Earlier this week we had a blind item asking you to name the VC firm that earlier this year announced a new $100 million+ fund, but doesn’t actually exist. Your hint was that Term Sheet didn’t blurb the bogus press release, but that others had.
The answer is Asenqua Ventures, which last week announced (via PRNewswire) that it had raised $125 million for its fourth fund. This is a California-based “firm” that has a website. It has a working voicemail system. It is included in financial industry databases like Crunchbase, PitchBook, and S&P Capital IQ. Its senior managers have LinkedIn profiles.
But it’s also fictional.
The crazy yarn is too long for this space, but I hope you read it on the website. It spans from Silicon Valley to Hong Kong to a federal prison in Santa Barbara. And there’s even a Guns ‘n Roses reference for good measure. Here you go.
• New firm alert: At some point we might need to begin referring to the Formation 8 Mafia. This morning comes yet another new VC firm from the Icarus-like shop, called iFly Ventures. The Palo Alto-based platform is being led by ex-F8 pros Han Shen and Haitao Zhang, with a regulatory filing suggesting a $100 million target for its debut fund.
• One more: A different regulatory filing discloses the creation of Wireframe Ventures, a new VC firm led by Claremont Creek Ventures partners Paul Straub and Harsh Patel. The pair is seeking to raise upwards of $75 million for its first fund. Like with iFly Ventures, the Wireframe website is basically just a landing page.
• Honest broker: The WSJ reports that Unilever is in early talks to acquire The Honest Co., the enviro-friendly household products maker co-founded by actress Jessica Alba. Apparently the price-talk is around $1 billion, compared to Honest Co.’s most recent VC valuation of $1.7 billion. Given how quiet Unilever kept its $1 billion purchase of Dollar Shave Club this past summer, I’ve got to think this leak may reflect a broader auction process.
• Personnel note: Brendan Scollans earlier this year quietly joined EQT Partners as a New York-based partner focused on U.S. mid-market buyouts, after more than a decade with Avista Capital Partners (where he was part of the founding team).
• Have a great weekend… Go Pats!
THE BIG DEAL
• SVG Capital (LSE: SVI), a London-based private equity firm focused on both direct and fund-of-funds investments, has rejected a $1.35 billion takeover offer from Boston-based HarbourVest Partners, saying that it undervalues the company. SVG now plans to seek out other acquirors. Read more.
VENTURE CAPITAL DEALS
• Carbon (f.k.a. Carbon3d), a Redwood City, Calif.-based 3D printing company, has raised $81 million in new Series C funding. BMW Corp., General Electric, Nikon and JSR Corp. were joined by return backers like Google Ventures and Sequoia Capital. Read more.
• Applause, a Framingham, Mass.-based provider of “in the wild” software testing tools, has raised $35 million in Series F funding. Credit Suisse led the round, and was joined by Accenture and return backers Goldman Sachs, QuestMark Partners, Scale Venture Partners, Longworth Venture Partners, Mesco Ltd and MassVentures. www.applause.com
• KeyMe, a New York-based provider of a mobile app and in-store kiosks for copying keys, has raised $15 million in Series C funding. QuestMark Partners led the round, and was joined by return backers Comcast Ventures, Battery Ventures, White Star Capital, 7-Ventures, Ravin Gandhi and the Polsky Family Office. Read more.
• Renmatix, a King of Prussia, Penn.-based biofuels company, has raised $14 million in new VC funding. Bill Gates led the round, and was joined by Total SA. Read more.
• Securus Medical Group Inc., a Cleveland-based developer of ablation therapy-related medical devices, has raised $10 million in Series C funding. Boston Scientific Corp. led the round, and was joined by the Global Cardiovascular Innovation Center and return backers RiverVest Venture Partners, 3X5 Special Opportunity Fund and the University of Michigan MINTS program.
• Stella, a New York-based personal job recruitment platform, has raised just over $10 million in new VC and debt funding, according to a regulatory filing. Backers include CRV. www.stella.ai
• Luma, an Atlanta-based maker of home WiFi routers, has raised $7 million in new VC funding. Andreessen Horowitz and Google Ventures were joined by return backers Accel Partners, Amazon and Felicis Ventures. www.getluma.com
• GammaDelta Therapeutics Ltd., a British immunotherapy startup, has raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from Abingworth, which is incubating that company in its London office. www.abingworth.com
• Resilinc, a Milpitas, Calif.-based provider of supply chain resiliency and risk management solutions, has raised an undisclosed amount of new VC funding from Bright Success Capital, Procyon Ventures and Salesforce Ventures. www.resilinc.com
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• ATX Networks Corp., a Canadian portfolio company of H.I.G. Capital, has acquired InnoTrans Communications Inc., a San Jose, Calif.-based provider of optical transport solutions for cable operators. No financial terms were disclosed. www.innotrans.com
• Bully Pulpit Interactive, a Chicago-based digital marketing agency led by Obama campaign veterans, has raised an undisclosed amount of private equity funding from Svoboda Capital Partners. Some of the proceeds are being used to acquire The Incite Agency, founded by fellow Obama vets Ben LaBolt and Robert Gibbs. Read more.
• GPB Capital has acquired Erus Energy, a Phoenix-based developer and installer of installer of residential and commercial solar energy systems. No financial terms were disclosed. www.erusenergy.com
• Thoma Bravo has completed its previously-announced $544 million acquisition of Imprivata (NYSE: IMPR), a Lexington, Mass.-based healthcare IT security company. www.imprivata.com
• Everbridge Inc., a Burlington, Mass.-based provider of critical communications and enterprise safety applications, raised $90 million in its IPO. The company priced 7.5 million shares at $12 per share (middle of range), for an initial market cap of approximately $323 million. It will trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol EBVG, while Credit Suisse and BofA Merrill Lynch served as co-lead underwriters. Everbridge reports a $6 million net loss on $35.6 million in revenue for the first half of 2016, compared to a $3.2 million net loss on $27.3 million in revenue for the year-earlier period. Shareholders include ABS Ventures (31.2% pre-IPO stake). www.everbridge.com
• Golden Gate Capital and Summit Partners have hired Morgan Stanley to find a buyer for Infor, a New York-based enterprise software company, according to Reuters. The move follows inbound interest from other private equity firms, and could ultimately garner more than $9 billion (including assumed debt). It also is possible that Golden Gate and Summit will take Infor public, or sell a minority stake. Read more.
• Silver Hill Energy Partners, a Dallas-based oil and gas company focused on the Permian Basin, has hired Morgan Stanley to find a buyer, according to Bloomberg. A deal could be valued at more than $2 billion, with Noble Energy (NYSE: NLB), Marathon Oil (NYSE: MBO) and Occidental Petroleum (NYSE: OXY) all considering bids. Silver Hill shareholders include Kayne Anderson and Ridgemont Equity Partners. Read more.
• Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) has no plans to acquire Tidal, the digital music streaming service founded by Jay-Z, according to comments from Apple Music boss Jimmy Iovine. Read more.
• Depomed Inc. (Nasdaq: DEPO), the Newark, Calif.-based drugmaker that last year fought off a $3 billion hostile takeover bid from Horizon Pharma (Nasdaq: HZNP), is preparing to put itself up for sale, according to Reuters. The move follows pressure from activist investor Starboard Value, with Morgan Stanley to manage the process. Depomed has a current market cap of around $1.3 billion. Read more.
• Foxconn Technology Group (TSEC: 2354) has completed its previously-announced acquisition of Smart Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: SMT), a Calgary-based developer of interactive technology products, for US$4.50 per share. www.smarttech.com
• John Menzies (LSE: MZLS) has agreed to acquire the airport ground handling and fueling business of BBA Aviation (LSE: BBA) for approximately $202 million. Read more.
• Mitsubishi Corp. (Tokyo: 5058) plans to launch a tender offer to acquire a majority stake in Japan-based convenience store operator Lawson Inc. (Tokyo: 2651) for approximately $1.4 billion. Read more.
• Phoenix Group Holdings (LSE: PHNX) is in advanced talks to acquire UK insurance business Abbey Life Assuance from Deutsche Bank. Read more.
FIRMS & FUNDS
• Founders Circle Capital, a San Francisco-based direct VC secondaries firm, has closed its second fund with $208 million in capital commitments.
• Sapphire Ventures has raised $1 billion for its latest fund, all provided by software giant SAP (from which Sapphire spun out in 2011. Just over half of the capital will be used for direct investments, with Sapphire focusing on Series B through pre-IPO rounds in tech startups. The remainder will be used to invest in other VC funds—via a separate, more “evergreen” structure—with a particular focus on early-stage and geographically-focused platforms. Read more.
• Standard Chartered PLC is considering a spinout of its $5 billion private equity unit, according to Bloomberg. Read more.
MOVING IN, ON & UP
• Joseph Mooney has joined Houlihan Lokey as a New York-based managing director in the investment bank’s M&A group. He previously was head of M&A with Sagent Advisors. www.hl.com
• Brendan Scollans earlier this year joined EQT Partners as a New York-based partner focused on U.S. mid-market buyouts, after more than a decade with Avista Capital Partners. www.eqt.se
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