12 July 2021 – Wise Floats on London Stock Exchange with $12bn Valuation

The Big Ones

Pine Labs, an India-based digital payment technology provider backed by PayPal and Mastercard, secured over $600m in funding. Kotak Mahindra Bank and investment and Fidelity supplied the cash together with IIFL AMC’s Late-Stage Tech Fund, Ishana, Tree Line, funds managed by BlackRock and a fund advised by Neuberger Berman Investment Advisers.

UK-based cross-border wire transfer service Wise floated on the London Stock Exchange on Wednesday in a direct listing, allowing conglomerate Mitsui to sell its shares to the public. The company’s shares closed at £8.88 a share on their first day of trading, giving it a valuation of nearly £8.8bn ($12bn). It had been seeking a valuation between $6bn and $7bn before the listing, a source familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal.

US-listed advertising technology provider The Trade Desk unveiled a venture capital subsidiary called TD7 to fund technology startups focused on the concept of an open, transparent and competitive internet. Founded in 2009, The Trade Desk operates an online platform through which ad buyers can create and manage digital advertising campaigns across a variety of channels including social media, mobile and television.

Crossover

Muna Therapeutics, a Denmark-based developer of treatments for neurodegenerative diseases, closed a $73m series A round backed by VIB and its venture capital affiliate V-Bio Ventures. Novo, Sofinnova Partners, Droia Ventures and LSP Dementia co-led the round, with additional participation from Sanofi Ventures, Polaris Partners and Polaris Innovation Fund. Muna Therapeutics is focused on neurodegenerative diseases for which no cure is currently available and for which palliative care is scarce. Notably, Muna is actually the result of two spinouts that both launched only last year. The first, also called Muna, was spun out of Aarhus University with the support of Novo Seeds and later attracted a minority investment from contract research and discovery company Axxam. The second, K5 Therapeutics, was based on research at VIB and KU Leuven, with investments from VIB and Droia Ventures.

Deals

JD.com has led a $300m funding round for China-based cross-border e-commerce platform KK Group at a $3bn valuation. Citic Securities, CMC Capital Partners, Harvest Fund Management, Hongtai Capital, Ince Capital and New Horizon Capital filled out the round according to 36Kr, which contacted KK Group to verify the deal but has not received confirmation.

SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 and Eldridge Industries co-led a $235m funding round for Israel-based image recognition technology provider AnyVision. Undisclosed existing investors also backed the round. Amit Lubovsky, director at SoftBank Investment Advisers, which manages Vision Fund 2, has been appointed to AnyVision’s board of directors. AnyVision produces image recognition systems which leverage artificial intelligence to identify people through video footage.

Outbrain, a US-based online content discovery platform that counts quantitative trading firm Susquehanna International Group and publisher Gruner + Jahr as shareholders, raised $200m from investment manager Baupost Group on Tuesday. The company filed for an initial public offering on the Nasdaq Global Select Market late last month. It had been on track to merge with peer Taboola in an $850m deal agreed in October 2019, before the plans were scrapped in September the following year.

Hong Kong-based blockchain-powered game publisher Animoca Brands has closed a funding round sized at almost $139m having secured a $50m second tranche featuring Coinbase, Razer, Samsung and Scopely. The round included Blue Pool Capital, Gobi Partners, Korea Investment Partners, Liberty City Ventures and Token Bay Capital, and the capital was raised at a $1bn pre-money valuation. The initial $88.9m close took place in May this year and featured the Fintech Investment Fund run by HashKey, the blockchain-focused fund affiliated with auto component producer Wanxiang, as well as crypto trading platform developer Huobi, Octava, Kingsway Capital, RIT Capital Partners, AppWorks Fund and LCV Fund.

Funds

Artpark, an India-based non-profit commercialisation firm, is launching a $100m fund for robotics companies. Artpark was established in 2020 by the Indian Institute of Science and AI Foundry, with seed funding from the Indian government’s Department of Science of Technology and the government of Karnataka. It aims to bring together all ecosystem players – academia, industry, government and entrepreneurs – to drive artificial intelligence and robotics technologies that can improve quality of life.

Exits

Circle, a US-based blockchain payment platform developer, agreed to a reverse merger with special purpose acquisition company Concord Acquisition Corp. The combined business will be valued at $4.5bn through the deal and will pick up Concord’s listing on the New York Stock Exchange, which it acquired in a $276m initial public offering in December 2020. Circle’s existing shareholders will retain approximately 86% of the merged company’s shares. The merger is supported by $415m PIPE financing from investors including Fidelity and Marshall Wace, Adage Capital Management and Third Point as well as accounts advised by Ark Investment Management.

Heliogen, the US-based renewable energy technology developer backed by ArcelorMittal and Edison International, agreed to a reverse merger with special purpose acquisition company Athena Technology Acquisition Corp. The combined business will be valued at $2bn and will retain Athena’s listing on the New York Stock Exchange, taken when Athena raised $250m in an initial public offering in March this year. The deal will include a $165m PIPE transaction backed by XCarb Innovation Fund, the corporate venturing vehicle for ArcelorMittal, as well as investment bank Morgan Stanley’s Counterpoint Global unit, Salient Partners and Saba Capital.

SentinelOne, a US-based cybersecurity software provider that counts Qualcomm and consumer Samsung as investors, has closed its initial public offering at over $1.4bn. The company issued 35 million shares in an upsized offering on the New York Stock Exchange a week ago, priced at $35 each. The underwriters bought a further 5.25 million.

Kakao Pay, a South Korea-based mobile payment service backed by financial services provider Ant Group, is raising between ₩1.6 trillion and ₩1.7 trillion ($1.4bn to $1.5bn) in its initial public offering. The IPO is set to take place on the Korea Exchange on August 12 this year, and will involve the company issuing 17 million new shares priced at approximately $55.60 to $84.70 each. Formed by internet group Kakao in 2014, Kakao Pay Corp was spun off in April 2017, two months after it received $200m in funding from Ant Group (then called Ant Financial).

Xometry, the US-based manufacturing services marketplace backed by BMW, Robert Bosch and Dell, closed its initial public offering at almost $348m. The company raised an initial $302m the week before last when it priced 6.9 million class A shares at $44 each.

Nextdoor, the US-based social network operator that counts Comcast, Alphabet and Axel Springer as investors, agreed a reverse merger with special purpose acquisition company Khosla Ventures Acquisition Co II. The deal will give the merged business a pro forma equity valuation of approximately $4.3bn and involve it taking the listing on the Nasdaq Capital Market acquired by Khosla Ventures Acquisition Co II in a $400m initial public offering in March this year. The transaction will be boosted by a $270m PIPE financing featuring funds and accounts advised by T Rowe Price in addition to Baron Capital Group, Dragoneer, Soroban Capital, Ion Asset Management, Tiger Global Management, Hedosophia, accounts advised by Ark Invest, Nextdoor CEO Sarah Friar and affiliates of Khosla Ventures.

Planet Labs, the US-based orbital data provider backed by O’Reilly, agreed a reverse takeover with special purpose acquisition company DMY Technology Group IV. The deal will be supported by $200m in PIPE financing led by funds and accounts managed by BlackRock and backed by Koch Strategic Platforms – part of chemical and industrial group Koch – as well as Google and Time Ventures. The PIPE values the company at $2.8bn post-transaction, and it will inherit the New York Stock Exchange listing taken by DMY Technology Group IV in a $300m initial public offering in March this year.


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

20 May 2019 – JD Health Agrees Series A Funding Suspected to Total More Than $1bn

The Big Ones

JD.com has agreed to take in series A funding from CICC Capital, Baring Private Equity Asia and CPEChina Fund that is expected to total more than $1bn, for healthcare services subsidiary JD Health.

Not the week’s biggest fund in terms of numbers, but an intriguing one nonetheless: Telkomsel, the mobile network subsidiary of Indonesia-headquartered telecommunications company Telkom Indonesia, has launched a $40m VC fund in collaboration with telecoms firm Singapore Telecommunications.

When it came to exits, we had a nice crossover between corporate and university with NextCure, a US-based immuno-oncology drug developer based on research at Yale University, that secured $75m in its initial public offering.

Deals

Quibi raised $1bn for its short-form streaming platform back when was known as New TV, and it’s now seeking an additional $1bn to fund content production.

SoftBank Vision Fund’s latest investment involves it supplying $800m in funding for supply chain finance provider GreenSill at a $3.5bn valuation.

Amazon isn’t a huge participant in the corporate venturing space despite its establishment of the early stage-focused Alexa Fund. But it’s led a $575m series G round for UK-based online food delivery service Deliveroo that took the latter’s funding past the $1.5bn mark.

Telecommunications technology provider China Electronics Corporation is investing approximately $548m in Beijing Qianxin Technology, a network security product supplier spun off from Qihoo 360.

Reports last month stated SoftBank was set to invest more than $550m in Germany-based tour booking service GetYourGuide but the end result is slightly more modest, if still impressive.

Vegan burger producer Impossible Foods recently launched in Asia and is set to ramp up its partnership with Burger King. It plans to fund that expansion with a $300m funding round closed at a reported $2bn valuation.

SoftBank Vision Fund’s latest Indian investment has involved it leading a $200m series F round for online grocery delivery service Grofers that valued it at more than $1bn.

Speaking of innovative business models, tube-based transport developer Virgin Hyperloop One has already raised new funding, netting $172m according to a regulatory filing, with at least $90m of that sum coming from port operator DP World and the rest from around 80 additional investors.

ETechAces, the owner of financial product comparison platforms PolicyBazaar and PaisaBazaar, has raised $152m in a round led by SoftBank Vision Fund.

Working space provider Kr Space is one of China-based 36 Kr’s network of companies, but the spinoff has fared better than most, having just secured $145m that will support an expansion into the Asia Pacific region.

Nextdoor’s geographically-arranged social network now spans more than 230,000 neighbourhoods across multiple countries, and it’s secured $123m in series D funding to support an international growth drive that has most recently seen it enter Scandinavia.

Funds

Gree Ventures, the corporate venturing arm of Japan-based digital media company Gree, has reached the first close of a fund called Strive III which it intends to close at ¥15bn ($137m).

Diversified Philippines-based conglomerate JG Summit Holdings has launched a $50m corporate venturing fund dubbed JG Digital Equity Ventures (JG DEV).

Nabventures, the investment arm of the India-based National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard), is aiming to raise up to Rs 7bn ($99.4m) for a venture capital fund.

Universal Display Corporation, the US-based developer of organic light emitting diode (OLED) technologies and materials, has established a corporate venturing arm called UDC Ventures.

Exits

CrowdStrike was valued at more than $3bn when it last raised funding, in 2018, and now it’s filed for an initial public offering.

Family tracking and communication app developer Life360 may be headquartered in the US but it’s taken the unusual step of floating on the Australian Securities Exchange.

Sansan has been one of Japan’s more well-funded VC-stage companies, raising some $120m from investors that include Salesforce as well as home-grown corporates Japan Post, CyberAgent, Recruit, GMO, Nippon Life and Nikkei.


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

18 December 2017 – OneWeb Follows SpaceX with a $500m Investment

Deals

Days after SpaceX raised $1bn in funding, another satellite technology company, OneWeb, is lining up a $500m investment from SoftBank, which had previously put up $1bn of the $1.2bn OneWeb raised a year ago. .

Office software producer Kingsoft spun cloud storage business Kingsoft Cloud out in 2012 but has retained a majority stake now sized at 52%. It also invested $150m of the $300m in series D funding Kingsoft Cloud just raised at a $1.9bn valuation, bringing its total funding to approximately $500m.

Reports for most of this year have been touting a $200m corporate investment in Indian online grocer BigBasket, and the latest news is that Alibaba will pay $200m for a 25% stake in the company as part of a $280m round.

Koch Disruptive Technologies, a newly formed vehicle for conglomerate Koch Industries, has made its first investment, leading a $150m series E round for InSightec, the developer of a magnetic resonance-equipped ultrasound surgical device.

There have been some big deals in the space sector recently, and the latest is iSpace, a lunar exploration company that’s just closed $90.2m in series A funding, the largest series A round in Japan’s history.

NextDoor, the social media platform focused on local communities, has raised $75m from undisclosed investors at a valuation indicated by a regulatory filing to be about $1.5bn.

AI chip developer ThinkForce has secured $68m in a series A round featuring machine vision technology developer Yitu Technology as well as Sequoia Capital China, Yunfeng Capital and Yitu backer Hillhouse Capital.

Online razor seller Harry’s has raised $63.7m in funding, according to a regulatory filing, cash that will reportedly be put towards a complementary acquisition.

GV has participated in a $63m series B round closed by oncology therapy developer Relay Therapeutics that took the company’s overall funding to $120m.

Insikt, the Rakuten-backed operator of an online lending platform for the un(der)banked, has raised $50m in a series D round led by Grupo Coppel that took its total funding past the $100m mark.

Swedish mobile payment and small business revenue technology provider iZettle has secured about $47m in a Dawn Capital-led round that included the Fourth Swedish National Pension Fund, at a reported valuation of about $950m.

We’ve had several GGV deals already, and on GUV, the biggest deal was US-based immuno-oncology developer Pionyr Immunotherapeutics, which raised $62m in series B funding from a consortium that featured spinout-focused investment firm Osage University Partners.

Funds

Auto parts supplier Valeo has provided 25% of the money for a $226m car technology fund formed by private equity firm Cathay Capital, joining government-owned Yangtze River Industry Fund as a cornerstone investor.

On GGV, the EU-owned European Investment Fund contributed funding to investment firm LSP’s second medtech vehicle, LSP Health Economics Fund 2 (LSP HEF 2), which reached an oversubscribed close of €280m ($330m).

And on GUV, UM Ventures, the tech transfer office for the University of Maryland System (UMS), has unveiled plans for a venture fund of undisclosed size aimed at retaining university-linked startups in the city of Baltimore.

Here’s an interesting one from GUV as well: Imperial College London and Tsinghua University have joined forces to seed a $300,000 fund called the Tsinghua-Imperial Research and Innovation Fund to back early-stage scientific research.

Exits

Gilead Sciences has agreed to acquire T cell receptor therapy developer Cell Design Labs in a deal that could value it at up to $567m, six years after Kite Pharma, now a Gilead subsidiary, took a 12.2% stake by backing a $34.4m round that remained Cell Design’s only funding.

Apple has reportedly lined up a $400m acquisition of music identification app developer Shazam. The deal would provide exits for América Móvil, Sony, Universal and Access Industries, but none look likely to make a profitable return on their investments, Shazam’s valuation having peaked at about $1bn in 2015.

On GUV we’ve had two IPO-related news this past week. First up, Mirriad, a UK-based video technology spinout from University of Surrey, is targeting £26.2m ($35m) in gross proceeds in its initial public offering on Aim. Mirriad, which will enter the public markets under the ticker symbol Miri tomorrow (that’s Tuesday, December 19 for those of you listening later).

Then we also have Fusion Antibodies, a UK-based genomics modelling platform spun out of Queen’s University Belfast, which will raise £5.5m ($7.4m) in its initial public offering on Aim.


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