The Daily Startup: Market Turbulence Puts Biotech IPOs in Question

A nearly three-month slide in the biotechnology market is prompting some venture capitalists to wonder if drug startups’ sprint to the Nasdaq will slow to a crawl, Brian Gormley reports for Dow Jones VentureWire. Since late July, the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index has slipped nearly 23% amid a general market decline and the fallout from Turing Pharmaceuticals AG’s decision to hike the price of a rare-disease drug–a decision the company has since reversed.

The slide forced venture-backed Mirna Therapeutics Inc., NovoCure Ltd. and Edge Therapeutics Inc. to cut their offering prices before going public last week. On Tuesday, Aclaris Therapeutics priced below its initial range.

ALSO IN TODAY’S VENTUREWIRE (subscription required):

Fundraising by venture capital firms declined in the third fiscal quarter of 2015 and is lagging both the second quarter of this year and the same period of 2014 by double-digit percentage points, according to data from industry Dow Jones LP Source.

Gumbug Ltd., a new mobile gaming studio headed by veterans from Space Ape Games Ltd. and Mind Candy Ltd., has raised $700,000 in seed funding from London Venture Partners, which was an investor that supported gaming powerhouse Supercell Oy.

Netsertive Inc., a digital marketing intelligence startup, has raised a $15 million Series C round. The funding was provided by new investor River Cities Capital Funds.

Dwellable Inc., a mobile vacation rentals marketplace, has been acquired by publicly traded HomeAway Inc.

(VentureWire is a daily newsletter with comprehensive analysis of all the investments, deals and personnel moves involving startups and their venture backers. For a two-week trial, visit, scroll to the bottom and click “try for free.”)


Pure Storage Falls Below IPO Price in Debut. The Pure Storage Inc. initial public offering was being looked to as a bellwether for technology startup IPOs for fall, and its debut may signal a difficult time ahead, The Wall Street Journal’s Corrie Driebusch and Telis Demos report. The company’s shares priced at $17 per share and ended the day at $16.01.

FanDuel, DraftKings Ban Employees From Playing Daily Fantasy Contests for Money. Daily fantasy-sports sites FanDuel Inc. and DraftKings Inc. have banned employees from playing in daily contests for money in the wake of the scrutiny about how much internal data their employees have access to, the WSJ’s Sarah E. Needleman and Sharon Terlep report. The startups, both of which are valued at more than $1 billion by private investors, also enlisted attorneys to review their internal policies after it came out that employees of each site had won jackpots on other daily fantasy-sports sites.

Pandora to Buy Ticketfly for $450 Million. Internet radio company Pandora Media Inc. has agreed to acquire San Francisco ticketing company Ticketfly Inc., for $450 million in stock and cash, the WSJ’s Hannah Karp reports. TicketFly was backed by investors that include Riverwood Capital, Contour Venture Partners , Cross Creek Capital, Mohr Davidow Ventures , Northgate Capital, Primary Ventures (formerly High Peaks Venture Partners) and Sapphire Ventures.

Write to Mike Billings at Follow him on Twitter at @mbillings