18 December 2017 – OneWeb Follows SpaceX with a $500m Investment

Deals

Days after SpaceX raised $1bn in funding, another satellite technology company, OneWeb, is lining up a $500m investment from SoftBank, which had previously put up $1bn of the $1.2bn OneWeb raised a year ago. .

Office software producer Kingsoft spun cloud storage business Kingsoft Cloud out in 2012 but has retained a majority stake now sized at 52%. It also invested $150m of the $300m in series D funding Kingsoft Cloud just raised at a $1.9bn valuation, bringing its total funding to approximately $500m.

Reports for most of this year have been touting a $200m corporate investment in Indian online grocer BigBasket, and the latest news is that Alibaba will pay $200m for a 25% stake in the company as part of a $280m round.

Koch Disruptive Technologies, a newly formed vehicle for conglomerate Koch Industries, has made its first investment, leading a $150m series E round for InSightec, the developer of a magnetic resonance-equipped ultrasound surgical device.

There have been some big deals in the space sector recently, and the latest is iSpace, a lunar exploration company that’s just closed $90.2m in series A funding, the largest series A round in Japan’s history.

NextDoor, the social media platform focused on local communities, has raised $75m from undisclosed investors at a valuation indicated by a regulatory filing to be about $1.5bn.

AI chip developer ThinkForce has secured $68m in a series A round featuring machine vision technology developer Yitu Technology as well as Sequoia Capital China, Yunfeng Capital and Yitu backer Hillhouse Capital.

Online razor seller Harry’s has raised $63.7m in funding, according to a regulatory filing, cash that will reportedly be put towards a complementary acquisition.

GV has participated in a $63m series B round closed by oncology therapy developer Relay Therapeutics that took the company’s overall funding to $120m.

Insikt, the Rakuten-backed operator of an online lending platform for the un(der)banked, has raised $50m in a series D round led by Grupo Coppel that took its total funding past the $100m mark.

Swedish mobile payment and small business revenue technology provider iZettle has secured about $47m in a Dawn Capital-led round that included the Fourth Swedish National Pension Fund, at a reported valuation of about $950m.

We’ve had several GGV deals already, and on GUV, the biggest deal was US-based immuno-oncology developer Pionyr Immunotherapeutics, which raised $62m in series B funding from a consortium that featured spinout-focused investment firm Osage University Partners.

Funds

Auto parts supplier Valeo has provided 25% of the money for a $226m car technology fund formed by private equity firm Cathay Capital, joining government-owned Yangtze River Industry Fund as a cornerstone investor.

On GGV, the EU-owned European Investment Fund contributed funding to investment firm LSP’s second medtech vehicle, LSP Health Economics Fund 2 (LSP HEF 2), which reached an oversubscribed close of €280m ($330m).

And on GUV, UM Ventures, the tech transfer office for the University of Maryland System (UMS), has unveiled plans for a venture fund of undisclosed size aimed at retaining university-linked startups in the city of Baltimore.

Here’s an interesting one from GUV as well: Imperial College London and Tsinghua University have joined forces to seed a $300,000 fund called the Tsinghua-Imperial Research and Innovation Fund to back early-stage scientific research.

Exits

Gilead Sciences has agreed to acquire T cell receptor therapy developer Cell Design Labs in a deal that could value it at up to $567m, six years after Kite Pharma, now a Gilead subsidiary, took a 12.2% stake by backing a $34.4m round that remained Cell Design’s only funding.

Apple has reportedly lined up a $400m acquisition of music identification app developer Shazam. The deal would provide exits for América Móvil, Sony, Universal and Access Industries, but none look likely to make a profitable return on their investments, Shazam’s valuation having peaked at about $1bn in 2015.

On GUV we’ve had two IPO-related news this past week. First up, Mirriad, a UK-based video technology spinout from University of Surrey, is targeting £26.2m ($35m) in gross proceeds in its initial public offering on Aim. Mirriad, which will enter the public markets under the ticker symbol Miri tomorrow (that’s Tuesday, December 19 for those of you listening later).

Then we also have Fusion Antibodies, a UK-based genomics modelling platform spun out of Queen’s University Belfast, which will raise £5.5m ($7.4m) in its initial public offering on Aim.


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

19 September 2016 – Clear Vision Investment, A Fund for Baidu and Russian State Exits plus much more

Deals

AcuFocus, developer of a medical device that improves near vision, has raised $66m in a KKR-led round.

Microprocessor and system-on-chip technology developer Soft Machines came out of stealth mode in late 2014 with $125m from investors including AMD and Samsung, and has raised almost $175m from backers also including GlobalFoundries.

3D printing technology developer Carbon has added $81m to the $100m in series C capital it raised in August 2015, taking its overall funding to $222m.

Protein motion drug developer Relay Therapeutics has launched with $57m of funding partly supplied by biochemistry researcher DE Shaw.

A nice crossover between corporate, government and university came from France, where Eyevensys achieved a final close of its series A at $10m.

Funds

Baidu is looking to launch of a CVC unit called Baidu Venture that will target AI, virtual and augmented reality technology, and Baidu is initially looking to raise $200m to invest.

Sapphire Ventures broke off from its old parent company SAP in 2011 and officially changed its name from SAP Ventures three years later, but that doesn’t mean the two are strangers. SAP has just provided $1bn of capital for Sapphire.

Speaking of big funds, GV co-founder Bill Maris is reportedly in talks with investors for a new venture firm and is said to be targeting between $350m and $500m for its first fund.

Canada’s government has awarded $5m to the Capital expansion région Thetford fund for a venture capital vehicle that will support entrepreneurs in Quebec county Les Appalaches.

Canada-based VC firm Information Venture Partners, which achieved a $96m second close of its latest fund.

Bpifrance backed the first $52m close of incubator iBionext’s $112m growth fund that should help the Parisian startup foundry set up quite a few more businesses.

UC Berkeley meanwhile put some cash into the House Fund, a $6m fund set up by its alumnus Jeremy Fiance, and Warwick University is hoping to open a Centre for Innovation at its upcoming California campus, modelled on its original, England-based tech transfer office Warwick Ventures.

Exits

Crispr has filed for an IPO.

LED sensor technology provider Sensity Systems has agreed to an acquisition by Verizon that will give exits to Cisco Investments, Acuity Brands, GE Ventures and Simon Property.

Naspers subsidiary PayU is set to acquire Indian mobile payment services provider Citrus Pay in a $130m all-cash deal that will give exits to eContext and Beenos.

Concur has agreed to buy travel price comparison platform Hipmunk, allowing Nokia Growth Partners, which invested an undisclosed sum in the company two years ago, to exit.

Intel has reportedly agreed to buy semiconductor technology developer Soft Machines in a $250m deal that will provide exits to two Russian state-owned entities.

ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company, an insurance provider backed by Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund Temasek, is hoping to raise Rs60bn ($900m) in an initial public offering today, that is Monday, September 19.

One sadder exit we have to talk about unfortunately is online lifestyle media company Mode Media. While the unicorn carnage predicted by some at the end of 2015 has yet to manifest, that doesn’t mean there won’t still be casualties. Mode Media, valued at $1bn in a 2013 round when it was still known as Glam, shut down on Thursday after failing to find a buyer or investors willing to provide financing. Its investors included Hubert Burda Media, which invested $30m in 2015, shortly after forming a strategic partnership with Mode.

People

Imperial Create Lab, the innovation community of Imperial College London and its Imperial Innovations investment arm, revealed a host of changes: Mark Hammond and Dominic Falcão have left to focus on their incubator Deep Science Ventures. Falcão had been manager of Imperial Create Lab from September 2013. Hammond had been director since January 2012.

Also at Create Lab, Jack Owen, ecosystem builder since January 2016, left to become a postgraduate talent associate at incubator Entrepreneur First, which, as you might remember, closed a $53.7m fund backed by Imperial College London two weeks ago. The new Create Lab team will be made up of Liz Choonara, who has also Imperial College’s enterprise development manager since 2014, and Lauren Dennis, communications and activities intern.

Hearst Ventures president George Kliavkoff has departed to take the chief executive position at virtual reality content developer Jaunt.

And Rich Flynn, who stepped down from his position as president of Apollo Education Ventures in April, has joined Tyton Partners as managing director.

Law and policy

After German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble blocked a startup boosting bill several months ago, the government has now agreed to provide tax breaks to VC investors, making it possible for them to reclaim potential losses.


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