19 December 2016 – $225m for BlueRock Therapeutics, Microsoft Ventures Invests from its AI Fund and Much More

Deals

Bayer and investment firm Versant Ventures have jointly provided $225m in series A funding for a regenerative medicine startup called BlueRock Therapeutics.

Symphony emerged two years ago with $66m from 14 banks and followed that funding up with a $100m Google-backed round last year. Now the company, which offers a secure messaging platform for use in the financial services industry, is in the process of raising between $125m and $200m at a pre-money valuation north of $1bn.

SenseTime, which provides deep learning technology to Chinese corporates, has secured $120m in a round that included Dalian Wanda Group and existing backer IDG Capital.

Podotree, the Kakao affiliate that deals with the social media company’s online publishing offerings, has raised $107m in funding from investors including Anchor Equity Partners and GIC at a reported valuation of about $428m.

JetSmarter has big ambitions to become the Uber of private jet travel, and has just raised $105m in series C funding at a $1.5bn pre-money valuation.

Virtual reality gaming company Survios has raised $50m across two rounds, the latter of which was led by MGM.

Sonendo, the developer of a teeth cleaning system for use in root canals, has secured $35m from investors including Henry Crown and Company affiliate CVF, bringing its overall funding to near $110m.

BillFront, a provider of finance for media companies that may face delays in recouping advertising revenue, has raised $35m in a series A round consisting of debt and equity.

Holiday accommodation rental aggregator Tripping.com has received $35m in series C funding, with investment firm Princeville Global leading the round.

Oxford Nanopore has raised additional funding after announcing earlier this month that it had become the first company to sequence multiple human genomes using portable technology.

Edotco, a Malaysia-based telecoms infrastructure services provider, has amassed $600m from investors including Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional. Khazanah Nasional made the investment via a secondary equity private placement offering of $200m, while public-private partnership Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ) contributed through a $400m primary offering.

Funds

Microsoft Ventures only resumed making direct investments in May but has already racked up 19 deals since, including contributions to rounds for Tact, Dynamic Signals (see below for both) and Element AI, the last of which is the first investment to be made from a dedicated artificial intelligence fund which the unit has just formed.

Not long after it confirmed that its $100bn Vision Fund would be headquartered in London, news emerged that SoftBank is in talks with Apple over a $1bn investment in the vehicle.

Oxford Sciences Innovation (OSI), the university venturing fund of Oxford University, on Friday raised an additional £230m ($290m) from investors including the institution’s endowment fund to bring its total to £580m.

IP Group takes Parkwalk for $12m. The intellectual property investor could pay an extra $12m to buy Parkwalk if the spinout-focused fund manager meets certain key targets.

Sigmar Gabriel, minister of economy for Germany, and his French peer Michel Sapin yesterday revealed a €1bn ($1.1bn) fund aimed at startups in the two countries.

Exits

2016 has been a bad year for a lot of people but in the venture capital space it’s been a worse year than most for Rocket Internet, which is continuing to consolidate its holdings.

Meitu, the Chinese creator of a photo modification app for social media, has raised just over $600m in one of the year’s biggest tech IPOs, giving exits to Sina Weibo, Foxconn and IDG Capital Partners.

Garena, the most highly valued startup in Southeast Asia as of a $170m round in April that valued it at $3.75bn, has reportedly begun talks with banks over a prospective IPO in the US in 2018 that could raise around $1bn.

Germany-based medical device manufacturer Gilupi was acquired yesterday by its investor and strategic partner Viroad, a China-based biotechnology company, for an undisclosed sum.

People

Maryland University at College Park (UMD) has appointed Julie Lenzer, former senior advisor to US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, to two key roles as part of its efforts to bolster innovation.

State-owned investment firm Finnish Industry Investment (FII) announced the promotion of Jan Sasse, head of FII’s Growth Investments team since June 2015, to president and CEO yesterday.


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

12 December 2016 – Tinder creates Swipe Ventures, Australia launches $150m Csiro fund and Much More

People

Mary Kay James, previously a managing director at DuPont Ventures, has joined Tyson Foods as the US-based meat processor unveils a $150m corporate venturing unit dubbed Tyson New Ventures.

Mike Dimelow, former vice-president of strategic business development at semiconductor technology developer Arm, has left to co-found a venture capital firm called Accelerated Digital Ventures (ADV).

University Corner

CIC names Williamson investment director.

Cambridge alumnus Williamson has joined the university venturing fund after 20 years in the US, most recently at True North Venture Partners.

Funds

Back in October, SoftBank partnered the government of Saudi Arabia’s investment arm Public Investment Fund for a $100bn fund. SoftBank has hit some troubles since then, booking a $555m loss from its Indian portfolio last month, but that doesn’t seem to have reduced interest in the SoftBank Vision Fund, which the internet group’s CEO Masayoshi Son has now said is set to be oversubscribed.

Ascension’s corporate venturing subsidiary has closed its fourth fund at $255m thanks to the support of 13 corporate peers.

Wistron, a Taiwan-based original design manufacturer, has joined the ranks of corporate venturers with a $20m fund that it set up in partnership with US-based VC firm Fenox Venture Capital.

Tinder, the dating app that connects users with each other once they’ve both swiped right on each other’s profile, is jumping into the corporate venturing world with Swipe Ventures, a unit that will be headed by Sean Rad, up until now the CEO of Tinder.

PSA enters Business Lab. The car manufacturer is set to conduct corporate venturing activities through the new unit.

Maris boldly goes to $230m fund. Bill Maris, co-founder of GV who left the unit earlier this summer, is raising a $230m fund that will focus on the healthcare sector.

Partech concludes $107m fundraising effort.

University Corner

The tech transfer office and Parkwalk Advisors launched the latest $3m Enterprise Fund just ten months after Fund IV was opened to investors.

Government Department

Australia launches $150m Csiro fund

Ben Franklin boosts startups in Philadelphia with $6m

Exits

Meitu, the developer of an app that lets users retouch their selfies, initially targeted up to $1bn in proceeds from an initial public offering in Hong Kong when it filed in August 2016. That target has dropped several times since, first to $800m last month and now to $629m. The company had obtained approximately $500m in total funding from investors including corporates Sina Weibo and International Data Group, but has struggled to monetise its offering and in the first half of the year posted a $40.5m loss.

SportsHero is taking a different approach to the stock exchange, as the company prepares a reverse takeover with its shareholder Nevada Iron, an Australia-listed mineral extraction company.

Trivago books IPO trip.

AbbVie is celebrating an exit thanks to Sienna Biopharmaceuticals which has acquired biotech company Creabilis for up to $150m.

Cinepapaya dances the Fandango.

Paktor picks up 17 Media.

Beepi, a peer-to-peer used car marketplace, appears to have collapsed after a strategic investor – reportedly Saic Motor – decided to pull out.

Government Department

Bpifrance loses $20m with Viadeo collapse.

Creo collects $25m ahead of Aim flotation.

University Corner

Citim materialises acquisition.

Investments

GE spins out Menlo Micro with $18.7m

VW mobilises spinout Moia

Face++ recognises $100m for series C

Juhe.cn computes $52m series C

Finicity aggregates $42m series B

SnapLogic has added a $40m series F round to its coffers just a year after Microsoft took part in a $37.5m series E.

KeyMe doesn’t look like it is having any trouble securing cash. The digital locksmith technology developer, which lets users scan their keys and upload them to the cloud to print copies at kiosks, has added $25m in funding.

3M’s portfolio company Impel Neuropharma has signed up investors for a $36m series C round, for which it has obtained an initial $21m and will receive the remainder upon reaching certain milestones.

University Corner

Spinouts: a marriage made in heaven – or hell?

Government Department

Lumos Global glows with record $90m fundraising.


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

29 August 2016 – University and Government Venturing Summer Catchup and more

Investments

One97 Communications, which has reportedly raised almost $1bn to date, most of which came after it formed mobile payment subsidiary Paytm in 2010. It’s now set to formally split from Paytm and has set up a separate entity for its e-commerce activities.

Snapdeal, which raised $500m in a round led by the Chinese firm last September. Snapdeal has just received $21m in funding from Luxembourg-registered Clouse SA.

Quanergy Systems, a developer of the LiDAR technology that will allow driverless vehicles to navigate obstacles in real time, raising $90m at a reported valuation of over $1bn.

Brainbees Solutions, the Indian operator of maternal, baby and childcare e-commerce platform FirstCry, is in talks to raise between $50m and $75m in a round that could involve share sales by existing investors, which include IDG Ventures India.

ClearCare, the developer of a care and business management platform for home healthcare providers, has raised $60m in a round led by Battery Ventures that will support the enhancement of its product and the securing of more strategic partnerships.

Victoria University has opened up the licensing to its research to local businesses for free.

Denali Therapeutics raised a $130m series B round.

Exits

Novan Therapeutics, which is developing a pipeline of nitrous oxide skincare products, has filed for an IPO.

Meitu, developer of a photo editing and sharing platform that has reportedly been installed on some 900 million devices, is preparing to float in Hong Kong.

International Finance Corporation’s portfolio company Indecomm, an India-based outsourcing company, was acquired by Capital Square Partners, a private equity firm in Singapore.

Funds

Recruitment firm Kelly Services’ Indian subsidiary has formed a corporate venturing fund that will invest in local startups in partnership with Japan-based peer and partner Temp Holdings.

Venture capital Earlybird is raising a healthtech fund it aims to eventually close at up to $135m.

Connecticut University in partnership with state-backed Connecticut Innovations (CI) and Webster Bank is setting up a $1.5m innovation fund.

Chicago University is among the limited partners in the $75m second fund recently launched by US-based venture capital firm Pear.

Prudential Retirement has decided to shut down its seed-stage focused investment arm, Gibraltar Ventures.

India state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation launching a $15m fund aimed at projects in the energy sector.

International Finance Corporation meanwhile put $15m in the inaugural fund being raised by Long Hill Capital Management.

Wisconsin managed to push its Badger Fund of Funds to $35m after it attracted $10m from private investors, double the amount that the state had mandated in order for it to put up the $25m that it committed last year. .

Zubr, Belarus’ first private equity firm, meanwhile attracted $50m in commitments with European Bank for Reconstruction and Development signing up as cornerstone investor.

People

David Ollila, founding director of Northern Michigan University’s tech transfer office decided to move on to join VC firm Skypoint Ventures as vice-president of innovation.

Susan Warburton has joined Business Growth Hub, a local initiative that helps businesses in Manchester grow (that’s Manchester in England, not one of the over 30 cities and towns called Manchester in the US).

Launch Tennessee, the public-private partnership focused on startups and fast-growing companies in the US state, has hired John Lanahan as director of capital formation.


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