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