MONEY-LOSING HOUSE OF HORRORS
Contrarian: The message around Cloudera’s IPO, which is expected to price on Thursday after the market closes, has been yikes. The company was last valued at $4.1 billion; its share pricing values the company at $1.79 at the top of the proposed range. That’s a significant discount. Yikes.
But here’s a different perspective from a site called IPO Candy: Don’t evaluate the success of Cloudera’s IPO based on its last round of funding in 2014, because that round, led by Intel, wasn’t made for financial reasons. Rather, value Cloudera on its prior valuation, which Term Sheet readers might remember happened right before Intel swooped in and plunked down $740 million, doubling Cloudera’s valuation in a matter of weeks. Before Intel’s money, Cloudera had just closed a chunk of funding from T. Rowe Price, Google Ventures, and Michael Dell’s family office, valuing the company at $1.8 billion. By that measure, Cloudera’s IPO, if priced at the top of its proposed range, will be flat. It’s not a great three-year return on capital, but it’s not the money-losing house of horrors it’s made out to be, either.
Unicorn watch: In case you were wondering which stage of the Are-we-In-a-Tech-Bubble-Media-Narrative, we are in, it’s the Apocalyptic Metaphor stage. I made a visual aid:
Yesterday the Wall Street Journal outlined the “haves and have-nots” moment the venture capital market is currently facing, covering the recent series of startup layoffs and shutdowns. And there’s the inevitable investor quote comparing today’s class of struggling startups to zombies. (They’re like the walking dead!”
Many startups spent 2014 and 2015 stockpiling huge reserves of cash to weather what they thought would be a “storm of uncertainty” caused by public market volatility. (I wrote at the time: “Memo to tech startups: If you want money, raise it now.” How wrong I was – they had another full year of easy money!) WSJ notes that, of 294 startups that raised more than $50 million in the easy money years, 216 are still private and haven’t raised more money since. (To be clear, some may have raised without officially announcing…)
Now, it’s decision time for those 216 companies: Can they raise more money? If not, can they get profitable? If not, can they go public? If not, can they sell?
Brand-name, “iconic” companies can raise more money. Enterprise companies can’t, so they’re going public. Everyone in-between is trying to figure out which option they can pull off.
Pods are the new blogs: As we learned in the 2015 Ellen Pao trial, it is important for venture capitalists to be “thought leaders.” In the past, they’d do that by writing provocative (but not too provocative!) blog posts, speaking at conferences, providing expert quotes in news articles, hosting meet-ups, and tweeting a lot. To help with the workload, many firms hired increasingly sophisticated teams of communications and content professionals. Sometimes these teams ghostwrite blog posts and op-eds for partners, other times they launch full-fledged publications, like First Round Capital’s First Round Review. Now, they’re producing podcasts!
Lately it seems like every firm wants to be in the literal ears of entrepreneurs. Here is a selection of what I’m talking about:
a16z podcast by Andreessen Horowitz
The Riff by Box Group’s David Tisch and Union Square Ventures’ Andy Wiessman
Traction by NextView Ventures
Collective Wisdom for Tech Startups by Founder Collective
Startup School Radio by Y Combinator
Ventured by Kleiner Perkins
The Balderton Podcast by Balderton Capital
Notion Capital, by Notion Capital
Venture Perspectives by Scale Venture Partners
Origins by Notation Capital
Lead by Menlo Ventures
Greymatter by Greylock Partners
Bothsides TV by Upfront Ventures
The Full Rachet by Nick Moran of New Stack Ventures
The Bootstrapped VC by Backstage Capital
Human Proof of Concept by Janelle Anderson of CTI Life Sciences
Acquired by David Rosenthal of Madrona Ventures
These are just the ones I could find that are produced by and feature VC firms and their partners — people whose full-time job is to invest in startups and thought lead.
Today, there’s one more for the list: LinkedIn co-founder and Greylock Partner Reid Hoffman has announced a new podcast focused on entrepreneurship called Masters of Scale.
Hoffman’s podcast has committed to another form of leadership: It will feature a 50-50 gender balance for its guests.
The pledge reminds me of lawyer Ed Zimmerman’s pledge to only participate in four-person panels if at least one of the speakers was female. He also extended the requirement to professional dinner parties of ten or more. As I wrote at the time:
Zimmerman said he’s had to explain numerous times to critics that this does not mean he now discriminates against men and refuses to support them. He’s also fended off less ridiculous criticisms around quotas and affirmative action; he says the “what if the best qualified people are men?” question has been used to justify the status quo for decades.
“That is a great way to continue to allow discrimination to persist,” he says. “It’s just not possible that 90% of the people who are qualified to be venture investors are men, so I don’t buy that argument.”
THE LATEST FROM FORTUNE...
• We are no longer talking about tax reform, but tax cuts.
• Yahoo made around 4x its money investing in Snap shares.
• The “March for Science” worked.
• Clothing made from crab shells.
• Can you innovate your way to better beef, chicken or fish?
• Can VR help co-workers be more empathetic?
• Sheryl Sandberg’s tips for helping someone struggling with grief.
How online shopping makes suckers of us all. Robot delivery startups are helping to write monopolistic laws. Cigarette companies are doing great again!. Meet the former BlackRock exec helping trump deregulate Wall Street. How Trump’s pick for top antitrust cop may shape competition. Neuberger Berman, T. Rowe, BlackRock, collide with activist investors.
• LoveCrafts, a London-based online social marketplace for crafts, raised 26 million pounds ($33 million) in funding. Scottish Equity Partners led the round, and was joined by Balderton and Highland Europe.
• Sensoro, a Seattle-based multi-sensory device developer, raised $18 million in Series B funding. Investors include Bosch, Sumitomo and Tsing Capital.
• Twistlock, a San Francisco-based cloud container security provider, raised $17 million in Series B funding. Polaris Partners led the round. Existing investors YL Ventures, TenEleven, and Rally Ventures participated.
• hibob, a Tel Aviv, Israel-based cloud HR management platform, raised $17.5 Million in Series A funding. Battery Ventures led the round, and was joined by Bessemer Venture Partners, Eight Roads Ventures, Fidelity International Limited, and Arbor Ventures.
• IceKredit, a Shanghai-based credit assessment provider for small and mid-size businesses, raised $16 million in Series A funding. China Creation Ventures led the round, and was joined by Lingfeng Capital. Read more.
• Token, a San Francisco-based secure payments provider, has raised $15.7 million in Series A, according to Tech.eu. Investors include EQT Ventures, Octopus Ventures, and OP Financial Group. Read more.
• Shadow Creator, a Shanghai-based virtual reality gear developer, raised $14 million in Series A funding. Fortune Capital led the round, and was joined by Everest Venture Capital and Initial Venture Capital. Read more.
• Doc Halo, a Cincinnati-based clinical communication platform, raised $11 million in Series A funding. Bain Capital Ventures led the round, and was joined by Refinery Ventures.
• Kidfresh, a New York-based frozen kids meal startup, raised $10 million in Series B funding. Monogram Capital Partners led the round, and was joined by , alongside existing institutional investors Emil Capital Partners and AccelFoods.
• Legends of Learning, a Washington D.C.-based education tech company, raised $9 million in funding from undisclosed investors.
• RotoQL, a New York-based sports analytics company, raised $1.2 million in seed funding. Investors include Boston Seed Capital and DraftKings CEO Jason Robins.
• Proximi.io, a Finland-based location-aware application developer, raised an undisclosed amount in funding from Butterfly Ventures, according to Tech.eu. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. Read more.
• Profisee, an Alpharetta-Ga.-based master data management software company, raised an undisclosed amount in funding from ParkerGale Capital.
• PrismHR, a Plymouth, Mass.-based HR outsourcing service provider, raised an undisclosed amount in funding. Investors include Summit Partners and Accel-KKR.
HEALTH + LIFE SCIENCES DEALS
• Sienna Biopharmaceuticals, a Westlake Village, Ca.-based medical dermatology and aesthetics company, raised $40 million in Series B funding. ARCH Venture Partners and VenVest Capital led the round. Existing investors Partner Fund Management, Altitude Life Science Ventures, and Fidelity Management & Research Company participated.
• EpimAb Biotherapeutics, a Shanghai-based biotech company specializing in bispecific antibodies, raised $25 million in Series A. Oriza Seed Capital led the round, and was joined by Decheng Capital, 3E Bioventures Capital and Trend Investment Group.
• Two Pore Guys, a Santa Cruz, Calif.-based molecule biosensor developer raised $24.5 million in Series A funding. Khosla Ventures led the round.
• Circle Pharma, a Santa Cruz, Calif.-based biotech company, announced a $2 million expansion to its previously announced $4.5 million Series A funding round. Investors include WI Harper Group, Elements Partners, Whitesun Healthcare Ventures Limited and LifeForce Capital.
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• BC Partners sold SGB-SMIT, a German power transformer developer, to One Equity Partners. Financial terms weren’t disclosed, but media reports value the company at just below 700 million euros ($759.36 million) including debt. Read more.
• Arsenal Capital Partners has agreed to sell Flowchem, a Waller, Texas-based pipeline performance products maker, to KMG for $495 million in cash.
• LJC Investments III, which is controlled by Littlejohn Capital, acquired Maysteel Industries, an Allenton, Wisconsin-based sheet metal manufacturer, from Revolution Capital Group. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Terra Firma and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board have agreed to sell AWAS, a Dublin-based aircraft leasing company to Dubai Aerospace Enterprise. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Quantum Partners, a private investment fund managed by Soros Fund Management, acquired Violin Memory, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based memory-based storage systems developer. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• L Catterton invested an undisclosed amount in JustFoodForDogs, a Los Alamitos, Calif.-based pet food retailer. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• LVMH (ENXTPA:MC) has agreed to buy the Christian Dior Couture brand from Christian Dior (ENXTPA:CDI), the Paris-based holding company for 6.5 billion euros ($7 billion), including debt. Read more at Fortune.
• Upland Software (Nasdaq:UPLD) acquired RightAnswers, an Edison, N.J.-based cloud knowledge management system, for $17.2 million in cash.
• Square Inc. (NYSE:SQ) acquired the engineering team of Yik Yak, an Atlanta-based social messaging app, according to Bloomberg. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. Read more.
• MarcoPolo Learning, a New York-based mobile early childhood education platform, raised $8.5 million in Series A funding. Boat Rocker Ventures led the round..
• Fresenius SE & Co KGaA (DB:FRE) is close to acquiring Akorn (Nasdaq:AKRX), a Lake Forest, Ill.-based generic drugmaker, in an all-cash deal valuing the company at more than $4 billion, according to Reuters. Read more.
• Elliott Capital Advisors has taken a 6.8% stake in WS Atkins (LSE:ATK) after the U.K.-based engineering and construction consultancy firm agreed to be bought in a C$3.6 billion ($2.7 billion) deal.
• Tyson Foods (NYSE:TSN) has agreed to acquire AdvancePierre Foods Holdings (NYSE:APFH) through a subsidiary for $40.25 per share in cash, or $4.2 billion. The offer is a 31.8% premium to AdvancePierre’s closing price on April 5.
• Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), Novartis AG (SWX:NOVN) and Takeda Pharmaceutical Co (TSE:4502) are in talks with Hypermarcas SA (BOVESPA:HYPE3), a Brazil-based consumer goods company, for a buyout, according to Reuters. Read more.
• Antero Midstream, a Denver-based owner of MLP Antero Midstream Partners, announced terms for its IPO. The company plans to raise $875 million by offering 37.25 million shares at a price range of $22 to $25. It plans to list on the NYSE under the symbol AMGP. Morgan Stanley, Barclays, J.P. Morgan, Baird, Citi, Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo Securities are the joint bookrunners on the deal.
• Liberty Oilfield Services, a Denver-based oilfield services provider, announced terms for its IPO on Monday. The company plans to raise $400 million by offering 22.9 million shares at a price range of $16 to $19. It plans to list on the NYSE under the symbol BDFC. Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo Securities, Citi, J.P. Morgan and Evercore ISI are the joint bookrunners on the deal.
• Five Point Holdings, an Aliso Viejo, Calif.-based community developer, announced terms for its IPO. The company plans to raise $399 million by offering 21 million shares at a price range of $18 to $20. It plans to list on the NYSE under the symbol FPH. Citi, J.P. Morgan, RBC Capital Markets, Wells Fargo Securities, Deutsche Bank, Evercore ISI, Zelman Partners LLC and JMP Securities are the joint bookrunners on the deal.
• Biohaven Pharmaceuticals, a New Haven, Conn.-based neurological disease drug developer, set terms for its IPO. It plans to raise $125 million by offering 8.3 million shares at a price range of $14 to $16. The company would trade on the NYSE under ticker symbol BHVN. Morgan Stanley, Piper Jaffray and Barclays are the joint bookrunners on the deal.
• UroGen Pharma, an Israel-based clinical stage biopharmaceutical company, announced terms for its IPO. The company plans to raise $45 million by offering 3.5 million shares at a price range of $12 to $14. Insiders intend to purchase $20 million worth of shares in the offering. It plans to list on the Nasdaq under the symbol URGN. Jefferies, Cowen & Company, Raymond James and Oppenheimer & Co. are the joint bookrunners on the deal.
FIRMS + FUNDS
• YI Capital, a Beijing-based early-stage venture fund focused on China’s internet-tech companies, raised $116 million for its debut fund. Read more.