15 April 2019 – Uber Files for IPO

Big ones

As you all surely know by now, Uber filed for its long awaited initial public offering on Thursday, confirming that its largest investor is SoftBank Vision Fund, which owns more than 16% of its shares, while Alphabet, which has increasingly been rivalling the ride hailing company in the autonomous driving technology space, holds a stake sized at just over 5%.

Grab had raised a mammoth $4.5bn for its series H round as of last month, but it said it hadn’t closed the round and now revealed that it is shooting for a $6.5bn final close. Our frequent listeners may remember that the ride hailing platform had originally set a $3bn target for the round, but Vision Fund invested a further $1.46bn and is expected to return for the extension.

Taikang Insurance is not one of China’s most fervent corporate venturers but it has managed to score three IPO exits in the past year, and is now linking up with the city of Wuhan to form a $3bn healthcare-focused fund.

And on the university side, we have Inozyme Pharma, a developer of drugs that will combat the calcification of the body’s kidneys and vascular system. The Yale University spinout has secured $67m in a series A2 round featuring two corporates – Novo and Sanofi Ventures.

Deals

Traveloka has reportedly secured $420m in funding from Singapore’s GIC and existing investors that were undisclosed but which probably included Expedia and JD.com.

The digital insurance sector continues to go from strength to strength, with Lemonade the latest to raise money, netting $300m in series D funding at a reported valuation in excess of $2bn.

Tourism activities booking platform Klook has secured $225m in a series D-plus round led by SoftBank Vision Fund that has been added to the $200m in series D financing it closed in October.

Branch International has created a mobile-first financial services platform tailored for use in emerging markets, and it has raised $170m in a series C round that was co-led by Visa.

Funds

Japanese bank Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group already operates a venture capital firm, Mitsubishi UFJ Capital, but is now getting further into strategic investing, setting up a $180m fund called MUFG Innovation Partners.

Exits

Fashion-focused social commerce platform Poshmark has raised almost $160m in funding and was reportedly valued at about $600m when it last raised money, nearly 18 months ago.

SoYoung, a Chinese booking and reviews platform for cosmetic procedures, has already filed for an IPO in the US and is looking to raise $150m.

Private equity firm Bridgepoint has sealed the acquisition of a majority stake in cloud accounting software provider Kyriba, paying $160m. The transaction valued Kyriba at $1.2bn according to the company, but it has not revealed whether BridgePoint was an existing backer or whether the $160m constituted a separate investment to a secondary share purchase.

Private jet provider Vista Global has agreed to acquire customised charter jet service JetSmarter for an undisclosed amount in an all-share deal that will allow JetEdge to exit.


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

08 April 2019 – Cambridge Innovation Capital Collates $196m in New Capital

The Big Three

The fresh capital, anchored by University of Cambridge and its Endowment Fund, will enable patient capital-orientated vehicle Cambridge Innovation Capital to make new bets and sustain investments in its existing portfolio. Delighted Tony Raven joining us to share more at the Symposium as well as his peers at Oxford university.

Intel Capital has announced 14 investments (see below), the largest of which involved it leading a $150m series B round for artificial intelligence application platform SambaNova. The round also featured GV, which had previously co-led a $56m series A announced when SambaNova emerged from stealth early last year.

Precision Biosciences has gone public in a $126m IPO that valued it at more than $780m, notching up exits for Amgen Ventures and Baxter Ventures. The genome editing technology developer floated in the middle of its range but its share price has since risen, and the offering comes after more than $175m in equity and convertible note financing.

Funds

After nearly two years, SoftBank Vision Fund still hasn’t officially reached its $100bn targeted close, but it is reportedly seeking $15bn in extra capital that will allow it to keep making investments, including follow-on investments, while it prepares to raise a second $100bn fund. It may have to do it sooner rather than later, because sources told Bloomberg it has now gone through 70% of its capital and it’s investing at a breakneck pace.

Pet food and care provider Mars Petcare has launched a $100m strategic investment fund, the Companion Fund, in connection with its creation of an open innovation unit called Kinship.

Chevron Technology Ventures checks $90m for Fund VII

Corporates buy into ByFounders’ $112m debut fund

Okta verifies $50m corporate venturing fund

UT Health San Antonio loads biomedical accelerator

UTokyo IPC ignites accelerator

Exits

Thoma Bravo fires off Mailgun acquisition

TradingView takes in TradeIt

Chinese social media influencer network Ruhnn has gone public in the US, raising $125m. Weibo bought $8m of shares in the Alibaba-backed company through the IPO, which involved Ruhnn floating in the middle of its range.

NGM Biopharmaceuticals secured $107m when it floated, together with $65.9m from existing backer and development partner Merck & Co through a private placement.

Slack has reportedly selected the New York Stock Exchange as the venue for a direct listing slated to take place in June or July. The enterprise collaboration platform is backed by SoftBank Vision Fund, GV and Comcast Ventures and was valued at more than $7bn as of last year.

Life360 circles Australia for $100m IPO

Oxford Nanopore sets sights on IPO

Deals

Hellobike raised more than $580m from backers including Ant Financial at the tail end of last year and is reportedly seeking $500m to $1bn in new funding. It claims to have 200 million registered users but either way, you’d think it’s going to have to find a route to profit sooner or later in order to survive.

India-based Zoomcar operates in another part of the transport tech space, in on-demand car rental. It is also gearing up for a big leap forward, negotiating with carmaker Mahindra & Mahindra for a $500m debt and equity round that would potentially take it into unicorn territory, representing a sixfold increase in valuation between rounds.

Toast, the developer of a point-of-sale and business management software platform for the restaurant industry, has secured $250m in series E funding at a $2.7bn valuation.

Customer data management platform Segment has secured $175m in a series D roundco-led by GV that valued it at $1.5bn. The round increased Segment’s funding to $284m to date, and it follows a $64m round nearly two years ago that was also co-led by GV. The proceeds will go to marketing and a global expansion drive.

Indian grocery e-commerce platform BigBasket is meanwhile in the process of raising $150m at a valuation of about $1.2bn, according to regulatory filings. Existing investor Alibaba is set to provide $50m and will retain a 26.2% stake post-investment, maintaining its position as BigBasket’s largest shareholder.

SpringWorks blossoms with $125m series B

Fusion gets reaction in $105m series B

Gene editing tool provider Inscripta has raised a further $20m to increase its series C round to approximately $106m.

Hotel room booking platform Oyo has confirmed it has raised funding from Airbnb, an investment reportedly sized somewhere between the $100m and $200m mark.

University

NextGen Jane nets $9m in series A funding


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

01 April 2019 – Uber to Acquire Careem for $1.4bn

The Big Three

Uber has confirmed it will acquire Careem, its biggest rival in the Middle Eastern market, for $1.4bn in cash and $1.7bn in convertible notes. The price will mark a significant uptick on the reported $2bn valuation at which Careem last raised money, and a lot more than that for Saudi Telecom, which supplied the company’s $1.7m seed funding back in 2013 through its STC fund managed by Iris Capital, which fortuitously hosted its corporate day at the Eiffel Tower on the day it was announced (and which helped make the after-party go with a swing).

But it’s notable to see five large deals involving Tencent in the week after its financial results: Ke.com, Yipinshengxian, MiningLamp, Airwallex and Shuidi.

JD.com for its annual results for last year noted an “increase in investment in equity investees and investment securities of RMB22bn [$3.3bn]”.

Exits

McDonald’s is also making a sizeable acquisition, having agreed to pay more than $300m to buy Dynamic Yield, a developer of machine learning technology that will make its drive-thru kiosks more intelligent.

Kyriba to score $160m in acquisition deal

Lyft has raised a huge $2.34bn in its initial public offering, floating at the top of its range having extended that range upwards on Wednesday. The IPO valued the company at more than $24bn and should prove somewhat of a vindication for those who invested big money in the ride hailing space when some onlookers suggested it was overvalued.

The year’s biggest IPO will almost certainly be Lyft peer Uber’s, but Pinterest has finally filed for an initial public offering expected to value it at some $12bn. T

Zoom comes face to face with $100m IPO

Hookipa looks to public markets

Turning Point to face IPO moment of truth

Deals

Reports earlier this week revealed mattress producer Casper is getting ready to begin prepping its IPO, but in the meantime it’s raised $100m at a reported $1.1bn valuation.

Paytm owner One97 Communications is reportedly in discussions to raise as much as $2bn in funding from a consortium that will include existing backers SoftBank Vision Fund and Ant Financial, at a valuation of $16bn to $18bn.

Elsewhere in the transport sector, Leap Motor, one of several China-based electric car developers to emerge in the past five years in the wake of Tesla’s success, is reportedly looking to raise approximately $372m in what would be its series B round.

Connected robot developer CloudMinds is in the process of raising $300m in funding and has so far secured SoftBank Vision Fund as an investor in the round.

Delhivery picks up another $413m

Lidar technology developer Innoviz Technologies is a bit further along in the fundraising process, having nailed down $132m in a series C round that includes Phoenix Insurance and Harel Insurance Investments and Financial Services.

Mobvoi looks to mobilise $100m

SoftBank feels out PharmEasy for $100m round

University

Hyalex extricates $33m in series A

Inivata invites investors to series B

Volta charges up $180m fund with corporate help


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

25 March 2019 – Lyft Set to Raise $1.9 – $2.1bn in IPO

The Big Ones

The week kicked off with a long-awaited big one: on-demand ride provider Lyft set the terms for its IPO on Monday and is set to raise between $1.9bn and $2.1bn in an offering that will potentially value it at almost $23bn.

A consortium including Suning, Tencent, Alibaba Chongqing Changan Automobile, Dongfeng Motor and FAW have that will focus on mobility technology and in particular ride hailing.

OneWeb recently launched the first six satellites that will make up part of a constellation which will provide high-speed internet to remote areas. It has also raised a further $1.25bn in a round that included existing investors SoftBank, Qualcomm and Grupo Salinas.

On GUV, we’ve had a new spinout – Sherlock Biosciences – that isn’t so much noteworthy for the size of its series A – which currently stands at $17.5m, plus another $17.5m in grant funding – but for who its nine scientific founders are, a group of nine academic researchers the caliber of which we’ve seldom seen in a single spinout. They include, to name but two, none other than MIT’s Feng Zhang, the professor who patented the Crispr technology in 2014 (though there’s a legal battle with UC Berkeley which had filed a few months earlier but didn’t pay for fast tracking), and David Walt, who also co-founded the biotech giant Illumina, whose market cap stands at nearly $47bn.

Deals

Flexible electronics display developer Royole Group is said to be prepping its IPO, but will reportedly first look to raise about $1bn in funding at a valuation of near $8bn.

UiPath, the creator of a robotics processing automation platform, has so far raised $550m in funding from investors including CapitalG, the Alphabet subsidiary that used to be known as Google Capital, but it’s reportedly now chasing a further $400m.

Carmakers Hyundai and Kia combined to invest $250m in Grab late last year, and have now combined again to provide $300m of funding for another Asian ride hailing platform, India-based Ola.

Property trading services platform OneDoor has closed a $300m round backed by Lennar, SoftBank Vision Fund, GV and Access Technology Ventures at a $3.8bn valuation.

Legend Capital-backed mobile commerce platform Wish may be a long way from profitability, but it looks like it can still raise money. Wish, reportedly valued at $8.5bn in late 2017, is in negotiations with prospective investors including General Atlantic to raise $300m at a reported $11bn pre-money valuation.

Marqeta is also seeking funding at a unicorn valuation, having filed to raise $250m at a valuation of nearly $1.9bn. Visa, CreditEase and Commerzbank are all among the existing investors in Marqeta, the developer of a service that allows businesses to issue their own payment cards and process payments.

Elsewhere in Asia, India-based online video streaming platform HotStar has secured $153m from 21st Century Fox subsidiaries Star India and Star US.

Airbnb is in talks to invest $100m to $200m in another short-term accommodation platform, Oyo, which was valued at $5bn as of a $1bn round it closed last month.

Cosmetics brand Glossier is the e-commerce sectors’ newest unicorn, raising $100m in a Sequoia Capital-led series D round that valued it at $1.2bn.

Funds

Hanwha Asset Management, an investment subsidiary of diversified South Korea-based conglomerate Hanwha, has joined venture capital firm Golden Gate Ventures to raise $200m for an investment partnership.

NewMargin Ventures, a China-based investment firm backed by food producer Kerry Group and telecommunications equipment provider Motorola Solutions, has reached the first close of a RMB10bn ($1.48bn) fund.

Coffeehouse chain Starbucks provided $100m for US-based investment firm Valor Equity Partners’ Valor Siren Ventures I fund yesterday as the vehicle’s cornerstone investor. The fund has a target size of $400m and will seek the remaining $300m from additional strategic partners and institutional investors over the coming months.

Exits

SenseTime has long been rumoured to be joining the IPO queue, and now its chief rival in China’s facial recognition space, Megvii, is reportedly looking to raise $800m in an offering that could take place in the US or Hong Kong.

Alcon, the eyecare subsidiary of pharmaceutical company Novartis, has agreed to acquire portfolio company PowerVision in a $285m deal that will also enable Johnson & Johnson and Medtronic to exit.

Fastly, the content delivery platform developer that counts OATV, Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners and Swisscom Ventures as investors, has begun hiring underwriters for an IPO that could reportedly value it in excess of $1bn.

On GUV, NervGen Pharma, a Canada-based developer of nerve damage therapies based on Case Western Reserve University research, has completed an initial public offering (IPO) which raised gross proceeds of C$10m ($7.5m).


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

18 March 2019 – Uber Lines Up $1bn in External Capital

The Big Ones

Uber is lining up at least $1bn in external capital for its autonomous car division. SoftBank Vision Fund and Toyota, both of which are already investors in Uber itself, are among the consortium that is in advanced talks to supply the cash. Uber is reportedly seeking a $5bn to $10bn valuation in the round.

Waymo has been operating as part of Alphabet predecessor Google since 2009 and was established as a dedicated subsidiary in 2016. Now, the autonomous driving technology developer is seeking external funding for the first time, and while we don’t know a figure quie yet, it will reportedly be at a valuation far higher than the $15bn it was said to be valued at in the past.

SoftBank revealed in January that it was relaunching its SoftBank Ventures Korea unit as SoftBank Ventures Asia with an expanded remit to invest in the US and Europe as well as all over Asia, and now its CEO JP Lee has revealed that it will also make use of a $500m capital injection.

Deals

Film and TV studio STX Entertainment launched in 2014, raising an undisclosed amount in a Tencent and PCCW-backed round two years later at a $1.5bn valuation. Now, it’s added $700m in debt and equity financing from private equity investors that will fund the expansion of its film production rate as well as strategic acquisitions.

SIG subsidiary Susquehanna Growth Equity is part of a group of investors that have spent $280m to buy shares in work management software provider WorkFront through a secondary share purchase. The company had previously raised $95m in equity financing, and SGE director Martin Anger will take a board seat in conjunction with its investment.

Content delivery network operator Cloudflare has meanwhile raised $150m in a Franklin Templeton-led series E round that took its overall funding to $332m.

Indian freight shipping marketplace BlackBuck has been raising money for its latest round since October and has reportedly set a $100m to $150m target for its close.

Kaplan-backed educational content provider Newsela has meanwhile received $50m from TCV in the form of a series C investment.

Funds

Harvard University has announced a partnership with investment firm Deerfield Management to launch a $100m research and development initiative that will focus on the development and translation of biomedical and life science research.

Exits

Cannabis producer and services provider Verano has agreed to an $850m all-share acquisition by competitor Harvest Health and Recreation, in a deal that will qualify as an exit for cannabinoid therapy developer Scythian Biosciences.

Application delivery technology provider Nginx has raised a little over $100m in funding but has agreed to a $670m acquisition by F5 that will enable Telstra Ventures to exit.

Salesforce Ventures and M12 are set to exit machine learning software developer Figure Eight in an acquisition by AI dataset provider Appen that may total $300m.

Africa-focused online marketplace Jumia has filed for a $100m initial public offering in the US that would follow flotations by other Rocket Internet-founded e-commerce platforms.

Abiomed and Trudell Medical-backed Shockwave Medical, the developer of a calcification treatment system, has raised $97m in its initial public offering.


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

11 March 2019 – SoftBank Announces $5bn Latin America SoftBank Innovation Fund

The big ones

SoftBank, SoftBank, SoftBank. It feels like that’s all we’re talking about on this podcast, and that shows no sign of stopping, as the telecoms and internet group has taken the wrapper off a $5bn vehicle dubbed SoftBank Innovation Fund which will focus on Latin American deals.

After all these years, ride hailing still looks to be the area of the VC world where the big bucks are going, and Grab has boosted its series H round to $4.5bn with a $1.46bn investment by SoftBank Vision Fund.

Lyft has become the first of the ride hailing companies to file for an IPO, setting an initial target of $100m. Rakuten is the largest investor in Lyft, valued at some $15bn last year, while Alphabet and GM also own decent-sized stakes, but the greatest attention may be paid to its finances.

Beam Therapeutics, a genetic medicine developer spun out of Harvard University, has followed up an $87m series A round in mid-2018 with a $135m series B featuring GV that will go to recruitment, technology development and the expansion of its base editing programs.

Deals

Go-Jek is meanwhile said to be valued at about $9.5bn, and has raised $100m from conglomerate Astra International as part of a round it intends to close at around $3bn.

Chinese smart electric vehicle producer WM Motor has raised $446m in a series C round led by existing investor Baidu, with which WM is also partnering in order to further develop its AI technology in a bid to bring self-driving vehicles to market in the next three years.

Vision Fund, which really is having an insanely busy month even by its own high standards, has also invested $350m to lead a $395m series F round for last-mile logistics provider Delhivery.

Mobile bank Chime has also reached unicorn status, tripling its valuation to $1.5bn with a $200m series D round led by DST Global.

Digital insurance startup Friday has received $128m in funding on, suitably enough, the Friday before last, with the majority of the cash coming from insurance holding company Baloise Group, which founded the company at the start of 2017 and which remains its majority shareholder.

Funds

SoftBank Vision Fund has been the biggest growth-stage investor of the past two years and if anything its activity is ramping up, the unit having made nine or 10-digit investments in Nuro, Chehaoduo, Flexport, DoorDash and Clutter in the past month.

Healthcare investment firm Gilde Healthcare has had a long-term partnership with Philips, which has backed several of its funds, while Johnson & Johnson has also been a corporate LP for the firm.

Contrary Capital, a university-focused venture firm with connections to dozens of US institutions, aims to raise $35m for its second vehicle from pooled investment funds, according to a regulatory filing published Wednesday.

Exits

Biogen has offered to pay $25.50 in cash per share to pay a total of approximately $800m for Nightstar Therapeutics, a spinout of University of Oxford that went public back in 2017.

Social media company YY owned almost 32% of livestreaming platform developer Bigo after leading its $272m series D round last June, and now it’s paid $1.45bn to complete the acquisition by purchasing the remainder of its shares.

Online classifieds operator 58 has revealed it sold $713m of its shares in automotive e-commerce platform Chehaoduo to an investor likely to be SoftBank Vision Fund, which invested $1.5bn in Chehaoduo last week.

China-based Ruhnn is three years old and pursuing a very ‘now’ business model, operating a network of social media influencers that can be hired for promotions or marketing, and has filed to raise up to $200m in an IPO in the US.

Data management platform developer DataStax has hired underwriters to work on its own IPO, according to Reuters, and is seeking a $1bn valuation.

Precision BioSciences, a US-based genomic medicine spinout of Duke University, has 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

04 March 2019 – Honda, Panasonic and Omron Become Limited Partners in NordicNinja VC’s First Fund

Big 3

Charles Conn and Patrick Pichette will join Oxford Sciences Innovation to become chief executive and chairman, respectively, with founder Dave Norwood retiring.

Honda, Panasonic and Omron are among the limited partners of NordicNinja VC’s inaugural fund, which will focus on deep tech and help northern European startups expand into Asia.

Novartis has joined forces with Blackstone Life Sciences to launch cardiovascular drug developer Anthos Therapeutics.

Deals

Reports earlier this month suggested SoftBank Vision Fund was considering a large investment in automotive e-commerce platform Chehaoduo and today the company confirmed it secured a commitment for $1.5bn from the telecoms giant.

AI chip developer Horizon Robotics added $600m to its coffers today thanks to two subsidiaries of conglomerate SK Group – SK China and SK Hynix – as well as several unnamed Chinese carmakers.

Danke Apartment, the Chinese company that splits existing flats for families into smaller units and rents them out to young professionals, has collected $500m in a series C round co-led by Ant Financial and Tiger Global Management.

Coinbase raised $300m in series E capital back in October but now reports have emerged that GIC, the sovereign wealth fund of Singapore, was part of that round too. T

GV has meanwhile helped launch Maze Therapeutics by contributing to a $191m funding round that also featured Alexandria Venture Investments. Maze, which has three preclinical candidates in its pipeline, will exploit genetic modifiers – genes that affect the severity of a disease – to tackle a variety of diseases, though it’s keeping shtum about what those are for now.

Ÿnsect is aiming to tackle environmental issues in the food supply chain by breeding mealworms and using them as the basis for fish feed, pet food and fertiliser, and now the company has added sugar producer Finasucre to its shareholders following a $125m series C round.

Motif Ingredients has been spun out of biotech firm Ginkgo Bioworks with $90m in series A capital from investors including merchant firm Louis Dreyfus Company and dairy cooperative Fonterra.

Exits

Spark Therapeutics publicly listed in 2015 and is set to net Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia up to $458m following its acquisition by Roche.

Reports about Uber wanting to merge its Middle East operations with those of Careem go back to July last year, but it looks like the deal’s closure is approaching fast and with a higher price tag attached – $3bn in cash and shares instead of the initially reported $2bn to $2.5bn. I

A (possible) exit of a different kind came for Motorola Solutions Venture Capital, whose portfolio company GoCanvas has attracted $150m from K1 Investment Management in what has widely been billed as a majority stake purchase.

CStone Pharmaceuticals, a China-based biopharmaceutical company backed by Taikang and WuXi PharmaTech, raised $285m in its IPO and achieved a valuation of $1.5bn after selling shares to both Hong Kong and international investors.

Zoom, the video conferencing platform backed by Qualcomm, is inching ever closer to a long-rumoured initial public offering and it looks like April is the current target.

Tiger Brokers, an online brokerage backed by consumer electronics company Xiaomi and digital brokerage Interactive Brokers Group, meanwhile filed for a $150m initial public offering on Nasdaq.

Digital brokerage Futu has meanwhile revised its initial public offering plans and now hopes to raise up to $150m when it lists on the Nasdaq Global Market.

Centogene scents IPO

Funds

EU-owned institutions including the EIF are pouring capital and assistance into an early-stage tech transfer vehicle for the Fraunhofer network of applied research institutes.


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

25 February 2019 – LPs Express Concern in SoftBank Vision Fund

Big stories

Reports earlier in the week claimed some of the LPs in SoftBank Vision Fund have concerns about its centralised decision making and the high prices it has paid in its investments, but that doesn’t mean it’s slowing down. Vision Fund has led a $1bn round for shipping marketplace Flexport at a $3.2bn valuation, investing alongside backers including SF Express, the round taking its total funding to more than $1.3bn.

Allianz’s digital investment arm, Allianz X, has made roughly 15 investments but that portfolio, which includes unicorns Go-Jek and N26, has been enough to help convince it to boost the unit’s capital reserves from €430m to €1bn (which equates to more than $1.1bn). Other factors would be the way in which Allianz X informs its parent’s ongoing move toward a digital business model, and the side deals and joint ventures it has sealed with portfolio companies.

On the IPO front, Pinterest has reportedly filed confidentially for an initial public offering it expects will take place at a valuation in excess of $12bn. The Rakuten-backed social media platform has beefed up revenue significantly in recent years, boosting advertising while also ramping up its commerce options. It will form part of a coterie of decacorns (that’s a valuation of $10bn+) set to float in 2019.

Deals

Reports the week before last stating that Amazon and GM were set to invest in electric truck developer Rivian Automotive at a 10-figure valuation, and those reports have turned out to be half right. Amazon has led a $700m round for Rivian that also featured existing backers likely to include corporates Abdul Latif Jameel and Sumitomo, but GM is yet to make its move, though the carmaker reportedly remains in talks over either an investment or a collaboration agreement.

Vision Fund has also invested in last-mile consumer goods delivery service DoorDash, as part of a $400m series F round that valued it at $7.1bn.

On-demand logistics service provider Lalamove has meanwhile secured $300m in a series D round that valued it at more than $1bn.

In another part of the logistics sector, SoftBank Vision Fund has led a $200m series D round for on-demand personal storage service Clutter at a $600m valuation and is taking a board set in the process.

Online property transaction platform OpenDoor is seeking its own nine-figure round, and is reportedly after $200m that will be raised at a $3.7bn valuation.

Arvelle Therapeutics initially revealed it had spun off from Axovant with more than $100m in funding, but the lead investor in the series A round, LSP, has revealed it was $180m in size.

Retailer Clas Ohlson paid $26m for a 10% stake in Sweden-based online grocer MatHem in 2017 and may have already scored an exit. Investment firm Kinnevik has invested $42.5m in the company while also acquiring $53.5m of shares from existing shareholders through a secondary deal.

Funds

Abu Dhabi’s investment vehicle, Mubadala, provided $15bn for SoftBank’s Vision Fund in 2017 and now it looks like the corporate has exchanged the favour, so to speak.

It’s not quite a fund, but universities in Maryland have supported a potential $16m state government program intended to spur local innovation in the cybersecurity and the life sciences sectors.

Another one that isn’t quite a fund but worth mentioning: Mars Innovation, the commercialisation firm focused on the Toronto cluster, has hired three lobbyists with StrategyCorp to lobby the federal government about “tens of millions of funding”.

Exits

Ucommune has emerged as WeWork’s key competitor, particularly in Asia, and has reportedly hired banks to prepare an initial public offering slated to take place in New York that is expected to value it at about $3bn.

Slack launched its Slack Fund in 2015 and it looks like it’s set to potentially make its first exit, after Palo Alto Networks agreed to acquire cybersecurity orchestration platform developer Demisto for $560m in a cash-and-stock deal that will also enable fellow CVC Wipro Ventures to exit.

SoYoung investors are set for a different kind of exit, after the Chinese cosmetic surgery booking and reviews platform filed confidentially to raise up to $300m in an initial public offering in the US.


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

18 February 2019 – Mitsubishi Takes 20% Ovo Energy Stake for $256m

Big 3

Mitsubishi Corporation has paid $256m for a 20% stake in energy retailer and smart systems provider Ovo Energy, which plans to use the funding as the basis for an expansion from Germany and its home country of the UK into markets such as France, Australia and Spain. Ovo’s investors also include Mayfair Equity Partners, which acquired a 15% stake in 2015, but its founder and CEO remains its majority shareholder.

Evonik launched its first corporate venturing fund in 2012 with €100m of capital and now, six years on, it’s added €150m ($170m) in the form of a second fund.

Allied Minds prepares cost reductions

Deals

SoftBank Vision Fund has already gone big when it comes to autonomous driving, pumping some $2.25bn into Cruise Automation last year, and it’s now invested $940m in Nuro, the creator of a driverless vehicle designed for deliveries.

Ride hailing service Didi Chuxing has invested $100m in short-term accommodation booking platform Oyo, allowing the latter to close a $1bn round that valued it at $5bn.

Go-Jek is a little further along, the Southeast Asian ride hailing service having raised $1bn from investors including Google, Tencent, JD.com and Mitsubishi two weeks ago.

Two or three years ago it looked as if the e-commerce space may have been heading for some rough times (remember Fab.com?), but the sector looks to have largely steadied since then. Zillingo is the latest e-commerce marketplace to have raised sizeable funding, pulling in $226m in a series D round featuring long-term backer Burda Principal Investments. The round valued it at $970m and increased its overall funding to more than $300m.

Cancer diagnostics technology developer Burning Rock has completed a $126m series C round backed by corporate venturing unit Lilly Asia Ventures, which is in the process of raising its fifth fund (see below).

Six Fintech Ventures, the VC arm of banking services provider Six, has led a series A round for Tradeplus24, the operator of a service that provides debt financing to small businesses insured against account receivables, that was sized at approximately $119m.

Arvelle arrives with $100m

Reddit has meanwhile confirmed a TechCrunch report from last week that stated Tencent was about to lead a $300m round for the social posting platform, which has some 330 million monthly active users but which reportedly generated less than $90m of revenue in 2018.

University

Nuvaira shares $79m series E news

Recida rolls out from Frazier Healthcare

Exits

Euclid goes to WeWork in acquisition

DMP maps out Ushr acquisition

Stanford-backed Eero connects to Amazon

Harpoon snags public markets listing

Nan Fung fund Pivotal Beta was among the investors that provided $100m in convertible note financing for Stealth BioTherapeutics, developer of treatments for conditions related to mitochondrial dysfunction.

Huya went public in the US nine months ago, and now another Chinese livestreaming platform, Douyu, plans to make a similar move, confidentially filing to raise up to $500min a US IPO.

Peloton Interactive has now sold some 400,000 of its $2,000 advanced exercise bikes, which work in tandem with a subscription-based interactive workout service.

Funds

Evonik launched its first corporate venturing fund in 2012 with €100m of capital and now, six years on, it’s added €150m ($170m) in the form of a second fund.

Lilly Asia Ventures lifts $40m for fifth fund

MML seeks corporate commitments for second fund

Morgan Creek mines $40m fund


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

11 February 2019 – Tencent and the Gaming Industry

Big Three

General Electric’s corporate venturing unit is launching a content portal called Flux to help companies overcome barriers to diversity and inclusiveness.

In game-industry deal-making, there’s Tencent, then there’s everyone else. As a sign of both financial muscle and the need to expand beyond core markets given the effective closing of the Chinese market to new games in 2018, Tencent was either a major shareholder in or investor in four of the top five deals last year that saw record $5.7bn invested in startups, according to Digi-Capital’s Q1 report by Tim Merrell.

SoftBank chief executive Masayoshi Son has said he wants the corporate to eventually raise several iterations of its Vision Fund, and it may have to, considering the vehicle, which is yet to reach its initial $100bn target, has reportedly passed the halfway point in terms of capital allocated.

Deals

Chinese automotive e-commerce platform Guazi could well be the next investment target for SoftBank Vision Fund, which is reportedly in talks to invest up to $1.5bn at an $8.5bn pre-money valuation.

Autonomous driving technology developer Aurora Interactive was formed by alumni of Google, Uber and Tesla’s driverless software units, and has made a big move by raising $530m from investors including Amazon.

OakNorth, a digital bank that caters to both consumers and business customers, has meanwhile become SoftBank Vision Fund’s latest portfolio company.

Electric scooter and e-bike rental service Lime has completed a $310m series D round co-led by GV, whose parent company Alphabet also participated.

Microsoft has invested in Databricks as part of a $250m series E round that valued the big data analytics technology producer at $2.75bn, more than two years after forming a partnership to create a version of its software specifically for Microsoft’s Azure platform.

Zomato has meanwhile received $39.7m from Glade Brook Capital and added it to the $210m invested by Ant Financial in October for a funding round that now stands at about $250m, and which reports last month suggested could potentially reach $1bn.

Raisin puts $114m in its account

Emerging Markets Property Group, the online real estate listings operator whose key brand is Bayut, has raised $100m in series D funding from investors including Exor Seeds, the $100m fund formed by reinsurance company PartnerRe and its parent, Exor.

Healthcare data software provider Health Catalyst on the other hand is valued at about $1bn following a $100m series F round backed by corporate venturing vehicles UPMC Enterprises and Kaiser Permanente Ventures.

Foot Locker kicks $100m into Goat Group

Corporates help scale Himalaya with $100m

University

Spin Memory banks Abies for series B

Blue Water seeks $15m injection

Funds

Sojitz sorts out $33m joint venture fund

Partech packs $143m into African fund

Berkeley encrypts Blockchain Xcelerator

Exits

Palo Alto Networks picks Demisto for acquisition

Alector is developing immuno-neurology drugs that will target the immune system in order to fight neurodegenerative disorders, and it raised $176m when it floated today after pricing its IPO in the middle of its range.

Marinomed hits Vienna Stock Exchange

Long touted as one of the world’s most valuable VC-backed startups, Palantir reached a $20bn valuation in 2015 and reports from 2018 suggested it would seek a valuation roughly double that in a flotation expected to take place this year.

After months of speculation Slack has finally filed, albeit confidentially, to go public. The enterprise messaging platform plans to opt for a direct listing, as Spotify did last year, meaning existing investors including GV, Comcast Ventures and SoftBank Vision Fund will get the chance to divest shares despite Slack not looking to raise additional capital through a flotation. Slack was valued at just over $7.1bn as of its last funding round, in August.

TCR² Therapeutics has set the terms for an initial public offering that will net it $80m if it floats at the top of its range.


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