plans to raise a healthcare-focused fund of the same size.
• Blue Sage Capital promoted Eric Weiner and Jonathan Pearce from vice presidents to principals, and hired Austin Prentice and Afshar Sanati as associates.
• Arthur Mornington has joined Oakley Capital’s (AIM:OCL) private equity unit, according to Reuters. Previously Mornington was a partner at Charterhouse Capital Partners. In addition, Hayley Whitehead joined the firm as assistant director of its deals team, and Lovis von Andrian and Alex Golling joined as associates. Read more.
• Ashish Aggarwal has joined Grishin Robotics as a principal. Previously he was the director of corporate development at Opera Software.
• Janelle Goulard has joined Pangaea Ventures as the director of health investment. The firm also promoted Sarah Applebaum to director of Pangaea Spark, and Matthew Cohen to director of technology.