Good morning! In today’s guest column, Fortune writer Robert Hackett weighs in on Uber’s terrible, no good, very bad start to 2017—plus discusses one of the biggest cyber deals of the week: CA Technologies’ acquisition of Veracode. Follow him on Twitter.
The world’s most highly valued private company has had a rough year. Between “#DeleteUber,” a Waymo lawsuit, allegations of flagrant misogyny in the workplace, a video of the CEO berating a driver, and the Greyball incident, you’d be forgiven for not remembering each and every infelicity. Did I miss any?
Now is the time for reform, apparently. Following through on a promise to seek “leadership help,” Uber boss Travis Kalanick yesterday revealed his plan to hire a number two—or as multiple people have described the enlistment, a Sandberg to his Zuckerberg. (But really, pick your favorite analogy: a good cop to his bad cop, a yin to his yang, a Whitecube to his Greyball, etc.) “This morning I told the Uber team that we’re actively looking for a Chief Operating Officer: a peer who can partner with me to write the next chapter in our journey,” he wrote on the company blog Tuesday.
The move is a good one, but it’s only part of the equation.
Earlier this week I spoke to Mitch Kapor and Freada Kapor Klein, who jointly manage Kapor Capital, an early investor in Uber, for a story detailing the company’s unremitting series of mishaps that will appear in an upcoming issue of Time, sister publication to Fortune. The husband and wife venture capital duo, a well-established Silicon Valley power couple, made headlines recently when they decided to publish an aggrieved open letter about their portfolio company’s allegedly hostile and sexist culture. We chatted prior to Kalanick making the job posting for a lieutenant publicly known, but some of that conversation, which otherwise might end up on the cutting room floor, was relevant.
Here’s the bit that stood out: “Having a senior person come in, or changing Travis’ role—that wouldn’t magically be the answer,” Klein told me when I asked what it would take to mend the firm’s values. “That might be part of a larger set of steps, but neither of those has to be essentials for the company [culture] changing.”
Rather, Kapor and Klein recommended that Uber implement a “very well thought out strategy with short term, medium term, and long term initiatives and goals that have got to touch every aspect of the business.” As many tech companies have discovered, fostering diversity and inclusion is no simple task when those values are not baked in from the start. Board member Arianna Huffington and HR head Liane Hornsey are reportedly putting together a set of new practices and rules for the company to address the problem, as Recode has reported.
“It’s a heavy lift,” Klein said, pausing to consider the word, which happens to be the homophonic name of Uber’s biggest domestic rival, Lyft.
“That’s without the ‘y’,” she wryly clarified.
(One more thing: If you're interested in more on this topic, consider subscribing to raceAhead, a Fortune newsletter dedicated to corporate diversity initiatives.)
Since security is my usual beat, I figured I would comment on the big cyber deal of the week: CA Technologies announced Monday that it would purchase Veracode, a Massachusetts-based application security firm, for $614 million in cash. The company had raised about $110 million before privately filing for an IPO two years ago, as Fortune then reported.
The acquisition shows just how much DevOps (short for software development and IT operations) has become all the rage in techland. The management practice involves a leaner and more agile way of running software development teams to speed up their pace of delivery. Veracode sells software that helps those teams do quality assurance and vulnerability testing continuously during the build process. CA wants access to Veracode’s customers so it can sell them more tools of this sort—a foothold it will now have.
Forrester analyst Amy DeMartine put it nicely when she said that “along with most large technology companies, CA Technologies is on the digital transformation bandwagon and touts that applications are at the center of this transformation,” as she wrote in a recent report covering the impact of the deal. “With the acquisition of Veracode, CA Technologies gives credence to the basic need of companies to secure their applications before release.”
Speaking of which, someone should tell Confide, the “secure” chat app startup, about that basic need. The messenger gained notoriety this year as a go-to for some Republicans in government looking to keep their conversations confidential. Well, some researchers at the security firm IOActive recently found a bunch of problems with the app during a recent audit.
A bit of advice? If you’re going to leak the latest and greatest deal news to us at Fortune—which we encourage—use the anonymous tip tool at the top of this newsletter or request the Signal app number for one of our reporters. All leaks are welcome. —Robert Hackett
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• Instacart, a San Francisco-based grocery-delivery startup, raised $400 million at a $3.4 billion valuation, according to a report in Bloomberg. Sequoia Capital led the round. Read more.
• Farmer’s Business Network, a Menlo Park, Calif. platform that collects, analyses, and shares data from farmers, raised $40 million in Series C funding. GV and DBL Partners led the round, with additional participation from Bow Capital, Acre Venture Partners, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
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• Align Commerce, a San Mateo, Calif. payment service provider for small businesses, raised $24 million in Series B funding. National Australia Bank Ventures led the round, and was joined by GV and SBI Investment.
• ID.me, a McLean, Va. digital identity company, raised $19 million in Series B funding. FTV Capital led the round.
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• ScyllaDB, an Israeli open-source database that lets developers to build applications, raised $16 million in Series B funding. Investors include Western Digital, Samsung Ventures, Magma Ventures, Qualcomm Ventures, and Bessemer Venture Partners.
• ACV Auctions, a Buffalo, N.Y. mobile platform for online car auctions, raised $15 million in Series B funding. Bessemer Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by Tribeca Venture Partners, SoftBank Capital NY, Armory Square Ventures, and Rand Capital.
• CampusLogic, a Gilbert, Ariz. developer of cloud-based software for students, raised $10 million in a Series B funding.
• Conversion Logic, a Los Angeles analytics platform for the media industry, raised $9 million in Series A funding. Pelion Venture Partners led the round, with participation from Rincon Venture Partners, Crosscut Ventures, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Founder Collective, Revel Partners, and TenOneTen.
• LawGeex, an Israeli the A.I. contract review platform for businesses, raised $7 million in Series A funding. Recruit Holdings led the round, and was joined by Lool Ventures and LionBird.
• Kiddom, a San Francisco visual collaborative system for K-12 classrooms, raised $6.5 million in funding.
• Indigo Fair, a startup that connects local retailers with curated merchandise, raised an undisclosed amount in funding from Khosla Ventures, Y-Combinator, and SV Angel.
HEALTH + LIFE SCIENCES DEALS
• Spero Therapeutics, a Cambridge, Mass. biopharmaceutical company developing therapies to treat bacterial infections, raised $51.7 million in Series C funding. GV led the round, and was joined by RA Capital Management, Rock Springs Capital, and additional existing investors.
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• EnCap Investments invested $400 million in Ameredev, an Austin, Texas-based oil and gas exploration and production company.
• Gimmal, a Houston software company backed by Rubicon Technology Partners, acquired RecordLion, an information governance and records management software company. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Deposition Solutions, a Trinity Hunt Partners portfolio company, acquired Castle Copy Service, a Rocklin, Ca. provider of records retrieval services. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• The Pritzker Organization agreed to acquire Hargray Communications Group, a Hilton Head Island, S.C.-based broadband telecommunications provider. Financial terms were disclosed.
• Ampersand Capital Partners and 1315 Capital acquired the assets of Genoptix, a Carlsbad, Calif. provider of oncology diagnostics services, from Novartis (SWX:NOVN). Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• SoftBank (TSE:9984) plans to transfer an $8 billion stake in ARM, a U.K. chipmaker, to a technology investment fund it created with Saudi Arabia. Read more at Fortune.
• Sterling Bancorp (NYSE:STL) agreed to buy Astoria Financial (NYSE:AF) for about $2.2 billion in stock, according to Reuters. At $21.92 per Astoria Financial share, the deal values the company at a 18.6 premium to its Monday closing price. Read more.
• Hewlett Packard (NYSE:HPE) agreed to buy Nimble Storage (NYSE:NMBL) for $1.09 billion in cash. Read more.
• X-Fab Silicon Foundries , a German chipmaker, is seeking to raise about €500 million ($530 million) in an IPO on Paris Euronext, according to Bloomberg. BNP Paribas SA and HSBC Bank PLC are the lead underwriters on the offering. Read more.
• ProPetro Holding, a Midland, Texas-based oilfield services company backed by Energy Capital Partners, filed to raise up to $350 million in an IPO by offering 20 million shares priced between $16 to $19 per share. The company plans to list on the NYSE under the symbol PUMP. Goldman Sachs, Barclays, Credit Suisse, and J.P. Morgan serve as joint bookrunners on the deal.
• Kayne Anderson Acquisition, a blank check company formed by Kayne Anderson Capital, filed to raise $350 million in an IPO by offering 10 million shares priced at $10 each. The company plans to trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol KAACU.
• Hellman & Friedman and GIC agreed to acquire Allfunds Bank, a global financial tech business, for €1.8 billion ($1.9 billion) from Intesa Sanpaolo Group, Santander Group, General Atlantic, and Warburg Pincus.
• 8x8 (Nasdaq: EGHT) acquired LeChat, the maker of the interoperability platform Sameroom. LeChat raised $2 million in VC funding from an unnamed investor.
• Localytics, a Boston-based mobile engagement platform, acquired Tapglue, a Berlin API service used drive mobile user engagement through social features. Tapglue raised $100,000 in VC funding from Right Side Capital Management.
FIRMS + FUNDS
• Symantec (NasdaqGS:SYMC) launched Symantec Ventures, a new venture capital arm that will invest in cyber security startups.
• Greyrock Capital Group, a Wilton, Conn.-based private equity firm, raised $275 million for its fourth fund.
• Elizabeth Burgess has joined Bridges Fund Management as a partner and the head of US sustainable growth funds.
• Tony Burke has joined Ringleader Ventures to co-lead the firm’s third venture fund, Oper8.
• George Rolfs has joined Soundcore Capital Partners as an associate. Previously Rolfs was an associate at Cambridge Associates.
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