The Big Ones
And what better way to get back into the swing of things than with SoftBank, which has reportedly reached a first close for Vision Fund II. Although it secured nearly $100bn for the first fund and has received $108bn in MOUs for the new vehicle, sources told Bloomberg it has so far raised only $2bn for the second vehicle. 2019 so often feels like a bizarre alternative reality, but did you ever think we’d be at a point this decade where a figure like that could be regarded as a disappointment for the first close of a CVC fund?
Better news for fibrotic disease drug developer Promedior, which has agreed to be acquired by Roche for $390m upfront and potentially $1bn in milestone payments. Promedior had raised about $50m in equity financing from investors including Shire Strategic Investment Group, the now inactive corporate venturing subsidiary of Shire.
Automation Anywhere, a provider of robotic process automation technology, secured $300m from SoftBank Vision Fund late last year as part of a $550m series A round that valued it at $2.6bn. Very impressive, but the company has now gone further, pulling in $290m in series B funding at a $6.8bn valuation.
And on Global University Venturing, we had Psiquantum, a UK-based quantum computer developer leveraging University of Bristol research, which has reportedly secured $230m in funding.
LyVue, a spinoff of Trip.com – the online travel agent formerly known as Ctrip – has raised ‘hundreds of millions of dollars’ across series A and A-plus rounds that were co-led by Baidu Capital and Tencent along with Goldman Sachs and Sequoia Capital.
Oncology data platform operator MedBanks Network Technology has meanwhile raised $142m in its second round of the year. The series D-plus round was led by Tencent and included China Electronics Corporation, both corporates having already participated in a $58.8m series D in January. MedBanks’ early investors also include insurance group Ping An.
OPay, the African mobile payment and local services platform spun off from Opera, has raised $120m in series B funding from investors including Meituan Dianping, SoftBank Ventures Asia and Bertelsmann Asia Investments.
4D imaging sensor provider Vayyar Imaging has boosted its overall funding to $188m, raising $109m in a series D round led by Koch Disruptive Technologies. The cash was reportedly secured at a valuation of more than $600m and Vayyar intends to channel it into technology development and global expansion.
Banco Vorantim has led a $95.6m round for Brazilian digital bank Neon, 18 months after becoming the company’s institutional banking partner. It stepped in when Neon’s previous partner was liquidated by Brazil’s central bank, ironically in the wake of its $22m series A round.
LeFrak-backed real estate asset management platform Juniper Square has secured $75m in a series C round led by Redpoint Ventures, taking its total funding to $108m. No word on a valuation but it was reportedly valued at $168m when it last raised money, in a $25m series B that closed almost a year ago.
Werewolf Therapeutics has launched with $56m in series A funding, taking money from Taiho Ventures and UPMC Enterprises as part of the round. Werewolf is working on immuno-oncology drugs intended to treat cancer without damaging surrounding tissue. It was founded by healthcare investment firm MPM Capital, which co-led the series A round with venture firm Longwood Fund.
University of California, Berkeley-focused venture capital firm The House Fund has closed its second fund at $44m. The capital came from endowments for UC Berkeley and the wider University of California system as well as Ahoy Capital and undisclosed other fund-of-fund vehicles, unnamed family offices, UC Berkeley alumni and tech industry executives. The fund originally had a $50m target, according to a late 2017 regulatory filing.
Alkermes has agreed to buy neurological disease therapy developer Rodin Therapeutics in a deal that could reach $950m should every milestone and sales target be reached. Rodin had raised about $57m from investors including GV, Biogen and Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, and the agreement marks the second big CVC exit to be agreed through a healthcare M&A deal in the past week, following Roche’s deal to acquire Promedior last Friday.
A lot of Chinese tech companies have filed for initial public offerings on US markets recently, but Yeahka is opting for the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, having reportedly filed for an IPO in which it expects to raise about $300m. Investors in Yeahka, provider of the second largest non-banking QR code payment platform in China by market share, include corporates Tencent and Recruit.
Recruitment services firm 51job invested $60m in HR management software producer CDP Holdings only last month, but it could be in for a quick exit after China-based CDP filed for an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange.
China-based oncology diagnostics technology producer Genetron has revealed somewhat of a double whammy, filing for a $100m initial public offering in the US while announcing a $71m funding round backed by Alexandria Venture Investments.