The Big Ones
Canva, an Australia-based graphic design software provider backed by advertising agency VaynerMedia, raised $200m at a $40bn valuation. Investment manager T Rowe Price led the round, which included Franklin Templeton, Sequoia Capital Global Equities, Bessemer Venture Partners (BVP), Greenoaks Capital, Dragoneer Investments, Blackbird, Felicis Ventures and AirTree Ventures. Canva has built a visual visual communications software that helps users without a graphic design background create media assets including illustrations, presentations, posters and videos. The company provides free templates, stock photos, audio and video clips and fonts through its platform. Canva plans to use the fresh capital raised in this latest round to double its headcount, which reached 2,000 people this year, further boost its products’ development and possibly finance strategic acquisitions.
Discord, a US-based online messaging platform developer backed by corporates Tencent and WarnerMedia, has raised $500m in a funding round led by Dragoneer Investment Group. The round also featured investment and financial services group Fidelity, Baillie Gifford, Coatue Management, Franklin Templeton and unnamed existing investors, and it valued the company at approximately $15bn. Discord’s platform was launched for gamers to communicate with each other in real time but experienced an explosion in demand during the pandemic and has expanded its chat products to include events beyond gaming. The funding will be used to grow the company’s workforce and invest in new products. It had previously raised about $600m in funding, according to Bloomberg.
Citi Ventures, the venture capital arm of financial services firm Citi, joined Israel-based identity authentication software developer Transmit Security’s $543m series A round.
Investment bank Goldman Sachs’ Asset Management subsidiary has also come onboard. The round was disclosed in June this year and was co-led by Insight Partners and General Atlantic and backed by Cyberstarts, Geodesic, Syn Ventures, Vintage Investment Partners and Artisanal Ventures. Transmit Security has developed authentication software which eschews passwords in favour of biometrics. The round values it at $2.2bn pre-money and the company said it had previously been bootstrapped after being founded in 2014.
US-based cybersecurity ratings company BitSight received a $250m capital injection from credit rating provider Moody’s yesterday through a strategic partnership agreement, valuing it at $2.4bn. BitSight provides companies with ratings of between 250 and 900 to assess their cybersecurity risk, a service likely to rise in demand amid the backdrop of escalating cyber threats such as ransomware attacks, which have cost both public and private organisations hundred of billions of dollars. Moody’s supplied the funding through an agreement which will support the development of a software platform which will assess cyber risk. BitSight will also form a Risk Solutions Division. Parallel to the investment, BitSight has agreed to buy VisibleRisk, a joint venture between Moody’s and venture group Team8 that rates cyber risk. It had received $25m from the two in May this year.
Japanese telecommunications group SoftBank has allocated $3bn to a second Latin America-focused fund, which will invest in technology-enabled companies across various industries at every stage of their development. The Latin America-dedicated unit, which is headed by chief operating officer Marcelo Claure, has also appointed two new managing partners Rodrigo Baer and Marco Camhaji. The firm said that the new fund’s initial commitment of $3bn might be increase, and that is exploring options to raise additional capital. Softbank launched its first Latin America-dedicated fund, a $5bn vehicle previously known as the Innovation Fund, in March 2019. The fund has invested around $3.5bn so far, across 48 companies, with an aggregate fair value of around $6.9bn. According to the firm, the fund has generated an 85% net IRR. SoftBank has invested in several unicorns with its first fund, including on-demand delivery service Rappi, online real estate portal QuintoAndar, digital currency exchange Mercado Bitcoin, wellness programmer operator Gympass and online furniture retailer MadeiraMadeira.
Chinese venture capital firm Fibonacci VC has closed its latest fund at $202m, with commitments from state-backed conglomerate Xiamen C&D and property developer China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park Development Group. Other limited partners (LPs) committing to Fund II include funds-of-funds CICC Genesis Fund and Oriza FOFs Investment Management in addition to Guangzhou Finance Holdings and Haining Semiconductor Industry Investment Fund. Fibonacci’s management team also backed the fund with their own capital. Nearly half of the fund’s commitments were supplied by existing LPs, while 85% were institutional investors. It is Fibonacci’s second renminbi-denominated fund. Fibonacci will use the fund to invest in the industrial internet sector, in areas including the industrial internet-of-things, industrial intelligence and smart manufacturing. It typically participates in series A and B rounds.
Netherlands-based venture capital firm Finch Capital is looking to set up a fund in partnership with Indonesia-headquartered financial services firm Bank Central Asia (BCA)’s strategic investment arm, Central Capital Ventura. The vehicle is understood to be targeting $200m and is pursuing investments in financial services providers and financial technology developers, participating in series A rounds and later. Central Capital Ventura and Finch Capital are reportedly in the process of applying for fund management licences in Singapore.
LinkedIn, the US-based professional network operator owned by software producer Microsoft, has unveiled a $25m creator fund and a creator accelerator programme.
The programme, which will last 10 weeks, will welcome up to 100 US-based content creators to participate in a creator network, undergo coaching and receive a $15,000 grant each. It will also provide opportunities to be featured on LinkedIn’s brand, marketing and editorial channels as well as access to LinkedIn tools.
AgBiome, a US-based agricultural technology spinout from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill backed by corporates Bayer Crop Science, Novozymes and Syngenta, collected $116m in series D funding. The round was co-led by venture capital firm Novalis LifeSciences and investment firm Blue Horizon, while undisclosed new and existing investors also contributed to the financing. Founded in 2013, AgBiome has developed the Genesis platform, which is able to identify the gene sequences and strains of microbial life that could potentially protect agricultural crops from pests and disease. The spinout has also created a fungicide that can protect against more than 300 combinations of crop disease. It plans to use the series D capital to expand its product portfolio and grow its scientific and commercial activities.