27 April 2020 – AvidXchange Raises $128m Bringing Total Round to $388m Plus Audio from our Second COVID19 Webinar

The Big ones

AvidXchange, a developer of accounts payable automation software, has raised $128m to hike its latest round to $388m. Mastercard was among the investors, having contributed to the company’s last round, when it secured $300m in 2017 at a $1.4bn valuation. Reports in December stated AvidXchange was chasing a $2bn valuation for this round but the company is yet to confirm those details.

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to affect startups, the UK government has pledged up to $1.25bn in financing, a quarter of which will be channelled into the Future Fund, a vehicle that will provide convertible debt financing to match private investment. The rest will support loans and grants made through the state-owned Innovate UK vehicle. Everyone seems to have an opinion on how useful the measures will be, but the way things are going it feels impossible to make any kind of definitive judgement on that, especially seeing as the Future Fund isn’t set to launch for another month or so.

Several corporate-backed companies in China’s travel and consumer startup space have shut down due to the lockdown related to the coronavirus. Founded in 2019, Wujiang Hotels operated five hotel brands that spanned eight Chinese cities. It had $30m in registered capital after raising money from online travel agency Trip.com, but chairman Ma Xiaodong said in an internal announcement that it is unable to continue operating. Online travel booking platform Baicheng had been founded in 2000 and had received $20m in a 2014 series B round featuring e-commerce group Alibaba according to KrAsia, which cited information from deals database Tianyancha. The company floated two years later but declared bankruptcy in late February this year after its income completely dried up. Meili Jinrong, the automotive-focused spinoff of consumer loans provider Meiliche also shut down operations last month and has laid off all its employees. The Covid-19 restrictions all but eliminated sales which, combined with an immediate cash shortage, meant it had no choice but to close. The move came after the company had raised more than $200m as of 2018, from investors including conglomerate New Hope Group, personal finance app developer Wacai, e-commerce firm JD.com’s JD Finance affiliate and Bertelsmann Asia Investments, representing media group Bertelsmann.

SwanBio Therapeutics, a US-based neurological gene therapy developer based on Harvard University research, is set to increase its series A funding to $77m with a $52m extension led by founding investor and life sciences investment trust Syncona. Syncona has provided an initial $19.6m tranche, a spokesperson revealed to GUV, while Partners Innovation Fund – a vehicle for health system Partners Healthcare that includes Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) – also contributed to bring the extension to $20m so far. The remainder of Syncona’s commitment – amounting to a total of $51m – is dependent on milestones. Syncona had invested $23m to lead SwanBio’s initial $25m series A tranche in June 2018 with participation from Partners Innovation Fund. SwanBio Therapeutics is working on drugs for treating serious neurological diseases. Its lead candidate targets adrenomyeloneuropathy, a rare inheritable neurological disorder that can cause impaired mobility, eyesight and hearing. No approved treatments currently exist for the disease.

Deals

Epic Games is best known for massively successful online shooting game Fortnite but its acquisition of social gaming and video platform Houseparty last year now looks like a stroke of genius, with some 50 million new users signing up in a month amidst the Covid-19 lockdown. And Epic is striking while the iron is hot, reportedly holding talks with potential investors to raise $500m to $1bn at a valuation ‘significantly’ higher than the $15bn valuation at which it last received funding, in 2018. That round included Axiomatic, and the company’s other corporate investors include Tencent, Endeavor Group and Walt Disney.

Network event streaming platform Confluent has also had a good year, and the company has capped it with $250m in series E funding. The round was led by Coatue Management and valued Confluent, whose early backers include LinkedIn, at $4.5bn. LinkedIn was not much of a corporate venturer prior to its 2016 acquisition by Microsoft, but its 2014 investment in Confluent’s series A round now looks inspired.

China-based Didi Chuxing may have had difficulties with its core ride hailing business in the face of Covid-19, but it has an ambitious growth plan to increase its customer base to 800 million monthly active users by 2022. That will involve beefing up adjacent services such as that of its bicycle rental service Qingju, which just received $150m from SoftBank and Legend Capital. The round is the first external funding to be raised by Qingju and will be added to an $850m cash injection by parent company Didi.

Medical device manufacturer MicroPort Scientific formed subsidiary MicroPort CardioFlow Medtech in 2015 to focus on valvular heart disease, and the offshoot has disclosed $130m in funding secured at a $1.1bn pre-money valuation. The round did not include any additional corporates but the capital will be used for research and development, marketing and market expansion.

STX Entertainment has been responsible for 34 feature films since being founded in 2014 in addition to TV shows and burgeoning digital content, but the US-based studio has bigger plans and has agreed to merge with Bollywood counterpart Eros International in a deal that will be sweetened by $125m from investors including STX backer Liberty Global. Other investors in STX include Tencent, PCCW and Madison Wells, and they’re going to get an exit of sorts when the merged company, Eros STX Global Corporation, inherits Eros’s NYSE spot.

Healthcare services platform developer Aledade has closed a $64m series C round featuring both GV and Echo Health Ventures to take its overall funding to about $175m. Both corporate VC units participated in the round as existing investors, and the funding will support the growth of both Aledade and its care provider members. Aledade’s earlier investors reportedly also include Utimco, the investment management arm of University of Texas.

Accent Therapeutics has completed a $63m series B round that saw it welcome aboard corporate venturing units GV and AbbVie Ventures as new investors. The company launched two years ago with $40m in series A cash and will put the series B proceeds toward advance development of drug candidates that target RNA-modifying proteins to treat cancer.

Immunomic Therapeutics has created a vaccine development platform focused on diseases including – surprise, surprise – Covid-19, and has closed $61.3m in financing led by oncology-focused pharmaceutical company and partner HLB. The company is also partnering HLB on the launch of a research hub called the Asian Brain Cancer Research Center in the latter’s home country of South Korea.

Paige, a US-based cancer pathology software provider based on Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center research, increased its series B round to $50m today following a $5m extension supplied by investment bank Goldman Sachs’s merchant banking division. Paige did not reveal the size of the extension in its release, but a spokesperson confirmed the amount to GUV. The company raised an initial $45m in December 2019 from a consortium led by Healthcare Venture Partners that included Brey Capital, private investor Kenan Turnacioglu and undisclosed funds.

Guru is the developer of a software product that helps employees share knowledge with each other, and which utilises AI technology to bring crucial insights to the surface. It just completed a $30m series C round that included Slack Fund, to increase its overall funding to $68m. Slack Fund had already participated in Guru’s late 2018 series B round, and its early backers include Salesforce Ventures, which invested at seed stage.

Adverity is located in a similar spot, having created a software platform enabling marketing staff to generate usable information from siloed data, and it has raised $30m in its own series C round. SAP subsidiary SAP.io was among the investors in the transaction, which was led by Sapphire Ventures nine years after it was spun off by the enterprise software provider under the moniker of SAP Ventures. It’s good to see the two working together.

Exits

Enterprise software producer Kingsoft formed cloud services provider Kingsoft Cloud in 2012 and has since grown it into China’s third largest player in the sector. Kingsoft Cloud has raised about $700m from investors including its parent company and electronics provider Xiaomi, and has now filed to go public in the US. It’s curious timing considering the ongoing coronavirus disruption, but perhaps Kingsoft sees the sector as relatively immune.


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

27 January 2020 – Tokopedia Approaches Close of $1.5bn Round

The Big Ones

Tokopedia is already one of the biggest companies to have emerged from Southeast Asia’s increasingly vibrant startup scene, but it is reportedly approaching the close of a $1.5bn round that would include existing investors SoftBank and Alibaba. The round is set to value the e-commerce marketplace at $8bn to $9bn and be led by a $500m investment from Singapore’s Temasek.

UCloud is one of several Chinese companies to have gone public in recent days (for some more, look below), raising $284m in an initial public offering on the Shanghai Stock Exchange’s Star Market. The cloud services provider counts Bertelsmann Asia Investments among its backers and reportedly landed on Star Market because it allows a dual-class share structure for listed companies, meaning founders can retain substantial voting rights post-IPO.

There have been cases of some prominent corporate investors putting together dedicated impact or diversity-focused funds in recent years but it seems as if this might be a trend that’s picking up steam. Citi and Nestlé have both made steps to join in, Citi putting up $150m for a vehicle called Citi Impact Fund which is tasked with backing companies with a positive impact on society, while Nestlé has earmarked approximately $258m for a fund that will invest in startups operating in the sustainable packaging space.

In crossover news, Skylo Technologies, a Stanford spinout, has emerged from stealth with $116m, $103m of which was recently raised in a series B round led by SoftBank. Stanford spinout Skylo has developed an internet-of-things system designed to work in remote areas while utilising off-the-shelf cellular network components in order to offer a more affordable service.

Deals

GoPuff has not been a big name on the startup scene despite reports that it had raised money at a $1bn valuation in late 2018, but the snack delivery service received $750m six months ago, in a round led by SoftBank Vision Fund, it has emerged.

Berkshire Grey, a US-based robotic fulfilment systems developer, may have come out of stealth 13 months ago but when it came to funding, the company has continued to fly under the radar. That’s now changed, to a degree, with a $263m series B round led by SoftBank.

Two weeks ago, a regulatory filing told us that Mastercard-backed AvidXchange had secured $130m in fresh funding from two unnamed investors, but it looks like the company was much further ahead in discussions: it’s actually raised $260m in funding – though it’s only revealed TPG Sixth Street Partners as an investor. Notably, AvidXchange has been around much longer than most companies we come across in the daily newsletter, having been founded in 2000 and already clocking 5,500 clients for its automated invoicing and payment processing platform.

Doing even better when it comes to a large customerbase is AppsFlyer, a marketing platform that serves more than 12,000 brands including many well-known companies, such as eBay, Macy’s and HBO. That alone was likely reason enough for Deutsche Telekom Capital

The meat alternatives sector is one that’s really picking up pace on the funding side, though most of the capital has so far gone to plant-based meat substitute developers. However, Memphis Meats is pursuing meat that is grown directly from cells and has raised $161m in a series B round co-led by SoftBank.

Qonto has raised almost as much, $115m, in a series C round it claims is the largest ever for a French fintech company. Tencent co-led the round with DST Global, and the business banking platform developer is seeking a full European licence while boosting its staff numbers from 200 to 300.

Electric scooter and bike rental service Bounce has secured $105m in series D funding from investors including Qualcomm Ventures at a valuation that sits around the $500m mark.

Goldman Sachs has invested in cloud cybersecurity platform developer Sysdig as part of a $70m series E round that increased its overall funding to more than $200m. US-headquartered Sysdig disclosed the round, which was led by venture firm Insight Partners, on the same day as the launch of a dedicated Japanese subsidiary that comes in the wake of offices opening in Spain and Italy.

Elsewhere in Asia, LivSpace has lifted its latest funding round to $60m as it moves towards the close of a round reportedly expected to reach $90m to $100m next month. The interior design services marketplace reportedly boasts Ikea franchisee Ingka as an investor, the company having invested an amount between $10m and $15m in the company last May that looks as if it could have been part of the ongoing round.

Funds

MassMutual Ventures, US-based insurance firm MassMutual’s corporate venture capital arm, has launched a $100m Southeast Asia fund, bringing the unit’s overall capital under management to $350m. Founded in 2014, MassMutual Ventures invests in areas such as fintech, digital health, cybersecurity and enterprise software.

Exits

Uber divested several regional services prior to going public, through mergers with local operators that gave them sizeable stakes in the buyers. Now it looks to be repeating the trick with its Uber Eats food delivery business. The company has sold its Indian Uber Eats operation to food listings and ordering platform Zomato in a transaction that gave it a 10% stake. Considering Zomato is raising money at a reported $3bn valuation, that isn’t a bad chunk of change.

Revolution Medicines, a US-based cancer treatment exploiting research from multiple universities, has filed for a $100m initial public offering on the Nasdaq Global Market. Revolution was established by biotech company builder Third Rock Ventures and co-founded by Martin Burke from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Michael Fischbach from Stanford University and Kevan Shokat from University of California, Berkeley. Sanofi is also in line for an exit here, as the pharma company obtained series B shares in Revolution Medicines when the latter acquired US-based genomic medicine developer Warp Drive Bio, which was co-founded by Sanofi, in an all-share deal in 2018.

E-commerce firm Mercari has agreed to pay an undisclosed amount to acquire Origami, the developer of QR code-based mobile payment app that will be integrated into the Merpay platform Mercari launched in 2017. Origami had raised $88m in funding and typically for a Japanese company, it had a substantial amount of corporate backers including SoftBank, KDDI, Nihon Unisys, Mitsui Sumitomo Card Company, Union Pay International, JCB, Credit Saison and several banks.


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

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

Funds

Ping An outlines fintech investment plans

Medicxi nabs corporates to close $300m fund

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

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

Palo Alto Networks puts together $20m fund

GUV

Galaxy stars in IP Group’s $264m fundraising

GGV

London looks to Better Futures

Exits

Wanderful finds path to acquisition

GGV

Hello bids farewell

Deals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oppo takes a ride on Ponycar

Drone Racing League takes off with $20m

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

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

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

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

Element AI elevates itself to $102m series A

Actility admits Cisco to $75m series D

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

Twist finds the material to raise $60m

Omada goes on the attack with $50m

GGV

Protix breeds $50.5m investment


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