05 November 2018 – Game Studio Epic Games Raises $1.25bn

Deals

Game studio Epic Games has had some very notable successes including the Unreal and Gears of War series, but it’s entered the mainstream in a huge way over the past year with Fortnite, a game that passed the $1bn revenue mark in 10 months. It’s also raised $1.25bn in a round that included a strategic investment by eSports team owner Axiomatic, valuing it at almost $15bn.

Zume began as a pizza delivery service that utilised robotics technology to help prepare the food, and now it’s looking to expand that model into other parts of the food industry. To that end, SoftBank Vision Fund has reportedly paid $375m for a 20% stake in the company and is set to invest a further $375m in a deal that will value Zume at $2.25bn post-money.

Coinbase has secured $300m in a Tiger Global Management-led series E round that valued it at $8bn post-money. The company, which has built a trading platform and digital wallet for cryptocurrencies, has now raised a total of almost $520m in funding since 2012, and its existing investors include New York Stock Exchange, Docomo Capital, BBVA, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and USAA, none of which took part in the latest round.

China has played host to several smart electric vehicle producers and one of them, WM Motor, is reportedly in talks to raise some $287m in funding, with half of the cash to be put up by Baidu, sources have told Reuters (though WM itself suggested the figure would be 50% higher).

Grab, the Southeast Asian ride hailing platform that has moved into mobile services and payment technology, has received $200m from Booking Holdings, the travel and accommodation booking service formerly known as Priceline, as part of a strategic alliance.

Chinese music tutoring service Peilian has raised $150m from investors including Tencent, in a series C round that came less than a year after its series B.

Southeast Asian real estate platform PropertyGuru has raised $145m in a series D round led by KKR that boosted its overall funding to about $325m.

India-based online grocer Grofers is reportedly in talks with existing investor SoftBank over a round sized between $100m and $150m that could value it at up to $650m.

The lidar sensor industry is one that has been attracting ever increasing amounts of funding, and one of its companies, Quanergy, has just raised an undisclosed sum in a round that valued it at more than $2bn.

Galecto Biotech, a Denmark-based developer of treatments for cancer and fibrosis based on research at Lund and Edinburgh universities, closed a $90m series C round co-led by Ysios Capital and OrbiMed.

And Astroscale, a Singapore-based space debris removal technology developer, raised $50m on Wednesday in a series D round featuring property developer Mitsubishi Estate and games publisher Koei Tecmo’s Koei Tecmo Capital investment unit.

Funds

Five Japan-based financial services groups have agreed to form a fund in partnership with sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corporation (CIC) reported by Bloomberg to be up to $1.8bn in size.

Arch Venture Partners, the venture capital firm spun out of University of Chicago, is aiming to raise $600m for its tenth fund. The firm has not yet raised any money but if it reaches its $600m target, Fund X would be the largest flagship vehicle raised by Arch to date and bring total assets under management to $2.86bn.

Exits

StoneCo has made a big step forward for Brazilian startups, securing more than $1.22bn in an IPO that came alongside a $100m private placement by Ant Financial.

Orchard Therapeutics has raised $200m in an IPO that involved it floating at the foot of its range but upping the number of shares involved.

Medical device developer Axonics Modulation Technologies has floated in a $120m initial public offering in which it increased the number of shares and floated in the middle of its range.

Twist Bioscience has gone public in a $70m IPO that saw it float at the bottom of its range.

Video conferencing software provider Zoom is looking to float in an initial public offering in which it will seek a valuation significantly above the $1bn valuation at which it last raised cash almost two years ago.


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

29 October 2018 – Bytedance Raises $3bn at $75bn Valuation

Deals

Bytedance has agreed to raise $3bn in funding from investors including SoftBank at a $75bn valuation that will make it the most valuable independent VC-backed company in the world.

Manbang, the trucking services marketplace also known as Full Truck Alliance, is reportedly in advanced discussions with Tencent and SoftBank over a $1bn round that would value the Chinese company at $9bn.

Huashenghaoche is one of several automotive marketplace operators competing in China’s used vehicle industry, and has secured $210m in a series D round that included JD Finance, the financial services affiliate of e-commerce firm JD.com.

Elsewhere in China, artificial intelligence and internet-of-things technology provider Terminus Technologies has raised $173m in a round that included image and facial recognition software producer SenseTime.

Plaid Technologies last raised money more than two years ago, in a $44m round led by Goldman Sachs that reportedly valued it at $250m.

Aikucun, a fashion e-commerce platform that specialises in surplus stock, has received $110m in series B-plus funding from Sinovation Ventures, GGV Capital, Zhongyuan Capital and BA Capital.

Synthego, the creator of a genome engineering platform for gene and cell therapy developers, has also secured $110m, in a Founders Fund-led series C round that took its total funding to $160m.

Precision oncology drug developer TP Therapeutics has raised $80m in a mezzanine round that included Lilly Asia Ventures and SR One, the corporate venturing units that co-led its last round, a $45m series C in May last year.

Satellite launch services startup Vector has secured $70m in a series B round that will support the company as it looks to begin producing its rockets.

Enable Injections, a US-based medical device developer, has achieved the first close of a series B round featuring Ohio Innovation Fund, the university venture fund formed by Ohio State University and Ohio University.

And on GGV, GoEuro, a Germany-based transport booking service aimed at consumers, has raised $150m in a funding round backed by Singaporean government-owned investment firm Temasek, Kinnevik and firm Hillhouse Capital.

Funds

Brightlands Agrifood Ventures, a venture fund focused on agritech developers connected to the Brightlands campuses in the Netherlands, has achieved a second close at $22.7m thanks to three additional limited partners.

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund the Public Investment Fund has contributed $500m to the Russia-China Investment Fund.

Exits

Brazil-based payment technology provider StoneCo is gearing up for one of the year’s biggest IPOs. It will raise about $1.1bn if it floats at the top of its range, and has attracted a range of cornerstone investors that could take a large chunk of those shares.

Online travel services provider Tongcheng-eLong is looking to raise $1bn in an initial public offering in Hong Kong.

Innovent Biologics has priced its Hong Kong IPO near the top of its range to raise $421m.

And Chinese vehicle marketplace, Tuanche, has meanwhile filed for a $150m initial public offering in the US. Bertelsmann Asia Investments has been a Tuanche backer since the company’s 2013 series B round and now owns almost 10%.

PhaseBio Pharmaceuticals, a US-based orphan disease treatment developer exploiting research from Duke University, has floated on the Nasdaq Global Market in a $46m initial public offering.

Endpoint security software provider CrowdStrike was valued at more than $3bn as of its last round, a $200m series E backed by Alphabet unit CapitalG four months ago, and it’s reportedly looking to increase that valuation in an IPO tentatively slated for next year.

CloudFlare has meanwhile begun preparing for its own IPO and could claim a $3.5bn valuation, sources have told CNBC.


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

22 October 2018 – Alibaba Confirms Ele.me and Koubei Merger

Deals

Alibaba has confirmed the merger of Ele.me, the food delivery service it acquired in April, with Koubei, the local services platform it launched in 2015 and spun off two years later. The deal will be bolstered by $3bn of funding from Alibaba and SoftBank, and the newly formed entity will be going head to head with Meituan Dianping, the local services platform heavily backed by Alibaba’s key rival, Tencent.

Indian online food ordering platform Swiggy is preparing to raise $900m in a Naspers-led round that will reportedly include Tencent, and which will consist of $600m in equity funding and $300m in secondary share sales.

Instacart is growing like a weed and has announced a $600m round led by hedge fund D1 Capital Partners that valued it at $7.6bn. That would be some achievement in itself, but the grocery delivery service closed a $350m round at a $4.35bn valuation just six months ago.

Alibaba has invested approximately $288m in alcoholic beverages retailer 1919 Wines, taking a 29% stake in the process. 1919 sells its drinks through the combination of an e-commerce platform, for which Alibaba could surely help, and brick-and-mortar stores, and the investment comes at a time when China is learning to love wine.

LinkLogis, which uses AI to power a supply chain finance platform for small and micro-sized businesses, has received $220m in a series C round led by Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC with participation from corporates GLP, Skyworth, Tencent and Bertelsmann Asia Investments.

Ant Financial, Alibaba’s financial services affiliate, has invested $210m in Zomato, the India-based restaurant listings platform that is moving into food delivery.

Oxford Nanopore Technologies, a UK-based sequencing technology spinout of University of Oxford, has raised $66m from pharmaceutical firm Amgen that brought its latest round to $206m.

Careem has received $200m from existing investors that include Rakuten, Al Tayyar and the Saudi Telecom-anchored STV according to Reuters, capital that will likely form the first part of a $500m round that values it at $2bn pre-money.

Automotive e-commerce platform Chehaoduo has meanwhile secured $162m in a series C+ round, seven months after Tencent led its $818m series C. It has reportedly now raised a total of more than $1.85bn in total, and the city of Kunshan has provided $430m as part of a deal that will involve it being the location for Chehaoduo’s Maodou subsidiary.

Funds

SoftBank is still yet to officially close its $100bn Vision Fund, but it is reportedly arranging $9bn in debt financing for the unit, from the banks that are acting as underwriters for the IPO of its wireless division, an offering expected to raise some $27bn.

US-based growth equity firm Edison Partners closed its ninth fund at $365m yesterday having raised capital from limited partners including Rutgers University and American Family.

Taiho Pharmaceutical launched corporate venturing arm Taiho Ventures in 2016 with $50m of capital. The unit has since backed several companies, many of which are cancer therapy developers, and achieved an exit when Arcus Biosciences went public in March.

The Chinese city of Xuzhou has partnered with venture capital firm SummitView capital to launch a $433m fund focusing on sensors and technology related to the internet of things.

36Kr has long been cited as a news source for Chinese deals, but the technology news platform has been busy in recent years, adding a slate of data provision, event promotion and fundraising services to its bow.

Exits

It’s been quite a while but slowly, inch by inch, ride hailing services Uber and Lyft are moving toward the public markets.

Meanwhile, prospective underwriters for a Palantir IPO have told the company it could double its last disclosed valuation to $41bn in its own 2019 IPO.

Innovent Biologics filed for its Hong Kong IPO in June but has now revealed it is seeking $400m to $500m in the offering and has lined up cornerstone investors.

Anaplan has raised almost $264m in an IPO that involved it floating at the top of its range before seeing its share price jump some 40% immediately.


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

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

08 October 2018 – Grab Looking To Raise Another $1bn

Deals

Southeast Asian ride hailing platform Grab closed $2bn in funding just two months ago, but Reuters has reported that it’s looking to raise another $1bn, and that SoftBank is close to putting up half the funding.

SoftBank Vision Fund has also initiated talks to invest $500m in China-based online educational assistance platform Zuoyebang.

Traveloka, an Indonesian company that has grown into a leading holiday and travel services booking platform for Southeast Asia, is in talks with unnamed investors to raise $400m.

Elsewhere in Asia, SoftBank is reportedly in talks to invest between $200m and $250m in India-based Delhivery, one of several companies that have sprung up to feed the rapidly expanding e-commerce sector.

Enterprise cybersecurity software provider Tanium has secured $200m in a round led by Wellington Management that valued it at $6.5bn pre-money. Tanium, whose investors include Citi Ventures, has now raised about $780m altogether, and has amped up its valuation by some $1.5bn in just five months, the company having raised $175m from TPG Growth in a May round that valued it at $5bn.

Tencent and KKR’s KKR Asian Fund III have agreed to lead a $175m investment in Voyager Innovations, a fintech spinoff from telecommunications firm PLDT.

Fast fashion retailer Miniso was only founded in 2013 but has been growing at a rocket-like pace, currently standing at some 3,000 branches worldwide. Now Tencent is getting in on the act, joining Hillhouse Capital to provide $146m in funding for the company.

Education app developer Byju’s is now valued at $2bn following a $100m investment by General Atlantic India. Byju’s has raised a total of $344m from investors including Times Internet and Tencent, but the round is perhaps notable for not including SoftBank, which was said to be in talks with the company a couple of months back.

Call centre software provider Talkdesk closed a $21m series A round backed by Salesforce three years ago, but has taken a bug step forward with a $100m series B round that valued it at more than $1bn.

JHL Biotech has raised an undisclosed sum from investors including Sanoft at a $750m valuation and will put the cash toward further development of its biosimilar cancer therapies.

Drawbridge Health, a US-based medical diagnostics spinout of industrial conglomerate General Electric (GE), received an undisclosed amount of funding yesterday from Kyoto University’s venturing arm Innovation Capital (Kyoto-iCap).

Funds

Biopharmaceuticals-focused venture firm Forbion Capital Partners has closed its latest fund at $415m, a 44% upgrade on its initial target. The fund’s LPs include insurers ASR Insurances, KLP, the EU-backed European Investment Fund and the German government-owned bank KfW.

Excell Partners, a VC fund affiliated to University of Rochester, is to manage a $25m vehicle intended to spur tech activity around Rochester in upstate New York. The vehicle, dubbed Finger Lakes Forward Venture Capital (FLX) Fund, will be managed by Excell’s Technology Ventures division and funded by the New York State government.

Exits

Funding Circle has gone public in London, in a $576m initial public offering that included $184m of share sales by the online lending platform’s shareholders.

Guardant Health had a health first day as a public company, floating above its range to raise almost $238m in its IPO before seeing its share price rise by 69%.

SurveyMonkey has raised less but had a more successful IPO, floating above its range last week to raise an initial $180m.

Sutro Biopharma, a US-based cancer drug developer based on research at Stanford University and backed by pharmaceutical firms Amgen, Celgene, Eli Lilly and Merck & Co, raised $85m in its initial public offering.

NGM Biopharmaceuticals has filed to raise up to $75m in an initial public offering that will give Merck & Co and Takeda the chance to exit.

On GGV, French solar firm Neoen is aiming for a market capitalisation of €1.5bn ($1.7bn) in an initial public offering (IPO) on the Paris stock exchange.


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

01 October 2018 – ByteDance in Funding Talks with SoftBank

Deals

Reports that China-based digital media company ByteDance was seeking funding at a $75bn valuation emerged a few weeks back, but now they’ve been fleshed out with news that it is in talks with SoftBank, which could provide $1.5bn of a $3bn round that also looks set to include KKR and General Atlantic.

Another Indian unicorn, ride hailing platform Ola, is reportedly in talks with Naspers and Temasek over a $1bn round that could value it at between $7bn and $8bn.

Short-term accommodation platform Oyo has raised $800m from investors including SoftBank Vision Fund and has reportedly secured commitments for a further $200m.

Swiggy is looking to establish itself as the market leader in India’s on-demand food delivery segment and has reportedly opened talks with investors including Tencent over a funding round that could reach $700m and value it at up to $2.5bn.

SoftBank Vision Fund continues to make its presence felt in the venture capital space, its latest deal being a $400m investment in real estate transaction marketplace Opendoor.

SoftBank’s Vision Fund has also invested in the latest round for online real estate brokerage Compass, which secured $400m in a series F round that valued it at $4.4bn post-money.

Butterfly Network, the developer of a handheld ultrasound device, has meanwhile received $250m in series D funding from investors including Fosun Pharma at a $1.25bn valuation.

Payment technology provider Stripe has taken a big step forward, securing $245m in a round that more than doubled its valuation to $20bn in less than two years.

Trucking services platform Manbang Group has been one of the recent success stories in China’s VC space, and now Convoy is aiming to become the sector’s market leader in the US.

UBiome, a US-based microbial genomics technology developer backed by the Stanford-StartX Fund, has raised $83m in series C funding from investors including Dentsu Ventures, the corporate venturing vehicle formed by marketing firm Dentsu.

Funds

Despite its name, SoftBank Ventures Korea hasn’t limited itself to Korean deals, and the unit is looking to establish itself more thoroughly in China with a $300m fund it has formed in partnership with TPG Growth.

The Engine Fund, a tough tech-focused VC vehicle associated with Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Engine incubator, has reached a final oversubscribed close of $205m.

Exits

2018’s really turning into a banner year for IPOs, with fashion e-commerce marketplace Farfetch the latest tech company to launch a successful offering, floating above its range to raise $885m.

Baxalta Ventures has scored one of the year’s big M&A exits, after Alexion agreed to acquire autoimmune disease drug developer Syntimmune for $400m upfront and up to $800m in milestone-related payments.

Asarina Pharma, a Sweden-based biotechnology spinout of University of Umeå, floated on the Nasdaq First North stock exchange last week after raising more than Skr142m ($16.3m) in an initial public offering.


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

24 September 2018 – Uber in Talks to Acquire Rival Careem

Exits

Uber is already in talks to acquire Middle Eastern rival Careem and has now reportedly in negotiations to buy food delivery service Deliveroo. The price would need to be “considerably” higher than the $2bn valuation at which Deliveroo last raised money, but the transaction would give a nice exit to NGP Capital, the venture firm spun out of Nokia, which invested in Deliveroo at a reported $1bn post-money valuation.

Rocket Internet is in line for a series of IPO exits in the next few months. In addition to Westwing and Funding Circle, African e-commerce marketplace Jumia is looking to go public in a 2019 offering that could value it at about $1bn.

Eventbrite, the developer of an online ticketing platform it supplies to event promoters,has gone public in a $230m IPO. The company floated at the top of its range, which it increased on Tuesday, signifying some serious interest in advance of the offering.

Infosys sucks up Fluido in $76m acquisition

Equillium seeks $86m IPO balance

Airware comes crashing down

Allogene calls for $100m IPO

Qutoutiao reports news of $84m IPO

GlaxoSmithKline has chalked up an exit in a $106m initial public offering for oncology and immunology developer Principia Biopharma, which has floated at the top of its range.

Connected planning software provider Anaplan has filed for its own IPO and has set an initial target of $100m.

Funds

Insurance firm Aflac announced in March last year it planned to make up to $100m of investments through a newly formed corporate venturing vehicle, and while its investments have been secretive they’ve apparently interested the company enough to increase activity.

Ajao’s Base attracts $137m for first fund

Golden Gate closes third fund with $100m

Corporates nurture $70m Raise Ventures fund

Deals

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund has agreed to invest some $1bn in Lucid Motors, the developer of a luxury plug-in electric sedan.

Tuhu, a Chinese provider of automotive after-sales services, has raised $450m in a series E round featuring Tencent, which invested in connection with a strategic partnership agreement.

Yi Jiupi E-Commerce, the operator of Chinese wine retail platform E Jiupi, has reportedly secured $200m in a series D round co-led by Meituan Dianping and Tencent that valued it at $1.1bn.

Electric bus producer Proterra has raised another $155m in a round that was co-led by Daimler, which will explore the use of Proterra’s battery and electric drivetrain technology in its school buses.

Galera Therapeutics has secured $150m in financing, $70m of which came in a series C equity portion backed by Nan Fung Life Sciences and existing investors Novo Ventures and Novartis Venture Fund.

UiPath continues to bring in big money six months after closing a $153m series B round by collecting $225m in series C funding from backers including CapitalG, which co-led the round with Sequoia Capital.

GitLab programs $100m series D

India-based social networking app developer ShareChat has added $99.2m to its coffersthanks to commitments from investors including Xiaomi, which previously led an $18.2m series B round in January this year.

Enigma has become the first portfolio company both of BB&T’s fintech-focused vehicle and MetLife’s co-investment fund MetLife Digital Ventures by attracting $95m in funding.

GUV

Immune-Onc books $33m series B


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

17 September 2018 – Smart Car Producer Banma Completes $2.3bn Funding Round

Deals

Banma, the smart car producer formed by carmaker SAIC and e-commerce group Alibaba, has completed a $2.3bn funding round that included SAIC investment vehicle Shangqi Capital.

Restaurant listings platform Zomato is in the process of expanding into food delivery and is raising some $400m to do so. Online travel agency Ctrip is reportedly in talks to put up $100m of that funding and will invest alongside Ant Financial at an expected valuation of $1.8bn to $2bn.

Lithia Motors has led a $140m series D round for automotive sales service provider Shift Technologies that consisted of debt and equity financing, as part of a strategic partnership deal.

Atreca is developing therapeutics based on immune response, and has just raised $125m in a series C round that increased its overall funding to more than $225m. An undisclosed healthcare-focused fund led the round, but Atreca’s earlier investors include GlaxoSmithKline, which took part in its $56m series A three years ago.

Benson Hill Biosciences, developer of a crop design platform, has raised $60m in a series C round led by GV that boosted its total funding to more than $94m since it was founded in 2012.

Advanced heart monitor developer InfoBionic has received $50m from investors including health insurers Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, the latter through its Zaffre Investments vehicle. Zaffre also took part in the company’s last funding, an $8m series B1 round that closed in 2015.

Fosun has co-led a $50m series C round for distributed database software provider PingCap, with the proceeds set to go to product development and international growth.

Alexandria Venture Investments, the VC arm of life sciences real estate investment trust Alexandria Real Estate Equities, has also backed a $40m series B round for immuno-oncology therapy developer OncoResponse that included Helsinn Investment Fund, a corporate venturing vehicle for Helsinn Group.

Atreca, a US-based immune-focused medicine developer based on research at Stanford University, completed an oversubscribed $125m series C round today led by an undisclosed existing investor described as a healthcare-focused fund.

Funds

US-based healthcare provider Cigna has launched a corporate venturing vehicle called Cigna Ventures with $250m of capital. Cigna provides both healthcare and health insurance but formed Cigna Ventures in order to access innovative technology that can improve the effectiveness and efficiency of its services.

US-based insurance firm State Farm has formally launched a $100m corporate venture capital fund known as State Farm Ventures.

Australia-based fund manager Main Sequence Ventures has raised an additional A$132m ($94.8m) for its Csiro Innovation Fund 1 from investors including University of Melbourne, aerospace and defence company

Nanoelectronics research institute Imec announced the close of its early-stage and growth fund Imec.xpand at €117m ($135m) today, above the initial target of €100m set in June 2017. Apart from Imec itself, LPs also include several unnamed universities as well as the Flemish government and its investment company PMV, state-owned regional development agency BOM and Belgian government-owned investment firm SFPI-FPIM.

Luxembourg not only launched a space agency last week but is also seeking to launch a €100m ($117m) venture capital vehicle, called Luxembourg Space Fund, to invest in space technology developers. The money will come from the state and from private investors.

Exits

Local services platform Meituan Dianping has gone public in Hong Kong, floating toward the upper end of its range at a reported $52bn valuation and raising $4.2bn in the process.

China-based smart electric carmaker Nio has gone public in the US, raising a sliver over $1bn. As with Meituan Dianping, Tencent is the largest investor in Nio, but its other backers include Baidu, Lenovo, JD.com and Temasek as well as Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC, and in contrast to the larger company, Nio floated almost at the foot of its range, having initially targeted $1.8bn in the offering.

Augmenix, a radiation oncology technology producer backed by corporates Varian Medical Systems and Ascension Health, has been acquired by medical devices maker Boston Scientific. Boston Scientific will pay $500m in upfront cash and up to an additional $100m if Augmenix reaches sales-based milestones.

Westwing, an online home furnishings retailer backed by Rocket Internet, Tengelmann Ventures and Access Industries, plans to raise up to $139m in an initial public offering slated for Frankfurt. The company has raised some $262m in funding so far.

Eventbrite, the event ticketing platform backed by payment services provider Square, has set the price range for its initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange at $19 to $21.

ViraTherapeutics, an Austria-based immuno-oncology spinout of Medical University of Innsbruck, was acquired by its existing shareholder, pharmaceutical firm Boehringer Ingelheim for $245m, also allowing European Molecular Biology Laboratory to exit.


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

10 September 2018 – Used Vehicle Marketplace Souche Raises $578m

Deals

Used vehicle marketplace Souche has attracted $578m in series F capital from investors including Alibaba, Sunshine Insurance Group and CreditEase. The round has brought Souche’s total funding to more than $1.2bn, with Alibaba having also backed a $335m series E in November 2017 and Ant Financial having led a $100m series C in 2016.

Tencent has been an investor in MissFresh since its $10m series A round, and it has just co-led a $450m round for the online grocer that will fund the enhancement of the latter’s cold and supply chain resources and its smart retail technology.

Despite recent difficulties that have seen it significantly cut back on its international ambitions, bicycle rental platform Ofo is reportedly lining up hundreds of millions of dollars from investors including corporates Ant Financial and Didi Chuxing, both existing backers.

Fresh from setting up short-form video platform NewTV, media holding company WndrCo has led a $295m round for mobile VPN provider AnchorFree, its first for six years.

Colombia-based on-demand delivery services provider Rappi, backed by its peer Delivery Hero, has secured $200m from investors including DST Global, achieving unicorn status in the process.

IQiyi Sports, formed by iQiyi and Super Sports Media last month to control their respective sporting rights for streaming, has closed a $124m series A round that will be used to expand its offering.

Caffeine is developing what will be a smart broadcasting platform designed to be a more sociable version of livestreaming services like Twitch. 21st Century Fox is certainly interested and has pumped in $100m that will be divided between equity funding and support for a joint venture that will source high-grade content.

GreyOrange produces robotics systems for use in logistics, helping e-commerce orders to be picked out more quickly and efficiently. Mitsubishi and Flipkart have certainly taken notice, contributing to a $140m series C round that will help the Singapore-based company expand internationally. GreyOrange has now raised almost $180m altogether.

4D Molecular Therapeutics (4DMT), a US-based gene therapy spinout of UC Berkeley, has closed a $90m series B round featuring university venture fund Berkeley Catalyst Fund.

Funds

Saudi Aramco has run its own corporate venturing unit, Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures, since 2012 but sources have told the Wall Street Journal it is considering plans to put up to $1bn into a new fund that will make large-scale investments in technologies that complement its operations.

Insurance provider Aviva has put its weight behind the $129m Ahren Innovation Capital vehicle, a patient capital fund co-founded by eight scientists from the Cambridge, UK ecosystem.

Politecnico di Milano has unveiled a $70m university venture fund this week in partnership with venture capital firm 360 Capital Partners that will invest in the institution’s spinouts. Poli360 has attracted capital from Itatech, a $208m investment platform backed by the EU-owned European Investment Fund and Italian state-owned national promotional institution Cassa depositi e prestiti.

UC San Diego has unveiled the $65m Poseidon Innovation fund with the money coming from healthcare-focused investment firm Deerfield Management. Poseidon Innovation will push early-stage university drug research and follows similar initiatives that Deerfield launched with Vanderbilt, Johns Hopkins and Northwestern universities.

Exits

Reports of Meituan Dianping’s IPO plans surfaced last weekend, and now the local services platform has confirmed it plans to raise as much as $4.4bn at a valuation of up to $55bn – almost twice that at which it last raised funding in October.

Maoyan Weiying, the mobile ticketing platform backed by Tencent, Meituan Dianping and Enlight Media, is reportedly seeking up to $1bn in proceeds and has officially filed documents in Hong Kong.

Funding Circle, a UK-based peer-to-peer lender backed by Rocket Internet, unveiled plans to raise £300m ($385m) in an initial public offering.

Munich Re has acquired industrial internet-of-things technology provider Relayr, one of its existing portfolio companies, for $300m. The corporate bought the startup through its subsidiary Hartford Steam Boiler and Relayr will continue to operate as an independent business but with the added benefit of gaining access to Munich Re’s clientbase and expertise.

Thoma Bravo has agreed to buy a majority stake in CRM automation software provider Apttus for an undisclosed sum, in one of those uncommon cases of a private equity firm acquiring a VC-backed company.

Softgarden, a Germany-based human resources software spinout of Saarland University has been acquired by investment management company Investcorp Technology Partners for an undisclosed sum.


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

03 September 2018 – Uber Reaffirms Toyota Partnership

Deals

Uber has reaffirmed its partnership with Toyota, extending a pre-existing deal to include the development of an autonomous car-based ride hailing service, with Toyota investing $500m at a $72bn valuation as part of the deal.

Berkshire Hathaway has invested in One97 Communications, the Indian owner of financial services platform Paytm and e-commerce marketplace Paytm Mall.

SoftBank Vision Fund has joined forces with the international arm of ZhongAn Online P&C Insurance to launch an as-yet-unnamed joint venture with $200m in funding to sell ZhongAn’s technology to financial and healthcare companies in Asia-Pacific, including SoftBank’s portfolio companies.

Outset Medical, the mobile dialysis machine maker formerly known as Home Dialysis Plus, meanwhile added $132m in series D funding to its coffers thanks to Baxter Ventures, the Abu Dhabi state-owned Mubadala Investment Company and others.

Zhenkunhang finds corporate suppliers for $129m round

Cloudian stores $94m series E

Makeblock, the developer of a programmable robot kit that aims to teach children how to code, has closed a $44m series C round backed by Yuexiu Industrial Investment Fund, the corporate venturing arm of conglomerate Yue Xiu Enterprises, at a valuation of $367m.

Jacobio dispenses $55m series C

Funds

Singapore-based ride-hailing service Grab has added $250m to its Indonesia-focused corporate venturing unit.

Wisconn Valley Venture Fund surges with $100m

645 calls universities for $40m fund

Exits

The IPO frenzy continues as we head into the Labor Day weekend, with plenty of offerings. Meituan Dianping is still preparing its Hong Kong IPO, and sources have told Bloomberg that Tencent will buy $400m of shares in the offering as cornerstone investor.

Nio, the China-based smart electric vehicle producer backed by Baidu, Lenovo, JD.com and Tencent, made headlines earlier this year when reports emerged it was gearing up for a $2bn initial public offering.

X Financial, a China-based peer-to-peer lending platform backed by conglomerate Chow Tai Fook Enterprises, which is targeting a $250m IPO on the New York Stock Exchange.

Then we have Tubatu, a marketplace for home renovation contractors and interior designers, that is reportedly seeking $200m in its IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, which would provide an exit to 58.com.

Viomi Technology, which manufactures smart home appliances such as refrigerators and dishwashers, is meanwhile hoping to raise $150m when it lists on Nasdaq and that could prove a lucrative deal to Xiaomi, which owns nearly a fifth of Viomi (19.5% to be precise).

SurveyMonkey assesses $100m IPO

Gritstone girds itself for $80m IPO

Amgen, Celgene, Eli Lilly and Merck & Co all have reason to celebrate as their portfolio company Sutro Biopharma (whose underlying technology is based on research at Stanford University) gears up for a $75m initial public offering.

Alzheon relaunches IPO plans

Meanwhile Lyft, backed by Alphabet, Alibaba, GM, Magna International and Rakuten, is seeing an opportunity to go public before its rival Uber and has hired an advisory firm specialising in IPOs, Class V Group.


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