14 June 2021 – Cambridge Launches Deeptech Labs

The Big Ones

1

There is a lot happening in Cambridge, England. The university might have passed its 800th anniversary earlier in this century but the basics of its operating model to bring the smartest people in the world together to solve its hardest challenges remains intact.

The latest advances include the launch and first cohort for Deeptech Labs (DTL), a new post-seed accelerator aimed at deep technology startups, Honeywell’s quantum computing division’s merger and up to $300m investment in Cambridge Quantum Computing and the potential acquisition of local tech champion Arm by US-based artificial intelligence (AI) chip maker Nvidia following the blow-out flotation of cybersecurity champion Darktrace.

DTL is backed by Arm and the University of Cambridge as well as venture capital firm Cambridge Innovation Capital (CIC, the “unicorn factory” at the heart of the city), its chairman Ewan Kirk (founder of hedge fund Cantab Capital Partners), and local industrial conglomerate Marshall’s corporate angel fund, Martlet Capital.

Its inaugural cohort that runs to a demo day on 18 June it has made investments in five machine learning and data science companies: AutoFill, BKwai, Circuit Mind, Contilio and Mindtech.

Zara Riahi, CEO and co-founder of Contilio, said “We are building the world’s first 3D AI analytics platform used by global construction companies and asset owners. To accelerate the next phase of our growth, we were looking for a scaling partner that understood deeptech and had access to the best advisers, deeptech investors, and global operators. The people who have been in the trenches. We are delighted to have found an amazing one in Deeptech Labs.”

These startups receive £350,000 (about $500,000) and a structured three-month development programme, including mentors from Arm, CSR, Imagination Technologies, Analysis, Active Hotels, Arieso, Blinkx, Cloudamize, Focal Point, Riverlane and Ubisense. Its second cohort will start in September and include a delegation of investors from the GCV Symposium being held on 3-4 November.

Miles Kirby, CEO of DTL, who has also been inventor and holder of more than 30 patents and former founder of Allianz-backed AV8 Ventures as well as European managing director of Qualcomm Ventures, said: “This ambitious, new 13-week seed to series A programme is designed to enable deeptech startups to leverage the best minds in this space.”

Andrew Williamson, the managing partner at CIC, added: “Cambridge is one of the best places in the world to build a deeptech business, with access to best-in-class talents, exceptional intellectual property, and experienced entrepreneurs and investors. Deeptech Labs enables a new generation of entrepreneurs to access this ecosystem. As a cofounder, CIC has been delighted to support Miles and his team in shaping the vision. This is a very high quality first cohort and we look forward to working with them in the future and supporting their growth.”

Adam Bastin, vice-president of corporate development at Arm, said: “From Arm’s earliest days in a barn just outside the city, to its position as a global technology leader headquartered here today, Cambridge has remained a critical hub of talent, creativity and innovation. In co-founding Deeptech Labs, we are pleased to support the next generation of game-changing technology companies by helping them to access the world-class Cambridge technology ecosystem.”

2

Tim Haines, managing partner of Abingworth, a biotech venture-capital firm, in the latest Economist said we were in “the golden age of diagnostics”.

What that really seems to mean it is faster and easier than ever before for groups such as Roche and Merck to test and design treatments using genetics and epigenetics. This is leading to more personalised care rather than blockbuster drugs applicable to the masses.

The model works if the insights derived and results delivered can be more profitable, which likely means targeting rich people’s problems and delivering their longevity escape velocity where their life expectancy increases by more than a year for each year they live.

Severin Schwan, Roche’s seventh CEO in 125 years, in an interview with the Economist talked about the “insights” business as a third pillar for Roche—as big, if not bigger, than diagnostics and pharma.

Beyond the social inequality and impact on social services, it also opens up healthcare to consumer-facing technology companies.

As the Economist noted, Roche’s insights business was effectively formed through its acquisitions of Foundation Medicine, a gene-sequencing company that can identify cancers from DNA in blood samples, and Flatiron Health, a specialist in cancer-related health records that generates data on patients from the real world, supplementing clinical trials. Roche valued Flatiron at $2.15bn in its 2018 purchase and closed out the purchaseof the remaining minority shares in Foundation the same year at a $5.3bn valuation.

Both Foundation and Flatiron were backed by GV, formerly known as Google Ventures and a corporate venturing unit for US-listed Alphabet.

GV has made much of its name and returns over the past decade from a string of life sciences and healthcare deals and exits but Carole Nuechterlein, head of Roche Venture Fund at the drugs group’s headquarters in Switzerland, takes much of the credit for the handling of these deals.

Roche had been shareholder in both Flatiron and Foundation before taking control but leaving much autonomy with both groups.

This is the model Roche followed with its $47bn purchase of Genentech back in 2009. As probably the founding biotech – a then-young VC firm in Kleiner Perkins had its partner Bob Swanson close a seed deal over a beer with lead scientist Herb Boyer – Genentech listed in 1980 before eventually falling to Roche and bringing its blockbuster drugs to the Swiss group for greater distribution and up to $21bn in annual sales a decade later.

Now celebrating 20 years running Roche Ventures, Nuechterlein – a prior GCV Powerlist award winner – has seen it all before.

But never at such scale. It is actually a golden age for healthcare not just diagnostics as the century for biology is now firmly underway.

The next GCV Powerlist will be announced on 21 July thanks to partner Dentons as part of the GCV Digital Forum and my thanks to the Global Healthcare Council for its work on the latest quarterly report out next week.

Fund

Alibaba Cloud floats $1bn investment scheme

Fortune VC smiles on $858m first close

Asset manager Alantra has reached the first close at more than €80m ($97m) for its Klima Energy Transition Fund including commitments from Enagás, a Spain-based gas grid operator.

Uncle Nearest drinks to $50m investment vehicle

Coupa creates $50m corporate venturing fund

Recorded Future, a US-based threat intelligence company previously backed by corporate venturing unit REV Venture Partners over the past six years, has set up a $20m fund for early-stage startups.

Recorded Future’s Intelligence Fund will back seed and series A rounds, with its first deals including SecurityTrails and Gemini Advisory.

United Airlines, a US-based flight operator, has started its corporate venturing unit.
United Airlines Ventures will focus on sustainability concepts that support the company’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, as well as other travel-related startups.

Michael Leskinen, United’s vice-president of corporate development and investor relations, will oversee the venture unit as president and incorporate its initial investments in Archer Aviation, Clear and Fulcrum BioEnergy.

Rapyd, a UK-based payments company that earlier in the year closed a $300m round, has set up a corporate venturing unit to invest in early-stage fintech startups.

Rapyd Ventures said its first investment would be in the seed round for Gotrade, a fractional stock trading platform that enables users in over 150 countries to invest in US shares.

Exit

Didi begins IPO proceedings in the US

MissFresh to pay visit to public markets

Monday.com meets Salesforce and Zoom amid $574m IPO

Wallbox opens to $1.5bn reverse merger

1stdibs dives into $115m IPO

Ciox and Datavant converge in $7bn deal

Sinch sets out $1.3bn MessageMedia acquisition

Dave banks on $4bn reverse merger

One Medical eyes $2.1bn Iora acquisition

Marqeta gets to market in $1.2bn IPO

Dingdong Maicai bids for public markets spot

Clear makes space for initial public offering

Babylon agrees $4.2bn reverse merger

Xometry looks to assemble IPO
CVRx looks to pump $75m out of IPO

University

Metacon makes Helbio its own

Deals

Northvolt plugs into $2.75bn

Nubank cashes $750m in series G extension

Klarna claws in $639m

Chubby Bear gets its paws on $400m

Investors entrust Trulioo with $394m

Ledger leaps to $380m series C

Hesai gets handed $300m

ApplyBoard recruits investors for $230m round

Dingdang gets $220m funding delivery

Eightfold AI employs SoftBank for $220m series E

Scalable Capital secures $183m

Monogram Health identifies Humana for $160m round

Verbit eyes public listing amid $157m series D

LetsGetChecked executes $150m series D

Lilly helps inject $108m into Synthekine

MatchMove meets $100m funding

Embroker embraces $100m series C

EcoFlow stores $100m in series B round


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

Leadership Series: Malin Carlström (ABB Technology Ventures)

We have teamed up with 500 Startups’ CVC Insider Series, where top CVC practitioners offer advice and best practices regarding common challenges encountered within corporate venturing. Featured this week is an interview with Malin Carlström of ABB Technology Ventures and Nicolas Sauvage of TDK Ventures.


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

07 June 2021 – Wefox Completes $650m Series C

The Big Ones

Germany-based digital insurance provider Wefox completed a $650m series C round that included online lending platform developer Creditease and Salesforce Ventures. The round was led by Target Global and included Omers Ventures, Gsquared, Merian and its Jupiter subsidiary, Horizons Ventures, Eurazeo, Mubadala, Speedinvest, LGT, Alma Mundi Ventures, Victory Park Capital, GR Capital, Mountain Partners, Seedcamp, Sound Ventures, Partners Group and FinTLV. Wefox previously closed a $235m series B round in 2019 that included CreditEase and electronics producer Samsung’s Catalyst Fund.

Toyota has committed another $300m in capital to its corporate venturing unit, also rebranding it from Toyota AI Ventures to Toyota Ventures. Toyota AI Ventures had been launched under the auspices of the company’s Toyota Research Institute in 2017 with $100m in capital. Toyota subsequently provided a further $100m for its Fund II in late 2019. The capital will be divided evenly between two funds: Toyota Ventures Climate Fund will concentrate on developers of innovative technologies to promote carbon neutrality, such as renewable energy and hydrogen production. Meanwhile, Toyota Ventures Frontier Fund will invest in developers of technology in areas like artificial intelligence, cloud computing, autonomy, mobility, robotics, smart cities, digital health, advanced materials, energy and fintech.

E-commerce marketplace Etsy agreed to acquire Depop, the UK-based social commerce platform developer backed by consultancy group Lumar, for over $1.62bn. Depop operates a mobile platform with 30 million registered users – 90% of whom are under 26 – who can buy and sell second-hand and new fashion items in addition to offering styling services. It generated $70m in revenue in 2020. The deal comes after roughly $100m in funding for Depop since it was founded in 2011, $62m coming from General Atlantic, HV Holtzbrinck Ventures, Balderton Capital, Creandum, Octopus Ventures, TempoCap and Sebastian Siemiatkowski in a 2019 series C round.

Crossover

FlixMobility, the Germany-headquartered public transport provider that counts UVC Partners – the VC firm linked to TU Munich’s tech transfer office UnternehmerTUM – and automotive manufacturer Daimler as investors, raised over $650m in debt and series G equity yesterday at a $3bn valuation. Investment firm Canyon Partners joined existing investors including General Atlantic, Permira, TCV, HV Capital, Blackrock, Baillie Gifford and Silver Lake in the round. FlixMobility runs an inter-city bus service called FlixBus which spans most of Europe and parts of the United States, and which promises efficient onboard wifi and an easy-to-use online ticketing system.

Deals

US-based blockchain payment platform developer Circle has closed a $440m round that included cryptocurrency exchange FTX, reportedly the largest round so far for a crypto-focused company. Financial services and investment groups Fidelity and Digital Currency Group also took part in the round, as did Atlas Merchant Capital, Breyer Capital, Intersection Fintech Ventures, Marshall Wace, Pillar VC, Valor Capital Group, Willett Advisors and Michael J Price and Friends.

UK-based pet insurance provider Bought By Many has secured $350m in series D funding from investors including Munich Re Ventures. The round was led by investment firm EQT through its EQT Growth subsidiary, and it also featured venture capital firm Octopus Ventures. The capital was raised at a $2bn valuation pre-money.

Delhivery, an India-based, corporate-backed shipping service, has raised Rs20.1bn ($277m) in a series H round led by financial services and investment group Fidelity. Gamnat, Chimera Investments and Pacific Horizon Trust filled out the round, and the cash was secured ahead of an initial public offering slated to take place in 2022. Two people familiar with the matter told the Times of India in March this year it is expected to value the company at $3bn. The round took the company’s overall funding to $1.1bn.

Urban Company, the India-based developer of a professional services ordering platform, has closed a $255m series F round co-led by Prosus Ventures, Dragoneer Investment Group and Wellington Management. It was filled out by Steadview Capital, Tiger Global and Vy Capital, and valued Urban Company at $2.1bn. The round consisted of a $188m primary transaction revealed last month and a secondary sale of roughly $67m of shares by unnamed individuals and early backers.

US-based sales analysis software provider Gong received $250m in a series E round featuring Salesforce Ventures at a $7.25bn valuation. Franklin Templeton led the round, which included Coatue Management, Sequoia Capital, Thrive Capital and Tiger Global Management. The company has raised $584m since it was founded in 2015.

Prosus co-led a $240m series A round for Germany-based grocery delivery service Flink. The round was co-led with venture capital firm Bond and Abu Dhabi state-owned investment vehicle Mubadala Capital. A source told TechCrunch it valued the startup below $1bn.

Exabeam, a US-based cybersecurity software developer which counts networking technology provider Cisco as an investor, collected $200m in series F funding at a $2.4bn valuation. Alternative asset manager Blue Owl Capital led the round through its Owl Rock subsidiary and was joined by Acrew Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Norwest Venture Partners. Exabeam has raised at least $390m of funding to date.

US-based sales technology developer Outreach closed a $200m series G round featuring Salesforce Ventures at a $4.4bn valuation. Premji Invest and Steadfast Capital Ventures co-led the round, which included DFJ Growth, Lone Pine Capital, Mayfield Fund, Sands Capital, Sequoia Capital Global Equities, Tiger Global Management, Trinity Ventures and Vista Public Strategies. Outreach said it has now raised $489m since it was founded in 2014.

Funds

V-Capital, the corporate venture capital arm of China-based cigarette packaging materials producer Huaxi Holding, reached a RMB1.5bn ($235m) first close for its latest fund. Local government-backed funds and corporations have committed capital as limited partners, as have new and returning other investors. The vehicle will target developers of healthcare, telecommunications, cultural services, semiconductors, IT, smart manufacturing and new energy technologies across China. V-Capital now has about $3bn under management.

Exits

Centessa Pharmaceutical, a UK-based pharmaceutical conglomerate formed through a ten-way merger involving spinouts from various universities, has gone public in a $330m initial public offering on the Nasdaq Global Select Market. Founded in October 2020 as a holding group, Centessa subsequently acquired multiple biotech developers in January 2021 – including spinouts from University of Cambridge, University of Toronto Mississauga, the universities of Dortmund and Cologne, and one spinoff from biopharmaceutical group Sosei Heptares. Vida Ventures and Janus Henderson Investors co-led a $250m series A round at the time of the official launch in February.


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

Leadership Series: David Hayes (BP Ventures)

We have teamed up with 500 Startups’ CVC Insider Series, where top CVC practitioners offer advice and best practices regarding common challenges encountered within corporate venturing. Featured this week is an interview with David Hayes of BP Ventures and Nicolas Sauvage of TDK Ventures.


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

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

Leadership Series: Yvonne Lutsch (Bosch Venture Capital)

We have teamed up with 500 Startups’ CVC Insider Series, where top CVC practitioners offer advice and best practices regarding common challenges encountered within corporate venturing. Featured this week is an interview with Yvonne Lutsch of Bosch Venture Capital and Nicolas Sauvage of TDK Ventures.


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

24 May 2021 – Goldman Sachs Invests $20m in British Anti-money Laundering Company ComplyAdvantage

The Big Ones

1

Delighted the May issue of GCV is now out covering the media sector, a special report on AI, Israel as the innovative region, extracts from Global University Venturing and Global Impact Venturing sister titles and all the monthly data from GCV Analytics.

From the editorial:

The innovation ecosystem we find ourselves in arguably has its roots with Charles Babbage, a University of Cambridge mathematician, perhaps best-known as the inventor of computers.

His work, however, also led to the creation of the Penny Post, where (eventually) a letter could be sent anywhere in the British Empire for one penny.

The Penny Post, therefore, predates Metcalfe’s Law, which postulates the value of a network is proportional to the square of the number of users it connects.

Joseph Schumpeter’s ideas of creative destruction had innovation at its core. Ideas rather than accumulation of capital drive long-term growth. Advances in one area lead to more ideas across multiple industries.

Bring both Metcalfe and Schumpeter’s ideas together thanks to a boom in internet connectivity and computing power along with abundant, almost limitless, capital and the potential to tackle almost any challenge beckons.

2

Next month’s issue targets the healthcare sector.

The covid-19 pandemic has been regarded as the long-awaited start of the “biological century”. The rapid response to developing vaccines to the disease and the use of novel methods, such as messenger RNA, to do so has created optimism the same speed and execution is possible for a host of other viruses and more broadly to effectively create the longevity escape velocity – where people’s life expectancy increases by more than a year for each year they live.

But research and startups is just part of the challenge in a geopolitical world with concern about sovereignty of supply and requirements for manufacturing bases as well as requirements to carry our large-scale trials.

The UK plans to build on the recovery trial, which uncovered two treatments for covid-19, by streamlining research and embedding it in the health service and through fast regulation.

UK-based venture capital firm Abingworth this month raised $582m for its second clinical co-development fund.

Abingworth has previously invested through its co-development portfolio companies, Avillion and SFJ Pharmaceuticals, which both finance and facilitate clinical trials, taking on all of the clinical and regulatory risk in return for a pre-agreed return if the drug is approved.

When Abingworth first got into clinical co-development back in 2009, it primarily worked with pharma companies who only paid out if the project was successful, by which time the cost of the deal could be amortized over the sales of the product.

The market has since expanded to cover biotechs, which want to reduce the dilutive impact if they had to go out and raise the money on the public market. And there are plenty more of them.

The Financial Times noted Magdalen College was selling a 40% stake in the Oxford Science Park “after a surge of investor interest in the fast-growing life sciences sector increased the site’s value almost seven-fold in five years”.

As sole owner of the park since 2016, Magdalen has invested in new labs and research space on the site and gained planning consent for a new 165,000 square foot development to support its more than 100 businesses based there, including Vaccitech, which raised $111m from an initial public offering on the Nasdaq stock exchange in April.

Last year British firms raised £1.4bn ($2bn) of venture capital, the Economist said, which was more than anywhere else in Europe but less than the American hubs, Massachusetts (£4.7bn) and San Francisco (£4.5bn).

But the parallels between the UK and US are growing.

A few years ago, Seth Harrison, an American venture capitalist at Apple Tree Partners, was looking to open an office in Europe. The choice came down to Britain or Switzerland, he told the Economist. “I got quite acquainted with the whole UK biotech scene.

“The fantastic research ferment that occurs in the Golden Triangle. You know, the London, Cambridge, Oxford area… And I just said: ‘Wow, this reminds me of Cambridge, Massachusetts, 25 years ago.’”

To learn more about the golden triangle, our sister publication will start its review of the three university-led ecosystems, starting with Imperial College, London, in July before discussion and interaction at the GCV Symposium in November.

Medical devices and diagnostics has often been regarded as the underloved part of the healthcare venture market compared with biotech and pharma, with relatively few deals and limited exit options.

This has changed. Last year’s near-doubling in corporate venturing deal values to more than $5bn has continued this year. Most recently, this week Germany-based Smart4Diagnostics

(S4DX) raised €5m ($6m) in its series A round, including local medical technology manufacturer Sarstedt and the EIC Fund, established in 2020 by the European Commission for direct equity investment in breakthrough technologies.

The startup has developed the “digital human blood sample fingerprint”, a data-picture of all quality aspects for human blood samples from collection to arrival in the lab.

As Hans Maria Heyn, CEO and co-founder of S4DX, said: “As many as three in four medical decisions are based on diagnostic results – often blood samples. Currently, this process is being managed manually which can lead to errors and can cause many issues including slow diagnosis, repeated tests on the patient, and wasted resources.”

The covid-19 disease has focused more attention on diagnosis and whether treatment can be done remotely from hospitals. But the take-off in attention to medical devices and dianostics started beforehand with the flotation then purchase of Merck-backed Livongo, a digital diabetes management platform, which had its initial public offering in 2019 and was acquired by Teladoc for $18.5bn last year.

Livongo had been incubated by venture capital firm 7wireVentures, which has just closed its second venture fund at $150m with limited partners including health plans Florida Blue and Cigna, hospitals and health systems Atlantic Health, Wellforce, Rush University Medical Center, Memorial Hermann Health System and Spectrum Health and large employers Boeing, according to Fierce Biotech.

Similarly, E-merge Capital Partners is raising its debut fund focused on early-stage medical device companies and technologies coming out the Evolve MedTech Venture Studio.

The fund, led by managing partners Brad Klos and John Xitco, is focused primarily on class II medical devices in cardiovascular and orthopedics.

Others are also trying to use strategic ties to add value. Private equity firm Revival Healthcare Capital has closed its second fund at $500m. Revival said it would invest where a corporate strategic partner will have a structural option or right to acquire the company in the future.

Rick Anderson, chairman and managing director at Revival, said: “Consolidation has made it increasingly difficult for medtech leaders to move the needle on growth.”

Lauren Forshey, Revival president and another MD, added: “By removing the guess work and gamesmanship that often defines the relationship and instead aligning goals at the outset, target companies benefit from increased focus, speed, and capital efficiency in driving towards milestones they know they will get rewarded for.”

And the goal remains to gain scale. Venture-backed digital health company Ro has agreed to acquire Modern Fertility, a US-based provider of at-home fertility tests for women, for a reported at least $225m according to Fierce Biotech.

Ro started out four years ago selling erectile dysfunction medication and hair loss supplements to men but after raising $876m has been acquiring other startups, including Workpath to move into the home-based healthcare market.

The next Global Healthcare Council quarterly report published next month will cover the transformation of hospitals with remote care and diagnostics – insights and feedback welcome to jmawson@mawsonia.com.

3

Back in the day, money laundering used to be a relatively simple affair. Take a bag of cash to a casino, “lose” 10% to 20% and walk away with the bulk in cleaned money.

Digitalisation and global capital flows has made the scale bigger – now the laundering is more likely to be by swapping a so-called cold wallet of bitcoin or other cyptocurrency on a USB flash drive – but this also creates opportunities for entrepreneurs.

Investment bank Goldman Sachs has just invested $20m in British anti-money laundering (AML) company ComplyAdvantage.

Charlie Delingpole, founder and chief executive of ComplyAdvantage, told the Financial Times he was optimistic that it would be a precursor to a deeper partnership with the Wall Street bank. “It was more about the partnership and the brand and what they can give us as a firm than the money per se, given we are very well capitalised as it stands.”

There is more attention on finance as the sector reaps the unprecedented growth in money supply as treasuries grapple with the economic impact of the covid-19 disease.

But as Vinay Solanki, head of Channel 4 Ventures, referenced in last night’s GCV Analytics webinar on the media sector, effectively all consumer-facing businesses can create opportunities to become financial service providers – even if they are not all going to be as successful as China-based gaming group Tencent, whose first quarter results saw ballooning revenues and  the fair value of its investments in listed companies at Rmb1.4tn at the end of March, up from Rmb410bn at the same time last year.

This transformation can be done through bolting on the right payment apps, such as Stripe, but it also means the need to know your customer for AML and anti-fraud purposes will become more vital.

This could in turn put pressure on the incumbent financial services corporations to take a leaf out of Goldman Sachs and CVC progenitor, Fidelity, and engage more whole-heartedly in backing startups.

We are delighted, therefore, to be setting up the Global Financial Council, to be chaired by Jacqueline LeSage Krause, founder and managing general partner of Munich Re Ventures, a multi-fund corporate venture capital investing platform for Munich Re Group, the world’s largest reinsurance company that effectively can touch all parts of finance and business.

Do reach out to join the wider group and your insights.

4

The merger of corporate venture-backed Gojek and Tokopedia, Indonesia’s two biggest startups, has focused attention on the global success story happening in southeast Asia.

The merged company, to be called GoTo, will create a food delivery, ride-hailing and ecommerce group preparing for a $40bn public listing in Indonesia and potentially in the US this year, sources told the Financial Times.

SoftBank and Tencent are respective investors in Tokopedia and Gojek, which has also raised $300m from Telkomsel earlier this month.

The merger announcement came weeks after Singapore-headquartered Grab, which offers delivery, ride-hailing and financial services, announced a record $40bn merger with a special purpose acquisition company (Spac), while the Tencent-backed Sea Group, the parent company of Shopee and gaming unit Garena, set up a $1bn corporate venturing unit in March.

GoTo counts more than 100m monthly active users on its platforms and a total group gross transaction value of more than $22bn in 2020, according to the FT.

But already the region’s leaders are planning the next series of disruptive startups to emerge.

This month, the Economic Development Board (EDB) of Singapore, a government agency helping investors in the island state, started a pilot program, the Corporate Venture Launchpad, to support large and established companies to venture into new areas of growth beyond their core business. EDB has allocated S$10m ($7.5m) in funding for the one-year program which has partnered with four venture studios:

  • BCG Digital Ventures,
  • FutureLabs,
  • Leap by McKinsey, and
  • Rainmaking.

Singapore already has about 40 venture studios for corporations, such as Procter & Gamble, Bosch and Schneider Electric. Participating corporates through the Launchpad can receive 50% co-funding for qualifying costs, such as for manpower and other fees (capped at $377,000) and potential follow-on co-investment support by EDB New Ventures.

Deals

Beta lines up $368m

Back Market sells investors on $335m series D

Pine Labs picks investors for $285m

Extend grows its funding by $260m

Investors pump $250m into Pipe

Figure fits $200m into series D

Factory14 opens with $200m

Good Meat dishes up $170m round

Formlabs fashions $150m series E

Sunbit shines in $130m series D

Loom looks to investors for $130m

Hummingbird takes off with $125m series C

Asapp picks up $120m series C

Numab nabs Novo in $110m series C

Goldbelly fills up on funding

DST drives to $100m series C

University

Vedere Bio II sees light in $77m series A

ThinkCyte contemplates $26m in funding

Axelspace accelerates to series C

Funds

UTEC hits first close for fifth fund

One Capital 1 hits $147m close

Ulu ushers in $138m for Fund III

White Star closes $50m fund

7wireVentures sources corporate for fund close

Pi Labs lands Embassy Group commitment


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

Leadership Series: Francis Ho (Samsung Catalyst Fund)

We have teamed up with 500 Startups’ CVC Insider Series, where top CVC practitioners offer advice and best practices regarding common challenges encountered within corporate venturing. Featured this week is an interview with Francis Ho of Samsung Catalyst Fund and Nicolas Sauvage of TDK Ventures.


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

17 May 2021 – Grocery Delivery App Dingdong Maicai Orders Up $330m Series D

The Big Ones

China-based grocery delivery app operator Dingdong Maicai closed a $330m series D-plus round led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund. Founded in 2017, Dingdong Maicai has built a grocery e-commerce platform it claims delivers fresh produce and seafood ingredients door-to-door in under 30 minutes. It has served more than 5 million households across 27 markets in its home country. The company’s overall funding now stands at more than $1bn. It had secured $700m in a series D round last month co-led by DST Global and Coatue.

SoftBank has increased the size of its Vision Fund 2 from $10bn to $30bn. Its original Vision Fund closed at $98.6bn in 2017 with contributions from corporate LPs and sovereign wealth funds, but it has so far been unable to secure backing for its successor, instead committing the capital itself. The first Vision Fund booked a $16.8bn net loss for 2019 due to bankruptcies for portfolio companies OneWeb and Brandless, the failure of WeWork to successfully float and lacklustre share performance for others such as Uber. However, the coronavirus pandemic has caused tech stocks in several industries to skyrocket while also driving the pre-IPO funding market, leading to a considerable turnaround in SoftBank’s fortunes – the Vision Funds have now made a $37bn paper profit. The overall fair value of Vision Fund 1 and 2 stood at $154bn as of the end of March this year and SoftBank has returned $22.3bn to its LPs.

Better, the US-based digital mortgage services provider backed by SoftBank, American Express, Ping An, Citi and Ally Financial, agreed a reverse merger at a $7.7bn post-deal valuation. The company will join forces with SPAC Aurora Acquisition Corp, taking the position on the Nasdaq Capital Market that Aurora acquired in a $220m initial public offering in March this year. The deal will be supported by $1.5bn in PIPE financing from SoftBank’s SB Management subsidiary, Activant Capital and Novator Capital, Aurora Acquisition Corp’s sponsor.

University

Ginkgo Bioworks, a US-based microbe engineering services spinout of MIT, agreed to a reverse merger with SPAC Soaring Eagle Acquisition Corp. The deal values Ginkgo at $15bn and includes a $775m PIPE financing co-led by Baillie Gifford, Putnam Investments and Morgan Stanley Investment Management’s Counterpoint Global. Soaring Eagle had raised $1.73bn through its own initial public offering three months ago, putting the reverse merger deal’s total value at a jaw-dropping $17.5bn. Ginkgo had raised more than $789m in equity financing since being founded in 2009.

Deals

Vinted, the Lithuania-based operator of a second-hand fashion marketplace, picked up €250m ($303m) today in a series F round featuring Burda Principal Investments, a subsidiary of media group Hubert Burda. The round was led by EQT Growth, a fund operated by investment firm EQT, at a $4.2bn valuation, and it included Insight Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Sprints Capital.

Telkomsel, the mobile network subsidiary of Telkom Indonesia, has invested $300m in Indonesia-based ride hailing service Gojek, having supplied $150m for the company in November 2020. Gojek runs an app-based on-demand ride service which has expanded into food, package and grocery delivery in addition to mobile financial services. The funding comes as the company prepares to merge with e-commerce marketplace Tokopedia in a deal that will create a company called GoTo which would be valued at about $18bn. The deal is reportedly expected to be formally agreed by the end of June.

US-based diagnostic testing technology developer Cue Health completed a $235m financing round backed by Koch Industries and Johnson & Johnson, which took part through subsidiaries Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC and Koch Strategic Platforms respectively, joining Perceptive Advisors, MSD Capital, Decheng Capital, Cavu Ventures, Acme Capital and undisclosed other investors.

Masterclass, the US-based online education provider backed by Bloomberg, Endeavor and Novel Group, secured $225m in a series F round led by investment and financial services group Fidelity. Baillie Gifford, Balyasny Asset Management, Eldridge, IVP, New Enterprise Associates, Javelin Venture Partners and Owl Ventures also took part in the round. It valued the company at $2.75bn, sources told CNBC.

US-based life insurance platform developer Ethos Technologies received $200m in series D funding from investors including Roc Nation and GV. General Catalyst led the round, which valued the company at $2bn. It included Sequoia Capital and Accel as well as Will Smith’s Dreamers VC fund and a vehicle representing fellow actor Robert Downey Jr that may have been Downey Ventures.

WeRide, a China-based autonomous driving technology provider that counts several corporates among its investors, has raised hundreds of millions of dollars in series C funding. IDG Capital, Homeric Capital, CoStone Capital, Cypress Star, Sky9 Capital, K3 Ventures, CMC Capital Partners, Qiming Venture Partners and Alpview Capital supplied the capital at a valuation of $3.3bn. The series C proceeds will be channelled into research and development and commercialisation activities. The deal comes four months after WeRide closed a series B round led by $200m from bus manufacturer Yutong Group at $310m.

Funds

China-based cryptocurrency trading platform developer Huobi has established a $100m strategic investment fund. Founded in 2013, Huobi operates a blockchain-equipped online platform where users can buy and sell digital currencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and XRP. Huobi Ventures will make early-stage investments in blockchain-focused companies which can integrate their operations with its parent company’s businesses, in addition to decentralised finance projects and merger and acquisition deals. The unit has reserved $10m of the capital for investments in NFTs and NFT marketplaces, and it brings together existing Huobi subsidiaries including Huobi Eco Fund, Huobi Capital and Huobi DeFi Labs.

Exits

Plus, a US-based automated driving technology developer backed by Full Truck Alliance, Quanta Computer, Wanxiang and SAIC, announced a reverse merger. The deal involves the company merging with SPAC Hennessy Capital Investment Corp V at a $3.3bn valuation, with the combined business taking the Nasdaq Capital Market listing secured by the latter in a $300m initial public offering in February this year. Funds and accounts managed by BlackRock and DE Shaw Group are among the participants in a $150m PIPE financing.

Bird, the US-based mobility services provider backed by Simon Property, is merging with SPAC Switchback II Corporation. The company will acquire the position on the New York Stock Exchange taken by Switchback II in a $275m initial public offering in January this year. The deal grants Bird a $2.3bn pro forma enterprise valuation. The transaction will be boosted by $160m a PIPE financing from investors including Fidelity Management & Research.

Science 37, a US-based clinical trials technology provider backed by Sanofi, Amgen, Alphabet, Novartis and PPD, agreed to a reverse merger with LifeSci Acquisition II Corp. The transaction will involve the Science 37 taking the position on the Nasdaq Capital Market taken by LifeSci in a $75m initial public offering in November 2020. It will give Science 37 an initial enterprise value of about $1.05bn. Science 37’s technology helps run clinical trials for developmental stage therapeutics and medical devices, helping bridge the gap between laboratory research and patient care.

UK-based encryption technology developer Arqit agreed to a reverse merger with Centricus Acquisition Corp that will be backed by corporates Sumitomo and Virgin Orbit. The deal will create a new company called Arqit Quantum, which will be valued at $1.4bn and which will take on the listing Nasdaq Capital Market Centricus Acquisition got in a $300m initial public offering in February 2021. The merged business will receive approximately $70m from a PIPE deal featuring Virgin Orbit, Sumitomo Corporation and Heritage Group.

Waterdrop, a China-based digital health insurance marketplace which counts corporates Meituan Dianping, Tencent and Swiss Re as investors, raised $360m in an initial public offering. The company issued 30 million American depositary shares (ADSs) on the New York Stock Exchange, each ADS representing 10 ordinary class A shares. Waterdrop priced the ADSs at $12 each, at the upper end of the $10 to $12 range it had set for the offering, valuing the company at over $4.7bn. The shares closed on $9.70 on the first day of trading on the New York Stock Exchange, but dropped over the course of the week to open at $7 on Friday morning.

Ane Logistics, a China-based small freight services provider backed by insurer Ping An and dairy product manufacturer Yili, has filed for an initial public offering on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. The size of the offering has not been disclosed but the company was looking to raise $500m, according to a Bloomberg report in February. CICC Capital and JPMorgan Chase are lead underwriters for the flotation.


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

Leadership Series: Linda Yates (Mach49)

We have teamed up with 500 Startups’ CVC Insider Series, where top CVC practitioners offer advice and best practices regarding common challenges encountered within corporate venturing. Featured this week is an interview with Linda Yates of Mach49 and Nicolas Sauvage of TDK Ventures.


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