07 March 2022 – CommerzVentures collects $335m for third fund

CommerzVentures collects $335m for third fund

CommerzVentures, the venture capital firm financed by Germany-based financial services firm Commerzbank, launched its $335m third fund.

SoftBank delivers $425m for Weee

Internet and telecommunications group SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 led a $425m series E round for Weee, a US-based delivery service focusing on ethnic and geography-specific groceries.

Payhawk flies to $215m

UK-headquartered business payments and expense management platform developer Payhawk, extended its series B round to $215m.

Fabric threads in $140m series C

Fabric, a US-based e-commerce software provider, has received $140m in a series C round led by SoftBank at a valuation of about $1.5bn, lifting the company into unicorn status.

99 Minutos gets $82m series C delivery

Mexico-based last-mile delivery platform 99 Minutos secured $82m in series C funding from investors including Prosus Ventures, the corporate venturing arm of internet group Prosus.

Kin kindles series D round with $82m

US-based online home insurance provider Kin Insurance received $82m in series D funding from investors including insurance provider CSAA Insurance Group.

Balbix gets $70m in series C round

Balbix, a US-based provider of cybersecurity posture automation technology, received $70m in a series C round backed by Singtel Innov8, the corporate venturing arm of telecommunications company Singtel.

Pocket FM tunes in to $65m

Internet group Naver co-led India-based audio streaming platform developer Pocket FM’s $65m series C round as the popularity of podcasts and other non-music audio content grows.

Biomason bags $65m in series C round

US-headquartered biological construction material developer Biomason secured $65m in series C funding from investors including pharmaceutical firm Novo and building materials provider Martin Marietta.

Worldspark plays for $3m seed round

Blockchain-based gaming developer Worldspark Studios received $3m in a seed round co-led by gaming and blockchain technology developer Animoca Brands.


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

21 February 2022 – SoftBank pinpoints Spotter in $200m series D

SoftBank pinpoints Spotter in $200m series D

Internet and telecommunications group SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 led a $200m series D round for US-based online content financier Spotter at a $1.7bn valuation.

Hy2gen generates $227m in funding

Hy2gen, a Germany-headquartered producer of green hydrogen-based fuels, raised $227m from investors including energy engineering firm Technip Energies, highlighting the increasing popularity of hydrogen in the new energy mix.

Neon glows with $300m from BBVA

Financial services firm BBVA agreed to invest $300m in Brazil-based digital bank Neon in return for a 21.7% stake.

OpenSea organises corporate venturing arm

Non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace OpenSea has launched a corporate venture capital vehicle called OpenSea Ventures to invest in developers of Web3 technology.

Tripledot secures Access to raise $116m

UK-based mobile game developer Tripledot Studios secured $116m from investors including Access Industries at a valuation of $1.4bn.

Homebound builds $75m round

US-based homebuilder Homebound secured $75m in a series C round featuring GV, a corporate venturing vehicle for internet technology conglomerate Alphabet.

HoTeam gets hold of $63m

China-based additive manufacturing technology developer Shandong HoTeam Software completed a $63m series C round led by Legend Capital, the venture capital firm sponsored by conglomerate Legend Holdings.

Sony signals first close for Innovation Fund 3

Consumer electronics and entertainment group Sony reached a first close of its fourth Sony Innovation Fund, which is targeting $217m for final close.

HV Capital launches $489m continuation fund

HV Capital, the Germany-based venture capital firm spun off by publisher Holtzbrinck Publishing Group, launched a $489m continuation fund to continue supporting portfolio companies in later-stage deals.

Animoca Brands unveils Japanese subsidiary and accelerator

Gaming and blockchain technology group Animoca Brands launched a Japan-based subsidiary with $10m in seed funding.

Fujifilm and Tokyu disclose funds

Japan-headquartered corporations Fujifilm and Tokyu Construction have each launched dedicated corporate venturing vehicles that will target startups operating in their respective strategic areas.


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

14 February 2022 – D-Wave Agrees to $1.6bn Reverse Merger

D-Wave agrees to $1.6bn reverse merger

D-Wave Systems, a Canada-based quantum computing technology developer backed by IT equipment producer NEC, agreed to a $1.6bn reverse merger with special purpose acquisition company DPCM Capital.

Flexport receives $935m funding haul

Logistics services platform developer Flexport raised $935m in a series E round featuring internet and telecommunications group SoftBank’s Vision Fund and e-commerce software provider Shopify at a post-money valuation of $8bn.

WNBA makes $75m funding shot

US-based professional women’s basketball league WNBA raised $75m from investors including sports apparel brand Nike, helping expand funding for a sport where coverage and sponsorship are lacking.

Scandit captures $150m in series D round

Data capture technology developer Scandit closed a $150m series D round featuring Alphabet, Sony, Swisscom and Schneider Electric.

Polygon picks up $450m

Polygon, an India-based blockchain scaling technology developer, secured $450m through a private token sale featuring SoftBank, blockchain entertainment product developer Animoca Brands and quantitative trading firm Alameda Research.

Qredo to scale with $80m

Qredo, a UK-based provider of decentralised digital asset management technology, completed an $80m series A round featuring cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase and blockchain technology developers Terraform Labs and Ava Labs.

Infinity Ventures Crypto closes $70m fund

Animoca Brands and payments services provider Circle have backed Taiwan-based venture capital firm Infinity Ventures Crypto (IVC)’s maiden fund, which closed with $70m in commitments.

Intel introduces $1bn semiconductor technology fund

Intel Capital, the corporate venturing arm of chipmaker Intel, launched a $1bn investment vehicle with its semiconductor fabrication business, Intel Foundry Services (IFS).

GBA Fund progresses towards $257m close

Greater Bay Area Fund (GBA Fund), an investment vehicle formed by e-commerce firm Alibaba’s Entrepreneurs Fund (AEF), is set to close at about $257m by mid-2022.

NGP Capital nets $400m from Nokia

Smartphone manufacturer Nokia has provided $400m in capital for the latest fund closed by NGP Capital, the US-based venture capital firm that it had spun off.

UTokyo IPC achieves $221m close

University of Tokyo Innovation Platform (UTokyo IPC), the venture capital arm of University of Tokyo, announced the final close of its second fund at $221m with backing from several corporate LPs.


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

24 January 2022 – Crypto.com Expands Fund to $500m and Brings on Russell

Crypto.com expands fund to $500m and brings on Russell

China-headquartered cryptocurrency exchange Crypto.com has expanded its corporate venturing unit’s fund to $500m, becoming the latest crypto exchange to beef up its investment subsidiary.

Animoca Brands embraces $359m in funding

China-based gaming and blockchain technology developer Animoca Brands raised some $359m from investors including cryptocurrency exchange Gemini and internet group Smile Group as it continues to ramp up strategic investments.

FTX sets up $2bn fund and hires Wu

FTX Trading, a Bahamas-registered cryptocurrency marketplace operator, has set up a $2bn corporate venture capital fund and hired Amy Wu over from venture capital firm Lightspeed Venture Partners to run it.

Mythical Games scores Polystream acquisition

Blockchain game developer Mythical Games bought UK-based metaverse streaming technology developer Polystream for an undisclosed sum, providing exits for chipmaker Intel and game publisher Wargaming Group.

SoftBank sinks funding into Shoplazza and Big Health

SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 has led funding rounds for two North American companies in as many days, backing Shoplazza and Big Health.

SoftBank backs Qraft for its portfolio

Softbank provided $146m South Korea-based financial management software provider Qraft Technologies.

Shell pumps $1.4bn into ventures

UK-listed energy group Shell has set up a dedicated $1.4bn corporate venturing fund aimed at accelerating the energy transition.

Investors ride Wayve to $200m series B

UK-based self-driving technology developer Wayve completed a $200m series B round featuring software provider Microsoft, online grocer Ocado and conglomerate Virgin, taking the company’s overall funding to more than $258m.

Verana Health mines $150m

Pharmaceutical firms Johnson & Johnson and Novo have co-led a $150m series E round for US-based clinical data platform developer Verana Health, highlighting the growing importance of data analytics in the healthcare market and taking Verana’s total funding to $287m.

ByteDance bids goodbye to investment team

ByteDance, the China-headquartered owner of short-form video app TikTok, has reportedly closed its corporate venturing unit.


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

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