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

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

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

25 July 2016 – Last week’s biggest investments, funds, exits and people moves

Covering the week’s venturing news including funding, investments, exits and people moves.


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

18 July 2016 – The Power Behind Pokémon Go raises $181m plus more

Investments

Unity, which is the game engine that helped build Pokémon Go, raised $181m in its series C round led by DFJ Growth and including China Investment Corporation – the sovereign wealth fund of the People’s Republic.

A $45m investment for iCarbonX whose shareholders include internet company Tencent, which led a $154m series A round in April 2015.

Naspers led a $30m series C round for online coding school CodeAcademy.

Sapience Therapeutics, a spinout of Columbia University, welcomed Celgene to a $22.5m series A round led by VC firm Eshelmann Ventures.

Funds

IDG Capital Partners, a VC affiliate of media company International Data Group, which closed its latest fund at $1bn.

Mavcap, the Malaysian government-owned venture firm, is looking to raise $250m for three technology funds and is hoping to attract the interest of both domestic and overseas corporates.

Verdane Capital IX, backed by private and public pension funds, university endowments, private foundations, insurance companies and family offices, hit its hard cap of $349m and will put that money into SMEs in Northern Europe.

The Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, which is reaching full deployment of its current fund Infuse Ventures, backed by International Finance Corporation, BP, the Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and its Technology Development Board. To make sure it’ll still have resources available to invest, the institute is now preparing the launch of a $150m vehicle, dubbed Bharat Innovations Fund, which will focus on the areas of healthcare, agriculture and energy.

Exits

Line’s $1.14bn IPO.

Yatra, an India-based online travel booking platform that went public through a reverse merger with US-listed shell company Terrapin 3 Acquisition Corporation in a deal that values it at just $208m.

ZTO Express, a logistics service based in China, is aiming for a US flotation this autumn that could bring in between $1bn and $2bn.

Talend, backed by France’s public investment bank BPIfrance, setting the range for its IPO at $15 to $17 per American Depositary Share.

People

Catherine Dupéré, previously of BDC Capital, joining Isomer Capital.

Richard Holliday meanwhile has joined Oxford spinout Bodle Technologies.

University Ventures with its announcement that it would be hiring Troy Williams and Prateek Aneja while promoting Aanand Radia. Williams will join Radia as MD, joining from publishing house Macmillan Publishers. Aneja will take on the role of vice-president, joining from Wells Fargo Securities.


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

06 June 2016 – Funds from Microsoft and Romulus, job moves, Alibaba and Uber gain investments and more

Moves

Stephen Lowery, partner at venture capital firm Frog Capital, has joined Silicon Valley Bank’s (SVB) UK team to lead it corporate and independent VC relationships.

Julia Rebholz, founder and head of Ignite, the UK’s first energy-based corporate impact investment fund, has left to join a consultancy encouraging other companies to set up similar funds.

News

Large Netherlands-based corporations have formed a local networking group to develop their cooperation with startups.

The European Commission said it would propose some changes to the venture capital regulatory framework and set up a fund of funds.

Fundraising

Microsoft Ventures gets into direct investments.

Romulus builds $75m fund.

Investments

Singapore state funds bought $1 billion in Alibaba shares.

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund invested in Uber.

YG puts on $85m show for Chinese corporates.

Yuanfudao studies $40m investment.

Qingsongchou campaigns for funding.

Tencent helps Tile key $18m series B.

Naspers tutors Udemy for $60m.

Ionic puts $45m in its basket.

In-Q-Tel Invests in Ephesoft Document Analytics Tool for Intel Community.

3D Media visualises $10m.

Exits

Reata gets $60m reaction in IPO.

Metamaterial Technologies manufactures Rolith acquisition.

Simply Hired lets go.

Line queues up again for IPO.

Clearside opens $50.4m offering.

NantHealth personalises $91m IPO.

Ping Identity pinpoints acquisition.

ServiceNow secures BrightPoint acquisition.


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

25 April 2016 – Arvind Sodhani, Alibaba, JD.com, Baidu, Gensights Biologics, Gree, Mars Petcare, Birmingham University and more

VC Creation

Arvind Sodhani, former president of Intel Capital, has formed a new VC firm called Silver Trail Ventures and, ahead of a keynote speech at the Global Corporate Venturing/DLA Piper Corporate Venture Capital Strategy Seminar in Tokyo, warned that for corporate venturers, innovation and disruption is more important than business development.

Deals

Digital medicine developer Proteus Digital Health has added $50m of series H financing to an equity cash pile.

GV finds happy Medium for $50m series C.

Alibaba sealed two huge deals last week, making billion-dollar investments in Ele.me and Lazada, and in this week’s Big Deal we take a look at the firm’s investment strategy and what those those transactions might mean going forward.

UCWeb presses start on $20m Indian gaming fund.

JD.com has paid $200m for a 47.7% stake in logistics service company Dada Nexus in a deal that will involve merging its own e-commerce subsidiary, JD Daojia, into the company, which operates across 37 Chinese cities.

Baidu has raised $155m in a round led by TV and film production company Shanghai New Culture Media,

Cabify has become the latest ride hailing service to raise significant funding, pulling in $120m from a Rakuten-led round that values it at $320m post-money.

China-based Yaochufa spcialises in short haul holidays and local breaks but is planning to expand its range of destinations after closing an $85m series D round.

Exits

GenSight Biologics filed for an IPO back in July 2015 but a few months later the Novartis-backed eye disease therapy developer has withdrawn citing market conditions. The decision, made at roughly the same time as another biotech company, Bavarian Nordic, did the same, is a worrying omen for the IPO market, which is still yet to recover from a considerable lull, meaning CVC exits will likely be harder to come by this year.

Tencent-backed eJiaJie completes Neeq listing.

Hearst follows up its initial investment in Complex by agreeing to jointly acquire the company with telecom firm and partner Verizon.

Asahi Shimbun goes native with Somewrite acquisition.

Oracle draws up $50m Crosswise acquisition.

Nielsen-backed VC firm Pereg Ventures is set to exit device data provider Crosswise in a $50m deal.

Mars Petcare acquires Whistle from Nokia Growth Partners.

Funds

Gree forms $12m virtual reality fund.

The social media company’s GVR Fund features Colopl and Mixi as limited partners.

CincyTech receives healthy interest for fourth fund.

Care providers Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and UC Health are among the limited partners.

Global University Venturing

Alta Innovations: the future of success: In the second part of our series, GUV editor Thierry Heles takes a closer look at how Birmingham University is building a complete ecosystem for spinouts, startups and late-stage companies.

GUV supporting a survey of 80 university venturing funds sponsored by one of our subscribers, Kaust.

Global Government Venturing

EIF and PPM Oost initiate $227.5m fund.

Dutch regional development agency PPM Oost and the European Investment Fund have launched a $227.5m second Dutch Venture Initiative fund of funds.


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