24 June 2019 – Slack Goes Public with $19.5bn Valuation

The Big Ones

Wealth management platform Paytm Money’s only funding so far has been a $10m investment by parent company One97 Communications, but it is said to be preparing a round that could be up to $1.2bn in size that will include SoftBank and Ant Financial.

Slack finally went public on Thursday in a direct listing that so far qualifies as one of the year’s notable successes. Its shares had been allocated a $26 guidance price by the New York Stock Exchange but they finished at $38.62 on its first day of trading giving the messaging platform a valuation of about $19.5bn.

Cathay Capital’s Cathay Innovation fund has raised $358m for the first close of its second fund, whose LPs include Valeo, SEB, Michelin, ADP, Accor, BioMérieux, Dassault, JCDecaux, Kering and Pernod Ricard.

On GUV, Imcyse, a Belgium-based immunotherapy developer spun out of KU Leuven, raised €28m ($31.4m) in funding from investors including the university. Life Sciences Partners led the round, which also included Belgian state-owned investment firm SFPI-FPIM, Wallonia government investment firm SRIW, growth capital firm Epimède, family office Biogenosis and private equity firm Noshaq.

Deals

Autonomous driving technology developer Aurora Innovation has boosted its series B round to more than $600m, pulling in funding from investors including Hyundai and subsidiary Kia Motors.

SoftBank Vision Fund has led a $205m round for Collective Health, the developer of a software platform that helps businesses manage their employee health plans more efficiently.

Vision Fund is reportedly also in talks with Indian fitness and wellness services provider CureFit over an investment of $200m to $350m that would value it at more than $1bn.

Zhenkunhang, the operator of an online marketplace for industrial equipment and procurement services, has captured $160m in a series D round led by Tencent.

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board is set to pay $150m for an 8% stake in logistics services provider Delhivery through a secondary transaction. The company has raised nearly $670m in funding from investors including SoftBank Vision Fund, Fosun and Times Internet.

NTT-backed data management software producer Druva has already reached that $1bn valuation, in a $130m round led by Viking Global Investors.

Rapt Therapeutics has taken its series C round from $60m to $97m, raising the additional capital from the participants in the first tranche, which include GV.

Digital payment technology provider RazorPay is now valued at $450m, after securing $75.4m in its series C round. The India-based company has reportedly now received a total of $107m in funding and its earlier backers include Mastercard and GMO Venture Partner.

Viela Bio, an autoimmune and inflammatory disease drug developer founded by AstraZeneca, has closed a $75m series B round led by investment firm HBM Healthcare Investments that boosted its overall funding to more than $300m.

Funds

Northern Accelerator, a UK-based commercialisation grouping of four universities in northeast England, is seeking to raise £100m ($125m) for a venture fund to back spinouts and startups. Northern Accelerator will select a management partner for the new fund, dubbed North East University Investment Fund, in November 2019 following a formal tender process and Q&A presentations in London and Newcastle.

PreSeed Ventures, a venture firm owned by Technical University of Denmark (DTU), is targeting DKr350m ($52.5m) for a new fund focused on early-stage tech businesses.

Exits

Stoke Therapeutics is developing treatments for genetic diseases, and has gone public having priced its initial public offering above its range while also increasing the number of shares it is issuing.

Gene therapy developer Prevail Therapeutics has secured $125m in an IPO priced in the middle of its range. The AbbVie Ventures-backed startup had raised $129m since it was founded in 2017, and it will use the proceeds to advance treatments for neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, neuronopathic Gaucher disease and frontotemporal dementia.

Naspers subsidiary PayU has agreed to buy Iyzico, a Turkish digital payment platform that counts Beenos as an investor, for $165m.


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

10 June 2019 – Google Agrees $2.6bn Acquisition of Looker

The Big Ones

JD.com has agreed to lead a round for electronics recycler Aihuishou that will be more than $500m in size. The deal will also involve JD.com, an investor in the company since at least 2015, merging its second-hand e-commerce subsidiary, Paipai, with Aihuishou.

Google has agreed to purchase data analytics software provider Looker in a $2.6bn acquisition that will surely be one of the year’s largest.

SoftBank Vision Fund is still seeking out new forms of financing, and is reportedly in talks with banks such as Goldman Sachs over a $4bn debt financing package that will effectively use its stakes in Uber, Guardant Health and the soon-to-list Slack as its basis.

Healthcare-focused investment firm Deerfield Management added a partnership with Columbia University to its roster of academic biomedical alliances yesterday with the launch of an up to $130m investment vehicle, Hudson Heights Innovations.

Deals

Swiggy is battling Zomato for dominance in India’s online food delivery sector, and may be about to recruit a powerful ally in SoftBank.

Bordrin Motor is the latest Chinese smart electric vehicle developer to pull in big funding, securing $362m in a round led by a Sinochem vehicle called Silver Saddle Equity Investment Management.

Speaking of SoftBank, the telecommunications and internet group has also invested $200m in online consumer loan provider Creditas.

Hupu is still preparing to float in its home country of China, but before that, digital media company Bytedance has invested $182m in the sport-focused online media provider in return for a 30% stake.

Foursquare seems to have been around forever and has had some hiccups, but it’s raising more money than ever. Merchant bank Raine Group has invested $150m in the location-based app developer, whose existing backers include Naver and corporate venturing units OATV and Simon Ventures, and is using some of it to acquire location data-tracking software provider Placed from Snap, which bought the company for $135m two years ago.

SoftBank Vision Fund invested $100m in Brazilian logistics platform Loggi towards the end of last year and has now returned to lead another $100m round.

Endpoint security software provider SentinelOne has secured $120m in a series D round that included Samsung Venture Investment to boost its total funding to $230m.

Yellowbrick Data has raised $81m in series C funding from investors including BMW i Ventures, Siemens’ Next47 unit and Alphabet subsidiary GV to boost its overall funding to $173m.

Exits

Global Fashion Group, a consortium made up of investors including Rocket Internet, Access Industries and Tengelmann Ventures that oversees four fashion e-commerce marketplaces is looking to go public as early as next month.

Japanese digital business card platform Sansan has priced its initial public offering at the top of its range and is set to raise about $360m, including the over-allotment option, when it floats in Tokyo.

Adaptive Biotechnologies has filed to raise up to $230m in an initial public offering, following the inking of a collaboration deal with Genetech in December that could potentially be worth $2bn.

Another unicorn, fitness subscription service Peloton, has confidentially filed for an initial public offering. Its investors include Comcast NBCUniversal and Grace Beauty, and it was valued at more than $4.1bn when it last raised money, in August.


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

20 May 2019 – JD Health Agrees Series A Funding Suspected to Total More Than $1bn

The Big Ones

JD.com has agreed to take in series A funding from CICC Capital, Baring Private Equity Asia and CPEChina Fund that is expected to total more than $1bn, for healthcare services subsidiary JD Health.

Not the week’s biggest fund in terms of numbers, but an intriguing one nonetheless: Telkomsel, the mobile network subsidiary of Indonesia-headquartered telecommunications company Telkom Indonesia, has launched a $40m VC fund in collaboration with telecoms firm Singapore Telecommunications.

When it came to exits, we had a nice crossover between corporate and university with NextCure, a US-based immuno-oncology drug developer based on research at Yale University, that secured $75m in its initial public offering.

Deals

Quibi raised $1bn for its short-form streaming platform back when was known as New TV, and it’s now seeking an additional $1bn to fund content production.

SoftBank Vision Fund’s latest investment involves it supplying $800m in funding for supply chain finance provider GreenSill at a $3.5bn valuation.

Amazon isn’t a huge participant in the corporate venturing space despite its establishment of the early stage-focused Alexa Fund. But it’s led a $575m series G round for UK-based online food delivery service Deliveroo that took the latter’s funding past the $1.5bn mark.

Telecommunications technology provider China Electronics Corporation is investing approximately $548m in Beijing Qianxin Technology, a network security product supplier spun off from Qihoo 360.

Reports last month stated SoftBank was set to invest more than $550m in Germany-based tour booking service GetYourGuide but the end result is slightly more modest, if still impressive.

Vegan burger producer Impossible Foods recently launched in Asia and is set to ramp up its partnership with Burger King. It plans to fund that expansion with a $300m funding round closed at a reported $2bn valuation.

SoftBank Vision Fund’s latest Indian investment has involved it leading a $200m series F round for online grocery delivery service Grofers that valued it at more than $1bn.

Speaking of innovative business models, tube-based transport developer Virgin Hyperloop One has already raised new funding, netting $172m according to a regulatory filing, with at least $90m of that sum coming from port operator DP World and the rest from around 80 additional investors.

ETechAces, the owner of financial product comparison platforms PolicyBazaar and PaisaBazaar, has raised $152m in a round led by SoftBank Vision Fund.

Working space provider Kr Space is one of China-based 36 Kr’s network of companies, but the spinoff has fared better than most, having just secured $145m that will support an expansion into the Asia Pacific region.

Nextdoor’s geographically-arranged social network now spans more than 230,000 neighbourhoods across multiple countries, and it’s secured $123m in series D funding to support an international growth drive that has most recently seen it enter Scandinavia.

Funds

Gree Ventures, the corporate venturing arm of Japan-based digital media company Gree, has reached the first close of a fund called Strive III which it intends to close at ¥15bn ($137m).

Diversified Philippines-based conglomerate JG Summit Holdings has launched a $50m corporate venturing fund dubbed JG Digital Equity Ventures (JG DEV).

Nabventures, the investment arm of the India-based National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard), is aiming to raise up to Rs 7bn ($99.4m) for a venture capital fund.

Universal Display Corporation, the US-based developer of organic light emitting diode (OLED) technologies and materials, has established a corporate venturing arm called UDC Ventures.

Exits

CrowdStrike was valued at more than $3bn when it last raised funding, in 2018, and now it’s filed for an initial public offering.

Family tracking and communication app developer Life360 may be headquartered in the US but it’s taken the unusual step of floating on the Australian Securities Exchange.

Sansan has been one of Japan’s more well-funded VC-stage companies, raising some $120m from investors that include Salesforce as well as home-grown corporates Japan Post, CyberAgent, Recruit, GMO, Nippon Life and Nikkei.


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

13 May 2019 – Uber Raises $8.1bn in IPO

The Big Ones

Uber has finally gone public, raising $8.1bn in an IPO that allowed SoftBank Vision Fund to retain its position as largest shareholder while selling $249m of shares. The company priced its shares toward the lower end of the range, and so fell well short of early reports suggesting it could be valued at up to $120bn.

SoftBank is still weighing up options for boosting the size of its Vision Fund to match its ongoing flurry of investments, and is reportedly considering taking it to the public markets. It has spoken to banks about a possible IPO for the fund in addition to talking to Oman about a multibillion-dollar contribution to a second Vision Fund.

General Motors acquired autonomous driving software provider Cruise Automation in 2016 and has now contributed to a $1.15bn funding round featuring Honda and SoftBank Vision Fund, and which valued it at $19bn post-money.

And in a nice crossover, Twentyeight-Seven (28-7) Therapeutics, a US-based cancer drug development spinout of Harvard University, has extended its series A round to $82.8m with a $15m second tranche backed by spinout-focused investment firm Osage University Partners.

Deals

Megvii’s facial recognition technology is facing scrutiny due to its role in China’s increasingly widespread surveillance activities, but that doesn’t seem to have deterred investors.

Chinese smart electric car developer Byton is raising $100m from automotive manufacturer FAW Group that will form part of a series C round Byton expects to close at $500m.

Goldman Sachs Principal Strategic Investments has invested in VC asset management platform and services provider Carta as part of a $300m series E round that valued it at $1.7bn.

Electronics and appliance retailer Suning has agreed to commit $210m to a fund being raised by private equity firm Yunfeng Capital that is expected to close at $2.5bn.

MGI, genomics service provider BGI’s genetic sequencing technology spinoff, has raised $200m in funding from several institutional investors, money that will be put toward R&D and international expansion.

Taxi-ordering platform developer Gett has added $120m from Volkswagen and Access Industries to a round that now totals $200m, at a $1.5bn post-money valuation.

Funds

Electronics and appliance retailer Suning has agreed to commit $210m to a fund being raised by private equity firm Yunfeng Capital that is expected to close at $2.5bn.

On GUV, MIT Solve, the social enterprise incubator and forum run by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), is looking to raise $30m for an impact-centred philanthropic investment vehicle dubbed Solve Innovation Fund.

Exits

Razor and men’s grooming product subscription service Harry’s has agreed to a $1.37bn purchase by Edgewell, owner of brands like Wilkinson Sword and Schick.

DouYu was planning to kick off its IPO roadshow this week but has instead put proceedings on hold, due to US tariffs on Chinese imports. The China-based game streaming and eSports platform developer had set an initial $500m target, and Tencent – the internet group that is the world’s largest game publisher – owns more than 40% of the company.


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

29 April 2019 – Uber Sets Terms for $9bn IPO

The Big 3

Uber has set terms for an IPO that will raise $9bn if it floats at the top of its range. SoftBank is among the selling shareholders, though it will remain the largest shareholder in the on-demand ride provider.

Uber has also confirmed its autonomous driving division, otherwise known as Uber Advanced Technologies Group, has raised $1bn from external investors. Toyota said its share consisted of the $500m it provided for strategic partner Uber last August, while SoftBank Vision Fund invested $333m with the rest provided by Denso.

Hitachi has not been too active in the corporate venturing space, but that looks likely to change with the institution of a $150m fund called Hitachi Ventures that is set to formally begin operations in June.

And in a nice university-corporate VC crossover, US-based online education platform Coursera secured $103m in a series E round led by online education and recruitment firm Seek Group.Future Fund, Australia’s sovereign wealth fund, also took part in the round, as did venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates (NEA).

Deals

Ford has agreed to invest $500m in electric SUV and truck developer Rivian, just two months after the latter pulled in $700m in an Amazon-led funding round.

3D printing hasn’t yet become the goldmine some were predicting, but the market leaders are still raising funds quite easily. Carbon is seeking $300m in its forthcoming series E round according to a regulatory filing, at a valuation expected to be around the $2.5bn mark.

KeepTruckin has raised $149m at a $1.25bn valuation, from investors including Alphabet subsidiary GV. GV has been an investor in KeepTruckin since its seed round, back when the unit was still known as Google Ventures, and the series D round took the fleet management technology producer’s total funding to $228m. Greenoaks Capital led the round, which included IVP, Index Ventures and Scale Venture Partners.

Two affiliates of state-owned aerospace manufacturer Aviation Industry Corporation of China have provided $149m of funding for airline services provider Global Wings.

Loon, the orbital internet connectivity system developer formed by Alphabet, has received $125m from HapsMobile, a joint venture between SoftBank and Aerovironment that is developing high-altitude digital infrastructure.

Funds

Allianz has become the latest company to fund an independent venture firm alongside its existing corporate venturing activities.

University of Chicago at Illinois (UIC) partnered investment firm Deerfield Management yesterday to launch translational research funding and commercialisation vehicle West Loop Innovations. Deerfield will provide up to $65m in capital to West Loop Innovations, which will help advance promising discoveries at the university. In particular, the fund is expected to solidify UIC’s strengths in drug discovery.

Exits

Douyu, the game streaming platform that’s been called China’s Twitch, has filed for a $500m initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange.

Content management software provider Fastly has become the latest corporate-backed tech company to file for an IPO, and is officially targeting $100m.

Peer-to-peer car rental marketplace Getaround has paid $300m to acquire peer Drivy in order to create a car sharing service with 5 million users across the US and Europe.

On GUV, Bellwether Bio, a US-based oncological diagnostics spinout of University of Washington, has been acquired by early cancer detection test company Guardant Health for an undisclosed sum.


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

08 April 2019 – Cambridge Innovation Capital Collates $196m in New Capital

The Big Three

The fresh capital, anchored by University of Cambridge and its Endowment Fund, will enable patient capital-orientated vehicle Cambridge Innovation Capital to make new bets and sustain investments in its existing portfolio. Delighted Tony Raven joining us to share more at the Symposium as well as his peers at Oxford university.

Intel Capital has announced 14 investments (see below), the largest of which involved it leading a $150m series B round for artificial intelligence application platform SambaNova. The round also featured GV, which had previously co-led a $56m series A announced when SambaNova emerged from stealth early last year.

Precision Biosciences has gone public in a $126m IPO that valued it at more than $780m, notching up exits for Amgen Ventures and Baxter Ventures. The genome editing technology developer floated in the middle of its range but its share price has since risen, and the offering comes after more than $175m in equity and convertible note financing.

Funds

After nearly two years, SoftBank Vision Fund still hasn’t officially reached its $100bn targeted close, but it is reportedly seeking $15bn in extra capital that will allow it to keep making investments, including follow-on investments, while it prepares to raise a second $100bn fund. It may have to do it sooner rather than later, because sources told Bloomberg it has now gone through 70% of its capital and it’s investing at a breakneck pace.

Pet food and care provider Mars Petcare has launched a $100m strategic investment fund, the Companion Fund, in connection with its creation of an open innovation unit called Kinship.

Chevron Technology Ventures checks $90m for Fund VII

Corporates buy into ByFounders’ $112m debut fund

Okta verifies $50m corporate venturing fund

UT Health San Antonio loads biomedical accelerator

UTokyo IPC ignites accelerator

Exits

Thoma Bravo fires off Mailgun acquisition

TradingView takes in TradeIt

Chinese social media influencer network Ruhnn has gone public in the US, raising $125m. Weibo bought $8m of shares in the Alibaba-backed company through the IPO, which involved Ruhnn floating in the middle of its range.

NGM Biopharmaceuticals secured $107m when it floated, together with $65.9m from existing backer and development partner Merck & Co through a private placement.

Slack has reportedly selected the New York Stock Exchange as the venue for a direct listing slated to take place in June or July. The enterprise collaboration platform is backed by SoftBank Vision Fund, GV and Comcast Ventures and was valued at more than $7bn as of last year.

Life360 circles Australia for $100m IPO

Oxford Nanopore sets sights on IPO

Deals

Hellobike raised more than $580m from backers including Ant Financial at the tail end of last year and is reportedly seeking $500m to $1bn in new funding. It claims to have 200 million registered users but either way, you’d think it’s going to have to find a route to profit sooner or later in order to survive.

India-based Zoomcar operates in another part of the transport tech space, in on-demand car rental. It is also gearing up for a big leap forward, negotiating with carmaker Mahindra & Mahindra for a $500m debt and equity round that would potentially take it into unicorn territory, representing a sixfold increase in valuation between rounds.

Toast, the developer of a point-of-sale and business management software platform for the restaurant industry, has secured $250m in series E funding at a $2.7bn valuation.

Customer data management platform Segment has secured $175m in a series D roundco-led by GV that valued it at $1.5bn. The round increased Segment’s funding to $284m to date, and it follows a $64m round nearly two years ago that was also co-led by GV. The proceeds will go to marketing and a global expansion drive.

Indian grocery e-commerce platform BigBasket is meanwhile in the process of raising $150m at a valuation of about $1.2bn, according to regulatory filings. Existing investor Alibaba is set to provide $50m and will retain a 26.2% stake post-investment, maintaining its position as BigBasket’s largest shareholder.

SpringWorks blossoms with $125m series B

Fusion gets reaction in $105m series B

Gene editing tool provider Inscripta has raised a further $20m to increase its series C round to approximately $106m.

Hotel room booking platform Oyo has confirmed it has raised funding from Airbnb, an investment reportedly sized somewhere between the $100m and $200m mark.

University

NextGen Jane nets $9m in series A funding


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

11 March 2019 – SoftBank Announces $5bn Latin America SoftBank Innovation Fund

The big ones

SoftBank, SoftBank, SoftBank. It feels like that’s all we’re talking about on this podcast, and that shows no sign of stopping, as the telecoms and internet group has taken the wrapper off a $5bn vehicle dubbed SoftBank Innovation Fund which will focus on Latin American deals.

After all these years, ride hailing still looks to be the area of the VC world where the big bucks are going, and Grab has boosted its series H round to $4.5bn with a $1.46bn investment by SoftBank Vision Fund.

Lyft has become the first of the ride hailing companies to file for an IPO, setting an initial target of $100m. Rakuten is the largest investor in Lyft, valued at some $15bn last year, while Alphabet and GM also own decent-sized stakes, but the greatest attention may be paid to its finances.

Beam Therapeutics, a genetic medicine developer spun out of Harvard University, has followed up an $87m series A round in mid-2018 with a $135m series B featuring GV that will go to recruitment, technology development and the expansion of its base editing programs.

Deals

Go-Jek is meanwhile said to be valued at about $9.5bn, and has raised $100m from conglomerate Astra International as part of a round it intends to close at around $3bn.

Chinese smart electric vehicle producer WM Motor has raised $446m in a series C round led by existing investor Baidu, with which WM is also partnering in order to further develop its AI technology in a bid to bring self-driving vehicles to market in the next three years.

Vision Fund, which really is having an insanely busy month even by its own high standards, has also invested $350m to lead a $395m series F round for last-mile logistics provider Delhivery.

Mobile bank Chime has also reached unicorn status, tripling its valuation to $1.5bn with a $200m series D round led by DST Global.

Digital insurance startup Friday has received $128m in funding on, suitably enough, the Friday before last, with the majority of the cash coming from insurance holding company Baloise Group, which founded the company at the start of 2017 and which remains its majority shareholder.

Funds

SoftBank Vision Fund has been the biggest growth-stage investor of the past two years and if anything its activity is ramping up, the unit having made nine or 10-digit investments in Nuro, Chehaoduo, Flexport, DoorDash and Clutter in the past month.

Healthcare investment firm Gilde Healthcare has had a long-term partnership with Philips, which has backed several of its funds, while Johnson & Johnson has also been a corporate LP for the firm.

Contrary Capital, a university-focused venture firm with connections to dozens of US institutions, aims to raise $35m for its second vehicle from pooled investment funds, according to a regulatory filing published Wednesday.

Exits

Biogen has offered to pay $25.50 in cash per share to pay a total of approximately $800m for Nightstar Therapeutics, a spinout of University of Oxford that went public back in 2017.

Social media company YY owned almost 32% of livestreaming platform developer Bigo after leading its $272m series D round last June, and now it’s paid $1.45bn to complete the acquisition by purchasing the remainder of its shares.

Online classifieds operator 58 has revealed it sold $713m of its shares in automotive e-commerce platform Chehaoduo to an investor likely to be SoftBank Vision Fund, which invested $1.5bn in Chehaoduo last week.

China-based Ruhnn is three years old and pursuing a very ‘now’ business model, operating a network of social media influencers that can be hired for promotions or marketing, and has filed to raise up to $200m in an IPO in the US.

Data management platform developer DataStax has hired underwriters to work on its own IPO, according to Reuters, and is seeking a $1bn valuation.

Precision BioSciences, a US-based genomic medicine spinout of Duke University, has filed to raise up to $100m in an initial public offering.


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

04 March 2019 – Honda, Panasonic and Omron Become Limited Partners in NordicNinja VC’s First Fund

Big 3

Charles Conn and Patrick Pichette will join Oxford Sciences Innovation to become chief executive and chairman, respectively, with founder Dave Norwood retiring.

Honda, Panasonic and Omron are among the limited partners of NordicNinja VC’s inaugural fund, which will focus on deep tech and help northern European startups expand into Asia.

Novartis has joined forces with Blackstone Life Sciences to launch cardiovascular drug developer Anthos Therapeutics.

Deals

Reports earlier this month suggested SoftBank Vision Fund was considering a large investment in automotive e-commerce platform Chehaoduo and today the company confirmed it secured a commitment for $1.5bn from the telecoms giant.

AI chip developer Horizon Robotics added $600m to its coffers today thanks to two subsidiaries of conglomerate SK Group – SK China and SK Hynix – as well as several unnamed Chinese carmakers.

Danke Apartment, the Chinese company that splits existing flats for families into smaller units and rents them out to young professionals, has collected $500m in a series C round co-led by Ant Financial and Tiger Global Management.

Coinbase raised $300m in series E capital back in October but now reports have emerged that GIC, the sovereign wealth fund of Singapore, was part of that round too. T

GV has meanwhile helped launch Maze Therapeutics by contributing to a $191m funding round that also featured Alexandria Venture Investments. Maze, which has three preclinical candidates in its pipeline, will exploit genetic modifiers – genes that affect the severity of a disease – to tackle a variety of diseases, though it’s keeping shtum about what those are for now.

Ÿnsect is aiming to tackle environmental issues in the food supply chain by breeding mealworms and using them as the basis for fish feed, pet food and fertiliser, and now the company has added sugar producer Finasucre to its shareholders following a $125m series C round.

Motif Ingredients has been spun out of biotech firm Ginkgo Bioworks with $90m in series A capital from investors including merchant firm Louis Dreyfus Company and dairy cooperative Fonterra.

Exits

Spark Therapeutics publicly listed in 2015 and is set to net Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia up to $458m following its acquisition by Roche.

Reports about Uber wanting to merge its Middle East operations with those of Careem go back to July last year, but it looks like the deal’s closure is approaching fast and with a higher price tag attached – $3bn in cash and shares instead of the initially reported $2bn to $2.5bn. I

A (possible) exit of a different kind came for Motorola Solutions Venture Capital, whose portfolio company GoCanvas has attracted $150m from K1 Investment Management in what has widely been billed as a majority stake purchase.

CStone Pharmaceuticals, a China-based biopharmaceutical company backed by Taikang and WuXi PharmaTech, raised $285m in its IPO and achieved a valuation of $1.5bn after selling shares to both Hong Kong and international investors.

Zoom, the video conferencing platform backed by Qualcomm, is inching ever closer to a long-rumoured initial public offering and it looks like April is the current target.

Tiger Brokers, an online brokerage backed by consumer electronics company Xiaomi and digital brokerage Interactive Brokers Group, meanwhile filed for a $150m initial public offering on Nasdaq.

Digital brokerage Futu has meanwhile revised its initial public offering plans and now hopes to raise up to $150m when it lists on the Nasdaq Global Market.

Centogene scents IPO

Funds

EU-owned institutions including the EIF are pouring capital and assistance into an early-stage tech transfer vehicle for the Fraunhofer network of applied research institutes.


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

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

28 January 2019 – Stanford StartX Fund Comes to an End

The big 3

For all the talk about the big numbers of 2018 – Global Corporate Venturing tracked 2,775 deals worth an estimated total of $180bn, the details of which you can find in the January issue out and the World of Corporate Venturing annual review published at the GCVI Summit at the end of the month – the headline increase in CVC units masks continued evolution in units and structures.

GE Ventures has become one of the most prominent figures in the corporate venture capital space since being formed in 2013, but its parent company is reportedly looking to divest the unit as part of a large-scale restructuring effort that has already claimed its transportation subsidiary and could shortly include GE Healthcare.

Big deal: Stanford-StartX Fund reaches the end

Insurance group Axa formed its corporate venturing unit, then known as Axa Strategic Partners, in 2015 and it has now boosted its early-stage investing by putting $150m into a second early-stage fund that will provide up to $6m per deal.

And startups founded by women or minorities are still having a tough time getting capital. Enterprise software producer SAP is the latest corporate to try and change that, unveiling its No Boundaries initiative that will invest 40% of the existing SAP.io Fund in startups led by underrepresented entrepreneurs.

Other big news sees a sweep of large deals continuing. Go-Jek is one on the up. The ride hailing platform, Grab’s main rival in Southeast Asia, has raised $920m from existing investors that include Google, JD.com and Tencent for the first close of a round with a $2bn target.

Still, getting financial and hopefully strategic benefits remains the game. Reports earlier this week suggested Viacom was set to acquire online television streaming platform Pluto TV for up to $500m. The final price has proven to be a more realistic $340m, but it will still give a healthy exit to a round of investors including Sky, ProSiebenSat.1, UTA, Universal Music Group, Samsung Scripps and Windsor Media.

Funds

Menlo Ventures hires Qualcomm’s Haghighi

Deals

Genetic disease drug developer BridgeBio has received $299m in funding from investors including AIG that will be used to move a 15-strong pipeline of assets forward.

Desktop Metal has confirmed recent reports that it was raising new funding by confirming it has closed a $160m round led by Koch Disruptive Technologies, the then undisclosed large industrial company featured in those reports.

FirstCry was reported last week to be in the process of securing $400m from SoftBank, but now the company has revealed the round will be raised over two tranches – with a first $150m investment closed – and that the cash is actually coming from the Vision Fund rather than the corporate directly.

LinkedIn-backed data streaming platform developer Confluent has secured $125m in a series D round that valued it at $2.5bn. The round increased Confluent’s total funding to $206m and was led by Seqouia Capital, the venture firm that also led its series C two years ago.

AutoAI was unveiled by mapping technology provider Navinfo late last year to further develop smart in-car technology created by the firm’s subsidiaries.

Andela recruits GV for $100m series D

SoftBank Vision Fund has made a $100m investment in Globality, the operator of a platform where businesses can source service providers, that valued the company at nearly $1bn, a source told the WSJ.

Sunmi shines with Ant Financial investment

University

Minervax finds verve with $5m

Nexiot checks in series B funding

CIC makes cut in Imagen series B

Exits

Beleaguered Blippar finds a buyer

Avedro heads to public markets


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