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Term Sheet — Thursday, September 17

Random Ramblings

I watched all three hours of last night’s GOP debate, under the assumption that there would be lots of talk about jobs and the economy. Silly me.

Per the transcript, the term “interest rates” never came up, despite today’s pending Fed action. The word “jobs” was only spoken 26 times by the candidates, and one of those was when Carly Fiorina name-dropped Steve Jobs. Perhaps even more remarkable for a Republican debate, the phrase “small business” was uttered just once (by Scott Walker).

To be sure, a lot of the blame for this paucity of economic talk was on CNN’s moderation, but few of the candidates seemed eager to discuss such issues.

That said, there was some discussion over the tax treatment of carried interest (under the phraseology of wanting to “raise taxes on hedge fund managers”). Donald Trump reaffirmed his support of reclassifying carried interest as ordinary income, which is something Jeb Bush also included in his recently-published tax plan. When asked if he also agreed with the change, John Kasich said: “I don’t at this point in terms of changing the incentives for investment and risk-taking.”

The carried interest tax question also was asked directly of both Rand Paul and Mike Huckabee, but they side-stepped it by instead endorsing a flat tax and fair tax, respectively.

CNN did not ask Bush about his far more wide-reaching plan to remove the deduction for borrowing costs (i.e., debt interest payments), which would affect everyone from leveraged buyout titans to small business owners taking out things like equipment loans. On that last point, I reached out yesterday to a Bush spokesperson to see if he planned any exceptions or minimum thresholds to his deduction elimination, but I never heard back.

• Unicorn killers: There should be video up later today of my “private IPO” session at DEMO Traction, alongside Frederic Kerrest (Okta) and Anand Sanwal (CBInsights). We finished up by playing a game of “which one would you sell,” with seven unicorn companies at their most recent valuations (DropBox, Jawbone, Lyft, Uber, Snapchat, WeWork and Theranos). WeWork came out as loser (or winner, depending on how you choose to view it). Don’t worry, dear reader, I’m working on a way to let you play soon with a much larger company cohort…

• Get Liquid: Our upcoming Liquidity Event in San Francisco is now sold out, with more than 750 of you expected to attend (which also means we raised more than $13k for a local nonprofit). I am hoping we can pull some folks off the wait-list as we get closer to October 8, so be sure to sign up here if you got shut out and want to attend.

We can’t #GetLiquid without our sponsors, so thank you to: Gunderson Dettmer, Winmark Capital, PitchBook Data, TPG Growth and Andreessen Horowitz.



• Lyft Inc., a San Francisco-based ride-hailing startup, has raised $100 million in equity funding from VC-backed Chinese peer Didi Kuaidi, as part of a broader strategic partnership. No comment yet from Uber on its rivals teaming up. Read more.


• BlaBlaCar, a Paris-based carpooling platform, has raised $200 million in Series D funding. A source close to the situation says that deal was done at a $1.6 billion post-money valuation. Insight Venture Partners and existing backer Lead Edge Capital co-led the round, and were joined by Vostok New Ventures. Other existing shareholders include Accel Partners and Index Ventures. Read more.

• HelloFresh, a Germany-based recipe kit delivery service, has raised €75 million in new funding from Baillie Gifford at a €2.6 billion post-money valuation. It previously raised nearly $200 million from firms like Rocket Internet and Insight Venture Partners.

• VillageMD, a Chicago-based provider of management services for healthcare organizations, has raised $36 million in Series A funding led by Oak HC/FT.

• Kyruus, a Boston-based provider of physician network optimization software, has raised $25 million in new VC funding. New Leaf Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by Providence Health & Services, Leerink Capital Partners, McKesson Ventures and return backers Venrock, Highland Capital Partners, Lux Capital, and Fidelity Biosciences.

• Tascent Inc., a Los Gatos, Calif.-based developer of biometric identity products, has raised $18.5 million in Series A funding led by Tano Capital.

• Aspiration, a socially-conscious online investment platform, has raised $15.5 million in Series A funding. Renren (NYSE: RENN) led the round, and was joined by GSV Capital, Capricorn Investment Group, IGSB and individual investors like David Bonderman, Steve Rattner, Bill Lee and Joe Lonsdale.

• Ativa Medical, a St. Paul, Minn.-based developer of a diagnostic micro lab for physicians, has raised $15 million in Series B funding. Backers include Ping An Ventures, Hermed Capital, LabCorp, Dian Diagnostics and GIMDx.

• Typeform, a Spain-based provider of online form-filling design solutions, has raised $15 million in Series A funding. Index Ventures led the round, and was joined by Point Nine Capital, Connect Ventures and RTA Ventures.

• LearnZillion, a Washington, D.C.-based provider of free cloud-based K-12 curricular software, has raised $13 million in new VC funding from firms like DCM Ventures and Owl Ventures.

• HelloTech, a Los Angeles-based provider of on-demand home tech support, has raised $12.5 million in Series A funding. Madrona Venture Group led the round, and was joined by Upfront Ventures, CrossCut Ventures and Accel Partners.

• DWNLD, a New York-based publishing platform that converts websites into apps, has raised $12 million in Series A funding led by Greylock Partners. Read more.

• QuanticMind (f.k.a. InsideVault), a Redwood City, Calif.-based provider of digital marketing solutions, has raised $10.3 million in Series A funding led by Safeguard Scientifics ($7m investment).

• Creo Medical, a British developer of an electrosurgery platform, has raised $8.45 million in new VC funding. Pentax Medical was joined by return backers Finance Wales and the Angel CoFund.

• Percentil, a Spain-based retailer of second-hand children’s and women’s clothing, has raised €3.2 million in Series A funding. Seaya Ventures led the round, and was joined by return backer Active Venture Partners.

• Envoy, a San Francisco-based “family concierge” service for seniors and family caregivers, has raised $3 million in seed funding from firms like SoftTech VC, Lowercase Capital, ENIAC Ventures, Structure Capital, Technicolor Ventures and Vayner/RSE.

• Gwynnie Bee Inc., a New York-based subscription box service for plus-sized women’s fashion, has raised $1.5 million in VC funding, according to a regulatory filing. Backers include Sherpalo Ventures.


• Advent International has acquired a 13% stake in Fleury SA (Brazil: FLRY3), the second-largest diagnostic services provider in Brazil, from a physician group that will retain another 28.3% position.

• Arlington Capital Partners has acquired Ontario Systems, a Muncie, Ind.-based provider of provider of revenue cycle management software. No financial terms were disclosed.

• Doxim, an Ontario-based provider of customer engagement software for the financial services industry, has acquired Roler Data, an Ontario-based provider of electronic document composition, processing, delivery and archiving services to financial customers. No financial terms were disclosed. Doxim is backed by Strattam Capital.

• Ecoles Yassamine, the largest private school network in Morocco, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from TPG/Satya, the partnership between TPG Growth and Satya Capital Ltd.

• General Electric (NYSE: GE) has sold a $3.7 billion portfolio of British home loans to Kensington Mortgage, a company backed by The Blackstone Group and TPG Capital. Read more.

• Staging Concepts, a Minneapolis-based maker of staging equipment and railing systems, has acquired Fort Mill, S.C.-based Architectural Railings & Grilles for an undisclosed amount. Staging Concepts is a portfolio company of Blackford Capital.

• Tenex Capital Management has acquired PEMCO America Inc., a Sarasota, Fla.-based provider of outsourced HR administrative solutions, from Palm Beach Capital. No financial terms were disclosed. Brookwood Associates managed the process.


• No IPO news this morning.


• Amgen (Nasdaq: AMGN) has agreed to acquire Dezima Pharma, a Dutch cardiovascular drug developer. The deal includes a $300 million up-front cash payment, and upwards of $1.25 billion in milestone-based earn-outs. Dezima Pharma has raised VC funding from BioGeneration Ventures, Forbion Capital Partners and New Science Ventures.

• News Corp. (Nasdaq: NWSA) has agreed to acquire Unruly, a London-based video ad tech company, for upwards of £114 million (including a £58m upfront cash payment). Unruly shareholders include Amadeus Capital Partners, Business Growth Fund PLC and Endeit Capital.


• Altice (Amsterdam: ATC), a European telecom conglomerate, has agreed to acquire Bethpage, N.Y.-based Cablevision (NYSE: CVC). The deal is valued at around $17.7 billion ($9.6b equity value), or $34.90 per share in cash (22% premium to yesterday’s closing price for Cablevision shares). Read more.

• China Electronics is in early talks to acquire Atmel (Nasdaq: ATML), a San Jose, Calif.-based chipmaker with a market cap of around $3.4 billion, according to Bloomberg. Read more.

• Expedia (Nasdaq: EXPE) is expected to receive U.S. Department of Justice approval to move forward with its $1.3 billion acquisition of rival online travel-booking company Orbitz Worldwide (NYSE: OWW). Read more.


•  The Carlyle Group has closed its third Japanese buyout firm with ¥119.5 billion (US$989m) in capital commitments.


• Anjula Acharia-Bath, founder of DesiHits, has joined Trinity Ventures as a partner.

• Kevin Clayton, a former principal of Oaktree Capital Management, has joined Makena Capital Management as vice chairman. William Burns, president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, also has joined Makena as a special advisor and member of the board of directors.

• Henry Gosebruch has agreed to join pharma company AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV) as chief strategy officer. Just a few months back, J.P. Morgan promoted Gosebruch to co-head of North American M&A. Read more.

• Melanie Grace has joined Hercules Technology Growth Capital as general counsel and chief compliance officer. She previously was chief legal officer and corporate secretary of WHV Investments.

• Krzysztof Krawczyk has agreed to join CVC Capital Partners as head of Poland in the firm’s new Warsaw office. He previously was managing partner of Innova Capital.

• Doug Londal, former president and COO of New Mountain Capital, has joined MSD Capital as a partner and head of private equity. MSD is the family office of Michael Dell.

• Jason Trevisan has stepped down as a general partner with Polaris Partners, in order to join auto shopping site CarGurus as chief financial officer.

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