Tech Weekly Newsletter: June 19, 2016

Last week, today

  • 6/9 – Snapchat is rumored to be making moves into hardware with a secret Google Glass-style competitor. The Company has hired two hardware specialists from GoPro and the technical recruiter from Google Glass (Business Insider)
  • 6/10 – Axel Springer has agreed to buy market research firm eMarketer for $250M (AdAge)
  • 6/12 – Missed this one last week, but the Information reported the price of Vista Equity’s acquisition of Ping Identity at $600M (TechCrunch)
  • 6/12 – Blue Coat has abandoned plans for an IPO and will sell itself to Symantec for $4.65B. Blue Coat CEO Greg Clark will stay on as CEO of the combined company, after embattled Symantec CEO Mike Brown stepped down in April. From Dan Primack, “a source close to the transaction says that Blue Coat owner Bain Capital fully intended to take the company public—as evidenced by the dozen investment banks listed on its prospectus—but that Symantec had reached out ‘a couple of months ago,’ with talks accelerating in recent weeks” (Fortune). Other details:
    • Bain (which bought Blue Coat last year) will not fully be exiting and has instead agreeing to invest $750M in convertible notes into the combined company (at a conversion price of around $20.41 per share)
    • Existing Symantec shareholder Silver Lake has agreed to invest $500M in 2% convertible notes due in 2021
    • Blue Coat has had a circuitous route back to the public markets before being gobbled up.  It was taken private in December 2011 by Thoma Bravo for $1.3B (2.2x LTM revenue, 14.6x LTM EBITDA), then acquired by Bain Capital in March 2015 for $2.4B (3.7x LTM revenue, 12.0x LTM EBITDA) and now will be purchased for 7.8x LTM revenue (this data from 451)
  • 6/12 – Commerce Ventures held a first close of its second fund at $25.6M. The final fund is expected to be $40M (Finsmes)
  • 6/13 – So the big news this week was that Microsoft has agreed to acquire LinkedIn for $26.2B (8.2x LTM revenue and 7.0x 2016E revenue). If you’re interested in analysis:
    • Click here for the presentation the two companies did together
    • Click here for Satya Nadella’s note to his employees and here for Jeff Weiner’s
    • Click here for Ben Thompson from the Stratechery’s analysis of the deal (the best I’ve read)
    • Click here for TechCrunch’s analysis
    • Click here for Re/Code’s analysis
    • Also here is a good analysis about the unspoken reason behind the sale… stock-based comp
    • But more importantly, I’m interested in this incredibly awkward picture that has a number of things that make me think it’s photo-shopped or these are actually Madame Tussauds wax dolls of Satya Nadella, Reid Hoffman and Jeff Weiner
  • Then there was the inevitable aftermath of it:
    • Moody’s is reviewing Microsoft’s Aaa rating after the Company used mostly debt to finance the acquisition (Moody’s)
    • Unsurprisingly, Salesforce was a rival bidder, advised by Goldman Sachs according to Marc Benioff himself (Re/Code)
    • Reid Hoffman is likely taking a Microsoft board seat (Re/Code)
    • And Twitter’s stock jumped 3.8% on potential M&A (Bloomberg
  • 6/13 – This week in Theranos, Walgreens has officially ended its three year old partnership with Theranos as regulators near a decision on whether to impose sanctions on the Company (WSJ)
  • 6/13 – Verizon, AT&T and Quicken Loans founder (and Cavs owner) Dan Gilbert + Warren Buffett are set to go through to the third and final round of bidding for Yahoo. That means that Vista Equity, Thoma Bravo and TPG are out (Reuters)
  • 6/13 – Twilio sets terms for its upcoming IPO, which would value the Company at $1.07B, selling 10M shares between $12 and $14 per share. That’s slightly up from the last private market valuation of $1.03B (Fortune)
  • 6/13 – Apple’s WWDC was this week. News and notes included:
    • Apple has unbundled native apps including Maps, Podcasts, Compass, Tips, Calculator, Watch, Voice Memos, Contacts, Stocks, Weather, iCloud Drive, Calendar, Mail, Music, Reminders, Videos, FaceTime, and Notes.  In summary, you can finally get rid of the Compass app (TechCrunch)
    • It also opened up Maps, Siri and iMessage to developers.. something that should have been done years ago (Re/Code)
    • Sling TV is bringing its paid TV service to Apple TV (Re/Code)
    • Apple Pay will now be available on mobile and desktop websites (Re/Code)
    • Releasing of “Emojify” (which will give auto-correction suggestions for emojis when typing), the ability to resize font in texts, “invisible ink,” which will allow you to send messages that are only visible when swiping over them and a “digital touch” where you can write message with your finger and send in text (Business Insider)
  • 6/13 – FanDuel and DraftKings are talking merger at the urging of investors in both companies. The companies have both been valued at over $1B, but that price has likely fallen as regulatory struggles have come up. People threw water on this after the fact saying it was not likely (Bloomberg)
  • 6/13 – Storehouse, which had raised $8.5M from SV Angel, True Ventures and Sherpa Capital will shut down (Business Insider)
  • 6/14 – Zenefits is laying off another 106 people (9% of staff) and offering existing employees a buyout as they continue the transition to a new world order under CEO David Sacks (TechCrunch)
  • 6/14 – Twitter, which had thought about buying SoundCloud two years ago, has apparently invested $70M of a $100M round in the Company at a valuation around $700M (Re/Code)
  • 6/14 – Revolution Growth (run by former AOL executives Steve Case and Ted Leonsis) has closed a new $525M fund (TechCrunch)
  • 6/14 – One Kings Lane, which was once valued at north of $900M, was sold to Bed Bath & Beyond for an immaterial amount (Business Insider)
  • 6/14 – Drew Houston, CEO of Dropbox, revealed that the Company is cash-flow positive, but not yet profitable (Bloomberg)
  • 6/14 – Uber is looking to raise to $2B through loans (Re/Code)
  • 6/15 – FirstMark Capital has raised $480M for two funds – one $275M fund (FirstMark IV, which is their early stage fund) and $205M fund (their second later stage follow-on fund) (TechCrunch)
  • 6/14 – Last week, I linked in the long reads an article that investigated whether or not Trump’s hair was actually a $60K weave by Gawker (here). The reporting by Gawker was praised by the NYT, WSJ, and three Pulitzer Prize winners. Well Peter Thiel’s lawyer isn’t happy about it and sent a letter demanding “the immediate removal of the story from Gawker, a public apology” and that Gawker reveal their sources.  Gawker responded with a middle finger, which is likely how they’ll be remembered more generally (Gawker)
  • 6/14 – Draper Esprit, a European venture capital firm, is looking to go public, something that was kind of common in the bubble, but for a lot of reasons hasn’t been popular in a while (TechCrunch)
  • 6/14 – Xerox has hired former iGate CEO Ashok Vemuri to lead the business services unit after it splits in two later this year (WSJ)
  • 6/14 – Move Loot, an online secondhand furniture marketplace that offered full-service capabilities (pick-up, delivery, listing, storage etc.) has apparently been acquired, but it’s unclear by who.  The Company has raised $22M from firms like Index, First Round, Sherpa Capital among others (TechCrunch)
  • 6/14 – Google has launched Springboard, an AI-powered assistant for the enterprise, which is working as a single intelligent interface for things like Google Drive, Gmail, Calendar and Google Docs (TechCrunch)
  • 6/15 – FireEye is working with Morgan Stanley to field buyout bids, but the sale process is no longer active according to Bloomberg. One of the potential buyers was Symantec (prior to Blue Coat), but no one got above the $30 per share that the Company desired (currently trading at $15.98 after hitting a high of $95.63 in March 2014) (Bloomberg)
  • 6/15 – Amazon is hoping to sell 10M units of Echo next year, which would make it a $1B hardware business (The Information)
  • 6/15 – Samsung is making a move into the cloud, buying Joyent, a company that pivoted a few times but ultimately provided a product that competed with AWS, Azure and Google Cloud after raising $125M (Business Insider)
  • 6/15 – Birchbox has begun to cut back, recently laying off 50 of 300 employees, putting the pause on expanding to physical stores and consolidating its current office space in New York (WSJ)
  • 6/15 – Business Insider has the inside story with some good reporting on why the MPLS group at Cisco quit in the fairly public fashion that it did (Business Insider)
  • 6/15 – China’s version of Uber, Didi Chuxing, just raised $7B in equity and debt, because why not? (Re/Code)
  • 6/16 – AppDynamics* reportedly hired Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley as lead underwriters for an IPO later this year (Reuters)
  • 6/16 – Nick Bilton of Vanity Fair continues to be the Twitter’s unofficial ombudsman, reporting that Larry Page met with Jack Dorsey to try and acquire Twitter a few years back. The story features Larry Page sitting in a dark conference room, whispering an acquisition pitch in Jack Dorsey’s ear, among other weird things (Business Insider)
  • 6/16 – Snapchat is reportedly launching Real Life, an online magazine about technology (Venture Beat)
  • 6/16 – Airbnb raised $1B in debt financing from JPMorgan, Citigroup, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley (Bloomberg)
  • 6/16 – In the Financial Times (which operates in some pay wall world where you can’t even access a landing page of their articles without a subscription so I won’t link to it), Mike Moritz of Sequoia wrote a piece slamming Donald Trump (Business Insider)
  • 6/16 – Tencent is nearing a deal for Clash of Clans maker, Supercell, which would value the Finland-based company at $9B+ (WSJ)
  • 6/16 – In a long blog post, Buffer CEO Joel Gascoigne announced that they are laying off 11% of their staff (10 people) (Venture Beat)
  • 6/16 – In a small tuck-in acquisition, Microsoft has acquired a start-up called Wand Labs that helps build messaging and inter-connectivity technology for apps (Fortune)
  • 6/17 – IEX Group, which was profiled in “Flash Boys” by Michael Lewis, won regulatory approval with the SEC to launch a new stock exchange to compete against ICE, Nasdaq and Bats (WSJ)

Earnings

  • 6/17 – Oracle revenue fell 1%, but topped earnings estimates with better-than-expected cloud results, which grew 49% to $859M. It’s SaaS and PaaS offerings actually grew 66% y/y  and the stock traded up 2% on the news (Forbes)

Financings

  • 6/13 – Aunt Bertha, a six-year-old, Austin, Tex.-based startup that enables individuals to find and apply for government and charitable social service programs, has raised $5 million in funding led by Techstars Ventures
  • 6/13 – Meta, a four-year-old, Redwood City, Ca.-based company that makes special glasses that are part-AR viewer and part-VR simulator, has raised $50 million in Series B funding, including from Horizons Ventures, Lenovo, Tencent Holdings, Banyan Capital, Comcast Ventures, and GQY
  • 6/14 – AVA, a months-old, Boston-based personalized, data-driven nutritional coaching app that’s currently in private beta, has raised $3 million in seed funding led by DCM Ventures, with participation from Khosla Ventures and Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors
  • 6/14 – Chronext, a three-year-old, Switzerland-based online luxury watch marketplace, has raised €11 million ($12.3 million) in Series C funding led by Partech Ventures
  • 6/14 – Jobandtalent, a seven-year-old, Madrid, Spain-based job matching platform, has raised $42 million in Series B funding led by Atomico
  • 6/14 – League, a two-year-old, Toronto-based health insurance startup, has raised $25 million in Series A funding led by OMERS Ventures
  • 6/14 – PromisePay, a three-year-old, Melbourne, Australia-based fintech startup that specializes in payments for online marketplaces, has raised $10 million in funding led by Australia’s Carsales
  • 6/14 – Roadie, a 1.5-year-old, Atlanta, Ga.-based “on-the-way” delivery network (its app rewards drivers for delivering items on trips they are already taking), has raised $15 million in Series B funding led by UPS Strategic Enterprise Fund
  • 6/14 – Talkspace, a four-year-old, New York-based startup that offers therapy via an app, has raised $15 million in Series B funding led by Norwest Venture Partners
  • 6/14 – Yotpo, a five-year-old, Tel Aviv, Israel-based platform that lets companies solicit content from their users and customers in the form of reviews, Q&As, photos, and videos for use across different marketing channels, has raised $22 million in Series C funding. Bessemer Venture Partners led the round
  • 6/15 – B2X, a nine-year-old, Munich, Germany-based startup behind a customer care platform for smartphones and IoT device makers, has raised €6 million ($6.7 million) from Harbert European Growth Capital
  • 6/15 – Loggly, a seven-year-old, San Francisco-based cloud-based log management company, has raised $11.5 million in new funding led by True Ventures
  • 6/15 – Lumus, a 16-year-old, Rehovot, Israel-based company that makes transparent near-to-eye displays for augmented reality and mixed reality, has raised $15 million in Series B funding from the investment firm Shanda Group and from Crystal-Optech, a Chinese optical imaging company
  • 6/15 – Procured Health, a four-year-old, Chicago-based health IT business started with the goal of helping hospitals to reduce medical device purchasing costs, has raised $10 million in Series B funding from Heritage Group
  • 6/15 – Qloo, a four-year-old, New York-based cultural recommendation engine, has raised $4.5 million in Series A funding from actor Leonardo DiCaprio
  • 6/15 – Saavn, a nine-year-old, New York-based digital music service that TechCrunch has likened to India’s Spotify, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Guy Oseary, a high-profile entertainment industry executive who manages U2, Madonna, Alicia Keys, Britney Spears and other top music acts
  • 6/15 – Sapho, a two-year-old, San Bruno, Ca.-based startup that makes “micro apps”  that send notifications to employees and execs whenever data is updated or projects are completed, has raised $9.5 million in Series A funding led by Alsop Louie Partners
  • 6/15 – SoundCloud, the nine-year-old, Berlin-based music service, is raising a $100 million round, according to Recode, and Twitter has invested around $70 million in the company as part of that financing
  • 6/15 – Uber, the seven-year-old, San Francisco-based ride-share juggernaut, is turning to the leveraged-loan market for the first time to raise as much as $2 billion, reports the WSJ. The outlet says Uber has hired Morgan Stanley, Barclays, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs to get a deal done
  • 6/16 – Airbnb, the nearly eight-year-old, San Francisco-based online housing marketplace, has secure $1 billion debt facility from some of the largest U.S. banks, including JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, and Morgan Stanley.
  • 6/16 – Andela, a two-year-old, New York-based startup that’s helping to train more engineers in Africa to get tech jobs, has raised $24 million in Series B funding led by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the social issues-minded fund of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan
  • 6/16 – Collokia, a two-year-old, San Francisco-based machine learning-based collaboration platform, has raised $1.3 million in seed funding co-led software company Globant and Fundo Pitanga
  • 6/16 – CureJoy, a 2.5-year-old, San Francisco- and Bangalore-based online community that connects users with alternative medicine experts, has raised $4.4 million in Series A funding led by its earlier backer Accel Partners India
  • 6/16 – Eyeview, an 8.5-year-old, New York-based video marketing technology company, has raised $21.5 million led by Qumra Capital
  • 6/16 – Elementum, a four-year-old, Mountain View, Ca.-based cloud supply chain platform, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Fontinalis Partners
  • 6/16 – Overbond, a year-old, Toronto-based fintech platform for digital bond insurance, has raised $7.5 million in seed funding from Morrison Financial Services
  • 6/16 – Performance Horizon, a six-year-old, U.K.-based company whose software aims to help advertisers manage their relationships with marketing partners, has raised $15.4 million in Series C funding from Greycroft Partners, Mithril and DN Capital
  • 6/16 – Vow To Be Chic, a three-year-old, Santa Monica, Ca.-based bridesmaid dress rental company, has raised $5 million in Series A funding from Women’s Venture Capital Fund
  • 6/17 – Beamery, a two-year-old, London-based company that makes employee recruitment software and was previously known as Seed.Jobs, has raised $2 million in seed funding from Edenred Capital Partners and Grupa Pracuj
  • 6/17 – ClearTax, a five-year-old, New Delhi, India-based online tax filing platform, has raised $12 million in Series A funding, including from Founders Fund and Sequoia Capital
  • 6/17 – Common, a year-old, Brooklyn-based startup that’s creating group living developments with the help of real estate developers, has raised $16 million in Series B funding led by 8VC
  • 6/17 – Mark One, a 2.5-year-old San Francisco-based company that was cofounded by renowned designer Yves Behar and which right now makes a smart cup that tracks consumption, has raised $4 million in new funding from earlier backers, including Intel Capital
  • 6/17 – Tigera, a months-old San Francisco-based startup that’s trying to secure cloud-native applications, has raised $13 million in Series A funding led by New Enterprise Associates
  • 6/17 – Within (Formerly known as Vrse), the 1.5-year-old, L.A.-based VR firm launched by video and commercial director Chris Milk and Google veteran Aaron Koblin, has raised $12.56 million in funding from syndicate that includes WME and Fox

Random, long reads
The Forrest Gump of the Internet (The Atlantic) – A profile of Ev Williams, the billionaire who brought us the term “blogger,” helped found Twitter and now is running Medium, which is reaching a point of viral growth now for more long form blogs. Since the internet became a mainstream thing 20 years ago, Ev Williams has been there and has been bringing different forms of innovation to it, although he remains mostly unrecognizable. The Atlantic goes into what motivates him and his desire to not let Facebook rule the internet world.
 
Inside the underground economy propping up New York City’s food carts (Crain’s New York) – Food trucks in New York City are serious business with licenses capped and illegally rented to people at various prices. Crain’s does a deep dive into what is required to get a license to operate a good truck, the hierarchy of the industry and what the future of food trucks looks like going forward.
 
Mr. Miss Universe: Meet Jeff Lee, Professional Beautiful-Woman Coach (GQ) – The unusual story of Jeff Lee, who graduated from Stanford at 20, followed by Yale Law School before recently enrolling in Stanford GSB, but has managed a job on the side as a Miss Universe coach. Kind of hard to believe there are people that qualified and smart doing something like that, but GQ has the profile on it. It features anecdotes about him flying to Malaysia to help coach their team of girls in preparation for Miss Universe.
 

*Battery portfolio company. For a list of all Battery portfolio companies, please click here.