11 June 2018 – Ant Financial Raises $14bn not $10bn

The European Commission has today released its draft budget for its next financial period to start after 2020 with its draft plans for about $100bn for innovation funding (nice analysis by Science Business here).


Last month, Ant Financial was reported to have closed a jaw-dropping $10bn funding round at a $150bn that would have been the largest ever round at the largest ever valuation for a private company. It turns out, those reports were wrong – in fact, Ant Financial has raised a mind-blowing $14bn from investors including two Singapore government-owned entities, GIC and Temasek.

Geo-Jade Petroleum has led a series D round for Caogen Touzi, which also featured a range of unnamed, existing investors.

Bigo, a livestreaming platform based in Singapore, has now raised $272m in series D funding to further drive its growth. The round was led by another video platform, YY.

Lime (previously known as LimeBike) will hope that a $250m it is reportedly trying to raise from investors including GV will help it stay ahead of competitors. The company was previously rumoured to be seeking a total of $500m in equity and debt, but it appears the latter financing has been put on hold for unknown reasons.

Hyperchain Technologies, which has raised $234m in a round led by real estate developer Xinhu Zhongbao.

Dataminr, which has developed technology to detect, classify and determine the significance of public information on social media in real time, has now raised more than $380m after attracting $221m from as-yet unnamed backers. Fidelity and Credit Suisse previously backed a $130m series D in 2015.

Honest Company, the ethical household, beauty and baby products business launched by actress Jessica Alba, appears to be on an upwards trajectory again after receiving $200m from L Catterton, the private equity firm co-founded by LVMH.

Alibaba has purchased a 10% stake in Babytree that valued the e-commerce platform at $2.2bn.

Sina has co-led a $103m funding round for Pintec, which focuses on retail financial services.

Autohome has made a strategic investment in used car auction platfom Tiantianpaiche, whose backers already include SoftBank, SIG, Tencent and Bitauto.

Western Digital has joined a consortium of investors led by BlackRock for a $93m series D round in Qumulo.

Pivotal BioVenture Partners and Roche have both returned to back a series C round for SutroVax, which has also added TPG, Medicxi and Foresite Capital to its shareholders.

Volkswagen and Access Industries have supported Gett’s latest funding round that valued the ride hailing business at $1.4bn.

Kunlun-backed Nashwork has attracted $78m in a series B+ round backed by Sino-Ocean Group.

Bertelsmann Asia Investments was among the returning investors in a $70m series B+ round, which followed an initial $100m series B in February this year.

Lilly Asia Ventures and existing investor Alexandria Venture Investments have taken part in a $65m series C round for metabolic disease treatment developer Metacrine.

BlueVine, backed by Rakuten and Citi, will use the money to expand its product offering and accelerate recruitment of its research and development team.

Avi Networks has received $60m in an oversubscribed series B round that featured long-time partner Cisco’s corporate venturing arm as a new investor.


Kuaishou has acquired AcFun, which was reported earlier this year to have wound down but had in fact experienced a major server crash.

Neon Therapeutics is among the latest to file for an initial public offering, hoping to raise $115m to support several clinical trials. The listing would provide exits to shareholders including Pharmstandard International and Access Industries, though only Access is among the larger shareholders.

Domo, a business optimisation software provider backed by enterprise software developer Salesforce and marketing firm WPP, that is targeting $100m in proceeds. The company is using the offering as a way of avoiding reduced operations – despite emerging from stealth with $200m in series D funding in 2015, it has been making heavy losses and money is running out fast.

Neuronetics has filed for an $86.3m initial public offering on Nasdaq that will offer exits to corporates Pfizer, General Electric and Ascension.

Xiaomi’s eagerly awaited initial public offering, which is already noteworthy for its $10bn target, became even more interesting this week when it emerged that the company will undertake a dual listing, issuing the majority of shares in Hong Kong as expected and offering up to 30% in mainland China through Chinese Depositary Receipts (CDRs).

Marley Spoon, a Germany-based on-demand food delivery service backed by e-commerce group Rocket Internet, is gearing up for a $53m initial public offering… in Australia. The country is one of Marley Spoon’s largest markets and the one where it has actually broken even.


Pfizer isn’t exactly a new player in the corporate venturing space, having launched its Pfizer Venture Investments unit in 2004, but the pharmaceutical giant is clearly embracing the current boom by putting another $600m towards its CVC efforts – with approximately $150m of that dedicated to neuroscience startups.

Lockheed Martin follows closely behind today by doubling the size of its CVC arm, Lockheed Martin Ventures, to $200m. A key interest for the unit will be early-stage startups in the areas of sensor technologies, autonomy, artificial intelligence and cybertechnology. It’s already revealed a first investment from the new cash, too: NTopology, a US-based developer of computer-aided design software.

Real estate is ripe for disruption by technology startups and that’s led property manager JLL to enter the corporate venturing space with a $100m commitment to its new unit JLL Spark – which was revealed this week but actually founded last year.

The ride hailing firm has launched Grab Ventures, which is set to make eight to 10 investments over the next two years, and established an accelerator called Velocity.

Huobi and Kiwoom Securities have joined forces with NewMargin Capital to launch a blockchain-focused investment fund.

Veolia, La Capitale, Groupe ADP, Ubisoft and Unisys are among the limited partners in White Star’s second fund, which has achieved a $180m close.


Ripple will pour $50m into R&D at 17 academic institutions, including institutions in the US, UK, India and Brazil.

UC Riverside has partnered the Know Hub Chile partnership to help Chile conduct better research and tech transfer.

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

04 June 2018 – Vision Fund Backs Cruise With Up To $2.25bn


Despite the short week, Ant Financial has really been rather busy, and has reportedly now sealed a $10bn funding round led by GIC, the sovereign wealth fund of Singapore, that valued it at $150bn, which also makes this, by far, the biggest deal on the government side. To give you an idea of scale, $150bn is more than twice the valuation of Uber at its peak.

Cruise, the autonomous driving software developer acquired by GM for $1bn in early 2016, is the latest company to receive a hefty investment from SoftBank Vision Fund, which has agreed to provide up to $2.25bn in funding.

SenseTime raised $600m in an Alibaba-led series C round just a few weeks ago, and now it’s added $620m in series C+ funding from investors including Qualcomm Ventures.

Ofo and Mobike may be rapidly expanding overseas but Hellobike is proving the Chinese bicycle rental market isn’t just a two-horse race. It raised $700m last month in a series E1 round featuring Ant Financial, and Ant has returned to invest a further $321m in a deal that valued Hellobike at $1.47bn.

Who’d have thought just a few years ago, that a Chinese company would exist that essentially combines cross-border e-commerce with consumer-focused blogging that essentially exists to show off flashy purchases, and that it would be called Little Red Book?

Business payment and invoicing platform Tradeshift has received $250m in a series E round that included HSBC, the bank that had previously invested as part of the company’s last round in 2016.

Taxify has become the latest on-demand ride provider to reach a $1bn valuation, in a $175m round that was led by a $100m investment by Daimler.

SoftBank’s latest portfolio company appears to be car sharing service Getaround. The corporate has invested as part of a round expected to reach $100m that will in turn take Getaround’s total funding to around the $200m mark. The company’s existing investors include SAIC Capital, the corporate venturing arm of carmaker SAIC.

Point-of-sale technology producer Pine Labs has been around almost twice as long as that, but it’s ramped up its fundraising activities this year, raising $125m from PayPal, which will provide access to its technology expertise, and Temasek.

Things were a lot quieter on the university side when it came to deal sizes – Lava Therapeutics, a Netherlands-based immuno-oncology treatment spinout from VU University Medical Center, has raised $18.6m in funding co-led by Gilde Healthcare and Versant Ventures.


Steel and mining company Severstal has formed a corporate venture capital fund called Severstal Ventures that will invest in advanced materials and associated technologies.

Pivotal Bioventure Partners China, a China-based life sciences investment vehicle set up by property development group Nan Fung, has closed its latest fund at $150m.

On Global University Venturing, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland is to launch a tech transfer fund with a target size of €40m ($46.3m) alongside limited partners including the Finnish government and the EU-owned European Investment Fund (EIF).

And Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center became the third institution today to form a partnership with drug discovery company Evotec by launching Lab591. The program is also being supported by investment firm Arix Biosciences.


There have been a lot of IPO filings this past week, so here are just some of the bigger ones.

Uxin claims to be the market leader in China’s online used vehicle sector, and it’s filed for a $500m initial public offering in the US.

Smart electric car developer Nio has confidentially filed for a US IPO that could raise about $2bn. Formerly known as NextEV, Nio was last valued at $5bn in a $1bn round that closed last November, and its investors include Lenovo, Tencent, Baidu and JD.com.

Myriad Genetics has agreed to acquire genetic screening service provider Counsyl for $375m in cash and stock, giving an exit to Illumina Ventures.

Payment-processing business Adyen has unveiled plans for an initial public offering (IPO) in Amsterdam in the coming weeks. Among the company’s investors to date are Temasek, the Singapore-backed investment agency, Index Ventures and Iconiq. Adyen has raised around $266m to date.

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

28 May 2018 – Ant Financial’s Latest Round Pegged at $10bn

We are back from the annual GCV Symposium and GUV: Fusion conferences, our London events bringing together CVCs and university tech transfer leaders from around the world. Some 500 delegates gathered at the County Hall in a packed room overlooking the Houses of Parliament to network and exchange ideas. GUV also handed out its awards during a gala dinner, with Alison Campbell taking home the Lifetime Achievement Award and Indiana University Research and Technology Corp’s CEO Tony Armstrong collecting the award for Tech Transfer Unit of the Year. There are summaries about the days’ proceedings on GCV and profiles of all the winners on GUV, so do head on over there. While you’re on GUV, you should also take a look at our five-year data review into university spinouts, which has been gathering a lot of traction over the past week.


Reports last month suggested Alibaba’s financial services affiliate, Ant Financial, was set to raise money at a gargantuan $150bn valuation, and the size of the round now seems to have been pegged at $10bn.

Uber last raised funding in December, when SoftBank invested $1.25bn at a $68bn valuation, while at the same time leading a consortium that bought more than $7bn of shares in a secondary transaction that valued Uber at $48bn.

In more proof that the ride hailing gold rush isn’t over, Careem is in talks to secure $500m in funding at a $1.5bn valuation.

Grail became one of the quickest medtech companies ever to reach the $1bn funding mark, and now the Illumina spinoff has raised another $300m in an oversubscribed series C round co-led by the WuXi AppTec-backed 6 Dimensions Capital that also featured WuXi subsidiary WuXi NextCode.

Brii Biosciences has launched a company that plans to combine R&D, data technology and strategic asset licensing to provide medicines that will help Chinese patients fight conditions such as infectious diseases, lung and liver diseases.

Orbbec develops 3D motion sensors as well as 3D camera equipment, and has raised more than $200m in a series D round led by Ant Financial.

HMD Global licensed the rights to manufacture Nokia-designed and branded phones about 18 months ago, and has now secured $100m in funding at a valuation of more than $1bn.

OLX, Naspers’ classified listings subsidiary, has provided $89m for automotive e-commerce marketplace Frontier Car Group in the form of series C funding.

Outreach, a developer of customer engagement software, has raised $65m in a series D round backed by Microsoft Ventures that valued it at about $500m.

Rain Therapeutics, a US-based cancer-focused biotechnology developer based on research from University of Auckland, closed an $18.4m series A round featuring the Inventors Fund, managed by the institution’s tech transfer office Auckland UniServices.


Legend Capital, the venture firm established by Lenovo owner Legend Holdings, is going from strength to strength, having just put together its second RMB-denominated healthcare fund – its third in total.

On GUV, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, a medical research division of Mount Sinai Health System, has established a $10m fund called i3 Asset Accelerator aimed at commercialising Mount Sinai’s research.

On GGV, Italy-based venture capital firm P101 has announced plans to launch a $142m fund with support from the European Investment Fund, the investment arm of the World Bank, and private equity company Fondo Italiano d’Investimento.


Salesforce is looking toward its next IPO exit after Adaptive Insights, the developer of a cloud-based business planning platform, filed for a $100m IPO.

Neurostimulation device maker Electrocore has filed to raise up to $74.8m in an initial public offering on Nasdaq, having secured $120m in funding over the last four years.

Essential Products sprinted out of the blocks, raising $300m in its second funding round last year, at a $900m to $1bn valuation, but negative response and low sales for its inaugural smartphone have reportedly led it to investigate a sale and to cancel development of its next phone in favour of a smart home device.

FanDuel was once a bright young thing, before regulatory issues cut into its business and drove it to seek a merger with fellow daily fantasy sports operator DraftKings. That deal didn’t come off, but it is set to be snapped up by Paddy Power Betfair, which is investing $158m and merging FanDuel, a spinout from University of Edinburgh that is backed by Alphabet, Comcast and Time Warner, with its US assets, forming a company in which it will have a 61% stake.

On GGV, German public-private partnership High-Tech Gründerfonds has celebrated the first initial public offering of a portfolio company. NFon, a Munich-based cloud telecoms business, received its first investment from HTGF in 2008 and has raised around $59m from its listing.

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

21 May 2018 – NewTV Raises $800m in Funding


Last week’s Big Deal on Global Corporate Venturing looked at a reported $800m in funding raised by NewTV, a stealthy video content producer formed by entertainment mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg that has secured corporates such as 21st Century Fox and Warner Bros as investors.

Reports earlier this year suggested Chinese smart car developer Byton was looking to raise $300m to $400m for its series B round at a $1.2bn valuation.

JD Logistics, the logistics provider spun off by Chinese e-commerce firm JD.com, has invested $306m in ESR Cayman as part of a strategic partnership agreement.

Tanium, an enterprise cybersecurity software provider backed by Citi Ventures, has received $175m from TPG Growth at a valuation of about $5bn, up from the $3.75bn at which it last raised funding a year ago.

Cryptofinance company Circle has secured $110m in a series E round led by new strategic investor Bitmain, at a reported valuation near to $3bn. Bitmain invested as part of an agreement that will involve it supporting USDC, a stablecoin currency Circle is releasing.

Unisound, a Chinese company developing AI technology for use in internet-of-things products, has raised $100m in a round led by China Electronics Health Fund, a corporate venturing subsidiary of telecoms equipment maker China Electronics Corporation Data.

Carousell, the Asia Pacific-focused owner of an e-commerce app for second-hand items, has received $85m in a series C round co-led by Rakuten Ventures and EDBI, the investment arm of state-owned Singapore Economic Development Board. Rakuten has been an investor in Carousell since its 2013 seed round, and also led its $35m series B.

Ansun Biopharma has also secured $85m, in a series A round co-led by corporate venturing units Sinopharm Healthcare Fund and Lilly Asia Ventures, both of which are also taking board seats.

FogPharma, which is developing miniprotein treatments for diseases including cancer, has closed a $66m series B round that included Nan Fung Group, GV and WuXi AppTec Corporate Ventures.


SoftBank still hasn’t officially closed its first Vision Fund, but is reportedly already in discussions with potential investors for a second Vision Fund that would also be sized at about $100bn, and which would source capital from a wider range of investors.

Southeast Asia has been a notable growth area in terms of VC funding over the past year or two, but it isn’t just foreign investors taking part. Siam Commercial Bank has doubled the size of Digital Ventures, the corporate venturing fund it set up in 2016, to $100m, making it the largest VC fund in Thailand according to the bank. It will also move away from its core fund-of-funds strategy toward more direct investments in startups.


Japanese e-commerce app Mercari has had a circuitous route to the public markets, but it’s finally succeeded in filing for a $1.1bn IPO in its home country, at a projected valuation of $3.3bn.

M17 Entertainment, formed by the merger or Paktor and 17 Media almost 18 months ago, has filed for its own IPO in the US.

Home furnishings e-commerce platform Home24 has filed for an offering in Frankfurt that is set to raise up to $235m.

Enough about IPOs though – despite the recent boom, the public markets aren’t the only exit route for investors. Case in point: PayPal has agreed to acquire mobile payment technology provider iZettle for $2.2bn in cash, days after Glassdoor was also bought for a billion-dollar sum.

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

14 May 2018 – China About to Finalise $47bn Semiconductor and Chip Investment Fund


Online medical booking and healthcare services portal WeDoctor has raised $500m at a $5.5bn valuation, securing the cash in a round co-led by insurer AIA, which is now the company’s life and health insurance partner, and conglomerate NWS Holdings.

Commission-free online trading platform Robinhood is on a tear, having raised $363m in a series D round that more than quadrupled its valuation to $5.6bn in just over a year, during which it added options and cryptocurrency trading features.

Hybrid cloud software provider Mesosphere has raised $125m in a series D round co-led by Koch Industries subsidiary Koch Disruptive Technologies that also featured Hewlett Packard Enterprise and the Qatar Investment Authority.

Moderna Therapeutics first formed a strategic collaboration agreement with Merck & Co two years ago, and now the RNA therapeutics developer has received $125m from Merck as part of a deal to enhance that agreement.

Intel Capital’s annual Global Summit has revealed its latest batch of portfolio companies, which received a total of $72m from the corporate, which was spread across 12 companies.

On GUV, Escient Pharmaceuticals, a US-based biotechnology spinout from Johns Hopkins University, launched last week with a $40m series A round backed by spinout-focused investment firm Osage University Partners.


Logistics firm GLP has set up a $1.6bn investment fund that will target technology-focused companies in the logistics sector.

China is about to finalise a $47bn investment fund focusing on semiconductor research and chip development.

US-based life sciences investment firm Foresite Capital has closed a $668m fund that included several unnamed university endowments among the limited partners.

On GUV, Yale University received a $15m grant from philanthropic organisation Blavatnik Family Foundation yesterday to expand the Blavatnik Fund for Innovation to $25m.


Walmart has confirmed its $16bn purchase of a 77% stake in India-based e-commerce company Flipkart, in what is the biggest M&A exit of a VC-backed company since Facebook’s $19bn purchase of WhatsApp in 2014.

Recruit has agreed to acquire employment listings and employee review platform Glassdoor for $1.2bn in cash, enabling Alphabet’s CapitalG to exit.

Huya, livestreaming platform YY’s game-themed spinoff, secured $180m on Friday in a US IPO in which it floated at the top of its range.

Meili, the Chinese fashion e-commerce platform formed by the merger of Meilishuo and Mogujie, has hired underwriters for an initial public offering in the US that is expected to raise about $500m.

Indian renewable power producer ReNew Power, which counts Japan-based utilities Tokyo Electric and Chubu Electric as well as a subsidiary of sovereign wealth fund Abu Dhabi Investment Authority as backers, has filed for an IPO in its home country that it expects will raise up to $386m.

Mobile POS technology producer iZettle announced plans to go public in its home country of Sweden, in an IPO slated to raise approximately $226m.

On GUV, Benevir Biopharm, a US-based immunotherapy developer based on research at New York University (NYU), is set to be acquired by biotechnology firm Janssen Biotech for up to $1.04bn.

Autolus, a UK-based cancer-focused biopharmaceutical spinout from University College London (UCL), filed for a $100m initial public offering on Nasdaq.

And one exit that has collapsed is StretchSense, a New Zealand-based wearable sensor manufacturer spun out from University of Auckland, which has had to let go 140 staff after e-commerce firm StartToday terminated an acquisition deal.

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

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