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).

Deals

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.

Exits

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.

Funds

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.

GUV

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

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.

Deals

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.

Funds

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.

Exits

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

18 December 2017 – OneWeb Follows SpaceX with a $500m Investment

Deals

Days after SpaceX raised $1bn in funding, another satellite technology company, OneWeb, is lining up a $500m investment from SoftBank, which had previously put up $1bn of the $1.2bn OneWeb raised a year ago. .

Office software producer Kingsoft spun cloud storage business Kingsoft Cloud out in 2012 but has retained a majority stake now sized at 52%. It also invested $150m of the $300m in series D funding Kingsoft Cloud just raised at a $1.9bn valuation, bringing its total funding to approximately $500m.

Reports for most of this year have been touting a $200m corporate investment in Indian online grocer BigBasket, and the latest news is that Alibaba will pay $200m for a 25% stake in the company as part of a $280m round.

Koch Disruptive Technologies, a newly formed vehicle for conglomerate Koch Industries, has made its first investment, leading a $150m series E round for InSightec, the developer of a magnetic resonance-equipped ultrasound surgical device.

There have been some big deals in the space sector recently, and the latest is iSpace, a lunar exploration company that’s just closed $90.2m in series A funding, the largest series A round in Japan’s history.

NextDoor, the social media platform focused on local communities, has raised $75m from undisclosed investors at a valuation indicated by a regulatory filing to be about $1.5bn.

AI chip developer ThinkForce has secured $68m in a series A round featuring machine vision technology developer Yitu Technology as well as Sequoia Capital China, Yunfeng Capital and Yitu backer Hillhouse Capital.

Online razor seller Harry’s has raised $63.7m in funding, according to a regulatory filing, cash that will reportedly be put towards a complementary acquisition.

GV has participated in a $63m series B round closed by oncology therapy developer Relay Therapeutics that took the company’s overall funding to $120m.

Insikt, the Rakuten-backed operator of an online lending platform for the un(der)banked, has raised $50m in a series D round led by Grupo Coppel that took its total funding past the $100m mark.

Swedish mobile payment and small business revenue technology provider iZettle has secured about $47m in a Dawn Capital-led round that included the Fourth Swedish National Pension Fund, at a reported valuation of about $950m.

We’ve had several GGV deals already, and on GUV, the biggest deal was US-based immuno-oncology developer Pionyr Immunotherapeutics, which raised $62m in series B funding from a consortium that featured spinout-focused investment firm Osage University Partners.

Funds

Auto parts supplier Valeo has provided 25% of the money for a $226m car technology fund formed by private equity firm Cathay Capital, joining government-owned Yangtze River Industry Fund as a cornerstone investor.

On GGV, the EU-owned European Investment Fund contributed funding to investment firm LSP’s second medtech vehicle, LSP Health Economics Fund 2 (LSP HEF 2), which reached an oversubscribed close of €280m ($330m).

And on GUV, UM Ventures, the tech transfer office for the University of Maryland System (UMS), has unveiled plans for a venture fund of undisclosed size aimed at retaining university-linked startups in the city of Baltimore.

Here’s an interesting one from GUV as well: Imperial College London and Tsinghua University have joined forces to seed a $300,000 fund called the Tsinghua-Imperial Research and Innovation Fund to back early-stage scientific research.

Exits

Gilead Sciences has agreed to acquire T cell receptor therapy developer Cell Design Labs in a deal that could value it at up to $567m, six years after Kite Pharma, now a Gilead subsidiary, took a 12.2% stake by backing a $34.4m round that remained Cell Design’s only funding.

Apple has reportedly lined up a $400m acquisition of music identification app developer Shazam. The deal would provide exits for América Móvil, Sony, Universal and Access Industries, but none look likely to make a profitable return on their investments, Shazam’s valuation having peaked at about $1bn in 2015.

On GUV we’ve had two IPO-related news this past week. First up, Mirriad, a UK-based video technology spinout from University of Surrey, is targeting £26.2m ($35m) in gross proceeds in its initial public offering on Aim. Mirriad, which will enter the public markets under the ticker symbol Miri tomorrow (that’s Tuesday, December 19 for those of you listening later).

Then we also have Fusion Antibodies, a UK-based genomics modelling platform spun out of Queen’s University Belfast, which will raise £5.5m ($7.4m) in its initial public offering on Aim.


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

02 October 2017 – Roscosmos Establishes Space Ecosystem Fund

Deals

Chinese online services portal Meituan Dianping is reportedly nearing the close of a $3bn round featuring long-term investor Tencent that will value it at up to $30bn.

Alibaba has paid approximately $800m to hike its 47% stake in logistics affiliate Cainiao to 51%, as part of a $5bn investment drive to strengthen its logistics technology capabilities over the next five years.

Food ordering platform Deliveroo has secured $384m in a round co-led by Fidelity and T. Rowe Price set to be announced this week that will reportedly value it at $2bn.

Fosun-backed personal accounting platform Shenzhen Suishou Technology has secured $200m in a series C round led by private equity firm KKR’s newly formed Asian Fund III.

Ride hailing platform Didi Chuxing has invested $200m in Renrenche, the third largest second-hand car e-commerce marketplace in China by market share.

Qingting.fm, an online radio platform that reportedly counts Youku Tudou among its investors, has raised $151m in series E funding from undisclosed investors, according to AllChinaTech.

Pfizer has spun out a startup called SpringWorks Therapeutics to develop treatments for incurable conditions such as desmoid tumours and post-traumatic stress disorder based on therapies licensed from the corporate.

Letgo launched in 2015 as a mobile-focused competitor to Craigslist and eBay, and claims to be one of the fastest growing apps in the country. That growth is set to be fueled by $100m of new funding at a $1bn valuation from undisclosed existing investors.

Customer relationship management software provider ProsperWorks has received $53m in a series C round that took its overall funding to $87m, a sum CEO Jon Lee has claimed makes it the most well-funded CRM company founded in the past 10 years.

Treasury and finance management platform Kyriba has raised $45m in funding from investors including HSBC, the bank that backed its series C and D rounds, in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

We’ve already had the biggest deal on GGV – Cainiao – and on Global University Venturing, the biggest deal came from the UK. Autolus, a biopharmaceutical spinout from University College London (UCL), raised $80m in a series C round that included investment firm Woodford Investment Management. Syncona, backed by medical charities Wellcome Trust and Cancer Research UK, also participated in the round, as did Arix Bioscience, Cormorant Asset Management, Nextech Invest and a range of unnamed investors.

Funds

The Netherlands government-owned Dutch Investment Agency (NIA) and the EU-owned investment vehicle European Investment Fund (EIF) have committed €100m ($117.7m) to a fund targeted at growth-stage startups dubbed the Dutch Growth Co-Investment Program.

The Russian government-owned space agency Roscosmos has established a venture capital fund to commercialise inventions from the space ecosystem.

Exits

Sea, the Southeast Asian online services provider formerly known as Garena, has filed to raise up to $1bn in an initial public offering in the US.

Chinese online video streaming platform iQiyi is considering an initial public offering that will take place in the US early next year and has already started talking to banks, sources have told Bloomberg.

SAP has paid a reported $350m to acquire customer identity management software provider Gigya and will incorporate the company into its SAP Hybrid offering.

Roku has priced a $219m IPO in which Sky Ventures will sell some $9.4m of shares, and is set to float on the the Nasdaq Global Select Market tomorrow.

Nexon has paid $80m for a 65% stake in Korea-based cryptocurrency exchange Korbit, ironically at the exact point when the Korean government has banned initial coin offerings.


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

25 September 2017 – Gogoro Raises $300m for Electric Scooter with Swappable Batteries

Deals

Gogoro has developed an electric scooter that it sells alongside access to a network of stations where riders can swap batteries, and it’s raised $300m in a series C round featuring Sumitomo, Engie and Panasonic at a reported valuation of more than $800m.

Slack has officially closed a $250m funding round led by SoftBank Vision Fund that valued it at $5.1bn post-money, a $1.3bn jump from the valuation at which it last raised cash in April 2016, CEO Stewart Butterfield told Bloomberg and the Financial Times.

One of the at the GCV Asia congress was Jeffrey Li, a managing partner at Tencent Investments which last week also took part in a $230m series C+ round for Chinese fresh produce e-commerce platform MissFresh.

Interior design and construction group Shenzhen Grandland was among the investors in a $182m round for YH Global, a 20-year old logistics service provider that operates centres in 50 Chinese cities.

Bayer and Ginkgo Bioworks have launched an as yet unnamed plant microbiome startup, which will be equipped with $100m from a series A round that also includes Viking Global Investors.

Patreon has received $60m in series C funding, taking its total equity financing past the $100m mark. The creator-based payment platform, backed by talent agencies CAA and UTA at series A stage, however told Recode that the $450m valuation mooted in the press last week was incorrect, though Recode believes the actual valuation was only about 10% lower.

LifeMine Therapeutics, a startup developing fungi-based therapies for chronic and currently untreatable diseases, has closed a $55m series A round led by WuXi Healthcare Ventures and backed by fellow corporate venturing units GV, Merck Ventures and Alexandria Venture Investments.

Funds

Baidu has launched a massive $1.5bn vehicle, called Apollo Fund, to invest in 100 startups related to the autonomous driving sector over the next three years.

The government of Hong Kong launched its HK$2bn ($256m) Innovation and Technology Venture Fund (ITVF), inviting venture capital firms to become co-investors.

Let’s look at GlobalUniversityVenturing.com. The Engine, a US-based program initiated by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) aimed at complex technologies, has raised $200m for its first fund.

Exits

ZhongAn has finally priced its IPO and is set to raise $1.5bn when it floats at the top of its range with a $500m investment by SoftBank.

Another China-based company, online lender Qudian, is lining up its own IPO, and has filed to raise up to $750m in a US offering.

Alibaba meanwhile celebrated an exit with the flotation of logistics service Best, which has raised $450m in an initial public offering.

Despegar, the Argentina-based travel and accommodation booking marketplace backed by tourism services provider Expedia, has also entered public markets, raising $332m in an initial public offering in the US.

Mobile event ticketing platform Weiying has raised more than $1bn from investors including Tencent, Dalian Wanda and iDreamSky in under three years, and now it has agreed to merge assets including its film and theatre ticketing divisions with those of rival Maoyan, creating an entity with a 43% share of the market in China.

When it came to the university venturing world, the big news was that UK-based commercialisation firm IP Group has obtained the support of shareholders holding a total of 96.5% of shares in Touchstone Innovations, its peer spun out from Imperial College London.

Canada-based commercialisation firm Mars Innovation partnered drug discovery company Evotec to launch Lab150, a collaboration that will drive research translation for projects emerging from Mars’ member institutions.


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

04 September 2017 – Expedia CEO Moves to Uber

Funds

University

OSI secures Legal & General backing

Imperial gives founders a choice

Government

Vertex pushes beyond $150m

Széchenyi gains $31m

St Louis hammers out fund details

Exits

Dara Khosrowshahi, the new chief executive of Uber, did not waste any time in making clear his ambitions for the ride-sharing company: in an all-hands meeting ahead of officially taking over – he starts his job on Tuesday – he declared not only that he is committed to paying the bills and taking big shots to secure the company’s future, but also that he intends to take Uber public within 18 to 36 months.

Best, a supply chain services provider backed by Alibaba, Cainiao and, reportedly, Foxconn, has increased the stakes of its initial public offering by filing an updated regulatory document that puts the figure at $1bn, up from $750m.

Berry Genomics has completed its reverse merger with Shenzen-listed Chengdu Tianxing Instrument and Meter, first announced in December 2016.

Synlogic processes Mirna merger

CSL accesses Calimmune for $91m

Western Digital gets Upthere

University

Big deal: Nightstar to light up stock market

Investments

Singapore-based Grab is slowly inching towards its $2.5bn goal for a series G round that already stood at $2bn thanks to commitments from SoftBank and Didi Chuxing.

GoGoVan reaches for 58 Suyun

Food delivery is hotly contested sector and many of the startups involved have changed hands – be that for example TastyKhana being purchased by Food Panda, which in turn was later acquired by Delivery Hero, or Just Eat subsidiary Hellofood Brazil becoming part of iFood. Now another one is joining the list: Waimai has been acquired by Ele.me for a reported $800m (which would be down significantly from the estimated $2.5bn valuation last year).

Alibaba and Yunfeng Capital, the investment vehicle of the e-commerce group’s founder Jack Ma, have put $152m into cloud computing business Qiniuyun.

Freenome, a healthtech developer has added $7m to its series A to close the round, already backed by GV, at $72m.

Armo Biosciences has added $67m to its coffers in a series C1 round that featured GV and Celgene, who both also participated in a $50m series C in February last year.

The biggest deal of the day comes from the US, where Qadium has amassed $40m in a series B round led by Institutional Venture Partners.

In China, Abcfintech has added $30m to its coffers thanks to investors such as Susquehanna International Group’s SIG Asia Investment. Abcfintech operates cloud-based AI platforms that help financial services firms visualise their data and predict the performance of public stock.

Alice, the developer of a hotel management platform, has secured $26m in series B funding from Expedia in a deal facilitated by Khosrowshahi before he stepped down to join Uber.

VideoAmp, the developer of an advertising technology platform that tracks the impact of campaigns across television, video on-demand, over-the-top and digital content, has secured $21.4m in series B capital from Mediaocean and returning backer RTL, among others.

Government

Vulog eyes $20m series B

University

CureFit exercises with $25m


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

07 August 2017 – Possible UK National Investment Fund

Funds

The government of the UK revealed it is considering the creation of a National Investment Fund to support startups that could become unicorns.

The Canadian government has announced it will make its visa scheme for entrepreneurs a permanent fixture.

Singapore-based venture capital firm Prestellar Ventures has raised $100m for a fund that counts Nepal-headquartered conglomerates CG Corp Global and NE Group as general partners.

Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance, a subsidiary of Japan-based insurer Sompo, is committing at least $40m and possibly up to $80m, to venture capital firm TransLink Capital to manage its corporate venture capital fund.

India-based seed-grant impact fund Nudge Foundation, which targets poverty reduction, has collected capital from Tata Trusts, the philanthropic shareholder in conglomerate Tata and Sons, as well as motorcycle maker Maruti, networking technology producer Cisco, IT services firm Mphasis, conglomerate Godrej, retailer Target, bank Wells Fargo, Social Venture Partners and entrepreneur Nandan Nilekani.

N/Core is one of a few programs launched or announced last week – others included Morgan Stanley launching an accelerator that will focus on startups with female or multicultural founders, co-founders or chief technology officers.

Deals

Meituan-Dianping, the Chinese local listing and services portal formed in late 2015 by the merger of unicorns Meituan and Dianping, is reportedly in talks with investors to raise between $3bn and $5bn in a round that will feature a $1bn investment by existing backer Tencent.

SoftBank’s Vision Fund is reportedly in talks to invest $1.5bn to $2bn in Flipkart, which was valued at $11.6bn as of its last round earlier this year, in a deal that would enable it to join an investor base that already includes eBay, Tencent, Intel Capital and Bennett Coleman & Co.

Digital marketing company Avazu spun out app developer DotC in 2015, but now the boot’s on the other foot. DotC has raised $350m in a series B round led by Avazu’s parent company Zeus that involved the ownership of Avazu being transferred to DotC in a deal that will give Zeus a stake of just over 30.6% in the company.

Online fresh produce retailer Yiguo has secured $300m in funding from Alibaba subsidiary Tmall as part of a partnership agreement that will involve Tmall integrating Yiguo’s product into its existing offering.

Online business lending platform Kabbage has received $250m in funding from existing investor SoftBank, roughly doubling its overall funding in the process. Past investors in Kabbage, which will use the SoftBank cash to further develop its technology and expand its service offering, include UPS, Santander, ING and Recruit, while SoftBank initially invested in the company as part of a $50m series D round in 2014.

Peer-to-peer lending platform Dianrong has secured $220m in a round led by Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, GIC, which was announced just after it agreed to acquire banking services provider Quark Finance’s asset generation operations in order to expand its physical presence in its home country of China.

E-commerce software and services provider ShopEx has secured $104m in a series D round led by venture firm Joy Capital.

Genetic therapeutics developer Homology Medicines has raised $83.5m in series B funding from investors including pharmaceutical firm Novartis, taking its overall equity financing to $127m across two rounds.

Impossible Foods has secured $75m in a round that will likely support the construction of a dedicated production facility for its plant-based burgers.

Novo has led cardiovascular therapy developer Milestone Pharmaceuticals’ $55m series C round, investing alongside Canadian state-owned BDC Capital, Fonds de solidarité FTQ, the development capital organisation for Quebec, as well as Forbion Capital Partners, Domain Associates, Pappas Capital, Go Capital and funds managed by Tekla Capital Management.

And on GlobalUniversityVenturing.com, we’ve had a few $20m deals. Among them: IonQ. GV, the corporate venturing unit of diversified conglomerate Alphabet, co-led a $20m series B round for quantum computing startup IonQ with New Enterprise Associates.

Another one was US-based car refuelling service provider Booster Fuels, which raised $20m in a series B round yesterday from investors including Stanford University’s StartX Fund. Booster allows drivers to park their car in work and request their tank be refilled through a mobile app.

And finally, US-based authentication technology developer UnifyID raised $20m in a series A round on Monday from investors including Stanford University’s StartX Fund. UnifyID has created an authentication platform that relies on sensors built into everyday devices and uses machine learning to identify users based on more than 100 unique characteristics such as the way they walk, sit and type. It requires no manual input from the user.

Exits

As mentioned earlier in the podcast, the long-running saga of Flipkart’s proposed acquisition of Snapdeal appears to have come to an unexpected end with news last Monday that Snapdeal has sensationally decided to call off the talks in favour of a restructuring process.

Twitter-backed music streaming platform Soundcloud is said to have entered talks with two private equity firms to raise funding in a deal that would give the as-yet undisclosed firms stakes that would jointly add up to a majority share.

Canada-based clinical-stage pharmaceutical company Clementia Pharmaceuticals has gone public in the US, floating at the top of its range and raising $120m.

Energy and oil producer China Titans Energy Technology Group has acquired Aquion Energy, a bankrupt US-based energy storage technology developer spun out from Carnegie Mellon University, for $9.16m, according to a regulatory filing.

GameSparks, an Ireland and UK-based platform for games developers backed by Irish state-owned export credit agency Enterprise Ireland, has been acquired by e-commerce company Amazon.

CarTrade, an India-based online automotive classifieds service backed by Temasek, is exploring a merger with its domestic competitor CarDekho, backed by diversified conglomerate Alphabet’s growth equity arm CapitalG, to create the country’s largest online car classifieds platform.

On GlobalUniversityVenturing.com, Intelesens, a UK-based wearable device maker to monitor patients’ vital signs that is based on Ulster University research, has been acquired by medical image management platform Ultralinq for an undisclosed amount.


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

03 July 2017 – The Political Environment and Investment

Funds

Cloudflare, an internet technology provider with its own security products, has launched its own $100m fund.

Cybersecurity technology producer Trend Micro has inserted an initial $100m into a newly formed corporate venturing unit that will target disruptive sectors such as the internet-of-things, which its parent company believes will be the next technology mega wave.

Corporates boost Cathay Innovation fund to $320m

Capnamic Ventures, a VC firm that focuses on startups in German speaking regions, has reached the final close of its latest fund, having raised $130m. The fund’s limited partners include Cisco, which announced a $500m German investment drive early last year, as well as AXA Germany, Rheinische Post Media Group and Sparkassen Group.

Applied Ventures joins KVIC for $40m Korea fund

University

Technion institutes $200m fund

Imec expands with $136m fund

Government

BioGeneration begets $75m fund

Horizon approaches $150m fund

Exits

ProSiebenSat.1 sells media-for-equity assets

Online insurance provider ZhongAn has reportedly filed for a $1.5bn IPO in Hong Kong that will allow the company’s co-founders Ping An, Tencent and Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial to exit.

Best Inc, one of several logistics and supply chain services providers to have sprung up in the wake of China’s e-commerce boom, has filed for a $750m IPO in the US.

Takeda subsidiary Millennium Pharmaceuticals and Pfizer have both scored exits in a $75m IPO by Mersana Therapeutics, a developer of antibody drug conjugates that will fight cancer.

Deals

Alibaba paid $1bn for a majority stake in Southeast Asian e-commerce marketplace Lazada last year, and now it’s pumped in another $1bn to take its stake to 83%, giving full exits to backers including Tesco and Rocket Internet, both of which also sold shares in the 2016 deal.

Sources confirmed to Bloomberg over the weekend that Houzz, the Comcast-backed operator of a social image platform for house decoration ideas, has closed a $400m round that valued it at $4bn.

Dynamic glass developer View has doubled its series G round to $200m, $70m of the money coming from BlackRock.

Siemens has joined the participants in electric vehicle charging network ChargePoint’s series G round, which has now closed at $125m.

Naspers reveals $71m Flipkart investment

Brazilian mobile commerce platform Movile has raised $53m in a round that included longtime investor Naspers, which had put up a big part of the $135m the company had raised between 2014 and 2016.

GPU-equipped database developer Kinetica has secured $50m in funding from investors including Citi Ventures, taking its equity financing to $63m in a little over a year.

Government

IDS diagnoses $60m investment

University

Diffblue enters series A spectrum


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

19 June 2017 – Ride Hailing Services Grab Deals and Much More

Funds

Ping An outlines fintech investment plans

Medicxi nabs corporates to close $300m fund

Novartis and Alphabet subsidiary Verily were among the limited partners for a the late-stage fund, which will complement the GSK and Johnson & Johnson-backed fund  Medicxi closed in 2016.

Japan-based ICT equipment provider Nihon Unisys has formed a $45m corporate venturing unit that will seek out investments in sectors such as robotics, financial technology and the internet of things.

Palo Alto Networks puts together $20m fund

GUV

Galaxy stars in IP Group’s $264m fundraising

GGV

London looks to Better Futures

Exits

Wanderful finds path to acquisition

GGV

Hello bids farewell

Deals

News leaked out in March that ride hailing service Grab was set to raise $1.5bn in a round led by existing investor SoftBank, and sources have told Bloomberg firstly that the round already includes Didi Chuxing, and secondly that Alibaba or Ant Financial is also considering an investment, in order to promote their Alipay platform to Grab’s Southeast Asian customers.

Mobike has raised $600m in a Tencent-led round that will fuel expansion not only in its home country but also in Singapore and the UK.

Careem is taking the Uber model to the Middle East and surrounding countries, and is growing rapidly in the process, doubling the number of cities in which it operates to 80 in the past six months.

A regulatory filing in April indicated Indian ride hailing company Ola was seeking another $100m in funding, and it has reportedly secured some of that already. Hedge fund Tekne Capital Management has provided a sub-$50m amount.

Jaguar Land Rover and its corporate venturing and incubator subsidiary InMotion have invested a combined $25m in ride hailing company Lyft as part of a partnership agreement that will involve Lyft helping test its autonomous driving and mobility services.

Elsewhere in the transport sector, Chinese second hand vehicle marketplace Guazi.com has received $400m in series B funding from investors including steel producer Shougang Group’s Jingxin Venture Capital fund.

UCar, the China-based chauffeured car service that went public last year at a $5.5bn valuation, has formed a corporate venturing fund sized at almost $1.5bn, and its first investment has been to lead a $324m series B round for electric vehicle developer Xiaopeng Motors.

Electric bus producer Proterra raised $140m a recently as January, in a ‘series 5’ round featuring Edison Energy, GM Ventures and Exelon’s Constellation Technology Ventures unit, but it wasn’t finished.

Oppo takes a ride on Ponycar

Drone Racing League takes off with $20m

Following on from news that Amazon is interested in acquiring Slack for upwards of $9bn, but recently bought US-listed Whole Foods for $13.7bn, it turns out Slack is in the process of raising $500m of new funding at a $5bn post-money valuation.

AvidXchange, a provider of automated payment processing technology, has raised $300m in financing from investors including Mastercard, with which it has struck a strategic partnership agreement to supply AvidXchange’s technology to its customers.

Temasek and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec have contributed to a $300m funding round for AvidXchange that also attracted Mastercard and Peter Thiel.

Online brokerage Futu Securities has received more than $145m in a series C round led by Tencent, the corporate investor that also took part in its series A and B rounds.

Element AI elevates itself to $102m series A

Actility admits Cisco to $75m series D

Clutter is one of several on-demand platforms seeking to disrupt the personal storage space, and it has raised $64m in a GV-backed series C round to support growth, both in its home country of the US and abroad.

Twist finds the material to raise $60m

Omada goes on the attack with $50m

GGV

Protix breeds $50.5m investment


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

29 May 2017 – Home Fitness Service Peloton Raises $325m and Much More

Deals

Alibaba and Ant Financial are reportedly set to lead a $1bn round for food ordering platform Ele.me that will value it at up to $6bn.

Peloton, the home fitness service that combines a high-tech exercise bike with a subscription-based service that makes it feel like you’re in a live class (within reason obviously, though who would bet against VR being integrated into Peloton’s offering in the near future?), has raised $325m in a series E round featuring Comcast NBCUniversal.

Livestreaming has become one of the fastest growing parts of the media sector, not least in China where Panda TV has raised $140m in a series B round led by brokerage firm Industrial Securities.

R3, a consortium formed by a few dozen financial services operators to develop and commercialise blockchain technology for the industry, has secured $107m in the first two tranches of a series A round that includes Intel Capital, Ping An and Temasek, the sovereign wealth fund of Singapore, as well as around 40 banks.

In other news, Chinese mobile communication app developer Chubao has raised $100m in a series D round that included Susquehanna International Group, which has been an investor in the company since 2011.

Huya, the livestreaming subsidiary of online video streaming platform YY, has spun out with $75m of series A funding led by Ping An Insurance.

UrWork was founded only two years ago but it could yet turn out to be the Didi Chuxing of the co-working sector.

We’ve also had a few nice triple helix deals in the past week, such as Symic Bio, a biopharmaceutical spinout of Purdue University, that has completed a $30m series B round backed by all its existing investors, including Purdue Foundry Investment Fund, a vehicle backed by Purdue University focused on the institution’s spinouts.

Funds

The big news is that SoftBank has finally announced the first close of its Vision Fund, having raised an immense $93bn in capital.

WuXi Healthcare Ventures, the corporate venturing arm of WuXi PharmaTech, has agreed to merge with VC firm Frontline BioVentures to form a healthcare-focused investment firm called 6 Dimensions Capital that will have some $800m of assets under management.

Saudi Telecom formed strategic VC firm STC Ventures in 2011 to invest in the IT, telecommunications and media sectors, but as times change so do the requirements for corporate venturing, and the firm has elected to commit $500m to a new fund named STV that will back more advanced digital technologies.

Gree Ventures, the corporate venturing arm of social media and gaming company Gree, has closed its second fund at $67m.

We didn’t see any big fund launches on GUV, and while there were some on GGV, the most interesting news here was that the European Investment Fund has started pulling out of the UK following the country’s decision to abandon the EU.

Exits

Flipkart’s acquisition of rival Snapdeal is getting closer with news that SoftBank has bought out the shares of various other Snapdeal board members to clear the way for the deal.

Delivery Hero raised more than $420m from Naspers earlier this month at a reported $3.1bn valuation, but sources have told Reuters it is planning to launch an IPO in the next few weeks that could value it at up to €4bn ($4.5bn).

Sea, the Singapore-registered online services platform that recently rebranded from Garena with a $550m funding round, has confidentially filed for an IPO in the US that will give exits to corporate investors Tencent, JG Summit and Uni-President Enterprises, according to Bloomberg.

Bioverativ has agreed to acquire True North Therapeutics for $400m upfront with up to $425m in milestone payments to come.

On GUV, news emerged on Tuesday that commercialisation firm IP Group had made a bid for Touchstone Innovations, its peer that was spun out of Imperial College London. Touchstone rebuffed the offer, though a majority of its shareholders (some of which also own IP Group stakes) are pushing for the takeover.


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