17 December 2018 – Grab Reaches $2.85bn in Latest Round

Deals

Grab has boosted its latest round to $2.85bn, taking in $150m from Yamaha Motor through a strategic partnership agreement.

Indonesian online marketplace Tokopedia has confirmed it has secured $1.1bn in a round led by Alibaba and SoftBank Vision Fund, with contributions from SoftBank Ventures Korea and unnamed existing backers.

Facial recognition technology provider Megvii is set to raise $500m in a round that could be led by $200m from Bank of China Group Investment with a possible investment by existing backer Alibaba.

Zymergen raised $130m in a SoftBank-led round two years ago, and now SoftBank’s Vision Fund has returned to lead a $400m series C round for the molecular manufacturing technology provider that included Goldman Sachs, Hanwha Asset Management and several existing investors.

Naspers Ventures is leading a funding round for online education provider Byju’s that has reached $322m on its way to a $400m close.

Financial software provider Plaid has secured $250m in a series C round led by Kleiner Perkins and backed by Goldman Sachs, Andreessen Horowitz, NEA, Spark Capital and Index Ventures that valued it at $2.65bn.

Niantic, the augmented reality game developer best known for Pokémon Go, is close to raising $200m in funding from investors including Samsung and Axiomatic, the eSports company that’s becoming increasingly involved in corporate venturing.

Parking services and technology platform ParkJockey was reported the week before last to be closing in on a SoftBank-led round that could be sized between $800m and $1bn.

Automotive e-commerce platform Vroom has raised $146m in a series G round that was led by a $50m investment from brick-and-mortar car retail chain AutoNation.

Meiri Yitao was incubated as a social commerce-focused fresh produce offshoot of online grocer MissFresh, but has sped out of the blocks, following a $30m series A round in July with $100m in series B funding from investors including SIG Asia Investments.

Things have started to quieten down a bit on Global University Venturing ahead of the Christmas holidays but Genomics, a UK-based drug discovery engine developer spun out of University of Oxford, still managed to extend its series B round to $42m with the close of an oversubscribed second $10.2m tranche.

Funds

Bytedance closed its last round at a valuation of $75bn – enough to make it the world’s most valuable VC-backed private company – and it’s now looking to get into the corporate venturing game itself.

Alcoholic beverage provider Constellation Brands formed its corporate venturing unit three years ago and has now launched a $100m initiative called Focus on Female Founders that will invest in female-led portfolio companies.

On Global University Venturing, we had news that the UCL Technology Fund – co-managed by tech transfer office UCL Business and Albion Capital, is in the process of raising between $95m and $126m for a second vehicle (in the original currency of British pounds, the upper number is actually double that of the first fund – £100m compared with £50m).

Exits

Moderna has raised $604m in what’s reportedly the largest biotech IPO ever, increasing the number of shares in the offering by more than 4.5 million, and it has earmarked the proceeds for the further development of a pipeline that now has more than 20 mRNA therapy and vaccine candidates.

2018’s been quite a year for IPOs but it increasingly looks like next year could dwarf it as unicorn after unicorn moves their chips in place. The latest two to have made a step forward are Uber, which has confidentially filed for an offering some onlookers have suggested could value it at a staggering $120bn, and Slack, which has hired Goldman Sachs as lead underwriter for an IPO that could value it at $10bn.

Basis had big plans to create a stablecoin tied to the US dollar that would potentially be usable as a steady alternative in volatile countries, and raised $133m from investors including GV in April. But those plans have screeched to a halt and Basis announced yesterday it will instead wind down due to regulatory difficulties.


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

10 September 2018 – Used Vehicle Marketplace Souche Raises $578m

Deals

Used vehicle marketplace Souche has attracted $578m in series F capital from investors including Alibaba, Sunshine Insurance Group and CreditEase. The round has brought Souche’s total funding to more than $1.2bn, with Alibaba having also backed a $335m series E in November 2017 and Ant Financial having led a $100m series C in 2016.

Tencent has been an investor in MissFresh since its $10m series A round, and it has just co-led a $450m round for the online grocer that will fund the enhancement of the latter’s cold and supply chain resources and its smart retail technology.

Despite recent difficulties that have seen it significantly cut back on its international ambitions, bicycle rental platform Ofo is reportedly lining up hundreds of millions of dollars from investors including corporates Ant Financial and Didi Chuxing, both existing backers.

Fresh from setting up short-form video platform NewTV, media holding company WndrCo has led a $295m round for mobile VPN provider AnchorFree, its first for six years.

Colombia-based on-demand delivery services provider Rappi, backed by its peer Delivery Hero, has secured $200m from investors including DST Global, achieving unicorn status in the process.

IQiyi Sports, formed by iQiyi and Super Sports Media last month to control their respective sporting rights for streaming, has closed a $124m series A round that will be used to expand its offering.

Caffeine is developing what will be a smart broadcasting platform designed to be a more sociable version of livestreaming services like Twitch. 21st Century Fox is certainly interested and has pumped in $100m that will be divided between equity funding and support for a joint venture that will source high-grade content.

GreyOrange produces robotics systems for use in logistics, helping e-commerce orders to be picked out more quickly and efficiently. Mitsubishi and Flipkart have certainly taken notice, contributing to a $140m series C round that will help the Singapore-based company expand internationally. GreyOrange has now raised almost $180m altogether.

4D Molecular Therapeutics (4DMT), a US-based gene therapy spinout of UC Berkeley, has closed a $90m series B round featuring university venture fund Berkeley Catalyst Fund.

Funds

Saudi Aramco has run its own corporate venturing unit, Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures, since 2012 but sources have told the Wall Street Journal it is considering plans to put up to $1bn into a new fund that will make large-scale investments in technologies that complement its operations.

Insurance provider Aviva has put its weight behind the $129m Ahren Innovation Capital vehicle, a patient capital fund co-founded by eight scientists from the Cambridge, UK ecosystem.

Politecnico di Milano has unveiled a $70m university venture fund this week in partnership with venture capital firm 360 Capital Partners that will invest in the institution’s spinouts. Poli360 has attracted capital from Itatech, a $208m investment platform backed by the EU-owned European Investment Fund and Italian state-owned national promotional institution Cassa depositi e prestiti.

UC San Diego has unveiled the $65m Poseidon Innovation fund with the money coming from healthcare-focused investment firm Deerfield Management. Poseidon Innovation will push early-stage university drug research and follows similar initiatives that Deerfield launched with Vanderbilt, Johns Hopkins and Northwestern universities.

Exits

Reports of Meituan Dianping’s IPO plans surfaced last weekend, and now the local services platform has confirmed it plans to raise as much as $4.4bn at a valuation of up to $55bn – almost twice that at which it last raised funding in October.

Maoyan Weiying, the mobile ticketing platform backed by Tencent, Meituan Dianping and Enlight Media, is reportedly seeking up to $1bn in proceeds and has officially filed documents in Hong Kong.

Funding Circle, a UK-based peer-to-peer lender backed by Rocket Internet, unveiled plans to raise £300m ($385m) in an initial public offering.

Munich Re has acquired industrial internet-of-things technology provider Relayr, one of its existing portfolio companies, for $300m. The corporate bought the startup through its subsidiary Hartford Steam Boiler and Relayr will continue to operate as an independent business but with the added benefit of gaining access to Munich Re’s clientbase and expertise.

Thoma Bravo has agreed to buy a majority stake in CRM automation software provider Apttus for an undisclosed sum, in one of those uncommon cases of a private equity firm acquiring a VC-backed company.

Softgarden, a Germany-based human resources software spinout of Saarland University has been acquired by investment management company Investcorp Technology Partners for an undisclosed sum.


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