Some (belated) notes to kick off your Tuesday…
• Personnel scoop: Nicholas Westphal has stepped down as director of corporate strategy and development at Intuit, in order to help lead North American tech investments for Caisse de Depot et placement du Quebec.
He had been with Intuit for just around one year, after a four-year run as director of strategy and development with Juniper Networks. Before that, Westphal spent time as a vice president with private equity firms AEA Investors and Bain Capital. No comment from either CDPQ or Intuit (the latter of which is said to have used Jamesbeck Global Partners for the search).
• Thiel talk: Silicon Valley is buzzing about Peter Thiel’s recent $1.25 million donation to Donald Trump’s campaign, and the subsequent decision by Y Combinator to keep Thiel aboard as a part-time partner (despite YC CEO Sam Altman’s stated distaste for the candidate, and Prioject Include cutting ties with YC as a result). My colleague Kia Kokalitcheva has a full roundup here.
I’m interested in your thoughts on all this (note: Thiel is not a formal YC employee, so California anti-discrimination laws aren’t applicable). Should a startup incubator not formally affiliate with a major financial donor to a political candidate who has made discriminatory policy proposals and bragged about sexual assault — particularly in a startup ecosystem that is demonstrably difficult for women and minority entrepreneurs? Or does this make the slope waayyy too slippery, and possibly make a different group of potential entrepreneurs feel unwelcome?
A lot of this could be made easier if Thiel would give a public interview on all of this, rather than just letting his checkbook do the talking. But since that doesn’t seem to be coming, what think you?
• Deal data: Morningstar last week announced plans to buy PitchBook Data, a provider of VC and private equity information, for around $225 million. We’ve since received a memo sent to PitchBook employees by company founder and CEO John Gabbert, which contains some additional information:
- PitchBook currently has 1,800 customers (representing 8k users), and expects to book $50 million in 2016 revenue (2017 goal is $80m).
- None of the company’s 600 employees will be laid off.
- Less than 5% of current PitchBook clients also are Morningstar clients.
- “The initial business plan called for $3.8 million in financing and we built it together into a real business for $3.7 million.”
• Nothing to see here: Tiger Woods made some social media waves yesterday, with an Instagram post announcing the launch of Tiger Woods Ventures. No additional information, leading many to assume the golfer was following basically every other famous person into the startup investing game. But, this morning, Fast Company has a deeper dive, saying that TWV is instead “a new company that will house a portfolio of Woods-related businesses.”
• Submit submit submit: The Sunes.is venture performance project is going swimmingly so, if you haven’t yet signed up and entered information, please do so soon (here’s the website). The team will begin adding rankings by the end of November, although you’ll have through year-end to enter data before the initial info release. And, please remember that full partnership data is preferable to submissions by individual partners, since the former aids in attribution fact-checking.
• Book binge: Backstage Capital has launched a cool program called Cover, which is donating startup-related books to aspiring entrepreneurs. To learn more, or to donate, please go here.
• 67k and counting: Every time I add another thousand Twitter followers, I ask you to join the others so we can chat/argue/snark throughout the day. Really, it’s the best way for us to stay in touch (hint, hint). Follow me @danprimack.
THE BIG DEAL
• Heal, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based provider of on-demand doctor house calls, has raised $26.9 million in Series A funding. Tull Investment Group led the round, and was joined by Breyer Capital, Paul Jacobs (Qualcomm exec chair), David Ellison (CEO of Skydance Media) and return backers HashtagOne and Slow Ventures. The company has now raised a total of $40 million. Read more.
VENTURE CAPITAL DEALS
• True North Therapeutics, a South San Francisco-based developer of drugs for complement-mediated diseases, has raised $45 million in Series D funding. HBM Partners and Redmile Group were joined by Franklin Templeton Investments and return backers like Perceptive Advisors. www.truenorthrx.com
• Science 37, a Los Angeles-based provider of tech-enabled clinical research solutions, has raised $31 million in Series B funding. Lux Capital and dRx Capital co-led the round, and were joined by Sanofi Genzyme BioVentures. www.science37.com
• Veritas Genetics, a Boston-based genetic testing startup, has raised $30 million in Series B funding. Trustbridge Partners and Jiangsu Simcere Pharmaceutical were joined by return backer Lilly Asia Ventures. www.veritasgenetics.com
• SecureKey Technologies Inc., a Toronto-based provider of identity and authentication solutions, has raised C$27 million in growth equity funding from BMO Bank of Montreal, Bank of Nova Scotia, CIBC, Desjardins, Royal Bank of Canada and TD Bank. www.securekey.com
• Baobab Studios, a Redwood City, Calif.-based VR animation studio, has raised $25 million in Series B funding. Horizons Ventures led the round, and was joined by 20th Century Fox, Evolution Media Partners, Shanghai Media Group, Youku Global Media Fund and LDV Partners. Read more.
• SafetyCulture, an Australian provider of mobile workforce safety software, has raised US$23 million in Series B funding. Index Ventures led the round, and was joined by Blackbird Ventures and return backer Scott Farquhar (co-founder of Atlassian). www.safetyculture.com
• ContentSquare, a New York-based experience optimization platform for online and mobile businesses, has raised $20 million in Series B funding led by Highland Europe. www.contentsquare.com
• Zipwhip, a Seattle-based business texting solutions startup, has raised $9 million in Series B funding. Voyager Capital led the round, and was joined by Microsoft Ventures, General Communication Inc. and Inteliquent. www.zipwhip.com
• CloudLex Inc., a New York-based provider of software for the U.S. civil litigation industry, has raised $3.7 million in Series A funding led by Aligned Partners. www.cloudlex.com
• Joy, a San Francisco-based “interactive photo album that allows you to curate and share your favorite photos with friends and family,” has raised $2.5 million in seed funding from Obvious Ventures, BoxGroup, The Chernin Group and Maywic Select Investments. www.joy.co
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Irvin Automotive Products Inc., a Pontiac, Mich.-based provider of interior trim products for automotive OEMs, has secured an undisclosed amount of equity and subordinated debt financing from Cyprium Partners. www.irvinautomotive.com
• Mazarine Energy, a Dutch oil and gas company backed by The Carlyle Group, has agreed to acquire 19 Romanian onshore oil fields from Australia’s OMV for an undisclosed amount. Read more.
• Neogov, an El Segundo, Calif.-based talent management software platform for the government sector, has raised an undisclosed amount of growth equity funding from Warburg Pincus. www.neogov.com
• Ship Supply International, a Miami, Fla.-based port logistics company owned by H.I.G. Capital, has acquired Kamil Ship Supply, a Mobile, Ala.-based provider of last-mile delivery for perishable goods and deck and engine maintenance products to commercial vessels. www.shipsup.com
• St. George Logistics, a South Kearny, N.J.-based portfolio company of Wind Point Partners, has acquired AZ Corp., a Linden, N.J-based provider of container freight station services. No financial terms were disclosed. www.stgusa.com
• Myovant Sciences Inc., a drug company focused on women’s health diseases and other endocrine-related disorders, has set its IPO terms to 13 million shares at between $12 and $15 per share. It would have an initial market cap of around $790 million, were it to price in the middle of its range. The pre-revenue company plans to trade on the NYSE under ticker symbol MYOV, with Citigroup listed as left lead underwriter. Shareholders include Roviant Sciences (85.4% pre-IPO stake) and Takeda Pharma (12%). www.myovant.com
• PNB Housing Finance Ltd., an Indian residential financing company owned by The Carlyle Group, is seeking to raise upwards of $450 million in a local IPO. Read more.
• Ra Pharmaceuticals Inc., a Cambridge, Mass.-based drug discovery company focused on diseases caused by excessive or uncontrolled activation of the complement system, has set its IPO terms to 5.8 million shares at between $12 and $14 per share. It would have an initial market cap of around $263 million, were it to price in the middle of its range. The company plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol RARX, with Credit Suisse listed as left lead underwriter. Ra Pharma has raised around $85 million in VC funding from firms like NEA, Canvas Ventures, Novartis Bioventures, Novo AS and Lightstone Ventures. www.rapharma.com
• Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. (NYSE: DKS) is preparing a bid for the U.S. business of Golfsmith International Holdings, a bankrupt retailer owned by OMERS Private Equity, according to Reuters. Read more.
• KT Capital Partners has sold ON Event Services LLC, a Norcross, Ga.-based provider of audio-visual production services for live events, to a subsidiary of Viad Corp. (NYSE: VVI). No financial terms were disclosed. www.oneventservices.com
• Caltex Australia Ltd. (ASX: CTX) has offered to acquire the fuel station chain of Woolworths Ltd. (ASX: WOW), which earlier reports suggested could be valued at around A$1.5 billion. Read more.
• Razer, a Carlsbad, Calif.-based maker of interactive gaming hardware, has acquired THX, an audio and video quality assurance company founded by George Lucas. No financial terms were disclosed. Razer has raised around $125 million in VC funding from firms like IDG-Accel China Capital Fund and Digital Grid (Hong Kong) Technology Co. Read more.
• Taiyo Oil Co. of Japan has agreed to acquire the offline Okinawa refinery and related assets of Brazil state-owned Petroleo Brasileiro SA for $129.3 million. Read more.
• ThreatMetrix, a San Jose, Calif.-based digital identity company, has raised $30 million in mezzanine debt financing from Silicon Valley Bank. www.threatmetrix.com
• William Hill PLC (LSE: WMH), a British bookmaker, said that it is no longer in multi-billion dollar merger talks with Amaya Inc. (TSX: AYA), the Canadian owner of PokerStars. Read more.
FIRMS & FUNDS
• Auxo Investment Partners, a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based private equity firm focused on small-cap companies in the Manufacturing, industrial, value-added distribution or business services industries, is raising upwards of $50 million for its debut fund. The firm is led by former Blackford Capital pros Jeff Helminski and Jack Kolodny, plus current Enterplast chairman and CEO Fred Tedori. www.auxopartners.com
• Ysios Capital, a Spanish venture capital firm focused on the healthcare space, has closed its second fund with €126.4 million in capital commitments. www.ysioscapital.com
MOVING IN, UP AND ON
• Damon Conway has joined Altas Partners as a principal. He previously was with Mill Road Capital. www.altaspartners.com
• Dinesh Moorjani has joined Comcast Ventures as a Santa Monica, Calif.-based managing director. He previously was an executive-in-residence with Warburg Pincus (where he will remain an advisor) and previously was founder and CEO of Hatch Labs (where he co-founded Tinder). www.comcastventures.com
• Sasha Said has joined Leerink Transformation Partners, a healthcare IT and services-focused growth equity firm, as a Boston-based vice president. She previously was with Waypoint Capital. www.LTPequity.com
• Mark Schwartz is stepping down as chairman of Asia-Pacific at Goldman Sachs, although he will remain a senior advisor with the firm (relocating from Beijing to New York). Read more.
• David Spaight has joined Arsenal Capital Partners as an operating partner in the firm’s healthcare group. He most recently was chairman and CEO of WIL Research Co., which was acquired earlier this year for $585 million by Charles River Laboratories (NYSE: CRL). www.arsenalcapital.com
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