01 July 2019 – Grab Boosts Series H Round to $4.8bn

Big Ones

Southeast Asian ride hailing service Grab has boosted an already swelling series H round to $4.8bn, taking in $300m from investment management firm Invesco.

Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners was launched by its parent company nearly five years ago, and has now formed a $350m second venture and growth capital fund.

Who says the IPO market is on the dip? Adaptive Biotechnologies – backed by Microsoft, Celgene, Illumina, LabCorp and BD Biosciences – saw its share price double on its first day of trading – from $20 to $40.30 – while BridgeBio Pharma, which is developing drugs to treat diseases driven by genetic defects, floated above its range despite increasing the number of shares in its offering by a third.

On GUV, Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS), a US-based fusion power technology spinout of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has closed a $115m series A round backed by MIT’s The Engine.

Deals

SpaceX is reportedly looking to raise more than $314m in its forthcoming round, with most or potentially all of it set to come from Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, which has confirmed it has invested in the GV-backed space services provider.

Ouyeel, an online trading platform spun off by China Baowu Steel, has raised $294m in a round featuring corporates Sinotrans, Benxi Group and Beijing Jianlong Heavy Industry as well as Baowu itself together with its Baoshan Iron and Steel subsidiary.

Digital manufacturing technology producer Carbon has received more than $260m in a round that pushed its overall funding past $680m.

Digital bank operator Monzo is going from strength to strength, helping to indicate that the UK’s Brexit woes have not affected its status as a centre of fintech.

StockX, the operator of an online marketplace for authenticated rare fashion items, has shown once again that the upmarket fashion space is an attractive one for investors. It has notched up $110m in a series C round featuring GV, which participated as an existing backer, at a valuation of more than $1bn.

Cardiac imaging technology provider Acutus Medical has secured $100m in series D funding from investors including GE Ventures as part of a larger round that included a $70m credit facility. Acutus has now raised roughly $230m in equity financing altogether, with GE Ventures having been an investor since at least 2013, and the funding will go to strengthening its atrial access product range.

Funds

That model of corporate venturing looks like it’s gaining some traction. Logistics services provider JD Logistics was spun off by e-commerce company JD.com two years ago but it is now getting into the corporate venturing game itself and has accumulated $218m for a strategic fund.

Exits

Fast fashion retail brand Miniso raised its first outside funding just eight months ago, having launched in 2013, but it is reportedly now gearing up for an initial public offering that could raise $1bn.

Upmarket fashion marketplace TheRealReal, proving it isn’t just the biotech sector that’s doing well, also completed a $300m initial public offering and went public on Friday.

Slack’s direct offering has pulled in the headlines but Stoke Therapeutics held its own successful listing last week, which it has now closed at just over $163m.

Atreca is working on immunotherapeutics to treat cancer, and raised $125m when it floated today, having priced the IPO at the midpoint of its range.

Velodyne Lidar is meanwhile pushing to become the first lidar technology developer to go public, having hired banks to underwrite an IPO expected to value it at about $1.8bn.


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

29 April 2019 – Uber Sets Terms for $9bn IPO

The Big 3

Uber has set terms for an IPO that will raise $9bn if it floats at the top of its range. SoftBank is among the selling shareholders, though it will remain the largest shareholder in the on-demand ride provider.

Uber has also confirmed its autonomous driving division, otherwise known as Uber Advanced Technologies Group, has raised $1bn from external investors. Toyota said its share consisted of the $500m it provided for strategic partner Uber last August, while SoftBank Vision Fund invested $333m with the rest provided by Denso.

Hitachi has not been too active in the corporate venturing space, but that looks likely to change with the institution of a $150m fund called Hitachi Ventures that is set to formally begin operations in June.

And in a nice university-corporate VC crossover, US-based online education platform Coursera secured $103m in a series E round led by online education and recruitment firm Seek Group.Future Fund, Australia’s sovereign wealth fund, also took part in the round, as did venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates (NEA).

Deals

Ford has agreed to invest $500m in electric SUV and truck developer Rivian, just two months after the latter pulled in $700m in an Amazon-led funding round.

3D printing hasn’t yet become the goldmine some were predicting, but the market leaders are still raising funds quite easily. Carbon is seeking $300m in its forthcoming series E round according to a regulatory filing, at a valuation expected to be around the $2.5bn mark.

KeepTruckin has raised $149m at a $1.25bn valuation, from investors including Alphabet subsidiary GV. GV has been an investor in KeepTruckin since its seed round, back when the unit was still known as Google Ventures, and the series D round took the fleet management technology producer’s total funding to $228m. Greenoaks Capital led the round, which included IVP, Index Ventures and Scale Venture Partners.

Two affiliates of state-owned aerospace manufacturer Aviation Industry Corporation of China have provided $149m of funding for airline services provider Global Wings.

Loon, the orbital internet connectivity system developer formed by Alphabet, has received $125m from HapsMobile, a joint venture between SoftBank and Aerovironment that is developing high-altitude digital infrastructure.

Funds

Allianz has become the latest company to fund an independent venture firm alongside its existing corporate venturing activities.

University of Chicago at Illinois (UIC) partnered investment firm Deerfield Management yesterday to launch translational research funding and commercialisation vehicle West Loop Innovations. Deerfield will provide up to $65m in capital to West Loop Innovations, which will help advance promising discoveries at the university. In particular, the fund is expected to solidify UIC’s strengths in drug discovery.

Exits

Douyu, the game streaming platform that’s been called China’s Twitch, has filed for a $500m initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange.

Content management software provider Fastly has become the latest corporate-backed tech company to file for an IPO, and is officially targeting $100m.

Peer-to-peer car rental marketplace Getaround has paid $300m to acquire peer Drivy in order to create a car sharing service with 5 million users across the US and Europe.

On GUV, Bellwether Bio, a US-based oncological diagnostics spinout of University of Washington, has been acquired by early cancer detection test company Guardant Health for an undisclosed sum.


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

19 September 2016 – Clear Vision Investment, A Fund for Baidu and Russian State Exits plus much more

Deals

AcuFocus, developer of a medical device that improves near vision, has raised $66m in a KKR-led round.

Microprocessor and system-on-chip technology developer Soft Machines came out of stealth mode in late 2014 with $125m from investors including AMD and Samsung, and has raised almost $175m from backers also including GlobalFoundries.

3D printing technology developer Carbon has added $81m to the $100m in series C capital it raised in August 2015, taking its overall funding to $222m.

Protein motion drug developer Relay Therapeutics has launched with $57m of funding partly supplied by biochemistry researcher DE Shaw.

A nice crossover between corporate, government and university came from France, where Eyevensys achieved a final close of its series A at $10m.

Funds

Baidu is looking to launch of a CVC unit called Baidu Venture that will target AI, virtual and augmented reality technology, and Baidu is initially looking to raise $200m to invest.

Sapphire Ventures broke off from its old parent company SAP in 2011 and officially changed its name from SAP Ventures three years later, but that doesn’t mean the two are strangers. SAP has just provided $1bn of capital for Sapphire.

Speaking of big funds, GV co-founder Bill Maris is reportedly in talks with investors for a new venture firm and is said to be targeting between $350m and $500m for its first fund.

Canada’s government has awarded $5m to the Capital expansion région Thetford fund for a venture capital vehicle that will support entrepreneurs in Quebec county Les Appalaches.

Canada-based VC firm Information Venture Partners, which achieved a $96m second close of its latest fund.

Bpifrance backed the first $52m close of incubator iBionext’s $112m growth fund that should help the Parisian startup foundry set up quite a few more businesses.

UC Berkeley meanwhile put some cash into the House Fund, a $6m fund set up by its alumnus Jeremy Fiance, and Warwick University is hoping to open a Centre for Innovation at its upcoming California campus, modelled on its original, England-based tech transfer office Warwick Ventures.

Exits

Crispr has filed for an IPO.

LED sensor technology provider Sensity Systems has agreed to an acquisition by Verizon that will give exits to Cisco Investments, Acuity Brands, GE Ventures and Simon Property.

Naspers subsidiary PayU is set to acquire Indian mobile payment services provider Citrus Pay in a $130m all-cash deal that will give exits to eContext and Beenos.

Concur has agreed to buy travel price comparison platform Hipmunk, allowing Nokia Growth Partners, which invested an undisclosed sum in the company two years ago, to exit.

Intel has reportedly agreed to buy semiconductor technology developer Soft Machines in a $250m deal that will provide exits to two Russian state-owned entities.

ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company, an insurance provider backed by Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund Temasek, is hoping to raise Rs60bn ($900m) in an initial public offering today, that is Monday, September 19.

One sadder exit we have to talk about unfortunately is online lifestyle media company Mode Media. While the unicorn carnage predicted by some at the end of 2015 has yet to manifest, that doesn’t mean there won’t still be casualties. Mode Media, valued at $1bn in a 2013 round when it was still known as Glam, shut down on Thursday after failing to find a buyer or investors willing to provide financing. Its investors included Hubert Burda Media, which invested $30m in 2015, shortly after forming a strategic partnership with Mode.

People

Imperial Create Lab, the innovation community of Imperial College London and its Imperial Innovations investment arm, revealed a host of changes: Mark Hammond and Dominic Falcão have left to focus on their incubator Deep Science Ventures. Falcão had been manager of Imperial Create Lab from September 2013. Hammond had been director since January 2012.

Also at Create Lab, Jack Owen, ecosystem builder since January 2016, left to become a postgraduate talent associate at incubator Entrepreneur First, which, as you might remember, closed a $53.7m fund backed by Imperial College London two weeks ago. The new Create Lab team will be made up of Liz Choonara, who has also Imperial College’s enterprise development manager since 2014, and Lauren Dennis, communications and activities intern.

Hearst Ventures president George Kliavkoff has departed to take the chief executive position at virtual reality content developer Jaunt.

And Rich Flynn, who stepped down from his position as president of Apollo Education Ventures in April, has joined Tyton Partners as managing director.

Law and policy

After German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble blocked a startup boosting bill several months ago, the government has now agreed to provide tax breaks to VC investors, making it possible for them to reclaim potential losses.


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