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DLA Piper advises SalesLoft in its US$100 million Series E financing

DLA Piper represented Atlanta-based start-up SalesLoft in its recent US$100 million Series E financing led by Owl Rock Capital, with participation from Insight Partners, HarbourVest, and Emergence.

SalesLoft’s sales engagement platform helps industry-leading companies generate more revenue and deliver better experiences to their customers. DLA Piper also advised SalesLoft in its US$70 million Series D round in 2019. The company has now raised a total of US$245 million and is valued at US$1.1 billion.

“We were proud to again partner with SalesLoft in its latest financing round, bringing our wide-ranging experience advising high-growth technology companies on complex transactions to achieve a successful result. We look forward to supporting SalesLoft in its success as it expands its customer base and continues to transform the sales industry,” said Jeffrey Leavitt, the DLA Piper partner who led the firm’s deal team.

“Working with Jeff and the DLA Piper team has been a phenomenal experience. The team provides an exceptional level of support and guidance, and their attention to detail and professionalism ensured that closing this financing round was a smooth and efficient process,” said Kyle Porter, CEO of SalesLoft.

“DLA Piper brings a business-oriented approach to every matter they take on, and Jeff’s background as a former VC and entrepreneur himself gives him a unique ability to understand and prioritise the business issues we care about. The firm’s focus and responsiveness was a key factor in helping us secure this funding and move our goals forward. We were extremely pleased to partner with them once again,” said Chad Gold, CFO of SalesLoft.

In addition to Leavitt (Atlanta), the DLA Piper team advising SalesLoft included partners Stacy Paz (Silicon Valley), Julia Kovacs and Jennifer Kashatus (both of Washington, DC); and associates Puja Vadodaria and Mario Bolaños (both of Atlanta).

DLA Piper’s Emerging Growth and Venture Capital practice includes more than 200 lawyers in the US who provide strategic counsel to emerging companies in high-growth industries, including biotech, manufacturing, communications, software and semiconductors. Over the last three years, DLA Piper has completed more than 2,100 financings totalling over US$31 billion.

DLA Piper’s global Technology sector lawyers work across practice areas and offices to support technology clients – from start-ups to fast-growing and mid-market businesses to mature global enterprises – doing business around the world.

Duane Morris launch Meals for Healthcare Heroes program

Duane Morris’ Meals for Healthcare Heroes program provided meals for more than 20,000 medical professionals in 16 cities. Duane Morris’ COVID-19 Strategy Team established the initiative, funded by donations from Duane Morris attorneys and staff, to honour healthcare workers and support local restaurants.

The medical facilities and restaurants included:

  • Atlanta: Piedmont Hospital, Kale Me Crazy
  • Austin: St. David’s Medical Center, Rudy’s
  • Baltimore: University of Maryland Medical Center, Miss Shirley’s
  • Boca Raton: Boca Raton Regional Hospital, Shake Shack
  • Boston: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Saltie Girl
  • Chicago: Saint Anthony Hospital, Wishbone Chicago
  • Houston: Ben Taub Hospital, Los Tios
  • Los Angeles: Memorial Hospital of Gardena, Panda Express
  • Miami: Doctors Hospital – Baptist Health South Florida, Chick-fil-A
  • Newark: Saint Michael’s Medical Center, SuzyQue’s BBQ & Bar
  • New York: Mount Sinai West, Shake Shack
  • Philadelphia: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Murray’s Deli
  • Pittsburgh: UPMC Shadyside, Market Street Grocery
  • San Diego: Stepping Stone of San Diego, Sisters Pizza
  • San Francisco: Laguna Honda Hospital, West of Pecos
  • Wilmington: ChristianaCare, Olympic Subs and Steaks

About the Duane Morris COVID-19 Strategy Team

The Duane Morris COVID-19 Strategy Team advises clients on all aspects of the legal issues and implications of the COVID-19 pandemic including contractual, employment, insurance and healthcare issues. Duane Morris attorneys are fielding inquiries and providing advice in a wide range of areas, including human resources, travel and transportation, immigration and border entry, hospital and healthcare operations, medical and pharmaceutical supply, FDA, food handling and preparation, OSHA, ADA compliance, data privacy, HIPAA, environmental and EPA, international transactions, shipping, supply chain and logistics, financial reporting, insurance liability, real estate issues, including landlord and tenant matters, and all types of contracts and quasi-contracts. Duane Morris has established a blog dedicated to COVID-19 issues and is distributing Alerts and sharing information via webinars and media interviews.

Eversheds supports call for Georgia hate crime legislation

Eversheds Sutherland has signed a letter by the Metro Atlanta Chamber and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce urging the Georgia General Assembly to pass a comprehensive, specific and clear bill against hate crimes in the state of Georgia. Currently, Georgia is one of the few states that does not have such a law in place.

“Our firm values stand against bigotry, hatred and inequality, and we believe the state of Georgia should send the same message by passing a law against hate crimes that protects diverse Georgians – our employees, our clients, and their families,” said Mark D. Wasserman, Co-CEO of Eversheds Sutherland. “Being part of the Georgia business community, we believe in advancing policies that support positive change and are proud to be part of a solution that fights for racial justice and equality.”

Eversheds Sutherland has joined the Metro Atlanta Chamber, the Georgia Chamber of Commerce and more than 60 corporations in support of comprehensive hate crime legislation. Companies interested in joining the growing group should go to www.passhatecrimesga.com where they will find instructions how to join and contact elected officials.

Audax Private Equity announces recapitalisation of the Chartis Group

Audax Private Equity (“Audax”) today announced that it has recapitalised, in partnership with management, The Chartis Group, LLC (“Chartis” or the “Company”). Headquartered in Chicago, IL, and previously a portfolio company of RLH Equity Partners, Chartis is a leading provider of advisory consulting and software analytics to hospitals, health systems, and other healthcare organisations around the world. Founded in 2001, Chartis’ mission is to materially improve the delivery of healthcare by providing thought leadership, advisory, innovation, and analytics services to healthcare organisations. The Chartis management team will continue to lead the Company and, together with the Chartis consultants and employees, maintain a significant ownership position.

Ken Graboys, Chief Executive Officer of Chartis, said, “We are excited to partner with Audax and for the opportunity it provides us to continue to achieve meaningful growth and expand our impact on global healthcare. Audax brings the resources and capital to support the growth of our next generation of practice offerings, and to make strategic acquisitions.”

Young Lee, Managing Director at Audax, said, “Chartis has earned an outstanding reputation in the healthcare consulting industry demonstrated by the transformational results delivered to clients, extraordinarily talented people, and strong firm culture. We are excited to join the team as they continue to build on this success.”

Tim Mack, Managing Director at Audax, said, “We look forward to partnering with the Chartis team as they continue to provide innovation and improvements for healthcare systems, and pursue strategic add-on acquisitions and partnerships.”

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Lincoln International LLC acted as exclusive financial advisor and Winston & Strawn LLP served as legal counsel to Chartis. Ropes & Gray LLP served as counsel to Audax.

About the Chartis Group

The Chartis Group (“Chartis”) provides comprehensive advisory services and analytics to the healthcare industry. With expertise in strategic planning, performance excellence, informatics and technology, and health analytics, Chartis helps leading academic medical centers, integrated delivery networks, children’s hospitals and healthcare service organisations achieve transformative results. Chartis has offices in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, New York, Minneapolis, Portland and San Francisco. For more information, visit https://www.chartis.com/

About Audax Private Equity

Audax Group is a leading alternative investment manager with offices in Boston, New York, and San Francisco. Since its founding in 1999, the firm has raised over $24 billion in capital across its Private Equity and Private Debt businesses. Audax Private Equity has invested over $5 billion in more than 125 platforms and 770 add-on companies. Through its disciplined Buy & Build approach, Audax seeks to help platform companies execute add-on acquisitions that fuel revenue growth, optimise operations, and significantly increase equity value. With more than 240 employees and over 100 investment professionals, the firm is a leading capital partner for North American middle market companies. For more information, visit the Audax Group website https://www.audaxgroup.com/

Business France focused on future, despite stalled negotiations

While the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership hangs in mid-air, Robert Blumel is optimistic about French investments being made in the Southeast U.S. and conversely the potential for Atlanta-based start-ups and small-to-medium sized firms in France and Europe.

Having spent the past three years in Atlanta representing the Business France agency and four years beforehand in New York. Mr. Blumel told Advisory Excellence that he has seen “an increased interest from French companies to expand to the Southeast region and especially Atlanta.”

Business France was founded in 2015 to support the international development of the French economy and is responsible for fostering and supporting growth by French businesses as well as promoting and facilitating international investment in France.

As prime examples, Mr. Blumel cited Groupe PSA, a French multinational manufacturer of automobiles and motorcycles, which opened this year its North American headquarters in Atlanta, and Airbus S.A.S.‘s choice of Atlanta for its commercial drone subsidiary.

Granted PSA’s entry into Atlanta is part of a deliberately conservative foray executed with the use of its technology to determine potential markets for its array of products. Nevertheless it’s success in Europe augurs well for its Atlanta-based initiative.

Airbus’ wholly-owned subsidiary Airbus Aerial aims to sell its services to a wide array of industries in their efforts to capture helpful data from above through the use of drones or satellites.

This year Airbus Aerial received a Crystal Peach award from the Atlanta-based French-American Chamber of Commerce for its investment.

The Crystal Peach Awards ceremony is in its 14th year and other recipients for either inbound investment into the Southeast or outbound investment into France included Imerys, a French multinational firm specialised in the producing and processing of industrial materials.

Last fall Imerys USA Inc. celebrated the opening of its global Science & Technology Centre in Suwanee, Ga., one of nine networked centres around the world for the sharing of ideas, equipment and competencies across Imerys.

Mr. Blumel also pointed to the investments in France by Crystal Peach award winners Invest Asset Management SA/France, a branch of Invesco Ltd., an independent investment management company that is headquartered in Atlanta, and Cognira, a start-up specialized in cognitive retail analytics that received this year’s Crystal Peach entrepreneurship award.

He is especially supportive of Cognira’s entry into France which he has been assisting. “They are growing fast,” he said, acknowledging the role played by Business France in its development there.

“I see Atlanta becoming a vibrant start-up scene with very promising companies,” he added. “I have been identifying start-ups with great ideas, services or products and helping them in their business development strategies in France and in Europe.”

Among his activities as the agency’s director for the Southeast, he said that he is responsible for hosting delegations such as the representatives from 11 French paper company suppliers whom he introduced recently to South-eastern paper and board manufacturers.

He also has been selected to participate on juries such as those choosing companies for the Atlanta-Toulouse start-up exchange in 2016 and 2017, the Young Enterprise Initiative in 2016, a start-up competition organized by the French embassy in Washington, and the Crystal Peach Awards committee.

Additionally, he arranged for the CEOs of United Parcel Service Inc., AGCO Corp. and the Coca-Cola Co. to participate in the French International Business Summit held in January that drew to Versailles 140 of the leading executives of the world’s largest firms to learn first hand from French President Emmanuel Macron and the prime minister, Edouard Philippe, France’s desires for international investment.

Whatever delays negotiations over TTIP or tariffs may impose on French-U.S. business relations, Mr. Blumel said that at the local level cross-investment is progressing at a gallop, especially for start-ups and SMEs on both sides of the Atlantic.

“Atlanta-based start-ups are hot,” he said. “And Business France can help them in their business development in Europe and France.”

Mr. Blumel may be reached by email [email protected] or calling 347-567-1140.

Which U.S. cities are most popular amongst start-ups?

After a slump amid the Great Recession, more and more start-ups are emerging and entrepreneurship has been on the rise since 2011. From creating jobs to boosting the economy, with this rise comes a number of benefits. People often associate entrepreneurs and start-ups with Silicon Valley, if not New York City or Boston, because a disproportionate share of venture capital investments flow to start-ups based in those cities. However, other metropolitan areas have been experiencing some under-the-radar growth.

Over the past year, 26 metropolitan areas across the country experienced a boost in growing start-ups, and the areas that saw the most substantial growth were Atlanta, Indianapolis and Portland, according to the Kauffman Foundation’s recently released its 2017 Index of Growth Entrepreneurship. The findings reveal not only how entrepreneurship is growing across the U.S., but where.

To rank the cities, the researchers took three factors into account: start-up growth rate, share of scale-ups and high-growth company density. Both start-up growth rate and share of scale-ups are employment-based measurements, and share of scaleups refers to companies that grew to 50 employees or more in less than 10 years of operation. High-growth company density, which is the only revenue-based measure of the study, looks at the proportion of “high-growth” companies — private companies that have at least $2 million in revenue and a minimum 20 percent growth over a three-year period — in a certain area.

So, wonder which cities have been bustling in the start-up scene? Look no further. Here are the top 10 cities with the most entrepreneurial activity, according to this year’s Kauffman Index of Growth Entrepreneurship.

1. Washington, DC

Washington, DC, has the best cumulative score across start-up growth rate, share of scale-ups and high-growth company density. Compared to the other 39 largest U.S. cities, the D.C. area has the highest density of high-growth companies. In other words, it’s the area with the largest proportion of businesses that earn more than $2 million in annual revenue and have seen 20 percent revenue growth over the past three years. In a recent survey of start-ups in D.C., 217 respondents said they planned to hire more than 1,000 people collectively in 2017.

2. Austin

Coming in second is the southern city of Austin. However, this is not very surprising, because Austin is recognized for being an entrepreneurial hub and also came in second place in last year’s Kauffman Index. The number of employees at an Austin company grows an average of 85 percent in the company’s first five years of operation. Austin also has the second-highest density of high-growth companies.

3. Columbus

Moving up a slot from last year, Columbus, Ohio, takes the bronze for the most entrepreneurial activity, according to the index. That’s largely because start-ups grow an average of 96 percent in their first five years, in terms of employment. While it’s not a usual suspect when it comes to the start-up scene, Columbus has the highest share of scale-ups of any city, at 2.5 percent. That means that around 25 out of every 1,000 Columbus firms founded in the past 10 years have scaled to at least 50 or more employees since they launched.

4. Nashville

Music isn’t the only thing Nashville should be famous for. Turns out, it’s also a bustling start-up city. Moving up a rank since last year, the southern city has a 95.6 percent start-up growth rate: The number of employees at a Nashville company grows an average of 95.6 percent in the company’s first five years. That’s on top of a 2.09 percent share of scale-ups, meaning about 209 of every 10,000 businesses in this area grows to 50 employees within its first decade.

5. Atlanta

Yet another southern city to make it into the index’s top 10 is Atlanta. In fact, just in the past year, Atlanta has seen major entrepreneurial action, moving up a whopping 10 slots from 2016, when it ranked 15th. That’s because employment at Atlanta new companies grows by an average of 112.6 percent in their first five years. The city also has a fairly large high-growth company density at 191.4 — that’s the number of companies out of 100,000 with annual revenues more than $2 million (and growing by 20 percent over a three-year period).

6. San Jose

Not a shocker, but important to note: San Jose is number six on this year’s list of the top 10 cities, moving down three slots since last year. While there’s still plenty going on in this area in terms of start-ups and venture capital investment, the city may have seen a drop because of a relatively low high-growth company density of 94.4 (out of 100,000). Its proportion of fast-growing companies with annual revenues of at least $2 million was lower than many other cities on the list.

7. San Francisco

Another not-so-shocking Bay Area addition to the list is San Francisco. This metropolitan area (which includes Oakland and Fremont, Calif.) saw the largest proportion of venture capital-backed business exits over the past year compared to other major cities, meaning there are a large number of what Kauffman identifies as “growth companies” in San Francisco and the East Bay. According to the study, venture exits include IPOs, acquisitions and buyouts. Meanwhile, the area has the fourth-highest rate of start-up growth, with an average employment growth rate of 106.9 percent within a start-up’s first five years.

8. Boston

Basically the Silicon Valley of the East Coast, Boston has also long been recognized as a very entrepreneurial city. That’s why it’s no surprise that it made the cut for this year’s top 10. Although it’s moved down two spots since 2016, Boston ranks fourth in terms of cities with the highest density of venture capital-backed business exits. Major companies that got their start in the city of Boston include Liberty Mutual, Marshalls, Samuel Adams and Timberland, to name a few.

9. Minneapolis

Shuffling from 16th place last year to ninth place this year, Minneapolis has the highest rate of start-up growth of any major U.S. city, with an average employment growth rate of 121.3 percent within a start-up’s first five years. The city is also home to the University of Minnesota, whose venture program has helped launched more than 100 companies in the past decade (82 percent of which are still in business), and last year alone helped give life to 17 new businesses.

10. Indianapolis

Also seeing a big improvement since 2016, Indianapolis moved up 10 places from 20th to 10th on the Kauffman list over the past year. Especially when it comes to tech, Indiana is seeing some major activity. According to a recent report by PwC, in 2016 alone, the state saw a total of 23 deals with a combined total of $51.5 million in fundraising just by new technology companies. When you extend beyond just tech, these numbers are even larger. Plus, according to Kauffman, about 220 of every 10,000 businesses in Indianapolis grows to 50 employees within its first decade.