18 November 2019 – Orbital Insight Enters $50m Series D

The Big Ones

Chevron Technology Ventures has thrown its weight behind US-based geospatial software technology provider Orbital Insight, which also welcomed back GV and Sky Perfect JSAT.

Softbank over the past few years has tended to skew the numbers and so it’s significant to hear the group has quietly completed a first close on its second Vision Fund, and according to Bloomberg, the amount investors have committed is $2 billion, a far cry from the $108 billion that it has said that it’s targeting.

Once bitten, twice shy appears to be the new motto for the SoftBank Vision Fund, which said it is now pushing companies to seek a profit rather than “chasing growth for the sake of growth”. That approach has meant the fund did agree to backing a $1bn round for fintech developer Paytm, but has put in a clause that it must go public within five years or else SoftBank will have the right to dump its shareholding. That’s a significant turning point for the fund that was previously hell-bent on scaling companies globally without any concern for high burn rates.

Funds

Salesforce forges $50m Consultant Trailblazer Fund

Heidelberg sets up new tech transfer operation

Deals

Cainiao Smart Logistics Network, a logistics services platform co-founded by Alibaba, Fosun Group and Intime Retail Group six years ago, has collected another $3.33bn from Alibaba, thereby increasing the corporate’s majority stake (which it had held since 2017) from 51% to 63%. The deal included a secondary share purchase, though the size is unclear and it is unknown which investor decided to sell. Cainiao’s investors also include government-owned investments firms Temasek, GIC and Khazanah Nasional, as well as Primavera and, according to TechCrunch, several unnamed logistics firms.

Xiaopeng Motors (also known as Xpeng) may not be much of a known quantity in the Western world, but the smart EV developer has already sold more than 10,000 of its first model, an SUV called G3. It also has some powerful corporate investors with Alibaba, Foxconn and UCar. And now it’s added another to the list: Xiaomi, which has led a $400m series C round for Xiaopeng as part of a strategic partnership. There might be a lot of Tesla cars in Silicon Valley, but globally the competition is clearly heating up.

OLX has committed $400m to Frontier Car Group (FCG), a Germany-based second-hand car marketplace operator, that it will invest over multiple tranches and reportedly includes a secondary share purchase of undisclosed size.

CapitalG has been busy. The growth equity arm of Alphabet once known as Google Capitalhas taken part in a $400m series D round for US-based trucking services provider Convoy, which will use the money to accelerate business growth.

And CapitalG also co-led a $150m series H round for CRM software provider Freshworks with Sequoia Capital and Accel. The round valued Freshworks at $3.5bn – though it remains subject to customary closing conditions, including US antitrust regulatory clearance.

Many will be familiar with password manager 1Password, but not for its funding history. In fact, the 14-year-old company has never raised equity – until now, that is, and it’s attracted a respectable $200m in series A capital from investors including Slack Fund.

Salesforce Ventures and Workday Ventures meanwhile returned for a $157m series D round for US-based education benefits software provider Guild Education. General Catalyst led the round, and its chairman and managing director Ken Chenault (who was previously in charge of American Express) will join the board of directors.

ACV Auctions – the US-based online automotive marketplace backed by telecommunications conglomerate SoftBank – has picked up $150m in a series E roundco-led by Fidelity and Wellington Management Company less than a year after closing a $50m series D round.

Avidity devotes itself to $100m series C

AMP amplifies $16m

PureLifi lights up $18m

Exits

The bad news keep on coming for We Co and the latest development is its decision to divest its stake in US-based women-focused work and social space provider The Wing and sell off US-based social networking platform Meetup. We Co owns a 23% stake in The Wing, but not only has the corporate struggled to survive its failed attempt at going public, its chief legal officer Jen Berrent is also facing a lawsuit for pregnancy discrimination, allegedly calling employee Medina Bardhi’s pregnancy a “problem” that needed “a solution” and “to be fixed,” according to the court filing. Berrent is currently a board member of The Wing, but she is expected to lose that position following the stake sale.

HawkEye 360 is one of the more successful university spinouts formed by commercialisation firm Allied Minds (which itself has had a tumultuous year with multiple executive-level changes) and that’s led the firm to sell its entire stake to family office Advance. The latter has also chosen to boost HawkEye’s series B round to $85m, following a $70m first tranche that featured Airbus and Esri this past August.

Money Forward yields Smartcamp

Considering Nikkei and Ant Financial-backed 36Kr, and in particular its news portal 36Kr Media, is sometimes hailed as the Crunchbase of China, you might have expected its IPO in the US to go a little better than it did, but the company is the latest to disappoint investors after not only pricing shares at the bottom of the range at $14.50, but also deciding to issue just 1.4 million shares instead of 3.6 million – raising merely a fifth of its targeted $100m in proceeds. Adding insult to injury, shares dropped by 10% on the first day of trading to close at $13.06.

SpaceMarket gets ready for IPO take-off

Lancers sets its sights on IPO

Makuake makes its way to TSE

Another company that’s not been very active on the funding front is OneConnect Financial Technology, a Singapore-based fintech platform that that was spun out of insurance group Ping An, two years ago.


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

28 May 2018 – Ant Financial’s Latest Round Pegged at $10bn

We are back from the annual GCV Symposium and GUV: Fusion conferences, our London events bringing together CVCs and university tech transfer leaders from around the world. Some 500 delegates gathered at the County Hall in a packed room overlooking the Houses of Parliament to network and exchange ideas. GUV also handed out its awards during a gala dinner, with Alison Campbell taking home the Lifetime Achievement Award and Indiana University Research and Technology Corp’s CEO Tony Armstrong collecting the award for Tech Transfer Unit of the Year. There are summaries about the days’ proceedings on GCV and profiles of all the winners on GUV, so do head on over there. While you’re on GUV, you should also take a look at our five-year data review into university spinouts, which has been gathering a lot of traction over the past week.

Deals

Reports last month suggested Alibaba’s financial services affiliate, Ant Financial, was set to raise money at a gargantuan $150bn valuation, and the size of the round now seems to have been pegged at $10bn.

Uber last raised funding in December, when SoftBank invested $1.25bn at a $68bn valuation, while at the same time leading a consortium that bought more than $7bn of shares in a secondary transaction that valued Uber at $48bn.

In more proof that the ride hailing gold rush isn’t over, Careem is in talks to secure $500m in funding at a $1.5bn valuation.

Grail became one of the quickest medtech companies ever to reach the $1bn funding mark, and now the Illumina spinoff has raised another $300m in an oversubscribed series C round co-led by the WuXi AppTec-backed 6 Dimensions Capital that also featured WuXi subsidiary WuXi NextCode.

Brii Biosciences has launched a company that plans to combine R&D, data technology and strategic asset licensing to provide medicines that will help Chinese patients fight conditions such as infectious diseases, lung and liver diseases.

Orbbec develops 3D motion sensors as well as 3D camera equipment, and has raised more than $200m in a series D round led by Ant Financial.

HMD Global licensed the rights to manufacture Nokia-designed and branded phones about 18 months ago, and has now secured $100m in funding at a valuation of more than $1bn.

OLX, Naspers’ classified listings subsidiary, has provided $89m for automotive e-commerce marketplace Frontier Car Group in the form of series C funding.

Outreach, a developer of customer engagement software, has raised $65m in a series D round backed by Microsoft Ventures that valued it at about $500m.

Rain Therapeutics, a US-based cancer-focused biotechnology developer based on research from University of Auckland, closed an $18.4m series A round featuring the Inventors Fund, managed by the institution’s tech transfer office Auckland UniServices.

Funds

Legend Capital, the venture firm established by Lenovo owner Legend Holdings, is going from strength to strength, having just put together its second RMB-denominated healthcare fund – its third in total.

On GUV, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, a medical research division of Mount Sinai Health System, has established a $10m fund called i3 Asset Accelerator aimed at commercialising Mount Sinai’s research.

On GGV, Italy-based venture capital firm P101 has announced plans to launch a $142m fund with support from the European Investment Fund, the investment arm of the World Bank, and private equity company Fondo Italiano d’Investimento.

Exits

Salesforce is looking toward its next IPO exit after Adaptive Insights, the developer of a cloud-based business planning platform, filed for a $100m IPO.

Neurostimulation device maker Electrocore has filed to raise up to $74.8m in an initial public offering on Nasdaq, having secured $120m in funding over the last four years.

Essential Products sprinted out of the blocks, raising $300m in its second funding round last year, at a $900m to $1bn valuation, but negative response and low sales for its inaugural smartphone have reportedly led it to investigate a sale and to cancel development of its next phone in favour of a smart home device.

FanDuel was once a bright young thing, before regulatory issues cut into its business and drove it to seek a merger with fellow daily fantasy sports operator DraftKings. That deal didn’t come off, but it is set to be snapped up by Paddy Power Betfair, which is investing $158m and merging FanDuel, a spinout from University of Edinburgh that is backed by Alphabet, Comcast and Time Warner, with its US assets, forming a company in which it will have a 61% stake.

On GGV, German public-private partnership High-Tech Gründerfonds has celebrated the first initial public offering of a portfolio company. NFon, a Munich-based cloud telecoms business, received its first investment from HTGF in 2008 and has raised around $59m from its listing.


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