Alfred Villalobos has died at the age of 71, after reportedly taking his own life in Reno, Nevada. Villalobos has been a regular figure in this space for years, as the central figure in a private equity kickback scheme that largely centered on his relationships at California state pensions like CalPERS (where he once served on the board, after which he became a fund placement agent).
He was scheduled to begin standing trial late next month on federal bribery and fraud charges, although his attorneys had recently told the court that Villallobos was extremely ill from a neurological condition that made it virtually impossible for him to communicate or follow a conversation.
No comment yet from the U.S. Attorney’s office prosecuting the case, or what it might mean for former CalPERS CEO Fred Buenrostro, a onetime Villalobos pal and alleged co-conspirator who last year plead guilty to forging pension documents to help Villalobos get paid by some of his clients (which included, among others, Apollo Global Management). Chances are, however, that Buenrostro’s future will be unaffected, given that he already admitted to his misdeeds under oath.
• Venturing beyond Google: Yesterday was a big day for former Google Ventures general partners. First, Wesley Chan (founder of Google Voice and Google Analytics) announced that he has become a managing director with Felicis Ventures, which also has increased the size of its most recent fund from $96 million to $120 million. Chan was with Google Ventures between late 2009 and February 2014, at which point he said he was planning to “start something new.” Full story here.
Second, Digg founder Kevin Rose has formally stopped investing for Google Ventures, several months after scaling back from a general partner to a venture partner role. The move comes as his new mobile and social app incubator project, North Technologies, today announces that it has raised $5 million in new venture capital funding led by True Ventures. Google Ventures also participated. Full story here.
• Recommended reading: Venture capitalist Jerry Neumann has put up a phenomenal blog post on the past four decades of venture capital, and how the experiences of the 1980s and 1990s should inform current investment strategies. It’s great from both a historical perspective and in the context of today’s ‘bubble’ concerns. Read it here.
• Just asking: President Obama this morning announced a series of rules that ease restrictions on Americans traveling to and doing business with Cuba. Just curious: How is the investment community viewing all of this? Just wait-and-see? Active due diligence (or lobbying?). Would be very curious in what your firm is up to. Drop me a note (per usual, confidentiality granted).
THE BIG DEAL
• Samsung Electronics recently approached BlackBerry (Nasdaq: BBRY) about buying the struggling smartphone maker for upwards of $7.5 billion, according to Reuters. Read more.
VENTURE CAPITAL DEALS
• Travice, operator of the Chinese taxi e-hail app Kuaidi Dache, has raised around $600 million in new funding from SoftBank, Alibaba and return backer Tiger Global. Read more.
• Boxed, a New York-based mobile app for bulk shipping, has raised $25 million in Series B funding. GGV Capital and Digital Sky Technologies co-led the round, and were joined by Founders Fund, AME Cloud Ventures, Vaizra Investments and return backers First Round Capital, Greycroft Partners and Signia Venture Partners. Read more.
• Neo Technology, a San Mateo, Calif.-based developer of graph databases, has raised $20 million in Series C funding. Creandum and Dawn Capital co-led the round, and were joined by Fidelity Growth Partners Europe, Sunstone Capital and Conor Venture Partners. www.neo4j.com
• Apama Medical, a Campbell, Calif.-based developer of atrial fibrillation technologies, has raised $17.5 million in Series B funding. Ascension Ventures led the round, and was joined by US. Medvance Incubator Partners, ONSET Ventures and Incept LLC. www.apamamedical.com
• Treasure Data, a Mountain View, Calif.-based provider of “cloud services for massive data processing,” has raised $15 million in Series B funding. Scale Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by AME Cloud Ventures and return backers like Sierra Ventures. www.treasuredata.com
• True Fit, a Woburn, Mass.-based retail SaaS startup that provides an online discovery engine for consumers to find better-fitting clothes, has raised $15 million in growth equity funding. Signal Peak Ventures, Promus Ventures and Jump Capital were joined by return backers Guggenheim Partners, Breakaway Ventures and Novel TMT. www.truefit.com
• Global Debt Registry, a Wilmington, Del.-based repository for storing and tracking consumer debt, has raised $7 million in Series A funding from undisclosed investors. www.globaldebtregistry.com
• BlockCypher, a San Mateo, Calif.-based blockchain web services company, has raised over $3.1 million in seed funding. Backers include Foundation Capital, New Enterprise Associates, AME Cloud Ventures, Tim Draper, Jesse Draper, Shawn Byers, Upside Partnership, Streamlined Ventures, and Fenox Venture Capital. www.blockcypher.com
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Blu Homes, a Vallejjo, Calif.-based green prefab homebuilder, has raised $35 million in new equity funding from unidentified “large institutional investors.” It previously raised nearly $60 million in a 2013 round led by Skagen Group. www.bluehomes.com
• The Carlyle Group has agreed to acquire the Malaga Peaking Plant, a Fresno, Calif.-based 96MW power plant. No financial terms were disclosed for the deal, which was done in partnership with Carlyle portfolio company Cogentrix Energy Power Management. www.carlyle.com
• Clearview Capital has acquired Xcellence Inc., a Mission, Kansas-based provider of forensic collection, processing, hosting, document review and project management services. No financial terms were disclosed. www.xactdatadiscovery.com
• MapR, a San Jose, Calif.-based Hadoop technology company, is planning to go public in late 2015, according to a Fortune interview with CEO John Schroeder. The company has raised over $170 million in private funding from firms like Google Capital, Qualcomm Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Mayfield Fund, NEA and Redpoint Ventures. Read more.
• Admedo, a UK-based programmatic advertising startup, has acquired Dispop, a New York-based provider of online display advertising and retargeting solutions. No financial terms were disclosed. Admedo has raised VC funding from Sussex Place Ventures, Playfair Capital, Encore Capital and Kima Ventures. Dispop backers include Inimiti, Inimiti Capital Partners and Wekix Accelerator. www.admedo.com
• Athenahealth (Nasdaq:ATHN) has agreed to acquire RazorInsights, a Kennesaw, Ga.–based provider of cloud-based electronic health record and financial solutions for rural, critical access and community hospitals. No financial terms were disclosed. The seller is Bluff Point Associates. www.razorinsights.com
• Pegasus Capital Advisors has sold Climatec LLC, a Phoenix–based provider of building automation, security and energy efficiency solutions, to Robert Bosch North America Corp. No financial terms were disclosed. www.climatec.com
• The Riverside Company has sold Rameder, a German provider of automotive hitches and related products, to Findos. No financial terms were disclosed. www.kupplung.de
• Vector Capital has completed its previously-announced $890 million sale of SafeNet, a Belcamp, Md.-based provider of data protection and software monetization solutions, to Gemalto (Amsterdam: GTO). www.safenet-inc.com
• Aegerion Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Nasdaq: AEGR) is under pressure from some top shareholders to fire CEO Marc Beer and put itself up for sale, according to Reuters. The Cambridge, Mass.-based drug maker has a current market cap of $685 million. Read more.
• Astronics Corp. (Nasdaq: ATRO) has acquired Armstrong Aerospace, an Itasca, Ill.-based provider of commercial aircraft engineering, design and certification solutions. The deal was valued at approximately $52 million in cash. www.armstrongaerospace.com
• BGC Partners (Nasdaq: BGCP) has again raised its hostile offer for rival brokerage and clearing firm GFI Group (NYSE: GFIG), this time up to $5.60 per share (or $714 million) in cash. This represents a 7% premium to a $5.25 per share cash and stock deal that GFI already has agreed to with CME Group (Nasdaq: CME). Read more.
• Shanghai Jin Jiang International Hotels, a Chinese hotelier, has agreed to acquire France’s Louvre Hotels Group for upwards of €1.21 billion. Read more.
• Shutterstock Inc. (NYSE: SSTK) has made two acquisitions: Rex Features, a London-based photographic press agency for $33 million in cash; and PremiumBeat, a Montreal-based provider of music and sound effects, for $32 million in cash. www.shutterstock.com
FIRMS & FUNDS
• Five Point Capital Partners, a private equity firm focused on the midstream energy infrastructure sector, has raised $450 million for its debut fund. www.fivepointcp.com
MOVING IN, UP, ON & OUT
• Olivia Ouyang has joined joined the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan as a Hong Kong-based director of funds and co-investments. She previously was with China Investment Corp. Read more.
• Rick Zullo has joined Chicago-based venture firm Lightbank as a vice president. www.lightbank.com
Share today’s Term Sheet: