Good morning, Term Sheet readers.
EXCLUSIVE: In February, Term Sheet reported that FourSquare’s president Steven Rosenblatt would leave the company to launch his own venture. He has now partnered with Facebook’s former director of sales Joshua Rahn and recruiting veteran Glenn Handler to launch Oceans.
The new company is being described as “a mentorship engine that partners with founders to solve core businesses challenges.” In reality, the team will consult with startup founders to create a plan of execution based on a company’s needs. In return, the three partners will receive a mix of cash and equity for their services. Rosenblatt declined to disclose the amount of cash/equity he and his partners will receive, but noted the cash to equity ratio will depend on company stage.
“We anticipate that with earlier stage companies, we will receive more equity and less cash and with later stage companies, more cash and less equity,” he said.
If this sounds familiar, that’s because it is. Tusk Ventures employed a similar model by starting out as a political advisory firm working with startups in exchange for equity. It later backed into more traditional investing by raising a $36 million venture fund.
When asked if Oceans will eventually raise a fund, Rosenblatt said, “As we grow, we will look at all the opportunities that present themselves to us.” It sounds as though it’s a likely possibility, but Rosenblatt declined to elaborate further.
Oceans hopes to help founders solve common startup challenges around culture, diversity, and hiring. But the biggest threat they face, Rosenblatt says, is dealing with the tech behemoths that pose a threat to their budding businesses.
“One of the things most founders deal with today that they didn’t deal with five years ago is navigating the major platforms — Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google,” he said. “Understanding how to work with them or build companies that compete with them is exactly where we can help.”
Rosenblatt is often credited with helping Foursquare successfully pivot from a consumer-focused company to an enterprise one. He was instrumental during Foursquare’s executive shakeup, and he’s now looking to help other startup founders navigate similar challenges.
“What I see a lot of the time is that founders are focused on valuation and vanity metrics rather than thinking about what’s going to be best for the business long-term,” he said. “For us, it’s ambitious to think that we could structure companies like Uber, Theranos, or Zenefits early enough to avoid those mistakes. Our real ambition is that the companies we work with don’t make those same mistakes down the road.”
NEW FUNDING: CoinList, a San Francisco-based token sale platform which spun out of AngelList, raised $9.2 million in funding from investors including Polychain Capital, Blockchain Capital, Accomplice, FBG Capital, Libertus Capital, Digital Currency Group, and CoinFund.
In yesterday’s Q&A, Accomplice founder Jeff Fagnan told me he invested in CoinList because he believes “blockchain and crypto are here to stay, and we are looking to invest in equity-based businesses that are doing blockchain applications for the future.”
The funding comes at a time when the SEC is increasingly clamping down on crypto-related frauds and scams. One of CoinList’s offerings is providing ICO compliance services to allow companies to conduct Anti-Money Laundering-Know Your Customer (AML-KYC) checks on potential investors. It also helped facilitate Filecoin’s ICO last year, which raised a whopping $205 million.
SOUND-OFF: We’ve previously discussed the role that traditional venture capital firms will play in the brave new world of initial coin offerings. My hypothesis was that despite talk of ICOs being scams and/or pump and dump schemes, VCs are warming up to the idea because of profits and liquidity.
I’ve been talking to a number of venture capital firms this week, and they seem to be cautiously optimistic. Many are open to the idea of dipping their toes in the cryptocurrency world whether it’s by backing crypto hedge funds or participating in ICOs directly.
My question to Term Sheet readers is this: As the capital market for technology companies continues to evolve, will today’s VCs be best positioned to fund companies in the future? Or will we see token sales and other democratized funding mechanisms become the preferred path for entrepreneurs?
Please reply to this email or send me your thoughts at email@example.com, and I’ll include a selection of responses in tomorrow’s Term Sheet.
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Starboard Value targets Macerich, a mall operator. Previ unlikely to sell its Vale shares.Steve Cohen’s SAC Capital cleared in Fairfax Financial case. Spotify and the triumph of the subscription model. Canada woos American brains. GoFundMe acquires YouCaring.
• RefleXion, a Hayward, Calif.-based cancer treatment firm focused on positron emission tomography, closed $100 million in Series C funding. The Rise Fund led the round, and was joined by investors including T. Rowe Price Associates, GT Healthcare Capital Partners, and existing investors Sofinnova Partners, KCK Group, Venrock, Pfizer Venture Investments, and Johnson & Johnson Innovation.
• Welltok, a Denver-based consumer health software firm, raised $75 million in funding. Investors include Future Fund Management Agency, Ziff Davis, NF Trinity Capital (Hong Kong) Limited and ITOCHU Corporation.
• MADE.COM, a London-based furniture and homeware retailer, raised 40 million ($56.3 million) in funding. Investors included Partech Ventures, Level Equity, and Eight Roads Ventures, a subsidiary of Fidelity.
• Zilingo, a Singapore-based fashion marketplace, raised $54 million in Series C funding. Sofina, Burda Principal Investments and Sequoia Capital India led the round, and was joined by investors including Amadeus Capital, Tim Draper, SIG, Venturra, Beenext, and Manik Arora.
• Virta Health, a San Francisco-based online clinic for type 2 diabetes, raised $45 million in Series B funding. Investors included Venrock, Obvious Ventures, Creandum, Caffeinated Capital, SciFi VC, Founders Fund, and Playground Global.
• 6 River Systems, a Waltham, Mass.-based e-commerce fulfillment automation firm, raised $25 million in Series B funding. Menlo Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Norwest Venture Partners, Eclipse Ventures, and iRobot.
• DriveWealth, a Chatham, N.J. investing platform, raised $21 million in Series B funding. Raptor Group Holdings, SBI Holdings Inc, and Point72 Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including Route 66 Ventures.
• Qmerit, an Irvine, Calif.-based workforce allocation platform, raised $11.75 million in funding. The investors were Strandview Capital, Schneider Electric, and Innogy Ventures.
• Ubiquity6, a San Francisco-based augmented reality firm, raised $10.5 million in funding. Index Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including First Round Capital, Kleiner Perkins, and Gradient Ventures.
• Suplari, a Seattle-based startup serving enterprises, raised $10.3 million im Series A funding. Shasta Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Two Sigma Ventures, Workday Ventures, Madrona Venture Group, and Amplify Partners.
• CoinList, a San Francisco-based firm seeking to connect investors with blockchain products, raised $9.2 million in its initial funding round. Investors include Polychain Capital, Digital Currency Group, FBG Capital, Libertus Capital, Blockchain Capital, CoinFund and Electric Capital.
• GATE (Global Acceptance Transaction Engine), a New York-based ewallet firm formerly TokenID,, announced the closing of $3.2M in seed funding. Orco Investments led the round and was joined by investors including Jacob Shochat and Alex Jurovitsky of Quilinks Investments.
• Comet.ml, A New York-based machine learning platform raised $2.3 million in seed funding. Trilogy Equity Partners led the round and was joined by investors including Two Sigma Ventures, Founders Co-Op, Fathom Capital, Techstars Ventures, and angel investors.
• Knowhere, a San Francisco and London-based firm using machine learning to write news stories, raised $1.8 million in seed funding. Investors include CrunchFund, Day One Ventures, Danhua Capital, Struck Capital, and Abstract Ventures.
• Chairman Mom, a subscription-based community for working moms founded by Sarah Lacy, raised $1.4 million million in seed funding. Floodgate Ventures led the round, and was joined by PivotNorth Capital.
• Micronotes, a Boston-based interview marketing company for financial institutions, raised an undisclosed amount. TTV Capital led the round and was joined by investors including Vestigo Ventures.
HEALTH AND LIFE SCIENCES DEALS
• Arvinas Therapeutics raised $55 million in Series C funding. Nextech Invest led the round, and was joined by investors including Deerfield Management, Hillhouse Capital and Sirona Capital.
• Poseida Therapeutics, a San Diego-based cell therapy maker, raised $30.5 million in Series B funding. Longitude Capital led the round and was joined by investors including Vivo Capital, The Tavistock Group, and Malin Corporation.
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Arable Capital Partners acquired Fresh Innovations, an Oxnard, Calif.-based packaged fruits processor. financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Clarion Events, a portfolio company of Blackstone, acquired PennWell, a Tulsa, Okla.-based events and B2B media and marketing services firm. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• FusionZONE Automotive, a portfolio company of Primus Capital, acquired MotorWebs, a Seattle-based web design company focused on car dealership websites. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Race Winning Brands, a portfolio company of Kinderhook Industries, acquired Rekluse, Boise, Id.-based clutch pmaker for powersports. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Accel-KKR acquired a majority stake in ITC, a Carrollton, T.X.-based management software provider. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Stone Point Capital acquired a majority stake in American Mortgage Consultants, New York-based firm. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Supply International, a portfolio company of H.I.G. Capital, acquired Universal Maritime, a Harbor City, Calif.-based port logistics services. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Omni Eye Services, a portfolio company of NMS Capital, acquired Kremer Eye Center, a King of Prussia, Penn.-based eye surgery firm. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Palm Beach Capital invested in Mears Transportation, an Orlando-based taxi service. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, a healthcare investment firm, partnered with Charlotte Radiology, a North Carolina-based radiology practices to form U.S. Radiology Specialists, a venture focused on building a physician-owned radiology partnership. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Namdar Realty Group and Washington Prime Group are weighing an acquisition of U.S. department store operator Bon-Ton Stores, Reuters reports citing sources.
• Vrio, a Dallas-based satellite TV service spinning out of AT&T, plans to raise $609 million in an IPO of 29.7 million shares priced between $19 to $22. Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, Citi, Morgan Stanley, BofA Merrill Lynch, Barclays, BTG Pactual, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Itau BBA, Santander, Banco do Brasil Securities LLC, BNP Paribas, and Bradesco BBI are underwriters. It plans to list on the NYSE as “VRIO.” Read more.
• Samolet Group, a Russian real estate developer, plans to hold an IPO this year or the next, Reuters reports citing sources. Read more.
• The J.M. Smucker Company agreed to acquire Ainsworth Pet Nutrition, a Pennsylvanian pet food maker, from L Catterton for $1.9 billion.
• The Carlyle Group agreed to acquire Accolade Wines, Australia’s largest wine producer, from CHAMP Private Equity for A$1 billion ($770 million).
• GMS Inc agreed to acquire WSB Titan, a Toronto-based building supplier, from investors including TorQuest Partners for $627 million.
• HGGC agreed to acquire HelpSystems, an Eden Prairie, Minn.-based provider of IT network management, from H.I.G. Capital. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• NN Inc agreed to acquire PMG Intermediate Holding Corporation, the parent company of Pierceton, In.-based surgical instruments maker Paragon Medical, from Beecken Petty O’Keefe & Company. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
FIRMS + FUNDS
• Sofinnova Partners, a life sciences venture firm, raised $340 million for its first crossover fund.
• Panacea Venture, a healthcare-focused venture firm founded by a former Kleiner Perkins executive, plans to raise $150 million per an SEC filing.
• Congruent Ventures, a clean energy-focused VC firm, launched with $92 million in funding, Abe Yokell and Joshua Posamentier launched the firm.