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

The Big Ones

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

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

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

Crossover Deal

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

Deals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Funds

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

Exits

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

18 November 2019 – Orbital Insight Enters $50m Series D

The Big Ones

Chevron Technology Ventures has thrown its weight behind US-based geospatial software technology provider Orbital Insight, which also welcomed back GV and Sky Perfect JSAT.

Softbank over the past few years has tended to skew the numbers and so it’s significant to hear the group has quietly completed a first close on its second Vision Fund, and according to Bloomberg, the amount investors have committed is $2 billion, a far cry from the $108 billion that it has said that it’s targeting.

Once bitten, twice shy appears to be the new motto for the SoftBank Vision Fund, which said it is now pushing companies to seek a profit rather than “chasing growth for the sake of growth”. That approach has meant the fund did agree to backing a $1bn round for fintech developer Paytm, but has put in a clause that it must go public within five years or else SoftBank will have the right to dump its shareholding. That’s a significant turning point for the fund that was previously hell-bent on scaling companies globally without any concern for high burn rates.

Funds

Salesforce forges $50m Consultant Trailblazer Fund

Heidelberg sets up new tech transfer operation

Deals

Cainiao Smart Logistics Network, a logistics services platform co-founded by Alibaba, Fosun Group and Intime Retail Group six years ago, has collected another $3.33bn from Alibaba, thereby increasing the corporate’s majority stake (which it had held since 2017) from 51% to 63%. The deal included a secondary share purchase, though the size is unclear and it is unknown which investor decided to sell. Cainiao’s investors also include government-owned investments firms Temasek, GIC and Khazanah Nasional, as well as Primavera and, according to TechCrunch, several unnamed logistics firms.

Xiaopeng Motors (also known as Xpeng) may not be much of a known quantity in the Western world, but the smart EV developer has already sold more than 10,000 of its first model, an SUV called G3. It also has some powerful corporate investors with Alibaba, Foxconn and UCar. And now it’s added another to the list: Xiaomi, which has led a $400m series C round for Xiaopeng as part of a strategic partnership. There might be a lot of Tesla cars in Silicon Valley, but globally the competition is clearly heating up.

OLX has committed $400m to Frontier Car Group (FCG), a Germany-based second-hand car marketplace operator, that it will invest over multiple tranches and reportedly includes a secondary share purchase of undisclosed size.

CapitalG has been busy. The growth equity arm of Alphabet once known as Google Capitalhas taken part in a $400m series D round for US-based trucking services provider Convoy, which will use the money to accelerate business growth.

And CapitalG also co-led a $150m series H round for CRM software provider Freshworks with Sequoia Capital and Accel. The round valued Freshworks at $3.5bn – though it remains subject to customary closing conditions, including US antitrust regulatory clearance.

Many will be familiar with password manager 1Password, but not for its funding history. In fact, the 14-year-old company has never raised equity – until now, that is, and it’s attracted a respectable $200m in series A capital from investors including Slack Fund.

Salesforce Ventures and Workday Ventures meanwhile returned for a $157m series D round for US-based education benefits software provider Guild Education. General Catalyst led the round, and its chairman and managing director Ken Chenault (who was previously in charge of American Express) will join the board of directors.

ACV Auctions – the US-based online automotive marketplace backed by telecommunications conglomerate SoftBank – has picked up $150m in a series E roundco-led by Fidelity and Wellington Management Company less than a year after closing a $50m series D round.

Avidity devotes itself to $100m series C

AMP amplifies $16m

PureLifi lights up $18m

Exits

The bad news keep on coming for We Co and the latest development is its decision to divest its stake in US-based women-focused work and social space provider The Wing and sell off US-based social networking platform Meetup. We Co owns a 23% stake in The Wing, but not only has the corporate struggled to survive its failed attempt at going public, its chief legal officer Jen Berrent is also facing a lawsuit for pregnancy discrimination, allegedly calling employee Medina Bardhi’s pregnancy a “problem” that needed “a solution” and “to be fixed,” according to the court filing. Berrent is currently a board member of The Wing, but she is expected to lose that position following the stake sale.

HawkEye 360 is one of the more successful university spinouts formed by commercialisation firm Allied Minds (which itself has had a tumultuous year with multiple executive-level changes) and that’s led the firm to sell its entire stake to family office Advance. The latter has also chosen to boost HawkEye’s series B round to $85m, following a $70m first tranche that featured Airbus and Esri this past August.

Money Forward yields Smartcamp

Considering Nikkei and Ant Financial-backed 36Kr, and in particular its news portal 36Kr Media, is sometimes hailed as the Crunchbase of China, you might have expected its IPO in the US to go a little better than it did, but the company is the latest to disappoint investors after not only pricing shares at the bottom of the range at $14.50, but also deciding to issue just 1.4 million shares instead of 3.6 million – raising merely a fifth of its targeted $100m in proceeds. Adding insult to injury, shares dropped by 10% on the first day of trading to close at $13.06.

SpaceMarket gets ready for IPO take-off

Lancers sets its sights on IPO

Makuake makes its way to TSE

Another company that’s not been very active on the funding front is OneConnect Financial Technology, a Singapore-based fintech platform that that was spun out of insurance group Ping An, two years ago.


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