07 May 2018 – Tencent Leads $820m Series C for UBTech

Deals

Baidu has spun off the likes of Baidu Video and Zuoyebang in recent years, and video streaming platform iQiyi, in which Baidu owned a majority stake, raised $2.25bn in an IPO in March. The latest deal involves the corporate’s financial services subsidiary, Du Xiaoman, which has raised $1.9bn from investors including Taikang, $1bn of which will go straight to Baidu.

Tencent has led an $820m series C round for consumer robotics developer UBTech that valued it at about $5bn.

Online education has been one of the most notable growth areas in China’s VC space and things appear to be heating up. VIPKid, the operator of a tutoring platform that utilises international teachers, is reportedly looking to secure $500m at a $3bn valuation, double that at which it raised money in a Tencent-backed series C round just eight months ago.

Indian insurance comparison portal PolicyBazaar is close to raising $200m in a round that will be led by a $150m investment by SoftBank Vision Fund.

SF Express, the largest player in China’s logistics sector, has invested $100m in Flexport, the operator of a freight services platform that covers land, air and sea along with adjacent services.

SoundHound raised $75m from a corporate-heavy investor group early last year, and now it’s added $100m from Tencent, Daimler, Orange, Midea Group and Hyundai Motor Company at a reported valuation of more than $1bn.

Masterclass, the online education platform equipped with a host of famous teachers, is reportedly on its way to closing a $70m series D round.

Roivant Sciences raised $1.1bn in a SoftBank Vision Fund-led round last August with a brief to develop and launch a series of offshoot companies.

On GUV, Crescendo Biologics, a UK-based immunotherapy developer spun out from University of Cambridge, closed a $70m series B round that featured commercialisation firm IP Group as well as EMBL Ventures, the investment arm of European Molecular Biology Laboratory.

Funds

Microsoft Ventures has invested in some 50 companies since it relaunched itself as a corporate venturing vehicle two years ago, but has run into identity trouble with people confusing the unit with the similarly-named network of accelerators its parent continues to run around the world. Its solution has been to rebrand to M12, while the corporate’s accelerator initiative will be renamed Microsoft ScaleUp.

The city government of Jerusalem is looking to launch a $130m venture capital fund to support local biotech startups in areas including medical devices and pharmaceutical technology. The government’s contribution to the vehicle would amount to $5.5m at most, with the remainder supplied by private investors.

Exits

Flipkart’s board of directors has approved a deal whereby Walmart will pay approximately $15bn for a 75% stake, according to Bloomberg.

Medtronic spinoff Inspire Medical Systems has gone public in a $108m initial public offering that also represented an exit for Johnson & Johnson.

Consumer electronics and IoT technology provider Xiaomi has officially filed for an initial public offering in Hong Kong that sources told the South China Morning Post will be about $10bn in size, at a valuation of about $100bn.

Laser developer nLight has become the latest tech company to launch a successful IPO, floating above its range to raise $96m.

Mita, a US-based orthopaedic device spinout from University of Colorado, has been acquired by medical technology developer Stryker for an undisclosed sum.


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

26 February 2018 – EasyHome Raises Over $2bn

Deals

Chinese furniture and home improvement retail chain EasyHome has raised just over $2bn in a round in which Alibaba invested approximately $860m in return for a 15% stake.

Uber could acquire what sources told CNBC would be a sizeable stake in Southeast Asian counterpart Grab through a deal that will involve Grab taking on its local business.

Procept BioRobotics, the developer of an aquablation treatment for a prostate condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia, has secured $118m in a round led by Viking Global Investors.

Harry’s has been one of the two biggest players in the razor blade subscription market, along with Dollar Shave Club, and the Grace Beauty-backed company has raised $112m in a round that will precede an expansion of the business model into areas like personal care items for both sexes as well as baby products and household goods.

Kallyope, a US-based company developing drugs that focus on the gut-brain axis, received $66m in a series B round featuring Illumina Ventures, the corporate venturing subsidiary of genomics technology producer Illumina.

AI data analytics platform SparkCognition has added $24m from investors including corporate venturing units Invenergy Future Fund and CME Ventures to close its series B round at $56.5m.

Glossier, a US-based skincare and beauty product company backed by talent agency William Morris Endeavor (WME), raised $52m in a series C round yesterday co-led by VC firms IVP and Index Ventures.

Financial services provider Power Financial has invested another $51m in robo-advisor operator WealthSimple, taking its total commitment to $165m according to the latter.

Smart glasses developer OrCam has received $30.4m in funding from investors including Clal Insurance at a reported valuation of about $1bn. OrCam, which counts Intel Capital as an earlier investor, is said to be prepping an IPO for 2019 and will aim to raise one more substantial round of funding before then, having so far secured a total of $130m according to Reuters.

On GUV, Liquidia Technologies, a US-based biopharmaceutical spinout from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has raised $25.5m in funding.

Funds

SoftBank Vision Fund has already secured some $40bn from Middle Eastern sovereign wealth funds PIF and Mubadala Investment Company, and now the CEO of Bahraini sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat has confirmed it too is in talks to invest.

Cove Fund, a family of seed-stage venture capital funds that invests in companies affiliated with University of California (UC) System, has raised more than $12m for its second fund. The figure represents a first close for Cove Fund II, with a regulatory filing indicating a $15m target size.

Switzerland-headquartered biotechnology and chemicals supplier Lonza Group has formed a corporate venturing fund in partnership with US-based venture capital firm Prolog Ventures.

Exits

Flatiron Health agreed to an acquisition by investor Roche in mid-February that will involve the latter paying $1.9bn for the company’s outstanding shares, and much of the attention has understandably been on Roche.

And talking of GV’s recent spate of life sciences exits, it looks like the next one will be Arcus Biosciences. Immuno-oncology therapy developer Arcus has filed for a $100m initial public offering, having previously raised some $227m in VC funding.

Social media company Momo agreed today to acquire China-based social engagement platform Tantan for about $760m, allowing media group Bertelsmann and social network operator YY to exit.

Faceu, the developer of an augmented reality app that allows effects to be overlaid on photos or videos in real time, has reportedly been acquired by mobile news platform Toutiao for $300m.

Enterprise cloud security technology provider Zscaler had raised $148m in funding from investors including the Dell-owned EMC and Alphabet unit CapitalG, and has now 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

16 October 2017 – Ola Raises $1.1bn in Tencent-led Round

Deals

Ola confirmed today it has raised $1.1bn in a round led by Tencent, which invested $400m according to recent reports.

Tujia, the online accommodation marketplace often referred to as China’s Airbnb, has secured $300m in a round co-led by Ctrip that valued it at more than $1.5bn.

SoftBank Vision Fund has done more than anyone to ramp up venture capital investment to new levels this year, and it’s far from finished. The fund has led a $164m round for Mapbox, a provider of location and mapping technology for app developers, taking the company’s overall funding to nearly $230m.

Freight shipping management platform Flexport, has confirmed it has closed a $110m series C round that valued it at $910m post-money.

App development seems to be a hot area for SoftBank right now. The firm has also led Petuum’s $93m series B round, investing through an undisclosed subsidiary.

Music royalty collection service Kobalt has added $14m of funding from investors including the Bill Maris-headed Section 32 to take its series D round to $89m.

On Global Government Venturing, the biggest deal was a $100m funding round for Bill.com, a US-based payment processing network already backed by payment services firm American Express, which raised the cash in a round co-led by Singaporean state-owned firm Temasek and financial services firm JPMorgan Chase.

Funds

China-based educational services provider New Oriental Education and Technology has launched a $300m+ fund to invest in early-stage edtech startups, along with a $1.5bn fund that will focus on growth equity and M&A deals, according to local media reports.

Japan-headquartered mobile game developer Akatsuki was founded in 2010 and went public last year, and now it’s elected to join the corporate venturing space with the formation of a $50m fund that will target entertainment technology startups.

Cambridge Enterprise, the tech transfer office of University of Cambridge, has partnered business school unit Cambridge Social Ventures to launch a £100,000 ($132,000) seed impact fund.

On GlobalGovernmentVenturing.com, we’ve also had quite a few new funds, so let’s look at a couple of the bigger ones.

French state-owned investment bank Bpifrance has contributed an undisclosed sum to the €45m ($53.1m) first-close for France-based edtech VC fund Educapital. Children’s retailer IdKids has also backed the fund, as have business-to-business services provider Econocom, publishers Bayard and Hachette Livre, family-owned fund Education for the Many and a range of unnamed investors.

VC firm Wavemaker Partners closed its second Southeast Asia-focused fund today at $66m with contributions from Singapore state-owned investment firm Temasek.

Exits

Meal delivery service HelloFresh originally filed to go public in 2015, only to withdraw its IPO plans the a few weeks later. Now, however, HelloFresh has also confirmed recent reports, filing for an IPO that will raise approximately $355m if it floats at the top of its range.

Further along the IPO process is MongoDB, which has set terms for an offering that will net it $160m if it floats at the top of its range.

Singapore-based online services provider Sea has set the terms for a US IPO that will raise $695m if it floats at the top of its range (or $800m if the underwriters exercise their over-allotment option).

High-speed integrated circuit producer Aquantia has filed for an $86.3m initial public offering that follows about $195m of venture funding.

Spero Therapeutics, a US-based bacterial infection therapy developer backed by spinout-focused investment firm Osage University Partners has filed for an $86.3m initial public offering.


“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

06 March 2017 – British Business Bank’s $500m fund and Much More

Funds

Foxconn, the contract manufacturer that’s already backed the $100bn SoftBank Vision Fund, has now also dropped $600m on a majority stake in the telecoms group’s Asia-based tech-focused investment arm SoftBank Asia Capital.

Baloise has committed $50m to an investment vehicle operated by Anthemis to identify opportunities in insurance technology startups based in Europe and the US.

Symantec, which previously backed Appthority via its subsidiary Blue Coat Systems, has decided to join the corporate venturing world and launched Symantec Ventures.

MFEC sets aside $20m to invest in startups and will move some of its human resources staff to manage the new corporate venturing subsidiary.

Kore, which provides business management software for entertainment companies and sports franchises, has formed a strategic investment arm and closed its first deal.

The Mobile World Congress might be making headlines because Nokia’s iconic 3310 handset is being resurrected, but Facebook is certain to also draw attention with the launch of a $170m investment collaboration through its Telecoms Infrastructure Project that will target startups operating in that very telecoms sector.

University Corner

University venturing: the view from Cornell – an interview with Alice Li

Virginia Tech and Carilion launch $15m fund

Government Department

Big deal: British Business Bank launches $500m fund

Mercia is allocated Northern Powerhouse money

Vanedge points at $122m fund

Hatteras to manage $60m NC fund

Exits

Snap’s long-awaited initial public offering is upon us today, as the company priced 200 million shares at $17 a piece last night, resulting in a $3.4bn windfall.

As the news flow shows no intention of slowing down, today’s lead story is an initial public offering by Alteryx, a data analytics provider that counts Thomson Reuters and Sapphire Ventures among its shareholders. The company, which last raised $85m in a series C round in 2015, is targeting $75m in proceeds with a flotation on the New York Stock Exchange but is yet to decide on a price range for its shares.

In Finland, Next Games stands to be the country’s first games developer to complete an initial public offering if it goes ahead with plans to list on the Nasdaq First North Finland.

Another IPO: the week stays busy with Ecovacs Robotics, a China-based vacuum and household robotics producer, filing for a flotation on the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

Mozilla acquires Pocket and provides an exit to shareholders including Axel Springer, Digital Garage and Alphabet.

Yelp has acquired its portfolio company Nowait, a restaurant booking app that it backed last August.

Deals

Our lead story last Monday is a Big Deal piece by reporter Kaloyan Andonov, in which he looks at what Ant Financial’s decision to provide $200m to Kakao Pay the previous week means.

Satellite operator OneWeb is making headlines with a $13bn all-stock merger with its peer Intelsat to produce a new entity that is set to attract $1.7bn in funding from SoftBank, the same investor that previously led a $1.2bn round with a $1bn cash injection in late December.

Oyo Rooms books up to $500m

Ola moves forward with $330m

Back in January, Grail, the oncology diagnostics company spun out of Illumina, was reported to be seeking $1bn for its series B round. Fast-forward to today and the startup has revealed that it has secured $900m – which may seem like it’s missed its target, but in fact that’s a first tranche and Grail is seeking up to an additional $900m to take the round all the way to $1.8bn.

Ride sharing might be in the news for all the wrong reasons these days as Uber is faced with scandal after scandal, but Didi Chuxing, the China-based ride hailing service that swallowed up Uber China, remains in good spirits: the company just backed a $450m series D round for Ofo, a bike sharing app provider.

A month ago, we reported on Paytm E-Commerce reportedly seeking a round of $180m to $200m and it appears the company has now secured the upper amount, getting $177m from Alibaba and another $23m from Saif Partners.

CloudMinds, an AI technology developer that previously obtained a stunning $31m in angel and seed capital from investors such as SoftBank, has received a similarly impressive $100m series A round from unnamed backers.

Delhivery coordinates $100m round

ChargePoint, which operates a network of independently managed charging stations for electric vehicles, has added $82m to its coffers thanks to a funding round led by Daimler.

University Corner

PMV diagnoses $74m series B

Urjanet raises $20m series C

Government Department:

Omeicos is treated to $8.7m


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