21 February 2021 – Blockchain.com Raises $120m in Strategic Growth Round

The Big Ones

1

Wishing our readers around the world a wonderful prosperous lunar new year – welcome to the year of the ox.

There has been a plateau in deal volumes in China over the past two years with other Asia-Pacific markets catching up, as adjunct professor Martin Haemmig noted at our last GCV Digital Forum at the end of January.

But China’s market has set the innovation bar higher in a host of fields, from ecommerce to artificial intelligence (AI) and electric vehicles. State-supported, mission-led innovation is a powerful aid to delivering a society’s vision – in China’s case leading the world in AI by 2030, Wired’s article notes.

The capital requirements, therefore, have scaled up to compete with the US and so fewer, larger deals makes sense.

A glance at the past week’s $100m-plus rounds, prepared by news editor Rob Lavine, shows China and the US still dominate the entrepreneurs gaining the funding to scale up to global champions.

China’s large, corporate-backed deals included:

Fenbi Education – $390m (IDG Capital, Huaxing Growth Capital, Hony Capital, Trustbridge Partners and unnamed others)

Pony.ai – $100m (Brunei Investment Agency and Citic Private Equity Funds Management)

Horizon Robotics – $350m (Sunny Optical Technology, BYD Auto, Great Wall Motors, Changjiang Automobile Electronic, Changzhou Xingyu Car Light, Dongfeng Asset, CMC-SDIC Capital, Shougang Fund and Shanghai AI Industry Fund)

Plus – $200m (Wanxiang International Investment, Guotai Junan International, Citic CPE and Full Truck Alliance/Manbang Group)

It was a powerful end to a year that saw the state tackle the power of a previous generation of entrepreneurial superstars, such as Alibaba and Tencent. And it remains a delicate balance to encourage innovation within restrictions.

The past 30 years have seen unprecedented numbers of people move out of poverty in China and the world through innovation and market forces. What the next year will bring will be further shocks and tensions – notably around Taiwan and geopolitics but remembering the sacrifices and accomplishments to get this far is important to build in the right direction.
Health, wealth, love, happiness and the time to enjoy it all.

2

AI quarterly report and monthly GCV published

“Artificial intelligence [AI] will change how business, governments and societies operate for decades to come.”

This was the theme at Tortoise Media’s AI discussion between editor James Harding and Mariana Mazzucato, academic and author of the new book, Moonshot.

There have been relatively few general purpose technologies since the first industrial age. The use of steam power and then electricity transformed society and business. In the first and second ages of industry with semiconductors, and then the internet created the conditions for data and information to be shared. AI will then write the software to capitalise on the opportunities and as the hardware improves so does the scale and speed.

As Jeff Herbst, vice president of business development at Nvidia and head of Nvidia GPU Ventures, in discussion with George Hoyem, managing partner at In-Q-Tel, shared at the GCV Digital Forum 2021 last month: “Modern AI is basically pattern recognition on data, whether it is images or voice.

“Fundamentally what is going on in the world right now is that the traditional model of how computers are programmed has been turned on its head.”

Herbst predicted the industries that would be most transformed by AI will be those that manage large amounts of data such as healthcare or retail.

Hoyem said that in the same way most technology uses the internet today, AI was also heading in a similar direction.

“It is going to creep into every vertical application and it starts with things that are highly parallelised and data sets like images, voice and even unstructured text.

“It is going to cover pretty much everything in about 10 years.”

This creates a question for governments for how best to steer or manage the progress. Mazzucato rightly argues for “goal-oriented, public private partnerships.

“What does it mean to have purpose at centre of public governance and system? Be bold on outcomes wanted and open on methods to get there.

“Have the ability to learn through trial and error and not outsourcing to consultants. Develop organisational capacity beyond administration but through dynamic procurement to bring policy redesign. Dynamic procurement to scale up not just VC.

“Going to the moon and back in a generation [the 1960s] gave immense spin-overs. [Our current] materials, software, traces back to those days. What does it mean today?

“It means targeting spill-overs rather than cost-benefit analysis.”

In the UK’s industrial strategy announced in 2017, Mazzucato and former universities minister David Willetts put AI and data as central to any challenge. She described it as “a fundamental input to transform”. The missions set out in the strategy focused on healthy ageing, the climate and the future of mobility to be safe, sustainability, have equal access and net-zero carbon emissions.

The European Union is going further with its green deal as part of its 2021 to 2027 Horizon Europe budget. Similarly, both China and the US are setting ambitious climate goals.

AI has already allowed Alphabet and other tech companies to reduced energy use and costs for data centres – as Callum Cyrus notes in his main feature.

But, as Nvidia’s chart on the AI startup ecosystem shows, most entrepreneurs are targeting the global health system. Already, scientists are weaving human brain cells into microchips, as the blog Futurism notes.

David Saad, mathematician at Aston University, said: “We believe this project has the potential to break through current limitations of processing power and energy consumption to bring about a paradigm shift in machine learning technology.”

AI will only fix the problems set for it by the politicians if they are clear what societal challenges they want tackled.

As Pope Francis put it in November: “Artificial intelligence is at the heart of the epochal change we are experiencing… Future advances should be oriented towards respecting the dignity of the person and of creation.”

3

How do you get startups to go from zero to scale?

When you see hundreds if not thousands of ideas and startups, as Jeff Schumacher, founder of New Asset Exchange (NAX), has then you realise a good team and product-market fit takes you only so far.

The differentiator is volume, often using capital to spend on marketing. Schumacher’s latest startup, NAX, has taken this idea and developed a software platform to create corporate asset-backed products, ventures and securities.

Emerging with stealth with $65m in funding from a dozen corporate, institutional and family office investors, NAX has a development unit to take data and turn it into a security or venture with the software to trade it.

This model could, for example, turn an insurance company’s data around the 25 attributes needed to underwrite a work of art and allow banks to lend money against it in order to help fund its purchase.

The law of large numbers then works if there are lots of these credit notes to package them up and syndicate or tranche the bundles of debt into asset-backed securities, similar to car loans or house mortgages.

Take the idea on and NAX wants to apply the same model to indie games developers for securitising expected revenues. But its biggest target is climate change.

How can carbon be priced or corporations offset emissions? Schumacher, former founder of BCG Digital Ventures and Axon Advisory Partners, said: “Climate is hard to trade because it is opaque, compare and has no scale.

“The Paris Accord will not work because social investment funds are not enough. We need financial innovation and instruments to attract capital.”

There is increased attention on the topic this year as COP26 is being held in London and expected to update the Paris Accord with new emissions targets, carbon reporting, investor incentives and corporate governance standards.

As George Serafeim, professor at Harvard Business School, noted in September’s GCV Digital Forum, the creation of impact-weighted accounting standards will help push the main listed corporations to explaining and tackling their externalities.

Creating a financial market to help, say, a smelter plant minimise or offset their environmental impact would be useful.

GCV through its Global Energy Council and its sister publications, Global Impact Venturing and Global University Venturing, will be preparing its Symposium in the UK in early November around COP26 with special events planned to cover the golden triangle between London, Oxford and Cambridge and in Scotland and the north of England.

4

UK-based cryptocurrency exchange provider Blockchain.com, which raised a $120m strategic growth round.

These investors included Access Industries, an investment and industrial group founded by Leonard Blavatnik, GV (formerly known as Google Ventures and one of Alphabet’s corporate venturing units), venture capital firms Lakestar and Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Moore Strategic Ventures (Louis Bacon’s hedge fund’s venture unit), Kyle Bass (founder and principal of Hayman Capital Management hedge fund), Eldridge and Rovida Advisors.

When Blockchain.com set out to raise its series A round in late 2014, there were only a handful of venture-backed crypto companies and a bitcoin was worth hundreds of dollars.

Six years later and Bitcoin has crossed what Blockchain called the “monumental price target of $50,000” and the company provides 65 million wallets in 200-plus countries. More than a quarter (28%) of all Bitcoin transactions since 2012 have occurred via Blockchain.com, it added.

Peter Smith, Blockchain.com’s CEO and founder, said: “The current bull run is dominated by stories of Fortune 500 companies, investment funds, and institutions driving net inflows into crypto. The fact that the best macro investors in the world participated in our latest fundraise is further proof that institutions are taking a serious look at their crypto strategy.”

Jalak Jobanputra, founder of VC firm Future Perfect Ventures, which invested in Blockchain.com’s 2014 round, in her newsletter put part of the institutional moves down to bitcoin having decoupled from other assets over fears of inflation. She said: “The last couple of weeks have felt like we have moved decades forward in the sector, and this seems to be accelerating daily.”

Funds

Adjuvant stimulates $300m fund

Sesame Workshop, National Geographic Society and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals have all thrown their weight behind a $165m third fund raised by edtech-focused VC firm Reach Capital. The fund will specifically target educational technology producers that are looking to remove barriers, particularly those faced by ethnic minorities, disabled students and under-resourced communities. Reach’s existing portfolio already includes Outschool – also backed by Sesame Workshop – and Springboard – also backed by Telstra Ventures.

Spain-based bank BBVA has committed a further $150m to financial sector-focused venture capital firm Propel Venture Partners and bringing its total commitment to more than $400m since 2016. BBVA has committed an initial $50m to an annual fund as the sole limited partner (LP). This will be followed by similar funds in 2022 and 2023, which will be open to outside investors.

Eurazeo is going in a different direction with its $97m Smart City II Venture Fund, focusing on early-stage startups in the energy, mobility, property technology and logistics industries. Limited partners for the fund’s first close include car manufacturer Stellantis, electric utilities EDF and Mainova, public transport operator RATP, energy producer Total, logistics company Duisport and real estate developer Sansiri. The predecessor vehicle, Smart City I, invested in approximately 25 companies across Europe, North America and Asia.

Masco puts finishing touch to $50m fund

SCB 10X, the corporate venturing unit of Thailand-based Siam Commercial Bank (SCB), has set up a $50m fund for early and growth-stage startups targeting blockchain, decentralised finance (DeFi) and digital assets.

Kraken Digital Asset Exchange, a US-based cryptocurrency service provider, has set up a corporate venturing unit.

Kraken Ventures will target early-stage companies and protocols across the crypto and financial technology ecosystem, including decentralized finance (DeFi), as well as enabling technologies, such as artificial intelligence, regulation tech and cybersecurity.

BIG goes local with Hyogo Kobe Fund

Costco Wholesale, a Nasdaq-listed retailer, has committed $1m to Fearless Fund, a US-based venture capital firm set up to invest in women of colour (WOC).

Costco’s investment marks a string of corporate interest in the fund, following recent investments from PayPal and Bank of America.

Savola Group, a Saudi Arabia-based food and retail conglomerate, has set up its corporate venturing unit and completed its first investment.

Its corporate venture capital fund will invest in disruptive technologies and opportunities in the food and retail space regionally and globally, according to news provider Wamda.

DexCom, a Nasdaq-listed supplier of continuous glucose monitoring for people with diabetes, has set up its corporate venturing unit under Steve Pacelli.

Dexcom Ventures will invest in glucose sensing technology and adjacent areas, such as data analytics, remote patient monitoring and population health.

LightShed Partners, a US-based boutique research firm founded by media analyst Rich Greenfield in 2019, has set up a corporate venturing fund.

LightShed Ventures is raising $75m to invest in seed and series A rounds across technology, media and telecom sectors, according to news provider Barron’s.

Ensemble Innovation Ventures (EIV), the holding company of US-based healthcare provider Delta Dental of Colorado, has set up a corporate venturing fund.

Ensemble Innovation Ventures Fund (EIVF) will target the health and wellness space and invest in early-stage venture companies primarily in its local region.

9Unicorns, an India-based incubator and startup fund set up by Venture Catalysts, has raised INR1bn ($14m) from local food provider Haldiram’s and other investors.

Haldiram’s had announced a partnership with Venture Catalysts in April 2019.

University

Venture capital firm Global Accelerated Ventures (GAV) has partnered with Oxford University Innovation (OUI), the research commercialisation unit of UK-based University of Oxford to set up a $25m special purpose investment vehicle (SPV) targeting conservation-focused startups.

The Oxford GAV Conservation Venture Studio will support and bring prototypes to market

Exits

It has barely been four years since JD.com spun off its warehousing and distribution services provider as JD Logistics, but the unit quickly went on to raise $2.5bn in 2018 from Tencent, China Life and others. That capital seemingly provided a decent runway and now JD Logistics is looking to build on its business growth thanks to a surge in online shopping during the pandemic by filing to go public in Hong Kong. Financial terms have not yet been set, but sources told DealStreetAsia the company is eyeing a $40bn valuation. That’s not a bad multiple on the $12.8bn it was reportedly valued for that 2018 round.

Also benefiting from a surge in online shopping is BigBasket, the India-based grocery delivery company that has now agreed to an acquisition by Tata Group in a deal that values it between $1.8bn and $2bn. Tata is buying a 60% stake in the business and existing shareholders, which include Alibaba with a near-30% stake, are set to exit almost entirely. Tata is not stopping there: the plan for BigBasket is said to be turning it into a public company as early as 2021.

Coupang, the Korean online retailer that ships products to customers nationwide within hours of purchase, is reportedly eyeing a $50bn market cap with a planned $1bn initial public offering that would provide an exit to SoftBank and its Vision Fund. The corporate and the fund have invested $2.5bn between themselves and that market cap would be a more than fivefold increase on the $9bn valuation that Coupang fetched in 2018. Coupang more than halved its net loss over the past two years, though it still stood at nearly $475m for 2020.

Cloopen Group – also known as Ronglian Cloud Communications and as Yuntongxun – has already completed its IPO and brought in $320m through a listing on the New York Stock Exchange that provided exits to New Oriental and Telstra Ventures (though neither owned more than 5% before the offering). It had priced its ADSs at just $16 but as of yesterday’s close they were already worth $29.65 so there is every expectation that underwriters will jump at the chance to buy the additional 3 million ADSs.

Adagene advances to IPO

Hearing loss treatment developer Decibel has already gone public, pricing its shares at $18 to raise more than $127m through a listing on the Nasdaq Global Select Market that provided exits to GV, SR One and Regeneron. It was more than the $75m in proceeds that Decibel had originally targeted but despite a brief climb to $24.39 a share on the first day of trading, they closed back down at only $18.03.

Amgen and Pfizer also celebrated exits as cancer immunotherapy developer NexImmune – a spinout of Johns Hopkins University – raised $110m in an upsized initial public offering on the Nasdaq Global Market. NexImmune’s shares closed at $25.33 on the first day of trading on Friday. Neither corporate owned more than 5% in NexImmune ahead of the offering.

Another week, another set of reverse mergers. Today it is AEye’s turn, the lidar system developer having agreed to combine with CF Finance Acquisition Corp III at a $2bn valuation. Existing shareholders Subaru-SBI Innovation Fund, Intel Capital and Hella Ventures joined GM Ventures and others for a $225m Pipe financing. AEye’s backers, which had supplied more than $60m in equity funding, also include Aisin, LG, SK Hynix and Airbus Ventures. The merger is expected to complete in the second quarter of the year.

Owlet grows into public company

Humacyte, a US-based developer of tissue-based medical technology backed by conglomerate Access Industries and healthcare company Fresenius Medical Care, is the latest company to jump on the reverse merger bandwagon. The business is set to merge with Alpha Healthcare Acquisition Corp to list on Nasdaq, and the deal will land it $175m in financing from Fresenius and Alexandria Venture Investments, among others. Alpha Healthcare already raised $100m when it went public, and Humacyte is looking at a $1.1bn market cap once the transaction closes. Fresenius took a 19% stake in 2018, while Access Industries made its investment in 2015 as part of a $150m series B.

Humio is choosing a more traditional exit by agreeing to a $400m acquisition by CrowdStrike that will primarily consist of cash but include some equity. It is a sizeable amount of change dropped by CrowdStrike, not least because Humio had only raised slightly more than $30m in equity financing – most recently completing a $20m series B round led by Dell Technologies Capital in March last year.

University

Talis takes in IPO proceeds

Deals

Xingsheng Youxuan, which allows neighbourhood communities to club together to purchase goods in bulk, has added $2bn to its coffers thanks to commitments from Tencent and China Evergrande Group, among others. The company said it now processes more than 8 million daily orders and is delivering to more than 30,000 towns across China. The latest cash injection comes just a couple of months after JD.com committed $700m and less than a year after Xingsheng secured $800m in its series C-plus from Tencent and others.

SpaceX meanwhile is showing no ambitions to go public just yet and the US-based spacecraft producer and launch services provider backed by Alphabet, has added $850m in fresh funding from unspecified investors at a reported valuation of $74bn. It is not the biggest round raised by SpaceX – for now that remains the $1.9bn transaction last summer – but it is notable for one because the company had allegedly lined up offers totalling $6bn within three days (yes, you read that right) and for another because existing shareholders took the opportunity to sell $750m worth of stock. No word on their identity either, however.

University

Axiom Space lifts off with $130m

Kakao Mobility hails Carlyle for $200m

Locus Robotics is one of two companies to have raised $150m (see Standard Cognition below, too) and the warehouse automation technology producer’s series E round featured returning backer Prologis Ventures (though it is unclear when the corporate first invested). Zebra Ventures did not participate this time, having previously contributed to the $40m series D and $26m series C rounds.

Standard Cognition checks out $150m series C

Mainstay Medical puts away $108m

TigerGraph charts course to $105m

University

LegalForce powers up with series C


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

08 April 2019 – Cambridge Innovation Capital Collates $196m in New Capital

The Big Three

The fresh capital, anchored by University of Cambridge and its Endowment Fund, will enable patient capital-orientated vehicle Cambridge Innovation Capital to make new bets and sustain investments in its existing portfolio. Delighted Tony Raven joining us to share more at the Symposium as well as his peers at Oxford university.

Intel Capital has announced 14 investments (see below), the largest of which involved it leading a $150m series B round for artificial intelligence application platform SambaNova. The round also featured GV, which had previously co-led a $56m series A announced when SambaNova emerged from stealth early last year.

Precision Biosciences has gone public in a $126m IPO that valued it at more than $780m, notching up exits for Amgen Ventures and Baxter Ventures. The genome editing technology developer floated in the middle of its range but its share price has since risen, and the offering comes after more than $175m in equity and convertible note financing.

Funds

After nearly two years, SoftBank Vision Fund still hasn’t officially reached its $100bn targeted close, but it is reportedly seeking $15bn in extra capital that will allow it to keep making investments, including follow-on investments, while it prepares to raise a second $100bn fund. It may have to do it sooner rather than later, because sources told Bloomberg it has now gone through 70% of its capital and it’s investing at a breakneck pace.

Pet food and care provider Mars Petcare has launched a $100m strategic investment fund, the Companion Fund, in connection with its creation of an open innovation unit called Kinship.

Chevron Technology Ventures checks $90m for Fund VII

Corporates buy into ByFounders’ $112m debut fund

Okta verifies $50m corporate venturing fund

UT Health San Antonio loads biomedical accelerator

UTokyo IPC ignites accelerator

Exits

Thoma Bravo fires off Mailgun acquisition

TradingView takes in TradeIt

Chinese social media influencer network Ruhnn has gone public in the US, raising $125m. Weibo bought $8m of shares in the Alibaba-backed company through the IPO, which involved Ruhnn floating in the middle of its range.

NGM Biopharmaceuticals secured $107m when it floated, together with $65.9m from existing backer and development partner Merck & Co through a private placement.

Slack has reportedly selected the New York Stock Exchange as the venue for a direct listing slated to take place in June or July. The enterprise collaboration platform is backed by SoftBank Vision Fund, GV and Comcast Ventures and was valued at more than $7bn as of last year.

Life360 circles Australia for $100m IPO

Oxford Nanopore sets sights on IPO

Deals

Hellobike raised more than $580m from backers including Ant Financial at the tail end of last year and is reportedly seeking $500m to $1bn in new funding. It claims to have 200 million registered users but either way, you’d think it’s going to have to find a route to profit sooner or later in order to survive.

India-based Zoomcar operates in another part of the transport tech space, in on-demand car rental. It is also gearing up for a big leap forward, negotiating with carmaker Mahindra & Mahindra for a $500m debt and equity round that would potentially take it into unicorn territory, representing a sixfold increase in valuation between rounds.

Toast, the developer of a point-of-sale and business management software platform for the restaurant industry, has secured $250m in series E funding at a $2.7bn valuation.

Customer data management platform Segment has secured $175m in a series D roundco-led by GV that valued it at $1.5bn. The round increased Segment’s funding to $284m to date, and it follows a $64m round nearly two years ago that was also co-led by GV. The proceeds will go to marketing and a global expansion drive.

Indian grocery e-commerce platform BigBasket is meanwhile in the process of raising $150m at a valuation of about $1.2bn, according to regulatory filings. Existing investor Alibaba is set to provide $50m and will retain a 26.2% stake post-investment, maintaining its position as BigBasket’s largest shareholder.

SpringWorks blossoms with $125m series B

Fusion gets reaction in $105m series B

Gene editing tool provider Inscripta has raised a further $20m to increase its series C round to approximately $106m.

Hotel room booking platform Oyo has confirmed it has raised funding from Airbnb, an investment reportedly sized somewhere between the $100m and $200m mark.

University

NextGen Jane nets $9m in series A funding


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

18 December 2017 – OneWeb Follows SpaceX with a $500m Investment

Deals

Days after SpaceX raised $1bn in funding, another satellite technology company, OneWeb, is lining up a $500m investment from SoftBank, which had previously put up $1bn of the $1.2bn OneWeb raised a year ago. .

Office software producer Kingsoft spun cloud storage business Kingsoft Cloud out in 2012 but has retained a majority stake now sized at 52%. It also invested $150m of the $300m in series D funding Kingsoft Cloud just raised at a $1.9bn valuation, bringing its total funding to approximately $500m.

Reports for most of this year have been touting a $200m corporate investment in Indian online grocer BigBasket, and the latest news is that Alibaba will pay $200m for a 25% stake in the company as part of a $280m round.

Koch Disruptive Technologies, a newly formed vehicle for conglomerate Koch Industries, has made its first investment, leading a $150m series E round for InSightec, the developer of a magnetic resonance-equipped ultrasound surgical device.

There have been some big deals in the space sector recently, and the latest is iSpace, a lunar exploration company that’s just closed $90.2m in series A funding, the largest series A round in Japan’s history.

NextDoor, the social media platform focused on local communities, has raised $75m from undisclosed investors at a valuation indicated by a regulatory filing to be about $1.5bn.

AI chip developer ThinkForce has secured $68m in a series A round featuring machine vision technology developer Yitu Technology as well as Sequoia Capital China, Yunfeng Capital and Yitu backer Hillhouse Capital.

Online razor seller Harry’s has raised $63.7m in funding, according to a regulatory filing, cash that will reportedly be put towards a complementary acquisition.

GV has participated in a $63m series B round closed by oncology therapy developer Relay Therapeutics that took the company’s overall funding to $120m.

Insikt, the Rakuten-backed operator of an online lending platform for the un(der)banked, has raised $50m in a series D round led by Grupo Coppel that took its total funding past the $100m mark.

Swedish mobile payment and small business revenue technology provider iZettle has secured about $47m in a Dawn Capital-led round that included the Fourth Swedish National Pension Fund, at a reported valuation of about $950m.

We’ve had several GGV deals already, and on GUV, the biggest deal was US-based immuno-oncology developer Pionyr Immunotherapeutics, which raised $62m in series B funding from a consortium that featured spinout-focused investment firm Osage University Partners.

Funds

Auto parts supplier Valeo has provided 25% of the money for a $226m car technology fund formed by private equity firm Cathay Capital, joining government-owned Yangtze River Industry Fund as a cornerstone investor.

On GGV, the EU-owned European Investment Fund contributed funding to investment firm LSP’s second medtech vehicle, LSP Health Economics Fund 2 (LSP HEF 2), which reached an oversubscribed close of €280m ($330m).

And on GUV, UM Ventures, the tech transfer office for the University of Maryland System (UMS), has unveiled plans for a venture fund of undisclosed size aimed at retaining university-linked startups in the city of Baltimore.

Here’s an interesting one from GUV as well: Imperial College London and Tsinghua University have joined forces to seed a $300,000 fund called the Tsinghua-Imperial Research and Innovation Fund to back early-stage scientific research.

Exits

Gilead Sciences has agreed to acquire T cell receptor therapy developer Cell Design Labs in a deal that could value it at up to $567m, six years after Kite Pharma, now a Gilead subsidiary, took a 12.2% stake by backing a $34.4m round that remained Cell Design’s only funding.

Apple has reportedly lined up a $400m acquisition of music identification app developer Shazam. The deal would provide exits for América Móvil, Sony, Universal and Access Industries, but none look likely to make a profitable return on their investments, Shazam’s valuation having peaked at about $1bn in 2015.

On GUV we’ve had two IPO-related news this past week. First up, Mirriad, a UK-based video technology spinout from University of Surrey, is targeting £26.2m ($35m) in gross proceeds in its initial public offering on Aim. Mirriad, which will enter the public markets under the ticker symbol Miri tomorrow (that’s Tuesday, December 19 for those of you listening later).

Then we also have Fusion Antibodies, a UK-based genomics modelling platform spun out of Queen’s University Belfast, which will raise £5.5m ($7.4m) in its initial public offering on Aim.


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

10 April 2017 – Lyft Raises $500m & Unusual IPO for Spotify Plus Much More

Deals

It feels like the whole Flipkart/Snapdeal funding/merger saga’s been going on forever by this point but news continues to flow out of the respective camps, the latest being that Flipkart could well close between $1.2bn and $1.5bn in funding from eBay, Tencent and Microsoft next week.

On-demand ride platform Lyft has added almost 100 US cities to its network already this year and has now added another $500m of equity funding to its coffers.

Automotive trading software provider Souche.com has raised $180m in a series D round that included CreditEase’s New Financial Industrial Fund.

Alphabet-backed brokerage app developer Robinhood has pulled in new funding in a DST Global-led round that reportedly values it at $1.3bn.

India-based e-grocer BigBasket has reportedly entered talks with Tencent, Fosun and Amazon for a round that would be sized between $110m and $150m, and which would value it at $1bn, more than twice the valuation of its last funding, a $150m series D round that closed a year ago.

Existing investors GV and Sequoia Capital have co-led a series C round that provided more than $90m for secondary storage technology developer Cohesity, and which valued it at more than $500m.

Another Alphabet investment subsidiary, CapitalG, meanwhile has led an $81.5m series D round for Looker, a data analytics platform capable of curating large amounts of data to provide enterprise users with valuable insight into their organisation.

China-based Wecash has raised $80m in a series C round co-led by SIG that will enable it to add an online lending facility to its credit scoring platform, which has some 80 million users.

Fresh off the high that was Intel’s $15bn offer to acquire autonomous driving technology developer Mobileye, the company’s co-founders are now setting their sights on an initial public offering of another one of their ventures – OrCam Technologies, which has developed smart glasses that are able to identify street signs and read text and dictate it into the user’s ear.

Northwestern Mutual’s corporate venturing arm has participated in a $25m series C round for healthcare booking and billing platform Amino that took the company’s total equity financing to almost $45m.

SoftBank has reportedly rescinded between $150m and $200m in debt financing it was set to provide to portfolio company Snapdeal.

On Global University Venturing, US-based marketing technology developer ActionIQ has attracted $13m in a series A round that included Stanford University, through its Stanford Engineering Venture Fund.

And on Global Government venturing, Singapore Technologies Telemedia, a wholly-owned investment subsidiary of Singapore state-owned investment firm Temasek, invested $89m in US-based cybersecurity company Armor. Armor was previously majority owned by investment firm Stephens.

Funds

Clean vehicle technology producer BorgWarner has provided $10m for US-based venture capital firm Autotech Ventures as part of an overall strategic investment plan. Autotech supplies VC funding to startups developing software, services or electronics technology for use in connected, autonomous and energy-efficient vehicles and mobility services.

Legend Capital, the venture capital firm formed by China-based conglomerate Legend Holdings, has raised more than $400m for its seventh fund. The $400m represents the fund’s hard cap, according to Private Equity International.

Southern New Hampshire University has partnered venture firm Rethink Education to create a $15m seed fund targeting early-stage edtech enterprises.

South Korea’s Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning will set up a 113.5bn won ($102m) fund for startups and VC firms in the biotechnology sector.

Enterprise Ireland, the export credit agency of the Irish government, is set to make up to €44m ($47m) in additional funding available to seed and early-stage companies.

Iran’s sovereign wealth fund Iran Foreign Investment Company will invest an undisclosed amount into the healthcare and technology sectors.

The government of Canada has outlined the next steps for its Innovation and Skills Plan, including an additional C$200m ($149m) for the Strategic Innovation Fund over a three year period, bringing it to C$1.26bn.

The BC Tech Fund, managed by Kensington Capital Partners invested an undisclosed amount into Lumira Capital IV, a new healthcare and life sciences venture capital fund managed by Lumira Capital.

Exits

Sucampo Pharmaceuticals has bought rare disease therapy developer Vtesse for $200m in cash and stock, allowing Pfizer Venture Investments and Lundbeckfond Ventures to exit.

Data management software provider Cloudera has finally publicly filed for its IPO, setting an initial target of $200m.

Speculation about a Spotify IPO has been ongoing for years but reports now suggest it might take an unusual route to the public markets, listing its stock but not actually issuing any new shares or raising money.

Pharmaceutical firm Astellas Pharma is set to acquire Belgium-based drug discovery company Ogeda for €800m ($853m), providing an exit to Société Régionale d’Investissement de Wallonie, the state-owned investment company for the Wallonia government in Belgium that took part in a €16m series B round in 2015 and a $12.8m series A round in 2012.

Regulation

The UK government is set to announce tax break reforms to ensure that entrepreneurs benefit from the tax incentives, rather than property investors.

An amendment to Germany’s law on competition restrictions proposed by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has been approved by the federal council, known as Bundesrat.


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