16 July 2018 – Swisscom Venture to Set Up $200m Digital Transformation Fund

Funds

Telecommunications company Swisscom has run its corporate venturing unit, Swisscom Ventures, since 2005 but has constantly looked to fine-tune its approach. Its latest move is to access external investment, for a fund sized at about $200m. Swisscom is putting in about 25% of the capital for Digital Transformation Fund, which will invest in Europe, the US and Israel as well as its home country of Switzerland.

Longzhu Capital logs $300m close

SoftBank’s Misra makes plans for $250m fund

Health Enterprise Partners hits up corporates

New Voices makes noise with $100m close

Cayuga Venture Fund targets $100m

Deals

Last week’s Big Deal focuses on Lime, the operator of an electric bicycle and e-scooter rental service, which has just raised $335m in a GV-led round backed by GV owner Alphabet and Uber, valuing it at $1.1bn.

The $14bn round closed by Ant Financial last month was the largest venture capital round of all time, but Alibaba’s financial services spinoff isn’t the only player in that space pulling in big money.

Xiaopeng Motors raised $348m in January but is in talks with Alibaba, which co-led that round, over $600m to $700m more at a valuation of almost $4bn, as it gets ready to launch its first car, a smart electric SUV.

Consumer goods delivery service Dianwoda has secured $290m in funding from Alibaba-owned logistics provider Cainiao Networks, which will take a controlling stake in the company through the deal.

Healthcare technology provider Cerner has invested $266m in Essence Group Holdings, the owner of care services provider Lumeris, in connection with a 10-year partnership meant to enhance efficiencies in healthcare.

GoGoVan merged with another China-based delivery services platform, 58 Suyun, to form a billion-dollar company last year, and it has just raised its first funding since that deal, capturing $250m from investors including Cainiao and 58 Suyun’s ex parent company, 58 Daojia.

Convene may be up against a hugely-funded rival in the form of WeWork, but it’s justraised $152m in a series D round backed by property developers QuadReal, Brookfield, The Durst Organization and RXR Realty to expand its workspace provision services.

Electronics recycling service Aihuishou has secured $150m from backers including existing investor JD.com at a $1.5bn valuation.

Lionbridge links with corporates for $150m

Compass Therapeutics has been around since 2014 but has finally closed its series A round, at $132m, having secured contributions from life sciences property developers Biomed Realty and Alexandria Real Estate Equities.

Keep offers online fitness programs through an app, and has just raised $127m in a series D round featuring existing investors Tencent and Bertelsmann Asia Investments.

Movile mobilises Naspers to raise $124m

Investors pay $115m tribute to Toast

Pony.ai picks up pace with $102m

ASR accesses $100m in series B round

High-speed internet provider Starry has secured $100m in new funding according to a regulatory filing, taking its overall funding to $163m.

University

Antiva adds $15m series C1

Exits

AT&T agreed to pay a reported $1.6bn to acquire online advertising exchange AppNexus last month, and now it’s fixed a deal to buy cybersecurity software provider AlienVault for a price reportedly around the $600m mark.

Thoma Bravo takes majority stake in Centrify

Autodesk builds with Assemble Systems acquisition

Visterra accepts $430m invitation from Otsuka

Elsewhere in China, Bytedance, the owner of a digital media portfolio headed up by aggregated news app Toutiao, is lining up its own IPO, according to the Wall Street Journal, and seeking a $45bn valuation.

Peer-to-peer lending marketplace WeLab had a good 2017, moving into profit while increasing its revenue fivefold, and it intends to cash in on that by going public in Hong Kong.

Qeeka Home floats in $137m IPO

51credit lines up $129m IPO

University

Akasol plugs into public markets


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

09 July 2018 – Telstra Ventures Partners HarbourVest to Create Investment Vehicle

Funds

Telstra Ventures has had some big exits in the past four years including IPOs for Snap, DocuSign and Box, but the unit is now electing to reshape itself by forming a partnership with private equity firm HarbourVest that will create a $500m investment vehicle.

Malaysia-based conglomerate Sunway is raising $50m for a venture capital vehicle called Sun Sea Capital that will invest in early-stage Southeast Asian tech companies.

Tokyo Electric powers up new unit

Université PSL assembles deep tech fund

Deals

Altana adds funding to Landa Digital Printing

American Well last received funding in January this year when Allianz invested $59m in connection with a strategic partnership, but the telehealth platform developer has now raised a further $291m of a planned $315m funding round according to a securities filing.

I-Mab Biopharma was formed in March last year from the merger of immunotherapy developers Third Venture Biotech and Tasgen Bio as well as $150m in series B funding from corporate Tasly Pharmaceuticals and C-Bridge Capital.

Trax has developed a computer vision-based platform that uses photos taken by mobile devices to assess retail displays, and the Singapore-based company has secured $125m in funding from investors including DC Thomson.

Small business-focused lending platform Furongbao last raised funding in a 2015 series A round featuring SoftBank’s SBCVC unit, but it’s now added to that with a reported $120m in series B funding that was provided by a single undisclosed investor.

Aikucun, the operator of a service that enables fashion brands to sell excess inventory to online merchants, has raised $87.5m in a Legend Capital-led series B round that included Xiamen C&D Corp and Eastern Bell Venture Capital.

Airwallex accesses corporates for $80m

Corporates get in Bind for $70m round

BitSight builds $60m series D

BrightFarms reaps $55m in series D cash

Haifeng hits up TAL Education for cash

Comcast goes Away again in $50m round

One of several up-and-coming insurance providers, Bought By Many started life as a platform that enabled those wanting specialist insurance options to band together for discounted rates from providers. Now however, it’s moving into offering that cover itself, and has raised $19.8m in a CommerzVentures-led series B round that included Marsh and Munich Re.

XL Innovate goes Windward in series C round

Cerebri celebrates $5m series A

Manus Bio makes series A breakthrough

Xcelerator embraces first cohort

Exits

Uber has already merged its businesses in China, Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe with local operators, and next on the block could be its Middle Eastern operations. The company has opened talks with Careem, the MENA-based operator that is backed by a host of corporates and which is currently raising cash at a $1.5bn valuation, but reportedly favours an outcome in which it will take a majority stake in any merged company.

BP fuels BMW exit with Chargemaster acquisition

Cloud-based business management software provider Domo has gone public in a $193m IPO that allowed WPP and Salesforce to exit.

Forty Seven fetches $112m in IPO

Neuronetics, the developer of a device that uses magnetic stimulation to treat psychiatric disorders, has closed its initial public offering at $107m after the IPO’s underwriters exercised the over-allotment option.

Hong Kong may be surging but the US is still proving to be the destination of choice for many Chinese tech companies looking to go public.The latest is group buying platform Pinduoduo, which has filed for a $1bn initial public offering that would allow Tencent to exit.

Liquidia Technologies is among the life sciences companies aiming for the public markets. Liquidia, which is developing therapeutics based on its particle engineering platform, has filed to raise up to $57.5m in its IPO.

IndiaMart formed its business-to-business e-commerce marketplace back in 1996 and received its first corporate investment in 2007, and now it’s finally looking to go public.

Hujiang to graduate to public markets


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

02 July 2018 – AT&T Agrees Acquisition of AppNexus

Exits

AT&T has agreed an acquisition of AppNexus reported to be priced around the $1.6bn mark, enabling WPP, Microsoft, News Corp and Deutsche Telekom to exit.

PayPal sinks $120m into Simility acquisition

University

TTTech sells stake to B&C

Xiaomi’s IPO has been a long, hard slog for the company. It had originally aimed to raise $10bn in a dual Hong Kong and Shanghai listing that would have valued it at about $100bn, but the Qualcomm-backed electronics producer has had to settle for a $4.7bn offering, solely in Hong Kong, which valued it at $54bn.

Chinese automotive e-commerce marketplace Cango has filed to raise up to $300m in a US-based initial public offering that will allow Tencent, Didi Chuxing and Taikang Life Insurance to exit.

A more recently thriving space involves livestreaming, and China-based Inke has set the terms for an initial public offering in Hong Kong that will net $167m if it floats at the top of the range.

Babytree, a China-based online platform that combines baby and child products, development advice and social networking for parents, has filed for an IPO in its home country.

Outside of China, life sciences companies are driving the US IPO surge, much as they did three three or four years ago. Some half dozen healthcare companies floated the previous week including Magenta Therapeutics, which secured $100m when it floated.

Cancer drug developer Constellation Pharmaceuticals has filed to raise up to $86.3m in an offering that will follow almost $230m in equity funding.

Translate Bio, a developer of messenger RNA drugs for diseases caused by gene or protein dysfunction, has raised over $121m in its own IPO, in the US.

Neon shows way to $100m IPO

Kezar kicks into public markets

Xeris reformulates path to IPO

ElectroCore enters public markets with $78m offering

Allakos aligns itself with $75m IPO

Deals

Transport services provider Go-Jek closed a $1.5bn round earlier this year at a $4.8bn valuation, and is now in talks to raise the same amount in a new round, according to The Information.

Evergrande Health Industry, part of property developer China Evergrande, has taken a 45% stake in smart electric vehicle developer Faraday Future, paying $860m for Season Smart, the investment entity that held a 45% stake in the company.

Showing once again that ride hailing continues to be a vibrant destination for venture funding, Lyft has raised $600m in a Fidelity-led round that valued it at more than $15bn post-money.

PolicyBazaar signs up SoftBank for $238m round

Helix has closed a series B round backed by Illumina and Mayo Clinic at $200m, and will use the funding to expand its personal genomics product marketplace.

Precision BioSciences has closed a $110m series B round backed by Amgen Ventures, Brace Pharma Capital and Alexandria Venture Investments, and will use the proceeds to expand the portfolio of products centred on its genome editing platform.

Advanced battery developer QuantumScape has largely operated in stealth since it was founded in 2010 but has received $100m from Volkswagen as part of a deal that will involve the companies forming a joint venture to bring solid-state batteries to the industrial-scale manufacturing stage by 2025.

AISpeech aces latest round

Cibus harvests $70m in series C funding

B-Stock beats its way to $65m

TouchBistro completes $54m series D order

Carisma charms investors in $53m series A

AIpark finds space for Nio in series B

University

Pennsylvania lines up $50m

Irish spinout generation slides in 2017

Funds

Dementia Discovery Fund delivers $350m close

Charles University spawns TTO


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

11 June 2018 – Ant Financial Raises $14bn not $10bn

The European Commission has today released its draft budget for its next financial period to start after 2020 with its draft plans for about $100bn for innovation funding (nice analysis by Science Business here).

Deals

Last month, Ant Financial was reported to have closed a jaw-dropping $10bn funding round at a $150bn that would have been the largest ever round at the largest ever valuation for a private company. It turns out, those reports were wrong – in fact, Ant Financial has raised a mind-blowing $14bn from investors including two Singapore government-owned entities, GIC and Temasek.

Geo-Jade Petroleum has led a series D round for Caogen Touzi, which also featured a range of unnamed, existing investors.

Bigo, a livestreaming platform based in Singapore, has now raised $272m in series D funding to further drive its growth. The round was led by another video platform, YY.

Lime (previously known as LimeBike) will hope that a $250m it is reportedly trying to raise from investors including GV will help it stay ahead of competitors. The company was previously rumoured to be seeking a total of $500m in equity and debt, but it appears the latter financing has been put on hold for unknown reasons.

Hyperchain Technologies, which has raised $234m in a round led by real estate developer Xinhu Zhongbao.

Dataminr, which has developed technology to detect, classify and determine the significance of public information on social media in real time, has now raised more than $380m after attracting $221m from as-yet unnamed backers. Fidelity and Credit Suisse previously backed a $130m series D in 2015.

Honest Company, the ethical household, beauty and baby products business launched by actress Jessica Alba, appears to be on an upwards trajectory again after receiving $200m from L Catterton, the private equity firm co-founded by LVMH.

Alibaba has purchased a 10% stake in Babytree that valued the e-commerce platform at $2.2bn.

Sina has co-led a $103m funding round for Pintec, which focuses on retail financial services.

Autohome has made a strategic investment in used car auction platfom Tiantianpaiche, whose backers already include SoftBank, SIG, Tencent and Bitauto.

Western Digital has joined a consortium of investors led by BlackRock for a $93m series D round in Qumulo.

Pivotal BioVenture Partners and Roche have both returned to back a series C round for SutroVax, which has also added TPG, Medicxi and Foresite Capital to its shareholders.

Volkswagen and Access Industries have supported Gett’s latest funding round that valued the ride hailing business at $1.4bn.

Kunlun-backed Nashwork has attracted $78m in a series B+ round backed by Sino-Ocean Group.

Bertelsmann Asia Investments was among the returning investors in a $70m series B+ round, which followed an initial $100m series B in February this year.

Lilly Asia Ventures and existing investor Alexandria Venture Investments have taken part in a $65m series C round for metabolic disease treatment developer Metacrine.

BlueVine, backed by Rakuten and Citi, will use the money to expand its product offering and accelerate recruitment of its research and development team.

Avi Networks has received $60m in an oversubscribed series B round that featured long-time partner Cisco’s corporate venturing arm as a new investor.

Exits

Kuaishou has acquired AcFun, which was reported earlier this year to have wound down but had in fact experienced a major server crash.

Neon Therapeutics is among the latest to file for an initial public offering, hoping to raise $115m to support several clinical trials. The listing would provide exits to shareholders including Pharmstandard International and Access Industries, though only Access is among the larger shareholders.

Domo, a business optimisation software provider backed by enterprise software developer Salesforce and marketing firm WPP, that is targeting $100m in proceeds. The company is using the offering as a way of avoiding reduced operations – despite emerging from stealth with $200m in series D funding in 2015, it has been making heavy losses and money is running out fast.

Neuronetics has filed for an $86.3m initial public offering on Nasdaq that will offer exits to corporates Pfizer, General Electric and Ascension.

Xiaomi’s eagerly awaited initial public offering, which is already noteworthy for its $10bn target, became even more interesting this week when it emerged that the company will undertake a dual listing, issuing the majority of shares in Hong Kong as expected and offering up to 30% in mainland China through Chinese Depositary Receipts (CDRs).

Marley Spoon, a Germany-based on-demand food delivery service backed by e-commerce group Rocket Internet, is gearing up for a $53m initial public offering… in Australia. The country is one of Marley Spoon’s largest markets and the one where it has actually broken even.

Funds

Pfizer isn’t exactly a new player in the corporate venturing space, having launched its Pfizer Venture Investments unit in 2004, but the pharmaceutical giant is clearly embracing the current boom by putting another $600m towards its CVC efforts – with approximately $150m of that dedicated to neuroscience startups.

Lockheed Martin follows closely behind today by doubling the size of its CVC arm, Lockheed Martin Ventures, to $200m. A key interest for the unit will be early-stage startups in the areas of sensor technologies, autonomy, artificial intelligence and cybertechnology. It’s already revealed a first investment from the new cash, too: NTopology, a US-based developer of computer-aided design software.

Real estate is ripe for disruption by technology startups and that’s led property manager JLL to enter the corporate venturing space with a $100m commitment to its new unit JLL Spark – which was revealed this week but actually founded last year.

The ride hailing firm has launched Grab Ventures, which is set to make eight to 10 investments over the next two years, and established an accelerator called Velocity.

Huobi and Kiwoom Securities have joined forces with NewMargin Capital to launch a blockchain-focused investment fund.

Veolia, La Capitale, Groupe ADP, Ubisoft and Unisys are among the limited partners in White Star’s second fund, which has achieved a $180m close.

GUV

Ripple will pour $50m into R&D at 17 academic institutions, including institutions in the US, UK, India and Brazil.

UC Riverside has partnered the Know Hub Chile partnership to help Chile conduct better research and tech transfer.


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

28 May 2018 – Ant Financial’s Latest Round Pegged at $10bn

We are back from the annual GCV Symposium and GUV: Fusion conferences, our London events bringing together CVCs and university tech transfer leaders from around the world. Some 500 delegates gathered at the County Hall in a packed room overlooking the Houses of Parliament to network and exchange ideas. GUV also handed out its awards during a gala dinner, with Alison Campbell taking home the Lifetime Achievement Award and Indiana University Research and Technology Corp’s CEO Tony Armstrong collecting the award for Tech Transfer Unit of the Year. There are summaries about the days’ proceedings on GCV and profiles of all the winners on GUV, so do head on over there. While you’re on GUV, you should also take a look at our five-year data review into university spinouts, which has been gathering a lot of traction over the past week.

Deals

Reports last month suggested Alibaba’s financial services affiliate, Ant Financial, was set to raise money at a gargantuan $150bn valuation, and the size of the round now seems to have been pegged at $10bn.

Uber last raised funding in December, when SoftBank invested $1.25bn at a $68bn valuation, while at the same time leading a consortium that bought more than $7bn of shares in a secondary transaction that valued Uber at $48bn.

In more proof that the ride hailing gold rush isn’t over, Careem is in talks to secure $500m in funding at a $1.5bn valuation.

Grail became one of the quickest medtech companies ever to reach the $1bn funding mark, and now the Illumina spinoff has raised another $300m in an oversubscribed series C round co-led by the WuXi AppTec-backed 6 Dimensions Capital that also featured WuXi subsidiary WuXi NextCode.

Brii Biosciences has launched a company that plans to combine R&D, data technology and strategic asset licensing to provide medicines that will help Chinese patients fight conditions such as infectious diseases, lung and liver diseases.

Orbbec develops 3D motion sensors as well as 3D camera equipment, and has raised more than $200m in a series D round led by Ant Financial.

HMD Global licensed the rights to manufacture Nokia-designed and branded phones about 18 months ago, and has now secured $100m in funding at a valuation of more than $1bn.

OLX, Naspers’ classified listings subsidiary, has provided $89m for automotive e-commerce marketplace Frontier Car Group in the form of series C funding.

Outreach, a developer of customer engagement software, has raised $65m in a series D round backed by Microsoft Ventures that valued it at about $500m.

Rain Therapeutics, a US-based cancer-focused biotechnology developer based on research from University of Auckland, closed an $18.4m series A round featuring the Inventors Fund, managed by the institution’s tech transfer office Auckland UniServices.

Funds

Legend Capital, the venture firm established by Lenovo owner Legend Holdings, is going from strength to strength, having just put together its second RMB-denominated healthcare fund – its third in total.

On GUV, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, a medical research division of Mount Sinai Health System, has established a $10m fund called i3 Asset Accelerator aimed at commercialising Mount Sinai’s research.

On GGV, Italy-based venture capital firm P101 has announced plans to launch a $142m fund with support from the European Investment Fund, the investment arm of the World Bank, and private equity company Fondo Italiano d’Investimento.

Exits

Salesforce is looking toward its next IPO exit after Adaptive Insights, the developer of a cloud-based business planning platform, filed for a $100m IPO.

Neurostimulation device maker Electrocore has filed to raise up to $74.8m in an initial public offering on Nasdaq, having secured $120m in funding over the last four years.

Essential Products sprinted out of the blocks, raising $300m in its second funding round last year, at a $900m to $1bn valuation, but negative response and low sales for its inaugural smartphone have reportedly led it to investigate a sale and to cancel development of its next phone in favour of a smart home device.

FanDuel was once a bright young thing, before regulatory issues cut into its business and drove it to seek a merger with fellow daily fantasy sports operator DraftKings. That deal didn’t come off, but it is set to be snapped up by Paddy Power Betfair, which is investing $158m and merging FanDuel, a spinout from University of Edinburgh that is backed by Alphabet, Comcast and Time Warner, with its US assets, forming a company in which it will have a 61% stake.

On GGV, German public-private partnership High-Tech Gründerfonds has celebrated the first initial public offering of a portfolio company. NFon, a Munich-based cloud telecoms business, received its first investment from HTGF in 2008 and has raised around $59m from its listing.


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

21 May 2018 – NewTV Raises $800m in Funding

Deals

Last week’s Big Deal on Global Corporate Venturing looked at a reported $800m in funding raised by NewTV, a stealthy video content producer formed by entertainment mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg that has secured corporates such as 21st Century Fox and Warner Bros as investors.

Reports earlier this year suggested Chinese smart car developer Byton was looking to raise $300m to $400m for its series B round at a $1.2bn valuation.

JD Logistics, the logistics provider spun off by Chinese e-commerce firm JD.com, has invested $306m in ESR Cayman as part of a strategic partnership agreement.

Tanium, an enterprise cybersecurity software provider backed by Citi Ventures, has received $175m from TPG Growth at a valuation of about $5bn, up from the $3.75bn at which it last raised funding a year ago.

Cryptofinance company Circle has secured $110m in a series E round led by new strategic investor Bitmain, at a reported valuation near to $3bn. Bitmain invested as part of an agreement that will involve it supporting USDC, a stablecoin currency Circle is releasing.

Unisound, a Chinese company developing AI technology for use in internet-of-things products, has raised $100m in a round led by China Electronics Health Fund, a corporate venturing subsidiary of telecoms equipment maker China Electronics Corporation Data.

Carousell, the Asia Pacific-focused owner of an e-commerce app for second-hand items, has received $85m in a series C round co-led by Rakuten Ventures and EDBI, the investment arm of state-owned Singapore Economic Development Board. Rakuten has been an investor in Carousell since its 2013 seed round, and also led its $35m series B.

Ansun Biopharma has also secured $85m, in a series A round co-led by corporate venturing units Sinopharm Healthcare Fund and Lilly Asia Ventures, both of which are also taking board seats.

FogPharma, which is developing miniprotein treatments for diseases including cancer, has closed a $66m series B round that included Nan Fung Group, GV and WuXi AppTec Corporate Ventures.

Funds

SoftBank still hasn’t officially closed its first Vision Fund, but is reportedly already in discussions with potential investors for a second Vision Fund that would also be sized at about $100bn, and which would source capital from a wider range of investors.

Southeast Asia has been a notable growth area in terms of VC funding over the past year or two, but it isn’t just foreign investors taking part. Siam Commercial Bank has doubled the size of Digital Ventures, the corporate venturing fund it set up in 2016, to $100m, making it the largest VC fund in Thailand according to the bank. It will also move away from its core fund-of-funds strategy toward more direct investments in startups.

Exits

Japanese e-commerce app Mercari has had a circuitous route to the public markets, but it’s finally succeeded in filing for a $1.1bn IPO in its home country, at a projected valuation of $3.3bn.

M17 Entertainment, formed by the merger or Paktor and 17 Media almost 18 months ago, has filed for its own IPO in the US.

Home furnishings e-commerce platform Home24 has filed for an offering in Frankfurt that is set to raise up to $235m.

Enough about IPOs though – despite the recent boom, the public markets aren’t the only exit route for investors. Case in point: PayPal has agreed to acquire mobile payment technology provider iZettle for $2.2bn in cash, days after Glassdoor was also bought for a billion-dollar sum.


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

14 May 2018 – China About to Finalise $47bn Semiconductor and Chip Investment Fund

Deals

Online medical booking and healthcare services portal WeDoctor has raised $500m at a $5.5bn valuation, securing the cash in a round co-led by insurer AIA, which is now the company’s life and health insurance partner, and conglomerate NWS Holdings.

Commission-free online trading platform Robinhood is on a tear, having raised $363m in a series D round that more than quadrupled its valuation to $5.6bn in just over a year, during which it added options and cryptocurrency trading features.

Hybrid cloud software provider Mesosphere has raised $125m in a series D round co-led by Koch Industries subsidiary Koch Disruptive Technologies that also featured Hewlett Packard Enterprise and the Qatar Investment Authority.

Moderna Therapeutics first formed a strategic collaboration agreement with Merck & Co two years ago, and now the RNA therapeutics developer has received $125m from Merck as part of a deal to enhance that agreement.

Intel Capital’s annual Global Summit has revealed its latest batch of portfolio companies, which received a total of $72m from the corporate, which was spread across 12 companies.

On GUV, Escient Pharmaceuticals, a US-based biotechnology spinout from Johns Hopkins University, launched last week with a $40m series A round backed by spinout-focused investment firm Osage University Partners.

Funds

Logistics firm GLP has set up a $1.6bn investment fund that will target technology-focused companies in the logistics sector.

China is about to finalise a $47bn investment fund focusing on semiconductor research and chip development.

US-based life sciences investment firm Foresite Capital has closed a $668m fund that included several unnamed university endowments among the limited partners.

On GUV, Yale University received a $15m grant from philanthropic organisation Blavatnik Family Foundation yesterday to expand the Blavatnik Fund for Innovation to $25m.

Exits

Walmart has confirmed its $16bn purchase of a 77% stake in India-based e-commerce company Flipkart, in what is the biggest M&A exit of a VC-backed company since Facebook’s $19bn purchase of WhatsApp in 2014.

Recruit has agreed to acquire employment listings and employee review platform Glassdoor for $1.2bn in cash, enabling Alphabet’s CapitalG to exit.

Huya, livestreaming platform YY’s game-themed spinoff, secured $180m on Friday in a US IPO in which it floated at the top of its range.

Meili, the Chinese fashion e-commerce platform formed by the merger of Meilishuo and Mogujie, has hired underwriters for an initial public offering in the US that is expected to raise about $500m.

Indian renewable power producer ReNew Power, which counts Japan-based utilities Tokyo Electric and Chubu Electric as well as a subsidiary of sovereign wealth fund Abu Dhabi Investment Authority as backers, has filed for an IPO in its home country that it expects will raise up to $386m.

Mobile POS technology producer iZettle announced plans to go public in its home country of Sweden, in an IPO slated to raise approximately $226m.

On GUV, Benevir Biopharm, a US-based immunotherapy developer based on research at New York University (NYU), is set to be acquired by biotechnology firm Janssen Biotech for up to $1.04bn.

Autolus, a UK-based cancer-focused biopharmaceutical spinout from University College London (UCL), filed for a $100m initial public offering on Nasdaq.

And one exit that has collapsed is StretchSense, a New Zealand-based wearable sensor manufacturer spun out from University of Auckland, which has had to let go 140 staff after e-commerce firm StartToday terminated an acquisition deal.


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

07 May 2018 – Tencent Leads $820m Series C for UBTech

Deals

Baidu has spun off the likes of Baidu Video and Zuoyebang in recent years, and video streaming platform iQiyi, in which Baidu owned a majority stake, raised $2.25bn in an IPO in March. The latest deal involves the corporate’s financial services subsidiary, Du Xiaoman, which has raised $1.9bn from investors including Taikang, $1bn of which will go straight to Baidu.

Tencent has led an $820m series C round for consumer robotics developer UBTech that valued it at about $5bn.

Online education has been one of the most notable growth areas in China’s VC space and things appear to be heating up. VIPKid, the operator of a tutoring platform that utilises international teachers, is reportedly looking to secure $500m at a $3bn valuation, double that at which it raised money in a Tencent-backed series C round just eight months ago.

Indian insurance comparison portal PolicyBazaar is close to raising $200m in a round that will be led by a $150m investment by SoftBank Vision Fund.

SF Express, the largest player in China’s logistics sector, has invested $100m in Flexport, the operator of a freight services platform that covers land, air and sea along with adjacent services.

SoundHound raised $75m from a corporate-heavy investor group early last year, and now it’s added $100m from Tencent, Daimler, Orange, Midea Group and Hyundai Motor Company at a reported valuation of more than $1bn.

Masterclass, the online education platform equipped with a host of famous teachers, is reportedly on its way to closing a $70m series D round.

Roivant Sciences raised $1.1bn in a SoftBank Vision Fund-led round last August with a brief to develop and launch a series of offshoot companies.

On GUV, Crescendo Biologics, a UK-based immunotherapy developer spun out from University of Cambridge, closed a $70m series B round that featured commercialisation firm IP Group as well as EMBL Ventures, the investment arm of European Molecular Biology Laboratory.

Funds

Microsoft Ventures has invested in some 50 companies since it relaunched itself as a corporate venturing vehicle two years ago, but has run into identity trouble with people confusing the unit with the similarly-named network of accelerators its parent continues to run around the world. Its solution has been to rebrand to M12, while the corporate’s accelerator initiative will be renamed Microsoft ScaleUp.

The city government of Jerusalem is looking to launch a $130m venture capital fund to support local biotech startups in areas including medical devices and pharmaceutical technology. The government’s contribution to the vehicle would amount to $5.5m at most, with the remainder supplied by private investors.

Exits

Flipkart’s board of directors has approved a deal whereby Walmart will pay approximately $15bn for a 75% stake, according to Bloomberg.

Medtronic spinoff Inspire Medical Systems has gone public in a $108m initial public offering that also represented an exit for Johnson & Johnson.

Consumer electronics and IoT technology provider Xiaomi has officially filed for an initial public offering in Hong Kong that sources told the South China Morning Post will be about $10bn in size, at a valuation of about $100bn.

Laser developer nLight has become the latest tech company to launch a successful IPO, floating above its range to raise $96m.

Mita, a US-based orthopaedic device spinout from University of Colorado, has been acquired by medical technology developer Stryker for an undisclosed sum.


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

12 March 2018 – Magic Leap Increases Series D to $963m

Deals

In last week’s Big Deal on GCV, news editor Robert Lavine looked at DoorDash, which just got its first corporate investment in a $535m series D round led by SoftBank, almost doubling its valuation in roughly two years.

Augmented reality technology developer Magic Leap has to be one of the most well-funded companies to have never released a product. It has increased its series D round to $963m with $461m from investors including Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which put up $400m, and Axel Springer Digital Ventures.

Elsewhere in online entertainment, game livestreaming has been one of the biggest growth areas in the past year or two, as more companies look to follow Twitch’s lead. China-based Douyu, which has some 30 million daily active users, has secured $630m from Tencent, which has backed it since a $100m series B round two years ago.

Internet company Tencent has agreed to provide approximately $462m in series B funding for Huya, a China-based live game streaming spinout from social media platform Huya.

BBVA has led a $207m round for Atom Bank, the UK-based creator of a mobile-only bank with no physical branches.

Zomato has confirmed reports last month stating that Alibaba’s financial services affiliate Ant Financial had invested $200m.

Credit assessment technology provider Wecash has closed a $160m series D round that was co-led by e-commerce firm Sea and a subsidiary of financial services firm Orix.

UiPath, a developer of software bots that automate mundane enterprise tasks, has raised $135m from investors including CapitalG in a series B round that valued it at $1.1bn.

yKujiale, a China-based virtual reality platform for interior design, has raised $100m in a series D round that included Hearst Ventures, the corporate venturing arm of media group Hearst.

On GUV, TauRx Pharmaceuticals, a Singapore-based Alzheimer’s disease treatment developer spun out from University of Aberdeen, has revealed it secured $71m through a rights issue in October 2017.

Funds

Cisco Investments, the corporate venturing arm of networking equipment manufacturer Cisco, has committed an undisclosed amount to venture capital firm IDG Ventures India’s third fund.

Japan-headquartered automotive component maker Aisin Group launched a $50m US-based investment fund on Tuesday in partnership with venture capital firm Fenox Venture Capital. Fenox will manage the fund, with CEO Anis Uzzaman taking a general partner position.

On GUV, University of Montana has become the sole institutional limited partner (LP) in VC firm Next Frontier Capital’s second fund, a $38m vehicle that aims to support high-value Montana industries.

Exits

Kensho, an AI data platform based on research at Harvard University and MIT, has meanwhile agreed to an acquisition by one of its investors, S&P Global, for approximately $550m in cash and stock.

Blibli began life as a comics, anime and gaming-themed online community in China, but has grown rapidly off the back of an anime streaming platform that has licensed more titles than any other in the country.

Hua Medicine, a diabetes treatment developer backed by pharmaceutical company WuXi PharmaTech, also intends to raise upwards of $400m in an initial public offering.

Genetic disease therapy developer Homology Medicines has filed to raise up to $100m in an initial public offering that will support the progress of two drug candidates through preclinical trials.

Immuno-oncology drug developer Unum Therapeutics last raised funding in a $65m series B round in 2015, but it’s filed to raise up to $86.3m in an initial public offering.

Go-Jek is still in the process of raising funds for a round it expects to close at $1.5bn, at a $5bn valuation, but company president Andre Soelistyo has met with the Indonesia Stock Exchange to discuss a possible IPO.


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

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