21 May 2018 – NewTV Raises $800m in Funding

Deals

Last week’s Big Deal on Global Corporate Venturing looked at a reported $800m in funding raised by NewTV, a stealthy video content producer formed by entertainment mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg that has secured corporates such as 21st Century Fox and Warner Bros as investors.

Reports earlier this year suggested Chinese smart car developer Byton was looking to raise $300m to $400m for its series B round at a $1.2bn valuation.

JD Logistics, the logistics provider spun off by Chinese e-commerce firm JD.com, has invested $306m in ESR Cayman as part of a strategic partnership agreement.

Tanium, an enterprise cybersecurity software provider backed by Citi Ventures, has received $175m from TPG Growth at a valuation of about $5bn, up from the $3.75bn at which it last raised funding a year ago.

Cryptofinance company Circle has secured $110m in a series E round led by new strategic investor Bitmain, at a reported valuation near to $3bn. Bitmain invested as part of an agreement that will involve it supporting USDC, a stablecoin currency Circle is releasing.

Unisound, a Chinese company developing AI technology for use in internet-of-things products, has raised $100m in a round led by China Electronics Health Fund, a corporate venturing subsidiary of telecoms equipment maker China Electronics Corporation Data.

Carousell, the Asia Pacific-focused owner of an e-commerce app for second-hand items, has received $85m in a series C round co-led by Rakuten Ventures and EDBI, the investment arm of state-owned Singapore Economic Development Board. Rakuten has been an investor in Carousell since its 2013 seed round, and also led its $35m series B.

Ansun Biopharma has also secured $85m, in a series A round co-led by corporate venturing units Sinopharm Healthcare Fund and Lilly Asia Ventures, both of which are also taking board seats.

FogPharma, which is developing miniprotein treatments for diseases including cancer, has closed a $66m series B round that included Nan Fung Group, GV and WuXi AppTec Corporate Ventures.

Funds

SoftBank still hasn’t officially closed its first Vision Fund, but is reportedly already in discussions with potential investors for a second Vision Fund that would also be sized at about $100bn, and which would source capital from a wider range of investors.

Southeast Asia has been a notable growth area in terms of VC funding over the past year or two, but it isn’t just foreign investors taking part. Siam Commercial Bank has doubled the size of Digital Ventures, the corporate venturing fund it set up in 2016, to $100m, making it the largest VC fund in Thailand according to the bank. It will also move away from its core fund-of-funds strategy toward more direct investments in startups.

Exits

Japanese e-commerce app Mercari has had a circuitous route to the public markets, but it’s finally succeeded in filing for a $1.1bn IPO in its home country, at a projected valuation of $3.3bn.

M17 Entertainment, formed by the merger or Paktor and 17 Media almost 18 months ago, has filed for its own IPO in the US.

Home furnishings e-commerce platform Home24 has filed for an offering in Frankfurt that is set to raise up to $235m.

Enough about IPOs though – despite the recent boom, the public markets aren’t the only exit route for investors. Case in point: PayPal has agreed to acquire mobile payment technology provider iZettle for $2.2bn in cash, days after Glassdoor was also bought for a billion-dollar sum.


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

12 March 2018 – Magic Leap Increases Series D to $963m

Deals

In last week’s Big Deal on GCV, news editor Robert Lavine looked at DoorDash, which just got its first corporate investment in a $535m series D round led by SoftBank, almost doubling its valuation in roughly two years.

Augmented reality technology developer Magic Leap has to be one of the most well-funded companies to have never released a product. It has increased its series D round to $963m with $461m from investors including Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which put up $400m, and Axel Springer Digital Ventures.

Elsewhere in online entertainment, game livestreaming has been one of the biggest growth areas in the past year or two, as more companies look to follow Twitch’s lead. China-based Douyu, which has some 30 million daily active users, has secured $630m from Tencent, which has backed it since a $100m series B round two years ago.

Internet company Tencent has agreed to provide approximately $462m in series B funding for Huya, a China-based live game streaming spinout from social media platform Huya.

BBVA has led a $207m round for Atom Bank, the UK-based creator of a mobile-only bank with no physical branches.

Zomato has confirmed reports last month stating that Alibaba’s financial services affiliate Ant Financial had invested $200m.

Credit assessment technology provider Wecash has closed a $160m series D round that was co-led by e-commerce firm Sea and a subsidiary of financial services firm Orix.

UiPath, a developer of software bots that automate mundane enterprise tasks, has raised $135m from investors including CapitalG in a series B round that valued it at $1.1bn.

yKujiale, a China-based virtual reality platform for interior design, has raised $100m in a series D round that included Hearst Ventures, the corporate venturing arm of media group Hearst.

On GUV, TauRx Pharmaceuticals, a Singapore-based Alzheimer’s disease treatment developer spun out from University of Aberdeen, has revealed it secured $71m through a rights issue in October 2017.

Funds

Cisco Investments, the corporate venturing arm of networking equipment manufacturer Cisco, has committed an undisclosed amount to venture capital firm IDG Ventures India’s third fund.

Japan-headquartered automotive component maker Aisin Group launched a $50m US-based investment fund on Tuesday in partnership with venture capital firm Fenox Venture Capital. Fenox will manage the fund, with CEO Anis Uzzaman taking a general partner position.

On GUV, University of Montana has become the sole institutional limited partner (LP) in VC firm Next Frontier Capital’s second fund, a $38m vehicle that aims to support high-value Montana industries.

Exits

Kensho, an AI data platform based on research at Harvard University and MIT, has meanwhile agreed to an acquisition by one of its investors, S&P Global, for approximately $550m in cash and stock.

Blibli began life as a comics, anime and gaming-themed online community in China, but has grown rapidly off the back of an anime streaming platform that has licensed more titles than any other in the country.

Hua Medicine, a diabetes treatment developer backed by pharmaceutical company WuXi PharmaTech, also intends to raise upwards of $400m in an initial public offering.

Genetic disease therapy developer Homology Medicines has filed to raise up to $100m in an initial public offering that will support the progress of two drug candidates through preclinical trials.

Immuno-oncology drug developer Unum Therapeutics last raised funding in a $65m series B round in 2015, but it’s filed to raise up to $86.3m in an initial public offering.

Go-Jek is still in the process of raising funds for a round it expects to close at $1.5bn, at a $5bn valuation, but company president Andre Soelistyo has met with the Indonesia Stock Exchange to discuss a possible IPO.


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

20 November 2017 – SoftBank Uber Investment Finally Happening

Deals

People have been waiting for SoftBank’s proposed investment in Uber to be confirmed, and it now appears as though it’s happening, after Uber revealed it has come to an agreement with a consortium featuring SoftBank and Dragoneer over a deal.

Consumer and information robotics developer UBTech is in the process of raising $400m in a Tencent-led round set to value it at about $4bn, according to the South China Morning Post.

There are several prominent online car marketplaces in China and one of them, Huashenghaoche, has become the latest to close a nine-figure round. Minsheng Financial Leasing, the vehicle leasing branch of China Minsheng Bank, has invested $150m in the company, which also offers car leasing options, and whose existing investors reportedly include JD.com and Dongfeng Motor Group.

Maoyan, which agreed in September to merge with certain assets of another China-based online ticketing platform, Weiying, has received $150m in funding from Tencent, the internet group that is also one of Weiying’s key investors.

Elsewhere in China, Particle, the owner of personalised news aggregation app Yidian Zixun, has raised $112m in funding in a round that included government guidance fund Long De Cheng Zhang Culture Communication.

GV has led a $107m series D round for immuno-oncology drug developer Arcus Biosciences that included existing backers Taiho Ventures and Celgene, taking its total funding to $227m.

SIG-backed peer-to-peer lending platform 9f has raised an undisclosed amount in a series C round it claimed was sized in the nine-figure range.

Temasek, the Singapore state-owned investment firm, has led an $87.5m series D round for Poshmark, a social fashion marketplace backed by Shea Ventures, the corporate venturing arm of JF Shea.

Graphcore, the creator of a machine intelligence processing unit, has raised $50m in a series C round that included Robert Bosch Venture Capital, Samsung Catalyst Fund and Dell Technologies Capital, all of which also backed its $30m series B just five months ago.

Funds

Aster Capital, the French VC firm sponsored by corporates Solvay, Alstom and Schneider Electric, has closed just over $280m in financing from undisclosed backers, bringing the overall capital it has under management to almost $590m.

On GUV, Johns Hopkins University joined forces with US-based healthcare investment firm Deerfield Management to launch a $65m commercialisation fund called Bluefield Innovations aimed at the university’s therapeutic research.

On GGV, Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF), the country’s sovereign wealth vehicle, provided a cornerstone investment to a €250m ($294m) patient capital fund for Ireland-based small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Exits

China-based online consumer lending platform Qudian had some notable success in its US IPO last month, raising $900m after it floated well above its range.

Yixin Group, the automotive e-commerce and finance platform spun out of BitAuto in 2014, has generated $867m in a Hong Kong IPO that also represented an exit for investors Tencent, JD.com and Baidu.

LexinFintech, the Chinese operator of consumer lending and instalment buying platform Fenqile, has filed for a $500 initial public offering.

Mashable was valued at $250m as of its last funding round, but with no additional funding forthcoming, it has been forced into a sale to Ziff Davis for only $50m.

Corporates emerged practically unscathed from the Theranos disaster, but CapitalG, the growth equity unit formerly known as Google Capital, has found itself in a sticky situation with healthcare clinic advertiser Outcome Health.

On GUV, we had two news about IPOs. First, US-based immunotherapy developer Arsanis, backed by research institute European Molecular Biology Laboratory’s investment arm EMBL Ventures, set its pricing range at $15 to $17 – meaning it could raise $61m if it floats at the top of the range.

Apellis Pharmaceuticals, a US-based biopharmaceutical spinout from University of Pennsylvania, meanwhile raised $150m in its IPO, floating on the Nasdaq Global Select Market.

On GGV, OnPoint Technologies, the strategic investment vehicle for the US Army, has exited US-based fabless semiconductor producer InVisage Technologies following its acquisition by electronics producer Apple.


“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

09 October 2017 – Uber’s Board Approves SoftBank Investment

Deals

Uber’s board of directors has approved an investment by SoftBank of up to $1.25bn, in a deal that will also give the corporate two board seats, and has resolved to launch an IPO by 2019.

Indian ride hailing platform Ola has raised $400m from Tencent, reportedly as part of a round also backed by SoftBank that is set to close at $2bn.

Harmony Biosciences, a biopharmaceutical company that forms part of the Paragon Biosciences group, has secured $270m in funding from investors including Novo and Nan Fung Life Sciences.

Curated holiday provider Secret Escapes has closed a $111m series D round led by Temasek that featured a combination of equity and debt financing.

Macro, which produces film, TV and online video content with a brief of creating artistic content that portrays people of colour in a realistic fashion, has raised $150m in debt and equity from investors including entertainment company MNM Creative.

KSQ Therapeutics has emerged from stealth with $76m of financing from investors including life sciences real estate trust Alexandria Real Estate Equities.

Amgen was among the investors in a $58m series E round closed by cancer immunotherapy developer Immatics that will enable it to move multiple drug candidates into clinical trials.

On-demand ride platform Grab has been revealed as an investor in the $45m series B round announced by Singapore-based bicycle sharing platform oBike in August.

Recursion Pharmaceuticals, a US-based biotech spinout from University of Utah, obtained $60m in an oversubscribed series B round featuring Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment.

Funds

Union Square Hospitality Group, which oversees a network of restaurants, cafés and bars including the Shake Shack chain of fast food outlets, has formed a $200m growth equity fund called Enlightened Hospitality Investments.

Corporate venturing unit WuXi Healthcare Ventures formed investment vehicle 6 Dimensions in May with venture firm Frontline BioVentures, and the two pledged to raise dollar and renminbi-denominated funds through the entity.

UTokyo Innovation Platform, the venture capital arm of University of Tokyo, has backed a ¥1bn ($8.9m) first close for 360ip Japan Fund 1, which will support technology spinouts from domestic universities and research institutes.

Fletcher McCusker, founder of University of Arizona’s (UA) medication management spinout SinfoníaRx, has launched a venture capital fund called UAVenture Capital to invest in university-linked companies.

Russia government-owned investment vehicle Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) will join Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund Public Investment Fund (PIF) to invest $1bn in a Russia-based technology investment fund.

Multilateral development finance provider African Development Bank (AfDB), has agreed to invest in a $200m healthcare-focused fund formed by investment bank EFG Hermes.

SoftBank paid $3.3bn to acquire alternative asset manager Fortress Investment Group at the start of the year, and now news has emerged that it is considering building up a portfolio of $300bn of assets that would be managed within a dedicated unit.

Exits

Roku, the TV subscription service backed by media companies Sky, 21st Century Fox, News Corp and Viacom, went public last week, floating at the top of its range and going off like a rocket once its shares began being traded.

Medical device maker Boston Scientific has agreed to acquire catheter system developer Apama for up to $300m, providing an exit to corporate venture capital unit Ascension Ventures. Boston Scientific will pay $175m upfront, with up to $125m more available in the form of milestone payments.

Private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners has paid an undisclosed amount for a majority stake in online property marketplace Ten-X at a $1.6bn valuation.

Rhythm Pharmaceuticals raised $120m in an upsized IPO and immediately saw its share price increase by 75% on the first day of trading.

E-commerce and internet company Amazon has acquired Body Labs, a US-based body scanner developer based on research at Brown University, in a deal that is worth between $70m and $100m.

Nucana, a UK-based company working on chemotherapies for resistant tumours that is backed by Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of government-owned economic development agency Scottish Enterprise, secured nearly $100m in its flotation on Nasdaq, slightly below its target of $115m, though its shares had climbed from an opening price of $15 to $18.37 on the second day of trading.

Nightstar Therapeutics, a UK-based spinout from University of Oxford that is developing retinal gene therapies, secured slightly more than $75m in its offering – below its initial target of $86m set a month ago.

There is an in-depth look at both Nucana and Nightstar on Global University Venturing.com and Global Government Venturing.com. Do check those out.


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

18 September 2017 – ZhongAn Lines up $1.5bn IPO

Exits

All eyes will be on Chinese online property and casualty insurance platform ZhongAn next week as it is lining up a Hong Kong IPO that could net it as much as $1.5bn.

Advanced data centre developer and builder Switch is looking at its fifth straight profitable year, and has filed to raise up to $100m on the NYSE, in an offering that will allow Intel Capital to exit.

Volvo has closed the acquisition of on-demand valet parking service Luxe, which was valued at $140m as of its last funding round, for an amount reckoned by TechCrunch to represent pennies on the dollar.

Perhaps showing that there’s still plenty of room for offline consumer brands to emerge, as long as they appear sufficiently high-quality, Nestlé has agreed to buy a 68% majority stake in Blue Bottle Coffee, an upscale coffee brand that as of the start of 2017 had only 29 branches across four US and Japanese cities.

Investments

Alphabet is already an investor in Uber, its GV unit (then known as Google Ventures) having made a big bet in its 2013 series C round. Now however, the corporate is reportedly in talks to invest $1bn in its main US rival, Lyft.

Uber is reportedly in line for a mammoth investment by SoftBank, Didi Chuxing and Dragoneer that will involve the firms investing between $8bn and $10bn in the company in the form of primary and secondary share purchases.

Augmented reality technology developer Magic Leap remains in stealth and is yet to release a product, but that doesn’t mean investors aren’t still interested. The company is looking to raise $500m in a series D round that could include Singapore’s Temasek, and which would follow a $794m Alibaba-led series C round in early 2016.

United Imaging Healthcare collects $505m series A

Wish aspires to $250m in funding

Genomic testing and research service 23andMe has raised $250m in a Sequoia Capital-led round that reportedly valued it at $1.5bn pre-money, taking its total funding to about $490m.

Goldman Sachs has supplied approximately $133m in debt and equity financing for Neyber, a UK-based online lender that takes repayments directly from a borrower’s salary.

Government

Foodee serves up $8.2m series A

Funds

Samsung meanwhile is making a big play in connected and autonomous car technology,putting together a $300m fund to make strategic investments in the sector.

Asus finds Fenox VC for $50m fund

Madasamy moves from Qualcomm to $50m fund

University

Mars Innovation sets up Lab150 experiment

Austria boosts spinout support

Government

Ireland acts on $120m fund

Kerala accepts $78m mission

ScaleUp grows to $82m with BC Tech Fund


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

28 August 2017 – VIPKid Closes Round with Reported $1.5bn Valuation

Funds

China Life and Baidu combine for $1bn fund

SparkLabs sets up $50m Seah-anchored fund

Kuppam’s Epsilon anticipates $350m close

Government

Monash BDI joins MRCF

Investments

SoftBank ploughs $4.4bn into WeWork

VIPKid is the latest participant to close a substantial round, pulling in $200m from investors including Tencent at a reported valuation of more than $1.5bn.

Deep learning chipset developer Cambricon has secured $100m in a series A round that included subsidiaries of Alibaba and Lenovo as well as robotics technology provider Zhongke Tuling Century Beijing Technology.

JD.com gets $100m to Go-Jek

Druva, a developer of cloud data management and protection software, raised $80m today in a round led by private equity firm Riverwood Capital that increased its overall funding to almost $200m.

Internet-of-things platform developer Cubic Telecom has raised $47m in a round featuring Qualcomm, Audi Electronics Venture and Valid Soluciones Tecnologicas that increased its overall funding to $88m.

Another data-oriented company, in-memory database platform developer Redis Labs, has meanwhile secured $44m in a series D round that included Dell Technologies Capital, representing the latter’s second deal in the space of a few days.

Behavioural health technology provider AbleTo has closed a $36.6m round featuring health insurer and long-term customer Aetna as well as healthcare provider Horizon Healthcare Services.

ZingBox, a developer of security technology for internet-of-things systems, has raised $22m in a series B round led by Dell Technologies Capital.

Saudi Aramco-backed online payment processing platform PayTabs has received $20m in funding from unnamed investors, and the capital will support a growth drive that will enable the Middle East-based company to expand into Africa, Europe and India.

Corporates dive into Immersv series A

University

IndoorAtlas spins another $4.3m in funding

Yahoo Japan has led a series B round for the University of Oulu spinout, which uses geomagnetic activity to detect an object’s location in a room.

Government

Sumdog fetches $1.8m

Exits

Accenture has exited digital testing and brand services provider Applause through an acquisition of undisclosed size by investment firm Vista Equity Partners. Accenture’s corporate venturing unit Accenture Ventures took part in Applause’s last round, a $35m series F last September that took the company’s total funding to about $115m.

Cisco has agreed to pay $320m to acquire hyperconvergence software provider Springpath, one of its portfolio companies since 2015.

According to a securities filing, Krystal Biotech raised just over $11m in its first round of funding last week, at least $7m of which came from pharmaceutical company Sun Pharmaceutical Industries.

Osram to switch on Digital Lumens acquisition

Avnet captures Dragon Innovation

ST Engineering subsidiary Vision Technologies Land Systems has agreed to pay an undisclosed amount to acquire Aethon, which has created an automated robotic delivery system for hospitals that transports items such as medication, meals and linen.

Smarsh captures Cognia in acquisition deal


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

07 August 2017 – Possible UK National Investment Fund

Funds

The government of the UK revealed it is considering the creation of a National Investment Fund to support startups that could become unicorns.

The Canadian government has announced it will make its visa scheme for entrepreneurs a permanent fixture.

Singapore-based venture capital firm Prestellar Ventures has raised $100m for a fund that counts Nepal-headquartered conglomerates CG Corp Global and NE Group as general partners.

Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance, a subsidiary of Japan-based insurer Sompo, is committing at least $40m and possibly up to $80m, to venture capital firm TransLink Capital to manage its corporate venture capital fund.

India-based seed-grant impact fund Nudge Foundation, which targets poverty reduction, has collected capital from Tata Trusts, the philanthropic shareholder in conglomerate Tata and Sons, as well as motorcycle maker Maruti, networking technology producer Cisco, IT services firm Mphasis, conglomerate Godrej, retailer Target, bank Wells Fargo, Social Venture Partners and entrepreneur Nandan Nilekani.

N/Core is one of a few programs launched or announced last week – others included Morgan Stanley launching an accelerator that will focus on startups with female or multicultural founders, co-founders or chief technology officers.

Deals

Meituan-Dianping, the Chinese local listing and services portal formed in late 2015 by the merger of unicorns Meituan and Dianping, is reportedly in talks with investors to raise between $3bn and $5bn in a round that will feature a $1bn investment by existing backer Tencent.

SoftBank’s Vision Fund is reportedly in talks to invest $1.5bn to $2bn in Flipkart, which was valued at $11.6bn as of its last round earlier this year, in a deal that would enable it to join an investor base that already includes eBay, Tencent, Intel Capital and Bennett Coleman & Co.

Digital marketing company Avazu spun out app developer DotC in 2015, but now the boot’s on the other foot. DotC has raised $350m in a series B round led by Avazu’s parent company Zeus that involved the ownership of Avazu being transferred to DotC in a deal that will give Zeus a stake of just over 30.6% in the company.

Online fresh produce retailer Yiguo has secured $300m in funding from Alibaba subsidiary Tmall as part of a partnership agreement that will involve Tmall integrating Yiguo’s product into its existing offering.

Online business lending platform Kabbage has received $250m in funding from existing investor SoftBank, roughly doubling its overall funding in the process. Past investors in Kabbage, which will use the SoftBank cash to further develop its technology and expand its service offering, include UPS, Santander, ING and Recruit, while SoftBank initially invested in the company as part of a $50m series D round in 2014.

Peer-to-peer lending platform Dianrong has secured $220m in a round led by Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, GIC, which was announced just after it agreed to acquire banking services provider Quark Finance’s asset generation operations in order to expand its physical presence in its home country of China.

E-commerce software and services provider ShopEx has secured $104m in a series D round led by venture firm Joy Capital.

Genetic therapeutics developer Homology Medicines has raised $83.5m in series B funding from investors including pharmaceutical firm Novartis, taking its overall equity financing to $127m across two rounds.

Impossible Foods has secured $75m in a round that will likely support the construction of a dedicated production facility for its plant-based burgers.

Novo has led cardiovascular therapy developer Milestone Pharmaceuticals’ $55m series C round, investing alongside Canadian state-owned BDC Capital, Fonds de solidarité FTQ, the development capital organisation for Quebec, as well as Forbion Capital Partners, Domain Associates, Pappas Capital, Go Capital and funds managed by Tekla Capital Management.

And on GlobalUniversityVenturing.com, we’ve had a few $20m deals. Among them: IonQ. GV, the corporate venturing unit of diversified conglomerate Alphabet, co-led a $20m series B round for quantum computing startup IonQ with New Enterprise Associates.

Another one was US-based car refuelling service provider Booster Fuels, which raised $20m in a series B round yesterday from investors including Stanford University’s StartX Fund. Booster allows drivers to park their car in work and request their tank be refilled through a mobile app.

And finally, US-based authentication technology developer UnifyID raised $20m in a series A round on Monday from investors including Stanford University’s StartX Fund. UnifyID has created an authentication platform that relies on sensors built into everyday devices and uses machine learning to identify users based on more than 100 unique characteristics such as the way they walk, sit and type. It requires no manual input from the user.

Exits

As mentioned earlier in the podcast, the long-running saga of Flipkart’s proposed acquisition of Snapdeal appears to have come to an unexpected end with news last Monday that Snapdeal has sensationally decided to call off the talks in favour of a restructuring process.

Twitter-backed music streaming platform Soundcloud is said to have entered talks with two private equity firms to raise funding in a deal that would give the as-yet undisclosed firms stakes that would jointly add up to a majority share.

Canada-based clinical-stage pharmaceutical company Clementia Pharmaceuticals has gone public in the US, floating at the top of its range and raising $120m.

Energy and oil producer China Titans Energy Technology Group has acquired Aquion Energy, a bankrupt US-based energy storage technology developer spun out from Carnegie Mellon University, for $9.16m, according to a regulatory filing.

GameSparks, an Ireland and UK-based platform for games developers backed by Irish state-owned export credit agency Enterprise Ireland, has been acquired by e-commerce company Amazon.

CarTrade, an India-based online automotive classifieds service backed by Temasek, is exploring a merger with its domestic competitor CarDekho, backed by diversified conglomerate Alphabet’s growth equity arm CapitalG, to create the country’s largest online car classifieds platform.

On GlobalUniversityVenturing.com, Intelesens, a UK-based wearable device maker to monitor patients’ vital signs that is based on Ulster University research, has been acquired by medical image management platform Ultralinq for an undisclosed amount.


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

29 May 2017 – Home Fitness Service Peloton Raises $325m and Much More

Deals

Alibaba and Ant Financial are reportedly set to lead a $1bn round for food ordering platform Ele.me that will value it at up to $6bn.

Peloton, the home fitness service that combines a high-tech exercise bike with a subscription-based service that makes it feel like you’re in a live class (within reason obviously, though who would bet against VR being integrated into Peloton’s offering in the near future?), has raised $325m in a series E round featuring Comcast NBCUniversal.

Livestreaming has become one of the fastest growing parts of the media sector, not least in China where Panda TV has raised $140m in a series B round led by brokerage firm Industrial Securities.

R3, a consortium formed by a few dozen financial services operators to develop and commercialise blockchain technology for the industry, has secured $107m in the first two tranches of a series A round that includes Intel Capital, Ping An and Temasek, the sovereign wealth fund of Singapore, as well as around 40 banks.

In other news, Chinese mobile communication app developer Chubao has raised $100m in a series D round that included Susquehanna International Group, which has been an investor in the company since 2011.

Huya, the livestreaming subsidiary of online video streaming platform YY, has spun out with $75m of series A funding led by Ping An Insurance.

UrWork was founded only two years ago but it could yet turn out to be the Didi Chuxing of the co-working sector.

We’ve also had a few nice triple helix deals in the past week, such as Symic Bio, a biopharmaceutical spinout of Purdue University, that has completed a $30m series B round backed by all its existing investors, including Purdue Foundry Investment Fund, a vehicle backed by Purdue University focused on the institution’s spinouts.

Funds

The big news is that SoftBank has finally announced the first close of its Vision Fund, having raised an immense $93bn in capital.

WuXi Healthcare Ventures, the corporate venturing arm of WuXi PharmaTech, has agreed to merge with VC firm Frontline BioVentures to form a healthcare-focused investment firm called 6 Dimensions Capital that will have some $800m of assets under management.

Saudi Telecom formed strategic VC firm STC Ventures in 2011 to invest in the IT, telecommunications and media sectors, but as times change so do the requirements for corporate venturing, and the firm has elected to commit $500m to a new fund named STV that will back more advanced digital technologies.

Gree Ventures, the corporate venturing arm of social media and gaming company Gree, has closed its second fund at $67m.

We didn’t see any big fund launches on GUV, and while there were some on GGV, the most interesting news here was that the European Investment Fund has started pulling out of the UK following the country’s decision to abandon the EU.

Exits

Flipkart’s acquisition of rival Snapdeal is getting closer with news that SoftBank has bought out the shares of various other Snapdeal board members to clear the way for the deal.

Delivery Hero raised more than $420m from Naspers earlier this month at a reported $3.1bn valuation, but sources have told Reuters it is planning to launch an IPO in the next few weeks that could value it at up to €4bn ($4.5bn).

Sea, the Singapore-registered online services platform that recently rebranded from Garena with a $550m funding round, has confidentially filed for an IPO in the US that will give exits to corporate investors Tencent, JG Summit and Uni-President Enterprises, according to Bloomberg.

Bioverativ has agreed to acquire True North Therapeutics for $400m upfront with up to $425m in milestone payments to come.

On GUV, news emerged on Tuesday that commercialisation firm IP Group had made a bid for Touchstone Innovations, its peer that was spun out of Imperial College London. Touchstone rebuffed the offer, though a majority of its shareholders (some of which also own IP Group stakes) are pushing for the takeover.


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

15 May 2017 – SoftBank Leads Improbable $502m Investment and Much More

Deals

The $5.5bn round on-demand ride provider Didi Chuxing just confirmed was closed at a $50bn valuation that means it is closing ground with rival Uber in terms of size, and the company has indicated it will use the cash to finally expand globally.

Yixin Group, the online automotive marketplace spinout of motoring e-commerce firm Bitauto, has secured $580m in funding commitments in a round that includes both its parent company and internet group Tencent.

Indonesia-based online media, e-commerce and financial services platform Garena has rebranded itself as Sea and revealed $550m in funding from conglomerates JG Summit Holdings and Uni-President Enterprises.

SoftBank is continuing its investment spree, leading a $502m series B round for Improbable, a UK company developing software that will make the creation of large-scale virtual worlds possible.

SoftBank has also led a $360m round for Guardant Health, the developer of a liquid biopsy test for cancer diagnosis, and will help commercialise Guardant’s technology in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Modernizing Medicine had raised a total of $87m in funding as of the $38m series E round it closed in 2015, but the electronic health record system developer has taken a big jump with a $231m investment by private equity firm Warburg Pincus.

Online payment services provider PayU has invested $120m in digital lending platform lending platform Kreditech as part of a strategic partnership agreement.

There’s been more action in the on-demand transport sector, with Spain-based Cabify having raised $100m from an undisclosed single investor as part of a series D round it aims to close at $500m.

India-based mobile wallet operator MobiKwik is working on its own nine-figure round and is reportedly in talks with BlackRock, Bank of Baroda and Canara Bank over a round that will value it at about $1bn.

Music royalties platform Kobalt has raised $75m in a Hearst Entertainment-led series D round that valued the company at $775m post-money.

Signifyd has secured $56m in an American Express Ventures-backed series C round that increased its overall funding to almost $100m.

Social music app developer Smule has raised $54m in a round led by Tencent that reportedly values it at just over $600m.

Customer data software provider Gainsight has closed a $52m series E round featuring Salesforce Ventures and Cisco Investments that took its overall funding to more than $150m.

We’ve already talked about the biggest government venturing deal with Guardant Health just now, but what about the university venturing world? We haven’t had any mind-blowingly large rounds there this week, but still a few interesting ones – among these is SiFive, a US-based fabless provider of customised semiconductors based on UC Berkeley research, which raised $8.5m in a series B round that included spinout-focused investment firm Osage University Partners.

Funds

Dell has brought its corporate venturing unit, Dell Technologies Capital, out of stealth, revealing a 50-strong portfolio and 27 exits in the past five years.

China has launched a RMB17.8bn ($2.6bn) venture capital fund aimed at startups in industries of strategic importance, such as IT, energy conservation and environmental protection, advanced materials and equipment manufacturing.

International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector-focused investment arm of multilateral financial institution World Bank, has agreed to put $10m into the Stellaris Venture Partners India I fund.

BDC Capital, the investment arm of the government-owned Business Development Bank of Canada, injected C$5m ($3.6m) into the StandUp Ventures Fund I.

Exits

Ovid Therapeutics has gone public in a $75m IPO that provided exits for Sanofi-Genzyme BioVentures and Takeda, the latter its largest external investor.


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