PE Week Wire: Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Greetings from my final morning in Los Angeles, where last night we kicked off peHUB Across America. It was held in what can best be described as a pirate bar (complete with skulls, wooden barrels and dock ropes), and was jam-packed full of venture capitalists, PE pros and the assorted hangers-on that make up our readership. Probably not this place’s typical crowd, which made it that much more enjoyable. Big thanks to everyone who came — and double-thanks for not punching me right below my Celtics cap.

No real column today, as I need to get to LAX to board a flight for Chicago. Tonight’s event is sold-out, although I’ve just opened up a very limited number of extra tickets at They may already be gone by the time you read this. There will not be extra tickets available at the door.

A bunch of attendees last night asked why I was doing this, and I gave them three reasons. First, it’s always good to get out and mingle with readers. Two, I like to throw parties. Old college habit that’s hard to break. Finally, it’s to promote peHUB, which has really begun to come into its own of late (yeah, I know I’m biased). In particular, we’ve begun adding a variety of new voices, so it’s not just my personal echo chamber. This includes Connie Loizos covering VC, Erin Griffith covering buyouts and more.

If you haven’t been on the homepage in a while, take a look.

Among the new stuff there today is an early glimpse at big-deal performance, fundraising news on Insight Equity, skepticism over Kleiner Perkins’ new hire and a follow-up to “Why Startup Lawyers Frustrate Me” from Foundry Group’s Jason Mendelson. Plus, as always, peHUB First Read.

Chicago tonight, Washington DC tomorrow. Then New York and Boston. Frequent flier miles, here I come…

Top Three

Aurora Biofuels Inc., an Alameda, Calif.-based biofuels company focused on open-pond algae aquaculture, has raised $20 million in Series B funding. Oak Investment Partners led the round, and was joined by return backers Gabriel Venture Partners and Noventi.

Cinven has agreed to acquire British financial services company Partnership Assurance, for approximately €200 million. PA provides pension plans, long-term care plans and life insurance plans.

CCS Medical Holdings Inc. (a.ka. Chronic Care Solutions), a Clearwater, Fla.-based medical supply management company, has withdrawn its IPO registration, due to “market conditions.” It had planned to sell 10 million common shares at between $14 and $16 per share, which could have garnered a market cap of up to $607 million. Lehman Brothers and Goldman Sachs were serving as co-lead underwriters. Warburg Pincus acquired the company in 2005.

VC Deals

SenSage Inc., a San Francisco-based provider of security management solutions, has raised $15 million in fifth-round funding. FTVentures led the round, and was joined by Sand Hill Capital and return backers Sierra Ventures, Canaan Partners and Mitsui Ventures. The company has now raised around $45 million in total VC funding snce 2000.

Ugobe, an Emeryville, Calif.-based maker of the “Pleo” dinosaur robot, has raised $12.8 million in Series C funding. Existing backer Hyield Venture Capital (Taiwan) led the round.

Beeco Inc., a semiconductor spinout from RTI International, has raised $5 million in Series A funding. RTI and Intersouth Partners co-led the round. Beeco’s technology platform allows bare die integrated circuits to be densely populated onto a large area silicon substrate, replacing the current method of putting packaged die onto a conventional printed circuit board.

GlassBOX Television Inc., a Toronto-based operator of cross-platform broadcast and VOD channels, has raised C$5 million in new VC funding. JLA Ventures led the round, and was joined by Aver Media, Frantic Films Corp. and several individual angels.

MovieSet Inc., an online provider of behind-the-scenes sneak peaks of current film productions, has raised $2 million in VC funding from Rho Capital. VentureWire reports that the infusion is the first tranche of a milestone-based $5 million commitment from Rho.

EatLime Inc., a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based online video sharing startup, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Draper Fisher Jurvetson.

Buyout Deals

H.I.G. Capital has completed its acquisition of Croda International’s U.S. oleochemical business. The deal was valued at approximately $92 million.

OpenGate Capital has agreed to buy the Mobile Solutions division of UTStarcom (Nasdaq: UTSI), for an undisclosed amount. The deal is expected to close within three weeks.

Zephyr Management has acquired Miles Software, a Mumbai-based provider of IT services to the financial sector. No financial terms were disclosed. The deal was done by Zephyr’s Bangalore team, which investing out of of its second Zephyr Peacock India Fund. The vehicle has raised $40 million to date, and is targeting $125 million.

IQNavigator, a Denver-based provider of services procurement software and managed service programs, has raised an undisclosed amount of private equity funding from GTCR Golder Rauner. The company did not say if the deal would help buy out some of its past VC backers, such as Baker Capital, Colorado PERA and Sequel Venture Partners.

Just Marketing Inc., a Zionsville, Ind.-based motorsports marketing company, has raised an undisclosed amount of private equity funding from Spire Capital Partners and Credit Suisse.

U.S. Retirement Partners Inc., a national distribution firm in the tax deferred retirement plan market, has raised an undisclosed amount of private equity funding from Centre Partners.

PE-Backed M&A

EduK Group, a post-secondary educational institution in Puerto Rico, has acquired Ponce Paramedical College. No financial terms were disclosed. EduK is a portfolio company of Leeds Equity Partners.

Restricted Stock Partners, a New York-based online marketplace for restricted securities and other illiquid assets, has acquired Trade Receivable Exchange Inc. (T-REX), an online auction platform for the bankruptcy trade claims market. No financial terms were disclosed. RSP is backed by Pequot Ventures.

Waterfront Media, a New York-based online health media company, has acquired online search company Netramind. No financial terms were disclosed. Waterfront Media has raised around $35 million in VC funding, from firms like Scale Venture Partners, Rho Ventures, Foundation Capital, Time Warner Ventures, BEV Capital and Neocarta Ventures.

Wesco Aircraft Hardware Corp., a portfolio company of The Carlyle Group, has agreed to acquire Airtechnics Inc., a Wichita, Kansas-based distributor of electrical components to the aerospace market. No financial terms were disclosed for the deal, which is expected to close later this month. Bank of America and Lehman Brothers are providing financing.

Firms & Funds

Centre Partners has closed its fifth fund with $880 million in capital commitments. Its fourth fund had closed in 2004 with $780 million.

IGNIA Fund I, a Latin American social venture capital fund, has held a $20.6 million first close from limited partners like Omidyar Network. The total fund target is between $50 million and $75 million.

Human Resources

Richard Yen has joined Saban Capital Group as a director in the firm’s venture capital and digital media investment group. He is based in Los Angeles, and previously was a principal with Blueprint Ventures.

Laurence Tosi has joined The Blackstone Group as chief financial officer. He had previously been with Merrill Lynch as COO of its global markets and investment banking group. Former Blackstone CFO Michael Puglisi will remain part of the firm’s senior management, the firm said.

Anthony Yun has been named president of asset management firm Palo Alto Investors, succeeding firm founder William Edwards, who will remain as chairman and chief investment officer.

Sally Choi has been named general manager for the Los Angeles City Employees Retirement System (LACERS). She is a former LACERS assistant GM, and currently serves as Los Angeles’ deputy mayor for finance and performance management. Choi succeeds Robert Aguallo Jr., who left earlier this year to become a managing partner of infrastructure-focused private equity fund Cardinal Americas.

Paul Capital has made a pair of personnel moves: Duncan Littlejohn will serve as a managing director on the firm’s secondaries team, after having been a consultant to the firm since 2007. He also will be responsible for the firm’s Sao Paulo office. Lucian Wu has joined as a managing director and head of the firm’s Asia office. He previously was a partner with Henderson Private Capital.

Michael Fineman has joined Chicago-based Maranon Capital as an associate. He was previously an associate with American Capital Strategies.