01 February 2021 – Xerox Sets Up $250m Corporate Venture Capital Fund

The Big Ones

GCV Digital Forum 2021 event had a host of highlights, including awards, the World of Corporate Venturing annual review, magazines and to bring together such luminaries to share insights and deal flow through the GCV Connect powered by Proseeder platform as well as commercially bring in the subscribers, sponsors and attendees.

To have about 1,000 at the forum and Mach 49 workshop and hundreds of meetings and engagement with the pitch sessions is awesome, particularly through the regional and sectoral meetings, such as for the hydrogen roundtable and Global Energy Council meeting and report.

The event also showcased the launches of our professional development and community platforms for venture investors of all types to meet up, the GCV Institute and Global Innovation Venturing, respectively.

We have together really set out the stall for this year for the growth of the GCV Leadership Society, GCV Connect powered by Proseeder platform, Global Innovation Venturing, GCV Institute including Academy and a boost to readers across our titles, with my colleague, Thierry Heles bringing out the latest quarterly report for Global University Venturing.
Let us work together to achieve our common goals. There is strength in unity.

Xerox sets up $250m corporate venture capital fund

Xerox’s has now set up a reported $250m corporate venture capital (CVC) fund. The timing is notable for a few reasons.

First, Tolga Kurtoglu, Xerox’s head of research, left late last year, to this month join computer maker HP – probably Silicon Valley’s original archetypal company having been founded by Stanford University students from their garage – as chief technology officer.
Second, Xerox is back into CVC after one of the most seminal journeys into CVC.

As CB Insights in its excellent history of the industry noted: “Xerox had had an active CVC program since the 1960s, operating an internally managed fund that invested in some of the most legendary figures in Silicon Valley, including Raymond Kurzweil [proponent of the singularity between people and machines] and Steve Jobs [founder of Apple]….

“Xerox started Xerox Technology Ventures (XTV) in 1988 to exploit and monetize the technology created in Parc and its other research labs, funding it with $30m.

“The company’s chairman said at the time that it was ‘a hedge against repeated missteps of the past’. Apple was one of several examples in which technology initially developed by Xerox was commercialized by more nimble competitors.”

But Parc also developed the laser printer among a host of projects and XTV was an enormous financial success, netting capital gains of $219m on the company’s initial investment, an astounding net internal rate of return of 56%, CB Insights’ history notes.

XTV was terminated, reportedly due to politics, and replaced with Xerox New Enterprises, which did not relinquish control of firms or allow for outside investment and had less success.

Which direction Xerox’s new fund takes will showcase whether the new management since the 1990s has learned the right lessons and there are now plenty of examples of groups setting up for success and longevity, as identified in the GCV Digital Forum over the past week.

Thanks to the 1,000 or so investors, including those part of the GCV Leadership Society who joined this Festival of Corporate Venturing and helped with the pilot and roll out of the GCV Institute launched to provide the professional development to recruit, retain and train CVCs and their business units and executive on the right approaches. In innovation we trust and we welcome Xerox and its CEO, John Visentin, back into the community

Focus on large acquisitions

There are certainly all these elements to Preventice’s acquisition by Boston Scientific for up to $1.025bn. But the conditions for these deals are set by the animal spirits in the wider public markets.

And here the music is certainly playing as Silicon Valley Bank notes in annual healthcare report.

The boom in diagnostics (dx/tools as a subsector) was set by last year’s flotation of  digital disease management company Livongo in an $355m initial public offering. The following year saw telehealth group Teladoc acquire Livongo for $18.5bn.

And behind both Preventice and Livongo was US-listed drugs group Merck’s corporate venturing unit, Global Health Innovation (GHI).

William Taranto, head of Merck GHI, noted by email: “This is our second unicorn for GHI in the last 18 months (Livongo and Preventice). We were majority owner of Preventice.”

Jon Otterstatter, co-founder and CEO of Preventice Technologies, and Taranto in a session moderated by Heidi Mason of Bell Mason Group spoke at length at the GCV Symposium a few years ago. Mason when asked by email remembered it well. “I recall being on your London Symposium stage with Bill and Jon some years ago, talking about strategic vision and gainful implementation before [the] ‘CVC ecosystem investor model’ was common wisdom.

“Bill and Jon discussing how their strategic innovation partnership was forged with vision of new digital health market [and] new sector…and even then, they were anticipating this type of M&A or IPO as a future rung in their strategic platform ‘ascension’ story.”

Merck operates a $500m GHI Fund and added a $700m private equity fund to be able to buy-and-build and take larger stakes across the ecosystem. For his GCV Powerlist 2016 award, Taranto said: “We are focused on using our growth equity firm to create ecosystems around oncology and infectious disease.

“We are very proud to have acquired and merged Preventice Solutions and eCardio, then bringing in Boston Scientific as our partner.”

After a merger with eCardio and a spin-out after acquisition, Joe Volpe, general manager of Merck’s $700m fund and a GCV Rising Star 2016, said the Preventice asset deal paid Merck back more than 80% of what was invested and left it still owning about 48% of the asset with significant value. This was increased to majority control in last year’s $137m round, while Boston Scientific owned about 22% stake in Preventice pre-takeover.

As SVB notes in its annual healthcare report: “Historically, we have seen few, if any, large private dx/tools acquisitions….

“However, in 2020, we saw three multi-billion dollar private M&A (ArcherDX [bought for $1.4bn by Invitae], Grail [acquired by Illumina for $8bn] and Thrive Earlier Detection taken over by Exact Sciences for $2.2bn]), two of which were pre-commercial….

“All three deals exited in less than five years from the close of their series A….

“We anticipate [this year] an even split between $1bn-plus IPOs and M&A, as big-deal IPO/M&A optionality has arrived in the sector.”

Just in the past week has been a further 11 venture-backed healthcare companies filing details on their IPOs and another four trade sales, with the majority backed by corporate venturers.

The stem cell therapy developer Sana Bio filed to go public to raise $150m seven months after closing $700m in funding from investors including Alphabet unit GV.

WuXi AppTec and New World Development-backed Adagene plans a $125m IPO.

Cambrian Biopharma is the largest investor in cancer immunotherapy developer Sensei Biotherapeutics, which has filed to raise up to $100m.

The immunotherapy developer Immunocore plans to go public in the US with $100m IPO.

PureTech Health, Johnson & Johnson and Novartis are in line for exits after the cancer drug developer Vor Biopharma filed for its initial public offering.

Lilly Asia Ventures is the largest shareholder of liver disease therapy developer Terns, which has filed for $100m IPO.

UnitedHealth Group and Merck are both in line for exits as Decipher Biosciences files for a $100m initial public offering.

Amgen and Pfizer-backed oncology therapy developer NexImmune has filed to raise up to $86.3m in an IPO on the Nasdaq Global Market.

Novo and Pfizer are among the investors set to exit the cancer therapy developer Bolt Biotherapeutics, which has set a $100m target for its initial public offering.

Non corporate-backed Lucira Health and Landos Biopharma also announced pricing of their IPOs.

On trade sales, Biohaven has purchased the 58% stake cancer immunotherapy developer Kleo Pharmaceuticals it did not already own, while Haemonetics acquired Cardiva Medical in a deal worth up to $510m, Thermo Fisher Scientific bought Mesa Biotech for $550m and Philips acquired Capsule Technologies for $635m.

With the rapid flow of capital back to investors at a faster pace, the appetite for more dealmaking is increasing.

SVB noted healthcare company investment surged more than 50% last year from 2019 to set a new high at $52bn so GCV is delighted to announce Taranto and Rob Coppedge, head of Echo Health Ventures (EHV), will co-chair the new Global Health Council being formed next month. You can catch up with Merck and EHV at our GCV Digital Forum this week, which includes an invite-only healthcare roundtable and public discussion moderated by Neil Foster at Brown Rudnick and including Hitachi’s US chairman.

Funds

Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association supplied $100m for Lilly Asia Ventures’ LAV Biosciences Fund V fund two years ago, and it has now put up another $100m that will be spread across its LAV Fund VI and LAV Fund VI Opportunities funds. Lilly Asia Ventures, a spin off of pharmaceutical firm Eli Lilly, is looking to raise a total of $1.35bn for the two funds.

Arch structures $1.85bn Fund XI

Xiamen C&D backs $441m Qiming fund

Fireside Ventures finalises $118m second fund

Exits

Kuaishou has priced a $5.4bn initial public offering that will take some beating in 2021, even bearing in mind how bullish the markets are right now. The Tencent and Baidu-backed short-form video app developer will be valued at roughly $61bn in the offering, which will take place early next month in Hong Kong, though reports of the retail portion of the share subscription being 1,200 times oversubscribed suggest that market cap is going to skyrocket.

Decibel sounds out public markets

University

Landos aims for $100m IPO

Electric carmaker and mobility technology provider Faraday Future has had an uneven history, raising a reported $2bn before property developer China Evergrande acquired a 45% stake through subsidiary Evergrande Health Industry for $860m. However, Faraday looks set to snatch a public market listing, having agreed a reverse merger with special purpose acquisition company Property Solutions Acquisition Corp. The transaction will be buoyed by $775m in PIPE financing and will value the merged company at about $3.4bn.

Content recommendation engine developer Taboola failed in its bid to merge with peer Outbrain last year but has agreed to go public through a reverse merger with a special purpose acquisition company to form a $2.6bn business. The deal will also include $150m of shares bought from existing Taboola shareholders that could potentially include corporate investors DMGT, Baidu, Advance Publications, Yahoo Japan and Comcast.

Latch unlocks public listing with reverse merger

SAP signals Signavio acquisition

Shell shoots for Ubitricity acquisition

Loon comes back down to earth

Deals

SenseTime looks set to be one of the big tech IPOs of 2021, and news has emerged that the artificial intelligence software producer reportedly raised funding in late 2020 at a $12bn valuation. The size of the round has not been disclosed and nor have the investors, but reports in August suggested SenseTime was targeting $1.5bn in a pre-IPO round, and its existing backers include Alibaba, Qualcomm, SoftBank, Suning and Dalian Wanda.

Elsewhere in China, electric vehicle producer Leapmotor has received $665m in series B funding from investors including a Hefei government fund, SDIC Chuangyi Industrial Fund Management, Hangzhou Jiuzhi Investment Management and Shanghai Yonghua Capital Management. The company was spun off by Dahua Technologies and counts corporates Shanghai Electric and CRRC among its earlier investors.

Investors have been looking out for a resurgence in the cleantech sector for a while now, and the bull market for electric carmakers could pull up an adjacent part of the market: battery technology. Sila Nanotechnologies, which is developing more effective forms of battery chemistry, has raised $590m in a series F round that more than tripled its valuation to $3.3bn. The round was led by Coatue but none of Sila Nano’s corporate backers – Daimler, Siemens, Samsung and Amperex – were named as participants.

The covid-19 pandemic has boosted business for food ordering apps and grocery delivery services, and Finland-based Wolt has taken advantage, expanding from the first group to the second. It has also just raised $530m from investors including Prosus to hike its total funding to $856m. The round comes as the company disclosed that it roughly tripled revenue during 2020.

The digitalisation of the financial services sector is continuing apace, with neobanks still raising big money. The latest is Brazil-based Nubank, which has bagged $400m in a series G round featuring Tencent that boosted its valuation to $25bn. Tencent also took part in Nubank’s last round, a $400m series F in mid-2019 that valued it at $10bn. The latest capital influx will support its Latin American expansion.

Didi digs up $300m for autonomous driving unit

Samsung-backed cloud networking technology provider DriveNets has pulled in $208mthrough a series B round valuing it at over $1bn. D1 Capital Partners led the round, which follows $117m in series A funding DriveNets had raised at a reported valuation of about $500m. Samsung Venture Investment Corporation lists it as a portfolio company but has not confirmed when it invested.

Tourism and leisure booking platform developer Klook is in one of the sectors hit hardest by covid-2019 but has accordingly added features like interactive video content and a contact tracing tool to its offering. It’s been rewarded with $200m in series E funding from investors including Softbank Vision Fund 1. It had secured $225m in its last round, which was led by Vision Fund 1 in 2019.

Lyra Health wires in $187m

In China, autonomous driving technology developer Uisee has received $154mfrom investors including the corporate-backed National Manufacturing Transformation and Upgrade Fund. It had raised an undisclosed amount of series B funding from investors including Robert Bosch Venture Capital last February.

Bloomreach, developer of digital experience technology that helps online retailers drive sales, has raised its first funding in five years, taking $150m from Sixth Street Growth at a reported $900m valuation. That earlier round was a $56m series D that included Salesforce Ventures, increasing Bloomreach’s overall funding to nearly $100m. The latest round supported the company’s acquisition of customer experience software developer Exponea.

Huohua Siwei has become the latest Chinese digital education provider to raise money, having secured $150m in a series E3 round featuring Tencent that reportedly valued it at $1.5bn post-money. Trustbridge Partners led the round, which expanded the company’s overall series E funding to $400m over the past six months. Online tutoring service Yuanfudao backed its series E1 round back in August, and its total funding is near the $600m mark.

Agile Robots manoeuvres to $130m

Digital health insurance has been doing big numbers of late, and Sidecar Health has pulled in $125m through a series C round led by Drive Capital. Sidecar, which counts Comcast Ventures among its investors, is present in 16 US states and intends to expand that reach over the course of 2021.

Design Therapeutics discovers $125m in series B

Melio gets $110m payment

Stripe makes Fast work in $102m round

TScan hangs up $100m in series C

Albert absorbs $100m in series C funding

Yunxuetang yanks in $100m from Tencent

University

Soci cements $80m series D

Deerfield sets Nuvalent in motion with $50m series A


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

05 August 2019 – MyBank Seeks $870m at $3.5bn Valuation

Big ones

MyBank was formed by Ant Financial and Fosun in 2015, and now the big data and AI-enhanced online lending platform is reportedly seeking about $870m in a round that could include both corporates at a $3.5bn valuation. Its other existing investors include Wanxiang, a contributor to the $644m the company received at the time of its launch.

After much speculation, Indonesian bank Bank Negara Indonesia has officially launched its venture capital unit, BRI Ventures. It has provided an initial $100m for the unit that it intends to eventually increase to up to $250m, and it will be headed by Nicko Widjaja, the ex-CEO of one of the country’s other notable corporate venturing entities, Telkom Indonesia’s MDI Ventures. That’s an interesting development considering MDI was said to be helping BNI put together the fund.

Chinese online lending platform 9f has filed to go public in the US and hopes to raise $150m in proceeds but, in an unusual move, is yet to settle on an exchange (it’s a fight between NYSE and Nasdaq). The company’s investors include Susquehanna International Group and SBI, though neither have stakes sized at 5% or more. Founded in 2006, 9f operates a peer-to-peer lending marketplace for consumers, with the loans supplied by both private investors and institutional partners. The platform also offers securities trading and big data analytics functionalities. The company had 76.7 million registered users as of March this year, 7.8 million of which have an approved credit limit. Its outstanding loan balance totalled $8.2bn at the time.

Alizé Pharma 3, a France-based biopharmaceutical startup based on research at University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill, University of Maine and Harvard University, secured $74.6m on Tuesday in a series A round led by investment firm LSP. Novo Ventures, Partners Innovation and Sham Innovation Santé, respective investment vehicles for pharmaceutical firm Novo, healthcare provider Partners Healthcare and insurer Sham, among others, also took part in the round. Alizé Pharma 3 is developing drugs that are intended to treat metabolic diseases and diseases of the endocrine system.

Deals

Swiggy is in what’s increasingly become a head-to-head battle with Zomato for dominance in India’s on-demand food delivery sector, and it’s reportedly close to raising between $700m and $750m in a round led by existing investor Naspers.

Healthcare software provider Babylon Health has announced a $550m series C round that will value it at $2bn post-money once it formally closes.

Traveloka raised $420m in a GIC-backed round in April, and is reportedly talking to investors in a bid to secure an additional $500m at a valuation of about $4.5bn.

Mobile bank operator Nubank has already sealed funding, notching up $400m in a series F round that included Tencent. The corporate had already invested $90m in Nubank last October, together with a $90m secondary transaction.

Online real estate brokerage Compass is now valued at $6.4bn having secured $370m in a series G round that included SoftBank Vision Fund, fresh from the launch of its recent $108bn second vehicle.

Mobile commerce platform Wish is now valued at $11.2bn following a series H round reportedly sized at $300m. General Atlantic led the round, without any other participanys being disclosed.

Machine learning software provider DataRobot has reportedly secured $200m in a series E round led by Sapphire Ventures at a valuation of more than $1bn.

Chinese engineering equipment rental service Zhongeng United has raised a total of about $167m in new funding, almost $22m of which came in the shape of series B-plus capital supplied by Five Star.

Funds

Utimco, a joint investment company of University of Texas and Texas A&M University, has backed a $234m life sciences fund raised by Germany-based venture firm Wellington Partners.

Exits

There’s been a lot of talk of decline in the new media sector as of late, and we could be about to see some more consolidation in the space. Vice is one of the biggest players and is reportedly in discussions to acquire Refinery29 in a move intended to diversify its comparatively masculine reputation.


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

15 October 2018 – Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund Invests $45bn in SoftBank’s Second Vision Fund

Funds

SoftBank has for a few months discussed its intentions to launch a second $100bn Vision Fund, and it will have received a hefty incentive with news that Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund intends to put up $45bn for the new fund.

Foxconn has formed a $545m investment fund that will invest in semiconductor ventures including the launch of five integrated-circuit design companies and one high-performance chip developer.

Tencent Investments, internet group Tencent’s corporate venturing unit, is meanwhile in talks with family offices and other potential limited partners for a $650m fund that will focus on follow-on investments in its portfolio companies.

Chrysalix takes corporates to RoboValley for new fund

Another interesting development in the past two or three years has been the increased entry of packaged food producers into corporate venturing. The likes of Kellogg, General Mills and Tyson Foods have been joined by Kraft Heinz, which is committing $100m to an investment initiative called Evolv Ventures.

University

Theodorus unveils $23m fund

Université libre de Bruxelles has added a fourth Theodorus fund to its arsenal with an initial close of $23m and a target of up to $33.5m.

Yissum fabricates $6m nanotech fund

HUJ’s tech transfer arm still hopes to raise a further $3m for the fund for a $9m close, and it has already invested in three technologies.

Deals

SoftBank has pumped billions of dollars into workspace provider WeWork to build up a stake of almost 20%, and the WSJ has reported that its Vision Fund is now considering an investment between $15bn and $20bn that will give it a majority stake in the company.

Xiaozhu, the short-term accommodation platform seen by many as China’s Airbnb, hasraised almost $300m in a round led by Yunfeng Capital.

Snowflake Computing has to be one of the fastest growing companies in the startup space right now. The data warehousing software provider raised $263m at a post-money valuation of $1.76bn in January and now, nine months later, has secured $450m in a round that valued it at $3.95bn post-money.

There’s been a lot about digital banking in recent months but much of the dealflow has been going on in Europe. Nubank however is showing that the model can be expanded to other markets, and the Brazilian company has raised $180m from Tencent at a reported $4bn valuation.

JFrog jumps to $165m series D

University

Glympse Bio engineers $22m series A

Exits

Redlock heads to Palo Alto in $173m acquisition

GV exits as Anju inhales Zephyr

Orchard Therapeutics has filed to raise almost $173m in an initial public offering, having secured more than $290m in equity funding in under three years. GlaxoSmithKline is the gene therapy developer’s second largest shareholder, with a 17.9% stake, while Medison and Sphera Global Health Care are also investors, having participated in its $150m series C round in August.

Synthetic DNA producer Twist Bioscience has filed to raise up to $86.3m in an initial public offering on the Nasdaq Global Market.


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