IBM acquires Momentum Equity-backed Meteorix

IBM has acquired Meteorix, a provider of workday implementation, optimization and integration services for mid-market companies. No financial terms were disclosed. Clearsight Advisors advised Meteorix on the transaction. Meteorix was backed by Momentum Equity Partners. PRESS RELEASE ARMONK, N.Y. – 28 Sep 2015: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced plans to acquire Meteorix LLC, a premier Workday (NYSE: WDAY) services partner, to help companies gain new competitive advantage by aligning people with financial performance and redefine work with the speed and simplicity of cloud-delivered finance and HR services. Executives are under increased pressure to make the best possible decisions faster and with more predictable outcomes to drive growth and competitive advantage. Companies are looking for new ways to attract, engage, develop and support employees amidst the fierce global competition for top talent. Advancements in cloud, mobile, analytics and cognitive computing allow both finance and HR executives to operate with a more complete, real-time picture of their organization. Workday is one of the world’s leading providers of enterprise cloud applications for finance and HR. With an exclusive focus on Workday, Meteorix has cultivated deep expertise and best practices for maximizing returns from the strategic use of Workday applications. Meteorix has more than 200 certified Workday consultants and a track record of success delivering complex, high-value services to multi-national leaders and innovators across a wide range of industries. “The planned acquisition of Meteorix can make IBM one of the leading, most qualified and experienced Workday service providers in the world,” said Bridget van Kralingen, senior vice president, IBM Global Business Services. “It deepens the quality of service to existing Workday clients and dramatically expands our reach to new clients. Meteorix’s Workday implementation experience combined with our industry and transformational expertise as well as the industry’s foremost business analytics capability and leadership in cognitive computing will unlock next-generation employee engagement and productivity while accelerating financial performance.” “We owe Meteorix’s rapid growth and success to the dedication and customer focus of our team as well as our strong commitment to Workday. Once part of IBM, we’ll strengthen our unwavering commitment to customer success while adding global scale, deepening industry and business transformation expertise and tapping IBM innovation,” said Sam Spector, CEO of Meteorix. “The combined expertise of IBM and Meteorix will enable clients to rapidly implement and maximize the value of Workday while transforming their finance and HR capabilities for the future. That’s a win for everyone.” The majority of Workday customers rely on the expertise of service providers that meet Workday’s stringent requirements and are able to align corporate challenges with the capabilities of Workday applications. The planned acquisition of Meteorix will expand IBM’s ability to help clients deploy Workday applications and transform traditional finance and HR. “The combination of IBM and Meteorix will bring significant added value to our customers,” said Aneel Bhusri, co-founder and CEO, Workday. “Meteorix’s deep Workday experience together with the industry expertise of IBM gives our customers a global strategic partner to help them put their finance and HR operations in the cloud and transform their businesses for future growth.” This planned acquisition will build on IBM’s significant investments and research in cloud computing and workforce science. IBM continues to help clients apply behavioral science and world-leading capabilities in advanced analytics, technology integration and psychological principles to drive better business performance. IBM Cloud offers one of the industry’s largest portfolio of software, services, data center solutions and consulting for private, public and hybrid cloud environments. Financial terms and conditions were not released.

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IBM acquires Momentum Equity-backed Meteorix

Payments startup Square Inc plans ‘imminent’ IPO filing -Reuters

(Reuters) – Payments startup Square Inc plans to file for an “imminent” initial public offering, according to a source familiar with the situation, potentially putting it an a position to be a public company by the end-of-year holiday season. Square, which has pioneered the use of instant payments over smartphones, is one of the most richly valued companies in Silicon Valley, worth an estimated $6 billion based on its most recent round of funding. Earlier Friday, Fortune reported that Square would file for an IPO in the next two weeks. A spokesman for Square declined comment. Market turmoil of the type seen in August, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 588 points in a single day, could derail IPO plans. Square has become one of the most scrutinized start-ups in Silicon Valley. Many venture capitalists have privately questioned whether it is really worth the $6 billion valuation. The doubters have cited heavy competition and tight margins in the payments business. An IPO will provide a quick answer to that question, as well as guidance for many of the other private start-up companies dubbed “unicorns,” meaning their valuation is $1 billion or more. CB Insights, a venture-capital tracker, says more than 130 such companies now exist. Overall, the climate for venture-backed IPOs has weakened this year, with just 44 venture-backed companies listing on public markets in the first half of the year, according to the National Venture Capital Association. That compares with 66 in the first half of 2014. Earlier this year, Square had filed for a “confidential” IPO, which lets companies with under $1 billion in annual revenue file registration documents and go through a Securities and Exchange Commission review without public scrutiny. After the review, if the company wishes to continue with an IPO, it makes a public filing. Goldman Sachs will serve as lead underwriter, with Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase also participating, Fortune reported. Square’s IPO comes at a critical time for Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey, who is also interim CEO of Twitter Inc . Dorsey has not dismissed becoming permanent CEO of Twitter while staying at Square, but Twitter’s board has said that its next CEO needs to be solely focused on that company. (Additional reporting by Yasmeen Abutaleb in San Francisco; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli, Bernard Orr and David Gregorio)

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Payments startup Square Inc plans ‘imminent’ IPO filing -Reuters

PE, VC drive return as Harvard endowment treads cautiously

Harvard endowment’s chief executive officer sounded the alarm on high valuations in private equity and venture, even while reporting the private asset classes helped drive the endowment’s overall return. “Private equity valuations are now, on average, at higher levels than in 2007. There are over 80 ‘unicorns,’ as many as in the last three years combined,” Harvard Management Company CEO and President Stephen Blyth said in his annual endowment performance letter, published this month. “Venture capital continues to receive ample funding, and private company valuations are also bolstered by public mutual funds entering later stage funding rounds in significant size. This environment is likely to result in lower future returns than in the recent past,” Blyth wrote. In response to this environment, Harvard is not “over-committing” to illiquid investments, “while still ensuring we will be involved if market dislocations arise,” he wrote. Venture capital proved to be a huge driver of performance for Harvard’s endowment in fiscal 2015, producing a return of 29.6 percent, according to Blyth. Overall, private equity returned 11.8 percent in fiscal 2015, beating its 10.8 percent benchmark. “Several of our venture capital partners delivered outsized returns, in particular in the technology and biotech sectors,” Blyth wrote. Managing Director Richard Hall leads the endowment’s private equity portfolio. The endowment overall returned 5.8 percent, beating its 3.9 percent benchmark. The return is far lower than it was in fiscal 2014, when the endowment posted a 15.4 percent overall return, Reuters reported at the time. The value of the endowment as of June 30 hit an all-time high of $37.6 billion, Blyth said. Going forward, Harvard endowment investment team will explore opportunities around “cross-asset class collaboration,” Blyth wrote. Increasingly, Blyth sees opportunities “on the border” of traditional asset classes, like the real estate market for laboratory space for life sciences companies, which brings in real estate and venture capital focuses. The team also will remain open to new managers and platforms that include transparency, flexibility in investment decisions and reduction in fees, he wrote. Blyth took over as the endowment’s CEO from Jane Mendillo last year. He formerly headed public markets for the endowment. Action Item: Read Blyth’s annual report here: http://bit.ly/1NS2KKJ Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

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PE, VC drive return as Harvard endowment treads cautiously

Aspire Ventures to merge with Yellow Brick Capital Advisers

Aspire Ventures and Yellow Brick Capital Advisers are merging. Financial terms weren’t announced. The new organization will be called Aspire Universal. London-based Yellow Bridge advises high net worth families and individuals. Aspire, of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, backs five to 10 early stage start-ups each year. PRESS RELEASE LANCASTER, PA (PRWEB) SEPTEMBER 24, 2015 Aspire Ventures and Yellow Brick Capital Advisers (UK) announced a pending merger which will allow the two organizations to unlock powerful synergies in expertise and technology under a new umbrella organization to be called Aspire Universal. Both companies share a common mission around investments in transformative companies, powered by Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, and addressing basic human needs like food & water, education, health care, shelter and finance. “Seemingly overnight, whole industries are being transformed by the ‘Internet of Things’ technologies– namely mobile, cloud, and machine learning. While it’s nice that Facebook can give you better mobile recommendations and Amazon has a device you can talk to when you want to restock your paper towels, such change seems to come too slowly to the industries we value most like healthcare, education, and agriculture. Aspire has been designed from the ground up to reduce the time and expense of pursuing start-ups in these important areas and the addition of Yellow Brick dramatically expands the global scope of our efforts,” said Essam Abadir, Aspire Universal Group Manager and CEO of Aspire Ventures. Yellow Brick Capital Advisers (UK) Limited, headquartered in London, brings deep advisory expertise in these investment sectors by providing cutting-edge financial services to a select number of ultra-high net worth families and individuals. “We share Aspire’s vision to invest in technologies that solve the problems of basic human needs,” said Johnathan Kol-Bar, Chairman and CEO of Yellow Brick Capital Advisers. “Our holdings in ventures like PhyTech, Square, Smart Fertilizer, Okeanos and Smart Sparrow align with the Aspire portfolio and create opportunities for those organizations to leverage Aspire’s core technologies for even faster growth.” Aspire Ventures is an innovator in technology platform driven start-up investment model backing 5 to 10 early stage start-ups each year with several million dollars each, license access to the Aspire Community Intellectual Property, the full time involvement of over 70 technology professionals, and working space at its 20,000 sq. ft. venture lab in Pennsylvania. Aspire’s “community” intellectual property includes many of the most advanced fundamental technologies in the areas which drive IoT – mobile, cloud computing, and machine learning. Kol-Bar brings extensive experience to the Aspire team, with more than twenty-five years in the private and investment banking industry. His global expertise and unique investment vision comes from working and living in New York City, London, Switzerland and several countries in South America. He has been the regional Head of Private Banking for several different institutions around the world and maintains an excellent reputation in the industry and among investors. For Kol-Bar, the merger is about Yellow Brick leading the next generation of family offices. “Our clients trust us to provide them access to very unique investment opportunities. This gives us a role helping these ventures to implement shared technologies and grow more quickly. This merger is the final step to building a family office with expertise.” Effective with the merger, Kol-Bar has been named as a Group Director of Aspire Universal, and will continue his duties as Chairman and CEO of Yellow Brick. “One of the many reasons for our early successes has been the diversity of our leadership, particularly at the position of Group Director,” said Sam Abadir, Group Manager of Aspire Universal and CEO of Aspire Ventures. “Johnathan rounds that out even further by bringing us the unique skill set of banking and financial advisory at a very high level. Coupling his expertise with our shared commitment to impact investing ensures our missions are perfectly aligned. We expect this merger to accelerate the growth of both Yellow Brick and Aspire.” Abadir further explained the rebranding under Aspire Universal. “Simply put, our vision has expanded to encompass opportunities beyond what even we envisioned just two years ago. Bringing all of our endeavors under the Aspire Universal name helps to recognize all of our efforts within a single brand.” The merger is expected to close by the end of 2015.

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Aspire Ventures to merge with Yellow Brick Capital Advisers