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Term Sheet — Friday, February 16


Good morning, Term Sheet readers.

**As a reminder, Term Sheet won’t be in your inbox this Monday for the President’s Day holiday. I’ll still be around, so feel free to tweet at me over the weekend. Have a great weekend, and see you next week! **

I was surprised to receive so many responses yesterday about Peter Thiel’s move out of San Francisco. I asked whether it was an overreaction or a rational response to a bigger trend around political polarization in tech. The responses were thought-provoking but many lacked solutions to the “balance problem” in the Valley.

The reason Thiel’s move is notable is that his once-celebrated contrarian view is catching flack to the point where he has decided to change where he does business. (Los Angeles is not necessarily any more conservative-leaning than SF, but alas).

Here are Term Sheet readers’ responses to my question (yes — I only received one saying that Thiel’s move is an overreaction):

Andrew: “Not only has tech become so polarizing that it’s driven conservatives like Thiel away, but I think it’s become so politicized that it’s driven many people away who are moderate on the political spectrum, or simply employees who are the type that don’t like to conflate real-world politics with workplace politics (which are already hard enough at a growing tech company!).

While I don’t agree with Thiel’s politics, I do agree with his notion that everyone being on one side politically is a dangerous thing. If we cut to the core of what we’re doing in the tech world every day, it’s highly ineffective for everyone to be on the same side of anything as we evolve and innovate. As Thiel has preached in books like Zero to One … he’s the ultimate contrarian and that’s how big movements, both political and technological, happen in the beginning. Many liberals would agree with that, and should therefore partially appreciate what he’s doing.”

Colin: “I unequivocally feel that those who have political leanings that are sympathetic toward the right (or even ambivalent) are afraid to self identify or engage in discourse for fear of being ostracized or condemned.”

Greg: “Peter Thiel is a clown and overreacting. While the dynamic he describes is true, it is a characteristic of broader technology entrepreneurship, and is not isolated to Silicon Valley. Does he plan to stop investing in technology startups? Does he plan to stop interacting with technology entrepreneurs and others in that ecosystem? If the answer is ‘no,’ he will still be dealing with the same types of individuals, with the same liberal views, having the exact same conversations.

He’ll just be doing it from an HQ 400 miles south. Nothing will change. Also, real bold move moving from SF to LA (read: sarcasm) – LA is still 51% Dems vs. 22% Republicans. Way to take a stand and move from the most liberal city in America to another liberal bastion in the same damn state. What does he expect will change?

Also, what’s he doing to correct the problem? He has the influence and capital to make a real change – instead of doing that, he’s running away from the problem.”

Ben: “I’ve lived in SF for 4 years now and IMO the answer is ‘yes.’ Not only do I think it’s driving away conservatives, I think it’s even isolating to liberals who aren’t *liberal enough.* It’s something I personally find concerning since anyone who expresses opinions that are remotely moderate (rather than left-leaning) is taking risk of social isolation. In smaller circles, it’s safer. But in larger settings, especially the work environment, it’s increasingly rare to hear any moderate or right-leaning views.”

Josh: “Thiel’s perspective is correct re: polarization. His action of ‘vacating the premises’ is unfortunate because it is supportive and exacerbating to the continuation of imbalance. Balance is important.”

Benjamin: “I agree with Thiel. I’m sure he has felt a lot of direct pressure but when it’s acceptable for a VC fund to change their landing page to say ‘Fuck Trump,’ I think we can begin to consider the fact that we’ve become too closed minded to other opinions.”


Thiel’s concerns are echoed by other conservatives in tech who say they feel alienated by the industry’s embrace of liberal values. The opinions are many while the proposed solutions are few. The evolution of ideological diversity is worth following as the partisan divide continues to widen in the tech world, the media world, and many others. Meanwhile, people like me — born abroad, raised in the South, and living in New York — are not moving elsewhere & welcome the opportunity to debate any of the issues listed above.


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• After Rocky Year, CEO Evan Spiegel Is Still Happy Snap Went Public (Jonathan Vanian)


Reflektive, a San Francisco-based real-time performance management cloud company, raised $60 million in Series C funding. TPG Growth led the round, and was joined by investors including Andreessen Horowitz and Lightspeed Venture Partners.

Zoomcar, an India-based operator of an on-demand car rental service, raised $40 million in Series C funding, according to TechCrunch. Mahindra & Mahindra led the round. Read more.

Roostify, a San Francisco-based digital lending platform provider, raised $25 million in Series B funding. Investors include Cota Capital, Point72 Ventures, Santander Innoventures, JPMorgan Chase, Colchis Capital and a subsidiary of USAA.

TactoTek, a Finland-based developer of injection molded structural electronics solutions, raised $23 million in funding. Investors include Ascend Capital Partners, Nanogate, Plastic Omnium, Conor Venture Partners and Faurecia Ventures.

onXmaps, Inc., a Missoula, Montana-based provider of mobile mapping technology for outdoor adventurers, raised $20.3 million in funding. Summit Partners led the round, and was joined by investors including Bessemer Venture Partners, Millennium Technology Value Partners, Next Frontier Capital and Steve Burke., a Palo Alto, Calif.-based talent marketplace, raised $18 million in Series A funding. Investors include Canaan Partners, Spark Capitaland Zeev Ventures.

Adaptive Studios, a Culver City, Calif.-based entertainment studio, raised $16.5 million in Series B funding. Investors include AMC Networks and Atwater Capital.

Lydia, a France-based provider of a mobile payment app, will raised $16.1 million in funding. CNP Assurances will lead the round, and will be joined by investors including XAnge, New Alpha AM, Oddo BHF and Groupe Duval also participating.

HyperGrid, a San Jose, Calif.-based enterprise cloud-as-a-service company, raised $15 million in funding. Investors include Acero Capital and Atlantic Bridge Capital.

LiveLike, a New York-based sports viewing startup, raised $9.6 million in Series B funding. Investors include Greycroft Partners, Lepe Partners, Evolution Media, Courtside Ventures, Dentsu Ventures and the GC VR Gaming Tracker Fund., a Los Angeles-based maker of packaging and branded supplies, raised $9 million in Series A funding. Spark Capital, Forerunner Ventures and Homebrew led the round.

Unsplash, a Canada-based photography community portal, raised $7.25 million in Series A funding, according to TechCrunch. Investors include OST. Read more.

Algorand, a blockchain-based payments platform, raised $4 million in seed funding. Investors include Pillar and Union Square Ventures.

BlockFi, a New York-based provider of loans to crypto-asset owners using their bitcoin and ether holdings as collateral, raised $1.55 million in funding. Investors include ConsenSys Ventures, SoFi and Kenetic Capital.


Celularity, a company that uses stem cells found in the human placenta to regenerate tissue and organs needed to treat cancer and other diseases, raised $250 million in funding. Investors include Tony Robbins, John Sculley, Bill Maris, and Andrew Von Eschenbach.

Transparency Life Sciences, a provider of digital drug development clinical services, raised $5 million in Series A funding. New Ventures III led the round.


Granicus, a portfolio company of Vista Equity Partners, will acquire Vision Technology Solutions LLC, an El Segundo, Calif.-based provider of website for government organizations. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

Apollo Global Management LLC acquired a majority stake in Tidewater Logistics, a Fort Worth, Texas-based provider of specialized logistics and operational services for the frac sand market. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.


Google said it intends to buy Xively, a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based catalog and online retailer of products, from LogMeIn for $50 million.

Bynder acquired Webdam, a San Mateo, Calif.-based provider of digital asset management software for enterprises, from Shutterstock, for $49.1 million, according to TechCrunch. Read more.

Walmart Inc is in talks to buy a stake of more than 40% in Flipkart, an India-based e-commerce firm, according to Reuters. Read more.


Roche agreed to acquire Flatiron Health, a New York-based startup analyzing real-time oncology data, in a $1.9 billion deal, according to TechCrunch. Flatiron Health had raised approximately $313 million in venture funding from investors including GV, First Round Capital, Roche, and SV Angel. Read more.

Grey Mountain Partners acquired CHEP Recycled Pallet Solutions, an Atlanta-based whitewood pallet recycler, from Brambles. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

OpenText Corp acquired Hightail Inc, a Campbell, Calif.-based cloud service for file sharing and creative collaboration. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. Hightail raised more than $90 million in venture funding from investors including Adams Street Partners, Emergence Capital, Sigma Partners and Western Digital Capital.


Uber executive Andrew Chen is joining Andreessen Horowitz as a general partner.

Lariat Partners promoted Jason Urband to partner.


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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.