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

12 February 2018 – Ant Financial in Potential $5bn Funding Round

Deals

Ant Financial, e-commerce group Alibaba’s financial services affiliate, is reportedly preparing to raise $5bn in funding in a round that will value it at betwen $80bn and $100bn, making it the most valuable VC-backed private company of all time.

Go-Jek has been raising a $1.2bn round over the past six months that already includes JD.com, Tencent, Google and Meituan-Dianping, and now the on-demand ride service is reportedly set to receive up to $290m from e-commerce firm Blibli and industrial conglomerate Astra International in order to increase the round to $1.5bn.

Byton, the smart electric car developer formerly known as Future Mobility, is reportedly in talks with a Chinese state-owned institution to raise between $300m and $400m of funding at a valuation of at least $1.2bn.

Grocery delivery service Instacart is also gearing up to raise funding – up to $250m according to a Delaware securities filing.

Enerkem, a producer of fuels and biochemicals from municipal waste, has raised approximately $224m in its latest round, which included Sinobioway and long-time backer Waste Management of Canada.

Joby Aviation is developing a five-seater electric aircraft that will be able to take off and land vertically, but which is intended to be far quicker than established alternatives like helicopters.

Swiggy is looking to ward off competitors in India’s app-based food delivery sector, such as Zomato and Foodpanda, and has secured $100m in a round led by Naspers Ventures.

Toyota has invested almost $69m in JapanTaxi, a ride hailing app that has signed up about a quarter of Japan’s taxi drivers, as part of a strategic partnership agreement.

AvroBio has raised $60m in a series B round featuring Brace Pharma Capital, the investment firm backed by pharmaceutical company EMS, and will use the proceeds to advance a pipeline of gene therapies for rare diseases.

Broadlink, the China-based developer of a range of connected home products, has secured $54.5m in series D funding from investors including Baidu and Libai. Its past backers include
Qualcomm Ventures, and the company disclosed the funding alongside news that it is preparing an initial public offering in its home country.

Automotive leasing service provider Fair seems like a company on the move. It acquired Uber’s leasing business, Xchange Leasing, last week and has now raised additional funding in a round led by Next47 that included BMW and CreditEase FinTech Investment Fund.

These weren’t the biggest deal on GUV, but they were the most intriguing because it looks as if MIT has spun out two companies that are developing the same technology: Lightmatter, which raised $11m in a series A, and Lightelligence, which secured $10m in a seed round, are developing computer chips that rely on light (or photonic) signals rather than electric signals – boasting orders of magnitude of processing power and having profound implications for data-intensive applications such as AI.

Funds

Insurance firm Ping An has emerged as one of the more prominent China-based corporate venturers over the past couple of years and its CVC arm, Ping An Ventures, is now targeting up to $1.3bn in capital for two new funds.

Workday formed its corporate venturing unit, Workday Ventures, in 2015, but the unit has only been sporadically active since. That looks set to change however, with the corporate committing $250m to a Workday Ventures fund that will add AR, VR and blockchain-based enterprise technologies to the AI and machine learning it already targets.

UK-based innovation platform Future Planet Capital has signed a memorandum of understanding with venture capital vehicle Eight Great Technologies Fund (8GT) for an initiative that will invest in British spinouts and companies.

And 4490 Ventures, a US-based venture capital firm co-founded by Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (Warf), has raised $49m for its second fund, according to a regulatory filing.

Exits

Acacia Pharma, a UK-based nausea and vomiting treatment developer backed by pharmaceutical firms Lundbeck and Novo, has revealed plans for an initial global offering on the Euronext Brussels market. The company has not disclosed how much it expects to raise in the flotation, which will be conducted as a private placement open to certain institutional and other investors outside the US.

Elastagen, an Australia-based dermatology product manufacturer spun out from University of Sydney, today agreed to an acquisition by pharmaceutical firm Allergan for $95m in an upfront payment.


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

13 March 2017 – Airbnb Closes Series F, IPO for Snap and Much More

Deals

Airbnb has closed its series F round at just over $1bn, bringing its overall equity funding to $3.4bn.

Instacart, the company touted as ‘the Uber of grocery shopping’, has raised $400m at a $3.4bn valuation, with VC firm Sequoia leading the round with a reported $100m investment. Interestingly, none of Instacart’s corporate investors – Comcast Ventures, American Express Ventures and Whole Foods – were named as participants in the series D round.

Alibaba has spent around $250m in a secondary transaction to boost its stake in One97 Communications by an extra 4.3%, giving exits to Reliance Capital, Sapphire Ventures and Saama Capital in the process.

BBVA has led a $102m funding round for mobile banking app Atom Bank, investing just over $36m at a $320m valuation to maintain its 29.5% stake.

Baidu is said to be lining up a $100m investment in NextEV, the smart electric vehicle developer that unveiled what it claims is the world’s fastest electric supercar in November.

Liberty Global and Zain have joined existing backers including Sky and the CAA-backed Evolution Media Capital to invest $90m in iFlix, which has brought the Netflix template to Southeast Asia.

Ping An Overseas Holdings has led a series C round for livestreaming platform and communication services operator Bigo that valued it at $400m.

Spero Therapeutics, a biopharma working on treatments for superbugs, has completed an oversubscribed series C round, raising $51.7m.

Viva Republica, the Korean developer of mobile payment platform Toss, has picked up $48m in a series C round featuring PayPal which Forbes estimates values the company at roughly $250m.

Biohaven Pharmaceutical, a biopharmaceutical spinout of Yale University, yesterday closed an $80m series A round from investors that included spinout-focused investment firm Osage University Partners.

Funds

Joyme Capital, the CVC arm of online gaming community operator Joyme Group, has teamed with gaming services provider Kee Ever Bright Technology to launch a strategic investment fund that will back game developers, eSports companies and gaming ancillary service startups among others.

US-based microfinance non-profit organisation Accion has launched a $141m financial technology and services investment fund with contributions from limited partners including the World Bank’s private sector investment arm International Finance Corporation.

The Cradle Fund, an investment vehicle owned by the government of Malaysia, has announced DEQ800, an initiative that will offer early-stage equity to startups, Tech in Asia wrote on Monday.

Uniseed, the venture fund backed by four Australian universities and research institute CSIRO, has announced a A$20m ($15m) fund that will make follow-on investments in existing portfolio companies.

Exits

Snapchat owner Snap has formally closed an IPO that featured a $500m investment by NBCUniversal at $3.91bn, after its underwriters took up the option to buy an additional $410m in shares following a heady first two days of trading last week, with the company’s stock at one point up more than $12 from its flotation price.

Now that the dust is starting to clear from Snap’s flotation last week, onlookers are getting ready for the next big tech IPO, with MuleSoft setting terms for an offering that will net it $182m in proceeds and a $2bn+ valuation if it floats at the top of its range.

CA Technologies has agreed to buy cloud security platform Veracode in a $614m cash deal that will provide exits for backers including Telus, Tivo and Symantec, which spun the company out in 2006.

Otsuka Pharmaceutical has agreed to acquire ADHD treatment developer Neurovance in a deal that will give an exit to Novartis Venture Fund.


“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