23 July 2018 – First Half of 2018 Sets Up Record-breaking Spree for University-linked Deals

Funds

Petrochemical group Sinopec is committing approximately $1.5bn to an investment firm that will back technologies in areas such as intelligent manufacturing, new materials and energy.

BlackFin directs fintech fund to $210m close

Cyberdyne assembles corporate venturing fund

The Motley Fool launches $100m fund

Anglo American Platinum has been an occasional VC investor but is now transferring its portfolio, along with $100m in capital, to AP Ventures, a newly-formed venture capital fund that will back developers of technologies that utilise platinum.

University

High Alpha reaches $102m

Deals

In this week’s Big Deal we examine the $500m invested by Booking Holdings, the travel services provider formerly known as Priceline Group, in ride hailing service Didi Chuxing as part of a strategic partnership.

SenseTime has already raised some $1.6bn in funding over the past year, but SoftBank Vision Fund is reportedly readying an investment of up to $1bn in the China-based facial recognition technology provider.

Suning’s sports asset management spinoff, Suning Sports, has meanwhile raised $600m in a series A round co-led by Alibaba and Goldman Sachs that included, interestingly enough, SenseTime.

Zuoyebang, a homework assistance service spun off from Baidu’s question-and-answer platform, has received $350m in series D funding, with Coatue Management leading the round.

Online Q+A platform Zhihu Technology has reportedly secured $300m in a Tencent-backed round that valued it at about $2.5bn, taking its overall funding past the $480m mark.

Ascentage Pharma, a cancer, hepatitis B and age-related condition drug developer spun out from Ascenta Therapeutics, has completed a $150m series C round co-led by YuanMing Prudence Fund and Oriza Seed Venture Capital.

Glovo’s on-demand delivery service now spans some 60 cities across 17 countries, and it plans to spend more on international growth after raising $134m in funding from investors including AmRest, which reportedly put up $29m, and existing backer Rakuten.

SoftBank Vision Fund has led a $121m series D round for advanced camera developer Light, which will use the funding to expand its imaging technologies into other sectors.

Social investment community Snowball Finance has raised $120m in series D funding from investors including Ant Financial, and will spend the money on recruitment and the expansion of a range of products that includes financial trading and private equity fundraising platforms.

BookMyShow secures $100m ticket

Unisound turns up the volume with $89m

Orbex orders up venture funding

University

Undo debugs $14m series B

Notre Dame breeds 27 companies in 2017-18

Exits

Group buying platform Pinduoduo is further along the IPO path, having just set terms for an offering that will net it more than $1.6bn if it floats at the top of its range.

Live game streaming platform Inke has secured $134m in its initial public offering despite floating at the foot of its range.

A third China-based company, business finance services provider Pintec, has meanwhile filed for its own IPO in the US.

Otsuka works out Recor Medical acquisition

Xilinx digs up DeePhi acquisition

University

Bossa Nova spots Hawxeye


“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

24 April 2017 – SoftBank Considers $1bn+ Deal and Much More

Deals

SoftBank is reportedly considering paying upwards of $1bn for a 20% stake in One97 Communications, the Indian e-commerce firm that’s also the parent company for mobile payment platform Paytm.

China Vanke has become the second domestic property developer to make a nine-figure investment in Chinese real estate agency and online portal Lianjia this year, providing $436m in funding.

Classified listings platform 58.com is spinning out its used goods app Zhuan Zhuan, and Tencent has agreed to provide $200m in funding for the newly independent company.

SoftBank is yet to formally close its $100bn Vision Fund but is nevertheless on somewhat of a streak, reportedly offering big investments to a string of Asian online services providers.

Tianjin CanSino Biotechnology, which is developing vaccines for Ebola, tuberculosis, cervical cancer and pneumococcal infection, has closed $65m in funding from investors including Lilly Asia Ventures, and will put the cash towards commercialising its candidates and completing a manufacturing facility expected to be ready next year.

SenseTime is developing technology that will utilise machine learning to recognise faces to a high degree of accuracy, and has just raised $60m in a round led by the state-backed Sailing Capital International.

Car sharing platform Getaround has secured $45m from investors including Shanghai Automotive and an investment fund backed by Toyota, showing that the sector still has some life in it despite the ubiquity of its ride sharing cousins.

Kumpulan Wang Persaraan (KWAP), the Malaysian retirement fund, has invested $100m in Edotco, a Malaysia-based telecom infrastructure company, Digital News Asia reported on Wednesday.

Neural Analytics, a medical device spinout of University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), has raised $10m in a funding round led by venture capital firm Reimagined Ventures.

Funds

Illumina announced a year ago that it intended to invest $100m in startups through an independently managed VC firm called Illumina Ventures, but a securities filing has indicated it has increased that amount of capital to $189m by adding more limited partners.

The Indian state of Tamil Nadu is set to invest Rs5bn ($78m) in a venture capital fund, the Hindu Business Line reported yesterday.

The EU agency European Investment Fund (EIF) and the Luxembourg Future Fund (LFF), which aims to stimulate the Luxembourgish economy, have achieved a first close for the European Cyber Fund (ECF). Paladin Capital, a US-based investment firm with expertise in cyber and digital infrastructure resilience, will manage the ECF and has also invested into the fund.

Bpifrance, the public investment bank of France, has invested in a €64.75m ($69.2m) seed fund established by France-based life science-focused firm Advent France Biotechnology (AFB), Labiotech reported yesterday.

Spain-based early-stage venture capital firm Nauta Capital yesterday raised a €155m ($166m) fund, with the European Investment Fund (EIF) among the investors. British Business Bank Investments, the commercial arm of the state-owned economic development agency British Business Bank (BBI), is also a limited partner, alongside the Catalan Institute of Finance, a public financial institution owned by the government of Catalonia.

Exits

Cloudera has set terms for an IPO that will net it $210m if it floats at the top of its range, and existing backer Intel has expressed interest in buying up to 10% of the shares in the offering.

Chinese logistics service Best Logistics is looking for banks to handle its own IPO, through which it expects to raise up to $1bn.

Walmart has spent the last few months beefing up its e-commerce offering through a string of acquisitions and the next one looks set to be online men’s fashion brand Bonobos.

G1 Therapeutics has filed for a $115m IPO that will support development of three clinical-stage oncology therapeutics and give an exit to corporate venturing unit MedImmune Ventures.

Netshoes, a Brazil-based sports and lifestyle e-commerce company for the Latin American market, has raised $148.5m in an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange.


“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