14 March 2016 – Ant Financial, Flipkart, WeWork, Astroscale, Precision Ocular, Replay Technologies, Lasergen, Stanford University and more

Deals

Ant Financial, the financial services affiliate of Chinese giant Alibaba, which is seeking up to $3bn at a valuation of $60bn while it reportedly prepares for an IPO next year.

An equally impressive, if significantly less $1bn is being sought by India-based e-commerce company Flipkart, which is hoping to get a commitment from Alibaba and conglomerate Fosun for the round. Flipkart’s valuation for this round is actually down from its $15bn tag last year, when the company obtained $700m. Claims differ on the current valuation, but it appears to be in between the $11bn to $14bn range, though some have said that it could even be below $10bn.

WeWork, a shared workspace provider, climbed the ranks to sixth most valuable venture-stage business in the world when it claimed $430m in fresh funding at a $16bn valuation.

Japan-based Astroscale raised $35m from the Innovation Network Corporation of Japan. Jafco and other unnamed entities also participated in the round, which will be used by Astroscale to send a satellite into orbit that will track space debris in preparation for later missions that will collect that debris, which is becoming an increasing problem for safe space travel.

The biggest deal on Global University Venturing meanwhile was a $19m for Precision Ocular that was led by Imperial Innovations. Precision Ocular is working on treatments for retinal diseases such as age-related macular degeneration and diabetic macular edema.

Exits

Replay Technologies is set to be acquired by Intel for an estimated $175m a mere week after closing a $13.5m round led by Deutsche Telekom. Replay, a 3D filming technology producer, had secured $27m in total funding and the acquisition is also providing an exit to Samsung, which had invested in 2014.

Lasergen, a genome sequencing platform that received $80m from lab equipment provider Agilent Technologies last week in return for a 48% stake. Agilent’s also secured a three-year option to purchase the remaining shares for an additional $105m. Until then, the two companies have agreed to collaborated on a workflow product based on Lasergen’s technology.

Meanwhile, RusnanoMedinvest celebrated an exit when Syndax Pharmaceuticals floated on Nasdaq for $52.8m. The IPO followed some $155m in funding.

Stanford University secured an exit through an acquisition, when Immucor purchased spinout Sirona Genomics for an undisclosed amount. Sirona has developed a platform that uses three algorithms to build a database for mapping and managing genomic assessments such as blood type without the need for secondary testing.

Funds

When it came to funds, Cisco took the top spot last week with a three-year $500m initiative named Deutschland Digital. Cisco will invest the cash both directly in startups and in VC funds. It announced Deutschland Digital on the same day that it unveiled a $150m fund that will help foster an ecosystem around its cloud collaboration platform Cisco Spark.

Lan Kwai Fong, a Hong Kong-based conglomerate, is similarly looking at a fund with a target size between $300m and $500m, to be managed by its private equity unit LKF Capital. The fund marks the first time LKF is raising external capital and will focus on Chinese companies in the lifestyle and consumer industries.

Another fund to come out of Hong Kong is the $257m Innovation and Technology Venture Fund. Although first announced in January, the autonomous region only revealed the fund’s size in its budget for 2016/17 now. The fund will focus on local startups and hopes to make more capital available to them by matching private investments.

Parkwalk Advisors, which already manages several funds for Cambridge University, announced the University of Cambridge Enterprise Fund IV, which, much like the previous funds, enables alumni and investors to back Cambridge spinouts. The funds usually co-invest alongside Cambridge University.

Moves

Kaushik Anand, a growth equity investor at corporate venturing subsidiary Google Capital, is set to lead its investments in India, the Economic Times reported on Monday. He first joined Google Capital in June 2015 and has so far been based at its California headquarters.

IDG Ventures Korea has seen Matthew Lee depart to co-found a new venture dubbed Cognitive Investment. Lee had been CEO and managing partner of the unit since 2007.

Franceska Banga is set to step down from her position as CEO of New Zealand Venture Investment Firm later this month. The fund, which has over $200m under management, was set up by New Zealand’s government in 2001 and headed by Banga since then. Steven Joyce, minister of economic development in New Zealand, is using the change in leadership to review the fund’s performance and assess its structure.


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

7 March 2016 – Google Capital, Alphabet, Magic Leap, Snapchat, Mercari, AXA, Slack, Souqcom, Vertex, Purdue University, Oregon State University and more

Deals

We tracked 132 deals in the month. While this would be the lowest month for deal activity since September 2014, it is not much below activity in many of the months during the last year and a half, while it is significantly above most months in 2014 as well as prior years. We also typically track some deals after a month ends.

The most active corporate during the month was holding company Alphabet, which invests through its two venturing units Google Capital and GV, which matches trends in recent years, where it has regularly been one of the most active investors.

The most active corporate partner among venture firms was Arch Venture Partners, which invested alongside US-based healthcare company Johnson and Johnson, US-based asset manager Fidelity, China-based healthcare company Wuxi Pharmatech, real estate company Alexandria, and healthcare company Pfizer.

The largest deal in February was the $793.5m series C round raised by US-based augmented reality technology developer Magic Leap, in a deal led by e-commerce firm Alibaba.

The biggest exit of the month was the sale of Ravello Systems, the US-based virtualisation software developer, which was sold to Oracle for $500m. Ravello had raised $54m in venture funding, including $28m in a January 2015 series C round co-led by Qualcomm and SanDisk’s corporate venturing units: Qualcomm Ventures and SanDisk Ventures.

Snapchat, backed by Tencent, Alibaba and Yahoo, boosted its series F round to more than $710m and its overall funding to more than $1.3bn with $175m from Fidelity.

Mercari rises with $75m round.

AXA invested €75m in e-commerce holding vehicle Africa Internet Group last month and the round has now been boosted to €300m ($326m) with commitments from MTN, Rocket Internet and Goldmn Sachs.

Messaging platform Slack has so far raised $340m from investors including GV but is now seeking an additional $150m in the wake of it ramping up staff numbers and launching a TV advertising campaign.

Influitive, the creator of an advocacy marketing platform, raised about $30m in July and has now attracted new funding to take its NTT Docomo-backed series B round to almost $39m. The capital helped to support the acqui-hire of scheduling app developer Ironark Software.

Souq.com has shown that e-commerce growth in Asia isn’t restricted to the usual suspects of China, India and Southeast Asia, raising more than $270m at a reported $1bn+ valuation.

Electronic component manufacturer Murata Manufacturing Company led a $19m series B round for US-based power conversion semiconductor developer Arctic Sand Technologies, a spinout of MIT. more

People moves

Ben Brabyn, former COO of UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) Innovation Gateway, has been appointed head of UK-based technology accelerator Level39.

Michael Fernandes has left Malaysian sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional to become a partner and co-head of South and Southeast Asian operations at Leapfrog Investments. At Khazanah Nasional, he was manager of the healthcare portfolio, valued at $7bn on the Singapore stock exchange.

Monika Gierszewska has been appointed as director of incubator SetSquared’s Bristol branch. SetSquared is a collaboration between the universities of Bristol, Bath, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey. (more)

Funds

Vertex Venture Holdings, the wholly-owned investment arm of Singapore government’s state fund Temasek, has held the final close of its Vertex Ventures Israel fund at $150m. The fund had a target of $100m.

InnovFin, a joint initiative of EIF and EIB, has signed a deal to provide $100m to LeumiTech to support Israel-based businesses.

Purdue University has set up a $10m seed-stage fund to build on its successes from last year, when Purdue created a total of 40 new businesses, incl. 25 spinouts. The fund will be jointly managed by the university’s startup accelerator, Purdue Foundry, and the University Development Office.

Oregon State University launches fund with Rogue Venture Partners that is expected to raise between $10m and $20m and will invest in companies within the state. OSU will provide a fifth of the capital.


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