24 April 2017 – SoftBank Considers $1bn+ Deal and Much More

Deals

SoftBank is reportedly considering paying upwards of $1bn for a 20% stake in One97 Communications, the Indian e-commerce firm that’s also the parent company for mobile payment platform Paytm.

China Vanke has become the second domestic property developer to make a nine-figure investment in Chinese real estate agency and online portal Lianjia this year, providing $436m in funding.

Classified listings platform 58.com is spinning out its used goods app Zhuan Zhuan, and Tencent has agreed to provide $200m in funding for the newly independent company.

SoftBank is yet to formally close its $100bn Vision Fund but is nevertheless on somewhat of a streak, reportedly offering big investments to a string of Asian online services providers.

Tianjin CanSino Biotechnology, which is developing vaccines for Ebola, tuberculosis, cervical cancer and pneumococcal infection, has closed $65m in funding from investors including Lilly Asia Ventures, and will put the cash towards commercialising its candidates and completing a manufacturing facility expected to be ready next year.

SenseTime is developing technology that will utilise machine learning to recognise faces to a high degree of accuracy, and has just raised $60m in a round led by the state-backed Sailing Capital International.

Car sharing platform Getaround has secured $45m from investors including Shanghai Automotive and an investment fund backed by Toyota, showing that the sector still has some life in it despite the ubiquity of its ride sharing cousins.

Kumpulan Wang Persaraan (KWAP), the Malaysian retirement fund, has invested $100m in Edotco, a Malaysia-based telecom infrastructure company, Digital News Asia reported on Wednesday.

Neural Analytics, a medical device spinout of University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), has raised $10m in a funding round led by venture capital firm Reimagined Ventures.

Funds

Illumina announced a year ago that it intended to invest $100m in startups through an independently managed VC firm called Illumina Ventures, but a securities filing has indicated it has increased that amount of capital to $189m by adding more limited partners.

The Indian state of Tamil Nadu is set to invest Rs5bn ($78m) in a venture capital fund, the Hindu Business Line reported yesterday.

The EU agency European Investment Fund (EIF) and the Luxembourg Future Fund (LFF), which aims to stimulate the Luxembourgish economy, have achieved a first close for the European Cyber Fund (ECF). Paladin Capital, a US-based investment firm with expertise in cyber and digital infrastructure resilience, will manage the ECF and has also invested into the fund.

Bpifrance, the public investment bank of France, has invested in a €64.75m ($69.2m) seed fund established by France-based life science-focused firm Advent France Biotechnology (AFB), Labiotech reported yesterday.

Spain-based early-stage venture capital firm Nauta Capital yesterday raised a €155m ($166m) fund, with the European Investment Fund (EIF) among the investors. British Business Bank Investments, the commercial arm of the state-owned economic development agency British Business Bank (BBI), is also a limited partner, alongside the Catalan Institute of Finance, a public financial institution owned by the government of Catalonia.

Exits

Cloudera has set terms for an IPO that will net it $210m if it floats at the top of its range, and existing backer Intel has expressed interest in buying up to 10% of the shares in the offering.

Chinese logistics service Best Logistics is looking for banks to handle its own IPO, through which it expects to raise up to $1bn.

Walmart has spent the last few months beefing up its e-commerce offering through a string of acquisitions and the next one looks set to be online men’s fashion brand Bonobos.

G1 Therapeutics has filed for a $115m IPO that will support development of three clinical-stage oncology therapeutics and give an exit to corporate venturing unit MedImmune Ventures.

Netshoes, a Brazil-based sports and lifestyle e-commerce company for the Latin American market, has raised $148.5m in an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange.


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

10 April 2017 – Lyft Raises $500m & Unusual IPO for Spotify Plus Much More

Deals

It feels like the whole Flipkart/Snapdeal funding/merger saga’s been going on forever by this point but news continues to flow out of the respective camps, the latest being that Flipkart could well close between $1.2bn and $1.5bn in funding from eBay, Tencent and Microsoft next week.

On-demand ride platform Lyft has added almost 100 US cities to its network already this year and has now added another $500m of equity funding to its coffers.

Automotive trading software provider Souche.com has raised $180m in a series D round that included CreditEase’s New Financial Industrial Fund.

Alphabet-backed brokerage app developer Robinhood has pulled in new funding in a DST Global-led round that reportedly values it at $1.3bn.

India-based e-grocer BigBasket has reportedly entered talks with Tencent, Fosun and Amazon for a round that would be sized between $110m and $150m, and which would value it at $1bn, more than twice the valuation of its last funding, a $150m series D round that closed a year ago.

Existing investors GV and Sequoia Capital have co-led a series C round that provided more than $90m for secondary storage technology developer Cohesity, and which valued it at more than $500m.

Another Alphabet investment subsidiary, CapitalG, meanwhile has led an $81.5m series D round for Looker, a data analytics platform capable of curating large amounts of data to provide enterprise users with valuable insight into their organisation.

China-based Wecash has raised $80m in a series C round co-led by SIG that will enable it to add an online lending facility to its credit scoring platform, which has some 80 million users.

Fresh off the high that was Intel’s $15bn offer to acquire autonomous driving technology developer Mobileye, the company’s co-founders are now setting their sights on an initial public offering of another one of their ventures – OrCam Technologies, which has developed smart glasses that are able to identify street signs and read text and dictate it into the user’s ear.

Northwestern Mutual’s corporate venturing arm has participated in a $25m series C round for healthcare booking and billing platform Amino that took the company’s total equity financing to almost $45m.

SoftBank has reportedly rescinded between $150m and $200m in debt financing it was set to provide to portfolio company Snapdeal.

On Global University Venturing, US-based marketing technology developer ActionIQ has attracted $13m in a series A round that included Stanford University, through its Stanford Engineering Venture Fund.

And on Global Government venturing, Singapore Technologies Telemedia, a wholly-owned investment subsidiary of Singapore state-owned investment firm Temasek, invested $89m in US-based cybersecurity company Armor. Armor was previously majority owned by investment firm Stephens.

Funds

Clean vehicle technology producer BorgWarner has provided $10m for US-based venture capital firm Autotech Ventures as part of an overall strategic investment plan. Autotech supplies VC funding to startups developing software, services or electronics technology for use in connected, autonomous and energy-efficient vehicles and mobility services.

Legend Capital, the venture capital firm formed by China-based conglomerate Legend Holdings, has raised more than $400m for its seventh fund. The $400m represents the fund’s hard cap, according to Private Equity International.

Southern New Hampshire University has partnered venture firm Rethink Education to create a $15m seed fund targeting early-stage edtech enterprises.

South Korea’s Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning will set up a 113.5bn won ($102m) fund for startups and VC firms in the biotechnology sector.

Enterprise Ireland, the export credit agency of the Irish government, is set to make up to €44m ($47m) in additional funding available to seed and early-stage companies.

Iran’s sovereign wealth fund Iran Foreign Investment Company will invest an undisclosed amount into the healthcare and technology sectors.

The government of Canada has outlined the next steps for its Innovation and Skills Plan, including an additional C$200m ($149m) for the Strategic Innovation Fund over a three year period, bringing it to C$1.26bn.

The BC Tech Fund, managed by Kensington Capital Partners invested an undisclosed amount into Lumira Capital IV, a new healthcare and life sciences venture capital fund managed by Lumira Capital.

Exits

Sucampo Pharmaceuticals has bought rare disease therapy developer Vtesse for $200m in cash and stock, allowing Pfizer Venture Investments and Lundbeckfond Ventures to exit.

Data management software provider Cloudera has finally publicly filed for its IPO, setting an initial target of $200m.

Speculation about a Spotify IPO has been ongoing for years but reports now suggest it might take an unusual route to the public markets, listing its stock but not actually issuing any new shares or raising money.

Pharmaceutical firm Astellas Pharma is set to acquire Belgium-based drug discovery company Ogeda for €800m ($853m), providing an exit to Société Régionale d’Investissement de Wallonie, the state-owned investment company for the Wallonia government in Belgium that took part in a €16m series B round in 2015 and a $12.8m series A round in 2012.

Regulation

The UK government is set to announce tax break reforms to ensure that entrepreneurs benefit from the tax incentives, rather than property investors.

An amendment to Germany’s law on competition restrictions proposed by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has been approved by the federal council, known as Bundesrat.


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

3 April 2017 – Panasonic Puts $100m into Corporate Venturing and Much More

Funds

Panasonic to put $100m into corporate venturing

German consumer product and industrial manufacturer Henkel has been exploring corporate venturing over the past year as part of a larger open innovation strategy, and has now formalised its investing by forming a dedicated venture capital unit, Henkel Ventures.

Intex enters corporate venturing with Rooter investment

Phoenix rises with corporate-backed fund

Government Department

Canada unveils 2017 budget

Exits

Alteryx processes $126m IPO

Ayondo aims to float at $158m valuation

Buzzfeed has quietly begun prep work for a 2018 IPO, unnamed industry sources have told Axios, although rival paper FT was doubtful. T

Akcea Therapeutics, which was spun out of Ionis Pharmaceuticals in 2015 to develop cardiometabolic disease treatments, has filed to raise up to $100m in an initial public offering.

Boston Scientific snatches Symetis for $435m

Sirrus proves the right formula for Nippon Shokubai

Ethicon extracts Torax in acquisition deal

Quixey closure reportedly due to Alibaba debt deal

Deals

News broke last week that SoftBank was lining up a $1bn investment in Southeast Asian ride hailing platform Grab, and now sources have told Bloomberg it could provide a mammoth $6bn in funding to another on-demand ride service, China’s Didi Chuxing.

Flipkart may have just raised $1bn, in a round backed by eBay, Microsoft and Tencent, but the drop in its valuation from $15.5bn in 2015 to $10bn reflects a downturn in India’s e-commerce sector in general, which this week’s Big Deal explores.

JD Finance, the financial services spinout of Chinese e-commerce firm JD.com, is reportedly raising funding at a $7.3bn valuation.

Tencent helps treat Haodaifu Online to $200m

Online grocery startups seem to have been more popular in Asia but now a Netherlands-based company called Picnic has come on the scene, raising $109m in a round led by NPM Capital, the private equity arm of trading group SHV Holdings.

Indian logistics service provider Delhivery has pulled in $100m from Carlyle Group and Tiger Global, and could extend the round to $150m, with Fosun potentially putting in $30m.

UCloud, the China-based cloud computing services provider backed by Bertelsmann and Legend Holdings, has raised $139m in a series D round co-led by Oriza Holdings and CICC Alpha.

Quantum computing circuit developer Rigetti Computing has disclosed $64m of funding across two rounds – a $24m series A featuring Bloomberg Beta and a $40m series B. The technology is still in a fairly nascent state but if quantum computing manages to take off in a big way that Bloomberg investment could generate a pretty substantial return.

Government Department

Benson Hill to grow with $25m series B

University Corner

Saphlux lights up $5m investment


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

27 March 2017 – MuleSoft’s Shares Soar Following $221m IPO and Much More

MuleSoft raised $221m in its IPO on Friday, only to see its share price soar to almost twice the mid-point of its range. The offering is good news for the IPO market generally but also for enterprise software providers looking to go public.

Deals

Flipkart has raised $1bn in funding from investors including Tencent, Microsoft and eBay and is reportedly seeking up to $1bn more in the next few months.

Tencent has led a $350m round for Kuaishou, which is also backed by Baidu, and both the corporates will help the company enhance user experience of its app, which boasts 50 million daily active users.

SoftBank has invested $300m in working space provider WeWork at a $17bn valuation and reportedly expects to add another $2.7bn through Vision Fund.

Sutro Biopharma spinout SutroVax has raised $64m, $60m of that coming from a series B round backed by Roche Venture Fund, and will use the funds to advance its development of a conjugate vaccine for pneumococcal disease.

Haoeyou has raised $40m for its medical tourism platform, which allows Chinese patients to access consultancies from US-based doctors through video conferencing, and to travel between countries for treatment.

Legend Capital is among the investors that have provided $39m in series B funding for Suzhou Ribo Life Science, a Chinese company developing RNA therapeutics to treat diseases such as hepatitis B, hyperlipidaemia and liver cancer.

Genome editing technology startup eGenesis has raised $38m in a series A round backed by healthcare services firm Heritage Provider Network and biotech property developer Alexandria Real Estate Equities.

Autonomous car tech continues to roll on, with Autotalks, a developer of chipsets that will be used in vehicle-to-vehicle communication, raising $30m in series D funding.

GlaxoSmithKline and Johnson & Johnson have contributed to a $30m series B round for Pulmocide, a developer of therapies to combat diseases caused by respiratory syncytial virus.

Funds

Aflac has joined the numerous insurance providers that have established strategic investment arms over the past two years, forming a subsidiary called Aflac Corporate Ventures, in which it plans to invest $100m over the next three years.

Kabbage, the operator of an online lending platform for small businesses, is said to be in talks with investment firms to raise “a few hundred million dollars” that will be put toward acquisitions.

The European Fund for Strategic Investments (Efsi), also known as the Juncker Plan, is now set to trigger more than €177bn ($190bn) in total investments, figures released following a meeting of the European Investment Bank’s board of directors show.

Exits

Amazon has beefed up its international e-commerce holdings, entering the Middle East through a $650m acquisition of local market leader Souq.com that provided Naspers and Jabbar Internet Group with exits.

Alibaba paid an undisclosed sum for a 32% stake in Damai.cn in 2014 and has now finished the job, acquiring the rest of the online ticketing platform.

Netshoes, a Brazil-based sports e-commerce company backed by Singapore government-owned GIC and Temasek as well as the International Finance Corporation, has filed for an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange that could bring in $100m in proceeds.


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

27 February 2017 – Westpac Supplies A$100m to Reinventure for Disruptive FinTech and Much More

Deals

SoFi is reportedly close to completing a $500m funding round backed by existing investor SoftBank.

Speaking of SoftBank, editor-in-chief James Mawson has taken a deep look at its $3.3bn acquisition of Fortress Investment Group a week ago.

Internet group Baidu has invested $300m in iQiyi, an online video streaming platform in which it is majority shareholder, as part of a convertible note round sized at $1.53bn, that will support the company’s subscription service.

Indian e-commerce company Flipkart could be in line for a $1.5bn round of its own, having reportedly entered talks with a host of investors including Microsoft, Tencent, eBay, PayPal and Alphabet.

Mobike has been operating its bike rental network less than a year but has already raised well over $400m, $300m of which has come this year.

Having made investments in India-based Paytm and Thailand-based Ascend Money in the past few months, Chinese financial services provider Ant Financial is moving into Korea.

China-based mobile game publisher Shinezone Network has secured $58m in series B funding that will be used to build out its international distribution and homegrown incubator activities.

Chinese peer-to-peer car sharing platform Atzuche has secured $58m in a series C round that included existing backers Hearst Media and China Pacific Insurance.

Cloud services provider Rackspace has spun out Mailgun, the email automation tools provider it acquired in 2012.

Media group Bennett, Coleman & Co has invested $38.8m in India-based e-commerce firm Flipkart, providing both capital and advertising services.

GV-backed microfinance provider Tala has raised $30m in an IVP-led series B round that took its overall funding to $44m.

Anxin Doctor, the developer of an app that connects users to medical specialists such as paediatricians, gynaecologists and obstetrics doctors, has raised $28m in funding.

On GlobalGovernmentVenturing.com, IDS Medical Systems Group, an Indonesia-based medical device supplier, is set to receive up to $60m from International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector-focused arm of multilateral financial institution World Bank, DealStreetAsia wrote yesterday.

We’ve also had a nice cross-over piece of news from Finland, where TactoTek, a three-dimensional moulded plastic electronics manufacturer, has increased its total funding to more than $20m following a round that featured Faurecia Ventures, the investment arm of automotive parts maker Faurecia.

And another cross-over: on GlobalUniversityVenturing.com, C3Nano, a spinout of Stanford University that produces conductive inks and films for bendable touch sensors, closed a $15m series D round co-led by GSR Ventures, conglomerate Nissha Printing and diversified holding group Xinjiang Guoli Minsheng Equity Investment.

Funds

Artificial intelligence was one of the cutting edge technologies on the menu when Samsung launched its $150m Next fund last month, but reports coming out of Korea suggest the company is considering the formation of a $1bn fund that will focus exclusively on AI.

Meituan-Dianping, the Chinese local services operator formed by a $15bn merger in late 2015, is set to join rivals in the online services sector by forming a dedicated corporate venturing fund, for which it aims to raise approximately $435m.

Project A, a Germany-based venture capital firm, closed a €140m ($148m) early-stage fund today with a cornerstone investment from the European Investment Fund (EIF), the EU-owned financing agency.

BioMedPartners, a Switzerland-based healthcare-focused venture capital firm, has achieved the first close of its BioMedInvest III fund at SFr75m ($75m) with a cornerstone investment from the European Investment Fund (EIF).

The biggest fund on GGV came from Singapore, where Heliconia Capital Management, a wholly-owned investment subsidiary of Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund Temasek, has announced a S$600m ($422m) fund.

EduGrowth, a non-profit platform founded by Deakin University, La Trobe University, Monash University, Charles Sturt University and Griffith University as well as education company Navitas, has launched an accelerator, that will put A$50,000 into participating startups in return for 6% equity stake.

Exits

Zawatt, a Japan-based operator of an online auction platform, is set to be acquired by marketplace app provider Mercari today (that is February 27, for those of you listening to this later in the week).

Zhenai, a China-based online dating platform backed by internet company IAC, is planning a listing via a reverse merger with aircraft parts manufacturer DEA General Aviation, China Money Network has reported.

US-based software integration technology provider MuleSoft has filed to raise $100m in an initial public offering that will give exits to networking technology producer Cisco and enterprise software firms Salesforce.com and ServiceNow.

Here’s some rather depressing news for investors: Groupon has revealed in a securities filing that it paid the grand total of zero for corporate-backed competitor Living Social when it acquired the company in October 2016.

On GlobalUniversityVenturing.com meanwhile, Wrapidity, an artificial intelligence (AI) spinout of Oxford University, was acquired by data science company Meltwater.


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

20 February 2017 – Ford Invests in Argo AI, Enterprise Ireland backs 4 Funds and Much More

Deals

SoftBank has agreed to pay $3.3bn to acquire Fortress Investment Group, an investment manager with some $70bn of assets under management.

Jera, the joint venture formed by Japanese energy utilities Tokyo Electric Power and Chubu Electric Power, has invested $200m in India-based solar and wind energy producer ReNew Power, taking a 10% stake.

Lytro, the developer of a light field camera and imaging platform it claims can film the highest quality and resolution VR content on the market, has raised $60m in a round that took its overall funding to $200m.

Vietnamese e-commerce platform Tiki, which like Amazon started out selling books before branching out into other consumer products, is reportedly in the process of raising between $50m and $60m in a series D round expected to close by the end of this year.

Rhythm, a biopharmaceutical company developing peptide therapeutics to treat rare genetic deficiencies, has raised $41m in a mezzanine round backed by Ipsen and Pfizer Venture Investments.

Baidu Ventures has made its first investment, contributing to a $27m series B round for 8i, the developer of an app that allows users to record and project photorealistic holograms.

Logsitics company DB Schenker has led a $25m series D round for freight shipping marketplace uShip, doubling the company’s total funding in the process.

General Motors has led a funding round for advanced metal products developer NanoSteel that, according to a regulatory filing, is sized at $15m.

Soundtrack Your Brand, a Sweden-based business-to-business music streaming platform, raised $22m today from a consortium co-led by Industrifonden, the investment arm of Sweden’s government.

Exactuals, the US-based developer of a software platform that organises entertainment payments, has secured $10m in a series A round that featured featured Stanford University’s StartX Fund.

Funds

Nasdaq is reportedly setting up a corporate venturing arm in order to fund startups with technology beneficial to its own offerings.

Tedco, the state-owned Technology Development Corporation of Maryland, has partnered financial services Harbor Bank to launch a fund aimed at black entrepreneurs.

Mubadala Development and International Petroleum Investment (IPIC), two sovereign wealth funds of Abu Dhabi, are set to be merged into a single vehicle named Mubadala Investment Co.

The Netherlands’ ministries for Foreign Affairs, Finance, and Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation jointly announced a €2.5bn ($2.1bn) government venturing fund called Invest-NL.

The government of India has approved a Rs68.31bn ($1.02bn) fund of funds aimed at the electronics and IT sectors, with an initial capital commitment of Rs6.81bn.

The government of Romania has signed a memorandum of understanding to establish an investment arm called Sovereign Development and Investment Fund.

Exits

Snap has set the terms for an IPO that will give exits to Alibaba, Tencent and Yahoo, and which will raise $3.2bn if the company floats at the top of its range.

Visterra, which is developing antibody-based therapeutics for diseases such as influenza and dengue fever, has withdrawn its IPO, more than a year after initially filing.

Grab, the ride hailing platform that serves as Uber’s main competition in Southeast Asia, is reportedly set to make the first deal out of the $700m Indonesian investment drive it announced last week, acquiring mobile payment platform Kudo for more than $100m.

Supply chain management firm E2open has acquired Steelwedge, a business planning software producer that counts property developer JF Shea as an investor, in an all-share deal.

Beepi, the operator of an online marketplace for used cars, is winding down after raising almost $150m in funding, including $70m in a 2015 round led by automotive manufacturer SAIC that valued Beepi at $500m.

O-Flexx Technologies, a Germany-based thermoelectrics technology developer, has been acquired by automotive parts manufacturer Mahle for an undisclosed amount, providing an exit to NRW Bank, the state-owned economic development bank of North Rhine-Westphalia.


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

16 January 2017 – Funding Circle Raises $100m, Starship Technologies Raises $17.2m Seed Funding and Much More

Deals

Insurance and reinsurance firm Arch Capital Group has contributed to a $510m round that has launched Premia Holdings, a Bermuda-based company that will offer property & casualty runoff insurance to businesses.

Chinese real estate service Lianjia raised more than $920m at a $6.2bn post-money valuation last April, in a series B round backed by Tencent and Baidu.

Hive Box, the logistics station network established by corporates GLP, SF Express, STO Express, ZTO Express and Yunda Express in 2015, has received approximately $360m in series A funding.

Mobile payment platform iZettle has raised $63m in financing to almost double the size of its series D round to $130m.

Much of the activity in the peer-to-peer lending sector has been concentrated in the US and China, but UK-based Funding Circle is proving it’s no slouch, raising $100m from investors including Rocket Internet and Temasek, the investment arm of Singapore’s government.

Zhihu, China’s answer to Quora, has secured $100m in a series D round backed by Tencent, which had previously invested in the company’s $55m series C just over a year ago, and search engine provider Sogou.

Alibaba’s local services subsidiary, Koubei, has co-led a funding round for restaurant table booking platform Meiweibuyongdeng that valued the company at just over $430m. T

Flash storage technology producer Kaminario has secured $75m in a series F round led by private equity firm Waterwood that it will use to expand in regions such as Eastern and Western Europe, Asia Pacific and the Middle East.

Ascentage Pharma spun out of oncology drug developer Ascenta Therapeutics in 2009 and has now closed a $72m series B round led by the Chinese government’s Future Industry Investment Fund that will be used to advance its pipeline of small-molecule drug treatments for cancer, hepatitis B and age-related diseases.

Immuno-oncology company Neon Therapeutics has raised $70m in a series B round backed by Access Industries, the conglomerate that took part in its $55m series A round just over a year ago.

Here’s a smaller one by amount but an enormous one for its stage: drone technology and logistics have both been hot areas of late so it’s no surprise that a company that combines the two, Starship Technologies, has raised a huge $17.2m in its seed round.

Another one that doesn’t exactly count as one of the week’s biggest, but is noteworthy nonetheless happened on GlobalUniversityVenturing.com, where Alta Innovations, the tech transfer office of Birmingham University, made a first investment from its £5m Spinout Investment Fund.

Funds

Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Development Co has been cited as an investor in SoftBank’s $100bn Vision Fund since November, and people familiar with the matter have told Bloomberg it is set to provide between $10bn and $15bn.

Tekes Venture Capital, the investment arm of Tekes, the state-owned Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation, has backed Butterfly Venture Fund III, a €24m ($25m) seed fund aimed at startups in Nordic countries.

The nanotechnology-focused commercialisation firm is set to establish two investment funds in the first half the year and is seeking co-investors from China and the Middle East as well as Japan.

The week’s largest fund on GlobalUniversityVenturing.com meanwhile was healthcare-focused VC firm Versant Ventures closing its sixth investment fund at a hard cap of $400m, with a third of that sum allocated towards the commercialisation of university research.

Exits

Fog Creek Software launched cloud collaboration tool Trello in 2011, spinning it out three years later when it raised $10.3m from VC investors.

SoftBank has had some notable successes through its CVC activity in Asia but it’s fair to say realty listings platform Housing.com is not among them. SoftBank had reportedly invested up to $95m in Housing.com, which has now been acquired by rival PropTiger in an all-share deal that valued it at no more than $75m. The corporate hasn’t given up however, and is investing $5m in the merged company together with a $50m contribution from PropTiger investor News Corp.

People

Akshay Naheta, chief investment officer of Knight Assets, has joined SoftBank to help manage the company’s $100bn fund that is backed by a range of sovereign wealth funds.


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

9 January 2017 – Welcome to 2017 with Bike Sharing Deals, Fund backing from Apple and Much More

Deals

Easy Life Financial Services, a tourism-focused financial services spinout of aviation and travel conglomerate HNA Group, has raised approximately $273m in series B+ funding from a string of Chinese investors.

Bike sharing looks likely to be a big area for VC funding in 2017, and China’s Mobike, which raised more than $100m in autumn last year, has followed it up with a $215m series D round co-led by existing backers Tencent and Warburg Pincus.

China-based iCarbonX is looking to build a what it calls an online ecosystem of digital life, and has raised about $200m of funding from investors including Tencent. It has also provided almost $400m of funding from its ecosystem for seven members of its Digital Life Alliance.

Electric bus producer Proterra has raised $140m from investors including Edison Energy and the corporate venturing subsidiaries of General Motors and Exelon.

Cancer test developer Grail spun out of genomics producer Illumina a year ago with $100m in funding that was quickly upped to $125m.

Tasly Pharmaceuticals took part in the $55m series A round closed by liver disease treatment developer Ascletis at the end of 2015, and has come back for its $100m series B.

Online investment manager Nutmeg took its series D round over the $50m mark with a £12m investment by Fubon Financial Holdings.

There have been a few big deals on GlobalUniversityVenturing.com and GlobalGovernmentVenturing.com as well. An intriguing crossover is a $40m series A round for Therachon, a Switzerland-based biotech developer focused on rare genetic diseases such as short-limbed dwarfism, thanks to a $5m extension that featured Bpifrance, the public investment bank of France.

Funds

News emerged last month that Apple could chip in up to $1bn for SoftBank’s $100bn Vision Fund, and that news has now been confirmed along with reports that fellow corporates Qualcomm and Foxconn are also set to invest.

Samsung’s mooted $1.1bn Next47 fund is yet to announce any investments but the same can’t be said for Samsung Next Fund, a $150m initiative announced by the corporate this week.

The cleantech-focused $52m Icos Capital Fund III meanwhile has received commitments from the city of Rotterdam as well as corporates Wuppermann, Bühler and AkzoNobel to achieve a first close.

International Finance Corporation is one of 65 limited partners that have backed SOSV’s third fund, doubling the firm’s total assets under management to $300m.

The European Investment Fund (EIF), the investment arm of EU agency European Investment Bank, and Cassa depositi e prestiti (CDP), the state-owned national promotional institution of Italy, have joined forces to launch Itatech with €200m ($208m).

Greece’s Ministry of Economy and Development has signed an agreement with the European Investment Fund (EIF), the investment arm of EU agency European Investment Bank, to establish a €260m ($270m) fund of funds.

And EU agency European Investment Bank (EIB) has achieved a final close of its third Lebanon-based Euromena private equity fund, managed by Capital Trust Group, at $150m.

Exits

Jounce meanwhile is developing antibody-based immunotherapy treatments for cancer, and has filed for a $75m IPO.

Sogou, operator of China’s third most popular search engine, is looking to float in the US at some point later in the year at a valuation of up to $5bn, CEO Wang Xiaochuan has told Bloomberg.

A sadder exit came for Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of economic development agency Scottish Enterprise, which saw portfolio company TeamRock collapse just three months after making a £2m investment.

People

Neil McGregor, senior managing director at Temasek, the investment arm of the government of Singapore, will depart on March 31 to join Sembcorp Industries as chief executive and group president. McGregor has been Temasek’s head of energy and resources, head of Australia and New Zealand since he joined in June 2014.


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

19 December 2016 – $225m for BlueRock Therapeutics, Microsoft Ventures Invests from its AI Fund and Much More

Deals

Bayer and investment firm Versant Ventures have jointly provided $225m in series A funding for a regenerative medicine startup called BlueRock Therapeutics.

Symphony emerged two years ago with $66m from 14 banks and followed that funding up with a $100m Google-backed round last year. Now the company, which offers a secure messaging platform for use in the financial services industry, is in the process of raising between $125m and $200m at a pre-money valuation north of $1bn.

SenseTime, which provides deep learning technology to Chinese corporates, has secured $120m in a round that included Dalian Wanda Group and existing backer IDG Capital.

Podotree, the Kakao affiliate that deals with the social media company’s online publishing offerings, has raised $107m in funding from investors including Anchor Equity Partners and GIC at a reported valuation of about $428m.

JetSmarter has big ambitions to become the Uber of private jet travel, and has just raised $105m in series C funding at a $1.5bn pre-money valuation.

Virtual reality gaming company Survios has raised $50m across two rounds, the latter of which was led by MGM.

Sonendo, the developer of a teeth cleaning system for use in root canals, has secured $35m from investors including Henry Crown and Company affiliate CVF, bringing its overall funding to near $110m.

BillFront, a provider of finance for media companies that may face delays in recouping advertising revenue, has raised $35m in a series A round consisting of debt and equity.

Holiday accommodation rental aggregator Tripping.com has received $35m in series C funding, with investment firm Princeville Global leading the round.

Oxford Nanopore has raised additional funding after announcing earlier this month that it had become the first company to sequence multiple human genomes using portable technology.

Edotco, a Malaysia-based telecoms infrastructure services provider, has amassed $600m from investors including Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional. Khazanah Nasional made the investment via a secondary equity private placement offering of $200m, while public-private partnership Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ) contributed through a $400m primary offering.

Funds

Microsoft Ventures only resumed making direct investments in May but has already racked up 19 deals since, including contributions to rounds for Tact, Dynamic Signals (see below for both) and Element AI, the last of which is the first investment to be made from a dedicated artificial intelligence fund which the unit has just formed.

Not long after it confirmed that its $100bn Vision Fund would be headquartered in London, news emerged that SoftBank is in talks with Apple over a $1bn investment in the vehicle.

Oxford Sciences Innovation (OSI), the university venturing fund of Oxford University, on Friday raised an additional £230m ($290m) from investors including the institution’s endowment fund to bring its total to £580m.

IP Group takes Parkwalk for $12m. The intellectual property investor could pay an extra $12m to buy Parkwalk if the spinout-focused fund manager meets certain key targets.

Sigmar Gabriel, minister of economy for Germany, and his French peer Michel Sapin yesterday revealed a €1bn ($1.1bn) fund aimed at startups in the two countries.

Exits

2016 has been a bad year for a lot of people but in the venture capital space it’s been a worse year than most for Rocket Internet, which is continuing to consolidate its holdings.

Meitu, the Chinese creator of a photo modification app for social media, has raised just over $600m in one of the year’s biggest tech IPOs, giving exits to Sina Weibo, Foxconn and IDG Capital Partners.

Garena, the most highly valued startup in Southeast Asia as of a $170m round in April that valued it at $3.75bn, has reportedly begun talks with banks over a prospective IPO in the US in 2018 that could raise around $1bn.

Germany-based medical device manufacturer Gilupi was acquired yesterday by its investor and strategic partner Viroad, a China-based biotechnology company, for an undisclosed sum.

People

Maryland University at College Park (UMD) has appointed Julie Lenzer, former senior advisor to US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, to two key roles as part of its efforts to bolster innovation.

State-owned investment firm Finnish Industry Investment (FII) announced the promotion of Jan Sasse, head of FII’s Growth Investments team since June 2015, to president and CEO yesterday.


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

12 December 2016 – Tinder creates Swipe Ventures, Australia launches $150m Csiro fund and Much More

People

Mary Kay James, previously a managing director at DuPont Ventures, has joined Tyson Foods as the US-based meat processor unveils a $150m corporate venturing unit dubbed Tyson New Ventures.

Mike Dimelow, former vice-president of strategic business development at semiconductor technology developer Arm, has left to co-found a venture capital firm called Accelerated Digital Ventures (ADV).

University Corner

CIC names Williamson investment director.

Cambridge alumnus Williamson has joined the university venturing fund after 20 years in the US, most recently at True North Venture Partners.

Funds

Back in October, SoftBank partnered the government of Saudi Arabia’s investment arm Public Investment Fund for a $100bn fund. SoftBank has hit some troubles since then, booking a $555m loss from its Indian portfolio last month, but that doesn’t seem to have reduced interest in the SoftBank Vision Fund, which the internet group’s CEO Masayoshi Son has now said is set to be oversubscribed.

Ascension’s corporate venturing subsidiary has closed its fourth fund at $255m thanks to the support of 13 corporate peers.

Wistron, a Taiwan-based original design manufacturer, has joined the ranks of corporate venturers with a $20m fund that it set up in partnership with US-based VC firm Fenox Venture Capital.

Tinder, the dating app that connects users with each other once they’ve both swiped right on each other’s profile, is jumping into the corporate venturing world with Swipe Ventures, a unit that will be headed by Sean Rad, up until now the CEO of Tinder.

PSA enters Business Lab. The car manufacturer is set to conduct corporate venturing activities through the new unit.

Maris boldly goes to $230m fund. Bill Maris, co-founder of GV who left the unit earlier this summer, is raising a $230m fund that will focus on the healthcare sector.

Partech concludes $107m fundraising effort.

University Corner

The tech transfer office and Parkwalk Advisors launched the latest $3m Enterprise Fund just ten months after Fund IV was opened to investors.

Government Department

Australia launches $150m Csiro fund

Ben Franklin boosts startups in Philadelphia with $6m

Exits

Meitu, the developer of an app that lets users retouch their selfies, initially targeted up to $1bn in proceeds from an initial public offering in Hong Kong when it filed in August 2016. That target has dropped several times since, first to $800m last month and now to $629m. The company had obtained approximately $500m in total funding from investors including corporates Sina Weibo and International Data Group, but has struggled to monetise its offering and in the first half of the year posted a $40.5m loss.

SportsHero is taking a different approach to the stock exchange, as the company prepares a reverse takeover with its shareholder Nevada Iron, an Australia-listed mineral extraction company.

Trivago books IPO trip.

AbbVie is celebrating an exit thanks to Sienna Biopharmaceuticals which has acquired biotech company Creabilis for up to $150m.

Cinepapaya dances the Fandango.

Paktor picks up 17 Media.

Beepi, a peer-to-peer used car marketplace, appears to have collapsed after a strategic investor – reportedly Saic Motor – decided to pull out.

Government Department

Bpifrance loses $20m with Viadeo collapse.

Creo collects $25m ahead of Aim flotation.

University Corner

Citim materialises acquisition.

Investments

GE spins out Menlo Micro with $18.7m

VW mobilises spinout Moia

Face++ recognises $100m for series C

Juhe.cn computes $52m series C

Finicity aggregates $42m series B

SnapLogic has added a $40m series F round to its coffers just a year after Microsoft took part in a $37.5m series E.

KeyMe doesn’t look like it is having any trouble securing cash. The digital locksmith technology developer, which lets users scan their keys and upload them to the cloud to print copies at kiosks, has added $25m in funding.

3M’s portfolio company Impel Neuropharma has signed up investors for a $36m series C round, for which it has obtained an initial $21m and will receive the remainder upon reaching certain milestones.

University Corner

Spinouts: a marriage made in heaven – or hell?

Government Department

Lumos Global glows with record $90m fundraising.


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