The sun is shining, the valuations are rising and this time next week I'll be sitting on a beach in the Bahamas (birthday present from J -- don't worry, Erin Griffith will take good care of you). In other words, it's time for some Friday (the 13th) Feedback:
First up are some responses to my question about whether or not venture capital is still an apprenticeship business:
JT: "Understanding how VC investments are made and why they're made does require some socialization. The mechanics are fairly easy to pick up, but the internal unwritten rules of every partnership are different. So, there is a period of ‘watch and learn,’ and a mentor is ideal. I think such inside-baseball stuff exists in every industry, but in my opinion, VC is unique because of the partnership structure where small bands of people make decisions (the ‘CEO model’ in venture firms where 1 partners makes all the decisions is an exception--that's an easy model to figure out quickly)… The competition for flow is as fierce as ever. So, a new player into the business has to bring something unique. On Day 1, that is usually a network. So, that's why you see firm bring on new staff member, usually through a ‘try and buy’ model, who was plugged in at Google, Square, Twitter, etc. The hope is that new entrepreneurs at those places will call their old buddy. In a nutshell, VC for an individual entering the industry is now about: business judgment + personal (or, firm) brand-building + network. Being apprenticed is just one part of the game."
Martin: "In my view the 'apprenticeship' aphorism is one propagated by senior partners to explain the long road to partnership and the grossly unequally economic split between partners and investment professionals. Granted the relationship building and pattern recognition elements of VC do take time to build, but the investment fundamentals are fairly easy to grasp."
Recruiter: "Having worked in the VC ecosystem for a long time and recruited dozens of folks for them I can still it has many aspects of an apprenticeship. The new (MBA) hires clearly are apprenticed to senior partners to learn the craft. Senior operating execs also serve some form of apprenticeship as they learn how each firm/partnership works."
Neal: "Despite what people said about VC being an apprenticeship business, I don’t think that ever really was the case. My first venture-funded startup, in 1982 before anyone had really every been aware of the asset class, was funded by Oak and Robertson Stephens and it was a club industry formed by either investment banks or wealthy family money managers, none of whom had apprenticed in the class… While I can think of a few VCs at brand firms who have apprenticed, I can think of far more well-known VCs who came from other places and never apprenticed. They got there by reputation or money in other elements of the industry. Stu Alsop, Vinod Khosla, Bob Metcalfe, Reid Hoffman and Michael Skok just to name a few. And while KPCB may lay claim to having funded Google, it was Andy Bechtolsheim who wrote the first check."
• Charles on long-dated PE funds: “Why hasn’t anyone written about the real goal of these 20 and 30-year vehicles? If the fee lasts 20 or 30 years, especially if it is tied to a growing NAV, these vehicles are worth a lot more to publicly-traded GPs than a 10-year vehicle whose fees taper off after year 5 or 6? It just makes the compounding fees grow and grow and grow.”
• Dana: "Ellen Pao's personal finances are irrelevant to whether or not Kleiner Perkins discriminated against her because of her gender. The judge should not allow the jury to be distracted by that sort of testimony." [Don't worry Dana, the judge yesterday agreed with you]
• Anon #1: "I think it is really admirable that Meritech went outside their comfort zone and hired a 28 year-old Harvard grad with no operating startup experience and no technical experience. It was a courageous leap of faith. I am sure that there were no women remotely as qualified as Max."
• Anon #2: God forbid a new CEO and his private equity board member don't want to tell you about their layoff plans (if there are any). Because the media deserves to know before the employees, right. Reporters like you are so arrogant."
THE BIG DEAL
• Levy Acquisition Corp., a blank check acquisition company managed by Chicago restaurateur Larry Levy, has agreed to acquire fast-food chain Del Taco. The two-part deal values Del Taco at upwards of $500 million.
Lake Forest, Calif.-based Del Taco is being sold by a private equity group that includes Charlesbank Capital Partners, Leonard Green & Partners and Goldman Sachs Mezzanine Partners. Read more.
VENTURE CAPITAL DEALS
• Quikr.com, an Indian online classifieds portal, is close to raising $150 million in new equity funding from Tiger Global at a valuation north of $1 billion, according to the WSJ. The company previously raised over $190 million from Matrix Partners, Norwest Venture Partners, Warburg Pincus, Kinnevik, Omidyar Network, Nokia Venture Partners and eBay. Read more.
• NetBase, a Mountain View, Calif.-based social media analytics company, has raised $24 million in Series E funding. Spring Lake Equity Partners led the round, and was joined by return backers Thomvest Ventures, Altos Ventures, and WestSummit Capital. www.netbase.com
• Favor, an Austin, Texas-based provider of personal delivery assistants, has raised $13 million in Series A funding. Read more.
• E8 Security, a Redwood City, Calif.-based provider of cybersecurity analytics, has raised $9.8 million in Series A funding. March Capital Partners led the round, and was joined by Allegis Capital and The Hive. www.e8security.com
• Prevtec Microbia, a Montreal-based developer of biological products for the treatment of disease in food-animals, has raised C$4.7 million in new VC funding. VVC led the round with a C$3 million investment, and was joined by return backers Telesystem Ltd., Groupe Jafaco Gestion Inc. and Desjardins-Innovatech. www.prevtecmicrobia.com
• Agilence Inc., a Mt. Laurel, N.J.-based provider of exception reporting SaaS solutions for retail loss prevention and operations, has raised $4.3 million in new VC funding. Laurel Capital Partners led the round, and was joined by Drayton Park Capital and return backers Granite Ventures, Next Stage Capital and Aster Capital. www.agilenceinc.com
• EVEN Financial, a New York-based supply-side platform for marketplace lending, has raised $2.8 million in seed funding. Canaan Partners led the round, and was joined by Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, Conversion Capital, Social Leverage, 555 Capital and individual angels. www.evenfinancial.com
• Eko, a San Francisco-based “stethoscope intelligence” company, has raised $2 million in new VC funding. Founder.Org Capital and Michael Baum (Splunk) co-led the deal, and were joined by StartX Fund, Shazam’s co-founders and John Noonan (ex-senior advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services). www.ekodevices.com
• Classkick, a Chicago-based education platform that lets teachers provide real-time feedback to students working on iPads, has raised $1.7 million in seed funding. Backers include Kapor Capital, Lightbank, Great Oaks Venture Capital and Adam Pisoni (Yammer). www.getclasskick.com
• Ravelin, a London-based smarter fraud prevention platform, has raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from Passion Capital. www.ravelin.com
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• The Carlyle Group is talks to sell its 42% stake in Saudi Arabia-based Alamar Foods, the operator of Domino’s Pizza stores in the Middle East, to Carlyle Group partner Firas Nasir, according to Bloomberg. The move comes after Carlyle opted not to raise a second Middle East-focused fund. Read more.
• CVC Capital Partners and Providence Equity Partners are the final remaining bidders for a majority stake in Dutch movie theater group Stage Entertainment, according to Reuters. The deal could value Stage Entertainment at around $425 million, with ING and ABN Amro managing the process. Stage is currently controlled by media tycoon Joop van den Ende. Read more.
• Gores Group and Lindsay Goldberg are expected to submit takeover bids for VDM, the high-performance alloy unit of listed German steelmaker ThyssenKrupp, according to Reuters. Read more.
• Par Pharmaceutical Holdings, a Chestnut Ridge, N.Y.-based generic drugmaker owned by TPG Capital, has filed for a $100 million IPO. It plans to trade under ticker symbol PRX, with J.P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs serving as lead underwriters. The company reports a $105 million net loss in both 2013 and 2014, but revenue grew during that time period from $1.1 billion to $1.3 billion. www.parpharm.com
• XBiotech Inc., an Austin, Texas-based developer of monoclonal antibodies, has set its “best efforts” IPO terms to 4 million shares being offered at between $18 and $20 per share. It plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol XBIT, with WR Hambrecht serving as underwriter. The company has not yet begun generating revenue. www.xbiotech.com
• Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) has acquired 2lemetry, a Denver-based cloud platform for the enterprise Internet of Things, according to TechCrunch. No financial terms were disclosed. 2lemetry had raised $9 million in VC funding from firms like Salesforce Ventures. Read more.
• The Carlyle Group has pulled British dental treatment company Integrated Dental Holdings from the auction block, according to Bloomberg. Carlyle had been seeking around $1.5 billion and had spoken with potential bidders like The Blackstone Group, but couldn’t reach an agreement on price. Read more.
• Virtual Radiologic Corp., an Eden Prairie, Minn.-based provider of radiological services with around $175 million in 2014 revenue, is seeking a buyer, according to Dow Jones. Credit Suisse is managing the process on behalf of V-Rad backers Newstone Capital Partners, GSO Capital Partners and Providence Equity Partners. www.vrad.com
• Vista Equity Partners has hired Citigroup to find a buyer for Websense Inc., a San Diego–based network security company, according to Bloomberg. No word yet on the asking price. Vista paid around $890 million to buy Websense in 2013. Read more.
• GlaxoSmithKline (LSE: GSK) has sold half of its 12.4% stake in South African drugmaker Aspen Pharmacare (JSE: APNJ) for $853 million via a share placement at a discount to current trading prices. Read more.
FIRMS & FUNDS
• The Carlyle Group has closed two new collateralized loan obligation funds: One is a $670 million U.S. CLO arranged by Morgan Stanley, and the other is a $527 million European CLO arranged by Barclays. www.carlyle.com
• GSO Capital Partners, a unit of The Blackstone Group, is targeting between $2.5 billion and $3 billion for its first energy credit fund, according to peHUB. Read more.
MOVING IN, UP, ON & OUT
• Kyle Lacy has joined OpenView Venture Partners as head of marketing strategy. He previously was director of global content marketing for Salesforce.com’s marketing cloud. www.openviewpartners.com
• Anton Steenman, a former Intel Corp. executive, has joined tech M&A advisory firm J. Moore Partners as a managing director. www.jmoorepartners.com
Sagent Advisors, a boutique investment bank, has named that Joseph Donohue and Bill Kohr as co-CEOs. Prior CEO and firm co-founder Hal Ritch will continue to serve as a managing director and chairman. www.sagentadvisors.com
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