05 August 2019 – MyBank Seeks $870m at $3.5bn Valuation

Big ones

MyBank was formed by Ant Financial and Fosun in 2015, and now the big data and AI-enhanced online lending platform is reportedly seeking about $870m in a round that could include both corporates at a $3.5bn valuation. Its other existing investors include Wanxiang, a contributor to the $644m the company received at the time of its launch.

After much speculation, Indonesian bank Bank Negara Indonesia has officially launched its venture capital unit, BRI Ventures. It has provided an initial $100m for the unit that it intends to eventually increase to up to $250m, and it will be headed by Nicko Widjaja, the ex-CEO of one of the country’s other notable corporate venturing entities, Telkom Indonesia’s MDI Ventures. That’s an interesting development considering MDI was said to be helping BNI put together the fund.

Chinese online lending platform 9f has filed to go public in the US and hopes to raise $150m in proceeds but, in an unusual move, is yet to settle on an exchange (it’s a fight between NYSE and Nasdaq). The company’s investors include Susquehanna International Group and SBI, though neither have stakes sized at 5% or more. Founded in 2006, 9f operates a peer-to-peer lending marketplace for consumers, with the loans supplied by both private investors and institutional partners. The platform also offers securities trading and big data analytics functionalities. The company had 76.7 million registered users as of March this year, 7.8 million of which have an approved credit limit. Its outstanding loan balance totalled $8.2bn at the time.

Alizé Pharma 3, a France-based biopharmaceutical startup based on research at University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill, University of Maine and Harvard University, secured $74.6m on Tuesday in a series A round led by investment firm LSP. Novo Ventures, Partners Innovation and Sham Innovation Santé, respective investment vehicles for pharmaceutical firm Novo, healthcare provider Partners Healthcare and insurer Sham, among others, also took part in the round. Alizé Pharma 3 is developing drugs that are intended to treat metabolic diseases and diseases of the endocrine system.

Deals

Swiggy is in what’s increasingly become a head-to-head battle with Zomato for dominance in India’s on-demand food delivery sector, and it’s reportedly close to raising between $700m and $750m in a round led by existing investor Naspers.

Healthcare software provider Babylon Health has announced a $550m series C round that will value it at $2bn post-money once it formally closes.

Traveloka raised $420m in a GIC-backed round in April, and is reportedly talking to investors in a bid to secure an additional $500m at a valuation of about $4.5bn.

Mobile bank operator Nubank has already sealed funding, notching up $400m in a series F round that included Tencent. The corporate had already invested $90m in Nubank last October, together with a $90m secondary transaction.

Online real estate brokerage Compass is now valued at $6.4bn having secured $370m in a series G round that included SoftBank Vision Fund, fresh from the launch of its recent $108bn second vehicle.

Mobile commerce platform Wish is now valued at $11.2bn following a series H round reportedly sized at $300m. General Atlantic led the round, without any other participanys being disclosed.

Machine learning software provider DataRobot has reportedly secured $200m in a series E round led by Sapphire Ventures at a valuation of more than $1bn.

Chinese engineering equipment rental service Zhongeng United has raised a total of about $167m in new funding, almost $22m of which came in the shape of series B-plus capital supplied by Five Star.

Funds

Utimco, a joint investment company of University of Texas and Texas A&M University, has backed a $234m life sciences fund raised by Germany-based venture firm Wellington Partners.

Exits

There’s been a lot of talk of decline in the new media sector as of late, and we could be about to see some more consolidation in the space. Vice is one of the biggest players and is reportedly in discussions to acquire Refinery29 in a move intended to diversify its comparatively masculine reputation.


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

10 June 2019 – Google Agrees $2.6bn Acquisition of Looker

The Big Ones

JD.com has agreed to lead a round for electronics recycler Aihuishou that will be more than $500m in size. The deal will also involve JD.com, an investor in the company since at least 2015, merging its second-hand e-commerce subsidiary, Paipai, with Aihuishou.

Google has agreed to purchase data analytics software provider Looker in a $2.6bn acquisition that will surely be one of the year’s largest.

SoftBank Vision Fund is still seeking out new forms of financing, and is reportedly in talks with banks such as Goldman Sachs over a $4bn debt financing package that will effectively use its stakes in Uber, Guardant Health and the soon-to-list Slack as its basis.

Healthcare-focused investment firm Deerfield Management added a partnership with Columbia University to its roster of academic biomedical alliances yesterday with the launch of an up to $130m investment vehicle, Hudson Heights Innovations.

Deals

Swiggy is battling Zomato for dominance in India’s online food delivery sector, and may be about to recruit a powerful ally in SoftBank.

Bordrin Motor is the latest Chinese smart electric vehicle developer to pull in big funding, securing $362m in a round led by a Sinochem vehicle called Silver Saddle Equity Investment Management.

Speaking of SoftBank, the telecommunications and internet group has also invested $200m in online consumer loan provider Creditas.

Hupu is still preparing to float in its home country of China, but before that, digital media company Bytedance has invested $182m in the sport-focused online media provider in return for a 30% stake.

Foursquare seems to have been around forever and has had some hiccups, but it’s raising more money than ever. Merchant bank Raine Group has invested $150m in the location-based app developer, whose existing backers include Naver and corporate venturing units OATV and Simon Ventures, and is using some of it to acquire location data-tracking software provider Placed from Snap, which bought the company for $135m two years ago.

SoftBank Vision Fund invested $100m in Brazilian logistics platform Loggi towards the end of last year and has now returned to lead another $100m round.

Endpoint security software provider SentinelOne has secured $120m in a series D round that included Samsung Venture Investment to boost its total funding to $230m.

Yellowbrick Data has raised $81m in series C funding from investors including BMW i Ventures, Siemens’ Next47 unit and Alphabet subsidiary GV to boost its overall funding to $173m.

Exits

Global Fashion Group, a consortium made up of investors including Rocket Internet, Access Industries and Tengelmann Ventures that oversees four fashion e-commerce marketplaces is looking to go public as early as next month.

Japanese digital business card platform Sansan has priced its initial public offering at the top of its range and is set to raise about $360m, including the over-allotment option, when it floats in Tokyo.

Adaptive Biotechnologies has filed to raise up to $230m in an initial public offering, following the inking of a collaboration deal with Genetech in December that could potentially be worth $2bn.

Another unicorn, fitness subscription service Peloton, has confidentially filed for an initial public offering. Its investors include Comcast NBCUniversal and Grace Beauty, and it was valued at more than $4.1bn when it last raised money, in August.


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

22 October 2018 – Alibaba Confirms Ele.me and Koubei Merger

Deals

Alibaba has confirmed the merger of Ele.me, the food delivery service it acquired in April, with Koubei, the local services platform it launched in 2015 and spun off two years later. The deal will be bolstered by $3bn of funding from Alibaba and SoftBank, and the newly formed entity will be going head to head with Meituan Dianping, the local services platform heavily backed by Alibaba’s key rival, Tencent.

Indian online food ordering platform Swiggy is preparing to raise $900m in a Naspers-led round that will reportedly include Tencent, and which will consist of $600m in equity funding and $300m in secondary share sales.

Instacart is growing like a weed and has announced a $600m round led by hedge fund D1 Capital Partners that valued it at $7.6bn. That would be some achievement in itself, but the grocery delivery service closed a $350m round at a $4.35bn valuation just six months ago.

Alibaba has invested approximately $288m in alcoholic beverages retailer 1919 Wines, taking a 29% stake in the process. 1919 sells its drinks through the combination of an e-commerce platform, for which Alibaba could surely help, and brick-and-mortar stores, and the investment comes at a time when China is learning to love wine.

LinkLogis, which uses AI to power a supply chain finance platform for small and micro-sized businesses, has received $220m in a series C round led by Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC with participation from corporates GLP, Skyworth, Tencent and Bertelsmann Asia Investments.

Ant Financial, Alibaba’s financial services affiliate, has invested $210m in Zomato, the India-based restaurant listings platform that is moving into food delivery.

Oxford Nanopore Technologies, a UK-based sequencing technology spinout of University of Oxford, has raised $66m from pharmaceutical firm Amgen that brought its latest round to $206m.

Careem has received $200m from existing investors that include Rakuten, Al Tayyar and the Saudi Telecom-anchored STV according to Reuters, capital that will likely form the first part of a $500m round that values it at $2bn pre-money.

Automotive e-commerce platform Chehaoduo has meanwhile secured $162m in a series C+ round, seven months after Tencent led its $818m series C. It has reportedly now raised a total of more than $1.85bn in total, and the city of Kunshan has provided $430m as part of a deal that will involve it being the location for Chehaoduo’s Maodou subsidiary.

Funds

SoftBank is still yet to officially close its $100bn Vision Fund, but it is reportedly arranging $9bn in debt financing for the unit, from the banks that are acting as underwriters for the IPO of its wireless division, an offering expected to raise some $27bn.

US-based growth equity firm Edison Partners closed its ninth fund at $365m yesterday having raised capital from limited partners including Rutgers University and American Family.

Taiho Pharmaceutical launched corporate venturing arm Taiho Ventures in 2016 with $50m of capital. The unit has since backed several companies, many of which are cancer therapy developers, and achieved an exit when Arcus Biosciences went public in March.

The Chinese city of Xuzhou has partnered with venture capital firm SummitView capital to launch a $433m fund focusing on sensors and technology related to the internet of things.

36Kr has long been cited as a news source for Chinese deals, but the technology news platform has been busy in recent years, adding a slate of data provision, event promotion and fundraising services to its bow.

Exits

It’s been quite a while but slowly, inch by inch, ride hailing services Uber and Lyft are moving toward the public markets.

Meanwhile, prospective underwriters for a Palantir IPO have told the company it could double its last disclosed valuation to $41bn in its own 2019 IPO.

Innovent Biologics filed for its Hong Kong IPO in June but has now revealed it is seeking $400m to $500m in the offering and has lined up cornerstone investors.

Anaplan has raised almost $264m in an IPO that involved it floating at the top of its range before seeing its share price jump some 40% immediately.


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

01 October 2018 – ByteDance in Funding Talks with SoftBank

Deals

Reports that China-based digital media company ByteDance was seeking funding at a $75bn valuation emerged a few weeks back, but now they’ve been fleshed out with news that it is in talks with SoftBank, which could provide $1.5bn of a $3bn round that also looks set to include KKR and General Atlantic.

Another Indian unicorn, ride hailing platform Ola, is reportedly in talks with Naspers and Temasek over a $1bn round that could value it at between $7bn and $8bn.

Short-term accommodation platform Oyo has raised $800m from investors including SoftBank Vision Fund and has reportedly secured commitments for a further $200m.

Swiggy is looking to establish itself as the market leader in India’s on-demand food delivery segment and has reportedly opened talks with investors including Tencent over a funding round that could reach $700m and value it at up to $2.5bn.

SoftBank Vision Fund continues to make its presence felt in the venture capital space, its latest deal being a $400m investment in real estate transaction marketplace Opendoor.

SoftBank’s Vision Fund has also invested in the latest round for online real estate brokerage Compass, which secured $400m in a series F round that valued it at $4.4bn post-money.

Butterfly Network, the developer of a handheld ultrasound device, has meanwhile received $250m in series D funding from investors including Fosun Pharma at a $1.25bn valuation.

Payment technology provider Stripe has taken a big step forward, securing $245m in a round that more than doubled its valuation to $20bn in less than two years.

Trucking services platform Manbang Group has been one of the recent success stories in China’s VC space, and now Convoy is aiming to become the sector’s market leader in the US.

UBiome, a US-based microbial genomics technology developer backed by the Stanford-StartX Fund, has raised $83m in series C funding from investors including Dentsu Ventures, the corporate venturing vehicle formed by marketing firm Dentsu.

Funds

Despite its name, SoftBank Ventures Korea hasn’t limited itself to Korean deals, and the unit is looking to establish itself more thoroughly in China with a $300m fund it has formed in partnership with TPG Growth.

The Engine Fund, a tough tech-focused VC vehicle associated with Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Engine incubator, has reached a final oversubscribed close of $205m.

Exits

2018’s really turning into a banner year for IPOs, with fashion e-commerce marketplace Farfetch the latest tech company to launch a successful offering, floating above its range to raise $885m.

Baxalta Ventures has scored one of the year’s big M&A exits, after Alexion agreed to acquire autoimmune disease drug developer Syntimmune for $400m upfront and up to $800m in milestone-related payments.

Asarina Pharma, a Sweden-based biotechnology spinout of University of Umeå, floated on the Nasdaq First North stock exchange last week after raising more than Skr142m ($16.3m) in an initial public offering.


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

12 February 2018 – Ant Financial in Potential $5bn Funding Round

Deals

Ant Financial, e-commerce group Alibaba’s financial services affiliate, is reportedly preparing to raise $5bn in funding in a round that will value it at betwen $80bn and $100bn, making it the most valuable VC-backed private company of all time.

Go-Jek has been raising a $1.2bn round over the past six months that already includes JD.com, Tencent, Google and Meituan-Dianping, and now the on-demand ride service is reportedly set to receive up to $290m from e-commerce firm Blibli and industrial conglomerate Astra International in order to increase the round to $1.5bn.

Byton, the smart electric car developer formerly known as Future Mobility, is reportedly in talks with a Chinese state-owned institution to raise between $300m and $400m of funding at a valuation of at least $1.2bn.

Grocery delivery service Instacart is also gearing up to raise funding – up to $250m according to a Delaware securities filing.

Enerkem, a producer of fuels and biochemicals from municipal waste, has raised approximately $224m in its latest round, which included Sinobioway and long-time backer Waste Management of Canada.

Joby Aviation is developing a five-seater electric aircraft that will be able to take off and land vertically, but which is intended to be far quicker than established alternatives like helicopters.

Swiggy is looking to ward off competitors in India’s app-based food delivery sector, such as Zomato and Foodpanda, and has secured $100m in a round led by Naspers Ventures.

Toyota has invested almost $69m in JapanTaxi, a ride hailing app that has signed up about a quarter of Japan’s taxi drivers, as part of a strategic partnership agreement.

AvroBio has raised $60m in a series B round featuring Brace Pharma Capital, the investment firm backed by pharmaceutical company EMS, and will use the proceeds to advance a pipeline of gene therapies for rare diseases.

Broadlink, the China-based developer of a range of connected home products, has secured $54.5m in series D funding from investors including Baidu and Libai. Its past backers include
Qualcomm Ventures, and the company disclosed the funding alongside news that it is preparing an initial public offering in its home country.

Automotive leasing service provider Fair seems like a company on the move. It acquired Uber’s leasing business, Xchange Leasing, last week and has now raised additional funding in a round led by Next47 that included BMW and CreditEase FinTech Investment Fund.

These weren’t the biggest deal on GUV, but they were the most intriguing because it looks as if MIT has spun out two companies that are developing the same technology: Lightmatter, which raised $11m in a series A, and Lightelligence, which secured $10m in a seed round, are developing computer chips that rely on light (or photonic) signals rather than electric signals – boasting orders of magnitude of processing power and having profound implications for data-intensive applications such as AI.

Funds

Insurance firm Ping An has emerged as one of the more prominent China-based corporate venturers over the past couple of years and its CVC arm, Ping An Ventures, is now targeting up to $1.3bn in capital for two new funds.

Workday formed its corporate venturing unit, Workday Ventures, in 2015, but the unit has only been sporadically active since. That looks set to change however, with the corporate committing $250m to a Workday Ventures fund that will add AR, VR and blockchain-based enterprise technologies to the AI and machine learning it already targets.

UK-based innovation platform Future Planet Capital has signed a memorandum of understanding with venture capital vehicle Eight Great Technologies Fund (8GT) for an initiative that will invest in British spinouts and companies.

And 4490 Ventures, a US-based venture capital firm co-founded by Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (Warf), has raised $49m for its second fund, according to a regulatory filing.

Exits

Acacia Pharma, a UK-based nausea and vomiting treatment developer backed by pharmaceutical firms Lundbeck and Novo, has revealed plans for an initial global offering on the Euronext Brussels market. The company has not disclosed how much it expects to raise in the flotation, which will be conducted as a private placement open to certain institutional and other investors outside the US.

Elastagen, an Australia-based dermatology product manufacturer spun out from University of Sydney, today agreed to an acquisition by pharmaceutical firm Allergan for $95m in an upfront payment.


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