18 March 2019 – Uber Lines Up $1bn in External Capital

The Big Ones

Uber is lining up at least $1bn in external capital for its autonomous car division. SoftBank Vision Fund and Toyota, both of which are already investors in Uber itself, are among the consortium that is in advanced talks to supply the cash. Uber is reportedly seeking a $5bn to $10bn valuation in the round.

Waymo has been operating as part of Alphabet predecessor Google since 2009 and was established as a dedicated subsidiary in 2016. Now, the autonomous driving technology developer is seeking external funding for the first time, and while we don’t know a figure quie yet, it will reportedly be at a valuation far higher than the $15bn it was said to be valued at in the past.

SoftBank revealed in January that it was relaunching its SoftBank Ventures Korea unit as SoftBank Ventures Asia with an expanded remit to invest in the US and Europe as well as all over Asia, and now its CEO JP Lee has revealed that it will also make use of a $500m capital injection.

Deals

Film and TV studio STX Entertainment launched in 2014, raising an undisclosed amount in a Tencent and PCCW-backed round two years later at a $1.5bn valuation. Now, it’s added $700m in debt and equity financing from private equity investors that will fund the expansion of its film production rate as well as strategic acquisitions.

SIG subsidiary Susquehanna Growth Equity is part of a group of investors that have spent $280m to buy shares in work management software provider WorkFront through a secondary share purchase. The company had previously raised $95m in equity financing, and SGE director Martin Anger will take a board seat in conjunction with its investment.

Content delivery network operator Cloudflare has meanwhile raised $150m in a Franklin Templeton-led series E round that took its overall funding to $332m.

Indian freight shipping marketplace BlackBuck has been raising money for its latest round since October and has reportedly set a $100m to $150m target for its close.

Kaplan-backed educational content provider Newsela has meanwhile received $50m from TCV in the form of a series C investment.

Funds

Harvard University has announced a partnership with investment firm Deerfield Management to launch a $100m research and development initiative that will focus on the development and translation of biomedical and life science research.

Exits

Cannabis producer and services provider Verano has agreed to an $850m all-share acquisition by competitor Harvest Health and Recreation, in a deal that will qualify as an exit for cannabinoid therapy developer Scythian Biosciences.

Application delivery technology provider Nginx has raised a little over $100m in funding but has agreed to a $670m acquisition by F5 that will enable Telstra Ventures to exit.

Salesforce Ventures and M12 are set to exit machine learning software developer Figure Eight in an acquisition by AI dataset provider Appen that may total $300m.

Africa-focused online marketplace Jumia has filed for a $100m initial public offering in the US that would follow flotations by other Rocket Internet-founded e-commerce platforms.

Abiomed and Trudell Medical-backed Shockwave Medical, the developer of a calcification treatment system, has raised $97m in its initial public offering.


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

22 August 2016 – Autonomous and Smart Car Investments, $30bn Fund in China and more

Funds

China has just reportedly approved the establishment of a state-owned $30bn VC fund in Shenzhen.

ONGC to drill into startups with $15m fund

Uber and Digi to experiment with Malaysian ideation lab

Cambridge Innovation Capital (CIC), a university venturing fund commercialises science and technology advances made at Cambridge University, has raised £75m ($90m).

Prudential Retirement, a business unit of New York-listed Prudential Financial, has closed its seed stage-focused corporate venturing group, Gibraltar Ventures, so the company can build a new innovation strategy around design, acquiring and partnering with startups.

People

Lambert, who is chair of our Shift conference in NYC on October 28 in partnership with the NVCA, became managing partner with Sand Hill Road-based private venture capital firm Westly Group.

Jerneja Loncar, who has been an entrepreneur-in-residence at car maker General Motors’ GM Entrepreneurs after nearly four years at GM Ventures until the start of 2014, has been planning her next step after successfully running one startup.

Jon Lauckner, chief technical officer at General Motors and president of GM Ventures, who will be attending the GCV-NVCA SHIFT: Accelerating Corporate and Venture Partnerships conference.

Exits

General Motors reportedly made advances to portfolio company Lyft in the past few weeks to propose an acquisition, an offer Lyft turned down in order to raise more funding.

Twitch has acquired Curse for an undisclosed amount, roughly a year after the gaming media and community platform received $30m in funding from Riot Games.

Japan-based Rakuten has acquired the assets of Bitnet, a US-based bitcoin wallet startup, for an undisclosed amount.

Tencent is reportedly set to exit contextualised services search app Vurb through a $110m stock and cash acquisition by Snapchat.

Investments

It’s been a big week for internet group Tencent, with news emerging of three sizeable deals in which it’s involved. The company has first of all led a $227m series C for game livestreaming platform Douyu TV – essentially a Chinese version of Twitch – as part of a deal that will involve Douyu’s sports offering being absorbed into its own Qie Live platform.

Tencent also co-led a $175m round for India-based Hike, which is developing an all-purpose messaging app not too dissimilar to Tencent’s own WeChat platform, which connects to a huge range of e-commerce services in its home country of China.

Tencent enters Keep in series C+ round

Film and TV studio STX Entertainment has received an undisclosed amount of funding from investors including Chinese corporates Tencent and PCCW at a reported valuation of $1.5bn.

Ford has been upping its corporate venturing activity of late, investing $182m in Pivotal Software at one end of the scale and in a $6.6m round for Civil Maps at the other, as it seeks to strengthen its software capabilities on the way to the planned launch of its first autonomous car in 2021.

Chinese technology group LeEco continues to make a name for itself, diversifying into ever more areas, and now it’s raised $50m from conglomerate Macrolink for its smart car unit.

Amazon launched its $100m Alexa Fund just over a year ago, and the unit has now made its largest investment yet, as part of a $35m round closed by smart thermostat developer Ecobee.

Corporate venturing units Novo Ventures, Roche Venture Fund and SR One have co-led an $86m series A round for Tioma Therapeutics, which is working on a cancer treatment that will target the CD47 immune checkpoint inhibitor, with venture firm RiverVest Venture Partners.

Nutirinia, a developer of digestible insulin for infants, has raised $30m in a series D round featuring WuXi PharmaTech, taking its overall funding to more than $46m.

US-based cybersecurity software provider ID Experts closed a $27.5m round featuring BlueCross BlueShield Venture Partners, the corporate venture capital arm of health insurance provider Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

Tekpea connects to EPM for funding

Colombia-based utility service provider Empresas Públicas de Medellín has invested an undisclosed amount in the IoT company through its FCP Innovation unit.


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