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

07 May 2018 – Tencent Leads $820m Series C for UBTech

Deals

Baidu has spun off the likes of Baidu Video and Zuoyebang in recent years, and video streaming platform iQiyi, in which Baidu owned a majority stake, raised $2.25bn in an IPO in March. The latest deal involves the corporate’s financial services subsidiary, Du Xiaoman, which has raised $1.9bn from investors including Taikang, $1bn of which will go straight to Baidu.

Tencent has led an $820m series C round for consumer robotics developer UBTech that valued it at about $5bn.

Online education has been one of the most notable growth areas in China’s VC space and things appear to be heating up. VIPKid, the operator of a tutoring platform that utilises international teachers, is reportedly looking to secure $500m at a $3bn valuation, double that at which it raised money in a Tencent-backed series C round just eight months ago.

Indian insurance comparison portal PolicyBazaar is close to raising $200m in a round that will be led by a $150m investment by SoftBank Vision Fund.

SF Express, the largest player in China’s logistics sector, has invested $100m in Flexport, the operator of a freight services platform that covers land, air and sea along with adjacent services.

SoundHound raised $75m from a corporate-heavy investor group early last year, and now it’s added $100m from Tencent, Daimler, Orange, Midea Group and Hyundai Motor Company at a reported valuation of more than $1bn.

Masterclass, the online education platform equipped with a host of famous teachers, is reportedly on its way to closing a $70m series D round.

Roivant Sciences raised $1.1bn in a SoftBank Vision Fund-led round last August with a brief to develop and launch a series of offshoot companies.

On GUV, Crescendo Biologics, a UK-based immunotherapy developer spun out from University of Cambridge, closed a $70m series B round that featured commercialisation firm IP Group as well as EMBL Ventures, the investment arm of European Molecular Biology Laboratory.

Funds

Microsoft Ventures has invested in some 50 companies since it relaunched itself as a corporate venturing vehicle two years ago, but has run into identity trouble with people confusing the unit with the similarly-named network of accelerators its parent continues to run around the world. Its solution has been to rebrand to M12, while the corporate’s accelerator initiative will be renamed Microsoft ScaleUp.

The city government of Jerusalem is looking to launch a $130m venture capital fund to support local biotech startups in areas including medical devices and pharmaceutical technology. The government’s contribution to the vehicle would amount to $5.5m at most, with the remainder supplied by private investors.

Exits

Flipkart’s board of directors has approved a deal whereby Walmart will pay approximately $15bn for a 75% stake, according to Bloomberg.

Medtronic spinoff Inspire Medical Systems has gone public in a $108m initial public offering that also represented an exit for Johnson & Johnson.

Consumer electronics and IoT technology provider Xiaomi has officially filed for an initial public offering in Hong Kong that sources told the South China Morning Post will be about $10bn in size, at a valuation of about $100bn.

Laser developer nLight has become the latest tech company to launch a successful IPO, floating above its range to raise $96m.

Mita, a US-based orthopaedic device spinout from University of Colorado, has been acquired by medical technology developer Stryker for an undisclosed sum.


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

07 August 2017 – Possible UK National Investment Fund

Funds

The government of the UK revealed it is considering the creation of a National Investment Fund to support startups that could become unicorns.

The Canadian government has announced it will make its visa scheme for entrepreneurs a permanent fixture.

Singapore-based venture capital firm Prestellar Ventures has raised $100m for a fund that counts Nepal-headquartered conglomerates CG Corp Global and NE Group as general partners.

Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance, a subsidiary of Japan-based insurer Sompo, is committing at least $40m and possibly up to $80m, to venture capital firm TransLink Capital to manage its corporate venture capital fund.

India-based seed-grant impact fund Nudge Foundation, which targets poverty reduction, has collected capital from Tata Trusts, the philanthropic shareholder in conglomerate Tata and Sons, as well as motorcycle maker Maruti, networking technology producer Cisco, IT services firm Mphasis, conglomerate Godrej, retailer Target, bank Wells Fargo, Social Venture Partners and entrepreneur Nandan Nilekani.

N/Core is one of a few programs launched or announced last week – others included Morgan Stanley launching an accelerator that will focus on startups with female or multicultural founders, co-founders or chief technology officers.

Deals

Meituan-Dianping, the Chinese local listing and services portal formed in late 2015 by the merger of unicorns Meituan and Dianping, is reportedly in talks with investors to raise between $3bn and $5bn in a round that will feature a $1bn investment by existing backer Tencent.

SoftBank’s Vision Fund is reportedly in talks to invest $1.5bn to $2bn in Flipkart, which was valued at $11.6bn as of its last round earlier this year, in a deal that would enable it to join an investor base that already includes eBay, Tencent, Intel Capital and Bennett Coleman & Co.

Digital marketing company Avazu spun out app developer DotC in 2015, but now the boot’s on the other foot. DotC has raised $350m in a series B round led by Avazu’s parent company Zeus that involved the ownership of Avazu being transferred to DotC in a deal that will give Zeus a stake of just over 30.6% in the company.

Online fresh produce retailer Yiguo has secured $300m in funding from Alibaba subsidiary Tmall as part of a partnership agreement that will involve Tmall integrating Yiguo’s product into its existing offering.

Online business lending platform Kabbage has received $250m in funding from existing investor SoftBank, roughly doubling its overall funding in the process. Past investors in Kabbage, which will use the SoftBank cash to further develop its technology and expand its service offering, include UPS, Santander, ING and Recruit, while SoftBank initially invested in the company as part of a $50m series D round in 2014.

Peer-to-peer lending platform Dianrong has secured $220m in a round led by Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, GIC, which was announced just after it agreed to acquire banking services provider Quark Finance’s asset generation operations in order to expand its physical presence in its home country of China.

E-commerce software and services provider ShopEx has secured $104m in a series D round led by venture firm Joy Capital.

Genetic therapeutics developer Homology Medicines has raised $83.5m in series B funding from investors including pharmaceutical firm Novartis, taking its overall equity financing to $127m across two rounds.

Impossible Foods has secured $75m in a round that will likely support the construction of a dedicated production facility for its plant-based burgers.

Novo has led cardiovascular therapy developer Milestone Pharmaceuticals’ $55m series C round, investing alongside Canadian state-owned BDC Capital, Fonds de solidarité FTQ, the development capital organisation for Quebec, as well as Forbion Capital Partners, Domain Associates, Pappas Capital, Go Capital and funds managed by Tekla Capital Management.

And on GlobalUniversityVenturing.com, we’ve had a few $20m deals. Among them: IonQ. GV, the corporate venturing unit of diversified conglomerate Alphabet, co-led a $20m series B round for quantum computing startup IonQ with New Enterprise Associates.

Another one was US-based car refuelling service provider Booster Fuels, which raised $20m in a series B round yesterday from investors including Stanford University’s StartX Fund. Booster allows drivers to park their car in work and request their tank be refilled through a mobile app.

And finally, US-based authentication technology developer UnifyID raised $20m in a series A round on Monday from investors including Stanford University’s StartX Fund. UnifyID has created an authentication platform that relies on sensors built into everyday devices and uses machine learning to identify users based on more than 100 unique characteristics such as the way they walk, sit and type. It requires no manual input from the user.

Exits

As mentioned earlier in the podcast, the long-running saga of Flipkart’s proposed acquisition of Snapdeal appears to have come to an unexpected end with news last Monday that Snapdeal has sensationally decided to call off the talks in favour of a restructuring process.

Twitter-backed music streaming platform Soundcloud is said to have entered talks with two private equity firms to raise funding in a deal that would give the as-yet undisclosed firms stakes that would jointly add up to a majority share.

Canada-based clinical-stage pharmaceutical company Clementia Pharmaceuticals has gone public in the US, floating at the top of its range and raising $120m.

Energy and oil producer China Titans Energy Technology Group has acquired Aquion Energy, a bankrupt US-based energy storage technology developer spun out from Carnegie Mellon University, for $9.16m, according to a regulatory filing.

GameSparks, an Ireland and UK-based platform for games developers backed by Irish state-owned export credit agency Enterprise Ireland, has been acquired by e-commerce company Amazon.

CarTrade, an India-based online automotive classifieds service backed by Temasek, is exploring a merger with its domestic competitor CarDekho, backed by diversified conglomerate Alphabet’s growth equity arm CapitalG, to create the country’s largest online car classifieds platform.

On GlobalUniversityVenturing.com, Intelesens, a UK-based wearable device maker to monitor patients’ vital signs that is based on Ulster University research, has been acquired by medical image management platform Ultralinq for an undisclosed amount.


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

29 May 2017 – Home Fitness Service Peloton Raises $325m and Much More

Deals

Alibaba and Ant Financial are reportedly set to lead a $1bn round for food ordering platform Ele.me that will value it at up to $6bn.

Peloton, the home fitness service that combines a high-tech exercise bike with a subscription-based service that makes it feel like you’re in a live class (within reason obviously, though who would bet against VR being integrated into Peloton’s offering in the near future?), has raised $325m in a series E round featuring Comcast NBCUniversal.

Livestreaming has become one of the fastest growing parts of the media sector, not least in China where Panda TV has raised $140m in a series B round led by brokerage firm Industrial Securities.

R3, a consortium formed by a few dozen financial services operators to develop and commercialise blockchain technology for the industry, has secured $107m in the first two tranches of a series A round that includes Intel Capital, Ping An and Temasek, the sovereign wealth fund of Singapore, as well as around 40 banks.

In other news, Chinese mobile communication app developer Chubao has raised $100m in a series D round that included Susquehanna International Group, which has been an investor in the company since 2011.

Huya, the livestreaming subsidiary of online video streaming platform YY, has spun out with $75m of series A funding led by Ping An Insurance.

UrWork was founded only two years ago but it could yet turn out to be the Didi Chuxing of the co-working sector.

We’ve also had a few nice triple helix deals in the past week, such as Symic Bio, a biopharmaceutical spinout of Purdue University, that has completed a $30m series B round backed by all its existing investors, including Purdue Foundry Investment Fund, a vehicle backed by Purdue University focused on the institution’s spinouts.

Funds

The big news is that SoftBank has finally announced the first close of its Vision Fund, having raised an immense $93bn in capital.

WuXi Healthcare Ventures, the corporate venturing arm of WuXi PharmaTech, has agreed to merge with VC firm Frontline BioVentures to form a healthcare-focused investment firm called 6 Dimensions Capital that will have some $800m of assets under management.

Saudi Telecom formed strategic VC firm STC Ventures in 2011 to invest in the IT, telecommunications and media sectors, but as times change so do the requirements for corporate venturing, and the firm has elected to commit $500m to a new fund named STV that will back more advanced digital technologies.

Gree Ventures, the corporate venturing arm of social media and gaming company Gree, has closed its second fund at $67m.

We didn’t see any big fund launches on GUV, and while there were some on GGV, the most interesting news here was that the European Investment Fund has started pulling out of the UK following the country’s decision to abandon the EU.

Exits

Flipkart’s acquisition of rival Snapdeal is getting closer with news that SoftBank has bought out the shares of various other Snapdeal board members to clear the way for the deal.

Delivery Hero raised more than $420m from Naspers earlier this month at a reported $3.1bn valuation, but sources have told Reuters it is planning to launch an IPO in the next few weeks that could value it at up to €4bn ($4.5bn).

Sea, the Singapore-registered online services platform that recently rebranded from Garena with a $550m funding round, has confidentially filed for an IPO in the US that will give exits to corporate investors Tencent, JG Summit and Uni-President Enterprises, according to Bloomberg.

Bioverativ has agreed to acquire True North Therapeutics for $400m upfront with up to $425m in milestone payments to come.

On GUV, news emerged on Tuesday that commercialisation firm IP Group had made a bid for Touchstone Innovations, its peer that was spun out of Imperial College London. Touchstone rebuffed the offer, though a majority of its shareholders (some of which also own IP Group stakes) are pushing for the takeover.


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

10 April 2017 – Lyft Raises $500m & Unusual IPO for Spotify Plus Much More

Deals

It feels like the whole Flipkart/Snapdeal funding/merger saga’s been going on forever by this point but news continues to flow out of the respective camps, the latest being that Flipkart could well close between $1.2bn and $1.5bn in funding from eBay, Tencent and Microsoft next week.

On-demand ride platform Lyft has added almost 100 US cities to its network already this year and has now added another $500m of equity funding to its coffers.

Automotive trading software provider Souche.com has raised $180m in a series D round that included CreditEase’s New Financial Industrial Fund.

Alphabet-backed brokerage app developer Robinhood has pulled in new funding in a DST Global-led round that reportedly values it at $1.3bn.

India-based e-grocer BigBasket has reportedly entered talks with Tencent, Fosun and Amazon for a round that would be sized between $110m and $150m, and which would value it at $1bn, more than twice the valuation of its last funding, a $150m series D round that closed a year ago.

Existing investors GV and Sequoia Capital have co-led a series C round that provided more than $90m for secondary storage technology developer Cohesity, and which valued it at more than $500m.

Another Alphabet investment subsidiary, CapitalG, meanwhile has led an $81.5m series D round for Looker, a data analytics platform capable of curating large amounts of data to provide enterprise users with valuable insight into their organisation.

China-based Wecash has raised $80m in a series C round co-led by SIG that will enable it to add an online lending facility to its credit scoring platform, which has some 80 million users.

Fresh off the high that was Intel’s $15bn offer to acquire autonomous driving technology developer Mobileye, the company’s co-founders are now setting their sights on an initial public offering of another one of their ventures – OrCam Technologies, which has developed smart glasses that are able to identify street signs and read text and dictate it into the user’s ear.

Northwestern Mutual’s corporate venturing arm has participated in a $25m series C round for healthcare booking and billing platform Amino that took the company’s total equity financing to almost $45m.

SoftBank has reportedly rescinded between $150m and $200m in debt financing it was set to provide to portfolio company Snapdeal.

On Global University Venturing, US-based marketing technology developer ActionIQ has attracted $13m in a series A round that included Stanford University, through its Stanford Engineering Venture Fund.

And on Global Government venturing, Singapore Technologies Telemedia, a wholly-owned investment subsidiary of Singapore state-owned investment firm Temasek, invested $89m in US-based cybersecurity company Armor. Armor was previously majority owned by investment firm Stephens.

Funds

Clean vehicle technology producer BorgWarner has provided $10m for US-based venture capital firm Autotech Ventures as part of an overall strategic investment plan. Autotech supplies VC funding to startups developing software, services or electronics technology for use in connected, autonomous and energy-efficient vehicles and mobility services.

Legend Capital, the venture capital firm formed by China-based conglomerate Legend Holdings, has raised more than $400m for its seventh fund. The $400m represents the fund’s hard cap, according to Private Equity International.

Southern New Hampshire University has partnered venture firm Rethink Education to create a $15m seed fund targeting early-stage edtech enterprises.

South Korea’s Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning will set up a 113.5bn won ($102m) fund for startups and VC firms in the biotechnology sector.

Enterprise Ireland, the export credit agency of the Irish government, is set to make up to €44m ($47m) in additional funding available to seed and early-stage companies.

Iran’s sovereign wealth fund Iran Foreign Investment Company will invest an undisclosed amount into the healthcare and technology sectors.

The government of Canada has outlined the next steps for its Innovation and Skills Plan, including an additional C$200m ($149m) for the Strategic Innovation Fund over a three year period, bringing it to C$1.26bn.

The BC Tech Fund, managed by Kensington Capital Partners invested an undisclosed amount into Lumira Capital IV, a new healthcare and life sciences venture capital fund managed by Lumira Capital.

Exits

Sucampo Pharmaceuticals has bought rare disease therapy developer Vtesse for $200m in cash and stock, allowing Pfizer Venture Investments and Lundbeckfond Ventures to exit.

Data management software provider Cloudera has finally publicly filed for its IPO, setting an initial target of $200m.

Speculation about a Spotify IPO has been ongoing for years but reports now suggest it might take an unusual route to the public markets, listing its stock but not actually issuing any new shares or raising money.

Pharmaceutical firm Astellas Pharma is set to acquire Belgium-based drug discovery company Ogeda for €800m ($853m), providing an exit to Société Régionale d’Investissement de Wallonie, the state-owned investment company for the Wallonia government in Belgium that took part in a €16m series B round in 2015 and a $12.8m series A round in 2012.

Regulation

The UK government is set to announce tax break reforms to ensure that entrepreneurs benefit from the tax incentives, rather than property investors.

An amendment to Germany’s law on competition restrictions proposed by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has been approved by the federal council, known as Bundesrat.


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

3 April 2017 – Panasonic Puts $100m into Corporate Venturing and Much More

Funds

Panasonic to put $100m into corporate venturing

German consumer product and industrial manufacturer Henkel has been exploring corporate venturing over the past year as part of a larger open innovation strategy, and has now formalised its investing by forming a dedicated venture capital unit, Henkel Ventures.

Intex enters corporate venturing with Rooter investment

Phoenix rises with corporate-backed fund

Government Department

Canada unveils 2017 budget

Exits

Alteryx processes $126m IPO

Ayondo aims to float at $158m valuation

Buzzfeed has quietly begun prep work for a 2018 IPO, unnamed industry sources have told Axios, although rival paper FT was doubtful. T

Akcea Therapeutics, which was spun out of Ionis Pharmaceuticals in 2015 to develop cardiometabolic disease treatments, has filed to raise up to $100m in an initial public offering.

Boston Scientific snatches Symetis for $435m

Sirrus proves the right formula for Nippon Shokubai

Ethicon extracts Torax in acquisition deal

Quixey closure reportedly due to Alibaba debt deal

Deals

News broke last week that SoftBank was lining up a $1bn investment in Southeast Asian ride hailing platform Grab, and now sources have told Bloomberg it could provide a mammoth $6bn in funding to another on-demand ride service, China’s Didi Chuxing.

Flipkart may have just raised $1bn, in a round backed by eBay, Microsoft and Tencent, but the drop in its valuation from $15.5bn in 2015 to $10bn reflects a downturn in India’s e-commerce sector in general, which this week’s Big Deal explores.

JD Finance, the financial services spinout of Chinese e-commerce firm JD.com, is reportedly raising funding at a $7.3bn valuation.

Tencent helps treat Haodaifu Online to $200m

Online grocery startups seem to have been more popular in Asia but now a Netherlands-based company called Picnic has come on the scene, raising $109m in a round led by NPM Capital, the private equity arm of trading group SHV Holdings.

Indian logistics service provider Delhivery has pulled in $100m from Carlyle Group and Tiger Global, and could extend the round to $150m, with Fosun potentially putting in $30m.

UCloud, the China-based cloud computing services provider backed by Bertelsmann and Legend Holdings, has raised $139m in a series D round co-led by Oriza Holdings and CICC Alpha.

Quantum computing circuit developer Rigetti Computing has disclosed $64m of funding across two rounds – a $24m series A featuring Bloomberg Beta and a $40m series B. The technology is still in a fairly nascent state but if quantum computing manages to take off in a big way that Bloomberg investment could generate a pretty substantial return.

Government Department

Benson Hill to grow with $25m series B

University Corner

Saphlux lights up $5m investment


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

27 March 2017 – MuleSoft’s Shares Soar Following $221m IPO and Much More

MuleSoft raised $221m in its IPO on Friday, only to see its share price soar to almost twice the mid-point of its range. The offering is good news for the IPO market generally but also for enterprise software providers looking to go public.

Deals

Flipkart has raised $1bn in funding from investors including Tencent, Microsoft and eBay and is reportedly seeking up to $1bn more in the next few months.

Tencent has led a $350m round for Kuaishou, which is also backed by Baidu, and both the corporates will help the company enhance user experience of its app, which boasts 50 million daily active users.

SoftBank has invested $300m in working space provider WeWork at a $17bn valuation and reportedly expects to add another $2.7bn through Vision Fund.

Sutro Biopharma spinout SutroVax has raised $64m, $60m of that coming from a series B round backed by Roche Venture Fund, and will use the funds to advance its development of a conjugate vaccine for pneumococcal disease.

Haoeyou has raised $40m for its medical tourism platform, which allows Chinese patients to access consultancies from US-based doctors through video conferencing, and to travel between countries for treatment.

Legend Capital is among the investors that have provided $39m in series B funding for Suzhou Ribo Life Science, a Chinese company developing RNA therapeutics to treat diseases such as hepatitis B, hyperlipidaemia and liver cancer.

Genome editing technology startup eGenesis has raised $38m in a series A round backed by healthcare services firm Heritage Provider Network and biotech property developer Alexandria Real Estate Equities.

Autonomous car tech continues to roll on, with Autotalks, a developer of chipsets that will be used in vehicle-to-vehicle communication, raising $30m in series D funding.

GlaxoSmithKline and Johnson & Johnson have contributed to a $30m series B round for Pulmocide, a developer of therapies to combat diseases caused by respiratory syncytial virus.

Funds

Aflac has joined the numerous insurance providers that have established strategic investment arms over the past two years, forming a subsidiary called Aflac Corporate Ventures, in which it plans to invest $100m over the next three years.

Kabbage, the operator of an online lending platform for small businesses, is said to be in talks with investment firms to raise “a few hundred million dollars” that will be put toward acquisitions.

The European Fund for Strategic Investments (Efsi), also known as the Juncker Plan, is now set to trigger more than €177bn ($190bn) in total investments, figures released following a meeting of the European Investment Bank’s board of directors show.

Exits

Amazon has beefed up its international e-commerce holdings, entering the Middle East through a $650m acquisition of local market leader Souq.com that provided Naspers and Jabbar Internet Group with exits.

Alibaba paid an undisclosed sum for a 32% stake in Damai.cn in 2014 and has now finished the job, acquiring the rest of the online ticketing platform.

Netshoes, a Brazil-based sports e-commerce company backed by Singapore government-owned GIC and Temasek as well as the International Finance Corporation, has filed for an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange that could bring in $100m in proceeds.


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

27 February 2017 – Westpac Supplies A$100m to Reinventure for Disruptive FinTech and Much More

Deals

SoFi is reportedly close to completing a $500m funding round backed by existing investor SoftBank.

Speaking of SoftBank, editor-in-chief James Mawson has taken a deep look at its $3.3bn acquisition of Fortress Investment Group a week ago.

Internet group Baidu has invested $300m in iQiyi, an online video streaming platform in which it is majority shareholder, as part of a convertible note round sized at $1.53bn, that will support the company’s subscription service.

Indian e-commerce company Flipkart could be in line for a $1.5bn round of its own, having reportedly entered talks with a host of investors including Microsoft, Tencent, eBay, PayPal and Alphabet.

Mobike has been operating its bike rental network less than a year but has already raised well over $400m, $300m of which has come this year.

Having made investments in India-based Paytm and Thailand-based Ascend Money in the past few months, Chinese financial services provider Ant Financial is moving into Korea.

China-based mobile game publisher Shinezone Network has secured $58m in series B funding that will be used to build out its international distribution and homegrown incubator activities.

Chinese peer-to-peer car sharing platform Atzuche has secured $58m in a series C round that included existing backers Hearst Media and China Pacific Insurance.

Cloud services provider Rackspace has spun out Mailgun, the email automation tools provider it acquired in 2012.

Media group Bennett, Coleman & Co has invested $38.8m in India-based e-commerce firm Flipkart, providing both capital and advertising services.

GV-backed microfinance provider Tala has raised $30m in an IVP-led series B round that took its overall funding to $44m.

Anxin Doctor, the developer of an app that connects users to medical specialists such as paediatricians, gynaecologists and obstetrics doctors, has raised $28m in funding.

On GlobalGovernmentVenturing.com, IDS Medical Systems Group, an Indonesia-based medical device supplier, is set to receive up to $60m from International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector-focused arm of multilateral financial institution World Bank, DealStreetAsia wrote yesterday.

We’ve also had a nice cross-over piece of news from Finland, where TactoTek, a three-dimensional moulded plastic electronics manufacturer, has increased its total funding to more than $20m following a round that featured Faurecia Ventures, the investment arm of automotive parts maker Faurecia.

And another cross-over: on GlobalUniversityVenturing.com, C3Nano, a spinout of Stanford University that produces conductive inks and films for bendable touch sensors, closed a $15m series D round co-led by GSR Ventures, conglomerate Nissha Printing and diversified holding group Xinjiang Guoli Minsheng Equity Investment.

Funds

Artificial intelligence was one of the cutting edge technologies on the menu when Samsung launched its $150m Next fund last month, but reports coming out of Korea suggest the company is considering the formation of a $1bn fund that will focus exclusively on AI.

Meituan-Dianping, the Chinese local services operator formed by a $15bn merger in late 2015, is set to join rivals in the online services sector by forming a dedicated corporate venturing fund, for which it aims to raise approximately $435m.

Project A, a Germany-based venture capital firm, closed a €140m ($148m) early-stage fund today with a cornerstone investment from the European Investment Fund (EIF), the EU-owned financing agency.

BioMedPartners, a Switzerland-based healthcare-focused venture capital firm, has achieved the first close of its BioMedInvest III fund at SFr75m ($75m) with a cornerstone investment from the European Investment Fund (EIF).

The biggest fund on GGV came from Singapore, where Heliconia Capital Management, a wholly-owned investment subsidiary of Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund Temasek, has announced a S$600m ($422m) fund.

EduGrowth, a non-profit platform founded by Deakin University, La Trobe University, Monash University, Charles Sturt University and Griffith University as well as education company Navitas, has launched an accelerator, that will put A$50,000 into participating startups in return for 6% equity stake.

Exits

Zawatt, a Japan-based operator of an online auction platform, is set to be acquired by marketplace app provider Mercari today (that is February 27, for those of you listening to this later in the week).

Zhenai, a China-based online dating platform backed by internet company IAC, is planning a listing via a reverse merger with aircraft parts manufacturer DEA General Aviation, China Money Network has reported.

US-based software integration technology provider MuleSoft has filed to raise $100m in an initial public offering that will give exits to networking technology producer Cisco and enterprise software firms Salesforce.com and ServiceNow.

Here’s some rather depressing news for investors: Groupon has revealed in a securities filing that it paid the grand total of zero for corporate-backed competitor Living Social when it acquired the company in October 2016.

On GlobalUniversityVenturing.com meanwhile, Wrapidity, an artificial intelligence (AI) spinout of Oxford University, was acquired by data science company Meltwater.


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

03 October 2016 – Funding news from Canada, the EU and the UK, Exits for Nokia and Much More

People

Jack Leeney, US head of investing for Telefonica Ventures, the corporate venturing unit of the eponymous Spain-based phone operator, has left after nearly five years at the firm in order to be a partner at SP Global Capital.

Microsoft Ventures has hired Leo de Luna, previously a principal at venture capital firm Split Rock Partners, as managing director to cover California’s Bay area and New York; Rashmi Gopinath, previously an investment director at Intel Capital, as an investing partner covering enterprise software investments in the Bay area; Lisa Nelson, previously chief of staff to the head of business development and the chief financial officer at Microsoft, as a partner; and Priya Saiprasad, previously part of financial services startup Square’s corporate development team, as a principal.

Mérieux Développement has appointed Jean-François Billet, Daniel Fero and Benoit Pierret as it expands its investment capabilities in Europe and the US.

Funds

Canada could start a second funds of venture capital funds (FoF) support programme in its next federal budget allied to support for corporate venturing.

The government-backed European Investment Fund (EIF) has set up a collaboration with national promotional institutions (NPIs) or banks (NPBs) across European Union (EU) member states, with one of its first initiatives expected to be a venture capital coinvestment programme with the Netherlands, according to an attendee.

Baidu, the internet company has added another fund, the $60m Easterly Ventures, to its arsenal. This latest vehicle will focus on Brazil-based technology startups.

Line, the messaging app spun out of Naver, has joined forces with its parent company to put $112m in a fund being raised by Korelya Capital – both companies providing $62m.

ServiceNow has set up an investment division dubbed ServiceNow Ventures and launched a competition to award a total of $500,000 to startups.

Havas, the France-based advertising and PR firm, will provide capital and consulting to Australian startups.

Wayra joins UK government for cybersecurity accelerator
The Telefónica subsidiary will establish the accelerator initiative

Daimler’s Startup Autobahn accelerator reaches Singapore
The scheme, initiated in Stuttgart last year, will be replicated in Singapore in partnership with NUS

Nationwide Children’s Hospital partners Rev1 for $5.5m fund
The healthcare system has joined venture capital firm Rev1 Ventures for a unit that will invest in life sciences

Exits

One of the companies that was expected to list back in January after filing for a $200m IPO at the backend of last year was Nutanix, an enterprise cloud company backed by Sapphire Ventures, the VC firm spun out of SAP. Market conditions turned out to be less than favourable then, but the company has now finally moved ahead valuing the company at $4bn.

Nokia exits Gridsum in $87m IPO

Nokia gets out of Intermedia in MDP acquisition

One97 comes to the rescue as EduKart crashes

SoundCloud, a music streaming service popular with independent artists, is reportedly in acquisition talks again. This time it’s not Twitter, which discussed such plans in 2014 but withdrew that same year before injecting $70m in series E capital a few months ago, but Spotify.

Investments

Another maybe deal but Wal-Mart enters talks to drive $1bn Flipkart investment

FIH Mobile subsidiary has contributed $125m to Tink’s funding round, a company that partners hotels and puts smartphones in rooms that are free to use for guests.

Didi Chuxing enters Ofo’s funding cycle

Online sales technology developer Apttus, backed by Salesforce Ventures, has welcomed back sovereign wealth fund Kuwait Investment Authority for an $88m series D round that put the company’s total equity at $274m.

Bloomberg helps ship $65m to Flexport

Xiaochuan Chuhai does its series B homework

Merck Ventures takes a ride on iOMX

Line seasons $45m Snow investment

Shape Security fits $40m into series D

Instacart consumes Whole Foods funding

NS1 directs $20m to series B

Eli Lilly breaches Fortis in $18m series A

University Corner

GE and Allied Minds study collaboration

Government Department

Druva drives $51m series E


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

14 March 2016 – Ant Financial, Flipkart, WeWork, Astroscale, Precision Ocular, Replay Technologies, Lasergen, Stanford University and more

Deals

Ant Financial, the financial services affiliate of Chinese giant Alibaba, which is seeking up to $3bn at a valuation of $60bn while it reportedly prepares for an IPO next year.

An equally impressive, if significantly less $1bn is being sought by India-based e-commerce company Flipkart, which is hoping to get a commitment from Alibaba and conglomerate Fosun for the round. Flipkart’s valuation for this round is actually down from its $15bn tag last year, when the company obtained $700m. Claims differ on the current valuation, but it appears to be in between the $11bn to $14bn range, though some have said that it could even be below $10bn.

WeWork, a shared workspace provider, climbed the ranks to sixth most valuable venture-stage business in the world when it claimed $430m in fresh funding at a $16bn valuation.

Japan-based Astroscale raised $35m from the Innovation Network Corporation of Japan. Jafco and other unnamed entities also participated in the round, which will be used by Astroscale to send a satellite into orbit that will track space debris in preparation for later missions that will collect that debris, which is becoming an increasing problem for safe space travel.

The biggest deal on Global University Venturing meanwhile was a $19m for Precision Ocular that was led by Imperial Innovations. Precision Ocular is working on treatments for retinal diseases such as age-related macular degeneration and diabetic macular edema.

Exits

Replay Technologies is set to be acquired by Intel for an estimated $175m a mere week after closing a $13.5m round led by Deutsche Telekom. Replay, a 3D filming technology producer, had secured $27m in total funding and the acquisition is also providing an exit to Samsung, which had invested in 2014.

Lasergen, a genome sequencing platform that received $80m from lab equipment provider Agilent Technologies last week in return for a 48% stake. Agilent’s also secured a three-year option to purchase the remaining shares for an additional $105m. Until then, the two companies have agreed to collaborated on a workflow product based on Lasergen’s technology.

Meanwhile, RusnanoMedinvest celebrated an exit when Syndax Pharmaceuticals floated on Nasdaq for $52.8m. The IPO followed some $155m in funding.

Stanford University secured an exit through an acquisition, when Immucor purchased spinout Sirona Genomics for an undisclosed amount. Sirona has developed a platform that uses three algorithms to build a database for mapping and managing genomic assessments such as blood type without the need for secondary testing.

Funds

When it came to funds, Cisco took the top spot last week with a three-year $500m initiative named Deutschland Digital. Cisco will invest the cash both directly in startups and in VC funds. It announced Deutschland Digital on the same day that it unveiled a $150m fund that will help foster an ecosystem around its cloud collaboration platform Cisco Spark.

Lan Kwai Fong, a Hong Kong-based conglomerate, is similarly looking at a fund with a target size between $300m and $500m, to be managed by its private equity unit LKF Capital. The fund marks the first time LKF is raising external capital and will focus on Chinese companies in the lifestyle and consumer industries.

Another fund to come out of Hong Kong is the $257m Innovation and Technology Venture Fund. Although first announced in January, the autonomous region only revealed the fund’s size in its budget for 2016/17 now. The fund will focus on local startups and hopes to make more capital available to them by matching private investments.

Parkwalk Advisors, which already manages several funds for Cambridge University, announced the University of Cambridge Enterprise Fund IV, which, much like the previous funds, enables alumni and investors to back Cambridge spinouts. The funds usually co-invest alongside Cambridge University.

Moves

Kaushik Anand, a growth equity investor at corporate venturing subsidiary Google Capital, is set to lead its investments in India, the Economic Times reported on Monday. He first joined Google Capital in June 2015 and has so far been based at its California headquarters.

IDG Ventures Korea has seen Matthew Lee depart to co-found a new venture dubbed Cognitive Investment. Lee had been CEO and managing partner of the unit since 2007.

Franceska Banga is set to step down from her position as CEO of New Zealand Venture Investment Firm later this month. The fund, which has over $200m under management, was set up by New Zealand’s government in 2001 and headed by Banga since then. Steven Joyce, minister of economic development in New Zealand, is using the change in leadership to review the fund’s performance and assess its structure.


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