26 February 2018 – EasyHome Raises Over $2bn

Deals

Chinese furniture and home improvement retail chain EasyHome has raised just over $2bn in a round in which Alibaba invested approximately $860m in return for a 15% stake.

Uber could acquire what sources told CNBC would be a sizeable stake in Southeast Asian counterpart Grab through a deal that will involve Grab taking on its local business.

Procept BioRobotics, the developer of an aquablation treatment for a prostate condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia, has secured $118m in a round led by Viking Global Investors.

Harry’s has been one of the two biggest players in the razor blade subscription market, along with Dollar Shave Club, and the Grace Beauty-backed company has raised $112m in a round that will precede an expansion of the business model into areas like personal care items for both sexes as well as baby products and household goods.

Kallyope, a US-based company developing drugs that focus on the gut-brain axis, received $66m in a series B round featuring Illumina Ventures, the corporate venturing subsidiary of genomics technology producer Illumina.

AI data analytics platform SparkCognition has added $24m from investors including corporate venturing units Invenergy Future Fund and CME Ventures to close its series B round at $56.5m.

Glossier, a US-based skincare and beauty product company backed by talent agency William Morris Endeavor (WME), raised $52m in a series C round yesterday co-led by VC firms IVP and Index Ventures.

Financial services provider Power Financial has invested another $51m in robo-advisor operator WealthSimple, taking its total commitment to $165m according to the latter.

Smart glasses developer OrCam has received $30.4m in funding from investors including Clal Insurance at a reported valuation of about $1bn. OrCam, which counts Intel Capital as an earlier investor, is said to be prepping an IPO for 2019 and will aim to raise one more substantial round of funding before then, having so far secured a total of $130m according to Reuters.

On GUV, Liquidia Technologies, a US-based biopharmaceutical spinout from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has raised $25.5m in funding.

Funds

SoftBank Vision Fund has already secured some $40bn from Middle Eastern sovereign wealth funds PIF and Mubadala Investment Company, and now the CEO of Bahraini sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat has confirmed it too is in talks to invest.

Cove Fund, a family of seed-stage venture capital funds that invests in companies affiliated with University of California (UC) System, has raised more than $12m for its second fund. The figure represents a first close for Cove Fund II, with a regulatory filing indicating a $15m target size.

Switzerland-headquartered biotechnology and chemicals supplier Lonza Group has formed a corporate venturing fund in partnership with US-based venture capital firm Prolog Ventures.

Exits

Flatiron Health agreed to an acquisition by investor Roche in mid-February that will involve the latter paying $1.9bn for the company’s outstanding shares, and much of the attention has understandably been on Roche.

And talking of GV’s recent spate of life sciences exits, it looks like the next one will be Arcus Biosciences. Immuno-oncology therapy developer Arcus has filed for a $100m initial public offering, having previously raised some $227m in VC funding.

Social media company Momo agreed today to acquire China-based social engagement platform Tantan for about $760m, allowing media group Bertelsmann and social network operator YY to exit.

Faceu, the developer of an augmented reality app that allows effects to be overlaid on photos or videos in real time, has reportedly been acquired by mobile news platform Toutiao for $300m.

Enterprise cloud security technology provider Zscaler had raised $148m in funding from investors including the Dell-owned EMC and Alphabet unit CapitalG, and has now filed to raise up to $100m in an initial public offering.


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

20 November 2017 – SoftBank Uber Investment Finally Happening

Deals

People have been waiting for SoftBank’s proposed investment in Uber to be confirmed, and it now appears as though it’s happening, after Uber revealed it has come to an agreement with a consortium featuring SoftBank and Dragoneer over a deal.

Consumer and information robotics developer UBTech is in the process of raising $400m in a Tencent-led round set to value it at about $4bn, according to the South China Morning Post.

There are several prominent online car marketplaces in China and one of them, Huashenghaoche, has become the latest to close a nine-figure round. Minsheng Financial Leasing, the vehicle leasing branch of China Minsheng Bank, has invested $150m in the company, which also offers car leasing options, and whose existing investors reportedly include JD.com and Dongfeng Motor Group.

Maoyan, which agreed in September to merge with certain assets of another China-based online ticketing platform, Weiying, has received $150m in funding from Tencent, the internet group that is also one of Weiying’s key investors.

Elsewhere in China, Particle, the owner of personalised news aggregation app Yidian Zixun, has raised $112m in funding in a round that included government guidance fund Long De Cheng Zhang Culture Communication.

GV has led a $107m series D round for immuno-oncology drug developer Arcus Biosciences that included existing backers Taiho Ventures and Celgene, taking its total funding to $227m.

SIG-backed peer-to-peer lending platform 9f has raised an undisclosed amount in a series C round it claimed was sized in the nine-figure range.

Temasek, the Singapore state-owned investment firm, has led an $87.5m series D round for Poshmark, a social fashion marketplace backed by Shea Ventures, the corporate venturing arm of JF Shea.

Graphcore, the creator of a machine intelligence processing unit, has raised $50m in a series C round that included Robert Bosch Venture Capital, Samsung Catalyst Fund and Dell Technologies Capital, all of which also backed its $30m series B just five months ago.

Funds

Aster Capital, the French VC firm sponsored by corporates Solvay, Alstom and Schneider Electric, has closed just over $280m in financing from undisclosed backers, bringing the overall capital it has under management to almost $590m.

On GUV, Johns Hopkins University joined forces with US-based healthcare investment firm Deerfield Management to launch a $65m commercialisation fund called Bluefield Innovations aimed at the university’s therapeutic research.

On GGV, Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF), the country’s sovereign wealth vehicle, provided a cornerstone investment to a €250m ($294m) patient capital fund for Ireland-based small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Exits

China-based online consumer lending platform Qudian had some notable success in its US IPO last month, raising $900m after it floated well above its range.

Yixin Group, the automotive e-commerce and finance platform spun out of BitAuto in 2014, has generated $867m in a Hong Kong IPO that also represented an exit for investors Tencent, JD.com and Baidu.

LexinFintech, the Chinese operator of consumer lending and instalment buying platform Fenqile, has filed for a $500 initial public offering.

Mashable was valued at $250m as of its last funding round, but with no additional funding forthcoming, it has been forced into a sale to Ziff Davis for only $50m.

Corporates emerged practically unscathed from the Theranos disaster, but CapitalG, the growth equity unit formerly known as Google Capital, has found itself in a sticky situation with healthcare clinic advertiser Outcome Health.

On GUV, we had two news about IPOs. First, US-based immunotherapy developer Arsanis, backed by research institute European Molecular Biology Laboratory’s investment arm EMBL Ventures, set its pricing range at $15 to $17 – meaning it could raise $61m if it floats at the top of the range.

Apellis Pharmaceuticals, a US-based biopharmaceutical spinout from University of Pennsylvania, meanwhile raised $150m in its IPO, floating on the Nasdaq Global Select Market.

On GGV, OnPoint Technologies, the strategic investment vehicle for the US Army, has exited US-based fabless semiconductor producer InVisage Technologies following its acquisition by electronics producer Apple.


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

09 October 2017 – Uber’s Board Approves SoftBank Investment

Deals

Uber’s board of directors has approved an investment by SoftBank of up to $1.25bn, in a deal that will also give the corporate two board seats, and has resolved to launch an IPO by 2019.

Indian ride hailing platform Ola has raised $400m from Tencent, reportedly as part of a round also backed by SoftBank that is set to close at $2bn.

Harmony Biosciences, a biopharmaceutical company that forms part of the Paragon Biosciences group, has secured $270m in funding from investors including Novo and Nan Fung Life Sciences.

Curated holiday provider Secret Escapes has closed a $111m series D round led by Temasek that featured a combination of equity and debt financing.

Macro, which produces film, TV and online video content with a brief of creating artistic content that portrays people of colour in a realistic fashion, has raised $150m in debt and equity from investors including entertainment company MNM Creative.

KSQ Therapeutics has emerged from stealth with $76m of financing from investors including life sciences real estate trust Alexandria Real Estate Equities.

Amgen was among the investors in a $58m series E round closed by cancer immunotherapy developer Immatics that will enable it to move multiple drug candidates into clinical trials.

On-demand ride platform Grab has been revealed as an investor in the $45m series B round announced by Singapore-based bicycle sharing platform oBike in August.

Recursion Pharmaceuticals, a US-based biotech spinout from University of Utah, obtained $60m in an oversubscribed series B round featuring Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment.

Funds

Union Square Hospitality Group, which oversees a network of restaurants, cafés and bars including the Shake Shack chain of fast food outlets, has formed a $200m growth equity fund called Enlightened Hospitality Investments.

Corporate venturing unit WuXi Healthcare Ventures formed investment vehicle 6 Dimensions in May with venture firm Frontline BioVentures, and the two pledged to raise dollar and renminbi-denominated funds through the entity.

UTokyo Innovation Platform, the venture capital arm of University of Tokyo, has backed a ¥1bn ($8.9m) first close for 360ip Japan Fund 1, which will support technology spinouts from domestic universities and research institutes.

Fletcher McCusker, founder of University of Arizona’s (UA) medication management spinout SinfoníaRx, has launched a venture capital fund called UAVenture Capital to invest in university-linked companies.

Russia government-owned investment vehicle Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) will join Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund Public Investment Fund (PIF) to invest $1bn in a Russia-based technology investment fund.

Multilateral development finance provider African Development Bank (AfDB), has agreed to invest in a $200m healthcare-focused fund formed by investment bank EFG Hermes.

SoftBank paid $3.3bn to acquire alternative asset manager Fortress Investment Group at the start of the year, and now news has emerged that it is considering building up a portfolio of $300bn of assets that would be managed within a dedicated unit.

Exits

Roku, the TV subscription service backed by media companies Sky, 21st Century Fox, News Corp and Viacom, went public last week, floating at the top of its range and going off like a rocket once its shares began being traded.

Medical device maker Boston Scientific has agreed to acquire catheter system developer Apama for up to $300m, providing an exit to corporate venture capital unit Ascension Ventures. Boston Scientific will pay $175m upfront, with up to $125m more available in the form of milestone payments.

Private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners has paid an undisclosed amount for a majority stake in online property marketplace Ten-X at a $1.6bn valuation.

Rhythm Pharmaceuticals raised $120m in an upsized IPO and immediately saw its share price increase by 75% on the first day of trading.

E-commerce and internet company Amazon has acquired Body Labs, a US-based body scanner developer based on research at Brown University, in a deal that is worth between $70m and $100m.

Nucana, a UK-based company working on chemotherapies for resistant tumours that is backed by Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of government-owned economic development agency Scottish Enterprise, secured nearly $100m in its flotation on Nasdaq, slightly below its target of $115m, though its shares had climbed from an opening price of $15 to $18.37 on the second day of trading.

Nightstar Therapeutics, a UK-based spinout from University of Oxford that is developing retinal gene therapies, secured slightly more than $75m in its offering – below its initial target of $86m set a month ago.

There is an in-depth look at both Nucana and Nightstar on Global University Venturing.com and Global Government Venturing.com. Do check those out.


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

18 September 2017 – ZhongAn Lines up $1.5bn IPO

Exits

All eyes will be on Chinese online property and casualty insurance platform ZhongAn next week as it is lining up a Hong Kong IPO that could net it as much as $1.5bn.

Advanced data centre developer and builder Switch is looking at its fifth straight profitable year, and has filed to raise up to $100m on the NYSE, in an offering that will allow Intel Capital to exit.

Volvo has closed the acquisition of on-demand valet parking service Luxe, which was valued at $140m as of its last funding round, for an amount reckoned by TechCrunch to represent pennies on the dollar.

Perhaps showing that there’s still plenty of room for offline consumer brands to emerge, as long as they appear sufficiently high-quality, Nestlé has agreed to buy a 68% majority stake in Blue Bottle Coffee, an upscale coffee brand that as of the start of 2017 had only 29 branches across four US and Japanese cities.

Investments

Alphabet is already an investor in Uber, its GV unit (then known as Google Ventures) having made a big bet in its 2013 series C round. Now however, the corporate is reportedly in talks to invest $1bn in its main US rival, Lyft.

Uber is reportedly in line for a mammoth investment by SoftBank, Didi Chuxing and Dragoneer that will involve the firms investing between $8bn and $10bn in the company in the form of primary and secondary share purchases.

Augmented reality technology developer Magic Leap remains in stealth and is yet to release a product, but that doesn’t mean investors aren’t still interested. The company is looking to raise $500m in a series D round that could include Singapore’s Temasek, and which would follow a $794m Alibaba-led series C round in early 2016.

United Imaging Healthcare collects $505m series A

Wish aspires to $250m in funding

Genomic testing and research service 23andMe has raised $250m in a Sequoia Capital-led round that reportedly valued it at $1.5bn pre-money, taking its total funding to about $490m.

Goldman Sachs has supplied approximately $133m in debt and equity financing for Neyber, a UK-based online lender that takes repayments directly from a borrower’s salary.

Government

Foodee serves up $8.2m series A

Funds

Samsung meanwhile is making a big play in connected and autonomous car technology,putting together a $300m fund to make strategic investments in the sector.

Asus finds Fenox VC for $50m fund

Madasamy moves from Qualcomm to $50m fund

University

Mars Innovation sets up Lab150 experiment

Austria boosts spinout support

Government

Ireland acts on $120m fund

Kerala accepts $78m mission

ScaleUp grows to $82m with BC Tech Fund


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

04 September 2017 – Expedia CEO Moves to Uber

Funds

University

OSI secures Legal & General backing

Imperial gives founders a choice

Government

Vertex pushes beyond $150m

Széchenyi gains $31m

St Louis hammers out fund details

Exits

Dara Khosrowshahi, the new chief executive of Uber, did not waste any time in making clear his ambitions for the ride-sharing company: in an all-hands meeting ahead of officially taking over – he starts his job on Tuesday – he declared not only that he is committed to paying the bills and taking big shots to secure the company’s future, but also that he intends to take Uber public within 18 to 36 months.

Best, a supply chain services provider backed by Alibaba, Cainiao and, reportedly, Foxconn, has increased the stakes of its initial public offering by filing an updated regulatory document that puts the figure at $1bn, up from $750m.

Berry Genomics has completed its reverse merger with Shenzen-listed Chengdu Tianxing Instrument and Meter, first announced in December 2016.

Synlogic processes Mirna merger

CSL accesses Calimmune for $91m

Western Digital gets Upthere

University

Big deal: Nightstar to light up stock market

Investments

Singapore-based Grab is slowly inching towards its $2.5bn goal for a series G round that already stood at $2bn thanks to commitments from SoftBank and Didi Chuxing.

GoGoVan reaches for 58 Suyun

Food delivery is hotly contested sector and many of the startups involved have changed hands – be that for example TastyKhana being purchased by Food Panda, which in turn was later acquired by Delivery Hero, or Just Eat subsidiary Hellofood Brazil becoming part of iFood. Now another one is joining the list: Waimai has been acquired by Ele.me for a reported $800m (which would be down significantly from the estimated $2.5bn valuation last year).

Alibaba and Yunfeng Capital, the investment vehicle of the e-commerce group’s founder Jack Ma, have put $152m into cloud computing business Qiniuyun.

Freenome, a healthtech developer has added $7m to its series A to close the round, already backed by GV, at $72m.

Armo Biosciences has added $67m to its coffers in a series C1 round that featured GV and Celgene, who both also participated in a $50m series C in February last year.

The biggest deal of the day comes from the US, where Qadium has amassed $40m in a series B round led by Institutional Venture Partners.

In China, Abcfintech has added $30m to its coffers thanks to investors such as Susquehanna International Group’s SIG Asia Investment. Abcfintech operates cloud-based AI platforms that help financial services firms visualise their data and predict the performance of public stock.

Alice, the developer of a hotel management platform, has secured $26m in series B funding from Expedia in a deal facilitated by Khosrowshahi before he stepped down to join Uber.

VideoAmp, the developer of an advertising technology platform that tracks the impact of campaigns across television, video on-demand, over-the-top and digital content, has secured $21.4m in series B capital from Mediaocean and returning backer RTL, among others.

Government

Vulog eyes $20m series B

University

CureFit exercises with $25m


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

17 July 2017 – A Look at Unicorns

Editorial: A Look at Unicorns

Funds

Toyota’s research division, Toyota Research Institute, has launched a dedicated corporate venturing fund called Toyota AI Ventures that will invest in artificial intelligence as well as robotics, autonomous mobility, data and cloud technology.

Partech Ventures, a US-headquartered venture firm with a significant presence in Europe,has closed its seventh VC-stage fund, Partech International Ventures VII, at $455m.

Global Brain heads for $180m close

Ground transport-focused venture firm Autotech Ventures, which had already revealed commitments from BorgWarner and Autoliv to its first fund, has now closed it at $120m.

Government

Hong Kong to launch matched venture fund

Singapore springs to action with new fund

University

Adelaide realises ThincLab

Exits

Set-top box producer Roku has hired underwriters for an IPO that could value it at up to $1bn, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The merger agreed by DraftKings and FanDuel in November was supposed to help them combat long-running regulatory issues, but those seem to have struck again.

Symantec finds Skycure in $250m acquisition

Fireglass to melt into Symantec

Baidu catches Kitt.AI

Samsung Next embarks on European trip

Government

SBI Life prepares $1bn IPO

Investments

Uber’s on-demand ride and food ordering operations in 21 cities across four countries in Eastern Europe will be merged with Yandex Taxi, a subsidiary of Russian internet company Yandex, in a deal that will create a $3.7bn company, of which Uber will own 36%.

Co-working space provider WeWork has raised $760m in a series G round that reportedly increased its valuation to $20bn.

Artificial intelligence technology provider SenseTime has completed a $410m series B round featuring Dalian Wanda that reportedly valued it at more than $1.5bn.

Shouqi Limousine and Chauffeur, a ride hailing offshoot of services Shouqi Group and Xianglong Taxi, has raised $88m in series B funding from an undisclosed investor at a valuation of about $750m.

Darktrace, the developer of a cybersecurity platform that looks to mimic the human immune system, has received $75m in a series D round led by Insight Venture Partners that valued it at $825m.

E-Scape Bio has reached the final close of a $63m series A round featuring Novo as well as CVC units Lilly Asia Ventures, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC and Novartis Venture Fund which E-Scape will use to advance its pipeline of neurodegenerative disease treatments.

Growth equity firm Spectrum Equity has acquired a majority stake in link management platform Bitly in return for a $63m investment.

CompareAsiaGroup, the operator of a comparison platform for financial products in Southeast Asia, has closed a $50m series B round that included Alibaba and SBI Group.

Government

Floadia flows towards $14.5m series B

University

NYGC spins out Gencove

Phytelligence harvests series B


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

19 June 2017 – Ride Hailing Services Grab Deals and Much More

Funds

Ping An outlines fintech investment plans

Medicxi nabs corporates to close $300m fund

Novartis and Alphabet subsidiary Verily were among the limited partners for a the late-stage fund, which will complement the GSK and Johnson & Johnson-backed fund  Medicxi closed in 2016.

Japan-based ICT equipment provider Nihon Unisys has formed a $45m corporate venturing unit that will seek out investments in sectors such as robotics, financial technology and the internet of things.

Palo Alto Networks puts together $20m fund

GUV

Galaxy stars in IP Group’s $264m fundraising

GGV

London looks to Better Futures

Exits

Wanderful finds path to acquisition

GGV

Hello bids farewell

Deals

News leaked out in March that ride hailing service Grab was set to raise $1.5bn in a round led by existing investor SoftBank, and sources have told Bloomberg firstly that the round already includes Didi Chuxing, and secondly that Alibaba or Ant Financial is also considering an investment, in order to promote their Alipay platform to Grab’s Southeast Asian customers.

Mobike has raised $600m in a Tencent-led round that will fuel expansion not only in its home country but also in Singapore and the UK.

Careem is taking the Uber model to the Middle East and surrounding countries, and is growing rapidly in the process, doubling the number of cities in which it operates to 80 in the past six months.

A regulatory filing in April indicated Indian ride hailing company Ola was seeking another $100m in funding, and it has reportedly secured some of that already. Hedge fund Tekne Capital Management has provided a sub-$50m amount.

Jaguar Land Rover and its corporate venturing and incubator subsidiary InMotion have invested a combined $25m in ride hailing company Lyft as part of a partnership agreement that will involve Lyft helping test its autonomous driving and mobility services.

Elsewhere in the transport sector, Chinese second hand vehicle marketplace Guazi.com has received $400m in series B funding from investors including steel producer Shougang Group’s Jingxin Venture Capital fund.

UCar, the China-based chauffeured car service that went public last year at a $5.5bn valuation, has formed a corporate venturing fund sized at almost $1.5bn, and its first investment has been to lead a $324m series B round for electric vehicle developer Xiaopeng Motors.

Electric bus producer Proterra raised $140m a recently as January, in a ‘series 5’ round featuring Edison Energy, GM Ventures and Exelon’s Constellation Technology Ventures unit, but it wasn’t finished.

Oppo takes a ride on Ponycar

Drone Racing League takes off with $20m

Following on from news that Amazon is interested in acquiring Slack for upwards of $9bn, but recently bought US-listed Whole Foods for $13.7bn, it turns out Slack is in the process of raising $500m of new funding at a $5bn post-money valuation.

AvidXchange, a provider of automated payment processing technology, has raised $300m in financing from investors including Mastercard, with which it has struck a strategic partnership agreement to supply AvidXchange’s technology to its customers.

Temasek and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec have contributed to a $300m funding round for AvidXchange that also attracted Mastercard and Peter Thiel.

Online brokerage Futu Securities has received more than $145m in a series C round led by Tencent, the corporate investor that also took part in its series A and B rounds.

Element AI elevates itself to $102m series A

Actility admits Cisco to $75m series D

Clutter is one of several on-demand platforms seeking to disrupt the personal storage space, and it has raised $64m in a GV-backed series C round to support growth, both in its home country of the US and abroad.

Twist finds the material to raise $60m

Omada goes on the attack with $50m

GGV

Protix breeds $50.5m investment


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

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

Funds

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

ONGC to drill into startups with $15m fund

Uber and Digi to experiment with Malaysian ideation lab

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

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

People

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

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

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

Exits

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

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

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

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

Investments

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

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

Tencent enters Keep in series C+ round

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tekpea connects to EPM for funding

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


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

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

15 February 2016 – Chinese new year, fintech investor BBVA, Innogy Venture Capital, triple French biotech fund, Unicef, Shanghai reimburses venture capital firms and more

Funds

Financial services provider BBVA has been a notable fintech investor since early 2013 when it formed a $100m fund that has since backed companies including DocuSign, Taulia and Prosper. The bank has now elected to upgrade its participation, committing another $150m and spinning out its investments into a new VC firm called Propel Venture Partners. Propel is already operational in San Francisco and is actively recruiting for a London office.

RWE’s Innogy Venture Capital may have been quiet of late but that doesn’t mean the utility has given up on corporate venturing. Chief executive Peter Terium reiterated its commitment to innovation on Friday and revealed plans for another investment unit which will be sized at $145m.

In addition to that fund, RWE is also set to invest $15m in a so far unnamed greentech-focused venture capital fund.

France triples its biotech fund.

Unicef’s $9m Innovation Fund opens for expressions of interest from entrepreneurs, inventors and companies with working prototypes of open source technology that can improve the lives of vulnerable children.

The government of Shanghai’s plans to compensate venture capital firms that fail to make back their initial investment in startups has drawn criticism.

Investments

Uber has targeted $2.1bn in new equity funding at a jawdropping $62.5bn valuation in spite of a fundraising climate generally agreed to be cooling. Today it came a step closer, raising $200m from investment firm LetterOne, which joins a range of backers including corporates Alphabet, Baidu, Times Group, Ping An and China Life Insurance.

One of the biggest areas for VC funding last year was India’s e-commerce sector, and One97 Communications was one of the biggest recipients, securing $680m from Alibaba and Ant Financial. One97 is now looking to raise another $400m by the end of June to fund the spinning out of its flagship brand, Paytm, into a separate mobile banking and payment company.

A possible partnership with e-commerce marketplace Flipkart could also be on the cards. Africa Internet Group (AIG), the collection of African businesses overseen by Rocket Internet that is also backed by telecom companies MTN and Millicom, has welcomed a new backer. AXA paid $83m for an 8% stake in AIG as part of a strategic partnership that will allow it to sell insurance products through AIG’s companies, and in particular e-commerce marketplace Jumia.

Cambridge University breaks its own seed funding record for the third year in a row, investing $5.5m last year.

Exits

Proteostasis raised $50m (see below) while AveXis secured $95m, floating in the middle of its $19 to $21 range. AveXis, which is backed by Roche’s corporate venturing fund, will use the proceeds to steer its lead candidate, a gene therapy treatment for spinal muscular atrophy, through phase 1 trials.

Good analysis recommendation: Bruce Booth at Life Sci VC 

“Funky Chunk” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
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