PE Week Wire: Thurs., May 8, 2008

The VC trading deadline must be near, given the number of partners switching firms. Some have been publicly disclosed, some have not. Maybe it has something to do with the NVCA Annual Meeting taking place in San Francisco. Here’s a recap of what we learned yesterday (in alphabetical order):

– Sameer Gandhi has joined Accel Partners as a partner in the firm’s Palo Alto office. He previously was a partner with Sequoia Capital, where his deals included Barracuda Networks, eHarmony, Gracenote (acquired by Sony), Marketlive and Sourcefire. We’re considering this Accel’s payback for Sequoia’s long-ago poaching of Jim Goetz. Now it just needs to nab a Benchmark Partners to make up for Peter Fenton…

– Jeff Hinck has joined El Dorado Ventures as a partner. Yes, that’s the same Jeff Hinck who I said yesterday was one of two men left standing at Vesbridge Partners. Seems he began with El Dorado just this past Monday, and we reported the news yesterday at peHUB (a hurried press release hit this morning, and the post includes some more info on Vesbridge).

Hinck and El Dorado’s Charles Beeler have been tight for years, and have partnered on deals like NuSpeed and Compellent Technologies. The obvious question, therefore, is if EDV is being redundant by hiring Hinck. I asked that of Beeler, who said that he and Hinck actually have very different networks – in large part based on different geographies. Hinck will continue to be based out of his Vesbridge office in Minneapolis, but will make the Valley trek at least one per month.

– Christopher “Woody” Marshall has joined Technology Crossover Ventures as a general partner. He previously was a managing director with Trident Capital, where his deals included Advanced Payment Solutions, AccountNow, Bytemobile, Merchant eSolutions, MapQuest, SideStep and Xata.

– Cynthia Ringo has left VantagePoint Venture Partners, where she had been a managing director. She joined the firm in 2002, after having served as CEO of CopperCom (she also ran ill-fated Pluris, but we’ll let that slide). Ringo says that a variety of factors led her to seek out a smaller partnership, which is what she’s found as a new partner with JPMorgan spinout DBL Investors (currently raising its second fund).

– Rob Theis joined Scale Venture Partners as a managing director. He had spent the past eight years with DCM Doll Capital, but formally left in February. Here’s my post on the move, from yesterday.

*** I’m regretfully not at the NVCA Annual, although some of my colleagues are. Just needed a break from travel, given that I have a big trip planned for early June (details soon). Seems that John Doerr publicly asked Mike Moritz about the Eric Upin, et. all hirings. Moritz characteristically didn’t respond, except to say “The stuff in The Wall Street Journal about the hires is true.” Ouch Mike. Citing WSJ? That stings. Ok, petty pity-party over.

Top Three

Osage Bio Energy has received a $300 million equity commitment from First Reserve Corp., to construct four bio-refining facilities that will produce ethanol and a specialty protein feed. Osage is a Glen Allen, Va.-based company founded last year to developer the country’s first major barley to ethanol production facilities. It is a sister company of Osage Inc., which distributes motor-fuel grade ethanol in the Southeast.

The Carlyle Group and JMI Equity have agreed to acquire Gencom Software International Inc. (TSX: GCM), a Vancouver-based supplier of mining productivity solutions. The deal is valued at approximately C$180 million, with Gencom stockholders to receive C$2.90 per share (16% premium to weighted average closing price for the last 45 trading days). It is expected to close by July.

Sameer Gandhi has joined Accel Partners as a partner in the firm’s Palo Alto office. He previously was a partner with Sequoia Capital, where his deals included Barracuda Networks, eHarmony, Gracenote (acquired by Sony), Marketlive and Sourcefire.

VC Deals

Intrexon Corp., a Blacksburg, Va.-based developer of biotherapeutic control systems, has raised $25 million in Series C-2 funding. The round was led by New River Management, which is managed by Third Security LLC. Intrexon has now raised a total of $56.5 million from Third Security funds.

NGN Capital has invested $12 million to sponsor a spinout of ACT Biotech from Bayer Healthcare. ACT is a San Francisco-based oncology drug developer, and expects to raise a total of $20 million by the end of this quarter. Read more…

The Healthy Beverage Co., a Newtown, Penn.–based maker of Steaz-brand sparkling green teas, has raised $11 million in new funding. Inventages led the round, and was joined by Canadian beverage distributor Whitefish Group and return backer Maris Acquisitions.

Biz360 Inc., a San Mateo, Calif.-based provider of media and market intelligence solutions, has raised $10 million in Series B funding. Foundation Capital led the round, and was joined by return backers Granite Ventures and Scale Venture Partners. The company has now raised nearly $50 million in total VC funding, including a late 2006 venture recap.

Igloo Inc., a Waterloo, Ontario-based provider of corporate social networking solutions, has raised US$4 million in funding from RBC Venture Partners.

SlideShare Inc., a San Francisco-based online platform for sharing presentations, has raised $3 million in Series A funding. Venrock led the round, with partner David Siminoff taking a SlideShare board seat., a San Francisco-based video sharing site for intellectual discourse, has raised $2 million in Series A funding. The money comes from Adobe Systems and individual angels like Will Hearst, who provided with $2 million in seed funding last October. The company is in talks with a strategic investor for an additional $2 million.

Giant Realm, a New York-based online media company focused on 16-34 year-old males, has raised $2 million in additional Series A funding from SoftBank Capital. Last month, the company announced a $3.5 million first close from William Morris Agency, Comcast Interactive Capital and Edison Venture Fund.

Buyout Deals

Altaris Capital Partners and NewSpring Capital have co-sponsored a recapitalization of Precyse Solutions, a Wayne, Penn.-based provider of solutions to improve the performance of health information management departments of U.S. hospitals and healthcare providers. No financial terms were disclosed for the deal, which results in Altaris and NewSpring taking over the company from Liberty Partners and Toronto Dominion Capital. Read more…

Kinderhook Industries LLC has acquired Ferndale, Mich.-based restaurant chain BD’s Mongolian Grill. No financial terms were disclosed. The deal is being done in partnership with restaurant industry veterans Rodger Head and Clyde Culp, who also own and operate a 97-unit Burger King franchise based in Minneapolis.

MBK Partners and two other private equity firms have submitted a bid for Taiwan’s Sunny Bank, according to Reuters. The deal could be worth around $416 million.

PE-Backed IPOs

Gomez Inc., a Lexington, Mass.-based provider of web experience management services, has filed for an $80.5 million IPO. It plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol GOMZ, with Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank Securities serving as co-lead underwriters. The company raised over $66 million between 1999 and 2004, with current shareholders including Dolphin Equity Partners (36.6% pre-IPO stake), AdAstra (19.9%), Doughty Hanson & Co. (17.3%) and ABS Ventures (8.9%).

PE Exits

Autodesk Inc. (Nasdaq: ADSK) has completed its acquisition of Kynogon SA, a Paris-based maker of artificial intelligence middleware. No financial terms were disclosed. Kynogen had raised VC funding from Innovacom and CapDecisif.

Autodesk Inc. (Nasdaq: ADSK) has acquired Realviz SA, a French developer of image-based content creation software. No financial terms were disclosed. Realviz had raised VC funding from Intel Capital, Eurazeo, MVI Sverige, HPI Holding SA, Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners and Solaris Asset Management.

ClearCube, an Austin, Texas-based provider of centralized computing and virtual desktop solutions, said that it will spin off its software business into a new company called VDIWorks. ClearCube raised a $5 million recap round from existing shareholder Paladin Capital Group earlier this year. It had previously raised over $92 million from Paladin, Austin Ventures, TVM Capital, Focus Ventures, iD Ventures America, Sternhill Partners, Seed Capital Partners, Allianz Private Equity Partners, Agave Capital and SAIC Venture Capital Corp.

Versata Enterprises Inc., an Austin, Texas.-based enterprise software company, has acquired Clear Technology Inc., a Westminster, Colo.-based provider of business process automation solutions for the financial services and insurance industries. No financial terms were disclosed. Clear Technologies has raised over $13 million in VC funding since 2004, from firms like Sycamore Ventures, BV-Cornerstone Ventures, Grayhawk Venture Partners and Shoreline Venture Management.

PE-Backed M&A

Embarcadero Technologies Inc., a San Francisco-based provider of data management solutions, has acquired development tools group CodeGear from Borland Software Corp. (Nasdaq: BORL). No financial terms were disclosed. Embarcadero was taken private last summer by Thoma Cressey Bravo.

Xobni Corp., a San Francisco-based provider of email analytics software, has acquired the IP assets of Firedrop, a failed Web 2.0 company that had raised $100 million before being acquired MetricStream in 2004. No financial terms were disclosed. Firedrop had created something called Zaplets, which placed synchronized applications into email messages. Xobni has raised over $4 million from firms like Khosla Ventures, whose founder Vinod Khosla also had been an early firedrop backer.

Firms & Funds

Partners Group, a Switzerland-based alternative asset manager, has opened an office in Beijing. It will be run by current partner Linda Cai.

PPM Capital has changed its name to Silverfleet Capital, six months after spinning out from Prudential PLC. The European firm remains responsible for managing approximately €700 million of existing investments on behalf of Prudential’s UK Life Fund, alongside a newly-raised independent fund.

The Korea Teachers’ Pension Corp. has retained Goldman Sachs Asset Management to manage 300 billion won ($290.6m), via overseas investments and strategic partnerships. The commitment lasts through 2011, with Goldman beating out 15 other asset managers.

Human Resources

Brian Clarkson has resigned as president and chief operating officer of Moody’s Investors Service, as the ratings agency is under fire for its generous treatment of mortgage-backed securities prior to the credit collapse.

Christopher “Woody” Marshall has joined Technology Crossover Ventures as a general partner. He previously was a managing director with Trident Capital, where his deals included Advanced Payment Solutions, AccountNow, Bytemobile, Merchant eSolutions, MapQuest, SideStep and Xata.

Edward Rhyne has joined Fulbright& Jaworski LLP as a private equity-focused partner in the firm’s corporate office. He has previously was a partner with Haynes and Boone LLP. Read more…