28 August 2017 – VIPKid Closes Round with Reported $1.5bn Valuation

Funds

China Life and Baidu combine for $1bn fund

SparkLabs sets up $50m Seah-anchored fund

Kuppam’s Epsilon anticipates $350m close

Government

Monash BDI joins MRCF

Investments

SoftBank ploughs $4.4bn into WeWork

VIPKid is the latest participant to close a substantial round, pulling in $200m from investors including Tencent at a reported valuation of more than $1.5bn.

Deep learning chipset developer Cambricon has secured $100m in a series A round that included subsidiaries of Alibaba and Lenovo as well as robotics technology provider Zhongke Tuling Century Beijing Technology.

JD.com gets $100m to Go-Jek

Druva, a developer of cloud data management and protection software, raised $80m today in a round led by private equity firm Riverwood Capital that increased its overall funding to almost $200m.

Internet-of-things platform developer Cubic Telecom has raised $47m in a round featuring Qualcomm, Audi Electronics Venture and Valid Soluciones Tecnologicas that increased its overall funding to $88m.

Another data-oriented company, in-memory database platform developer Redis Labs, has meanwhile secured $44m in a series D round that included Dell Technologies Capital, representing the latter’s second deal in the space of a few days.

Behavioural health technology provider AbleTo has closed a $36.6m round featuring health insurer and long-term customer Aetna as well as healthcare provider Horizon Healthcare Services.

ZingBox, a developer of security technology for internet-of-things systems, has raised $22m in a series B round led by Dell Technologies Capital.

Saudi Aramco-backed online payment processing platform PayTabs has received $20m in funding from unnamed investors, and the capital will support a growth drive that will enable the Middle East-based company to expand into Africa, Europe and India.

Corporates dive into Immersv series A

University

IndoorAtlas spins another $4.3m in funding

Yahoo Japan has led a series B round for the University of Oulu spinout, which uses geomagnetic activity to detect an object’s location in a room.

Government

Sumdog fetches $1.8m

Exits

Accenture has exited digital testing and brand services provider Applause through an acquisition of undisclosed size by investment firm Vista Equity Partners. Accenture’s corporate venturing unit Accenture Ventures took part in Applause’s last round, a $35m series F last September that took the company’s total funding to about $115m.

Cisco has agreed to pay $320m to acquire hyperconvergence software provider Springpath, one of its portfolio companies since 2015.

According to a securities filing, Krystal Biotech raised just over $11m in its first round of funding last week, at least $7m of which came from pharmaceutical company Sun Pharmaceutical Industries.

Osram to switch on Digital Lumens acquisition

Avnet captures Dragon Innovation

ST Engineering subsidiary Vision Technologies Land Systems has agreed to pay an undisclosed amount to acquire Aethon, which has created an automated robotic delivery system for hospitals that transports items such as medication, meals and linen.

Smarsh captures Cognia in acquisition deal


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

10 July 2017 – Looking to the End of Summer

Editorial: What do people want when the summer is over?

Funds

AT&T has been relatively quiet while competitors like Verizon, Telstra and SoftBank have made great strides in corporate venturing, but that may be about to change with the formation of a strategic investment fund in which the telecom firm plans to invest up to $200m.

Autoliv moves $15m to Autotech Ventures

Vinci helps Axeleo draw up first close

Government

RCIF gains $1bn

EIF buys into $198m Cipio fund

Germany awards funding to 48 institutions

Enterprise Ireland launches $68m fund

University

Tel Aviv heads to India

UC Riverside launches $10m Highlander fund

Exits

Jawbone raised hundreds of millions from investors such as Deutsche Telekom as it moved from Bluetooth-enabled speakers to wearable fitness trackers, and at one point was raising cash at a $3bn+ valuation. All that appears to have ground to a halt however, as reports suggest the company has begun liquidation proceedings, weakened by a Fitbit lawsuit and done in by the flatlining wearables sector.

Roche eats up MySugr

Delivery Hero has raised more than $1.1bn in an IPO that enabled the Rocket Internet-owned Global Online Takeaway Group to sell about $148m of shares.

Gaming product maker Razer has filed for its own IPO, in Hong Kong, and is set to raise more than $600m according to TechCrunch.

Sienna to scratch IPO itch

Internet service provider MyRepublic may have failed in its bid to become Singapore’s fourth big telecom company, but it still plans to float by the end of 2018,

Online storage technology platform Dropbox has begun preparations for what will likely be the biggest tech IPO since Snap went public in March, and will shortly begin interviewing investment banks for the underwriting positions.

Canada-based bone disease therapy developer Clementia Pharmaceuticals has filed for a $115m IPO in the US that will provide an exit to strategic backer UCB Pharma, after the latter took part in a $60m series B round for the company in 2015.

Investments

China Money Network today launches the China Unicorn Ranking 2017, the most complete list of all private start-ups in China currently valued at $1 billion or more.

Just weeks after Mobike closed a $600m funding round, its main rival in the bike sharing sector, Ofo, has raised $700m in a series E round led by Alibaba.

Kakao drives $437m mobility spinout

Tencent invested $44m investment in Coocaa, the smart television subsidiary of Skyworth Digital Holdings, last month, and it’s now repeated the trick, paying $66m for a 16.7% stake in TCL’s smart TV unit, Shenzhen Thunderbird Network Technology.

Steel producer Shougang has co-led a $73m round for online steel trading and services platform Zhaogang through a private equity vehicle called West Fund.

Headspace, the developer of a meditation and mindfulness platform that mixes a subscription-based guided meditation service with themed text and video content, has raised $36m in a round led by growth equity firm Spectrum Equity.

Axonics Modulation Technologies, the developer of an implantable neuromodulation system, has added $20.5m to a series C round that now stands at $35m.

Theva conducts $8m in EnBW-backed round

University

MuMac eyes first round


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

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

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

20 March 2017 – Netflix’s Regional Rival iFlix Secures $90m and Much More

Although Netflix is the global market leader when it comes to online video streaming subscription services, regional rivals are beginning to raise substantial sums, particularly in Asia where iFlix has just secured $90m at a valuation of more than $500m.

Deals

DraftKings, which counts Fox Sports and sports leagues MLB, NHL and MLS as investors, has raised $100m in a series E1 round led by investment firm Eldridge Industries, taking its overall funding to some $630m.

Tencent and Baidu have co-led an $87m round for Nio, the Chinese smart electric vehicle developer formerly known as NextEV.

Public-private partnership Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ) meanwhile partnered healthcare companies Takeda Pharmaceutical and Medipal Holdings to launch Japan-based biotech firm Scohia Pharma.

Microsoft Ventures is keeping up the pace of its investment so far in 2017, contributing to a $52.5m growth round for Livongo Health, the developer of a digital diabetes management system.

The ad-for-equity space continues to grow, with news that recruitment platform Job Today has closed a $35m deal with Astremedia, RTL Germany and German Media Pool.

Innovium, the silicon data centre equipment developer that emerged from stealth last June, has secured $38.3m in a series C round that included returning investor Qualcomm Ventures.

SolarisBank has created what it claims is the first financial services-as-a-platform offering, an online marketplace through which external partners can offer their own digital banking services.

UK-based cellular immunotherapy developer Cell Medica closed a £60m ($73m) series C round today from a consortium that included Touchstone Innovations, the investment firm spun out of Imperial College London.

Oxford University has joined forces with private equity and VC firm Kingsley Capital Partners for a research program into the use of cannabinoids to treat a range of acute and chronic conditions.

Funds

Pivotal BioVenture Partners has closed its first fund with $300m of capital from Chinese property developer Nan Fung Group, and plans to target transformative therapeutics, with infectious diseases, immunology, oncology, ophthalmology and orphan disease treatments all on the table.

Spectrum Health is the latest US healthcare system to form a corporate venturing subsidiary, committing up to $100m for Spectrum Health Ventures over the next decade.

VC firm 500 Startups has announced a $10m fund aimed at startups based in Latin America, attracting the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the multilateral financial institution World Bank, as a limited partner.

The government of Indian state Karnataka has launched a Rs100m ($1.5m) proof of concept fund aimed at women entrepreneurs.

Bpifrance, the public investment bank of France, has committed €75m ($80m) to an investment fund currently being raised by private equity firm Bridgepoint, Les Echos has reported.

US-based fintech-focused venture capital firm TTV Capital has closed a $93m fund backed by Invest Georgia, a long-term investment program backed by the US state of Georgia, FinSMEs reported yesterday.

Exits

MuleSoft, Alteryx and ForeScout all have offerings on the way, and now it looks like they’ll be joined by big data management software provider Cloudera, which has reportedly filed paperwork for its IPO confidentially.

Speaking Alteryx, the data analytics software provider has set the terms for an IPO that will give Thomson Reuters an exit, and it could raise $126m if it floats at the top of its range.

Chinese instalment buying platform Fenqile is said to be preparing for its own US flotation, in which it aims to raise $600m.

TechStyle, the fashion e-commerce company formerly known by the name of its JustFab brand, has reportedly hired JPMorgan Chase to seek out a buyer in a prospective deal that would value it at $1.5bn.

Renewable chemicals technology developer Avantium has raised $109m in an initial public offering in Europe that allowed investors including Coca-Cola and Swire Pacific to exit.

Germany-based gesture tracking software developer Gestigon, backed by public-private partnership High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF), was acquired by automotive supplier Valeo for an undisclosed sum.

US-based pharmaceutical company GE Healthcare has acquired Monica Healthcare, a medical device spinout of Nottingham University, for an undisclosed sum.


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

23 January 2017 – $20m Series B-1 for Moon Express, Rocket Internet Capital Partners Fund Closes at $1bn and Much More

Deals

Chinese used vehicle marketplace Uxin has raised $500m in new funding, making it only the latest player in the sector to close a nine-figure round.

Mobile commerce platform Letgo has taken its overall funding to $375m since the start of 2015 with a $175m round backed by early investor Naspers.

Zoom Video Communications has launched the latest iteration of its cloud-based video conferencing platform and disclosed a $100m series D round that values it at more than $1bn.

Workspace provider UrWork has raised $58m from investors including property developers Junfa Group and Dahong Group in a round that reportedly increased its overall equity financing to about $175m.

Marketing data provider AppsFlyer has welcomed Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners as a new investor, completing a $56m series C round in the process.

InsideSales, developer of an AI-equipped online sales engine, has taken its overall funding to about $250m with a $50m series E round featuring existing backer Microsoft and new investor Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, the investment arm of the Irish government.

Tencent has led a $40.5m series D round for Xiaoshouyi, which is developing a customer relationship management platform not too dissimilar to that of Salesforce.

Moon Express is one of several companies competing for the $20m grand prize of Google’s Lunar X-Prize contest, and has raised $20m in series B-1 funding in a round featuring Autodesk.

Amra, a personalised medicine spinout of Linköping University, raised $9m in a series A round on Tuesday from investors including Stiftelsen Industrifonden, the investment arm of the government of Sweden.

Exits

ObsEva, a Swiss developer of therapies focused on women’s reproductive health, has set terms for a Nasdaq IPO that will raise approximately $97m if the company floats at the middle of the range.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise is set to acquire data centre software producer Simplivity in a $650m cash deal that will provide an exit to corporate backer Swisscom.

International Data Group, one of the earliest firms to invest heavily in corporate venturing, has agreed to an acquisition by conglomerate China Oceanwide and IDG Capital, one of its own venture capital affiliates.

Cambridge Graphene, a graphene ink developer spun out of Cambridge University, has been acquired by advanced materials company Versarien for a total of £170,000 ($210,000), providing an exit to the institution’s tech transfer office Cambridge Enterprise.

Funds

Rocket Internet has closed its Rocket Internet Capital Partners fund at $1bn, a year after it reached its $420m first close.

Elsewhere in China, Concord Medical Services, the owner of a chain of radiotherapy and diagnostic imaging centres across the country, has formed a $150m healthcare fund in partnership with investment firm Zhongrong International Trust.

Speaking of healthcare funds, life insurance company Northwestern Mutual has launched a $50m corporate venturing vehicle called Northwestern Mutual Future Ventures it says will target technology or services that can boost financial security.

CreditEase, the owner of peer-to-peer lending platform Yirendai, has raised $32.2m for the first close of a venture capital fund that will invest in Israeli tech startups.

Paris-Saclay University this week achieved the first close of its €50m ($53m) seed fund thanks to contributions from investors including France’s public investment bank Bpifrance.

The Technology Transfer Strengthening Initiative (TTSI), a program introduced by export credit agency Enterprise Ireland and managed by Knowledge Transfer Ireland (KTI), has received a €34.5m ($37m) boost from Enterprise Ireland.

The city government of Suzhou in China and private equity firm Shenzhen Capital Group have partnered to launch a RMB5bn ($732m) initiative dubbed Suzhou Hongtu Big Data Venture Capital Fund, China Money Network reported yesterday.

Bpifrance, the public investment bank of France, is the international leader for government venture capital firms backing technology companies, according to a report from research firm CB Insights.

Temasek, the investment arm of Singapore’s Ministry of Finance, came in second place, while GIC, the investment unit of Singapore Investment Corporation, rounded off the top three.

What’s interesting here, of course, is that the UK is sorely missing from the list. That’s in the same week that the country’s prime minister Theresa May said she would put immigration restrictions above the economic wellbeing of the country and is ready to walk away from the EU without any deal in place.


“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

31 October 2016 – Intel Capital invests $38m in 12 startups, MIT creates an Incubator called Engine and Much More

Investments

Chinese personal finance management platform U51 raised $310m in its series C round less than a month ago but has already added $84m from retail group InTime Commercial and asset manager Harvest Global Investments.

NBCUniversal invested $200m in Buzzfeed last year in a deal that valued it at $1.5bn post money, and it’s returned to add another $200m at a flat valuation.

Meanwhile, Unity Biotechnology, which is working on therapeutics for diseases relating to aging, such as osteoarthritis, glaucoma and kidney disease, has closed a $116m series B round.

And at the Intel Capital Global Summit, the CVC unit announced $38m of investment in 12 startups across the US, Canada, China and France.

One of those 12 deals was a $33.5m series D round closed by self-service business information platform developer Paxata, which Intel Capital led, taking the company’s total funding to $62m.

Rokid, the developer of an AI-equipped smart home device that can be operated by a user’s voice or physical gestures, has raised $65m in a series B round co-led by IDG Capital Partners, which was also among the investors in a $20m round last year.

Genomics Medicine Ireland, which is developing a genomics research platform based on work by Amgen subsidiary Decode Genetics, has raised $40m in a GV-backed series A round.

Emulate, a Harvard spinout developing organs-on-chips technology, has added $17m to a series B round now totalling $45m.

Precision Biopsy, a biotechnology spinout of Colorado University, yesterday expanded its series A round to $38.6m following a $5m extension supplied by investment firm Woodford Investment Management.

Deep learning technology startup Clarifai, a spinout of New York University, has received $30m in a series B round co-led by Qualcomm Ventures.

Funds

US-headquartered property consulting firm Jones Lang LaSalle has established a corporate venturing vehicle in India that will invest in real estate technology startups.

Russia-based textbook publisher Prosveshcheniye has agreed to launch an education technology accelerator with the Russian government’s Internet Initiatives Development Fund (FRII).

Nova Scotia has recapitalised the Nova Scotia First Fund with a total of $40m, with $29m being fresh funding and $11m coming from a cleantech fund that expired earlier this year.

L. Rafael Reif, president of MIT, announced the creation of the Engine, a new incubator that will provide funding initially through a vehicle with a target size of $150m.

Exits

Less than five months after it was spun out of Roivant Sciences, women’s health specialist Myovant Sciences has achieved the year’s biggest biotech IPO so far, raising $218m.

Ra Pharmaceuticals, developer of a blood disorder treatment, has raised almost $92m in a Nasdaq IPO that saw it float in the middle of its range.

Internet group Tencent and healthcare system Intermountain Healthcare have exited US-based genomics software developer Tute Genomics in an acquisition by genomic analysis company PierianDx, which paid an undisclosed amount.

Cybersecrity company Proofpoint has agreed to acquire US-based cloud security platform FireLayers for $55m, offering an exit to content delivery network operator Akamai Technologies.

Eyefluence, a US-based eye-movement tracking technology developer backed by corporates including chipmaker Intel, was acquired by internet technology provider Google yesterday.

Stanford University spinout iRhythm Technologies, a developer of arrhythmia diagnostics technology, went public on Nasdaq on Thursday in an initial public offering that valued the company at $107m.

People

Scott Coleman, formerly general manager of technology company Microsoft’s accelerator network Startup Growth Partners, has joined venture capital firm Ignition Partners.

Baochi Nguyen has joined IDG Ventures, the corporate venturing arm of US-headquartered IT media firm International Data Group, as vice-president of marketing.


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