Good morning, Term Sheet readers.
In a bizarre 8-minute CNBC interview, venture capitalist Tim Draper discussed government scrutiny of Facebook and the regulatory risks of going public. It got especially interesting when he was asked about Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes, the founder who recently got charged with an “elaborate, years-long fraud” by the SEC.
Here are some of Draper’s quotes about the embattled founder:
“We have taken down another great icon.”
“She got bullied into submission.”
“And look at what she did! She created an incredible opportunity.”
“Wait. Why is it worthless? It’s worthless because this writer was like a badger going after her, like a hyena going after her, and then it became a bigger and bigger thing.”
“It was a great vision, it was a great technology.”
“I think it was a great mission, and she did a great job.”
This is not the first time Draper has defended her. But I’m slightly confused as to why he continues to defend her even after the formal fraud charges, along with $700 million gone to the wind.
Draper was one of the earliest investors in Theranos, through venture firm DFJ, when he led the seed round with $500,000. And he has been a boisterous defender of the company ever since. It appears that Holmes was childhood friends with Draper’s daughter, and they grew up in the same neighborhood. Regardless, calling Holmes “a great icon” is a little excessive.
I’m not sure what to make of this other than Draper did not lose as much money as Secretary of Education Betsy Devos did ($100 million), so it’s a little easier to chalk it up to the notion that most startups fail. “Look, when I’m in an investor in a startup, I assume that 60% of them are going to go out of business,” he said. “I make my money on a few extraordinary companies. Theranos was one of those extraordinary companies that could’ve been one of those big, huge winners.”
Looking forward to your thoughts.
FRIDAY FUN: Remember Boston Dynamics, the robotics design company that keeps releasing videos of its robots doing things that robots aren’t supposed to be able to do? It has previously featured a robo-dog opening a door for its robo-dog friend, a humanoid robot going for a stroll, and a robot doing backflips.
Now, there are terrifying videos of its robots walking around, tackling stairs, and autonomously navigating their way through an office without bumping into things. Like someone said on Twitter, “Boston Dynamics is going to be the end of us all, and the last remaining humans will be wondering how we didn’t see it coming.” Watch the videos here.
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HEALTH AND LIFE SCIENCES DEALS
• Forever Labs, a biomedical research company that cryogenically freeze the stem cells, raised $2 million in funding. Investors include Northwestern Mutual, Silicon Badia Ventures, Babel Ventures, Aaron Hirschhorn, founder and CEO of DogVacay.
PRIVATE EQUITY DEALS
• Uniguest, which is backed by Atlantic Street Capital, acquired ONELAN, a U.K.-based digital signage and visual communications company. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Huron Capital made an investment in Direct Connect Logistix, an Indianapolis-based transportation and logistics services company. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• LaSalle Capital made an investment in Fresh Origins, a San Marcos, Calif.-based grower of microgreens and edible flowers in North America. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Aveanna Healthcare, which is backed by Bain Capital and J.H. Whitney, agreed to acquire Premier Healthcare Services, a Pasadena, Calif.-based provider of pediatric services. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
• Empire Equipment Company, which is backed by Kian Capital, acquired Phoenix-based TruTemp Equipment and California-based Norm’s Refrigeration, both of which provide commercial food service equipment and aftermarket parts for the food service, hospitality, healthcare and retail industries. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
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• Avast, the London-based cybersecurity firm, narrowed its IPO range from 250 pence to 320 pence, to 250 pence to 270 pence. The firm plans to raise up to $200 million for a market capitalization of between 2.5 billion and 2.7 billion pounds ($3.4 billion and $3.7 billion) upon listing. CVC Capital Partners and Summit Partners back the firm. Read more.
• Huya Broadcasting, a Guangzhou-based eSports live streaming platform spinning out of YY, raised $180 million in an IPO of 15 million ADSs priced at $12, the high end of its $10 to $12 range. The firm posted revenue of $335.8 million and loss of $12.4 million in 2017. YY (55.5% pre-IPO) and Tencent (39.8%) back the firm. Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, and UBS Investment Bank are underwriters in the deal. It plans to list on the NYSE as “HUYA.” Read more.
• Avalara, a Seattle Wash.-based cloud-based tax compliance software maker, filed to raise $150 million in an IPO. The company posted revenue of $213.2 million in 2017. Battery Ventures (9.9%), Warburg Pincus (24.4%), and Sageview Capital Masters (27.1% pre-offering) back the firm. Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, and BofA are underwriters in the deal. The firm plans to list on the NYSE as “AVLR.” Read more.
• Dynatrace, a Waltham, Mass.-based APM software maker, is reportedly weighing an IPO that could value the firm at over $4 billion. Thoma Bravo backs the firm. Read more.
• Silver Lake will buy ZPG (LSE:ZPG), owner of Zoopla and PrimeLocation owner, for 2.2 billion pounds ($3 billion). This is a 642 million pound ($871 million) windfall for the Daily Mail publishing group. Read more.
• Rotating Machinery Services, a portfolio company of Incline Equity Partners, acquired AC Compressor and CONMEC Engineered Compressors from Baker Hughes. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.
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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.
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