07 May 2018 – Tencent Leads $820m Series C for UBTech

Deals

Baidu has spun off the likes of Baidu Video and Zuoyebang in recent years, and video streaming platform iQiyi, in which Baidu owned a majority stake, raised $2.25bn in an IPO in March. The latest deal involves the corporate’s financial services subsidiary, Du Xiaoman, which has raised $1.9bn from investors including Taikang, $1bn of which will go straight to Baidu.

Tencent has led an $820m series C round for consumer robotics developer UBTech that valued it at about $5bn.

Online education has been one of the most notable growth areas in China’s VC space and things appear to be heating up. VIPKid, the operator of a tutoring platform that utilises international teachers, is reportedly looking to secure $500m at a $3bn valuation, double that at which it raised money in a Tencent-backed series C round just eight months ago.

Indian insurance comparison portal PolicyBazaar is close to raising $200m in a round that will be led by a $150m investment by SoftBank Vision Fund.

SF Express, the largest player in China’s logistics sector, has invested $100m in Flexport, the operator of a freight services platform that covers land, air and sea along with adjacent services.

SoundHound raised $75m from a corporate-heavy investor group early last year, and now it’s added $100m from Tencent, Daimler, Orange, Midea Group and Hyundai Motor Company at a reported valuation of more than $1bn.

Masterclass, the online education platform equipped with a host of famous teachers, is reportedly on its way to closing a $70m series D round.

Roivant Sciences raised $1.1bn in a SoftBank Vision Fund-led round last August with a brief to develop and launch a series of offshoot companies.

On GUV, Crescendo Biologics, a UK-based immunotherapy developer spun out from University of Cambridge, closed a $70m series B round that featured commercialisation firm IP Group as well as EMBL Ventures, the investment arm of European Molecular Biology Laboratory.

Funds

Microsoft Ventures has invested in some 50 companies since it relaunched itself as a corporate venturing vehicle two years ago, but has run into identity trouble with people confusing the unit with the similarly-named network of accelerators its parent continues to run around the world. Its solution has been to rebrand to M12, while the corporate’s accelerator initiative will be renamed Microsoft ScaleUp.

The city government of Jerusalem is looking to launch a $130m venture capital fund to support local biotech startups in areas including medical devices and pharmaceutical technology. The government’s contribution to the vehicle would amount to $5.5m at most, with the remainder supplied by private investors.

Exits

Flipkart’s board of directors has approved a deal whereby Walmart will pay approximately $15bn for a 75% stake, according to Bloomberg.

Medtronic spinoff Inspire Medical Systems has gone public in a $108m initial public offering that also represented an exit for Johnson & Johnson.

Consumer electronics and IoT technology provider Xiaomi has officially filed for an initial public offering in Hong Kong that sources told the South China Morning Post will be about $10bn in size, at a valuation of about $100bn.

Laser developer nLight has become the latest tech company to launch a successful IPO, floating above its range to raise $96m.

Mita, a US-based orthopaedic device spinout from University of Colorado, has been acquired by medical technology developer Stryker for an undisclosed sum.


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

20 March 2017 – Netflix’s Regional Rival iFlix Secures $90m and Much More

Although Netflix is the global market leader when it comes to online video streaming subscription services, regional rivals are beginning to raise substantial sums, particularly in Asia where iFlix has just secured $90m at a valuation of more than $500m.

Deals

DraftKings, which counts Fox Sports and sports leagues MLB, NHL and MLS as investors, has raised $100m in a series E1 round led by investment firm Eldridge Industries, taking its overall funding to some $630m.

Tencent and Baidu have co-led an $87m round for Nio, the Chinese smart electric vehicle developer formerly known as NextEV.

Public-private partnership Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ) meanwhile partnered healthcare companies Takeda Pharmaceutical and Medipal Holdings to launch Japan-based biotech firm Scohia Pharma.

Microsoft Ventures is keeping up the pace of its investment so far in 2017, contributing to a $52.5m growth round for Livongo Health, the developer of a digital diabetes management system.

The ad-for-equity space continues to grow, with news that recruitment platform Job Today has closed a $35m deal with Astremedia, RTL Germany and German Media Pool.

Innovium, the silicon data centre equipment developer that emerged from stealth last June, has secured $38.3m in a series C round that included returning investor Qualcomm Ventures.

SolarisBank has created what it claims is the first financial services-as-a-platform offering, an online marketplace through which external partners can offer their own digital banking services.

UK-based cellular immunotherapy developer Cell Medica closed a £60m ($73m) series C round today from a consortium that included Touchstone Innovations, the investment firm spun out of Imperial College London.

Oxford University has joined forces with private equity and VC firm Kingsley Capital Partners for a research program into the use of cannabinoids to treat a range of acute and chronic conditions.

Funds

Pivotal BioVenture Partners has closed its first fund with $300m of capital from Chinese property developer Nan Fung Group, and plans to target transformative therapeutics, with infectious diseases, immunology, oncology, ophthalmology and orphan disease treatments all on the table.

Spectrum Health is the latest US healthcare system to form a corporate venturing subsidiary, committing up to $100m for Spectrum Health Ventures over the next decade.

VC firm 500 Startups has announced a $10m fund aimed at startups based in Latin America, attracting the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the multilateral financial institution World Bank, as a limited partner.

The government of Indian state Karnataka has launched a Rs100m ($1.5m) proof of concept fund aimed at women entrepreneurs.

Bpifrance, the public investment bank of France, has committed €75m ($80m) to an investment fund currently being raised by private equity firm Bridgepoint, Les Echos has reported.

US-based fintech-focused venture capital firm TTV Capital has closed a $93m fund backed by Invest Georgia, a long-term investment program backed by the US state of Georgia, FinSMEs reported yesterday.

Exits

MuleSoft, Alteryx and ForeScout all have offerings on the way, and now it looks like they’ll be joined by big data management software provider Cloudera, which has reportedly filed paperwork for its IPO confidentially.

Speaking Alteryx, the data analytics software provider has set the terms for an IPO that will give Thomson Reuters an exit, and it could raise $126m if it floats at the top of its range.

Chinese instalment buying platform Fenqile is said to be preparing for its own US flotation, in which it aims to raise $600m.

TechStyle, the fashion e-commerce company formerly known by the name of its JustFab brand, has reportedly hired JPMorgan Chase to seek out a buyer in a prospective deal that would value it at $1.5bn.

Renewable chemicals technology developer Avantium has raised $109m in an initial public offering in Europe that allowed investors including Coca-Cola and Swire Pacific to exit.

Germany-based gesture tracking software developer Gestigon, backed by public-private partnership High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF), was acquired by automotive supplier Valeo for an undisclosed sum.

US-based pharmaceutical company GE Healthcare has acquired Monica Healthcare, a medical device spinout of Nottingham University, for an undisclosed sum.


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

19 December 2016 – $225m for BlueRock Therapeutics, Microsoft Ventures Invests from its AI Fund and Much More

Deals

Bayer and investment firm Versant Ventures have jointly provided $225m in series A funding for a regenerative medicine startup called BlueRock Therapeutics.

Symphony emerged two years ago with $66m from 14 banks and followed that funding up with a $100m Google-backed round last year. Now the company, which offers a secure messaging platform for use in the financial services industry, is in the process of raising between $125m and $200m at a pre-money valuation north of $1bn.

SenseTime, which provides deep learning technology to Chinese corporates, has secured $120m in a round that included Dalian Wanda Group and existing backer IDG Capital.

Podotree, the Kakao affiliate that deals with the social media company’s online publishing offerings, has raised $107m in funding from investors including Anchor Equity Partners and GIC at a reported valuation of about $428m.

JetSmarter has big ambitions to become the Uber of private jet travel, and has just raised $105m in series C funding at a $1.5bn pre-money valuation.

Virtual reality gaming company Survios has raised $50m across two rounds, the latter of which was led by MGM.

Sonendo, the developer of a teeth cleaning system for use in root canals, has secured $35m from investors including Henry Crown and Company affiliate CVF, bringing its overall funding to near $110m.

BillFront, a provider of finance for media companies that may face delays in recouping advertising revenue, has raised $35m in a series A round consisting of debt and equity.

Holiday accommodation rental aggregator Tripping.com has received $35m in series C funding, with investment firm Princeville Global leading the round.

Oxford Nanopore has raised additional funding after announcing earlier this month that it had become the first company to sequence multiple human genomes using portable technology.

Edotco, a Malaysia-based telecoms infrastructure services provider, has amassed $600m from investors including Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional. Khazanah Nasional made the investment via a secondary equity private placement offering of $200m, while public-private partnership Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ) contributed through a $400m primary offering.

Funds

Microsoft Ventures only resumed making direct investments in May but has already racked up 19 deals since, including contributions to rounds for Tact, Dynamic Signals (see below for both) and Element AI, the last of which is the first investment to be made from a dedicated artificial intelligence fund which the unit has just formed.

Not long after it confirmed that its $100bn Vision Fund would be headquartered in London, news emerged that SoftBank is in talks with Apple over a $1bn investment in the vehicle.

Oxford Sciences Innovation (OSI), the university venturing fund of Oxford University, on Friday raised an additional £230m ($290m) from investors including the institution’s endowment fund to bring its total to £580m.

IP Group takes Parkwalk for $12m. The intellectual property investor could pay an extra $12m to buy Parkwalk if the spinout-focused fund manager meets certain key targets.

Sigmar Gabriel, minister of economy for Germany, and his French peer Michel Sapin yesterday revealed a €1bn ($1.1bn) fund aimed at startups in the two countries.

Exits

2016 has been a bad year for a lot of people but in the venture capital space it’s been a worse year than most for Rocket Internet, which is continuing to consolidate its holdings.

Meitu, the Chinese creator of a photo modification app for social media, has raised just over $600m in one of the year’s biggest tech IPOs, giving exits to Sina Weibo, Foxconn and IDG Capital Partners.

Garena, the most highly valued startup in Southeast Asia as of a $170m round in April that valued it at $3.75bn, has reportedly begun talks with banks over a prospective IPO in the US in 2018 that could raise around $1bn.

Germany-based medical device manufacturer Gilupi was acquired yesterday by its investor and strategic partner Viroad, a China-based biotechnology company, for an undisclosed sum.

People

Maryland University at College Park (UMD) has appointed Julie Lenzer, former senior advisor to US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, to two key roles as part of its efforts to bolster innovation.

State-owned investment firm Finnish Industry Investment (FII) announced the promotion of Jan Sasse, head of FII’s Growth Investments team since June 2015, to president and CEO yesterday.


“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

06 June 2016 – Funds from Microsoft and Romulus, job moves, Alibaba and Uber gain investments and more

Moves

Stephen Lowery, partner at venture capital firm Frog Capital, has joined Silicon Valley Bank’s (SVB) UK team to lead it corporate and independent VC relationships.

Julia Rebholz, founder and head of Ignite, the UK’s first energy-based corporate impact investment fund, has left to join a consultancy encouraging other companies to set up similar funds.

News

Large Netherlands-based corporations have formed a local networking group to develop their cooperation with startups.

The European Commission said it would propose some changes to the venture capital regulatory framework and set up a fund of funds.

Fundraising

Microsoft Ventures gets into direct investments.

Romulus builds $75m fund.

Investments

Singapore state funds bought $1 billion in Alibaba shares.

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund invested in Uber.

YG puts on $85m show for Chinese corporates.

Yuanfudao studies $40m investment.

Qingsongchou campaigns for funding.

Tencent helps Tile key $18m series B.

Naspers tutors Udemy for $60m.

Ionic puts $45m in its basket.

In-Q-Tel Invests in Ephesoft Document Analytics Tool for Intel Community.

3D Media visualises $10m.

Exits

Reata gets $60m reaction in IPO.

Metamaterial Technologies manufactures Rolith acquisition.

Simply Hired lets go.

Line queues up again for IPO.

Clearside opens $50.4m offering.

NantHealth personalises $91m IPO.

Ping Identity pinpoints acquisition.

ServiceNow secures BrightPoint acquisition.


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