31 July 2017 – The SoftBank Show


Southeast Asian on-demand ride platform Grab confirmed it has raised $2bn in funding from SoftBank and Didi Chuxing, reportedly at a $6bn post-money valuation.

And in other SoftBank news, the corporate has reportedly entered talks with bicycle sharing service Ofo to lead a $1bn round that could also include existing investor Didi Chuxing.

Co-working space provider WeWork raised $760m at a $20bn valuation earlier this month, and it’s now secured another $500m from SoftBank and the Legend Holdings-backed Hony Capital for a newly spun out company dedicated to China.

Alibaba is considering making a hefty investment in Indonesia-based online marketplace Tokopedia to lead what would be a $500m round. Existing backers SoftBank and Sequoia Capital are said to be already lined up.

Indian ride hailing platform Ola is reportedly in advanced talks with Tencent over a $400m investment that could boost its latest funding round to $800m.

With all these huge rounds being closed or touted, the $350m in funding raised by spacecraft and rocket developer and launcher SpaceX may not be the huge event it would have been, say, 18 months ago, but the funding, revealed in a regulatory filing, is notable in that it indicates a $21bn valuation, putting SpaceX just outside the world’s five most valuable VC-backed private companies.

Southeast Asia continues to be a significant destination for corporate VC funding, the latest big deal being a $350m investment by Expedia in travel and accommodation booking platform Traveloka as part of a strategic cooperation agreement.

SoftBank and Accel are gearing up to co-lead enterprise communication platform Slack’s forthcoming round, initially reported to be $500m by Axios, but said to be only half that a day later by Bloomberg and TechCrunch.

Investment firm Permira has reportedly paid between $225m and $250m for a 10% stake in Sweden-based online payment services provider Klarna, allowing DST Global and General Atlantic to exit in the process.

Elsewhere in the fintech sector, robo-advisory platform Betterment has raised $70m in series E funding that will be added to the $100m first tranche it closed in March last year.

Microsoft is eyeing an Asian investment, and is reportedly in the early stages of discussions to provide between $50m and $100m to Indian ride hailing service Ola.

We’ve already covered the biggest deal on GGV with Grab, but what about GlobalUniversityVenturing.com? The biggest deal here was a $62m series C round raised by Complexa, biopharmaceutical spinout from University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine.


ST Engineering, a Singapore aerospace, defence and electronics producer, has put $150m into a corporate venturing unit called ST Engineering Ventures as part of an open innovation drive that includes a scheme in which startups will gain access to its lab facilities.

France-based investment firm BlackFin Capital Partners achieved a first close of its Tech Fund 1 on Tuesday, having secured more than €100m ($117m) with the support of France’s public investment bank Bpifrance, which contributed directly and through its MultiCap Croissance fund.

The European Investment Fund, the EU-owned vehicle responsible for financing SMEs, has signed a deal with venture capital firm Oxo Group to establish a €50m ($58.5m) fund aimed at startups in central and eastern Europe.

The government of Telangana introduced its innovation policy on Tuesday, which will build on the Indian state’s existing T-Hub scheme and include several venture funds.

On GlobalUniversityVenturing.com, we haven’t had a new fund this week as such, but UK-based medical research charity LifeArc (formerly known as MRC Technology, a unit of government agency Medical Research Council) has inked an agreement with London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to support the institution’s tech transfer activities. Financial terms of the agreement have not been revealed however.


The long-running saga of Flipkart’s acquisition of fellow Indian e-commerce platform Snapdeal appears to finally be nearing its endgame with news that Snapdeal’s board has approved a deal that will value it at between $900m and $950m.

On GlobalGovernmentVenturing.com, the Switzerland-based metering and energy management conglomerate Landis+Gyr has completed a Sfr2.3bn ($2.4bn) initial public offering on the Six Swiss Exchange, providing an exit to public-private partnership Innovation Network Corporation of Japan and Toshiba, which bought Landis+Gyr for $2.3bn in 2011.

On GlobalUniversityVenturing.com, Living Pharma, a US-based immunotherapy developer based on research conducted at University of Maryland’s School of Medicine, was acquired by biotech company Lentigen Technology for an undisclosed sum.

Enza Biotech, a Sweden-based renewable surfactants manufacturer spun out of Lund University, was acquired by specialty chemicals company Croda International for an undisclosed sum.

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

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