12 July 2021 – Wise Floats on London Stock Exchange with $12bn Valuation

The Big Ones

Pine Labs, an India-based digital payment technology provider backed by PayPal and Mastercard, secured over $600m in funding. Kotak Mahindra Bank and investment and Fidelity supplied the cash together with IIFL AMC’s Late-Stage Tech Fund, Ishana, Tree Line, funds managed by BlackRock and a fund advised by Neuberger Berman Investment Advisers.

UK-based cross-border wire transfer service Wise floated on the London Stock Exchange on Wednesday in a direct listing, allowing conglomerate Mitsui to sell its shares to the public. The company’s shares closed at £8.88 a share on their first day of trading, giving it a valuation of nearly £8.8bn ($12bn). It had been seeking a valuation between $6bn and $7bn before the listing, a source familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal.

US-listed advertising technology provider The Trade Desk unveiled a venture capital subsidiary called TD7 to fund technology startups focused on the concept of an open, transparent and competitive internet. Founded in 2009, The Trade Desk operates an online platform through which ad buyers can create and manage digital advertising campaigns across a variety of channels including social media, mobile and television.

Crossover

Muna Therapeutics, a Denmark-based developer of treatments for neurodegenerative diseases, closed a $73m series A round backed by VIB and its venture capital affiliate V-Bio Ventures. Novo, Sofinnova Partners, Droia Ventures and LSP Dementia co-led the round, with additional participation from Sanofi Ventures, Polaris Partners and Polaris Innovation Fund. Muna Therapeutics is focused on neurodegenerative diseases for which no cure is currently available and for which palliative care is scarce. Notably, Muna is actually the result of two spinouts that both launched only last year. The first, also called Muna, was spun out of Aarhus University with the support of Novo Seeds and later attracted a minority investment from contract research and discovery company Axxam. The second, K5 Therapeutics, was based on research at VIB and KU Leuven, with investments from VIB and Droia Ventures.

Deals

JD.com has led a $300m funding round for China-based cross-border e-commerce platform KK Group at a $3bn valuation. Citic Securities, CMC Capital Partners, Harvest Fund Management, Hongtai Capital, Ince Capital and New Horizon Capital filled out the round according to 36Kr, which contacted KK Group to verify the deal but has not received confirmation.

SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 and Eldridge Industries co-led a $235m funding round for Israel-based image recognition technology provider AnyVision. Undisclosed existing investors also backed the round. Amit Lubovsky, director at SoftBank Investment Advisers, which manages Vision Fund 2, has been appointed to AnyVision’s board of directors. AnyVision produces image recognition systems which leverage artificial intelligence to identify people through video footage.

Outbrain, a US-based online content discovery platform that counts quantitative trading firm Susquehanna International Group and publisher Gruner + Jahr as shareholders, raised $200m from investment manager Baupost Group on Tuesday. The company filed for an initial public offering on the Nasdaq Global Select Market late last month. It had been on track to merge with peer Taboola in an $850m deal agreed in October 2019, before the plans were scrapped in September the following year.

Hong Kong-based blockchain-powered game publisher Animoca Brands has closed a funding round sized at almost $139m having secured a $50m second tranche featuring Coinbase, Razer, Samsung and Scopely. The round included Blue Pool Capital, Gobi Partners, Korea Investment Partners, Liberty City Ventures and Token Bay Capital, and the capital was raised at a $1bn pre-money valuation. The initial $88.9m close took place in May this year and featured the Fintech Investment Fund run by HashKey, the blockchain-focused fund affiliated with auto component producer Wanxiang, as well as crypto trading platform developer Huobi, Octava, Kingsway Capital, RIT Capital Partners, AppWorks Fund and LCV Fund.

Funds

Artpark, an India-based non-profit commercialisation firm, is launching a $100m fund for robotics companies. Artpark was established in 2020 by the Indian Institute of Science and AI Foundry, with seed funding from the Indian government’s Department of Science of Technology and the government of Karnataka. It aims to bring together all ecosystem players – academia, industry, government and entrepreneurs – to drive artificial intelligence and robotics technologies that can improve quality of life.

Exits

Circle, a US-based blockchain payment platform developer, agreed to a reverse merger with special purpose acquisition company Concord Acquisition Corp. The combined business will be valued at $4.5bn through the deal and will pick up Concord’s listing on the New York Stock Exchange, which it acquired in a $276m initial public offering in December 2020. Circle’s existing shareholders will retain approximately 86% of the merged company’s shares. The merger is supported by $415m PIPE financing from investors including Fidelity and Marshall Wace, Adage Capital Management and Third Point as well as accounts advised by Ark Investment Management.

Heliogen, the US-based renewable energy technology developer backed by ArcelorMittal and Edison International, agreed to a reverse merger with special purpose acquisition company Athena Technology Acquisition Corp. The combined business will be valued at $2bn and will retain Athena’s listing on the New York Stock Exchange, taken when Athena raised $250m in an initial public offering in March this year. The deal will include a $165m PIPE transaction backed by XCarb Innovation Fund, the corporate venturing vehicle for ArcelorMittal, as well as investment bank Morgan Stanley’s Counterpoint Global unit, Salient Partners and Saba Capital.

SentinelOne, a US-based cybersecurity software provider that counts Qualcomm and consumer Samsung as investors, has closed its initial public offering at over $1.4bn. The company issued 35 million shares in an upsized offering on the New York Stock Exchange a week ago, priced at $35 each. The underwriters bought a further 5.25 million.

Kakao Pay, a South Korea-based mobile payment service backed by financial services provider Ant Group, is raising between ₩1.6 trillion and ₩1.7 trillion ($1.4bn to $1.5bn) in its initial public offering. The IPO is set to take place on the Korea Exchange on August 12 this year, and will involve the company issuing 17 million new shares priced at approximately $55.60 to $84.70 each. Formed by internet group Kakao in 2014, Kakao Pay Corp was spun off in April 2017, two months after it received $200m in funding from Ant Group (then called Ant Financial).

Xometry, the US-based manufacturing services marketplace backed by BMW, Robert Bosch and Dell, closed its initial public offering at almost $348m. The company raised an initial $302m the week before last when it priced 6.9 million class A shares at $44 each.

Nextdoor, the US-based social network operator that counts Comcast, Alphabet and Axel Springer as investors, agreed a reverse merger with special purpose acquisition company Khosla Ventures Acquisition Co II. The deal will give the merged business a pro forma equity valuation of approximately $4.3bn and involve it taking the listing on the Nasdaq Capital Market acquired by Khosla Ventures Acquisition Co II in a $400m initial public offering in March this year. The transaction will be boosted by a $270m PIPE financing featuring funds and accounts advised by T Rowe Price in addition to Baron Capital Group, Dragoneer, Soroban Capital, Ion Asset Management, Tiger Global Management, Hedosophia, accounts advised by Ark Invest, Nextdoor CEO Sarah Friar and affiliates of Khosla Ventures.

Planet Labs, the US-based orbital data provider backed by O’Reilly, agreed a reverse takeover with special purpose acquisition company DMY Technology Group IV. The deal will be supported by $200m in PIPE financing led by funds and accounts managed by BlackRock and backed by Koch Strategic Platforms – part of chemical and industrial group Koch – as well as Google and Time Ventures. The PIPE values the company at $2.8bn post-transaction, and it will inherit the New York Stock Exchange listing taken by DMY Technology Group IV in a $300m initial public offering in March this year.


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

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