01 June 2020 – UBS Groups Prepares for Fintech Investments

The Big Ones

1

Switzerland-based bank UBS Group is setting aside hundreds of millions of dollars of its money to invest in financial technology companies, according to Bloomberg.

UBS hired Erasmus Elsner for its venture capital and growth equity unit last month but is reportedly still recruiting staff for a dedicated corporate venture capital (CVC) team. It is planning a corporate VC fund to make investments between $10m and $20m in dozens of companies targeting bank/client engagement, investing and financing platforms and the improvement of the bank’s underlying operations, a source told Bloomberg.

Mike Dargan, UBS’s Global Head Group Technology, said: “UBS wants to further engage with and support fintech firms. The new venture investment portfolio is a next step to accelerate our innovation and digitisation efforts.”

2

It’s a scary-enough headline, ‘Huawei Banned, So Let’s Invade Taiwan to Take TSMC?’, in reaction to the strict set of rules announced by the US government on May 15 in a bid to cut the China-based 5G and telecoms equipment maker off from the global semiconductor ecosystem.

In its subsequent report, “US strategic approach to the People’s Republic of China,” published on the 20th, the US said: “The administration is implementing the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act to update and strengthen the capacity of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to address growing national security concerns over foreign exploitation of investment structures, which previously fell outside CFIUS jurisdiction.

“This includes preventing Chinese companies from exploiting access to US innovation through minority investments in order to modernise the Chinese military. The US has updated its export control regulations, particularly in light of Beijing’s whole-of-society strategy and its efforts to acquire advanced technologies related to hypersonics, quantum computing, artificial intelligence, biotechnology and other emerging and foundational technologies. We are also engaging allies and partners to develop their own foreign investment screening mechanisms, and to update and implement export controls collaboratively through multilateral regimes and other forums….

“Domestically, the Administration is taking steps to strengthen the US economy and promote economic sectors of the future, such as 5G technology, through tax reforms and a robust deregulatory agenda. The President’s ‘Executive Order on Maintaining American Leadership in Artificial Intelligence’ is an example of a US government initiative to promote investment and collaboration to ensure the US continues to lead in innovation and setting standards for a growing industry.”

But the horse might have bolted. The ChinaTalk article at the top suggests Huawei has done enough over the past few years to survive, stating: “The main issue is supporting Huawei in maintaining its dominant position in 5G and helping it continue to be able to supply the needs of 5G bases.

3

The US healthcare system has many virtues, but it is simply too expensive and hard for consumers to access care, according to insiders. Coastal Americans’ faith in their system has been shaken by the coronavirus and this has created opportunities for some. Jeff Bennett, CEO of startup Higi, is trying to tackle the issue and has received a fillip with a new round of funding.

UK-based personal healthcare provider Babylon has joined the ranks of new corporate venturers by leading the latest round for US-based health engagement technology developer Higi.

The round was reportedly $30m in size and Higi’s previous investors, 7Wire Ventures, Flare Capital Partners, Jumpstart Capital, Rush University Medical Center for Health and William Wrigley Jr, also took part. Higi raised $25.8m in 2018, according to a regulatory filing, from investors including Blue Cross Blue Shield-affiliated venture firm Sandbox Industries, though Sandbox has said it is now no longer an investor.

4

Similarly, money is flowing in other parts of healthcare and life sciences. The power of science fiction films retains its hold in inspiring inventors but the secret to corporate venturing and open innovation lies in retaining optionality.

Drawing on inspiration from Star Trek, Vaxxas, a Queensland University, Australia, spin-out, has developed technology which could mean vaccine delivery via needles and syringes could soon be a thing of the past.

The World Economic Forum named the company a Technology Pioneer in late 2014 and over the past decade the company has been working on a nanopatch, based on research at the university’s Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, that delivers vaccines painlessly and more efficiently than syringes.

5

Cisco intends to purchase the network analytics software producer, which had raised more than $110m from investors including GV and Salesforce Ventures, for a reported $1bn.

Networking equipment manufacturer Cisco agreed yesterday to acquire ThousandEyes, a US-based network management software provider backed by internet and technology conglomerate Alphabet and enterprise software producer Salesforce.

The price was reported by Bloomberg as being approximately $1bn, a figure confirmed to CNBC by a person familiar with the matter. Cisco expects the transaction to close by the end of next month.

Founded in 2010, ThousandEyes provides cloud analytics software that collects data from a range of access points, such as data centres and consumer devices, to identify potential sources of disruption and ensure websites, applications and services are delivered optimally.

Deals

Genome sequencing technology developer MGI Tech has closed a $1bn series B round, four years after being formed as a subsidiary of genome research organisation BGI. The round, which follows a $200m series A a year ago, shows the potential value in spinning off valuable subsidiaries, and it follows a $265m round for another China-based spinoff, smart sensor and power semiconductor provider BYD Semiconductor (see yesterday).

Chinese online grocer MissFresh has seen business pick up sharply during the coronavirus lockdown and has accordingly raised funding at a reported $3bn pre-money valuation. The company’s existing backers include Tencent and Lenovo but the only new investor revealed in media reports is CICC Fund. Bloomberg reported in the last few days that it was set to raise roughly $500m.

SpaceX meanwhile goes from strength to strength, the spacecraft producer and launch services provider expanding its latest funding round to $346m and surpassing its original target of a $250m close. Elon Musk has got a lot of flack over the past few years, but it’s worth noting that Tesla’s shares are continuing to rise while Alphabet-backed SpaceX is still growing – to a $36bn+ valuation, if reports from earlier this year are accurate.

Electric carmaker BYD is preparing for a Hong Kong Stock Exchange listing and as part of a restructuring effort it is spinning off semiconductor and sensor subsidiary BYD Semiconductor with $265m in external funding. Sequoia Capital China, CICC Capital and SDIC Venture Capital are co-leading the round, which will value the subsidiary at more than $1.3bn. Originally known as BYD Microelectronic, it was formed in 2004.

Marqeta makes off with $150m

Insitro has created a machine learning-equipped drug discovery platform and has secured $143m in a series B round featuring WuXi AppTec’s Corporate Venture Fund, GV and Alexandria Venture Investments. GV had already contributed to the $100m in series A funding with which Insitro emerged from stealth in mid-2018, at a $1.05bn valuation.

Arvelle arcs to series A close

Pie Insurance picks out $127m

Bolt flashes on fresh funding

AbCellera has built an antibody drug discovery system and has secured $105m in a series B round featuring Eli Lilly, having signed a collaboration agreement with the pharmaceutical firm last week. In fact it’s been a great few weeks for Canada-based AbCellera, which got a commitment for up to $125m in financing from government agency Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada at the start of this month.

Elsewhere in China, Xiaomi has invested almost $103m in power bank producer Zimi through a cash-and-stock deal that increased its stake in the company from 22.5% to 49.9%. Zimi was already part of the Xiaomi ecosystem, a strategic investment initiative intended to construct a network of companies producing Xiaomi-compatible products. That network reportedly now encompasses some 300 portfolio companies.

Mindstrong mines Optum for $100m series C

Oxford Nanopore expands latest round

CFS sees out $84m series A2 round

Exits

Sendo and Tiki test the waters for merger

Roche reaches for portfolio company Stratos

UA’s FreeFall Aerospace completes merger

Kintor Pharmaceutical has however successfully floated in Hong Kong, pricing its initial public offering at the top of the range to raise $240m. The IPO featured a $115m cornerstone investment by appliance maker Gree, which provided $89m, Highlight Capital and Foresight Fund. It was 500-times oversubscribed according to Kintor, which is developing prostate and breast cancer drugs, and which plans to now expand into hair loss treatment.

VeriSilicon vies for $111m in IPO

Avidity to invade public markets

Burning Rock files for $100m IPO

Pliant places IPO terms

Nanoform to shape $76.7m IPO

Funds

U-M taps Deerfield for Great Lakes Discoveries


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

06 August 2018 – $585m Series B+ Round for Xiaopeng Motors

Deals

Grab has been on a tear in the last year, raising $2.5bn from SoftBank, Didi Chuxing, Toyota and Hyundai a year ago, before Toyota invested a further $1bn in June this year. That Toyota funding has now been doubled to make a $2bn round, the new cash coming from backers including corporate funds Ping An Capital and Mirae Asset – Naver Asia Growth Fund.

Elsewhere in the Asian transport sector, smart electric vehicle developer Xiaopeng Motors has pulled in $585m in a series B+ round co-led by Primavera Capital, Morningside Venture Capital and company chairman He Xiaopeng.

Peloton, the operator of a home fitness offering that consists of a custom-made exercise bike and streamed fitness classes, is taking a big step forward.

China Diagnostics Medical Corporation, a medical diagnostics service provider that’s been around almost 20 years, has raised approximately $294m in a round featuring Ping An Ventures. Legend Capital co-led the round with China Renaissance, putting in $100m in the process.

Brandless emerged from stealth a year ago having raised a total of $50m from investors including GV, and now SoftBank’s Vision Fund has led a $240m series C round that reportedly values the affordable consumer goods provider at just over $500m.

Zhaoyouwang, the Chinese operator of a fuel trading platform for businesses, has received $150m in a series C round co-led by GLP and backed by returning investor SIG Asia.

China-based immuno-oncology therapy developer Curon Biopharmaceutical has closed a $150m series A round that included 6 Dimensions Capital, the venture capital firm co-founded by pharmaceutical research firm WuXi AppTec. Singaporean government-owned investment firm Temasek and private equity firm Boyu Capital also contributed to the round.

Medlinker, the creator of a social network for medical professionals, has secured $146m in a series D round led by China Capital Zhongcai Fund.

Judo Capital has closed what is reportedly the second largest ever for an Australian startup, securing $104m from investors including Credit Suisse Asset Management.

On Global University Venturing we have Apeel Sciences, a US-based food technology developer that emerged out of UC Santa Barbara, which has raised $70m in a series C round led by hedge fund Viking Global Investors.

Exits

Cisco has agreed to pay $2.35bn to acquire user authentication software provider Duo Security, 10 months after it raised money at a $1.7bn valuation.

Chinese media reports first suggested Didi Chuxing was in talks to buy portfolio company Ofo for $1.5bn early last week but then a source told Reuters the terms of a prospective deal have shifted, with Didi set to partner another of Ofo’s corporate investors, Ant Financial, on a joint deal that could value the bicycle rental platform at $2bn.

Arm has agreed to acquire Treasure Data in a deal reported by Bloomberg to be about $600m in size.

On GUV, Dattus, a US-based industrial connectivity technology developer assisted by the Purdue Foundry accelerator, was acquired by manufacturing automation software provider Plex Systems for an undisclosed sum.

Funds

Singapore-based VC firm Golden Gate Ventures has achieved a $65m first close for a $100m fund, with LPs including conglomerate Hanwha and internet company Naver as well as Temasek.

Patrick Eggen has left Qualcomm Ventures, where he was managing director for North America, to launch a new fund. Counterpart Ventures was co-founded by Eggen and Joe Saijo, who was formerly president and managing director of Recruit Strategic Partners, with both taking partner positions.


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

28 August 2017 – VIPKid Closes Round with Reported $1.5bn Valuation

Funds

China Life and Baidu combine for $1bn fund

SparkLabs sets up $50m Seah-anchored fund

Kuppam’s Epsilon anticipates $350m close

Government

Monash BDI joins MRCF

Investments

SoftBank ploughs $4.4bn into WeWork

VIPKid is the latest participant to close a substantial round, pulling in $200m from investors including Tencent at a reported valuation of more than $1.5bn.

Deep learning chipset developer Cambricon has secured $100m in a series A round that included subsidiaries of Alibaba and Lenovo as well as robotics technology provider Zhongke Tuling Century Beijing Technology.

JD.com gets $100m to Go-Jek

Druva, a developer of cloud data management and protection software, raised $80m today in a round led by private equity firm Riverwood Capital that increased its overall funding to almost $200m.

Internet-of-things platform developer Cubic Telecom has raised $47m in a round featuring Qualcomm, Audi Electronics Venture and Valid Soluciones Tecnologicas that increased its overall funding to $88m.

Another data-oriented company, in-memory database platform developer Redis Labs, has meanwhile secured $44m in a series D round that included Dell Technologies Capital, representing the latter’s second deal in the space of a few days.

Behavioural health technology provider AbleTo has closed a $36.6m round featuring health insurer and long-term customer Aetna as well as healthcare provider Horizon Healthcare Services.

ZingBox, a developer of security technology for internet-of-things systems, has raised $22m in a series B round led by Dell Technologies Capital.

Saudi Aramco-backed online payment processing platform PayTabs has received $20m in funding from unnamed investors, and the capital will support a growth drive that will enable the Middle East-based company to expand into Africa, Europe and India.

Corporates dive into Immersv series A

University

IndoorAtlas spins another $4.3m in funding

Yahoo Japan has led a series B round for the University of Oulu spinout, which uses geomagnetic activity to detect an object’s location in a room.

Government

Sumdog fetches $1.8m

Exits

Accenture has exited digital testing and brand services provider Applause through an acquisition of undisclosed size by investment firm Vista Equity Partners. Accenture’s corporate venturing unit Accenture Ventures took part in Applause’s last round, a $35m series F last September that took the company’s total funding to about $115m.

Cisco has agreed to pay $320m to acquire hyperconvergence software provider Springpath, one of its portfolio companies since 2015.

According to a securities filing, Krystal Biotech raised just over $11m in its first round of funding last week, at least $7m of which came from pharmaceutical company Sun Pharmaceutical Industries.

Osram to switch on Digital Lumens acquisition

Avnet captures Dragon Innovation

ST Engineering subsidiary Vision Technologies Land Systems has agreed to pay an undisclosed amount to acquire Aethon, which has created an automated robotic delivery system for hospitals that transports items such as medication, meals and linen.

Smarsh captures Cognia in acquisition deal


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

19 June 2017 – Ride Hailing Services Grab Deals and Much More

Funds

Ping An outlines fintech investment plans

Medicxi nabs corporates to close $300m fund

Novartis and Alphabet subsidiary Verily were among the limited partners for a the late-stage fund, which will complement the GSK and Johnson & Johnson-backed fund  Medicxi closed in 2016.

Japan-based ICT equipment provider Nihon Unisys has formed a $45m corporate venturing unit that will seek out investments in sectors such as robotics, financial technology and the internet of things.

Palo Alto Networks puts together $20m fund

GUV

Galaxy stars in IP Group’s $264m fundraising

GGV

London looks to Better Futures

Exits

Wanderful finds path to acquisition

GGV

Hello bids farewell

Deals

News leaked out in March that ride hailing service Grab was set to raise $1.5bn in a round led by existing investor SoftBank, and sources have told Bloomberg firstly that the round already includes Didi Chuxing, and secondly that Alibaba or Ant Financial is also considering an investment, in order to promote their Alipay platform to Grab’s Southeast Asian customers.

Mobike has raised $600m in a Tencent-led round that will fuel expansion not only in its home country but also in Singapore and the UK.

Careem is taking the Uber model to the Middle East and surrounding countries, and is growing rapidly in the process, doubling the number of cities in which it operates to 80 in the past six months.

A regulatory filing in April indicated Indian ride hailing company Ola was seeking another $100m in funding, and it has reportedly secured some of that already. Hedge fund Tekne Capital Management has provided a sub-$50m amount.

Jaguar Land Rover and its corporate venturing and incubator subsidiary InMotion have invested a combined $25m in ride hailing company Lyft as part of a partnership agreement that will involve Lyft helping test its autonomous driving and mobility services.

Elsewhere in the transport sector, Chinese second hand vehicle marketplace Guazi.com has received $400m in series B funding from investors including steel producer Shougang Group’s Jingxin Venture Capital fund.

UCar, the China-based chauffeured car service that went public last year at a $5.5bn valuation, has formed a corporate venturing fund sized at almost $1.5bn, and its first investment has been to lead a $324m series B round for electric vehicle developer Xiaopeng Motors.

Electric bus producer Proterra raised $140m a recently as January, in a ‘series 5’ round featuring Edison Energy, GM Ventures and Exelon’s Constellation Technology Ventures unit, but it wasn’t finished.

Oppo takes a ride on Ponycar

Drone Racing League takes off with $20m

Following on from news that Amazon is interested in acquiring Slack for upwards of $9bn, but recently bought US-listed Whole Foods for $13.7bn, it turns out Slack is in the process of raising $500m of new funding at a $5bn post-money valuation.

AvidXchange, a provider of automated payment processing technology, has raised $300m in financing from investors including Mastercard, with which it has struck a strategic partnership agreement to supply AvidXchange’s technology to its customers.

Temasek and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec have contributed to a $300m funding round for AvidXchange that also attracted Mastercard and Peter Thiel.

Online brokerage Futu Securities has received more than $145m in a series C round led by Tencent, the corporate investor that also took part in its series A and B rounds.

Element AI elevates itself to $102m series A

Actility admits Cisco to $75m series D

Clutter is one of several on-demand platforms seeking to disrupt the personal storage space, and it has raised $64m in a GV-backed series C round to support growth, both in its home country of the US and abroad.

Twist finds the material to raise $60m

Omada goes on the attack with $50m

GGV

Protix breeds $50.5m investment


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

15 August 2016 – VR and Food Delivery Investments, GV People Moves and more

People

Friday was Bill Maris’s last day at GV, the corporate venturing unit he helped to set up for search engine Google in 2009. But it is a new start for David Krane, who is taking the CEO position at GV (formerly known as Google Ventures) and who will have a tough act to follow in Maris.

Eze Vidra, who helped GV set up its aborted European branch in 2014, has taken the chief innovation officer role at clinical trial connection platform TrialReach.

Vosik Shamsiev, a venture partner at Japan-based corporate venturing unit TEL Venture Capital since 2014, is leaving to pursue opportunities in Canada.

Citi’s strategic investment subsidiary has hired Travis Skelly from venture capital fund FinTech Collective as a senior vice-president. No announcement as yet on Debby Hopkins’ replacement.

Joydeep Bose joined Cisco from Intel Capital in 2007 and oversaw its corporate venturing activities in the Asia Pacific Japan region. D

Funds

Telstra and Telekom Indonesia form investment pact

Infosys lines up $15m Stellaris commitment

Exits

Wal-Mart has agreed to acquire Jet.com in a $3.3bn cash and share deal said to be the largest ever acquisition of an e-commerce company, and which will be marked down as a big win for investors including Alphabet and Alibaba.

CME Group looks like it’s secured a decent exit from deep learning technology provider Nervana Systems, just over a year after its corporate venturing vehicle, CME Ventures, took part in a $20.5m series B round.

In another sizeable acquisition, Myriad Genetics has agreed to buy precision medicine developer Assurex Health for up to $410m, giving exits to Mayo Clinic and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

Naspers to squeeze out Citrus Pay acquisition

Protagonist Therapeutics has raised $90m in an IPO that gave exits to pharmaceutical firms Johnson & Johnson, Eli Lilly and Pharmstandard, which collectively held a 45% stake in the company.

Investments

CVRx, the producer of an implantable treatment for heart failure and resistant hypertension, has sealed $93m in equity funding.

Torax strengthens with $25m

Moderna Therapeutics closed the largest round ever by a VC-stage drug developer in January 2015, and one of the investors in that round, pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, has invested another $140m to take its stake in the mRNA therapeutics company to 9%.

Turner has led a $45m round for female-focused digital media company Refinery29 as part of a strategic collaboration that will involve it developing video content for Turner’s TV channels.

The Walt Disney Company had been set to team up with Major League Baseball in a funding round for daily sports betting platform FanDuel last year but pulled out at the last minute. The two have now formed a partnership of a different kind, with Disney agreeing to pay $1bn for a 33% stake in BamTech, the online video streaming platform spun out by MLB. BamTech will also set up a paid video subscription platform for Disney subsidiary ESPN as part of the deal.

Andy Bechtolsheim (Sun cofounder and Google’s angel), and Diane Greene (VMware cofounder and Google board as head of cloud) along with corporates Major League Baseball, the Los Angeles Dodgers back Xperiel, a US-based provider of a mobile app development tool that works with Internet-connected equipment in sports stadiums and other facilities, $7m round.

Deliveroo raised $100m in November and has added $275m less than a year later with a series E round featuring Nokia Growth Partners.

Healthcare concierge service Accolade has added $70m from investors including Andreessen Horowitz and Madrona Venture Group to the $22.5m in series E funding it raised from McKesson Ventures and Independence Health last year, taking its overall financing to almost $150m.

Comcast targets Interactions in $56m round

Axial capitalises on Comcast backing to raise $14m

NextVR closes an $80m series B round at a pre-money valuation of $800m.

Kaltura has been at the online video game longer than NextVR and is gearing up for an IPO, raising $50m from Goldman Sachs’ Private Capital Investing group.

Yunnex, the Chinese developer of an advanced, connected point-of-sales system, has secured $45m in a series B round backed by one of its customers, fast food chain Ajisen Ramen.

Corporates dish up another $30m for iFood


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

13 June 2016 – Cisco shakeup, Line flotation, Oxford ISIS rebranding and more.

Cisco is in the news for not so positive reasons following the walkout of its spin-in team.

Exits

Line, the messaging platform, wholly-owned by Naver, is aiming for $1bn in proceeds at a valuation of $5.5bn

Thailand-based back-office services provider Netbay is aiming for a $4.5m flotation on the domestic stock exchange.

Singapore Press Holdings is also due to celebrate an exit, with its portfolio company Smaato, a mobile advertising company, close to being acquired by Spearhead Integrated Marketing Communication for $148m.

Monster recruits Jobr.

Investments

Rylance is a company is using artificial intelligence to predict even never-before-seen attacks, stop intrusions before disaster strikes and learn from previous threats – and with a first close at $100m for its series D round, it’s well equipped to bring its software to even more clients.

Tradeshift operates an invoicing platform for companies to get paid by their suppliers and has today increased its total capital by $75m.

SundaySky, a marketing company with software that produces personalised video campaigns with real-time info such as product pricing, closed a $30m series D round.

Weka.io meanwhile welcomed Qualcomm Ventures to a series B round that increased the startup’s total funding to $32m.

A $30m series C round for Moogsoft, a software developer that’s created a platform to detect issues such as outages or failed transactions in real-time.

Qadium, backed by O’Reilly Alphatech Ventures, has attracted $20m in series A capital from Darpa, the US Pentagon’s investment division.

DocPlanner books in EBRD for $20m series C.

Funding

Merck, the Germany-based drug developer, has doubled its commitment to its corporate venturing subsidiary to $340m.

Salesforce Ventures has announced a $50m fund and incubator to help its corporate parent establish an ecosystem around its software development platform Lightning.

News from Global Government Venturing

Microsoft Accelerator partners Temasek.

Jungle returns to bare necessities with SeedPlus.

Turkey to grow with $224m fund.

Indonesia’s Bekraf draws VC support for creative upturn.

Delft offers a helping hand to $112m fund.

News from Global University Venturing

Pittsburgh joins Osage network.

Oxford rebrands its TTO.


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