20 September 2021 – Investors help Canva paint $200m picture at $40bn valuation

The Big Ones

Canva, an Australia-based graphic design software provider backed by advertising agency VaynerMedia, raised $200m at a $40bn valuation. Investment manager T Rowe Price led the round, which included Franklin Templeton, Sequoia Capital Global Equities, Bessemer Venture Partners (BVP), Greenoaks Capital, Dragoneer Investments, Blackbird, Felicis Ventures and AirTree Ventures. Canva has built a visual visual communications software that helps users without a graphic design background create media assets including illustrations, presentations, posters and videos. The company provides free templates, stock photos, audio and video clips and fonts through its platform. Canva plans to use the fresh capital raised in this latest round to double its headcount, which reached 2,000 people this year, further boost its products’ development and possibly finance strategic acquisitions.

Discord, a US-based online messaging platform developer backed by corporates Tencent and WarnerMedia, has raised $500m in a funding round led by Dragoneer Investment Group. The round also featured investment and financial services group Fidelity, Baillie Gifford, Coatue Management, Franklin Templeton and unnamed existing investors, and it valued the company at approximately $15bn. Discord’s platform was launched for gamers to communicate with each other in real time but experienced an explosion in demand during the pandemic and has expanded its chat products to include events beyond gaming. The funding will be used to grow the company’s workforce and invest in new products. It had previously raised about $600m in funding, according to Bloomberg.

Citi Ventures, the venture capital arm of financial services firm Citi, joined Israel-based identity authentication software developer Transmit Security’s $543m series A round.
Investment bank Goldman Sachs’ Asset Management subsidiary has also come onboard. The round was disclosed in June this year and was co-led by Insight Partners and General Atlantic and backed by Cyberstarts, Geodesic, Syn Ventures, Vintage Investment Partners and Artisanal Ventures. Transmit Security has developed authentication software which eschews passwords in favour of biometrics. The round values it at $2.2bn pre-money and the company said it had previously been bootstrapped after being founded in 2014.

US-based cybersecurity ratings company BitSight received a $250m capital injection from credit rating provider Moody’s yesterday through a strategic partnership agreement, valuing it at $2.4bn. BitSight provides companies with ratings of between 250 and 900 to assess their cybersecurity risk, a service likely to rise in demand amid the backdrop of escalating cyber threats such as ransomware attacks, which have cost both public and private organisations hundred of billions of dollars. Moody’s supplied the funding through an agreement which will support the development of a software platform which will assess cyber risk. BitSight will also form a Risk Solutions Division. Parallel to the investment, BitSight has agreed to buy VisibleRisk, a joint venture between Moody’s and venture group Team8 that rates cyber risk. It had received $25m from the two in May this year.

Funds

Japanese telecommunications group SoftBank has allocated $3bn to a second Latin America-focused fund, which will invest in technology-enabled companies across various industries at every stage of their development. The Latin America-dedicated unit, which is headed by chief operating officer Marcelo Claure, has also appointed two new managing partners Rodrigo Baer and Marco Camhaji. The firm said that the new fund’s initial commitment of $3bn might be increase, and that is exploring options to raise additional capital. Softbank launched its first Latin America-dedicated fund, a $5bn vehicle previously known as the Innovation Fund, in March 2019. The fund has invested around $3.5bn so far, across 48 companies, with an aggregate fair value of around $6.9bn. According to the firm, the fund has generated an 85% net IRR. SoftBank has invested in several unicorns with its first fund, including on-demand delivery service Rappi, online real estate portal QuintoAndar, digital currency exchange Mercado Bitcoin, wellness programmer operator Gympass and online furniture retailer MadeiraMadeira.

Chinese venture capital firm Fibonacci VC has closed its latest fund at $202m, with commitments from state-backed conglomerate Xiamen C&D and property developer China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park Development Group. Other limited partners (LPs) committing to Fund II include funds-of-funds CICC Genesis Fund and Oriza FOFs Investment Management in addition to Guangzhou Finance Holdings and Haining Semiconductor Industry Investment Fund. Fibonacci’s management team also backed the fund with their own capital. Nearly half of the fund’s commitments were supplied by existing LPs, while 85% were institutional investors. It is Fibonacci’s second renminbi-denominated fund. Fibonacci will use the fund to invest in the industrial internet sector, in areas including the industrial internet-of-things, industrial intelligence and smart manufacturing. It typically participates in series A and B rounds.

Netherlands-based venture capital firm Finch Capital is looking to set up a fund in partnership with Indonesia-headquartered financial services firm Bank Central Asia (BCA)’s strategic investment arm, Central Capital Ventura. The vehicle is understood to be targeting $200m and is pursuing investments in financial services providers and financial technology developers, participating in series A rounds and later. Central Capital Ventura and Finch Capital are reportedly in the process of applying for fund management licences in Singapore.

LinkedIn, the US-based professional network operator owned by software producer Microsoft, has unveiled a $25m creator fund and a creator accelerator programme.
The programme, which will last 10 weeks, will welcome up to 100 US-based content creators to participate in a creator network, undergo coaching and receive a $15,000 grant each. It will also provide opportunities to be featured on LinkedIn’s brand, marketing and editorial channels as well as access to LinkedIn tools.

Crossover

AgBiome, a US-based agricultural technology spinout from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill backed by corporates Bayer Crop Science, Novozymes and Syngenta, collected $116m in series D funding. The round was co-led by venture capital firm Novalis LifeSciences and investment firm Blue Horizon, while undisclosed new and existing investors also contributed to the financing. Founded in 2013, AgBiome has developed the Genesis platform, which is able to identify the gene sequences and strains of microbial life that could potentially protect agricultural crops from pests and disease. The spinout has also created a fungicide that can protect against more than 300 combinations of crop disease. It plans to use the series D capital to expand its product portfolio and grow its scientific and commercial activities.


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

28 January 2019 – Stanford StartX Fund Comes to an End

The big 3

For all the talk about the big numbers of 2018 – Global Corporate Venturing tracked 2,775 deals worth an estimated total of $180bn, the details of which you can find in the January issue out and the World of Corporate Venturing annual review published at the GCVI Summit at the end of the month – the headline increase in CVC units masks continued evolution in units and structures.

GE Ventures has become one of the most prominent figures in the corporate venture capital space since being formed in 2013, but its parent company is reportedly looking to divest the unit as part of a large-scale restructuring effort that has already claimed its transportation subsidiary and could shortly include GE Healthcare.

Big deal: Stanford-StartX Fund reaches the end

Insurance group Axa formed its corporate venturing unit, then known as Axa Strategic Partners, in 2015 and it has now boosted its early-stage investing by putting $150m into a second early-stage fund that will provide up to $6m per deal.

And startups founded by women or minorities are still having a tough time getting capital. Enterprise software producer SAP is the latest corporate to try and change that, unveiling its No Boundaries initiative that will invest 40% of the existing SAP.io Fund in startups led by underrepresented entrepreneurs.

Other big news sees a sweep of large deals continuing. Go-Jek is one on the up. The ride hailing platform, Grab’s main rival in Southeast Asia, has raised $920m from existing investors that include Google, JD.com and Tencent for the first close of a round with a $2bn target.

Still, getting financial and hopefully strategic benefits remains the game. Reports earlier this week suggested Viacom was set to acquire online television streaming platform Pluto TV for up to $500m. The final price has proven to be a more realistic $340m, but it will still give a healthy exit to a round of investors including Sky, ProSiebenSat.1, UTA, Universal Music Group, Samsung Scripps and Windsor Media.

Funds

Menlo Ventures hires Qualcomm’s Haghighi

Deals

Genetic disease drug developer BridgeBio has received $299m in funding from investors including AIG that will be used to move a 15-strong pipeline of assets forward.

Desktop Metal has confirmed recent reports that it was raising new funding by confirming it has closed a $160m round led by Koch Disruptive Technologies, the then undisclosed large industrial company featured in those reports.

FirstCry was reported last week to be in the process of securing $400m from SoftBank, but now the company has revealed the round will be raised over two tranches – with a first $150m investment closed – and that the cash is actually coming from the Vision Fund rather than the corporate directly.

LinkedIn-backed data streaming platform developer Confluent has secured $125m in a series D round that valued it at $2.5bn. The round increased Confluent’s total funding to $206m and was led by Seqouia Capital, the venture firm that also led its series C two years ago.

AutoAI was unveiled by mapping technology provider Navinfo late last year to further develop smart in-car technology created by the firm’s subsidiaries.

Andela recruits GV for $100m series D

SoftBank Vision Fund has made a $100m investment in Globality, the operator of a platform where businesses can source service providers, that valued the company at nearly $1bn, a source told the WSJ.

Sunmi shines with Ant Financial investment

University

Minervax finds verve with $5m

Nexiot checks in series B funding

CIC makes cut in Imagen series B

Exits

Beleaguered Blippar finds a buyer

Avedro heads to public markets


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