DONE IN THE DARK
Good morning, Term Sheet readers.
Let’s start by addressing the big news today: Shervin Pishevar, the co-founder and managing director of Sherpa Capital and an early backer of Uber, has been accused of sexual misconduct by five women, according to a new report in Bloomberg. The story alleges that the venture capitalist used his power to make unwanted sexual advances toward colleagues. At the center of one of the allegations is Austin Geidt, Uber’s head of global expansion. From the story:
Over the years, these people say, Pishevar seemed to take a liking to Geidt, following her around at company events, and at times placing his hand on her leg or lower back. A person with firsthand knowledge of the holiday party incident and these other encounters confirmed the account of Pishevar’s behavior to Bloomberg. Geidt, who’s now head of operations for Uber’s autonomous driving unit, declined to comment for this story.
Five other women who met Pishevar in a professional context told Bloomberg they were sexually assaulted or harassed by him. In each case, the women accused Pishevar of exploiting a professional connection, and using the prospect of a job, mentorship or investment to make an unwanted sexual advance.
It seems several news outlets were also working on a story about Pishevar, and people in the Twitter-sphere don’t seem to be all that surprised by the allegations. Reminiscent of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, I wonder just how many of these “open secrets” are spanning across industries. It seems this has been the “whisper network” at work — an informal channel that women use to warn each other about men to stay away from. As 8VC’s Kimmy Scotti said in my recent interview with her, “For a long time, women survived on gossip, frankly. We warned each other in a hushed tone — ‘don’t work with that guy’ or ‘work with this guy because he’s safe.’”
The era of word-of-mouth networks is coming to an end as more and more women take to social media or the press to share stories of disturbing misconduct by those in positions of power. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes (which happens to come from Lamar Odom’s grandmother): “What’s done in the dark will come out in the light.”
Not sure what’s going on this week, but there were quite a few notable departures. Here’s a rundown:
• Matt Salzberg is out as CEO of embattled meal-kit maker Blue Apron. Only five months after Blue Apron’s disappointing IPO, the board is replacing Salzberg with CFO Brad Dickerson as chief executive of the company. Blue Apron’s stock price has plummeted, trading nearly 70% below its offer price. Dickerson has been with the company since February of 2016 after 11 years at Under Armour. Read more at Fortune.
• Tim Kendall, the president of Pinterest and one of its key business executives, is stepping down from the company to launch his own startup in the healthcare space, according to Recode. This is a significant loss because Kendall has been with Pinterest more than five years and oversaw the company’s entire business operation. Former Google exec Jon Alferness is expected to take over Kendall’s responsibilities
• Jambu Palaniappan, Uber’s head of UberEats for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), is leaving the company to join a London-based venture capital firm. Palaniappan was instrumental to Uber’s international expansion efforts, leading the UberEats expansion in the U.K. and helping build the ride-sharing business in 60 countries. Read more at Fortune.
• John Vrionis is leaving Lightspeed Ventures to launch a seed stage fund. The fund’s reported target $150 million, according to Axios. Vrionis has been a partner with Lightspeed for 11 years and has invested in companies including AppDynamics, Datastax, and Docker. He will stay on as a venture partner at Lightspeed.
FORTUNE GLOBAL FORUM: I’ll be covering Brainstorm Tech International and Fortune Global Forum in Guangzhou, China next week. (If you’re attending, say hi!) This year’s conference will explore trends in global business, innovative breakthroughs, and economic development. Speakers include Canada PM Justin Trudeau, former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Hank Paulson, KKR co-founder Henry Kravis, Alibaba founder and executive chairman Jack Ma and many more. See the full agenda here.
Main stage sessions will be streamed live on Fortune.com, and summaries will appear in Term Sheet. I’ll also be live-tweeting much of the conference, so follow me on Twitter here. Feel free to also follow the hashtag #FortuneGlobal.
**IMPORTANT HOUSEKEEPING** While I’m gone, my talented colleague Lucinda Shen will be compiling the deals, so if you have announcements for the deals section next week, send them her way at firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE LATEST FROM FORTUNE…
• This Intel Alum Is Making a Very Surprise Move Over to Google Cloud (by Jonathan Vanian)
• Why Barnes & Noble Wants Smaller Stores (by Phil Wahba)
• PG&E and CEO Geisha Williams Want to Lead the Charge in Clean Energy (by Susie Gharib)
• What’s Next for ESPN After Its Latest Round of Layoffs? (By Tom Huddleston Jr.)
Carlyle approaches $18.5 billion cap for flagship buyout pool. How Aaptiv reached $20 million in revenue in two years. Lyft gains from Uber’s woes, sees revenue triple. Billabong gets hit by Boardriders takeover bid. Lufthansa offers to sacrifice routes in a bid to buy Air Berlin. Startup seeks to take down barriers for art investment.
• Farmers Business Network, a San Carlos, Calif.-based farmer-to-farmer network raised $110 million in Series D funding. T. Rowe Price Associates Inc and Temasek led the round, and were joined by investors including Acre Venture Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, GV and DBL Partners.
• Affinio Inc, a Halifax, Nova Scotia-based interest analytics platform using machine learning, raised $9 million in Series B funding. Investors include Round13 Capital, Whitecap Venture Partners and Build Ventures.
• BlazingDB, an Austin-based data warehouse, raised $2.9 million in seed funding. Investors include NVIDIA GPU Ventures and Samsung NEXT.
• Aurora Labs, an Israel-based provider of software maintenance for connected vehicles, raised $2.7 million in seed funding. Investors include Maniv Mobility, MizMaa Ventures, Expansion Venture Capital and Trucks Venture Capital.
• BrightFlag, an Ireland-based AI platform for managing legal spending in large corporates raised $1.5 million in seed funding. Investors include Frontline Ventures and Tribal VC.
• VisitPay, a Boise, Idaho-based platform for patient financial health, has secured an undisclosed amount of funding. The investor was Flare Capital Partners.
• TetraVue, a Vista, Calif.-based 3D technology provider, raised funding of an undisclosed amount. Investors include KLA Tencor, Lam Research, Tsing Capital, Robert Bosch Venture Capital GmbH, Samsung Catalyst Fund and Nautilus Ventures.
HEALTH AND LIFE SCIENCES DEALS
• ResTORbio Inc, a Boston-based clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company treating aging-related diseases, raised $40 million in Series B funding. OrbiMed led the round, joined by investors included Fidelity Management & Research Company, Rock Springs Capital, Quan Capital and Nest Bio.
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Eurazeo acquired a majority stake in NEST Fragrances, a New York-based luxury fragrances maker, for about $70 million.
• Regent acquired SUNSET, an Oakland, Calif.-based magazine. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• ArcLight Capital Partners acquired gas production and midstream assets of Energy Corporation of America, a Charleston, W.V.-based gas exploration company. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Yo! Sushi, a portfolio company of Mayfair Equity Partners, acquired Bento Sushi, a Markham, Ontario-based sushi maker. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• EagleTree Capital acquired a majority stake in WaterFleet, a San Antonio, Texas-based provider of wastewater treatment. Stars Investment Management also invested in WaterFleet. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Webster Capital acquired Bristol Hospice, a Salt Lake City-based palliative care services provider. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• DPA Microphones, a portfolio company of The Riverside Company, acquired Sound Network, a U.K.-based professional audio distributor. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Aurelius acquired Abelan, a Spain-based provider of core board packaging solutions. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Southfield Capital acquired American Refrigeration Company, an Andover, Mass.-based industrial refrigeration services company. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Togetherwork, a portfolio company of Aquiline Capital Partners, acquired Capturepoint, a Ridgewood, N.J.-based recreation management software maker. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• A group of investors led by Bernhard Capital Partners has acquired three infrastructure management companies: Moreland Altobelli Associates, PAVETEX Engineering and Engineering Testing Services to form Atlas Technical Consultants. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Mill Point Capital invested in KKSP Precision Machining, a Glendale Heights, Ill.-based manufacturers of machined metal components produced on automatic screw machines. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Hamilton Robinson Capital Partners with management and co-investors recapitalized GrayMatter, a Pittsburgh, Penn.-based, software maker for the industrial space. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• ConvergeOne, an IT service provider backed by Clearlake, agreed to merge with SPAC Forum Merger Corp to become a Nasdaq-listed public company. Clearlake will remain the largest shareholder post-transaction.
• Regalwood Global Energy, a SPAC based out of Washington D.C., said it priced its IPO at $10 a unit with 30 million units, raising $300 million. The company, which plans to acquire energy companies, was formed by Carlyle Investment Management. Citigroup and J.P. Morgan are underwriters in the deal. The company plans to list on the NYSE as “RWGE.U.”
• Greensphere Capital, a London-based sustainability investor, plans to raise $500 million in an IPO on the London Stock Exchange. Read more.
• GFL Environmental, a Canadian waste management firm, is reportedly planning an IPO raising up to C$1 billion($778 million) in Canada, Reuters reports. Macquarie backs the company. Read more.
• Innovid agreed to acquire Taykey, a New York City and Israel-based data intelligence company from investors including Innovation Endeavors, MSR Capital, SoftBank Capital, Sequoia Capital, Marker LLC and Tenaya Capital. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Highlander Partners agreed to acquire Biamp Systems, a Beaverton, Ore.-based audio system maker from Lomar Corporation. Lomar will continue as a minority partner. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Nippon Life Insurance agreed to buy a 24.75% stake in TCW Group from Carlyle Group. Carlyle maintains significant interest. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
FIRMS + FUNDS
• Fortino Capital Partners, a Zaventem, Belgium-based investment firm, raised 125 million euros ($149 million) for its second growth fund. The fund plans to raise 200 million euros ($238 million).
• Lateral Investment Management appointed Anthony Lubiano as chief financial officer as well as chief compliance officer. Previously, he was at KKR.
• SmartInvest Ventures appointed Martin Hunt as a general partner. Previously, Hunt was the CEO of an unidentified cable installation assembly company.
• John M. Jureller joined Accordion as a managing director.
• KKR names 23 new members and 44 new managing directors. Read more.