Skip to Content

Term Sheet — Monday, October 2


Good morning, Term Sheet readers!

PEOPLE MOVES: Just three months after hiring longtime tech exec Tony Bates to run its new growth arm, Social Capital has made another senior addition to the team.

Sandhya Venkatachalam has joined the firm as a partner leading growth investing. Previously, she was one of the founding partners at private investment firm Centerview Capital. Venkatachalam will report to Bates, whom she’d previously worked with at Skype and Cisco.

Bringing in operators like Bates and Venkatachalam, who will invest in later-stage companies (and could even do buyouts) is part of Chamath Palihapitiya’s larger vision for the firm, which has traditionally focused on venture and seed investments. Going forward, Palihapitiya wants Social Capital to become a capital partner to the businesses it invests in throughout their lifecycles.

Venkatachalam joins the firm at a time of some high-profile turnover. Social Capital co-founder Mamoon Hamid abruptly departed in August to join Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and there are rumors that third co-founder Ted Maidenberg also plans to leave the company. Social Capital confirmed reports that Maidenberg won’t be making new investments or participating in any future funds, although he’s currently still supporting the portfolio.

Palihapitiya ultimately wants to change the way Social Capital makes investments. As the firm begins to expand and veer toward being stage-agnostic, the co-founders reportedly didn’t see eye to eye.

After speaking with Bates and Venkatachalam, the vision seems to be pretty clear — operational experience coupled with a focus on data. The growth team will continue to scale as Bates hints he’ll be making more hires in the near future. “We’ll be selective,” he says. “[Sandhya and I] both understand that data is really going to be important. And when you augment that with operating teams, we should get strong results.”

POWER PLAY: Well, here we go. After ex-Uber CEO Travis Kalanick appointed two board members — former Xerox CEO Ursula Burns and former Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain — without informing the executive team, Uber’s new chief had a few things to say about it. In a letter to employees, Dara Khosrowshahi described Kalanick’s power move as “a complete surprise.” He went on to say that “anyone would tell you that this is highly unusual.” As Fortune’s David Z. Morris notes:

It’s a major hint that, despite the arrival of a new CEO, chaos is still the name of the game at Uber, and Kalanick is still its main agent. Khosrowshahi is getting a baptism by fire — though baptism might not be the right term, since it’s not going to be over as long as Kalanick is still lurking in the background.

And he may be lurking for a while. Like I said last week, if Uber can’t get a handle on its internal politics, we can only guess what happens next.


• Can blockchain stop the next Equifax(by Jeff John Roberts)

• Why GoDaddy promoted 30% more women this year (by Valentina Zarya)

• Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer raised a $220 million private equity fund (by Natasha Bach)

• Is the Apple iPhone X in trouble? (by Don Reisinger)


Inside Scooter Braun’s hit factory. Talks to take Nordstrom private are faltering. The massive hedge fund betting on AI. Should Rex Tillerson resign? A media empire lost its king. Zen and the art of hedge fund management.


MariaDB, a Finland-based company that develops an open source relational database, raised €22.9 million ($27 million) in funding, according to TechCrunch. Investors include Alibaba. The deal values MariaDB at approximately €300 million ($354 million). Read more.

Kryon Systems, an Israel-based provider of intelligent robotic process automation, raised $12 million in Series B funding. Investors including Aquiline Technology Growth and Vertex Ventures.

Heetch, a France-based ridesharing app developer, raised $12 million in funding, according to TechCrunch. Investors include Felix Capital, Via ID and Alven Capital. Read more.

Cloud4Wi, a San Francisco-based location analytics and marketing platform, raised $11.5 million in Series B funding. Opus Capital and United Ventures led the round.

Vestwell, a New York-based digital retirement platform, raised $8 million in Series A funding. F-Prime Capital Partners led the round, and was joined by investors including Primary Venture Partners, FinTech Collective, and Commerce Ventures.

Tecovas, an Austin, Texas-based direct-to-consumer western brand, raised $2.6 million in funding. YETI Capital led the round, and was joined by existing investors, including Brian Spaly and Blue {Seed} Collective.

Reachify, a New York-based provider of data to sellers and buyers of enterprise software, raised $1.5 million in funding. Forerunner Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including NEA, Female Founders Fund, Beanstalk Ventures and Commerce Ventures.

Dwell, a U.K.-based online mortgage broker that has now rebranded to Burrow, raised $1.2 million (£900,000) in seed funding. Passion Capital led the round.

Idelic, a Pittsburgh-based provider of a machine learning truck safety platform, raised $1 million in seed funding. Birchmere Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including McCune Capital and M25 Group.


Bain Capital plans to buy Asatsu-DK Inc (TSE:9747) in a deal that could be worth $1.2 billion or more, according to Reuters. Read more.

Tracker Capital acquired root9B (Nasdaq:RTNB). Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

Sentinel Capital Partners sold PlayCore, a Chattanooga, Tenn.-based maker of playground equipment. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

Apax Partners acquired Tosca Services, LLC, an Atlanta-based provider of supply chain solutions and reusable packaging. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.


Metro Inc (TSX:MRU) will buy Jean Coutu Group (TSX:PJC.A) for C$4.5 billion ($3.60 billion), according to Reuters. Read more.

Suez finalized its 3.2 billion euros ($3.4 billion) acquisition of GE Water, a Trevose, Penn.-based water treatment company, according to Reuters. Read more.

Savola Group (SASE:2050) is in talks to buy Sanabel Al-Salam, a Saudi Arabia-based food and confectionery manufacturer, in a deal worth $300 million, according to  Reuters. Read more.


Haymaker Acquisition, a New York City-based SPAC created to acquire a consumer products facing business, filed for an IPO of $300 million. Steven Heyer has been named CEO and executive chairman. Heyer previously was CEO at Starwood Hotels & Resorts Woldwide, and a COO at the Coca-Cola company. Cantor Fitzgerald is underwriter in the deal. The company plans to list as “HAYU” on the Nasdaq.

Altair Engineering, a Troy, Mich.-based engineering software maker, filed for an $150 million IPO. In 2016, the company posted revenue of $313 million, and income of $10.2 million. J.P. Morgan, RBC Capital Markets, Deutsche Bank, William Blair, and Canaccord Genuity are underwriters in the deal. The company plans to list on the Nasdaq as “ALTR.”

CarGurus, a Cambridge, Mass.-based car marketplace, set the terms of its IPO. The company plans to raise $132 million in an offer of 9.4 million shares (73% insider) at $13 to $15 a piece. The company posted revenue of $198.1 million in 2016, with earnings of $6.5 million. CarGurus is backed by Allen & Co. (5.4% post-offering), Spinnaker Capital’s Anastasios Parafestas (13%), and T. Rowe Price (11.1%) back the company. Goldman Sachs, Allen & Company, RBC Capital markets, JMP Securities, Raymond James and William Blair are underwriters in the deal. The company plans to list on the Nasdaq as “CARG.”

National Vision Holdings, a Duluth, Ga.-based eye care provider, filed for an $100 million IPO. The company posted revenue of $1.2 billion on earnings of $14.8 million in 2016. KKR(77% pre-offering) and Berkshire Partners (18%) back the company. KKR is sole underwriter in the deal. The company plans to list on the Nasdaq as “EYE.”

Hexindai, a Beijing, China-based consumer lending firm, filed for an $80 million IPO of ADSs. The company posted revenue of $22.9 million in the 12 months ending March 2017 and income of $7.5 million. Network 1 Financial Securities is underwriter in the deal. The company plans to list as “HX.”


IFS agreed to acquire WorkWave LLC, a Neptune, N.J.-based provider of cloud-based Software-as-a-Service solutions. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. WorkWave had previously raised more than $8 million in venture funding from investors including ParkerGale Capital and Key Venture Partners.

GLP agreed to buy IDI Gazeley, an Atlanta-based operator of modern logistics facilities, for about $2.8 billion. Brookfield Asset Management was the seller.

Ardian sold its stake in TimeOne, a France-based digital marketing company, to Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners’ ActoMezz investment team. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.


Afore Capital, a San Francisco-based venture capital firm raised $47 million, for its pre-seed fund.

Corporate Fuel, a New York-based private equity firm, raised $35 million for its newest fund.


Gainline Capital Partners named Kerri McNicholas as principal and promoted Harry Clouston to vice president.


View this email in your browser.

Polina Marinova produces Term Sheet, and Lucinda Shen compiles the IPO news. Send deal announcements to Polina here and IPO news to Lucinda here.