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Term Sheet — Friday, November 3

November 3, 2017, 1:40 PM UTC


Happy Friday, Term Sheet readers.

I’m thinking of compiling list of 2017 book recommendations for dealmakers & I need your help. What’s the best business book you read this year and why? Email me at or tweet me @polina_marinova.

THE TAX BILL: House Republicans released a bill on Thursday that would make significant changes to the tax code. It’s a big win for big business as the bill would proposes a reduction in the corporate tax rate. The good news for VC & PE folks? The bill does not change the carried interest tax break that both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton vowed to do away with during the campaign trail.

Alan Murray writes in today’s edition of CEO Daily:

Passage of the plan is still far from a done deal. Its limits on state and local deductions threaten a revolt from Republicans in high tax states, home builder groups remain opposed, and the National Federation of Independent Business is holding out for even bigger breaks for small business. Republican leaders want to force a House vote by Thanksgiving—which would be a far cry from the 1986 tax reform bill, which took two years to get through the legislative process. My favorite quote of the day comes from Rep. Tom MacArthur of New Jersey, who said: “I’m not sure this gets better with time. It’s not like a fine bottle of wine.”

EASY MONEY: Silicon Valley Bank released its latest State of the Markets report, and it has some interesting takeaways:

Delayed debuts: As we already know, more and more companies are delaying IPOs thanks to easy access to private capital. During the summer, nearly 40 companies completed financings of at least $100 million. The extended runways helped contribute to the current “unicorn backlog.”

Sky high valuations: Not all unicorns are created equal. Only 7% of companies valued over $1B+ (ie: Uber, Airbnb, SpaceX) account for 53% of the aggregate value of all unicorns combined. I guess it’s true, these days the decacorn is the new unicorn.

A summer of ICOs: The summer of 2017 was huge for initial coin offerings. Whether VCs choose to acknowledge them or turn a blind eye, the genie’s out of the bottle. Despite ICOs’ risky profile, they seem to have displaced traditional equity as the preferred method of fundraising in the blockchain space, according to the report. From Q2 though Q3, nearly 90% of the staggering $2.3 billion raised in that sector came through ICOs. That’s a pretty jaw-dropping stat.


The GOP Tax Plan: 3 big wins for business (by Shawn Tully)

Lego's 'Women of NASA' set is a massive hit (by David Meyer)

Sears will close 63 more stores in January (by Natasha Bach)

The obscure investments that paid off big for Warren Buffett (by Ryan Derousseau)


Steve Brill has a new startup. Carried interest is safe...for now. Amazon is shutting down its Fresh grocery delivery service. Barclays’ former CEO is long bitcoin. The dark side at Fidelity. CNN will launch subscriptions for digital news in 2018.


Ranger Health, a San Antonio, Texas-based on-demand healthcare service and technology company, raised $10 million in Series A funding. Investors include HOLT Ventures.

Brat, a video startup, raised $10 million in funding. A. Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including Lerer Ventures, Advancit Capital and Box Group.

Aquaro Histology Inc, an Ann Arbor, Mich.-based developer of products for the histology laboratory, raised $9.8 million in Series A funding. Telegraph Hill Partners led the round.

Arbe Robotics, a Tel Aviv and Tokyo-based provider of high-resolution radar for self-driving cars, has closed $9 million in funding. O.G. Tech Ventures and OurCrowd led the round, and were joined by investors including Canaan Partners, iAngels and Taya Ventures.

Rallyteam, a San Francisco-based talent development platform startup, raised $8.6 million in Series A funding. Norwest Venture Partners and Storm Ventures led the round, and were joined by investors including Cornerstone OnDemand and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.

YugaByte, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based database for mission-critical applications, raised $8 million in Series A funding. Investors include Ravi Mhatre of Lightspeed Venture Partners and Jeff Rothschild.

Hims, a men’s wellness company, raised $7 million in seed funding. Investors include Maverick Capital, Forerunner Ventures, Thrive, Harry’s, SV Angel, Amity Supply and Cherubic Ventures.

Ink, a Lincoln, Neb.-based cloud-based, print platform, raised $7 million in funding. Investors include VTF Capital, SQN Ventures Partners, Invest Nebraska, and NE Angels.

Testim, a San Francisco-based provider of machine learning-based test automation software, raised $5.6 million in Series A funding. Lightspeed Venture Partners led the round.

Passionflix, a Playa Vista, Calif.-based romance-focused streaming service, raised $4.75 million in seed funding. Investors include Dana Guerin, Patrick Cheung, Jason Calacanis, Bill Lee, Lyn and Norman Lear, and Kimbal Musk. Read more.

Maria Empanada, a Denver, Colo.-based Argentinian craft casual restaurant, raised up to $3.5 million in Series A funding from Colorado Impact Fund.

CFX Markets, a Chicago-based secondary market trading platform for alternative assets, raised $2.17 million in funding. Investors include West Loop Ventures, M25 Group, Origami Capital Partners, Harvard Business School Angels of Chicago and SixThirty Ventures.

Pienso, the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based machine learning platform for non-programmers, raised $2.1 million seed round. Eniac Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including SoftTech VC, Indicator Ventures, and E14 Fund.

Twine Health, a Cambridge, Mass.-based cloud-based software platform focused on chronic care, raised $1.5 million in Series A1 funding. Qiming Venture Partners USA led the round.

Wiliot, an Israel and San Diego-based fabless semiconductor start-up, raised funding of an undisclosed amount. Investors include Qualcomm Ventures and M Ventures.


Axios Industrial Group LLC, which is backed by White Deer Energy, acquired Sky Industrial Services, an Augusta, Ga.-based scaffolding and insulation company. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

Sentinel Capital Partners acquired Nekoosa, a Nekoosa, Wisc.-based makes specialty paper and film products used in the graphics and commercial print markets. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

Dynamo Software, which is backed by Francisco Partners, acquired Holdings Insight, a portfolio investments data capture and reporting service. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

Morbark LLC, which is backed by Stellex Capital Management LP, acquired Rayco Manufacturing Inc, a Wooster, Ohio-based provider of environment equipment. Financial terms weren't disclosed.


Unilever will buy Tazo Tea Company, a Portland, Ore.-based specialty tea company, from Starbucks in a deal valued at $384 million, according to Reuters. Read more.

Nestle acquired Chameleon Cold Brew, an Austin, Texas-based coffee brewer. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

Mapbox acquired MapData, a Belarus-based neural network-based mapping startup, according to TechCrunch. Financial terms weren't disclosed. Read more.


SendGrid, a Denver, Colo.-based email marketing company, said it plans to raise $112 million in an IPO of 7.7 million shares priced between $13.50 to $15.50. In 2016, the company posted loss of $3.9 million on revenue of $79.9 million. Bain Capital(7%), Bessemer Venture Capital(22.5%), Foundry Group Funds(29.6%), and Highway 12 Ventures(13.9%) back the company. Morgan Stanley and J.P. Morgan are joint bookrunners in the deal. The company plans to list on the NYSE as “SEND.”


Leonard Green and Partners will acquire a controlling stake in Pure Gym, a U.K.-based gym operator, from CCMP Capital Advisors. Financial terms weren't disclosed, but media reports peg the company’s valuation at 600 million pounds ($783.96 million). Read more.

Black Duck Software, a Burlington, Mass.-based company whose products automate the process of securing and managing open source software, is being acquired by Synopsys for approximately $565 million, or $548 million net of cash acquired.

Vetted Pet Care acquired VetPronto, a San Francisco-based veterinary service startup. Financial terms weren't disclosed. VetPronto had raised approximately $1.3 million in funding from investors including YCombinator.


Burke Norton joined Vista Equity Partners as co-head and principal of Vista Perennial Investing and Greg Myers joined as global head of investor relations.

Stan Koss joined Balmoral Advisors as a managing director. He was previously founding partner at TKK Partners.


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