Greetings from New York City, where I’m in town for some meetings before hopping in the car for an evening drive back to Boston (satellite radio will be my NBA savior). Let’s get to it:
*** Yesterday I spent some time on the phone with Alex Bangash and Jonathan LaCrosse, who recently launched a new online private equity marketplace called Trusted Insight. The idea is to serve as a sort of LinkedIn for institutional investors, in which they can anonymously offer to buy or sell alternative investment funds and portfolio companies.
Here’s how it might work: Imagine I’m an endowment manager looking for some exposure to an early-stage VC fund focused on Brazil. I become a member (after being verified), and type in my parameters. If any such funds are being offered in the system, they will pop up with as much information as the seller wants to disclose. I then “contact” the seller (whose identi! ty I still do not know), who then chooses whether or not to reply (if the seller replies, it would identify itself).
In other words, the company is more about matchmaking than consummation (it’s officially listed as a “passive bulletin board”).
I played around a bit in the system yesterday, and found all sorts of interesting direct and secondary opportunities. It also includes the early stages of a qualitative fund manager comment section (kind of like TheFunded, except from LP perspective rather than portfolio company perspective).
Will it work? I honestly have no idea, but would err on the side of optimism.
Trusted Insight so far has around 500 institutional investors signed up, most of whom are gratis. The paying customers are expected to be fund managers and placement agents, who would be required to shell out either $500 or $1,000 per year (based on number of allowed contacts). LaCrosse – a onetime alternatives manager with Robert Wood Joh! nson Foundation – says that around $1.5 billion of transactions have b een “introduced” via Trusted Insight, although he does not yet know how many of those deals have closed.
The company also has raised a $765k seed round from RRE Ventures, The Entrepreneur’s Fund and a group of angels that include Geoff Clark (CV Starr), John Taysom (ex-Reuters), Kenneth Whitney (Blackstone), Virginia Turezyn (ex-ACAS), Mark Goines (Mint chairman) and Roger Krakoff (ex-Sigma Partners).
*** Carried interest update: The Senate is taking up carried interest taxation this week, via the (so-called) jobs bill. Reports are that it will further weaken the switch from cap gains to ordinary income, by dumping the House’s proposed 75/25 split (75% ordinary, 25% cap gains) and replacing it with a 65/35 split. Moreover, the ratio would become 55/45 on sales of assets held for at least seven years. That last part is an apparent olive branch to VC firms, although it also will touch plenty of buyout deals.
*** Data Dump: The value of global private equity sales has topped the value of private equity purchases so far this year, according to data compiled by Thomson Reuters.
It’s the first time that sell-side volume ($67.2b) has topped buy-side volume ($64.1b) since 1994, and was aided by yesterday’s announced $4 billion sale of Talecris Biotherapeutics to Spain-based Grifols. The number of purchases, however, continues to outweigh the number of exits.
Overall, both buy-side and sell-side activity is up in 2010 over last year — by 132% and 174%, respectively. You can the full report here.
Altegrity, a portfolio company of Providence Equity Partners, has agreed to buy investigations company Kroll from Marsh & McLennan Cos. for $1.13 billion in cash. Altegrity is led by former Marsh CEO Michael Cherkasky.
OpenPeak Inc., a Boca Raton, Fla.-based provider multimedia touch-screen devices and device management platforms, announced that it has raised $52 million in new private equity and debt funding. Intel Capital came in as a new equity investor, while Horizon Technology Finance and Velocity Financial Group and GE Capital provided debt. The company previously raised over $30 million from firms like RRE Ventures and Castletop Capital.
Tornier BV, a Dutch medical device company focused on surgeons that treat musculoskeletal injuries and disorders, has filed for a $205 million IPO. It plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol TRNX, with BoA Merrill Lynch and J.P. Morgan serving as co-lead underwriters. The company reports around $201 million in 2009 revenue, which is up from $177 million in 2008. Consolidated net loss grew to $55 million from $34 million. Shareholders include Warburg Pincus, The Vertical Group and company management. www.tornier.com
OptiNose, a developer of nasal drug delivery technology, has secured a $48.5 million private equity commitment from Avista Capital Partners. The company also announced that it will move its headquarters from Norway to Yardley, Pennsylvania. Existing backer WFD Ventures will retain a “significant stake” in the company.
Progreso Financiero, a Mountain View, Calif.-based company that helps underbanked Hispanic families build credit and gain access to mainstream financial services, has raised $28 million in Series D funding. Madrone Capital and Greylock Partners were joined by return backers Charles River Ventures and DAG Ventures. The company also announced that Carl Pascarella of TPG Capital had joined its board of directors.
SiliconBlue Technologies, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based developer of low-power field programmable gate array technology for consumer applications, has raised $15 million in Series C funding. Apex Venture Partners led the round, and was joined by return backers New Enterprise Associates, Crosslink Capital and BlueRun Ventures. The company raised a $24 million Series B round in 2008. $24 million in Series B funding.
RockYou, a San Mateo, Calif.-based developer of social network advertising widgets, has raised $10 million in new funding from existing backer Softbank. The company has now raised a total of $127 million, from Softbank, SK Telecom Ventures, DCM, Sequoi! a Capital and Lightspeed Venture Partners.
Martini Media Network, a San Francisco-based online ad network focused on affluent individuals, has raised $6 million in Series B funding. Reed Elsevier Ventures led the round, and was joined by Granite Ventures and Venrock.
Connotate, a New Brunswick, N.J.-based provider of solutions that help companies collect data and content from the Web, has raised $5.25 million in new VC funding from .406 Ventures.
Scality (fka Bizanga Store), a French developer of object storage software for email and cloud storage applications, has raised $5 million in first-round funding. Credit Agricole Pri! vate Equity and Galileo Partners co-led the round, and were joined by individual angels and company management.
OneRoof Inc., a San Francisco-based provider of cyber cafe management software, has raised $3.4 million in Series A funding. No investor information was disclosed.
Schoology, a cloud-based learning management system and configurable social network for academic institutions, has raised $1.25 million in funding from Meakem Becker Venture Capital. The company is based in New York City.
Etouches, a Ridgefield, Conn.-based provider of online event managemen! t and registration software, has raised an undisclosed amount of first -round funding. Greycroft Partners led the deal, and was joined by Connecticut Innovations and Cava Capital.
Reply Inc., a San Ramon, Calif.-based platform to buy and sell online clicks and leads, has raised $15 million in venture debt from Hercules Technology Growth Capital. The company is in registration for a $60 million IPO, and has raised nearly $23 million in VC funding from Scale Venture Partners, Outlook Ventures and ATEL Ventures.
The Carlyle Group announced that it has invested a total of more than $140 million into four Asian growth equity deals: ATMU Inc., a Chinese ATM deployer; Tirumala Milk Products, an Indian dairy; HKucar Global Co., a Korean used car dealership network; and EO Technics Co., a Korean laser engineering company.
RBS has selected three bidders to advance to the final round of bidding for payment processing business WorldPay, which is expected to be sold for around $4 billion. The three suitors are: Advent International with Bain Capital, TPG Capital and Clayton, Dubilier & Rice.
Castle Harlan has agreed to acquire IDQ Holdings Inc., an automotive aftermarket company focused on do-it-yourself automotive air conditioner repair, from Arsenal Capital Partners. No financial terms were disclosed.
Logan’s Roadhouse, a Nashville, Tenn.-based chain of casual restaurants, has filed for a $200 million IPO. It plans to trade on the Nasdaq under ticker symbol LGNS, with Credit Suisse serving as lead underwriter. Shareholders include Bruckmann, Rosser, Sherrill & Co., Black Canyon Capital and Performance Equity Management. www.logansroadhouse.com
Blue Equity has sold sports and entertainment platform BEST to Lagardere Unlimited for an undisclosed amount.
Sirion Therapeutics Inc. has sold the assets and U.S. rights for Zirgan, a topical anti-viral for the treatment of corneal ulcers, to Bausch + Lomb. No financial terms were disclosed. Sirion is a Tampa, Fla.-based drug company focused on ophthalmic products. It has raised over $45 million in VC funding from Aisling Capital, Investor Growth Capital, Atlas Venture, Advent International, Bear Sterns Healthcare Value Partners and NovaQuest.
Ventizz Capital Partners has sold Gish Biomedical to Sorin Group (Milan: SRN), for an undisclosed amount. Gish Biomedical is a Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.-based maker of disposable medical devices for cardiovascular surgery.
Six Apart, a San Francisco-based provider of blogging software and services, has acquired NaturalPath Media, an online advertising and media network for sustainable, healthy and conscious lifestyles. No financial terms were disclosed. Six Apart has raised around $22 million in VC funding from August Capital, Focus Ventures and Intel Capital.
Jerusalem Venture Partners has raised $25 million for an annex to the Israel-focused firm’s fourth fund, which originally closed in 2001.
George Carmany, a former Bankers Trust and American Express executive, has joined Essex Woodlands Health Ventures as a senior advisor.
Allan Cook has joined the operating executive board of private equity firm J.F. Lehman & Company. He is the former CEO of UK aerospace and defense company Cobham PLC.
Steven Della Rocca has joined Vestar Capital Partners as a managing director and general counsel. He previously was with the law firm Latham & Watkins.
Colin Ellis has joined the The British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (BVCA) as its chief economist. He previously was the European economist for Daiwa Capital Markets.
Geoffrey Jones has joined Tennenbaum Capital Partners as a principal. He previously was a principal with KKR, where he focused on managing credit investments.
Yabo Lin has joined the Palo Alto office of law firm Sidley Austin LLP as a partner. He previously was a partner with Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP.