31 May 2021 – Perch Raises $755m in Record-breaking Series A

The Big Ones

US-headquartered e-commerce holding company Perch completed a $775m series A round led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2. The round also featured venture capital firm Spark Capital and alternative investment manager Victory Park Capital. It is the largest series A yet to be closed by a US-based company, according to Perch.

JD Logistics, the logistics offshoot of China-headquartered e-commerce group JD.com, floated on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in a HK$24.6bn ($3.2bn) initial public offering. The offering consisted of approximately 609 million shares priced at HK$40.36 each, towards the lower end of the range. They opened at HK$46.05 on Friday morning and closed at HK$41.70. JD.com’s stake in the spinoff was diluted from 79.1% to 64.4% in the offering. It had raised $2.5bn from investors including internet and gaming group Tencent and insurance firm China Life in 2018.

Legend Capital, a China-based venture capital offshoot of conglomerate Legend Holdings, has closed a healthcare technology-focused vehicle dubbed LC Healthcare Continued Fund I at $270m. Accounts managed by alternative investment manager Hamilton Lane and private equity firm Coller Capital co-led the transaction, with participation from unnamed institutional investors. The capital was secured through secondary financing, which was carried out alongside a transfer of healthcare portfolios of two vintage funds. The new vehicle intends to supply cash flow, help boost financial returns for existing shareholders and provide follow-on funding for portfolio companies.

Crossover

Oatly, the Sweden-based oat milk producer based on research at Lund University and backed by talent and entertainment agency Roc Nation, has floated on the Nasdaq Global Select Market in a $1.43bn initial public offering. The company issued almost 84.4 million shares priced at $17 each, at the top of the IPO’s $15 to $17 range. Oatly provides oat milk and other oat-derived food products traditionally made from cow’s milk, including ice cream, coffee, yoghurt, cream, spread and custard. The company most recently raised $200m in a July 2020 round led by investment management firm Blackstone that included Roc Nation and Rabo Corporate Investments, a corporate venturing vehicle for agriculture-focused banking group Rabobank.

Deals

Noom, the US-based creator of an online platform that guides healthy behaviour, secured approximately $540m in a series F round featuring Novo and Samsung Ventures. Silver Lake led the round, which included Oak HC/FT, Temasek, Sequoia Capital and RRE Ventures. It valued the company at $3.7bn, according to Bloomberg.

US-based website analytics platform developer ContentSquare closed a $500m series E round led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 at a $2.8bn valuation. Bpifrance, Canaan, Eurazeo, Highland Europe, KKR and funds and accounts managed by BlackRock filled out the equity investors, while Sapiance Capital supplied debt financing. ContentSquare has secured approximately $810m in funding in total.

US-based vertical farming technology developer Bowery Farming raised $300m in series C funding from investors including GV. Fidelity Management & Research led the round, which included Amplo, General Catalyst, GGV Capital, Groupe Artémis, Gaingels, Temasek and private investors José Andrés, Lewis Hamilton, Chris Paul, Natalie Portman and Justin Timberlake. The round valued Bowery at $2.3bn and brought its overall funding to $472m.

Ivi, a Russia-based digital streaming platform backed by media group Prof-Media, raised $250m in a series D round led by financial services firm VTB. Invest AG, an investment subsidiary of Raiffeisenlandesbank Oberösterreich, also took part in the round, as did Baring Vostok, Flashpoint Venture Capital, Millhouse and Russian Direct Investment Fund. VTB will be the company’s largest shareholder after the deal, while representatives of Baring Vostok, Flashpoint and RTP Global will all join its board of directors.

US-based banking software provider Zeta hiked its valuation to $1.45bn with a $250m investment by SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2, which was joined in the round by food services and facility management provider Sodexo, though Zeta did not reveal how much the latter invested.

China-based freight management software provider For-U has raised $200m in series E funding from investors including Legend Capital, the venture capital firm formed by conglomerate Legend Holdings. Insurer China Life’s Investment Management subsidiary, China Structural Reform Fund, Greater Bay Area Homeland Investments, China Merchants Sino-BLR Capital Management, China Merchants Capital, Parantoux Capital and Matrix Partners China also took part in the round.

SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 provided $175m in funding for South Korea-based intelligent education software provider Riiid. Riiid has developed AI technology used to personalise education and will utilise the cash to enhance that technology. It is also looking to build out R&D and data labelling hubs across the US, Canada and Ghana.

Funds

IP Group, the UK-based commercialisation firm, unveiled a joint venture called IPG-CEL China Ventures with asset manager China Everbright that will raise a fund sized up to RMB1.5bn ($235m). The fund is expected to achieve a first close of $77m this year, before growing to its target size within the next three years. It will exclusively invest in joint ventures and subsidiaries of overseas companies incorporated in China. It will deploy no less than 40% of its capital to IP Group portfolio companies looking to establish a presence in the People’s Republic.

Exits

China-based trucking services provider Full Truck Alliance filed for a $1.5bn initial public offering that would enable Baidu, Tencent, Alphabet and SoftBank to exit. Also known as Manbang Group, Full Truck Alliance runs an online platform where businesses can book space for freight delivery in trucks across a network of some 2.8 million drivers.

Flywire, a US-based payment software provider that counts Goldman Sachs among its backers, went public in a $251m initial public offering. The company upsized the size of the offering from 8.7 million to 10.44 million shares and priced them at $24 each, at the top of the $22 to $24 range it had set. The shares opened at $34 each on their first day of trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market, although at the time of recording on Friday afternoon UK time, they’re down to $32.36.

China-based online recruitment platform developer Kanzhun filed for an initial public offering in the United States that will give corporates Tencent and Sunshine Life the chance to exit. Kanzhun runs an online platform called Boss Zhipin with almost 25 million monthly active users that utilises artificial intelligence to link jobseekers to prospective employers. It almost doubled revenue year on year to $295m in 2020, though its net loss rose 87% to $144m in the same period.


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

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