01 October 2018 – ByteDance in Funding Talks with SoftBank

Deals

Reports that China-based digital media company ByteDance was seeking funding at a $75bn valuation emerged a few weeks back, but now they’ve been fleshed out with news that it is in talks with SoftBank, which could provide $1.5bn of a $3bn round that also looks set to include KKR and General Atlantic.

Another Indian unicorn, ride hailing platform Ola, is reportedly in talks with Naspers and Temasek over a $1bn round that could value it at between $7bn and $8bn.

Short-term accommodation platform Oyo has raised $800m from investors including SoftBank Vision Fund and has reportedly secured commitments for a further $200m.

Swiggy is looking to establish itself as the market leader in India’s on-demand food delivery segment and has reportedly opened talks with investors including Tencent over a funding round that could reach $700m and value it at up to $2.5bn.

SoftBank Vision Fund continues to make its presence felt in the venture capital space, its latest deal being a $400m investment in real estate transaction marketplace Opendoor.

SoftBank’s Vision Fund has also invested in the latest round for online real estate brokerage Compass, which secured $400m in a series F round that valued it at $4.4bn post-money.

Butterfly Network, the developer of a handheld ultrasound device, has meanwhile received $250m in series D funding from investors including Fosun Pharma at a $1.25bn valuation.

Payment technology provider Stripe has taken a big step forward, securing $245m in a round that more than doubled its valuation to $20bn in less than two years.

Trucking services platform Manbang Group has been one of the recent success stories in China’s VC space, and now Convoy is aiming to become the sector’s market leader in the US.

UBiome, a US-based microbial genomics technology developer backed by the Stanford-StartX Fund, has raised $83m in series C funding from investors including Dentsu Ventures, the corporate venturing vehicle formed by marketing firm Dentsu.

Funds

Despite its name, SoftBank Ventures Korea hasn’t limited itself to Korean deals, and the unit is looking to establish itself more thoroughly in China with a $300m fund it has formed in partnership with TPG Growth.

The Engine Fund, a tough tech-focused VC vehicle associated with Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Engine incubator, has reached a final oversubscribed close of $205m.

Exits

2018’s really turning into a banner year for IPOs, with fashion e-commerce marketplace Farfetch the latest tech company to launch a successful offering, floating above its range to raise $885m.

Baxalta Ventures has scored one of the year’s big M&A exits, after Alexion agreed to acquire autoimmune disease drug developer Syntimmune for $400m upfront and up to $800m in milestone-related payments.

Asarina Pharma, a Sweden-based biotechnology spinout of University of Umeå, floated on the Nasdaq First North stock exchange last week after raising more than Skr142m ($16.3m) in an initial public offering.


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

16 October 2017 – Ola Raises $1.1bn in Tencent-led Round

Deals

Ola confirmed today it has raised $1.1bn in a round led by Tencent, which invested $400m according to recent reports.

Tujia, the online accommodation marketplace often referred to as China’s Airbnb, has secured $300m in a round co-led by Ctrip that valued it at more than $1.5bn.

SoftBank Vision Fund has done more than anyone to ramp up venture capital investment to new levels this year, and it’s far from finished. The fund has led a $164m round for Mapbox, a provider of location and mapping technology for app developers, taking the company’s overall funding to nearly $230m.

Freight shipping management platform Flexport, has confirmed it has closed a $110m series C round that valued it at $910m post-money.

App development seems to be a hot area for SoftBank right now. The firm has also led Petuum’s $93m series B round, investing through an undisclosed subsidiary.

Music royalty collection service Kobalt has added $14m of funding from investors including the Bill Maris-headed Section 32 to take its series D round to $89m.

On Global Government Venturing, the biggest deal was a $100m funding round for Bill.com, a US-based payment processing network already backed by payment services firm American Express, which raised the cash in a round co-led by Singaporean state-owned firm Temasek and financial services firm JPMorgan Chase.

Funds

China-based educational services provider New Oriental Education and Technology has launched a $300m+ fund to invest in early-stage edtech startups, along with a $1.5bn fund that will focus on growth equity and M&A deals, according to local media reports.

Japan-headquartered mobile game developer Akatsuki was founded in 2010 and went public last year, and now it’s elected to join the corporate venturing space with the formation of a $50m fund that will target entertainment technology startups.

Cambridge Enterprise, the tech transfer office of University of Cambridge, has partnered business school unit Cambridge Social Ventures to launch a £100,000 ($132,000) seed impact fund.

On GlobalGovernmentVenturing.com, we’ve also had quite a few new funds, so let’s look at a couple of the bigger ones.

French state-owned investment bank Bpifrance has contributed an undisclosed sum to the €45m ($53.1m) first-close for France-based edtech VC fund Educapital. Children’s retailer IdKids has also backed the fund, as have business-to-business services provider Econocom, publishers Bayard and Hachette Livre, family-owned fund Education for the Many and a range of unnamed investors.

VC firm Wavemaker Partners closed its second Southeast Asia-focused fund today at $66m with contributions from Singapore state-owned investment firm Temasek.

Exits

Meal delivery service HelloFresh originally filed to go public in 2015, only to withdraw its IPO plans the a few weeks later. Now, however, HelloFresh has also confirmed recent reports, filing for an IPO that will raise approximately $355m if it floats at the top of its range.

Further along the IPO process is MongoDB, which has set terms for an offering that will net it $160m if it floats at the top of its range.

Singapore-based online services provider Sea has set the terms for a US IPO that will raise $695m if it floats at the top of its range (or $800m if the underwriters exercise their over-allotment option).

High-speed integrated circuit producer Aquantia has filed for an $86.3m initial public offering that follows about $195m of venture funding.

Spero Therapeutics, a US-based bacterial infection therapy developer backed by spinout-focused investment firm Osage University Partners has filed for an $86.3m initial public offering.


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

09 October 2017 – Uber’s Board Approves SoftBank Investment

Deals

Uber’s board of directors has approved an investment by SoftBank of up to $1.25bn, in a deal that will also give the corporate two board seats, and has resolved to launch an IPO by 2019.

Indian ride hailing platform Ola has raised $400m from Tencent, reportedly as part of a round also backed by SoftBank that is set to close at $2bn.

Harmony Biosciences, a biopharmaceutical company that forms part of the Paragon Biosciences group, has secured $270m in funding from investors including Novo and Nan Fung Life Sciences.

Curated holiday provider Secret Escapes has closed a $111m series D round led by Temasek that featured a combination of equity and debt financing.

Macro, which produces film, TV and online video content with a brief of creating artistic content that portrays people of colour in a realistic fashion, has raised $150m in debt and equity from investors including entertainment company MNM Creative.

KSQ Therapeutics has emerged from stealth with $76m of financing from investors including life sciences real estate trust Alexandria Real Estate Equities.

Amgen was among the investors in a $58m series E round closed by cancer immunotherapy developer Immatics that will enable it to move multiple drug candidates into clinical trials.

On-demand ride platform Grab has been revealed as an investor in the $45m series B round announced by Singapore-based bicycle sharing platform oBike in August.

Recursion Pharmaceuticals, a US-based biotech spinout from University of Utah, obtained $60m in an oversubscribed series B round featuring Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment.

Funds

Union Square Hospitality Group, which oversees a network of restaurants, cafés and bars including the Shake Shack chain of fast food outlets, has formed a $200m growth equity fund called Enlightened Hospitality Investments.

Corporate venturing unit WuXi Healthcare Ventures formed investment vehicle 6 Dimensions in May with venture firm Frontline BioVentures, and the two pledged to raise dollar and renminbi-denominated funds through the entity.

UTokyo Innovation Platform, the venture capital arm of University of Tokyo, has backed a ¥1bn ($8.9m) first close for 360ip Japan Fund 1, which will support technology spinouts from domestic universities and research institutes.

Fletcher McCusker, founder of University of Arizona’s (UA) medication management spinout SinfoníaRx, has launched a venture capital fund called UAVenture Capital to invest in university-linked companies.

Russia government-owned investment vehicle Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) will join Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund Public Investment Fund (PIF) to invest $1bn in a Russia-based technology investment fund.

Multilateral development finance provider African Development Bank (AfDB), has agreed to invest in a $200m healthcare-focused fund formed by investment bank EFG Hermes.

SoftBank paid $3.3bn to acquire alternative asset manager Fortress Investment Group at the start of the year, and now news has emerged that it is considering building up a portfolio of $300bn of assets that would be managed within a dedicated unit.

Exits

Roku, the TV subscription service backed by media companies Sky, 21st Century Fox, News Corp and Viacom, went public last week, floating at the top of its range and going off like a rocket once its shares began being traded.

Medical device maker Boston Scientific has agreed to acquire catheter system developer Apama for up to $300m, providing an exit to corporate venture capital unit Ascension Ventures. Boston Scientific will pay $175m upfront, with up to $125m more available in the form of milestone payments.

Private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners has paid an undisclosed amount for a majority stake in online property marketplace Ten-X at a $1.6bn valuation.

Rhythm Pharmaceuticals raised $120m in an upsized IPO and immediately saw its share price increase by 75% on the first day of trading.

E-commerce and internet company Amazon has acquired Body Labs, a US-based body scanner developer based on research at Brown University, in a deal that is worth between $70m and $100m.

Nucana, a UK-based company working on chemotherapies for resistant tumours that is backed by Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of government-owned economic development agency Scottish Enterprise, secured nearly $100m in its flotation on Nasdaq, slightly below its target of $115m, though its shares had climbed from an opening price of $15 to $18.37 on the second day of trading.

Nightstar Therapeutics, a UK-based spinout from University of Oxford that is developing retinal gene therapies, secured slightly more than $75m in its offering – below its initial target of $86m set a month ago.

There is an in-depth look at both Nucana and Nightstar on Global University Venturing.com and Global Government Venturing.com. Do check those out.


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

19 June 2017 – Ride Hailing Services Grab Deals and Much More

Funds

Ping An outlines fintech investment plans

Medicxi nabs corporates to close $300m fund

Novartis and Alphabet subsidiary Verily were among the limited partners for a the late-stage fund, which will complement the GSK and Johnson & Johnson-backed fund  Medicxi closed in 2016.

Japan-based ICT equipment provider Nihon Unisys has formed a $45m corporate venturing unit that will seek out investments in sectors such as robotics, financial technology and the internet of things.

Palo Alto Networks puts together $20m fund

GUV

Galaxy stars in IP Group’s $264m fundraising

GGV

London looks to Better Futures

Exits

Wanderful finds path to acquisition

GGV

Hello bids farewell

Deals

News leaked out in March that ride hailing service Grab was set to raise $1.5bn in a round led by existing investor SoftBank, and sources have told Bloomberg firstly that the round already includes Didi Chuxing, and secondly that Alibaba or Ant Financial is also considering an investment, in order to promote their Alipay platform to Grab’s Southeast Asian customers.

Mobike has raised $600m in a Tencent-led round that will fuel expansion not only in its home country but also in Singapore and the UK.

Careem is taking the Uber model to the Middle East and surrounding countries, and is growing rapidly in the process, doubling the number of cities in which it operates to 80 in the past six months.

A regulatory filing in April indicated Indian ride hailing company Ola was seeking another $100m in funding, and it has reportedly secured some of that already. Hedge fund Tekne Capital Management has provided a sub-$50m amount.

Jaguar Land Rover and its corporate venturing and incubator subsidiary InMotion have invested a combined $25m in ride hailing company Lyft as part of a partnership agreement that will involve Lyft helping test its autonomous driving and mobility services.

Elsewhere in the transport sector, Chinese second hand vehicle marketplace Guazi.com has received $400m in series B funding from investors including steel producer Shougang Group’s Jingxin Venture Capital fund.

UCar, the China-based chauffeured car service that went public last year at a $5.5bn valuation, has formed a corporate venturing fund sized at almost $1.5bn, and its first investment has been to lead a $324m series B round for electric vehicle developer Xiaopeng Motors.

Electric bus producer Proterra raised $140m a recently as January, in a ‘series 5’ round featuring Edison Energy, GM Ventures and Exelon’s Constellation Technology Ventures unit, but it wasn’t finished.

Oppo takes a ride on Ponycar

Drone Racing League takes off with $20m

Following on from news that Amazon is interested in acquiring Slack for upwards of $9bn, but recently bought US-listed Whole Foods for $13.7bn, it turns out Slack is in the process of raising $500m of new funding at a $5bn post-money valuation.

AvidXchange, a provider of automated payment processing technology, has raised $300m in financing from investors including Mastercard, with which it has struck a strategic partnership agreement to supply AvidXchange’s technology to its customers.

Temasek and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec have contributed to a $300m funding round for AvidXchange that also attracted Mastercard and Peter Thiel.

Online brokerage Futu Securities has received more than $145m in a series C round led by Tencent, the corporate investor that also took part in its series A and B rounds.

Element AI elevates itself to $102m series A

Actility admits Cisco to $75m series D

Clutter is one of several on-demand platforms seeking to disrupt the personal storage space, and it has raised $64m in a GV-backed series C round to support growth, both in its home country of the US and abroad.

Twist finds the material to raise $60m

Omada goes on the attack with $50m

GGV

Protix breeds $50.5m investment


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

06 March 2017 – British Business Bank’s $500m fund and Much More

Funds

Foxconn, the contract manufacturer that’s already backed the $100bn SoftBank Vision Fund, has now also dropped $600m on a majority stake in the telecoms group’s Asia-based tech-focused investment arm SoftBank Asia Capital.

Baloise has committed $50m to an investment vehicle operated by Anthemis to identify opportunities in insurance technology startups based in Europe and the US.

Symantec, which previously backed Appthority via its subsidiary Blue Coat Systems, has decided to join the corporate venturing world and launched Symantec Ventures.

MFEC sets aside $20m to invest in startups and will move some of its human resources staff to manage the new corporate venturing subsidiary.

Kore, which provides business management software for entertainment companies and sports franchises, has formed a strategic investment arm and closed its first deal.

The Mobile World Congress might be making headlines because Nokia’s iconic 3310 handset is being resurrected, but Facebook is certain to also draw attention with the launch of a $170m investment collaboration through its Telecoms Infrastructure Project that will target startups operating in that very telecoms sector.

University Corner

University venturing: the view from Cornell – an interview with Alice Li

Virginia Tech and Carilion launch $15m fund

Government Department

Big deal: British Business Bank launches $500m fund

Mercia is allocated Northern Powerhouse money

Vanedge points at $122m fund

Hatteras to manage $60m NC fund

Exits

Snap’s long-awaited initial public offering is upon us today, as the company priced 200 million shares at $17 a piece last night, resulting in a $3.4bn windfall.

As the news flow shows no intention of slowing down, today’s lead story is an initial public offering by Alteryx, a data analytics provider that counts Thomson Reuters and Sapphire Ventures among its shareholders. The company, which last raised $85m in a series C round in 2015, is targeting $75m in proceeds with a flotation on the New York Stock Exchange but is yet to decide on a price range for its shares.

In Finland, Next Games stands to be the country’s first games developer to complete an initial public offering if it goes ahead with plans to list on the Nasdaq First North Finland.

Another IPO: the week stays busy with Ecovacs Robotics, a China-based vacuum and household robotics producer, filing for a flotation on the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

Mozilla acquires Pocket and provides an exit to shareholders including Axel Springer, Digital Garage and Alphabet.

Yelp has acquired its portfolio company Nowait, a restaurant booking app that it backed last August.

Deals

Our lead story last Monday is a Big Deal piece by reporter Kaloyan Andonov, in which he looks at what Ant Financial’s decision to provide $200m to Kakao Pay the previous week means.

Satellite operator OneWeb is making headlines with a $13bn all-stock merger with its peer Intelsat to produce a new entity that is set to attract $1.7bn in funding from SoftBank, the same investor that previously led a $1.2bn round with a $1bn cash injection in late December.

Oyo Rooms books up to $500m

Ola moves forward with $330m

Back in January, Grail, the oncology diagnostics company spun out of Illumina, was reported to be seeking $1bn for its series B round. Fast-forward to today and the startup has revealed that it has secured $900m – which may seem like it’s missed its target, but in fact that’s a first tranche and Grail is seeking up to an additional $900m to take the round all the way to $1.8bn.

Ride sharing might be in the news for all the wrong reasons these days as Uber is faced with scandal after scandal, but Didi Chuxing, the China-based ride hailing service that swallowed up Uber China, remains in good spirits: the company just backed a $450m series D round for Ofo, a bike sharing app provider.

A month ago, we reported on Paytm E-Commerce reportedly seeking a round of $180m to $200m and it appears the company has now secured the upper amount, getting $177m from Alibaba and another $23m from Saif Partners.

CloudMinds, an AI technology developer that previously obtained a stunning $31m in angel and seed capital from investors such as SoftBank, has received a similarly impressive $100m series A round from unnamed backers.

Delhivery coordinates $100m round

ChargePoint, which operates a network of independently managed charging stations for electric vehicles, has added $82m to its coffers thanks to a funding round led by Daimler.

University Corner

PMV diagnoses $74m series B

Urjanet raises $20m series C

Government Department:

Omeicos is treated to $8.7m


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

7 November 2016 – Alibaba cultivates $1.5bn Fund, $100m First Fund for Keen and Much More

People

Lak Ananth has left US-based technology company Hewlett Packard Enterprises (HPE) to join Germany-based conglomerate Siemens as managing partner of its €1bn ($1.1bn) Next47 corporate venturing unit.

Markus Solibieda has left private equity firm Mandarin Capital Partners to become managing director.

Funds

SoftBank to make space in its Vision for Mubadala

Alibaba to cultivate $1.5bn fund

Kuang-Chi adds $250m to CVC investment capacity

Portag3 secures trio of limited partners

Canada-based venture capital firm Relay Ventures closed its third fund with a total of C$200m ($150m) in commitments from limited partners including mobile network operator US Cellular.

Hain Celestial to cultivate startups

Keen raises peachy $100m for first fund

Annexus seeks exits from corporate venturing vehicle

Government Department

Armenia to gain $55m fund

Exits

Intel Capital president to shrink portfolio 25%

Investments

Ola aims for $600m in new funding

Wish sets its heart on $500m

Searchable GIF database Giphy raised its first capital, a $2.4m CAA-backed round, in early 2014 but less than three years later the company has taken its total funding to more than $150m in a $72m series D round that reportedly values it at $600m.

Artificial intelligence technology startup Graphcore has scored $30m in a series A round led by Robert Bosch Venture Capital.

University Corner

UBiome builds $22m series B habitat


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