21 June 2021 – Waymo Drives $2.5bn Investment

The Big Ones

Waymo, the autonomous driving technology developer spun off by Alphabet, has raised $2.5bn in funding from investors including its former parent company. AutoNation and Magna International also took part in the round, as did group Fidelity Management & Research, Mubadala, Temasek, Andreessen Horowitz, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Perry Creek Capital, Silver Lake, Tiger Global Management and funds and accounts advised by T Rowe Price. The company reportedly closed its first external funding round at $3.2bn in July 2020, at a $30bn valuation, having pulled in $750m from investors including Fidelity, Perry Creek Capital and funds and accounts advised by T Rowe Price two months earlier. Alphabet, Magna, AutoNation, Silver Lake, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Mubadala Investment Company and Andreessen Horowitz had supplied $2.25bn for Waymo in March the same year.

US-based venture capital firm G2 Venture Partners (G2VP) has closed its Fund II at $500m with commitments from Shell, Mitsui, Daimler and ABB Switzerland. The McKnight Foundation and John Doerr, chairman of VC firm Kleiner Perkins, reportedly also committed to the fund. Shell contributed through its corporate venturing arm, Shell Ventures. It was also a limited partner in G2VP’s inaugural fund, which was sized at $350m. G2VP was founded in 2017 as a spinoff from Kleiner Perkins’ Green Growth fund. It focuses on companies developing emerging technologies that could accelerate sustainable transformation in traditional industries.

Marqeta, a US-based card-issuing platform developer backed by CommerzBank, CreditEase, Visa and Mastercard, has closed its initial public offering at approximately $1.41bn. The company raised an initial $1.22bn in the offering last week, issuing 45.5 million class A shares on the Nasdaq Global Select Market priced at $27 each. Its shares are currently (that’s Friday afternoon UK time) for $29.43 each, and the underwriters have taken up the option to buy more than 6.8 million more shares. The IPO followed over $526m in funding for the company.

This isn’t a crossover (although there actually were several worth more than $100m last week – check our websites for more on those), but this one’s too interesting to skip just because there aren’t any CVCs. Celonis, a Germany-based business process analytics software spinout of Technical University of Munich (TUM), has raised $1bn in a series D round co-led by Durable Capital Partners and funds and accounts advised by T Rowe Price Associates. What makes this one special isn’t so much the size of the round (as impressive as that is, obviously) but that it valued Celonis at $11bn post-money, making it Germany’s first decacorn. Celonis has now raised nearly $1.37bn in funding altogether. The spinout fetched a $2.5bn valuation when it raised $290m in a series C round led by Arena Holdings, and – almost as notable as being the first decacorn in the country – Celonis also became TUM’s first unicorn when it closed a $50m series B round backed by Accel and 83North in June 2018. How’s that for a European success story?

Deals

China-based semiconductor technology developer Horizon Robotics has raised $1.5bn in series C7 funding from electronic parts manufacturer BOE Technology and chipmaker Will Semiconductor. The round was secured at a $5bn valuation, and it came after a $300m series C6 round at an unspecified time that included Legend Capital, Huangpu River Capital and unnamed others.

Byju’s, an India-based online learning portal backed by Bennett Coleman & Co, Naspers and Tencent, has secured Rs 25bn ($340m) in funding. UBS Group, Blackstone, Abu Dhabi government-backed ADQ and Phoenix Rising–Beacon Holdings as well as Eric Yuan all took part in the round. The cash injection is part of a $1.5bn round Byju’s began raising in April this year, sources privy to the matter told the Economic Times, and it valued the company at $16.5bn post-money.

US-based graph technology provider Neo4J received $325m in a series F round featuring GV. Private equity firm Eurazeo led the round at a valuation exceeding $2bn, and DTCP, the investment firm backed by Deutsche Telekom, also took part, as did One Peak, Creandum, Greenbridge Partners and Lightrock. The company was founded in 2007 as Neo Technology and has now raised $515m.

ApplyBoard, the Canada-based international student facilitation service that counts educational services firm Educational Testing Service (ETS) as an investor, has confirmed a C$375m ($308m) series D round. Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board led the round through its Teachers’ Innovation Platform, and it included investment and financial services group Fidelity in addition to BDC, Harmonic Growth Partners, Index Ventures, Garage Capital and Blue Cloud Ventures. The company’s confirmation came in the wake of media reports a week earlier suggesting it had raised $230m in the round, which it said this week valued it at $3.2bn post-money.

Chehaoduo, the China-based automotive e-commerce marketplace backed by SoftBank, Tencent and Shougang, has closed a $300m funding round valuing it at $10bn. H Capital led the round, which also featured Sequoia Capital China, IDG Capital and Chehaoduo founder and CEO Yang Haoyong. The company’s overall equity funding now stands at about $3.8bn. It was spun off by online classified listings operator Ganji in 2015.

Thumbtack, the US-headquartered operator of a home renovation services marketplace, has raised $275m from investors including CapitalG, the growth equity arm of Alphabet. Sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority led the round, which also featured Blackstone’s Alternative Asset Management subsidiary, G Squared, Baillie Gifford, Founders Circle Capital, Sequoia Capital and Tiger Global Management. The round valued the company at $3.2bn. The latest round boosted the company’s overall funding to $697m.

Yaoshibang, the China-based operator of a supply chain platform for the pharmaceutical industry, has raised $270m in funding from investors including internet group Baidu. Zhejiang Pearl River Investment Management, Green Pine Capital Partners and Guangzhou City Construction Investment’s SF Fund also participated in the round, along with unnamed insurance firms and sovereign wealth funds. It was facilitated by China Renaissance.

Funds

Flagship Pioneering, a US-based biotechnology venture studio that regularly taps into university research to build companies such as Moderna, has raised another $2.23bn for its Fund VII from new and existing limited partners, bringing the vehicle to $3.37bn. It reopened the fund to additional capital in April this year but didn’t identify the LPs. Flagship now has $14.1bn in assets under management and is operating with an aggregate capital pool of $6.7bn. It has launched more than 100 ventures since its founding, with a current portfolio of 41 companies.

Exits

UK-based clean aircraft developer Vertical Aerospace has agreed to a reverse takeover with special purpose acquisition company Broadstone Acquisition Corp that will be backed by American Airlines, Avolon, Honeywell, Rolls-Royce, Standard Industries’ 40 North vehicle and Microsoft’s M12 unit. The merged business will be valued at $2.2bn and will take up the listing on the New York Stock secured by Broadstone through a $300m initial public offering in September 2020.

Kanzhun, a China-based online job portal operator backed by internet group Tencent and insurance firm Sunshine Life, has floated in a $912m initial public offering on the Nasdaq Global Select Market. The company issued 48 million American depositary shares, each representing two ordinary shares, priced at the top of the IPO’s $17 to $19 range. As we’re recording this on Friday afternoon UK time, shares are going for $38.

Monday.com, the US-based software development platform operator that now counts Salesforce and Zoom as investors, has closed its initial public offering at $631m. The corporates each purchased $75m of shares in a private placement alongside the offering, which involved Monday issuing an initial 3.7 million shares on the Nasdaq Global Select Market a week ago priced at $155 each. The underwriters subsequently took up the option to buy another 370,000 shares to close the offering. As we’re recording this on Friday afternoon UK time, shares are priced at $230.96.

Lyell Immunopharma, a US-based immunotherapy developer which counts GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Celgene as investors, has raised $425m in its initial public offering. The company issued 25 million shares on the Nasdaq Global Market at a price of $17 each, the mid-point of the offering’s $16 to $18 range. Its shares closed at $16.89 at the end of the first day. Lyell had raised $834m across just three rounds since it was founded in 2018. GSK has walked away with a 12.5% stake post-IPO, while Celgene’s retained 4.5%.

Verve Therapeutics, a US-based cardiovascular disease therapy developer advancing Broad Institute and University of Pennsylvania research, has gone public in a $267m initial public offering representing exits Alphabet and Novo. The offering consists of just over 14 million shares issued on the Nasdaq Global Select Market, increased from 11.8 million and priced at $19.00 each, above the $16 to $18 range set for the offering. The IPO price valued the company at approximately $876m.

Wise, the UK-based operator of a cross-border capital transfer service, plans to launch a direct listing that would give conglomerate Mitsui a chance to sell its shares. The company plans to list on the London Stock Exchange. Formerly known as TransferWise, Wise runs an online platform that allows users to send money internationally without paying exorbitant fees typically associated with international bank transfers. Wise last raised primary funding in 2017 but was valued at $5bn in a $319m secondary share sale in July 2020.


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

22 October 2018 – Alibaba Confirms Ele.me and Koubei Merger

Deals

Alibaba has confirmed the merger of Ele.me, the food delivery service it acquired in April, with Koubei, the local services platform it launched in 2015 and spun off two years later. The deal will be bolstered by $3bn of funding from Alibaba and SoftBank, and the newly formed entity will be going head to head with Meituan Dianping, the local services platform heavily backed by Alibaba’s key rival, Tencent.

Indian online food ordering platform Swiggy is preparing to raise $900m in a Naspers-led round that will reportedly include Tencent, and which will consist of $600m in equity funding and $300m in secondary share sales.

Instacart is growing like a weed and has announced a $600m round led by hedge fund D1 Capital Partners that valued it at $7.6bn. That would be some achievement in itself, but the grocery delivery service closed a $350m round at a $4.35bn valuation just six months ago.

Alibaba has invested approximately $288m in alcoholic beverages retailer 1919 Wines, taking a 29% stake in the process. 1919 sells its drinks through the combination of an e-commerce platform, for which Alibaba could surely help, and brick-and-mortar stores, and the investment comes at a time when China is learning to love wine.

LinkLogis, which uses AI to power a supply chain finance platform for small and micro-sized businesses, has received $220m in a series C round led by Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC with participation from corporates GLP, Skyworth, Tencent and Bertelsmann Asia Investments.

Ant Financial, Alibaba’s financial services affiliate, has invested $210m in Zomato, the India-based restaurant listings platform that is moving into food delivery.

Oxford Nanopore Technologies, a UK-based sequencing technology spinout of University of Oxford, has raised $66m from pharmaceutical firm Amgen that brought its latest round to $206m.

Careem has received $200m from existing investors that include Rakuten, Al Tayyar and the Saudi Telecom-anchored STV according to Reuters, capital that will likely form the first part of a $500m round that values it at $2bn pre-money.

Automotive e-commerce platform Chehaoduo has meanwhile secured $162m in a series C+ round, seven months after Tencent led its $818m series C. It has reportedly now raised a total of more than $1.85bn in total, and the city of Kunshan has provided $430m as part of a deal that will involve it being the location for Chehaoduo’s Maodou subsidiary.

Funds

SoftBank is still yet to officially close its $100bn Vision Fund, but it is reportedly arranging $9bn in debt financing for the unit, from the banks that are acting as underwriters for the IPO of its wireless division, an offering expected to raise some $27bn.

US-based growth equity firm Edison Partners closed its ninth fund at $365m yesterday having raised capital from limited partners including Rutgers University and American Family.

Taiho Pharmaceutical launched corporate venturing arm Taiho Ventures in 2016 with $50m of capital. The unit has since backed several companies, many of which are cancer therapy developers, and achieved an exit when Arcus Biosciences went public in March.

The Chinese city of Xuzhou has partnered with venture capital firm SummitView capital to launch a $433m fund focusing on sensors and technology related to the internet of things.

36Kr has long been cited as a news source for Chinese deals, but the technology news platform has been busy in recent years, adding a slate of data provision, event promotion and fundraising services to its bow.

Exits

It’s been quite a while but slowly, inch by inch, ride hailing services Uber and Lyft are moving toward the public markets.

Meanwhile, prospective underwriters for a Palantir IPO have told the company it could double its last disclosed valuation to $41bn in its own 2019 IPO.

Innovent Biologics filed for its Hong Kong IPO in June but has now revealed it is seeking $400m to $500m in the offering and has lined up cornerstone investors.

Anaplan has raised almost $264m in an IPO that involved it floating at the top of its range before seeing its share price jump some 40% immediately.


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