BLPA Rearview Mirror: Catch Up Edition 1.0 — early July, 2014

Rearview Mirror

For Early July, 2014

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Note:  This blog is a week old, as our network, computers and printers just got back on-line.  Sort of.


Mermaids & P-town
Mermaids & P-town

These past two weeks have been more than a little bit stressful.  First there was the IRS information request—try explaining your business to someone in a totally different industry.  Daisy chaining information.  From QuickBooks to bank statements to receipt piles to contracts to FINRA membership agreements.  I always thought my business was pretty straight forward until I had to explain it in excruciating detail.

And then there was Hurricane Arthur, whose remnants totally rained out July 4th.  The precursor was an incredibly lively and powerful thunderstorm.  The lightening took the unlikely path underground from our cable box to our basement, where it fried the broadband modem and our router, along with some ethernet cables.  Instead of the last mile problem, we had the last foot problem.  First, the cable multiplexer was fried—which had to be replaced so that the new broadband modem could receive a signal.  Then, while ethernet switch box was good, the cables were fried.  And it took three days to figure all this out.

We are technology enthusiasts and like to practice what we preach:  as a result, we have a somewhat connected home, with scheduled lighting, centralized music, SONOS speakers, and an alarm system.  Kaput.  Everything.  For music, we had to revert to a 2005 era iPod, with a direct connection to the tinny JBL speaker.  Talk about going back in time. . .

The cable serviceman visited us on Sunday, and an interesting tidbit was his recommendation of the X1 platform.  Forward, onward.

Earnings and the Market[1]

(Please click on company name for the earnings announcement and the company’s symbol for the stock chart.)

On July 3rd, the unemployment rate slipped to 6.1 percent with 288,000 jobs being created.  The only problem is that these jobs are on the low end of the spectrum.  Unfortunately, the job market isn’t improving for the long-term unemployed.  Of course, more healthy job reports and we will likely see the Fed increase rates.

“This is the rally that no one respects, ”JJ Kinahan, chief strategist at TD Ameritrade, told the Wall Street Journal.  The gains are propelled by low interest rates and geopolitical tension in the Middle East , and the Ukraine, rather than enthusiasm over the outlook for corporate profits.[2]

And then there’s the continued furor on Facebook’s (FB:  Nasdaq) social experiments.  While somewhat benign, there is something rather creepy about having Facebook personnel toy with the wording of remarks in your stream.

Paychex (PAYX:  Nasdaq) reported fourth-quarter earnings of $145.9m or $0.40 per share from $123.5m or $0.34 per share.


(4 transactions)

Click on the Company Name for the S-1 filing and the Company Symbol for the stock chart.


Globelmmune (GBIM:  Nasdaq) sold 1.5m shares at $10 per share, raising $15m at a valuation of $51.36m.  The stock closed the week at $14.79 per share.

We are a biopharmaceutical company established in 1995 focused on developing products for the treatment of cancer and infectious diseases based on our proprietary Tarmogen®platform. Tarmogens activate the immune system by stimulating a subset of white blood cells called T cells that destroy infected or malignant cells, in contrast to traditional vaccines which predominately stimulate antibody production. We believe that our Tarmogen platform has applicability to a number of diseases, and may enable us to develop a broad portfolio of products. We have four Tarmogen product candidates in clinical evaluation for infectious disease and multiple cancer indications.[4]

Minerva Neurosciences (NERV:  Nasdaq) sold 5.5m shares at $6.00 per share, raising $33m at a valuation of $101m.  The stock closed the week at $6.61 per share.

We are a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of a portfolio of product candidates to treat patients suffering from central nervous system, or CNS, diseases. Leveraging our domain expertise, we have acquired or in-licensed four development-stage proprietary compounds that we believe have innovative mechanisms of action with potentially positive therapeutic profiles. Our lead product candidates are MIN-101, a compound we are developing for the treatment of patients with schizophrenia, and MIN-117, a compound we are developing for the treatment of patients suffering from major depressive disorder, or MDD. In addition, our portfolio includes MIN-202, a compound we are co-developing for the treatment of patients suffering from primary and secondary insomnia, and MIN-301, a compound we are developing for the treatment of patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease. We believe our innovative product candidates have significant potential to transform the lives of a large number of affected patients and their families who are currently not well-served by available therapies in each of their respective indications.[5]


MOKO Social Media (MOKO:  Nasdaq) sold 1.1m shares at $7.50 per share, raising $8.25m at a valuation of $108m.  The stock closed the week at $7.04.

Moko Social Media (“MOKO”or “we”) began as a company engaged in the development of proprietary mobile social community platforms and mobile content sales in Australia in 2004. During the following eight years, we expanded beyond Australia to the United Kingdom, United States and parts of South-East Asia, leveraging our platform’s proprietary network architecture with a range of capabilities, including Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Data Mining, Moderation (censorship), Billing, Advertising Placement, Performance Monitoring, and Content Management.[6]


The Michaels Companies\ (MIK:  Nasdaq) sold 27.8m shares at $17 per share, raising $473m at a valuation of $3.45b.  The stock closed the week at $16.60 per share.

With 1,262 stores (consisting of 1,144 Michaels stores and 118 Aaron Brothers stores) as of May 3, 2014 and approximately $4.6 billion in sales in fiscal 2013, Michaels is the largest arts and crafts specialty retailer in North America based on store count. We also operate a market-leading vertically-integrated custom framing business. Our mission is to inspire and enable customer creativity, create a fun and rewarding place to work, foster meaningful connections with our communities and lead the industry in growth and innovation.


GoPro (GPRO:  Nasdaq) sold 17.8m shares at $24.00 per share, raising $427m at a valuation of $2.95b.  The stock closed the week at $38.84 per share.

GoPro is transforming the way consumers capture, manage, share and enjoy meaningful life experiences. We do this by enabling people to capture compelling, immersive photo and video content of themselves participating in their favorite activities. Our customers include some of the world’s most active and passionate people. The volume and quality of their shared GoPro content, coupled with their enthusiasm for our brand, are virally driving awareness and demand for our products. To date, we have generated substantially all of our revenue from the sale of our cameras and accessories and we believe that the growing adoption of our capture devices and the engaging content they enable, position GoPro to become an exciting new media company.[7]

Mergers & Acquisitions[8]

(8 transactions)

Please click on the highlighted text to read more information on the transaction.


TapCommerce, a global leader in mobile retargeting, was acquired by Twitter for $100m.

Grow Mobile, a mobile advertising platform, is being acquired by Perion for $42m.

Predictive Edge, an A/B testing service, was acquired by Dropbox.

Songza, a music search engine and internet jukebox, was acquired by Google.

tweetTV, a tweeting rewards platform, was acquired by


Ulthera, a global medical device company focused on using its ultrasound platform, is being acquired by Merz for $600m.

Small Bone Innovations is being acquired by Stryker for $375m.


Carbon Design Group, an industrial and product design group, is being acquired by Oculus VR.

Private Placements[9]

(28 transactions)

Please click on the highlighted text to read more information on the transaction.

Software/Communication/Video Tools

MapR Technologies, which is the leader in Apache Hadoop technology for Big Data deployments, raised $80m.

Video startup, Vessel, raised $75m.  All we know if that the founder is out of Hulu.

Couchbase, which provides “the world’s most complete, most scalable and best performing NoSQL database,”raised $60m in a Series E round.

Business telephony automation startup, mCube, raised $37m in a  Series C round.

PLUMgrid, which developed a OpenStack Networking Suite, raised $16m in a Series B round.

Hansoft, an agile tool for developing next generation software products, raised a $10m Series A round.

Big Data/Analytics/Marketing

Databricks , which has developed a next generation Big Data platform, raised $33m in a Series B round.

IgnitionOne, which offers a digital market suite, raised a $20m Series B round.

Data analytics company, Keen IO, raised $11m in a Series A.


CTERA Networks, which provides cloud storage enablement for enterprises, service providers and SMB resellers, raised $25m in a Series C.

Racemi, which offers a cloud migration path from physical or virtual servers into the cloud, raised $10m in a Series C.

Financial Services

UK-based, on-line investment manager, Nutmeg, raised $32m in a Series B round.

Osper, a prepaid credit card for kids, raised $10m.


Tastemade, a type of curated on-line Food Network, raised $25m in a Series C round.


Simply Hired, which allows you to search jobs from company sites, job boards and the web, raised $12m in a Series D.

Drybar, which does blowouts (for hair), raised $20m.

Truveris, a RFP platform for brokers and consultants, raised $13m.


Streetline, which helps you mange parking in your city, raised $10m in a Series D round.

Yik Yak, a local bulletin board with a component of anonymity, raised a $10m Series A round.


Learning Management System (“LMS”), Schoology, raised $15m in a Series C round.

Fingerprint, a mobile play and learn app, raised $11m in a Series B round.


Next Step Living, a home energy efficiency company, raised $25m in a Series D round.

HzO, a nanotechnology company that offers next generation solutions to protect electronic devices and components from damage caused by water, other corrosive liquids, humidity, sweat, dust and debris, raised $20m in a Series B round.

Gridco, which develops power management solutions for electric utilities, raised $12m.


Chloe + Isabel, a fashion jewelry lifestyle brand, raised a $15m Series C round.


DC Devices, which develops and manufactures medical equipment for the treatment of heart failure, raised $34m in a Series D.

OMsignal, which makes biometric smart wear, raised $10m in a Series A round.


UK-based BlaBlaCar, an app-based ride sharing service, raised $100m in a Series C.


That’s it, till our next Catch-Up Edition.

All the best,

Margaret Johns

Founder, BlueLake Partners, LLC

SiVal_LogoJan Robertson

SiVal Advisors, LLC





Bic Stevenson

Stevenson Capital Advisors

Chartworth2Susan Woods and Vlad Harris


Margaret Johns is the Founder and Chairman of BlueLake Partners, a boutique M&A investment bank based in the Greater Boston Area.  Prior to founding BlueLake she was an employee founder and Managing Director at Needham & Company where she worked in Corporate Finance in New York City and headed up its Boston office.  She now lives in Londonderry, New Hampshire with her husband, 16 year old step-daughter and three pugs.  When she’s not working with clients, FINRA or writing blogs she competes on the Granite State Penguins Masters Swim Team, skis, rides her bike or is out walking her pugs.


Content researched, edited and reviewed on a best efforts basis.


We make no claim to being comprehensive in our review, as the contents are companies and topics we, ourselves, find of interest.


This newsletter is currently being proofed by Dave Henshaw, which is much appreciated. Dave is my USMS swimming lane mate, and Granite State Penguin team-mate.  He is retired from MIT, where he used to produce and proof their annual financial report.  Exactly what we need.


[1] WSJ Moneybeat June 30 – July 3, 2014

[2] WSJ June 30, 2014.

[3] Renaissance Capital

[4] GlobeImmune S-1

[5] Minerva Neurosciences S-1

[6] MOKO Social Media S-1

[7] GoPro S-1

[8] TechCrunch, WSJ, websites

[9] Techcrunch, company websites