07 May 2018 – Tencent Leads $820m Series C for UBTech


Baidu has spun off the likes of Baidu Video and Zuoyebang in recent years, and video streaming platform iQiyi, in which Baidu owned a majority stake, raised $2.25bn in an IPO in March. The latest deal involves the corporate’s financial services subsidiary, Du Xiaoman, which has raised $1.9bn from investors including Taikang, $1bn of which will go straight to Baidu.

Tencent has led an $820m series C round for consumer robotics developer UBTech that valued it at about $5bn.

Online education has been one of the most notable growth areas in China’s VC space and things appear to be heating up. VIPKid, the operator of a tutoring platform that utilises international teachers, is reportedly looking to secure $500m at a $3bn valuation, double that at which it raised money in a Tencent-backed series C round just eight months ago.

Indian insurance comparison portal PolicyBazaar is close to raising $200m in a round that will be led by a $150m investment by SoftBank Vision Fund.

SF Express, the largest player in China’s logistics sector, has invested $100m in Flexport, the operator of a freight services platform that covers land, air and sea along with adjacent services.

SoundHound raised $75m from a corporate-heavy investor group early last year, and now it’s added $100m from Tencent, Daimler, Orange, Midea Group and Hyundai Motor Company at a reported valuation of more than $1bn.

Masterclass, the online education platform equipped with a host of famous teachers, is reportedly on its way to closing a $70m series D round.

Roivant Sciences raised $1.1bn in a SoftBank Vision Fund-led round last August with a brief to develop and launch a series of offshoot companies.

On GUV, Crescendo Biologics, a UK-based immunotherapy developer spun out from University of Cambridge, closed a $70m series B round that featured commercialisation firm IP Group as well as EMBL Ventures, the investment arm of European Molecular Biology Laboratory.


Microsoft Ventures has invested in some 50 companies since it relaunched itself as a corporate venturing vehicle two years ago, but has run into identity trouble with people confusing the unit with the similarly-named network of accelerators its parent continues to run around the world. Its solution has been to rebrand to M12, while the corporate’s accelerator initiative will be renamed Microsoft ScaleUp.

The city government of Jerusalem is looking to launch a $130m venture capital fund to support local biotech startups in areas including medical devices and pharmaceutical technology. The government’s contribution to the vehicle would amount to $5.5m at most, with the remainder supplied by private investors.


Flipkart’s board of directors has approved a deal whereby Walmart will pay approximately $15bn for a 75% stake, according to Bloomberg.

Medtronic spinoff Inspire Medical Systems has gone public in a $108m initial public offering that also represented an exit for Johnson & Johnson.

Consumer electronics and IoT technology provider Xiaomi has officially filed for an initial public offering in Hong Kong that sources told the South China Morning Post will be about $10bn in size, at a valuation of about $100bn.

Laser developer nLight has become the latest tech company to launch a successful IPO, floating above its range to raise $96m.

Mita, a US-based orthopaedic device spinout from University of Colorado, has been acquired by medical technology developer Stryker for an undisclosed sum.

“Funky Chunk” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

16 April 2018 – Ant Financial Reportedly Targeting $150bn Valuation


Ant Financial, Alibaba’s financial services arm, is on its way to becoming the most valuable private VC-backed company ever, having reportedly lined up $3bn in a round that is backed by Singapore state-owned investment firm Temasek and is expected to close at between $8bn to $9bn at a $150bn valuation, almost doubling the previous high set by Uber in 2016.

That news is almost enough to dwarf reports that another Chinese company, group buying platform Pinduoduo, has raised up to $3bn in a round led by Tencent, the internet group that had previously contributed to its $110m series B round two years ago.

Smart electric vehicle developer Xiaopeng Motors secured $348m in funding as recently as January, in a round co-led by Alibaba, Foxconn and IDG Capital, but according to CEO He Xiaopeng the company intends to raise a total of up to $2.7bn over the course of 2018 in order to beef up R&D, manufacturing capabilities, sales and marketing.

China-based bicycle rental service Hellobike has secured about $700m in series E1 funding from investors including conglomerate Fosun and Ant Financial, the financial services affiliate of e-commerce group Alibaba.

SenseTime has raised $600m in an Alibaba-led series C round it claims is the largest ever closed by an artificial intelligence technology developer.

SpaceX, the US-based spacecraft and rocket producer backed by internet and technology group Alphabet, plans to raise $500m of funding at a $23.7bn valuation.

Immuno-oncology drug developer Allogene Therapeutics has launched with $300m in series A financing from investors including Pfizer and University of California’s Office of the Chief Investment Officer of the Regents.

Livongo Health, which has created a platform that helps users deal with chronic health conditions like diabetes and hypertension, has raised $105m in a round featuring corporate venturing units Merck Global Health Innovation Fund, Microsoft Ventures, Zaffre Investments and Echo Health Ventures.

Checkr, a background checking service provider backed by internet and technology conglomerate Alphabet, has received $100m in a series C round led by funds and accounts managed by T. Rowe Price.

Immuno-oncology drug developer Constellation Pharmaceuticals has received $100m in a round featuring GlaxoSmithKline’s SR One unit, increasing its overall equity funding to $229m.


Growth equity firm Conductive Ventures has launched with $100m of capital, all of which has been put up by electronics manufacturer Panasonic.

Unternehmertum Venture Capital (UVC) Partners, the early-stage venture firm affiliated with Technical University of Munich’s tech transfer arm, Unternehmertum, has launched its second fund with more than €82m ($100m) in capital.


Pivotal Software has set the terms for an initial public offering that will net it $530m if it floats at the top of the range.

Another corporate spinout, China-based live game streaming platform Huya, has filed for its own IPO in the US, and has set an initial target of $200m. YY, the social media operator that is Huya’s parent company, still owns 55.5%, while Tencent holds almost 40% after providing about $460m of series B funds for Huya last month.

Secdo, the Israeli developer of a cyber threat detection platform, has agreed to an acquisition by Palo Alto Networks with a $100m price tag, according to Calcalist. RDC, the commercialisation arm of Rafael Advanced Defence Systems, will exit the company through the deal, having co-led its $10m series A round two years ago.

On GUV, C-Sats, healthcare technology spinout from University of Washington, has been acquired by pharmaceutical group Johnson & Johnson for an undisclosed amount.

“Funky Chunk” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

09 April 2018 – Management Approaches to Portfolio

Which camp are you in? In China, it seems, there is Alibaba and there is Tencent.

Alibaba and Tencent account for 40% to 50% of venture capital flows in mainland China, according to data from McKinsey quoted by news provider Financial Times*.

Their approaches, however, seem slightly different at the operational level in how they engage with portfolio companies.


Many of us in the western world may have enjoyed a break over the Easter weekend, but our friends in Asia appear to have powered on as normal. Chief among them is Alibaba, which has confirmed earlier reports that it will acquire Ele.me, the food delivery service in which it already owns a substantial stake (a total of 43% when also accounting for shares owned by Ant Financial), at a valuation of $9.5bn.

Advanced camera producer Lytro shutters business

Spotify may have gone public in an unusual listing and seen its shares rise to more than $149 by closing time, but it is far from the only company seeking its luck on the stock exchanges of the world.

Homology Medicines, a rare disease treatment developer backed by Novartis, raised $165.6m in its IPO on Nasdaq after pricing its shares at $16.

NLight Photonics, a laser technology producer backed by Samsung, has meanwhile filed for an $86.3m IPO on Nasdaq – achieving the rather remarkable feat of securing the ticker symbol LASR.

Alzheon, a developer of treatments for neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease that is backed by Aptus Therapeutics, has set its pricing range at $13 to $15, putting the potential proceeds at nearly $86.3m.

Unum clocks $69m IPO


Coinbase launches investment unit

Sofinnova launches $340m fund


Meituan-Dianping is reportedly in discussions with dockless bicycle rental platform Mobike about an investment.

Paytm Mall has secured $445m in a funding round led by SoftBank which injected $400m.

Alisports scores $190m series A

Instacart, which is handling grocery deliveries to consumers for a long list of retailers, including Whole Foods, Costco and Sam’s Club, has added $150m in series E funding to bring the round’s total to $350m.

Mixpace steps into $63m series B1

Tempest storms to $70m series B

Branch International banks $70m

Abbott spots Bigfoot for $55m series B

Twist wraps up $50m investment

NGP Capital, the venture firm formerly known as Nokia Growth Partners, returned to back WorkFusion’s $50m series E round and bring the automation technology developer’s total funding to $118m.


SiFive receives $50.6m series C instructions

Macrolide slides into $20m series B

“Funky Chunk” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

26 March 2018 – Sir Li Ka-shing to Retire from Two Businesses


Alibaba has provided another $2bn for Lazada, the Southeast Asian e-commerce marketplace it had already invested $2bn in as of June last year.

India-based Oyo Rooms may be the next online services provider to benefit from SoftBank’s largesse, having reportedly entered talks with the corporate, and two unnamed new investors, for a round that is set to be sized between $500m and $800m.

Elsewhere in Asia, hospital and clinic operator Columbia Asia has raised $210m in funding, including $140m from Mitsui, as it prepares to expand to a 45-strong network of healthcare centres by 2025.

European mobile bank operator, N26, has closed a $160m a series C co-led by Tencent and Allianz.

Oxford Nanopore, a spinout from University of Oxford that is developing a range of gene sequencing systems, has secured $140m in funding from investors including GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, Hostplus and China Construction Bank that will fund research and product development and the expansion of its manufacturing facilities.

China-based online wedding services provider Hunliji has secured $65m in a series C round that included Fosun’s corporate venture capital subsidiary, Fosun RZ Capital.


Eight Roads, the venture capital vehicle formed when Fidelity Investments merged its Fidelity Growth Partners Europe, Fidelity Growth Partners Asia and Moonray Investors units in 2015, has launched a $375m third fund.

Yahoo Japan and Sinar Mas have both been fairly active on the investment front, but are seeking to expand their activities by partnering venture firm East Ventures for a $150m early-stage fund that will target Southeast Asia.

No new funds on GUV this week, but on GGV, the Japanese government has announced it has earmarked around $1bn of public money to help fund research into space exploration by new companies.


Media and e-commerce firm Naspers announced on Thursday it intends to sell more than $10bn of shares in Tencent, the China-based internet group in which it invested $32m in 2011.

Salesforce has agreed to pay $6.5bn in cash and stock for publicly-listed software integration specialist Mulesoft, a sum that is more than double the latter’s market cap when it went public a year ago.

US-based data storage and collaboration platform Dropbox floated in a $756m initial public offering on the Nasdaq Global Select Market on Friday, alongside a $100m investment by enterprise software provider Salesforce.

Enterprise cloud security software provider Zscaler has netted $192m in an initial public offering that marks one of the most successful flotations of recent times.

Lundbeck has agreed to acquire Prexton Therapeutics, a central nervous system disorder drug developer spun out of Merck Serono, in a deal that could eventually hit $1.1bn once all milestone and development payments are taken into account.

DocuSign is joining the conveyor belt of unicorns aiming to harness the success of enterprise software providers in the public markets, reportedly filing confidentially for an IPO.

Meituan-Dianping, a China-based local services platform backed by corporates such as Xiami, Fosun and Tencent, has entered discussions about an initial public offering in Hong Kong as soon as this year.

On GUV, we had two acqusitions: Appulse Power, a Canada-based power conversion and management technology developer spun out from University of Toronto, was acquired by semiconductor producer Silanna Semiconductor for an undisclosed amount.

And Emcision, a UK-based surgical instrument developer spun out from Imperial College London, has been acquired by medical device manufacturer Boston Scientific for an undisclosed sum.

“Funky Chunk” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

19 March 2018 – Walmart Discusses Investing $7bn in Flipkart


Big-box retailer Walmart has entered discussions to invest roughly $7bn in India-based e-commerce company Flipkart at a valuation of about $20bn, Bloomberg reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the matter.

JD.com’s financial services spinout, JD Finance, has entered talks with China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation to lead a $2bn funding round that would reportedly value it at between $26bn and $30bn.

Alibaba has also been active this past week, leading an $866m debt and equity round for bicycle rental service Ofo.

Automotive systems producer Magna International has agreed to invest $200m in US-based ride hailing service Lyft as part of a multi-year strategic collaboration deal.

A subsidiary of internet group Baidu has agreed to invest $160m in China-based smart television producer Coocaa, according to a stock exchange filing.

Space launch services provider Spaceflight Industries has raised $150m in funding from investors including Mitsui and Space Alliance, a partnership between satellite companies Thales Alenia Space and Telespazio.

News aggregation app developer Qu Toutiao is aiming to provide a more light-hearted alternative to China’s market leader, Toutiao, and has raised more than $100m in a round led by Tencent to fund its growth.

Prevail Therapeutics is working on gene therapies for neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s, and has raised $75m in a series A round that included Alexandria Venture Investments, the VC arm of life sciences real estate firm Alexandria Real Estate Equities.

Humacyte, an Access Industries-backed developer of tissue-based medical technology for regenerative medicine and vascular surgery, has closed a $75m series C round backed by a range of new and existing investors, most of them unnamed.

Although its investors are yet to exit, Warby Parker has been one of the success stories in the consumer goods space, taking the deluxe own-brand products + online retail + brick-and-mortar showrooms model into the eyewear industry.

On GUV, Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS), a new US-based fusion power technology developer emerging from MIT’s The Engine, has raised $50m in funding from energy supplier Eni.


Mars Petcare, pet food and health subsidiary of packaged food producer Mars, has launched a $100m corporate venturing vehicle called Companion Fund that will be managed by venture firm Digitalis Ventures.

Fast food retailer Zhou Heiya International has formed a $475m retail and consumer-focused investment fund in partnership with Tiantu Capital, the VC and private equity firm that was also one of its pre-IPO investors.


Arcus Biosciences, the immuno-oncology company that had raised more than $225m from investors including GV, Taiho Ventures, Novartis, Celgene and Stanford University, secured $120m when it floated on the NYSE last week.

Dropbox has set the terms for an initial public offering that would raise almost $650m if the company prices its stock at the top end.

Cybersecurity software producer Palo Alto Networks agreed on Wednesday to acquire US-based cloud security technology developer Evident.io for $300m in cash, allowing internet and technology group Alphabet to exit.

“Funky Chunk” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

12 March 2018 – Magic Leap Increases Series D to $963m


In last week’s Big Deal on GCV, news editor Robert Lavine looked at DoorDash, which just got its first corporate investment in a $535m series D round led by SoftBank, almost doubling its valuation in roughly two years.

Augmented reality technology developer Magic Leap has to be one of the most well-funded companies to have never released a product. It has increased its series D round to $963m with $461m from investors including Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which put up $400m, and Axel Springer Digital Ventures.

Elsewhere in online entertainment, game livestreaming has been one of the biggest growth areas in the past year or two, as more companies look to follow Twitch’s lead. China-based Douyu, which has some 30 million daily active users, has secured $630m from Tencent, which has backed it since a $100m series B round two years ago.

Internet company Tencent has agreed to provide approximately $462m in series B funding for Huya, a China-based live game streaming spinout from social media platform Huya.

BBVA has led a $207m round for Atom Bank, the UK-based creator of a mobile-only bank with no physical branches.

Zomato has confirmed reports last month stating that Alibaba’s financial services affiliate Ant Financial had invested $200m.

Credit assessment technology provider Wecash has closed a $160m series D round that was co-led by e-commerce firm Sea and a subsidiary of financial services firm Orix.

UiPath, a developer of software bots that automate mundane enterprise tasks, has raised $135m from investors including CapitalG in a series B round that valued it at $1.1bn.

yKujiale, a China-based virtual reality platform for interior design, has raised $100m in a series D round that included Hearst Ventures, the corporate venturing arm of media group Hearst.

On GUV, TauRx Pharmaceuticals, a Singapore-based Alzheimer’s disease treatment developer spun out from University of Aberdeen, has revealed it secured $71m through a rights issue in October 2017.


Cisco Investments, the corporate venturing arm of networking equipment manufacturer Cisco, has committed an undisclosed amount to venture capital firm IDG Ventures India’s third fund.

Japan-headquartered automotive component maker Aisin Group launched a $50m US-based investment fund on Tuesday in partnership with venture capital firm Fenox Venture Capital. Fenox will manage the fund, with CEO Anis Uzzaman taking a general partner position.

On GUV, University of Montana has become the sole institutional limited partner (LP) in VC firm Next Frontier Capital’s second fund, a $38m vehicle that aims to support high-value Montana industries.


Kensho, an AI data platform based on research at Harvard University and MIT, has meanwhile agreed to an acquisition by one of its investors, S&P Global, for approximately $550m in cash and stock.

Blibli began life as a comics, anime and gaming-themed online community in China, but has grown rapidly off the back of an anime streaming platform that has licensed more titles than any other in the country.

Hua Medicine, a diabetes treatment developer backed by pharmaceutical company WuXi PharmaTech, also intends to raise upwards of $400m in an initial public offering.

Genetic disease therapy developer Homology Medicines has filed to raise up to $100m in an initial public offering that will support the progress of two drug candidates through preclinical trials.

Immuno-oncology drug developer Unum Therapeutics last raised funding in a $65m series B round in 2015, but it’s filed to raise up to $86.3m in an initial public offering.

Go-Jek is still in the process of raising funds for a round it expects to close at $1.5bn, at a $5bn valuation, but company president Andre Soelistyo has met with the Indonesia Stock Exchange to discuss a possible IPO.

“Funky Chunk” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

05 March 2018 – Dropbox Files for $500m IPO


Internet group Tencent has led an $818m series C round for China-based automotive e-commerce platform Chehaoduo. Shougang Fund, an investment branch of steelmaker Shougang, and ICBC International, a subsidiary of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, also took part in the round.

Telecommunications and internet group SoftBank has led a $535m series D round for US-based delivery services provider DoorDash, increasing the company’s overall funding to $722m.

Augmented reality technology developer Magic Leap is raising money at a $6bn valuation and has entered talks with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund over a $400m investment.

Viela Bio has been spun out by MedImmune to develop six of its molecules to create drugs that will fight severe inflammation and autoimmune diseases.

US-based personal genomics marketplace developer Helix has closed the first tranche of a $200m series B round featuring genomics technology provider Illumina and medical research firm Mayo Clinic.

Health management system developer Collective Health raised $110m in funding from a consortium featuring GV, the early-stage investment arm of internet and technology conglomerate Alphabet.

Chinese apartment rental platform Danke Apartment has secured $100m in a series B round that included Bertelsmann Asia Investments.

Working capital marketplace C2FO closed a $100m funding round that was co-led by Allianz X, the digital investment arm of insurance provider Allianz.

ID Quantique (IDQ), a Switzerland-based quantum cryptography spinout from University of Geneva, secured a $65m funding commitment from telecoms firm SK Telecom. ZDNet claimed the corporate will own a majority share of slightly more than 50%.


Denmark-based pharmaceutical firm Novo Holdings has launched a $165m impact investment fund that will back developers of drugs that can combat antimicrobial resistance.

SkyDeck, the startup accelerator run by University of California (UC), Berkeley, closed an oversubscribed $24m fund with capital from LPs including e-commerce group Alibaba. Venture capital firms Sequoia Capital and Mayfair Venture Capital supplied capital along with assorted alumni that participated through various investment vehicles.

Indiana University Research and Technology Corp (IURTC), the commercialisation arm of Indiana University (IU), has launched a $15m evergreen fund to invest in spinouts formed by faculty, students and staff at IU’s campuses.

The House Fund, a venture capital firm focused on companies emerging from University of California (UC) Berkeley, is raising $50m for its second vehicle.

And on GGV, a group of institutional investors have joined forces to create a new $700m investment body called Capital Constellation.


Baidu holds almost 70% of China-based company iQiyi, a platform that combines streaming services similar to those of YouTube and Netflix. It has filed to raise up to $1.5bn in its own IPO, which will take place in the US, with 50% of the proceeds earmarked for content.

One of this year’s biggest tech IPOs is set to be Dropbox, the file storage and sharing platform that was valued at $10bn as of its last round in 2014.

Smart electric vehicle developer Nio has appointed underwriters for an initial public offering expected to be sized between $1bn and $2bn later this year.

It definitely looks as if the IPO market is finally gearing up again for real, with Spotify being another unicorn to file to go public. The filing confirmed that Spotify will not issue any new shares, but its investors will get the chance to sell $1bn of shares that will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Grail, the cancer testing startup launched by Illumina two years ago, is reportedly planning its own IPO and will target Hong Kong, where rule changes are set to come in this year that will make it more hospitable to tech companies.

Alibaba is considering buying out the other investors in Ele.me, the China-based food ordering platform in which it owns a reported 23% stake, according to Bloomberg, in a deal that would value it at $9.5bn.

Online marketplace eBay coul pay $700m to acquire the Japanese business of e-commerce platform Qoo10, in a transaction that would also involve it divesting its stake in Qoo10’s parent company, Giosis.

Rocket Internet has sold another $242m of shares of Delivery Hero, the online food ordering platform for which it provided $568m in funding in 2015.

Qualcomm, American Family and JF Shea are all set to generate returns after smart security tech provider Ring agreed to an acquisition by Amazon, which will pay upwards of $1bn.

“Funky Chunk” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

26 February 2018 – EasyHome Raises Over $2bn


Chinese furniture and home improvement retail chain EasyHome has raised just over $2bn in a round in which Alibaba invested approximately $860m in return for a 15% stake.

Uber could acquire what sources told CNBC would be a sizeable stake in Southeast Asian counterpart Grab through a deal that will involve Grab taking on its local business.

Procept BioRobotics, the developer of an aquablation treatment for a prostate condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia, has secured $118m in a round led by Viking Global Investors.

Harry’s has been one of the two biggest players in the razor blade subscription market, along with Dollar Shave Club, and the Grace Beauty-backed company has raised $112m in a round that will precede an expansion of the business model into areas like personal care items for both sexes as well as baby products and household goods.

Kallyope, a US-based company developing drugs that focus on the gut-brain axis, received $66m in a series B round featuring Illumina Ventures, the corporate venturing subsidiary of genomics technology producer Illumina.

AI data analytics platform SparkCognition has added $24m from investors including corporate venturing units Invenergy Future Fund and CME Ventures to close its series B round at $56.5m.

Glossier, a US-based skincare and beauty product company backed by talent agency William Morris Endeavor (WME), raised $52m in a series C round yesterday co-led by VC firms IVP and Index Ventures.

Financial services provider Power Financial has invested another $51m in robo-advisor operator WealthSimple, taking its total commitment to $165m according to the latter.

Smart glasses developer OrCam has received $30.4m in funding from investors including Clal Insurance at a reported valuation of about $1bn. OrCam, which counts Intel Capital as an earlier investor, is said to be prepping an IPO for 2019 and will aim to raise one more substantial round of funding before then, having so far secured a total of $130m according to Reuters.

On GUV, Liquidia Technologies, a US-based biopharmaceutical spinout from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has raised $25.5m in funding.


SoftBank Vision Fund has already secured some $40bn from Middle Eastern sovereign wealth funds PIF and Mubadala Investment Company, and now the CEO of Bahraini sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat has confirmed it too is in talks to invest.

Cove Fund, a family of seed-stage venture capital funds that invests in companies affiliated with University of California (UC) System, has raised more than $12m for its second fund. The figure represents a first close for Cove Fund II, with a regulatory filing indicating a $15m target size.

Switzerland-headquartered biotechnology and chemicals supplier Lonza Group has formed a corporate venturing fund in partnership with US-based venture capital firm Prolog Ventures.


Flatiron Health agreed to an acquisition by investor Roche in mid-February that will involve the latter paying $1.9bn for the company’s outstanding shares, and much of the attention has understandably been on Roche.

And talking of GV’s recent spate of life sciences exits, it looks like the next one will be Arcus Biosciences. Immuno-oncology therapy developer Arcus has filed for a $100m initial public offering, having previously raised some $227m in VC funding.

Social media company Momo agreed today to acquire China-based social engagement platform Tantan for about $760m, allowing media group Bertelsmann and social network operator YY to exit.

Faceu, the developer of an augmented reality app that allows effects to be overlaid on photos or videos in real time, has reportedly been acquired by mobile news platform Toutiao for $300m.

Enterprise cloud security technology provider Zscaler had raised $148m in funding from investors including the Dell-owned EMC and Alphabet unit CapitalG, and has now filed to raise up to $100m in an initial public offering.

“Funky Chunk” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

19 February 2018 – Wells Fargo-backed Venture Firm NVP Closes $1.5bn Fund


NVP, the Wells Fargo-backed venture firm has closed its largest ever fund, having secured $1.5bn to invest from seed to late stage.

The mobile advertising platform Calldorado App Growth Fund will provide marketing funds for app developers using its software.


Pharmaceutical firm Roche agreed yesterday to acquire cancer research technology provider and portfolio company Flatiron Health, paying $1.9bn for the remainder of the company’s shares.

OpenText has paid an undisclosed sum for file sharing service provider Hightail, which had raised $83m from investors including Western Digital Capital.

Luxury fashion e-commerce platform Farfetch is seeking banks for an initial public offeringthat could take place before the end of this year at a valuation of up to $5bn. Strategic investors in line for an exit in the IPO include media group Condé Nast, a shareholder since 2013, and e-commerce firm JD.com, which invested $397m in the company eight months ago.

China-based Huami produces smart wearable devices such as watches and activity tracking bands for its strategic partner, consumer electronics maker Xiaomi, and has just raised $110m in a US initial public offering. Xiaomi, which invested in the company at series A stage, held a 19.3% stake pre-IPO, and the proceeds will be put toward R&D, sales and marketing.

Video sharing platform AcFun, which had raised at least $110m from backers including Youku Tudou and SoftBank, has shut down its operations.


MIT spinout Twine Health has agreed to an acquisition by Fitbit and will join the wearable device manufacturer’s Health Solutions group.


Lightmatter and Lightelligence both emerged out of MIT earlier this month and are exploiting research into photonic computer chips initially conducted jointly by the respective co-founders.

One company feeling the love is JD Logistics. China-based e-commerce firm JD.com had been running its own logistics for 10 years when it officially formed JD Logistics in April 2017, and the latter is now raising $2.5bn in funding that will help it grow on its own.

Celularity, the placenta-based regenerative therapy developer’s investors include Celgene, United Therapeutics, Sorrento Therapeutics, Human Longevity and Genting.

Kakao Games, a multi-platform game developer spun out of Kakao last year, has raised $130m in a round that included strategic backers Tencent, Netmarble Games, Actozsoft and Bluehole Studio. Tencent provided almost $47m of the funding according to Nikkei, and the proceeds will support international expansion as Kakao Games gears up for its own IPO.

Mastercard has participated in a $71m series C round for Yapstone, a provider of payment processing software for online and mobile marketplaces, which took its total financing to about $180m. Mastercard has been unafraid to invest in big rounds, but this is the largest in which it has featured since June last year, when it contributed to a $300m round for another payment processor, AvidXchange.

Rani Therapeutics has now raised $142m in total, its latest investors including GV, Ping An Ventures, GeneScience, AstraZeneca, Shire and Novartis.

“Funky Chunk” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

12 February 2018 – Ant Financial in Potential $5bn Funding Round


Ant Financial, e-commerce group Alibaba’s financial services affiliate, is reportedly preparing to raise $5bn in funding in a round that will value it at betwen $80bn and $100bn, making it the most valuable VC-backed private company of all time.

Go-Jek has been raising a $1.2bn round over the past six months that already includes JD.com, Tencent, Google and Meituan-Dianping, and now the on-demand ride service is reportedly set to receive up to $290m from e-commerce firm Blibli and industrial conglomerate Astra International in order to increase the round to $1.5bn.

Byton, the smart electric car developer formerly known as Future Mobility, is reportedly in talks with a Chinese state-owned institution to raise between $300m and $400m of funding at a valuation of at least $1.2bn.

Grocery delivery service Instacart is also gearing up to raise funding – up to $250m according to a Delaware securities filing.

Enerkem, a producer of fuels and biochemicals from municipal waste, has raised approximately $224m in its latest round, which included Sinobioway and long-time backer Waste Management of Canada.

Joby Aviation is developing a five-seater electric aircraft that will be able to take off and land vertically, but which is intended to be far quicker than established alternatives like helicopters.

Swiggy is looking to ward off competitors in India’s app-based food delivery sector, such as Zomato and Foodpanda, and has secured $100m in a round led by Naspers Ventures.

Toyota has invested almost $69m in JapanTaxi, a ride hailing app that has signed up about a quarter of Japan’s taxi drivers, as part of a strategic partnership agreement.

AvroBio has raised $60m in a series B round featuring Brace Pharma Capital, the investment firm backed by pharmaceutical company EMS, and will use the proceeds to advance a pipeline of gene therapies for rare diseases.

Broadlink, the China-based developer of a range of connected home products, has secured $54.5m in series D funding from investors including Baidu and Libai. Its past backers include
Qualcomm Ventures, and the company disclosed the funding alongside news that it is preparing an initial public offering in its home country.

Automotive leasing service provider Fair seems like a company on the move. It acquired Uber’s leasing business, Xchange Leasing, last week and has now raised additional funding in a round led by Next47 that included BMW and CreditEase FinTech Investment Fund.

These weren’t the biggest deal on GUV, but they were the most intriguing because it looks as if MIT has spun out two companies that are developing the same technology: Lightmatter, which raised $11m in a series A, and Lightelligence, which secured $10m in a seed round, are developing computer chips that rely on light (or photonic) signals rather than electric signals – boasting orders of magnitude of processing power and having profound implications for data-intensive applications such as AI.


Insurance firm Ping An has emerged as one of the more prominent China-based corporate venturers over the past couple of years and its CVC arm, Ping An Ventures, is now targeting up to $1.3bn in capital for two new funds.

Workday formed its corporate venturing unit, Workday Ventures, in 2015, but the unit has only been sporadically active since. That looks set to change however, with the corporate committing $250m to a Workday Ventures fund that will add AR, VR and blockchain-based enterprise technologies to the AI and machine learning it already targets.

UK-based innovation platform Future Planet Capital has signed a memorandum of understanding with venture capital vehicle Eight Great Technologies Fund (8GT) for an initiative that will invest in British spinouts and companies.

And 4490 Ventures, a US-based venture capital firm co-founded by Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (Warf), has raised $49m for its second fund, according to a regulatory filing.


Acacia Pharma, a UK-based nausea and vomiting treatment developer backed by pharmaceutical firms Lundbeck and Novo, has revealed plans for an initial global offering on the Euronext Brussels market. The company has not disclosed how much it expects to raise in the flotation, which will be conducted as a private placement open to certain institutional and other investors outside the US.

Elastagen, an Australia-based dermatology product manufacturer spun out from University of Sydney, today agreed to an acquisition by pharmaceutical firm Allergan for $95m in an upfront payment.

“Funky Chunk” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0