26 July 2021 – Swiggy Raises $1.25bn in Series J

The Big Ones

SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 and Prosus co-led a $1.25bn series J round for India-based food delivery service provider Swiggy at a $5.5bn valuation. The round also featured sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority as well as Accel, Wellington Management, Falcon Edge Capital, Amansa Capital, Goldman Sachs, Think Capital and Carmignac. TechCrunch said the round includes an $800m tranche led by Prosus’ corporate venturing arm, Prosus Ventures, in April this year. SoftBank provided a reported $450m for that close, which included Falcon Edge, Goldman Sachs, Amansa Capital, Think Capital, Carmignac and Accel.

Aurora, a US-based self-driving technology developer, has agreed a reverse merger with Reinvent Technology Partners Y. The combined company will have a $13bn pro forma implied market capitalisation and will take on Reinvent’s listing on the Nasdaq Capital Market, which was secured through an $850m initial public offering in March this year. It is sponsored by investment firm Reinvent Capital. The transaction includes a $1bn PIPE financing featuring truck manufacturer Paccar, ride hailing service provider Uber and commercial vehicle producer Volvo Group, as well as Reinvent Capital, Baillie Gifford, XN, Primecap Management Company, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Index Ventures, Sequoia Capital, funds and accounts managed by Morgan Stanley’s Counterpoint Global unit and funds and accounts advised by T Rowe Price.

Italy-based venture capital firm Panakès Partners has achieved a $180m first close for its second fund with a commitment from pharmaceutical firm Menarini. The Purple Fund was anchored by the European Investment Fund and FoF VenturItaly, a fund-of-funds managed by VC firm CDP Venture Capital. The vehicle is also backed by unnamed Italy-based banking foundations, pension funds, life science companies and the Cogliati, Colombo, Rovati, Petrone, Re and Bassani families.

University

Form Energy, a US-based grid-scale battery developer spun out of MIT, secured $200m in a series D round led by $25m from ArcelorMittal’s XCarb innovation fund. As part of the deal, ArcelorMittal and Form Energy have signed a joint development agreement to further boost the latter’s iron battery production. The other participants in the round were not disclosed.

Deals

Cryptocurrency exchange operator FTX Trading completed a $900m series B round featuring SoftBank, Coinbase Ventures and Circle. The funding was raised at an $18bn valuation from a consortium of more than 60 investors including quantitative trading firm Hudson River, Paradigm, Sequoia Capital, Thoma Bravo, Ribbit Capital, Insight Partners, Bond, New Enterprise Associates, Third Point and Lightspeed Venture Partners, Willoughby Capital, 40North, Senator Investment Group, Sino Global Capital, Multicoin, VanEck, Altimeter, the Paul Tudor Jones family, and private investors Izzy Englander and Alan Howard.

Colombia-based on-demand delivery service Rappi has secured over $500m in series F funding from investors including SoftBank. T Rowe Price led the round, which also featured Baillie Gifford, Third Point, Octahedron Capital and GIC. The cash was reportedly raised at a $5.25bn valuation.

US-based crop nutrition technology developer Pivot Bio completed a $430m series D round that included Tekfen, Bunge and Continental Grain. Temasek and DCVC co-led the round with backing from Generation Investment Management, Rockefeller Capital Management, Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV), Prelude Ventures, Pavilion Capital and private investor Roger Underwood. Tekfen and Bunge were represented in the round by their respective corporate venturing units, Tekfen Ventures and Bunge Ventures. It reportedly valued the company at nearly $2bn.

SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 led a $350m series C round for US-based alternative protein developer Nature’s Fynd. Danone’s corporate venturing arm, Danone Manifesto Ventures, also participated in the round, as did Archer Daniels Midland and SK. The participants were completed by Blackstone Strategic Partners, Balyasny Asset Management, Hillhouse Capital, EDBI, Hongkou Capital, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Generation Investment Management and 1955 Capital.

Lenskart, an India-based online eyewear retailer backed by SoftBank, has raised $220m of funding at a $2.5bn valuation. Temasek and Falcon Edge Capital co-led the round and were joined by Bay Capital and Chiratae Ventures. The company is planning to expand its operations in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Some of the cash from the round will be used to further develop its technology stack.

Cloudwise, a China-based developer of artificial intelligence-driven operational technology, secured $150m in a series E round featuring quantitative and technology trading firm Susquehanna International Group. Sequoia Capital China led the round, which included Albright Stonebridge Group, Boston Investment, CR Capital, FutureX Capital and Citic’s Private Equity Funds Management subsidiary.

SmartRecruiters, a US-based recruitment software developer backed by Salesforce, completed a $110m series E round led by Silver Lake Waterman. Insight Partners and Mayfield Fund also participated in the round, which valued the company at $1.5bn.

Funds

China-headquartered e-commerce group Alibaba’s Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund (AEF) is anchoring a HK$2bn ($258m) vehicle dubbed AEF Greater Bay Area (GBA) Fund. GBA Fund counts undisclosed conglomerates, financial institutions and family offices among its limited partners, and is scheduled to reach its final close in the first half of 2022. The fund will target developers of technologies in areas including deeptech and sustainability, healthcare, artificial intelligence and industry 4.0 technology. It is being managed by venture capital firm Gobi Partners.

Exits

Bukalapak, the Indonesia-based online marketplace, has priced its initial public offering at the top of its range and will raise $1.5bn. The share price values the company at about $6bn and Bukalapak is set to float on the Indonesia Stock Exchange next month. Founded in 2010, Bukalapak operates an e-commerce platform with 6.5 million online sellers and 100 million users, and also runs a business-to-business procurement platform as well as a digital financial services subsidiary called Buka Investasi Bersama. Emtek, Naver, Microsoft, Gree and Aucfan are all in line for an exit.

Shanghai Stock Exchange’s Star Market accepted the initial public offering application submitted by CloudWalk Technology, a China-based facial recognition system developer backed by corporates Bohai, Haier and PCI-Suntek. The company plans to raise RMB3.75bn ($574m) and filed the application in December 2020. It intends to issue up to 112 million shares, and China Securities (CSC Financial) has been appointed lead underwriter for the offering.

US-based lending software provider Blend Labs floated in a $360m initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange, representing an exit for cloud computing giant Salesforce. The company priced 20 million class A shares at the upper end of the IPO’s $16 to $18 range. Blend has developed a cloud software platform which helps financial services providers streamline the loans process. Its net loss rose from $22.9m in the first three months of 2020 to $27.1m in the equivalent period this year, while revenue more than doubled to $31.9m. The company had raised at least $685m prior to the offering, Salesforce having provided an undisclosed amount likely to have been $14m through its Salesforce Ventures unit in May 2019.

VTex, a UK-headquartered e-commerce services provider backed by SoftBank, went public in a $361m initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange. The IPO included nearly 13.9 million class A shares priced at $19 each, above the $15 to $17 range, while selling shareholders divested just over 5.1 million more shares for a total of approximately $97.3m. The shares opened at $25.10 a share on their first day of trading.

Caribou Biosciences, a US-based cell therapy developer spun out of UC Berkeley to commercialise research by Jennifer Doudna – one of the researchers that discovered Crispr-Cas9, has gone public in a $304m initial public offering representing an exit for corporate investors Corteva, AbbVie, Novartis and Heritage Medical Systems. The company increased the number of shares in the offering from 17 million to 19 million and priced them at the top of the IPO’s $14 to $16 range. It is floating on the Nasdaq Global Select Market and the share price gives it a valuation of almost $910m.


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

30 March 2020 – Lime in Talks to Raise Funding at a Reduced $400m Valuation

The Big Ones

In what may be an ominous sign, electric scooter rental service Lime is reportedly in talks to raise funding at a $400m valuation, a steep fall from its last round just over a year ago, when it secured $310m in a series D round featuring Alphabet that valued it at $2.4bn. The company has secured $777m altogether but the Covid-19 pandemic has led it to suspend operations in every market outside South Korea and it reportedly only has enough cash to last for the next few months on its current burn rate.

A good exit at a challenging time in the global economy for US-based mobile networking service Affirmed Networks had a year ago raised $38m in a funding round that included Qualcomm Ventures, the corporate venturing unit of semiconductor technology manufacturer Qualcomm.

The round was led by investment firm Centerview Capital Technology and included Eastward Capital Partners and unnamed existing shareholders.

Vodafone Ventures and T-Venture, the respective corporate venturing units of mobile phone operators Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom, previously took part in the company’s $51m series C round in 2013.

Bessemer Venture Partners led the series C round, also investing alongside KCK Group, Charles River Ventures (CRV), Lightspeed Venture Partners and Matrix Partners.

Affirmed Networks had emerged from stealth in 2012 with $52m in funding from T-Venture, Vodafone Ventures, Matrix, Charles River and Lightspeed.

Hassan Ahmed created the idea behind Affirmed when he was working out of CRV’s office in Boston in 2009 as an executive in residence. When Hassan joined the firm, he was already the most successful CRV entrepreneur of all time, having run engineering at Cascade Communications, a networking company sold to Ascend for more than $3bn in 1997 and then subsequently running Sonus Networks, a high-flying communications company that had gone public in 2000. Hassan had the magic touch.

Funds

China-based company, mobile game publisher Kunlun Tech, certainly seems to be bullish. It is one of two cornerstone investors for a $424m vehicle called Kunlun (Beijing) Internet Intelligent Industry Investment Fund that will back internet and AI technology developers. Kunlun is putting up about $140m for the fund while subsidiary Xinyu Shijie Wuji Investment Management will act as general partner.

Shortly after news emerged that Kunlun Tech was partnering investment manager Beijing Huayu Tianhong to put together a $424m fund, two more Chinese corporates – Yuexiu Group and People’s Insurance Company of China – have announced they are establishing an industry investment fund the same size that will focus on technology developers in China’s Greater Bay Area. It follows a $1bn Taiping Insurance-backed fund targeting the same region in January.

Dating.com commits $50m to meeting startups

Afterpay unveils AP Ventures fund

Exits

Mobile commerce platforms Letgo and OfferUp are set to merge in a deal accompanied by a $120m round led by classified listings manager OLX Group, part of Naspers’ Prosus subsidiary. The deal will give OLX a 40% stake in the combined business. It first invested in Letgo in 2015, the year the company was founded, and it had disclosed $975m in funding prior to the merger agreement.

FuboTV fuses with FaceBank

Checkmarx ticks acquisition box

OneWeb examines bankruptcy possibilities

North Wearables seeks direction to buyers

Deals

We mentioned in the big news intro that ride hailing services were among those likely to be hit by Covid-19 social isolation measures, and China’s Didi Chuxing looks like it could be first off the mark to raise money. It is reportedly lining up $300m in a round set to be led by SoftBank, at a time when its home country is beginning to ease travel restrictions. Didi was valued at $62bn as of a July investment by Toyota, and it’s going to be interesting to see if any valuation information leaks out once the deal closes.

Data mining software provider MiningLamp has secured $300m in a series E round co-led by Tencent and state-owned investment firm Temasek that included another corporate, Kuaishou. The company, whose business model is similar to Palantir’s, has now raised more than $785m altogether and the capital will be used to support research and development, recruitment and the development of an intelligent marketing software platform.

Vertical take-off and landing vehicle developer Lillium has closed more than $240m in funding, in a round led by Tencent. The round was made up entirely of existing investors and marks a downgrade from the $400m to $500m target it had reportedly set late last year. The deal may be emblematic of what we may increasingly see going forward: existing investors continuing to back portfolio companies while being more conservative when it comes to new bets.

Ping An’s Global Voyager Fund has led a $146m round for iCapital, a provider of alternative investment management software. The round included strategic investors such as UBS Financial Services, BNY Mellon, Goldman Sachs, BlackRock and Blackstone, and the company’s overall funding likely now tops $200m.

Online used car marketplace Cazoo has raised $117m in what represents its fourth round in the space of 18 months.  Daily Mail and General Trust’s DMG Ventures led the round, having backed the startup since its 2018 seed round, and was joined by investors including Fidelity’s Eight Roads Ventures fund. Interestingly, Cazoo expects a bump from the coronavirus conditions as more customers opt for online transactions.

Kallyope took its total funding past $240m in a $112m series C round featuring existing investors Illumina Ventures and Alexandria Venture Investments. The company is developing therapeutics concentrated on the body’s gut-brain axis and intends to use the funding to begin clinical trials for its lead asset, an oral treatment targeting satiety circuits for weight loss.

SutroVax sorts out $110m series D

CureFit cuts to $109m round

Dragonfly Therapeutics drags financing to $300m

Nature’s Fynd, the edible protein developer formerly known as Sustainable Bioproducts, has rebranded and raised $80m in a series B round featuring Danone Manifesto Ventures and Archer Daniels Midland’s ADM Ventures unit. The capital is expected to fund the doubling of the company’s headcount to 100 and the round comes as it has begun production of its edible vegan protein products.

University

Nurix nabs $120m

Recode decodes $80m series A


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