15 October 2018 – Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund Invests $45bn in SoftBank’s Second Vision Fund

Funds

SoftBank has for a few months discussed its intentions to launch a second $100bn Vision Fund, and it will have received a hefty incentive with news that Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund intends to put up $45bn for the new fund.

Foxconn has formed a $545m investment fund that will invest in semiconductor ventures including the launch of five integrated-circuit design companies and one high-performance chip developer.

Tencent Investments, internet group Tencent’s corporate venturing unit, is meanwhile in talks with family offices and other potential limited partners for a $650m fund that will focus on follow-on investments in its portfolio companies.

Chrysalix takes corporates to RoboValley for new fund

Another interesting development in the past two or three years has been the increased entry of packaged food producers into corporate venturing. The likes of Kellogg, General Mills and Tyson Foods have been joined by Kraft Heinz, which is committing $100m to an investment initiative called Evolv Ventures.

University

Theodorus unveils $23m fund

Université libre de Bruxelles has added a fourth Theodorus fund to its arsenal with an initial close of $23m and a target of up to $33.5m.

Yissum fabricates $6m nanotech fund

HUJ’s tech transfer arm still hopes to raise a further $3m for the fund for a $9m close, and it has already invested in three technologies.

Deals

SoftBank has pumped billions of dollars into workspace provider WeWork to build up a stake of almost 20%, and the WSJ has reported that its Vision Fund is now considering an investment between $15bn and $20bn that will give it a majority stake in the company.

Xiaozhu, the short-term accommodation platform seen by many as China’s Airbnb, hasraised almost $300m in a round led by Yunfeng Capital.

Snowflake Computing has to be one of the fastest growing companies in the startup space right now. The data warehousing software provider raised $263m at a post-money valuation of $1.76bn in January and now, nine months later, has secured $450m in a round that valued it at $3.95bn post-money.

There’s been a lot about digital banking in recent months but much of the dealflow has been going on in Europe. Nubank however is showing that the model can be expanded to other markets, and the Brazilian company has raised $180m from Tencent at a reported $4bn valuation.

JFrog jumps to $165m series D

University

Glympse Bio engineers $22m series A

Exits

Redlock heads to Palo Alto in $173m acquisition

GV exits as Anju inhales Zephyr

Orchard Therapeutics has filed to raise almost $173m in an initial public offering, having secured more than $290m in equity funding in under three years. GlaxoSmithKline is the gene therapy developer’s second largest shareholder, with a 17.9% stake, while Medison and Sphera Global Health Care are also investors, having participated in its $150m series C round in August.

Synthetic DNA producer Twist Bioscience has filed to raise up to $86.3m in an initial public offering on the Nasdaq Global Market.


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

29 January 2018 – Ping An Insurance On a Roll

Deals

Ping An Insurance is on a roll. At the end of November, the insurance provider was gearing up for a $1bn IPO of Ping An Good Doctor, and now it has raised nearly $1bn for its medical data collection and analysis subsidiary Ping An Healthcare Management at a $8.8bn valuation.

Tencent continues to go from strength to strength in its corporate venturing activities, and is set to lead a $1bn round for Kuaishou, a photo and video sharing app that’s now become one of the key players in China’s livestreaming sector.

Mobike, the bike-sharing company, has raised $1bn in its latest funding round, according to press reports.

Another company that’s growing at a rapid pace is Katerra, the creator of an end-to-end construction services business. It was only founded around three years ago but has just raised $865m in a series D round led by SoftBank Vision Fund that valued it at a little over $3bn.

Orix has provided $60m of a $70m extension to peer-to-peer lending platform Dianrong’s series D round, which has been increased to $290m.

Snowflake Computing, a cloud data storage technology developer, has raised $263m in series E funding at a pre-money valuation of $1.5bn. Capital One Growth Ventures, which previously backed a $105m series D round in September 2017, returned for the round co-led by Sequoia, Iconiq Capital and Altimeter Capital.

Maxi Mobility, the on-demand ride provider that oversees Cabify and EasyTaxi in Iberia and Latin America, has raised $160m in a Rakuten Ventures-backed round that values it at $1.4bn.

Ring, the maker of a smart doorbell video system, is raising $160m at a valuation of nearly $1bn, according to a securities filing. The company most recently closed a $109m debt and equity round a year ago, with backers including mobile semiconductor producer Qualcomm, insurance firm American Family and real estate firm JF Shea and other prominent investors, such as Richard Branson.

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board has paid $144m for a 6.3% stake in Indian renewable energy developer ReNew Power, valuing it at almost $2.3bn.

Immunotherapy developer Tmunity Therapeutics, a spinout from University of Pennsylvania, has closed a $100m series A round that added Gilead Sciences, Ping An, Ventures and Be The Match BioTherapies to existing backers including Lilly Asia Ventures as well as Penn itself.

Stem, a producer of scalable energy storage systems, has raised $80m from Activate Capital, Temasek and another Canadian pension investor, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, for the first close of its series D round.

Constellation Technology Ventures has also participated in a $75m round for PrecisionHawk, the developer of a drone control system for enterprises.

Funds

Cybersecurity software provider and internet company Qihoo 360 has formed a $156m venture fund in partnership with Beijing Cultural Center Fund that will invest in internet and media-focused companies.

ING, the Dutch financial services firm, has set its sights on sustainable businesses and launched a $123m fund specifically aimed at startups developing products and services with a positive environmental impact.

Orange, Edenred and JCDecaux meanwhile are recognising Africa as the next big market and have put their weight behind the $70m first close of a $123m fund that is being raised by Partech Ventures.

On GUV, University of Tokyo Edge Capital, a venture capital affiliate of University of Tokyo, has raised an initial ¥15.6bn ($143m) of a ¥25bn spinout-focused investment fund. The capital has been provided by unnamed, domestic financial services firms.

Exits

Figs, a US-based medical apparel producer backed by footwear brand Crocs, has raised $65m from diversified holding company Tulco and will use the capital to buy out existing investors, making Tulco the only external investor.

Digital media company Gree has exited Indonesia-based property listings portal UrbanIndo in an acquisition of undisclosed size by real estate portal 99.co. UrbanIndo received an undisclosed amount of seed funding from venture capital firm East Ventures in 2012 before adding an undisclosed sum in a 2013 series A round led by Gree’s corporate venturing unit, Gree Ventures.

Primary Data, a US-based data virtualisation software producer backed by computer technology provider Dell Technologies, is shutting down after failing to attract enough clients.

Home24, a Germany-based online home and living product retailer backed by e-commerce holding group Rocket Internet, is gearing up for an initial public offering.

Entertainment company Modern Times Group MTG (MTG) secured an exit from France-based media group Trace as TPG Growth, part of private equity group TPG, acquired a majority stake.


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