GO FOR IT
Good morning! Quick one today:
Startup for sale: One more tidbit on yesterday’s Yik Yak news: A source tells me that Sequoia Capital was initially seeking $90 million to $110 million for the assets, and DCM Ventures, an investor in the company’s Series A round, was hoping to get $45 million to $55 million.
The company is pitching its team, apps, and technology around surfacing “good” content and handling engagement of communities at scale. One problem with that pitch is that Yik Yak doesn’t have a lot of leverage: The product no longer has a large audience, and some members of its tech team have left for local competitors like MailChimp and FullStory. The Verge reports that Square is an interested buyer and that Yik Yak’s co-founders do not intend to stay on after a sale.
Timing the market: Setting aside the vitriol, cyberbullying, harassment, and hate, the Internet can sometimes be a fun, helpful, and even magical place. I enjoy the pure silliness of single-purpose sites like the Sadtrombone, for example. A more specific single-purpose genre serves as a Magic 8-Ball for important decisions, such as, What the **** should I make for dinner? and, Is it iced coffee weather?
Now startup founders have their own single-purpose site to help them time the market: Goodwater Capital launched a tool called Is now a good time to fundraise? It’s an index that uses market data to answer its namesake question. The answer, today, is “Go for it.”
Supervote: The Wall Street Journal has a story on the tech industry’s love of supervoting shares. Some investors don’t like them! But one paragraph stuck out to me, reminding me that this isn’t just a tech industry thing:
The tech industry’s use of so-called supervoting shares has climbed so much in the past five years that it is roughly in line with IPOs as a whole.
In other words, every other sector in the IPO-able economy loves dual-class stock structures, too. The article notes that the structure became widely accepted by exchanges, regulators and investors in the 80’s as a way for companies to fend off corporate raiders. It only became popular among tech companies after Google used it. Now, with the resurgence in shareholder activism, more companies are considering the structure for protection.
New fund alert: Bradley Tusk is most well-known in the tech world for advising Uber on its political machinations. Less known is the fact that Tusk typically works for startups in exchange for equity, a model that gained notoriety in the dotcom bubble, but has paid off pretty well for him given the companies in his portoflio. Now he’s raising his own fund, TechCrunch reports. Tusk Ventures held a first close on $25 million in commitments. Jordan Nof, formerly of Blackston Group, is running the fund.
THE LATEST FROM FORTUNE...
• More on the TPG-McAfee deal.
• Microsoft is copying Snap, too.
• Qualcomm’s acquisition of NXP has cleared a key antitrust hurdle.
• The ‘war on coal’ is over, though utilities don’t care.
• Snowflake Computing, a San Mateo, Calif. developer of cloud-based data warehousing software, raised $100 million in Series D funding. Investors ICONIQ Capital, Madrona Venture Group, Altimeter Capital, Redpoint Ventures, Sutter Hill Ventures, and Wing Ventures. Read more at Fortune.
• Cohesity, a Santa Clara, Calif. provider of hyperconverged secondary storage, raised $90 million in a Series C funding. GV and Sequoia Capital led the round, with participation from Cisco Investments, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Accel, ARTIS Ventures, Battery Ventures, DHVC, Foundation Capital, Qualcomm Ventures, Trinity Ventures, and Wing Venture Capital.
• Qumulo, a Seattle developer of NAS storage systems, raised $30 million in funding. Northern Light Venture Capital led the round, and was joined by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Madrona Venture Group, Top Tier Capital Partners, and Tyche Partners.
• SlashNext, a Pleasanton, Calif. cybersecurity startup, raised $9 million in Series A funding. Norwest Venture Partners and Wing Venture Capital led the round.
• Platterz, a Toronto corporate catering platform, raised $6.7 million in seed funding. Investors include AltaIR Capital, Globalive Capital, Kevin Kimsa, Dennis Bennie, Ran Makavy, and Oren Zeev.
• Vimcar, a Berlin digital car company, raised $5.5 million in Series A funding, according to TechCrunch. Unternehmertum Venture Capital Partners and Coparion led the round, with participation from French Groupe Arnault and angel investors. Read more.
• Wellthie, a New York City company that develops software for insurance carriers and brokers, raised $5 million in Series A funding. IA Capital Group led the round, and was joined by Aflac Ventures.
• Azitra, a Farmington, Conn. startup developing microbiome treatments for skin conditions, raised $2.9 million in Series A funding. Bios Partners led the round.
• CheckRecipient, a London machine learning startup working to ensure emails aren’t sent to the wrong person, raised $2.7 million in funding. Accel and LocalGlobe led the round, with the participation of Winton Ventures, Amadeus Capital Partners, and Crane.
• Upskill, a Herndon, Va. provider of software for industrial augmented reality wearables, raised an undisclosed amount in Series B funding. Investors include Boeing, GE Ventures, New Enterprise Associates, and SineWave Ventures.
• Street Contxt, a Toronto fintech company, raised an undisclosed amount in funding. Joe Lonsdale led the round, and was joined by Point72 Ventures, Palm Drive Capital, and Portag3 Ventures, among other investors.
HEALTH + LIFE SCIENCES DEALS
• Viracta Therapeutics, a San Diego, Calif. clinical-stage drug development company, raised $18.4 million in Series B funding. NantKwest (Nasdaq:NK) led the round, and was joined by Wicklow Capital, Latterell Venture Partners, and Forward Ventures.
• Magnolia Medical Technologies, a Seattle medical device manufacturer, raised $7.25 million in funding. Investors include Canepa Advanced Healthcare Fund.
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Advent and Bain Capital acquired RatePAY, a Berlin-based provider of online installment payments, from Otto Group. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. Advent and Bain said they will merge RatePAY with their existing portfolio company Concardis GmbH, a German provider of debit and credit transactions.
• Public Pension Capital and FiveW Capital acquired Viteos Fund Services, a Somerset, N.J. provider of middle- and back-office technology and services for the investment management industry.
• New Water Capital Partners acquired Custom Made Meals, a Denver, Colo. oven-ready meal manufacturer.
• L Catterton invested in Mizzen+Main, a Dallas-based menswear brand. Terms weren’t disclosed.
• Greenbriar Equity Group invested in The Whitcraft Group, an Eastford, Conn. metal aerospace components manufacturer.
• Gryphon Investors acquired a majority stake in Wind River Environmental, a Hudson, Mass.-based provider of inspection, installation, repair, and maintenance services for non-hazardous liquid environmental waste. Terms weren’t disclosed.
• JAB Holdings, which owns a portfolio of consumer brands including Peet’s Coffee & Tea and Krispy Kreme, agreed to acquire Panera Bread (Nasdaq:PNRA) for $7.5 billion, including debt. At $315 per Panera share, JAB Holdings’ offer represents a 20.3% premium to the company’s closing price on March 31. Read more at Fortune.
• Payless ShoeSource, a Topeka, Kan.-based discount footwear retailer owned by Blum Capital and Golden Gate Capital Partners, filed for bankruptcy Tuesday. The company said it had less than $1 billion in assets but as much as $10 billion in liabilities. Read more at Fortune.
• Audax Private Equity acquired Fastener Distribution Holdings, a Marina Del Rey, Calif. supplier of fasteners and other components for aircraft manufacturing, from Housatonic Partners. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• The Wicks Group of Companies acquired EZShield, a Forest Hill, Md. provider of identity theft protection, from EdgeStone Capital Partners.
• OMERS Private Equity agreed to acquire Inmar, a Winston-Salem, N.C.-based provider of logistic management services for the consumer goods and healthcare industries, from ABRY Partners.
• Petco, a San Diego, Calif.-based operator of pet supply stores owned by CVC Capital, acquired PetCoach, a developer of an app that connects owners with veterinarians. PetCoach raised $2.3 million in venture funding from backers including Comcast Ventures, Maveron, and DreamIt Ventures.
FIRMS + FUNDS
• Summit Partners, a Boston-based global alternative investment firm, raised $3.3 billion for its ninth growth equity fund, which will target investments of more than $50 million. In addition, the firm raised $730 million for Summit Partners Venture Capital Fund IV, which will make investments of up to $50 million.
• Data Collective, a Palo Alto, Calif. venture capital firm, has partnered with SynBioBeta founder John Cumbers to launch the DCVC SynBioBeta Fund, a pre-seed and seed venture capital fund that will invest in synthetic biology startups.
• 83North, an Israeli-based venture capital firm, raised $250 million for its fourth fund, 83North IV.
• Tusk Ventures, a New York City-based venture capital firm, held a first close on $25 million in capital commitments, according to TechCrunch. The firm has backed FanDuel, Lemonade, Nexar, and Care.of. Read more.
• Karl Eidem will join Silverfleet Capital’s Nordic business. Previously he was an investment director at AP6.
• Livingstone promoted Karen Dawaf Harron and Nick Field to director, and Ian Guilfoyle to associate director.
• Ram Gupta is joining Nexus Venture Partners’ operations and investment team.
• Gaurav Mehta is joining The Raine Group as a managing director. Previously he was UBS‘s head of investment banking in India.