BLPA’s Rearview Mirror: Incompetent Comcast

BLPA’s Rearview Mirror

Incompetent Comcast

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Flickr: frank1030
Flickr: frank1030

I had great hopes that Comcast may have entered the modern era, but those hopes were completely and utterly dashed to smithereens this past week. In case you were unaware, cable companies, Comcast being a case in point, have always had the reputation of being technology Neanderthals. The rep is that they know how to pull cable and send out bills, but don’t go near them with a semiconductor device or software, and expect them to be in the least bit knowledgeable.

If you’ve been following our saga, it all started with lightening striking the Comcast box near the street—obliterating our electronic home system completely and totally. Nada. Complete new equipment, complete reboot. All due to a lack of grounding of the Comcast cable that went underground from the street to our basement. Gone was our music system, our home lighting system, the ADT security system, our basement dehumidifier and our TinCanTalk VOIP system.

Three weeks later, the system seemed to be reassembled, but for our surround sound music system. We rarely watch television, so we were unaware of the lack of the music system. We have an older TV that has only one HDMI port, so we moved to a HDMI switch. That operated fine, until we got our new Comcast box. The Comcast serviceman didn’t understand this simple system. He ripped out the audio cable, breaking, and thus disabling the television sound ports. No cable connection: No stereo sound.

At first we thought we merely needed a new cable, which would be painful due to the snaking required in back of the fireplace, but do-able. We did it once, we can do it again. However, with a sound port broken—it’s SOL. And Comcast wants to charge us for the service calls. Excuse me? How can a company so big be so incompetent.

Turns out, I’m reading The Up Side of Down, and Megan McArdle goes to great pains to show how once innovative companies like GM become stupid, ignorant, head-in-the-sand entities. It doesn’t solve my Comcast problem, but it’s worth reading.

Mergers & Acquisitions

(23 transactions)

Click on the highlighted text for more deal information.

It looks like big companies are in the strategic acquisition hunt. Yahoo!, LinkedIn, Google, Teradata, Twitter, Walmart labs and Palantir Technologies all announced acquisitions this week. That’s quite a list, and a lot of activity.

Large companies used to say that small acquisitions were meaningless to them. How can a million dollar company have any impact on a multi-billion dollar behemoth. Strategic technologies change everything.


Netherlands-based Quintiq, which specializes in supply chain planning, is being acquired by Dassault Systemes for $337m.

Axeda, which provides the most advanced cloud-based service and software for managing connected products and machines and implementing innovative Machine-to-Machine (M2M) and Internet of Things (IoT) applications, is being acquired by PTC for $170m.

Israel-based Genieo Innovation, which creates personalized home pages that include advertising, is being acquired by Somoto for $34m. Somoto offers a variety of installers that help to monetize downloadable programs.

Hadapt, which provides cheap scalable storage and a batch processing system, is being acquired by Teradata.

Revelytix, which provides tools for Big Data analytics, is being accrued by Teradata.

Propeller, which lets users create their own apps, is being acquired by Palantir Technologies.

Security password startup Mitro is being acquired by Twitter.

drawElements is being acquired by Google.


Social analytics specialist Poptip is being acquired by Palantir Technologies.

Luvocracy, which helps you “discover share and shop the things you luv”is being acquired by Walmart Labs.

Icebergs“Pinterest for creative types”is being acquired by Pinterest. Icebergs focus is content organization.


Flurry which helps brands and agencies connect with consumers and was acquired by Yahoo! for $200m.

Bizo, which B2B marketers use to connect with target prospects, is being acquired by LinkedIn for $175m.


Swell, a sort of Pandora for podcasts, is being acquired by Apple for $30m.

Booklamp, a system for matching readers and books, is being acquired by Apple.


Twitch, the worlds leading video platform and community for gamers, is being acquired by Google for $1.0b.

Sifteo, maker of Sifteo Cubes for kids, is being acquired by 3D Robotics. They strongly hint at drones in their future.


Viator, which is a website which helps you discover and ticket activities at locations that you visit, is being acquired by TripAdvisor for $200m. However, the destination selection is very, very limited.

Real Estate

Real-estate site, Trulia, is being acquired by Zillow for $3.5b.


Trunk Club, which offers hand selected clothing for men, is being acquired by Nordstrom for $350m.

Gyft, “the easiest way to redeem, send, manage and buy gift cards”[1] is being acquired by First Data Corporation.


Baxter International’s vaccine unit is being acquired by Pfizer for $635m.

Visualase, which enables MRI-guided laser surgery, is being acquired by Medtronic for $105m.

Private Placements[2]

[46 transactions]


Mobile gaming company Kabam raised a $120m Series E round from Alibaba.


Urban Compass, which “helps you find great neighborhoods and places to live in New York City”[3] raised a $40m Series B round.

The leading on-call scheduling and alert company, PagerDuty raised a $27m Series B round.

BlueStacks, which brings your favorite mobile apps to your PC, Mac and TV, raised $13m.

Moogsoft, which focuses on service assurance, raised an $11m Series B round.

Timehop, which created an app that lets you know your photos, tweets, postings of the who-what-when of one year ago, raised a $10m Series B round.

ParkWhiz, which “helps you find the cheapest, closest lot”[4] in New York City and Chicago, raised a $10m Series B round.


GetYourGuide, a tourism startup, raised a $25m Series B round.


Intent Media, which enables e-commerce sites to turn customer intent into new revenue streams and connects advertisers with huge markets of interested buyers, raised a $23m Series C.

SmartZip Analytics, which is the national leader in real estate analytics and predictive marketing, raised a $12m Series B round.

Quantifind, which hosts an analytics platform forecasts consumer actions in the real world, raised $12m.


Jet, started by Marc Lore, founder of, which was purchased by Amazon, raised $55m. All that is known is that Jet will be retail oriented.

thredUP, an online consignment shop of brand name clothing, raised a $23m Series D round.

Threadflip, “From vintage to Vuitton, shop women’s fashion at deep discounts. Turn your closet into a dynamic boutique.”[5] raised a $13m Series B round.

Online costume jewelry retailer BaubleBar raised a $10m Series B round.


Epic Sciences, a personalized cancer therapeutics company, raised a $30m Series C round.

Augmenix, which uses hydrogels to improve outcomes in radiation oncology, raised an $11m Series D round.


Nanosatellite company Spire raised a $25m Series A round.

Nextnav, which addresses the indoor positioning problem with mobile devices, raised a $70m Series D round.


iTOK, which provides remote tech support for home computers, raised an $18m Series B round.


AppDyanamics, which offers an Application Performance Management (APM) solution that can monitor, troubleshoot, and diagnose problems in mission-critical apps, raised a $70m Series E round.

Deem, which delivers Commerce-as-a Service to businesses, raised $50m.

Hortonworks, “the enterprise Hadoop platform that unlocks the value of your Big Data,”[6] raised a $50m Series D round. (Any relationship to Canada’s Tim Hortons and their donuts?) HP was the major investor

LogRhythm, a security intelligence provider, raised a $40m Series E round. “The company’s patented and award-winning Security Intelligence Platform, unifying SIEM, log management, file integrity monitoring, network forensics and host forensics, empowers organizations around the globe to detect and respond to breaches and the most sophisticated cyber threats of today, faster and with greater accuracy than ever before.”[7]

Taulia, which provides cloud-based invoice, payment and dynamic discounting management solutions that revolutionize the way businesses interact and partner with each other, raised a $27m Series D round.

Trello, a collaborative project management tool, raised a $10m Series A round.

Intigua, a software tool that virtualizes your entire management stack, raised a $10m Series B round.


Green Charge Networks, a smart grid company that enables company to lower their energy usage through smart energy storage, raised a $56m round.

Solexel, which is developing high-efficiency, low-cost, crystalline silicon solar photovoltaic cells and modules (PV modules)”[8] raised a $31m Series D round.

Financial Services

Chicago-based AvantCredit, an online personal loans company, raised a $75m Series C round.

Airware,which is building the Aerial Information Platform for the development and safe operation of commercial drones, raised a $25m Series B round.

ICx Technologies, a company that manufactures sensors that detect and identify chemical, biological, radiological and explosive materials, raised $25m.


Secoo, which bills itself as delivering “authentic”luxury goods, raised a $100m Series D round. The site also runs many, many flash sales. Areas serviced are China, Hong Kong and Japan,

Rong360 , which assists in finding and applying for online loans, raised a $60m Series C round.

Beijing-based Yuantiku, an online education platform which provides students with exercises on smartphones and tablets, raised a $15m Series C round (China).

Chinese mobile game company raised a $10m Series B round from Sequoia capital.

Chinese money network, Dianwoba, raised a $10m Series B round.


Flipkart, India’s answer to, raised a $1.0b Series G round.

Knowlarity, India’s largest cloud telephony company, raised a $16m Series B round.

Intiqua, custom software IT shop, raised a $10m Series B round.


Offering service in 27 countries in South America, Africa and Asia, Easy Taxi raised a $409m Series D round.


Mobile ad platform company, Supersonic, raised a $15m Series B round. It is expanding to China, Japan and India.


eGym, which provides an app to provide you with a training plan, document your workouts, and collect points to compare yourself with your friends”raised a $15m round.


Toronto-based Cloud accounting software company, FreshBooks, raised a $30m Series A round.


Social Point, which makes online games for Facebook and mobile devices, raised a $30m Series C round.


Quandoo,the world’s market locator for local services such as dining, hair salons, or paintball, raised a $25m round.


All the best,

Margaret Johns

Founder & Chairman

Affiliates: SiVal_Logo

Jan Robertson

SiVal Advisors, LLC





Bic Stevens

Stevens Capital Advisors



Susan 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.


[2] TechCrunch, WSJ, Company websites