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

29 July 2019 – SoftBank Secures $108bn for Second Vision Fund

Big ones

SoftBank confirmed on Friday morning that it has secured a total of $108bn for its second Vision Fund, providing $38bn of the cash itself. That’s slightly less than the $50bn rumoured earlier in the week, but still a significant increase on the $28bn the telco giant put into the first fund.

Short-term accommodation platform developer Oyo has raised a total of about $1.6bn from investors including SoftBank, Airbnb, Didi Chuxing, Grab, Hero Enterprise and China Lodging Group, and two of its other investors – Sequoia Capital and Lightspeed Venture Partners – are reportedly divesting about $1.5bn of shares through a buyback scheme led by Oyo CEO Ritesh Agarwa.

Ke.com, a spinoff of online real estate portal Lianjia that utilises technologies such as virtual reality and 3D modelling, has secured nearly $1.2bn in a series D round led by an $800m investment by Tencent.

And in an interesting cross-over deal, X-Vax Technology, a US-based herpes vaccine developer based on research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, received $56m in a series A round featuring Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, the corporate venturing vehicle for medical products group Johnson & Johnson.

Deals

Microsoft is making its own big capital outlay, investing $1bn in artificial intelligence research organisation OpenAI. Formed as an entity that would seek to steer AI research away from malevolent or even dystopian uses toward more universally beneficial areas, OpenAI is run by a non-profit organisation and had not revealed details of any prior financing.

Toyota has invested $600m in Didi Chuxing at a reported $62bn valuation, as part of a joint venture agreement that will involve the companies partnering to provide additional services to the latter’s drivers. Didi Chuxing isn’t the only ride hailing service to get funding from Toyota either.

Hellobike has entered discussions to raise $400m in a round led by existing corporate investor Ant Financial. The bicycle sharing service will reportedly be valued at about $5bn and the news comes three months after backers including WM Motor, Fosun and Bertelsmann Asia Investments exited the company.

Digital brokerage RobinHood has received $323m in a series E round that valued it at $7.6bn. The round was led by DST Global and it took the total raised by the company, which counts Alphabet and Roc Nation as investors, to more than $860m.

Vietnamese payment technology and services provider VNPay is reportedly in talks to raise $300m at a $1bn+ valuation, with SoftBank Vision Fund in line to provide up to $200m.

Bicycle and electric scooter rental service Lime raised $310m in February, and now its key rival, Bird, is reportedly seeking up to $300m of series D funding at a $2.5bn valuation.

Gusto is proving there are still some big enterprise software exits to come, the human resources platform developer having raised $200m in a Fidelity-led round at a $3.8bn valuation.

Funds

Financial services firm Industrial Bank and insurance group Ping An’s Real Estate Investment unit have backed the inaugural healthcare-focused fund raised by China-based venture capital firm Shenzhen Capital.

VR hardware and software developer Moiin is putting together a $100m fund that will back startups working on small-scale tech that would boost VR gaming.

On GUV, life sciences incubator Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center of Bucks County is to establish a $50m fund that will take equity in resident businesses including those exploiting academic research.

Exits

Livongo Health has had one of the year’s more successful IPOs, securing more than $355m and floating well above its range while adding 2 million shares to the offering.

Healthcare data analytics platform Health Catalyst operates in a broadly similar area to Livongo and guess what – it’s also had a bumper IPO. It too increased the number of shares in the offering and priced them above its range to raise $182m.

On GUV, Jukedeck, a UK-based digital music production software developer spun out of University of Cambridge, has been acquired by  TikTok, a video-based social media platform owned by internet technology producer Bytedance, for an undisclosed sum. Jukedeck had developed an online software platform that exploited artificial intelligence to automatically compose original, royalty-free music based on certain parameters, such as genre and tempo, set by the user.


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

01 July 2019 – Grab Boosts Series H Round to $4.8bn

Big Ones

Southeast Asian ride hailing service Grab has boosted an already swelling series H round to $4.8bn, taking in $300m from investment management firm Invesco.

Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners was launched by its parent company nearly five years ago, and has now formed a $350m second venture and growth capital fund.

Who says the IPO market is on the dip? Adaptive Biotechnologies – backed by Microsoft, Celgene, Illumina, LabCorp and BD Biosciences – saw its share price double on its first day of trading – from $20 to $40.30 – while BridgeBio Pharma, which is developing drugs to treat diseases driven by genetic defects, floated above its range despite increasing the number of shares in its offering by a third.

On GUV, Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS), a US-based fusion power technology spinout of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has closed a $115m series A round backed by MIT’s The Engine.

Deals

SpaceX is reportedly looking to raise more than $314m in its forthcoming round, with most or potentially all of it set to come from Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, which has confirmed it has invested in the GV-backed space services provider.

Ouyeel, an online trading platform spun off by China Baowu Steel, has raised $294m in a round featuring corporates Sinotrans, Benxi Group and Beijing Jianlong Heavy Industry as well as Baowu itself together with its Baoshan Iron and Steel subsidiary.

Digital manufacturing technology producer Carbon has received more than $260m in a round that pushed its overall funding past $680m.

Digital bank operator Monzo is going from strength to strength, helping to indicate that the UK’s Brexit woes have not affected its status as a centre of fintech.

StockX, the operator of an online marketplace for authenticated rare fashion items, has shown once again that the upmarket fashion space is an attractive one for investors. It has notched up $110m in a series C round featuring GV, which participated as an existing backer, at a valuation of more than $1bn.

Cardiac imaging technology provider Acutus Medical has secured $100m in series D funding from investors including GE Ventures as part of a larger round that included a $70m credit facility. Acutus has now raised roughly $230m in equity financing altogether, with GE Ventures having been an investor since at least 2013, and the funding will go to strengthening its atrial access product range.

Funds

That model of corporate venturing looks like it’s gaining some traction. Logistics services provider JD Logistics was spun off by e-commerce company JD.com two years ago but it is now getting into the corporate venturing game itself and has accumulated $218m for a strategic fund.

Exits

Fast fashion retail brand Miniso raised its first outside funding just eight months ago, having launched in 2013, but it is reportedly now gearing up for an initial public offering that could raise $1bn.

Upmarket fashion marketplace TheRealReal, proving it isn’t just the biotech sector that’s doing well, also completed a $300m initial public offering and went public on Friday.

Slack’s direct offering has pulled in the headlines but Stoke Therapeutics held its own successful listing last week, which it has now closed at just over $163m.

Atreca is working on immunotherapeutics to treat cancer, and raised $125m when it floated today, having priced the IPO at the midpoint of its range.

Velodyne Lidar is meanwhile pushing to become the first lidar technology developer to go public, having hired banks to underwrite an IPO expected to value it at about $1.8bn.


“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

10 October 2016 – Possible Snap IPO, Exit for Time Warner Investments, Investment News and Much More

Feature

GV’s new leader’s steady hand

People

Microsoft continues rapid hiring and investment pace

Leeney leaves Telefonica

Funds

Spanish VC firm Kibo Ventures has raised $79m for the first close of its second fund, which it aims to expand to roughly $110m for its final close.

Ideo designs investment firm

University Corner

KU Leuven researches $67.5m fund

Government Department

Europe sets up venture markets

Exits

Time Warner Investments had made a decent-sized exit from marketing data management software company Krux, which has been acquired for about $700m by Salesforce.

Continental picks up Daimler-backed Zonar

Snap, which rebranded from Snapchat a few weeks ago, is said to be preparing for an IPO that could take place as soon as March 2017, and which could value it at $25bn, a steep jump from the $18bn post-money valuation at which it last raised funding, in May.

Obalon Therapeutics, developer of a gastric balloon to aid weight loss, has meanwhile raised $75m in an IPO that could potentially rise to more than $86m.

Investments

Payoneer to break new ground in $180m round

Sumitomo Mitsui Card Company adds investment to Stripe

Connected device network developer Sigfox is also looking to boost its coffers and is looking to raise $100m to $200m in a round that will feature an as yet unnamed Chinese strategic backer, and which will value it at $600m, a 50% jump from its last round in early 2015.

NTT drives Druva’s $51m series E

Rover, the dogsitting marketplace backed by Petco, was rumoured last month to be raising $40m in series E capital from Foundry Group, Menlo Ventures and Madrona Venture Group. Today, the company confirmed the deal, though it didn’t say whether the estimated valuation of $300m was also correct.

Remitly, a mobile remittance services provider that focuses primarily on foreign workers in the US hoping to send money back to family, has added a combined $38m in equity and debt from Silicon Valley Bank and International Finance Corporation to its coffers.

Welltok knocks out $33.7m round

Clearpath reaches corporates for $30m

Online video publishing platform Tout has secured $26m in a series C round backed by sports entertainment provider and partner WWE, after closing a $13.4m round in 2012 that featured a $5m investment from WWE.

Grana targets $10m in Alibaba-backed round


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