07 August 2017 – Possible UK National Investment Fund

Funds

The government of the UK revealed it is considering the creation of a National Investment Fund to support startups that could become unicorns.

The Canadian government has announced it will make its visa scheme for entrepreneurs a permanent fixture.

Singapore-based venture capital firm Prestellar Ventures has raised $100m for a fund that counts Nepal-headquartered conglomerates CG Corp Global and NE Group as general partners.

Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance, a subsidiary of Japan-based insurer Sompo, is committing at least $40m and possibly up to $80m, to venture capital firm TransLink Capital to manage its corporate venture capital fund.

India-based seed-grant impact fund Nudge Foundation, which targets poverty reduction, has collected capital from Tata Trusts, the philanthropic shareholder in conglomerate Tata and Sons, as well as motorcycle maker Maruti, networking technology producer Cisco, IT services firm Mphasis, conglomerate Godrej, retailer Target, bank Wells Fargo, Social Venture Partners and entrepreneur Nandan Nilekani.

N/Core is one of a few programs launched or announced last week – others included Morgan Stanley launching an accelerator that will focus on startups with female or multicultural founders, co-founders or chief technology officers.

Deals

Meituan-Dianping, the Chinese local listing and services portal formed in late 2015 by the merger of unicorns Meituan and Dianping, is reportedly in talks with investors to raise between $3bn and $5bn in a round that will feature a $1bn investment by existing backer Tencent.

SoftBank’s Vision Fund is reportedly in talks to invest $1.5bn to $2bn in Flipkart, which was valued at $11.6bn as of its last round earlier this year, in a deal that would enable it to join an investor base that already includes eBay, Tencent, Intel Capital and Bennett Coleman & Co.

Digital marketing company Avazu spun out app developer DotC in 2015, but now the boot’s on the other foot. DotC has raised $350m in a series B round led by Avazu’s parent company Zeus that involved the ownership of Avazu being transferred to DotC in a deal that will give Zeus a stake of just over 30.6% in the company.

Online fresh produce retailer Yiguo has secured $300m in funding from Alibaba subsidiary Tmall as part of a partnership agreement that will involve Tmall integrating Yiguo’s product into its existing offering.

Online business lending platform Kabbage has received $250m in funding from existing investor SoftBank, roughly doubling its overall funding in the process. Past investors in Kabbage, which will use the SoftBank cash to further develop its technology and expand its service offering, include UPS, Santander, ING and Recruit, while SoftBank initially invested in the company as part of a $50m series D round in 2014.

Peer-to-peer lending platform Dianrong has secured $220m in a round led by Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, GIC, which was announced just after it agreed to acquire banking services provider Quark Finance’s asset generation operations in order to expand its physical presence in its home country of China.

E-commerce software and services provider ShopEx has secured $104m in a series D round led by venture firm Joy Capital.

Genetic therapeutics developer Homology Medicines has raised $83.5m in series B funding from investors including pharmaceutical firm Novartis, taking its overall equity financing to $127m across two rounds.

Impossible Foods has secured $75m in a round that will likely support the construction of a dedicated production facility for its plant-based burgers.

Novo has led cardiovascular therapy developer Milestone Pharmaceuticals’ $55m series C round, investing alongside Canadian state-owned BDC Capital, Fonds de solidarité FTQ, the development capital organisation for Quebec, as well as Forbion Capital Partners, Domain Associates, Pappas Capital, Go Capital and funds managed by Tekla Capital Management.

And on GlobalUniversityVenturing.com, we’ve had a few $20m deals. Among them: IonQ. GV, the corporate venturing unit of diversified conglomerate Alphabet, co-led a $20m series B round for quantum computing startup IonQ with New Enterprise Associates.

Another one was US-based car refuelling service provider Booster Fuels, which raised $20m in a series B round yesterday from investors including Stanford University’s StartX Fund. Booster allows drivers to park their car in work and request their tank be refilled through a mobile app.

And finally, US-based authentication technology developer UnifyID raised $20m in a series A round on Monday from investors including Stanford University’s StartX Fund. UnifyID has created an authentication platform that relies on sensors built into everyday devices and uses machine learning to identify users based on more than 100 unique characteristics such as the way they walk, sit and type. It requires no manual input from the user.

Exits

As mentioned earlier in the podcast, the long-running saga of Flipkart’s proposed acquisition of Snapdeal appears to have come to an unexpected end with news last Monday that Snapdeal has sensationally decided to call off the talks in favour of a restructuring process.

Twitter-backed music streaming platform Soundcloud is said to have entered talks with two private equity firms to raise funding in a deal that would give the as-yet undisclosed firms stakes that would jointly add up to a majority share.

Canada-based clinical-stage pharmaceutical company Clementia Pharmaceuticals has gone public in the US, floating at the top of its range and raising $120m.

Energy and oil producer China Titans Energy Technology Group has acquired Aquion Energy, a bankrupt US-based energy storage technology developer spun out from Carnegie Mellon University, for $9.16m, according to a regulatory filing.

GameSparks, an Ireland and UK-based platform for games developers backed by Irish state-owned export credit agency Enterprise Ireland, has been acquired by e-commerce company Amazon.

CarTrade, an India-based online automotive classifieds service backed by Temasek, is exploring a merger with its domestic competitor CarDekho, backed by diversified conglomerate Alphabet’s growth equity arm CapitalG, to create the country’s largest online car classifieds platform.

On GlobalUniversityVenturing.com, Intelesens, a UK-based wearable device maker to monitor patients’ vital signs that is based on Ulster University research, has been acquired by medical image management platform Ultralinq for an undisclosed amount.


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

14 November 2016 – Imax VR Fund, Space Mining for Luxemburg and Much More

News

Walgreens sues portfolio company Theranos for $140m

Alphabet rebrands Google Capital as CapitalG

Funds

Ten oil their way to $1bn fund

Imax screens partners for $50m VR fund

University Corner

Ramot harnesses corporates for $20m investment initiative

Huawei visits Singapore for IoT incubator

Government Department

Planetary Resources mines Luxembourg for new funding

Exits

ZMP drives forward to IPO

Intel votes for Voke acquisition

SoftBank writes down $555m of Indian unicorn investments

Investments

Bytedance looks to take $1bn step forward

Suning gets fresh with Yiguo in $200m round

Bonobos talks to investors for $100m round

Warmsun heats up Royole with $74m

GV accelerates Acalvio funding to $22m

Gfresh catches $20m from Alibaba and Legend Holdings

Owlet looks after $15m


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

04 April 2016 – LeSports, Yiguo, Betterment, Jucero, Emulate, M-Files, IDG Ventures India, IBM Ventures, Siemens Venture Capital, Imperial Innovations, Oakland University and more

Deals

In the corporate venturing world, the biggest deal happened in China, where sports media company LeSports closed a massive $1.2bn round backed by HNA Group.

Another seemingly big round was closed by online grocer Yiguo, which didn’t reveal an amount but boasted that it’s larger than its competitor Womai’s $220m series C round in October last year.

Robo-advisor Betterment meanwhile attracted $100m in series E funding, more than doubling its total capital to $205m.

Juicero, an organic juice company backed by conglomerate Alphabet and food producer Campbell’s Soup, has boosted its total funding to $100m after attracting $70m for its series B round.

Biotech Emulate, which is working on organs-on-chips technology, secured the week’s most cash with a $28m series B round.

Finland-based document management company M-Files meanwhile raised $36m in its series B, which was backed by government-owned investment firm Finnish Industry Investment.

Exits

IDG Ventures India was less interested in investing and is instead considering selling its remaining stake in e-commerce Flipkart. IDG Ventures never actually invested in Flipkart, but gained shares when Flipkart bought its portfolio company Myntra, a fashion e-commerce business, for some $300m in 2014.

Funds

Infuse Ventures is seeking $150m for a new fund dubbed Bharat. Infuse’s backers include oil company BO, oleochemicals manufacturer Godrej Industries and World Bank subsidiary International Finance Corporation.

Germany announced two new funds totalling more than $810m. The two funds have been launched by Germany’s federal ministry for economic affairs and energy, the European Investment Fund and development bank KfW. The cash is split across a $252m Coparion Fund and a $560m ERP/EIF Growth Facility.

Japan has announced its intention to invest more than $1bn through four university venture funds. Tokyo University is set to receive the largest chunk with $450m and plans to use most of the money for a fund of funds.

People

IBM has announced that George Ugras will replace Claudia Fan Munce as managing director of IBM Ventures.

Mike Majors is leaving Siemens Venture Capital, where he co-founded a $100m Industry of the Future Fund, to become managing partner at venture firm Data Point Capital.

Martin Knight stepping down from his position as executive chairman of Imperial Innovations.

Oakland University appointed Michael Long as its new tech transfer mentor-in-residence for IP development and commercialisation.


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