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

06 April 2020 – Lyell Immunopharma Gains $493m Investment from GlaxoSmithKline

The Big Ones

It is the sort of line to awaken the curiosity in an annual report: “Cash payments to acquire equity investments amounted to £258m [$314m] (2018 – £309m), primarily relating to Lyell Immunopharma.”

Thus, the accountants revealed UK-listed drugs maker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) had invested a sizeable amount in US-based cancer treatment developer Lyell Immunopharma, which raised $493m earlier this month.

Late last week, US-listed software provider Microsoft fell into the latter camp as it agreed with AnyVision that “it is in the best interest of both enterprises for Microsoft to divest its shareholding in AnyVision”.

AnyVision Interactive Technologies, an Israel-based computer vision technology provider specialising in face, body and object-recognition software, only announced the close of a $74m series A round featuring M12, Microsoft’s corporate venture fund, as a new investor, in mid-June. But the deal came under public attention with media reports alleging its system was being used for a mass surveillance program in the West Bank.

American firms have a long history of running into competition concerns when trying to buy UK-based chipmaker Plessey. The latest is social media company Facebook, which has turned from acquisition plans to an agreement just to buy all the augmented reality displays made by Plessey over the next several years.

Deals

WeWork has had its six months of hell compounded after SoftBank pulled away from a $3bn share tender offer connected to a proposed $1.5bn in debt financing. The corporate cited WeWork’s failure to meet certain conditions set in the tender agreement and said it has now supplied more than $14bn – $14bn! – in debt and equity financing for the company since it first invested just three years ago. With Covid-19 keeping office workers at home, the future looks anything but bright for the startup space’s most visible falling star.

Adapting rather better to the situation is artificial intelligence technology provider 4Paradigm, which has closed $230m in funding from investors including Lenovo and existing backer Cisco at a $2bn valuation. China-based 4Paradigm said it has been developing AI tools to track infection rates and model coronavirus-related scenarios in addition to helping businesses accelerate digital transformation. It had last raised funding in a late 2018 series D round valuing it at $1.2bn.

And despite general concerns around slowing transportation needs, Via Transportation offers a diverse range of transport options that can be integrated into an organisation’s existing activities. Holding company Exor has pumped $200m into Via as part of a series E round of undisclosed size that valued it at $2.25bn. Shell, Mori Building and Hearst Ventures also contributed to the round. Via’s existing backers include Daimler, which led a reported $250m round for the company three years ago.

And Crisitunity! The Covid-19 pandemic and the related restrictions associated with it are likely to be around for a while, but while it is devastating large swathes of the worldwide economy, some others are benefitting. Zoom and Netflix have been held up as examples of this, but the online education and media sector is also in place to do well.

Yuanfudao has reportedly topped Chinese app downloads in the space since January and has raised $1bn in a series G round co-led by long-term corporate investor Tencent. The cash was secured at a $7.8bn valuation and boosted the company’s overall funding to more than $1.5bn. Expect more to follow in that sector. Businesses are suffering but it looks as if a by-product of the crisis will be to accelerate the move toward mobile activities and socialising touted by the tech space for so long.

Tiger Global waltzes into Bytedance

As are ecommerce and producers. Plenty prepares to raise $100m

Online marketplace Ozon has been a fixture in Russia for more than two decades and is still getting big interest from investors. It’s just added $50m in convertible note financing from Princeville Capital to $100m recently secured from conglomerate Sistema and Baring Vostok. The $150m financing round follows $154m from the latter two last April and a $119m secondary investment by Sistema shortly before.

On healthcare and life sciences, which is another part of the tech space that’s unsurprisingly booming right now. Hillhouse Capital and Chen Yi Investment are putting up $292m for a secondary investment in Hualan Biological Vaccines, the vaccine developer spun off from biopharmaceutical firm Hualan Biological Engineering. It was formed in 2015 and was responsible for a third of its parent company’s revenue last year. It’s now valued at about $1.94bn.

6 Dimensions supports $125m round for iTeos

Collibra collects $112m

Pandion packs in $80m

Aspen Neuroscience ascends with $70m

Affinia affirms $60m series A

AM-Pharma has added $52m in debt and equity financing from Cowen Healthcare Investments and European Investment Bank to a round that now stands at $182m. The company, which is developing a treatment for acute kidney injury, has now disclosed almost $340m in funding altogether, its earlier backers including Pfizer and AbbVie.

Olive collects $51m

University

Zucara sweetens $21m series A deal

MiDiagnostics brings experiment to a $15.4m close

Funds

Yamato delivers Kuroneko Innovation Fund

Exit

OneWeb is the latest of SoftBank Vision Fund’s large-scale investments to go sour, filing for bankruptcy after failing to raise a reported $2bn from investors including Vision Fund. SoftBank has pumped upwards of $1bn into the satellite internet system developer, which has secured a total of $3.4bn prior to the move, from investors also including Qualcomm, Airbus, Coca-Cola Company, Virgin, Bharti Enterprises, Totalplay, Hughes Network Systems and Intelsat.

And distressed exits will increase. Hooq clasps liquidation option

IPOs may have dropped off but we’ve already seen some large M&A deals in recent weeks, the latest being Affirmed Networks, which has agreed to an acquisition by Microsoft that reportedly valued it at $1.35bn. The mobile network technology provider had disclosed $141m in funding and its exiting investors include Qualcomm Ventures, Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners, the latter having taken over the stake from another Deutsche Telekom subsidiary, T-Venture.

Palo Alto Networks agreeing to buy network technology provider CloudGenix in a $420m deal that will enable Intel Capital to exit. Longtime readers will of course recognise Palo Alto as one of the most frequent providers of CVC M&A exits.


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