08 March 2021 – Klarna Raises $1bn

The Big Ones

E-commerce instalment finance provider Klarna is riding the fintech wave, having raised $1bn in financing from undisclosed new and existing investors in a round that almost tripled its valuation from $10.7bn to $31bn. Visa, Ant Group, Bonnier, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Bestseller Group are among the company’s existing backers, and the funding came just six months after Klarna’s previous round.

Singapore-headquartered mobile game, e-commerce and financial services group Sea went public in an $884m initial public offering four years ago, and has decided to allocate $1bn to a corporate venturing vehicle called Sea Capital to boost its ecosystem. The formation of Sea Capital was fuelled by the company’s acquisition of investment manager Composite Capital Management, whose founder David Ma will run the unit on Sea’s behalf.

Oscar Health has gone public in an upsized $1.44bn initial public offering, with the shares priced comfortably above the range it had set for the IPO. The digital health insurer had raised nearly $1.7bn from investors including Alphabet and Ping An pre-IPO, and if the underwriters take up the chance to buy more shares through the over-allotment option the offering could reach roughly the same size.

Crossover

Century Therapeutics, a US-based immuno-oncology therapy developer based on research at Harvard and Stanford universities, has completed a $160m series C round led by Casdin Capital. Leaps by Bayer, the corporate venturing arm of pharmaceutical and chemical group Bayer, also contributed to the round, as did financial services and investment group Fidelity Management and Research and sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority. Venture capital firm Versant Ventures, which incubated the startup based on Harvard and Stanford work, also took part in the round, as did a host of others. Century is working on drugs using induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology, which is derived from adult human cells, to develop haematologic and solid tumour cancer treatments.

Deals

Virtual events platform Hopin may have had the fastest immediate growth of any startup in recent times, having just closed its fourth round in 13 months, securing $400m from investors including Salesforce Ventures at a $5.65bn valuation. That figure is near triple the $2.15bn valuation at which it last raised money, in a November series B round that also featured Salesforce Ventures. Its earlier backers include fellow corporate venturing units Slack Fund and Amaranthine Fun.

Instacart has had one of the biggest years in memory for a private VC-backed company, and has now received $265m from existing investors at a $39bn post-money valuation. That’s more than double the $17.7bn at which the Comcast, American Express and Amazon-backed grocery delivery service last raised money, five months ago, and nearly three times that at which it closed the previous round, last July.

A lot of retail has moved online in recent months, and fashion resale platform developer Vestiaire Collective is among the beneficiaries. The company has just received $215m from investors including the Advance Publications-owned Condé Nast and luxury goods producer Kering, which acquired a 5% stake through the transaction. The capital will go to enhancing the company’s technology and data activities.

Humana and Echo Health Ventures have contributed to a $200m series D round for home healthcare provider DispatchHealth that valued it at $1.7bn. DispatchHealth operates in a sector that has seen increased growth in recent months as the coronavirus pandemic has led to home care becoming a more urgent option. The round pushed the company’s overall funding to $417m, its earlier investors including Optum Ventures as well as Echo Health Ventures and Humana.

Last-mile delivery service SiCepat Ekspres has bagged $170m in a series B round that included Telkom Indonesia’s MDI Ventures subsidiary. The round’s December first close valued SiCepat at approximately $736m and its existing backers include Barito Pacific’s Barito Teknologi vehicle in addition to Tokopedia.

Funds

Legend Capital was spun off by Legend Holdings as an independent venture firm but is still backed by its ex-parent. It is also one of the largest VC investors in China, and has launched its sixth renminbi-denominated fund with a target exceeding $1.5bn. It had raised $500m for the close of its most recent dollar fund, LC Fund VIII, late last year.

Crypto.com is joining the likes of fellow digital currency-focused companies Coinbase, Binance and Ripple by forming a corporate venturing unit, Crypto.com Capital, with $200m for it to spend. The unit will invest up to $3m to lead seed rounds and up to $10m for series As, and is targeting crypto technology developers. It is helmed by Crypto.com co-founder and head of corporate development Bobby Bao.

US-based insurance firm Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company has established a $50m investment vehicle called MM Catalyst Fund that will fund companies with diverse founders in its home state of Massachusetts. The capital allocation partly consists of a $25m fund dubbed MMCF Growth which will provide equity and debt financing for Massachusetts-based businesses with black founders, owners or managers. The other half of the funding will go to MMCF Tech, a fund which will provide equity funding for technology developers based in Massachusetts but outside of state capital Boston.

Exits

Okta has agreed to acquire Auth0, a developer of application identity management technology, in an all-share deal that will value it at $6.5bn. That’s more than triple the valuation at which Auth0 last raised funding, in a July 2020 series F round led by Salesforce Ventures and backed by fellow corporate venturing vehicles DTCP and Telstra Ventures. Auth0 has secured a total of $333m since it was founded, from an investor base that also includes NTT Docomo Ventures.

Digital real estate brokerage Compass has meanwhile filed for a $500m initial public offering that could allow SoftBank and Advance Publications to exit. SoftBank Vision Fund is the company’s largest investor, with a 34.8% stake, having put up $250m for a $344m round Compass closed early last year at a reported $6.4bn valuation. Its earlier backers include media group Advance Publications and it has secured about $1.5bn in funding in total.

Manbang Group, the trucking services provider also known as Full Truck Alliance, was valued at almost $12bn in November when it raised $1.7bn in a round co-led by SoftBank Vision Fund. Now, the China-based company has confidentially filed to go public in the United States, with Tencent, Alphabet unit CapitalG and Baidu Capital also in line to exit. It’s going to be interesting to see if the election of Joe Biden, a less China-hostile president, will see a rebound from Chinese companies to US markets.

Doma, the real estate transaction software provider formerly known as States Title, has agreed to list through a reverse merger with special purpose acquisition company Capitol Investment Corp V at a $3bn enterprise value. The deal is supported by a $300m PIPE financing featuring SoftBank and property developer Lennar, the latter an existing investor in Doma. Its other backers include Assurant, Scor and HSCM Bermuda, all of which took part in its $120m series C round in May 2020.

Harvard University spinout Moderna has been one of the biggest success stories not just for spinouts but for corporate venture capital too in the last year, its share price rising sixfold on the strength of it being one of the first pharmaceutical companies to get a covid-19 vaccine approved. One of its pre-IPO investors was AstraZeneca, which provided $140m in equity funding and which has sold its stake for a price likely to have topped $1bn. That’s quite a return, and one that will support plans announced by the corporate in late 2019 to launch a $1bn fund.


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

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