Tech Weekly Newsletter: June 26, 2016

Last week, today

  • 6/14 – FICO acquired QuadMetrics, a start-up to form the basis of the Company’s “enterprise security scores” that will compete against start-ups like BitSight and SecurityScorecard (WSJ)
  • 6/16 – What does life look like when Uber and Lyft leave your city? Austin is unfortunately finding out and it sounds miserable (Vocativ)
  • 6/18 – Apple won’t support the GOP convention due to comments made by Donald Trump (Re/Code)
  • 6/18 – Peloton, the New York City-based in-home, internet-connected fitness bike company, is expecting to do $150M in revenue in 2016 (up from what was rumored to be $50M in 2015, a five-fold increase from 2014) and is profitable (Fortune)
  • 6/18 – In a big win for FanDuel and DraftKings, the state of New York has voted to legalize daily fantasy sports (WSJ)
  • 6/19 – Marketo filed the proxy on their sale process.  In April of 2016, Marketo and their bankers solicited four financial sponsors and six strategic parties in an effort to gauge interest in acquiring the business. Vista and one other party, a financial sponsor, were the only two to submit bids, though others did indicate initial interest. The first material bid came from the other interested party, who offered to buy the company at $34 per share, and then a day later, Vista offered to buy at $34.50. When asked to submit final bids, Vista increased theirs to $35.25 per share, and the other, $35.05 and Vista won the deal (Marketo)
  • 6/19 – SciQuest also filed the proxy on their acquisition by Accel-KKR. The process actually began in September 2014 with ten financial sponsors and three strategics. Accel-KKR and one other party submitted bids in the $21 per share range, but both companies withdrew after lower forecasted revenues. The process re-started in November 2015 after a bid at $16 per share from another party before Accel-KKR got to $17.75 per share and the deal done (SciQuest)
  • 6/19 – Business Insider has a deep profile on how Google went about convincing Diane Greene to join the Company and lead its cloud operations and what the plan is from here (Business Insider)
  • 6/20 – Francisco Partners and the private equity arm of Elliot Management have acquired Dell’s software assets for more than $2B. This includes Quest Software (acquired in July 2012 for $2.6B) and SonicWall (acquired in May 2012 for $1.3B), while Dell plans to retain Boomi (Reuters)
  • 6/20 – Boston-based Flybridge Partners has added WeWork co-founder Jesse Middleton as the firm’s fourth General Partner and first to be based in New York (TechCrunch)
  • 6/20 – Accenture has acquired Maglan, an Israeli-based cyber forensics and simulation services business, in an attempt to boost its security expertise (Fortune)
  • 6/20 – Twitter pays (up to) $150M for Magic Pony Technology, which uses neural networks to improve images (TechCrunch)
  • 6/20 – OpenText is buying is buying HP’s customer management business for $315M. The business is expected to do $110-125M in revenue. This comes after OpenText bought the content management software business from HP for $170M (Fortune)
  • 6/20 – Peter Thiel was reelected to Facebook’s board to cheers from other shareholders (Buzzfeed)
  • 6/21 – Zenefits is losing an additional 10% of its staff (roughly 129 people) after CEO David Sacks gave an offer to employees to quit with severance and benefits following two rounds of layoffs (Buzzfeed)
  • 6/21 – Twitter is upping the length of time that a video can be played on its service, from 30 seconds to 140 seconds (Re/Code)
  • 6/21 – Samsung said that it will invest $1.2B in the US over the next four years in IoT technologies (Fortune)
  • 6/21 – Shasta Ventures is nearing a $300M final close on its fifth fund (Fortune)
  • 6/21 – SoftBank’s Nikesh Arora, who was a former Google executive, is stepping down from his post as president and successor to the conglomerate. He had recently come under pressure from investors for poor performance (WSJ)
  • 6/21 – Instagram is now at 500M users (doubled in the last two years) with 300M daily (TechCrunch)
  • 6/21 – Apple is moving away from the model of releasing a new major phone design every 2 years. The biggest change this fall will likely be the removal of the headphone jack (WSJ), which has some people pretty upset and some people fawning
  • 6/21 – Elon Musk’s one company (Tesla) has offered to buy one of his other companies (Solar City) in a deal that would seem call into question fiduciary responsibilities across the board, but hey, it turns out there isn’t much real impartial oversight. Wall Street didn’t react kindly on the Tesla side with the stock trading down 13% after-hours (Business Insider) and there were a bunch of other criticisms (NYT) and clams that the transaction is a go for broke move (The Information)
  • 6/21 – An SEC filing seems to suggest that DFJ Growth is raising a $500M growth fund after raising a $470M one in May 2014 (TechCrunch)
  • 6/21 – Verizon has acquired Telogis, a company that has raised $126M all/mostly from Kleiner Perkins, to go deeper into the connected vehicle market. In 2013, the Company that they planned to do $100M in revenue and said it would be profitable (TechCrunch)
  • 6/21 – Tencent confirms deal to buy a majority stake in Supercell for $8.6B (TechCrunch)
  • 6/21 – Docker has launched a marketplace for containerized applications (TechCrunch)
  • 6/22 – BuzzFeed does a nice deep dive into what Uber drivers actually make in three markets (Detroit, Denver and Houston), which nets out much lower than what the Company markets (BuzzFeed)
  • 6/22 – After a long hiatus, AmazonFresh is back launching services in Boston (after launching London earlier this month) (TechCrunch)
  • 6/22 – Palantir is buying $225M of stock from its ex-employees under the conditions that employees 1. Renew non-disclosure agreements 2. Agree not to poach Palantir companies for 12 months 3. Promise not to sue the company or executives 4. Agree not to talk to the press and forward emails from the press within three days to the company (Business Insider). In other Palantir news, they sent a note to the US Army saying it intends to sue over the way the Army solicits bids for data intelligence technology. At stake is a $206M contract (Bloomberg)
  • 6/22 – Greylock has hired Scott Aronson, formerly SVP of WW Field Operations at Pivotal and before that SVP of Global Channels and Alliances at VMware, as an EIR (Greylock)
  • 6/22 – Twitter is nearing a deal to purchase more live event streaming rights as the ad buying for the NFL deal is better than expected (Bloomberg)
  • 6/22 – Accel has hired Amit Kumar, formerly an engineering manager at Twitter after his company Cardspring was acquired by Twitter, and Nate Niparko, who was formerly an associate at Accel before getting his MBA at Stanford, as Principals (Accel’s Medium). In other Accel-related personnel news, Kobie Fuller, formerly a Principal at the firm, is joining LA-based Upfront Ventures as a General Partner (TechCrunch)
  • 6/23 – Comcast and Alarm.com are agreeing to buy separate pieces of IControl, a company that had raised $93.5M from a host of investors including CRV, Comcast Ventures, Kleiner Perkins and Intel Capital. Alarm.com is paying $140M for the assets that include a platform used by ADT and their retail-focused product line. Comcast did not disclose the acquisition price, but they are buying the business that powers their MSO’s Xfinity Home Service (Multichannel)
  • 6/23 – As the IPO market slowly (maybe?) opens up, Okta has hired Goldman Sachs to lead an IPO (or potentially a sale) (Reuters)
  • 6/23 – Uber is beginning to roll out notifications of trip prices prior to the ride for UberX (Re/Code)
  • 6/23 – The big (non-Brexit) news of the week was Twilio’s IPO, which priced at $15 per share (above its range of $12 to $14) and traded up 92% in its first day of trading. It gave back some of that on Friday after the Brexit blood-bath, but still a great showing (NYT)
  • 6/23 – Cisco won a key legal proceeding when the US International Trade Commission upheld a ruling that Arista Networks had infringed on its patents for Ethernet switches (Fortune)
  • 6/23 – Xerox announced that Jeff Jacobson, the President of the Company’s technology unit, will take over as the CEO of the printer business after it splits from the business services later this year. The business services company will be traded as Conduit (Fortune)
  • 6/24 – Vanity Fair has more details on the Adam McKay (adapter of the Big Short screenplay) and Jennifer Lawrence pitched movie about Theranos, which includes the rumored price tag for the rights ($3M by Legendary Pictures) and budget ($40-50M) (Vanity Fair)
  • 6/24 – Tech CEOs in Europe now prepare for life after the Brexit news, something 90% of the ones in the UK opposed (Forbes)
  • 6/24 – YouTube has acquired its first big-budget, Hollywood-produced television drama that will move the Company into more competition with Netflix, Amazon and other cable companies (NYT)
  • 6/24 – Facebook is beefing up its wireless plans, hiring the co-founder of Google Fiber, Kevin Lo to lead the initiative (Re/Code) while Google just bought a high-speed internet company called Webpass to beef up its services (Business Insider)

Earnings

  • 6/21 – Adobe traded down 4.1% despite a Q2 earnings beat as it forecasts lower than expected earnings for Q3 (Barron’s)

Financings (now ordered by size of round)

  • 6/23 – Circle, a nearly three-year-old Boston and Dublin, Ireland-based social payment app, has raised $60 million to scale up a new Beijing-based company called Circle China. Earlier backer IDG Capital Partners led the round
  • 6/21 – InVision, a 23-year-old, New York-based company that sells collaborative prototyping and design tool software and services, has raised $55 million in Series D funding led by Iconiq Capital, with participation from earlier backers Accel Partners and FirstMark Capital.
  • 6/22 – Pearl, a months-old, Scotts Valley, Ca.-based company that’s working on autonomous vehicle technologies and just unveiled its first product  —  an advanced automotive backup camera — has raised $50 million in Series A and Series B funding, including from Accel Partners, Shasta Ventures, Venrock, and Wellcome Trust
  • 6/20 – Plaid, a four-year-old, San Francisco-based startup whose software allows a variety of financial-technology startups to access their customers’ bank account information, has raised $44 million in new funding led by Goldman Sachs
  • 6/21 – Number26*, a three-year-old, Berlin, Germany-based retail bank without a brick-and-mortar presence, has raised $40 million in Series B funding led by Horizons Ventures. Battery Ventures, Robert Gentz, David Schneider and Rubin Ritteralso also participated in the round, along with earlier backers Valar Ventures, Earlybird Ventures and Redalpine Ventures
  • 6/22 – 128 Technology, a two-year-old, Burlington, Ma.-based startup whose software aims to simplify routers, has raised $36 million from investors including G20 Ventures
  • 6/20 – Condeco, an 11-year-old, London-based startup that makes meeting scheduling software, has raised €27 million ($30 million) in Series A funding led by Highland Europe
  • 6/21 – Airobotics, a two-year-old, Israel-based maker of automated industrial drones, has raised $28.5 million in combined Series A and B funding, including from investors BlueRun Ventures, CRV, Israel Chief Scientists, UpWest Labs, and individual backers like Waze CEO Noam Bardin
  • 6/21 – Spaceflight Industries, a startup whose overarching goal is providing affordable, high-resolution images of earth, raised $25 million in Series B funding led by Mithril Capital Management
  • 6/23 – Narvar*, a four-year-old, San Bruno, Ca.-based company helping internet retailers keep their customers happy post-purchase (meaning until their packages are delivered and/or returned or exchanged), has raised $22 million in Series B funding led by Battery Ventures
  • 6/23 – Security Scorecard, a three-year-old, New York-based startup that helps companies better identify, understand and manage all key risks their cloud-based information systems and those of their partners, has raised $20 million in Series B funding from GV
  • 6/21 – Zerto*, a seven-year-old, Boston and Israel-based company that makes disaster recovery and data management software, has raised $20 million in Series E-1 funding led by CRV
  • 6/22 – LightCyber*, a four-year-old Tel Aviv, Israel-based cybersecurity company, has raised $20 million in Series B funding led by Access Industries, with participation from earlier backers Battery Ventures, Glilot Capital Partners and Amplify Partners
  • 6/24 – Reflexion Health, a four-year-old, San Diego-based company that makes prescription software for medical professionals, as well as a rehab measurement tool to track patient adherence to their prescribed rehab plans, has raised $18 million in Series B funding from undisclosed backers
  • 6/22 – Kespry, a three-year-old, Menlo Park, Ca.-based company that makes automated drone systems for commercial use, has raised $16 million in Series B funding led by DCM Ventures and Lightspeed Venture Partners
  • 6/21 – Juniqe, a two-year-old, Berlin-based online marketplace for curated art, has raised €14 million ($15.8 million) in Series B funding led by Highland Europe, with participation from earlier backers Vorwerk Ventures, High-Tech Gründerfonds, and Redalpine
  • 6/23 – Sevenhugs, a two-year-old, Paris-based startup that makes smart products like a sleep tracker and a connected remote control, has raised $14.6 million in Series A funding led by Xerys
  • 6/22 – Lystable, a 1.5-year-old London-based company that makes a software tool focused on helping businesses manage freelancers, has raised $11 million in Series A funding led by Valar Ventures and Goldcrest Capital, with participation from Spring Partners
  • 6/23 – Colu, a 1.5-year-old, Tel Aviv-based blockchain startup, has raised $9.6 million in Series A funding from Aleph, Spark Capital, Digital Currency Group and former Thomson Reuters CEO Tom Glocer
  • 6/20 – Rocketrip, a three-year-old, New York-based startup that helps customers reduce travel spending by providing employees with gift cards for beating their budget, has raised $9 million in funding. Bessemer Venture Partners led the round, with participation from earlier backers Canaan Partners and Genacast Ventures.
  • 6/23 – Sentry, a four-year-old, San Francisco-based real-time crash reporting tool for web, mobile and games, has raised $9 million in Series A funding from New Enterprise Associates
  • 6/23 – Dapulse, a three-year-old, Tel Aviv-based maker of project management software, has raised $7.6 million in Series A funding led by Genesis Partners, with participation of earlier backer Entrée Capital
  • 6/24 – iZotope, a 15-year-old, Cambridge, Ma.-based company that develops audio software for audio recording, mixing, broadcasting and sound designing, has raised $7.5 million in new funding, with $2.5 million coming from ABS Capital and individual investors
  • 6/22 – GamEffective, a nearly four-year-old, Charlotte, N.C.-based company that makes workforce performance management software, has raised $7 million in new funding from Jerusalem Venture Partners, CE Ventures and earlier backers
  • 6/22 – Gong.io, a Palo Alto and Tel Aviv-based SaaS company focused on “sales conversion intelligence,” has raised $6 million in Series A funding led by Norwest Venture Partners and Check Point Software cofounder Shlomo Kramer
  • 6/22 – PediaQ, a year-old, Dallas, Tex.-based pediatric concierge care startup (parents use the app to request a call or in-home visit from a nurse practitioner), has raised $4.5 million from unnamed Texas investors
  • 6/20 – ShipBob, a two-year-old, Chicago-based startup that helps small businesses and sole proprietors with an outsourced packaging and shipping service, has raised $4 million in Series A funding led by Hyde Park Venture Partners
  • 6/22 – Kwik, a three-year-old, Tel Aviv-based end-to-end IoT platform that connects customers to retailers and service providers, has raised $3 million in seed funding from Norwest Venture Partners
  • 6/22 – AppZen, a 3.5-year-old, Sunnyvale, Ca.-based company that makes automated expense report auditing and compliance software, has raised $2.9 million in seed funding led by Resolute Ventures, with participation from Bloomberg Beta, Silicon Valley Bank, MasterCard, and FundersClub

Random, long reads
My four months as a private prison guard (Mother Jones) – A long, but super impressive piece of investigative journalism by Shane Bauer of Mother Jones, who for four months worked undercover as a prison guard at a Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) location in Louisiana. CCA is a $4B publicly traded business that operates in the murky world of for profit prisons that have been called into question for both their efficacy and their ethicalness since they were first established in the 1980s.  This is the first and most comprehensive first-person account that I have seen of what actually goes on within the prison walls and it’s not that pretty.  I’d definitely recommend it as a glimpse into a pretty opaque part of the US economy (and prison system)

A Life On The Line (ESPN) – Billy Walters is an elusive figure that has made hundreds of millions running a large network of regular guys that will place bets on his behalf around the globe. Walters’ name came up for the wrong reasons 18 months ago when he appeared in headlines with Carl Icahn and Phil Mickelson for an inside trading operation, but the actual Walters’ story is far more interesting than just his relationship to those two. This is a profile into how one guy has built out a network and an operation that allows him to perform at something rumored to be 58-60% accuracy gambling

The Mystifying Triumph of Hope Hicks, Donald Trump’s Right-Hand Woman (GQ) – GQ with a profile of Hope Hicks, who is Donald Trump’s 27 year old PR women.  Hicks declined to talk to them for an interview, but instead (in an act of super weirdness), arraigned an interview with Donald Trump about Hicks with her present.  Needless to say, like so many other things in this election season and this campaign in particular, Hicks has an unusual story that led to her ending up here

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