Greetings from San Francisco, where last night I interviewed venture capitalist Marc Andreessen, as part of a small walk-up dinner to our annual Fortune Brainstorm Tech event (July 13-15 this year, in Aspen). Expect video clips to be up at Fortune.com within the hour:
Deal doldrums: Andreessen dodged a question about whether or not Twitter will be acquired within the year (there were reports yesterday that Google was circling), but did say the following: “I have been shocked in the last five years how little tech M&A there has been. We’re in this environment of extreme risk aversion, and people are worried about returning cash to investors. Historically, there would have been more combinations.”
Return engagement: I also asked for his thoughts on Zynga reinstalling Mark Pincus as CEO, and if that could revive the struggling social game-maker. Andreessen said he’s always excited when a founder returns to his company, and pointed out how deeply troubled Apple was when Steve Jobs returned.
Why doesn’t A16Z have any female GPs? According to Andreessen, it’s not for a lack of trying. He says that the first person that he and Ben Horowitz offered a GP role was a women, who has now turned them down repeatedly. He adds that 52% of the firm’s 107 employees are women, and that they generally outperform male employees come review time. But since A16Z only adds GPs who have past CEO experience, don’t expect any of those high-performers to rise up to the GP ranks. That will still need to be an outside hire.
Pop: We talked a lot about the “bubble,” with Andreessen repeating his mantra about how every valuation is company-specific and tech’s overall insignificance as part of the broader investment market. In prepping for our conversation, however, I thought back to a few years ago, when Andreessen Horowitz was being blamed by many VCs for bidding up deals — thus inflating valuations throughout the startup ecosystem. So I asked Andreessen if he was to blame for our current plethora of unicorns. He took pains to point out that A16Z has walked away from many deals over price but, in general, observed that the firm turned out to be right in most of its high-priced cases (given the subsequent/persistent valuation climb).
Voting booth: Last time around, Andreessen supported Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. Right now, he’s “trying to decide between the anti-science party and the anti-economics party.”
• Required reading: The NY Times today has an interview with NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, who says that the City’s $160 billion pension system recently conducted an analysis of how much it has paid out in “Wall Street” fees over the past decade. Here is the part that jumped out to me:
“Until now, Mr. Stringer said, the pension funds have reported the performance of many of their investments before taking the fees paid to money managers into account. After factoring in those fees, this staff round that they had dragged the overall returns $2.5 billion below expectations over the last 10 years.”
I honestly don’t know what to say about this, so I’ll just use a variety of symbols: ???!!!!@#$@#$!!!
This would be like reporting public equity investment performance without accounting for any cost basis. Did they really go 10 years without any sort of fee analysis? I’ve reached out to Stringer’s office for clarification, and am really hoping there is some. Because, otherwise, this seems to be a massive breach of fiduciary duty, and an offense to common sense.
THE BIG DEAL
• LinkedIn (Nasdaq: LNKD) has agreed to acquire Lynda.com, a Carpinteria, Calif.-based online learning company and video library, for approximately $1.5 billion in cash and stock (52/48 split).
Lynda had raised more than $280 million over two rounds of VC funding, including a $186 million deal earlier this year at around a $1 billion valuation. Backers include TPG Capital, Accel Partners, Meritech Capital Partners and Spectrum Equity. Read more.
VENTURE CAPITAL DEALS
• Domo, an American Fork, Utah-based business management platform, has raised $200 million in Series D funding at a $2 billion valuation. BlackRock led the round, and was joined by Capital Group Cos., Glynn Capital and return backer GGV Capital. www.domo.com
• Ola, an Indian taxi-hailing service, has raised around $314 million in new VC funding. DST Global led the round, and was joined by such firms as Accel Partners, Tiger Global and Steadview Capital. Read more.
• Prosper Marketplace, a San Francisco-based online marketplace for credit, has raised $165 million in Series D funding. Credit Suisse NEXT Investors led the round, and was joined by J.P. Morgan Asset Management, SunTrust Banks, BBVA Ventures, Neuberger Berman Private Equity Funds, Passport Capital and Breyer Capital. www.prosper.com
• Edge Therapeutics, a Berkeley Heights, N.J.-based developer of therapies for life-threatening neurological conditions, has raised around $72.5 million in Series C-1 (Dec. 2014) and Series C-2 (April 2015) funding. Venrock led the most recent round, with Sofinnova Ventures, Janus Capital Management, New Leaf Venture Partners and BioMed Ventures also participating. www.edgetherapeutics.com
• Temando, a San Francisco-based fulfillment software platform for e-commerce, has raised $50 million in Series B funding from Neopost SA. www.temando.com
• The RealReal, a San Francisco-based seller of luxury consignment, has raised $40 million in new VC funding. Industry Ventures led the round, and was joined by Greycroft Growth, DBL Partners, e.Ventures, and Canaan Partners. Read more.
• Kyriba, a San Diego-based provider of cloud-based treasury management solutions, has raised $21 million in Series C funding. HSBC was joined by return backers BRED Banque Populaire, Daher Capital, Iris Capital and Upfront Ventures. www.kyriba.com
• Niara, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based security analytics startup, has raised $20 million in Series B funding. Venrock led the round, and was joined by New Enterprise Associates and Index Ventures. www.niara.com
• Sharecare, an Atlanta-based digital health and wellness engagement platform, has raised $20 million in growth equity funding from Wellington Management Co. www.sharecare.com
• Aviso, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based provider of predictive insights software for sales management, operations and forecasting, has raised $15 million in Series B funding. Scale Venture Partners and Next World Capital co-led the round, and were joined by Shasta Ventures, First Round Capital, Bloomberg Beta and Cowboy Ventures. www.aviso.com
• Engagio, a San Mateo, Calif.-based provider of marketing productivity tools, has raised $10 million in Series A funding. FirstMark Capital led the round, and was joined by Storm Ventures and First Round Capital. www.engagio.com
• PeerIQ, a New York-based provider of institutional investor tools for analyzing and managing risk in the P2P lending market, has raised $6 million in seed funding. Uprising and John Mack co-led the round, and were joined by Vikram Pandit, Arthur Levitt, Dan Doctoroff and Eric Schwartz. www.peeriq.com
• 1366 Technologies, a Bedford, Mass.-based silicon wafer manufacturer, has raised $5 million in new Series C funding led by China’s Haivan Capital. The round total is now $22.5 million. www.1366tech.com
• Joya, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based mobile video communications startup, has raised $5 million in Series A funding co-led by Battery Ventures and Altos Ventures. www.getjoya.com
• Conversion Logic, a Santa Monica, Calif. -based cross-channel attribution platform, has raised $4 million in seed funding. Rincon Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by Crosscut Ventures, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, TenOneTen, Founder Collective and Raptor Ventures. www.conversionlogic.com
• Point.io, a Wayne, Penn.-based digital engagement platform, has raised $4 million in Series B funding from “prominent Philadelphia institutions and high net worth individuals.” www.point.io
• DemoChimp, an American Fork, Utah-based SaaS company that automates product demos to accelerate sales, has raised $2.8 million in seed funding. Peak Ventures led the round, and was joined by Albion Financial, Seed Equity, Select Venture Partners, Paul Ahlstrom, Scott Frazier and Greg Schenk. www.demochimp.com
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Abraaj Group and TPG Capital have completed their previously-announced acquisition of a majority stake in Saudi Arabia-based fast-food chain Kudu. The deal reportedly is valued at around $400 million. Read more.
• Apache Corp. (NYSE: APA) has agreed to sell its Australian exploration and production subsidiary (Apache Energy Ltd.) for $2.1 billion in cash to Macquarie Capital Group and Brookfield Asset Management. www.apachecorp.com
• BlackHawk Industrial Distribution, a Tulsa, Okla.-based portfolio company of Brazos Private Equity Partners, has made two acquisitions: Packaging Inc., an Eden Prairie, Minn.-based provider of packaging and fastening supplies, and Pioneer Tool Supply, an Agawam, Mass.-based distributor of metalworking and cutting tools. No financial terms were disclosed for either deal. www.blackhawkid.com
• Charterhouse Capital Partners has acquired Mirion Technologies Inc., a San Ramon, Calif.-based provider of radiation detection and measurement solutions, for $750 million from American Capital Ltd. www.mirion.com
• CLS, a French ocean monitoring group owned by Ardian, has acquired Horizon Marine Inc., a Marion, Mass.-based provider of services to offshore oil operators. www.ardian-investment.com
• Three Rivers Natural Resource Holdings III LLC, a newly-formed oil and gas company based in Austin, Texas, has secured up to $500 million in equity commitments from Riverstone Holdings. www.riverstonellc.com
• Tonka Bay Equity Partners has acquired NuSource Financial, an Eden Prairie, Minn.–based provider of ATM services, equipment, and commercial security systems. www.nusourcefinancial.com
• Carbylan Therapeutics, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based developer of a therapy for sustained relief from pain associated with osteoarthritis, raised $65 million in its IPO. The company priced 13 million shares at $5 per share, compared to earlier plans to sell 5.8 million shares at between $12 and $14 per share. It will trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol CBYL, while Leerink Partners served as lead underwriter. Shareholders include InterWest Partners (33.2% pre-IPO stake), Atla Partners (30.2%) and Vivo Ventures (27.8%). www.carbylan.com
• Fenix Parts Inc., a Miami, Fla.-based recycler and reseller of OEM automotive products, has filed for a $100 million IPO. It plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol FENX, with BMO Capital Markets and Stifel serving as co-lead underwriters. The company reports $108 million in pro forma sales for 2014.
• Wowo Ltd., a Chinese e-commerce platform for local entertainment and lifestyle services, raised $40 million in its IPO. The company priced 4 million shares at $10 per share, compared to plans to offer 6 million shares at between $9 and $11 per share. It will trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol WOWO, while Axiom served as sole underwriter. Wowo reports a $32 million net loss on $21 million in revenue for the first nine months of 2014, compared to a $21 million net loss on $28 million in revenue for the year-earlier period. Shareholders include Zero2IPO and CDH Investments. www.55tuan.com
• Abdul Latif Jameel Energy and Environmental Services has acquired Fotowatio Renewable Ventures, a Baltimore-based developer of global solar power plants, from Denham Capital and Qualitas Venture Capital. No financial terms were disclosed. www.frv.com
• Optum, an Eden Prairie, Minn.-based subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), has agreed to acquire MedExpress, a Morgantown, W.V.–based provider of walk-in urgent care facilities. No financial terms were disclosed. Sellers include General Atlantic, Sequoia Capital and Highmark Capital. www.optum.com
• Coinsetter, a New York-based bitcoin exchange aimed at Wall Street traders, has acquired Cavirtex, a Canadian bitcoin exchange that had shut earlier this year due to security concerns. Read more.
• Dentons US LLP said that it will merge with Atlanta-based law firm McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP. Read more.
• Infinera (Nasdaq: INFN) has offered to acquire Transmode, a listed Swedish optical networking company, for approximately $345 million in cash and stock. Read more.
• Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) reportedly has ended its takeover pursuit of chipmaker Altera (Nasdaq: ALTR), which had a market cap of $10.4 billion before a WSJ report earlier this month about a potential deal (which would have been Intel’s largest acquisition ever). According to CNBC, Intel’s offer was all cash an in the “low $50s.” Altera shares closed yesterday at $42. www.intel.com
• Mylan has offered to acquire Ireland-based generic drugmaker Perrigo for approximately $29 billion in cash and stock, or $205 per Perrigo share (24.2% premium over Tuesday’s closing price). Read more.
• Sequential Brands Group (Nasdaq: SQBG) has completed its previously-disclosed acquisition of a majority stake in the Jessica Simpson Collection Brand. No financial terms were disclosed. Both Tengram Capital Partners and The Carlyle Group hold around 16% stakes in Sequential Brands. www.sequentialbrands.com
• Sprinklr, a New York-based enterprise social marketing startup, has acquired Get Satisfaction, a San Francisco-based online customer community platform. No financial terms were disclosed. Sprinklr recently raised $46 million in Series E funding at a $1.17 billion valuation, from Intel Capital, Battery Ventures and Iconiq Capital. www.sprinklr.com
FIRMS & FUNDS
• Illuminate Ventures is raising upwards of $30 million for its second fund, according to a regulatory filing. www.illuminate.com
MOVING IN, UP, ON & OUT
• Mary Rozenman has joined Allergan Research Corp. as SVP of corporate and commercial development. She previously was a vice president with Longitude Capital Partners (which had led ARC’s Series A round in 2013, with Rozenman joining the company’s board as an observer). www.allerganresearch.com
• Tolga Sengel has stepped down as a Turkey-based director with European private equity firm Bridgepoint, leaving the firm with just a pair of junior dealmakers in its Istanbul office. Read more.
• Ameet Shah and Bert Amato have joined Golden Venture Partners as a partner and venture partner, respectively. Shah previously was a co-founder of Five Mobile, which was acquired by Zynga (where Shah worked out of Toronto). Amato is a Toronto-based angel investor. www.goldenvp.com
• Anand Sinha, former deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of India, has joined KKR as an industry advisor. www.kkr.com
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