11 June 2018 – Ant Financial Raises $14bn not $10bn

The European Commission has today released its draft budget for its next financial period to start after 2020 with its draft plans for about $100bn for innovation funding (nice analysis by Science Business here).

Deals

Last month, Ant Financial was reported to have closed a jaw-dropping $10bn funding round at a $150bn that would have been the largest ever round at the largest ever valuation for a private company. It turns out, those reports were wrong – in fact, Ant Financial has raised a mind-blowing $14bn from investors including two Singapore government-owned entities, GIC and Temasek.

Geo-Jade Petroleum has led a series D round for Caogen Touzi, which also featured a range of unnamed, existing investors.

Bigo, a livestreaming platform based in Singapore, has now raised $272m in series D funding to further drive its growth. The round was led by another video platform, YY.

Lime (previously known as LimeBike) will hope that a $250m it is reportedly trying to raise from investors including GV will help it stay ahead of competitors. The company was previously rumoured to be seeking a total of $500m in equity and debt, but it appears the latter financing has been put on hold for unknown reasons.

Hyperchain Technologies, which has raised $234m in a round led by real estate developer Xinhu Zhongbao.

Dataminr, which has developed technology to detect, classify and determine the significance of public information on social media in real time, has now raised more than $380m after attracting $221m from as-yet unnamed backers. Fidelity and Credit Suisse previously backed a $130m series D in 2015.

Honest Company, the ethical household, beauty and baby products business launched by actress Jessica Alba, appears to be on an upwards trajectory again after receiving $200m from L Catterton, the private equity firm co-founded by LVMH.

Alibaba has purchased a 10% stake in Babytree that valued the e-commerce platform at $2.2bn.

Sina has co-led a $103m funding round for Pintec, which focuses on retail financial services.

Autohome has made a strategic investment in used car auction platfom Tiantianpaiche, whose backers already include SoftBank, SIG, Tencent and Bitauto.

Western Digital has joined a consortium of investors led by BlackRock for a $93m series D round in Qumulo.

Pivotal BioVenture Partners and Roche have both returned to back a series C round for SutroVax, which has also added TPG, Medicxi and Foresite Capital to its shareholders.

Volkswagen and Access Industries have supported Gett’s latest funding round that valued the ride hailing business at $1.4bn.

Kunlun-backed Nashwork has attracted $78m in a series B+ round backed by Sino-Ocean Group.

Bertelsmann Asia Investments was among the returning investors in a $70m series B+ round, which followed an initial $100m series B in February this year.

Lilly Asia Ventures and existing investor Alexandria Venture Investments have taken part in a $65m series C round for metabolic disease treatment developer Metacrine.

BlueVine, backed by Rakuten and Citi, will use the money to expand its product offering and accelerate recruitment of its research and development team.

Avi Networks has received $60m in an oversubscribed series B round that featured long-time partner Cisco’s corporate venturing arm as a new investor.

Exits

Kuaishou has acquired AcFun, which was reported earlier this year to have wound down but had in fact experienced a major server crash.

Neon Therapeutics is among the latest to file for an initial public offering, hoping to raise $115m to support several clinical trials. The listing would provide exits to shareholders including Pharmstandard International and Access Industries, though only Access is among the larger shareholders.

Domo, a business optimisation software provider backed by enterprise software developer Salesforce and marketing firm WPP, that is targeting $100m in proceeds. The company is using the offering as a way of avoiding reduced operations – despite emerging from stealth with $200m in series D funding in 2015, it has been making heavy losses and money is running out fast.

Neuronetics has filed for an $86.3m initial public offering on Nasdaq that will offer exits to corporates Pfizer, General Electric and Ascension.

Xiaomi’s eagerly awaited initial public offering, which is already noteworthy for its $10bn target, became even more interesting this week when it emerged that the company will undertake a dual listing, issuing the majority of shares in Hong Kong as expected and offering up to 30% in mainland China through Chinese Depositary Receipts (CDRs).

Marley Spoon, a Germany-based on-demand food delivery service backed by e-commerce group Rocket Internet, is gearing up for a $53m initial public offering… in Australia. The country is one of Marley Spoon’s largest markets and the one where it has actually broken even.

Funds

Pfizer isn’t exactly a new player in the corporate venturing space, having launched its Pfizer Venture Investments unit in 2004, but the pharmaceutical giant is clearly embracing the current boom by putting another $600m towards its CVC efforts – with approximately $150m of that dedicated to neuroscience startups.

Lockheed Martin follows closely behind today by doubling the size of its CVC arm, Lockheed Martin Ventures, to $200m. A key interest for the unit will be early-stage startups in the areas of sensor technologies, autonomy, artificial intelligence and cybertechnology. It’s already revealed a first investment from the new cash, too: NTopology, a US-based developer of computer-aided design software.

Real estate is ripe for disruption by technology startups and that’s led property manager JLL to enter the corporate venturing space with a $100m commitment to its new unit JLL Spark – which was revealed this week but actually founded last year.

The ride hailing firm has launched Grab Ventures, which is set to make eight to 10 investments over the next two years, and established an accelerator called Velocity.

Huobi and Kiwoom Securities have joined forces with NewMargin Capital to launch a blockchain-focused investment fund.

Veolia, La Capitale, Groupe ADP, Ubisoft and Unisys are among the limited partners in White Star’s second fund, which has achieved a $180m close.

GUV

Ripple will pour $50m into R&D at 17 academic institutions, including institutions in the US, UK, India and Brazil.

UC Riverside has partnered the Know Hub Chile partnership to help Chile conduct better research and tech transfer.


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

11 December 2017 – Obsidian Therapeutics Raises $49.5m

Covering the week’s venturing news including funding, investments, exits and people moves. This week’s episode includes: Fund news from Viola and GeneChem and deal news from Neon Therapeutics and Obsidian Therapeutics, plus much more.


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

16 January 2017 – Funding Circle Raises $100m, Starship Technologies Raises $17.2m Seed Funding and Much More

Deals

Insurance and reinsurance firm Arch Capital Group has contributed to a $510m round that has launched Premia Holdings, a Bermuda-based company that will offer property & casualty runoff insurance to businesses.

Chinese real estate service Lianjia raised more than $920m at a $6.2bn post-money valuation last April, in a series B round backed by Tencent and Baidu.

Hive Box, the logistics station network established by corporates GLP, SF Express, STO Express, ZTO Express and Yunda Express in 2015, has received approximately $360m in series A funding.

Mobile payment platform iZettle has raised $63m in financing to almost double the size of its series D round to $130m.

Much of the activity in the peer-to-peer lending sector has been concentrated in the US and China, but UK-based Funding Circle is proving it’s no slouch, raising $100m from investors including Rocket Internet and Temasek, the investment arm of Singapore’s government.

Zhihu, China’s answer to Quora, has secured $100m in a series D round backed by Tencent, which had previously invested in the company’s $55m series C just over a year ago, and search engine provider Sogou.

Alibaba’s local services subsidiary, Koubei, has co-led a funding round for restaurant table booking platform Meiweibuyongdeng that valued the company at just over $430m. T

Flash storage technology producer Kaminario has secured $75m in a series F round led by private equity firm Waterwood that it will use to expand in regions such as Eastern and Western Europe, Asia Pacific and the Middle East.

Ascentage Pharma spun out of oncology drug developer Ascenta Therapeutics in 2009 and has now closed a $72m series B round led by the Chinese government’s Future Industry Investment Fund that will be used to advance its pipeline of small-molecule drug treatments for cancer, hepatitis B and age-related diseases.

Immuno-oncology company Neon Therapeutics has raised $70m in a series B round backed by Access Industries, the conglomerate that took part in its $55m series A round just over a year ago.

Here’s a smaller one by amount but an enormous one for its stage: drone technology and logistics have both been hot areas of late so it’s no surprise that a company that combines the two, Starship Technologies, has raised a huge $17.2m in its seed round.

Another one that doesn’t exactly count as one of the week’s biggest, but is noteworthy nonetheless happened on GlobalUniversityVenturing.com, where Alta Innovations, the tech transfer office of Birmingham University, made a first investment from its £5m Spinout Investment Fund.

Funds

Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Development Co has been cited as an investor in SoftBank’s $100bn Vision Fund since November, and people familiar with the matter have told Bloomberg it is set to provide between $10bn and $15bn.

Tekes Venture Capital, the investment arm of Tekes, the state-owned Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation, has backed Butterfly Venture Fund III, a €24m ($25m) seed fund aimed at startups in Nordic countries.

The nanotechnology-focused commercialisation firm is set to establish two investment funds in the first half the year and is seeking co-investors from China and the Middle East as well as Japan.

The week’s largest fund on GlobalUniversityVenturing.com meanwhile was healthcare-focused VC firm Versant Ventures closing its sixth investment fund at a hard cap of $400m, with a third of that sum allocated towards the commercialisation of university research.

Exits

Fog Creek Software launched cloud collaboration tool Trello in 2011, spinning it out three years later when it raised $10.3m from VC investors.

SoftBank has had some notable successes through its CVC activity in Asia but it’s fair to say realty listings platform Housing.com is not among them. SoftBank had reportedly invested up to $95m in Housing.com, which has now been acquired by rival PropTiger in an all-share deal that valued it at no more than $75m. The corporate hasn’t given up however, and is investing $5m in the merged company together with a $50m contribution from PropTiger investor News Corp.

People

Akshay Naheta, chief investment officer of Knight Assets, has joined SoftBank to help manage the company’s $100bn fund that is backed by a range of sovereign wealth funds.


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