CryptocurrencyInvestingBanksReal Estate

Term Sheet — Friday, January 20

January 20, 2017, 2:55 PM UTC
fortune logo


IPOs: The data does not lie: IPOs are dwindling and so is the number of public companies. The number of US-listed companies has dropped 37% since 1997, Fortune reports.

People Moves: Rachel Lam is stepping down from her role as head of Time Warner’s venture capital arm.  She’s run the unit since 2003, investing in companies like Maker Studios and Bluefin Labs.

Allison Goldberg, who has been at Time Warner since 2001, is taking over as senior VP of Time Warner Investments. Goldberg tells Term Sheet that the venture arm’s mandate of investing in strategic startups won’t change. Lam’s board seats for Mashable, Kamcord and Simulmedia will transition to Goldberg, VP Scott Levine, and potentially Time Warner divisional executives.

Lam will stay on the board of Tremor Video (the company acquired Time Warner investment ScanScout in 2010). She tells Term Sheet she plans to take some time off before “one more adventure that will ideally have an impact on the women/diversity equation in venture investing.” It will likely involve investing and working with entrepreneurs, she says.

Payments: Remember Dwolla? The Des Moines payments company made a splash in the early part of this decade when it raised cash from Union Square Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz and Ashton Kutcher. (It has raised a total of $32.5 million.) But aside from a fine over its data security claims, it’s been relatively quiet for the last year. Dwolla is most well-known for its consumer-facing peer-to-peer payments product, which launched before PayPal-owned Venmo became the hit it is today.

In December the company pulled its consumer-facing app from the app store and asked its users to switch to Current, a payments startup. A few Term Sheet readers wrote me speculating the company was dead. But that’s not the case.

Rather, Dwolla is going all-in on its SaaS platform. The company has raised $6.85 million led by The Foundry Group and Union Square Ventures to support the new strategy. High Alpha Ventures, Ludlow Ventures, NextLevel Ventures, and Detroit Venture Partners participated in the round. Further, the company will no longer add head count to its San Francisco office, focusing hiring efforts on its headquarters in Des Moines.

Dwolla’s primary focus will be a product called Access API, which allows businesses and developers to integrate the banking system into their software. The platform has attracted more than 100 customers in its first year.

Founder and CEO Ben Milne tells Term Sheet the transition has been “a little bit humbling.” Dwolla’s initial thesis was to help people move money around the Internet faster and cheaper, and now it is helping other companies facilitate that with its platform.

“Dwolla got a ton of media attention when the company wasn’t really anything yet,” he says. “There were a lot of ideas about what the company could become.” The biggest snag was distribution, he says. He initially thought banks and banking regulators would move faster than they did. But there is demand for the company’s white label payments platform. “We need to galvanize around what’s working and be honest about what didn’t,” Milne says.

Have a great weekend!

Correction: This article has been corrected to say that Dwolla asked its peer-to-peer users to switch to Current, that the company has stopped hiring in San Francisco but its headquarters remain in Des Moines, and that its fine was over data security claims, not data security.


  FYI on Repeal and Replace.

  The digital revolution’s latest targets: Verizon, Macy’s and Time Inc.

  Why Amazon is both a boon and a threat to startups.

  Three hot business apps you may not know about.

  The least diverse cabinet in 36 years.


Oh, that $100 million? Private equity has Trump on speed-dial. Tesla cleared on autopilot death. Down with pass-through fees. Ugh, Adoptly, the Tinder for child adoption. Snap fires back on lawsuit. Wall Streeters at the Women’s March.


 DigiLens, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based provider of diffractive optical waveguide technology for augmented and virtual reality, raised $22 million in Series B funding. Investors include Sony, Foxconn, Continental, Panasonic, Alsop Louie Partners, Bold Capital, Nautilus Venture Partners, and Dolby Family Ventures.

iHear Medical, a San Leandro, Calif.-based company developing web-enabled hearing devices, raised $4.1 million in Series C-2 funding. Ameritas led the round, and was joined by Aphelion Capital and Lighthouse Capital.

Faradion, a U.K. low-cost battery material developer, raised £1.3 million ($1.6 million) in Series B funding from Mercia Technologies, according to Tech City News. Read more.

 OhYeah! Nutrition, a Charlotte, N.C. maker of nutritional shakes and bars, raised an undisclosed amount in funding from CAVU Venture Partners.

 National Arbitration and Mediation, a provider of alternative dispute resolution services, raised an undisclosed amount in funding from Sageview Capital.


 Cristal Therapeutics, Dutch life sciences company developing nanomedicines to treat cancer, raised €12.8 million ($13.6 million) in funding. A consortium headed by Dutch oncology investor Aglaia BioMedical Ventures and Belgian DROIA Oncology Ventures led the round, with participation from BOM, LIOF, LBDF,  Chemelot Ventures, BioGeneration Ventures, Utrecht University Holding, Nedermaas, and Hightech Ventures.


Ethypharm, a Saint Cloud, France-based pharmaceutical manufacturer backed by PAI Partners, agreed to purchase Martindale Pharma, a U.K.-based pharmaceutical company specializing in opioid addiction, emergency care, and sterile injectables. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Polaris Alpha, a Fredericksburg, Va.-based provider of technology services to the Department of Defense and other intelligence community customers, agreed to acquire Intelesys Corporation, an Elkridge, Maryland provider of mission-critical software and embedded engineering. Polaris Alpha is backed by Arlington Capital Partners.

Tech Air, a Danbury, Conn.-based distributor of gases and welding equipment backed by CI Capital Partners, closed its acquisition Gasco Affiliates, a provider of specialty gases. Financial terms were not disclosed.


 Avaya, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based telecommunications company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Thursday. It is negotiating deals to sell parts of its businesses, but said it would not sell its call center unit. Avaya is backed by Silver Lake Partners and TPG Capital. The firms took the company private for $8.2 billion in 2007. Read more at Fortune.

Anthem (NYSE:ANTM) and Cigna’s (NYSE:CI) proposed merger is expected to be blocked by a federal judge. Anthem is preparing to appeal. Read more at Fortune.

 Shanghai Film Group and Huahua Media, both Chinese film companies, agreed to invest $1 billion into Viacom's (Nasdaq:VIAB) Paramount Pictures. Read more at Fortune.

 Aon (NYSE: AON) is in advanced talks to sell its employee benefits outsourcing unit to Clayton, Dubilier & Rice for around $4.5 billion, according to Reuters. Read more.

 China Oceanwide Holdings Group Co. and IDG Capital agreed to acquire Boston-based International Data Group, a Boston-based group with publishing (titles include Macworld), market research, and investment businesses. Financial terms were not disclosed, but an earlier WSJ report valued the deal at less than $1 billion.


 Falconhead Capital and M3 Outdoor Investments acquired Kwik Tek, a Denver, Colo.-based manufacturer of water sports products from Guardian Capital Partners. Terms were not disclosed.

 Insight Venture Partners agreed to sell a majority stake in Planview, an Austin, Texas-based provider of workplace management tools, to Thoma Bravo. Insight Venture Partners will maintain its original 2014 capital investment in the company.

 NEJ Inc, a Beacon Falls, Conn.-based company that purchases and redistributes unsold retail merchandise, acquired a majority stake in Bills Khakis, a men’s clothing manufacturer, from Source Capital. NEJ partnered with Source Capital on its 2015 acquisition of Bills Khakis, but now fully owns and operates the business.


Mithril Capital Management, a San Francisco-based venture capital firm co-founded by Peter Thiel, raised $740 million for its second fund, according to an SEC filing.

 Tenzing Private Equity, a London-based firm focused on lower mid-market businesses and buyouts, raised £200 million ($246 million) for its debut fund, Tenzing Private Equity I.

 Raine Ventures, a New York City-based private equity and venture firm focused on investments in digital media, entertainment, and sports, raised $100 million for its second fund, according to the Wall Street Journal.

 Saama Capital, a Bengaluru, India-based venture capital firm, raised $58 million for its third fund, according to The Economic Times. Read more.


 Marshall C. White has been promoted to partner at Five Points Capital.

 Liz Crawford has joined Genacast Ventures as an entrepreneur-in-residence. Previously, Crawford was the CTO of Birchbox.

 John Lee has been promoted from senior associate to principal at Osage University Partners.

 Luciana Lixandru is now a partner at Accel’s London office. Previously, she was a principal at the firm.

 Daphne Dufresne has joined GenNx360 Capital Partners as a managing partner. Previously Dufresne was a founding partner and managing director at RLJ Equity Partners.

 Sun Capital Partners has promoted Daniel Florian, Jeremy Stone, and Jared Wien to managing directors, and Todd Plosker to managing director, head of capital markets.


Term Sheet is produced by Laura Entis. Submit deal items hereView this email in your browser.