04 November 2019 – Greensill Raises $655m from SoftBank

The Big Ones

Greensill, a UK-based company that taps the capital markets in order to provide working capital for businesses, received one of this year’s biggest investments in May when it secured $800m from SoftBank Vision Fund. Now it’s added a further $655m from the same investor at a valuation reportedly nearing $4bn.

Singapore-based venture capital firm Jungle Ventures has closed its latest fund at $240m, securing the capital from LPs including, according to DealStreetAsia, Cisco Investments and Bualuang Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of Bangkok Bank, as well as Temasek, the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation, development finance institutions DEG and FMO, and Kuok Khoon Hong, chief executive of agribusiness Wilmar International.

Wag raised $300m from SoftBank Vision last year but the petsitting service has been among the vehicle’s less successful bets, after a series of management changes, layoffs and (perhaps we need a trigger warning here) reports that users’ dogs have died while in the custody of its walkers. The company is now pursuing a sale and is in talks with Petco, though things might be complicated by the fact the latter is an investor in Wag rival Rover. Any sale is also likely to be for less than the $650m valuation at which Vision Fund invested.

Finally, in a nice crossover story (and ongoing one, since several of the corporates were returning investors) we have Tmunity Therapeutic, a developer of T-cell immunotherapy treatments for cancer and autoimmune diseases, has boosted its overall funding to $231m with a $75m series B round featuring Gilead Sciences and Be The Match BioTherapies as well as University of Pennsylvania, of which Tmunity is a spinout.

Deals

Trading app developer RobinHood has added $50m to a series E round that now stands at $373m, and which values it at $7.6bn. The extra cash came from existing investor DST Global and it increased the total raised by RobinHood, which also counts Roc Nation’s Arrive unit and Alphabet subsidiaries CapitalG and GV among its past investors, to more than $910m.

Vacasa has notched up its own nine-figure round, raising $319m from investors led by Silver Lake. It operates a peer-to-peer holiday accommodation booking platform that incorporates property management services, allowing owners of properties where they are often not present to garner extra income with minimal effort.

Mobile game publisher Scopely is on the growth trail and plans to follow up its acquisition of collaborator Digit Games earlier this year with additional M&A deals. They will be financed with $200m of series D funding the company just raised at a reported $1.7bn valuation, with NewView Capital leading the round.

Japanese online consumer credit provider Paidy has raised $143m in debt and equity financing that included an $83m extension to its series C round. That extension included PayPal Ventures and followed on from a $55m first tranche featuring corporates Itochu and Visa.

And after-sales automotive services provider CassTime has secured $80m in a series C1 round co-led by Sequoia Capital China and Source Code Capital that boosted its overall funding to some $175m.

Pollinate has officially launched its digital banking technology offering having secured $77.8m in funding from investors including Mastercard and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) as well as Motive Partners and EFM Asset Management.

Funds

Qualcomm Ventures has announced an investment vehicle called the 5G Ecosystem Fund which will fund developers of 5G technologies as parent company Qualcomm looks to move more significantly into the area. The unit will look to invest up to $200m through the vehicle, the launch of which follows the formation of a $100m AI Fund almost a year ago.

Exits

Phathom Pharmaceuticals has gone public, securing nearly $182m in an initial public offering in which the gastrointestinal disease therapy developer floated in the middle of its range. Phathom has licensed its core product from pharmaceutical firm Takeda, which has already successfully marketed the drug in its home country of Japan, and which has seen its stake rise from 9.1% to 24.7% in connection with the IPO as part of the licensing agreement.

Fertility benefits management platform Progyny has also floated, in a $130m offering in which Merck Group sold almost $4.9m of shares. That divestment was made as part of nearly $43m of sales from existing shareholders, while Progyny reaped more than $87m. Its other investors include GlaxoSmithKline’s corporate venturing unit, SR One.

Xiaomi-backed podcasting platform Lizhi has filed for an initial public offering in the US and is targeting $100m. Lizhi is yet to finalise its choice of a market for its listing (it’s a choice between NYSE and Nasdaq Global Market) and it’s going to be interesting to see the timeline of the proposed offering, considering the IPO market is slowing down and relations between its home country and the US continue to be, well, let’s just say uneven.

Chinese apartment rental platform Danke Apartment has also filed for an initial public offering in the US, having raised $875m from investors including Ant Financial, UCommune and Bertelsmann Asia Investments. The company was valued at more than $2bn as of a $500m round led by Ant Financial in March, and has set a placeholder amount of $100m for the IPO. Expect that to rise substantially.

And another one: I-Mab Biopharma has also opted for the US, having filed for a $100m initial public offering on the Nasdaq Global Market. The company is developing several drug candidates to treat cancer or autoimmune diseases and its largest investors include Tasly and Genexine.


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

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

Big 3

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

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

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

Deals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Exits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Centogene scents IPO

Funds

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


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