Good morning, Term Sheet readers.
Kleiner Perkins general partner Eric Feng will leave the firm in the coming weeks. Feng, who was focused on investing in consumer startups, will not be part of Kleiner’s new early-stage fund. (KP18 fund’s target is approximately $600 million, according to several people familiar with the situation.)
Feng, who was previously the chief technology officer at Flipboard and Hulu, has been with the firm since 2015. In a Medium post, Feng said, “The reason is straightforward: my passions and interests have changed for something different (to be shared later).” He is reportedly leaving to “return to an operating role sometime next year,” according to an internal Kleiner memo obtained by Fortune.
His departure means that only two of the original five GPs who were part of the Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers XVII fund are staying on for the latest fund. Ted Schlein and Wen Hsieh will lead the venture fund alongside relative newcomers Mamoon Hamid (ex-Social Capital) and Ilya Fushman (ex-Index Ventures).
Feng’s decision to leave comes three months after the news that Mary Meeker, along with the rest of Kleiner’s growth investment team, would leave to raise a new fund independent of the storied firm. Partners Lynne Chou-O’Keefe and Beth Seidenberg also left earlier this year.
Expect to see more personnel changes in the coming weeks as Kleiner embarks on its latest attempt at regaining the momentum and relevance it once had.
IPO SHOWDOWN: When it was reported that Uber had received proposals from Wall Street banks to lead its IPO in October, Lyft’s own news about hiring J.P. Morgan Chase came out hours later. And the showdown took a new turn late last week. Uber confidentially filed its S-1 paperwork with the SEC on Friday — just a day after Lyft announced it had filed its confidential IPO paperwork as well.
The ride-hailing rivalry is beginning to look like a game of chess. When one company makes a move, the other is ready to make its own, never letting its rival get too far ahead. Sure, it’s exciting. Uber could be worth as much as $120 billion in an IPO, which would make it the biggest offering since Alibaba began trading on the NYSE in 2014, according to the NYT.
But it’s important to keep in mind that neither company has turned a profit — indeed, both have been losing money for years. Uber’s losses ballooned to $1.07 billion in the third quarter and Lyft lost a whopping $254 million.
In Fortune’s 2019 Crystal Ball edition, I predicted two divergent outcomes: Investors will greet Uber’s IPO with a shrug owing to its high price and the company’s penchant for controversy. Meanwhile, Lyft will be viewed as an attractive proposition because of its steady gain of market share from its much-larger rival as well as its potential for rapid growth across the country from a smaller base.
We’ll see if that prediction ends up being accurate, but one thing is for sure — Uber and Lyft will kick off a wave of tech IPOs for companies that had been putting off going public thanks to easy access to private capital. Slack, Airbnb, Instacart, and Palantir are also looking to make their public debuts next year, with employees and investors seeking a long-awaited liquidity event.
This post has been updated with the correct fund target amount.
• Viva Republica, a South Korea-based company behind payment app Toss, raised $80 million in funding at a $1.2 billion valuation. Kleiner Perkins and Ribbit Capital co-led the round, and was joined by investors including Altos Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, Goodwater Capital, KTB Network, Novel, PayPal and Qualcomm Ventures.
• Good Money, a Los Angeles-based digital banking platform, raised $30 million in Series A funding. Galaxy Digital (through its Galaxy EOS VC fund) led the round, and was joined by investors including Breyer Capital, Blocktower Capital, Boost VC, Ken Howery, BlockChange Ventures, Cross Culture Capital, Troy Carter, Mitch Kapor, Peter Diamandis, Blake Mycoskie and Justin Rosenstein.
• Firefly, a San Francisco-based provider of a digital advertising platform for rideshare drivers, raised $21.5 million in seed funding. NFX led the round, and was joined by investors including Pelion Venture Partners, Decent Capital (which is funded by Tencent founders), Jeffrey Housenbold, Cross Culture Ventures, Muse Capital, and StartX.
• Avochato, a San Francisco-based business communications software firm, raised $5 million in Series A funding. Amity Ventures led the round, and was joined by investors including XSeed Capital.
• Flipdish, an Ireland-based developer of branded ordering apps and websites for quick service delivery and takeout restaurants, raised 4.8 million euros ($5.5 million) in Series A funding. Global Founders Capital led the round, and was joined by investors including Elkstone.
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Travelport Worldwide Limited (NYSE: TVPT) agreed to be acquired by affiliates of Siris Capital Group and Evergreen Coast Capital Corp. in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $4.4 billion.
• The Carlyle Group and Quad Partners agreed to invest Accelerate Learning, a Houston-based provider of PreK-12 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education products and services. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Hero Digital, a portfolio company of CI Capital, acquired Clock Four Inc, a San Francisco-based digital marketing agency. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Think3 acquired School Loop Inc, a San Francisco-based provider of learning management and content management solutions. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• SoftBank’s mobile business plans to raise $23.5 billion(2.65 trillion yen) in an IPO of 1.6 billion shares priced at $13(1,500 yen) apiece. It’s likely the second largest IPO so far after Alibaba. Read more.
FIRMS + FUNDS
• Alim Giga joined American Express Ventures as a senior manager. Previously, he was with GE Ventures.