18 September 2017 – ZhongAn Lines up $1.5bn IPO

Exits

All eyes will be on Chinese online property and casualty insurance platform ZhongAn next week as it is lining up a Hong Kong IPO that could net it as much as $1.5bn.

Advanced data centre developer and builder Switch is looking at its fifth straight profitable year, and has filed to raise up to $100m on the NYSE, in an offering that will allow Intel Capital to exit.

Volvo has closed the acquisition of on-demand valet parking service Luxe, which was valued at $140m as of its last funding round, for an amount reckoned by TechCrunch to represent pennies on the dollar.

Perhaps showing that there’s still plenty of room for offline consumer brands to emerge, as long as they appear sufficiently high-quality, Nestlé has agreed to buy a 68% majority stake in Blue Bottle Coffee, an upscale coffee brand that as of the start of 2017 had only 29 branches across four US and Japanese cities.

Investments

Alphabet is already an investor in Uber, its GV unit (then known as Google Ventures) having made a big bet in its 2013 series C round. Now however, the corporate is reportedly in talks to invest $1bn in its main US rival, Lyft.

Uber is reportedly in line for a mammoth investment by SoftBank, Didi Chuxing and Dragoneer that will involve the firms investing between $8bn and $10bn in the company in the form of primary and secondary share purchases.

Augmented reality technology developer Magic Leap remains in stealth and is yet to release a product, but that doesn’t mean investors aren’t still interested. The company is looking to raise $500m in a series D round that could include Singapore’s Temasek, and which would follow a $794m Alibaba-led series C round in early 2016.

United Imaging Healthcare collects $505m series A

Wish aspires to $250m in funding

Genomic testing and research service 23andMe has raised $250m in a Sequoia Capital-led round that reportedly valued it at $1.5bn pre-money, taking its total funding to about $490m.

Goldman Sachs has supplied approximately $133m in debt and equity financing for Neyber, a UK-based online lender that takes repayments directly from a borrower’s salary.

Government

Foodee serves up $8.2m series A

Funds

Samsung meanwhile is making a big play in connected and autonomous car technology,putting together a $300m fund to make strategic investments in the sector.

Asus finds Fenox VC for $50m fund

Madasamy moves from Qualcomm to $50m fund

University

Mars Innovation sets up Lab150 experiment

Austria boosts spinout support

Government

Ireland acts on $120m fund

Kerala accepts $78m mission

ScaleUp grows to $82m with BC Tech Fund


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

17 July 2017 – A Look at Unicorns

Editorial: A Look at Unicorns

Funds

Toyota’s research division, Toyota Research Institute, has launched a dedicated corporate venturing fund called Toyota AI Ventures that will invest in artificial intelligence as well as robotics, autonomous mobility, data and cloud technology.

Partech Ventures, a US-headquartered venture firm with a significant presence in Europe,has closed its seventh VC-stage fund, Partech International Ventures VII, at $455m.

Global Brain heads for $180m close

Ground transport-focused venture firm Autotech Ventures, which had already revealed commitments from BorgWarner and Autoliv to its first fund, has now closed it at $120m.

Government

Hong Kong to launch matched venture fund

Singapore springs to action with new fund

University

Adelaide realises ThincLab

Exits

Set-top box producer Roku has hired underwriters for an IPO that could value it at up to $1bn, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The merger agreed by DraftKings and FanDuel in November was supposed to help them combat long-running regulatory issues, but those seem to have struck again.

Symantec finds Skycure in $250m acquisition

Fireglass to melt into Symantec

Baidu catches Kitt.AI

Samsung Next embarks on European trip

Government

SBI Life prepares $1bn IPO

Investments

Uber’s on-demand ride and food ordering operations in 21 cities across four countries in Eastern Europe will be merged with Yandex Taxi, a subsidiary of Russian internet company Yandex, in a deal that will create a $3.7bn company, of which Uber will own 36%.

Co-working space provider WeWork has raised $760m in a series G round that reportedly increased its valuation to $20bn.

Artificial intelligence technology provider SenseTime has completed a $410m series B round featuring Dalian Wanda that reportedly valued it at more than $1.5bn.

Shouqi Limousine and Chauffeur, a ride hailing offshoot of services Shouqi Group and Xianglong Taxi, has raised $88m in series B funding from an undisclosed investor at a valuation of about $750m.

Darktrace, the developer of a cybersecurity platform that looks to mimic the human immune system, has received $75m in a series D round led by Insight Venture Partners that valued it at $825m.

E-Scape Bio has reached the final close of a $63m series A round featuring Novo as well as CVC units Lilly Asia Ventures, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC and Novartis Venture Fund which E-Scape will use to advance its pipeline of neurodegenerative disease treatments.

Growth equity firm Spectrum Equity has acquired a majority stake in link management platform Bitly in return for a $63m investment.

CompareAsiaGroup, the operator of a comparison platform for financial products in Southeast Asia, has closed a $50m series B round that included Alibaba and SBI Group.

Government

Floadia flows towards $14.5m series B

University

NYGC spins out Gencove

Phytelligence harvests series B


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

27 February 2017 – Westpac Supplies A$100m to Reinventure for Disruptive FinTech and Much More

Deals

SoFi is reportedly close to completing a $500m funding round backed by existing investor SoftBank.

Speaking of SoftBank, editor-in-chief James Mawson has taken a deep look at its $3.3bn acquisition of Fortress Investment Group a week ago.

Internet group Baidu has invested $300m in iQiyi, an online video streaming platform in which it is majority shareholder, as part of a convertible note round sized at $1.53bn, that will support the company’s subscription service.

Indian e-commerce company Flipkart could be in line for a $1.5bn round of its own, having reportedly entered talks with a host of investors including Microsoft, Tencent, eBay, PayPal and Alphabet.

Mobike has been operating its bike rental network less than a year but has already raised well over $400m, $300m of which has come this year.

Having made investments in India-based Paytm and Thailand-based Ascend Money in the past few months, Chinese financial services provider Ant Financial is moving into Korea.

China-based mobile game publisher Shinezone Network has secured $58m in series B funding that will be used to build out its international distribution and homegrown incubator activities.

Chinese peer-to-peer car sharing platform Atzuche has secured $58m in a series C round that included existing backers Hearst Media and China Pacific Insurance.

Cloud services provider Rackspace has spun out Mailgun, the email automation tools provider it acquired in 2012.

Media group Bennett, Coleman & Co has invested $38.8m in India-based e-commerce firm Flipkart, providing both capital and advertising services.

GV-backed microfinance provider Tala has raised $30m in an IVP-led series B round that took its overall funding to $44m.

Anxin Doctor, the developer of an app that connects users to medical specialists such as paediatricians, gynaecologists and obstetrics doctors, has raised $28m in funding.

On GlobalGovernmentVenturing.com, IDS Medical Systems Group, an Indonesia-based medical device supplier, is set to receive up to $60m from International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector-focused arm of multilateral financial institution World Bank, DealStreetAsia wrote yesterday.

We’ve also had a nice cross-over piece of news from Finland, where TactoTek, a three-dimensional moulded plastic electronics manufacturer, has increased its total funding to more than $20m following a round that featured Faurecia Ventures, the investment arm of automotive parts maker Faurecia.

And another cross-over: on GlobalUniversityVenturing.com, C3Nano, a spinout of Stanford University that produces conductive inks and films for bendable touch sensors, closed a $15m series D round co-led by GSR Ventures, conglomerate Nissha Printing and diversified holding group Xinjiang Guoli Minsheng Equity Investment.

Funds

Artificial intelligence was one of the cutting edge technologies on the menu when Samsung launched its $150m Next fund last month, but reports coming out of Korea suggest the company is considering the formation of a $1bn fund that will focus exclusively on AI.

Meituan-Dianping, the Chinese local services operator formed by a $15bn merger in late 2015, is set to join rivals in the online services sector by forming a dedicated corporate venturing fund, for which it aims to raise approximately $435m.

Project A, a Germany-based venture capital firm, closed a €140m ($148m) early-stage fund today with a cornerstone investment from the European Investment Fund (EIF), the EU-owned financing agency.

BioMedPartners, a Switzerland-based healthcare-focused venture capital firm, has achieved the first close of its BioMedInvest III fund at SFr75m ($75m) with a cornerstone investment from the European Investment Fund (EIF).

The biggest fund on GGV came from Singapore, where Heliconia Capital Management, a wholly-owned investment subsidiary of Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund Temasek, has announced a S$600m ($422m) fund.

EduGrowth, a non-profit platform founded by Deakin University, La Trobe University, Monash University, Charles Sturt University and Griffith University as well as education company Navitas, has launched an accelerator, that will put A$50,000 into participating startups in return for 6% equity stake.

Exits

Zawatt, a Japan-based operator of an online auction platform, is set to be acquired by marketplace app provider Mercari today (that is February 27, for those of you listening to this later in the week).

Zhenai, a China-based online dating platform backed by internet company IAC, is planning a listing via a reverse merger with aircraft parts manufacturer DEA General Aviation, China Money Network has reported.

US-based software integration technology provider MuleSoft has filed to raise $100m in an initial public offering that will give exits to networking technology producer Cisco and enterprise software firms Salesforce.com and ServiceNow.

Here’s some rather depressing news for investors: Groupon has revealed in a securities filing that it paid the grand total of zero for corporate-backed competitor Living Social when it acquired the company in October 2016.

On GlobalUniversityVenturing.com meanwhile, Wrapidity, an artificial intelligence (AI) spinout of Oxford University, was acquired by data science company Meltwater.


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

9 January 2017 – Welcome to 2017 with Bike Sharing Deals, Fund backing from Apple and Much More

Deals

Easy Life Financial Services, a tourism-focused financial services spinout of aviation and travel conglomerate HNA Group, has raised approximately $273m in series B+ funding from a string of Chinese investors.

Bike sharing looks likely to be a big area for VC funding in 2017, and China’s Mobike, which raised more than $100m in autumn last year, has followed it up with a $215m series D round co-led by existing backers Tencent and Warburg Pincus.

China-based iCarbonX is looking to build a what it calls an online ecosystem of digital life, and has raised about $200m of funding from investors including Tencent. It has also provided almost $400m of funding from its ecosystem for seven members of its Digital Life Alliance.

Electric bus producer Proterra has raised $140m from investors including Edison Energy and the corporate venturing subsidiaries of General Motors and Exelon.

Cancer test developer Grail spun out of genomics producer Illumina a year ago with $100m in funding that was quickly upped to $125m.

Tasly Pharmaceuticals took part in the $55m series A round closed by liver disease treatment developer Ascletis at the end of 2015, and has come back for its $100m series B.

Online investment manager Nutmeg took its series D round over the $50m mark with a £12m investment by Fubon Financial Holdings.

There have been a few big deals on GlobalUniversityVenturing.com and GlobalGovernmentVenturing.com as well. An intriguing crossover is a $40m series A round for Therachon, a Switzerland-based biotech developer focused on rare genetic diseases such as short-limbed dwarfism, thanks to a $5m extension that featured Bpifrance, the public investment bank of France.

Funds

News emerged last month that Apple could chip in up to $1bn for SoftBank’s $100bn Vision Fund, and that news has now been confirmed along with reports that fellow corporates Qualcomm and Foxconn are also set to invest.

Samsung’s mooted $1.1bn Next47 fund is yet to announce any investments but the same can’t be said for Samsung Next Fund, a $150m initiative announced by the corporate this week.

The cleantech-focused $52m Icos Capital Fund III meanwhile has received commitments from the city of Rotterdam as well as corporates Wuppermann, Bühler and AkzoNobel to achieve a first close.

International Finance Corporation is one of 65 limited partners that have backed SOSV’s third fund, doubling the firm’s total assets under management to $300m.

The European Investment Fund (EIF), the investment arm of EU agency European Investment Bank, and Cassa depositi e prestiti (CDP), the state-owned national promotional institution of Italy, have joined forces to launch Itatech with €200m ($208m).

Greece’s Ministry of Economy and Development has signed an agreement with the European Investment Fund (EIF), the investment arm of EU agency European Investment Bank, to establish a €260m ($270m) fund of funds.

And EU agency European Investment Bank (EIB) has achieved a final close of its third Lebanon-based Euromena private equity fund, managed by Capital Trust Group, at $150m.

Exits

Jounce meanwhile is developing antibody-based immunotherapy treatments for cancer, and has filed for a $75m IPO.

Sogou, operator of China’s third most popular search engine, is looking to float in the US at some point later in the year at a valuation of up to $5bn, CEO Wang Xiaochuan has told Bloomberg.

A sadder exit came for Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of economic development agency Scottish Enterprise, which saw portfolio company TeamRock collapse just three months after making a £2m investment.

People

Neil McGregor, senior managing director at Temasek, the investment arm of the government of Singapore, will depart on March 31 to join Sembcorp Industries as chief executive and group president. McGregor has been Temasek’s head of energy and resources, head of Australia and New Zealand since he joined in June 2014.


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