Leadership Series: Jennifer Ard (Intel Capital)

We have teamed up with 500 Startups’ CVC Insider Series, where top CVC practitioners offer advice and best practices regarding common challenges encountered within corporate venturing. Featured this week is an interview with Jennifer Ard of Intel Capital. Jennifer is interviewed by Nicolas Sauvage who we interviewed in an earlier episode of our Leadership Series.


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

14 December 2020 – Drug Development Company Tempus Secures $200m

The Big Ones

2020 has been a year when, for obvious reasons, innovative drug development has taken a leap forward. Tempus combines artificial intelligence and molecular data to come up with precision therapeutics, and has secured $200m in series G2 funding from investors including Novo and Google at an $8.1bn post-money valuation. That’s a 62% leap from its $100m Novo-backed series G round nine months ago.

University of Bristol is supporting a £15m ($20m) incubator and venture fund intended to anchor a deep tech epicentre in the west of England. Science Creates includes the Science Creates Ventures EIS Fund 1 that will focus on Bristol-based pre-seed and seed-stage deep tech startups in areas such as therapeutics, advanced materials, hardware and software. The incubator is an evolution of the existing University of Bristol-linked science innovation hubs Unit DX and Unit DY. It will connect resident companies to mentoring and strategic partnerships aligned with science and engineering-oriented objectives. Science Creates’ founding team includes Harry Destecroix, who previously co-founded University of Bristol-founded diabetes treatment developer Ziylo, acquired by pharmaceutical firm Novo Nordisk in 2018.

Food delivery app developer DoorDash has floated in one of the year’s largest tech IPOs, one that will net it almost $3.37bn at a valuation more than double that of the $16bn achieved in its June 2020 series H round. That jump has been described by some onlookers as insane, though it’s worth noting that few companies DoorDash’s size can boast of trebling revenue year on year while slashing their net loss by over 70%. It’s also a victory for DoorDash’s largest backer, SoftBank Vision Fund, which first invested at an $865m pre-money valuation.

Isar Aerospace, a Germany-based satellite technology launch services spinout of TU Munich, has raised €75m ($90.8m) of series B funding from investors including Unternehmertum Venture Capital (UVC) Partners, an affiliate of the university’s tech transfer arm UnternehmerTUM. The round also featured Airbus Ventures, among others. Founded in 2018, Isar is working on a two-stage launch vehicle designed to deploy satellites into low-earth orbit. Its rockets use light hydrocarbon and liquid oxygen-based fuel that has a lower environmental impact than common propellants. The company will use the funding for research, development and production activities ahead of its first commercial launches, which are planned for early 2022. UVC Partners and Airbus Ventures previously backed a $17m series A round for Isar in December 2019

Deals

Nuance Pharma has secured $181m in series D funding from investors including Konruns Pharma to advance its lead candidate, a small molecule anti-tumour drug, through early clinical trials. Nuance is also working on treatments for respiratory diseases, iron-deficiency anaemia and post-operative pain.

Brazil-based Conductor has bumped its latest round to $170m by raising a further $20m from Singaporean government-owned Temasek. It raised the first $150m last month in a first close led by Viking Global Investors, and Visa is also a backer, having invested in the banking and card issuing software provider two years ago.

Cityblock Health was spun off by Alphabet’s urban innovation subsidiary, Sidewalk Labs, three years ago and has already raised some $300m in funding, $160m coming in a series C round valuing it above $1bn. The round was led by venture firm General Catalyst and the company’s investors also include EmblemHealth and Echo Health Ventures.

In a year full of unpredictability and uncertainty, detailed information can make all the difference, so it’s no surprise risk intelligence provider FiscalNote has pulled in new funding, raising $160m in a debt and equity round featuring Renren and SoftBank in addition to The Economist Group, Jipyong and S&P Global Ventures. FiscalNote, which has more than 4,000 customers, is putting the money into strengthening its technology and growing its services.

Intel Capital helped Pico, a provider of IT systems and technology for financial market operators, complete a $135m series C round today that also featured CreditEase’s Fintech Investment Fund. Pico’s investors and clients include Wells Fargo, UBS, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Nomura, DRW Venture Capital, Chicago Trading Company, Capital Markets Trading and Simplex Investments.

Beijing Snowball Finance Information Technology provides cross-border data on financial markets as well as the means to invest in funds, bonds, trusts and cryptocurrency. It has just secured $120m in series E financing from private equity firm Orchid Asia, adding to over $170m in earlier funding from the likes of Ant Group and Renren.

The cybersecurity sector is increasingly moving towards the industrial space, as the internet of things makes large infrastructure more vulnerable to cyber attacks. Dragos is one of the companies offering an industry-focused cybersecurity product, and it has raised $110m in a series C round co-led by National Grid Partners and Koch Disruptive Technologies. The round also featured fellow corporate investors Schweitzer Engineering Labs, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures.

Exits

Airbnb has timed its flotation perfectly, raising $3.49bn at a price comfortably above its range. Alphabet-backed Airbnb has had a miserable year earnings wise due to worldwide social distancing measures, but investors will be betting on a big rebound in 2021 as covid-19 vaccinations begin to be distributed and governments start easing travel restrictions.

Uber has sunk some big money into its autonomous driving technology unit, Advanced Technologies Group, over the years, which was what led the corporate to spin it off last year with $1bn from Denso, Toyota and SoftBank Vision Fund. It has now agreed to merge Uber ATG with another self-driving technology developer, Aurora, through a deal that will involve it investing $400m in the company and taking a 26% stake in the merged business at a $10bn valuation. It’s a similar model to the one Uber has used to divest regional businesses in China, Southeast Asia and Russia.

Silverback Therapeutics has had a very successful IPO too. It floated a week ago, pricing an upsized offering above the range, and has since seen its share price shoot up over 50%. The underwriters have accordingly boosted the size of the IPO to almost $278m, adding to $211m in venture funding from investors including Celgene, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Alexandria Venture Investments.

China-based 17 Education & Technology Group has floated in the United States, in an initial public offering that raised nearly $288m. The company, which secured $250m nearly three years ago from investors including ByteDance, provides in-class learning software and after-class tutoring services. It priced the IPO at the mid-point of its range, and the offering came after 17EdTech nearly quadrupled its revenue year on year in the first nine months of 2020.

Fintech as a whole is having a moment right now, Affirm having agreed to pay $264m to acquire instalment payment service PayBright in a deal that will allow GoEasy to exit. Consumer finance provider GoEasy invested $25.5m in PayBright in September last year, which makes the transaction a relatively early exit.


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

13 July 2020 – Rivian Strikes Deal with Amazon for 100,000 Electric Delivery Vans

The Big Ones

Now ride hailing has matured past the stage where it requires multi-billion dollar rounds, one of the biggest fundraisers in recent months has been Rivian, an electric truck and SUV developer that won’t even have a product out until next year. It has however struck a deal to sell 100,000 electric delivery vans to strategic partner Amazon, and Amazon was among the investors that have provided $2.5bn in financing for the company. It has now raised a total of more than $6.1bn from an investor base also including Ford, Cox Automotive, Sumitomo and Abdul Latif Jameel.

UK-based oil and gas company BP revealed it intends to provide $70m for India and UK-focused cleantech investment vehicle Green Growth Equity Fund (GGEF). GGEF was formed to invest in India-based technology developers operating in fields such as renewable energy, energy efficiency, energy storage, electric mobility and resource conservation. It has a target size of $700m and BP’s investment is set to close later this year. The government of India’s National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) and the UK Department for International Development are anchoring the vehicle, having each made a £120m ($170m) commitment at its April 2018 launch. The fund is managed by Eversource Capital, an India-based joint venture created by BP’s solar power subsidiary, Lightsource BP, and private equity and real estate investment firm Everstone Capital.

Ant Financial was valued at a gargantuan $150bn when it last raised money, through a $14bn series C round in 2018, but Alibaba’s financial services spinoff is reportedly seeking to go public as soon as this year in an initial public offering set to take place at a projected valuation exceeding $200bn. In addition to Alibaba, which owns about a third of the company, Ant’s shareholders include insurance group China Life and postal service China Post.

Vor Biopharma, a US-based cancer treatment developer spun out of Columbia University, has raised $110m in a series B round featuring spinout-focused investment firm Osage University Partners. RA Capital Management led the round, which also included healthcare group Johnson & Johnson, pharmaceutical companies PureTech Health, life science real estate investment trust Alexandria Real Estate Equities and financial services group Fidelity, as well as Pagliuca Family Office, 5AM Ventures and undisclosed backers. Vor Biopharma is working on engineered haematopoietic stem cell (eHSC) therapies that have biologically redundant proteins removed – essentially making the stem cells invisible to complementary treatments that target those proteins. The company’s lead asset, Vor33, is aimed at acute myeloid leukaemia and is expected to avoid toxicity to blood and bone marrow associated with current treatments.

Deals

Epic Games is no slouch, the Fortnite developer having secured $250m from Sony at a reported valuation not far from $18bn. Epic was reported last month to be in talks with institutional investors to raise $750m at a $17bn valuation, but Sony’s interest may well be linked to the forthcoming release of the Playstation 5 this Christmas. It’s worth mentioning Fortnite has been a goldmine not only for Epic but also for Sony, which gets a 30% cut of every sale made through its online store. The Playstation 4 has, by the way, sold more than 100 million units since its late 2017 debut.

Instacart has added $100m from T.Rowe Price to a late-stage round that now stands at $325m and which values it at $13.8bn post-money. The grocery delivery service’s earlier investors include American Express Ventures, Comcast Ventures and Whole Foods but none of them have invested since 2016, during which time its valuation has climbed from $2bn. General Catalyst, DST Global and D1 Capital Partners supplied the first $225m for the round.

There aren’t too many companies at the top end of the sector but developers of vegan dairy and meat substitutes have raised some big rounds in recent years. Perfect Day, which uses microflora in its vegan dairy proteins, has just secured another $160m from investors including Canada Pension Plan Investment Board to take its series C round to $300m. Perfect Day’s earlier backers include Continental Grain, which backed the company’s series A round two years ago.

Intel Capital has invested about $253m in Jio Platform, the mobile network service provider spun off by conglomerate Reliance Industries, getting a 0.4% stake at a valuation of more than $63bn. Jio has picked up a series of large investments in recent weeks including $5.7bn from Facebook and additional capital from the likes of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, the Abu Dhabi government, L Catterton, TPG, Silver Lake Partners, General Atlantic, KKR and Vista Equity Partners.

Primary care provider VillageMD has received $250m in equity funding from pharmacy group Walgreens Boots Alliance as part of a three-year $1bn financing commitment that will involve the corporate providing a mixture of equity and convertible debt, giving it a 30% stake. The two have also formed a strategic alliance that will involve VillageMD opening clinics at hundreds of Walgreens Boots Alliance outlets over the next few years.

Newlink provides car refuelling and electric vehicle charging services in China through an online platform, and has received $129m in a series D round that included electronics producer Xiaomi and Nio Capital, the investment arm of smart EV manufacturer Nio. Xiaomi has pursued a long-term strategy of investing in consumer hardware developers to build an ecosystem around its products, but Nio has been an increasingly active investor in the transport tech and AI space, indicating it may well have similar ideas.

Funds

Multiple unnamed university endowments were yesterday revealed to have backed US-based venture capital firm Rethink Impact’s $182m second impact fund. The fund has also pulled in contributions from financial institutions including UBS in addition to Pivotal Ventures, the investment firm founded by Melinda Gates, and philanthropic investment offices Ford Foundation and WK Kellogg Foundation.

University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Campus yesterday closed a $50m healthcare-oriented fund with commitments from multiple university departments and affiliates. CU Healthcare Innovation Fund has been backed by University of Colorado along with its healthcare system UCHealth, medical school CU Medicine and Children’s Hospital Colorado. All the LPs have a presence at Anschutz Medical Campus.

Exits

The latest decacorn to make the leap looks to be big data technology provider Palantir which said yesterday it has confidentially filed to go public. It’s still unclear whether Palantir, which rised $550m from Sompo Holdings and Fujitsu last month, will pursue an initial public offering or a direct listing but it will likely be among the year’s biggest listings either way. Its other backers include Relx subsidiary REV (née Reed Elsevier Ventures).

Orbital internet service developer OneWeb filed for bankruptcy in March having raised $3.4bn from investors including SoftBank, Qualcomm, Totalplay, Bharti Enterprises, Airbus, Virgin, Coca-Cola, Intelsat and Hughes Network Systems. Now however, one of those corporates – Bharti – has combined with the UK government to acquire the company at auction for just over $1bn. The deal is expected to formally go through by the end of the year once regulatory approval is provided by the US.

Open source software provider Suse has agreed to acquire Rancher Labs in a deal sources told CNBC will be in the $600m to $700m range. Rancher has developed a deployment and management tool for Kubernetes containerised application management software, and has raised $95m from investors including Telstra Ventures. This’ll be a fast exit for the unit too. It led Rancher’s $40m series D round less than four months ago.

Cambricon Technologies has priced its own initial public offering, which will raise $368m for the AI chipmaker. The company chose Shanghai’s Star Market, which is rapidly becoming a big player in world markets, particularly due to increased restrictions on Chinese tech companies looking to float in the US. It followed more than $200m in funding for Cambricon from investors including iFlytek, Alibaba, Lenovo, Tuling Century and Chinese Academy of Sciences.

University of Tübingen spinout Immatics has opted for neither option to get a public listing, instead executing a reverse merger with a Nasdaq-listed special purpose acquisition company. The Germany-based immuno-oncology drug developer had raised about $250m in equity funding from investors including Amgen but its market cap is currently hovering around the $5.6bn mark.

Another cancer drug developer, Nkarta Therapeutics, has set the range for an offering set to raise between $140m and $160m, though going by recent IPOs that figure may well end up rising. Nkarta’s investors include GlaxoSmithKline unit SR One and Novo – which each own a 13.3% stake – as well as Amgen Ventures. It last raised money through a $114m series B round in November.

Ucommune, generally regarded as China’s answer to WeWork, is however set to secure a US listing, through a reverse merger with special purpose acquisition company Orisun Acquisition Corp that will value the combined company at $769m. That in itself is significant. Ucommune doesn’t represent the same kind of disaster as WeWork but Covid-19 has hit its takings hard and that valuation is a big decline from the $1.5bn valuation at which it raised money in 2018. Its backers include Beijing Xingpai, Aikang, Dahong Group, Star Group, Junfa Group, Prosperity Holdings and Yintai Land.


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

24 February 2020 – Imara to Raise Up To $86.3m in its IPO

The Big Ones

Grab had raised $4.8bn for its series H round as of mid-2019 but did not confirm a close for the round. Now however, the on-demand ride provider is set to raise approximately $714m from Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group as part of a venture where the two will collaborate on a lending and insurance app, according to Nikkei. Amazon has been held up as a prime example of tech companies growing through diversification but it’s far from the only one.

SoftBank may be having difficulty luring external backers to its second Vision Fund but in the meantime it’s putting in its own money, $2.5bn since October according to Reuters sources, one of which said it is considering another $2.5bn while the fund carries on investing. Vision Fund is also reportedly lining up backers for a sub-$2bn hedge fund-like vehicle that will make public market investments.

Imara, a US-based developer of therapies for blood disorders, has filed to raise up to $86.3m in an initial public offering that would enable pharmaceutical firms Pfizer and Lundbeck to exit. Founded in 2016, Imara is working on drug treatments for haemoglobinopathies: disorders that affect the haemoglobin, the part of red blood cells that carry oxygen. It filed confidentially for the IPO in September 2019. It’s raised some $77m in series A and B funding, according to the filing – which is actually nearly $20m less than it had previously claimed, a discrepancy that’s rare for US companies (if a somewhat more common sight in China).

And the biggest deal on GUV was OMass Therapeutics, a UK-based drug design and development spinout of University of Oxford, which added £27.5m ($35.7m) of series A funding from investors including the university and its Oxford Sciences Innovation. Syncona led the extension with a $21.6m commitment – having also led the initial $17.9m close in 2018 with participation from OSI – to bring round’s total to $53.9m. OMass Therapeutics is working on therapies for immunological and genetic disorders.

Deals

Payment technology provider Toast has secured $400m in a series F round that bumped its valuation up from $2.7bn in April last year to $4.9bn. The round was co-led by TPG, Greenoaks Capital and existing investors Bessemer Venture Partners and Tiger Global, and it increased the company’s overall funding to more than $900m.

Endpoint protection platform developer SentinelOne has reportedly secured $200m at a $1.1bn valuation, with Insight Partners leading the round. Growth equity firm Insight also led SentinelOne’s last round, a $120m series E in June 2019 that included Samsung Venture Investment.

Yimi Dida is one of several trucking service providers contributing to China’s thriving logistics sector, and it has pulled in $143m in series D-plus funding from undisclosed investors, just over a year after it raised $266m in a Prologis-backed series D round.

Swiggy is continuing to battle Zomato for pole position in India’s online food delivery sector, and has received $113m in a series I round led by a reported $100m investment from Prosus Ventures, the unit formerly known as Naspers Ventures. You don’t see too many series I rounds, do you?

Unacademy is one of several companies operating in India’s thriving online education sector, and has grabbed $110m in a series E round that includes a relatively rare corporate venturing investment by Facebook.

Tier Mobility has extended its series B round to more than $100m, adding about $40m in debt and equity financing to the $60m it raised from investors including Axa Germany last October.

Elsewhere in Germany another transport-focused company has expanded its latest round, airborne taxi developer Volocopter increasing its series C to $94m with funding from investors including Deutsche Bahn’s logistics subsidiary, DB Schenke, as well as Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance and MS&AD Ventures.

Spruce Biosciences has nabbed $88m in a series B round that included Novo, one of two named investors in its $20m series A three years ago. The company is currently enrolling patients for a phase 2 trial for a treatment intended to reduce heavy steroid doses necessary to combat a genetic hormonal disorder known as congenital adrenal hyperplasia.

Intel Capital has led a $74m round for cybersecurity software provider ZeroFox, boosting its total funding to $162m. ZeroFox has also formed a collaboration agreement with an Intel ecosystem of software vendors known as Intel AI Builders covering artificial intelligence development.

Solar energy services provider Sunseap has raised $72m from energy utility Banpy as part of a series D round that is reportedly now sized at $146m. The round’s other participants include Temasek and ABC World Asia while Chow Tai Fook Enterprises and Shell Technology Ventures are among its existing backers.

Funds

China International Capital Corporation’s CICC Capital unit has accumulated more than $229m for a biomedicine fund that follows a $1bn healthcare investment vehicle formed with AstraZeneca late last year. Corporate backers Hebei Port, Pharscin Pharma, Xiamen Fig, Fujian Sunner and Sichuan Daily Press subsidiary Xinwen Venture Capital are all among the LPs in the latest fund.

Biopharmaceutical company Walvax Technology is deploying roughly $21m for a biomedicine fund with a targeted close of about $87m that will be managed by Jinsheng Capital. Walvax is relatively new to corporate venturing but there seems to be a fair bit of activity in China right now concerning healthcare investment funds.

Exits

Mobile content discovery platform Digital Turbine has agreed to purchase US-based peer Mobile Posse in a deal reported by DC Inno to be about $66m in size, allowing telecommunications group SoftBank to exit.


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

08 April 2019 – Cambridge Innovation Capital Collates $196m in New Capital

The Big Three

The fresh capital, anchored by University of Cambridge and its Endowment Fund, will enable patient capital-orientated vehicle Cambridge Innovation Capital to make new bets and sustain investments in its existing portfolio. Delighted Tony Raven joining us to share more at the Symposium as well as his peers at Oxford university.

Intel Capital has announced 14 investments (see below), the largest of which involved it leading a $150m series B round for artificial intelligence application platform SambaNova. The round also featured GV, which had previously co-led a $56m series A announced when SambaNova emerged from stealth early last year.

Precision Biosciences has gone public in a $126m IPO that valued it at more than $780m, notching up exits for Amgen Ventures and Baxter Ventures. The genome editing technology developer floated in the middle of its range but its share price has since risen, and the offering comes after more than $175m in equity and convertible note financing.

Funds

After nearly two years, SoftBank Vision Fund still hasn’t officially reached its $100bn targeted close, but it is reportedly seeking $15bn in extra capital that will allow it to keep making investments, including follow-on investments, while it prepares to raise a second $100bn fund. It may have to do it sooner rather than later, because sources told Bloomberg it has now gone through 70% of its capital and it’s investing at a breakneck pace.

Pet food and care provider Mars Petcare has launched a $100m strategic investment fund, the Companion Fund, in connection with its creation of an open innovation unit called Kinship.

Chevron Technology Ventures checks $90m for Fund VII

Corporates buy into ByFounders’ $112m debut fund

Okta verifies $50m corporate venturing fund

UT Health San Antonio loads biomedical accelerator

UTokyo IPC ignites accelerator

Exits

Thoma Bravo fires off Mailgun acquisition

TradingView takes in TradeIt

Chinese social media influencer network Ruhnn has gone public in the US, raising $125m. Weibo bought $8m of shares in the Alibaba-backed company through the IPO, which involved Ruhnn floating in the middle of its range.

NGM Biopharmaceuticals secured $107m when it floated, together with $65.9m from existing backer and development partner Merck & Co through a private placement.

Slack has reportedly selected the New York Stock Exchange as the venue for a direct listing slated to take place in June or July. The enterprise collaboration platform is backed by SoftBank Vision Fund, GV and Comcast Ventures and was valued at more than $7bn as of last year.

Life360 circles Australia for $100m IPO

Oxford Nanopore sets sights on IPO

Deals

Hellobike raised more than $580m from backers including Ant Financial at the tail end of last year and is reportedly seeking $500m to $1bn in new funding. It claims to have 200 million registered users but either way, you’d think it’s going to have to find a route to profit sooner or later in order to survive.

India-based Zoomcar operates in another part of the transport tech space, in on-demand car rental. It is also gearing up for a big leap forward, negotiating with carmaker Mahindra & Mahindra for a $500m debt and equity round that would potentially take it into unicorn territory, representing a sixfold increase in valuation between rounds.

Toast, the developer of a point-of-sale and business management software platform for the restaurant industry, has secured $250m in series E funding at a $2.7bn valuation.

Customer data management platform Segment has secured $175m in a series D roundco-led by GV that valued it at $1.5bn. The round increased Segment’s funding to $284m to date, and it follows a $64m round nearly two years ago that was also co-led by GV. The proceeds will go to marketing and a global expansion drive.

Indian grocery e-commerce platform BigBasket is meanwhile in the process of raising $150m at a valuation of about $1.2bn, according to regulatory filings. Existing investor Alibaba is set to provide $50m and will retain a 26.2% stake post-investment, maintaining its position as BigBasket’s largest shareholder.

SpringWorks blossoms with $125m series B

Fusion gets reaction in $105m series B

Gene editing tool provider Inscripta has raised a further $20m to increase its series C round to approximately $106m.

Hotel room booking platform Oyo has confirmed it has raised funding from Airbnb, an investment reportedly sized somewhere between the $100m and $200m mark.

University

NextGen Jane nets $9m in series A funding


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

02 October 2017 – Roscosmos Establishes Space Ecosystem Fund

Deals

Chinese online services portal Meituan Dianping is reportedly nearing the close of a $3bn round featuring long-term investor Tencent that will value it at up to $30bn.

Alibaba has paid approximately $800m to hike its 47% stake in logistics affiliate Cainiao to 51%, as part of a $5bn investment drive to strengthen its logistics technology capabilities over the next five years.

Food ordering platform Deliveroo has secured $384m in a round co-led by Fidelity and T. Rowe Price set to be announced this week that will reportedly value it at $2bn.

Fosun-backed personal accounting platform Shenzhen Suishou Technology has secured $200m in a series C round led by private equity firm KKR’s newly formed Asian Fund III.

Ride hailing platform Didi Chuxing has invested $200m in Renrenche, the third largest second-hand car e-commerce marketplace in China by market share.

Qingting.fm, an online radio platform that reportedly counts Youku Tudou among its investors, has raised $151m in series E funding from undisclosed investors, according to AllChinaTech.

Pfizer has spun out a startup called SpringWorks Therapeutics to develop treatments for incurable conditions such as desmoid tumours and post-traumatic stress disorder based on therapies licensed from the corporate.

Letgo launched in 2015 as a mobile-focused competitor to Craigslist and eBay, and claims to be one of the fastest growing apps in the country. That growth is set to be fueled by $100m of new funding at a $1bn valuation from undisclosed existing investors.

Customer relationship management software provider ProsperWorks has received $53m in a series C round that took its overall funding to $87m, a sum CEO Jon Lee has claimed makes it the most well-funded CRM company founded in the past 10 years.

Treasury and finance management platform Kyriba has raised $45m in funding from investors including HSBC, the bank that backed its series C and D rounds, in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

We’ve already had the biggest deal on GGV – Cainiao – and on Global University Venturing, the biggest deal came from the UK. Autolus, a biopharmaceutical spinout from University College London (UCL), raised $80m in a series C round that included investment firm Woodford Investment Management. Syncona, backed by medical charities Wellcome Trust and Cancer Research UK, also participated in the round, as did Arix Bioscience, Cormorant Asset Management, Nextech Invest and a range of unnamed investors.

Funds

The Netherlands government-owned Dutch Investment Agency (NIA) and the EU-owned investment vehicle European Investment Fund (EIF) have committed €100m ($117.7m) to a fund targeted at growth-stage startups dubbed the Dutch Growth Co-Investment Program.

The Russian government-owned space agency Roscosmos has established a venture capital fund to commercialise inventions from the space ecosystem.

Exits

Sea, the Southeast Asian online services provider formerly known as Garena, has filed to raise up to $1bn in an initial public offering in the US.

Chinese online video streaming platform iQiyi is considering an initial public offering that will take place in the US early next year and has already started talking to banks, sources have told Bloomberg.

SAP has paid a reported $350m to acquire customer identity management software provider Gigya and will incorporate the company into its SAP Hybrid offering.

Roku has priced a $219m IPO in which Sky Ventures will sell some $9.4m of shares, and is set to float on the the Nasdaq Global Select Market tomorrow.

Nexon has paid $80m for a 65% stake in Korea-based cryptocurrency exchange Korbit, ironically at the exact point when the Korean government has banned initial coin offerings.


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

25 September 2017 – Gogoro Raises $300m for Electric Scooter with Swappable Batteries

Deals

Gogoro has developed an electric scooter that it sells alongside access to a network of stations where riders can swap batteries, and it’s raised $300m in a series C round featuring Sumitomo, Engie and Panasonic at a reported valuation of more than $800m.

Slack has officially closed a $250m funding round led by SoftBank Vision Fund that valued it at $5.1bn post-money, a $1.3bn jump from the valuation at which it last raised cash in April 2016, CEO Stewart Butterfield told Bloomberg and the Financial Times.

One of the at the GCV Asia congress was Jeffrey Li, a managing partner at Tencent Investments which last week also took part in a $230m series C+ round for Chinese fresh produce e-commerce platform MissFresh.

Interior design and construction group Shenzhen Grandland was among the investors in a $182m round for YH Global, a 20-year old logistics service provider that operates centres in 50 Chinese cities.

Bayer and Ginkgo Bioworks have launched an as yet unnamed plant microbiome startup, which will be equipped with $100m from a series A round that also includes Viking Global Investors.

Patreon has received $60m in series C funding, taking its total equity financing past the $100m mark. The creator-based payment platform, backed by talent agencies CAA and UTA at series A stage, however told Recode that the $450m valuation mooted in the press last week was incorrect, though Recode believes the actual valuation was only about 10% lower.

LifeMine Therapeutics, a startup developing fungi-based therapies for chronic and currently untreatable diseases, has closed a $55m series A round led by WuXi Healthcare Ventures and backed by fellow corporate venturing units GV, Merck Ventures and Alexandria Venture Investments.

Funds

Baidu has launched a massive $1.5bn vehicle, called Apollo Fund, to invest in 100 startups related to the autonomous driving sector over the next three years.

The government of Hong Kong launched its HK$2bn ($256m) Innovation and Technology Venture Fund (ITVF), inviting venture capital firms to become co-investors.

Let’s look at GlobalUniversityVenturing.com. The Engine, a US-based program initiated by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) aimed at complex technologies, has raised $200m for its first fund.

Exits

ZhongAn has finally priced its IPO and is set to raise $1.5bn when it floats at the top of its range with a $500m investment by SoftBank.

Another China-based company, online lender Qudian, is lining up its own IPO, and has filed to raise up to $750m in a US offering.

Alibaba meanwhile celebrated an exit with the flotation of logistics service Best, which has raised $450m in an initial public offering.

Despegar, the Argentina-based travel and accommodation booking marketplace backed by tourism services provider Expedia, has also entered public markets, raising $332m in an initial public offering in the US.

Mobile event ticketing platform Weiying has raised more than $1bn from investors including Tencent, Dalian Wanda and iDreamSky in under three years, and now it has agreed to merge assets including its film and theatre ticketing divisions with those of rival Maoyan, creating an entity with a 43% share of the market in China.

When it came to the university venturing world, the big news was that UK-based commercialisation firm IP Group has obtained the support of shareholders holding a total of 96.5% of shares in Touchstone Innovations, its peer spun out from Imperial College London.

Canada-based commercialisation firm Mars Innovation partnered drug discovery company Evotec to launch Lab150, a collaboration that will drive research translation for projects emerging from Mars’ member institutions.


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

18 September 2017 – ZhongAn Lines up $1.5bn IPO

Exits

All eyes will be on Chinese online property and casualty insurance platform ZhongAn next week as it is lining up a Hong Kong IPO that could net it as much as $1.5bn.

Advanced data centre developer and builder Switch is looking at its fifth straight profitable year, and has filed to raise up to $100m on the NYSE, in an offering that will allow Intel Capital to exit.

Volvo has closed the acquisition of on-demand valet parking service Luxe, which was valued at $140m as of its last funding round, for an amount reckoned by TechCrunch to represent pennies on the dollar.

Perhaps showing that there’s still plenty of room for offline consumer brands to emerge, as long as they appear sufficiently high-quality, Nestlé has agreed to buy a 68% majority stake in Blue Bottle Coffee, an upscale coffee brand that as of the start of 2017 had only 29 branches across four US and Japanese cities.

Investments

Alphabet is already an investor in Uber, its GV unit (then known as Google Ventures) having made a big bet in its 2013 series C round. Now however, the corporate is reportedly in talks to invest $1bn in its main US rival, Lyft.

Uber is reportedly in line for a mammoth investment by SoftBank, Didi Chuxing and Dragoneer that will involve the firms investing between $8bn and $10bn in the company in the form of primary and secondary share purchases.

Augmented reality technology developer Magic Leap remains in stealth and is yet to release a product, but that doesn’t mean investors aren’t still interested. The company is looking to raise $500m in a series D round that could include Singapore’s Temasek, and which would follow a $794m Alibaba-led series C round in early 2016.

United Imaging Healthcare collects $505m series A

Wish aspires to $250m in funding

Genomic testing and research service 23andMe has raised $250m in a Sequoia Capital-led round that reportedly valued it at $1.5bn pre-money, taking its total funding to about $490m.

Goldman Sachs has supplied approximately $133m in debt and equity financing for Neyber, a UK-based online lender that takes repayments directly from a borrower’s salary.

Government

Foodee serves up $8.2m series A

Funds

Samsung meanwhile is making a big play in connected and autonomous car technology,putting together a $300m fund to make strategic investments in the sector.

Asus finds Fenox VC for $50m fund

Madasamy moves from Qualcomm to $50m fund

University

Mars Innovation sets up Lab150 experiment

Austria boosts spinout support

Government

Ireland acts on $120m fund

Kerala accepts $78m mission

ScaleUp grows to $82m with BC Tech Fund


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

11 September 2017 – Judging Purchase Versus Investment

Exits

Johnson & Johnson is celebrating an exit with the acquisition of its portfolio company NeoTract by Teleflex for a total consideration of $1.1bn.

Intel Capital also celebrated an exit as its portfolio company StarCash, a digital gift card service, was acquired by fintech company Blackhawk Network for $175m in cash.

Madsack hails CleverShuttle

Paytm to make Little acquisition

Juicero breaks down

It seems as though Roku is serious about an initial public offering this time. The company was rumoured to be seeking a flotation all the way back in 2014 but those plans never materialised. Fast forward to last July and reports emerged that Roku was hoping to go public this year. On Friday then, the media streaming software and device maker finally made its regulatory filing that revealed it is aiming for $100m in its IPO.

Matrimony.com, a matchmaking service aimed at the Indian market backed by Yahoo, is gearing up for an initial public offering that will launch next week and is expected to bring in $78m in proceeds (though part of that will be existing stockholders selling some of their shares).

Government

RedOwl reaches Forcepoint

Compositence puts acquisition deal together

Investments

Via, the operator of a shuttle-based carpooling service, has collected a reported $250m in funding from a consortium led by Daimler.

LeddarTech, which was spun out of Canada’s National Optics Institute in 2007, has raised $101m in fresh funding.

Innoviz appears on corporates’ radar

23andMe is seeking to top up its capital resources with another $200m – which would nearly double the amount of equity and debt it has raised so far to approximately $445m.

Gritstone Oncology, which is working on personalised cancer immunotherapies, has collected $92.7m in a series B round led by Lilly Asia Ventures with participation from investors including GV.

Entasis restructures $81.9m series B

If you are one of those people who dream about owning a flying car, you may be excited to hear that Lilium Aviation, a company that is working on precisely such technology, today secured $90m in series B funding from a consortium of investors that included Tencent.

Lendingkart shops around for $80m series C

MapR outlines $56m funding round

University

Amal develops $9.6m series B

Minnesota embraces CoreBiome

Prowler.io sneaks into $13m series A

Funds

Investors have long taken note and Fidelity International, which already has dozens of portfolio companies in the area, hopes that a $250m fund set up by its investment arm Eight Roads Ventures will help it grab a bigger piece of the pie.

Qingsong attracts $130m for third fund

Government

Corporate venturing news from Poland are a rarity, but that could be about to change withthe government’s launch of a $225m fund of funds that is expected to back both domestic and international companies hoping to establish investment subsidiaries that support Polish startups.

Ireland sows $24m agtech fund

University

Melbourne gains $64m incubator


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

29 May 2017 – Home Fitness Service Peloton Raises $325m and Much More

Deals

Alibaba and Ant Financial are reportedly set to lead a $1bn round for food ordering platform Ele.me that will value it at up to $6bn.

Peloton, the home fitness service that combines a high-tech exercise bike with a subscription-based service that makes it feel like you’re in a live class (within reason obviously, though who would bet against VR being integrated into Peloton’s offering in the near future?), has raised $325m in a series E round featuring Comcast NBCUniversal.

Livestreaming has become one of the fastest growing parts of the media sector, not least in China where Panda TV has raised $140m in a series B round led by brokerage firm Industrial Securities.

R3, a consortium formed by a few dozen financial services operators to develop and commercialise blockchain technology for the industry, has secured $107m in the first two tranches of a series A round that includes Intel Capital, Ping An and Temasek, the sovereign wealth fund of Singapore, as well as around 40 banks.

In other news, Chinese mobile communication app developer Chubao has raised $100m in a series D round that included Susquehanna International Group, which has been an investor in the company since 2011.

Huya, the livestreaming subsidiary of online video streaming platform YY, has spun out with $75m of series A funding led by Ping An Insurance.

UrWork was founded only two years ago but it could yet turn out to be the Didi Chuxing of the co-working sector.

We’ve also had a few nice triple helix deals in the past week, such as Symic Bio, a biopharmaceutical spinout of Purdue University, that has completed a $30m series B round backed by all its existing investors, including Purdue Foundry Investment Fund, a vehicle backed by Purdue University focused on the institution’s spinouts.

Funds

The big news is that SoftBank has finally announced the first close of its Vision Fund, having raised an immense $93bn in capital.

WuXi Healthcare Ventures, the corporate venturing arm of WuXi PharmaTech, has agreed to merge with VC firm Frontline BioVentures to form a healthcare-focused investment firm called 6 Dimensions Capital that will have some $800m of assets under management.

Saudi Telecom formed strategic VC firm STC Ventures in 2011 to invest in the IT, telecommunications and media sectors, but as times change so do the requirements for corporate venturing, and the firm has elected to commit $500m to a new fund named STV that will back more advanced digital technologies.

Gree Ventures, the corporate venturing arm of social media and gaming company Gree, has closed its second fund at $67m.

We didn’t see any big fund launches on GUV, and while there were some on GGV, the most interesting news here was that the European Investment Fund has started pulling out of the UK following the country’s decision to abandon the EU.

Exits

Flipkart’s acquisition of rival Snapdeal is getting closer with news that SoftBank has bought out the shares of various other Snapdeal board members to clear the way for the deal.

Delivery Hero raised more than $420m from Naspers earlier this month at a reported $3.1bn valuation, but sources have told Reuters it is planning to launch an IPO in the next few weeks that could value it at up to €4bn ($4.5bn).

Sea, the Singapore-registered online services platform that recently rebranded from Garena with a $550m funding round, has confidentially filed for an IPO in the US that will give exits to corporate investors Tencent, JG Summit and Uni-President Enterprises, according to Bloomberg.

Bioverativ has agreed to acquire True North Therapeutics for $400m upfront with up to $425m in milestone payments to come.

On GUV, news emerged on Tuesday that commercialisation firm IP Group had made a bid for Touchstone Innovations, its peer that was spun out of Imperial College London. Touchstone rebuffed the offer, though a majority of its shareholders (some of which also own IP Group stakes) are pushing for the takeover.


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