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Term Sheet — Tuesday, July 26

Random Ramblings

Greetings from sweltering Philadelphia, where the Democratic National Convention’s first day came in like a lion but out like a lamb. Some items to kick off your Tuesday:

• Total recall: The last time I spent an evening in Philadelphia for work was in November 2011, when I was in town to moderate an M&A panel. But my memories of that trip have nothing to do with the on-stage conversation. Instead, it was what happened on the streets outside my hotel room.

That night represented one of the last public gasps of Occupy Wall Street, whose Philadelphia encampment — which I could view from my room — was literally bulldozed away as I slept. The tents I had walked by just hours before (not to mention the trash) were all gone, and those who had erected them were nowhere in sight. City officials had had enough.

In the intervening five years, OWS has occasionally come up in conversations with Fortune colleagues and with the businesspeople we cover. Most often it’s a punchline or, more generously, referred to as a failed economic movement. And, to be sure, its legislative and prosecutorial goals remain unrealized.

But, to me, that’s an overly narrow view. We currently have a Republican platform that calls for breaking up the big banks. We have a slightly more nuanced Democratic platform that calls for a modernized Glass Steagall Act, and a Democratic National Convention whose first night keynote was given by OWS godmother Elizabeth Warren. Moreover, the entire Bernie Sanders movement, including its 1% vs. 99% rhetoric, is a direct descendant of OWS.

If OWS died in Philly the last time I was here, no one told the people in Philly today. Or, for that matter, those in Cleveland last week.

• Shots fired: Alan Patricof, Apax Partners founder who now leads venture firm Greycroft Partners, was asked on CNBC this morning about Peter Thiel’s speech last week at the RNC.

Patricof, a longtime Hillary Clinton supporter, argued that Thiel doesn’t speak for most VCs or the startup ecosystem, adding this kicker: “If there was a Peter Thiel meeting, I think you could get just 10 people in Silicon Valley to come.”

• Shave split: Last week we spent a bunch of time discussing Unilever’s $1 billion acquisition of Dollar Shave Club, which had raised over $160 million in venture capital funding. One item was that DSC had raised $900,000 in seed funding at a $4.5 million pre-money valuation, co-led by Forerunner Ventures and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

It is worth noting, however, that Kleiner Perkins didn’t actually hold onto all of those shares. The investment was led by KP investor Aileen Lee, who would soon leave to form a new firm called Cowboy Ventures. As part of her spin-out agreement, Cowboy received half of Kleiner’s seed shares in DSC, and Lee tells me that her firm would go on to keep investing in DSC through its Series C round. According to Pitchbook, Kleiner Perkins did follow-ons in the Series A and Series B rounds.

• Higher ground: Last fall we discussed how Highland Capital Partners, a veteran venture firm historically based in Massachusetts, had named Silicon Valley partner Peter Bell as its sole managing partner. Moreover, there have been persistent rumors that many of the firm’s remaining East Coast partners wouldn’t be coming back for Fund X, as Highland would begin focusing most of its efforts on Bay Area startups.

Last night, however, the firm informed LPs that Bell is transitioning into a senior advisor role. Moreover, Highland co-founder Paul Maeder, who stepped back in 2012, is returning in a full-time capacity as chairman and a general partner on its existing ninth fund.

Bell, who did not respond to a request for comment, will maintain his existing portfolio board seats, and is said to be shifting his focus toward philanthropic activities (including with his alma matter of Boston College). Maeder, who still serves on the boards of seven Highland portfolio companies, will now oversee all non-investing activities.

Highland still has partners in Silicon Valley, and the firm will continue actively investing on the West Coast, but it’s hard to read this as anything but a power shift (particularly with suggestions that longtime East Coast partners Dan Nova and Bob Davis are likely to sign up for Fund X).

From the email sent by Highland to limited partners: “Over the course of the past year, we have been devoting much thought to our geographic investment strategy.  We have discussed these deliberations with many of you.  After considering your feedback and analyzing the market dynamics, we have concluded that continuing as a national firm with a presence in both the Northeast and Silicon Valley provides the greatest opportunity for you, our limited partners.”

• Brunch on us: Last week I moderated a panel in Cleveland about how CEO experience does, and doesn’t, translate to the White House. This morning in Philly, Fortune editor Alan Murray will moderate a similar session with former Treasury Secretary Bob Rubin, Deputy Labor Secretary Chris Lu and McKinsey & Co. senior partner Vivian Riefberg. It begins at 9:45am this morning. More info here.


• Apollo Global Management has agreed to acquire Outerwall Inc. (Nasdaq: OUTR), a Bellevue, Wash.-based provider of automated retail solutions like Redbox, for approximately $1.6 billion (including assumed debt). The $52 per share deal represents a 51% premium to Outerwall’s closing stock price on March 14 (after which the company launched a sale process). Read more.


• Scopely, a Los Angeles-based mobile entertainment network, has raised $55 million in new VC funding. Greycroft Growth Fund led the round, and was joined by Elephant Partners, Evolution Media Partners, Highland Capital, Sands Venture Capital and Take-Two Interactive.

• Transfix, a New York-based on-demand trucking service, has raised $22 million in Series B funding. NEA led the round, and was joined by return backers Canvas Ventures, Lerer Hippeau Ventures and Corigin Ventures.

• Acalvio Technologies, a developer of “deception-based” cybersecurity solutions, has raised $17 million in combined Series A and Series B funding. Accel led the Series A round (from last September) and Ignition Partners led the more recent Series B. Read more.

• Vtesse, a Gaithersburg, Md.-based drug developer focused on rate life-threatening diseases like Niemann-Pick Type C1 disease, has raised $17 million in Series A funding. Backers include Alexandria Venture Investments, Bay City Capital, Lundbeckfond Ventures, NEA and Pfizer.

• Treebo Group of Hotels, an India-based chain of budget hotels, has raised around $16.6 million in Series B funding. Bertelsmann India Investments led the round, and was joined by return backers SAIF Partners and Matrix Partners India.

• SafeBreach, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based provider of continuous security validation solutions, has raised $15 million in Series A funding. Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners, Hewlett Packard Pathfinder and Maverick Ventures were joined by return backers Sequoia Capital and Shlomo Kramer.

• Sun Basket, a San Francisco-based organic meal kit provider, has raised $15 million in Series B funding. Accolade Partners led the round, and was joined by Founders Circle, Shea Ventures and return backers Vulcan Capital, PivotNorth, Relevance Capital, Filter14 and Baseline Ventures.

• Just Biotherapeutics Inc., a Seattle-based developer of technologies for bio-therapeutic development, has raised $14 million in Series A-2 funding. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation led the round, and was joined by return backers Merck, Lilly Asia Ventures and ARCH Venture Partners.

• B12, a New York-based developer of human-assisted A.I. to build and design websites, has raised $12.4 million in Series A funding. Backers include General Catalyst Partners, Breyer Capital, Founder Collective and SV Angel. Read more.

• CellMax Life Inc., a cancer blood-testing company, has raised $9 million in Series A-1 funding. Artiman Ventures led the round, and was joined by unidentified Taiwanese venture investors.

• Automile, a Sweden-based provider of IoT solution for fleet management, has raised $6.2 million in new VC funding. SaaStr Fund led the round, and was joined by return backers Dawn Capital, Point Nine Capital and individual angels like Justin Kan and Niklas Zennström.

• Nomad Health, an online marketplace connecting doctors with freelance clinical work, has raised $4 million in Series A funding. First Round Capital and RRE Ventures co-led the round, and were joined by .406 Ventures.

• Black Bear Energy, a Boulder, Colo.-based startup that provides services to commercial renewable energy buyers, has raised $2.5 million in Series A funding. Boulder Ventures led the round, and was joined by seed backer Rocky Mountain Institute.


• Advent International is among several private equity firms exploring a bid for the Central and Eastern European beer brands for SABMiller (LSE: SAB), according to Reuters. The deal could be valued at upwards of €7 billion. Read more.

• BioClinica Inc., a Newtown, Penn.-based pharma contract research organization, has acquired Compass Research, a provider of tech-enabled services that support clinical trials. No financial terms were disclosed. BioClinica backers include JLL Partners and Water Street Healthcare Partners.

• Hargett Hunter Capital Partners has acquired a majority stake in The Original ChopShop Co., a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based fast casual restaurant concept. No financial terms were disclosed.

• Lindsay Goldberg has agreed to acquire Schur Flexibles Group, an Austria-based maker of flexible packaging products in Europe. No financial terms were disclosed.

• Platinum Equity has completed its previously-announced acquisition of JM Swank, a North Liberty, Iowa-based food ingredient sourcing and distribution company, from ConAgra Foods Inc. (NYSE: CAG). No financial terms were disclosed.


At Home Group Inc., a Plano, Texas-based home decor retailer, has set its IPO terms to 8.67 million shares being offered at between $14 and $16 per share. It would have an initial market cap of approximately $893 million, were it to price in the middle of its range. The company plans to trade on the NYSE under ticker symbol HOME, with BofA Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs serving as lead underwriters. At Home Group is controlled by AEA Investors, which purchased a 60% equity stake in 2011 for approximately $720 million. 


• Daimler AG has agreed to acquire a 60% stake in London-based taxi-hailing company Hailo, and will merge Hailo’s rebranded operations with existing Daimler subsidiary MyTaxi. No financial terms were disclosed. Hailo had raised over $100 million in VC funding from firms like Union Square Ventures, Forward Partners, Morningside Group, Atomico, Wellington Management, Vectr Ventures, KDDI Ventures, Occam Partners and Red Swan Ventures. Read more.

• E*Trade Financial Corp. (Nasdaq: ETFC) has agreed to acquire OptionsHouse, a Chicago-based derivatives trading firm, for $725 million. Sellers include General AtlanticRead more.

• Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. (Nasdaq: SWHC) has agreed to acquire Crimson Trace Corp., a Wilsonville, Ore.-based provider of laser sighting systems and tactical lighting for firearms, for $95 million in cash. Selling shareholders include Peninsula Capital Partners and VergePointe Capital.

• VMG Partners has sold Babyganics, a Hicksville, N.Y.-based brand of personal care and household products for families with children, to S.C. Johnson. No financial terms were disclosed.


 Anheuser-Busch InBev (NYSE: BUD) has sweetened its takeover offer for SABMiller (LSE: SAB) from £44 per share to £45 per share, to account for a fall in the value of British sterling. Read more.

• EverBank Financial Corp. (NYSE: EVER) has hired UBS to explore strategic options after receiving takeover interest from an unidentified suitor, according to Bloomberg. The Jacksonville, Fla.-based bank has a market cap just south of $2 billion. Read more.

• Robin Li, CEO of (Nasdaq: BIDU), has dropped his proposed $2.3 billion carve-out of his company’s video streaming group, which has been opposed by certain company investors. Read more.

• Myntra, a fashion portal owned by Indian e-commerce platform Flipkart, has acquired Indian e-commerce site Jabong from Rocket Internet for $70 million. Read more.


• The Abraaj Group has closed its first dedicated Turkey Fund with $486 million in capital commitments, plus another $40 million for co-investment efforts.

• Hamilton Lane Advisors has closed its ninth private equity fund-of-funds with $516 million in capital commitments.

• Volition Capital, a Boston-based growth equity firm, has closed its third fund with $250 million in capital commitments.


• Cressey & Co. has promoted Dave Rogero to partner. He has been with the healthcare-focused private equity firm since 2008.

• Susan Hobbs has joined CrunchFund as a partner. He previously was director of programming and events with Y Combinator and, before that, led programming for TechCrunch. Read more.

• Jim Ratigan, who recently stepped down as head of Americas M&A at Deutsche Bank, has agreed to join Leerink Partners. Read more.

• Richard Scarinci has stepped down as a managing director in The Blackstone Group’s hedge fund unit, in order to join Partners Capital, which manages around $6 billion in institutional assets. Read more.

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