13 August 2018 – Alibaba Plans to Merge Koubei and Ele.me

Deals

Alibaba spun off its local services platform, Koubei, with a $1.1bn round at the start of last year, and acquired food delivery service Ele.me in April 2018 at a $4.5bn valuation. Now the e-commerce firm plans to merge the two in a deal that could be supported with a $3bn to $5bn round that could be led by SoftBank Vision Fund.

Bytedance, the owner of news aggregation app Toutiao and short-form video platform TikTok, is reportedly seeking $3bn in funding in a monster round that would value it at $70bn to $75bn.

WndrCo has formally confirmed that NewTV, the short-form video content platform it founded, has raised $1bn in funding.

WeWork has been among the biggest fundraisers in the VC space in recent years and has added to that by securing $1bn in convertible note financing from SoftBank.

Manbang, the market leader in China’s trucking services market, raised $1.9bn in an April round featuring SoftBank Vision Fund, Tencent and CapitalG, but is reportedly already seeking more funding.

Naspers has been an investor in mobile second-hand e-commerce platform Letgo since 2015 when it supplied $100m in series A funding, and it’s just committed a total of $500m to the company, $150m of which it provided earlier this summer.

Walmart has invested $320m in Chinese grocery delivery platform Dada-JD Daojia as part of a $500m funding round, with another existing investor, JD.com, providing the rest.

Slack had raised more than $840m from investors including SoftBank, Comcast and Alphabet, as of its last round, a $250m series G last September that valued it at $5.1bn post-money.

Zhihu, the Chinese owner of an online platform where some 160 million registered users can crowdsource answers to queries, has confirmed a $270m series E round, though it did not name the participants.

Moviebook runs an online advertising platform that used AI technology to insert product placement into online content. It’s just secured $199m in a series D round co-led by SenseTime and SoftBank’s SBCVC, and will put the proceeds into R&D as it looks to enhance its image optimisation technology with algorithms supplied by SenseTime.

Tot Biopharm has raised $102m in a series C round featuring Center Laboratories Group that will fund the advancement of a pipeline of antibody-drug conjugates intended to treat cancer.

Things were very busy by the end of the week on GUV, with the biggest deal of the day – and week – being an $84m oversubscribed series B round for UK-based cancer-focused biotechnology company Artios Pharma that featured commercialisation firm IP Group.

On GGV, Singaporean state-owned investment firm Temasek has paid $225m for a stake in India-based, corporate-backed ride hailing platform Ola through a secondary share purchase.

Funds

SoftBank is nearing the final $100bn close for its Vision Fund and is already eyeing a second iteration, but in the meantime it’s reportedly looking to put together a $5bn fund for Asian investments, with some 50% earmarked for India-based companies.

Parkwalk Advisors, a fund management subsidiary of commercialisation firm IP Group, has launched University of Cambridge Enterprise Fund VI in partnership with the university’s tech transfer unit, Cambridge Enterprise.

On GGV, Temasek has become a limited partner in the $140m second growth fund run by US-based Ten Eleven Ventures. Ten Eleven focuses on investment in cybersecurity businesses and the new fund – known as TEG II – is expected to enable expansion into new geographic regions including Southeast Asia.

Exits

Social media marketing technology platform Weimob, is heading to the public markets having filed for an initial public offering in Hong Kong.

Linio, the Mexico-based operator of an online marketplace spanning eight Latin American countries, had raised $230m from investors including Tengelmann, Access Industries and Rocket Internet, but some of its backers are bound to have made a loss after it was bought by big-box retailer Falabella for $137m.

GraphicsFuzz, a UK-based graphics driver testing technology spun out of Imperial College London, has been acquired by Google, the internet subsidiary of diversified conglomerate Alphabet.


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

12 December 2016 – Tinder creates Swipe Ventures, Australia launches $150m Csiro fund and Much More

People

Mary Kay James, previously a managing director at DuPont Ventures, has joined Tyson Foods as the US-based meat processor unveils a $150m corporate venturing unit dubbed Tyson New Ventures.

Mike Dimelow, former vice-president of strategic business development at semiconductor technology developer Arm, has left to co-found a venture capital firm called Accelerated Digital Ventures (ADV).

University Corner

CIC names Williamson investment director.

Cambridge alumnus Williamson has joined the university venturing fund after 20 years in the US, most recently at True North Venture Partners.

Funds

Back in October, SoftBank partnered the government of Saudi Arabia’s investment arm Public Investment Fund for a $100bn fund. SoftBank has hit some troubles since then, booking a $555m loss from its Indian portfolio last month, but that doesn’t seem to have reduced interest in the SoftBank Vision Fund, which the internet group’s CEO Masayoshi Son has now said is set to be oversubscribed.

Ascension’s corporate venturing subsidiary has closed its fourth fund at $255m thanks to the support of 13 corporate peers.

Wistron, a Taiwan-based original design manufacturer, has joined the ranks of corporate venturers with a $20m fund that it set up in partnership with US-based VC firm Fenox Venture Capital.

Tinder, the dating app that connects users with each other once they’ve both swiped right on each other’s profile, is jumping into the corporate venturing world with Swipe Ventures, a unit that will be headed by Sean Rad, up until now the CEO of Tinder.

PSA enters Business Lab. The car manufacturer is set to conduct corporate venturing activities through the new unit.

Maris boldly goes to $230m fund. Bill Maris, co-founder of GV who left the unit earlier this summer, is raising a $230m fund that will focus on the healthcare sector.

Partech concludes $107m fundraising effort.

University Corner

The tech transfer office and Parkwalk Advisors launched the latest $3m Enterprise Fund just ten months after Fund IV was opened to investors.

Government Department

Australia launches $150m Csiro fund

Ben Franklin boosts startups in Philadelphia with $6m

Exits

Meitu, the developer of an app that lets users retouch their selfies, initially targeted up to $1bn in proceeds from an initial public offering in Hong Kong when it filed in August 2016. That target has dropped several times since, first to $800m last month and now to $629m. The company had obtained approximately $500m in total funding from investors including corporates Sina Weibo and International Data Group, but has struggled to monetise its offering and in the first half of the year posted a $40.5m loss.

SportsHero is taking a different approach to the stock exchange, as the company prepares a reverse takeover with its shareholder Nevada Iron, an Australia-listed mineral extraction company.

Trivago books IPO trip.

AbbVie is celebrating an exit thanks to Sienna Biopharmaceuticals which has acquired biotech company Creabilis for up to $150m.

Cinepapaya dances the Fandango.

Paktor picks up 17 Media.

Beepi, a peer-to-peer used car marketplace, appears to have collapsed after a strategic investor – reportedly Saic Motor – decided to pull out.

Government Department

Bpifrance loses $20m with Viadeo collapse.

Creo collects $25m ahead of Aim flotation.

University Corner

Citim materialises acquisition.

Investments

GE spins out Menlo Micro with $18.7m

VW mobilises spinout Moia

Face++ recognises $100m for series C

Juhe.cn computes $52m series C

Finicity aggregates $42m series B

SnapLogic has added a $40m series F round to its coffers just a year after Microsoft took part in a $37.5m series E.

KeyMe doesn’t look like it is having any trouble securing cash. The digital locksmith technology developer, which lets users scan their keys and upload them to the cloud to print copies at kiosks, has added $25m in funding.

3M’s portfolio company Impel Neuropharma has signed up investors for a $36m series C round, for which it has obtained an initial $21m and will receive the remainder upon reaching certain milestones.

University Corner

Spinouts: a marriage made in heaven – or hell?

Government Department

Lumos Global glows with record $90m fundraising.


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

14 March 2016 – Ant Financial, Flipkart, WeWork, Astroscale, Precision Ocular, Replay Technologies, Lasergen, Stanford University and more

Deals

Ant Financial, the financial services affiliate of Chinese giant Alibaba, which is seeking up to $3bn at a valuation of $60bn while it reportedly prepares for an IPO next year.

An equally impressive, if significantly less $1bn is being sought by India-based e-commerce company Flipkart, which is hoping to get a commitment from Alibaba and conglomerate Fosun for the round. Flipkart’s valuation for this round is actually down from its $15bn tag last year, when the company obtained $700m. Claims differ on the current valuation, but it appears to be in between the $11bn to $14bn range, though some have said that it could even be below $10bn.

WeWork, a shared workspace provider, climbed the ranks to sixth most valuable venture-stage business in the world when it claimed $430m in fresh funding at a $16bn valuation.

Japan-based Astroscale raised $35m from the Innovation Network Corporation of Japan. Jafco and other unnamed entities also participated in the round, which will be used by Astroscale to send a satellite into orbit that will track space debris in preparation for later missions that will collect that debris, which is becoming an increasing problem for safe space travel.

The biggest deal on Global University Venturing meanwhile was a $19m for Precision Ocular that was led by Imperial Innovations. Precision Ocular is working on treatments for retinal diseases such as age-related macular degeneration and diabetic macular edema.

Exits

Replay Technologies is set to be acquired by Intel for an estimated $175m a mere week after closing a $13.5m round led by Deutsche Telekom. Replay, a 3D filming technology producer, had secured $27m in total funding and the acquisition is also providing an exit to Samsung, which had invested in 2014.

Lasergen, a genome sequencing platform that received $80m from lab equipment provider Agilent Technologies last week in return for a 48% stake. Agilent’s also secured a three-year option to purchase the remaining shares for an additional $105m. Until then, the two companies have agreed to collaborated on a workflow product based on Lasergen’s technology.

Meanwhile, RusnanoMedinvest celebrated an exit when Syndax Pharmaceuticals floated on Nasdaq for $52.8m. The IPO followed some $155m in funding.

Stanford University secured an exit through an acquisition, when Immucor purchased spinout Sirona Genomics for an undisclosed amount. Sirona has developed a platform that uses three algorithms to build a database for mapping and managing genomic assessments such as blood type without the need for secondary testing.

Funds

When it came to funds, Cisco took the top spot last week with a three-year $500m initiative named Deutschland Digital. Cisco will invest the cash both directly in startups and in VC funds. It announced Deutschland Digital on the same day that it unveiled a $150m fund that will help foster an ecosystem around its cloud collaboration platform Cisco Spark.

Lan Kwai Fong, a Hong Kong-based conglomerate, is similarly looking at a fund with a target size between $300m and $500m, to be managed by its private equity unit LKF Capital. The fund marks the first time LKF is raising external capital and will focus on Chinese companies in the lifestyle and consumer industries.

Another fund to come out of Hong Kong is the $257m Innovation and Technology Venture Fund. Although first announced in January, the autonomous region only revealed the fund’s size in its budget for 2016/17 now. The fund will focus on local startups and hopes to make more capital available to them by matching private investments.

Parkwalk Advisors, which already manages several funds for Cambridge University, announced the University of Cambridge Enterprise Fund IV, which, much like the previous funds, enables alumni and investors to back Cambridge spinouts. The funds usually co-invest alongside Cambridge University.

Moves

Kaushik Anand, a growth equity investor at corporate venturing subsidiary Google Capital, is set to lead its investments in India, the Economic Times reported on Monday. He first joined Google Capital in June 2015 and has so far been based at its California headquarters.

IDG Ventures Korea has seen Matthew Lee depart to co-found a new venture dubbed Cognitive Investment. Lee had been CEO and managing partner of the unit since 2007.

Franceska Banga is set to step down from her position as CEO of New Zealand Venture Investment Firm later this month. The fund, which has over $200m under management, was set up by New Zealand’s government in 2001 and headed by Banga since then. Steven Joyce, minister of economic development in New Zealand, is using the change in leadership to review the fund’s performance and assess its structure.


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