31 January 2022 – Swiggy Swipes $700m in Series K

Swiggy swipes $700m in series K round

India-based food ordering service Swiggy has secured $700m in a series K round featuring internet groups Prosus’ subsidiary Prosus Ventures and Smile Group.

Boeing flies $450m to Wisk

Aerospace manufacturer Boeing invested $450m in US-based flying taxi developer Wisk, highlighting the interest from the industry in commercially viable vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) vehicles.

FTX US hauls in $400m

FTX US, part of Bahamas-registered cryptocurrency marketplace operator FTX Trading, raised $400m in a series A round featuring internet and telecommunications group SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 at an $8bn valuation.

Deloitte Canada sets up $119m venture unit

US-based accountancy and consulting firm Deloitte’s Canadian subsidiary launched a CVC unit called Deloitte Ventures with $119m in capitalisation.

Jidu mobilises corporates to raise $400m

Internet group Baidu and carmaker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group provided $400m in series A funding for their China-based electric vehicle joint venture, Jidu.

Akili Interactive accedes to $1bn reverse merger

US-based digital therapeutics developer Akili Interactive agreed to a $1bn reverse merger, marking exits for pharmaceutical firms Merck Group, Amgen and Shionogi & Co.

Factorial Energy charges up $200m series D

US-based electric vehicle battery developer Factorial Energy completed a $200m series D round co-led by carmakers Mercedes-Benz and Stellantis.

Tuhu tilts towards Hong Kong IPO

Tuhu, the China-based owner of an online marketplace for car maintenance services, has filed for an initial public offering on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange that could mark exits for internet groups Baidu and Tencent.

ImmPact Bio forges ahead with $111m

US-based cancer treatment developer ImmPact Bio picked up $111m in a series B round from investors including pharmaceutical firms Bukwang Pharmaceutical and Novartis, the latter through its CVC unit Novartis Ventures Fund.

Sigfox seeks bankruptcy protection

Sigfox, the France-headquartered internet-of-things (IoT) technology provider, has filed for bankruptcy protection.

Marcelo Claure leaves SoftBank

Marcelo Claure, chief operating officer at Japan-headquartered telecommunications and internet group SoftBank Group and the driving force behind its Latin America corporate venturing funds, is leaving the company.


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

24 January 2022 – Crypto.com Expands Fund to $500m and Brings on Russell

Crypto.com expands fund to $500m and brings on Russell

China-headquartered cryptocurrency exchange Crypto.com has expanded its corporate venturing unit’s fund to $500m, becoming the latest crypto exchange to beef up its investment subsidiary.

Animoca Brands embraces $359m in funding

China-based gaming and blockchain technology developer Animoca Brands raised some $359m from investors including cryptocurrency exchange Gemini and internet group Smile Group as it continues to ramp up strategic investments.

FTX sets up $2bn fund and hires Wu

FTX Trading, a Bahamas-registered cryptocurrency marketplace operator, has set up a $2bn corporate venture capital fund and hired Amy Wu over from venture capital firm Lightspeed Venture Partners to run it.

Mythical Games scores Polystream acquisition

Blockchain game developer Mythical Games bought UK-based metaverse streaming technology developer Polystream for an undisclosed sum, providing exits for chipmaker Intel and game publisher Wargaming Group.

SoftBank sinks funding into Shoplazza and Big Health

SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 has led funding rounds for two North American companies in as many days, backing Shoplazza and Big Health.

SoftBank backs Qraft for its portfolio

Softbank provided $146m South Korea-based financial management software provider Qraft Technologies.

Shell pumps $1.4bn into ventures

UK-listed energy group Shell has set up a dedicated $1.4bn corporate venturing fund aimed at accelerating the energy transition.

Investors ride Wayve to $200m series B

UK-based self-driving technology developer Wayve completed a $200m series B round featuring software provider Microsoft, online grocer Ocado and conglomerate Virgin, taking the company’s overall funding to more than $258m.

Verana Health mines $150m

Pharmaceutical firms Johnson & Johnson and Novo have co-led a $150m series E round for US-based clinical data platform developer Verana Health, highlighting the growing importance of data analytics in the healthcare market and taking Verana’s total funding to $287m.

ByteDance bids goodbye to investment team

ByteDance, the China-headquartered owner of short-form video app TikTok, has reportedly closed its corporate venturing unit.


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

25 October 2021 – Gorillas Roars to $1bn Series C, Instacart Pulls Off $350m

Gorillas roars to $1bn series C

Germany-based on-demand grocery shopping platform Gorillas raised a series C round sized at almost $1bn, led by food delivery service provider Delivery Hero, which itself made a $235m contribution into the round.

Instacart pulls off $350m Caper AI purchase

Grocery delivery service Instacart is acquiring Caper AI, a US-based smart retail technology producer backed by supermarket chain Red Apple Group, for is $350m.

N26 deposits $900m of series E funding

N26, the Germany-based digital bank that is backed by Tencent and insurance provider Allianz, raised over $900m in series E funding at a post-money valuation in excess in $9bn.

FTX trades on $420m series B-1 round

FTX Trading, the Bahamas-based cryptocurrency exchange backed by internet and communications group SoftBank, crypto exchanges Coinbase and Binance and payment technology provider Circle raised over $460m in a series B-1 round

WBA expands presence in VillageMD in $5.2bn deal

Pharmacy operator Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) has paid $5.2bn to increase its stake in US-based primary care provider VillageMD from 30% to 63%.

HT Aero lands $500m

China-headquartered electric vehicle (EV) producer XPeng agreed yesterday to co-lead a series A round for its air taxi developer affiliate, HT Aero, set to be sized at over $500m

Spin Master turns to corporate venturing

Canada-headquartered toy children’s entertainment producer Spin Master launched a strategic investment vehicle called Spin Master Ventures yesterday with $100m of capital.

Alaska Airlines announces $230m investment fund

US-headquartered air carrier Alaska Airlines unveiled a corporate venture capital subsidiary called Alaska Star Ventures yesterday that is equipped with $230m in capital

More corporates dock at Motion Ventures fund

Shipping groups Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL), IMC Group and Signal Group have committed capital to a S$30m ($22.7m) fund run by Singapore-based venture capital firm Motion Ventures.


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

26 July 2021 – Swiggy Raises $1.25bn in Series J

The Big Ones

SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 and Prosus co-led a $1.25bn series J round for India-based food delivery service provider Swiggy at a $5.5bn valuation. The round also featured sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority as well as Accel, Wellington Management, Falcon Edge Capital, Amansa Capital, Goldman Sachs, Think Capital and Carmignac. TechCrunch said the round includes an $800m tranche led by Prosus’ corporate venturing arm, Prosus Ventures, in April this year. SoftBank provided a reported $450m for that close, which included Falcon Edge, Goldman Sachs, Amansa Capital, Think Capital, Carmignac and Accel.

Aurora, a US-based self-driving technology developer, has agreed a reverse merger with Reinvent Technology Partners Y. The combined company will have a $13bn pro forma implied market capitalisation and will take on Reinvent’s listing on the Nasdaq Capital Market, which was secured through an $850m initial public offering in March this year. It is sponsored by investment firm Reinvent Capital. The transaction includes a $1bn PIPE financing featuring truck manufacturer Paccar, ride hailing service provider Uber and commercial vehicle producer Volvo Group, as well as Reinvent Capital, Baillie Gifford, XN, Primecap Management Company, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Index Ventures, Sequoia Capital, funds and accounts managed by Morgan Stanley’s Counterpoint Global unit and funds and accounts advised by T Rowe Price.

Italy-based venture capital firm Panakès Partners has achieved a $180m first close for its second fund with a commitment from pharmaceutical firm Menarini. The Purple Fund was anchored by the European Investment Fund and FoF VenturItaly, a fund-of-funds managed by VC firm CDP Venture Capital. The vehicle is also backed by unnamed Italy-based banking foundations, pension funds, life science companies and the Cogliati, Colombo, Rovati, Petrone, Re and Bassani families.

University

Form Energy, a US-based grid-scale battery developer spun out of MIT, secured $200m in a series D round led by $25m from ArcelorMittal’s XCarb innovation fund. As part of the deal, ArcelorMittal and Form Energy have signed a joint development agreement to further boost the latter’s iron battery production. The other participants in the round were not disclosed.

Deals

Cryptocurrency exchange operator FTX Trading completed a $900m series B round featuring SoftBank, Coinbase Ventures and Circle. The funding was raised at an $18bn valuation from a consortium of more than 60 investors including quantitative trading firm Hudson River, Paradigm, Sequoia Capital, Thoma Bravo, Ribbit Capital, Insight Partners, Bond, New Enterprise Associates, Third Point and Lightspeed Venture Partners, Willoughby Capital, 40North, Senator Investment Group, Sino Global Capital, Multicoin, VanEck, Altimeter, the Paul Tudor Jones family, and private investors Izzy Englander and Alan Howard.

Colombia-based on-demand delivery service Rappi has secured over $500m in series F funding from investors including SoftBank. T Rowe Price led the round, which also featured Baillie Gifford, Third Point, Octahedron Capital and GIC. The cash was reportedly raised at a $5.25bn valuation.

US-based crop nutrition technology developer Pivot Bio completed a $430m series D round that included Tekfen, Bunge and Continental Grain. Temasek and DCVC co-led the round with backing from Generation Investment Management, Rockefeller Capital Management, Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV), Prelude Ventures, Pavilion Capital and private investor Roger Underwood. Tekfen and Bunge were represented in the round by their respective corporate venturing units, Tekfen Ventures and Bunge Ventures. It reportedly valued the company at nearly $2bn.

SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 led a $350m series C round for US-based alternative protein developer Nature’s Fynd. Danone’s corporate venturing arm, Danone Manifesto Ventures, also participated in the round, as did Archer Daniels Midland and SK. The participants were completed by Blackstone Strategic Partners, Balyasny Asset Management, Hillhouse Capital, EDBI, Hongkou Capital, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Generation Investment Management and 1955 Capital.

Lenskart, an India-based online eyewear retailer backed by SoftBank, has raised $220m of funding at a $2.5bn valuation. Temasek and Falcon Edge Capital co-led the round and were joined by Bay Capital and Chiratae Ventures. The company is planning to expand its operations in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Some of the cash from the round will be used to further develop its technology stack.

Cloudwise, a China-based developer of artificial intelligence-driven operational technology, secured $150m in a series E round featuring quantitative and technology trading firm Susquehanna International Group. Sequoia Capital China led the round, which included Albright Stonebridge Group, Boston Investment, CR Capital, FutureX Capital and Citic’s Private Equity Funds Management subsidiary.

SmartRecruiters, a US-based recruitment software developer backed by Salesforce, completed a $110m series E round led by Silver Lake Waterman. Insight Partners and Mayfield Fund also participated in the round, which valued the company at $1.5bn.

Funds

China-headquartered e-commerce group Alibaba’s Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund (AEF) is anchoring a HK$2bn ($258m) vehicle dubbed AEF Greater Bay Area (GBA) Fund. GBA Fund counts undisclosed conglomerates, financial institutions and family offices among its limited partners, and is scheduled to reach its final close in the first half of 2022. The fund will target developers of technologies in areas including deeptech and sustainability, healthcare, artificial intelligence and industry 4.0 technology. It is being managed by venture capital firm Gobi Partners.

Exits

Bukalapak, the Indonesia-based online marketplace, has priced its initial public offering at the top of its range and will raise $1.5bn. The share price values the company at about $6bn and Bukalapak is set to float on the Indonesia Stock Exchange next month. Founded in 2010, Bukalapak operates an e-commerce platform with 6.5 million online sellers and 100 million users, and also runs a business-to-business procurement platform as well as a digital financial services subsidiary called Buka Investasi Bersama. Emtek, Naver, Microsoft, Gree and Aucfan are all in line for an exit.

Shanghai Stock Exchange’s Star Market accepted the initial public offering application submitted by CloudWalk Technology, a China-based facial recognition system developer backed by corporates Bohai, Haier and PCI-Suntek. The company plans to raise RMB3.75bn ($574m) and filed the application in December 2020. It intends to issue up to 112 million shares, and China Securities (CSC Financial) has been appointed lead underwriter for the offering.

US-based lending software provider Blend Labs floated in a $360m initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange, representing an exit for cloud computing giant Salesforce. The company priced 20 million class A shares at the upper end of the IPO’s $16 to $18 range. Blend has developed a cloud software platform which helps financial services providers streamline the loans process. Its net loss rose from $22.9m in the first three months of 2020 to $27.1m in the equivalent period this year, while revenue more than doubled to $31.9m. The company had raised at least $685m prior to the offering, Salesforce having provided an undisclosed amount likely to have been $14m through its Salesforce Ventures unit in May 2019.

VTex, a UK-headquartered e-commerce services provider backed by SoftBank, went public in a $361m initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange. The IPO included nearly 13.9 million class A shares priced at $19 each, above the $15 to $17 range, while selling shareholders divested just over 5.1 million more shares for a total of approximately $97.3m. The shares opened at $25.10 a share on their first day of trading.

Caribou Biosciences, a US-based cell therapy developer spun out of UC Berkeley to commercialise research by Jennifer Doudna – one of the researchers that discovered Crispr-Cas9, has gone public in a $304m initial public offering representing an exit for corporate investors Corteva, AbbVie, Novartis and Heritage Medical Systems. The company increased the number of shares in the offering from 17 million to 19 million and priced them at the top of the IPO’s $14 to $16 range. It is floating on the Nasdaq Global Select Market and the share price gives it a valuation of almost $910m.


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