19 August 2019 – Zhihu Raises $434m at $3.5bn Valuation

Big Ones

Zhihu is often referred to as China’s answer to Quora, but its services extend beyond an online community Q+A service to areas like online publishing and livestreamed sessions with experts. It’s just raised $434m at a reported $3.5bn valuation. Livestreaming service Kuaishou led the series F round, which included fellow strategic partner Baidu and another corporate investor, Tencent.

Insurance group MS&AD has tripled the size of its MS&AD Ventures unit to about $128m, just 10 months after its launch. The company said it made more than 20 investments in that time, and seeing as its subsidiaries include Mitsui Sumitomo and Aioi Nissay Dowa – both of which maintain their own corporate venturing units – it’s going to be interesting to see if it has plans to formally unify the vehicles under the MS&AD Ventures banner.

We Company, the workspace provider formerly known as WeWork, has filed for one of the year’s most eagerly awaited initial public offerings. It has set a $1bn target as a placeholder figure but reports suggest it will go for $3bn to $4bn through the flotation. The filing also confirms SoftBank, its Vision Fund and related affiliates have provided a whopping $12.4bn in financing.

On GUV, Landos Biopharma, a US-based autoimmune disease therapeutics developer exploiting Virginia Tech research, has closed a $60m series B round backed by spinout-focused investment firm Osage University Partners. Biopharmaceuticals-focused investment firm RTW Investments and hedge fund manager Perceptive Advisors co-led the round, with the latter investing from its Xontogeny Venture and Life Sciences funds.

Deals

JD.com and iFlytek have contributed to a $283m series C1 round for another Chinese company, Terminus Technologies. Connected AI technology developer Terminus received $173m in a SenseTime-backed round less than a year ago, and has raised about $530m altogether.

Meesho has raised $125m in a Naspers-led series D round that included a $25m investment that had been made by Facebook in June. The round was reportedly set to value the social commerce marketplace at $600m to $650m and the cash will support it extending its reach further into India’s rural areas.

The renewables technology sector is a long way from its peak but the brunt of the funding that is coming in for startups in that space is going to energy storage. Energy Vault, a Swiss company developing a hydro power-inspired grid-scale storage system, has received $110m in series B funding in what is SoftBank Vision Fund’s first renewable energy investment.

ShareChat, the Indian operator of a multilingual social network with some 60 million users, has secured $100m in a Twitter-led series D round that valued it at $650m. The deal took its total funding past the $220m mark, but there was no sign of its other corporate backer, Xiaomi.

ScaleFactor has closed a $60m series C round featuring existing investor Citi Ventures that increased its overall funding to approximately $103m.

Carpooling platform Scoop Technologies has raised $60m from investors including corporate VC units Total Ventures and Workday Ventures to take its overall funding to more than $106m.

Uniphore, the developer of a range of speech recognition tools, has raised $51m in series C funding from investors including Sistema Asia Fund, and will channel the proceeds into R&D and a geographic expansion that will focus on the North American market.

Funds

Female founder-focused fund BBG Ventures was formed by AOL and then, when the company was acquired by Verizon, absorbed into the Oath digital media group. It formally spun off late last year and is seeking external investors for a third fund that, according to a recent regulatory filing, has a $50m target for its close.

Exits

WeWork owner The We Company was responsible for the most eagerly awaited IPO filing of the week but hosting services provider CloudFlare has also filed, some five months after raising cash at a $3.2bn valuation.

Enterprise communication platform developer Chatwork has secured approval for its own IPO, which will take place in its home country of Japan. The company has raised at least $15m in venture funding from investors including GMO Venture Partners, and the GMO unit that owns a 6% stake.

Novartis and Eli Lilly have secured exits, after Jazz Pharmaceuticals acquired Cavion, a developer of therapies for neurological diseases, and merged the company with one of its subsidiaries.

Things have been less rosy for microsatellite launcher Vector, which has shut down operations indefinitely due to a change in financing just days after sealing a contract with the US Air Force.


“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

24 September 2018 – Uber in Talks to Acquire Rival Careem

Exits

Uber is already in talks to acquire Middle Eastern rival Careem and has now reportedly in negotiations to buy food delivery service Deliveroo. The price would need to be “considerably” higher than the $2bn valuation at which Deliveroo last raised money, but the transaction would give a nice exit to NGP Capital, the venture firm spun out of Nokia, which invested in Deliveroo at a reported $1bn post-money valuation.

Rocket Internet is in line for a series of IPO exits in the next few months. In addition to Westwing and Funding Circle, African e-commerce marketplace Jumia is looking to go public in a 2019 offering that could value it at about $1bn.

Eventbrite, the developer of an online ticketing platform it supplies to event promoters,has gone public in a $230m IPO. The company floated at the top of its range, which it increased on Tuesday, signifying some serious interest in advance of the offering.

Infosys sucks up Fluido in $76m acquisition

Equillium seeks $86m IPO balance

Airware comes crashing down

Allogene calls for $100m IPO

Qutoutiao reports news of $84m IPO

GlaxoSmithKline has chalked up an exit in a $106m initial public offering for oncology and immunology developer Principia Biopharma, which has floated at the top of its range.

Connected planning software provider Anaplan has filed for its own IPO and has set an initial target of $100m.

Funds

Insurance firm Aflac announced in March last year it planned to make up to $100m of investments through a newly formed corporate venturing vehicle, and while its investments have been secretive they’ve apparently interested the company enough to increase activity.

Ajao’s Base attracts $137m for first fund

Golden Gate closes third fund with $100m

Corporates nurture $70m Raise Ventures fund

Deals

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund has agreed to invest some $1bn in Lucid Motors, the developer of a luxury plug-in electric sedan.

Tuhu, a Chinese provider of automotive after-sales services, has raised $450m in a series E round featuring Tencent, which invested in connection with a strategic partnership agreement.

Yi Jiupi E-Commerce, the operator of Chinese wine retail platform E Jiupi, has reportedly secured $200m in a series D round co-led by Meituan Dianping and Tencent that valued it at $1.1bn.

Electric bus producer Proterra has raised another $155m in a round that was co-led by Daimler, which will explore the use of Proterra’s battery and electric drivetrain technology in its school buses.

Galera Therapeutics has secured $150m in financing, $70m of which came in a series C equity portion backed by Nan Fung Life Sciences and existing investors Novo Ventures and Novartis Venture Fund.

UiPath continues to bring in big money six months after closing a $153m series B round by collecting $225m in series C funding from backers including CapitalG, which co-led the round with Sequoia Capital.

GitLab programs $100m series D

India-based social networking app developer ShareChat has added $99.2m to its coffersthanks to commitments from investors including Xiaomi, which previously led an $18.2m series B round in January this year.

Enigma has become the first portfolio company both of BB&T’s fintech-focused vehicle and MetLife’s co-investment fund MetLife Digital Ventures by attracting $95m in funding.

GUV

Immune-Onc books $33m series B


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