7 November 2016 – Alibaba cultivates $1.5bn Fund, $100m First Fund for Keen and Much More

People

Lak Ananth has left US-based technology company Hewlett Packard Enterprises (HPE) to join Germany-based conglomerate Siemens as managing partner of its €1bn ($1.1bn) Next47 corporate venturing unit.

Markus Solibieda has left private equity firm Mandarin Capital Partners to become managing director.

Funds

SoftBank to make space in its Vision for Mubadala

Alibaba to cultivate $1.5bn fund

Kuang-Chi adds $250m to CVC investment capacity

Portag3 secures trio of limited partners

Canada-based venture capital firm Relay Ventures closed its third fund with a total of C$200m ($150m) in commitments from limited partners including mobile network operator US Cellular.

Hain Celestial to cultivate startups

Keen raises peachy $100m for first fund

Annexus seeks exits from corporate venturing vehicle

Government Department

Armenia to gain $55m fund

Exits

Intel Capital president to shrink portfolio 25%

Investments

Ola aims for $600m in new funding

Wish sets its heart on $500m

Searchable GIF database Giphy raised its first capital, a $2.4m CAA-backed round, in early 2014 but less than three years later the company has taken its total funding to more than $150m in a $72m series D round that reportedly values it at $600m.

Artificial intelligence technology startup Graphcore has scored $30m in a series A round led by Robert Bosch Venture Capital.

University Corner

UBiome builds $22m series B habitat


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

24 October 2016 – Temasek Invests $250m, SoftBank and Saudi Arabia Create a Fund and Much More

Investments

Cancer drug developer ADC Therapeutics has taken its total financing to $225m with a $105m private placement that included existing investor AstraZeneca.

Mobike has closed more than $100m in funding from investors including Tencent.

Mitsui has led a $100m round for MatahariMall.com, an e-commerce platform launched by real estate conglomerate Lippo Group with $500m last year.

Online wholesale alcohol retailer Yijiupi has also raised $100m, in a series C round backed by local reviews and group buying platform Meituan-Dianping which will fuel an expansion drive the company hopes will more than double the 72 Chinese cities in which it operates by the end of 2017.

GE Ventures, Envision Energy and Inven Capital have contributed to a round for energy storage and management technology provider Sonnen that has closed at $85m.

Oblong Industries, a gesture-based user interface spinout of MIT Media Lab, secured $65m in funding on Wednesday from investors including Utimco, the investment arm of University of Texas System.

Temasek, the sovereign wealth fund of Singapore, today invested $250m in US-based healthcare conglomerate Columbia Pacific Management’s Chinese subsidiary Columbia China.

Funds

Online media brands Thrillist, NowThis, The Dodo and Seeker joined forces last week to form a new holding company called Group Nine Media, fueled by a $100m investment by Discovery Communications.

French venture firm Daphni has launched a $165m fund with backing from LPs including corporates Nokia, MAIF and Fnac-Darty.

The government of Saudi Arabia joined forces with Japan-based conglomerate SoftBank on Friday to launch a $100bn vehicle dubbed SoftBank Vision Fund.

Exits

Quantenna, which has raised more than $200m in debt and equity since 2005 from investors including NTT, Vivint, Swisscom and Telefónica, has set the range for an offering that could raise up to $107m.

Gene editing company Crispr Therapeutics went public in a $56m IPO that was priced below its range, but which was executed concurrently to a $35m investment by existing backer Bayer Global Investments.

There’s a big new player in the Asian travel services industry, after MakeMyTrip acquired Ibibo Group in an all-share deal that reportedly valued Ibibo at $720m.

Salesforce has scored a decent-sized exit after cloud services provider Appirio agreed to a $500m acquisition by IT services firm Wipro.

Investment manager and research provider Morningstar has agreed to acquire financial data platform Pitchbook in a $180m deal that will see it buy the 80% of the company it does not already own.

Curtin University spinout ePat Technologies, which is developing facial recognition technology, floated on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) on Thursday.

General trading firm Mitsubishi Corporation purchased a 60% stake on Friday in ElectroRoute, an Ireland-based energy trading and services firm backed by government-owned export development agency Enterprise Ireland.

People

Dinesh Moorjani has become Comcast Ventures’ ninth managing director, joining the unit from Warburg Pincus.

Bruce Zimmerman, chief executive of Utimco, last week announced that he is stepping down from the position after a decade of leading the investment company of University of Texas System and Texas A&M System. Zimmerman was appointed as chief executive and chief investment manager in 2007.

Edinburgh Research and Innovation (ERI), the commercialisation arm of Edinburgh University, has appointed George Baxter as its new chief executive effective October 24.


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

26 September 2016 – Deals for LeEco and Airbnb, Finance Wales Launches Wales Business Fund plus much more

Deals

LeEco, has announced a $1.08bn funding round backed by Lenovo and Macrolink, and will use the funding to further develop LeSee, an autonomous electric car it is working on with Aston Martin and Faraday Future among others.

Airbnb has reportedly closed an $850m round.

Grab has picked up $750m in a SoftBank-led series F round.

U51.com, China-based credit card management platform backed by e-commerce company JD.com, has closed a $310m series C round that values it at $1bn.

Pay-per-mile auto insurance provider Metromile has been relatively quiet on the funding front, but all that changed yesterday when it disclosed $191m in equity financing it has received in the past two years.

Solar film producer Heliatek has secured some $89m in financing, including about $47m in series D equity funding that will be used to scale up its manufacturing capacity.

Funds

A total of 51 companies and institutional investors have collectively provided R1.5bn ($112m) of funding for a South Africa-based fund that will invest in small and medium-sized (SME) businesses.

Thailand-based financial services firm Kasikorn Bank will establish a strategic investment fund of undisclosed size during the fourth quarter of 2016 to invest in fintech services and products.

South Korean entertainment company Huayi Brothers, a subsidiary of China-based Huayi Brothers Media, is set to launch a $45m CVC arm to invest from as early as the end of the month.

Trumpf, a German industrial product manufacturer, launched a corporate venturing unit called Trumpf Venture which aims to build up a $45m portfolio over the next five years.

Baidu, China’s answer to Google, is reportedly putting together a $150m fund to invest in businesses developing content that could be distributed on its media offerings.

GE Healthcare has put together an accelerator called Five.Eight in order to back startups developing technology that can benefit patients in developing regions.

Australia’s industry minster Greg Hunt has hinted at a $380m fund, which would be the third VC fund launched through the country’s National Innovation and Science Agenda, following the $150m Csiro Innovation Fund and $380m Biomedical Translation Fund.

Finance Wales meanwhile officially launched its Wales Business Fund, a $177m investment vehicle that will provide equity and debt to businesses already located in Wales or willing to move there.

Vietnam also popped up on our radar last week with news that it is set to establish a government venturing fund to co-invest in local startups and help create more of an ecosystem.

International Finance Corporation is looking to invest $25m in Maison Capital’s inaugural US dollar-denominated fund, which is targeting a $200m close.

Exits

Corporates Itochu, Yahoo Japan, FISL and Kodansha are set to exit Uzabase, developer of an online business database and curated news app, in a flotation on the Tokyo Stock Exchange Mothers Market next month.

Dermatology product developer Novan has become the latest healthcare company to go public, raising $45m in a Nasdaq IPO.

People

Hearst Ventures, the corporate venturing unit of the eponymous US-based media group, which has restructured after the departure of its president, putting Kenneth Bronfin and Scott English in charge and building out its international network.

Andreas von Richter has left Ecomobility Ventures, the VC firm set up by Total, Orange, Peugeot and SNCF, to join another firm backed by a range of corporates, Aster Capital.

Jim Lussier, managing director and head of corporate venturing unit Dell Ventures, has left to run his own advisory and venture capital firm ahead of computer maker Dell’s merger with EMC.

Simon Johnson, previously senior investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, has joined Rivers Capital Partners as head of strategic debt funds.


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

12 September 2016 – Automotive Deals, UK Funds and more funding for Didi Chuxing plus more

Deals

Best Logistics has closed a massive $760m funding round that shows how big China’s logistics sector is growing in the wake of the country’s e-commerce success.

SoFi received $1bn from backers including Renren and SoftBank at a $4bn valuation in October, followed that up with another $150m from Renren the following month, and is now reportedly lining up a $500m round, though the prospective investors are yet to be revealed.

Moderna Therapeutics closed a huge $450m round at the start of last year that valued it at $3bn, and now the RNA therapeutics developer has revealed $474m in new equity financing which, a regulatory filing indicates, includes the $140m invested by AstraZeneca last month.

Online car marketplace Cheyipai has raised $185m in funding from investors including Renren and Tencent, but is now changing tack by switching from a business-to-consumer model to one that serves other businesses. That pivot may be part funded by car manufacturer BAIC, which is reportedly in talks to lead a $45m round.

Chinese automotive marketplace RenRenChe is less than three years old, but has secured $150m in a round backed by new and existing VC investors.

Didi Chuxing has had quite a year and it continues to go from strength to strength, closing $120m in funding from manufacturing services provider Foxconn at a $33.7bn valuation.

Novartis Venture Fund has co-led a $40m series E round for Rox Medical, the developer of a device that will treat hypertension in older patients.

Rigontec, a biopharmaceutical spinout of Bonn University, today achieved a third and final close of its series A round at $32.3m with public-private partnership High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) making another commitment.

Red Dot Capital Partners, a $150m vehicle wholly funded by Singaporean government-owned investment firm Temasek, led a $38m investment yesterday in Israel-based wireless technology developer Celeno Communications.

Funds

Russian conglomerate Sistema has already launched two VC vehicles this year – the $50m India-focused Sistema Asia Fund and a $100m fund with Tsinghua University – and it’s followed those up with a private equity fund partnership with Russian state-owned tech commercialisation company Rusnano.

Neil Woodford, a UK-based fund manager and founding partner of Woodford Investment Management, is reportedly in talks with the UK government to set up a £250m ($330m) VC fund, Portfolio Adviser reported.

Imperial College London has become a limited partner in a £40m ($53.7m) fund launched by incubator Entrepreneur First yesterday, according to TechCrunch.

Exits

Intel has acquired vision processing chip producer Movidius in a transaction that provided exits to corporates Robert Bosch and Sunny Optical.

IDG Ventures India can also celebrate an exit, or at least a partial exit from eyewear supplier Lenskart, selling $20m in shares to investment firm PremjiInvest in a deal that also involved PremjiInvest investing a further $10m in Lenskart directly.

Allergan has acquired the Wayne State University spinout, backed by Santen Pharmaceutical and Nerveda, for an upfront payment of $60m.

People

Oxford University’s commercialisation arm has appointed Matt Perkins as its new chief executive, replacing Tom Hockaday who stepped down earlier this year.

Ozan Sönmez has been appointed managing director of T-Jump Startup Hub, the US-based incubator of Middle East Technical University’s tech transfer office ODTÜ Teknokent.


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

11 July 2016 – Microsoft Venturing Fund, Exits for Multiple Companies and Investment News plus more

People

Rich Miner helped to launch Google Ventures in 2009 as general partner but seven years later, he’s dropped down to a venture partner position so he can concentrate on a secretive edtech project within the Google organisation.

Microsoft Ventures continues to build up its team, the latest recruit being Matthew Goldstein who comes from VC firm Trinity Ventures where he was principal

Funds

Microsoft expands its corporate venturing activities by forming a $92m fund to invest in Brazil-based agribusiness technology startups.

Kellogg is just one of the packaged food producers to launch corporate venturing units in the past year, and we spoke to its vice-president of investor relations Simon Burton about the formation of its new Eighteen94 Capital subsidiary and where the funding will go.

Hanmi hands over $8.7m to corporate venturing unit

University

Four universities partner Mercia

MIP reinvestment from Mercia

Government

IPO for Draper Esprit

Exits

Recruit Holdings has bought classified job listings platform and search engine Simply Hired for an undisclosed amount.

Two of conglomerate Legend Holdings’ investment affiliates – Legend Capital and Hony Capital – helped invest $15m in Chinese tyre manufacturer Shandong Linglong Tyre Co in 2010, and they’ve now exited in a $390m IPO on the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

Genomic medicine developer Syros Pharmaceuticals floated in the US last week, and since then its shares have risen in price by almost 50%, from the IPO price of $12.50 to $18 as of close of trading yesterday.

Another gene therapy developer, GenSight Biologics, had less luck when it tried for an IPO in the US market last year, cancelling an offering set to raise up to $70m. The Novartis-backed company has now set its sights on more modest goals, and will aim to raise $44m in an IPO in its home country of France, with its existing backers set to buy almost $19m of shares in the offering.

China-based Android app store Wandoujia was valued at $1bn in early 2014, not long before Alibaba reportedly offered to buy it for $1.5bn. Two years on, the e-commerce firm looks to have netted a bargain by agreeing to acquire Wandoujia for a reported $200m in a deal that will boost its internet services business.

Speaking of valuation drops, India-based fashion e-commerce platform Jabong is in talks with a range of prospective buyers over an acquisition that will allow co-founder Rocket Internet to exit.

Cybersecurity spinout Quadmetrics acquired by Fico

Vyclone, a Los Angeles-based social video creation and collaboration app, is shutting down.

Investments

Installment buying platform Qufenqi has changed its name to Qudian and raised $449m on the way to an IPO, just over three years after it was founded.

e-Shang raises $300M Corporate Minority round

Autonomous car startup Zoox has just raised $200m in funding, according to Business Insider, despite operating in super-stealth mode.

WuXi PharmaTech is among the investors to have put up $150m of series A funding for CStone Pharmaceuticals, a China-based startup looking to develop treatments for oncology, cardiovascular diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, haematology and autoimmune diseases, with a particular focus on immuno-oncology.

Media operator Network18 first invested in Bigtree Entertainment, the owner of cinema and live entertainment ticketing platform BookMyShow, in 2007 and it has returned to once again take part in its latest funding, an $81m round that values the company at more than $440m.

SoftBank-backed budget hotel room booking platform Oyo Rooms is set to raise $61m from existing investors at a $460m pre-money valuation as part of an expansion drive that will involve it growing its presence in areas like bed and breakfasts and homestays.

SmartNews, a Japan-based mobile news aggregation app, has raised $38 million in Series D funding. Development Bank of Japan led the round, and was joined by SMBC Venture Capital and Japan Co-Invest.

University

Cyber threat detection and defense software provider Darktrace has secured $65m at a $400m valuation, four times that at which it last raised funding, in July 2015.

Government

Temasek Holdings investment in internet of things


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

27 June 2016 – Blade Therapeutics, Kellogg, and IPOs for Twilio and Selecta Biosciences and more

Deals

Corporate

While not technically new, we have more information on the massive $7.3bn round for Didi Chuxing that we talked about on last Monday’s podcast. Poly Group, a Chinese state-owned real estate and trading business, contributed a whopping $400m in return for a 1.45% stake.

HR Bio Holdings, a joint venture between pharmaceutical company Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine and an unnamed blue chip investment firm, injected $100m to launch a US-based cancer therapy startup named Hengrui Therapeutics.

Xinmei Mutual Insurance Association attracted $150m from a consortium featuring Ant Financial.

University

Johns Hopkins spinout Blade Therapeutics raises $45m in its series B round.

Funds

University and Government

University College Dublin and Trinity College Dublin have set up a $68m fund in partnership with Atlantic Bridge that was also backed by the European Investment Fund and Enterprise Ireland, the development agency of the Irish government, as well as banks AIB and Bank of Ireland.

Corporate

Kellogg – yes, the makers of the breakfast cereals – is venturing into the CVC sphere with a $100m unit that will seek out opportunities in the food industry.

Shenzhen Hepalink, a Chinese pharmaceutical firm, invested $60m in the latest fund raised by TPG Biotech. The commitment follows the company’s decision to back the previous fund 18 months ago with $22m. TPG Biotech has invested in more than 50 companies since 2002.

Exits

Twilio, a business communication platform that was actually expected to delay its flotation and wait out the UK referendum results, but ended up not doing that. Instead, it upsized its IPO, raising $150m.

Selecta Biosciences, a synthetic vaccine particle developer, also got in on the IPO game ahead of the referendum, pricing its flotation at $70m and providing an exit to Sanofi-Genzyme Bioventures.

People

EDFI, the Association of European Development Finance Institutions, has appointed two new people.

Dartmouth College meanwhile is losing two staff members, Tillmann Gerngross and Trip Davis – the two who helped establish the university’s tech transfer office, the Office of Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer, in 2013.

Softbank’s COO and president Nikesh Arora has left.

Lockheed Martin Ventures, the newly established CVC unit of the aerospace and security company, has brought Christoper Moran on board as executive director and general manager.


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