25 February 2019 – LPs Express Concern in SoftBank Vision Fund

Big stories

Reports earlier in the week claimed some of the LPs in SoftBank Vision Fund have concerns about its centralised decision making and the high prices it has paid in its investments, but that doesn’t mean it’s slowing down. Vision Fund has led a $1bn round for shipping marketplace Flexport at a $3.2bn valuation, investing alongside backers including SF Express, the round taking its total funding to more than $1.3bn.

Allianz’s digital investment arm, Allianz X, has made roughly 15 investments but that portfolio, which includes unicorns Go-Jek and N26, has been enough to help convince it to boost the unit’s capital reserves from €430m to €1bn (which equates to more than $1.1bn). Other factors would be the way in which Allianz X informs its parent’s ongoing move toward a digital business model, and the side deals and joint ventures it has sealed with portfolio companies.

On the IPO front, Pinterest has reportedly filed confidentially for an initial public offering it expects will take place at a valuation in excess of $12bn. The Rakuten-backed social media platform has beefed up revenue significantly in recent years, boosting advertising while also ramping up its commerce options. It will form part of a coterie of decacorns (that’s a valuation of $10bn+) set to float in 2019.

Deals

Reports the week before last stating that Amazon and GM were set to invest in electric truck developer Rivian Automotive at a 10-figure valuation, and those reports have turned out to be half right. Amazon has led a $700m round for Rivian that also featured existing backers likely to include corporates Abdul Latif Jameel and Sumitomo, but GM is yet to make its move, though the carmaker reportedly remains in talks over either an investment or a collaboration agreement.

Vision Fund has also invested in last-mile consumer goods delivery service DoorDash, as part of a $400m series F round that valued it at $7.1bn.

On-demand logistics service provider Lalamove has meanwhile secured $300m in a series D round that valued it at more than $1bn.

In another part of the logistics sector, SoftBank Vision Fund has led a $200m series D round for on-demand personal storage service Clutter at a $600m valuation and is taking a board set in the process.

Online property transaction platform OpenDoor is seeking its own nine-figure round, and is reportedly after $200m that will be raised at a $3.7bn valuation.

Arvelle Therapeutics initially revealed it had spun off from Axovant with more than $100m in funding, but the lead investor in the series A round, LSP, has revealed it was $180m in size.

Retailer Clas Ohlson paid $26m for a 10% stake in Sweden-based online grocer MatHem in 2017 and may have already scored an exit. Investment firm Kinnevik has invested $42.5m in the company while also acquiring $53.5m of shares from existing shareholders through a secondary deal.

Funds

Abu Dhabi’s investment vehicle, Mubadala, provided $15bn for SoftBank’s Vision Fund in 2017 and now it looks like the corporate has exchanged the favour, so to speak.

It’s not quite a fund, but universities in Maryland have supported a potential $16m state government program intended to spur local innovation in the cybersecurity and the life sciences sectors.

Another one that isn’t quite a fund but worth mentioning: Mars Innovation, the commercialisation firm focused on the Toronto cluster, has hired three lobbyists with StrategyCorp to lobby the federal government about “tens of millions of funding”.

Exits

Ucommune has emerged as WeWork’s key competitor, particularly in Asia, and has reportedly hired banks to prepare an initial public offering slated to take place in New York that is expected to value it at about $3bn.

Slack launched its Slack Fund in 2015 and it looks like it’s set to potentially make its first exit, after Palo Alto Networks agreed to acquire cybersecurity orchestration platform developer Demisto for $560m in a cash-and-stock deal that will also enable fellow CVC Wipro Ventures to exit.

SoYoung investors are set for a different kind of exit, after the Chinese cosmetic surgery booking and reviews platform filed confidentially to raise up to $300m in an initial public offering in the US.


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

11 February 2019 – Tencent and the Gaming Industry

Big Three

General Electric’s corporate venturing unit is launching a content portal called Flux to help companies overcome barriers to diversity and inclusiveness.

In game-industry deal-making, there’s Tencent, then there’s everyone else. As a sign of both financial muscle and the need to expand beyond core markets given the effective closing of the Chinese market to new games in 2018, Tencent was either a major shareholder in or investor in four of the top five deals last year that saw record $5.7bn invested in startups, according to Digi-Capital’s Q1 report by Tim Merrell.

SoftBank chief executive Masayoshi Son has said he wants the corporate to eventually raise several iterations of its Vision Fund, and it may have to, considering the vehicle, which is yet to reach its initial $100bn target, has reportedly passed the halfway point in terms of capital allocated.

Deals

Chinese automotive e-commerce platform Guazi could well be the next investment target for SoftBank Vision Fund, which is reportedly in talks to invest up to $1.5bn at an $8.5bn pre-money valuation.

Autonomous driving technology developer Aurora Interactive was formed by alumni of Google, Uber and Tesla’s driverless software units, and has made a big move by raising $530m from investors including Amazon.

OakNorth, a digital bank that caters to both consumers and business customers, has meanwhile become SoftBank Vision Fund’s latest portfolio company.

Electric scooter and e-bike rental service Lime has completed a $310m series D round co-led by GV, whose parent company Alphabet also participated.

Microsoft has invested in Databricks as part of a $250m series E round that valued the big data analytics technology producer at $2.75bn, more than two years after forming a partnership to create a version of its software specifically for Microsoft’s Azure platform.

Zomato has meanwhile received $39.7m from Glade Brook Capital and added it to the $210m invested by Ant Financial in October for a funding round that now stands at about $250m, and which reports last month suggested could potentially reach $1bn.

Raisin puts $114m in its account

Emerging Markets Property Group, the online real estate listings operator whose key brand is Bayut, has raised $100m in series D funding from investors including Exor Seeds, the $100m fund formed by reinsurance company PartnerRe and its parent, Exor.

Healthcare data software provider Health Catalyst on the other hand is valued at about $1bn following a $100m series F round backed by corporate venturing vehicles UPMC Enterprises and Kaiser Permanente Ventures.

Foot Locker kicks $100m into Goat Group

Corporates help scale Himalaya with $100m

University

Spin Memory banks Abies for series B

Blue Water seeks $15m injection

Funds

Sojitz sorts out $33m joint venture fund

Partech packs $143m into African fund

Berkeley encrypts Blockchain Xcelerator

Exits

Palo Alto Networks picks Demisto for acquisition

Alector is developing immuno-neurology drugs that will target the immune system in order to fight neurodegenerative disorders, and it raised $176m when it floated today after pricing its IPO in the middle of its range.

Marinomed hits Vienna Stock Exchange

Long touted as one of the world’s most valuable VC-backed startups, Palantir reached a $20bn valuation in 2015 and reports from 2018 suggested it would seek a valuation roughly double that in a flotation expected to take place this year.

After months of speculation Slack has finally filed, albeit confidentially, to go public. The enterprise messaging platform plans to opt for a direct listing, as Spotify did last year, meaning existing investors including GV, Comcast Ventures and SoftBank Vision Fund will get the chance to divest shares despite Slack not looking to raise additional capital through a flotation. Slack was valued at just over $7.1bn as of its last funding round, in August.

TCR² Therapeutics has set the terms for an initial public offering that will net it $80m if it floats at the top of its range.


“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

17 December 2018 – Grab Reaches $2.85bn in Latest Round

Deals

Grab has boosted its latest round to $2.85bn, taking in $150m from Yamaha Motor through a strategic partnership agreement.

Indonesian online marketplace Tokopedia has confirmed it has secured $1.1bn in a round led by Alibaba and SoftBank Vision Fund, with contributions from SoftBank Ventures Korea and unnamed existing backers.

Facial recognition technology provider Megvii is set to raise $500m in a round that could be led by $200m from Bank of China Group Investment with a possible investment by existing backer Alibaba.

Zymergen raised $130m in a SoftBank-led round two years ago, and now SoftBank’s Vision Fund has returned to lead a $400m series C round for the molecular manufacturing technology provider that included Goldman Sachs, Hanwha Asset Management and several existing investors.

Naspers Ventures is leading a funding round for online education provider Byju’s that has reached $322m on its way to a $400m close.

Financial software provider Plaid has secured $250m in a series C round led by Kleiner Perkins and backed by Goldman Sachs, Andreessen Horowitz, NEA, Spark Capital and Index Ventures that valued it at $2.65bn.

Niantic, the augmented reality game developer best known for Pokémon Go, is close to raising $200m in funding from investors including Samsung and Axiomatic, the eSports company that’s becoming increasingly involved in corporate venturing.

Parking services and technology platform ParkJockey was reported the week before last to be closing in on a SoftBank-led round that could be sized between $800m and $1bn.

Automotive e-commerce platform Vroom has raised $146m in a series G round that was led by a $50m investment from brick-and-mortar car retail chain AutoNation.

Meiri Yitao was incubated as a social commerce-focused fresh produce offshoot of online grocer MissFresh, but has sped out of the blocks, following a $30m series A round in July with $100m in series B funding from investors including SIG Asia Investments.

Things have started to quieten down a bit on Global University Venturing ahead of the Christmas holidays but Genomics, a UK-based drug discovery engine developer spun out of University of Oxford, still managed to extend its series B round to $42m with the close of an oversubscribed second $10.2m tranche.

Funds

Bytedance closed its last round at a valuation of $75bn – enough to make it the world’s most valuable VC-backed private company – and it’s now looking to get into the corporate venturing game itself.

Alcoholic beverage provider Constellation Brands formed its corporate venturing unit three years ago and has now launched a $100m initiative called Focus on Female Founders that will invest in female-led portfolio companies.

On Global University Venturing, we had news that the UCL Technology Fund – co-managed by tech transfer office UCL Business and Albion Capital, is in the process of raising between $95m and $126m for a second vehicle (in the original currency of British pounds, the upper number is actually double that of the first fund – £100m compared with £50m).

Exits

Moderna has raised $604m in what’s reportedly the largest biotech IPO ever, increasing the number of shares in the offering by more than 4.5 million, and it has earmarked the proceeds for the further development of a pipeline that now has more than 20 mRNA therapy and vaccine candidates.

2018’s been quite a year for IPOs but it increasingly looks like next year could dwarf it as unicorn after unicorn moves their chips in place. The latest two to have made a step forward are Uber, which has confidentially filed for an offering some onlookers have suggested could value it at a staggering $120bn, and Slack, which has hired Goldman Sachs as lead underwriter for an IPO that could value it at $10bn.

Basis had big plans to create a stablecoin tied to the US dollar that would potentially be usable as a steady alternative in volatile countries, and raised $133m from investors including GV in April. But those plans have screeched to a halt and Basis announced yesterday it will instead wind down due to regulatory difficulties.


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

27 August 2018 – Walmart Completes $16bn 77% Acquisition of Flipkart

Exits

Walmart has completed its $16bn acquisition of a 77% stake in Indian e-commerce marketplace Flipkart, as part of an ongoing drive into e-commerce that has involved investments in JD.com and Dada-JD Daojia and full acquisitions of Jet.com and Bonobos among others.

China-based immunotherapy developer I-Mab Biopharma raised $220m just a few weeks ago in a series C round featuring corporate venturing unit Tasly Capital, but is reportedly eyeing a $500m initial public offering set for Hong Kong.

The biggest player in China’s news aggregation sector is the Bytedance-owned Toutiao, but newcomer Qutoutiao is making ground fast and has filed for its own IPO, which has a $300m target and which is set to occur in the US.

Live event promotion and ticketing software provider Eventbrite has filed to raise up to $200m in an IPO that will give Square an exit less than a year after it invested as part of an agreement that will make it Eventbrite’s payment processor in some of its biggest markets.

High-end fashion marketplace Farfetch has meanwhile raised more than $700m in funding, and is set to go public after filing for a $100m IPO in the US.

Ascentage Pharma has also raised a big round lately, pulling in $150m in its series C round last month, and its IPO plans seem to be going smoothly.

Ant Financial closed an immense $14bn of funding in June at a reported $150bn valuation, but a forecasted IPO for company, e-commerce giant Alibaba’s financial services spinoff, has now been put back until the end of 2019 at the earliest according to the FT.

Amazingly, that aforementioned flotation of Ascentage was neither the only nor the biggest exit on Global University Venturing – despite the summer holidays! – with an up to $800m acquisition of University of Bristol spinout Ziylo by pharmaceutical firm Novo Nordisk towering over everything else.

Deals

Alibaba acquired food delivery platform Ele.me in May at an enterprise value of $9.5bn, and its latest financial statement reveals it has merged the service with its local services spinoff, Koubei.

Slack has secured $427m in a series H round co-led by Dragoneer and General Atlantic at a valuation exceeding $7.1bn.

Car sharing platform Getaround has become the latest company to raise big money in a SoftBank-led round, taking in $300m from a series D round that included existing backer Toyota.

Primary healthcare service One Medical has raised $180m in funding from investors including GV, and three years after its last round, Carlyle Group has now come in for a $350m primary and secondary investment.

CassTime Technologies, a China-based provider of car servicing and parts to corporate clients, has raised $36.4m to increase its series B round to $95m.

Latch has developed a smart access system for buildings and has secured $70m in a series B round led by Brookfield Ventures, the venture capital arm of Brookfield Asset Management, which will begin installing the systems in buildings being developed by its Brookfield Properties subsidiary.

Upgrade has put together an online offering that combines consumer credit with credit monitoring and financial education tools. It was founded by Renaud Laplanche, also the founder of online lending platform LendingClub (a $1.6bn market cap at present), and it’s moved quickly having just closed a $62m series C round led by CreditEase Fintech Investment Fund.

Funds

Latitude Venture Partners, the Indonesia-based venture capital and business development vehicle affiliated with conglomerate Sinar Mas, has secured $200m in capital.

Drone Fund, the Japan-based venture capital firm that targets unmanned aerial vehicle technology, has now secured telecoms firm KDDI, game producer Sega Sammy, price comparison platform Aucfan, engineering consultancy Japan Asia Group, education provider Leave a Nest and Canal Ventures, the investment arm of systems integrator Nihon Unisys, among others, as limited partners in a fund that is targeting a $27m to $45m final close by the end of September.

Dating platform Bumble has launched a corporate venturing fund that will concentrate on female-founded and female-led businesses.


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

13 August 2018 – Alibaba Plans to Merge Koubei and Ele.me

Deals

Alibaba spun off its local services platform, Koubei, with a $1.1bn round at the start of last year, and acquired food delivery service Ele.me in April 2018 at a $4.5bn valuation. Now the e-commerce firm plans to merge the two in a deal that could be supported with a $3bn to $5bn round that could be led by SoftBank Vision Fund.

Bytedance, the owner of news aggregation app Toutiao and short-form video platform TikTok, is reportedly seeking $3bn in funding in a monster round that would value it at $70bn to $75bn.

WndrCo has formally confirmed that NewTV, the short-form video content platform it founded, has raised $1bn in funding.

WeWork has been among the biggest fundraisers in the VC space in recent years and has added to that by securing $1bn in convertible note financing from SoftBank.

Manbang, the market leader in China’s trucking services market, raised $1.9bn in an April round featuring SoftBank Vision Fund, Tencent and CapitalG, but is reportedly already seeking more funding.

Naspers has been an investor in mobile second-hand e-commerce platform Letgo since 2015 when it supplied $100m in series A funding, and it’s just committed a total of $500m to the company, $150m of which it provided earlier this summer.

Walmart has invested $320m in Chinese grocery delivery platform Dada-JD Daojia as part of a $500m funding round, with another existing investor, JD.com, providing the rest.

Slack had raised more than $840m from investors including SoftBank, Comcast and Alphabet, as of its last round, a $250m series G last September that valued it at $5.1bn post-money.

Zhihu, the Chinese owner of an online platform where some 160 million registered users can crowdsource answers to queries, has confirmed a $270m series E round, though it did not name the participants.

Moviebook runs an online advertising platform that used AI technology to insert product placement into online content. It’s just secured $199m in a series D round co-led by SenseTime and SoftBank’s SBCVC, and will put the proceeds into R&D as it looks to enhance its image optimisation technology with algorithms supplied by SenseTime.

Tot Biopharm has raised $102m in a series C round featuring Center Laboratories Group that will fund the advancement of a pipeline of antibody-drug conjugates intended to treat cancer.

Things were very busy by the end of the week on GUV, with the biggest deal of the day – and week – being an $84m oversubscribed series B round for UK-based cancer-focused biotechnology company Artios Pharma that featured commercialisation firm IP Group.

On GGV, Singaporean state-owned investment firm Temasek has paid $225m for a stake in India-based, corporate-backed ride hailing platform Ola through a secondary share purchase.

Funds

SoftBank is nearing the final $100bn close for its Vision Fund and is already eyeing a second iteration, but in the meantime it’s reportedly looking to put together a $5bn fund for Asian investments, with some 50% earmarked for India-based companies.

Parkwalk Advisors, a fund management subsidiary of commercialisation firm IP Group, has launched University of Cambridge Enterprise Fund VI in partnership with the university’s tech transfer unit, Cambridge Enterprise.

On GGV, Temasek has become a limited partner in the $140m second growth fund run by US-based Ten Eleven Ventures. Ten Eleven focuses on investment in cybersecurity businesses and the new fund – known as TEG II – is expected to enable expansion into new geographic regions including Southeast Asia.

Exits

Social media marketing technology platform Weimob, is heading to the public markets having filed for an initial public offering in Hong Kong.

Linio, the Mexico-based operator of an online marketplace spanning eight Latin American countries, had raised $230m from investors including Tengelmann, Access Industries and Rocket Internet, but some of its backers are bound to have made a loss after it was bought by big-box retailer Falabella for $137m.

GraphicsFuzz, a UK-based graphics driver testing technology spun out of Imperial College London, has been acquired by Google, the internet subsidiary of diversified conglomerate Alphabet.


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

25 September 2017 – Gogoro Raises $300m for Electric Scooter with Swappable Batteries

Deals

Gogoro has developed an electric scooter that it sells alongside access to a network of stations where riders can swap batteries, and it’s raised $300m in a series C round featuring Sumitomo, Engie and Panasonic at a reported valuation of more than $800m.

Slack has officially closed a $250m funding round led by SoftBank Vision Fund that valued it at $5.1bn post-money, a $1.3bn jump from the valuation at which it last raised cash in April 2016, CEO Stewart Butterfield told Bloomberg and the Financial Times.

One of the at the GCV Asia congress was Jeffrey Li, a managing partner at Tencent Investments which last week also took part in a $230m series C+ round for Chinese fresh produce e-commerce platform MissFresh.

Interior design and construction group Shenzhen Grandland was among the investors in a $182m round for YH Global, a 20-year old logistics service provider that operates centres in 50 Chinese cities.

Bayer and Ginkgo Bioworks have launched an as yet unnamed plant microbiome startup, which will be equipped with $100m from a series A round that also includes Viking Global Investors.

Patreon has received $60m in series C funding, taking its total equity financing past the $100m mark. The creator-based payment platform, backed by talent agencies CAA and UTA at series A stage, however told Recode that the $450m valuation mooted in the press last week was incorrect, though Recode believes the actual valuation was only about 10% lower.

LifeMine Therapeutics, a startup developing fungi-based therapies for chronic and currently untreatable diseases, has closed a $55m series A round led by WuXi Healthcare Ventures and backed by fellow corporate venturing units GV, Merck Ventures and Alexandria Venture Investments.

Funds

Baidu has launched a massive $1.5bn vehicle, called Apollo Fund, to invest in 100 startups related to the autonomous driving sector over the next three years.

The government of Hong Kong launched its HK$2bn ($256m) Innovation and Technology Venture Fund (ITVF), inviting venture capital firms to become co-investors.

Let’s look at GlobalUniversityVenturing.com. The Engine, a US-based program initiated by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) aimed at complex technologies, has raised $200m for its first fund.

Exits

ZhongAn has finally priced its IPO and is set to raise $1.5bn when it floats at the top of its range with a $500m investment by SoftBank.

Another China-based company, online lender Qudian, is lining up its own IPO, and has filed to raise up to $750m in a US offering.

Alibaba meanwhile celebrated an exit with the flotation of logistics service Best, which has raised $450m in an initial public offering.

Despegar, the Argentina-based travel and accommodation booking marketplace backed by tourism services provider Expedia, has also entered public markets, raising $332m in an initial public offering in the US.

Mobile event ticketing platform Weiying has raised more than $1bn from investors including Tencent, Dalian Wanda and iDreamSky in under three years, and now it has agreed to merge assets including its film and theatre ticketing divisions with those of rival Maoyan, creating an entity with a 43% share of the market in China.

When it came to the university venturing world, the big news was that UK-based commercialisation firm IP Group has obtained the support of shareholders holding a total of 96.5% of shares in Touchstone Innovations, its peer spun out from Imperial College London.

Canada-based commercialisation firm Mars Innovation partnered drug discovery company Evotec to launch Lab150, a collaboration that will drive research translation for projects emerging from Mars’ member institutions.


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

19 June 2017 – Ride Hailing Services Grab Deals and Much More

Funds

Ping An outlines fintech investment plans

Medicxi nabs corporates to close $300m fund

Novartis and Alphabet subsidiary Verily were among the limited partners for a the late-stage fund, which will complement the GSK and Johnson & Johnson-backed fund  Medicxi closed in 2016.

Japan-based ICT equipment provider Nihon Unisys has formed a $45m corporate venturing unit that will seek out investments in sectors such as robotics, financial technology and the internet of things.

Palo Alto Networks puts together $20m fund

GUV

Galaxy stars in IP Group’s $264m fundraising

GGV

London looks to Better Futures

Exits

Wanderful finds path to acquisition

GGV

Hello bids farewell

Deals

News leaked out in March that ride hailing service Grab was set to raise $1.5bn in a round led by existing investor SoftBank, and sources have told Bloomberg firstly that the round already includes Didi Chuxing, and secondly that Alibaba or Ant Financial is also considering an investment, in order to promote their Alipay platform to Grab’s Southeast Asian customers.

Mobike has raised $600m in a Tencent-led round that will fuel expansion not only in its home country but also in Singapore and the UK.

Careem is taking the Uber model to the Middle East and surrounding countries, and is growing rapidly in the process, doubling the number of cities in which it operates to 80 in the past six months.

A regulatory filing in April indicated Indian ride hailing company Ola was seeking another $100m in funding, and it has reportedly secured some of that already. Hedge fund Tekne Capital Management has provided a sub-$50m amount.

Jaguar Land Rover and its corporate venturing and incubator subsidiary InMotion have invested a combined $25m in ride hailing company Lyft as part of a partnership agreement that will involve Lyft helping test its autonomous driving and mobility services.

Elsewhere in the transport sector, Chinese second hand vehicle marketplace Guazi.com has received $400m in series B funding from investors including steel producer Shougang Group’s Jingxin Venture Capital fund.

UCar, the China-based chauffeured car service that went public last year at a $5.5bn valuation, has formed a corporate venturing fund sized at almost $1.5bn, and its first investment has been to lead a $324m series B round for electric vehicle developer Xiaopeng Motors.

Electric bus producer Proterra raised $140m a recently as January, in a ‘series 5’ round featuring Edison Energy, GM Ventures and Exelon’s Constellation Technology Ventures unit, but it wasn’t finished.

Oppo takes a ride on Ponycar

Drone Racing League takes off with $20m

Following on from news that Amazon is interested in acquiring Slack for upwards of $9bn, but recently bought US-listed Whole Foods for $13.7bn, it turns out Slack is in the process of raising $500m of new funding at a $5bn post-money valuation.

AvidXchange, a provider of automated payment processing technology, has raised $300m in financing from investors including Mastercard, with which it has struck a strategic partnership agreement to supply AvidXchange’s technology to its customers.

Temasek and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec have contributed to a $300m funding round for AvidXchange that also attracted Mastercard and Peter Thiel.

Online brokerage Futu Securities has received more than $145m in a series C round led by Tencent, the corporate investor that also took part in its series A and B rounds.

Element AI elevates itself to $102m series A

Actility admits Cisco to $75m series D

Clutter is one of several on-demand platforms seeking to disrupt the personal storage space, and it has raised $64m in a GV-backed series C round to support growth, both in its home country of the US and abroad.

Twist finds the material to raise $60m

Omada goes on the attack with $50m

GGV

Protix breeds $50.5m investment


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

11 April 2016 – Ant Financial, Alibaba, Human Longevity, Slack, Africa Internet Group, the IFC and more

Deals

Global Corporate Venturing

By far the biggest deal of the past week comes from China, where Ant Financial, the financial services affiliate of e-commerce giant Alibaba, is set to raise more than $3.1bn at a valuation of $60bn.

Alibaba meanwhile also injected an undisclosed sum in China-based food delivery service Ele.me. The investment was first reported in December 2015 and pegged at $1.25bn at a $4.5bn valuation, though details haven’t been confirmed yet.

Another company that’s collected a lot of cash is real estate services provider Lianjia, which has hit a $6.2bn valuation following a $927m round backed by Tencent and Baidu.

Meanwhile, genomics research company Human Longevity, which launched two years ago with $70m from a consortium featuring Illumina, has added a $220m series B round that saw Illumina return and Celgene and GE join.

Slack, the work communications platform, received $200m in fresh funding from investors such as GV and Comcast Ventures, boosting its total to $540m. GCV news editor Robert Lavine took a closer look at the deal in a Big Deal feature article, which I do recommend checking out on globalcorporateventuring.com.

Africa Internet Group, the e-commerce holding group formed by Rocket Internet in 2012 to oversee a variety of platforms in Africa and the Middle East, has added Orange to its investors, securing $85m as part of a strategic partnership agreement.

Global University Venturing

The week’s biggest deal was a $46m series D round for diagnostics platform developer Quanterix. I wrote a Big Deal feature article about the round, which you can find on GlobalUniversityVenturing.com

Global Government Venturing

International Finance Corporation joins Kreditech’s series C round with an $11m commitment, boosting the round to $105m.

Exits

Global Corporate Venturing

Onefinestay, which closed a $40m series D backed by Intel and Hyatt Hotels in June 2015, also received a $73m investment from AccorHotels as part of the deal.

Mars Petcare acquired Smart dog collar developer Whistle for a reported $117m.

Aeglea Biotherapeutics raised $50m in an offering on Nasdaq providing investors Novartis and Eli Lilly with exits.

Global Government Venturing

Oneview Healthcare, an Ireland-based healthcare software developer backed by Enterprise Ireland, has listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), raising A$62.4m ($48m). The company priced its shares at A$3.58, resulting in a market cap of A$208.5m.

Wikihow, a US-based online learning community, has acquired Enterprise Ireland-backed Guidecentral, a US-based company that provides how-to guides and tutorials for DIY projects. Financial terms of the transaction have not been revealed. Guidecentral will continue to operate as a stand-alone brand.

Funds

Singapore-based venture capital firm Monk’s Hill Ventures has closed its first fund at $85m, securing networking equipment manufacturer Cisco, telecommunications firm Telstra and internet company Yahoo Japan as limited partners.

Teralys Capital, a Canada-based fund manager, has held the final close of its Teralys Capital Innovation Fund at C$375m ($288m) that was established under Canada’s Venture Capital Action Plan (VCAP) in collaboration with the government of Quebec.

People

Basil Darwish has left Citi Ventures, after five years in senior vice-president roles, for Wells Fargo where he will act as director of strategic investments.

Jack Young, formerly of Qualcomm Ventures and number two in the 2016 Rising Stars List of Global Corporate Venturing, is joining Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners. If you want to know more about Young’s decision to join DTCP, check out our interview with him on globalcorporateventuring.com

Kiara Bechta-Metti, who previously led commercialisation efforts at Australian government-owned scientific research organisation Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), will join Adelaide University this month.


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

7 March 2016 – Google Capital, Alphabet, Magic Leap, Snapchat, Mercari, AXA, Slack, Souqcom, Vertex, Purdue University, Oregon State University and more

Deals

We tracked 132 deals in the month. While this would be the lowest month for deal activity since September 2014, it is not much below activity in many of the months during the last year and a half, while it is significantly above most months in 2014 as well as prior years. We also typically track some deals after a month ends.

The most active corporate during the month was holding company Alphabet, which invests through its two venturing units Google Capital and GV, which matches trends in recent years, where it has regularly been one of the most active investors.

The most active corporate partner among venture firms was Arch Venture Partners, which invested alongside US-based healthcare company Johnson and Johnson, US-based asset manager Fidelity, China-based healthcare company Wuxi Pharmatech, real estate company Alexandria, and healthcare company Pfizer.

The largest deal in February was the $793.5m series C round raised by US-based augmented reality technology developer Magic Leap, in a deal led by e-commerce firm Alibaba.

The biggest exit of the month was the sale of Ravello Systems, the US-based virtualisation software developer, which was sold to Oracle for $500m. Ravello had raised $54m in venture funding, including $28m in a January 2015 series C round co-led by Qualcomm and SanDisk’s corporate venturing units: Qualcomm Ventures and SanDisk Ventures.

Snapchat, backed by Tencent, Alibaba and Yahoo, boosted its series F round to more than $710m and its overall funding to more than $1.3bn with $175m from Fidelity.

Mercari rises with $75m round.

AXA invested €75m in e-commerce holding vehicle Africa Internet Group last month and the round has now been boosted to €300m ($326m) with commitments from MTN, Rocket Internet and Goldmn Sachs.

Messaging platform Slack has so far raised $340m from investors including GV but is now seeking an additional $150m in the wake of it ramping up staff numbers and launching a TV advertising campaign.

Influitive, the creator of an advocacy marketing platform, raised about $30m in July and has now attracted new funding to take its NTT Docomo-backed series B round to almost $39m. The capital helped to support the acqui-hire of scheduling app developer Ironark Software.

Souq.com has shown that e-commerce growth in Asia isn’t restricted to the usual suspects of China, India and Southeast Asia, raising more than $270m at a reported $1bn+ valuation.

Electronic component manufacturer Murata Manufacturing Company led a $19m series B round for US-based power conversion semiconductor developer Arctic Sand Technologies, a spinout of MIT. more

People moves

Ben Brabyn, former COO of UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) Innovation Gateway, has been appointed head of UK-based technology accelerator Level39.

Michael Fernandes has left Malaysian sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional to become a partner and co-head of South and Southeast Asian operations at Leapfrog Investments. At Khazanah Nasional, he was manager of the healthcare portfolio, valued at $7bn on the Singapore stock exchange.

Monika Gierszewska has been appointed as director of incubator SetSquared’s Bristol branch. SetSquared is a collaboration between the universities of Bristol, Bath, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey. (more)

Funds

Vertex Venture Holdings, the wholly-owned investment arm of Singapore government’s state fund Temasek, has held the final close of its Vertex Ventures Israel fund at $150m. The fund had a target of $100m.

InnovFin, a joint initiative of EIF and EIB, has signed a deal to provide $100m to LeumiTech to support Israel-based businesses.

Purdue University has set up a $10m seed-stage fund to build on its successes from last year, when Purdue created a total of 40 new businesses, incl. 25 spinouts. The fund will be jointly managed by the university’s startup accelerator, Purdue Foundry, and the University Development Office.

Oregon State University launches fund with Rogue Venture Partners that is expected to raise between $10m and $20m and will invest in companies within the state. OSU will provide a fifth of the capital.


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