27 November 2017 – $1.2bn in Grail’s Series B


Illumina’s cancer diagnostics spinout, Grail, came out of stealth less than two years ago but has raised some big money since. Its series B round has been increased from $973m to $1.2bn according to a securities filing, though there’s been no confirmation as to who joined the round, which already included Tencent, Amazon, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Celgene, Merck & Co, Johnson & Johnson, Varian Medical Systems and McKesson Ventures.

Lyft secured $1bn in a CapitalG-led series G round only a few weeks ago but the ride hailing platform, which recently received the go-ahead to test its autonomous driving technology on California’s roads, is already looking to add another $500m.

Online food ordering app Deliveroo has added $98m to a series F round that has now closed at $482m. The round, which was co-led by T. Rowe Price and Fidelity Management & Research, valued Deliveroo at more than $2bn and came after a $275m series E round featuring Nokia Growth Partners in summer 2016.

Sinar Mas and DST-backed internet service provider MyRepublic may have failed in its bid to become Singapore’s fourth licensed telecommunications operator, but that hasn’t prevented it raising cash.

Divergent 3D, the developer of an automotive manufacturing process that involves the automated creation of 3D-printed metal components, has raised at least $65m in a series B round featuring strategic partner and returning investor Altran.

Car rental service Zoomcar has entered discussions with prospective investors including Mahindra and Mahindra to raise $50m in its next funding round.

WeWork has raised more than $5bn in financing, and in addition to making some big-money real estate investments the co-working space provider is increasingly dabbling in corporate venturing, and has led a $32m series B round for The Wing, the operator of a private networking and social club for women.

Pixvana has created a development platform for high-definition augmented, virtual and mixed reality content, and has raised $14m in a series B round featuring corporate venturing units Microsoft Ventures, Cisco Investments and Hearst Ventures.

Uhouzz, a China-based provider of international student accommodation and services, has meanwhile closed its own $14m series B round, which included funding from New Oriental Education Group.

We didn’t have any big funding rounds on GUV, but activity remained fairly steady despite Thanksgiving – perhaps illustrating that, despite the focus US universities attract, other regions also are strong contenders. One “larger” deal came from the UK, in the form of Aston Eyetech, a UK-based ocular device spinout from Aston University – not one we come across very often! – which has raised £5m ($6.6m) in series A funding from commercialisation firm Mercia Technologies and an undisclosed Asia-based investment syndicate.

On GGV, China-based oncology-focused precision medicine company 3D Medicines has raised RMB670m ($101m) in a funding round led by policy fund China State-Owned Assets Venture Investment Fund.


Smartphone producer Xiaomi has unveiled plans to invest up to $1bn in India-based startups as it looks to build up an ecosystem around its products in the country.

Axa Strategic Ventures has added a $175m fund-of-funds initiative called ASV Diversified to the $275m that insurance firm Axa had committed to investing directly in startups.

Diversified United Arab Emirates-based conglomerate Crescent Enterprises has formed a venture capital fund that will invest up to $150m. Crescent oversees a range of businesses including port operator Gulftainer, logistics services provider Momentum Logistics, aviation services subsidiary Gama Aviation and turnkey engineering and construction business Uruk.

Ewe, a Germany-based local government-run energy and telecoms utility, has injected a seven-figure euro sum (€1m = $1.2m) into public-private partnership High-Tech Gründerfonds’ third seed stage-focused vehicle.

On GUV, Texas Medical Center (TMC), a medical complex based in the US state of Texas whose members include several local universities, has launched a $25m venture fund aimed at the Houston ecosystem.

And University of York is set to benefit from an additional £30m ($40m) in funding provided by the government’s knowledge transfer partnership (KTP) scheme for the 2017-2018 financial year.

On GGV, the UK government has unveiled a £20bn ($26.6bn) warchest to support the country’s innovation economy. The sum includes £500m for artificial intelligence (AI), immersive technology, autonomous vehicles, life sciences and fintech. State-owned investment firm British Business Bank will control a new £2.5bn fund that is expected to draw a further £5bn in co-investments from the private sector.

But here’s another, more intriguing one from GGV for you: France’s Ministry of the Armed Forces and public investment bank Bpifrance have launched a €50m ($59m) fund called Definvest to invest in small and medium-sized enterprises – taking a leaf out of the US’s book with In-Q-Tel.


Liberty Global Ventures looks as if it could be in line for one of the more profitable IPO exits this year, after broadband connectivity technology provider Casa Systems filed to raise up to $150m in a Nasdaq offering.

Subcutaneous drug developer scPharmaceuticals has meanwhile raised $89.6m in its own initial public offering despite floating at the foot of its range.

On GUV, Arsanis, a US-based immunotherapy drug developer backed by research institute European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and internet and technology group Alphabet, closed its initial public offering at $46m.

On GGV, Advicenne, a France-based biopharmaceutical company backed by public investment bank Bpifrance, has launched a €30m ($36m) initial public offering on the Euronext Paris.

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

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