12 April 2021 – Food Delivery Service Swiggy Raises $800m

The Big Ones

India-based food delivery service Swiggy has raised $800m from Prosus Ventures, Falcon Edge, Goldman Sachs, Amansa Capital, Think Capital, Carmignac and Accel. The round is said to have boosted the company’s post-money valuation to $5bn. Swiggy runs an app where users can order food for delivery from local restaurants, and is one of two large players in the Indian market, along with Zomato, which raised $250m at a $5.4bn valuation in February this year. Swiggy had raised a total of $1.62bn as of a series I round featuring Prosus Ventures, Tencent, Samsung and Meituan Dianping in April 2020. Swiggy’s earlier backers include Naspers,Tencent, Meituan Dianping and Wellington Management as well as DST Global, Coatue Management, Hillhouse Capital, Accel, Harmony Partners, Norwest Venture Partners, RB Investments and SAIF Partners.

Japan-listed spark plug producer NGK has partnered US-based venture capital firm Pegasus Tech Ventures to form a $100m corporate venture capital fund. The vehicle will target developers of smart health, decentralised utility and mobility technologies in the United States, Europe, Israel and Asia. NGK has also entered into a strategic agreement with Pegasus in areas including business creation and mergers and acquisitions. Pegasus already has multiple investment initiatives in place with 35 corporations including Aisin, Sega Sammy, Sojitz, SunnyHealth, CAC Holdings, Teijin, Infocom and Innotech from Japan, as well as Taiwan-headquartered Asus and Acer.

Sarcos Robotics, a US-based industrial robotics technology manufacturer backed by Microsoft, Caterpillar, Delta and Schlumberger, agreed to list through a reverse merger with SPAC Rotor Acquisition Corp in a transaction that will value them at a combined $1.3bn. Sarcos produces robotic exoskeletons that help users lift heavy objects while preventing injuries. The merged business, Sarcos Technology, will take the spot on the New York Stock Exchange secured by Rotor in a $240m initial public offering in January. Caterpillar Venture Capital, Schlumberger and Palantir are backing a $220m PIPE financing for the deal with Millennium Management, Jaws Estates Capital, Michael Price and funds and accounts managed by BlackRock.

Crossover

Icosavax, a US-based vaccine developer exploiting research from University of Washington (UW) completed a $100m series B round led by RA Capital Management. Sanofi’s strategic investment arm, Sanofi Ventures, also took part, as did Janus Henderson Investors, Perceptive Advisors, Viking Global Investors, Cormorant Asset Management, Omega Funds, Open Philanthropy and Surveyor Capital. Qiming Venture Partners USA, Adams Street Partners and ND Capital (formerly known as NanoDimension) filled out the round, having joined Sanofi Ventures in the company’s $51m series A round in 2019. Icosavax will put the series B funds towards advancing vaccines for bivalent respiratory syncytial virus and human metapneumovirus through their first clinical studies. The capital will also support ongoing evaluation of a potential vaccine for covid-19 and the growth of a pipeline of vaccine candidates utilising its computationally designed virus-like particle technology, which stems from research conducted at UW’s Institute for Protein Design.

Deals

Dingdong Maicai, a China-based online grocer backed by Red Star Macalline and Bertelsmann, has raised $700m in series D funding co-led by DST Global and Coatue, while Sequoia Capital China, Tiger Global Management, General Atlantic, CMC Capital, Ocean Link, Capital Today and Hony Capital participated as existing backers. The round was filled out by new investors Aspex Management, 3W Fund Management, APlus Partners, Mass Ave Global and Cygnus Equity. No word on a current valuation, but Dingdong Macai was reportedly worth $2bn following its previous round in May 2020.

SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 has co-led a $640m series E round for Singapore-headquartered intelligent retail technology provider Trax with BlackRock. The round included Sony Innovation Fund by IGV2, a corporate venture capital vehicle for consumer electronics producer Sony, in addition to pension fund manager Omers, and it valued the company at $2bn, according to Globes. Trax provides computer vision and artificial intelligence-equipped technology that tracks in-store conditions and stock levels to help grocery retailers and consumer packaged goods producers make more effective decisions in real time. It has now raised $975m in total.

SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 led a $210m second tranche for US-based security and governance software provider OneTrust that took its series C round to $510m. Franklin Templeton also took part in the second close, which followed a $300m tranche featuring TCV and existing investors including Insight Partners and Coatue in December 2020. The final close came at a $5.3bn post-money valuation. The round’s close increased the company’s overall funding to $920m, including $200m raised in a series A round led by Insight Partners at a $1.3bn post-money valuation. Coatue and Insight Partners then co-led a $210m series B round in February 2020 valuing it at $2.7bn.

India-based multilingual social networking service ShareChat secured $502m in series E funding from investors including social media operator Snap and microblogging platform Twitter. Tiger Global Management led the round, which included venture capital firm Lightspeed Venture Partners and undisclosed additional backers. It valued the company at $2.1bn and increased its funding to $765m since it was founded in 2015.

Kavak, a Mexico-based used car marketplace platform backed by SoftBank, has raised $485m of series D funding at a $4bn valuation. D1 Capital Partners led the round, which also featured Founders Fund, Ribbit Capital and Bond. Kavak has built an online platform that lets users buy and sell used cars in Mexico, Argentina and Brazil. It also offers financing through subsidiary Kavak Capital and carries out reconditioning and vehicle delivery. The round increased the company’s total funding to $900m and followed a round of undisclosed size co-led by SoftBank, DST Global and Greenoaks Capital in September 2020 at a $1.15bn valuation.

Prosus Ventures, the investment arm of Prosus, is co-leading a $350m funding round for India-based online pharmacy PharmEasy. The round consists of primary and secondary funding and is being co-led by TPG Growth. It included Eight Roads Ventures – part of investment and financial services group Fidelity – as well as Temasek, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, LGT Lightrock and Think Investments. The latest round reportedly valued API Holdings, the holding company for PharmEasy, at $1.5bn post-money. It said it has closed $323m of the capital, with the remaining $27m set to be closed soon.

SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 has led a $300m funding round for India-based online reselling platform developer Meesho at a $2.1bn valuation. Facebook and Prosus Ventures also took part, as did Shunwei Capital, Venture Highway and Knollwood Investment. Meesho operates an online platform through which users can connect and sell to customers on social media. Its core group of sellers are female small business owners, and it manages payment, order management and logistics on their behalf. The round took Meesho’s total funding to $490m.

CloudMinds, a China-based robotic technology developer backed by SoftBank and Foxconn, has raised over $153m in series B-plus funding co-led by Shanghai Chengtou Group and Guosheng Group, investment vehicles for the city of Shanghai’s municipal government. CloudMinds filed for a $500m initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange in July 2019, but the SEC ruled in February this year that it be declared abandoned after the company failed to respond to requests for clarification on its status.

Funds

Egypt-headquartered venture capital firm Algebra Ventures launched its $90m second fund on Tuesday with backing from limited partners including Cisco. The European Commission, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Egyptian-American Enterprise Fund and International Finance Corporation are also among the LPs, as are undisclosed private family offices. Algebra Ventures has not disclosed how much it has so far raised for the fund but it expects to reach a first close in the third quarter of 2021. It closed its first fund at $54m.

Exits

Compass, the US-based real estate software provider backed by SoftBank and Advance Publications, has gone public in a $450m initial public offering on the NYSE. The offering consisted of 25 million shares priced at $18 each, at the foot of an $18 to $19 range cut from $23 to $26 at the same time the size of the offering was reduced from 36 million shares. As of the time of recording, on Friday afternoon UK time, shares are down by more than 17.5% and trading at $16.60. Compass has built an online platform that provides extensive listings of homes for sales. It made a $270m net loss in 2020 from $3.72bn in revenue. It had raised about $1.5bn in funding and was reportedly valued at $6.4bn as of a series G in January 2020.

Krafton, a South Korea-based video game publisher backed by Tencent, has filed for an IPO. The company was valued at $18bn in off-exchange trading yesterday, while the IPO is set to be one of the largest in the country this year, unnamed local sources told Reuters. Founded by computer game studio Bluehole as a holding group in 2018, Krafton owns multiple brands including Bluehole Studio, PUBG Studio and Striking Distance Studios. Its lead product, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, has about 55 million daily users in countries outside China and has sold 70 million copies. Tencent invested $61.5m in Bluehole in 2017 and later returned to make a $468m secondary investment the following year to increase its stake in the company to a reported 11.5%.


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

Leadership Series: How U.S. Based Venture Arms From Asia Are Supporting Innovation (GCV Digital Forum)

An audio version of the ‘How U.S. Based Venture Arms From Asia Are Supporting Innovation’ session from our GCV Digital Forum in January 2021.


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

Leadership Series: Scaling Up – How VC Is Helping Startups Succeed (GCV Digital Forum)

An audio version of the ‘Scaling Up: How VC Is Helping Startups Succeed’ session from our GCV Digital Forum in January 2021.


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

29 March 2021 – GoPuff Secures $1.15bn in Round Including SoftBank

The Big Ones

On-demand consumer product delivery service GoPuff has experienced some major league growth of late, and has secured $1.15bn from investors including SoftBank Vision Fund 1 in a round lifting its valuation from $3.9bn to $8.9bn. The $3.9bn valuation had been achieved just five months ago, in a $380m round that also featured Vision Fund 1.

We’re still seeing a good amount of reverse merger deals being agreed but one of the biggest in recent times has just been announced by content monetisation software provider IronSource. The Access Industries-backed company has agreed to join forces with special purpose acquisition company Thoma Bravo Advantage at an $11.1bn pro forma equity. IronSource’s valuation was reportedly not much larger than $1bn in its last round, less than 18 months ago.

Japan-based medical supplies vendor Medipal Holdings has partnered SBI Investment, an investment subsidiary of financial services firm SBI Holdings, to form a ¥10bn ($92m) corporate venture capital vehicle. Medipal Innovation Fund is intended to operate for 10 years and will mainly target domestic and international startups developing technologies strategically relevant to Medipal’s business lines.

Crossover Deal

Evidation Health, a US-based health data analysis provider, has picked up $153m in a series E round co-led by healthcare consortium Kaiser Permanente’s Group Trust. The round was co-led by Omers Growth Equity, a fund managed by pension fund Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, and included McKesson Ventures, the corporate venturing arm of medical supplies distributor McKesson, as well as venture capital firm B Capital Group. The round valued it at $1bn, according to Bloomberg. So far, so normal. Evidation’s technology platform, Achievement, records raw behaviour data such as speech and video from patients’ electronic devices and analyses it to provide insights on health and disease. But its origin is where it gets unusual: the company was founded in 2012 through a partnership between Stanford Health Care, the academic health system of Stanford University, and GE Ventures, a corporate venturing subsidiary of General Electric. It’s not a type of story we see often, but with now $259m in capital, the model is clearly working out for Evidation.

Deals

Dataminr has closed a $475m funding round that hiked its valuation to $4.1bn. The company, which counts Credit Suisse Next Investors as an earlier backer, provides software that pools information from a range of public sources to detect events and track trends in real time, and will put the proceeds from the round into international customer acquisition.

China-based CasiCloud provides production automation software for the aerospace industry, and has secured $404m in funding, becoming the latest automation technology provider to raise big money, in the wake of several robotic process automation-focused companies over the past year. Its earlier investors include China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation but the latest round was co-led by China Merchants Capital, ICBC Capital and Shenzhen Capital.

Sports memorabilia retailer Fanatics has pulled in $320m through a round that doubled its valuation to $12.8bn in the space of seven months. SoftBank is also among Fanatics’ investors, as is Alibaba, and the latest round included Major League Baseball, Fidelity Investments, Franklin Templeton, Neuberger Berman, Silver Lake and Thrive Capital. It came as the company undertakes a growth push centred on China.

Crypto wallet and exchange operator Blockchain.com is growing even faster, and has secured $300m in series C funding at a $5.2bn valuation, roughly five weeks after a $120m series B round valuing it at $3bn. GV and Access Industries were among the participants in the latter round, with GV having been an investor in the company since 2017.

Airwallex is the creator of a cloud software platform that helps businesses expand globally by coordinating finance activities across multiple currencies. It has raised $100m from investors including ANZ Bank’s ANZi Ventures vehicle to increase its series D round to $300m. The extension represents the third tranche of the round, with Tencent and Salesforce Ventures among the earlier backers. Airwallex is now valued at $2.6bn.

If grocery delivery services like Instacart have experienced considerable growth during the coronavirus pandemic, Germany-based Gorillas almost makes that growth look lazy. The company was founded less than a year ago but has just secured $290m in a series B round featuring Tencent that valued it above $1bn. That makes Gorillas, by its reckoning, the quickest European startup ever to exceed a $1bn valuation. And its service is currently available in just 13 European cities.

Komodo Health, the developer of a healthcare tracking software platform, has meanwhile raised $220m at a $3.3bn valuation, in its series E round only two months after notching up $44m in series D funding. The series D round included long-term corporate investor McKesson Ventures, and it has now secured a total of $314m in just 14 months.

Funds

Japan-based financial services firm Juroku Bank has formed a venture capital unit dubbed Nobunaga Capital Village and a startup accelerator called Juroku Bank Accelerator 2021. Nobunaga Capital Village will be launched in April 2021 with ¥4.5bn ($41.2m) of capital across two vehicles, and will target developers of financial technology and local economy revitalisation projects, focusing on the Chūbu region where the bank is headquartered.

Exits

Supply chain finance provider Linklogis has filed for an initial public offering on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and set terms that will see it raise $1.06bn if it floats at the top of its range. Bertelsmann Asia Investments, Tencent, GLP, Skyworth and Standard Chartered are all among the company’s investors, and the offering will be anchored by $365m from institutional investors including BlackRock and Fidelity.

Another Chinese company, online Q+A platform developer Zhihu, is going public in the US today in a $523m initial public offering that scores exits for Kuaishou, Tencent, Baidu, Sogou and Sunshine Insurance. The company priced the shares at the foot of the IPO’s range, but it will be buoyed by a $250m private placement being provided by Tencent and fellow corporates Alibaba, JD.com and Lilith Games.

Olo has closed its initial public offering at approximately $518m after the underwriters took up the option to buy an additional $67.5m shares. The PayPal-backed restaurant ordering software provider floated above its range on the New York Stock Exchange last week and its share price subsequently increased by upwards of 20%.

Online automotive marketplace ACV Auctions raised $5m for a series A round five years ago, and now it’s gone public in an initial public offering sized at about $416m. The SoftBank-backed company priced its shares above an already increased range, and the price rose again yesterday, giving ACV a market cap around the $4.8bn mark at close of trading.

Rockley Photonics, a silicon photonic chipmaker that counts Applied Materials and Hengtong Optic-Electric among its investors, is set to list through a reverse takeover with special purpose acquisition company SC Health Corp at a $1.2bn post-merger valuation. Medtronic is among the investors supplying $150m in PIPE financing to support the deal, announced as Rockley prepares to commercially launch its unique sensing platform.

Autonomous truck developer TuSimple is still pre-revenue but has filed for an initial public offering in the United States. The China-based company has raised roughly $650m in funding and its investors include corporates Sina, Navistar, Traton, Nvidia, Mando, UPS, Goodyear, Union Pacific, CN, Kroger and US Xpress. Media reports in August 2020 suggested it could target a valuation of up to $7bn in the IPO.


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

Leadership Series: How Hitachi is Leveraging Incubations and Developing an Ecosystem to Supercharge Organic Growth (GCV Digital Forum)

n audio version of the ‘The Industry Blazing a New Path Through Incubation – How Hitachi is Leveraging Incubations and Developing an Ecosystem to Supercharge Organic Growth’ session from our GCV Digital Forum in January 2021.


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

22 March 2021 – Stripe Raises $600m with a $95bn Valuation

The Big Ones

Payment processing software provider Stripe has raised $600m from investors including Axa and Allianz X, but the key element to the story is its valuation, which has rocketed from an already huge $36bn less than a year ago to $95bn in the latest round. It’s another symptom of the surging fintech sector, even though Stripe has not mentioned IPO plans. Its earlier corporate investors are Alphabet unit CapitalG, Sumitomo Mitsui Card Company, Visa and American Express.

The drama surrounding Ant Group’s failed IPO late last year combined with Donald Trump’s exit as US president may well have served to pull more China-based tech companies to the latter country for their IPOs. Tencent-backed internet-of-things technology provider Tuya has reportedly priced its IPO above the range and will bag $915m when it floats on the New York Stock Exchange. Tencent itself has expressed interest in buying some $100m of shares in the offering.

South Korea-based conglomerate SK Group has teamed up with Chinese automotive manufacturer Zhejiang Geely Holding Group to establish a mobility technology fund with a $300m target for its final close. The corporates are each putting in $30m and will look to harness European banks and Asian pension funds among other external backers in order to raise the rest of the capital.

Crossover

Vaccitech, the UK-based developer of vaccines for infectious diseases and cancer spun out of University of Oxford famous for co-inventing the covid-19 vaccine with AstraZeneca, closed a $168m series B round backed by Oxford Sciences Innovation, Future Planet Capital, Tencent, Gilead Sciences and Monaco Constitutional Reserve Fund. The round was led by M&G Investment Management. Vaccitech actually started out with the aim of developing a universal flu vaccine, and its clinical pipeline now includes assets aimed at chronic hepatitis B infection, persistent, high-risk human papillomavirus infection and prostate cancer. It will use the series B capital to advance each of these three assets through phase 1/2 trials. Vaccitech’s earlier backers include GV, which did not return for the series B round, however.

Deals

Gene, cell and regenerative therapy developer ElevateBio has raised $525m in a series C round that found space for SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2, Itochu and an unnamed insurance provider. The round was led by investment management firm Matrix Capital Management and it pumped ElevateBio’s overall funding up to $845m since it publicly launched less than two years ago.

Robert Bosch, SAIC Motor and Toyota have co-led a $500m series C round for another Chinese tech company, autonomous driving software developer Momenta. The transaction also featured Tencent and Mercedes-Benz and it’s one of several huge rounds for mobility and transport technology developers so far in 2021, a sign that investors expect the sector to continue to progress in the coming years.

GV and SoftBank Investment Advisers, which manages over $100bn in capital for SoftBank’s Vision Funds, have contributed to a $400m series C round for drug discovery technology provider Insitro. The round boosted Insitro’s funding to more than $640m and it is emblematic of the new breed of tech-enhanced drug developers getting investment right now, with GV among the most fervent backers.

PatSnap, the operator of a cloud platform that collates investment and innovation data, is a company with a business model which has benefitted from the general rise in the market, and has pulled in $300m through a series E round co-led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and Tencent. Both are of course among the most active corporate venture capital investors, which implies a strategic element to their participation in the round, which reportedly valued PatSnap at over $1bn.

Airtable has more than doubled its valuation to $5.77bn, raising $270m in series E funding from investors including media holding company WndrCo. The database software producer plans to channel the proceeds into improving its platform and strengthening its sales and marketing activities. Its overall funding is now around the $620m mark.

SecurityScorecard completed its $180m series E round, snatching up funding from investors including Intel Capital, Axa Venture Partners and GV – all existing backers – at a valuation reportedly just short of $1bn. The round boosted the cybersecurity ratings provider’s total funding to $290m, and at a time when data management software providers are raising big money, it shows the importance of securing that high-grade data in the first place.

Unite Us on the other hand has reached the unicorn stage, raising $150m in series C funding from investors including Optum Ventures and Salesforce Ventures at a valuation topping $1.6bn. The company provides a cloud platform that enables healthcare providers to coordinate treatment more effectively, and it has now received more than $195m altogether.

Identity verification software provider Socure has also breached that unicorn barrier, in a $100m series D round backed by Synchrony Financial, Citi Ventures and Wells Fargo Strategic Capital that valued it at $1.3bn. Socure has so far been mainly focused on customers in the financial services sector but will use the proceeds from the round to expand into other fields.

Funds

Andre Maciel, former managing partner at telecommunications and internet group SoftBank’s $5bn Latin America-focused fund, has extended the first close of his independent venture capital firm’s first fund to $80m. Maciel, along with Gregory Reider and Milena Oliveira, set up Brazil-headquartered Volpe Capital in 2019 with SoftBank’s backing. Its first fund also has investment bank BTG Pactual and digital bank Banco Inter as limited partners, according to TechCrunch. Maciel led an investment by SoftBank in Banco Inter he said delivered about $1bn in profits for the corporate.

Canada-based biotechnology product maker Natural Products Canada (NPC) plans to raise C$50m ($39.5m) for a cleantech corporate venturing fund called NPC Ventures. The company has secured a non-binding term sheet with an undisclosed anchor investor for the vehicle, which will invest in producers of natural alternatives to synthetic products such as plastics and preservatives. NPC Ventures aims to complete its first close in autumn 2021.

Exits

Robinhood may have had much of the publicity in recent months but it’s far from the only big player in the online share trading world. Competitor eToro has more than 20 million registered users and has agreed to list on the Nasdaq Capital Market through a reverse takeover with special purpose acquisition company FinTech Acquisition Corp V in a deal that will value it at about $9.5bn pre-transaction, and the combined company at approximately $10.4bn. It last disclosed primary funding three years ago when it raised $100m at an $800m valuation, following a $39m round featuring corporate VC units CommerzVentures, Ping An Ventures and SBT Venture Capital in 2015. That’s some exit.

Megvii has filed to go public, and the computer vision and deep learning software producer could reportedly raise up to $923m in the offering, slated to take place on Shanghai Stock Exchange’s Star Market, after fees. Its investors include Alibaba, Foxconn, Legend Star and SK Group, and its largest rival, SenseTime, closed a round described as pre-IPO funding two months ago.

Olo, the developer of a software platform that helps restaurants accept online orders, is going public in a $450m initial public offering that follows roughly $65m in equity funding. Some of that cash came from PayPal, a participant in a $5m round in 2013, and the now profitable company was boosted by a big 2020 that saw it almost double revenue. The offering was priced above a range that had been increased earlier this week.

Digital banking software provider Alkami has also filed for an initial public offering, setting a placeholder figure of $100m. The move comes six months after the company raised $140m from backers including investment and financial services group Fidelity, and a Reuters report earlier this year suggested it would seek a $3bn valuation when it looked to go public.


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

Leadership Series: Opening Keynote Fireside Chat: Vinod Khosla (GCV Digital Forum)

An audio version of the ‘Opening Keynote Fireside Chat: Vinod Khosla’ session from our GCV Digital Forum in January 2021.


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

15 March 2021 – $1.9bn for Cold Chain Services Provider Lineage Logistics

The Big Ones

One element of retail that has emerged unscathed from the covid-19 pandemic is food, and Lineage Logistics is among the biggest cold chain services providers in the world, offering temperature-controlled delivery and storage. It has also raised $1.9bn from investors including property developer Oxford Properties and several real estate investment firms. The equity funding was secured together with a $2.8bn revolving credit facility and term loan.

As the Dow hits record highs the IPO market shows no sign of slowing, and increasing numbers of international tech companies are flowing to US markets. South Korea-headquartered online marketplace Coupang is the latest to take that option and is floating on the New York Stock Exchange in a $4.55bn offering, the year’s biggest so far. SoftBank Vision Fund owned more than 39% of its class A shares pre-IPO, having committed a total of $3bn in funding.

AstraZeneca formed the $1bn Healthcare Industrial Fund in partnership with China International Capital Corporation in late 2019, and now the pharmaceutical firm is teaming up with the investment bank’s CICC Capital unit to establish a $338m vehicle called Wuxi AstraZeneca CICC Investment. AstraZeneca already runs a life science incubator in the Chinese city of Wuxi, and the fund will invest in areas such as innovative therapeutics, medical devices, diagnostics technology and AI healthcare technology.

Crossover

IonQ, a US-based quantum computing technology developer exploiting University of Maryland and Duke University research, has agreed to list through a reverse takeover. The company is merging with a SPAC called dMY Technology Group, which had floated on the New York Stock Exchange in a $275m IPO in November 2020. The combined business will have a pro forma implied valuation of $2bn and the transaction will be supported by $350m in PIPE financing from investors including Hyundai Motor Company, its Kia subsidiary and GV, among others. IonQ has created a 32-qubit quantum computer it claims is the world’s most powerful quantum system. It had disclosed a total of $77m in funding as of a $55m round co-led by consumer electronics producer Samsung’s Catalyst Fund in late 2019, when Osage University Partners also invested (do check out our sister podcast Talking Tech Transfer, which you can find on GlobalUniversityVenturing.com, for an interview with Osage’s Kirsten Leute about more on their investment strategy).

Deals

China-based e-commerce group JD.com has spun off several subsidiaries in recent years covering areas such as finance, healthcare and logistics. Now its infrastructure investment arm, JD Property, has agreed to raise $700m in a series A round co-led by Warburg Pincus and Hillhouse Capital, according to its 2020 end-of-year results. The other investors were not disclosed but it has partnered sovereign wealth funds GIC and Mubadala on infrastructure funds.

Starling Bank is the latest digital bank to pull in a nine-figure amount of funding, taking $377m in a series D round valuing it above $1.5bn pre-money. Starling, which counts JTC Group among its investors, is one of several well-funded neobanks to spring up in the UK in recent years, including Revolut and Monzo, though the sector is still a long way away from proving profitable, and despite the current fintech boom, it’s going to be interesting to see if they can maintain their growth.

Crypto asset manager BlockFi has completed a $350m series D round valuing it at $3bn, with Hudson River Trading and Susquehanna Government Products among the participants. Its existing investors include Akuna Capital, SoFi and corporate venturing vehicles Consensys Ventures, CMT Digital, Recruit Strategic Partners and SCB 10X.

Valo Health is less than two years old but has just closed an upsized series B round at $300m following a $110m investment by Koch Disruptive Technologies. Valo is one of a new wave of startups allocating machine learning to the drug development process, a wave increasingly looking like it could become the dominant force in the early-stage pharmaceutical sector. It is initially targeting cancer and neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases.

Snyk has secured $300m in a series E round consisting of primary and secondary investments, with GV, Atlassian Ventures and Salesforce Ventures all contributing. The app cybersecurity technology provider said it has now raised $470m in primary funding altogether, and the round valued it at $4.7bn post-money. That’s a 47-times increase from the valuation at which GV first invested.

Salesforce Ventures also took part in a $170m series C round for Flutterwave, the developer of a cross-border payment platform, valuing it above $1bn. It’s the latest sign of an ongoing surge in fintech, and the company’s earlier backers include Mastercard, Visa and FIS. It will allocate the funding to product development and customer acquisition.

Funds

Ascension Ventures was set up by health system Ascension two decades ago and now the venture capital firm has closed its fifth fund with $285m in capital supplied by 13 healthcare providers: Ascension itself, as well as AdventHealth, Carle Foundation, CentraCare, Children’s Medical Center of Dallas, Intermountain Healthcare, Novant Health, OhioHealth, OSF HealthCare, Luminis Health, Sentara Healthcare and Texas Health Resources. There is also an unnamed health system among the LPs. Ascension Ventures has invested in nearly 80 companies to date and now has more than $1bn in assets under management.

Exits

Game development platform operator Roblox has executed a direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange that gave Tencent and Warner Music Group (WMG) the chance to sell shares. The direct listing model means there wasn’t an official price for the shares, but the NYSE has issued a guidance price of $45 each, the same price at which Roblox secured $520m in a WMG-backed round in January valuing it at $29.5bn, a sevenfold increase in under a year. As we’re recording this on Friday afternoon UK time, shares are trading at $69.51, which is a slight drop on the $73.90 peak they’d briefly reached on Thursday.

Hippo Enterprises, the online home insurance provider backed by Comcast, Lennar, MS&AD, Munich Re and Standard Industries, is the latest company to seek the Spac route, agreeing to a reverse merger with Reinvent Technology Partners Z. Lennar is among the investors to put $550m of PIPE financing into Hippo, which will come out with $1.2bn in capital once the deal closes. It will list on NYSE and is expected to have a valuation of $5bn, and the money should help Hippo reach its goal of being available for 95% of the US population by the end of the year.

Olo has developed software that helps restaurants manage online orders, and has moved into profit in the past year as a string of US chains have used its platform to deal with increased online orders during the Covid-19 pandemic. The PayPal-backed company seems to have chosen the right time to go public, and has set terms for an initial public offering that will net $324m if it floats at the top of its range. It’s worth mentioning too that Olo has disclosed less than $65m of primary funding pre-IPO.

Coursera, the online education provider spun out of Stanford University and backed by Caltech, University of Pennsylvania, Seek Group, Laureate Education and Times Internet, is going for the traditional IPO exit instead. The spinout is yet to set any terms, having put the customary $100m placeholder figure into its draft prospectus, but it has collected some $443m in funding to date. None of the corporates or universities own more than 5% ahead of the offering and instead Coursera’s largest shareholder is NEA with an 18.3% stake.

Axonius, developer of a cybersecurity asset management platform, has only just achieved unicorn status, raising $100m last week at a $1.2bn valuation. That has proven the ticket for YL Ventures, a venture firm that has been an investor since seed stage, to divest a $270m stake to buyers including the Deutsche Telekom-backed DTCP. Axonius had raised nearly $200m in primary funding without taking any corporate investment.


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

Leadership Series: Great Expectations – How M12 is Investing in Female Founders (GCV Digital Forum)

An audio version of the ‘Great Expectations: How M12 is Investing in Female Founders and Supporting D&I’ session from our GCV Digital Forum in January 2021.


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

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