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

17 June 2019 – GE Ventures to Sell its Portfolio

A fascinating feature for you courtesy of Tony Askew, co-founder and partner of REV Venture Partners, who spoke with Global Corporate Venturing about how the media industry has evolved since the corporate venturing unit was launched in 2000. Insights provided by Askew included how its co-investments with In-Q-Tel have helped the unit, while he also explained the group’s aim was to stay three to seven years ahead of everyone else.

Funds

WTW to broker corporate venturing deals

Third Rock counts $770m for fifth fund

Invengo invigorates $145m IoT fund

Crane crowns $90m close for first fund

Wavemaker drifts to $60m close for third fund

Exits

Salesforce processes $15.7bn Tableau acquisition

CrowdStrike is going public today after pricing a $612m IPO that represents a huge jump up from less than two weeks ago, when it was slated to float in an offering that would have raised $378m at its mid-point.

Merck & Co has agreed to acquire Tilos Therapeutics, which is developing antibodies to treat cancer, fibrosis and autoimmune diseases, in a deal that could potentially reach $773m once milestone payments are factored in.

That isn’t the only heavy-duty M&A exit to be agreed in the last day or so. H&R Block isbuying accounting software producer Wave Financial for $405m in cash.

Avi networks its way to VMWare acquisition

Barefoot takes next step with Intel purchase

Cvent goes DoubleDutch in acquisition deal

Deals

Short-term accommodation booking platform Oyo has reportedly begun talks with new and existing investors over a $1bn round that would value it at $10bn.

SoftBank’s recently launched $5bn Innovation Fund that focuses on Latin America has entered discussions with Brazil-based digital bank Nubank to lead a funding round that could reach up to $1bn and value the company at $8bn to $10bn – up from a previous reported valuation of $4bn, achieved when the fintech developer collected $180m from Tencent in October 2018.

SoftBank works out $300m Gympass investment

ADC Therapeutics adjusts series E to $276m

South Korea-based Yanolja also operates a short-term hotel business, refitting venues such as love hotels for a millennial user base seeking good quality accommodation on a budget. It has raised $180m in a series D round at a valuation of more than $1bn, with travel booking platform Booking Holdings joining Singapore’s GIC to supply the cash.

Innoviz has boosted a series C round that includes Harel Insurance and Phoenix Insurance from $132m to $170m, the extra funding coming from undisclosed investors.

Symphony plays on with $165m

Shuidi ships in $145m

Thumbtack, the US-based local services listing platform, has collected $120m in series H funding from unnamed investors – reportedly at a flat valuation of $1.3bn.

ShareChat in talks for $100m funding round

Dishangtie parks $100m in series B round

Vectra collects $100m in series E round

Infarm harvests $100m series B round


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

22 April 2019 – Pinterest and Zoom both Float Above Their Ranges

The Big 3

Innogy Innovation Hub was formed in 2014 and its first fund was supplied with €300m (roughly $385m at that point) from Innogy, but it has told GCV that it is getting ready to raise a second fund and is exploring partnerships with additional corporate LPs from the energy sector as well as potentially outside. In a wide ranging interview, Innovation Hub also said it has moved from an incubator/VC model to more direct investment, and detailed why its focus beyond energytech is so crucial to the future of the sector.

It’s a big week for IPOs, with two big unicorns both floating above their respective ranges. The larger offering involves Rakuten-backed visual social media platform Pinterest, which has raised approximately $1.43bn in an offering on the New York Stock Exchange.

Zoom on the other hand is profitable, and it floated in a $751m IPO in which Qualcomm sold more than $30m of shares – pretty impressive considering it first invested in the video conferencing software provider in its $6m series A round

University

Analysis: Slow and steady does it in the first quarter

AskBio pops $235m question

Exits

Turning Point Therapeutics has gone public in a $167m initial public offering in which it floated at the top of its range. The precision cancer therapy developer had raised $145m in funding from investors including Lilly Asia Ventures and SR One, corporate VC vehicles for Eli Lilly and GlaxoSmithKline, which each owned 8.2% stakes pre-IPO.
Applied Therapeutics pushes for public markets

Sonim sounds out Nasdaq for IPO

Willow Biosciences follows public path

Axcella Health accelerates towards IPO

Cortexyme craves public markets listing

Jumia has floated in a $196m IPO in the US, with almost half the shares being bought by existing investors Axa, Orange and Pernod Ricard Deutschland. Mastercard acquired even more shares through a private placement, and despite the online marketplace currently recording losses that surpass its revenue, its shares popped on Friday.

SolarWinds has agreed to buy Samanage, a provider of IT service desk management software, in a $350m deal that will represent Salesforce Ventures’ latest exit.

PayU onboards Wibmo in $70m acquisition

Salesforce locates MapAnything for acquisition deal

Vimeo has agreed to snap up Magisto for a reported $200m in order to add the company’s easy-to-use video creation and editing technology to its online video streaming platform.

Funds

Globis maps out $321m for sixth fund

Vtron takes a seat at $72m education fund

Deals

SK Group has made a $250m strategic investment in Londian Group, which is aiming to become the world’s leading copper foil supplier as it looks to nail down a prominent position in the materials supply space for products such as lithium-ion batteries and communications technology.
Shift moves series D round to $180m

Sila Nanotechnologies is preparing to commercialise its advanced battery materials, which it estimates can improve the performance of lithium-ion batteries by up to 20%, and in the meantime it has secured $170m in a series E round led by Daimler.

Lyric, the owner of a short-term accommodation booking platform for business travellers, has taken a big jump forward, raising $160m in a series B round led by Airbnb.

Outreach re-engages with investors to raise $114m

Dianrong is among the Chinese peer-to-peer lending platforms waiting to see if they will be among the companies issued lending licences from the government, but in the meantime it is seeking $100m in funding, reportedly from a group that includes existing investors Orix and Standard Chartered.

Black Sesame racks up $100m

Gen.G generates $46m round


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

08 October 2018 – Grab Looking To Raise Another $1bn

Deals

Southeast Asian ride hailing platform Grab closed $2bn in funding just two months ago, but Reuters has reported that it’s looking to raise another $1bn, and that SoftBank is close to putting up half the funding.

SoftBank Vision Fund has also initiated talks to invest $500m in China-based online educational assistance platform Zuoyebang.

Traveloka, an Indonesian company that has grown into a leading holiday and travel services booking platform for Southeast Asia, is in talks with unnamed investors to raise $400m.

Elsewhere in Asia, SoftBank is reportedly in talks to invest between $200m and $250m in India-based Delhivery, one of several companies that have sprung up to feed the rapidly expanding e-commerce sector.

Enterprise cybersecurity software provider Tanium has secured $200m in a round led by Wellington Management that valued it at $6.5bn pre-money. Tanium, whose investors include Citi Ventures, has now raised about $780m altogether, and has amped up its valuation by some $1.5bn in just five months, the company having raised $175m from TPG Growth in a May round that valued it at $5bn.

Tencent and KKR’s KKR Asian Fund III have agreed to lead a $175m investment in Voyager Innovations, a fintech spinoff from telecommunications firm PLDT.

Fast fashion retailer Miniso was only founded in 2013 but has been growing at a rocket-like pace, currently standing at some 3,000 branches worldwide. Now Tencent is getting in on the act, joining Hillhouse Capital to provide $146m in funding for the company.

Education app developer Byju’s is now valued at $2bn following a $100m investment by General Atlantic India. Byju’s has raised a total of $344m from investors including Times Internet and Tencent, but the round is perhaps notable for not including SoftBank, which was said to be in talks with the company a couple of months back.

Call centre software provider Talkdesk closed a $21m series A round backed by Salesforce three years ago, but has taken a bug step forward with a $100m series B round that valued it at more than $1bn.

JHL Biotech has raised an undisclosed sum from investors including Sanoft at a $750m valuation and will put the cash toward further development of its biosimilar cancer therapies.

Drawbridge Health, a US-based medical diagnostics spinout of industrial conglomerate General Electric (GE), received an undisclosed amount of funding yesterday from Kyoto University’s venturing arm Innovation Capital (Kyoto-iCap).

Funds

Biopharmaceuticals-focused venture firm Forbion Capital Partners has closed its latest fund at $415m, a 44% upgrade on its initial target. The fund’s LPs include insurers ASR Insurances, KLP, the EU-backed European Investment Fund and the German government-owned bank KfW.

Excell Partners, a VC fund affiliated to University of Rochester, is to manage a $25m vehicle intended to spur tech activity around Rochester in upstate New York. The vehicle, dubbed Finger Lakes Forward Venture Capital (FLX) Fund, will be managed by Excell’s Technology Ventures division and funded by the New York State government.

Exits

Funding Circle has gone public in London, in a $576m initial public offering that included $184m of share sales by the online lending platform’s shareholders.

Guardant Health had a health first day as a public company, floating above its range to raise almost $238m in its IPO before seeing its share price rise by 69%.

SurveyMonkey has raised less but had a more successful IPO, floating above its range last week to raise an initial $180m.

Sutro Biopharma, a US-based cancer drug developer based on research at Stanford University and backed by pharmaceutical firms Amgen, Celgene, Eli Lilly and Merck & Co, raised $85m in its initial public offering.

NGM Biopharmaceuticals has filed to raise up to $75m in an initial public offering that will give Merck & Co and Takeda the chance to exit.

On GGV, French solar firm Neoen is aiming for a market capitalisation of €1.5bn ($1.7bn) in an initial public offering (IPO) on the Paris stock exchange.


“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

24 October 2016 – Temasek Invests $250m, SoftBank and Saudi Arabia Create a Fund and Much More

Investments

Cancer drug developer ADC Therapeutics has taken its total financing to $225m with a $105m private placement that included existing investor AstraZeneca.

Mobike has closed more than $100m in funding from investors including Tencent.

Mitsui has led a $100m round for MatahariMall.com, an e-commerce platform launched by real estate conglomerate Lippo Group with $500m last year.

Online wholesale alcohol retailer Yijiupi has also raised $100m, in a series C round backed by local reviews and group buying platform Meituan-Dianping which will fuel an expansion drive the company hopes will more than double the 72 Chinese cities in which it operates by the end of 2017.

GE Ventures, Envision Energy and Inven Capital have contributed to a round for energy storage and management technology provider Sonnen that has closed at $85m.

Oblong Industries, a gesture-based user interface spinout of MIT Media Lab, secured $65m in funding on Wednesday from investors including Utimco, the investment arm of University of Texas System.

Temasek, the sovereign wealth fund of Singapore, today invested $250m in US-based healthcare conglomerate Columbia Pacific Management’s Chinese subsidiary Columbia China.

Funds

Online media brands Thrillist, NowThis, The Dodo and Seeker joined forces last week to form a new holding company called Group Nine Media, fueled by a $100m investment by Discovery Communications.

French venture firm Daphni has launched a $165m fund with backing from LPs including corporates Nokia, MAIF and Fnac-Darty.

The government of Saudi Arabia joined forces with Japan-based conglomerate SoftBank on Friday to launch a $100bn vehicle dubbed SoftBank Vision Fund.

Exits

Quantenna, which has raised more than $200m in debt and equity since 2005 from investors including NTT, Vivint, Swisscom and Telefónica, has set the range for an offering that could raise up to $107m.

Gene editing company Crispr Therapeutics went public in a $56m IPO that was priced below its range, but which was executed concurrently to a $35m investment by existing backer Bayer Global Investments.

There’s a big new player in the Asian travel services industry, after MakeMyTrip acquired Ibibo Group in an all-share deal that reportedly valued Ibibo at $720m.

Salesforce has scored a decent-sized exit after cloud services provider Appirio agreed to a $500m acquisition by IT services firm Wipro.

Investment manager and research provider Morningstar has agreed to acquire financial data platform Pitchbook in a $180m deal that will see it buy the 80% of the company it does not already own.

Curtin University spinout ePat Technologies, which is developing facial recognition technology, floated on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) on Thursday.

General trading firm Mitsubishi Corporation purchased a 60% stake on Friday in ElectroRoute, an Ireland-based energy trading and services firm backed by government-owned export development agency Enterprise Ireland.

People

Dinesh Moorjani has become Comcast Ventures’ ninth managing director, joining the unit from Warburg Pincus.

Bruce Zimmerman, chief executive of Utimco, last week announced that he is stepping down from the position after a decade of leading the investment company of University of Texas System and Texas A&M System. Zimmerman was appointed as chief executive and chief investment manager in 2007.

Edinburgh Research and Innovation (ERI), the commercialisation arm of Edinburgh University, has appointed George Baxter as its new chief executive effective October 24.


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

18 April 2016 – Didi Kuaidi, Alibaba, Khazanah Nasional, Intellia Therapeutics, Novartis, Google Ventures and more

Deals

Global Corporate Venturing

Didi Kuaidi is said to be approaching a $1.5bn close for its latest round.

It’s also been a particularly busy week for Alibaba, the e-commerce giant that makes no secret out of its ambitions to be a company that will eventually span three centuries.

First, the company paid $1bn for a 67% stake in e-commerce platform Lazada in a deal that included $500m of secondary investment.

Alibaba went on to lead a $1.25bn round for China-based online food ordering platform Ele.me with a $900m commitment. The remaining $350m came from its affiliate Ant Financial.

UCar, a chauffeured ride service, secured $568m in a round led by Alibaba.

Meanwhile, Salesforce and WPP invested in a $600m round for business analytics software provider Domo. The company is reportedly gearing up for an initial public offering.

Global Government Venturing

Khazanah Nasional, the sovereign wealth fund of Malaysia, has led a $170m series D round for social gaming platform Garena.

Global University Venturing

U-Multirank has put EU and US universities neck and neck in its ranking depending on the criteria applied.

Funds

Global Corporate Venturing

Rakuten initially put up $100m for its Global Investment Fund in 2014 but the Japan-based company has now doubled the capital for the fund.

Robert Bosch injected $170m in a third fund for its Robert Bosch Venture Capital unit.

Illumina has also boosted its CVC efforts. The company pledged $100m to an independently managed firm dubbed Illumina Ventures.

Global Government Venturing

An interesting cross-over between government and corporate venturing this week in the form of the €183m ($208m) Forbion Capital Fund III.

Exits

Intellia Therapeutics is rushing towards an IPO at an impressive speed. Launched less than 18 months ago, it has filed for a $120m IPO after raising $85m over two rounds from backers including Novartis.

More disappointing news for Google Ventures, Advance, Cocoa Cola and Cirque du Soleil, whose portfolio company Backplane, a Lady Gaga-affiliated social networking company, shut down and sold its assets.

Moves

Ana Sirbu, a manager at Google Capital who specialised in fintech, has joined working capital provider BlueVine to oversee its financial management and growth strategy.

Akihiko Okamoto, head of human resources provider Recruit’s corporate venturing unit Recruit Strategic Partners since 2011, has been appointed corporate executive officer.


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