Greetings from Menlo Park, where very few other people seem to be awake. Some notes to kick us off this morning, and an apology for those who were hoping to hang out tonight at the Dutch Goose.
• Bitcoin biz: Last year we discussed Xapo, a bitcoin storage and digital wallet company that had raised $20 million in VC funding from top names like Benchmark, Ribbit Capital and Fortress Investment Group. It was founded by Wences Casares, who previously had founded a digital wallet company called Lemon, which was purchased by publicly-traded LifeLock for more than $40 million. Xapo would later raise another $20 million, and just weeks ago announced an advisory board that included former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and former Citigroup CEO John Reed.
In short, it’s one of Silicon Valley’s hottest bitcoin startups.
But Casares and other members of Xapo’s management team also are defendants in a fraud and breach of contract lawsuit brought by LifeLock which, if successful, could threaten Xapo’s very existence. Moreover, we’ve learned that the new advisors were not apprised of the ongoing litigation prior to signing on.
LifeLock alleges that Xapo was created by “using a product developed by Lemon employees, in Lemon’s facilities, on Lemon’s computers, and on Lemon’s dime.” Casares hasn’t filed a formal response yet, but court filings suggest that he will argue that he sought and was given permission to build Xapo while still a Lemon employee, and that LifeLock has no claim on any bitcoin-related IP. Yeah, it’s messy.
For our full story, please go here.
• Fortune 500: Today is Fortune 500 day, and both KKR (# 356) and The Blackstone Group (#373) make the list. For the full Fortune 500, please go here. You also can read the results of our annual Fortune 500 CEO Survey by going here.
• Deal data: The FT points out that there has been around 35x more money raised by tech companies in the private markets this year than raised via IPOs.
• Rain check: When I suggested an informal meet-up tonight at the Dutch Goose, I forgot that this evening is the opening game of Warriors vs. Cavs. Or, put another way, bars are going to be ridiculously crowded beginning at around 5pm. So I’m going to regretfully cancel this evening’s get together, but will get to work on a Bay Area Liquidity Event. Sincere apologies.
THE BIG DEAL
• Bolt Threads, an Emeryville, Calif.-based developer of engineered silk textiles, has raised $32.3 million in Series B funding. Foundation Capital led the round, and was joined by Formation 8 and Founders Fund. Read more.
VENTURE CAPITAL DEALS
• Calhoun Vision Inc., a Pasadena, Calif.-based developer of adjustable intraocular lens technology, has raised $69 million in new VC funding (including $17m of debt conversion). Longitude Capital led the round, and was joined by H.I.G. BioVentures, Balance Point Capital Partners, and RA Capital Management. www.calhounvision.com
• Believe Digital, a French provider of music and video distribution services, has raised $60 million in growth equity funding. Technology Crossover Ventures led the round, and was joined by return backers XAnge, GP Bullhound Sidecar and Ventech. www.believe.fr
• Zopper, an India-based on-demand ecommerce company focused on bulky items like home appliances, has raised $20 million in Series B funding from Tiger Global and Nirvana Venture Advisors. Read more.
• Carena Inc., a Seattle-based telemedicine provider, has raised $13.3 million in VC funding. Cambia Health Solutions, McKesson Ventures, Catholic Health Initiatives and Martin Ventures. www.carenamd.com
• S4M, a French mobile performance startup, has raised $8 million in Series A funding from Entrepreneurs Ventures and Bpifrance Digital Fund. www.sm4.io
• Blend, a San Jose, Calif.-based social app that relies on “nominations” to create interaction between users, brands, celebrities and charities, has raised $6.3 million in Series A funding. New Enterprise Associates led the round, and was joined by from Metamorphic Ventures, Red Sea Ventures, Great Oaks Capital, the Al Nowais family and return backers like CAA Ventures, Foundation Capital, Galvanize Ventures and BaseVC. www.blend.la
• Orbitera, a West Hollywood, Calif.–based provider of an SaaS product that optimizes sales and services on cloud platforms, has raised $2 million in seed funding led by Resolute Ventures. www.orbitera.com
• SimplyTapp Inc., an Austin, Texas-based provider of host card emulation technology for Android developers, has raised an undisclosed amount of strategic funding from Verizon Ventures. www.simplytapp.com
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• BC Partners has acquired a majority stake in Greek pharma company Pharmathen at an enterprise value in excess of €400 million. Read more.
• The Carlyle Group has completed its previously-announced acquisition of National Accident Repair Services PLC, a UK-based operator of auto repair centers. No financial terms were disclosed. www.carlyle.com
• Distribution International Inc., a Houston-based mechanical insulation company owned by Advent International, has acquired Hammond, Ind.-based Insulation Fabricators Inc. for an undisclosed amount. www.distributioninternational.com
• Frontenac Co. has sponsored a recapitalization of A.H. Harris, a West Hartford, Conn.-based distributor of construction supplies and equipment. No financial terms were disclosed. Prior investors included Navigation Capital Partners. www.ahharris.com
• Frontier Capital has invested $40 million for a majority equity stake in Electronic Commerce Inc., an Elkhart, Ind.–based human capital management platform in the cloud. www.ecipay.com
• GI Partners has agreed to acquire MRI Software LLC, a Solon, Ohio–based provider of real estate property and investment management software solutions, from Vista Equity Partners. No financial terms were disclosed. www.mrisoftware.com
• Linsalata Capital Partners has acquired Whitcraft LLC, an Eastford, Conn.–based maker of aerospace components. No financial terms were disclosed, except that Golub Capital managed the leveraged financing. www.wgsecureportal.com
• Risk Strategies Co., a Boston-based national insurance brokerage and risk management firm, has acquired Dubraski & Associates Insurance Services, a San Diego-based provider of insurance and consulting solutions to the healthcare market. No financial terms were disclosed. Risk Strategies is a portfolio company of Kohlberg & Co. www.risk-strategies.com
• ShoreGroup Inc., a New York–based provider of software and managed services to support network infrastructure, has raised an undisclosed amount of growth equity funding from Francisco Partners. www.shoregroup.com
• Summit Park has sponsored a recapitalization of existing portfolio company Control Company, a Friendswood, Texas–based maker of digital analytical and measurement equipment to the scientific lab market. No financial terms were disclosed. www.traceable.com
• Trive Capital has acquired a minority stake in Madison-Kipp Corp., a Madison, Wis.-based maker of precision components and sub-assemblies for the automotive, leisure, and lawn and garden industries. No financial terms were disclosed. www.madison-kipp.com
• White Wolf Capital has sponsored a recapitalization of Technicut Tool Inc., a Canadian maker of metal components for the oil and gas industry. No financial terms were disclosed. www.technicuttool.com
• SunGard, a Wayne, Penn.-based provider of software to financial institutions, has filed for a $100 million IPO (placeholder figure). J.P. Morgan is listed as left-lead underwriter. The company was acquired 10 years ago for $11.4 billion by a private equity consortium that included Silver Lake, Bain Capital, The Blackstone Group, GS Capital Partners, KKR, Providence Equity Partners and TPG Capital. Since then, SunGard has spun off its disaster recovery unit and paid its investors a $720 million dividend. www.sungard.com
• IBM (NYSE: IBM) has acquired Blue Box Group Inc., a Seattle–based managed private cloud provider built on OpenStack. No financial terms were disclosed. Blue Box had raised over $20 million in VC funding from firms like Founder Collective and Voyager Capital. www.ibm.com
• Sprinklr, a New York-based enterprise social marketing startup, has acquired NewBrand, a Washington, D.C.–based provider of location-specific text analysis software. 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. NewBrand had raised VC funding from New Enterprise Associates, Revolution, Entrepreneur Growth Fund and Thayer Ventures. www.sprinklr.com
• Alibaba Pictures Group Ltd., the film and entertainment unit of Alibaba Group (NYSE: BABA), said it plans to raise $1.6 billion via a share offering that would finance media-related acquisitions. Read more.
• China Business News, a Chinese financial news and information company, has raised nearly $194 million in equity funding from Alibaba Group. Read more.
• Rakuten (Tokyo: 4655), a Japanese ecommerce group, said that it plans to raise $1.5 billion via a share sale in Japan and overseas. The company’s share price slid 6% on the news. Read more.
• Tesco PLC (LSE: TSCO), a troubled British retailer valued at around $6 billion, has hired HSBC to seek a buyer, according to Reuters. Private equity firms are expected to have interest. Read more.
FIRMS & FUNDS
• Madrona Venture Group has closed its sixth fund with $300 million in capital commitments. www.madrona.com
MOVING IN, UP, ON & OUT
• Bill Goodell has stepped down as COO of hedge fund Maverick Capital, in order to take a similar role with Partner Fund Management, according to CNBC. Bill is the brother of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Read more.
• Ron Will has joined growth equity firm Mainsail Partners as CFO and operating partner. He previously was CFO of BrightRoll (purchased by Yahoo). www.mainsailpartners.com
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