07 October 2019 – We Co Pulls IPO

We Co, otherwise known as WeWork, formally pulled its initial public offering last week, putting a cap on what will go down as one of the most disastrous attempts to go public in recent memory. So what does that mean for corporate venturers? Is the co-working space still viable? Is it still worth betting on visionary founders? And what about SoftBank? If those are questions you’d like answers to, do check out GCV news editor Robert Lavine’s analysis on GlobalCorporateVenturing.com

Big Ones

Udaan, the Indian operator of an e-commerce platform that links small businesses to large traders and wholesalers, has raised $585m in series D funding from investors including Tencent and Citi Ventures to take its total equity financing to $870m in under three years.

Online content and advertising platforms Taboola and Outbrain operate in a relatively similar space and have elected to join forces, with Taboola buying the latter for $250m in cash, and $600m in stock equating to a 30% stake in what will be a $2bn company.

Oxford Sciences Innovation (OSI), the university venture fund for University of Oxford, has added China-based telecommunications equipment and services provider Huawei as a limited partner. Huawei is believed to have bought 4.1 million shares over the past year through a Netherlands-based subsidiary called Huawei Technologies Cooeperatief, taking its stake in OSI to about 0.7%. Huawei has never been listed on OSI’s website as a backer. The deal was concluded in late 2018 before University of Oxford blocked the firm’s philanthropic donations due to fears over its influence in the UK technology space.

Deals

IronSource has confirmed a $400m+ investment by private equity firm CVC Capital Partners at a 10-figure valuation. The content monetisation and engagement platform developer raised $105m in a 2015 series A round featuring Access Industries at an apparently similar valuation, though Calcalist reported earlier this week that its shareholders regularly receive sizeable dividends, which would largely offset any flatlining in company value.

Electric scooter and bike rental service Bird has raised $275m at a $2.75bn post-money valuation, in a series D round co-led by Sequoia Capital and pension fund manager CDPQ.

Rapyd has already raised $100m, through a series C round featuring Stripe that valued the digital payment software producer at almost $1bn.

Tenaya Therapeutics, a US-based developer of treatments for heart disease, completed a $92m series B round on Thursday featuring GV, a corporate venturing subsidiary of internet and technology group Alphabet. The round was led by healthcare investment firm Casdin Capital and included Column Group and a range of undisclosed new and existing shareholders.

Adicet Bio is meanwhile working on cancer treatments that will utilise gamma delta T cells, and has completed an $80m series B round that took its total funding to $131m.

US-based vaccine developer Icosavax emerged from stealth on Thursday with $51m of series A funding from investors including Sanofi Ventures, the corporate venturing arm of pharmaceutical firm Sanofi. Qiming Venture Partners USA led the round, which was also backed by NanoDimension, Adams Street Partners and undisclosed existing investors.

Funds

Non-profit health system Advocate Aurora Health and Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (Warf), the commercialisation arm of University of Wisconsin-Madison, have become a limited partner in a $75m healthcare-focused fund raised by venture capital firm Venture Investors.

Exits

It’s been a rough ride recently for companies trying to go public: Peloton’s shares have crashed every day since going public and that’s before we get to the disaster that’s been We Company’s struggles. But that isn’t stopping others from chasing the dream and Progyny has filed for a $100m offering on Nasdaq that would provide exits to SR One and Merck Group

36Kr will be hoping its own IPO goes better. The China-based startup media and services company has filed to go public in the US and has set an initial target of $100m. Its investors include Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial and media group Nikkei, and it will be hoping it doesn’t fall foul of reported plans by Nasdaq – the operator of the market on which it intends to float – to tighten regulations for smaller IPOs by Chinese companies which have sometimes chiefly sold shares to investors linked to their executives. With only two named underwriters in the 36Kr IPO, that could be a factor.

Harvard University spinout Beam Therapeutics has filed for its own $100m IPO, which will follow roughly $225m in funding raised across two rounds. The genomic medicine developer’s shareholders include GV and Editas Medicine, the latter having acquired a stake through a licensing agreement last year.

4D Molecular Therapeutics has filed for a $100m initial public offering that will fund the progress of gene therapies for conditions such as Fabry disease and cystic fibrosis. It has raised at least $108m, $90m of which came in a 2018 series B round that included Pfizer Ventures and Chiesi Ventures.

MIT and Harvard spinout Frequency Therapeutics has gone public in an $84m initial public offering that represents a bit of a downgrade on its expectations, the company floating at the bottom of its range and cutting the number of shares in the IPO.

Live streaming software and tools provider Streamlabs has also achieved its own exit, agreeing to an acquisition by Logitech International for up to $118m. The total’s split between an $89m upfront cash payment – slightly more than Streamlabs’ most recent post-money valuation of $80m – and $29m worth of stock dependent on it reaching significant revenue growth.

Aprea Therapeutics, a US-based cancer drug developer spun out of Karolinska Institute and backed by its investment Karolinska Development as well as healthcare provider Praktikertjänst, has raised $85m in an initial public offering on the Nasdaq Global Select Market.


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

03 June 2019 – Possible PhonePe Spinout from Flipkart in $1bn Deal

Big Ones

Right now it feels like we’re gearing up for another period of significant funding, if the rumour mill is anything to go by. Mobile payment platform PhonePe was acquired by Flipkart in 2016, the year after it was founded, but could now be spun back out in a round that could reportedly reach $1bn.

Life insurance firm Northwestern Mutual launched its $50m Northwestern Mutual Future Ventures unit in early 2017 and has since built up one of the more notable CVC portfolios for an insurer, adding the likes of Chime, Ojo Labs and Ladder to existing investments such as Betterment.

Investment firm Insight Partners was already an investor in threat intelligence provider Recorded Future but has taken a step further, acquiring a controlling stake at a valuation of $780m.

Thrive Earlier Detection, a US-based developer of a blood test for cancer, was spun out of Johns Hopkins University on Thursday with $110m in series A funding from investors led by venture capital firm Third Rock Ventures. BlueCross BlueShield Venture Partners, the corporate venturing subsidiary of health insurer Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, participated in the round, as did molecular diagnostics company Exact Sciences.

UK-based investment firm Woodford Investment Management has sold its entire shareholding in Oxford Sciences Innovation (OSI), the university venture fund of University of Oxford. The stake, worth £55m ($69.6m), has seemingly been sold to family offices and international investors.

Morningstar downgraded the Equity Income fund from bronze to neutral last week after its value shrunk from £10.2bn in 2017 to just £4.4bn, while St James’ Place, the largest wealth manager in the UK, put the firm on its watchlist after a prolonged poor performance.

Deals

SpaceX has added $1.02bn in new funding according to two separate securities filings, though it hasn’t disclosed details of the investors.

Toyota already has Uber and Grab in its portfolio but it is said to be mulling over an investment of about $550m in fellow ride hailing service Didi Chuxing.

SoFi has expanded from its core business of online lending and student loan refinancing to take in services such as online investments and digital banking, and it has also raised a further $500m in funding, this time in a round led by Qatar Investment Authority.

Lenskart has been one of Asia’s most successful proponents of the consumer goods business model involving an expansion from e-commerce to the offline world, and the eyewear retailer is reportedly in discussions to raise $350m from SoftBank Vision Fund at a $1.3bn valuation.

Oncology data platform developer Tempus has raised $200m in series F funding from investors including Novo at a $3.1bn valuation.

RobinHood was valued at $5.6bn back when it last raised money, early last year, but the Alphabet and Roc Nation-backed trading app developer is seeking $200m from existing investors at a reported valuation of up to $8bn.

Funds

Growth equity vehicle EV Growth was formed by East Ventures and corporate VC units SMDV and YJ Capital early last year with a $150m target for its first fund. It’s ended up overshooting that by a food amount, closing the fund at $200m having received commitments from limited partners including SoftBank. The fund has invested in 12 portfolio companies to date.

Exits

Palo Alto Networks has agreed to pay $410m to acquire container security software developer Twistlock, which had raised $63m from investors including Dell Technologies Capital.

BridgeBio Pharma is developing drugs to treat genetic diseases including forms of cancer linked to genetic causes. It has filed for a $225m initial public offering that will follow more than $480m in venture funding from investors including AIG, though only KKR and Viking Global Investors hold stakes of 5% or more.


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

04 March 2019 – Honda, Panasonic and Omron Become Limited Partners in NordicNinja VC’s First Fund

Big 3

Charles Conn and Patrick Pichette will join Oxford Sciences Innovation to become chief executive and chairman, respectively, with founder Dave Norwood retiring.

Honda, Panasonic and Omron are among the limited partners of NordicNinja VC’s inaugural fund, which will focus on deep tech and help northern European startups expand into Asia.

Novartis has joined forces with Blackstone Life Sciences to launch cardiovascular drug developer Anthos Therapeutics.

Deals

Reports earlier this month suggested SoftBank Vision Fund was considering a large investment in automotive e-commerce platform Chehaoduo and today the company confirmed it secured a commitment for $1.5bn from the telecoms giant.

AI chip developer Horizon Robotics added $600m to its coffers today thanks to two subsidiaries of conglomerate SK Group – SK China and SK Hynix – as well as several unnamed Chinese carmakers.

Danke Apartment, the Chinese company that splits existing flats for families into smaller units and rents them out to young professionals, has collected $500m in a series C round co-led by Ant Financial and Tiger Global Management.

Coinbase raised $300m in series E capital back in October but now reports have emerged that GIC, the sovereign wealth fund of Singapore, was part of that round too. T

GV has meanwhile helped launch Maze Therapeutics by contributing to a $191m funding round that also featured Alexandria Venture Investments. Maze, which has three preclinical candidates in its pipeline, will exploit genetic modifiers – genes that affect the severity of a disease – to tackle a variety of diseases, though it’s keeping shtum about what those are for now.

Ÿnsect is aiming to tackle environmental issues in the food supply chain by breeding mealworms and using them as the basis for fish feed, pet food and fertiliser, and now the company has added sugar producer Finasucre to its shareholders following a $125m series C round.

Motif Ingredients has been spun out of biotech firm Ginkgo Bioworks with $90m in series A capital from investors including merchant firm Louis Dreyfus Company and dairy cooperative Fonterra.

Exits

Spark Therapeutics publicly listed in 2015 and is set to net Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia up to $458m following its acquisition by Roche.

Reports about Uber wanting to merge its Middle East operations with those of Careem go back to July last year, but it looks like the deal’s closure is approaching fast and with a higher price tag attached – $3bn in cash and shares instead of the initially reported $2bn to $2.5bn. I

A (possible) exit of a different kind came for Motorola Solutions Venture Capital, whose portfolio company GoCanvas has attracted $150m from K1 Investment Management in what has widely been billed as a majority stake purchase.

CStone Pharmaceuticals, a China-based biopharmaceutical company backed by Taikang and WuXi PharmaTech, raised $285m in its IPO and achieved a valuation of $1.5bn after selling shares to both Hong Kong and international investors.

Zoom, the video conferencing platform backed by Qualcomm, is inching ever closer to a long-rumoured initial public offering and it looks like April is the current target.

Tiger Brokers, an online brokerage backed by consumer electronics company Xiaomi and digital brokerage Interactive Brokers Group, meanwhile filed for a $150m initial public offering on Nasdaq.

Digital brokerage Futu has meanwhile revised its initial public offering plans and now hopes to raise up to $150m when it lists on the Nasdaq Global Market.

Centogene scents IPO

Funds

EU-owned institutions including the EIF are pouring capital and assistance into an early-stage tech transfer vehicle for the Fraunhofer network of applied research institutes.


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

19 December 2016 – $225m for BlueRock Therapeutics, Microsoft Ventures Invests from its AI Fund and Much More

Deals

Bayer and investment firm Versant Ventures have jointly provided $225m in series A funding for a regenerative medicine startup called BlueRock Therapeutics.

Symphony emerged two years ago with $66m from 14 banks and followed that funding up with a $100m Google-backed round last year. Now the company, which offers a secure messaging platform for use in the financial services industry, is in the process of raising between $125m and $200m at a pre-money valuation north of $1bn.

SenseTime, which provides deep learning technology to Chinese corporates, has secured $120m in a round that included Dalian Wanda Group and existing backer IDG Capital.

Podotree, the Kakao affiliate that deals with the social media company’s online publishing offerings, has raised $107m in funding from investors including Anchor Equity Partners and GIC at a reported valuation of about $428m.

JetSmarter has big ambitions to become the Uber of private jet travel, and has just raised $105m in series C funding at a $1.5bn pre-money valuation.

Virtual reality gaming company Survios has raised $50m across two rounds, the latter of which was led by MGM.

Sonendo, the developer of a teeth cleaning system for use in root canals, has secured $35m from investors including Henry Crown and Company affiliate CVF, bringing its overall funding to near $110m.

BillFront, a provider of finance for media companies that may face delays in recouping advertising revenue, has raised $35m in a series A round consisting of debt and equity.

Holiday accommodation rental aggregator Tripping.com has received $35m in series C funding, with investment firm Princeville Global leading the round.

Oxford Nanopore has raised additional funding after announcing earlier this month that it had become the first company to sequence multiple human genomes using portable technology.

Edotco, a Malaysia-based telecoms infrastructure services provider, has amassed $600m from investors including Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional. Khazanah Nasional made the investment via a secondary equity private placement offering of $200m, while public-private partnership Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ) contributed through a $400m primary offering.

Funds

Microsoft Ventures only resumed making direct investments in May but has already racked up 19 deals since, including contributions to rounds for Tact, Dynamic Signals (see below for both) and Element AI, the last of which is the first investment to be made from a dedicated artificial intelligence fund which the unit has just formed.

Not long after it confirmed that its $100bn Vision Fund would be headquartered in London, news emerged that SoftBank is in talks with Apple over a $1bn investment in the vehicle.

Oxford Sciences Innovation (OSI), the university venturing fund of Oxford University, on Friday raised an additional £230m ($290m) from investors including the institution’s endowment fund to bring its total to £580m.

IP Group takes Parkwalk for $12m. The intellectual property investor could pay an extra $12m to buy Parkwalk if the spinout-focused fund manager meets certain key targets.

Sigmar Gabriel, minister of economy for Germany, and his French peer Michel Sapin yesterday revealed a €1bn ($1.1bn) fund aimed at startups in the two countries.

Exits

2016 has been a bad year for a lot of people but in the venture capital space it’s been a worse year than most for Rocket Internet, which is continuing to consolidate its holdings.

Meitu, the Chinese creator of a photo modification app for social media, has raised just over $600m in one of the year’s biggest tech IPOs, giving exits to Sina Weibo, Foxconn and IDG Capital Partners.

Garena, the most highly valued startup in Southeast Asia as of a $170m round in April that valued it at $3.75bn, has reportedly begun talks with banks over a prospective IPO in the US in 2018 that could raise around $1bn.

Germany-based medical device manufacturer Gilupi was acquired yesterday by its investor and strategic partner Viroad, a China-based biotechnology company, for an undisclosed sum.

People

Maryland University at College Park (UMD) has appointed Julie Lenzer, former senior advisor to US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, to two key roles as part of its efforts to bolster innovation.

State-owned investment firm Finnish Industry Investment (FII) announced the promotion of Jan Sasse, head of FII’s Growth Investments team since June 2015, to president and CEO yesterday.


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