02 March 2020 – Grab Raises $856m from Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group

The Big Ones

There may be fewer rounds being closed but ride hailing continues to be a money magnet, with Grab raising $856m from Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group – which invested $706m – and TIS, both investing through newly struck partnership deals that will centre on the joint development of payment and financial services technology. There may be a bigger deal in the pipeline too, with reports stating Grab has been in talks with key rival Gojek over a merger that could value the combined company at $23bn.

Southeast Asia has been one of the fastest growing areas of the world for corporate VC funds. One of the relatively early participants was state-owned telecommunications operator Telkom Indonesia, which launched unit MDI Ventures in 2016 with $100m, and which has rapidly expanded since. MDI Ventures is targeting $300m to $500m for its second fund, according to comments made by a government minister this week, and that amount would represent a big step forward in terms of capital. Probably justifiably, given the recent emergence of unicorns like Grab, Gojek and Tokopedia.

CapitalG, the growth equity subsidiary of Alphabet is in line for a healthy exit, as media reports suggest tax software provider Intuit is set to buy credit management platform Credit Karma in a $7bn cash-and-stock deal. CapitalG first invested in Credit Karma at a valuation of less than $1bn in 2014, and the company was valued at $3.5bn in its last funding round the following year.

And in crossover news (of which there was actually a lot last week and we’ll get to more of them in a minute), we have another exit. University of Pennsylvania-linked Passage Bio went public on Friday in a $216m IPO in which it is floating at the top of its range ($18 a pop), after increasing the number of shares by more than 60% (from 7.4 million to 12 million shares). The genetic medicine developer only officially launched a year ago (though it was incorporated in 2017) but had pulled in $226m across two rounds, from investors including corporate vehicles Access Biotechnology and Lilly Asia Ventures. It’s also allocated 1.8 million shares to a greenshoe option (also up from 1.5 million) and if stock goes the way everyone wants it to, it likely won’t be too long before underwriters jump on that chance.

Deals

One of the more interesting corporate investor/portfolio company combinations in recent times is the tendency for carmakers to invest nine-figure sums in autonomous driving software developers in order to get a foothold in an area of technology thought by many to be the future of the industry. The latest is Toyota, which has already backed several ride hailing companies and which just provided $400m for robotaxi system developer Pony.ai as part of a $462m round.

Graphcore, an artificial intelligence processor developer that traces its roots back to University of Bristol (it’s a spinout of Bristol spinout Xmos), has added $150m to a series D round that now stands at $350m, valuing the company at $1.95bn. The $200m first tranche included BMW i Ventures, Robert Bosch Venture Capital, Dell Technologies Capital, Microsoft and Samsung, though none were explicitly identified as being among the existing backers that joined Baillie Gifford, M&G Investments, Mayfair Equity Partners and Merian Chrysalis in the second close.

GV and Intel Capital have both contributed to a $250m series C round for SambaNova Systems, an AI computing platform developer co-founded by Stanford University faculty, that will fuel the enhancement of its technology. GV co-led SambaNova’s series A round while Intel Capital led its $150m series B last year, and the increasing ubiquity of AI combined with the move to more complex areas like edge computing mean we’re likely to see the company continue to move up the fundraising levels in the coming years.

SpaceX is gearing up for another funding round, having raised more than $1.2bn since December 2018 across three different rounds. No word on whether those rounds included existing investor Google, but the new round is reportedly set to be sized at about $250m at a valuation of roughly $36bn. Its overall funding so far stands at around $3.4bn.

Karius has developed a liquid biopsy test that draws blood in order to discover information on disease by crunching data on microbial cell-free DNA found in the samples. It has also secured $165m in a series B round led by SoftBank’s second Vision Fund, which seems to well and truly be up and running (albeit still only with cash from SoftBank itself).

Despite being around some 15 years and racking up 115 monthly active users, Roblox has kept a relatively low profile in the startup scene, though that may be changing with news of a $150m series G round featuring Tencent. The company has created an online platform that allows users to develop virtual worlds and MMO games that others can play, and is reportedly now valued at $4bn. It’s also launching a secondary offering for up to $350m of common and primary shares.

Another company focusing on creativity (of a sort) is Uncorq, developer of a no-code platform enabling users to create software applications without coding. It’s added $51m to a series D round now totalling $131m, and CapitalG, which co-led the first tranche in October, led the extension. The cash will be used for recruitment and expanding the company’s partnerships along with its live event schedule.

JD.id, the Indonesian spinoff of e-commerce group JD.com launched in 2015 with private equity firm Provident Capital, is also valued at more than $1bn, a source has told Indonesian tech news portal Daily Social. The company has yet to confirm the identity of any external investors but rumours suggest they could include another Indonesian unicorn, Gojek. To square the circle, both JD.com and Provident invested in a $1bn round for Gojek early last year.

Funds

Energy management and automation technology producer Schneider Electric has supplied $10m for Israel-based venture capital firm Grove Ventures’ $120m second fund. The oversubscribed fund, Grove II, was closed a week ago without the firm identifying any limited partners, though its described them as institutional and strategic investors as well as industry leaders.

US-based, real estate-focused venture capital firm Fifth Wall closed a $100m fund on Wednesday that includes several property developers as limited partners. Commercial real estate provider Cushman & Wakefield is an LP, as are real estate investment trusts Macerich, Acadia Realty Trust and Nuveen Real Estate, the latter a subsidiary of asset manager TIAA Investments.

Japan-based venture capital firm I-Nest Capital has closed its first fund at ¥6.6bn ($61m) having secured commitments from backers including corporates Power Solutions and NTT Docomo. IT services firm Power Solutions and mobile network operator NTT Docomo were joined by financial services firm Mizuho Bank and Fuji Startup Ventures, a corporate venturing vehicle for media company Fuji TV. The limited partners were filled out by Mizuho Securities Principal Investment, which represents investment bank Mizuho Securities, and the Japanese government’s Organization for Small & Medium Enterprises and Regional Innovation.

Exits

Salesforce has agreed to acquire CRM app developer Vlocity, a portfolio company of its Salesforce Ventures unit, in a $1.33bn all-cash deal. Vlocity had raised $163m from an investor base that also included Accenture and New York Life, and the transaction marks the fifth M&A exit for Salesforce Ventures this year, following Simplus, Evariant, Quid and LevelEleven.

Food delivery has been one of the better funded portions of the mobile commerce market, perhaps second only to ride hailing, and DoorDash’s investors look like they may be in for a lucrative exit. The company has confidentially filed for an IPO, three months after closing its series G round at $700m, at a $13bn valuation.

It isn’t a conventional M&A corporate exit but Takeda is buying coeliac disease drug developer PvP Biologics three years after paying $35m for an option to fully acquire the University of Washington spinout once it had advanced its lead product candidate to a certain stage. The size of the deal could eventually reach $330m if PvP reaches every development and regulatory milestone and, its drug will join Takeda’s own celiac disease candidate in the corporate’s product pipeline.


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

13 January 2020 – Ant Financial Backs Zomato with $150m at a $3bn Valuation

The Big Ones

Zomato has kicked off its next funding round, expected to reach $500m, by raising $150m from existing investor Ant Financial at a $3bn valuation. The cash will help it in its ongoing battle against domestic rival Swiggy for supremacy in India’s online food ordering sector.

SoftBank Vision Fund has reportedly pulled out of a series of large-scale investments, in companies including Honor, Seismic and Creator, in recent months despite signing term sheets. The decisions appear to have taken place in the wake of WeWork’s failure to float in the autumn but could just as easily be due to a general slowdown in investments due to the second Vision Fund still not being close to its initial $100bn target.

Internet-of-things security provider Armis has agreed to a $1.1bn acquisition by Insight Partners in which Alphabet’s CapitalG unit is set to provide $100m. The France-based company had disclosed $112m in funding as of a $65m series C round last year, though none of its VC investors were corporates.

In university – and crossover – news, Soul Machines, a New Zealand-based artificial intelligence-powered avatar platform spun out of University of Auckland, has received $40m in a series B round featuring the institution’s Inventors Fund. Singaporean state-owned investment firm Temasek led the round, which also included Salesforce Ventures, the corporate venturing subsidiary of enterprise software producer Salesforce. Daimler Financial Services, the financial and mobility services subsidiary of carmaker Daimler, was previously revealed as a backer when Soul Machines raised a first series B tranche in 2018.

Deals

Quibi has to be one of the most eagerly-awaited pre-launch startups in history, and its leaders revealed this week it will launch its 10-minutes-or-less streaming platform in April with contributors including Guillermo Del Toro, Jennifer Lopez and Liam Hemsworth.

Fitness and wellness subscription service ClassPass has meanwhile raised $285m in a series E round that lifted its valuation to the billion-dollar mark. Alphabet’s GV unit is among its investors but the latest funding came in a round co-led by L Catterton and Apax Digital with additional participation by Temasek.

Further along the line is Byju’s, reportedly now the world’s most valuable VC-backed edtech company, which has just received $200m in funding from Tiger Global Management at a valuation of about $8bn. That’s an increase in valuation of nearly 40% in just six months and has to be good news for existing backers and corporates Naspers, Tencent and Bennett Coleman & Co.

Hesai has raised $173m in series C funding, in a round it claims is the largest ever for a lidar system developer. Robert Bosch co-led the round, two years after Hesai took part in its automotive AI accelerator in China, while ON Semiconductor also contributed capital.

Zhiyun Health, developer of a chronic disease management platform, has secured a total of $144m across series C-plus and series D rounds, the investors including Samsung, SIG Asia and China Electronics Corporation affiliate OP Financial.

Business accounting software provider High Radius is now valued at more than $1bn, having raised $125m in a series B round featuring Citi Ventures and Susquehanna Growth Equity. Both took part as existing backers and the round was led by Iconiq Capital.

Sisense, the creator of a data simplification tool for app developers and business analysts, has increased its valuation to more than $1bn, securing $100m from investors including Access Industries subsidiary Claltech.

Transcenta Holdings, the biopharmaceutical company formed through the merger of HJB and MabSpace Biosciences – both backed by Lilly Asia Ventures – has also raised $100m, in a series B-plus round that included the Eli Lilly-affiliated venture firm.

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce has chipped into a $73m series C round for digital accounting software provider Receipt Bank. The round was led by Insight Partners, the venture firm that had invested $50m in Receipt Bank in 2017, and the cash will fund growth across Europe, North America and Australia.

ClearCover has become the latest online insurance portal to raise substantial funding, pulling in $50m through a series C round featuring Cox Enterprises and American Family Ventures, both participating as existing investors.

Funds

US-based tire manufacturer Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company has launched a $100m corporate venture capital vehicle known as Goodyear Ventures at CES. Goodyear produces a range of vehicle tires in addition to running service centres and providing synthetic rubber and chemical products.

India-based poultry product supplier IB Group has formed a $28m strategic investment fund. IB’s central business focuses on its chicken and egg supply, though it has diversified into areas such as livestock feed, pet food, solvents and hospitality.

Exits

Megvii has received regulatory approval to float in Hong Kong and reportedly expects to raise about $500m in the initial public offering. Alibaba and its Ant Financial affiliate own upwards of 29% of the image recognition software provider, which was valued at $4bn as of its last funding round in May.

One Medical has filed to go public having raised a total of $400m in primary funding from investors including Alphabet’s GV unit. The primary care provider has set a placeholder target of $100m that will almost certainly increase by the time it sets terms for the IPO.


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

09 December 2019 – Kuaishou Lining Up One of 2019’s Largest Rounds

Big Deals

It’s edging towards the end of the year but Kuaishou is lining up one of 2019’s largest rounds, having reportedly secured $2bn from Tencent as part of a series F round it plans to formally close at $3bn in the coming weeks. The round will value the short-form video platform at $28.6bn and is expected to be the last before a planned initial public offering. Tencent’s stake will stand at almost 20%.

Healthcare consortium Kaiser Permanente oversees one of the oldest corporate venturing units in the Bay Area in Kaiser Permanente Ventures, and it has just closed its fifth fund at $141m. Fund V has also brought additional corporates onboard, taking in contributions from Highmark Health’s Highmark Ventures subsidiary, Tufts Health Plan and Henry Ford Health System. It now has some $500m under management.

Indian ride hailing platform Ola is preparing to enter London (though it is already present in other UK markets, such as here in Cardiff), but in the longer term has set early 2021 as the point when it will formally begin IPO preparations. It has already hired consultants and reportedly intends to cut headcount by 5% as part of those plans. SoftBank, Tencent, Didi Chuxing, Hyundai and Kia are all investors in the company.

In GCV/GUV crossover news, wellness services and goods provider CureFit is in talks with Singaporean state-owned investment firm Temasek to raise $100m in a round reportedly set to boost its valuation from $575m to $800m. The former valuation was sealed in a $120m round closed in June that included Unilever Ventures, and the prospective new funding would support the growth of CureFit’s Eat.Fit and Care.Fit divisions. UC-RNT Fund, a joint investment fund formed by University of California with industrial group Tata Sons’ chairman emeritus Ratan Tata, had injected $25m in 2016.

Deals

Reports a week ago stated that blockchain-based online lender Figure Technologies was set to announce a $103m series C round, and so it has proved, the company raising the cash from investors including MUFG Innovation Partners. The round values Figure, which is less than two years old, at $1.2bn.

Business finance provider Konfio has become the latest company to take in a nine-figure investment from SoftBank’s $5bn Innovation Fund, raising $100m from the corporate. Konfio aims to take advantage of increasingly strict business lending practices in Mexico by offering quick loans to small and medium-sized businesses through its data technology-equipped online platform, and will use the capital to add features such as life insurance to its offering.

Alphabet’s CapitalG unit has bought an undisclosed amount of shares in data collaboration platform developer Dataiku from venture firm and existing investor Serena Capital at a reported $1.4bn valuation – apparently 100 times that at which Serena co-led Dataiku’s seed round.

FinAccel, the owner of Indonesian e-commerce credit provider Kredivo, has secured $90m at a $500m valuation, in a series C round co-led by the Naver-backed Asia Growth Fund.

Precision cancer drug developer Black Diamond Therapeutics has emerged from stealth with $194m of funding, $85m of which was just closed in a series C round featuring Roche Venture Fund. Roche’s corporate venturing vehicle participated in the round as an existing backer, and Black Diamond intends to move its lead product candidate into a phase 1/2 clinical trial in early 2020.

Impulse Dynamics has received $80.5m in funding from investors including Minth Group, Zoll Medical and Abiomed as it prepares to commercialise its heart failure treatment device in the US. Amzak Health Investors led the series D round, which increased the company’s funding over the past four years to about $155m.

Highspot has now raised $200m altogether, having secured $75m in a series D1 round that included long-term backer Salesforce Ventures. The company, which has developed a software platform that optimises sales performance, received $60m in funding just six months ago, through a series D round that included all the participants in the latest deal.

AI technology developer Aibee took its total funding to $175m in a $74m series A1 round featuring conglomerate Chow Tai Fook. The Chinese company has now racked up four rounds inside two years and its investor base includes fellow corporate backers Lenovo Capital and Incubator Group, Red Star Macalline and K11.

Online automotive e-commerce platform CarDekho has secured $70m in a round led by Ping An Global Voyager Fund at a $700m valuation. The deal is the first for China-based Ping An’s corporate venturing vehicle in India, and CarDekho’s existing investors include Kreatif Media Karya, CapitalG, Dentsu Bennett Coleman & Co.

Funds

Portag3 Ventures, the fintech-focused venture firm formed by financial holding group Power Corporation, has closed its second fund at $321m.

US-based venture capital firm Harlem Capital has closed its inaugural fund at $40.3m with limited partners including Vanderbilt University, surpassing its $25m target and $40m cap. Harlem Partners Venture Fund I engaged 55 LPs, including student startup-focused VC firm Dorm Room Fund, trade convention operator Consumer Technology Association and private equity group TPG.

Exits

Cybersecurity software producer Tenable has acquired Indegy, a US-based industrial cybersecurity technology developer backed by energy utility Centrica, mass media group Liberty Media and diversified holding company Ofer Global, for $78m. Indegy had received $18m in an August 2018 series B round led by Liberty Media’s corporate venturing arm, Liberty Technology Venture Capital, and which included Centrica Innovations and OG Tech Ventures, respective investment vehicles for Centrica and Ofer Global.


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

18 November 2019 – Orbital Insight Enters $50m Series D

The Big Ones

Chevron Technology Ventures has thrown its weight behind US-based geospatial software technology provider Orbital Insight, which also welcomed back GV and Sky Perfect JSAT.

Softbank over the past few years has tended to skew the numbers and so it’s significant to hear the group has quietly completed a first close on its second Vision Fund, and according to Bloomberg, the amount investors have committed is $2 billion, a far cry from the $108 billion that it has said that it’s targeting.

Once bitten, twice shy appears to be the new motto for the SoftBank Vision Fund, which said it is now pushing companies to seek a profit rather than “chasing growth for the sake of growth”. That approach has meant the fund did agree to backing a $1bn round for fintech developer Paytm, but has put in a clause that it must go public within five years or else SoftBank will have the right to dump its shareholding. That’s a significant turning point for the fund that was previously hell-bent on scaling companies globally without any concern for high burn rates.

Funds

Salesforce forges $50m Consultant Trailblazer Fund

Heidelberg sets up new tech transfer operation

Deals

Cainiao Smart Logistics Network, a logistics services platform co-founded by Alibaba, Fosun Group and Intime Retail Group six years ago, has collected another $3.33bn from Alibaba, thereby increasing the corporate’s majority stake (which it had held since 2017) from 51% to 63%. The deal included a secondary share purchase, though the size is unclear and it is unknown which investor decided to sell. Cainiao’s investors also include government-owned investments firms Temasek, GIC and Khazanah Nasional, as well as Primavera and, according to TechCrunch, several unnamed logistics firms.

Xiaopeng Motors (also known as Xpeng) may not be much of a known quantity in the Western world, but the smart EV developer has already sold more than 10,000 of its first model, an SUV called G3. It also has some powerful corporate investors with Alibaba, Foxconn and UCar. And now it’s added another to the list: Xiaomi, which has led a $400m series C round for Xiaopeng as part of a strategic partnership. There might be a lot of Tesla cars in Silicon Valley, but globally the competition is clearly heating up.

OLX has committed $400m to Frontier Car Group (FCG), a Germany-based second-hand car marketplace operator, that it will invest over multiple tranches and reportedly includes a secondary share purchase of undisclosed size.

CapitalG has been busy. The growth equity arm of Alphabet once known as Google Capitalhas taken part in a $400m series D round for US-based trucking services provider Convoy, which will use the money to accelerate business growth.

And CapitalG also co-led a $150m series H round for CRM software provider Freshworks with Sequoia Capital and Accel. The round valued Freshworks at $3.5bn – though it remains subject to customary closing conditions, including US antitrust regulatory clearance.

Many will be familiar with password manager 1Password, but not for its funding history. In fact, the 14-year-old company has never raised equity – until now, that is, and it’s attracted a respectable $200m in series A capital from investors including Slack Fund.

Salesforce Ventures and Workday Ventures meanwhile returned for a $157m series D round for US-based education benefits software provider Guild Education. General Catalyst led the round, and its chairman and managing director Ken Chenault (who was previously in charge of American Express) will join the board of directors.

ACV Auctions – the US-based online automotive marketplace backed by telecommunications conglomerate SoftBank – has picked up $150m in a series E roundco-led by Fidelity and Wellington Management Company less than a year after closing a $50m series D round.

Avidity devotes itself to $100m series C

AMP amplifies $16m

PureLifi lights up $18m

Exits

The bad news keep on coming for We Co and the latest development is its decision to divest its stake in US-based women-focused work and social space provider The Wing and sell off US-based social networking platform Meetup. We Co owns a 23% stake in The Wing, but not only has the corporate struggled to survive its failed attempt at going public, its chief legal officer Jen Berrent is also facing a lawsuit for pregnancy discrimination, allegedly calling employee Medina Bardhi’s pregnancy a “problem” that needed “a solution” and “to be fixed,” according to the court filing. Berrent is currently a board member of The Wing, but she is expected to lose that position following the stake sale.

HawkEye 360 is one of the more successful university spinouts formed by commercialisation firm Allied Minds (which itself has had a tumultuous year with multiple executive-level changes) and that’s led the firm to sell its entire stake to family office Advance. The latter has also chosen to boost HawkEye’s series B round to $85m, following a $70m first tranche that featured Airbus and Esri this past August.

Money Forward yields Smartcamp

Considering Nikkei and Ant Financial-backed 36Kr, and in particular its news portal 36Kr Media, is sometimes hailed as the Crunchbase of China, you might have expected its IPO in the US to go a little better than it did, but the company is the latest to disappoint investors after not only pricing shares at the bottom of the range at $14.50, but also deciding to issue just 1.4 million shares instead of 3.6 million – raising merely a fifth of its targeted $100m in proceeds. Adding insult to injury, shares dropped by 10% on the first day of trading to close at $13.06.

SpaceMarket gets ready for IPO take-off

Lancers sets its sights on IPO

Makuake makes its way to TSE

Another company that’s not been very active on the funding front is OneConnect Financial Technology, a Singapore-based fintech platform that that was spun out of insurance group Ping An, two years ago.


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

14 May 2018 – China About to Finalise $47bn Semiconductor and Chip Investment Fund

Deals

Online medical booking and healthcare services portal WeDoctor has raised $500m at a $5.5bn valuation, securing the cash in a round co-led by insurer AIA, which is now the company’s life and health insurance partner, and conglomerate NWS Holdings.

Commission-free online trading platform Robinhood is on a tear, having raised $363m in a series D round that more than quadrupled its valuation to $5.6bn in just over a year, during which it added options and cryptocurrency trading features.

Hybrid cloud software provider Mesosphere has raised $125m in a series D round co-led by Koch Industries subsidiary Koch Disruptive Technologies that also featured Hewlett Packard Enterprise and the Qatar Investment Authority.

Moderna Therapeutics first formed a strategic collaboration agreement with Merck & Co two years ago, and now the RNA therapeutics developer has received $125m from Merck as part of a deal to enhance that agreement.

Intel Capital’s annual Global Summit has revealed its latest batch of portfolio companies, which received a total of $72m from the corporate, which was spread across 12 companies.

On GUV, Escient Pharmaceuticals, a US-based biotechnology spinout from Johns Hopkins University, launched last week with a $40m series A round backed by spinout-focused investment firm Osage University Partners.

Funds

Logistics firm GLP has set up a $1.6bn investment fund that will target technology-focused companies in the logistics sector.

China is about to finalise a $47bn investment fund focusing on semiconductor research and chip development.

US-based life sciences investment firm Foresite Capital has closed a $668m fund that included several unnamed university endowments among the limited partners.

On GUV, Yale University received a $15m grant from philanthropic organisation Blavatnik Family Foundation yesterday to expand the Blavatnik Fund for Innovation to $25m.

Exits

Walmart has confirmed its $16bn purchase of a 77% stake in India-based e-commerce company Flipkart, in what is the biggest M&A exit of a VC-backed company since Facebook’s $19bn purchase of WhatsApp in 2014.

Recruit has agreed to acquire employment listings and employee review platform Glassdoor for $1.2bn in cash, enabling Alphabet’s CapitalG to exit.

Huya, livestreaming platform YY’s game-themed spinoff, secured $180m on Friday in a US IPO in which it floated at the top of its range.

Meili, the Chinese fashion e-commerce platform formed by the merger of Meilishuo and Mogujie, has hired underwriters for an initial public offering in the US that is expected to raise about $500m.

Indian renewable power producer ReNew Power, which counts Japan-based utilities Tokyo Electric and Chubu Electric as well as a subsidiary of sovereign wealth fund Abu Dhabi Investment Authority as backers, has filed for an IPO in its home country that it expects will raise up to $386m.

Mobile POS technology producer iZettle announced plans to go public in its home country of Sweden, in an IPO slated to raise approximately $226m.

On GUV, Benevir Biopharm, a US-based immunotherapy developer based on research at New York University (NYU), is set to be acquired by biotechnology firm Janssen Biotech for up to $1.04bn.

Autolus, a UK-based cancer-focused biopharmaceutical spinout from University College London (UCL), filed for a $100m initial public offering on Nasdaq.

And one exit that has collapsed is StretchSense, a New Zealand-based wearable sensor manufacturer spun out from University of Auckland, which has had to let go 140 staff after e-commerce firm StartToday terminated an acquisition deal.


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

12 March 2018 – Magic Leap Increases Series D to $963m

Deals

In last week’s Big Deal on GCV, news editor Robert Lavine looked at DoorDash, which just got its first corporate investment in a $535m series D round led by SoftBank, almost doubling its valuation in roughly two years.

Augmented reality technology developer Magic Leap has to be one of the most well-funded companies to have never released a product. It has increased its series D round to $963m with $461m from investors including Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which put up $400m, and Axel Springer Digital Ventures.

Elsewhere in online entertainment, game livestreaming has been one of the biggest growth areas in the past year or two, as more companies look to follow Twitch’s lead. China-based Douyu, which has some 30 million daily active users, has secured $630m from Tencent, which has backed it since a $100m series B round two years ago.

Internet company Tencent has agreed to provide approximately $462m in series B funding for Huya, a China-based live game streaming spinout from social media platform Huya.

BBVA has led a $207m round for Atom Bank, the UK-based creator of a mobile-only bank with no physical branches.

Zomato has confirmed reports last month stating that Alibaba’s financial services affiliate Ant Financial had invested $200m.

Credit assessment technology provider Wecash has closed a $160m series D round that was co-led by e-commerce firm Sea and a subsidiary of financial services firm Orix.

UiPath, a developer of software bots that automate mundane enterprise tasks, has raised $135m from investors including CapitalG in a series B round that valued it at $1.1bn.

yKujiale, a China-based virtual reality platform for interior design, has raised $100m in a series D round that included Hearst Ventures, the corporate venturing arm of media group Hearst.

On GUV, TauRx Pharmaceuticals, a Singapore-based Alzheimer’s disease treatment developer spun out from University of Aberdeen, has revealed it secured $71m through a rights issue in October 2017.

Funds

Cisco Investments, the corporate venturing arm of networking equipment manufacturer Cisco, has committed an undisclosed amount to venture capital firm IDG Ventures India’s third fund.

Japan-headquartered automotive component maker Aisin Group launched a $50m US-based investment fund on Tuesday in partnership with venture capital firm Fenox Venture Capital. Fenox will manage the fund, with CEO Anis Uzzaman taking a general partner position.

On GUV, University of Montana has become the sole institutional limited partner (LP) in VC firm Next Frontier Capital’s second fund, a $38m vehicle that aims to support high-value Montana industries.

Exits

Kensho, an AI data platform based on research at Harvard University and MIT, has meanwhile agreed to an acquisition by one of its investors, S&P Global, for approximately $550m in cash and stock.

Blibli began life as a comics, anime and gaming-themed online community in China, but has grown rapidly off the back of an anime streaming platform that has licensed more titles than any other in the country.

Hua Medicine, a diabetes treatment developer backed by pharmaceutical company WuXi PharmaTech, also intends to raise upwards of $400m in an initial public offering.

Genetic disease therapy developer Homology Medicines has filed to raise up to $100m in an initial public offering that will support the progress of two drug candidates through preclinical trials.

Immuno-oncology drug developer Unum Therapeutics last raised funding in a $65m series B round in 2015, but it’s filed to raise up to $86.3m in an initial public offering.

Go-Jek is still in the process of raising funds for a round it expects to close at $1.5bn, at a $5bn valuation, but company president Andre Soelistyo has met with the Indonesia Stock Exchange to discuss a possible IPO.


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

20 November 2017 – SoftBank Uber Investment Finally Happening

Deals

People have been waiting for SoftBank’s proposed investment in Uber to be confirmed, and it now appears as though it’s happening, after Uber revealed it has come to an agreement with a consortium featuring SoftBank and Dragoneer over a deal.

Consumer and information robotics developer UBTech is in the process of raising $400m in a Tencent-led round set to value it at about $4bn, according to the South China Morning Post.

There are several prominent online car marketplaces in China and one of them, Huashenghaoche, has become the latest to close a nine-figure round. Minsheng Financial Leasing, the vehicle leasing branch of China Minsheng Bank, has invested $150m in the company, which also offers car leasing options, and whose existing investors reportedly include JD.com and Dongfeng Motor Group.

Maoyan, which agreed in September to merge with certain assets of another China-based online ticketing platform, Weiying, has received $150m in funding from Tencent, the internet group that is also one of Weiying’s key investors.

Elsewhere in China, Particle, the owner of personalised news aggregation app Yidian Zixun, has raised $112m in funding in a round that included government guidance fund Long De Cheng Zhang Culture Communication.

GV has led a $107m series D round for immuno-oncology drug developer Arcus Biosciences that included existing backers Taiho Ventures and Celgene, taking its total funding to $227m.

SIG-backed peer-to-peer lending platform 9f has raised an undisclosed amount in a series C round it claimed was sized in the nine-figure range.

Temasek, the Singapore state-owned investment firm, has led an $87.5m series D round for Poshmark, a social fashion marketplace backed by Shea Ventures, the corporate venturing arm of JF Shea.

Graphcore, the creator of a machine intelligence processing unit, has raised $50m in a series C round that included Robert Bosch Venture Capital, Samsung Catalyst Fund and Dell Technologies Capital, all of which also backed its $30m series B just five months ago.

Funds

Aster Capital, the French VC firm sponsored by corporates Solvay, Alstom and Schneider Electric, has closed just over $280m in financing from undisclosed backers, bringing the overall capital it has under management to almost $590m.

On GUV, Johns Hopkins University joined forces with US-based healthcare investment firm Deerfield Management to launch a $65m commercialisation fund called Bluefield Innovations aimed at the university’s therapeutic research.

On GGV, Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF), the country’s sovereign wealth vehicle, provided a cornerstone investment to a €250m ($294m) patient capital fund for Ireland-based small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Exits

China-based online consumer lending platform Qudian had some notable success in its US IPO last month, raising $900m after it floated well above its range.

Yixin Group, the automotive e-commerce and finance platform spun out of BitAuto in 2014, has generated $867m in a Hong Kong IPO that also represented an exit for investors Tencent, JD.com and Baidu.

LexinFintech, the Chinese operator of consumer lending and instalment buying platform Fenqile, has filed for a $500 initial public offering.

Mashable was valued at $250m as of its last funding round, but with no additional funding forthcoming, it has been forced into a sale to Ziff Davis for only $50m.

Corporates emerged practically unscathed from the Theranos disaster, but CapitalG, the growth equity unit formerly known as Google Capital, has found itself in a sticky situation with healthcare clinic advertiser Outcome Health.

On GUV, we had two news about IPOs. First, US-based immunotherapy developer Arsanis, backed by research institute European Molecular Biology Laboratory’s investment arm EMBL Ventures, set its pricing range at $15 to $17 – meaning it could raise $61m if it floats at the top of the range.

Apellis Pharmaceuticals, a US-based biopharmaceutical spinout from University of Pennsylvania, meanwhile raised $150m in its IPO, floating on the Nasdaq Global Select Market.

On GGV, OnPoint Technologies, the strategic investment vehicle for the US Army, has exited US-based fabless semiconductor producer InVisage Technologies following its acquisition by electronics producer Apple.


“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

14 November 2016 – Imax VR Fund, Space Mining for Luxemburg and Much More

News

Walgreens sues portfolio company Theranos for $140m

Alphabet rebrands Google Capital as CapitalG

Funds

Ten oil their way to $1bn fund

Imax screens partners for $50m VR fund

University Corner

Ramot harnesses corporates for $20m investment initiative

Huawei visits Singapore for IoT incubator

Government Department

Planetary Resources mines Luxembourg for new funding

Exits

ZMP drives forward to IPO

Intel votes for Voke acquisition

SoftBank writes down $555m of Indian unicorn investments

Investments

Bytedance looks to take $1bn step forward

Suning gets fresh with Yiguo in $200m round

Bonobos talks to investors for $100m round

Warmsun heats up Royole with $74m

GV accelerates Acalvio funding to $22m

Gfresh catches $20m from Alibaba and Legend Holdings

Owlet looks after $15m


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