In the wake of Sony’s hack by humorless North Korean shut-ins (allegedly), everyone seems to be talking about how there is no such thing as legitimate security when it comes to digital communications. It’s something we all know intellectually, but fail to apply to our daily lives. Kind of like we know eating an entire block of cheddar cheese in one day will shorten our lifespan, but we eat it anyway (just me? okay, moving on).
The solution, we’re told, is continued creation of what NY Times columnist Farhad Manjoo recently termed the “erasable Internet.” Services like Confide and Snapchat, which immediately destroy digital messages after they have been read. As he writes:
A range of start-ups across the world, including Snapchat itself, are working to create communications systems that are not based on saving as a default. Someday, perhaps someday soon, it may be possible to quickly and easily send messages that you can be fairly confident are secure.
It sounds totally sensible, except that it presumes we all either: (a) Have eidetic memories, or (b) Have such frivolous digital discourse that we don’t care about saving it for future reference. The former we know to be untrue, and the latter would seem to be disproven by the massive popularity of Gmail as an email client — in part because of its massive storage and simple search capabilities. And this doesn’t even address regulatory requirements in many industries that require all communications — even phone calls — to be recorded and saved for a lengthy period of time.
So if we’re really going to move to an erasable Internet, it would seem that we also may need an offline storage technology. May I suggest something called paper.
For those of you too young to remember, paper (pronounced pā-pər) is the thing words were put on before electronic screens. Typically made of wood, but surprisingly light and flexible.
Paper also was the backbone of entire industries, including office supply chains like Staples and Office Depot, which are receiving activist investor pressure to merge due to sliding sales. Or, more specifically, paper, printers, toner, filing cabinets and those high-priced printer cartridges. It was an evergreen business until people suddenly went electronic, for everything from bills or invitations to memos.
But what if we can no longer rely on digital depositories for our historic communications? After all, the only way to hack paper messages is to physically break into a building and steal ‘em.
So while this Sony situation has most of corporate America worried about their security, at least a couple of companies might want to work on refreshing their inventories. And maybe putting off that merger for a little while…
• Have a great weekend (but only a middling weekend if you’re Wyc and Steve P, I’m very upset with you guys)… Go Pats!
THE BIG DEAL
• Juno Therapeutics, a Seattle-based developer of immunotherapies for cancer, raised $265 million in its IPO. The company priced over 11 million shares at $24 per share, compared to original plans to offer 9.5 million shares at between $15-$18 per share (later revised up to $21-$23).The company has an initial market cap of around $1.87 billion, and will trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol JUNO.
Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs served as lead underwriters. The pre-revenue company had raised around $310 million over two rounds of VC funding, from firms like Crestline Management (34.75% pre-IPO stake, on behalf of the Alaska Permanent Fund), Arch Venture Partners (15.17%), Fidelity Investments, Bezos Expeditions and Venrock. Its strategic partners are The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (5.17%), Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the Seattle Children’s Research Institute. www.junotherapeutics.com
VENTURE CAPITAL DEALS
• Hampton Creek Foods , a San Francisco-based food company known for its egg-free condiment Just Mayo, has raised $90 million in Series C funding co-led by return backers Horizons Ventures and Khosla Ventures. In other company news, Unilver (maker of Hellmann’s Mayo) has dropped its lawsuit against Hampton Creek for its use of the word “mayo.” Read more.
• Mixpanel, a Mountain View, Calif.-based provider of a real-time analytics platform for companies, has raised $65 million in new VC funding from return backer Andreessen Horowitz at a $865 million post-money valuation. Read more.
• Flexus Biosciences Inc., a San Carlos, Calif.-based biotech company focused on small-molecule cancer immunotherapies targeting regulatory T cells, has raised an undisclosed amount of Series B funding. Backers include Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, The Column Group and Celgene. The company says that it now has raised a total of $38 million. www.flexusbio.com
• Quanergy Systems Inc., a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based provider of sensors and software used for real-time capture and processing of 3D mapping data, has raised $30 million in Series A funding. Rising Tide Fund led the round, and was joined by from Wicklow Capital, Motus Ventures, Wardenclyffe Partners and individual angels. The company previously raised $4.5 million in seed funding. www.quanergy.com
• Scioderm Inc., a Durham, N.C.-based developer of a topical therapy for the treatment of patients suffering from Epidermolysis Bullosa, has raised $20 million in Series B funding led by new investor Redmile Group. www.sderm.com
• Bustle, a digital publication aimed at young women, has raised $15.5 million in new VC funding. General Catalyst led the round, and was joined by return backers Time Warner Investments, Rothenberg Ventures, 500 Startups, and The Social+Capital Fund. Read more.
• Echodyne Corp., a Bellevue, Wash.-based developer of radar products based on metamaterials technology, has raised $15 million in first-round funding. Bill Gates and Madrona Venture Group co-led the round, and were joined by Vulcan Capital, Lux Capital and The Kresge Foundation. Echodyne is a spinout from Intellectual Ventures. www.echodyne.com
• Inbox Messenger, a New York-based messaging app “that makes conversation personal again,” has raised $3.9 million in seed funding from unidentified angel investors. www.inboxtheapp.com
• RealConnex, a New York-based online real estate platform, has raised $3.5 million in Series A funding led by Star Capital. www.realconnex.com
• Rinovum Women’s Health, a Pittsburgh-based developer of OTC products for cervical cap insemination, has raised $3 million in Series C funding. An unidentified Pennsylvania-based investment fund led the round, and was joined by return backers PLSG Accelerator Fund and BlueTree Allied Angels. www.storkotc.com
• Furlocity Inc., a San Diego-based pet accommodations website and online booking platform, has raised $1.2 million in new VC funding. No investors were identified. www.furlocity.com
• Pinnatta, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based interactive multimedia messaging app, has raised $1.2 million in new VC funding from Greek venture capital firms Odyssey Venture Partners and PJ Tech Catalyst, plus UK-based Lebara. www.pinnatta.com
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• GI Partners has agreed to acquire Canadian healthcare IT company Logibec Inc. from OMERS Private Equity for an undisclosed amount. www.logibec.com
• Irving Place Capital is working with American Apparel Inc.’s (NYSE: APP) recently-fired CEO Dov Charney on a takeover bid for the company, according to Bloomberg. The deal would be worth between $1.30 and $1.40 per share, which could valued the apparel maker at upwards of $145 million. Read more.
• Machine Solutions Inc., a Flagstaff, Ariz.–based provider of process and testing solutions to the medical device market, has acquired Steeger USA, a Spartanburg, S.C.-based maker of braiding equipment for the medical device industry. No financial terms were disclosed. Machine Solutions is a portfolio company of Forsyth Capital Investors. www.machinesolutions.com
• The Riverside Company has acquired Brookson Group Ltd., a UK-based provider of SaaS-based tax and financial services for self-employed contractors and micro businesses. No financial terms were disclosed. www.brookson.co.uk
• Ascendis Pharma AS, a Denmark-based developer of technology to create “prodrugs that provide for the predictable and sustained release of an unmodified parent drug,” has filed for an $86.25 million IPO. It plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol ASND, with BofA Merrill Lynch and Leerink Partners serving as lead underwriters. The company reports $1.8 million in net income on $14.8 million in revenue for the first nine months of 2014. It has raised more than $85 million in VC funding, from firms like Sofinnova Capital (31.9% pre-IPO stake), Gilde Healthcare (16.9%), Sofinnova Ventures (7.2%), OrbiMed (7.2%), Vivo Ventures (6%), Janus Capital Management, Venrock, RA Capital Management, Rock Springs Capital and Sectoral Asset Management. www.ascendispharma.com
• Bellicum Pharmaceuticals Inc., a Houston, Texas-based developer of cellular immunotherapies, raised $140 million in its IPO. The company priced 7.35 million shares at $19 per share (above range), for an initial market cap of approximately $491 million. It will trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol BLCM, while Jefferies, Citigroup and Piper Jaffray served as lead underwriters. The company had raised around $107 million in VC funding, from such firms as Baker Brothers Life Sciences (20.5% pre-IPO stake), Remeditex Ventures (14.9%), AVG Ventures (6.1%), RA Capital Management (5.5%), Perceptive Advisors, Jennison Associates, Sabby Capital, Ridgeback Capital Management, venBio Select, Redmile Group, and AJU IB Investment. www.bellicum.com
• Summit Materials Inc., a Denver-based heavy-side construction materials company owned by The Blackstone Group, has filed for a $100 million IPO (likely a placeholder figure). It plans to trade on the NYSE under ticker symbol SUM, with Citigroup and Goldman Sachs serving as lead underwriters. The company reports $870 million in revenue for the first nine months of 2014. www.summit-materials.com
• Fortress Investment Group is considering a sale of TRAC Intermodal, a Princeton, N.J.-based logistics equipment leasing company that could garner more than $1.7 billion (including debt), according to Reuters. Read more.
• Lion Capital has sold Bumble Bee Seafoods, a North American provider of branded shelf-stable seafood company, to Thai Union Frozen Products Public Co. for $1.51 billion. Read more.
• Aer Lingus (Ireland: EIL1) has rejected a takeover approach by the parent company of British Airways, which was believed to have valued the Irish air carrier at more than €1 billion. Read more.
• Mozido Inc., an Austin, Texas-based mobile payments company, has acquired a majority stake in CorFire, an Alpharetta, Ga.-based provider of mobile point-of-sale payment solutions. No financial terms were disclosed. Mozido has raised more than $280 million in VC funding from such firms as Wellington Management, TomorrowVentures, MasterCard, DigaComm, Brentwood Investments, Quabbin Capital and Atlanticus Holdings. Read more.
• Xerox (NYSE: XRX) has agreed to sell its IT outsourcing business to France’s Atos (Paris: ATO) for just north of $1 billion. Read more.
FIRMS & FUNDS
• Nippon Sangyo Suishin Kiko Ltd. has been launched by TPG Capital’s former Japan head, Jun Tsusaka, and “will seek to raise tens of billions of yen next year for its first fund,” according to Bloomberg. Read more.
• Federal regulators yesterday again delayed implementation of a Volcker Rule provision related to bank investments in hedge and private equity funds. Read more.
MOVING IN, UP, ON & OUT
• Goldman Sachs has promoted John Waldron to co-head of investment banking, alongside Richard Gnodde and David Solomon. Waldron joined the firm in 2000, and had most recently served as co-head of Goldman’s financial sponsors group. Read more.
Pamlico Capital has promoted both Stuart Christhilf and Eric Wilkins to partner. Christhilf joined the mid-market private equity firm in 2003 from Wachovia Corp., while Wilkins joined in 2006 from DLJ Capital Partners. www.pamlicocapital.com
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