Last night I had dinner in Cleveland with Anthony Scaramucci, the high-profile hedge fund manager and TV host who has become Donald Trump’s most energetic evangelist on Wall Street. Some takeaways from our conversation:
Treas Sec: If elected, Trump is planning to name Steve Mnuchin as Treasury Secretary. Not only is this Scaramucci’s belief, but apparently it’s also something Trump told prospective donors during a recent fundraiser in The Hamptons. For those who don’t know Mnuchin, he is a former Goldman Sachs banker who later chaired controversial mortgage lender OneWest. More recently, he has been serving as Trump’s national finance chair. For more background on Mnuchin, check out this NY Times piece.
Speaking of fundraising, Scaramucci acknowledges that it has been difficult to get some of his Wall Street brethren on board, but believes the difficulties have been overstated. Overall he expects the campaign will raise a total of between $500 million and $600 million, including contributions from Trump himself (who already has loaned the campaign $50m, and Scaramucci believes another $50m is likely to come). Scaramucci’s confidence is buoyed by what he says has been an uptick in big money donations over the past two weeks. That said, he does not believe that fundraising is nearly as important in this election as in recent presidential elections.
More appointment stuff: Scaramucci believes that Trump would name Chris Christie as Attorney General and Rudy Giuliani as head of homeland security.
Scaramucci is a longtime Republican, although he did break with the GOP to support Harvard classmate Barrack Obama in 2008. He says he became disillusioned with Obama over how the Administration treated Chrysler creditors back in March 2009.
Some of you might recall that Scaramucci and I recently got into a lengthy Twitter battle over Trump’s immigration plans and, in particular, his (since walked-back) call for a temporary ban on any Muslims from entering the United States. We didn’t exactly resolve these differences over dinner, but Scaramucci did talk a lot about his family’s long memory of discrimination against Italian immigrants (“Teddy Roosevelt is still despised by my family”) and believes Trump is a “good listener” who is gaining a better appreciation of such issues. “He will definitely want people with diverse opinions around him” if elected, Scaramucci says. “He’s shown that by spending so much time talking with me.”
First 100 days: Scaramucci believes that Trump’s initial focus will be on cutting energy industry regulation in order to stimulate the economy, but also laid out some burgeoning plans for healthcare reform (beyond repealing ACA) that include tort reform (an old GOP chestnut), increasing doctor supply and “breaking the American Medical Association and hosital oligopoly.”
• Corporate venturing: Bloomberg Beta, the early-stage venture capital arm of Bloomberg LP, today announced that it has closed its second fund with $75 million. That’s the same size as Bloomberg Beta’s debut fund, with all of the money again coming from the parent company.
Three quick notes on this: (1) Bloomberg Beta continues to avoid fin-tech investments, so as not to create competitive conflicts with Bloomberg LP. It has, however, invested in Slack and some companies within the Slack ecosystem. Not fin-tech, but possibly a challenger to part of the Bloomberg machine’s dominant sauce. (2) Any of Bloomberg Beta’s four partners can greenlight a deal (i.e., there are no votes). Fund head Roy Bahat says: “At the seed stage, the cost of missing is very high but the cost of betting wrong is very low.” Indeed, typical first checks are now between $500,000 and $1 million. (3) Bloomberg Beta regularly sets up meetings between entrepreneurs and Bloomberg LP but, according to Bahat, fewer than 10% of such conversations last year were with startups in which Bloomberg Beta had an equity stake.
• Private to public: This afternoon in Cleveland I’ll be moderating a panel on what CEO transitions can, and cannot, teach the next president and his/her team. My panelists will include Sen. Bob Corker, ex-RNC chief Haley Barbour, Bush/Cheney transition vet Clay Johnson and McKinsey & Co. partner Drew Erdmann. For more info, or to register, please go to http://firstyear2017.org/blog/RNC2016.
THE BIG DEAL
• CommonBond, a New York-based marketplace lending platform for student loans, has raised $30 million in Series C funding. Neuberger Berman Private Equity led the round, and was joined by return backers August Capital, Tribeca Venture Partners, Social Capital, Nyca Partners and Victory Park Capital.
The company also announced $300 million in loan purchases by an undisclosed “global asset management firm,” and the acquisition of personal finance platform Gradible. www.commonbond.com
VENTURE CAPITAL DEALS
• RefleXion Medical, a Hayward, Calif.-based developer of radiotherapy system for personalized cancer treatment, has raised $52 million in Series B funding. KCK Group led the round, and was joined by Venrock, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer Venture Investments and Sofinnova Partners. www.reflexionmedical.com
• ZenReach, a San Francisco-based provider of wifi hardware to coffee shops and other restaurants, has raised $30 million in Series B funding. Backers include 8VC, Bain Capital Ventures, SV Angel, Felicis Ventures, SoftTechVC and Peter Thiel (who is joining the company’s board of directors). Read more.
• Cambridge Medical Robotics, a UK developer of a robotic system for keyhole surgery, has raised $20 million in Series A funding. Backers include LGT Global Invest, ABB Technology Ventures and Cambridge Innovation Capital. Mooreland Partners served as placement agent. www.cmedrobotics.com
• Skycure, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based provider of mobile threat defense solutions, has raised $16.5 million in Series B funding. Foundation Capital led the round, and was joined by Shasta Ventures, Pitango Venture Capital, New York Life and individual angels. www.skycure.com
• Kiip, a San Francisco-based mobile rewards network, has raised $12 million in Series C funding. North Atlantic Capital led the round, and was joined by US Cellular. Read more.
• Guideline, a San Francisco-based online retirement planning startup, has raised $7 million in Series A funding. Propel Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by return backers NEA and Lerer Hippeau Ventures. www.guideline.com
• Cadenza Innovation, an Oxford, Conn.-based developer of energy storage solutions, has raised $5 million in growth equity funding. Golden Seeds led the round, and was joined by Connecticut Innovations, Scale Investors and individual angels. www.cadenzainnovation.com
• Eastwind Networks, a Salt Lake City-based provider of a hybrid network breach detection system, has raised $5.5 million in new seed funding. Signal Peak Ventures led the round, and was joined by Cybersecurity Investments LLC. www.eastwindnetworks.com
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• American Securities has acquired Ulterra Drilling Technologies LP, a Fort Worth, Teas-based manufacturer of polycrystalline diamond compact drill bits to the oil and gas industry, from ESCO Corp. (a portfolio company of Endeavour Capital). No financial terms were disclosed. www.ulterra.com
• Apax Partners has agreed to acquire Dominion Marine Media, a Norfolk, Va.-based provider of marine classifieds marketplace and marketing software to marine brokers and dealers, from a subsidiary of Landmark Media Enterprises. No financial terms were disclosed. www.dominionmarinemedia.com
• Beringer Capital has acquired Adweek, a New York-based trade media group focused on the marketing and ad space, from Mediabistro Holdings, a portfolio company of Guggenheim Partners. No financial terms were disclosed. www.adweek.com
• Charlesbank Capital Partners has agreed to acquire Polyconcept, a Dutch provider of promotional products, from Investcorp. Partners Group and company management also participated as equity investors. No financial terms were disclosed. www.polyconcept.com
• Charme Capital Partners has agreed to acquire a majority stake in Igenomix, a Spain-based provider of genetic testing services for reproductive health patients and clinics. No financial terms were disclosed. www.Igenomix.com
• Clarion Brands, a Trevose, Penn.-based provider of OTC healthcare solutions, has acquired probiotic brand Florajen for an undisclosed amount. Clarion is a portfolio company of Swander Pace Capital. www.clarionbrands.com
• Gryphon Investors has agreed to acquire Lawler Foods, a Humble, Texas-based manufacturer of cheesecakes and other desserts for retail and foodservice customers. No financial terms were disclosed. www.lawlers.com
• Integrity Marketing Group LLC, a Highland Village, Texas-based distributor of life and health insurance products focused on the senior market, has raised an undisclosed amount of growth equity funding from HGGC. www.integritymarketinggroup.com
• Lucernex Inc., a Plano, Texas-based provider of workplace management system and store lifecycle management software, has raised an undisclosed amount of private equity funding from HCAP Partners. www.lucernex.com
• Sandvik (Oslo: SAND) has agreed to sell its Mining Systems business to CoBe Capital for an undisclosed amount. Sandvik will retain ownership of certain ongoing projects close to finalization. www.sandvik.com
• TPG Capital has acquired Beaver-Visitec International, a Waltham, Mass.-based maker of surgical devices for the ophthalmic marketplace, from RoundTable Healthcare Partners. No financial terms were disclosed. www.beaver-visitec.com
• Vector Capital has acquired Longitude Licensing, a Dublin, Ireland-based intellectual property management company, from Sterling Partners. No financial terms were disclosed. www.longitudelicensing.com
• Warburg Pincus has acquired a 31.75% stake in Camil Alimentos SA, a Brazil-based packaged food company, from an affiliate of Gávea Investimentos. No financial terms were disclosed. www.camil.com.br
• Kinsale Capital Group, a Richmond, Va.-based specialty insurer focused on the excess and surplus lines market, set its IPO terms to 6 million shares at between $14 and $16 per share. It plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol KNSL, with J.P. Morgan and William Blair serving as lead underwriters. The company reports $5.3 million of net income on around $33 million in revenue for Q1 2016. Shareholders include Moelis Capital Partners.
• Mason Wells has sold Mullinex Packages Inc., a Fort Wayne, Ind.-based extruder and theroformer of food packaging products, to Sabert Corp. No financial terms were disclosed. www.sabert.com
• Berkshire Hathaway has agreed to acquire Medical Liability Mutual Insurance, a New York-based underwriter of medical professional liability insurance. Read more.
• Carbon Black has agreed to acquire Confer, a Southborough, Mass.-based cyberthreat security network. No financial terms were disclosed. Carbon Black has raised over $180 million in VC funding from firms like Sequoia Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, .406 Ventures, Highland Capital Partners and The Blackstone Group. Confer has raised around $25 million in VC funding from firms like Foundation Capital, Matrix Partners and North Bridge Venture Partners. www.carbonblack.com
• NowFloats, an India-based business website development group, has acquired Indian messaging app Lookup. No financial terms were disclosed. NowFloats has raised around $9 million in VC funding from firms like Omidyar Network, Iron Pillar, IIFL Wealth and Blume Ventures. Lookup had raised $6 million in VC funding from firms like Khosla Ventures. Read more.
• Sun Life Financial Inc. (TSX: SLF) and Khazanah Nasional reportedly is in talks to acquire the insurance unit of Malaysia’s Hong Leong Financial Group. Read more.
FIRMS & FUNDS
• Industry Ventures has closed its fourth VC fund-of-funds and new direct VC investment fund with a total of more than $400 million in capital commitments. www.industryventures.com
• OpenGate Capital, a Los Angeles-based private equity firm, has closed its first institutional fund with $305 million in capital commitments. UBS served as placement agent. www.opengatecapital.com
• Pelican Energy Partners, a private equity firm focused on buyout and growth equity investments in energy services and equipment companies, has closed its second fund with $210 million in capital commitments. www.pelicanenergypartners.com
• Rise Capital, a VC firm focused on expansion-stage tech companies in emerging markets, is raising upwards of $50 million for its second fund, according to a regulatory filing. www.risecapital.com
MOVING IN, ON & UP
• Catalyst Investors, a New York-based growth equity firm, has made three promotions: David Gordon to vice president, Mia Hegazy to senior associate and Kapil Desai to associate. www.catalyst.com
• Coller Capital has promoted London-based partner Michael Schad to head of investment management. The firm also promoted David Platter (New York) and Francois Aguerre (London) to co-heads of origination, and named five new partners: Paige Brotherton and Paul Lanna (New York office), Peter Kim (Hong Kong) and David Jolly and Rune Munk (London). www.collercapital.com
• Jon McCarter has joined Houlihan Lokey as a Houston-based managing director and national energy leader for transaction advisory services. He previously was with EY. www.hl.com
• Pritzker Group Venture Capital has promoted Gabe Greenbaum to partner and Peter Liu to vice president. www.pritzkergroup.com
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