26 September 2016 – Deals for LeEco and Airbnb, Finance Wales Launches Wales Business Fund plus much more

Deals

LeEco, has announced a $1.08bn funding round backed by Lenovo and Macrolink, and will use the funding to further develop LeSee, an autonomous electric car it is working on with Aston Martin and Faraday Future among others.

Airbnb has reportedly closed an $850m round.

Grab has picked up $750m in a SoftBank-led series F round.

U51.com, China-based credit card management platform backed by e-commerce company JD.com, has closed a $310m series C round that values it at $1bn.

Pay-per-mile auto insurance provider Metromile has been relatively quiet on the funding front, but all that changed yesterday when it disclosed $191m in equity financing it has received in the past two years.

Solar film producer Heliatek has secured some $89m in financing, including about $47m in series D equity funding that will be used to scale up its manufacturing capacity.

Funds

A total of 51 companies and institutional investors have collectively provided R1.5bn ($112m) of funding for a South Africa-based fund that will invest in small and medium-sized (SME) businesses.

Thailand-based financial services firm Kasikorn Bank will establish a strategic investment fund of undisclosed size during the fourth quarter of 2016 to invest in fintech services and products.

South Korean entertainment company Huayi Brothers, a subsidiary of China-based Huayi Brothers Media, is set to launch a $45m CVC arm to invest from as early as the end of the month.

Trumpf, a German industrial product manufacturer, launched a corporate venturing unit called Trumpf Venture which aims to build up a $45m portfolio over the next five years.

Baidu, China’s answer to Google, is reportedly putting together a $150m fund to invest in businesses developing content that could be distributed on its media offerings.

GE Healthcare has put together an accelerator called Five.Eight in order to back startups developing technology that can benefit patients in developing regions.

Australia’s industry minster Greg Hunt has hinted at a $380m fund, which would be the third VC fund launched through the country’s National Innovation and Science Agenda, following the $150m Csiro Innovation Fund and $380m Biomedical Translation Fund.

Finance Wales meanwhile officially launched its Wales Business Fund, a $177m investment vehicle that will provide equity and debt to businesses already located in Wales or willing to move there.

Vietnam also popped up on our radar last week with news that it is set to establish a government venturing fund to co-invest in local startups and help create more of an ecosystem.

International Finance Corporation is looking to invest $25m in Maison Capital’s inaugural US dollar-denominated fund, which is targeting a $200m close.

Exits

Corporates Itochu, Yahoo Japan, FISL and Kodansha are set to exit Uzabase, developer of an online business database and curated news app, in a flotation on the Tokyo Stock Exchange Mothers Market next month.

Dermatology product developer Novan has become the latest healthcare company to go public, raising $45m in a Nasdaq IPO.

People

Hearst Ventures, the corporate venturing unit of the eponymous US-based media group, which has restructured after the departure of its president, putting Kenneth Bronfin and Scott English in charge and building out its international network.

Andreas von Richter has left Ecomobility Ventures, the VC firm set up by Total, Orange, Peugeot and SNCF, to join another firm backed by a range of corporates, Aster Capital.

Jim Lussier, managing director and head of corporate venturing unit Dell Ventures, has left to run his own advisory and venture capital firm ahead of computer maker Dell’s merger with EMC.

Simon Johnson, previously senior investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, has joined Rivers Capital Partners as head of strategic debt funds.


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

22 August 2016 – Autonomous and Smart Car Investments, $30bn Fund in China and more

Funds

China has just reportedly approved the establishment of a state-owned $30bn VC fund in Shenzhen.

ONGC to drill into startups with $15m fund

Uber and Digi to experiment with Malaysian ideation lab

Cambridge Innovation Capital (CIC), a university venturing fund commercialises science and technology advances made at Cambridge University, has raised £75m ($90m).

Prudential Retirement, a business unit of New York-listed Prudential Financial, has closed its seed stage-focused corporate venturing group, Gibraltar Ventures, so the company can build a new innovation strategy around design, acquiring and partnering with startups.

People

Lambert, who is chair of our Shift conference in NYC on October 28 in partnership with the NVCA, became managing partner with Sand Hill Road-based private venture capital firm Westly Group.

Jerneja Loncar, who has been an entrepreneur-in-residence at car maker General Motors’ GM Entrepreneurs after nearly four years at GM Ventures until the start of 2014, has been planning her next step after successfully running one startup.

Jon Lauckner, chief technical officer at General Motors and president of GM Ventures, who will be attending the GCV-NVCA SHIFT: Accelerating Corporate and Venture Partnerships conference.

Exits

General Motors reportedly made advances to portfolio company Lyft in the past few weeks to propose an acquisition, an offer Lyft turned down in order to raise more funding.

Twitch has acquired Curse for an undisclosed amount, roughly a year after the gaming media and community platform received $30m in funding from Riot Games.

Japan-based Rakuten has acquired the assets of Bitnet, a US-based bitcoin wallet startup, for an undisclosed amount.

Tencent is reportedly set to exit contextualised services search app Vurb through a $110m stock and cash acquisition by Snapchat.

Investments

It’s been a big week for internet group Tencent, with news emerging of three sizeable deals in which it’s involved. The company has first of all led a $227m series C for game livestreaming platform Douyu TV – essentially a Chinese version of Twitch – as part of a deal that will involve Douyu’s sports offering being absorbed into its own Qie Live platform.

Tencent also co-led a $175m round for India-based Hike, which is developing an all-purpose messaging app not too dissimilar to Tencent’s own WeChat platform, which connects to a huge range of e-commerce services in its home country of China.

Tencent enters Keep in series C+ round

Film and TV studio STX Entertainment has received an undisclosed amount of funding from investors including Chinese corporates Tencent and PCCW at a reported valuation of $1.5bn.

Ford has been upping its corporate venturing activity of late, investing $182m in Pivotal Software at one end of the scale and in a $6.6m round for Civil Maps at the other, as it seeks to strengthen its software capabilities on the way to the planned launch of its first autonomous car in 2021.

Chinese technology group LeEco continues to make a name for itself, diversifying into ever more areas, and now it’s raised $50m from conglomerate Macrolink for its smart car unit.

Amazon launched its $100m Alexa Fund just over a year ago, and the unit has now made its largest investment yet, as part of a $35m round closed by smart thermostat developer Ecobee.

Corporate venturing units Novo Ventures, Roche Venture Fund and SR One have co-led an $86m series A round for Tioma Therapeutics, which is working on a cancer treatment that will target the CD47 immune checkpoint inhibitor, with venture firm RiverVest Venture Partners.

Nutirinia, a developer of digestible insulin for infants, has raised $30m in a series D round featuring WuXi PharmaTech, taking its overall funding to more than $46m.

US-based cybersecurity software provider ID Experts closed a $27.5m round featuring BlueCross BlueShield Venture Partners, the corporate venture capital arm of health insurance provider Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

Tekpea connects to EPM for funding

Colombia-based utility service provider Empresas Públicas de Medellín has invested an undisclosed amount in the IoT company through its FCP Innovation unit.


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

01 August 2016 – Asian Funds, MyTaxi hails Hailo, University Record Breaking and more

People

Intel Capital has chosen Christine Herron and Trina Van Pelt to manage its $125m Intel Capital Diversity Fund.

A former startup CEO, Herron joined Intel Capital in 2010 after a combined five years as a venture investor at First Round Capital and Omidyar Network.

Funds

Rozenfeld’s new firm targets $30m fund

Alibaba Pictures is set to go into corporate venturing, providing $75m for a $300m fund that will target strategic investments in companies in partnership with asset manager Gopher Asset.

Another Chinese media player, outdoor advertising company Focus Media, is initiating its own strategic investment activities, raising four $75m funds, each of which will be a collaboration with a different investment firm.

Pharmaceutical company Astellas has formed a joint venture called DigiTx Partners with life sciences venture firm MPM Capital in order to invest in digital health technology.

My Home looks to construct $75m fund

Siam Commercial Bank forwards corporate venturing plans

Corporates okay second KK Fund

University

NYU computes AI accelerator

SNÉ attracts $2.5m

New Zealand researches $150m Australian fund

Government

Taiwan upgrades economy with $3.1bn

Big deal: German startups to benefit from $1.1bn

Flanders helps expand IoT fund

Exits

India-based online fashion retailer Jabong was said to be in talks for a $1.2bn acquisition by Amazon less than two years ago, but how times have changed for the e-commerce sector since then. The company, part of Rocket Internet’s Global Fashion Group stable, is set to be acquired by Flipkart for only $70m in a bid to stem GFG’s losses.

Chinese internet, media and electronics group LeEco has grown at an astounding rate over the past two years through some large-sized investments, and now it is looking to expand into the US through the $2bn acquisition of consumer electronics producer Vizio.

Unilever is set to exit social marketing platform Olapic in a $130m acquisition by Monotype.

Platfora gets up for Workday acquisition

MyTaxi gets a friendly Hailo in merger deal

Government

Talend recruits $94.5m for IPO

Investments

Mitsui already holds stakes in numerous Asian healthcare companies, and now it has invested $101m in Columbia Asia, the Asian branch of US-based care provider Columbia Pacific Management.

UBtech interacts with investors for $100m

Hero Sports, the eSports company spun out by Chinese game publisher Hero Entertainment in May, has raised $96m in a round led by outdoor advertising group Focus Media, which invested $45m.

Upthere launched its personal cloud storage service yesterday, at the same time revealing it has raised $77m in a round led by strategic investor Western Digital and venture firm KPCB.

Mobile gaming company Scopely has taken its total funding to just short of $100m in a $55m series B round that included game developer and publisher Take-Two Interactive.

EverFi, the operator of a critical skills and compliance learning platform with more than 14 million users certified, has raised $40m in capital from investors including Advanced Publications.

Wonder Workshop, an Alphabet-backed developer of educational robots that can help teach kids about coding and fundamental computer skills, has secured $20m in a series B round that will enable it to enter Asia.

Government

Byju’s to educate itself with $50m

University

Big deal: Universities keep breaking records


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