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

23 December 2019 – SoftBank invests $231m in Lenskart at $1.5bn Valuation

The Big Ones

India-based eyewear e-commerce platform Lenskart has been growing steadily in recent years, expanding its retail footprint to more than 530 stores and further commercialising its own brand. That work has been reflected in a $231m investment by SoftBank Vision Fund, made at a $1.5bn valuation – more than three times its reported valuation in May.

Insurance group Ping An has raised $786m for the second consumer-focused fund to be operated by its Ping An Capital subsidiary. Ping An Capital makes large-scale investments in both private and publicly-traded companies and has built a portfolio that includes Grab and Fullerton Financial.

Delivery Hero is pressing on with its international expansion, having agreed to pay $4bn to acquire Korea-based food delivery app developer Woowa Brothers. The price represents a premium from the $2.6bn valuation at which the company last raised money a year ago, and CyberAgent and Naver are both set to exit through the transaction, the former having backed Woowa Brothers at seed stage five years ago.

Italian energy utility A2A has formed a strategic investment fund called A2A Horizon that has been launched with some $78m in capital. What’s noteworthy here however is that the fund has been backed by Poli360 – the university venture fund of Polytechnic University of Milan – (yes, you heard right: a university venture fund helped a corporate put together a CVC unit). LPs also include 360 Capital Partners, the VC firm that already manages Poli360.

Deals

Glovo has become Spain’s second unicorn, after Cabify, the on-demand delivery services platform having pulled in $167m through a series E round that included existing backer Drake Enterprises. The company’s other investors include Rakuten, Delivery Hero and AmRest but the latest round was led by Abu Dhabi state-owned investment vehicle Mubadala.

Original design manufacturer Huaqin Communication Technology has received $143m in series B funding from investors including Intel Capital, Qualcomm Ventures and Zhangjiang Hi-Tech at a valuation that topped $2bn.

Forma Therapeutics has completed a $100m series D round led by RA Capital Management that will fund the advancement of drug candidates for sickle cell disease and cancer.

Chinese mother and babycare product retailer Hipac has closed its own $100m series D round and will use the cash for recruitment, enhancing its supply chain and making strategic M&A deals.

Short-term managed apartment provider Domio has secured $100m, half of which consisted of a series B equity round featuring SoftBank Capital NY. The other $50m was provided in the form of debt financing and the capital will support expansion efforts as the company looks to double the 12 US cities in which it currently operates to 25 worldwide.

Fusion power technology developer General Fusion has completed a $65m series E round led by Temasek that, together with a further $38m in government funding from Canada’s Strategic Innovation Fund, will support construction of a pilot plant.

Healthcare analytics platform developer OM1 has received $50m in funding in a round led by venture firm Scale Venture Partners that was also backed by existing investors that may have included corporate venturing unit Wanxiang Healthcare Investments.

Funds

Chemicals producer Sinochem is putting together a $143m fund that will invest in the new materials, energy and electronics chemicals spaces. The corporate will provide about 20% of its capital, with the rest set to come from a group of limited partners that will include another China-based chemicals company.

Exits

In the second huge corporate venturing-related M&A deal in the past week, following Delivery Hero’s $4bn purchase of Woowa Brothers, Intel has paid $2bn to acquire AI training processor developer Habana Labs. Intel Capital had led Habana’s $75m series B round in November last year, two months after it emerged from stealth, taking the company’s overall funding to $120m.

Beike Zhaofang, the online-focused spinoff of real estate brokerage Lianjia, has hired an adviser to help it prepare an initial public offering that could raise upwards of $1bn and take place as early as next year.

OneConnect has generated its own exit, in a $312m initial public offering in the US. Formed as Chinese insurer Ping An’s financial technology platform and spun off in 2017, OneConnect subsequently raised $750m from investors including SoftBank Vision Fund and SBI early last year.


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

03 June 2019 – Possible PhonePe Spinout from Flipkart in $1bn Deal

Big Ones

Right now it feels like we’re gearing up for another period of significant funding, if the rumour mill is anything to go by. Mobile payment platform PhonePe was acquired by Flipkart in 2016, the year after it was founded, but could now be spun back out in a round that could reportedly reach $1bn.

Life insurance firm Northwestern Mutual launched its $50m Northwestern Mutual Future Ventures unit in early 2017 and has since built up one of the more notable CVC portfolios for an insurer, adding the likes of Chime, Ojo Labs and Ladder to existing investments such as Betterment.

Investment firm Insight Partners was already an investor in threat intelligence provider Recorded Future but has taken a step further, acquiring a controlling stake at a valuation of $780m.

Thrive Earlier Detection, a US-based developer of a blood test for cancer, was spun out of Johns Hopkins University on Thursday with $110m in series A funding from investors led by venture capital firm Third Rock Ventures. BlueCross BlueShield Venture Partners, the corporate venturing subsidiary of health insurer Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, participated in the round, as did molecular diagnostics company Exact Sciences.

UK-based investment firm Woodford Investment Management has sold its entire shareholding in Oxford Sciences Innovation (OSI), the university venture fund of University of Oxford. The stake, worth £55m ($69.6m), has seemingly been sold to family offices and international investors.

Morningstar downgraded the Equity Income fund from bronze to neutral last week after its value shrunk from £10.2bn in 2017 to just £4.4bn, while St James’ Place, the largest wealth manager in the UK, put the firm on its watchlist after a prolonged poor performance.

Deals

SpaceX has added $1.02bn in new funding according to two separate securities filings, though it hasn’t disclosed details of the investors.

Toyota already has Uber and Grab in its portfolio but it is said to be mulling over an investment of about $550m in fellow ride hailing service Didi Chuxing.

SoFi has expanded from its core business of online lending and student loan refinancing to take in services such as online investments and digital banking, and it has also raised a further $500m in funding, this time in a round led by Qatar Investment Authority.

Lenskart has been one of Asia’s most successful proponents of the consumer goods business model involving an expansion from e-commerce to the offline world, and the eyewear retailer is reportedly in discussions to raise $350m from SoftBank Vision Fund at a $1.3bn valuation.

Oncology data platform developer Tempus has raised $200m in series F funding from investors including Novo at a $3.1bn valuation.

RobinHood was valued at $5.6bn back when it last raised money, early last year, but the Alphabet and Roc Nation-backed trading app developer is seeking $200m from existing investors at a reported valuation of up to $8bn.

Funds

Growth equity vehicle EV Growth was formed by East Ventures and corporate VC units SMDV and YJ Capital early last year with a $150m target for its first fund. It’s ended up overshooting that by a food amount, closing the fund at $200m having received commitments from limited partners including SoftBank. The fund has invested in 12 portfolio companies to date.

Exits

Palo Alto Networks has agreed to pay $410m to acquire container security software developer Twistlock, which had raised $63m from investors including Dell Technologies Capital.

BridgeBio Pharma is developing drugs to treat genetic diseases including forms of cancer linked to genetic causes. It has filed for a $225m initial public offering that will follow more than $480m in venture funding from investors including AIG, though only KKR and Viking Global Investors hold stakes of 5% or more.


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