Term Sheet — Wednesday, December 14

December 14, 2016, 3:22 PM UTC
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Stars, They’re Just Like Us: Yesterday’s Term Sheet included an item about Leonardo DiCaprio joining Boston venture capital firm Data Point Capital as an advisor. Since a few readers asked about it, I got a little more info from Data Point partner Mike Majors…

  1. It’s all about deal flow. DiCaprio is joining a team of ten other special advisors that help Data Point Capital source deals and lend the firm their expertise. “He’s obviously iconic as an actor, as an activist and as a social media personality, and we think all of those will bring deal flow to us because of who he is,” Majors says.
  1. What does DiCaprio get out of this? He is investing in Data Point’s latest fund and doesn’t want to be a passive LP. That’s not unlike Data Point’s other advisory board members. “If they want to invest in our fund, they want to play a role in making it successful,” Majors says.
  1. Don’t take money from Data Point expecting DiCaprio to join your board or automatically pimp your startup on Twitter. He’ll help startups selectively, at his initiation, and Majors says he doubts he’ll take any board seats.
  1. This isn’t DiCaprio’s first VC relationship – he’s also involved with a high-profile Bay area firm, but no one will tell me which one…
  1. The relationship is set up for multiple funds. “Our hope is we will suck him further into the venture world. This is him dipping his toes into the water at this point,” Majors says.

Going South: San Diego has the nerve to call itself “America’s Finest City” and the tech industry may be starting to agree. Last week Evernote opened an engineering office in the city. That follows news from earlier this year that Google signed a lease for a San Diego office that will hold up to 300 workers, and Fitbit announced it would open an R&D office in the city. Meanwhile a tipster tells Term Sheet that Amazon has been quietly building an engineering team in San Diego dedicated to AmazonFresh, its grocery delivery service.

Progress, Kinda: Social + Capital Partnership and The Information this morning released a breakdown of diversity at the top 72 venture capital firms across age, gender, and ethnicity. It focuses on the professionals making investment decisions, excluding operators who may have a partner title. The results are not great, but the progress, while tiny, is better than nothing. Change doesn’t happen on its own, and I am hoping these stats inspire more firms to be part of the change…

  • The number of all-male firms decreased from 60% to 53%. Last year 92% of venture capital investment professionals were men. This year that fell to 89%. It sounds pathetic to call that progress – at this rate we’ll reach parity by 2029 -- but even that shift took conscious effort. More than 23% of new investors added in the last year were women, which represents nearly one in four.
  • The progress on race, on the other hand, was non-existent. Three-quarters of venture investment professionals are White, and there was no improvement to the number of all-White firms (26.4% compared to last year’s 26.8%). Last year, the 72 venture capital firms surveyed added just three Black investment professionals to its ranks for a grand total of seven. It added four Hispanic investment professionals for a total of 11.

Oof: A few corrections to the yesterday’s deal listings: California Cryobank, which acquired Donor Egg Bank USA, is backed by Longitude Capital and NovaQuest Capital Management; it did not acquire the company from the firms. Bain Capital is selling Apple Leisure to KKR and KSL, not the other way around. And ApplePie Capital, which raised $16.5 million in Series B funding from QED Investors and Fifth Third Capital, is a San Francisco-based online lender for the franchise industry. Term Sheet regrets the errors.


 Privacy, security and Trump

 The hottest patent area for Google and Apple is … acoustics?

 Today Bezos, Safra, Satya, Larry, Eric and Ginny all trek to Trump Tower.

 Elsewhere in sentences I never thought I’d write: Travis Kalanick and Elon Musk have joined Steve Schwartzman’s strategic policy forum.

Parsing the Fed.


The most consequential typo of the year. “Straw man” is the new “crazy idea.” Self-driving Uber. Self-driving Waymo.



Symphony, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based secure communications platform used by the largest financial institutions on Wall Street, is raising up to $200 million at a pre-money valuation over $1 billion, according to TechCrunch. Read more.

Survios, a Los Angeles-based virtual reality studio, raised $50 million in new funding in two financing rounds. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) led one of the round, and as part of the deal, MGM chairman and CEO Gary Barber is joining Survios’ board of directors. Lux Capital led an earlier round, with participation from Shasta Ventures, Danhua Capital, Shanda Holdings, Felicis Ventures, and Dentsu Ventures. Read more at Fortune.

BlueVine, a Redwood City, Calif.-based online provider of financing to small businesses, raised $48 million in Series D funding from existing investors Lightspeed Venture Partners, Menlo Ventures, 83North, Citi Ventures, Rakuten FinTech Fund, and Silicon Valley Bank.

Tripping.com, a San Francisco-based search engine for vacation homes and short-term rentals, raised $35 million in Series C funding from an international group of investors led by Princeville Global.

Conversica, a Foster City, Calif.-based developer of automated artificial intelligence-based sales conversion management software, raised $34 million in Series B funding. Providence Strategic Growth Capital Partners led the round, and was joined by Toba Capital, Wellington Financial LP and Recruit Holdings Co., Kennet Partners, and founder Ben Brigham.

Managed by Q, a New York City-based provider of handyman for office cleaning and maintenance, raised $30.5 million in funding, according to an SEC filing.

EcoVadis, a Paris-based platform for environmental, social and ethical performance ratings for global supply chains, raised €30 million ($31.9 million) in funding. Partech Ventures led the round.

Stash, a New York City-based mobile app for investing, raised $25 million in Series B funding. Valar Ventures led the round, with participation from Breyer Capital, Goodwater Capital, and Entrée Capital.

Inkling, a San Francisco-based provider of mobile communication tools for remote workers, raised $25 million in Series E funding. Sapphire Ventures led the round, with participation from existing investors Sequoia Capital and Tenaya Capital. As part of the deal, Sapphire Ventures CEO and managing director Nino Marakovic is joining Inkling’s board of directors.

ObservePoint, a Provo, Utah-based provider of data quality assurance for digital marketing tools, raised $19 million in Series B funding. Mercato Partners and Pelion Venture Partners led the round. As part of the deal, Mercato principal Ryan Sanders is ObservePoint’s board of directors.

Splash, a New York City developer of event marketing automation software, raised $7 million in Series B funding. Ascent Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by Spark Capital and Lerer Hippeau Ventures.

Amcure, a German biopharmaceutical company developing cancer therapeutics, raised €6 million ($6.39 million) in Series B funding. LBBW Venture Capital led the round, and was joined by KfW, MBG Mittelstaendische Beteiligungsgesellschaft Baden-Wuerttemberg, S-Kap Unternehmensbeteiligungs GmbH & Co. KG and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, and private investors.

STRIVR Labs, a Palo Alto developer of virtual reality training software for athletes, raised $5 million in Series A funding. Signia Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by Shari Redstone’s AdvancIt Capital, BMW i Ventures, Presence Capital and private investors.

ncgCARE, a Richmond, Va.-based provider of mental health services, raised $5 million in funding from NewSpring Capital.

Suiteness, an Oakland, Calif.-based online booking service for exclusive luxury and apartment-style hotel suites, raised $5 million in Series A funding. Bullpen Capital and Global Founders Capital co-led the round, with participation from HVF, YC's Continuity Fund, Kima Ventures, Altair Capital, and other investors. As part of the deal, Bullpen Capital managing partner Eric Weisen is joining Suiteness’ board of directors.

Knowmail, an Israeli startup using AI to help employees manage email, raised $3.5 million in funding, according to TechCrunch. CE Ventures led the round, and was joined by AfterDox, Plus Ventures, 2B Angels, INE Ventures, and unnamed private investors. Read more.

Boom, a Redwood City, Calif.-based maker of 3D streaming software for video games, raised $3.5 million in seed funding from First Round Capital, Tandem Capital, Crosscut Ventures, Betaworks, Boost VC, BITKRAFT eSports Ventures, and angel investors, according to TechCrunch. Read more.

Seaters, a New York City-based provider of marketing technology tools for large event organizers, raised $3 million from Michel Akkermans, Chris Burggraeve, and Albatros Invest LTD.

Codementor, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based marketplace for software developers, raised $1.6 million in funding. WI Harper led the round.

EyeCam, a San Francisco-based maker of wearable computing devices and apps, raised $1.5 million in financing via equity crowdfunding site Crowdfunder.

Coolfire Solutions, a St. Louis-based maker of software for the defense, military and intelligence communities, raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Clayton Venture Group, the venture capital arm of car rental company Enterprise Holdings.


Neustar, Inc. (NYSE:NSR) has agreed to be acquired by a private investment group led by Golden Gate Capital in a deal valued at around $2.9 billion, including debt. Neustar shareholders will receive $33.50 per share in cash, a 21.2% premium to the stock's Tuesday close.

Equistone Partners Europe Limited has invested in T.O.M. Vehicle Rental, a UK company that provides vehicle rental and sales services. Financial terms were not disclosed.

 Vance Street Capital portfolio company A&E Medical Corporation, a cardiovascular medical device manufacturer based in Farmingdale, N.J., agreed to acquire Medical Concepts Europe, a Netherlands-based provider of bi-polar, quad-polar and mono-polar temporary pacing wires. Terms were not disclosed.

Tatts Group (ASX:TTS), an Australian lottery operator, has received an offer from a group that includes includes KKR (NYSE:KKR) and Macquarie Group (ASX:MQG) to buy the company for up to A$7.3 billion ($5.47 billion), according to Reuters. Read more.

The Hilb Group, backed by ABRY Partners, has acquired Endeavor Insurance Services, a Greenville, S.C.-based company that provides group health and employee benefits. Financial terms were not disclosed.

All Metro Health Care, backed by One Equity Partners, has acquired Multicultural Home Care, a Lynn, Massachusetts-based provider of home healthcare services. Financial terms were not disclosed.


Monsanto (NYSE:MON) shareholders have approved Bayer AG’s (DB:BAYN) $66 billion takeover bid. Read more at Fortune.

Sanofi (ENXTPA:SAN) is in discussions to acquire Actelion (SWX:ATLN)   following the company’s rejection of a takeover bid from Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ). Read more at Fortune. This item has been corrected to say that Sanofi is acquiring Actelion, not the other way around.

Burford Capital Limited is acquiring rival litigation funding company Gerchen Keller Capital for $160 million, according to The New York Times. Read more.

Alaska Air Group (NYSE:ALK) has completed its $2.6 billion takeover of Virgin America (NASDAQ: VA).

Kinderhook Industries, a New York City-based private equity firm, has recapitalized NitroFill, a Pompano Beach, Fla.-based nitrogen tire inflation product manufacturer. Financial terms were not disclosed.


WildHorse Resource Development (NYSE:WRD) raised $413 million in its IPO. The Houston, Texas-based oil and natural gas company priced 27.5 million shares at $15 per share, below its expected range of $19 to $21.

China Petroleum & Chemical Corp (SEHK:386) is considering a Hong Kong IPO for its retail business, according to Bloomberg. The offering could raise as much as $10 billion. Read more.


Caleres (NYSE:CAL) has acquired Allen Edmonds, a Port Washington, Wis.-based men's footwear and clothing manufacturer, from Brentwood Associates for $255 million.


Pitango Venture Capital, a Tel Aviv-based venture capital firm, plans to raise $175 million for its seventh fund, which will focus on IT and life sciences, according to TechCrunch. Read more.

The Inova Health System, a Falls Church, Va.-based nonprofit health care provider, has launched Inova Strategic Investments, which will invest in healthcare venture funds as well as directly into companies. The company is also launching Inova Personalized Health Accelerator, which will accept six to eight companies per year, and provide education and funding. Hooks Johnston and Peter Jobse have been named managing directors of these two vehicles.


Phil Olson has joined Waud Capital Partners, a Chicago-based growth-oriented lower middle-market private equity firm, as principal of business development. Previously, he served as a managing director at William Blair & Co.



Term Sheet is produced by Laura Entis and Kia Kokalitcheva. Submit deal items here.

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