10 June 2019 – Google Agrees $2.6bn Acquisition of Looker

The Big Ones

JD.com has agreed to lead a round for electronics recycler Aihuishou that will be more than $500m in size. The deal will also involve JD.com, an investor in the company since at least 2015, merging its second-hand e-commerce subsidiary, Paipai, with Aihuishou.

Google has agreed to purchase data analytics software provider Looker in a $2.6bn acquisition that will surely be one of the year’s largest.

SoftBank Vision Fund is still seeking out new forms of financing, and is reportedly in talks with banks such as Goldman Sachs over a $4bn debt financing package that will effectively use its stakes in Uber, Guardant Health and the soon-to-list Slack as its basis.

Healthcare-focused investment firm Deerfield Management added a partnership with Columbia University to its roster of academic biomedical alliances yesterday with the launch of an up to $130m investment vehicle, Hudson Heights Innovations.

Deals

Swiggy is battling Zomato for dominance in India’s online food delivery sector, and may be about to recruit a powerful ally in SoftBank.

Bordrin Motor is the latest Chinese smart electric vehicle developer to pull in big funding, securing $362m in a round led by a Sinochem vehicle called Silver Saddle Equity Investment Management.

Speaking of SoftBank, the telecommunications and internet group has also invested $200m in online consumer loan provider Creditas.

Hupu is still preparing to float in its home country of China, but before that, digital media company Bytedance has invested $182m in the sport-focused online media provider in return for a 30% stake.

Foursquare seems to have been around forever and has had some hiccups, but it’s raising more money than ever. Merchant bank Raine Group has invested $150m in the location-based app developer, whose existing backers include Naver and corporate venturing units OATV and Simon Ventures, and is using some of it to acquire location data-tracking software provider Placed from Snap, which bought the company for $135m two years ago.

SoftBank Vision Fund invested $100m in Brazilian logistics platform Loggi towards the end of last year and has now returned to lead another $100m round.

Endpoint security software provider SentinelOne has secured $120m in a series D round that included Samsung Venture Investment to boost its total funding to $230m.

Yellowbrick Data has raised $81m in series C funding from investors including BMW i Ventures, Siemens’ Next47 unit and Alphabet subsidiary GV to boost its overall funding to $173m.

Exits

Global Fashion Group, a consortium made up of investors including Rocket Internet, Access Industries and Tengelmann Ventures that oversees four fashion e-commerce marketplaces is looking to go public as early as next month.

Japanese digital business card platform Sansan has priced its initial public offering at the top of its range and is set to raise about $360m, including the over-allotment option, when it floats in Tokyo.

Adaptive Biotechnologies has filed to raise up to $230m in an initial public offering, following the inking of a collaboration deal with Genetech in December that could potentially be worth $2bn.

Another unicorn, fitness subscription service Peloton, has confidentially filed for an initial public offering. Its investors include Comcast NBCUniversal and Grace Beauty, and it was valued at more than $4.1bn when it last raised money, in August.


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

12 June 2017 – Essential Houzz Deals and Much More

Deals

Houzz is reportedly nearing the close of a $400m round led by multi-family office Iconiq Capital that will value it at about $400m.

Essential, the smartphone startup founded by Andy Rubin, formerly head of Android at Google, has reportedly raised $300m at a valuation somewhere between $900m and $1bn.

Pinterest has raised $150m from existing investors – one of which may have been Rakuten – at a $12.3bn valuation.

Adaptive cybersecurity technology provider Illumio has raised $125m in a series D round that included a range of new and existing investors, and which reportedly valued it at more than $1bn pre-money.

Bitcoin and ethereum both reached new highs today, which makes it timely that crytocurrency management platform Coinbase is reportedly in talks to raise about $100m of new funding at a $1bn valuation.

Earlens, the developer of an advanced hearing aid that uses light to transmit sound, has closed a $73m series C round backed by medical device makers Medtronic and Cochlear alongside a $45m secured debt facility from CRG.

Tantan, the developer of a Chinese dating and social networking app that bears an, ahem, passing resemblance to Tinder, has pulled in $70m in a series D round led by YY. Tantan.

Coursera has boosted its total funding to $210m with a $64m series D round that, according to TechCrunch, valued it at $800m.

Logistics services provider Shansong Express, already backed by a subsidiary of Susquehanna International Group, has added Hearst Communications and Beijing Hualian Group to its shareholders thanks to a $50m series C+ round.

Funds

Fosun Kinzon Capital, the venture capital firm sponsored solely by conglomerate Fosun International, is set to invest $100m in Indian startups by the end of the calendar year, if an unnamed “top executive” is to be believed.

Legend Capital, the Chinese VC firm backed by Lenovo owner Legend Holdings, has reached the $448m final close of its latest fund.

On GUV, the Pittsburgh Revolution Fund is targeting a $200m close to support drug research teams that will form spinouts of University of Pittsburgh.

And on GGV, the government of Canada is planning to launch a C$400m ($296m) Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative to support small and medium-sized enterprises.

The government-owned Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) is dedicating C$250m ($185m) towards growth equity over the next five years through investment arm BDC Capital.

AP2, a Swedish government-mandated pension fund, has injected $50m into the impact investment vehicle Rise Fund, which is aimed at a variety of global social challenges.

Irish state-owned export credit agency Enterprise Ireland is looking to raise €60m ($67m) with a regional development fund, according to the Irish Independent.

Exits

Mersana Therapeutics, which is working on antibody drug conjugates to treat cancer, has filed to raise $75m in an IPO that will allow Takeda and Pfizer to exit the company.

Delivery Hero has formally revealed it is seeking to go public this year, and is planning to issue more than $500m of shares in Germany and Luxembourg.

Aileron Therapeutics has filed for a $69m IPO that will support research and clinical development for a cancer treatment dubbed ALRN-6924.


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

15 August 2016 – VR and Food Delivery Investments, GV People Moves and more

People

Friday was Bill Maris’s last day at GV, the corporate venturing unit he helped to set up for search engine Google in 2009. But it is a new start for David Krane, who is taking the CEO position at GV (formerly known as Google Ventures) and who will have a tough act to follow in Maris.

Eze Vidra, who helped GV set up its aborted European branch in 2014, has taken the chief innovation officer role at clinical trial connection platform TrialReach.

Vosik Shamsiev, a venture partner at Japan-based corporate venturing unit TEL Venture Capital since 2014, is leaving to pursue opportunities in Canada.

Citi’s strategic investment subsidiary has hired Travis Skelly from venture capital fund FinTech Collective as a senior vice-president. No announcement as yet on Debby Hopkins’ replacement.

Joydeep Bose joined Cisco from Intel Capital in 2007 and oversaw its corporate venturing activities in the Asia Pacific Japan region. D

Funds

Telstra and Telekom Indonesia form investment pact

Infosys lines up $15m Stellaris commitment

Exits

Wal-Mart has agreed to acquire Jet.com in a $3.3bn cash and share deal said to be the largest ever acquisition of an e-commerce company, and which will be marked down as a big win for investors including Alphabet and Alibaba.

CME Group looks like it’s secured a decent exit from deep learning technology provider Nervana Systems, just over a year after its corporate venturing vehicle, CME Ventures, took part in a $20.5m series B round.

In another sizeable acquisition, Myriad Genetics has agreed to buy precision medicine developer Assurex Health for up to $410m, giving exits to Mayo Clinic and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

Naspers to squeeze out Citrus Pay acquisition

Protagonist Therapeutics has raised $90m in an IPO that gave exits to pharmaceutical firms Johnson & Johnson, Eli Lilly and Pharmstandard, which collectively held a 45% stake in the company.

Investments

CVRx, the producer of an implantable treatment for heart failure and resistant hypertension, has sealed $93m in equity funding.

Torax strengthens with $25m

Moderna Therapeutics closed the largest round ever by a VC-stage drug developer in January 2015, and one of the investors in that round, pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, has invested another $140m to take its stake in the mRNA therapeutics company to 9%.

Turner has led a $45m round for female-focused digital media company Refinery29 as part of a strategic collaboration that will involve it developing video content for Turner’s TV channels.

The Walt Disney Company had been set to team up with Major League Baseball in a funding round for daily sports betting platform FanDuel last year but pulled out at the last minute. The two have now formed a partnership of a different kind, with Disney agreeing to pay $1bn for a 33% stake in BamTech, the online video streaming platform spun out by MLB. BamTech will also set up a paid video subscription platform for Disney subsidiary ESPN as part of the deal.

Andy Bechtolsheim (Sun cofounder and Google’s angel), and Diane Greene (VMware cofounder and Google board as head of cloud) along with corporates Major League Baseball, the Los Angeles Dodgers back Xperiel, a US-based provider of a mobile app development tool that works with Internet-connected equipment in sports stadiums and other facilities, $7m round.

Deliveroo raised $100m in November and has added $275m less than a year later with a series E round featuring Nokia Growth Partners.

Healthcare concierge service Accolade has added $70m from investors including Andreessen Horowitz and Madrona Venture Group to the $22.5m in series E funding it raised from McKesson Ventures and Independence Health last year, taking its overall financing to almost $150m.

Comcast targets Interactions in $56m round

Axial capitalises on Comcast backing to raise $14m

NextVR closes an $80m series B round at a pre-money valuation of $800m.

Kaltura has been at the online video game longer than NextVR and is gearing up for an IPO, raising $50m from Goldman Sachs’ Private Capital Investing group.

Yunnex, the Chinese developer of an advanced, connected point-of-sales system, has secured $45m in a series B round backed by one of its customers, fast food chain Ajisen Ramen.

Corporates dish up another $30m for iFood


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

22 February 2016 – Campbell Soup, Statoil, landscaping in China, MindMaze, Yello, Volvo, Google, Pie and more

Fundraising

Food technology developers like Impossible Foods and Juicero have raised some big rounds over the last year or two and that’s spurring food product makers to start entering corporate venturing in a significant way. General Mills set up a strategic investment unit late last year, and now Campbell Soup has joined the fray, putting $125m into an independently managed fund called Arce Venture Partners. Like Garden Fresh, the fresh food producer it acquired in June last year, the fund will link with the firm’s Campbell Fresh division.

Statoil launches $200 million venture fund for renewables

A range of Italy-based corporates – Menarini, RottaPharmBiotech, Elemaster and SapioLife – are among the limited partenrs for the first fund to be raised by venture capital firm Panakès Partners.

One corporate taking a more direct route is China-based garden landscaping company Palm Landscape Architecture, which is teaming with investment firm Hejun Zhengde for a fund that will focus on virtual and augmented reality technology. Palm has targeted $15m for the fund’s first close, and aims to use the technology to boost its town planning activities.

Investments

China’s media sector continues to grow and LeTV Sports, the sports streaming affiliate of Leshi Internet, is set to announce a $460m series B round.

As predicted, virtual and augmented reality continues to go from strength to strength this year. Following on from the $793m raised by Magic Leap earlier this month, MindMaze has secured $100m in a round led by UK-based conglomerate Hinduja Group. MindMaze’s technology is being utilised in the rehabilitation of stroke and brain-injury victims, but the company hopes to eventually deploy it for a variety of uses.

Japan-based digital financial services group SBI Holdings entered into a strategic partnership agreement with Korea-based mobile internet services company Yello Mobile in December that will involve the two helping each other expand in their respective nations. SBI has followed that up with a $30m investment in Yello, bringing the funding in its latest round, which values it at $4bn, to $73m.

Mobi Magic, a Chinese online security app developer, has raised $100m in a round co-led by cybersecurity company Qihoo360 Technology and Frees Fund, the VC fund formed last year by ex-IDG Capital Partners investor Li Feng. Qihoo 360 was also one of the investors that reportedly supplied Mobi Magic with $80m over the course of 2015.

Jana is an internet service provider that operates in emerging markets, pursuing a business model whereby commercial partners fund free access through advertising. Jana announced a $57m series C round today in which Verizon joined existing investors Publicis and Spark Capital, and plans to expand into China to add to the 30 million users it has across Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Exits

Volvo’s corporate venturing unit invested an undisclosed amount in strategic partner Lytx in 2013, and it has now exited the driving safety technology producer through an acquisition by private equity firm GCTR. Lytx, which had raised upwards of $160m in debt and equity, was purchased for $500m.

Google today announced that it is building its first engineering team devoted to Southeast Asia and toward that end has acquired Pie, a Slack-like team communications service based in Singapore.

Metalysis is today announcing a combined investment of £20 million from Woodford Patient Capital Trust, managed by Neil Woodford, one of Britain’s most prominent fund managers, and Iluka Resources, an existing investor in Metalysis.  Iluka increases its interest in the Company to 28.8% as a result of this funding round.

Metalysis’ technology produces metal powders – primarily titanium, tantalum and bespoke alloys – at lower cost with reduced environmental impact.

Cybersecurity software developer Cylance said today that it has entered into a strategic partnership with In-Q-Tel.

University of Oxford Isis Fund II, managed by Parkwalk, has invested in Mind Foundry, an Oxford Spin-out company with technology that uses advanced machine learning algorithms to help organisations solve problems by unlocking insights hidden deep within their big data.