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

11 July 2016 – Microsoft Venturing Fund, Exits for Multiple Companies and Investment News plus more

People

Rich Miner helped to launch Google Ventures in 2009 as general partner but seven years later, he’s dropped down to a venture partner position so he can concentrate on a secretive edtech project within the Google organisation.

Microsoft Ventures continues to build up its team, the latest recruit being Matthew Goldstein who comes from VC firm Trinity Ventures where he was principal

Funds

Microsoft expands its corporate venturing activities by forming a $92m fund to invest in Brazil-based agribusiness technology startups.

Kellogg is just one of the packaged food producers to launch corporate venturing units in the past year, and we spoke to its vice-president of investor relations Simon Burton about the formation of its new Eighteen94 Capital subsidiary and where the funding will go.

Hanmi hands over $8.7m to corporate venturing unit

University

Four universities partner Mercia

MIP reinvestment from Mercia

Government

IPO for Draper Esprit

Exits

Recruit Holdings has bought classified job listings platform and search engine Simply Hired for an undisclosed amount.

Two of conglomerate Legend Holdings’ investment affiliates – Legend Capital and Hony Capital – helped invest $15m in Chinese tyre manufacturer Shandong Linglong Tyre Co in 2010, and they’ve now exited in a $390m IPO on the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

Genomic medicine developer Syros Pharmaceuticals floated in the US last week, and since then its shares have risen in price by almost 50%, from the IPO price of $12.50 to $18 as of close of trading yesterday.

Another gene therapy developer, GenSight Biologics, had less luck when it tried for an IPO in the US market last year, cancelling an offering set to raise up to $70m. The Novartis-backed company has now set its sights on more modest goals, and will aim to raise $44m in an IPO in its home country of France, with its existing backers set to buy almost $19m of shares in the offering.

China-based Android app store Wandoujia was valued at $1bn in early 2014, not long before Alibaba reportedly offered to buy it for $1.5bn. Two years on, the e-commerce firm looks to have netted a bargain by agreeing to acquire Wandoujia for a reported $200m in a deal that will boost its internet services business.

Speaking of valuation drops, India-based fashion e-commerce platform Jabong is in talks with a range of prospective buyers over an acquisition that will allow co-founder Rocket Internet to exit.

Cybersecurity spinout Quadmetrics acquired by Fico

Vyclone, a Los Angeles-based social video creation and collaboration app, is shutting down.

Investments

Installment buying platform Qufenqi has changed its name to Qudian and raised $449m on the way to an IPO, just over three years after it was founded.

e-Shang raises $300M Corporate Minority round

Autonomous car startup Zoox has just raised $200m in funding, according to Business Insider, despite operating in super-stealth mode.

WuXi PharmaTech is among the investors to have put up $150m of series A funding for CStone Pharmaceuticals, a China-based startup looking to develop treatments for oncology, cardiovascular diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, haematology and autoimmune diseases, with a particular focus on immuno-oncology.

Media operator Network18 first invested in Bigtree Entertainment, the owner of cinema and live entertainment ticketing platform BookMyShow, in 2007 and it has returned to once again take part in its latest funding, an $81m round that values the company at more than $440m.

SoftBank-backed budget hotel room booking platform Oyo Rooms is set to raise $61m from existing investors at a $460m pre-money valuation as part of an expansion drive that will involve it growing its presence in areas like bed and breakfasts and homestays.

SmartNews, a Japan-based mobile news aggregation app, has raised $38 million in Series D funding. Development Bank of Japan led the round, and was joined by SMBC Venture Capital and Japan Co-Invest.

University

Cyber threat detection and defense software provider Darktrace has secured $65m at a $400m valuation, four times that at which it last raised funding, in July 2015.

Government

Temasek Holdings investment in internet of things


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

27 June 2016 – Blade Therapeutics, Kellogg, and IPOs for Twilio and Selecta Biosciences and more

Deals

Corporate

While not technically new, we have more information on the massive $7.3bn round for Didi Chuxing that we talked about on last Monday’s podcast. Poly Group, a Chinese state-owned real estate and trading business, contributed a whopping $400m in return for a 1.45% stake.

HR Bio Holdings, a joint venture between pharmaceutical company Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine and an unnamed blue chip investment firm, injected $100m to launch a US-based cancer therapy startup named Hengrui Therapeutics.

Xinmei Mutual Insurance Association attracted $150m from a consortium featuring Ant Financial.

University

Johns Hopkins spinout Blade Therapeutics raises $45m in its series B round.

Funds

University and Government

University College Dublin and Trinity College Dublin have set up a $68m fund in partnership with Atlantic Bridge that was also backed by the European Investment Fund and Enterprise Ireland, the development agency of the Irish government, as well as banks AIB and Bank of Ireland.

Corporate

Kellogg – yes, the makers of the breakfast cereals – is venturing into the CVC sphere with a $100m unit that will seek out opportunities in the food industry.

Shenzhen Hepalink, a Chinese pharmaceutical firm, invested $60m in the latest fund raised by TPG Biotech. The commitment follows the company’s decision to back the previous fund 18 months ago with $22m. TPG Biotech has invested in more than 50 companies since 2002.

Exits

Twilio, a business communication platform that was actually expected to delay its flotation and wait out the UK referendum results, but ended up not doing that. Instead, it upsized its IPO, raising $150m.

Selecta Biosciences, a synthetic vaccine particle developer, also got in on the IPO game ahead of the referendum, pricing its flotation at $70m and providing an exit to Sanofi-Genzyme Bioventures.

People

EDFI, the Association of European Development Finance Institutions, has appointed two new people.

Dartmouth College meanwhile is losing two staff members, Tillmann Gerngross and Trip Davis – the two who helped establish the university’s tech transfer office, the Office of Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer, in 2013.

Softbank’s COO and president Nikesh Arora has left.

Lockheed Martin Ventures, the newly established CVC unit of the aerospace and security company, has brought Christoper Moran on board as executive director and general manager.


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