30 March 2020 – Lime in Talks to Raise Funding at a Reduced $400m Valuation

The Big Ones

In what may be an ominous sign, electric scooter rental service Lime is reportedly in talks to raise funding at a $400m valuation, a steep fall from its last round just over a year ago, when it secured $310m in a series D round featuring Alphabet that valued it at $2.4bn. The company has secured $777m altogether but the Covid-19 pandemic has led it to suspend operations in every market outside South Korea and it reportedly only has enough cash to last for the next few months on its current burn rate.

A good exit at a challenging time in the global economy for US-based mobile networking service Affirmed Networks had a year ago raised $38m in a funding round that included Qualcomm Ventures, the corporate venturing unit of semiconductor technology manufacturer Qualcomm.

The round was led by investment firm Centerview Capital Technology and included Eastward Capital Partners and unnamed existing shareholders.

Vodafone Ventures and T-Venture, the respective corporate venturing units of mobile phone operators Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom, previously took part in the company’s $51m series C round in 2013.

Bessemer Venture Partners led the series C round, also investing alongside KCK Group, Charles River Ventures (CRV), Lightspeed Venture Partners and Matrix Partners.

Affirmed Networks had emerged from stealth in 2012 with $52m in funding from T-Venture, Vodafone Ventures, Matrix, Charles River and Lightspeed.

Hassan Ahmed created the idea behind Affirmed when he was working out of CRV’s office in Boston in 2009 as an executive in residence. When Hassan joined the firm, he was already the most successful CRV entrepreneur of all time, having run engineering at Cascade Communications, a networking company sold to Ascend for more than $3bn in 1997 and then subsequently running Sonus Networks, a high-flying communications company that had gone public in 2000. Hassan had the magic touch.

Funds

China-based company, mobile game publisher Kunlun Tech, certainly seems to be bullish. It is one of two cornerstone investors for a $424m vehicle called Kunlun (Beijing) Internet Intelligent Industry Investment Fund that will back internet and AI technology developers. Kunlun is putting up about $140m for the fund while subsidiary Xinyu Shijie Wuji Investment Management will act as general partner.

Shortly after news emerged that Kunlun Tech was partnering investment manager Beijing Huayu Tianhong to put together a $424m fund, two more Chinese corporates – Yuexiu Group and People’s Insurance Company of China – have announced they are establishing an industry investment fund the same size that will focus on technology developers in China’s Greater Bay Area. It follows a $1bn Taiping Insurance-backed fund targeting the same region in January.

Dating.com commits $50m to meeting startups

Afterpay unveils AP Ventures fund

Exits

Mobile commerce platforms Letgo and OfferUp are set to merge in a deal accompanied by a $120m round led by classified listings manager OLX Group, part of Naspers’ Prosus subsidiary. The deal will give OLX a 40% stake in the combined business. It first invested in Letgo in 2015, the year the company was founded, and it had disclosed $975m in funding prior to the merger agreement.

FuboTV fuses with FaceBank

Checkmarx ticks acquisition box

OneWeb examines bankruptcy possibilities

North Wearables seeks direction to buyers

Deals

We mentioned in the big news intro that ride hailing services were among those likely to be hit by Covid-19 social isolation measures, and China’s Didi Chuxing looks like it could be first off the mark to raise money. It is reportedly lining up $300m in a round set to be led by SoftBank, at a time when its home country is beginning to ease travel restrictions. Didi was valued at $62bn as of a July investment by Toyota, and it’s going to be interesting to see if any valuation information leaks out once the deal closes.

Data mining software provider MiningLamp has secured $300m in a series E round co-led by Tencent and state-owned investment firm Temasek that included another corporate, Kuaishou. The company, whose business model is similar to Palantir’s, has now raised more than $785m altogether and the capital will be used to support research and development, recruitment and the development of an intelligent marketing software platform.

Vertical take-off and landing vehicle developer Lillium has closed more than $240m in funding, in a round led by Tencent. The round was made up entirely of existing investors and marks a downgrade from the $400m to $500m target it had reportedly set late last year. The deal may be emblematic of what we may increasingly see going forward: existing investors continuing to back portfolio companies while being more conservative when it comes to new bets.

Ping An’s Global Voyager Fund has led a $146m round for iCapital, a provider of alternative investment management software. The round included strategic investors such as UBS Financial Services, BNY Mellon, Goldman Sachs, BlackRock and Blackstone, and the company’s overall funding likely now tops $200m.

Online used car marketplace Cazoo has raised $117m in what represents its fourth round in the space of 18 months.  Daily Mail and General Trust’s DMG Ventures led the round, having backed the startup since its 2018 seed round, and was joined by investors including Fidelity’s Eight Roads Ventures fund. Interestingly, Cazoo expects a bump from the coronavirus conditions as more customers opt for online transactions.

Kallyope took its total funding past $240m in a $112m series C round featuring existing investors Illumina Ventures and Alexandria Venture Investments. The company is developing therapeutics concentrated on the body’s gut-brain axis and intends to use the funding to begin clinical trials for its lead asset, an oral treatment targeting satiety circuits for weight loss.

SutroVax sorts out $110m series D

CureFit cuts to $109m round

Dragonfly Therapeutics drags financing to $300m

Nature’s Fynd, the edible protein developer formerly known as Sustainable Bioproducts, has rebranded and raised $80m in a series B round featuring Danone Manifesto Ventures and Archer Daniels Midland’s ADM Ventures unit. The capital is expected to fund the doubling of the company’s headcount to 100 and the round comes as it has begun production of its edible vegan protein products.

University

Nurix nabs $120m

Recode decodes $80m series A


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

26 February 2018 – EasyHome Raises Over $2bn

Deals

Chinese furniture and home improvement retail chain EasyHome has raised just over $2bn in a round in which Alibaba invested approximately $860m in return for a 15% stake.

Uber could acquire what sources told CNBC would be a sizeable stake in Southeast Asian counterpart Grab through a deal that will involve Grab taking on its local business.

Procept BioRobotics, the developer of an aquablation treatment for a prostate condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia, has secured $118m in a round led by Viking Global Investors.

Harry’s has been one of the two biggest players in the razor blade subscription market, along with Dollar Shave Club, and the Grace Beauty-backed company has raised $112m in a round that will precede an expansion of the business model into areas like personal care items for both sexes as well as baby products and household goods.

Kallyope, a US-based company developing drugs that focus on the gut-brain axis, received $66m in a series B round featuring Illumina Ventures, the corporate venturing subsidiary of genomics technology producer Illumina.

AI data analytics platform SparkCognition has added $24m from investors including corporate venturing units Invenergy Future Fund and CME Ventures to close its series B round at $56.5m.

Glossier, a US-based skincare and beauty product company backed by talent agency William Morris Endeavor (WME), raised $52m in a series C round yesterday co-led by VC firms IVP and Index Ventures.

Financial services provider Power Financial has invested another $51m in robo-advisor operator WealthSimple, taking its total commitment to $165m according to the latter.

Smart glasses developer OrCam has received $30.4m in funding from investors including Clal Insurance at a reported valuation of about $1bn. OrCam, which counts Intel Capital as an earlier investor, is said to be prepping an IPO for 2019 and will aim to raise one more substantial round of funding before then, having so far secured a total of $130m according to Reuters.

On GUV, Liquidia Technologies, a US-based biopharmaceutical spinout from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has raised $25.5m in funding.

Funds

SoftBank Vision Fund has already secured some $40bn from Middle Eastern sovereign wealth funds PIF and Mubadala Investment Company, and now the CEO of Bahraini sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat has confirmed it too is in talks to invest.

Cove Fund, a family of seed-stage venture capital funds that invests in companies affiliated with University of California (UC) System, has raised more than $12m for its second fund. The figure represents a first close for Cove Fund II, with a regulatory filing indicating a $15m target size.

Switzerland-headquartered biotechnology and chemicals supplier Lonza Group has formed a corporate venturing fund in partnership with US-based venture capital firm Prolog Ventures.

Exits

Flatiron Health agreed to an acquisition by investor Roche in mid-February that will involve the latter paying $1.9bn for the company’s outstanding shares, and much of the attention has understandably been on Roche.

And talking of GV’s recent spate of life sciences exits, it looks like the next one will be Arcus Biosciences. Immuno-oncology therapy developer Arcus has filed for a $100m initial public offering, having previously raised some $227m in VC funding.

Social media company Momo agreed today to acquire China-based social engagement platform Tantan for about $760m, allowing media group Bertelsmann and social network operator YY to exit.

Faceu, the developer of an augmented reality app that allows effects to be overlaid on photos or videos in real time, has reportedly been acquired by mobile news platform Toutiao for $300m.

Enterprise cloud security technology provider Zscaler had raised $148m in funding from investors including the Dell-owned EMC and Alphabet unit CapitalG, and has now filed to raise up to $100m in an initial public offering.


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