Covering the week’s venturing news including funding, investments, exits and people moves.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Rich Miner helped to launch Google Ventures in 2009 as general partner but seven years later, he’s dropped down to a venture partner position so he can concentrate on a secretive edtech project within the Google organisation.
Microsoft Ventures continues to build up its team, the latest recruit being Matthew Goldstein who comes from VC firm Trinity Ventures where he was principal
Microsoft expands its corporate venturing activities by forming a $92m fund to invest in Brazil-based agribusiness technology startups.
Kellogg is just one of the packaged food producers to launch corporate venturing units in the past year, and we spoke to its vice-president of investor relations Simon Burton about the formation of its new Eighteen94 Capital subsidiary and where the funding will go.
Hanmi hands over $8.7m to corporate venturing unit
Four universities partner Mercia
MIP reinvestment from Mercia
IPO for Draper Esprit
Recruit Holdings has bought classified job listings platform and search engine Simply Hired for an undisclosed amount.
Two of conglomerate Legend Holdings’ investment affiliates – Legend Capital and Hony Capital – helped invest $15m in Chinese tyre manufacturer Shandong Linglong Tyre Co in 2010, and they’ve now exited in a $390m IPO on the Shanghai Stock Exchange.
Genomic medicine developer Syros Pharmaceuticals floated in the US last week, and since then its shares have risen in price by almost 50%, from the IPO price of $12.50 to $18 as of close of trading yesterday.
Another gene therapy developer, GenSight Biologics, had less luck when it tried for an IPO in the US market last year, cancelling an offering set to raise up to $70m. The Novartis-backed company has now set its sights on more modest goals, and will aim to raise $44m in an IPO in its home country of France, with its existing backers set to buy almost $19m of shares in the offering.
China-based Android app store Wandoujia was valued at $1bn in early 2014, not long before Alibaba reportedly offered to buy it for $1.5bn. Two years on, the e-commerce firm looks to have netted a bargain by agreeing to acquire Wandoujia for a reported $200m in a deal that will boost its internet services business.
Speaking of valuation drops, India-based fashion e-commerce platform Jabong is in talks with a range of prospective buyers over an acquisition that will allow co-founder Rocket Internet to exit.
Cybersecurity spinout Quadmetrics acquired by Fico
Vyclone, a Los Angeles-based social video creation and collaboration app, is shutting down.
Installment buying platform Qufenqi has changed its name to Qudian and raised $449m on the way to an IPO, just over three years after it was founded.
e-Shang raises $300M Corporate Minority round
Autonomous car startup Zoox has just raised $200m in funding, according to Business Insider, despite operating in super-stealth mode.
WuXi PharmaTech is among the investors to have put up $150m of series A funding for CStone Pharmaceuticals, a China-based startup looking to develop treatments for oncology, cardiovascular diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, haematology and autoimmune diseases, with a particular focus on immuno-oncology.
Media operator Network18 first invested in Bigtree Entertainment, the owner of cinema and live entertainment ticketing platform BookMyShow, in 2007 and it has returned to once again take part in its latest funding, an $81m round that values the company at more than $440m.
SoftBank-backed budget hotel room booking platform Oyo Rooms is set to raise $61m from existing investors at a $460m pre-money valuation as part of an expansion drive that will involve it growing its presence in areas like bed and breakfasts and homestays.
SmartNews, a Japan-based mobile news aggregation app, has raised $38 million in Series D funding. Development Bank of Japan led the round, and was joined by SMBC Venture Capital and Japan Co-Invest.
Cyber threat detection and defense software provider Darktrace has secured $65m at a $400m valuation, four times that at which it last raised funding, in July 2015.
Temasek Holdings investment in internet of things
News and Deals
On GlobalCorporateVenturing.com, the week’s biggest news was the downfall of Zenefits, a US-based HR software provider that closed a $500m series C round backed by Comcast in May 2015. Not only has the company struggled to deliver on the predicted revenue, but it’s also run into serious regulatory issues.
Zenefits might not be in quite as bad a shape as Theranos, the biotech company whose technology was uncovered to be scientifically unworkable by Wall Street Journal several weeks ago, but I doubt that is of much comfort to any of the investors or the management.
Crispr Technologies has extended its series B round to $140m following a $38m investment.
Thrive Market, an organic produce subscription service, secured $110m in capital to boost its marketing efforts and expand the own-brand product range.
Modern Meadow’s $40m series B round could be a game-changer for a very big industry: the company, now backed by Singaporean government investment firm Temasek, is creating leather in the lab using the building blocks of skin.
Allecra Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company has attracted $24m in a series B round featuring EMBL Ventures, the investment vehicle of research institute European Molecular Biology Laboratory.
Corporate and Government
Partech Ventures has closed its growth-stage fund at $440m with limited partners including BPIfrance, the public investment bank of France, as well as Renault, Carrefour, Ingenico, AG2R La Mondiale and CNP Assurances.
Siemens, which already operates a corporate venturing subsidiary and has popped up on our radar regularly, now has launched another unit, named Next47
Tsinghua Holdings, an investment firm solely backed by Tsinghua University, has revealed that it plans on providing $7.6bn to research efforts over the next five years.
Line, the Naver-owned messaging service, has set its IPO range between $26.50 and $31.50 and could potentially raise $1.1bn at a $6.6bn valuation.
Syros Pharmaceuticals floated below its range and brought in $50m.
Sungevity, which has attracted more than $210m in funding in about a decade, and is now merging with listed special purpose vehicle Easterly Acquisition Corporation. The deal gives an exit to GE, Lowe’s and Solon.
Intel Capital is still seeing a lot of change following Wendell Brooks taking over leadership. Ameet Bhansali, Anthony Lin, Trina Van Pelt and Bob Nunn have all been promoted to managing director positions, and are joined by Marcin Hejka, Ken Elefant and Ramamurthy Sivakumar who will also take crucial roles.
Comcast Ventures has lost Gavin Teo to B Capital, the VC affiliate of Boston Consulting Group. Teo had joined Comcast Ventures in 2012.
NTT Docomo Ventures has brought on board Takayuki Inagawa as a replacement for Nobuyuki Akimoto. Inagawa took over as head of the unit on Friday.
Paul Harvey, head of Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Europe, Middle East and Africa technology investment banking unit, has moved on to Octo Telematics to establish a corporate venturing division. Harvey will serve as executive chairman.
While not technically new, we have more information on the massive $7.3bn round for Didi Chuxing that we talked about on last Monday’s podcast. Poly Group, a Chinese state-owned real estate and trading business, contributed a whopping $400m in return for a 1.45% stake.
HR Bio Holdings, a joint venture between pharmaceutical company Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine and an unnamed blue chip investment firm, injected $100m to launch a US-based cancer therapy startup named Hengrui Therapeutics.
Xinmei Mutual Insurance Association attracted $150m from a consortium featuring Ant Financial.
Johns Hopkins spinout Blade Therapeutics raises $45m in its series B round.
University and Government
University College Dublin and Trinity College Dublin have set up a $68m fund in partnership with Atlantic Bridge that was also backed by the European Investment Fund and Enterprise Ireland, the development agency of the Irish government, as well as banks AIB and Bank of Ireland.
Kellogg – yes, the makers of the breakfast cereals – is venturing into the CVC sphere with a $100m unit that will seek out opportunities in the food industry.
Shenzhen Hepalink, a Chinese pharmaceutical firm, invested $60m in the latest fund raised by TPG Biotech. The commitment follows the company’s decision to back the previous fund 18 months ago with $22m. TPG Biotech has invested in more than 50 companies since 2002.
Twilio, a business communication platform that was actually expected to delay its flotation and wait out the UK referendum results, but ended up not doing that. Instead, it upsized its IPO, raising $150m.
Selecta Biosciences, a synthetic vaccine particle developer, also got in on the IPO game ahead of the referendum, pricing its flotation at $70m and providing an exit to Sanofi-Genzyme Bioventures.
EDFI, the Association of European Development Finance Institutions, has appointed two new people.
Dartmouth College meanwhile is losing two staff members, Tillmann Gerngross and Trip Davis – the two who helped establish the university’s tech transfer office, the Office of Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer, in 2013.
Softbank’s COO and president Nikesh Arora has left.
Lockheed Martin Ventures, the newly established CVC unit of the aerospace and security company, has brought Christoper Moran on board as executive director and general manager.
Didi Chuxing, the ride-sharing app developer that’s been causing a headache to Uber, has raised the largest venture round of all time with $7.3bn in combined equity and debt financing.
Verto Analytics in a $16.1m series B round from Finnish Industry Investment and also featured EQT Ventures, a private equity firm that closed a government-backed fund earlier this month, Conor Venture Partners, Open Ocean Capital and Vision+.
The university world saw a $33m series B round for Rockefeller University spinout Rgenix, co-led by Novo and Sofinnova Partners.
Imperial Innovations, the commercialisation firm spun out of Imperial College London, exited Alkion Biopharma, selling its stake to chemical producer Evonik Industries.
DraftKings and FanDuel are considering a merger. Of course FanDuel is a spinout of Edinburgh University.
Gilde Healthcare, an investment firm focused on, surprisingly, the healthcare sector, has closed its $280m Gilde Healthcare IV fund with Philips as a cornerstone investor.
BPIfrance, the public investment bank of France, has promoted Florent Debienne to managing director. He had previously been investment director since November 2013.
Deborah Hopkins, Citi’s chief innovation officer and CEO of Citi Ventures, its corporate venturing unit, will retire at the end of the year. She took home a GCV Award in January at our Global Corporate Venturing and Innovation Summit in California and will leave big shoes to fill.
Toby Lewis talks to Frode Odegard, chief executive of Lean Systems Institute about the post-lean world.
Line, the messaging platform, wholly-owned by Naver, is aiming for $1bn in proceeds at a valuation of $5.5bn
Thailand-based back-office services provider Netbay is aiming for a $4.5m flotation on the domestic stock exchange.
Singapore Press Holdings is also due to celebrate an exit, with its portfolio company Smaato, a mobile advertising company, close to being acquired by Spearhead Integrated Marketing Communication for $148m.
Rylance is a company is using artificial intelligence to predict even never-before-seen attacks, stop intrusions before disaster strikes and learn from previous threats – and with a first close at $100m for its series D round, it’s well equipped to bring its software to even more clients.
SundaySky, a marketing company with software that produces personalised video campaigns with real-time info such as product pricing, closed a $30m series D round.
Weka.io meanwhile welcomed Qualcomm Ventures to a series B round that increased the startup’s total funding to $32m.
A $30m series C round for Moogsoft, a software developer that’s created a platform to detect issues such as outages or failed transactions in real-time.
Qadium, backed by O’Reilly Alphatech Ventures, has attracted $20m in series A capital from Darpa, the US Pentagon’s investment division.
Salesforce Ventures has announced a $50m fund and incubator to help its corporate parent establish an ecosystem around its software development platform Lightning.
News from Global Government Venturing
News from Global University Venturing
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.
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.
Singapore state funds bought $1 billion in Alibaba shares.
Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund invested in Uber.
Four Singapore-based companies – real estate company CapitaLand, data centre provider DeClout, agribusiness Wilmar and logistics provider YCH Group – have been awarded S$40m ($29.2m) to back local startups.
US-based venture capital firm Geodesic Capital closed its inaugural fund at $335m with an anchor investment from Mitsubishi Corporation, a member of Japan-headquartered conglomerate Mitsubishi Group.
Russia-based cybersecurity software provider has launched a corporate venturing unit that will invest up to $1m in startups.
Caterpillar Ventures, the corporate venturing arm of construction equipment producer Caterpillar, provided an undisclosed amount on Tuesday for the latest fund to be raised by Switzerland-based venture capital firm Emerald Technology Ventures.
US-based messaging platform Slack Technologies has hired Jason Spinell as an investor for its corporate venturing unit, Slack Fund.
Bernhard Gold has left T-Venture, a corporate venturing subsidiary of telecommunications firm Deutsche Telekom, to join France-headquartered venture capital firm Iris Capital as managing director of its North American office.
US-based flat panel display technology developer Kateeva completed an $88m series E round with contributions from several corporate investors.
Private equity firms Coller Capital, HarbourVest Partners and Lexington Partners are among the prospective bidders for a venture capital portfolio set to be sold by semiconductor maker Intel for about $1bn.
Global Corporate Venturing
HP has also established a corporate venturing arm, launching HP Ventures to invest in immersive computing, mobility, internet of things, artificial intelligence, smart machine and 3D technology.
IDG Ventures India raised $100m for each of its first two funds, but has targeted $200m for its third, with a view to making more late-stage investments as its portfolio companies grow. It now appears to be three-quarters of the way there, having reportedly raised $150m.
Global Government Venturing
Global Corporate Venturing
In this week’s Big Deal, we look at how the deal compares to CVC efforts by other carmakers and ask whether automotive companies in general will increasingly focus their corporate venturing on connected car technology in future.
Huoli Tianhui, the operator of a flight and train ticket booking service, raised $143m in a round co-led by a subsidiary of travel-focused conglomerate HNA Group.
Hyperloop, the developer of a futuristic, vacuum-based mode of transport, has raised $80m in series B funding from investors including GE and railway operator SNCF.
Insurance firms Starr Companies and Ping An have contributed to a $70m round for Gushengtang, a six-year old company that specialises in traditional Chinese medicine.
Kingsoft Cloud, the cloud computing spinout of cybersecurity company Kingsoft, has added $50m to the $60m series C round it closed in February.
Global Government Venturing
Global Corporate Venturing
Gene editing technology developer Intellia Therapeutics raised $108m when it went public late last week, floating at the top of its range.
Medical diagnostics technology developer NantHealth, part of Patrick Soon-Shiong’s NantWorks ecosystem, has filed for an IPO initially sized at $92m after reportedly raising more than $700m from backers also including Allscripts, Celgene and Blackberry.