10 May 2021 – Oxford Nanopore Pockets $280m in Equity Financing

The Big Ones

Canada-based digital investment platform developer Wealthsimple received C$750m ($610m) in funding from investors including Allianz X, a subsidiary of Allianz, at a valuation of almost $4.1bn. Meritech Capital and Greylock Partners co-led the round, which also featured DST Global, Sagard, Iconiq Capital, Dragoneer, TCV, iNovia Capital, Base 10 Partners, Redpoint Ventures, Steadfast Capital, Alkeon Capital Management, TSV, Plus Capital and multiple individuals. The valuation represents a large jump from the $1.07bn valuation at which the company raised $86.8m in an October 2020 round led by TCV that included Allianz X, Greylock, Meritech Capital and Two Sigma Ventures.

China-based roasted seed and nut provider Qiaqia Food and domestic snack food producer Juewei Food have formed a RMB1.1bn ($170m) industry investment fund. Sichuan Chengdu Xinjin Siyiwu Investment will be equipped with almost $100m from Juewei Food’s Wangju Capital vehicle, which will take a 58.6% share, while Qiaqia Food is set to provide $9m in return for a 5.45% stake. The vehicle will invest in companies operating in areas like restaurant chains, snack and condiment brands, pet food producers and developers of technology which can enhance the supply chain.

Roivant Sciences, the US-based biopharmaceutical company backed by telecommunications and internet group SoftBank and pharmaceutical firms Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma and Dexxon, agreed a reverse merger at a combined $7.3bn valuation. The deal will take place with a SPAC called Montes Archimedes Acquisition Corp which floated on the Nasdaq Capital Market in a $400m initial public offering in October 2020. Sumitomo Dainippon, SoftBank subsidiary SB Management and data analytics service provider Palantir Technologies all contributed to a $200m private investment in public equity (PIPE) financing supporting the transaction.

Crossover

Oxford Nanopore, the UK-based DNA sequencing technology spinout of University of Oxford, pocketed £195m ($270m) in equity financing from investors including commercialisation firm IP Group. Nikon, Temasek, Wellington Management and M&G Investment took part in the round, providing $174m, while unnamed, existing backers also contributed capital. IP Group committed £26m, its full pre-emptive allocation, and now owns a 14.5% undiluted stake in Oxford Nanopore. The spinout is now valued at $3.4bn. Founded in 2005, Oxford Nanopore has developed a DNA and RNA sequencing technology that provides real-time analytics. The technology is fully scalable from hand-held devices for use in the field through to benchtop products and population-scale platforms. The spinout is seeking an initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange in the second half of the year and reportedly hired book-running managers last month.

Deals

US-based freelancer business software provider HoneyBook secured $155m in series D funding from investors including Citi Ventures. Durable Capital Partners led the round, which also featured 01 Advisors, Battery Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners, OurCrowd, Tiger Global Management and Zeev Ventures. It valued the company above $1bn, according to TechCrunch.

Bitso, a Mexico-based cryptocurrency exchange operator backed by corporates Coinbase, Monex and Ripple, has received $250m in series C funding at a $2.2bn valuation. Hedge fund manager Tiger Global Management and investment manager Coatue Management co-led the round, which included Paradigm, Bond, Valor Capital Group, QED Investors, Pantera Capital and Kaszek Ventures.

China-based heart disease therapy developer Valgen Medtech has secured a nine-digit dollar amount in series B funding from investors including corporates Venus Medtech and China Life. The round was co-led by DCP and Sequoia Capital China and included China Life’s Healthcare Fund Venus Medtech, Ascendum Capital, Lake Bleu Capital and Qiming Venture Partners.

Funds

New York-listed pharmacy chain CVS Health has set up a $100m fund which will targeting digital health technology. CVS Health Ventures formalises a corporate venturing strategy that has resulted in investments in more than 20 startups through the CVS and Aetna businesses, CVS having acquired life insurance provider Aetna in 2018 for $69bn. Current CVS Health investments include Unite Us, the developer a technology platform that connects healthcare and social services providers, and LumiraDx, which has created a point-of-care diagnostic platform.

The universities of Birmingham, Dundee, Edinburgh and Nottingham have joined forces with drug discovery firm Evotec and pharmaceutical firm Bristol-Myers Squibb to launch BeLab1407 Equipped with $20m, BeLab1407 is the latest addition to Evotec’s international network of early-stage academic collaborations called Bridge – an acronym for Biomedical Research, Innovation and Development Generation Efficiency. It will focus on drug discovery. Listeners of our Talking Tech Transfer podcast will already know that Adam Stoten, chief operating officer at tech transfer office Oxford University Innovation, spearheaded the initiative and last month revealed exclusively to me on that podcast that he was joining Evotec to expand the roster of partnerships further. You can find the Talking Tech Transfer podcast on GlobalUniversityVenturing.com – our latest guest is Jason Whitney of IU Ventures – or on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you download your podcasts from.

Exits

Financial management software producer Bill.com agreed to purchase payment management platform developer Divvy in a $2.5bn transaction enabling digital payment processor PayPal and electronics wholesaler Hanaco to exit. Divvy’s software platform allows businesses to efficiently track spending on expenses and corporate cards in real time while setting flexible limits. The deal will allow Bill.com to offer business customers accounts payable, accounts receivable and corporate card spend management options from a single place. The deal will consist of $625m of cash and the rest in Bill.com shares. It comes four months after Divvy secured $165m in series D funding from investors including PayPal subsidiary PayPal Ventures and Hanaco at a $1.6bn valuation.

Digital currency-focused financial services provider Galaxy Digital Holdings agreed to purchase BitGo, a US-based cryptocurrency wallet developer backed by bitcoin mining technology producer BitFury, for about $1.2bn in cash and stock. The deal will consist of $265m in cash and 38.8 million Galaxy Digital shares, which closed at $28.47 each on Wednesday – the day of the announcement. BitGo’s shareholders will own about 10% Galaxy Digital on a pro forma basis.

AEye, a US-based lidar system developer that counts several corporates among its investors, has amended its reverse transaction agreement with a SPAC called CF Finance Acquisition Corp III. The deal will now value AEye at $1.52bn pre-money, down from the $1.9bn valuation set when the deal was agreed in February this year. The merged business will take CF Finance Acquisition Corp III’s listing on the Nasdaq Capital Market.

Action Network, a US-based sports betting news provider backed by over-the-top media company The Chernin Group, has agreed to a $240m acquisition by sports betting media group Better Collective. Founded in 2017, Action Network provides news and analysis on betting across multiple sports. Its offering also includes podcasts, data, educational resources and betting tools. The company will continue to operate under the Action Network brand as a separate business unit under Better Collective following the close of the deal.

Day One Biopharmaceuticals, a US-based cancer drug developer which counts conglomerate Access Industries and pharmaceutical firm Takeda as investors, has filed to raise $100m in an initial public offering. Founded in 2018, Day One was incubated by venture capital firm Canaan and is developing drug treatments for cancer patients of all ages, with an initial focus on children. The company’s lead product candidate is being developed to treat progressive low-grade glioma, a common type of brain tumour diagnosed in children.

China-based audio streaming platform developer Ximalaya has filed for an initial public offering in the United States that would give internet and gaming group Tencent the chance to exit. Ximalaya operates an online podcasting platform with some 250 million monthly active users. The company has set a placeholder target of $100m and is set to float on the New York Stock Exchange.


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

16 December 2019 – Petronas Launches Piva with $250m in Capital

Funds

Petronas has officially launched Piva, a growth-stage vehicle that will target developers of energy, industrial and materials applications in North America and Europe. The fund is equipped with $250m of capital and will be overseen by Petronas Corporate Venture Capital, the larger, more generalised unit that was launched by the corporate in October.

Telkom Indonesia and KB kick off $150m fund

Plexo flexes corporate connections to close first fund

Vertex closes Master Fund at $730m

UChicago helps shape $160m Pear fund

Epidarex dials up drug discovery scheme

Fundraising for SoftBank Vision Fund’s second vehicle is ongoing, but insiders have told The Telegraph it could end up closing at a size up to 30% lower than its first fund. Vision Fund is in talks with Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which contributed a joint $60bn to its first vehicle, but some public missteps, particularly in the case of WeWork, may end up giving them pause.

Exits

SoftBank Vision Fund elected to pump $9.5bn into WeWork in order to rescue the company but it’s shifting another problematic asset out completely. The fund invested $300m in petsitting platform Wag at a $650m valuation but has now agreed to sell its stake back to the company, reportedly at a loss. Wag has had some high-profile issues in the past year and the move comes after a recent resignation from its CEO and before a series of job cuts.

Rock Content draws up Scribble acquisition

Business finance automation platform Bill.com went public in a $216m initial public offering that allowed Fleetcor, Mastercard, American Express, Bank of America, Fifth Third Bank, JP Morgan Chase and the Citi-owned Financial Partners Fund to exit. It’s been a successful offering too, Bill having lifted the range at the start of the week and then floating at a higher price. It had raised more than $275m in VC funding and the IPO values it at about $1.55bn.

UCommune has proven itself to be WeWork’s largest competitor in East Asia but it’s selected the US for its initial public offering. The co-working space operator, whose investors include Ant Financial, Aikang Group, Star Group and several property developers, has set a placeholder target of $100m but the final fate of the IPO may be anyone’s guess, with reports that Citigroup and Credit Suisse walked away from underwriter positions due to disagreements over valuation.

Molbase assays $70m IPO

Deals

Digital bank operator Chime has closed a $500m series E round led by tech investment firm DST Global, upping its valuation from $1.5bn to $5.8bn in just nine months. The company has raised more than $800m to date, from investors that include Northwestern Mutual Future Ventures. It will put the latest funding toward product development and staff expansion as it prepares to open an office in Chicago.

Online automotive e-commerce platform Vroom took its overall funding to $721m in a $254m series H round led by investment adviser Durable Capital Partners. The round valued Vroom, whose existing backers include car dealership owner AutoNation, at $1.5bn and the funding will support recruitment, product development and the establishment of a newly opened engineering hub.

Elsewhere in fintech, online lending platform WeLab has raised its first funding in over two years, securing $156m in a series C round featuring Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund and China Construction Bank, two of five existing investors that joined undisclosed new participants in the round. WeLab filed for an IPO itself in mid-2018 but pulled it before the end of the year. It’s now preparing to launch a digital bank and is eyeing Southeast Asia for expansion.

Perfect Day is one of a number of companies exploring the plant-based food substitute space, having created a protein it claims is as tasty and nutritional as cow’s milk. It has also received $140m in series C funding at a $440m valuation, with Sinagpore’s Temasek leading the round. The company has now raised more than $200m since being founded five years ago, its earlier investors including agribusiness Continental Grain.

Genome engineering platform Inscripta has received $125m in a Paladin Capital-backed series D round that took its total funding up to about $260m. Mérieux Développement contributed to Inscripta’s last round, a $106m series C that closed in April, and the series D proceeds will go to commercialising and enhancing its Onyx Digital Genome Engineering system.

Online insurance platform Wefox Group has added $110m from investors including Samsung Catalyst Fund to a series B round that now stands at $235m. The round already included CreditEase and the latest influx of capital was secured at a $1.65bn valuation according to TechCrunch, a substantial jump from the reported $1.1bn valuation for the first tranche in March.

HomeTap is only about two years old but operates a model where users can access finance using equity in their homes. It has also just raised $100m from investors including American Family Ventures. The series B funding will support its expansion in the US, in addition to increasing headcount and work on further development of the platform.

Small molecule cancer drug developer Zentalis Pharmaceuticals has come out of stealth with $147m in funding, $85m of which was just secured in a series C round. No corporate investors were mentioned in that transaction but its investors do include Pharmaron and Alexandria Venture Investments, while Pfizer, which is collaborating with it on a phase 1/2 clinical trial that combines two drug treatments, may have gained a stake through the partnership deal.

Jasper springs to life with $35m

Paragraf amplifies series A to reach $21.3m


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

16 October 2017 – Ola Raises $1.1bn in Tencent-led Round

Deals

Ola confirmed today it has raised $1.1bn in a round led by Tencent, which invested $400m according to recent reports.

Tujia, the online accommodation marketplace often referred to as China’s Airbnb, has secured $300m in a round co-led by Ctrip that valued it at more than $1.5bn.

SoftBank Vision Fund has done more than anyone to ramp up venture capital investment to new levels this year, and it’s far from finished. The fund has led a $164m round for Mapbox, a provider of location and mapping technology for app developers, taking the company’s overall funding to nearly $230m.

Freight shipping management platform Flexport, has confirmed it has closed a $110m series C round that valued it at $910m post-money.

App development seems to be a hot area for SoftBank right now. The firm has also led Petuum’s $93m series B round, investing through an undisclosed subsidiary.

Music royalty collection service Kobalt has added $14m of funding from investors including the Bill Maris-headed Section 32 to take its series D round to $89m.

On Global Government Venturing, the biggest deal was a $100m funding round for Bill.com, a US-based payment processing network already backed by payment services firm American Express, which raised the cash in a round co-led by Singaporean state-owned firm Temasek and financial services firm JPMorgan Chase.

Funds

China-based educational services provider New Oriental Education and Technology has launched a $300m+ fund to invest in early-stage edtech startups, along with a $1.5bn fund that will focus on growth equity and M&A deals, according to local media reports.

Japan-headquartered mobile game developer Akatsuki was founded in 2010 and went public last year, and now it’s elected to join the corporate venturing space with the formation of a $50m fund that will target entertainment technology startups.

Cambridge Enterprise, the tech transfer office of University of Cambridge, has partnered business school unit Cambridge Social Ventures to launch a £100,000 ($132,000) seed impact fund.

On GlobalGovernmentVenturing.com, we’ve also had quite a few new funds, so let’s look at a couple of the bigger ones.

French state-owned investment bank Bpifrance has contributed an undisclosed sum to the €45m ($53.1m) first-close for France-based edtech VC fund Educapital. Children’s retailer IdKids has also backed the fund, as have business-to-business services provider Econocom, publishers Bayard and Hachette Livre, family-owned fund Education for the Many and a range of unnamed investors.

VC firm Wavemaker Partners closed its second Southeast Asia-focused fund today at $66m with contributions from Singapore state-owned investment firm Temasek.

Exits

Meal delivery service HelloFresh originally filed to go public in 2015, only to withdraw its IPO plans the a few weeks later. Now, however, HelloFresh has also confirmed recent reports, filing for an IPO that will raise approximately $355m if it floats at the top of its range.

Further along the IPO process is MongoDB, which has set terms for an offering that will net it $160m if it floats at the top of its range.

Singapore-based online services provider Sea has set the terms for a US IPO that will raise $695m if it floats at the top of its range (or $800m if the underwriters exercise their over-allotment option).

High-speed integrated circuit producer Aquantia has filed for an $86.3m initial public offering that follows about $195m of venture funding.

Spero Therapeutics, a US-based bacterial infection therapy developer backed by spinout-focused investment firm Osage University Partners has filed for an $86.3m initial public offering.


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