17 July 2017 – A Look at Unicorns

Editorial: A Look at Unicorns

Funds

Toyota’s research division, Toyota Research Institute, has launched a dedicated corporate venturing fund called Toyota AI Ventures that will invest in artificial intelligence as well as robotics, autonomous mobility, data and cloud technology.

Partech Ventures, a US-headquartered venture firm with a significant presence in Europe,has closed its seventh VC-stage fund, Partech International Ventures VII, at $455m.

Global Brain heads for $180m close

Ground transport-focused venture firm Autotech Ventures, which had already revealed commitments from BorgWarner and Autoliv to its first fund, has now closed it at $120m.

Government

Hong Kong to launch matched venture fund

Singapore springs to action with new fund

University

Adelaide realises ThincLab

Exits

Set-top box producer Roku has hired underwriters for an IPO that could value it at up to $1bn, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The merger agreed by DraftKings and FanDuel in November was supposed to help them combat long-running regulatory issues, but those seem to have struck again.

Symantec finds Skycure in $250m acquisition

Fireglass to melt into Symantec

Baidu catches Kitt.AI

Samsung Next embarks on European trip

Government

SBI Life prepares $1bn IPO

Investments

Uber’s on-demand ride and food ordering operations in 21 cities across four countries in Eastern Europe will be merged with Yandex Taxi, a subsidiary of Russian internet company Yandex, in a deal that will create a $3.7bn company, of which Uber will own 36%.

Co-working space provider WeWork has raised $760m in a series G round that reportedly increased its valuation to $20bn.

Artificial intelligence technology provider SenseTime has completed a $410m series B round featuring Dalian Wanda that reportedly valued it at more than $1.5bn.

Shouqi Limousine and Chauffeur, a ride hailing offshoot of services Shouqi Group and Xianglong Taxi, has raised $88m in series B funding from an undisclosed investor at a valuation of about $750m.

Darktrace, the developer of a cybersecurity platform that looks to mimic the human immune system, has received $75m in a series D round led by Insight Venture Partners that valued it at $825m.

E-Scape Bio has reached the final close of a $63m series A round featuring Novo as well as CVC units Lilly Asia Ventures, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC and Novartis Venture Fund which E-Scape will use to advance its pipeline of neurodegenerative disease treatments.

Growth equity firm Spectrum Equity has acquired a majority stake in link management platform Bitly in return for a $63m investment.

CompareAsiaGroup, the operator of a comparison platform for financial products in Southeast Asia, has closed a $50m series B round that included Alibaba and SBI Group.

Government

Floadia flows towards $14.5m series B

University

NYGC spins out Gencove

Phytelligence harvests series B


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

10 July 2017 – Looking to the End of Summer

Editorial: What do people want when the summer is over?

Funds

AT&T has been relatively quiet while competitors like Verizon, Telstra and SoftBank have made great strides in corporate venturing, but that may be about to change with the formation of a strategic investment fund in which the telecom firm plans to invest up to $200m.

Autoliv moves $15m to Autotech Ventures

Vinci helps Axeleo draw up first close

Government

RCIF gains $1bn

EIF buys into $198m Cipio fund

Germany awards funding to 48 institutions

Enterprise Ireland launches $68m fund

University

Tel Aviv heads to India

UC Riverside launches $10m Highlander fund

Exits

Jawbone raised hundreds of millions from investors such as Deutsche Telekom as it moved from Bluetooth-enabled speakers to wearable fitness trackers, and at one point was raising cash at a $3bn+ valuation. All that appears to have ground to a halt however, as reports suggest the company has begun liquidation proceedings, weakened by a Fitbit lawsuit and done in by the flatlining wearables sector.

Roche eats up MySugr

Delivery Hero has raised more than $1.1bn in an IPO that enabled the Rocket Internet-owned Global Online Takeaway Group to sell about $148m of shares.

Gaming product maker Razer has filed for its own IPO, in Hong Kong, and is set to raise more than $600m according to TechCrunch.

Sienna to scratch IPO itch

Internet service provider MyRepublic may have failed in its bid to become Singapore’s fourth big telecom company, but it still plans to float by the end of 2018,

Online storage technology platform Dropbox has begun preparations for what will likely be the biggest tech IPO since Snap went public in March, and will shortly begin interviewing investment banks for the underwriting positions.

Canada-based bone disease therapy developer Clementia Pharmaceuticals has filed for a $115m IPO in the US that will provide an exit to strategic backer UCB Pharma, after the latter took part in a $60m series B round for the company in 2015.

Investments

China Money Network today launches the China Unicorn Ranking 2017, the most complete list of all private start-ups in China currently valued at $1 billion or more.

Just weeks after Mobike closed a $600m funding round, its main rival in the bike sharing sector, Ofo, has raised $700m in a series E round led by Alibaba.

Kakao drives $437m mobility spinout

Tencent invested $44m investment in Coocaa, the smart television subsidiary of Skyworth Digital Holdings, last month, and it’s now repeated the trick, paying $66m for a 16.7% stake in TCL’s smart TV unit, Shenzhen Thunderbird Network Technology.

Steel producer Shougang has co-led a $73m round for online steel trading and services platform Zhaogang through a private equity vehicle called West Fund.

Headspace, the developer of a meditation and mindfulness platform that mixes a subscription-based guided meditation service with themed text and video content, has raised $36m in a round led by growth equity firm Spectrum Equity.

Axonics Modulation Technologies, the developer of an implantable neuromodulation system, has added $20.5m to a series C round that now stands at $35m.

Theva conducts $8m in EnBW-backed round

University

MuMac eyes first round


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

03 July 2017 – The Political Environment and Investment

Funds

Cloudflare, an internet technology provider with its own security products, has launched its own $100m fund.

Cybersecurity technology producer Trend Micro has inserted an initial $100m into a newly formed corporate venturing unit that will target disruptive sectors such as the internet-of-things, which its parent company believes will be the next technology mega wave.

Corporates boost Cathay Innovation fund to $320m

Capnamic Ventures, a VC firm that focuses on startups in German speaking regions, has reached the final close of its latest fund, having raised $130m. The fund’s limited partners include Cisco, which announced a $500m German investment drive early last year, as well as AXA Germany, Rheinische Post Media Group and Sparkassen Group.

Applied Ventures joins KVIC for $40m Korea fund

University

Technion institutes $200m fund

Imec expands with $136m fund

Government

BioGeneration begets $75m fund

Horizon approaches $150m fund

Exits

ProSiebenSat.1 sells media-for-equity assets

Online insurance provider ZhongAn has reportedly filed for a $1.5bn IPO in Hong Kong that will allow the company’s co-founders Ping An, Tencent and Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial to exit.

Best Inc, one of several logistics and supply chain services providers to have sprung up in the wake of China’s e-commerce boom, has filed for a $750m IPO in the US.

Takeda subsidiary Millennium Pharmaceuticals and Pfizer have both scored exits in a $75m IPO by Mersana Therapeutics, a developer of antibody drug conjugates that will fight cancer.

Deals

Alibaba paid $1bn for a majority stake in Southeast Asian e-commerce marketplace Lazada last year, and now it’s pumped in another $1bn to take its stake to 83%, giving full exits to backers including Tesco and Rocket Internet, both of which also sold shares in the 2016 deal.

Sources confirmed to Bloomberg over the weekend that Houzz, the Comcast-backed operator of a social image platform for house decoration ideas, has closed a $400m round that valued it at $4bn.

Dynamic glass developer View has doubled its series G round to $200m, $70m of the money coming from BlackRock.

Siemens has joined the participants in electric vehicle charging network ChargePoint’s series G round, which has now closed at $125m.

Naspers reveals $71m Flipkart investment

Brazilian mobile commerce platform Movile has raised $53m in a round that included longtime investor Naspers, which had put up a big part of the $135m the company had raised between 2014 and 2016.

GPU-equipped database developer Kinetica has secured $50m in funding from investors including Citi Ventures, taking its equity financing to $63m in a little over a year.

Government

IDS diagnoses $60m investment

University

Diffblue enters series A spectrum


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

26 June 2017 – Impact Revolution…Led By Entrepreneurs

News

US looks into regulating Chinese investment

PraxisUnico challenges universities to collaborate with industry

Funds

Juewei and Ele.me to cater to startups

Sanovas performs $75m fundraising

Corporate-backed 500 Startups Japan scales to $35m

Foxconn joins Hardware Club

Government

Scotland readies $250m in funding

The 23 Fund: a new model for growth capital in the world’s poorest countries

Exits

Walmart has sealed the acquisition of online men’s fashion brand Bonobos with $310m in cash, and we examine the purchase in this week’s Big Deal.

Government

Catapult Therapy TCR hits exit

Deals

Vice Media continues to go from strength to strength, and has secured its largest investment yet, raising $450m from private equity group TPG at a $5.7bn valuation.

JD.com has provided $397m of equity funding for luxury fashion e-commerce platform Farfetch as part of a strategic partnership agreement that will involve it helping US-based Farfetch expand in its own home country of China.

Advanced bedding producer and online retailer Casper has officially closed a $170m series C round led by Target, the retail chain that reportedly tried to buy it a few months back.

Healthy meal subscription service Freshly has raised $77m in a round led by new strategic partner Nestlé USA, bringing its total funding to approximately $107m altogether.

Fitness membership service ClassPass has had some bad publicity in the last year, due to it hiking up prices and getting rid of its unlimited membership plans, but that apparently hasn’t stopped it doubling its membership. It also hasn’t prevented a $70m series C roundthat included existing backer GV.

SoftBank put up $50m of the $59m in series C funding endpoint security software provider Cybereason raised in late 2015, and now it’s agreed to add $100m in a deal that will make it the company’s largest shareholder.

Scopely, the developer of an interactive gaming network focused around its own mobile games, has raised $60m in a series C round that took its overall funding to almost $160m.

FuboTV offers a 55-channel over-the-top video streaming service to its subscribers, but it aims to increase its size with the proceeds from a $55m series C round.

Syntimmune, the developer of a therapy that could treat a range of autoimmune conditions, has raised $50m in a series B round led by venture firm Apple Tree Partners.

Farfetch’s climbing valuation is a good omen for the UK’s startup scene, and another UK-based company, digital wealth manager Scalable Capital, has pulled in $33.5m in a series B round led by strategic investor BlackRock that included existing backer Tengelmann Ventures.

Government

IP Group updates Touchstone offer

Touchstone continues to make Impression


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

19 June 2017 – Ride Hailing Services Grab Deals and Much More

Funds

Ping An outlines fintech investment plans

Medicxi nabs corporates to close $300m fund

Novartis and Alphabet subsidiary Verily were among the limited partners for a the late-stage fund, which will complement the GSK and Johnson & Johnson-backed fund  Medicxi closed in 2016.

Japan-based ICT equipment provider Nihon Unisys has formed a $45m corporate venturing unit that will seek out investments in sectors such as robotics, financial technology and the internet of things.

Palo Alto Networks puts together $20m fund

GUV

Galaxy stars in IP Group’s $264m fundraising

GGV

London looks to Better Futures

Exits

Wanderful finds path to acquisition

GGV

Hello bids farewell

Deals

News leaked out in March that ride hailing service Grab was set to raise $1.5bn in a round led by existing investor SoftBank, and sources have told Bloomberg firstly that the round already includes Didi Chuxing, and secondly that Alibaba or Ant Financial is also considering an investment, in order to promote their Alipay platform to Grab’s Southeast Asian customers.

Mobike has raised $600m in a Tencent-led round that will fuel expansion not only in its home country but also in Singapore and the UK.

Careem is taking the Uber model to the Middle East and surrounding countries, and is growing rapidly in the process, doubling the number of cities in which it operates to 80 in the past six months.

A regulatory filing in April indicated Indian ride hailing company Ola was seeking another $100m in funding, and it has reportedly secured some of that already. Hedge fund Tekne Capital Management has provided a sub-$50m amount.

Jaguar Land Rover and its corporate venturing and incubator subsidiary InMotion have invested a combined $25m in ride hailing company Lyft as part of a partnership agreement that will involve Lyft helping test its autonomous driving and mobility services.

Elsewhere in the transport sector, Chinese second hand vehicle marketplace Guazi.com has received $400m in series B funding from investors including steel producer Shougang Group’s Jingxin Venture Capital fund.

UCar, the China-based chauffeured car service that went public last year at a $5.5bn valuation, has formed a corporate venturing fund sized at almost $1.5bn, and its first investment has been to lead a $324m series B round for electric vehicle developer Xiaopeng Motors.

Electric bus producer Proterra raised $140m a recently as January, in a ‘series 5’ round featuring Edison Energy, GM Ventures and Exelon’s Constellation Technology Ventures unit, but it wasn’t finished.

Oppo takes a ride on Ponycar

Drone Racing League takes off with $20m

Following on from news that Amazon is interested in acquiring Slack for upwards of $9bn, but recently bought US-listed Whole Foods for $13.7bn, it turns out Slack is in the process of raising $500m of new funding at a $5bn post-money valuation.

AvidXchange, a provider of automated payment processing technology, has raised $300m in financing from investors including Mastercard, with which it has struck a strategic partnership agreement to supply AvidXchange’s technology to its customers.

Temasek and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec have contributed to a $300m funding round for AvidXchange that also attracted Mastercard and Peter Thiel.

Online brokerage Futu Securities has received more than $145m in a series C round led by Tencent, the corporate investor that also took part in its series A and B rounds.

Element AI elevates itself to $102m series A

Actility admits Cisco to $75m series D

Clutter is one of several on-demand platforms seeking to disrupt the personal storage space, and it has raised $64m in a GV-backed series C round to support growth, both in its home country of the US and abroad.

Twist finds the material to raise $60m

Omada goes on the attack with $50m

GGV

Protix breeds $50.5m investment


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

12 June 2017 – Essential Houzz Deals and Much More

Deals

Houzz is reportedly nearing the close of a $400m round led by multi-family office Iconiq Capital that will value it at about $400m.

Essential, the smartphone startup founded by Andy Rubin, formerly head of Android at Google, has reportedly raised $300m at a valuation somewhere between $900m and $1bn.

Pinterest has raised $150m from existing investors – one of which may have been Rakuten – at a $12.3bn valuation.

Adaptive cybersecurity technology provider Illumio has raised $125m in a series D round that included a range of new and existing investors, and which reportedly valued it at more than $1bn pre-money.

Bitcoin and ethereum both reached new highs today, which makes it timely that crytocurrency management platform Coinbase is reportedly in talks to raise about $100m of new funding at a $1bn valuation.

Earlens, the developer of an advanced hearing aid that uses light to transmit sound, has closed a $73m series C round backed by medical device makers Medtronic and Cochlear alongside a $45m secured debt facility from CRG.

Tantan, the developer of a Chinese dating and social networking app that bears an, ahem, passing resemblance to Tinder, has pulled in $70m in a series D round led by YY. Tantan.

Coursera has boosted its total funding to $210m with a $64m series D round that, according to TechCrunch, valued it at $800m.

Logistics services provider Shansong Express, already backed by a subsidiary of Susquehanna International Group, has added Hearst Communications and Beijing Hualian Group to its shareholders thanks to a $50m series C+ round.

Funds

Fosun Kinzon Capital, the venture capital firm sponsored solely by conglomerate Fosun International, is set to invest $100m in Indian startups by the end of the calendar year, if an unnamed “top executive” is to be believed.

Legend Capital, the Chinese VC firm backed by Lenovo owner Legend Holdings, has reached the $448m final close of its latest fund.

On GUV, the Pittsburgh Revolution Fund is targeting a $200m close to support drug research teams that will form spinouts of University of Pittsburgh.

And on GGV, the government of Canada is planning to launch a C$400m ($296m) Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative to support small and medium-sized enterprises.

The government-owned Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) is dedicating C$250m ($185m) towards growth equity over the next five years through investment arm BDC Capital.

AP2, a Swedish government-mandated pension fund, has injected $50m into the impact investment vehicle Rise Fund, which is aimed at a variety of global social challenges.

Irish state-owned export credit agency Enterprise Ireland is looking to raise €60m ($67m) with a regional development fund, according to the Irish Independent.

Exits

Mersana Therapeutics, which is working on antibody drug conjugates to treat cancer, has filed to raise $75m in an IPO that will allow Takeda and Pfizer to exit the company.

Delivery Hero has formally revealed it is seeking to go public this year, and is planning to issue more than $500m of shares in Germany and Luxembourg.

Aileron Therapeutics has filed for a $69m IPO that will support research and clinical development for a cancer treatment dubbed ALRN-6924.


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

05 June 2017 – Invenergy Launches Cleantech Corporate Venturing Arm and Much More

Funds

Invenergy announced (just ahead of Trump’s Paris deal pullout) that it will launch a corporate venturing arm aimed at cleantech software companies.

Chinese internet company 37 Interactive Entertainment has launched an investment fund together with VC firm Oriental Future Capital.

Google is reportedly launching an AI-focused fund that will be led by engineers rather than professional investors.

Salesforce breaks ground on $50m Trailblazer fund

GGV

HTGF III celebrates $275m first close

Vertex to launch Israel and US funds

People

Smith stays on top of Allied Minds

Exits

VNG, the Vietnam-based online gaming and messaging firm, has inked a preliminary agreement with stock exchange Nasdaq to undertake an initial public offering in the US.

HP calculates Hexadite exit

ItzCash is acquired by Ebix

Deals

E-commerce firm Alibaba and its financial services affiliate Ant Financial are set to lead a $1bn round for China-based online food ordering and delivery platform Ele.me.

It could have been one of the biggest deals of the year, but it wasn’t meant to be despite the impressive deal-making skills of SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son: the merger of satellite company OneWeb – backed by the aforementioned corporate – has given up on a $14bn merger with Intelsat, a Nasdaq-listed peer that is also among OneWeb’s backers.

Outcome Health, which has developed products such as the Digital Anatomy Board that enables doctors to annotate 3D anatomical diagram to visualise a patient’s condition and treatment options, has achieved a $5bn pre-money valuation for its latest round that involved Alphabet’s CapitalG unit and reportedly brought in as much as $600m.

Andy Rubin may be best known in tech circles as the father of the Android operating system (which he sold to Google in 2005), but now he’s trying to create an entire consumer brand called Essential – starting, perhaps unsurprisingly, with a smartphone. To do that, he’s raised “hundreds of millions of dollars” from investors such as Foxconn, Tencent and Access Industries.

Ouyeel manufactures $140m investment

In China, education platform provider Yuanfudao has collected $120m from investors including Tencent, which previously supplied $40m in May 2016.

UrWork and 5Lmeet collect $117m

Zongheng remains in Perfect World for funding

Casper, the company that is known for delivering its memory foam mattresses folded up in boxes, was in discussions with retailer Target for a while over a possible acquisition – at one point, Target was even willing to put as much $1bn on the table. The transaction however didn’t materialise because the two couldn’t agree on the terms, but that doesn’t appear to have stopped Target from leading a $75m investment in Casper.

Adobe Systems may not be among the most prolific corporate venturers out there (the company was involved in a handful of deals over the past year), but it does support its portfolio companies through follow-on rounds, as illustrated by Demandbase’s $65m funding round.

Bicycle Therapeutics rides towards $52m series B

Snapdeal grabs $17.5m

Back in the US, industrial robots maker Grabit hasn’t announced any new funding but revealed it has collected $25m in capital to date.

Uni

Investors chip in for Ultrasoc’s series D

Tolerogenixx accepts seed round

Gov

Wise is clever about series B

Japan-based technology conglomerate SoftBank Group has made a first close at $93bn of its corporate venturing fund after commitments from Middle Eastern sovereign wealth funds and at least four other corporations.


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

29 May 2017 – Home Fitness Service Peloton Raises $325m and Much More

Deals

Alibaba and Ant Financial are reportedly set to lead a $1bn round for food ordering platform Ele.me that will value it at up to $6bn.

Peloton, the home fitness service that combines a high-tech exercise bike with a subscription-based service that makes it feel like you’re in a live class (within reason obviously, though who would bet against VR being integrated into Peloton’s offering in the near future?), has raised $325m in a series E round featuring Comcast NBCUniversal.

Livestreaming has become one of the fastest growing parts of the media sector, not least in China where Panda TV has raised $140m in a series B round led by brokerage firm Industrial Securities.

R3, a consortium formed by a few dozen financial services operators to develop and commercialise blockchain technology for the industry, has secured $107m in the first two tranches of a series A round that includes Intel Capital, Ping An and Temasek, the sovereign wealth fund of Singapore, as well as around 40 banks.

In other news, Chinese mobile communication app developer Chubao has raised $100m in a series D round that included Susquehanna International Group, which has been an investor in the company since 2011.

Huya, the livestreaming subsidiary of online video streaming platform YY, has spun out with $75m of series A funding led by Ping An Insurance.

UrWork was founded only two years ago but it could yet turn out to be the Didi Chuxing of the co-working sector.

We’ve also had a few nice triple helix deals in the past week, such as Symic Bio, a biopharmaceutical spinout of Purdue University, that has completed a $30m series B round backed by all its existing investors, including Purdue Foundry Investment Fund, a vehicle backed by Purdue University focused on the institution’s spinouts.

Funds

The big news is that SoftBank has finally announced the first close of its Vision Fund, having raised an immense $93bn in capital.

WuXi Healthcare Ventures, the corporate venturing arm of WuXi PharmaTech, has agreed to merge with VC firm Frontline BioVentures to form a healthcare-focused investment firm called 6 Dimensions Capital that will have some $800m of assets under management.

Saudi Telecom formed strategic VC firm STC Ventures in 2011 to invest in the IT, telecommunications and media sectors, but as times change so do the requirements for corporate venturing, and the firm has elected to commit $500m to a new fund named STV that will back more advanced digital technologies.

Gree Ventures, the corporate venturing arm of social media and gaming company Gree, has closed its second fund at $67m.

We didn’t see any big fund launches on GUV, and while there were some on GGV, the most interesting news here was that the European Investment Fund has started pulling out of the UK following the country’s decision to abandon the EU.

Exits

Flipkart’s acquisition of rival Snapdeal is getting closer with news that SoftBank has bought out the shares of various other Snapdeal board members to clear the way for the deal.

Delivery Hero raised more than $420m from Naspers earlier this month at a reported $3.1bn valuation, but sources have told Reuters it is planning to launch an IPO in the next few weeks that could value it at up to €4bn ($4.5bn).

Sea, the Singapore-registered online services platform that recently rebranded from Garena with a $550m funding round, has confidentially filed for an IPO in the US that will give exits to corporate investors Tencent, JG Summit and Uni-President Enterprises, according to Bloomberg.

Bioverativ has agreed to acquire True North Therapeutics for $400m upfront with up to $425m in milestone payments to come.

On GUV, news emerged on Tuesday that commercialisation firm IP Group had made a bid for Touchstone Innovations, its peer that was spun out of Imperial College London. Touchstone rebuffed the offer, though a majority of its shareholders (some of which also own IP Group stakes) are pushing for the takeover.


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

22 May 2017 – Naspers $420m Order for Delivery Hero and Much More

Before we dive into this week’s news, here’s a recommendation for a more in-depth look at a recent deal. Naspers has invested more than $420m in online food delivery service Delivery Hero at a $3.1bn flat valuation.

Deals

SoftBank is carrying on its Indian deal spree, paying $1.4bn for a 20% stake in One97 Communications, the e-commerce company that owns mobile payment and financial services platform Paytm.

Health insurance provider Clover Health is currently only serving customers in New Jersey but that hasn’t stopped it raising some big funding, most recently a $130m round featuring GV that valued it at $1.2bn.

Alphabet’s CapitalG unit led endpoint security software provider CrowdStrike’s $100m series C round two years ago, and now it’s returned for a $100m series D that also featured telecom group Telstra.

Venture firm Horizon Ventures has provided between $50m and $100m in funding for gaming software and accessories producer Razer at a valuation just short of $2bn, according to TechCrunch.

Google has spun out ProjectLink, its African fibre optic broadband installation project, into a new company called CSquared that is armed with up to $100m of funding.

Tencent has invested another $90m in mobile game developer Pocket Gems, this time at a $500m valuation, and now holds a 38% stake in the company.

Secure messaging platform Symphony Communication Services has raised $63m in a round led by BNP Paribas, the latest bank to join the company’s assortment of financial services investors.

On GUV, Neighborly, a US-based operator of a public finance platform, collected $25m in series A capital on Tuesday from a consortium of investors that included Stanford University.

On GGV, we had interesting news that wasn’t exactly a new investment, but Temasek, the sovereign wealth fund of Singapore, has been revealed as a shareholder in Snap, the US-based operator of an ephemeral messaging app.

Funds

SoftBank is apparently getting nearer to closing its Vision Fund, at between $95bn and $100bn, and has secured electronics producer Sharp as the fund’s latest corporate backer.

DMG Entertainment is building a diversified media and entertainment business that spans film and TV production, gaming, comics and live experiences, and it’s looking to expand that further through the establishment of a corporate venturing fund.

Google Ventures founder Bill Maris has finally closed his, securing an upsized $150m for his Section 32 firm. The fund will invest not only in healthcare and biotech, which Maris told TechCrunch is “a bit too trendy” right now, but in a wide range of sectors including agritech.

Honeywell has become the latest big firm to enter corporate venturing, setting up a unit called Honeywell Venture Capital that it expects will have an initial fund size of $100m.

On GGV, the Beijing government has joined forces with a host of state-owned enterprises to establish a $21.8bn guidance fund, called State-Owned Enterprises China Innovation Fund, aimed at technologies such as quantum teleportation, clean energy, new energy vehicles, 3D printing, robotics, graphene, biomedicine, energy saving and environment protection sectors.

On GUV, exciting news came from Ireland, where the TTOs of four institutions – University College Cork (UCC), Teagasc, Cork Institute of Technology and Institute of Technology Tralee –launched a new consortium dubbed Bridge Network.

Ireland wasn’t the only country that upped its game last week though: in Italy, a newly launched VC firm, Aurora-TT, is seeking $55m for a fund that would help commercialise biotechnology research conducted at the country’s universities.

Exits

QuantGroup, an AI-equipped online lending platform that graduated from Microsoft’s Beijing accelerator in 2014, is reportedly accepting applications from banks for an IPO in the US that could raise up to $200m.

Apple has reportedly paid about $200m to acquire Lattice Data, a startup developing technology that can convert dark data like images or text into structured data that can be analysed.

Oncology therapy developer G1 Therapeutics has gone public in a $105m IPO that gave MedImmune Ventures, the company’s second largest shareholder, an exit.

We didn’t have any exits on GGV, but on GUV Luxendo, a microscope manufacturer spun out of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), has been acquired by scientific instruments manufacturer Bruker.


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

15 May 2017 – SoftBank Leads Improbable $502m Investment and Much More

Deals

The $5.5bn round on-demand ride provider Didi Chuxing just confirmed was closed at a $50bn valuation that means it is closing ground with rival Uber in terms of size, and the company has indicated it will use the cash to finally expand globally.

Yixin Group, the online automotive marketplace spinout of motoring e-commerce firm Bitauto, has secured $580m in funding commitments in a round that includes both its parent company and internet group Tencent.

Indonesia-based online media, e-commerce and financial services platform Garena has rebranded itself as Sea and revealed $550m in funding from conglomerates JG Summit Holdings and Uni-President Enterprises.

SoftBank is continuing its investment spree, leading a $502m series B round for Improbable, a UK company developing software that will make the creation of large-scale virtual worlds possible.

SoftBank has also led a $360m round for Guardant Health, the developer of a liquid biopsy test for cancer diagnosis, and will help commercialise Guardant’s technology in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Modernizing Medicine had raised a total of $87m in funding as of the $38m series E round it closed in 2015, but the electronic health record system developer has taken a big jump with a $231m investment by private equity firm Warburg Pincus.

Online payment services provider PayU has invested $120m in digital lending platform lending platform Kreditech as part of a strategic partnership agreement.

There’s been more action in the on-demand transport sector, with Spain-based Cabify having raised $100m from an undisclosed single investor as part of a series D round it aims to close at $500m.

India-based mobile wallet operator MobiKwik is working on its own nine-figure round and is reportedly in talks with BlackRock, Bank of Baroda and Canara Bank over a round that will value it at about $1bn.

Music royalties platform Kobalt has raised $75m in a Hearst Entertainment-led series D round that valued the company at $775m post-money.

Signifyd has secured $56m in an American Express Ventures-backed series C round that increased its overall funding to almost $100m.

Social music app developer Smule has raised $54m in a round led by Tencent that reportedly values it at just over $600m.

Customer data software provider Gainsight has closed a $52m series E round featuring Salesforce Ventures and Cisco Investments that took its overall funding to more than $150m.

We’ve already talked about the biggest government venturing deal with Guardant Health just now, but what about the university venturing world? We haven’t had any mind-blowingly large rounds there this week, but still a few interesting ones – among these is SiFive, a US-based fabless provider of customised semiconductors based on UC Berkeley research, which raised $8.5m in a series B round that included spinout-focused investment firm Osage University Partners.

Funds

Dell has brought its corporate venturing unit, Dell Technologies Capital, out of stealth, revealing a 50-strong portfolio and 27 exits in the past five years.

China has launched a RMB17.8bn ($2.6bn) venture capital fund aimed at startups in industries of strategic importance, such as IT, energy conservation and environmental protection, advanced materials and equipment manufacturing.

International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector-focused investment arm of multilateral financial institution World Bank, has agreed to put $10m into the Stellaris Venture Partners India I fund.

BDC Capital, the investment arm of the government-owned Business Development Bank of Canada, injected C$5m ($3.6m) into the StandUp Ventures Fund I.

Exits

Ovid Therapeutics has gone public in a $75m IPO that provided exits for Sanofi-Genzyme BioVentures and Takeda, the latter its largest external investor.


“Funky Chunk” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
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