25 March 2019 – Lyft Set to Raise $1.9 – $2.1bn in IPO

The Big Ones

The week kicked off with a long-awaited big one: on-demand ride provider Lyft set the terms for its IPO on Monday and is set to raise between $1.9bn and $2.1bn in an offering that will potentially value it at almost $23bn.

A consortium including Suning, Tencent, Alibaba Chongqing Changan Automobile, Dongfeng Motor and FAW have that will focus on mobility technology and in particular ride hailing.

OneWeb recently launched the first six satellites that will make up part of a constellation which will provide high-speed internet to remote areas. It has also raised a further $1.25bn in a round that included existing investors SoftBank, Qualcomm and Grupo Salinas.

On GUV, we’ve had a new spinout – Sherlock Biosciences – that isn’t so much noteworthy for the size of its series A – which currently stands at $17.5m, plus another $17.5m in grant funding – but for who its nine scientific founders are, a group of nine academic researchers the caliber of which we’ve seldom seen in a single spinout. They include, to name but two, none other than MIT’s Feng Zhang, the professor who patented the Crispr technology in 2014 (though there’s a legal battle with UC Berkeley which had filed a few months earlier but didn’t pay for fast tracking), and David Walt, who also co-founded the biotech giant Illumina, whose market cap stands at nearly $47bn.

Deals

Flexible electronics display developer Royole Group is said to be prepping its IPO, but will reportedly first look to raise about $1bn in funding at a valuation of near $8bn.

UiPath, the creator of a robotics processing automation platform, has so far raised $550m in funding from investors including CapitalG, the Alphabet subsidiary that used to be known as Google Capital, but it’s reportedly now chasing a further $400m.

Carmakers Hyundai and Kia combined to invest $250m in Grab late last year, and have now combined again to provide $300m of funding for another Asian ride hailing platform, India-based Ola.

Property trading services platform OneDoor has closed a $300m round backed by Lennar, SoftBank Vision Fund, GV and Access Technology Ventures at a $3.8bn valuation.

Legend Capital-backed mobile commerce platform Wish may be a long way from profitability, but it looks like it can still raise money. Wish, reportedly valued at $8.5bn in late 2017, is in negotiations with prospective investors including General Atlantic to raise $300m at a reported $11bn pre-money valuation.

Marqeta is also seeking funding at a unicorn valuation, having filed to raise $250m at a valuation of nearly $1.9bn. Visa, CreditEase and Commerzbank are all among the existing investors in Marqeta, the developer of a service that allows businesses to issue their own payment cards and process payments.

Elsewhere in Asia, India-based online video streaming platform HotStar has secured $153m from 21st Century Fox subsidiaries Star India and Star US.

Airbnb is in talks to invest $100m to $200m in another short-term accommodation platform, Oyo, which was valued at $5bn as of a $1bn round it closed last month.

Cosmetics brand Glossier is the e-commerce sectors’ newest unicorn, raising $100m in a Sequoia Capital-led series D round that valued it at $1.2bn.

Funds

Hanwha Asset Management, an investment subsidiary of diversified South Korea-based conglomerate Hanwha, has joined venture capital firm Golden Gate Ventures to raise $200m for an investment partnership.

NewMargin Ventures, a China-based investment firm backed by food producer Kerry Group and telecommunications equipment provider Motorola Solutions, has reached the first close of a RMB10bn ($1.48bn) fund.

Coffeehouse chain Starbucks provided $100m for US-based investment firm Valor Equity Partners’ Valor Siren Ventures I fund yesterday as the vehicle’s cornerstone investor. The fund has a target size of $400m and will seek the remaining $300m from additional strategic partners and institutional investors over the coming months.

Exits

SenseTime has long been rumoured to be joining the IPO queue, and now its chief rival in China’s facial recognition space, Megvii, is reportedly looking to raise $800m in an offering that could take place in the US or Hong Kong.

Alcon, the eyecare subsidiary of pharmaceutical company Novartis, has agreed to acquire portfolio company PowerVision in a $285m deal that will also enable Johnson & Johnson and Medtronic to exit.

Fastly, the content delivery platform developer that counts OATV, Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners and Swisscom Ventures as investors, has begun hiring underwriters for an IPO that could reportedly value it in excess of $1bn.

On GUV, NervGen Pharma, a Canada-based developer of nerve damage therapies based on Case Western Reserve University research, has completed an initial public offering (IPO) which raised gross proceeds of C$10m ($7.5m).


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

21 January 2019 – SenseTime Prepares for $2bn Round

The big ones

Image recognition software provider SenseTime raised a total of $1.7bn in the year running up to May 2018, and news has emerged that it’s preparing a new round with a target of $2bn.

Slack has been mooted as one of 2019’s likeliest IPO candidates for months now, but it’s reportedly looking to emulate Spotify and choose a direct listing rather than issuing new shares.

On GUV, news of note was that Purdue University has now launched a total of 223 university-linked businesses since 2013, more than half which were based on intellectual property (IP) licensed through Purdue Research Foundation’s office of technology commercialisation (OTC).

Deals

End-to-end construction and renovation services platform Katerra last raised money in an $865m series D round led by SoftBank Vision Fund a year ago.

SoftBank is reportedly in talks to pay $400m for a 42% stake in baby and child product retailer FirstCry, representing a signficant jump in valuation from the $350m figure reported for the company’s last round.

Around a week after news that its biggest rival, Bird, was lining up $300m in funding, reports suggest scooter and bicycle rental platform Lime is set to raise about $400m in a round that will value it at $2bn pre-money.

English language tutoring platform Dada has concluded its latest round, securing $255m in series D funding from investors including TAL Education.

Logistics service provider Yimi Dida has meanwhile raised $266m in series D funding from investors including Prologis.

Niantic has confirmed it has raised $245m in a series C round featuring Samsung Ventures and Axiomatic at a post-money valuation near to $4bn.

Funds advised by Apax Partners have agreed to invest $200m in big data software and services provider Fractal Analytics through a transaction expected to close next month.

Beta Bionics has attracted $13m from investors including medical device producers Zealand Pharma and Dexom to close its series B round at $63m.

Outdoorsy, the operator of a rental platform for recreational vehicles, has closed a $50m series C round that involved the return of Aviva Ventures, the corporate venturing unit that also backed its series B early last year.

Exits

Online film ticketing platform Maoyan has set the terms for its initial public offering in Hong Kong and will raise approximately $344m if it floats at the top of its range.

Educational services provider Byju’s has acquired connected toy producer Osmo in a $120m all-share transaction that will add a range of coprorates to the former’s investor base.

Cirius Therapeutics, a developer of therapies for liver and metabolic diseases, has filed for an $86.3m IPO that will provide an exit for Novo, which owns almost 20% of its shares.

On GUV, consumer electronics producer Samsung is in advanced discussions over a $150m to $160m acquisition of Corephotonics, an Israel-based smartphone camera technology provider based on Tel Aviv University research.

Funds

Venture firm Magenta Venture Partners has launched in Israel with substantial backing from Mitsui, which is also providing two of its four founding general partners, one of the others being Motorola Solutions Venture Capital alumnus Ori Israely.


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

29 October 2018 – Bytedance Raises $3bn at $75bn Valuation

Deals

Bytedance has agreed to raise $3bn in funding from investors including SoftBank at a $75bn valuation that will make it the most valuable independent VC-backed company in the world.

Manbang, the trucking services marketplace also known as Full Truck Alliance, is reportedly in advanced discussions with Tencent and SoftBank over a $1bn round that would value the Chinese company at $9bn.

Huashenghaoche is one of several automotive marketplace operators competing in China’s used vehicle industry, and has secured $210m in a series D round that included JD Finance, the financial services affiliate of e-commerce firm JD.com.

Elsewhere in China, artificial intelligence and internet-of-things technology provider Terminus Technologies has raised $173m in a round that included image and facial recognition software producer SenseTime.

Plaid Technologies last raised money more than two years ago, in a $44m round led by Goldman Sachs that reportedly valued it at $250m.

Aikucun, a fashion e-commerce platform that specialises in surplus stock, has received $110m in series B-plus funding from Sinovation Ventures, GGV Capital, Zhongyuan Capital and BA Capital.

Synthego, the creator of a genome engineering platform for gene and cell therapy developers, has also secured $110m, in a Founders Fund-led series C round that took its total funding to $160m.

Precision oncology drug developer TP Therapeutics has raised $80m in a mezzanine round that included Lilly Asia Ventures and SR One, the corporate venturing units that co-led its last round, a $45m series C in May last year.

Satellite launch services startup Vector has secured $70m in a series B round that will support the company as it looks to begin producing its rockets.

Enable Injections, a US-based medical device developer, has achieved the first close of a series B round featuring Ohio Innovation Fund, the university venture fund formed by Ohio State University and Ohio University.

And on GGV, GoEuro, a Germany-based transport booking service aimed at consumers, has raised $150m in a funding round backed by Singaporean government-owned investment firm Temasek, Kinnevik and firm Hillhouse Capital.

Funds

Brightlands Agrifood Ventures, a venture fund focused on agritech developers connected to the Brightlands campuses in the Netherlands, has achieved a second close at $22.7m thanks to three additional limited partners.

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund the Public Investment Fund has contributed $500m to the Russia-China Investment Fund.

Exits

Brazil-based payment technology provider StoneCo is gearing up for one of the year’s biggest IPOs. It will raise about $1.1bn if it floats at the top of its range, and has attracted a range of cornerstone investors that could take a large chunk of those shares.

Online travel services provider Tongcheng-eLong is looking to raise $1bn in an initial public offering in Hong Kong.

Innovent Biologics has priced its Hong Kong IPO near the top of its range to raise $421m.

And Chinese vehicle marketplace, Tuanche, has meanwhile filed for a $150m initial public offering in the US. Bertelsmann Asia Investments has been a Tuanche backer since the company’s 2013 series B round and now owns almost 10%.

PhaseBio Pharmaceuticals, a US-based orphan disease treatment developer exploiting research from Duke University, has floated on the Nasdaq Global Market in a $46m initial public offering.

Endpoint security software provider CrowdStrike was valued at more than $3bn as of its last round, a $200m series E backed by Alphabet unit CapitalG four months ago, and it’s reportedly looking to increase that valuation in an IPO tentatively slated for next year.

CloudFlare has meanwhile begun preparing for its own IPO and could claim a $3.5bn valuation, sources have told CNBC.


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

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