SO LONG, SAN FRANCISCO
Good morning, Term Sheet readers.
Peter Thiel is parting ways with Silicon Valley. The billionaire investor is relocating his home and personal investment firms — Thiel Capital and Thiel Foundation — to Los Angeles from San Francisco. He has also considered resigning from Facebook’s board of directors, according to The Wall Street Journal. Thiel is said to be scaling back his involvement in the tech industry partly because he feels alienated by Silicon Valley’s broad embrace of liberal values. From the story:
Mr. Thiel has long stood out in Silicon Valley for his vocal libertarianism, but he drew heavy criticism from many tech-industry peers—including fellow Facebook board member Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix Inc.—when he backed Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign and later served as an adviser on his White House transition team.
Mr. Thiel has recently said tech culture has become increasingly intolerant of conservative political views since Mr. Trump’s election, an attitude he has said is intellectually and politically fraught.
“Silicon Valley is a one-party state,” Mr. Thiel said last month at a debate about tech and politics at Stanford University. “That’s when you get in trouble politically in our society, when you’re all in one side.”
I’m curious to hear what people think about Thiel’s move. Has tech become so polarizing that it has the power to drive conservatives away or is this an overreaction? In what ways do you think his re-location will affect Silicon Valley? Will others follow suit? Reply to this email with your thoughts or tweet at me here.
CAPITAL CANNONS: In one sentence, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi was able to explain the reason why CEOs have no choice but to accept an investment from SoftBank. “Rather than having their capital cannon facing me, I’d rather have their capital cannon behind me, all right?” Khosrowshahi said at Goldman’s tech conference.
In other words, he was hyper-aware of the possibility that if Uber was to decline, SoftBank could fund its rival instead. It was an open secret that during negotiations, SoftBank was clear that it was willing to invest in Lyft if the Uber deal did not work out. This reminds me of a feature on Masayoshi Son that illuminates how he thinks about investments. In the story, Grab’s CEO Anthony Tan recalls the time when the Japanese billionaire was considering investing in his startup. Son reportedly said, “Anthony-san, you take my money. It’s good for you. It’s good for me. If you don’t take my money, not so good for you.”
Bottom line: Don’t expect someone to turn down SoftBank dollars anytime soon.
BEST COMPANIES TO WORK FOR: Fortune released its 21st annual “100 Best Companies To Work For” list this morning. It includes the country’s greatest places to work — ones with generous sabbaticals, all-expenses-paid trips, and eye-popping bonuses. Salesforce ranks No. 1 for the first time based on its work culture and other employee benefits. See the full list here.
THE LATEST FROM FORTUNE...
• Inside the Zany, Enormous, Amazing World of Activision Blizzard (by Andrew Nusca)
• The Secret Factor in Adobe’s 400% Stock Gain? A Cardboard Box (by Clifton Leaf)
• Inside T-Mobile’s Big, Brash Comeback (by Aaron Pressman)
• What It Takes to Be One of the 100 Best Companies to Work For (by Michael Bush & Sarah Lewis-Kulin)
Kushner investors subpoenaed by U.S. tax authorities. Wells Fargo customer-repayment efforts are under scrutiny. Mark Zuckerberg is increasing his stock sales to fund the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. Snapchat will finally share analytics with some users.
• HeartFlow Inc, a Redwood City, California-based medical tech company, raised $240 million in Series E funding. Investors include Wellington Management and Baillie Gifford & Company.
• LimeBike, a San Mateo, Calif.-based smart bikeshare provider, raised $70 million in Series B extension funding. Investors include Fifth Wall Ventures.
• Singularity University, a Moffett Field, Calif.-based public benefit corporation that provides educational programs, raised $32 million in Series B funding. WestRiver Group and Boeing co-led the round and were joined by Silicon Valley Bank, TAL Education Group, Mukita, and PeopleFund.
• Catalyte, a Baltimore-based a software engineering services company, raised $27 million in Series A funding. Investors include Revolution’s Rise of the Rest seed fund, Expon Capital and Palm Drive Capital. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Vivino, a San Francisco-based developer of a mobile wine app and operator of an online wine marketplace, raised $20 million in Series C funding. SCP Neptune International, the investment arm of Christophe Navarre, led the round. Existing investors Balderton Capital, Creandum, SEED Capital Denmark and Iconical also participated.
• CommonSense Robotics, an Israel-based developer of on-demand technologies using AI and advanced robotics, raised $20 million in Series A funding. Playground Global led the round, and was joined by investors including Aleph VC and Innovation Endeavors.
• RealWear, a Milpitas, Calif.-based hands-free industrial head-mounted tablet for industrial workers, raised $17 million in a Series A funding, according to TechCrunch. Columbia Ventures Corporation led the round. Read more.
• SaltStack, a Salt Lake City, Utah-based intelligent automation platform for a “software-defined world,” raised $15.5 million in Series A funding. Mercato Partners led the round.
• DroneBase, a Los Angeles, Calif.-based global drone operations company, raised $12 million in Series B funding. Union Square Ventures and Upfront Ventures co-led the round, and were joined by investors including DJI, Hearst Ventures and Pritzker Group.
• IdentityMind Global, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based provider of a digital identity-based SaaS platform for online risk management and compliance automation, raised $10 million in Series C funding. Benhamou Global Ventures and Eastern Link Capital led the round, and were joined by investors including Hanna Ventures, Overstock.com and Zanadu Capital Partners.
• Miso Robotics, a Pasadena, Calif.-based robotics and artificial intelligence solutions company, raised $10 million in Series B funding. Acacia Research led the round. Investors include Levy and OpenTable CTO Joseph Essas.
• DailyPay, a New York-based provider of next day payments for employees and contractors, raised $9 million in Series B funding. Investors include Intercept Ventures, RPM Ventures, Inspiration Ventures and Draper Frontier.
• Perception Point, a cybersecurity firm whose cloud-based technology intercepts advanced attacks, raised $8 million in Series A funding. Investors include Pitango Venture Capital, State of Mind Ventures, and Korea Investment Partners.
• gr8 People, a Newtown, Penn.-based hiring platform, raised $8 million in Series B funding. Ascent Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by Delancey Street Partners and Randstad Innovation Fund.
• Vydia, a Freehold, N.J.-based developer and operator of a centralized platform for video creators to manage their content, raised $4.35 million in Series A funding. Vocap Investment Partners led the round, and was joined by investors including Newark Venture Partners.
• ENGAGE Talent, an Atlanta-based AI software company that helps companies identify and engage with candidates, raised $3 million in funding. Investors include Revolution’s Rise of the Rest seed fund, Refinery Ventures and Grand Ventures.
• StreamLoan, a San Francisco-based mortgage lending startup, raised $2 million in seed funding. Investors include Acorn Pacific Ventures.
• InBay Technologies, a Canada-based developer of authentication solutions without passwords, raised $1 million in funding. Global Alliance Inc led the round.
HEALTH AND LIFE SCIENCES DEALS
• Signallamp Health, a Scranton, Penn.-based provider of nurse care managers to doctors across the country, raised Series A funding of an undisclosed amount. The investor was Sopris Capital.
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Veritas Capital agreed to acquire the U.S. public sector business from PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Xactly, a portfolio company of Vista Equity Partners, acquired Obero, a Canada-based sales performance management company. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Charles River Laboratories International, which is backed by Avista Capital Partners, agreed to acquire MPI Research, a Mattawan, Mich.-based provider of testing services for biopharmaceutical and medical devices, for about $800 million in cash.
• WebPT acquired BMS Practice Solutions, an Upland, Calif.-based revenue cycle management software in the physical therapy space. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Fitbit will acquire Twine Health, a Cambridge, Mass.-based health coaching platform.Financial terms weren’t disclosed. Twine Health had raised approximately $9.8 million in venture funding from investors including Khosla Ventures, Provenance Ventures, and Qiming Venture Partners USA.
• Pacific Premier Bancorp acquired Grandpoint Capital, a Los Angeles-based holding company of Grandpoint Bank. Grandpoint Capital was backed by a consortium of private equity firms including Stone Point Capital, Calera Capital, MidOcean Partners and Golden Gate Capital.
• DPE Deutsche Private Equity and its co-investors agreed to sell their majority stake in Elatec, a Germany-based provider of access control solutions, via a recapitalization by Summit Partners. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.