17 July 2017 – A Look at Unicorns

Editorial: A Look at Unicorns

Funds

Toyota’s research division, Toyota Research Institute, has launched a dedicated corporate venturing fund called Toyota AI Ventures that will invest in artificial intelligence as well as robotics, autonomous mobility, data and cloud technology.

Partech Ventures, a US-headquartered venture firm with a significant presence in Europe,has closed its seventh VC-stage fund, Partech International Ventures VII, at $455m.

Global Brain heads for $180m close

Ground transport-focused venture firm Autotech Ventures, which had already revealed commitments from BorgWarner and Autoliv to its first fund, has now closed it at $120m.

Government

Hong Kong to launch matched venture fund

Singapore springs to action with new fund

University

Adelaide realises ThincLab

Exits

Set-top box producer Roku has hired underwriters for an IPO that could value it at up to $1bn, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The merger agreed by DraftKings and FanDuel in November was supposed to help them combat long-running regulatory issues, but those seem to have struck again.

Symantec finds Skycure in $250m acquisition

Fireglass to melt into Symantec

Baidu catches Kitt.AI

Samsung Next embarks on European trip

Government

SBI Life prepares $1bn IPO

Investments

Uber’s on-demand ride and food ordering operations in 21 cities across four countries in Eastern Europe will be merged with Yandex Taxi, a subsidiary of Russian internet company Yandex, in a deal that will create a $3.7bn company, of which Uber will own 36%.

Co-working space provider WeWork has raised $760m in a series G round that reportedly increased its valuation to $20bn.

Artificial intelligence technology provider SenseTime has completed a $410m series B round featuring Dalian Wanda that reportedly valued it at more than $1.5bn.

Shouqi Limousine and Chauffeur, a ride hailing offshoot of services Shouqi Group and Xianglong Taxi, has raised $88m in series B funding from an undisclosed investor at a valuation of about $750m.

Darktrace, the developer of a cybersecurity platform that looks to mimic the human immune system, has received $75m in a series D round led by Insight Venture Partners that valued it at $825m.

E-Scape Bio has reached the final close of a $63m series A round featuring Novo as well as CVC units Lilly Asia Ventures, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC and Novartis Venture Fund which E-Scape will use to advance its pipeline of neurodegenerative disease treatments.

Growth equity firm Spectrum Equity has acquired a majority stake in link management platform Bitly in return for a $63m investment.

CompareAsiaGroup, the operator of a comparison platform for financial products in Southeast Asia, has closed a $50m series B round that included Alibaba and SBI Group.

Government

Floadia flows towards $14.5m series B

University

NYGC spins out Gencove

Phytelligence harvests series B


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

11 July 2016 – Microsoft Venturing Fund, Exits for Multiple Companies and Investment News plus more

People

Rich Miner helped to launch Google Ventures in 2009 as general partner but seven years later, he’s dropped down to a venture partner position so he can concentrate on a secretive edtech project within the Google organisation.

Microsoft Ventures continues to build up its team, the latest recruit being Matthew Goldstein who comes from VC firm Trinity Ventures where he was principal

Funds

Microsoft expands its corporate venturing activities by forming a $92m fund to invest in Brazil-based agribusiness technology startups.

Kellogg is just one of the packaged food producers to launch corporate venturing units in the past year, and we spoke to its vice-president of investor relations Simon Burton about the formation of its new Eighteen94 Capital subsidiary and where the funding will go.

Hanmi hands over $8.7m to corporate venturing unit

University

Four universities partner Mercia

MIP reinvestment from Mercia

Government

IPO for Draper Esprit

Exits

Recruit Holdings has bought classified job listings platform and search engine Simply Hired for an undisclosed amount.

Two of conglomerate Legend Holdings’ investment affiliates – Legend Capital and Hony Capital – helped invest $15m in Chinese tyre manufacturer Shandong Linglong Tyre Co in 2010, and they’ve now exited in a $390m IPO on the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

Genomic medicine developer Syros Pharmaceuticals floated in the US last week, and since then its shares have risen in price by almost 50%, from the IPO price of $12.50 to $18 as of close of trading yesterday.

Another gene therapy developer, GenSight Biologics, had less luck when it tried for an IPO in the US market last year, cancelling an offering set to raise up to $70m. The Novartis-backed company has now set its sights on more modest goals, and will aim to raise $44m in an IPO in its home country of France, with its existing backers set to buy almost $19m of shares in the offering.

China-based Android app store Wandoujia was valued at $1bn in early 2014, not long before Alibaba reportedly offered to buy it for $1.5bn. Two years on, the e-commerce firm looks to have netted a bargain by agreeing to acquire Wandoujia for a reported $200m in a deal that will boost its internet services business.

Speaking of valuation drops, India-based fashion e-commerce platform Jabong is in talks with a range of prospective buyers over an acquisition that will allow co-founder Rocket Internet to exit.

Cybersecurity spinout Quadmetrics acquired by Fico

Vyclone, a Los Angeles-based social video creation and collaboration app, is shutting down.

Investments

Installment buying platform Qufenqi has changed its name to Qudian and raised $449m on the way to an IPO, just over three years after it was founded.

e-Shang raises $300M Corporate Minority round

Autonomous car startup Zoox has just raised $200m in funding, according to Business Insider, despite operating in super-stealth mode.

WuXi PharmaTech is among the investors to have put up $150m of series A funding for CStone Pharmaceuticals, a China-based startup looking to develop treatments for oncology, cardiovascular diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, haematology and autoimmune diseases, with a particular focus on immuno-oncology.

Media operator Network18 first invested in Bigtree Entertainment, the owner of cinema and live entertainment ticketing platform BookMyShow, in 2007 and it has returned to once again take part in its latest funding, an $81m round that values the company at more than $440m.

SoftBank-backed budget hotel room booking platform Oyo Rooms is set to raise $61m from existing investors at a $460m pre-money valuation as part of an expansion drive that will involve it growing its presence in areas like bed and breakfasts and homestays.

SmartNews, a Japan-based mobile news aggregation app, has raised $38 million in Series D funding. Development Bank of Japan led the round, and was joined by SMBC Venture Capital and Japan Co-Invest.

University

Cyber threat detection and defense software provider Darktrace has secured $65m at a $400m valuation, four times that at which it last raised funding, in July 2015.

Government

Temasek Holdings investment in internet of things


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