The Big Ones
Canada-based digital investment platform developer Wealthsimple received C$750m ($610m) in funding from investors including Allianz X, a subsidiary of Allianz, at a valuation of almost $4.1bn. Meritech Capital and Greylock Partners co-led the round, which also featured DST Global, Sagard, Iconiq Capital, Dragoneer, TCV, iNovia Capital, Base 10 Partners, Redpoint Ventures, Steadfast Capital, Alkeon Capital Management, TSV, Plus Capital and multiple individuals. The valuation represents a large jump from the $1.07bn valuation at which the company raised $86.8m in an October 2020 round led by TCV that included Allianz X, Greylock, Meritech Capital and Two Sigma Ventures.
China-based roasted seed and nut provider Qiaqia Food and domestic snack food producer Juewei Food have formed a RMB1.1bn ($170m) industry investment fund. Sichuan Chengdu Xinjin Siyiwu Investment will be equipped with almost $100m from Juewei Food’s Wangju Capital vehicle, which will take a 58.6% share, while Qiaqia Food is set to provide $9m in return for a 5.45% stake. The vehicle will invest in companies operating in areas like restaurant chains, snack and condiment brands, pet food producers and developers of technology which can enhance the supply chain.
Roivant Sciences, the US-based biopharmaceutical company backed by telecommunications and internet group SoftBank and pharmaceutical firms Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma and Dexxon, agreed a reverse merger at a combined $7.3bn valuation. The deal will take place with a SPAC called Montes Archimedes Acquisition Corp which floated on the Nasdaq Capital Market in a $400m initial public offering in October 2020. Sumitomo Dainippon, SoftBank subsidiary SB Management and data analytics service provider Palantir Technologies all contributed to a $200m private investment in public equity (PIPE) financing supporting the transaction.
Oxford Nanopore, the UK-based DNA sequencing technology spinout of University of Oxford, pocketed £195m ($270m) in equity financing from investors including commercialisation firm IP Group. Nikon, Temasek, Wellington Management and M&G Investment took part in the round, providing $174m, while unnamed, existing backers also contributed capital. IP Group committed £26m, its full pre-emptive allocation, and now owns a 14.5% undiluted stake in Oxford Nanopore. The spinout is now valued at $3.4bn. Founded in 2005, Oxford Nanopore has developed a DNA and RNA sequencing technology that provides real-time analytics. The technology is fully scalable from hand-held devices for use in the field through to benchtop products and population-scale platforms. The spinout is seeking an initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange in the second half of the year and reportedly hired book-running managers last month.
US-based freelancer business software provider HoneyBook secured $155m in series D funding from investors including Citi Ventures. Durable Capital Partners led the round, which also featured 01 Advisors, Battery Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners, OurCrowd, Tiger Global Management and Zeev Ventures. It valued the company above $1bn, according to TechCrunch.
Bitso, a Mexico-based cryptocurrency exchange operator backed by corporates Coinbase, Monex and Ripple, has received $250m in series C funding at a $2.2bn valuation. Hedge fund manager Tiger Global Management and investment manager Coatue Management co-led the round, which included Paradigm, Bond, Valor Capital Group, QED Investors, Pantera Capital and Kaszek Ventures.
China-based heart disease therapy developer Valgen Medtech has secured a nine-digit dollar amount in series B funding from investors including corporates Venus Medtech and China Life. The round was co-led by DCP and Sequoia Capital China and included China Life’s Healthcare Fund Venus Medtech, Ascendum Capital, Lake Bleu Capital and Qiming Venture Partners.
New York-listed pharmacy chain CVS Health has set up a $100m fund which will targeting digital health technology. CVS Health Ventures formalises a corporate venturing strategy that has resulted in investments in more than 20 startups through the CVS and Aetna businesses, CVS having acquired life insurance provider Aetna in 2018 for $69bn. Current CVS Health investments include Unite Us, the developer a technology platform that connects healthcare and social services providers, and LumiraDx, which has created a point-of-care diagnostic platform.
The universities of Birmingham, Dundee, Edinburgh and Nottingham have joined forces with drug discovery firm Evotec and pharmaceutical firm Bristol-Myers Squibb to launch BeLab1407 Equipped with $20m, BeLab1407 is the latest addition to Evotec’s international network of early-stage academic collaborations called Bridge – an acronym for Biomedical Research, Innovation and Development Generation Efficiency. It will focus on drug discovery. Listeners of our Talking Tech Transfer podcast will already know that Adam Stoten, chief operating officer at tech transfer office Oxford University Innovation, spearheaded the initiative and last month revealed exclusively to me on that podcast that he was joining Evotec to expand the roster of partnerships further. You can find the Talking Tech Transfer podcast on GlobalUniversityVenturing.com – our latest guest is Jason Whitney of IU Ventures – or on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you download your podcasts from.
Financial management software producer Bill.com agreed to purchase payment management platform developer Divvy in a $2.5bn transaction enabling digital payment processor PayPal and electronics wholesaler Hanaco to exit. Divvy’s software platform allows businesses to efficiently track spending on expenses and corporate cards in real time while setting flexible limits. The deal will allow Bill.com to offer business customers accounts payable, accounts receivable and corporate card spend management options from a single place. The deal will consist of $625m of cash and the rest in Bill.com shares. It comes four months after Divvy secured $165m in series D funding from investors including PayPal subsidiary PayPal Ventures and Hanaco at a $1.6bn valuation.
Digital currency-focused financial services provider Galaxy Digital Holdings agreed to purchase BitGo, a US-based cryptocurrency wallet developer backed by bitcoin mining technology producer BitFury, for about $1.2bn in cash and stock. The deal will consist of $265m in cash and 38.8 million Galaxy Digital shares, which closed at $28.47 each on Wednesday – the day of the announcement. BitGo’s shareholders will own about 10% Galaxy Digital on a pro forma basis.
AEye, a US-based lidar system developer that counts several corporates among its investors, has amended its reverse transaction agreement with a SPAC called CF Finance Acquisition Corp III. The deal will now value AEye at $1.52bn pre-money, down from the $1.9bn valuation set when the deal was agreed in February this year. The merged business will take CF Finance Acquisition Corp III’s listing on the Nasdaq Capital Market.
Action Network, a US-based sports betting news provider backed by over-the-top media company The Chernin Group, has agreed to a $240m acquisition by sports betting media group Better Collective. Founded in 2017, Action Network provides news and analysis on betting across multiple sports. Its offering also includes podcasts, data, educational resources and betting tools. The company will continue to operate under the Action Network brand as a separate business unit under Better Collective following the close of the deal.
Day One Biopharmaceuticals, a US-based cancer drug developer which counts conglomerate Access Industries and pharmaceutical firm Takeda as investors, has filed to raise $100m in an initial public offering. Founded in 2018, Day One was incubated by venture capital firm Canaan and is developing drug treatments for cancer patients of all ages, with an initial focus on children. The company’s lead product candidate is being developed to treat progressive low-grade glioma, a common type of brain tumour diagnosed in children.
China-based audio streaming platform developer Ximalaya has filed for an initial public offering in the United States that would give internet and gaming group Tencent the chance to exit. Ximalaya operates an online podcasting platform with some 250 million monthly active users. The company has set a placeholder target of $100m and is set to float on the New York Stock Exchange.