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

20 March 2017 – Netflix’s Regional Rival iFlix Secures $90m and Much More

Although Netflix is the global market leader when it comes to online video streaming subscription services, regional rivals are beginning to raise substantial sums, particularly in Asia where iFlix has just secured $90m at a valuation of more than $500m.

Deals

DraftKings, which counts Fox Sports and sports leagues MLB, NHL and MLS as investors, has raised $100m in a series E1 round led by investment firm Eldridge Industries, taking its overall funding to some $630m.

Tencent and Baidu have co-led an $87m round for Nio, the Chinese smart electric vehicle developer formerly known as NextEV.

Public-private partnership Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ) meanwhile partnered healthcare companies Takeda Pharmaceutical and Medipal Holdings to launch Japan-based biotech firm Scohia Pharma.

Microsoft Ventures is keeping up the pace of its investment so far in 2017, contributing to a $52.5m growth round for Livongo Health, the developer of a digital diabetes management system.

The ad-for-equity space continues to grow, with news that recruitment platform Job Today has closed a $35m deal with Astremedia, RTL Germany and German Media Pool.

Innovium, the silicon data centre equipment developer that emerged from stealth last June, has secured $38.3m in a series C round that included returning investor Qualcomm Ventures.

SolarisBank has created what it claims is the first financial services-as-a-platform offering, an online marketplace through which external partners can offer their own digital banking services.

UK-based cellular immunotherapy developer Cell Medica closed a £60m ($73m) series C round today from a consortium that included Touchstone Innovations, the investment firm spun out of Imperial College London.

Oxford University has joined forces with private equity and VC firm Kingsley Capital Partners for a research program into the use of cannabinoids to treat a range of acute and chronic conditions.

Funds

Pivotal BioVenture Partners has closed its first fund with $300m of capital from Chinese property developer Nan Fung Group, and plans to target transformative therapeutics, with infectious diseases, immunology, oncology, ophthalmology and orphan disease treatments all on the table.

Spectrum Health is the latest US healthcare system to form a corporate venturing subsidiary, committing up to $100m for Spectrum Health Ventures over the next decade.

VC firm 500 Startups has announced a $10m fund aimed at startups based in Latin America, attracting the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the multilateral financial institution World Bank, as a limited partner.

The government of Indian state Karnataka has launched a Rs100m ($1.5m) proof of concept fund aimed at women entrepreneurs.

Bpifrance, the public investment bank of France, has committed €75m ($80m) to an investment fund currently being raised by private equity firm Bridgepoint, Les Echos has reported.

US-based fintech-focused venture capital firm TTV Capital has closed a $93m fund backed by Invest Georgia, a long-term investment program backed by the US state of Georgia, FinSMEs reported yesterday.

Exits

MuleSoft, Alteryx and ForeScout all have offerings on the way, and now it looks like they’ll be joined by big data management software provider Cloudera, which has reportedly filed paperwork for its IPO confidentially.

Speaking Alteryx, the data analytics software provider has set the terms for an IPO that will give Thomson Reuters an exit, and it could raise $126m if it floats at the top of its range.

Chinese instalment buying platform Fenqile is said to be preparing for its own US flotation, in which it aims to raise $600m.

TechStyle, the fashion e-commerce company formerly known by the name of its JustFab brand, has reportedly hired JPMorgan Chase to seek out a buyer in a prospective deal that would value it at $1.5bn.

Renewable chemicals technology developer Avantium has raised $109m in an initial public offering in Europe that allowed investors including Coca-Cola and Swire Pacific to exit.

Germany-based gesture tracking software developer Gestigon, backed by public-private partnership High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF), was acquired by automotive supplier Valeo for an undisclosed sum.

US-based pharmaceutical company GE Healthcare has acquired Monica Healthcare, a medical device spinout of Nottingham University, for an undisclosed sum.


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

20 June 2016 – Post-lean interview with Frode Odegard, Didi Chuxing, FII, Rgenix, Imperial Innovations and more

Didi Chuxing, the ride-sharing app developer that’s been causing a headache to Uber, has raised the largest venture round of all time with $7.3bn in combined equity and debt financing.

Verto Analytics in a $16.1m series B round from Finnish Industry Investment and also featured EQT Ventures, a private equity firm that closed a government-backed fund earlier this month, Conor Venture Partners, Open Ocean Capital and Vision+.

The university world saw a $33m series B round for Rockefeller University spinout Rgenix, co-led by Novo and Sofinnova Partners.

Exits

Imperial Innovations, the commercialisation firm spun out of Imperial College London, exited Alkion Biopharma, selling its stake to chemical producer Evonik Industries.

DraftKings and FanDuel are considering a merger. Of course FanDuel is a spinout of Edinburgh University.

Funds

Gilde Healthcare, an investment firm focused on, surprisingly, the healthcare sector, has closed its $280m Gilde Healthcare IV fund with Philips as a cornerstone investor.

High-Tech Gründerfonds’ $338m fund, which so far is yet to attract any external commitments, made the headlines.

Monash and Melbourne Universities meanwhile have joined forces with the state of Victoria to launch a $59m biomedical research enterprise called M2 Venture Catalyst.

People

BPIfrance, the public investment bank of France, has promoted Florent Debienne to managing director. He had previously been investment director since November 2013.

Mony Hassid, managing director of Qualcomm Ventures in Israel, meanwhile has left that job to be a general manager at Microsoft Ventures also in Israel.

Deborah Hopkins, Citi’s chief innovation officer and CEO of Citi Ventures, its corporate venturing unit, will retire at the end of the year. She took home a GCV Award in January at our Global Corporate Venturing and Innovation Summit in California and will leave big shoes to fill.

Interview

Toby Lewis talks to Frode Odegard, chief executive of Lean Systems Institute about the post-lean world.


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