18 March 2019 – Uber Lines Up $1bn in External Capital

The Big Ones

Uber is lining up at least $1bn in external capital for its autonomous car division. SoftBank Vision Fund and Toyota, both of which are already investors in Uber itself, are among the consortium that is in advanced talks to supply the cash. Uber is reportedly seeking a $5bn to $10bn valuation in the round.

Waymo has been operating as part of Alphabet predecessor Google since 2009 and was established as a dedicated subsidiary in 2016. Now, the autonomous driving technology developer is seeking external funding for the first time, and while we don’t know a figure quie yet, it will reportedly be at a valuation far higher than the $15bn it was said to be valued at in the past.

SoftBank revealed in January that it was relaunching its SoftBank Ventures Korea unit as SoftBank Ventures Asia with an expanded remit to invest in the US and Europe as well as all over Asia, and now its CEO JP Lee has revealed that it will also make use of a $500m capital injection.

Deals

Film and TV studio STX Entertainment launched in 2014, raising an undisclosed amount in a Tencent and PCCW-backed round two years later at a $1.5bn valuation. Now, it’s added $700m in debt and equity financing from private equity investors that will fund the expansion of its film production rate as well as strategic acquisitions.

SIG subsidiary Susquehanna Growth Equity is part of a group of investors that have spent $280m to buy shares in work management software provider WorkFront through a secondary share purchase. The company had previously raised $95m in equity financing, and SGE director Martin Anger will take a board seat in conjunction with its investment.

Content delivery network operator Cloudflare has meanwhile raised $150m in a Franklin Templeton-led series E round that took its overall funding to $332m.

Indian freight shipping marketplace BlackBuck has been raising money for its latest round since October and has reportedly set a $100m to $150m target for its close.

Kaplan-backed educational content provider Newsela has meanwhile received $50m from TCV in the form of a series C investment.

Funds

Harvard University has announced a partnership with investment firm Deerfield Management to launch a $100m research and development initiative that will focus on the development and translation of biomedical and life science research.

Exits

Cannabis producer and services provider Verano has agreed to an $850m all-share acquisition by competitor Harvest Health and Recreation, in a deal that will qualify as an exit for cannabinoid therapy developer Scythian Biosciences.

Application delivery technology provider Nginx has raised a little over $100m in funding but has agreed to a $670m acquisition by F5 that will enable Telstra Ventures to exit.

Salesforce Ventures and M12 are set to exit machine learning software developer Figure Eight in an acquisition by AI dataset provider Appen that may total $300m.

Africa-focused online marketplace Jumia has filed for a $100m initial public offering in the US that would follow flotations by other Rocket Internet-founded e-commerce platforms.

Abiomed and Trudell Medical-backed Shockwave Medical, the developer of a calcification treatment system, has raised $97m in its initial public offering.


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

15 February 2016 – Chinese new year, fintech investor BBVA, Innogy Venture Capital, triple French biotech fund, Unicef, Shanghai reimburses venture capital firms and more

Funds

Financial services provider BBVA has been a notable fintech investor since early 2013 when it formed a $100m fund that has since backed companies including DocuSign, Taulia and Prosper. The bank has now elected to upgrade its participation, committing another $150m and spinning out its investments into a new VC firm called Propel Venture Partners. Propel is already operational in San Francisco and is actively recruiting for a London office.

RWE’s Innogy Venture Capital may have been quiet of late but that doesn’t mean the utility has given up on corporate venturing. Chief executive Peter Terium reiterated its commitment to innovation on Friday and revealed plans for another investment unit which will be sized at $145m.

In addition to that fund, RWE is also set to invest $15m in a so far unnamed greentech-focused venture capital fund.

France triples its biotech fund.

Unicef’s $9m Innovation Fund opens for expressions of interest from entrepreneurs, inventors and companies with working prototypes of open source technology that can improve the lives of vulnerable children.

The government of Shanghai’s plans to compensate venture capital firms that fail to make back their initial investment in startups has drawn criticism.

Investments

Uber has targeted $2.1bn in new equity funding at a jawdropping $62.5bn valuation in spite of a fundraising climate generally agreed to be cooling. Today it came a step closer, raising $200m from investment firm LetterOne, which joins a range of backers including corporates Alphabet, Baidu, Times Group, Ping An and China Life Insurance.

One of the biggest areas for VC funding last year was India’s e-commerce sector, and One97 Communications was one of the biggest recipients, securing $680m from Alibaba and Ant Financial. One97 is now looking to raise another $400m by the end of June to fund the spinning out of its flagship brand, Paytm, into a separate mobile banking and payment company.

A possible partnership with e-commerce marketplace Flipkart could also be on the cards. Africa Internet Group (AIG), the collection of African businesses overseen by Rocket Internet that is also backed by telecom companies MTN and Millicom, has welcomed a new backer. AXA paid $83m for an 8% stake in AIG as part of a strategic partnership that will allow it to sell insurance products through AIG’s companies, and in particular e-commerce marketplace Jumia.

Cambridge University breaks its own seed funding record for the third year in a row, investing $5.5m last year.

Exits

Proteostasis raised $50m (see below) while AveXis secured $95m, floating in the middle of its $19 to $21 range. AveXis, which is backed by Roche’s corporate venturing fund, will use the proceeds to steer its lead candidate, a gene therapy treatment for spinal muscular atrophy, through phase 1 trials.

Good analysis recommendation: Bruce Booth at Life Sci VC 

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