05 July 2021 – CMR Surgical Raises $600m in Round Led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2

The Big Ones

SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 co-led a $600m series D round for UK-based surgical robotics technology developer CMR Surgical with healthcare investment group Ally Bridge, while Cambridge Innovation Capital, the patient capital fund formed with the support of University of Cambridge, also participated. GE Healthcare, a subsidiary of power and industrial technology conglomerate General Electric, also took part in the round, which valued the company at $3bn, as did internet group Tencent. RPMI Railpen and Chimera filled out the consortium together with existing backers including LGT and its Lightrock affiliate, Watrium, and PFM Health Sciences.

BMW i Ventures, the US-based venture capital firm formed by Germany’s automotive manufacturer BMW, launched a $300m fund that will focus on sustainability. BMW i Ventures has accumulated a portfolio of some 50 companies including Chargepoint, the vehicle charging network set to list at a $2.4bn valuation, and manufacturing services marketplace Xometry, which floated in a $302m IPO this past week. The latest vehicle will operate alongside the unit’s $500m first fund and will target early and mid-stage companies concentrating on sustainability, transportation, manufacturing and supply chain technologies.

Didi Global, the China-based ride hailing service backed by SoftBank, Alibaba, China Life, Tencent, Apple, Booking Holdings, Ping An, eHi and Sina Weibo, went public in a $4.44bn initial public offering. The company increased the amount of shares in the offering from 288 million American Depositary Shares, with four ADSs equalling one class A share, to approximately 317 million. They were priced at the top of the IPO’s $13 to $14 range and it floated on the New York Stock Exchange.

Duolingo, the US-based language learning app developer spun out of Carnegie Mellon University, has filed for an initial public offering yesterday that would enable Alphabet to exit. The offering is slated to take place on the Nasdaq Global Select Market and the company has set a $100m placeholder target. The company had raised a total of $183m as of November 2020, when it secured $35m from Durable Capital Partners and General Atlantic at $2.4bn valuation, with Union Square Ventures (USV) selling shares through the deal.

Deals

UK-based low earth orbit satellite technology developer OneWeb secured $500m from Bharti Enterprises, which exercised a call option from a shareholder’s agreement to increase its stake to 38.6%. OneWeb is developing a constellation of 650 low earth orbit satellites through which it intends to offer global broadband connectivity. The company had filed for bankruptcy in March 2020 after failing to secure new funding in the wake of the covid-19 pandemic. Bharti and the UK government then bought OneWeb’s assets for $1bn in July that year. The UK government’s investment was reportedly motivated by a desire to build a competitor to the global positioning system Galileo, created by the EU and to which the country has lost access following its decision to abandon the union. OneWeb’s satellites would be in too low an orbit to enable such functionality, however.

SoftBank led a $415m series C round for Kitopi, the United Arab Emirates-headquartered provider of a cloud kitchen software platform, through its Vision Fund 2. Diversified conglomerate Dogus Group also took part in the round, along with B Riley Financial, Chimera Investment, DisruptAD, Next Play Capital and Nordstar. The cash was secured at a valuation above $1bn.

Olive, a US-based healthcare management software producer backed by internet and technology group Alphabet, completed a $400m funding round yesterday valuing it at $4bn. The round was led by Vista Equity Partners and also featured Base10 Partners’ Advancement Initiative. It took the overall funding raised by the company to $902m.

Zipline, a US-based medical consumables logistics service backed by Alphabet, secured $250m from investors including Fidelity, Baillie Gifford, Emerging Capital Partners, Intercorp, Katalyst Ventures, Reinvent Capital and Temasek. The cash was secured at a $2.75bn valuation.

US-based corporate wellbeing services provider Gympass raised $220m from investors including SoftBank today at a $2.2bn valuation. General Atlantic, Kaszek, Moore Strategic Ventures and Valor Capital Group also participated in the round. Founded in Brazil, Gympass operates wellness programmes on behalf of corporate clients, offering access to gyms, personal trainers, meditation classes and therapists, and said it had signed up more than 1,000 new corporate customers during the pandemic.

Goat Group, a US-based streetwear marketplace operator backed by Foot Locker, has secured $195m in a series F round that valued it at $3.7bn. Hedge fund manager Park West Asset Management led the round, which included Ulysses Management, Franklin Templeton and Adage Capital Management, and funds and accounts advised by T Rowe Price Associates.

Funds

US-based enterprise software supplier Infragistics has formed a $50m corporate venture capital vehicle dubbed Infragistics Innovation Fund and Lab. The fund will target intrapreneurs from within the organisation who are developing innovation technologies related to Infragistics’ user interface and user experience (UX) design software products.

Exits

SentinelOne, a US-based cybersecurity technology producer backed by Qualcomm and Samsung, has raised more than $1.22bn today in an upsized initial public offering. The IPO consists of 35 million shares issued on the New York Stock Exchange, increased from an initial allocation of 32 million, priced at $35.00 each, above its $31 to $32 range. Existing SentinelOne investors Tiger Global Management, Insight Partners, Third Point Ventures and Sequoia Capital agreed to acquire $50m more shares through a concurrent private placement. The IPO price values it at approximately $8.92bn.

US-based security screening technology producer Clear Secure went public in a $409m initial public offering representing exits for Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Union Square Hospitality Group and Liberty Media. The company issued 13.2 million class A shares on the New York Stock Exchange priced at $31.00 each, above the IPO’s $27 to $30 range. The shares closed at $40 on their first day of trading.

InnoVid, a US-based video marketing technology provider backed by Cisco and Deutsche Telekom, has agreed a reverse takeover at an implied valuation of roughly $1.3bn. The company is joining forces with SPAC Ion Acquisition Corp 2, which floated on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in a $253m initial public offering in January 2021. Phoenix Insurance and Fidelity Management and Research are co-leading a $150m PIPE financing in connection with the deal that includes Baron Capital Group, Vintage and funds affiliated with Ion.

MissFresh, a China-based online grocery retailer backed by Lenovo and Tencent, raised $273m in an initial public offering on the Nasdaq Global Select Market. The company priced 21 million American depositary shares, each representing three ordinary shares, at $13 each, at the low end of the $13-$16 range it had set last week. They opened at $10.65 and closed at $9.66 at the end of its first day of trading, giving it a market capitalisation of roughly $2.5bn.

US-based online trading platform developer Robinhood filed for an initial public offering that would score exits for Alphabet and Roc Nation. Founded in 2013, Robinhood runs Robinhood Financial, an online platform where users can buy and sell stocks without a minimum investment level, in addition to Robinhood Crypto, which allows them to do the same with cryptocurrencies. The company has set a $100m placeholder target for the offering, and sources familiar with its plans told the Financial Times it is targeting a $40bn valuation.


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

30 November 2020 – Stripe Opens Discussions for Funding at Potential $100bn Valuation

The Big Ones

Digital payment technology and services provider Stripe last raised money in October 2019, closing $850m from investors including Alphabet unit GV at a whopping $36bn valuation. But its next round could double that valuation, sources told Bloomberg, adding that it has opened discussions with prospective investors and that a $100bn valuation could be possible for the transaction. That hike would mirror the huge share price rises for competitors Square and PayPal in recent months.

Canada-listed phone operator Telus has paid heed in setting up a C$100m ($76.5m) social impact corporate venturing fund to complement its existing Telus Ventures unit under Rich Osborn. Darren Entwistle, president and CEO of Telus, said: “This C$100m investment will accelerate potent, scalable and socially responsible services coming to market, helping to answer some of the most pressing challenges facing our world, including socioeconomic inclusiveness.” The Telus Pollinator Fund for Good will target healthcare entrepreneurs, social and economic inclusion and ensuring sustainable food production under Blair Miller, managing partner and Telus’ former vice-president of consumer products and content.

Mobile commerce platform developer Wish has become the third US-based tech company to file for a $1bn initial public offering in the space of a week, after Airbnb and Roblox. JD.com reportedly invested up to $55m in Wish as part of a 2015 series D that valued it at $3.5bn, but that valuation had soared to over $11bn as of its last round, an August 2019 series H. It has also seen substantial revenue growth this year, though its net losses increased at the same time.

Catamaran Bio, a US-based cancer treatment developer founded out of University of Minnesota and George Washington University (GWU), launched last week with $42m of series A funding co-led by Sofinnova Partners and Lightstone Ventures. Takeda Ventures, a strategic investment arm of Takeda, also took part in the round, as did SV Health Investors and Astellas Venture Management. Incorporated in September 2019, Catamaran Bio is developing cell therapies for a broad range of cancers, including solid tumours. The spinout hopes to deliver off-the-shelf drugs, as opposed to some cell therapy treatments that require samples extracted from the patient. The cash will allow it to progress two lead programmes into the clinic and to upgrade its underlying cell engineering technology.

Deals

Manbang Group, the Chinese trucking services platform also known as Full Truck Alliance, has pulled in $1.7bn through a round co-led by SoftBank Vision Fund and backed by another returning corporate investor, Tencent. The cash was reportedly secured at a valuation just short of $12bn and shows the value of consolidation, the company being formed by the merger of rivals Huochebang and Yunmanman three years ago.

On the other end of the experience stakes, Resilience has emerged from stealth with $800m in funding, $750m of which was raised in a series B round featuring Alphabet unit GV. The startup can be seen as one of what may well be a series of large-scale companies formed during the covid-19 pandemic specifically to deal with its effects. It is working on an advanced manufacturing set up for gene and cell therapies as well as vaccines, proteins and viral vectors, and should do brisk business considering the number of drug developers raising big money or going public right now.

Digital property and casualty insurance provider Hippo has raised $350m from Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance at a reported $2bn valuation, as part of a deal that will involve the latter taking on some of the risk for the company. The companies also revealed that MS&AD Ventures – like Mitsui Sumitomo, part of the MS&AD insurance group – was among the investors in its last round, a $150m series E in July that valued it at $1.5bn post-money.

Indian automotive e-commerce marketplace Cars24 has secured $200m in a series E round led by investment firm DST Global at a valuation topping $1bn. The company, which counts KCK Global as an earlier investor, also revealed its business has reached and surpassed pre-coronavirus levels, which could be a testament to the recovery of India’s used car market or perhaps a sign it is simply migrating online.

For all the headlines being grabbed by the pharmaceutical sector, the technology area that has really taken big steps forward this year is arguably online education. Duolingo and Udemy both also raised more money this past week at unicorn valuations while coding education platform developer Codemao has bagged $198m in series D funding. The company’s existing investors include Southern Publishing and Media and Cheetah Mobile, and the latest round was led by an affiliate of Baring Private Equity Asia.

Elsewhere in fintech, digital bank Current has raised $131m in a series C round led by Tiger Global Management that valued it at $750m. The deal came just over a year after the company secured $20m in a round featuring Cuna Mutual’s CMFG Ventures unit. That leap is another sign of the significant growth in the sector, though the neobank space is at the same time beginning to get somewhat crowded.

SomaLogic, a developer of proteomics technology for use in drug treatments and healthcare data, has closed $121m in a round led by life sciences investment firm Casdin Capital. The company, interestingly, termed the round as a series A despite it being 20 years old and now the recipient of more than $485m in funding in that time. Its earlier investors include Nan Fung Life Sciences, iCarbonX, Novartis, Otsuka Pharmaceutical and Quest Diagnostics.

Funds

Cleantech isn’t the force it once was in the startup space but it’s a long way from being dead. Vestas, the biggest pure-play wind turbine maker in the world, was reportedly considering the formation of a strategic investment arm back in 2017 but it’s waited until now to launch the vehicle, dubbed Vestas Ventures. It will invest roughly $1m to $7m per deal in renewables and sustainable technology developers.

Financial services provider Orix has invested $60m in Israel-based equity crowdfunding platform operator OurCrowd as part of a strategic collaboration deal. OurCrowd runs a venture capital investment platform that allows businesses and individuals to invest in a curated selection of startups across a range of sectors from seed to pre-IPO stage.

Mobile network operator Orange has committed an undisclosed amount of capital to France-headquartered private equity firm LBO France’s Digital Health 2 (DH2) fund through its Orange Digital Investment vehicle. DH2 has a €200m ($238m) target for its close and is tasked with investing in small-to-medium sized businesses in the digital health sector. Its target areas are France and the rest of Western Europe.

Exits

Metromile is the latest company to take the SPAC route to a public markets listing, agreeing a reverse merger with Insu Acquisition Corp. II in a deal set to value the merged business at about $1.3bn. Like Hippo, Metromile is part of a new breed of digital insurers, though its selling point is as an automotive insurance provider that charges by the mile. Its investors include China Pacific, AmTrust, Tokio Marine, Mitsui and Intact Financial.

Amazon has been one of the companies in the tech space that’s benefited most financially from the coronavirus lockdowns, but other online marketplaces are also seeing their business models vindicated. Russia-based Ozon has floated above its range in an upsized initial public offering in the US that netted it $990m, in addition to $135m in a private placement from existing backers Sistema and Baring Vostok. Sistema remains its largest shareholder, with a 37% stake post-IPO.

Covid-19 may have taken the headlines but cancer has been the main driver of corporate venturing activity in the healthcare sector of late. China-based Antengene is the latest oncology-focused company to move to the exit stage, and has gone public in Hong Kong in a $360m IPO in which it floated at the top of its range. It had raised $238m across three rounds from investors including WuXi AppTec’s Corporate Venture Fund, Celgene, Taikang and Tigermed Investment.

Mass spectrometry device producer 908 Devices has filed to go public, setting a $75m target for an initial public offering slated to take place on the Nasdaq Global Market. The company has raised $70m in venture funding from investors including Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures (SAEV) and Schlumberger and has doubled revenue this year while significantly cutting losses. Just a reminder: Airbnb, Roblox and Wish are among the companies that could theoretically float in what’s sure to be a busy December.


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