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

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

23 January 2017 – $20m Series B-1 for Moon Express, Rocket Internet Capital Partners Fund Closes at $1bn and Much More

Deals

Chinese used vehicle marketplace Uxin has raised $500m in new funding, making it only the latest player in the sector to close a nine-figure round.

Mobile commerce platform Letgo has taken its overall funding to $375m since the start of 2015 with a $175m round backed by early investor Naspers.

Zoom Video Communications has launched the latest iteration of its cloud-based video conferencing platform and disclosed a $100m series D round that values it at more than $1bn.

Workspace provider UrWork has raised $58m from investors including property developers Junfa Group and Dahong Group in a round that reportedly increased its overall equity financing to about $175m.

Marketing data provider AppsFlyer has welcomed Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners as a new investor, completing a $56m series C round in the process.

InsideSales, developer of an AI-equipped online sales engine, has taken its overall funding to about $250m with a $50m series E round featuring existing backer Microsoft and new investor Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, the investment arm of the Irish government.

Tencent has led a $40.5m series D round for Xiaoshouyi, which is developing a customer relationship management platform not too dissimilar to that of Salesforce.

Moon Express is one of several companies competing for the $20m grand prize of Google’s Lunar X-Prize contest, and has raised $20m in series B-1 funding in a round featuring Autodesk.

Amra, a personalised medicine spinout of Linköping University, raised $9m in a series A round on Tuesday from investors including Stiftelsen Industrifonden, the investment arm of the government of Sweden.

Exits

ObsEva, a Swiss developer of therapies focused on women’s reproductive health, has set terms for a Nasdaq IPO that will raise approximately $97m if the company floats at the middle of the range.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise is set to acquire data centre software producer Simplivity in a $650m cash deal that will provide an exit to corporate backer Swisscom.

International Data Group, one of the earliest firms to invest heavily in corporate venturing, has agreed to an acquisition by conglomerate China Oceanwide and IDG Capital, one of its own venture capital affiliates.

Cambridge Graphene, a graphene ink developer spun out of Cambridge University, has been acquired by advanced materials company Versarien for a total of £170,000 ($210,000), providing an exit to the institution’s tech transfer office Cambridge Enterprise.

Funds

Rocket Internet has closed its Rocket Internet Capital Partners fund at $1bn, a year after it reached its $420m first close.

Elsewhere in China, Concord Medical Services, the owner of a chain of radiotherapy and diagnostic imaging centres across the country, has formed a $150m healthcare fund in partnership with investment firm Zhongrong International Trust.

Speaking of healthcare funds, life insurance company Northwestern Mutual has launched a $50m corporate venturing vehicle called Northwestern Mutual Future Ventures it says will target technology or services that can boost financial security.

CreditEase, the owner of peer-to-peer lending platform Yirendai, has raised $32.2m for the first close of a venture capital fund that will invest in Israeli tech startups.

Paris-Saclay University this week achieved the first close of its €50m ($53m) seed fund thanks to contributions from investors including France’s public investment bank Bpifrance.

The Technology Transfer Strengthening Initiative (TTSI), a program introduced by export credit agency Enterprise Ireland and managed by Knowledge Transfer Ireland (KTI), has received a €34.5m ($37m) boost from Enterprise Ireland.

The city government of Suzhou in China and private equity firm Shenzhen Capital Group have partnered to launch a RMB5bn ($732m) initiative dubbed Suzhou Hongtu Big Data Venture Capital Fund, China Money Network reported yesterday.

Bpifrance, the public investment bank of France, is the international leader for government venture capital firms backing technology companies, according to a report from research firm CB Insights.

Temasek, the investment arm of Singapore’s Ministry of Finance, came in second place, while GIC, the investment unit of Singapore Investment Corporation, rounded off the top three.

What’s interesting here, of course, is that the UK is sorely missing from the list. That’s in the same week that the country’s prime minister Theresa May said she would put immigration restrictions above the economic wellbeing of the country and is ready to walk away from the EU without any deal in place.


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