21 January 2019 – SenseTime Prepares for $2bn Round

The big ones

Image recognition software provider SenseTime raised a total of $1.7bn in the year running up to May 2018, and news has emerged that it’s preparing a new round with a target of $2bn.

Slack has been mooted as one of 2019’s likeliest IPO candidates for months now, but it’s reportedly looking to emulate Spotify and choose a direct listing rather than issuing new shares.

On GUV, news of note was that Purdue University has now launched a total of 223 university-linked businesses since 2013, more than half which were based on intellectual property (IP) licensed through Purdue Research Foundation’s office of technology commercialisation (OTC).

Deals

End-to-end construction and renovation services platform Katerra last raised money in an $865m series D round led by SoftBank Vision Fund a year ago.

SoftBank is reportedly in talks to pay $400m for a 42% stake in baby and child product retailer FirstCry, representing a signficant jump in valuation from the $350m figure reported for the company’s last round.

Around a week after news that its biggest rival, Bird, was lining up $300m in funding, reports suggest scooter and bicycle rental platform Lime is set to raise about $400m in a round that will value it at $2bn pre-money.

English language tutoring platform Dada has concluded its latest round, securing $255m in series D funding from investors including TAL Education.

Logistics service provider Yimi Dida has meanwhile raised $266m in series D funding from investors including Prologis.

Niantic has confirmed it has raised $245m in a series C round featuring Samsung Ventures and Axiomatic at a post-money valuation near to $4bn.

Funds advised by Apax Partners have agreed to invest $200m in big data software and services provider Fractal Analytics through a transaction expected to close next month.

Beta Bionics has attracted $13m from investors including medical device producers Zealand Pharma and Dexom to close its series B round at $63m.

Outdoorsy, the operator of a rental platform for recreational vehicles, has closed a $50m series C round that involved the return of Aviva Ventures, the corporate venturing unit that also backed its series B early last year.

Exits

Online film ticketing platform Maoyan has set the terms for its initial public offering in Hong Kong and will raise approximately $344m if it floats at the top of its range.

Educational services provider Byju’s has acquired connected toy producer Osmo in a $120m all-share transaction that will add a range of coprorates to the former’s investor base.

Cirius Therapeutics, a developer of therapies for liver and metabolic diseases, has filed for an $86.3m IPO that will provide an exit for Novo, which owns almost 20% of its shares.

On GUV, consumer electronics producer Samsung is in advanced discussions over a $150m to $160m acquisition of Corephotonics, an Israel-based smartphone camera technology provider based on Tel Aviv University research.

Funds

Venture firm Magenta Venture Partners has launched in Israel with substantial backing from Mitsui, which is also providing two of its four founding general partners, one of the others being Motorola Solutions Venture Capital alumnus Ori Israely.


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

07 January 2019 – Bristol-Myers Squibb Agrees Celgene Acquisition

Three biggest stories

In this week’s biggest deal, pharmaceutical firm Bristol-Myers Squibb has agreed to acquire peer Celgene in a buyout made up of cash and shares that will create a $74bn business.

Singapore-based on-demand ride service Grab has increased the potential size of a series H round already backed by several corporate investors to $5bn.

Medical device manufacturer Boston Scientific has acquired the rest of the shares in one of its portfolio companies, US-based mitral regurgitation system developer Millipede Medical, for $325m.

The rest

Deals

Verily was spun off from Alphabet’s Google X division in 2015 to apply data science technology to healthcare data in order to create innovative life sciences and care management products.

Ant Financial, e-commerce group Alibaba’s financial services affiliate, has co-led a funding round sized at almost $582m for Hello TransTech, the China-based operator of bicycle rental service Hellobike.

Woowa Brothers, a South Korea-based food delivery app owner backed by internet company CyberAgent and financial services firm Goldman Sachs, has raised $320m at a $2.6bn valuation.

Internet group Tencent has led a $300m round for China-based online education platform developer Yuanfudao.

US-based oncology drug developer Rakuten Aspyrian has completed a $284m series C round featuring e-commerce firm Rakuten and financial services provider SBI Group.

AR game developer Niantic, has secured $190m in funding in a round that could have included Samsung and Axiomatic.

The year’s first big crypto round has been raised by Bakkt, a cryptocurrency trading platform that secured approximately $183m in its first funding round.

Cancer therapy developer Antengene has completed a $120m series B round featuring insurer Taikang and pharmaceutical companies Celgene and WuXi AppTec.

On GUV, Annexon Biosciences, a US-based immunotherapy developer spun out of Stanford University, closed a $75m series C round backed by Novartis Venture Fund, the corporate venturing vehicle for pharmaceutical firm Novartis.

Exits

One of the IPOs set to take place in early 2019 will likely involve Futu, the China-based digital brokerage operator that has filed to raise up to $300m in a US offering.

Funds

E-commerce group Alibaba’s Electronic World Trade Platform and online listings platform 58.com have co-anchored a $200m first close for a fund launched by China-based venture capital firm ATM Capital.

Oil and gas supplier Saudi Aramco and IT services provider Saudi Information Technology Company have teamed up to form a corporate venturing vehicle that will back emerging information and communication technologies.

Egypt-based financial services firm Commercial Investment Bank (CIB) has launched a corporate venturing unit called CVentures to help drive emerging technologies in the fintech sector.

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev is to put $1m into a university venture fund called Cactus Capital to back emerging projects led by university students, recent graduates and other academic entrepreneurs.


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

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