21 August 2017 – $1.7bn Chinese EV Investment

We talked a lot about SoftBank’s Vision Fund last week and about how it invested $2.5bn in e-commerce marketplace Flipkart, led a $1.1bn round for life sciences and healthcare technology developer Roivant Sciences and hooked up with its parent company to inject $1bn into sports e-commerce platform Fanatics. But if you want more insight into SoftBank’s activities, do check out GCV news editor Robert Lavine’s Big Deal piece from last Monday that examines the investments and the hints they give for how Vision Fund might invest differently to SoftBank itself.


BAIC BJEV, the electric vehicle branch of Chinese automaker BAIC Group, has raised about $1.7bn in a series B round backed by 14 investors including asset management firm China Cinda Asset Management and the Hebei government-backed Zhongji Investment fund.

SoftBank and Didi Chuxing, along with Dragoneer Investment Group and General Atlantic, have signed an exclusivity agreement with Uber for a round that looks set to involve up to $1.5bn of funding at a flat valuation, and up to $10bn of secondary investment at a lower valuation, depending on how eager investors are to sell.

News emerged a couple of months ago suggesting Alibaba was set to lead a $500m round for Southeast Asian e-commerce marketplace Tokopedia, but that turned out to be relatively understated.

Investment firm Francisco Partners has paid $200m for a 16.7% stake in Iconectiv, a telecom technology spinout of Ericsson, closing a deal provisionally agreed in March.

Despite almost $300m in debt and equity financing over the last decade and public support from artists such as Deadmau5 and Chance the Rapper, SoundCloud has increasingly looked in jeopardy over an inability to raise the money necessary to continue operations.

Unity Biotechnology, which is developing treatments for aging-related conditions like eye and kidney disease, has raised another $35m to close out its series B round at $151m.

Data analytics technology provider ThoughtSpot has meanwhile secured another $60m from investors including new customer Capital One’s corporate venturing unit to double its series C round to $120m.

SoftBank has made some big bets in India, most recently investing $2.5bn in Flipkart, and multiple sources have told the Economic Times it is considering an investment of at least $100m in logistics platform Rivigo.

Elsewhere in China, Ankon Technologies, the developer of an oral capsule-based gastric cancer diagnostics system that sounds straight of science fiction, has secured $100m in a round featuring SoftBank’s SBCVC unit.

On GlobalUniversityVenturing.com, the biggest deal was the news that UCLA spinout Keyssa has raised $53m in funding since 2014. Keyssa is developing a system called Kiss Connectivity that will be able to transfer large amounts of data between devices quickly and reliably using embeddable electromagnetic connectors, making wifi or wires unnecessary.

And on GlobalGovernmentVenturing.com, the biggest was China-based smartphone manufacturer Smartisan Technology which raised $150m in funding from a consortium led by the city government of Chengdu, which supplied a total of $90 through undisclosed investment funds. It was joined by unnamed private equity firms.


Lilly Asia Ventures, the China-based corporate venturing offshoot of pharmaceutical firm Eli Lilly, has closed its fourth fund at $450m, a significant jump from its third, which was raised with a $100m target just two years ago.

Insurance and financial services group Nationwide has been exploring corporate venturing since it launched a venture capital vehicle early last year but has now committed more than $100m to strategic investments.

Venture capital firm Gobi Partners achieved a $50m close of the $200m Meranti ASEAN Growth Fund that it is raising on behalf of Malaysia government-owned investment firm Malaysia Venture Capital Management (Mavcap).

The provincial government of Canada’s Prince Edward Island has commitment $2m to a $4m investment fund being raised by Island Capital Partners to support the local ecosystem.

On GlobalUniversityVenturing.com, we have news that one fundraising effort has fallen through: UK-based commercialisation firm IP Group has failed to obtain the slated $30m from China-based internet company Beijing Galaxy World Group as the latter didn’t manage to secure regulatory approval from the Chinese authorities.


MongoDB, the database management software provider reportedly valued at $1.6bn as of last year, is said to have confidentially filed for an initial public offering.

Latin American travel booking platform Despegar has filed to raise $100m in a US IPO that will give an exit to strategic investor Expedia.

Scyfer, a Netherlands-based artificial intelligence (AI) technology developer spun out from University of Amsterdam, was acquired by semiconductor manufacturer Qualcomm for an undisclosed amount.

Senosis Health, a US-based digital health spinout from University of Washington, has been acquired by diversified conglomerate Alphabet for an undisclosed sum. Sensosis has created a range of mobile apps that rely on accelerometers, cameras and microphones found in modern-day smartphones to monitor a user’s health.

Fayteq, a Germany-based real-time video manipulation software producer based on research at Technical University Ilmenau, has been acquired by internet company Facebook.

Voxpro, an Ireland-based outsourcing firm backed by state-owned export credit agency Enterprise Ireland, has been acquired by its Canada-based peer Telus International.

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

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