28 May 2018 – Ant Financial’s Latest Round Pegged at $10bn

We are back from the annual GCV Symposium and GUV: Fusion conferences, our London events bringing together CVCs and university tech transfer leaders from around the world. Some 500 delegates gathered at the County Hall in a packed room overlooking the Houses of Parliament to network and exchange ideas. GUV also handed out its awards during a gala dinner, with Alison Campbell taking home the Lifetime Achievement Award and Indiana University Research and Technology Corp’s CEO Tony Armstrong collecting the award for Tech Transfer Unit of the Year. There are summaries about the days’ proceedings on GCV and profiles of all the winners on GUV, so do head on over there. While you’re on GUV, you should also take a look at our five-year data review into university spinouts, which has been gathering a lot of traction over the past week.

Deals

Reports last month suggested Alibaba’s financial services affiliate, Ant Financial, was set to raise money at a gargantuan $150bn valuation, and the size of the round now seems to have been pegged at $10bn.

Uber last raised funding in December, when SoftBank invested $1.25bn at a $68bn valuation, while at the same time leading a consortium that bought more than $7bn of shares in a secondary transaction that valued Uber at $48bn.

In more proof that the ride hailing gold rush isn’t over, Careem is in talks to secure $500m in funding at a $1.5bn valuation.

Grail became one of the quickest medtech companies ever to reach the $1bn funding mark, and now the Illumina spinoff has raised another $300m in an oversubscribed series C round co-led by the WuXi AppTec-backed 6 Dimensions Capital that also featured WuXi subsidiary WuXi NextCode.

Brii Biosciences has launched a company that plans to combine R&D, data technology and strategic asset licensing to provide medicines that will help Chinese patients fight conditions such as infectious diseases, lung and liver diseases.

Orbbec develops 3D motion sensors as well as 3D camera equipment, and has raised more than $200m in a series D round led by Ant Financial.

HMD Global licensed the rights to manufacture Nokia-designed and branded phones about 18 months ago, and has now secured $100m in funding at a valuation of more than $1bn.

OLX, Naspers’ classified listings subsidiary, has provided $89m for automotive e-commerce marketplace Frontier Car Group in the form of series C funding.

Outreach, a developer of customer engagement software, has raised $65m in a series D round backed by Microsoft Ventures that valued it at about $500m.

Rain Therapeutics, a US-based cancer-focused biotechnology developer based on research from University of Auckland, closed an $18.4m series A round featuring the Inventors Fund, managed by the institution’s tech transfer office Auckland UniServices.

Funds

Legend Capital, the venture firm established by Lenovo owner Legend Holdings, is going from strength to strength, having just put together its second RMB-denominated healthcare fund – its third in total.

On GUV, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, a medical research division of Mount Sinai Health System, has established a $10m fund called i3 Asset Accelerator aimed at commercialising Mount Sinai’s research.

On GGV, Italy-based venture capital firm P101 has announced plans to launch a $142m fund with support from the European Investment Fund, the investment arm of the World Bank, and private equity company Fondo Italiano d’Investimento.

Exits

Salesforce is looking toward its next IPO exit after Adaptive Insights, the developer of a cloud-based business planning platform, filed for a $100m IPO.

Neurostimulation device maker Electrocore has filed to raise up to $74.8m in an initial public offering on Nasdaq, having secured $120m in funding over the last four years.

Essential Products sprinted out of the blocks, raising $300m in its second funding round last year, at a $900m to $1bn valuation, but negative response and low sales for its inaugural smartphone have reportedly led it to investigate a sale and to cancel development of its next phone in favour of a smart home device.

FanDuel was once a bright young thing, before regulatory issues cut into its business and drove it to seek a merger with fellow daily fantasy sports operator DraftKings. That deal didn’t come off, but it is set to be snapped up by Paddy Power Betfair, which is investing $158m and merging FanDuel, a spinout from University of Edinburgh that is backed by Alphabet, Comcast and Time Warner, with its US assets, forming a company in which it will have a 61% stake.

On GGV, German public-private partnership High-Tech Gründerfonds has celebrated the first initial public offering of a portfolio company. NFon, a Munich-based cloud telecoms business, received its first investment from HTGF in 2008 and has raised around $59m from its listing.


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

12 June 2017 – Essential Houzz Deals and Much More

Deals

Houzz is reportedly nearing the close of a $400m round led by multi-family office Iconiq Capital that will value it at about $400m.

Essential, the smartphone startup founded by Andy Rubin, formerly head of Android at Google, has reportedly raised $300m at a valuation somewhere between $900m and $1bn.

Pinterest has raised $150m from existing investors – one of which may have been Rakuten – at a $12.3bn valuation.

Adaptive cybersecurity technology provider Illumio has raised $125m in a series D round that included a range of new and existing investors, and which reportedly valued it at more than $1bn pre-money.

Bitcoin and ethereum both reached new highs today, which makes it timely that crytocurrency management platform Coinbase is reportedly in talks to raise about $100m of new funding at a $1bn valuation.

Earlens, the developer of an advanced hearing aid that uses light to transmit sound, has closed a $73m series C round backed by medical device makers Medtronic and Cochlear alongside a $45m secured debt facility from CRG.

Tantan, the developer of a Chinese dating and social networking app that bears an, ahem, passing resemblance to Tinder, has pulled in $70m in a series D round led by YY. Tantan.

Coursera has boosted its total funding to $210m with a $64m series D round that, according to TechCrunch, valued it at $800m.

Logistics services provider Shansong Express, already backed by a subsidiary of Susquehanna International Group, has added Hearst Communications and Beijing Hualian Group to its shareholders thanks to a $50m series C+ round.

Funds

Fosun Kinzon Capital, the venture capital firm sponsored solely by conglomerate Fosun International, is set to invest $100m in Indian startups by the end of the calendar year, if an unnamed “top executive” is to be believed.

Legend Capital, the Chinese VC firm backed by Lenovo owner Legend Holdings, has reached the $448m final close of its latest fund.

On GUV, the Pittsburgh Revolution Fund is targeting a $200m close to support drug research teams that will form spinouts of University of Pittsburgh.

And on GGV, the government of Canada is planning to launch a C$400m ($296m) Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative to support small and medium-sized enterprises.

The government-owned Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) is dedicating C$250m ($185m) towards growth equity over the next five years through investment arm BDC Capital.

AP2, a Swedish government-mandated pension fund, has injected $50m into the impact investment vehicle Rise Fund, which is aimed at a variety of global social challenges.

Irish state-owned export credit agency Enterprise Ireland is looking to raise €60m ($67m) with a regional development fund, according to the Irish Independent.

Exits

Mersana Therapeutics, which is working on antibody drug conjugates to treat cancer, has filed to raise $75m in an IPO that will allow Takeda and Pfizer to exit the company.

Delivery Hero has formally revealed it is seeking to go public this year, and is planning to issue more than $500m of shares in Germany and Luxembourg.

Aileron Therapeutics has filed for a $69m IPO that will support research and clinical development for a cancer treatment dubbed ALRN-6924.


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

10 April 2017 – Lyft Raises $500m & Unusual IPO for Spotify Plus Much More

Deals

It feels like the whole Flipkart/Snapdeal funding/merger saga’s been going on forever by this point but news continues to flow out of the respective camps, the latest being that Flipkart could well close between $1.2bn and $1.5bn in funding from eBay, Tencent and Microsoft next week.

On-demand ride platform Lyft has added almost 100 US cities to its network already this year and has now added another $500m of equity funding to its coffers.

Automotive trading software provider Souche.com has raised $180m in a series D round that included CreditEase’s New Financial Industrial Fund.

Alphabet-backed brokerage app developer Robinhood has pulled in new funding in a DST Global-led round that reportedly values it at $1.3bn.

India-based e-grocer BigBasket has reportedly entered talks with Tencent, Fosun and Amazon for a round that would be sized between $110m and $150m, and which would value it at $1bn, more than twice the valuation of its last funding, a $150m series D round that closed a year ago.

Existing investors GV and Sequoia Capital have co-led a series C round that provided more than $90m for secondary storage technology developer Cohesity, and which valued it at more than $500m.

Another Alphabet investment subsidiary, CapitalG, meanwhile has led an $81.5m series D round for Looker, a data analytics platform capable of curating large amounts of data to provide enterprise users with valuable insight into their organisation.

China-based Wecash has raised $80m in a series C round co-led by SIG that will enable it to add an online lending facility to its credit scoring platform, which has some 80 million users.

Fresh off the high that was Intel’s $15bn offer to acquire autonomous driving technology developer Mobileye, the company’s co-founders are now setting their sights on an initial public offering of another one of their ventures – OrCam Technologies, which has developed smart glasses that are able to identify street signs and read text and dictate it into the user’s ear.

Northwestern Mutual’s corporate venturing arm has participated in a $25m series C round for healthcare booking and billing platform Amino that took the company’s total equity financing to almost $45m.

SoftBank has reportedly rescinded between $150m and $200m in debt financing it was set to provide to portfolio company Snapdeal.

On Global University Venturing, US-based marketing technology developer ActionIQ has attracted $13m in a series A round that included Stanford University, through its Stanford Engineering Venture Fund.

And on Global Government venturing, Singapore Technologies Telemedia, a wholly-owned investment subsidiary of Singapore state-owned investment firm Temasek, invested $89m in US-based cybersecurity company Armor. Armor was previously majority owned by investment firm Stephens.

Funds

Clean vehicle technology producer BorgWarner has provided $10m for US-based venture capital firm Autotech Ventures as part of an overall strategic investment plan. Autotech supplies VC funding to startups developing software, services or electronics technology for use in connected, autonomous and energy-efficient vehicles and mobility services.

Legend Capital, the venture capital firm formed by China-based conglomerate Legend Holdings, has raised more than $400m for its seventh fund. The $400m represents the fund’s hard cap, according to Private Equity International.

Southern New Hampshire University has partnered venture firm Rethink Education to create a $15m seed fund targeting early-stage edtech enterprises.

South Korea’s Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning will set up a 113.5bn won ($102m) fund for startups and VC firms in the biotechnology sector.

Enterprise Ireland, the export credit agency of the Irish government, is set to make up to €44m ($47m) in additional funding available to seed and early-stage companies.

Iran’s sovereign wealth fund Iran Foreign Investment Company will invest an undisclosed amount into the healthcare and technology sectors.

The government of Canada has outlined the next steps for its Innovation and Skills Plan, including an additional C$200m ($149m) for the Strategic Innovation Fund over a three year period, bringing it to C$1.26bn.

The BC Tech Fund, managed by Kensington Capital Partners invested an undisclosed amount into Lumira Capital IV, a new healthcare and life sciences venture capital fund managed by Lumira Capital.

Exits

Sucampo Pharmaceuticals has bought rare disease therapy developer Vtesse for $200m in cash and stock, allowing Pfizer Venture Investments and Lundbeckfond Ventures to exit.

Data management software provider Cloudera has finally publicly filed for its IPO, setting an initial target of $200m.

Speculation about a Spotify IPO has been ongoing for years but reports now suggest it might take an unusual route to the public markets, listing its stock but not actually issuing any new shares or raising money.

Pharmaceutical firm Astellas Pharma is set to acquire Belgium-based drug discovery company Ogeda for €800m ($853m), providing an exit to Société Régionale d’Investissement de Wallonie, the state-owned investment company for the Wallonia government in Belgium that took part in a €16m series B round in 2015 and a $12.8m series A round in 2012.

Regulation

The UK government is set to announce tax break reforms to ensure that entrepreneurs benefit from the tax incentives, rather than property investors.

An amendment to Germany’s law on competition restrictions proposed by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has been approved by the federal council, known as Bundesrat.


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

27 March 2017 – MuleSoft’s Shares Soar Following $221m IPO and Much More

MuleSoft raised $221m in its IPO on Friday, only to see its share price soar to almost twice the mid-point of its range. The offering is good news for the IPO market generally but also for enterprise software providers looking to go public.

Deals

Flipkart has raised $1bn in funding from investors including Tencent, Microsoft and eBay and is reportedly seeking up to $1bn more in the next few months.

Tencent has led a $350m round for Kuaishou, which is also backed by Baidu, and both the corporates will help the company enhance user experience of its app, which boasts 50 million daily active users.

SoftBank has invested $300m in working space provider WeWork at a $17bn valuation and reportedly expects to add another $2.7bn through Vision Fund.

Sutro Biopharma spinout SutroVax has raised $64m, $60m of that coming from a series B round backed by Roche Venture Fund, and will use the funds to advance its development of a conjugate vaccine for pneumococcal disease.

Haoeyou has raised $40m for its medical tourism platform, which allows Chinese patients to access consultancies from US-based doctors through video conferencing, and to travel between countries for treatment.

Legend Capital is among the investors that have provided $39m in series B funding for Suzhou Ribo Life Science, a Chinese company developing RNA therapeutics to treat diseases such as hepatitis B, hyperlipidaemia and liver cancer.

Genome editing technology startup eGenesis has raised $38m in a series A round backed by healthcare services firm Heritage Provider Network and biotech property developer Alexandria Real Estate Equities.

Autonomous car tech continues to roll on, with Autotalks, a developer of chipsets that will be used in vehicle-to-vehicle communication, raising $30m in series D funding.

GlaxoSmithKline and Johnson & Johnson have contributed to a $30m series B round for Pulmocide, a developer of therapies to combat diseases caused by respiratory syncytial virus.

Funds

Aflac has joined the numerous insurance providers that have established strategic investment arms over the past two years, forming a subsidiary called Aflac Corporate Ventures, in which it plans to invest $100m over the next three years.

Kabbage, the operator of an online lending platform for small businesses, is said to be in talks with investment firms to raise “a few hundred million dollars” that will be put toward acquisitions.

The European Fund for Strategic Investments (Efsi), also known as the Juncker Plan, is now set to trigger more than €177bn ($190bn) in total investments, figures released following a meeting of the European Investment Bank’s board of directors show.

Exits

Amazon has beefed up its international e-commerce holdings, entering the Middle East through a $650m acquisition of local market leader Souq.com that provided Naspers and Jabbar Internet Group with exits.

Alibaba paid an undisclosed sum for a 32% stake in Damai.cn in 2014 and has now finished the job, acquiring the rest of the online ticketing platform.

Netshoes, a Brazil-based sports e-commerce company backed by Singapore government-owned GIC and Temasek as well as the International Finance Corporation, has filed for an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange that could bring in $100m in proceeds.


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

13 February 2017 – Used Vehicle Marketplace Uxin Raises $500m and Much More

Deals

Mobile wallet operator Mobikwik has raised more than $120m from an investor base that includes corporates Net1, Cisco, American Express, GMO and Mediatek, and is currently in talks with investors for a round that could value it at up to $1bn, CEO Bipin Preet Singh has told Reuters.

View has been developing its Dynamic Glass, which tints to help control light and temperature in a building, since 2007 and has now added $100m in funding in a round that included $50m from Nuveen affiliate TIAA Investments.

Urban logistics services provider Shansong Express has raised $50m in a series C round co-led by SIG Asia that will be spent on growth and product development.

Alphabet subsidiary GV has led a $45m series C round for metal 3D printing technology developer Desktop Metal that included fellow corporate venturing units BMW i Ventures and Lowe’s Ventures. Desktop Metal, now valued at $350m according to the Wall Street Journal, has raised approximately $97m in total and its previous investors include General Electric and Saudi Aramco.

Mojo Networks, a 13-year old company that provides cloud wifi services to large businesses, has raised $30m in series E equity financing and debt, with strategic partner Alpha Technologies among the participants.

Cisco Investments has co-led a $30m series C round for Exabeam that took the cybersecurity platform developer’s overall funding to $65m.

On Global University Venturing we’ve had Tsinghua Holdings, a subsidiary of Tsinghua University, leading an $18m series B round for THG Ventures, a China-based cancer diagnosis and therapy company.

We also have Leeds University, which has spun out Dietary Assessment, which has developed a tool to enable researchers and health professionals to monitor diet and analyse food and drink consumption with a view of helping reduce diet-related conditions such as diabetes.

Indiana University meanwhile has established Digital Health Solutions to exploit a software that helps paediatricians make better use of electronic health records by collecting and analysing questions about a child’s health and flagging potential health issues.

On GGV, India-based online automotive classifieds service CarTrade, has raised $55m in funding co-led by Singaporean government-owned investment firm Temasek.

Funds

Legend Capital, the Chinese venture firm sponsored by Lenovo owner Legend Holdings, has raised $243m for a fund it is looking to close at $375m, according to a regulatory filing.

In Southeast Asia meanwhile, ride ordering service Grab has committed to providing at least $100m for Indonesia-based startups as part of a $700m investment initiative in the country.

Indian consumer electronics producer Micromax is set to the be the anchor investor in a venture capital fund called Orbis Capital, and is in the process of securing limited partners that will increase the fund’s size to $100m.

Frontline Ventures, a VC firm based in the UK and Ireland, closed a €60m ($65m) fund on Tuesday with support from investors including the European Investment Fund.

Greece on Monday launched a call for financial institutions and private investors to participate in its VC fund Equifund.

Government-owned export credit agency Enterprise Ireland’s €175m ($185m) seed and venture capital programme, the state-owned €8bn Ireland Strategic Investment Fund and the European Investment Fund have committed capital to VC firm Seroba Life Sciences’ €100m third fund.

And finally, Russia Direct Investment Fund, the country’s government venturing arm, has said it expects more than $1bn in additional funding by the end of 2017 as its peer Qatar Investment Authority pledges to increase the size of its co-investments alongside RDIF.

Exits

Kuaishou, the China-based developer of a photo and video-sharing app similar to Instagram and Snapchat, is planning an IPO in the US in the second half of 2017, undisclosed sources have told TechCrunch.

Sophos has agreed to acquire Invincea in a deal that will give an exit to Dell Ventures, just three months after the unit took part in a $10m round for the anti-malware software developer.

Detsky Mir, a Russia-based children’s retailer backed by the Russia-China Investment Fund (RCIF), raised 21.1bn rubles ($355m) yesterday in its initial public offering on the Moscow stock exchange. RCIF is a joint initiative between sovereign wealth funds China Investment Corporation and Russian Direct Investment Fund.


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