The Big Ones
One element of retail that has emerged unscathed from the covid-19 pandemic is food, and Lineage Logistics is among the biggest cold chain services providers in the world, offering temperature-controlled delivery and storage. It has also raised $1.9bn from investors including property developer Oxford Properties and several real estate investment firms. The equity funding was secured together with a $2.8bn revolving credit facility and term loan.
As the Dow hits record highs the IPO market shows no sign of slowing, and increasing numbers of international tech companies are flowing to US markets. South Korea-headquartered online marketplace Coupang is the latest to take that option and is floating on the New York Stock Exchange in a $4.55bn offering, the year’s biggest so far. SoftBank Vision Fund owned more than 39% of its class A shares pre-IPO, having committed a total of $3bn in funding.
AstraZeneca formed the $1bn Healthcare Industrial Fund in partnership with China International Capital Corporation in late 2019, and now the pharmaceutical firm is teaming up with the investment bank’s CICC Capital unit to establish a $338m vehicle called Wuxi AstraZeneca CICC Investment. AstraZeneca already runs a life science incubator in the Chinese city of Wuxi, and the fund will invest in areas such as innovative therapeutics, medical devices, diagnostics technology and AI healthcare technology.
IonQ, a US-based quantum computing technology developer exploiting University of Maryland and Duke University research, has agreed to list through a reverse takeover. The company is merging with a SPAC called dMY Technology Group, which had floated on the New York Stock Exchange in a $275m IPO in November 2020. The combined business will have a pro forma implied valuation of $2bn and the transaction will be supported by $350m in PIPE financing from investors including Hyundai Motor Company, its Kia subsidiary and GV, among others. IonQ has created a 32-qubit quantum computer it claims is the world’s most powerful quantum system. It had disclosed a total of $77m in funding as of a $55m round co-led by consumer electronics producer Samsung’s Catalyst Fund in late 2019, when Osage University Partners also invested (do check out our sister podcast Talking Tech Transfer, which you can find on GlobalUniversityVenturing.com, for an interview with Osage’s Kirsten Leute about more on their investment strategy).
China-based e-commerce group JD.com has spun off several subsidiaries in recent years covering areas such as finance, healthcare and logistics. Now its infrastructure investment arm, JD Property, has agreed to raise $700m in a series A round co-led by Warburg Pincus and Hillhouse Capital, according to its 2020 end-of-year results. The other investors were not disclosed but it has partnered sovereign wealth funds GIC and Mubadala on infrastructure funds.
Starling Bank is the latest digital bank to pull in a nine-figure amount of funding, taking $377m in a series D round valuing it above $1.5bn pre-money. Starling, which counts JTC Group among its investors, is one of several well-funded neobanks to spring up in the UK in recent years, including Revolut and Monzo, though the sector is still a long way away from proving profitable, and despite the current fintech boom, it’s going to be interesting to see if they can maintain their growth.
Crypto asset manager BlockFi has completed a $350m series D round valuing it at $3bn, with Hudson River Trading and Susquehanna Government Products among the participants. Its existing investors include Akuna Capital, SoFi and corporate venturing vehicles Consensys Ventures, CMT Digital, Recruit Strategic Partners and SCB 10X.
Valo Health is less than two years old but has just closed an upsized series B round at $300m following a $110m investment by Koch Disruptive Technologies. Valo is one of a new wave of startups allocating machine learning to the drug development process, a wave increasingly looking like it could become the dominant force in the early-stage pharmaceutical sector. It is initially targeting cancer and neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases.
Snyk has secured $300m in a series E round consisting of primary and secondary investments, with GV, Atlassian Ventures and Salesforce Ventures all contributing. The app cybersecurity technology provider said it has now raised $470m in primary funding altogether, and the round valued it at $4.7bn post-money. That’s a 47-times increase from the valuation at which GV first invested.
Salesforce Ventures also took part in a $170m series C round for Flutterwave, the developer of a cross-border payment platform, valuing it above $1bn. It’s the latest sign of an ongoing surge in fintech, and the company’s earlier backers include Mastercard, Visa and FIS. It will allocate the funding to product development and customer acquisition.
Ascension Ventures was set up by health system Ascension two decades ago and now the venture capital firm has closed its fifth fund with $285m in capital supplied by 13 healthcare providers: Ascension itself, as well as AdventHealth, Carle Foundation, CentraCare, Children’s Medical Center of Dallas, Intermountain Healthcare, Novant Health, OhioHealth, OSF HealthCare, Luminis Health, Sentara Healthcare and Texas Health Resources. There is also an unnamed health system among the LPs. Ascension Ventures has invested in nearly 80 companies to date and now has more than $1bn in assets under management.
Game development platform operator Roblox has executed a direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange that gave Tencent and Warner Music Group (WMG) the chance to sell shares. The direct listing model means there wasn’t an official price for the shares, but the NYSE has issued a guidance price of $45 each, the same price at which Roblox secured $520m in a WMG-backed round in January valuing it at $29.5bn, a sevenfold increase in under a year. As we’re recording this on Friday afternoon UK time, shares are trading at $69.51, which is a slight drop on the $73.90 peak they’d briefly reached on Thursday.
Hippo Enterprises, the online home insurance provider backed by Comcast, Lennar, MS&AD, Munich Re and Standard Industries, is the latest company to seek the Spac route, agreeing to a reverse merger with Reinvent Technology Partners Z. Lennar is among the investors to put $550m of PIPE financing into Hippo, which will come out with $1.2bn in capital once the deal closes. It will list on NYSE and is expected to have a valuation of $5bn, and the money should help Hippo reach its goal of being available for 95% of the US population by the end of the year.
Olo has developed software that helps restaurants manage online orders, and has moved into profit in the past year as a string of US chains have used its platform to deal with increased online orders during the Covid-19 pandemic. The PayPal-backed company seems to have chosen the right time to go public, and has set terms for an initial public offering that will net $324m if it floats at the top of its range. It’s worth mentioning too that Olo has disclosed less than $65m of primary funding pre-IPO.
Coursera, the online education provider spun out of Stanford University and backed by Caltech, University of Pennsylvania, Seek Group, Laureate Education and Times Internet, is going for the traditional IPO exit instead. The spinout is yet to set any terms, having put the customary $100m placeholder figure into its draft prospectus, but it has collected some $443m in funding to date. None of the corporates or universities own more than 5% ahead of the offering and instead Coursera’s largest shareholder is NEA with an 18.3% stake.
Axonius, developer of a cybersecurity asset management platform, has only just achieved unicorn status, raising $100m last week at a $1.2bn valuation. That has proven the ticket for YL Ventures, a venture firm that has been an investor since seed stage, to divest a $270m stake to buyers including the Deutsche Telekom-backed DTCP. Axonius had raised nearly $200m in primary funding without taking any corporate investment.