Some very quick notes to kick off your Wednesday:
• VC entourage: WME/IMG, the Hollywood talent agency co-led by Ari Emanuel, has been making ad hoc investments for quite some time, including deals for Uber and uBeam.
But last night the firm filed SEC docs that show it’s raising a formal venture capital fund, which will include at least advisory participation from Silver Lake’s Egon Durban (who happens to be WME’s chairman) and, more fulltime, former Fab chief operating officer Beth Ferreira. Her job before Fab was leading finance for Etsy, but she also has VC history with both FirstMark Capital and Flatiron Partners.
No details on fund size targets, except that the minimum commitment will be $50,000. WME/IMG did not return requests for comment.
• Always be prepared: Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the favorite to succeed John Boehner as House Speaker, received more campaign contributions from VenturePAC -- the National Venture Capital Association's political action committee -- over the past couple election cycles than Boehner did.
• PE data dump: PitchBook reports that private equity deal activity slumped in Q3 2015, compared to both the year-earlier period and the prior three quarters. Specifically, it found nearly $263 billion invested in 1,353 deals during the quarter that ends today, compared to $298 billion for 1,768 deals in Q3 2014 and $2.45 billion for 1,648 deals in Q2 2015. As for private equity fundraising, the number of funds was stable year-over-year (109 vs. 110), but the amount raised jumped to $80.3 billion from $62.4 billion. Read more.
• Personnel note: Isaac Kim has stepped down as a principal with Golden Gate Capital, which he originally joined back in 2006. No word yet on his future plans, except that he has some.
• Nope, not happening: I've now spoken with seven biotech-focused VCs, and none of them is seeing either a pullback on private valuations or the disappearance of 'crossover' investors on later-stage rounds. That said, they're all a bit skittish about the current IPO environment. More on this to come later on the website.
• Big list: Fortune this morning released its inaugural list of the 100 Best Workplaces for Women, as determined by employee surveys. You can find it here.
THE BIG DEAL
• Avant, a Chicago-based online marketplace for consumer loans, has raised $325 million in new equity funding at around a $2 billion post-money valuation. General Atlantic led the round, and was joined by J.P. Morgan, Balyasny Asset Management and existing shareholders Tiger Global Management, August Capital, RRE Ventures and DFJ Growth.
We broke news of this deal yesterday, and you can read the piece by going here. Also, Avant rival Lending Club today responded to a U.S. Treasury Department request for comment on the online lending space, and we've got details. Avant says its reply will come within the next few days.
VENTURE CAPITAL DEALS
• Thrillist Media Group, a New York-based online media company, today announced a total of $54 million in new outside funding, and a new corporate structure under which its e-commerce group (JackThreads) will operate as a separately-owned, independent company. Axel Springer provided the funding for TMG, while Oak Investment Partners (existing shareholder) and SoftBank Capital NY led the investment in JackThreads. www.thrillist.com
• Ibotta Inc., a Denver-based retail shopping app that gives users cash back when they shop, has raised $40 million in Series C funding led by Netscape co-founder Jim Clark. www.ibotta.com
• NewStore Inc., a Boston-based mobile retail platform led by Demandware founder Stephan Schambach, has raised $38 million in new VC funding led by General Catalyst Partners. www.newstore.com
• Therachon, a France-based developer of therapies for achondroplasia, has raised $35 million in Series A funding. OrbiMed led the round, and was joined by New Enterprise Associates and return backers Inserm Transfert Initiative and Versant Ventures. www.therachon.com
Farmigo, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based online marketplace for fresh foods, has raised $16 million in Series B funding. Formation 8 led the round, and was joined by return backers Benchmark and Sherbrooke Capital. www.farmigo.com
Stormpath, a San Mateo, Calif.-based provider of customer identity API technology, has raised $15 million in Series B funding. Scale Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by return backers New Enterprise Associates and Pelion Capital. www.stormpath.com
• Teridion, a San Francisco-based provider of cloud-based networking services, has raised $15 million in Series B funding. Singtel Innov8 led the round, and was joined by JVP and Magma Venture Partners. www.teridion.com
• Norse Corp., a San Mateo, Calif.-based live attack intelligence solutions, has raised $11.4 million in Series A-1 funding led by KPMG Capital. www.norsecorp.com
• Credible, a San Francisco-based platform for borrowing and refinancing student loans, has raised $10 million in Series A funding. Soul Htite (CEO of Dianrong.com and co-founder of Lending Club) led the round, and was joined by Carthona Capital, Redbus Group, Mark Goines and Bruce Gibney. www.credible.com
• MMKT Exchange LLC, a New York-based digital exchange for middle-market loan syndication, has raised $5.9 million in new funding. QED Investors led the round, and was joined by Victory Park Capital, Fifth Street Asset Management, Vikram Pandit and Ron Suber. www.mmkt.com
• Neuromod Devices Ltd., a Dublin-based developer of medical devices to treat chronic tinnitus, has raised €5.5 million in Series A funding from Fountain Healthcare Partners. www.neuromoddevices.com
• SheerID, a Eugene, Ore.-based provider of customer verification solutions, has raised $5.3 million in new VC funding. Voyager Capital led the round, and was joined by Arnold Venture Group. www.sheerid.com
• AboutLife, a San Francisco-based provider of personal finance tools, disclosed that it raised $3 million in Series A funding from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Read more.
• Encycle Therapeutics Inc., a Toronto-based developer of “drug-like cyclic peptides,” has raised C$2.85 million in new VC funding. Takeda Ventures led the round, and was joined by Accel-Rx Health Sciences Accelerator, BDC Capital and MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund. www.encycletherapeutics.com
• Interviewed, a San Francisco-based provider of job interview simulations for prospective employees, has raised $2 million in seed funding from such groups as SV Angel, Red Swan Ventures and Y Combinator. Read more.
• NowWeComply, a London-based provider of cloud-based governance, risk and compliance software, has raised $1.2 million in seed funding from AngelLab and the London Co Investment Fund. www.nowwecomply.com
• Safe Cash Payment Technologies, a San Francisco-based payment system that allows “cash to be used as a digital asset,” has raised $1.12 million in new VC funding from Bialla Ventures and individual angels like InfoSpace founder Naveen Jain. www.safe.cash
Adyen, a payment technology provider with dual headquarters in Amsterdam and San Francisco, has raised an undisclosed amount of new funding from Iconiq Capital at around a $2.3 billion valuation. It previously raised over $260 million from firms like Felicis Ventures, General Atlantic, Index Ventures and Temasek. www.adyen.com
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• The Abraaj Group has invested in Tiba Group, a provider of education services in Egypt. No financial terms were disclosed. www.abraaj.com
• AMO Pharma Ltd., a pharma developer focused on rare diseases, has raised $25 million in private equity funding from Woodford Investment Management. The company has offices in London and Philadelphia. www.amo-pharma.com
• Levine Leichtman Capital Partners has acquired Caring Brands International, a Sunrise, Fla.-based franchisor of home healthcare services, from The Halifax Group. No financial terms were disclosed. www.interimhealthcare.com
• Lion Capital is in talks to acquire British luxury shoe maker Kurt Geiger from Sycamore Partners, which earlier this year hired Goldman Sachs to explore a sale, according to Sky News. The deal could be valued at around £250 million. Lion Capital is the former owner of Jimmy Choo. Read more.
• No IPO news this morning.
• Barracuda Networks Inc. (NYSE: CUDA) has agreed to acquire Intronis Inc., a Chelmsford, Mass.-based provider of data protection solutions to managed service providers. No financial terms were disclosed. Sellers include Greenspring Associates and OpenView Venture Partners. www.intronis.com
• Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. (NYSE: CP) has acquired Steelcare Inc., a Canadian steel transload facility, from Argosy Partners. No financial terms were disclosed. www.steelcare.com
• Exponent Capital Partners has launched an auction for Quorn Foods, a Westport, Conn.-based maker of meat-free packaged foods, according to Reuters. First-round bids are due in mid-October, with interested suitors including Monde Nissan (Philippines) and Wilmar International (Singapore). Read more.
• Lovell Minnick Partners has agreed to sell an undisclosed portion of its minority stake in Matthews International Capital Management, an Asia investment firm with $26.2 billion in assets under management, to Mizuho Financial Group. No financial terms were disclosed. www.lovellminnick.com
• Access Integrated Healthcare, a Los Angeles-based healthcare services organization focused on the workers' compensation and personal injury sectors, has secured a $50 million senior credit facility from Victory Park Capital. www.accessih.com
• Alma Media (Helsinki: ALN1V), a Finnish media group, has agreed to acquire the 68% stake it didn’t already hold in smaller rival Talentum (Helsinki: TTM1V), which focuses on business newspapers, for around $48 million in cash and stock. Read more.
• Brembo SpA (BIT: BRE), an Italian maker of automotive brakes, has agreed to acquire a 66% stake in China’s ASIMCO Meilian Braking Systems for approximately $97 million. Read more.
• Comscore (Nasdaq: SCOR) has agreed to acquire Rentrak Corp. (Nasdaq: RENT) in an all-stock merger valued north of $800 million. The combined media audience monitoring company would be viewed as a challenger to Nielsen. Read more.
• Iotum, a Toronto-based provider of online collaboration and conference calling services, has acquired FreeConferencePro, a Connecticut-based provider of free audio conferencing services. No financial terms were disclosed. www.iotum.com
• Rio Tinto (LSE: RIO) has sold a 40% stake in Australia’s Bengalla coal mine to New Hope Corp. (ASX: NHC) for US$606 million. Read more.
FIRMS & FUNDS
• Moderne Ventures has been launched as a Chicago-based early-stage venture firm focused on tech companies in the real estate, mortgage, finance, insurance and home services markers. It’s led by managing partner Constance Freedman, who previously helped launch Second Century Ventures, the investment arm of the National Association of Realtors (where she served as head of strategic investments). www.moderneventures.com
MOVING IN, UP, ON & OUT
• Ravi Gupta has stepped down as a director with KKR, in order to become chief financial officer of on-demand grocery delivery company Instacart. Read more.
• Nina Kjellson has joined Canaan Partners as a general partner focused on the healthcare sector. She previously was a general partner with InterWest Partners. Canaan also announced that it has promoted tech-focused Hrach Simonian to general partner. www.canaan.com
• Insight Venture Partners has added five new venture partners to its portfolio-focused resource team (Insite Onsite). They are: Jason Ewell, former executive VP at Travelclick; Josh Gray, former VP of development at Oracle; Karl Karlsson, founder of Scoop Inc. and co-founder of China Internet Ventures; Emmet B. Keeffe III, co-founder and former CEO of iRise; and Thilo Semmelbauer, former president and COO of Shutterstock. www.insightventures.com
• Gary Loveman, former chairman and CEO of Caesars Entertainment Corp., has joined Aetna (NYSE: AET) as executive vice president and president of the company’s health services organization. www.aetna.com
• Paul Pressler, a partner with Clayton Dubilier & Rice, has joined the board of directors of eBay Inc. (Nasdaq: EBAY). www.ebay.com
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