02 December 2019 – SoftBank Leads Oyo’s $1.5bn Funding Round

The Big Ones

SoftBank Vision Fund is putting up $807m to lead a $1.5bn funding round for one of its most notable portfolio companies, India-based short term accommodation platform Oyo. The round values Oyo at $10bn and the extra cash will fund expansion in the US, a prime market in the company’s ongoing international expansion. Its other investors include Didi Chuxing, Hero Enterprise and Huazhu Hotels Group.

Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial is putting together a $1bn fund that will focus on emerging markets such as India or Southeast Asia. Its name can be translated as Ant Unicorn Fund and it will concentrate on strategic investments in areas such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, security, the internet of things and computing as well as digital financial services platforms.

Aporeto’s investors, which include Comcast Ventures, National Grid Partners, Symantec and Telia Ventures, are in line for exits, through a $150m acquisition by Palo Alto Networks. The machine identity-based cybersecurity software provider had raised almost $35m, and its pending acquisition marks the third corporate-backed company to be bought by Palo Alto in the past six months, following Zingbox and Twistlock.

In crossover news with Global University Venturing, Heartseed, a Japan-based developer of treatments for heart failure based on research at Keio University, has secured ¥2.8bn ($25.8m) in series B funding from investors including medical data technology provider JMDC.

Deals

Another of Vision Fund’s key Indian investments is mobile financial services provider Paytm, and it has contributed to a $1bn series G round for the company that also featured fellow corporate investor Ant Financial.

Elsewhere in Asia, Indonesia-based Tokopedia is seeking what will likely be its last VC funding before its own flotation, and is reportedly in talks to raise $1bn to $1.5bn in a round that will probably include existing backers and unnamed US internet companies.

Impossible Foods is looking to raise $300m to $400m in a round expected to value it in the $3bn to $5bn range. The plant-based burger provider was most recently valued at $2bn and is reportedly eyeing 2020 for its initial public offering.

Online supermarket Picnic has raised $275m in funding, chiefly from the same investors that backed its last round, when it secured $108m in early 2017.

Online pharmacy operator PharmEasy has raised $220m at a $700m valuation, in a round led by the Singaporean government-owned Temasek. India-based PharmEasy has now secured more than $320m altogether, its earlier investors including corporates Ascent Health and Wellness, Medi Assist and Manipal Education and Medical Group.

Ferring Pharmaceuticals has spun off a new company to manage the late-stage development and eventual commercialisation of a gene therapy intended to treat bladder cancer.

Lithuania-headquartered fashion e-commerce marketplace Vinted has meanwhile received $141m from investors including Burda Principal Investments at a valuation of about $1.1bn.

We’ve been through the ride hailing gold rush and the bicycle rental frenzy but neither sector has even approached profitability yet. Despite that, electric scooter rental platforms are continuing to raise big money, the latest being India-based Bounce, which has bumped its series D round up to $150m.

Online job listings and recruitment portal Boss Zhipin has received a seven-figure dollar amount in a series E round featuring Tencent, which reportedly led one tranche of the round while participating in another.

Enterprise AI software provider Appier has bagged $80m in series D funding from investors including UMC Capital and Hopu-Arm Innovation Fund, nearly doubling its overall funding to $162m in the process.

Real estate developer Daito Trust Construction has provided $50m in equity funding for co-working space operator JustCo, and is pumping a further $24m into a joint venture that will enable the Sinagporean company to expand into Daito’s home market of Japan.

Despite its name, Jybd is not a recruitment platform but an aftermarket services platform for truckers. The China-based company has received $50m in a series B round led by Sino-Ocean Capital, a subsidiary of Sino-Ocean Group, the transaction coming after trucking services marketplace Manbang Group supplied $46m in series A funding for it last year.

Funds

Now this isn’t really a new fund but it is an interesting development: Thailand-based financial services firm Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) is looking to spin off some of its financial technology entities, potentially including venture capital subsidiary SCB Digital Ventures. Digital Ventures was launched in 2016 with $50m in capital and its early investments focused on limited partner commitments, including funds being raised by Nyca Partners and Dymon Asia Ventures.

Exits

There weren’t too many exits last week, but another notable one was insurance provider Maif’s exit from France-based voice technology developer Snips in a $37.5m acquisition by speaker system producer Sonos. Snips is the creator of a full-stack software platform that can be used to develop custom voice-based digital assistants.


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

21 October 2019 – SoftBank Prepares We Company Restructuring Deal

The Big Ones

The latest twist in the We Company/WeWork saga is that SoftBank, the largest shareholder in the workspace operator and also the investor that provided most of its late-stage funding, is preparing a restructuring deal that will involve it acquiring a majority stake while ensuring it has enough money to make it through the next 12 months.

Vice Media is dealing with a valuation cut of its own, having raised money from Lupa Systems, the investment holding vehicle for ex-21st Century Fox exec James Murdoch, at a $4bn valuation.

Fund-wise, Lakala Payment may have found itself forced to operate in the shadow of Ant Financial and Tencent’s WePay app, but the payment services firm floated in April, and is now looking to establish its own fintech investment fund.

And talking of new funds, we need to give a shoutout to Wendell Brooks of Intel Capital, who’s donated personal money to seed an up-to $20m philanthropic venture fund being raised by U-M Tech Transfer, the tech transfer office of University of Michigan, for its early-stage spinouts.

On GUV, Neil Woodford has had the worst week of his career yet as he was forced to admit the end is nigh for his fund management firm Woodford Investment Management. He also intends to leave the spinout-focused Woodford Patient Capital Trust (WPCT) and the recently-suspended Woodford Income Focus Fund – having been sacked from the flagship Equity Income Fund by its administrator Link Fund Solutions earlier last week.

Deals

Paytm is looking to cement its position near the top of Asia’s highest valued VC-backed companies and is close to raising $2bn in equity and debt financing at a reported $16bn valuation.

We’re likely to see edge computing turn up increasingly often on this site, and the latest startup to break out in the sector is Pensando Systems, which has emerged from stealth having raised a total of $278m. Pensando has just nabbed $145m in a series C round led by HPE at a reported $645m post-money valuation.

Digital invoicing technology developer and services provider Hainan Golden Technology has closed a $141m series B round led by Tencent that will fund research and development work, in areas such as big data, blockchain and cloud computing technology.

Algolia, a developer of online search software, has raised $110m in series C funding from investors including Salesforce Ventures to boost its total funding to approximately $184m.

Ant Financial has co-led a $100m series C round for Tsign, whose offering can probably be most easily described as ‘the Chinese DocuSign’. Gobi Capital and Eminence Ventures also participated in the round, which reportedly took the total raised by Tsign to at least $131m since it was founded in 2002.

Midu, a spinoff from Chinese news aggregation app developer Qutoutiao, has secured $100m in a CMC Capital-led series B round that included its parent company. Midu oversees online literature platforms Midu Novels and Midu Novels Lite, and is aiming to hit 10 million daily active users before the end of the year.

Pendo has raised its own nine-figure sum, securing $100m in a series E round that valued it at $1bn. The company’s technology helps developers build customer-friendly software, and the round boosted its overall funding to $206m in under five years.

Provivi is working on pesticides designed to prevent certain kinds of pests from mating without affecting the surrounding ecosystem, and has received $85m in series C funding from investors including BASF Venture Capital.

Small molecule cancer drug developer Cyteir Therapeutics, spun out of Jackson Laboratory, has added $40.2m to a series B round led by Novo that now totals $75.2m. Celgene also contributed to the extension, though neither corporate had been named as an investor when Cyteir closed the $29m first tranche early last year.

Level Home has emerged from stealth, making its invisible smart lock available for order and revealing $71m in funding from investors including Walmart, with which it also has a delivery partnership in place, and Lennar. Although the Level Lock is the company’s flagship product, it bills itself as a home automation technology provider, so expect to see its product range extended in future.

There hasn’t been a great deal going on in the electric vehicle sector of late, but electric chassis producer Motiv Power Systems has raised some money, in a $60m series B round co-led by RV producer Winnebago Industries.

Funds

China-based clinical development services provider Hangzhou Tigermed Consulting has committed up to $12m for a $62m biotech-focused fund dubbed TG Sino-Dragon Fund. The dollar-denominated vehicle will be co-sponsored by Singaporean government-owned investment firm Temasek and will target early to growth-stage opportunities in the biotech and contract research spaces.

Japan-based payment services firm Credit Saison is putting together a $55m corporate venturing fund called Saison Capital. The vehicle will invest at seed and series A stage and will concentrate on India and Southeast Asia-based developers of platforms or economic ecosystems that could potentially provide financial services for underbanked citizens, though it is officially sector-agnostic.

Cogna Educação, the Brazil-based educational services provider formerly known as Kroton Educacional, will launch a corporate venture capital arm in 2020 called Cogna Ventures.

Exits

Phathom Pharmaceuticals has licensed a gastrointestinal disease drug from Takeda and is advancing it towards regulatory approval in the US market. It also plans to float, and has set the terms for an initial public offering set to raise $158m if it floats at the top of its range.


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

28 January 2019 – Stanford StartX Fund Comes to an End

The big 3

For all the talk about the big numbers of 2018 – Global Corporate Venturing tracked 2,775 deals worth an estimated total of $180bn, the details of which you can find in the January issue out and the World of Corporate Venturing annual review published at the GCVI Summit at the end of the month – the headline increase in CVC units masks continued evolution in units and structures.

GE Ventures has become one of the most prominent figures in the corporate venture capital space since being formed in 2013, but its parent company is reportedly looking to divest the unit as part of a large-scale restructuring effort that has already claimed its transportation subsidiary and could shortly include GE Healthcare.

Big deal: Stanford-StartX Fund reaches the end

Insurance group Axa formed its corporate venturing unit, then known as Axa Strategic Partners, in 2015 and it has now boosted its early-stage investing by putting $150m into a second early-stage fund that will provide up to $6m per deal.

And startups founded by women or minorities are still having a tough time getting capital. Enterprise software producer SAP is the latest corporate to try and change that, unveiling its No Boundaries initiative that will invest 40% of the existing SAP.io Fund in startups led by underrepresented entrepreneurs.

Other big news sees a sweep of large deals continuing. Go-Jek is one on the up. The ride hailing platform, Grab’s main rival in Southeast Asia, has raised $920m from existing investors that include Google, JD.com and Tencent for the first close of a round with a $2bn target.

Still, getting financial and hopefully strategic benefits remains the game. Reports earlier this week suggested Viacom was set to acquire online television streaming platform Pluto TV for up to $500m. The final price has proven to be a more realistic $340m, but it will still give a healthy exit to a round of investors including Sky, ProSiebenSat.1, UTA, Universal Music Group, Samsung Scripps and Windsor Media.

Funds

Menlo Ventures hires Qualcomm’s Haghighi

Deals

Genetic disease drug developer BridgeBio has received $299m in funding from investors including AIG that will be used to move a 15-strong pipeline of assets forward.

Desktop Metal has confirmed recent reports that it was raising new funding by confirming it has closed a $160m round led by Koch Disruptive Technologies, the then undisclosed large industrial company featured in those reports.

FirstCry was reported last week to be in the process of securing $400m from SoftBank, but now the company has revealed the round will be raised over two tranches – with a first $150m investment closed – and that the cash is actually coming from the Vision Fund rather than the corporate directly.

LinkedIn-backed data streaming platform developer Confluent has secured $125m in a series D round that valued it at $2.5bn. The round increased Confluent’s total funding to $206m and was led by Seqouia Capital, the venture firm that also led its series C two years ago.

AutoAI was unveiled by mapping technology provider Navinfo late last year to further develop smart in-car technology created by the firm’s subsidiaries.

Andela recruits GV for $100m series D

SoftBank Vision Fund has made a $100m investment in Globality, the operator of a platform where businesses can source service providers, that valued the company at nearly $1bn, a source told the WSJ.

Sunmi shines with Ant Financial investment

University

Minervax finds verve with $5m

Nexiot checks in series B funding

CIC makes cut in Imagen series B

Exits

Beleaguered Blippar finds a buyer

Avedro heads to public markets


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

07 January 2019 – Bristol-Myers Squibb Agrees Celgene Acquisition

Three biggest stories

In this week’s biggest deal, pharmaceutical firm Bristol-Myers Squibb has agreed to acquire peer Celgene in a buyout made up of cash and shares that will create a $74bn business.

Singapore-based on-demand ride service Grab has increased the potential size of a series H round already backed by several corporate investors to $5bn.

Medical device manufacturer Boston Scientific has acquired the rest of the shares in one of its portfolio companies, US-based mitral regurgitation system developer Millipede Medical, for $325m.

The rest

Deals

Verily was spun off from Alphabet’s Google X division in 2015 to apply data science technology to healthcare data in order to create innovative life sciences and care management products.

Ant Financial, e-commerce group Alibaba’s financial services affiliate, has co-led a funding round sized at almost $582m for Hello TransTech, the China-based operator of bicycle rental service Hellobike.

Woowa Brothers, a South Korea-based food delivery app owner backed by internet company CyberAgent and financial services firm Goldman Sachs, has raised $320m at a $2.6bn valuation.

Internet group Tencent has led a $300m round for China-based online education platform developer Yuanfudao.

US-based oncology drug developer Rakuten Aspyrian has completed a $284m series C round featuring e-commerce firm Rakuten and financial services provider SBI Group.

AR game developer Niantic, has secured $190m in funding in a round that could have included Samsung and Axiomatic.

The year’s first big crypto round has been raised by Bakkt, a cryptocurrency trading platform that secured approximately $183m in its first funding round.

Cancer therapy developer Antengene has completed a $120m series B round featuring insurer Taikang and pharmaceutical companies Celgene and WuXi AppTec.

On GUV, Annexon Biosciences, a US-based immunotherapy developer spun out of Stanford University, closed a $75m series C round backed by Novartis Venture Fund, the corporate venturing vehicle for pharmaceutical firm Novartis.

Exits

One of the IPOs set to take place in early 2019 will likely involve Futu, the China-based digital brokerage operator that has filed to raise up to $300m in a US offering.

Funds

E-commerce group Alibaba’s Electronic World Trade Platform and online listings platform 58.com have co-anchored a $200m first close for a fund launched by China-based venture capital firm ATM Capital.

Oil and gas supplier Saudi Aramco and IT services provider Saudi Information Technology Company have teamed up to form a corporate venturing vehicle that will back emerging information and communication technologies.

Egypt-based financial services firm Commercial Investment Bank (CIB) has launched a corporate venturing unit called CVentures to help drive emerging technologies in the fintech sector.

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev is to put $1m into a university venture fund called Cactus Capital to back emerging projects led by university students, recent graduates and other academic entrepreneurs.


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

22 October 2018 – Alibaba Confirms Ele.me and Koubei Merger

Deals

Alibaba has confirmed the merger of Ele.me, the food delivery service it acquired in April, with Koubei, the local services platform it launched in 2015 and spun off two years later. The deal will be bolstered by $3bn of funding from Alibaba and SoftBank, and the newly formed entity will be going head to head with Meituan Dianping, the local services platform heavily backed by Alibaba’s key rival, Tencent.

Indian online food ordering platform Swiggy is preparing to raise $900m in a Naspers-led round that will reportedly include Tencent, and which will consist of $600m in equity funding and $300m in secondary share sales.

Instacart is growing like a weed and has announced a $600m round led by hedge fund D1 Capital Partners that valued it at $7.6bn. That would be some achievement in itself, but the grocery delivery service closed a $350m round at a $4.35bn valuation just six months ago.

Alibaba has invested approximately $288m in alcoholic beverages retailer 1919 Wines, taking a 29% stake in the process. 1919 sells its drinks through the combination of an e-commerce platform, for which Alibaba could surely help, and brick-and-mortar stores, and the investment comes at a time when China is learning to love wine.

LinkLogis, which uses AI to power a supply chain finance platform for small and micro-sized businesses, has received $220m in a series C round led by Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC with participation from corporates GLP, Skyworth, Tencent and Bertelsmann Asia Investments.

Ant Financial, Alibaba’s financial services affiliate, has invested $210m in Zomato, the India-based restaurant listings platform that is moving into food delivery.

Oxford Nanopore Technologies, a UK-based sequencing technology spinout of University of Oxford, has raised $66m from pharmaceutical firm Amgen that brought its latest round to $206m.

Careem has received $200m from existing investors that include Rakuten, Al Tayyar and the Saudi Telecom-anchored STV according to Reuters, capital that will likely form the first part of a $500m round that values it at $2bn pre-money.

Automotive e-commerce platform Chehaoduo has meanwhile secured $162m in a series C+ round, seven months after Tencent led its $818m series C. It has reportedly now raised a total of more than $1.85bn in total, and the city of Kunshan has provided $430m as part of a deal that will involve it being the location for Chehaoduo’s Maodou subsidiary.

Funds

SoftBank is still yet to officially close its $100bn Vision Fund, but it is reportedly arranging $9bn in debt financing for the unit, from the banks that are acting as underwriters for the IPO of its wireless division, an offering expected to raise some $27bn.

US-based growth equity firm Edison Partners closed its ninth fund at $365m yesterday having raised capital from limited partners including Rutgers University and American Family.

Taiho Pharmaceutical launched corporate venturing arm Taiho Ventures in 2016 with $50m of capital. The unit has since backed several companies, many of which are cancer therapy developers, and achieved an exit when Arcus Biosciences went public in March.

The Chinese city of Xuzhou has partnered with venture capital firm SummitView capital to launch a $433m fund focusing on sensors and technology related to the internet of things.

36Kr has long been cited as a news source for Chinese deals, but the technology news platform has been busy in recent years, adding a slate of data provision, event promotion and fundraising services to its bow.

Exits

It’s been quite a while but slowly, inch by inch, ride hailing services Uber and Lyft are moving toward the public markets.

Meanwhile, prospective underwriters for a Palantir IPO have told the company it could double its last disclosed valuation to $41bn in its own 2019 IPO.

Innovent Biologics filed for its Hong Kong IPO in June but has now revealed it is seeking $400m to $500m in the offering and has lined up cornerstone investors.

Anaplan has raised almost $264m in an IPO that involved it floating at the top of its range before seeing its share price jump some 40% immediately.


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

27 August 2018 – Walmart Completes $16bn 77% Acquisition of Flipkart

Exits

Walmart has completed its $16bn acquisition of a 77% stake in Indian e-commerce marketplace Flipkart, as part of an ongoing drive into e-commerce that has involved investments in JD.com and Dada-JD Daojia and full acquisitions of Jet.com and Bonobos among others.

China-based immunotherapy developer I-Mab Biopharma raised $220m just a few weeks ago in a series C round featuring corporate venturing unit Tasly Capital, but is reportedly eyeing a $500m initial public offering set for Hong Kong.

The biggest player in China’s news aggregation sector is the Bytedance-owned Toutiao, but newcomer Qutoutiao is making ground fast and has filed for its own IPO, which has a $300m target and which is set to occur in the US.

Live event promotion and ticketing software provider Eventbrite has filed to raise up to $200m in an IPO that will give Square an exit less than a year after it invested as part of an agreement that will make it Eventbrite’s payment processor in some of its biggest markets.

High-end fashion marketplace Farfetch has meanwhile raised more than $700m in funding, and is set to go public after filing for a $100m IPO in the US.

Ascentage Pharma has also raised a big round lately, pulling in $150m in its series C round last month, and its IPO plans seem to be going smoothly.

Ant Financial closed an immense $14bn of funding in June at a reported $150bn valuation, but a forecasted IPO for company, e-commerce giant Alibaba’s financial services spinoff, has now been put back until the end of 2019 at the earliest according to the FT.

Amazingly, that aforementioned flotation of Ascentage was neither the only nor the biggest exit on Global University Venturing – despite the summer holidays! – with an up to $800m acquisition of University of Bristol spinout Ziylo by pharmaceutical firm Novo Nordisk towering over everything else.

Deals

Alibaba acquired food delivery platform Ele.me in May at an enterprise value of $9.5bn, and its latest financial statement reveals it has merged the service with its local services spinoff, Koubei.

Slack has secured $427m in a series H round co-led by Dragoneer and General Atlantic at a valuation exceeding $7.1bn.

Car sharing platform Getaround has become the latest company to raise big money in a SoftBank-led round, taking in $300m from a series D round that included existing backer Toyota.

Primary healthcare service One Medical has raised $180m in funding from investors including GV, and three years after its last round, Carlyle Group has now come in for a $350m primary and secondary investment.

CassTime Technologies, a China-based provider of car servicing and parts to corporate clients, has raised $36.4m to increase its series B round to $95m.

Latch has developed a smart access system for buildings and has secured $70m in a series B round led by Brookfield Ventures, the venture capital arm of Brookfield Asset Management, which will begin installing the systems in buildings being developed by its Brookfield Properties subsidiary.

Upgrade has put together an online offering that combines consumer credit with credit monitoring and financial education tools. It was founded by Renaud Laplanche, also the founder of online lending platform LendingClub (a $1.6bn market cap at present), and it’s moved quickly having just closed a $62m series C round led by CreditEase Fintech Investment Fund.

Funds

Latitude Venture Partners, the Indonesia-based venture capital and business development vehicle affiliated with conglomerate Sinar Mas, has secured $200m in capital.

Drone Fund, the Japan-based venture capital firm that targets unmanned aerial vehicle technology, has now secured telecoms firm KDDI, game producer Sega Sammy, price comparison platform Aucfan, engineering consultancy Japan Asia Group, education provider Leave a Nest and Canal Ventures, the investment arm of systems integrator Nihon Unisys, among others, as limited partners in a fund that is targeting a $27m to $45m final close by the end of September.

Dating platform Bumble has launched a corporate venturing fund that will concentrate on female-founded and female-led businesses.


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

16 July 2018 – Swisscom Venture to Set Up $200m Digital Transformation Fund

Funds

Telecommunications company Swisscom has run its corporate venturing unit, Swisscom Ventures, since 2005 but has constantly looked to fine-tune its approach. Its latest move is to access external investment, for a fund sized at about $200m. Swisscom is putting in about 25% of the capital for Digital Transformation Fund, which will invest in Europe, the US and Israel as well as its home country of Switzerland.

Longzhu Capital logs $300m close

SoftBank’s Misra makes plans for $250m fund

Health Enterprise Partners hits up corporates

New Voices makes noise with $100m close

Cayuga Venture Fund targets $100m

Deals

Last week’s Big Deal focuses on Lime, the operator of an electric bicycle and e-scooter rental service, which has just raised $335m in a GV-led round backed by GV owner Alphabet and Uber, valuing it at $1.1bn.

The $14bn round closed by Ant Financial last month was the largest venture capital round of all time, but Alibaba’s financial services spinoff isn’t the only player in that space pulling in big money.

Xiaopeng Motors raised $348m in January but is in talks with Alibaba, which co-led that round, over $600m to $700m more at a valuation of almost $4bn, as it gets ready to launch its first car, a smart electric SUV.

Consumer goods delivery service Dianwoda has secured $290m in funding from Alibaba-owned logistics provider Cainiao Networks, which will take a controlling stake in the company through the deal.

Healthcare technology provider Cerner has invested $266m in Essence Group Holdings, the owner of care services provider Lumeris, in connection with a 10-year partnership meant to enhance efficiencies in healthcare.

GoGoVan merged with another China-based delivery services platform, 58 Suyun, to form a billion-dollar company last year, and it has just raised its first funding since that deal, capturing $250m from investors including Cainiao and 58 Suyun’s ex parent company, 58 Daojia.

Convene may be up against a hugely-funded rival in the form of WeWork, but it’s justraised $152m in a series D round backed by property developers QuadReal, Brookfield, The Durst Organization and RXR Realty to expand its workspace provision services.

Electronics recycling service Aihuishou has secured $150m from backers including existing investor JD.com at a $1.5bn valuation.

Lionbridge links with corporates for $150m

Compass Therapeutics has been around since 2014 but has finally closed its series A round, at $132m, having secured contributions from life sciences property developers Biomed Realty and Alexandria Real Estate Equities.

Keep offers online fitness programs through an app, and has just raised $127m in a series D round featuring existing investors Tencent and Bertelsmann Asia Investments.

Movile mobilises Naspers to raise $124m

Investors pay $115m tribute to Toast

Pony.ai picks up pace with $102m

ASR accesses $100m in series B round

High-speed internet provider Starry has secured $100m in new funding according to a regulatory filing, taking its overall funding to $163m.

University

Antiva adds $15m series C1

Exits

AT&T agreed to pay a reported $1.6bn to acquire online advertising exchange AppNexus last month, and now it’s fixed a deal to buy cybersecurity software provider AlienVault for a price reportedly around the $600m mark.

Thoma Bravo takes majority stake in Centrify

Autodesk builds with Assemble Systems acquisition

Visterra accepts $430m invitation from Otsuka

Elsewhere in China, Bytedance, the owner of a digital media portfolio headed up by aggregated news app Toutiao, is lining up its own IPO, according to the Wall Street Journal, and seeking a $45bn valuation.

Peer-to-peer lending marketplace WeLab had a good 2017, moving into profit while increasing its revenue fivefold, and it intends to cash in on that by going public in Hong Kong.

Qeeka Home floats in $137m IPO

51credit lines up $129m IPO

University

Akasol plugs into public markets


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

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

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

Deals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Funds

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

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

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

Exits

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

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

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

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

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

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


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