13 September 2021 – PayPal Picks Up Paidy in $2.7bn Deal

The Big Ones

Digital payment processor PayPal agreed to acquire Japanese consumer finance service Paidy for about $2.7bn. Paidy provides a buy-now-pay-later service that allows customers to make instant credit purchases that can be paid back on a monthly basis. PayPal will use the acquisition to strengthen its capabilities and presence in the domestic payments market in Japan. Following the close of the deal in the fourth quarter of 2021, Paidy will continue to operate under the leadership of founder and executive chairman Russell Cummer and president and CEO Riku Sugie. The company had raised $585m of overall financing prior to the acquisition announcement, including $337m of equity funding.

Varo Bank, a US-based digital bank that counts automotive insurance provider Progressive as a backer, raised $510m in a round led by investment manager Lone Pine Capital.

Declaration Partners, Eldridge, Marshall Wace, Berkshire Partners’ Stockbridge unit and funds and accounts managed by BlackRock took part in the round, as did Gallatin Point Capital, HarbourVest Partners, TPG’s The Rise Fund and Warburg Pincus. It valued the company at $2.5bn, according to Reuters. Founded in 2015, Varo provides digital banking services without a minimum balance requirement or the overdraft fees associated with traditional banks. It also offers additional banking products including automatic saving schemes and short-term loans of up to $100m.

British cybersecurity technology developer Snyk collected $530m in a series F round at a valuation of $8.5bn. The injection consisted of $300m in new money and $230m in secondary funding. The round featured project management technology provider Atlassian, chemical and energy group Koch Industries and enterprise software provider Salesforce. Asset manager Sands Capital and investment firm Tiger Global Management co-led the round, which included Accel, Addition, Alkeon, Baillie Gifford, funds managed by BlackRock, Boldstart Ventures, Canaan Partners, Coatue, Franklin Templeton, Geodesic Capital, Lone Pine Capital, T Rowe Price, Temasek and Whale Rock Capital Management. Snyk has built a cloud-based IT security software tool, Developer Security Platform, which helps app developers create safer products. Some 1,200 organisations including Asurion, Google, Intuit, Revolut and Salesforce use the company’s platform and its total funding stands at $775m.

China-based semiconductor wafer manufacturer FerroTec received $511m in a series B round featuring communications equipment producer Yangtze Optical FC (YOFC). The round was co-led by State-owned investor Capital Operation and Sunic Capital. It also included Bocom International Holdings and CCB International, on behalf of financial services firms Bank of Communications and China Construction Bank. SDIC Chuangyi, a subsidiary of State Development & Investment Corp (SDIC), also took part in the round, as did FTZ Fund, China SME Development Fund, Orient Securities Capital Investment and China International Capital Corporation’s CICC Capital unit. FerroTec produces semiconductors, automotive electronics, medical devices and other industrial equipment and components. It plans to use the funding to reach a monthly production capacity of 200,000 12-inch silicon wafers by the end of 2022.

Crossover

Spiber, a Japanese synthetic biomaterial developer synthetic spun out of Keio University and backed by corporates Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Toyoshima, Ebara, Toyota Boshuko and Dai-Chi Life, raked in ¥34.4bn ($312m) in funding. Private equity firm Carlyle led the round through its Carlyle Japan Partners fund and was joined by investment and financial services group Fidelity, Cool Japan Fund and Baillie Gifford. The round valued the company at over $1.2bn post-money. Founded in 2007, Spiber produces synthetic silk and other materials using synthetic proteins with no need for the spiders and silkworms usually required. The company is looking to capitalise on a growing market for sustainable textiles and will put the proceeds of the round into accelerating its expansion and commercialisation plans.

Funds

Germany-headquartered automotive manufacturer Volkswagen intends to set up a €300m ($356m) corporate venture capital fund to invest in startups and decarbonisation initiatives. Another Germany-based automotive manufacturer, BMW, launched a $300m second fund for its BMW i Ventures subsidiary last Summer. A third, Daimler, spun off its 1886Ventures research hub into a separate entity in December 2020.

Baidu Ventures, the corporate venturing arm of China-based internet company Baidu, raised $400m for its third fund. The fundraising has increased the unit’s assets under management to over $700m. The fund will primarily be used to invest in early-stage technology startups in artificial intelligence (AI) technology-focused business sectors. Baidu Ventures has already tapped the fund to complete several investments including in Tsing Standard, a developer of electric vehicle testing technology, and cancer drug and diagnostics technology developer Gene+.


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

Summer Break 2021

We’re on summer break but will be back in September. Check out our websites for news stories in the meantime:


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

02 August 2021 – Rhiti Group and Kanodia Launch VC Firm Deep Pockets Capital Venture

Story 1

While immediate attention is on China’s latest crackdown of sectors, such as tech and education, and the ability for foreign investors to back them or even if they can make profits, there is greater optimism in another rising economic power: India.

India-based sports-focused Rhiti Group has collaborated with local cement maker Kanodia Group to launch venture capital firm Deep Pockets Capital Venture.

“India is on the cusp of a revolution in technology, including artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain, which are set to revolutionise agriculture, finance and entertainment in coming years,” according to Rhiti Group Chairman Arun Pandey in the Economic Times of India.

Venture capital funding for Indian firms hit a six-year high of $12.1bn in the first six months of 2021, according to Venture Intelligence, many of them by foreign investors.

Tiger Global has struck almost 170 deals in India since 2006 with 29 so far this year, according to PitchBook data, under a strategy by key executives such as Lee Fixel, alongside other corporate investors, such as Naspers (now called Prosus), and Chinese peers, such as Xiaomi, Tencent and Alibaba.

In 2014, Tiger and Prosus helped lead a $1bn investment in Indian ecommerce group Flipkart, at a valuation that represented a three to four times multiple of the company’s sales, according to the Financial Times in its profile of Tiger.

And exits are starting to flow following the seminal $16bn acquisition of a majority of Flipkart by US peer Walmart three years ago. The successful listing of food delivery service Zomato and expected bumper initial public offerings of payments provider Paytm, insurance aggregator Policybazaar, bueaty retailer Nykaa and delivery company Delhivery. Even Flipkart could reportedly come to the public markets as soon as this year after its latest $3.6bn round.

But India’s regulators favour incumbents and the risks remain that a change in approach to international investment could collapse sentiment in the way the FT reported that SoftBank Vision Fund’s bet on China-based ride hailing service Didi Chuxing had fallen $4bn into the red after the past few weeks since its US listing was subsequently attacked by the authorities.

The Economist this week warned these investors might struggle. Local corporate investors, however, are waking up to the possibilities.

Story 2

A week ago, US-based stock exchange Nasdaq said it would separate its existing marketplace for private company shares into a new unit. With Wall Street giants Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup alongside California ingenue Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) buying into the new division it “will prove exceptionally difficult to compete against”, according to the Financial Times.

There is already $30bn traded on private exchanges, such as Carta and EquityZen, the FT added. But the potential market is vast, and growing.

After raising an almost $6.7bn fund in March, hedge fund Tiger Global had invested the vast majority of the capital by June, according to a letter to investors seen by the FT. Its new $10bn fund will begin accepting capital as soon as October and, in marketing documents, Tiger Global said it had “consistently underestimated” the market for private tech companies. Six months earlier, data suggested a $3tn market opportunity. It was now closer to $5tn, the firm said, as it looked to purchase billions of dollars of shares in ByteDance, the owner of social media application TikTok, through secondary sales at prices valuing the company between $400bn and $450bn, according to the FT.

But with even more liquidity to venture potentially surging in from retail and other investors will come tighter bid-ask spreads and effectively little to choose for an entrepreneur whether the business has to sell or float at all.

Alex Lazovsky, managing partner and co-founder of venture capital firm Scale-Up VC, in an article for Forbes thinks this is the biggest change for VCs.

“Perhaps the biggest change is just now emerging on the horizon, and it could dissolve the entire concept of ‘exit’ from below. The secondary market looks set to go retail, which might largely erase the difference between the public and private equity markets.

“If anyone with some extra income and a smartphone can invest in startup equity, does that make everyone a VC? Will existing VCs be priced out of their own market? If startups have access to unlimited public finance while still in the garage, what would ‘exit’ mean? Where is the gap? Will Sequoia meet the same fate as the once-mighty record company EMI?”

Probably not. As the Economist noted in its obituary for Yang Huaiding – China’s “first shareholder”, known as “Yang Millions” – it is “no good treating the market like a casino. You had to study it constantly, the companies, the conditions, the mood, before you jumped.”

The winners, therefore, are rarely the Robinhood traders but those with an edge – inside information on the likely future performance of a business.

And here, SVB is likely to be far more disruptive to the traditional investment banks as a result of the Nasdaq spinout.

SVB has the financials for the main VC firms and hence which ones to support as well as many of the entrepreneurs.

Throw in SVB’s work with corporations to help them partner these entrepreneurs as a customer and the future revenues it can bring then this is an unprecedented edge.

The only surprise is the big banks have yet to buy SVB before it reached this stage.

Story 3

Potential exciting news by the Wall Street Journal as US-based Form Energy recently initiated a $200m funding round, led by a strategic investment from Luxembourg-based steelmaking group ArcelorMittal, which is also one of the world’s leading iron-ore producers.

Form could use iron to store energy for days, which is helpful for utilities grappling with the intermittent supply of electricity from renewable power – check out the Global Energy Council’s latest report with a focus on the electricity grid.

The deal is also part of the so-called cleantech 2.0 movement. The first wave of cleantech startups before 2009 struggled for years with a number of high-profile flameouts, such as Solyndra.

Now, a wave of liquidity through special purpose acquisition companies (Spacs) is targeting many of the survivors and promising new companies with an eye on the disruption and opportunities to affect the business world as it tackles climate change and the move to net zero carbon emissions.

Paul Holland, managing director and VC-in-residence at Mach49, will discuss with Scott Gale, executive director at Halliburton Labs, and Grégoire Viasnoff, vice-president for incubation business at Schneider Electric, on how multinationals can tackle the world’s most pressing problems through venture building and investing in cleantech, energy transition, circular economy and mobility.

Halliburton Labs, the clean energy accelerator from one of the world’s largest providers to the energy industry, this month announced the second cohort of startups.

Schneider Electric, another Mach49 partner focused on sustainability and the circular economy, has been incubating new companies, such as eIQ Mobility, Clipsal Solar and Dash Energy, and investing in external startups through its $600m SE Ventures fund since 2018.

“Mach49 was founded on the belief that through venture building and venture investing, global businesses can solve the world’s most pressing problems, including climate change, water, poverty, health, and education,” said Linda Yates, founder and CEO of Mach49. “Embracing a Silicon Valley mindset is the first step. With a nimble, startup and VC mindset, large global corporations are leveraging their talent, assets, and innovation to create a growth engine fuelled by a pipeline and portfolio of new ventures.”

Reduce, reuse and recycle was a helpful way to think about limiting personal impact on the planet (along with the handy advice to take nothing but photos, leave nothing but footprints).

And it seems corporations are taking up the mantra as their venturing units increasingly focus on sustainable development goals.

Most recently, Germany-based consumer technology subscription platform Grover has raised $1bn in debt financing to add to April’s series B equity round from Samsung Next among others.

The company offers users consumers electronics, such as Samsung phones, to rent and then reuse saving about 1,400 tonnes of waste.

Meanwhile, Amazon Climate Pledge Fund has reinvested in the battery recycling services provider Redwood’s $700m round at a reported $3.7bn post-money valuation and UK-based all-inclusive electric vehicle (EV) subscription service Onto has raised $175m in a combined equity and debt series B round including from oil major TotalEnergies, industrial group Vlerick Group and Netherlands-based insurer Achmea’s Innovation Fund.

And more such deals are likely to come. Private equity firm TPG has raised $5.4bn for its TPG Rise Climate fund with a hard cap of $7bn and existing commitments from 20 or so corporations, including Alphabet, Bank of America, Dow, General Motors and Nike.

Earlier in the month, private market investor General Atlantic created a strategy focused on climate change that is reportedly looking to raise about $4bn.

According to Pitchbook, investors around the world have already closed as many climate-focused funds, such as $7bn for Brookfield Asset Management’s carbon neutrality fund, as were raised in the past five years.

These impact, environmental and sustainability strategies will be discussed around the COP26 meeting in November as part of the www.GCVsymposium.com


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

26 July 2021 – Swiggy Raises $1.25bn in Series J

The Big Ones

SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 and Prosus co-led a $1.25bn series J round for India-based food delivery service provider Swiggy at a $5.5bn valuation. The round also featured sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority as well as Accel, Wellington Management, Falcon Edge Capital, Amansa Capital, Goldman Sachs, Think Capital and Carmignac. TechCrunch said the round includes an $800m tranche led by Prosus’ corporate venturing arm, Prosus Ventures, in April this year. SoftBank provided a reported $450m for that close, which included Falcon Edge, Goldman Sachs, Amansa Capital, Think Capital, Carmignac and Accel.

Aurora, a US-based self-driving technology developer, has agreed a reverse merger with Reinvent Technology Partners Y. The combined company will have a $13bn pro forma implied market capitalisation and will take on Reinvent’s listing on the Nasdaq Capital Market, which was secured through an $850m initial public offering in March this year. It is sponsored by investment firm Reinvent Capital. The transaction includes a $1bn PIPE financing featuring truck manufacturer Paccar, ride hailing service provider Uber and commercial vehicle producer Volvo Group, as well as Reinvent Capital, Baillie Gifford, XN, Primecap Management Company, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Index Ventures, Sequoia Capital, funds and accounts managed by Morgan Stanley’s Counterpoint Global unit and funds and accounts advised by T Rowe Price.

Italy-based venture capital firm Panakès Partners has achieved a $180m first close for its second fund with a commitment from pharmaceutical firm Menarini. The Purple Fund was anchored by the European Investment Fund and FoF VenturItaly, a fund-of-funds managed by VC firm CDP Venture Capital. The vehicle is also backed by unnamed Italy-based banking foundations, pension funds, life science companies and the Cogliati, Colombo, Rovati, Petrone, Re and Bassani families.

University

Form Energy, a US-based grid-scale battery developer spun out of MIT, secured $200m in a series D round led by $25m from ArcelorMittal’s XCarb innovation fund. As part of the deal, ArcelorMittal and Form Energy have signed a joint development agreement to further boost the latter’s iron battery production. The other participants in the round were not disclosed.

Deals

Cryptocurrency exchange operator FTX Trading completed a $900m series B round featuring SoftBank, Coinbase Ventures and Circle. The funding was raised at an $18bn valuation from a consortium of more than 60 investors including quantitative trading firm Hudson River, Paradigm, Sequoia Capital, Thoma Bravo, Ribbit Capital, Insight Partners, Bond, New Enterprise Associates, Third Point and Lightspeed Venture Partners, Willoughby Capital, 40North, Senator Investment Group, Sino Global Capital, Multicoin, VanEck, Altimeter, the Paul Tudor Jones family, and private investors Izzy Englander and Alan Howard.

Colombia-based on-demand delivery service Rappi has secured over $500m in series F funding from investors including SoftBank. T Rowe Price led the round, which also featured Baillie Gifford, Third Point, Octahedron Capital and GIC. The cash was reportedly raised at a $5.25bn valuation.

US-based crop nutrition technology developer Pivot Bio completed a $430m series D round that included Tekfen, Bunge and Continental Grain. Temasek and DCVC co-led the round with backing from Generation Investment Management, Rockefeller Capital Management, Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV), Prelude Ventures, Pavilion Capital and private investor Roger Underwood. Tekfen and Bunge were represented in the round by their respective corporate venturing units, Tekfen Ventures and Bunge Ventures. It reportedly valued the company at nearly $2bn.

SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 led a $350m series C round for US-based alternative protein developer Nature’s Fynd. Danone’s corporate venturing arm, Danone Manifesto Ventures, also participated in the round, as did Archer Daniels Midland and SK. The participants were completed by Blackstone Strategic Partners, Balyasny Asset Management, Hillhouse Capital, EDBI, Hongkou Capital, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Generation Investment Management and 1955 Capital.

Lenskart, an India-based online eyewear retailer backed by SoftBank, has raised $220m of funding at a $2.5bn valuation. Temasek and Falcon Edge Capital co-led the round and were joined by Bay Capital and Chiratae Ventures. The company is planning to expand its operations in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Some of the cash from the round will be used to further develop its technology stack.

Cloudwise, a China-based developer of artificial intelligence-driven operational technology, secured $150m in a series E round featuring quantitative and technology trading firm Susquehanna International Group. Sequoia Capital China led the round, which included Albright Stonebridge Group, Boston Investment, CR Capital, FutureX Capital and Citic’s Private Equity Funds Management subsidiary.

SmartRecruiters, a US-based recruitment software developer backed by Salesforce, completed a $110m series E round led by Silver Lake Waterman. Insight Partners and Mayfield Fund also participated in the round, which valued the company at $1.5bn.

Funds

China-headquartered e-commerce group Alibaba’s Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund (AEF) is anchoring a HK$2bn ($258m) vehicle dubbed AEF Greater Bay Area (GBA) Fund. GBA Fund counts undisclosed conglomerates, financial institutions and family offices among its limited partners, and is scheduled to reach its final close in the first half of 2022. The fund will target developers of technologies in areas including deeptech and sustainability, healthcare, artificial intelligence and industry 4.0 technology. It is being managed by venture capital firm Gobi Partners.

Exits

Bukalapak, the Indonesia-based online marketplace, has priced its initial public offering at the top of its range and will raise $1.5bn. The share price values the company at about $6bn and Bukalapak is set to float on the Indonesia Stock Exchange next month. Founded in 2010, Bukalapak operates an e-commerce platform with 6.5 million online sellers and 100 million users, and also runs a business-to-business procurement platform as well as a digital financial services subsidiary called Buka Investasi Bersama. Emtek, Naver, Microsoft, Gree and Aucfan are all in line for an exit.

Shanghai Stock Exchange’s Star Market accepted the initial public offering application submitted by CloudWalk Technology, a China-based facial recognition system developer backed by corporates Bohai, Haier and PCI-Suntek. The company plans to raise RMB3.75bn ($574m) and filed the application in December 2020. It intends to issue up to 112 million shares, and China Securities (CSC Financial) has been appointed lead underwriter for the offering.

US-based lending software provider Blend Labs floated in a $360m initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange, representing an exit for cloud computing giant Salesforce. The company priced 20 million class A shares at the upper end of the IPO’s $16 to $18 range. Blend has developed a cloud software platform which helps financial services providers streamline the loans process. Its net loss rose from $22.9m in the first three months of 2020 to $27.1m in the equivalent period this year, while revenue more than doubled to $31.9m. The company had raised at least $685m prior to the offering, Salesforce having provided an undisclosed amount likely to have been $14m through its Salesforce Ventures unit in May 2019.

VTex, a UK-headquartered e-commerce services provider backed by SoftBank, went public in a $361m initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange. The IPO included nearly 13.9 million class A shares priced at $19 each, above the $15 to $17 range, while selling shareholders divested just over 5.1 million more shares for a total of approximately $97.3m. The shares opened at $25.10 a share on their first day of trading.

Caribou Biosciences, a US-based cell therapy developer spun out of UC Berkeley to commercialise research by Jennifer Doudna – one of the researchers that discovered Crispr-Cas9, has gone public in a $304m initial public offering representing an exit for corporate investors Corteva, AbbVie, Novartis and Heritage Medical Systems. The company increased the number of shares in the offering from 17 million to 19 million and priced them at the top of the IPO’s $14 to $16 range. It is floating on the Nasdaq Global Select Market and the share price gives it a valuation of almost $910m.


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

19 July 2021 – SoftBank serves Yanolja with $1.7bn

Big ones

SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 supplied $1.7bn in funding for South Korea-based travel and accommodation services provider Yanolja. It was valued at $1bn in a $180m series D round in mid-2019 backed by Booking Holdings and GIC. It had received $53.2m from SkyLake Investment two years earlier and $8.5m from Partners Investment in 2015.

Softbank plans to invest an additional $5bn in the Latin American region. The corporate formed a $5bn investment vehicle targeting the region in early 2019, and the prospective funding, which would double the allocation to $10bn, may be used to create a new SoftBank Latin America Fund or expand the size of the first. SoftBank also intends to expand the range of Latin America-based companies it targets to include seed and series A-stage startups as well as publicly-listed companies. Chief operating officer Marcelo Claure, who launched the first fund, will continue to lead its Latin America-based operations.

One97 Communications, the India-based owner of payments platform Paytm backed by corporates Alibaba, Ant Financial, SoftBank and MediaTek, filed to go public on the Securities and Exchange Board of India. The company intends to raise up to Rs 16.6bn ($2.2bn) in an initial public offering which would entail it issuing $1.1bn in new shares while its shareholders will divest the same amount. Selling shareholders in the IPO will include founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Alibaba and Ant Group, Elevation Capital, SAIF Partners India and Berkshire Hathaway.

Crossover

US-based gene-editing technology developer Prime Medicine emerged from stealth with $315m of series A and B funding to commercialise research conducted at the Broad Institute. The company raised $115m in a series A round backed by GV, Arch Venture Partners, Newpath Partners and F-Prime Capital. Prime Medicine concurrently unveiled a $200m series B round featuring all the series A investors in addition to Casdin Capital, Cormorant Asset Management, Moore Strategic Ventures, PSP Investments, Redmile Group, Samsara BioCapital, funds and accounts advised by T Rowe Price, and unspecified life science investment funds. The startup is using gene-editing technology to advance a number of drug discovery programmes targeted at areas such as the liver, eye, ex-vivo hematopoietic stem cell and neuro-muscular indications.

Deals

UK-based financial services app developer Revolut secured $800m yesterday in a series E round that included SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2. The corporate was joined by hedge fund manager Tiger Global Management and the funding was raised at a $33bn valuation.

China-based smart car technology manufacturer Banma Technologies has secured up to ¥3bn ($465m) in funding from investors including Alibaba and SAIC Motor. Yunfeng Capital and CMG-SDIC Capital also contributed to the round, which followed a $233m series A round in 2018 led by CMG-SDIC and backed by Yunfeng Capital and Shangqi Capital, a vehicle for SAIC Motor subsidiary SAIC Capital.

Netskope, a US-based networking and security software provider backed by computing technology provider Dell, closed a $300m funding round at a $7.5bn post-money valuation. The round was led by investment firm Iconiq Growth and also featured Sequoia Capital’s Global Equities unit alongside Lightspeed Venture Partners, Accel, Base Partners, Sapphire Ventures, Geodesic Capital and unnamed existing investors.

Ascension Ventures, an investment fund representing 13 healthcare providers in the United States, contributed to a $260m series D round for US-based medical device developer Imperative Care. D1 Capital Partners led the round, which included Bain Capital’s Life Sciences subsidiary as well as HealthCor Investments, Innovatus Capital Partners, Ally Bridge Group, Delos Capital, Rock Springs Capital and Amed Ventures.

Denmark-based challenger bank Lunar secured €210m ($249m) in a series D round co-led by Tencent, Heartland and Kinnevik. Chr Augustinus Fabrikker, Fuel Ventures, Greyhound Capital, IDC Ventures, MW&L Capital Partners, Seed Capital, Socii Capital and private investor Peter Mühlmann filled out the participants in the round.

Funds

Japan-based semiconductor manufacturer Rohm launched a ¥5bn ($45.4m) corporate venture capital fund that will be overseen by its group chief technology officer. The vehicle will identify ideas and technologies with the potential to solve social issues and create growth opportunities for Rohm over the next decade, including semiconductor materials, decarbonisation technology and in-vehicle and industrial equipment-related chip applications. Rohm will also make limited partner commitments to other VC funds through the unit, which is slated to operate over a 10-year period. It had previously collaborated with universities and startups to develop semiconductor technologies.

Exits

SES, a Singapore-headquartered lithium-metal battery developer spun out of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and backed by GM, Applied Materials, SAIC Motor and SK Group, agreed to a reverse merger with Ivanhoe Capital Acquisition Corp. The merged business will be valued at $3.6bn in the transaction and will take up Ivanhoe Capital Acquisition Corp’s listing on the New York Stock Exchange, acquired through a $276m initial public offering earlier this month. The deal will be supported by a $200m private placement featuring carmakers GM, Hyundai, Kia, Geely, SAIC Motor, Foxconn, Koch Strategic Platforms and LG Technology Ventures.

Zomato, an India-based food delivery service backed by Ant Group, Info Edge and Delivery Hero, listed on the National Stock Exchange of India and the BSE in a dual listing. The offering valued the company at up to $8.6bn. The company intended to raise approximately $1.25bn through the initial public offering, which involves it issuing about $1.2bn in new shares. Classified listings operator Info Edge is selling $50m of shares. The offering was oversubscribed 55-fold as of the time of recording on Friday afternoon UK time.

Bullish, a US-based digital asset services provider backed by blockchain software provider Block.one, has agreed a reverse merger with Far Peak Acquisition Corporation. The deal will give Bullish the listing on New York Stock Exchange taken by Far Peak through a $550m initial public offering in December 2020. EFM Asset Management is anchoring a $300m private investment in public equity deal supporting the transaction that includes funds and accounts managed by BlackRock in addition to Cryptology Asset Group and Galaxy Digital, at a $9bn pro forma equity valuation.

MobiKwik, an India-based online payments service that counts Cisco, GMO, American Express, Bajaj Finance, MediaTek, Net1 and New Delhi Television among its investors, filed for a Rs 19bn ($255m) initial public offering on the Securities and Exchange Board of India. The offering will involve the company issuing approximately $201m of new shares while its existing shareholders will sell up to $54m.

US-based biologics delivery technology developer Rani Therapeutics has filed to raise up to $100m in an initial public offering that would allow Alphabet, GeneScience, AstraZeneca, Shire, Novartis, Ping An, KPC and Stevanato to exit. Rani is developing a capsule called the RaniPill, which would allow for biologics to be delivered orally to patients, instead of through subcutaneous or IV injection.The IPO proceeds have been earmarked for research and development and the advancement of Rani’s product pipeline, as well as growing its manufacturing capabilities and paying back a $1.3m Paycheck Protection Program loan taken out in April 2020.

People

Sacha Mann has been appointed a senior partner at Takeda Ventures. Her LinkedIn profile describes Mann as being in “stealth” at the unit from June 2020 to February 2021. Mann had previously been a venture partner at healthcare-focused VC firm Zoic Capital from 2018 to 2020. Inventages Venture Capital, a VC firm formed with the support of packaged food producer Nestlé, hired her as a principal in 2009 and she was promoted to venture partner in 2016 before leaving the following year.

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

The Big Ones

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

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

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

Crossover

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

Deals

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

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

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

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

Funds

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

Exits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

05 July 2021 – CMR Surgical Raises $600m in Round Led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2

The Big Ones

SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 co-led a $600m series D round for UK-based surgical robotics technology developer CMR Surgical with healthcare investment group Ally Bridge, while Cambridge Innovation Capital, the patient capital fund formed with the support of University of Cambridge, also participated. GE Healthcare, a subsidiary of power and industrial technology conglomerate General Electric, also took part in the round, which valued the company at $3bn, as did internet group Tencent. RPMI Railpen and Chimera filled out the consortium together with existing backers including LGT and its Lightrock affiliate, Watrium, and PFM Health Sciences.

BMW i Ventures, the US-based venture capital firm formed by Germany’s automotive manufacturer BMW, launched a $300m fund that will focus on sustainability. BMW i Ventures has accumulated a portfolio of some 50 companies including Chargepoint, the vehicle charging network set to list at a $2.4bn valuation, and manufacturing services marketplace Xometry, which floated in a $302m IPO this past week. The latest vehicle will operate alongside the unit’s $500m first fund and will target early and mid-stage companies concentrating on sustainability, transportation, manufacturing and supply chain technologies.

Didi Global, the China-based ride hailing service backed by SoftBank, Alibaba, China Life, Tencent, Apple, Booking Holdings, Ping An, eHi and Sina Weibo, went public in a $4.44bn initial public offering. The company increased the amount of shares in the offering from 288 million American Depositary Shares, with four ADSs equalling one class A share, to approximately 317 million. They were priced at the top of the IPO’s $13 to $14 range and it floated on the New York Stock Exchange.

Duolingo, the US-based language learning app developer spun out of Carnegie Mellon University, has filed for an initial public offering yesterday that would enable Alphabet to exit. The offering is slated to take place on the Nasdaq Global Select Market and the company has set a $100m placeholder target. The company had raised a total of $183m as of November 2020, when it secured $35m from Durable Capital Partners and General Atlantic at $2.4bn valuation, with Union Square Ventures (USV) selling shares through the deal.

Deals

UK-based low earth orbit satellite technology developer OneWeb secured $500m from Bharti Enterprises, which exercised a call option from a shareholder’s agreement to increase its stake to 38.6%. OneWeb is developing a constellation of 650 low earth orbit satellites through which it intends to offer global broadband connectivity. The company had filed for bankruptcy in March 2020 after failing to secure new funding in the wake of the covid-19 pandemic. Bharti and the UK government then bought OneWeb’s assets for $1bn in July that year. The UK government’s investment was reportedly motivated by a desire to build a competitor to the global positioning system Galileo, created by the EU and to which the country has lost access following its decision to abandon the union. OneWeb’s satellites would be in too low an orbit to enable such functionality, however.

SoftBank led a $415m series C round for Kitopi, the United Arab Emirates-headquartered provider of a cloud kitchen software platform, through its Vision Fund 2. Diversified conglomerate Dogus Group also took part in the round, along with B Riley Financial, Chimera Investment, DisruptAD, Next Play Capital and Nordstar. The cash was secured at a valuation above $1bn.

Olive, a US-based healthcare management software producer backed by internet and technology group Alphabet, completed a $400m funding round yesterday valuing it at $4bn. The round was led by Vista Equity Partners and also featured Base10 Partners’ Advancement Initiative. It took the overall funding raised by the company to $902m.

Zipline, a US-based medical consumables logistics service backed by Alphabet, secured $250m from investors including Fidelity, Baillie Gifford, Emerging Capital Partners, Intercorp, Katalyst Ventures, Reinvent Capital and Temasek. The cash was secured at a $2.75bn valuation.

US-based corporate wellbeing services provider Gympass raised $220m from investors including SoftBank today at a $2.2bn valuation. General Atlantic, Kaszek, Moore Strategic Ventures and Valor Capital Group also participated in the round. Founded in Brazil, Gympass operates wellness programmes on behalf of corporate clients, offering access to gyms, personal trainers, meditation classes and therapists, and said it had signed up more than 1,000 new corporate customers during the pandemic.

Goat Group, a US-based streetwear marketplace operator backed by Foot Locker, has secured $195m in a series F round that valued it at $3.7bn. Hedge fund manager Park West Asset Management led the round, which included Ulysses Management, Franklin Templeton and Adage Capital Management, and funds and accounts advised by T Rowe Price Associates.

Funds

US-based enterprise software supplier Infragistics has formed a $50m corporate venture capital vehicle dubbed Infragistics Innovation Fund and Lab. The fund will target intrapreneurs from within the organisation who are developing innovation technologies related to Infragistics’ user interface and user experience (UX) design software products.

Exits

SentinelOne, a US-based cybersecurity technology producer backed by Qualcomm and Samsung, has raised more than $1.22bn today in an upsized initial public offering. The IPO consists of 35 million shares issued on the New York Stock Exchange, increased from an initial allocation of 32 million, priced at $35.00 each, above its $31 to $32 range. Existing SentinelOne investors Tiger Global Management, Insight Partners, Third Point Ventures and Sequoia Capital agreed to acquire $50m more shares through a concurrent private placement. The IPO price values it at approximately $8.92bn.

US-based security screening technology producer Clear Secure went public in a $409m initial public offering representing exits for Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Union Square Hospitality Group and Liberty Media. The company issued 13.2 million class A shares on the New York Stock Exchange priced at $31.00 each, above the IPO’s $27 to $30 range. The shares closed at $40 on their first day of trading.

InnoVid, a US-based video marketing technology provider backed by Cisco and Deutsche Telekom, has agreed a reverse takeover at an implied valuation of roughly $1.3bn. The company is joining forces with SPAC Ion Acquisition Corp 2, which floated on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in a $253m initial public offering in January 2021. Phoenix Insurance and Fidelity Management and Research are co-leading a $150m PIPE financing in connection with the deal that includes Baron Capital Group, Vintage and funds affiliated with Ion.

MissFresh, a China-based online grocery retailer backed by Lenovo and Tencent, raised $273m in an initial public offering on the Nasdaq Global Select Market. The company priced 21 million American depositary shares, each representing three ordinary shares, at $13 each, at the low end of the $13-$16 range it had set last week. They opened at $10.65 and closed at $9.66 at the end of its first day of trading, giving it a market capitalisation of roughly $2.5bn.

US-based online trading platform developer Robinhood filed for an initial public offering that would score exits for Alphabet and Roc Nation. Founded in 2013, Robinhood runs Robinhood Financial, an online platform where users can buy and sell stocks without a minimum investment level, in addition to Robinhood Crypto, which allows them to do the same with cryptocurrencies. The company has set a $100m placeholder target for the offering, and sources familiar with its plans told the Financial Times it is targeting a $40bn valuation.


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

21 June 2021 – Waymo Drives $2.5bn Investment

The Big Ones

Waymo, the autonomous driving technology developer spun off by Alphabet, has raised $2.5bn in funding from investors including its former parent company. AutoNation and Magna International also took part in the round, as did group Fidelity Management & Research, Mubadala, Temasek, Andreessen Horowitz, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Perry Creek Capital, Silver Lake, Tiger Global Management and funds and accounts advised by T Rowe Price. The company reportedly closed its first external funding round at $3.2bn in July 2020, at a $30bn valuation, having pulled in $750m from investors including Fidelity, Perry Creek Capital and funds and accounts advised by T Rowe Price two months earlier. Alphabet, Magna, AutoNation, Silver Lake, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Mubadala Investment Company and Andreessen Horowitz had supplied $2.25bn for Waymo in March the same year.

US-based venture capital firm G2 Venture Partners (G2VP) has closed its Fund II at $500m with commitments from Shell, Mitsui, Daimler and ABB Switzerland. The McKnight Foundation and John Doerr, chairman of VC firm Kleiner Perkins, reportedly also committed to the fund. Shell contributed through its corporate venturing arm, Shell Ventures. It was also a limited partner in G2VP’s inaugural fund, which was sized at $350m. G2VP was founded in 2017 as a spinoff from Kleiner Perkins’ Green Growth fund. It focuses on companies developing emerging technologies that could accelerate sustainable transformation in traditional industries.

Marqeta, a US-based card-issuing platform developer backed by CommerzBank, CreditEase, Visa and Mastercard, has closed its initial public offering at approximately $1.41bn. The company raised an initial $1.22bn in the offering last week, issuing 45.5 million class A shares on the Nasdaq Global Select Market priced at $27 each. Its shares are currently (that’s Friday afternoon UK time) for $29.43 each, and the underwriters have taken up the option to buy more than 6.8 million more shares. The IPO followed over $526m in funding for the company.

This isn’t a crossover (although there actually were several worth more than $100m last week – check our websites for more on those), but this one’s too interesting to skip just because there aren’t any CVCs. Celonis, a Germany-based business process analytics software spinout of Technical University of Munich (TUM), has raised $1bn in a series D round co-led by Durable Capital Partners and funds and accounts advised by T Rowe Price Associates. What makes this one special isn’t so much the size of the round (as impressive as that is, obviously) but that it valued Celonis at $11bn post-money, making it Germany’s first decacorn. Celonis has now raised nearly $1.37bn in funding altogether. The spinout fetched a $2.5bn valuation when it raised $290m in a series C round led by Arena Holdings, and – almost as notable as being the first decacorn in the country – Celonis also became TUM’s first unicorn when it closed a $50m series B round backed by Accel and 83North in June 2018. How’s that for a European success story?

Deals

China-based semiconductor technology developer Horizon Robotics has raised $1.5bn in series C7 funding from electronic parts manufacturer BOE Technology and chipmaker Will Semiconductor. The round was secured at a $5bn valuation, and it came after a $300m series C6 round at an unspecified time that included Legend Capital, Huangpu River Capital and unnamed others.

Byju’s, an India-based online learning portal backed by Bennett Coleman & Co, Naspers and Tencent, has secured Rs 25bn ($340m) in funding. UBS Group, Blackstone, Abu Dhabi government-backed ADQ and Phoenix Rising–Beacon Holdings as well as Eric Yuan all took part in the round. The cash injection is part of a $1.5bn round Byju’s began raising in April this year, sources privy to the matter told the Economic Times, and it valued the company at $16.5bn post-money.

US-based graph technology provider Neo4J received $325m in a series F round featuring GV. Private equity firm Eurazeo led the round at a valuation exceeding $2bn, and DTCP, the investment firm backed by Deutsche Telekom, also took part, as did One Peak, Creandum, Greenbridge Partners and Lightrock. The company was founded in 2007 as Neo Technology and has now raised $515m.

ApplyBoard, the Canada-based international student facilitation service that counts educational services firm Educational Testing Service (ETS) as an investor, has confirmed a C$375m ($308m) series D round. Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board led the round through its Teachers’ Innovation Platform, and it included investment and financial services group Fidelity in addition to BDC, Harmonic Growth Partners, Index Ventures, Garage Capital and Blue Cloud Ventures. The company’s confirmation came in the wake of media reports a week earlier suggesting it had raised $230m in the round, which it said this week valued it at $3.2bn post-money.

Chehaoduo, the China-based automotive e-commerce marketplace backed by SoftBank, Tencent and Shougang, has closed a $300m funding round valuing it at $10bn. H Capital led the round, which also featured Sequoia Capital China, IDG Capital and Chehaoduo founder and CEO Yang Haoyong. The company’s overall equity funding now stands at about $3.8bn. It was spun off by online classified listings operator Ganji in 2015.

Thumbtack, the US-headquartered operator of a home renovation services marketplace, has raised $275m from investors including CapitalG, the growth equity arm of Alphabet. Sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority led the round, which also featured Blackstone’s Alternative Asset Management subsidiary, G Squared, Baillie Gifford, Founders Circle Capital, Sequoia Capital and Tiger Global Management. The round valued the company at $3.2bn. The latest round boosted the company’s overall funding to $697m.

Yaoshibang, the China-based operator of a supply chain platform for the pharmaceutical industry, has raised $270m in funding from investors including internet group Baidu. Zhejiang Pearl River Investment Management, Green Pine Capital Partners and Guangzhou City Construction Investment’s SF Fund also participated in the round, along with unnamed insurance firms and sovereign wealth funds. It was facilitated by China Renaissance.

Funds

Flagship Pioneering, a US-based biotechnology venture studio that regularly taps into university research to build companies such as Moderna, has raised another $2.23bn for its Fund VII from new and existing limited partners, bringing the vehicle to $3.37bn. It reopened the fund to additional capital in April this year but didn’t identify the LPs. Flagship now has $14.1bn in assets under management and is operating with an aggregate capital pool of $6.7bn. It has launched more than 100 ventures since its founding, with a current portfolio of 41 companies.

Exits

UK-based clean aircraft developer Vertical Aerospace has agreed to a reverse takeover with special purpose acquisition company Broadstone Acquisition Corp that will be backed by American Airlines, Avolon, Honeywell, Rolls-Royce, Standard Industries’ 40 North vehicle and Microsoft’s M12 unit. The merged business will be valued at $2.2bn and will take up the listing on the New York Stock secured by Broadstone through a $300m initial public offering in September 2020.

Kanzhun, a China-based online job portal operator backed by internet group Tencent and insurance firm Sunshine Life, has floated in a $912m initial public offering on the Nasdaq Global Select Market. The company issued 48 million American depositary shares, each representing two ordinary shares, priced at the top of the IPO’s $17 to $19 range. As we’re recording this on Friday afternoon UK time, shares are going for $38.

Monday.com, the US-based software development platform operator that now counts Salesforce and Zoom as investors, has closed its initial public offering at $631m. The corporates each purchased $75m of shares in a private placement alongside the offering, which involved Monday issuing an initial 3.7 million shares on the Nasdaq Global Select Market a week ago priced at $155 each. The underwriters subsequently took up the option to buy another 370,000 shares to close the offering. As we’re recording this on Friday afternoon UK time, shares are priced at $230.96.

Lyell Immunopharma, a US-based immunotherapy developer which counts GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Celgene as investors, has raised $425m in its initial public offering. The company issued 25 million shares on the Nasdaq Global Market at a price of $17 each, the mid-point of the offering’s $16 to $18 range. Its shares closed at $16.89 at the end of the first day. Lyell had raised $834m across just three rounds since it was founded in 2018. GSK has walked away with a 12.5% stake post-IPO, while Celgene’s retained 4.5%.

Verve Therapeutics, a US-based cardiovascular disease therapy developer advancing Broad Institute and University of Pennsylvania research, has gone public in a $267m initial public offering representing exits Alphabet and Novo. The offering consists of just over 14 million shares issued on the Nasdaq Global Select Market, increased from 11.8 million and priced at $19.00 each, above the $16 to $18 range set for the offering. The IPO price valued the company at approximately $876m.

Wise, the UK-based operator of a cross-border capital transfer service, plans to launch a direct listing that would give conglomerate Mitsui a chance to sell its shares. The company plans to list on the London Stock Exchange. Formerly known as TransferWise, Wise runs an online platform that allows users to send money internationally without paying exorbitant fees typically associated with international bank transfers. Wise last raised primary funding in 2017 but was valued at $5bn in a $319m secondary share sale in July 2020.


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

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