Skip to Content

Term Sheet — Friday, September 18

Random Ramblings

Some quick notes to kick off your Friday:

• Undercorn odds: Yesterday I mentioned that we’d post video of my “private IPO” discussion with Frederic Kerrest (Okta) and Anand Sanwal (CBInsights), which included an impromptu game of “which unicorn would you sell?” You can now watch it by going here.

• Speaking of unicorns: If you work at a highly-valued tech startup or are invested in one, I hope you have already sent Janet Yellen a big bouquet of (on-demand, cloud-based) flowers.

• Stupid human tricks: The WSJ reports that publicly-traded private equity giant KKR is investigating its market-making firm (and its trader Donald Himpele), after a bizarre decision last week that briefly cut the firm’s value in half. From the piece:

In anticipation of high volatility on Aug. 24, the NYSE invoked a rarely used rule that allows market makers extra leeway to decide on an opening price. The exchange delayed trading in KKR on its platform by three minutes and 15 seconds before Mr. Himpele opted to open shares of KKR at $10. That was about half the $19.55 at which they closed at the previous Friday, despite there being no significant news affecting the company. It was also below the $17-to-$18 range at which the stock was trading at on electronic exchanges in the preceding three minutes.

Full story is available here.

• New Sand Hill faces: Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers has quietly added a pair of junior partners to its early-stage venture capital practice: Swati Mylavarapu, previously leading product marketing for Square’s premium software offerings, and Muzzammil Zaveri, who had been part of the Silicon Valley investment team for Chinese Internet giant Tencent. Don’t be surprised if KPCB adds more staff in the very near future.

• Quiz time: Speaking of Kleiner Perkins, can you name the former KP partner who is raising a new venture capital fund? Hint: He’s long been based in Silicon Valley, but his new partners haven’t.

• Quiz time II: Can you name the veteran VC firm that very recently decided to call it quits? Hint: It has the word “Venture” in its name.

• Just asking… If you invest in ad-blocking software that encourages people to view our ad-supported content without the support, should you still be allowed to receive Term Sheet for free? You know who you are.


• #GetLiquid: Our upcoming Liquidity Event in San Francisco is sold out, but we’re still hoping to pull some folks off the wait-list (sign up here). BIG thanks to sponsors PitchBook Data, Gunderson Dettmer, TPG Growth, Andreessen Horowitz and Winmark Capital.

• Have a great weekend… Go Pats!


Penumbra Inc., an Alameda, Calif.-based maker of medical devices for those who have experienced strokes and other neurovascular diseases, raised $120 million in its IPO. The company priced 4 million shares at $30 per share, compared to plans to offer 3.8 million shares at between $25 and $28 a piece. Its initial market cap is over $900 million.

The company will trade on the NYSE under ticker symbol PEN, while J.P. Morgan and BofA Merrill Lynch served as co-lead underwriters. Penumbra reports a $169,000 net loss on $81 million in revenue for the first six months of 2015, compared to $1.6 million in net income on $58 million in revenue for the year-earlier period. Fidelity holds an 11.6% pre-IPO stake.

Read more, including a Q&A with Penumbra’s CEO.


• Clover Health, a San Francisco-based health insurance startup, has raised $100 million in Series A equity and debt financing. First Round Capital led the round with a $4 million commitment (the largest initial investment in the firm’s history). Other backers include Athyrium Capital Management. First Round’s Josh Kopelman and Flatiron Health co-founder Nat Turner will join the Clover board of directors. Read more.

• Rubicon Global Inc., an Atlanta-based on-demand trash removal and recycling company, has raised $50 million in new VC funding at a $500 million post-money valuation. Nima Capital led the round, and was joined by Goldman Sachs, Wellington Management, Henry Kravis, Paul Tudor Jones and Leonardo DiCaprio. Read more.

• Breather, a Montreal-based provider of on-demand private workspaces, has raised US$20 million in Series B funding. Valar Ventures led the round, and was joined by RRE Ventures, Real Ventures, SOS Ventures and Slow Vetures.

 ChoiceStream, a Boston-based provider of programmatic advertising for brands and agencies, has raised $14 million in Series C funding led by North Atlantic Capital.

• Fundera, a New York-based online credit marketplace for small businesses, has raised $11.5 million in Series B funding. Susquehanna Growth Equity led the round, alongside return backers QED Investors, Khosla Ventures and First Round Capital.

• Sun Basket, a San Francisco-based recipe subscription box focused on organic, non-GMO ingredients, has raised $4.5 million in new VC funding. PivotNorth Capital and Baseline Ventures co-led the round, and were joined by Vulcan Capital, Roth Capital, The Florence Group, Rembrandt Ventures, Correlation Ventures, Relevance Capital and Lucas Venture Group.

• GitLab, a San Francisco-based open-source code collaboration platform, has raised $4 million in Series A funding from Khosla Ventures.

• OriginGPS, an Israel-based maker of miniature global navigation satellite system solutions for wearables, has raised $1.75 million in funding from Lab IX (a unit of Flex) and undisclosed existing shareholders.

• Portfolium Inc., a San Diego-based cloud-based employment “portfolio” platform for job-seekers and employers, has raised $1.2 million in new VC funding from University Ventures, Seed San Diego, and Vertical Venture Partners.

• NextEV, a Chinese maker of electric cars, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Sequoia Capital, Tencent, Hillhouse Capital and Joy Capital. Read more.


• Samson Resources Corp., an oil & gas company that was taken private by KKR in 2011 for $7.2 billion, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Read more.

• Balance Point Capital Partners and 4C Capital have sponsored a management buyout of IGeneX Inc., a Palo Alto, Calif.-based reference lab that provides testing services for Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses. No financial terms were disclosed.

• Communications & Power Industries LLC, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based portfolio company of Veritas Capital, has acquired ASC Signal Corp., a Plano, Texas-based maker of satellite communications, radar and high-frequency antennas and controllers. No financial terms were disclosed. The seller was Resilience Capital Partners.

• EME Investments has acquired Clive Christian, a British luxury interiors and fragrance brand. No financial terms were disclosed. EME is an investor consortium that includes EME Capital, Perscitus Advisers, the family office of Jon Moulton, Brian Souter and Ann Gloag.

• Serum Institute of India Ltd., a privately-held vaccine maker, is in talks to sell up to a 10% stake to unidentified private equity firms at an enterprise valuation of around $12 billion, according to Bloomberg. Read more.


• Mirna Therapeutics Inc., an Austin, Texas-based developer of microRNA therapeutics for oncology, has set its IPO terms to 4.65 million shares being offered at between $13 and $15 per share. It would have an initial market cap of around $233.5 million, were it to price in the middle of its range. The pre-revenue company plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol MIRN, with Citigroup and Leerink Partners serving as co-lead underwriters. Mirna Therapeutics has raised around $83 million in VC funding, from firms like Sofinnova Ventures (17.83% pre-IPO stake), New Enterprise Associates (17.83%), Pfizer Ventures (15.01%), Eastern Capital (6.39%), Osage University Partners and Correlation Ventures.

• Nabriva Therapeutics AG, an Austria-based developer of antibiotics to treat serious infections, raised $92 million in its IPO. The company priced 9 million shares at $10.25 per share, compared to original plans to offer 6 million shares at between $15 and $17 per share. It will trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol NBRV, while Leerink Partners and RBC Capital Markets served as lead underwriters. Shareholders include HBM Healthcare Investments (17.9% pre-IPO stake), Vivo Capital (17.8%), OrbiMed Advisors (16.1%), Phase4 Ventures (14.3%), The Wellcome Trust (11%), Global Life Sciences Ventures (8.3%), Hatteras Venture Partners, Tavistock Life Science, Kreos Capital and Novartis Ventures.


• Apax Partners and Nordic Capital have hired Rothschild to explore a possible sale or IPO of Swiss diagnostics company Unilabs SA, according to Reuters. The company could be valued at upwards of €1.5 billion. Read more.

• Mentor Graphics Corp. (Nasdaq: MENT) has acquired its majority-owned subsidiary, Calypto Design Systems Inc., a San Jose, Calif.-based provider of power optimization and verification products. Calypto had raised VC funding from firms like Infineon Ventures, Jafco Ventures, Tallwood Venture Capital and Walden International.


• Perrigo (NYSE: PRGO), an Ireland-based drugmaker, is asking shareholders to reject a $27 billion cash and stock takeover offer from Mylan (Nasdaq: MYL), saying it undervalues the company. Read more.


• GIC, a Singapore sovereign wealth fund, has agreed to sell a $1 billion portfolio of private equity fund positions to France-based Ardian, according to Bloomberg. Read more.


• Matthias Allgaier has joined Summit Partners as a London-based managing director. He previously was a managing director with H.I.G. Capital Europe.

• Sam Arbesman has joined VC firm Lux Capital as a scientist-in-residence. He earned a PHD in computational biology at Cornell, and currently holds academic positions at The University of Colorado, Harvard University, the University of Kansas and the Long Now Foundation.

Share today’s Term Sheet: