15 October 2018 – Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund Invests $45bn in SoftBank’s Second Vision Fund

Funds

SoftBank has for a few months discussed its intentions to launch a second $100bn Vision Fund, and it will have received a hefty incentive with news that Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund intends to put up $45bn for the new fund.

Foxconn has formed a $545m investment fund that will invest in semiconductor ventures including the launch of five integrated-circuit design companies and one high-performance chip developer.

Tencent Investments, internet group Tencent’s corporate venturing unit, is meanwhile in talks with family offices and other potential limited partners for a $650m fund that will focus on follow-on investments in its portfolio companies.

Chrysalix takes corporates to RoboValley for new fund

Another interesting development in the past two or three years has been the increased entry of packaged food producers into corporate venturing. The likes of Kellogg, General Mills and Tyson Foods have been joined by Kraft Heinz, which is committing $100m to an investment initiative called Evolv Ventures.

University

Theodorus unveils $23m fund

Université libre de Bruxelles has added a fourth Theodorus fund to its arsenal with an initial close of $23m and a target of up to $33.5m.

Yissum fabricates $6m nanotech fund

HUJ’s tech transfer arm still hopes to raise a further $3m for the fund for a $9m close, and it has already invested in three technologies.

Deals

SoftBank has pumped billions of dollars into workspace provider WeWork to build up a stake of almost 20%, and the WSJ has reported that its Vision Fund is now considering an investment between $15bn and $20bn that will give it a majority stake in the company.

Xiaozhu, the short-term accommodation platform seen by many as China’s Airbnb, hasraised almost $300m in a round led by Yunfeng Capital.

Snowflake Computing has to be one of the fastest growing companies in the startup space right now. The data warehousing software provider raised $263m at a post-money valuation of $1.76bn in January and now, nine months later, has secured $450m in a round that valued it at $3.95bn post-money.

There’s been a lot about digital banking in recent months but much of the dealflow has been going on in Europe. Nubank however is showing that the model can be expanded to other markets, and the Brazilian company has raised $180m from Tencent at a reported $4bn valuation.

JFrog jumps to $165m series D

University

Glympse Bio engineers $22m series A

Exits

Redlock heads to Palo Alto in $173m acquisition

GV exits as Anju inhales Zephyr

Orchard Therapeutics has filed to raise almost $173m in an initial public offering, having secured more than $290m in equity funding in under three years. GlaxoSmithKline is the gene therapy developer’s second largest shareholder, with a 17.9% stake, while Medison and Sphera Global Health Care are also investors, having participated in its $150m series C round in August.

Synthetic DNA producer Twist Bioscience has filed to raise up to $86.3m in an initial public offering on the Nasdaq Global Market.


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

04 September 2017 – Expedia CEO Moves to Uber

Funds

University

OSI secures Legal & General backing

Imperial gives founders a choice

Government

Vertex pushes beyond $150m

Széchenyi gains $31m

St Louis hammers out fund details

Exits

Dara Khosrowshahi, the new chief executive of Uber, did not waste any time in making clear his ambitions for the ride-sharing company: in an all-hands meeting ahead of officially taking over – he starts his job on Tuesday – he declared not only that he is committed to paying the bills and taking big shots to secure the company’s future, but also that he intends to take Uber public within 18 to 36 months.

Best, a supply chain services provider backed by Alibaba, Cainiao and, reportedly, Foxconn, has increased the stakes of its initial public offering by filing an updated regulatory document that puts the figure at $1bn, up from $750m.

Berry Genomics has completed its reverse merger with Shenzen-listed Chengdu Tianxing Instrument and Meter, first announced in December 2016.

Synlogic processes Mirna merger

CSL accesses Calimmune for $91m

Western Digital gets Upthere

University

Big deal: Nightstar to light up stock market

Investments

Singapore-based Grab is slowly inching towards its $2.5bn goal for a series G round that already stood at $2bn thanks to commitments from SoftBank and Didi Chuxing.

GoGoVan reaches for 58 Suyun

Food delivery is hotly contested sector and many of the startups involved have changed hands – be that for example TastyKhana being purchased by Food Panda, which in turn was later acquired by Delivery Hero, or Just Eat subsidiary Hellofood Brazil becoming part of iFood. Now another one is joining the list: Waimai has been acquired by Ele.me for a reported $800m (which would be down significantly from the estimated $2.5bn valuation last year).

Alibaba and Yunfeng Capital, the investment vehicle of the e-commerce group’s founder Jack Ma, have put $152m into cloud computing business Qiniuyun.

Freenome, a healthtech developer has added $7m to its series A to close the round, already backed by GV, at $72m.

Armo Biosciences has added $67m to its coffers in a series C1 round that featured GV and Celgene, who both also participated in a $50m series C in February last year.

The biggest deal of the day comes from the US, where Qadium has amassed $40m in a series B round led by Institutional Venture Partners.

In China, Abcfintech has added $30m to its coffers thanks to investors such as Susquehanna International Group’s SIG Asia Investment. Abcfintech operates cloud-based AI platforms that help financial services firms visualise their data and predict the performance of public stock.

Alice, the developer of a hotel management platform, has secured $26m in series B funding from Expedia in a deal facilitated by Khosrowshahi before he stepped down to join Uber.

VideoAmp, the developer of an advertising technology platform that tracks the impact of campaigns across television, video on-demand, over-the-top and digital content, has secured $21.4m in series B capital from Mediaocean and returning backer RTL, among others.

Government

Vulog eyes $20m series B

University

CureFit exercises with $25m


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

06 March 2017 – British Business Bank’s $500m fund and Much More

Funds

Foxconn, the contract manufacturer that’s already backed the $100bn SoftBank Vision Fund, has now also dropped $600m on a majority stake in the telecoms group’s Asia-based tech-focused investment arm SoftBank Asia Capital.

Baloise has committed $50m to an investment vehicle operated by Anthemis to identify opportunities in insurance technology startups based in Europe and the US.

Symantec, which previously backed Appthority via its subsidiary Blue Coat Systems, has decided to join the corporate venturing world and launched Symantec Ventures.

MFEC sets aside $20m to invest in startups and will move some of its human resources staff to manage the new corporate venturing subsidiary.

Kore, which provides business management software for entertainment companies and sports franchises, has formed a strategic investment arm and closed its first deal.

The Mobile World Congress might be making headlines because Nokia’s iconic 3310 handset is being resurrected, but Facebook is certain to also draw attention with the launch of a $170m investment collaboration through its Telecoms Infrastructure Project that will target startups operating in that very telecoms sector.

University Corner

University venturing: the view from Cornell – an interview with Alice Li

Virginia Tech and Carilion launch $15m fund

Government Department

Big deal: British Business Bank launches $500m fund

Mercia is allocated Northern Powerhouse money

Vanedge points at $122m fund

Hatteras to manage $60m NC fund

Exits

Snap’s long-awaited initial public offering is upon us today, as the company priced 200 million shares at $17 a piece last night, resulting in a $3.4bn windfall.

As the news flow shows no intention of slowing down, today’s lead story is an initial public offering by Alteryx, a data analytics provider that counts Thomson Reuters and Sapphire Ventures among its shareholders. The company, which last raised $85m in a series C round in 2015, is targeting $75m in proceeds with a flotation on the New York Stock Exchange but is yet to decide on a price range for its shares.

In Finland, Next Games stands to be the country’s first games developer to complete an initial public offering if it goes ahead with plans to list on the Nasdaq First North Finland.

Another IPO: the week stays busy with Ecovacs Robotics, a China-based vacuum and household robotics producer, filing for a flotation on the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

Mozilla acquires Pocket and provides an exit to shareholders including Axel Springer, Digital Garage and Alphabet.

Yelp has acquired its portfolio company Nowait, a restaurant booking app that it backed last August.

Deals

Our lead story last Monday is a Big Deal piece by reporter Kaloyan Andonov, in which he looks at what Ant Financial’s decision to provide $200m to Kakao Pay the previous week means.

Satellite operator OneWeb is making headlines with a $13bn all-stock merger with its peer Intelsat to produce a new entity that is set to attract $1.7bn in funding from SoftBank, the same investor that previously led a $1.2bn round with a $1bn cash injection in late December.

Oyo Rooms books up to $500m

Ola moves forward with $330m

Back in January, Grail, the oncology diagnostics company spun out of Illumina, was reported to be seeking $1bn for its series B round. Fast-forward to today and the startup has revealed that it has secured $900m – which may seem like it’s missed its target, but in fact that’s a first tranche and Grail is seeking up to an additional $900m to take the round all the way to $1.8bn.

Ride sharing might be in the news for all the wrong reasons these days as Uber is faced with scandal after scandal, but Didi Chuxing, the China-based ride hailing service that swallowed up Uber China, remains in good spirits: the company just backed a $450m series D round for Ofo, a bike sharing app provider.

A month ago, we reported on Paytm E-Commerce reportedly seeking a round of $180m to $200m and it appears the company has now secured the upper amount, getting $177m from Alibaba and another $23m from Saif Partners.

CloudMinds, an AI technology developer that previously obtained a stunning $31m in angel and seed capital from investors such as SoftBank, has received a similarly impressive $100m series A round from unnamed backers.

Delhivery coordinates $100m round

ChargePoint, which operates a network of independently managed charging stations for electric vehicles, has added $82m to its coffers thanks to a funding round led by Daimler.

University Corner

PMV diagnoses $74m series B

Urjanet raises $20m series C

Government Department:

Omeicos is treated to $8.7m


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

9 January 2017 – Welcome to 2017 with Bike Sharing Deals, Fund backing from Apple and Much More

Deals

Easy Life Financial Services, a tourism-focused financial services spinout of aviation and travel conglomerate HNA Group, has raised approximately $273m in series B+ funding from a string of Chinese investors.

Bike sharing looks likely to be a big area for VC funding in 2017, and China’s Mobike, which raised more than $100m in autumn last year, has followed it up with a $215m series D round co-led by existing backers Tencent and Warburg Pincus.

China-based iCarbonX is looking to build a what it calls an online ecosystem of digital life, and has raised about $200m of funding from investors including Tencent. It has also provided almost $400m of funding from its ecosystem for seven members of its Digital Life Alliance.

Electric bus producer Proterra has raised $140m from investors including Edison Energy and the corporate venturing subsidiaries of General Motors and Exelon.

Cancer test developer Grail spun out of genomics producer Illumina a year ago with $100m in funding that was quickly upped to $125m.

Tasly Pharmaceuticals took part in the $55m series A round closed by liver disease treatment developer Ascletis at the end of 2015, and has come back for its $100m series B.

Online investment manager Nutmeg took its series D round over the $50m mark with a £12m investment by Fubon Financial Holdings.

There have been a few big deals on GlobalUniversityVenturing.com and GlobalGovernmentVenturing.com as well. An intriguing crossover is a $40m series A round for Therachon, a Switzerland-based biotech developer focused on rare genetic diseases such as short-limbed dwarfism, thanks to a $5m extension that featured Bpifrance, the public investment bank of France.

Funds

News emerged last month that Apple could chip in up to $1bn for SoftBank’s $100bn Vision Fund, and that news has now been confirmed along with reports that fellow corporates Qualcomm and Foxconn are also set to invest.

Samsung’s mooted $1.1bn Next47 fund is yet to announce any investments but the same can’t be said for Samsung Next Fund, a $150m initiative announced by the corporate this week.

The cleantech-focused $52m Icos Capital Fund III meanwhile has received commitments from the city of Rotterdam as well as corporates Wuppermann, Bühler and AkzoNobel to achieve a first close.

International Finance Corporation is one of 65 limited partners that have backed SOSV’s third fund, doubling the firm’s total assets under management to $300m.

The European Investment Fund (EIF), the investment arm of EU agency European Investment Bank, and Cassa depositi e prestiti (CDP), the state-owned national promotional institution of Italy, have joined forces to launch Itatech with €200m ($208m).

Greece’s Ministry of Economy and Development has signed an agreement with the European Investment Fund (EIF), the investment arm of EU agency European Investment Bank, to establish a €260m ($270m) fund of funds.

And EU agency European Investment Bank (EIB) has achieved a final close of its third Lebanon-based Euromena private equity fund, managed by Capital Trust Group, at $150m.

Exits

Jounce meanwhile is developing antibody-based immunotherapy treatments for cancer, and has filed for a $75m IPO.

Sogou, operator of China’s third most popular search engine, is looking to float in the US at some point later in the year at a valuation of up to $5bn, CEO Wang Xiaochuan has told Bloomberg.

A sadder exit came for Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of economic development agency Scottish Enterprise, which saw portfolio company TeamRock collapse just three months after making a £2m investment.

People

Neil McGregor, senior managing director at Temasek, the investment arm of the government of Singapore, will depart on March 31 to join Sembcorp Industries as chief executive and group president. McGregor has been Temasek’s head of energy and resources, head of Australia and New Zealand since he joined in June 2014.


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