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