21 June 2021 – Waymo Drives $2.5bn Investment

The Big Ones

Waymo, the autonomous driving technology developer spun off by Alphabet, has raised $2.5bn in funding from investors including its former parent company. AutoNation and Magna International also took part in the round, as did group Fidelity Management & Research, Mubadala, Temasek, Andreessen Horowitz, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Perry Creek Capital, Silver Lake, Tiger Global Management and funds and accounts advised by T Rowe Price. The company reportedly closed its first external funding round at $3.2bn in July 2020, at a $30bn valuation, having pulled in $750m from investors including Fidelity, Perry Creek Capital and funds and accounts advised by T Rowe Price two months earlier. Alphabet, Magna, AutoNation, Silver Lake, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Mubadala Investment Company and Andreessen Horowitz had supplied $2.25bn for Waymo in March the same year.

US-based venture capital firm G2 Venture Partners (G2VP) has closed its Fund II at $500m with commitments from Shell, Mitsui, Daimler and ABB Switzerland. The McKnight Foundation and John Doerr, chairman of VC firm Kleiner Perkins, reportedly also committed to the fund. Shell contributed through its corporate venturing arm, Shell Ventures. It was also a limited partner in G2VP’s inaugural fund, which was sized at $350m. G2VP was founded in 2017 as a spinoff from Kleiner Perkins’ Green Growth fund. It focuses on companies developing emerging technologies that could accelerate sustainable transformation in traditional industries.

Marqeta, a US-based card-issuing platform developer backed by CommerzBank, CreditEase, Visa and Mastercard, has closed its initial public offering at approximately $1.41bn. The company raised an initial $1.22bn in the offering last week, issuing 45.5 million class A shares on the Nasdaq Global Select Market priced at $27 each. Its shares are currently (that’s Friday afternoon UK time) for $29.43 each, and the underwriters have taken up the option to buy more than 6.8 million more shares. The IPO followed over $526m in funding for the company.

This isn’t a crossover (although there actually were several worth more than $100m last week – check our websites for more on those), but this one’s too interesting to skip just because there aren’t any CVCs. Celonis, a Germany-based business process analytics software spinout of Technical University of Munich (TUM), has raised $1bn in a series D round co-led by Durable Capital Partners and funds and accounts advised by T Rowe Price Associates. What makes this one special isn’t so much the size of the round (as impressive as that is, obviously) but that it valued Celonis at $11bn post-money, making it Germany’s first decacorn. Celonis has now raised nearly $1.37bn in funding altogether. The spinout fetched a $2.5bn valuation when it raised $290m in a series C round led by Arena Holdings, and – almost as notable as being the first decacorn in the country – Celonis also became TUM’s first unicorn when it closed a $50m series B round backed by Accel and 83North in June 2018. How’s that for a European success story?

Deals

China-based semiconductor technology developer Horizon Robotics has raised $1.5bn in series C7 funding from electronic parts manufacturer BOE Technology and chipmaker Will Semiconductor. The round was secured at a $5bn valuation, and it came after a $300m series C6 round at an unspecified time that included Legend Capital, Huangpu River Capital and unnamed others.

Byju’s, an India-based online learning portal backed by Bennett Coleman & Co, Naspers and Tencent, has secured Rs 25bn ($340m) in funding. UBS Group, Blackstone, Abu Dhabi government-backed ADQ and Phoenix Rising–Beacon Holdings as well as Eric Yuan all took part in the round. The cash injection is part of a $1.5bn round Byju’s began raising in April this year, sources privy to the matter told the Economic Times, and it valued the company at $16.5bn post-money.

US-based graph technology provider Neo4J received $325m in a series F round featuring GV. Private equity firm Eurazeo led the round at a valuation exceeding $2bn, and DTCP, the investment firm backed by Deutsche Telekom, also took part, as did One Peak, Creandum, Greenbridge Partners and Lightrock. The company was founded in 2007 as Neo Technology and has now raised $515m.

ApplyBoard, the Canada-based international student facilitation service that counts educational services firm Educational Testing Service (ETS) as an investor, has confirmed a C$375m ($308m) series D round. Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board led the round through its Teachers’ Innovation Platform, and it included investment and financial services group Fidelity in addition to BDC, Harmonic Growth Partners, Index Ventures, Garage Capital and Blue Cloud Ventures. The company’s confirmation came in the wake of media reports a week earlier suggesting it had raised $230m in the round, which it said this week valued it at $3.2bn post-money.

Chehaoduo, the China-based automotive e-commerce marketplace backed by SoftBank, Tencent and Shougang, has closed a $300m funding round valuing it at $10bn. H Capital led the round, which also featured Sequoia Capital China, IDG Capital and Chehaoduo founder and CEO Yang Haoyong. The company’s overall equity funding now stands at about $3.8bn. It was spun off by online classified listings operator Ganji in 2015.

Thumbtack, the US-headquartered operator of a home renovation services marketplace, has raised $275m from investors including CapitalG, the growth equity arm of Alphabet. Sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority led the round, which also featured Blackstone’s Alternative Asset Management subsidiary, G Squared, Baillie Gifford, Founders Circle Capital, Sequoia Capital and Tiger Global Management. The round valued the company at $3.2bn. The latest round boosted the company’s overall funding to $697m.

Yaoshibang, the China-based operator of a supply chain platform for the pharmaceutical industry, has raised $270m in funding from investors including internet group Baidu. Zhejiang Pearl River Investment Management, Green Pine Capital Partners and Guangzhou City Construction Investment’s SF Fund also participated in the round, along with unnamed insurance firms and sovereign wealth funds. It was facilitated by China Renaissance.

Funds

Flagship Pioneering, a US-based biotechnology venture studio that regularly taps into university research to build companies such as Moderna, has raised another $2.23bn for its Fund VII from new and existing limited partners, bringing the vehicle to $3.37bn. It reopened the fund to additional capital in April this year but didn’t identify the LPs. Flagship now has $14.1bn in assets under management and is operating with an aggregate capital pool of $6.7bn. It has launched more than 100 ventures since its founding, with a current portfolio of 41 companies.

Exits

UK-based clean aircraft developer Vertical Aerospace has agreed to a reverse takeover with special purpose acquisition company Broadstone Acquisition Corp that will be backed by American Airlines, Avolon, Honeywell, Rolls-Royce, Standard Industries’ 40 North vehicle and Microsoft’s M12 unit. The merged business will be valued at $2.2bn and will take up the listing on the New York Stock secured by Broadstone through a $300m initial public offering in September 2020.

Kanzhun, a China-based online job portal operator backed by internet group Tencent and insurance firm Sunshine Life, has floated in a $912m initial public offering on the Nasdaq Global Select Market. The company issued 48 million American depositary shares, each representing two ordinary shares, priced at the top of the IPO’s $17 to $19 range. As we’re recording this on Friday afternoon UK time, shares are going for $38.

Monday.com, the US-based software development platform operator that now counts Salesforce and Zoom as investors, has closed its initial public offering at $631m. The corporates each purchased $75m of shares in a private placement alongside the offering, which involved Monday issuing an initial 3.7 million shares on the Nasdaq Global Select Market a week ago priced at $155 each. The underwriters subsequently took up the option to buy another 370,000 shares to close the offering. As we’re recording this on Friday afternoon UK time, shares are priced at $230.96.

Lyell Immunopharma, a US-based immunotherapy developer which counts GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Celgene as investors, has raised $425m in its initial public offering. The company issued 25 million shares on the Nasdaq Global Market at a price of $17 each, the mid-point of the offering’s $16 to $18 range. Its shares closed at $16.89 at the end of the first day. Lyell had raised $834m across just three rounds since it was founded in 2018. GSK has walked away with a 12.5% stake post-IPO, while Celgene’s retained 4.5%.

Verve Therapeutics, a US-based cardiovascular disease therapy developer advancing Broad Institute and University of Pennsylvania research, has gone public in a $267m initial public offering representing exits Alphabet and Novo. The offering consists of just over 14 million shares issued on the Nasdaq Global Select Market, increased from 11.8 million and priced at $19.00 each, above the $16 to $18 range set for the offering. The IPO price valued the company at approximately $876m.

Wise, the UK-based operator of a cross-border capital transfer service, plans to launch a direct listing that would give conglomerate Mitsui a chance to sell its shares. The company plans to list on the London Stock Exchange. Formerly known as TransferWise, Wise runs an online platform that allows users to send money internationally without paying exorbitant fees typically associated with international bank transfers. Wise last raised primary funding in 2017 but was valued at $5bn in a $319m secondary share sale in July 2020.


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

31 May 2021 – Perch Raises $755m in Record-breaking Series A

The Big Ones

US-headquartered e-commerce holding company Perch completed a $775m series A round led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2. The round also featured venture capital firm Spark Capital and alternative investment manager Victory Park Capital. It is the largest series A yet to be closed by a US-based company, according to Perch.

JD Logistics, the logistics offshoot of China-headquartered e-commerce group JD.com, floated on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in a HK$24.6bn ($3.2bn) initial public offering. The offering consisted of approximately 609 million shares priced at HK$40.36 each, towards the lower end of the range. They opened at HK$46.05 on Friday morning and closed at HK$41.70. JD.com’s stake in the spinoff was diluted from 79.1% to 64.4% in the offering. It had raised $2.5bn from investors including internet and gaming group Tencent and insurance firm China Life in 2018.

Legend Capital, a China-based venture capital offshoot of conglomerate Legend Holdings, has closed a healthcare technology-focused vehicle dubbed LC Healthcare Continued Fund I at $270m. Accounts managed by alternative investment manager Hamilton Lane and private equity firm Coller Capital co-led the transaction, with participation from unnamed institutional investors. The capital was secured through secondary financing, which was carried out alongside a transfer of healthcare portfolios of two vintage funds. The new vehicle intends to supply cash flow, help boost financial returns for existing shareholders and provide follow-on funding for portfolio companies.

Crossover

Oatly, the Sweden-based oat milk producer based on research at Lund University and backed by talent and entertainment agency Roc Nation, has floated on the Nasdaq Global Select Market in a $1.43bn initial public offering. The company issued almost 84.4 million shares priced at $17 each, at the top of the IPO’s $15 to $17 range. Oatly provides oat milk and other oat-derived food products traditionally made from cow’s milk, including ice cream, coffee, yoghurt, cream, spread and custard. The company most recently raised $200m in a July 2020 round led by investment management firm Blackstone that included Roc Nation and Rabo Corporate Investments, a corporate venturing vehicle for agriculture-focused banking group Rabobank.

Deals

Noom, the US-based creator of an online platform that guides healthy behaviour, secured approximately $540m in a series F round featuring Novo and Samsung Ventures. Silver Lake led the round, which included Oak HC/FT, Temasek, Sequoia Capital and RRE Ventures. It valued the company at $3.7bn, according to Bloomberg.

US-based website analytics platform developer ContentSquare closed a $500m series E round led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 at a $2.8bn valuation. Bpifrance, Canaan, Eurazeo, Highland Europe, KKR and funds and accounts managed by BlackRock filled out the equity investors, while Sapiance Capital supplied debt financing. ContentSquare has secured approximately $810m in funding in total.

US-based vertical farming technology developer Bowery Farming raised $300m in series C funding from investors including GV. Fidelity Management & Research led the round, which included Amplo, General Catalyst, GGV Capital, Groupe Artémis, Gaingels, Temasek and private investors José Andrés, Lewis Hamilton, Chris Paul, Natalie Portman and Justin Timberlake. The round valued Bowery at $2.3bn and brought its overall funding to $472m.

Ivi, a Russia-based digital streaming platform backed by media group Prof-Media, raised $250m in a series D round led by financial services firm VTB. Invest AG, an investment subsidiary of Raiffeisenlandesbank Oberösterreich, also took part in the round, as did Baring Vostok, Flashpoint Venture Capital, Millhouse and Russian Direct Investment Fund. VTB will be the company’s largest shareholder after the deal, while representatives of Baring Vostok, Flashpoint and RTP Global will all join its board of directors.

US-based banking software provider Zeta hiked its valuation to $1.45bn with a $250m investment by SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2, which was joined in the round by food services and facility management provider Sodexo, though Zeta did not reveal how much the latter invested.

China-based freight management software provider For-U has raised $200m in series E funding from investors including Legend Capital, the venture capital firm formed by conglomerate Legend Holdings. Insurer China Life’s Investment Management subsidiary, China Structural Reform Fund, Greater Bay Area Homeland Investments, China Merchants Sino-BLR Capital Management, China Merchants Capital, Parantoux Capital and Matrix Partners China also took part in the round.

SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 provided $175m in funding for South Korea-based intelligent education software provider Riiid. Riiid has developed AI technology used to personalise education and will utilise the cash to enhance that technology. It is also looking to build out R&D and data labelling hubs across the US, Canada and Ghana.

Funds

IP Group, the UK-based commercialisation firm, unveiled a joint venture called IPG-CEL China Ventures with asset manager China Everbright that will raise a fund sized up to RMB1.5bn ($235m). The fund is expected to achieve a first close of $77m this year, before growing to its target size within the next three years. It will exclusively invest in joint ventures and subsidiaries of overseas companies incorporated in China. It will deploy no less than 40% of its capital to IP Group portfolio companies looking to establish a presence in the People’s Republic.

Exits

China-based trucking services provider Full Truck Alliance filed for a $1.5bn initial public offering that would enable Baidu, Tencent, Alphabet and SoftBank to exit. Also known as Manbang Group, Full Truck Alliance runs an online platform where businesses can book space for freight delivery in trucks across a network of some 2.8 million drivers.

Flywire, a US-based payment software provider that counts Goldman Sachs among its backers, went public in a $251m initial public offering. The company upsized the size of the offering from 8.7 million to 10.44 million shares and priced them at $24 each, at the top of the $22 to $24 range it had set. The shares opened at $34 each on their first day of trading on the Nasdaq Global Select Market, although at the time of recording on Friday afternoon UK time, they’re down to $32.36.

China-based online recruitment platform developer Kanzhun filed for an initial public offering in the United States that will give corporates Tencent and Sunshine Life the chance to exit. Kanzhun runs an online platform called Boss Zhipin with almost 25 million monthly active users that utilises artificial intelligence to link jobseekers to prospective employers. It almost doubled revenue year on year to $295m in 2020, though its net loss rose 87% to $144m in the same period.


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