29 March 2021 – GoPuff Secures $1.15bn in Round Including SoftBank

The Big Ones

On-demand consumer product delivery service GoPuff has experienced some major league growth of late, and has secured $1.15bn from investors including SoftBank Vision Fund 1 in a round lifting its valuation from $3.9bn to $8.9bn. The $3.9bn valuation had been achieved just five months ago, in a $380m round that also featured Vision Fund 1.

We’re still seeing a good amount of reverse merger deals being agreed but one of the biggest in recent times has just been announced by content monetisation software provider IronSource. The Access Industries-backed company has agreed to join forces with special purpose acquisition company Thoma Bravo Advantage at an $11.1bn pro forma equity. IronSource’s valuation was reportedly not much larger than $1bn in its last round, less than 18 months ago.

Japan-based medical supplies vendor Medipal Holdings has partnered SBI Investment, an investment subsidiary of financial services firm SBI Holdings, to form a ¥10bn ($92m) corporate venture capital vehicle. Medipal Innovation Fund is intended to operate for 10 years and will mainly target domestic and international startups developing technologies strategically relevant to Medipal’s business lines.

Crossover Deal

Evidation Health, a US-based health data analysis provider, has picked up $153m in a series E round co-led by healthcare consortium Kaiser Permanente’s Group Trust. The round was co-led by Omers Growth Equity, a fund managed by pension fund Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, and included McKesson Ventures, the corporate venturing arm of medical supplies distributor McKesson, as well as venture capital firm B Capital Group. The round valued it at $1bn, according to Bloomberg. So far, so normal. Evidation’s technology platform, Achievement, records raw behaviour data such as speech and video from patients’ electronic devices and analyses it to provide insights on health and disease. But its origin is where it gets unusual: the company was founded in 2012 through a partnership between Stanford Health Care, the academic health system of Stanford University, and GE Ventures, a corporate venturing subsidiary of General Electric. It’s not a type of story we see often, but with now $259m in capital, the model is clearly working out for Evidation.

Deals

Dataminr has closed a $475m funding round that hiked its valuation to $4.1bn. The company, which counts Credit Suisse Next Investors as an earlier backer, provides software that pools information from a range of public sources to detect events and track trends in real time, and will put the proceeds from the round into international customer acquisition.

China-based CasiCloud provides production automation software for the aerospace industry, and has secured $404m in funding, becoming the latest automation technology provider to raise big money, in the wake of several robotic process automation-focused companies over the past year. Its earlier investors include China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation but the latest round was co-led by China Merchants Capital, ICBC Capital and Shenzhen Capital.

Sports memorabilia retailer Fanatics has pulled in $320m through a round that doubled its valuation to $12.8bn in the space of seven months. SoftBank is also among Fanatics’ investors, as is Alibaba, and the latest round included Major League Baseball, Fidelity Investments, Franklin Templeton, Neuberger Berman, Silver Lake and Thrive Capital. It came as the company undertakes a growth push centred on China.

Crypto wallet and exchange operator Blockchain.com is growing even faster, and has secured $300m in series C funding at a $5.2bn valuation, roughly five weeks after a $120m series B round valuing it at $3bn. GV and Access Industries were among the participants in the latter round, with GV having been an investor in the company since 2017.

Airwallex is the creator of a cloud software platform that helps businesses expand globally by coordinating finance activities across multiple currencies. It has raised $100m from investors including ANZ Bank’s ANZi Ventures vehicle to increase its series D round to $300m. The extension represents the third tranche of the round, with Tencent and Salesforce Ventures among the earlier backers. Airwallex is now valued at $2.6bn.

If grocery delivery services like Instacart have experienced considerable growth during the coronavirus pandemic, Germany-based Gorillas almost makes that growth look lazy. The company was founded less than a year ago but has just secured $290m in a series B round featuring Tencent that valued it above $1bn. That makes Gorillas, by its reckoning, the quickest European startup ever to exceed a $1bn valuation. And its service is currently available in just 13 European cities.

Komodo Health, the developer of a healthcare tracking software platform, has meanwhile raised $220m at a $3.3bn valuation, in its series E round only two months after notching up $44m in series D funding. The series D round included long-term corporate investor McKesson Ventures, and it has now secured a total of $314m in just 14 months.

Funds

Japan-based financial services firm Juroku Bank has formed a venture capital unit dubbed Nobunaga Capital Village and a startup accelerator called Juroku Bank Accelerator 2021. Nobunaga Capital Village will be launched in April 2021 with ¥4.5bn ($41.2m) of capital across two vehicles, and will target developers of financial technology and local economy revitalisation projects, focusing on the Chūbu region where the bank is headquartered.

Exits

Supply chain finance provider Linklogis has filed for an initial public offering on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and set terms that will see it raise $1.06bn if it floats at the top of its range. Bertelsmann Asia Investments, Tencent, GLP, Skyworth and Standard Chartered are all among the company’s investors, and the offering will be anchored by $365m from institutional investors including BlackRock and Fidelity.

Another Chinese company, online Q+A platform developer Zhihu, is going public in the US today in a $523m initial public offering that scores exits for Kuaishou, Tencent, Baidu, Sogou and Sunshine Insurance. The company priced the shares at the foot of the IPO’s range, but it will be buoyed by a $250m private placement being provided by Tencent and fellow corporates Alibaba, JD.com and Lilith Games.

Olo has closed its initial public offering at approximately $518m after the underwriters took up the option to buy an additional $67.5m shares. The PayPal-backed restaurant ordering software provider floated above its range on the New York Stock Exchange last week and its share price subsequently increased by upwards of 20%.

Online automotive marketplace ACV Auctions raised $5m for a series A round five years ago, and now it’s gone public in an initial public offering sized at about $416m. The SoftBank-backed company priced its shares above an already increased range, and the price rose again yesterday, giving ACV a market cap around the $4.8bn mark at close of trading.

Rockley Photonics, a silicon photonic chipmaker that counts Applied Materials and Hengtong Optic-Electric among its investors, is set to list through a reverse takeover with special purpose acquisition company SC Health Corp at a $1.2bn post-merger valuation. Medtronic is among the investors supplying $150m in PIPE financing to support the deal, announced as Rockley prepares to commercially launch its unique sensing platform.

Autonomous truck developer TuSimple is still pre-revenue but has filed for an initial public offering in the United States. The China-based company has raised roughly $650m in funding and its investors include corporates Sina, Navistar, Traton, Nvidia, Mando, UPS, Goodyear, Union Pacific, CN, Kroger and US Xpress. Media reports in August 2020 suggested it could target a valuation of up to $7bn in the IPO.


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

17 August 2020 – Impossible Foods Closes $200m Series G

The Big Ones

A lot of brick-and-mortar retailers have suffered during coronavirus lockdowns in recent months but certain parts of the e-commerce sector have done very well. That includes online sports apparel retailer Fanatics, whose business is reportedly 30% up year on year and which has raised $350m in a series E round that hiked its valuation from $4.5bn to $6.2bn. SoftBank Vision Fund led its last round in 2017, and the company’s earlier backers also include Alibaba.

Israel-based medical technology fund Alive HealthTech Fund has raised $150m, including $50m from four anchor investors including healthcare provider Carillon Clinics and health maintenance organisation (HMO) Maccabi Healthcare Service. The other two were Leumi Partners, the investment banking subsidiary of financial services firm Bank Leumi, which put up $10m, and Consensus Business Group, the investment vehicle for entrepreneur Vincent Tchenguiz. Maccabi Healthcare contributed through its Maccabi Fund. Alive HealthTech is concentrating on growth-stage investments in medical technology developers and intends to lead 10 to 15 rounds by 2024 sized between $10m and $30m, providing $5m to $10m for each company. The vehicle was formed by Maccabi Healthcare, care provider Assuta and Tchenguiz’s CBG Asset Management firm in partnership with chairman Ascher Shmulewitz and Michel Habib, Tchenguiz’s Israeli representative. The founding partners jointly provided $50m for the fund.

Online lending and wealth management platform Lufax may be dialling back its peer-to-peer lending services but its user base still tops 40 million, and the Ping An spinoff has reportedly confidentially filed to raise up to $3bn in a US initial public offering. Several large Chinese companies have filed for offerings in the country which has to be a testament to the heated activity in those markets given they aren’t being put off by anti-Chinese rhetoric from the government or the prospect of regulations that will make them subject to US auditing rules.

Crossover news: Vegan burger and sausage producer Impossible Foods – founded in 2011 by Patrick Brown, then a professor of biochemistry at Stanford University – has closed a $200m series G round led by Coatue Management at a reported $4bn valuation. Alphabet’s GV subsidiary invested in Impossible back in 2014, and since then it has expanded into thousands of shops and restaurants courtesy of partnerships with chains like Burger King and The Hard Rock Cafe. It also sells direct to consumers online and it will use the latest round for R&D, manufacturing, increase its retail presence and international operations. It raised $500m in a series F round in March to be able to cope with an expected impact of the pandemic, but it’s actually achieved 60-fold growth since then as consumers avoided meat (probably in no small part due to well publicised Covid outbreaks in abattoirs and meat processing plants).

Deals

HMD Global secured the licence to manufacture smartphones and feature phones under the Nokia brand in 2016 and, after raising $100m in a Foxconn-backed series A round two years later, has added $230m in funding from Google, Qualcomm and Nokia itself. HMD is expanding from hardware into mobile carrier services, and the fact Google and Qualcomm have also recently pumped significant amounts into telecommunications operator and digital services provider Jio Platform suggests 5G is going to be the fuel for some big deals.

Gong has raised $200m in a series D round featuring Salesforce Ventures at a $2.2bn valuation, increasing its overall funding to more than $330m. The company has developed an analytics software platform for customer service interactions and is one of several in that area to have raised money of late, as more and more interactions become remote. Salesforce participated as a new investor but Cisco Investments had backed Gong since its series B round – one of three it’s notched up in the past 18 months.

Funds

Myanmar conglomerate UMG formed incubator and accelerator UMG Idealab in 2015 and it generally invests $50,000 to $1m at pre-seed to series A stage. Now however, its portfolio companies are moving to later stages and it is preparing to raise $100m for a fund that will support follow-on investments. It is looking to tap external backers and is seeking a close in 2022. That would also likely be the largest fund to be raised by a Mynamar-based corporate venturer.

Exits

KE Holdings, the Chinese company that combines real estate services providers Beike and Lianjia, floated in the United States on Thursday in a $2.12bn initial public offering that values it above $26bn. Some $330m of that amount consists of existing investors buying shares, with Tencent providing $160m of the total. SoftBank Vision Fund is also a notable shareholder while Baidu and several real estate developers are among its earlier investors.

A lot of tech companies have seen their business models validated by lockdown conditions but others are more vulnerable. Kabbage uses AI technology to process loans for small businesses, but with the wider economy in trouble it may see more and more customers default. That environment makes it ripe for an acquisition and American Express is reportedly in talks to buy it for up to $850m. That’s a lower valuation than its last two rounds but not dramatically so, and it would hand exits to SoftBank, UPS, Recruit, Santander, ING and Scotiabank

One of the most recent examples of that heat is primary care network Oak Street Health, which floated late last week and which has closed its IPO at $377m after its share price more than doubled. Health system Humana, which invested $50m in the company in September 2018, now owns a stake valued in excess of $550m.

Another Chinese company, silicon and semiconductor production services provider VeriSilicon Microelectronics, is meanwhile set to float on Shanghai’s Star Exchange in a $268m offering. Xiaomi will own 5.6% of VeriSilicon’s shares when the IPO closes while Intel Capital will own a 2.1% stake. Its investors also include Samsung Ventures.

Online retail software provider BigCommerce has shown the potential in the market, having closed its initial public offering at $249m on Friday just two days after it floated. The company, which counts Softbank Capital, Telstra Ventures and American Express Ventures among its investors, saw its shares skyrocket on their first day of trading, more than tripling in price by the day’s closed. Its share price is still around that mark today, giving it a market cap of roughly $4.9bn.

Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen spinout CureVac has had an eventful few months, pulling in $640m from investors including GlaxoSmithKline last month due to the prospect its messenger RNA technology could form the basis of a Covid-19 vaccine. The Germany-based company has now gone public in the US, in an initial public offering that topped $213m. GSK’s stake is now sized at 8.4%, and CureVac’s investors also include strategic partners Eli Lilly and Genmab.

Another China-based company, Shanghai SK Automation Technology, has gone public but unlike KE Holdings it is doing so in its home country, having raised $105m in an offering on Shanghai’s Star Market. SK Automation provides intelligent manufacturing technology and its backers include SAIC Capital, a subsidiary of carmaker and SK customer SAIC, which retains a 3.4% stake post-IPO.

As the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc throughout the world the IPO rush seems to be carrying on unabated. Xpeng, the smart electric carmaker also known as Xiaopeng Motors, has filed for an initial public offering in the US, having raised some $2.5bn in venture funding from investors including Alibaba, UCar, Foxconn, Xiaomi and Fosun. It has set $100m for a placeholder target but expect that to rise sharply when it comes to setting terms for the offering.

Checkmate Pharmaceuticals has gone public in a $75m initial public offering, floating in the middle of its range. The immuno-oncology therapy developer had previously raised $175m in funding from investors including Novo, and at a time when companies are floating above their range in upsized offerings that’s probably a disappointing result, especially with its shares having dropped from the IPO price.


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