15 March 2021 – $1.9bn for Cold Chain Services Provider Lineage Logistics

The Big Ones

One element of retail that has emerged unscathed from the covid-19 pandemic is food, and Lineage Logistics is among the biggest cold chain services providers in the world, offering temperature-controlled delivery and storage. It has also raised $1.9bn from investors including property developer Oxford Properties and several real estate investment firms. The equity funding was secured together with a $2.8bn revolving credit facility and term loan.

As the Dow hits record highs the IPO market shows no sign of slowing, and increasing numbers of international tech companies are flowing to US markets. South Korea-headquartered online marketplace Coupang is the latest to take that option and is floating on the New York Stock Exchange in a $4.55bn offering, the year’s biggest so far. SoftBank Vision Fund owned more than 39% of its class A shares pre-IPO, having committed a total of $3bn in funding.

AstraZeneca formed the $1bn Healthcare Industrial Fund in partnership with China International Capital Corporation in late 2019, and now the pharmaceutical firm is teaming up with the investment bank’s CICC Capital unit to establish a $338m vehicle called Wuxi AstraZeneca CICC Investment. AstraZeneca already runs a life science incubator in the Chinese city of Wuxi, and the fund will invest in areas such as innovative therapeutics, medical devices, diagnostics technology and AI healthcare technology.

Crossover

IonQ, a US-based quantum computing technology developer exploiting University of Maryland and Duke University research, has agreed to list through a reverse takeover. The company is merging with a SPAC called dMY Technology Group, which had floated on the New York Stock Exchange in a $275m IPO in November 2020. The combined business will have a pro forma implied valuation of $2bn and the transaction will be supported by $350m in PIPE financing from investors including Hyundai Motor Company, its Kia subsidiary and GV, among others. IonQ has created a 32-qubit quantum computer it claims is the world’s most powerful quantum system. It had disclosed a total of $77m in funding as of a $55m round co-led by consumer electronics producer Samsung’s Catalyst Fund in late 2019, when Osage University Partners also invested (do check out our sister podcast Talking Tech Transfer, which you can find on GlobalUniversityVenturing.com, for an interview with Osage’s Kirsten Leute about more on their investment strategy).

Deals

China-based e-commerce group JD.com has spun off several subsidiaries in recent years covering areas such as finance, healthcare and logistics. Now its infrastructure investment arm, JD Property, has agreed to raise $700m in a series A round co-led by Warburg Pincus and Hillhouse Capital, according to its 2020 end-of-year results. The other investors were not disclosed but it has partnered sovereign wealth funds GIC and Mubadala on infrastructure funds.

Starling Bank is the latest digital bank to pull in a nine-figure amount of funding, taking $377m in a series D round valuing it above $1.5bn pre-money. Starling, which counts JTC Group among its investors, is one of several well-funded neobanks to spring up in the UK in recent years, including Revolut and Monzo, though the sector is still a long way away from proving profitable, and despite the current fintech boom, it’s going to be interesting to see if they can maintain their growth.

Crypto asset manager BlockFi has completed a $350m series D round valuing it at $3bn, with Hudson River Trading and Susquehanna Government Products among the participants. Its existing investors include Akuna Capital, SoFi and corporate venturing vehicles Consensys Ventures, CMT Digital, Recruit Strategic Partners and SCB 10X.

Valo Health is less than two years old but has just closed an upsized series B round at $300m following a $110m investment by Koch Disruptive Technologies. Valo is one of a new wave of startups allocating machine learning to the drug development process, a wave increasingly looking like it could become the dominant force in the early-stage pharmaceutical sector. It is initially targeting cancer and neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases.

Snyk has secured $300m in a series E round consisting of primary and secondary investments, with GV, Atlassian Ventures and Salesforce Ventures all contributing. The app cybersecurity technology provider said it has now raised $470m in primary funding altogether, and the round valued it at $4.7bn post-money. That’s a 47-times increase from the valuation at which GV first invested.

Salesforce Ventures also took part in a $170m series C round for Flutterwave, the developer of a cross-border payment platform, valuing it above $1bn. It’s the latest sign of an ongoing surge in fintech, and the company’s earlier backers include Mastercard, Visa and FIS. It will allocate the funding to product development and customer acquisition.

Funds

Ascension Ventures was set up by health system Ascension two decades ago and now the venture capital firm has closed its fifth fund with $285m in capital supplied by 13 healthcare providers: Ascension itself, as well as AdventHealth, Carle Foundation, CentraCare, Children’s Medical Center of Dallas, Intermountain Healthcare, Novant Health, OhioHealth, OSF HealthCare, Luminis Health, Sentara Healthcare and Texas Health Resources. There is also an unnamed health system among the LPs. Ascension Ventures has invested in nearly 80 companies to date and now has more than $1bn in assets under management.

Exits

Game development platform operator Roblox has executed a direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange that gave Tencent and Warner Music Group (WMG) the chance to sell shares. The direct listing model means there wasn’t an official price for the shares, but the NYSE has issued a guidance price of $45 each, the same price at which Roblox secured $520m in a WMG-backed round in January valuing it at $29.5bn, a sevenfold increase in under a year. As we’re recording this on Friday afternoon UK time, shares are trading at $69.51, which is a slight drop on the $73.90 peak they’d briefly reached on Thursday.

Hippo Enterprises, the online home insurance provider backed by Comcast, Lennar, MS&AD, Munich Re and Standard Industries, is the latest company to seek the Spac route, agreeing to a reverse merger with Reinvent Technology Partners Z. Lennar is among the investors to put $550m of PIPE financing into Hippo, which will come out with $1.2bn in capital once the deal closes. It will list on NYSE and is expected to have a valuation of $5bn, and the money should help Hippo reach its goal of being available for 95% of the US population by the end of the year.

Olo has developed software that helps restaurants manage online orders, and has moved into profit in the past year as a string of US chains have used its platform to deal with increased online orders during the Covid-19 pandemic. The PayPal-backed company seems to have chosen the right time to go public, and has set terms for an initial public offering that will net $324m if it floats at the top of its range. It’s worth mentioning too that Olo has disclosed less than $65m of primary funding pre-IPO.

Coursera, the online education provider spun out of Stanford University and backed by Caltech, University of Pennsylvania, Seek Group, Laureate Education and Times Internet, is going for the traditional IPO exit instead. The spinout is yet to set any terms, having put the customary $100m placeholder figure into its draft prospectus, but it has collected some $443m in funding to date. None of the corporates or universities own more than 5% ahead of the offering and instead Coursera’s largest shareholder is NEA with an 18.3% stake.

Axonius, developer of a cybersecurity asset management platform, has only just achieved unicorn status, raising $100m last week at a $1.2bn valuation. That has proven the ticket for YL Ventures, a venture firm that has been an investor since seed stage, to divest a $270m stake to buyers including the Deutsche Telekom-backed DTCP. Axonius had raised nearly $200m in primary funding without taking any corporate investment.


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

08 March 2021 – Klarna Raises $1bn

The Big Ones

E-commerce instalment finance provider Klarna is riding the fintech wave, having raised $1bn in financing from undisclosed new and existing investors in a round that almost tripled its valuation from $10.7bn to $31bn. Visa, Ant Group, Bonnier, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Bestseller Group are among the company’s existing backers, and the funding came just six months after Klarna’s previous round.

Singapore-headquartered mobile game, e-commerce and financial services group Sea went public in an $884m initial public offering four years ago, and has decided to allocate $1bn to a corporate venturing vehicle called Sea Capital to boost its ecosystem. The formation of Sea Capital was fuelled by the company’s acquisition of investment manager Composite Capital Management, whose founder David Ma will run the unit on Sea’s behalf.

Oscar Health has gone public in an upsized $1.44bn initial public offering, with the shares priced comfortably above the range it had set for the IPO. The digital health insurer had raised nearly $1.7bn from investors including Alphabet and Ping An pre-IPO, and if the underwriters take up the chance to buy more shares through the over-allotment option the offering could reach roughly the same size.

Crossover

Century Therapeutics, a US-based immuno-oncology therapy developer based on research at Harvard and Stanford universities, has completed a $160m series C round led by Casdin Capital. Leaps by Bayer, the corporate venturing arm of pharmaceutical and chemical group Bayer, also contributed to the round, as did financial services and investment group Fidelity Management and Research and sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority. Venture capital firm Versant Ventures, which incubated the startup based on Harvard and Stanford work, also took part in the round, as did a host of others. Century is working on drugs using induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology, which is derived from adult human cells, to develop haematologic and solid tumour cancer treatments.

Deals

Virtual events platform Hopin may have had the fastest immediate growth of any startup in recent times, having just closed its fourth round in 13 months, securing $400m from investors including Salesforce Ventures at a $5.65bn valuation. That figure is near triple the $2.15bn valuation at which it last raised money, in a November series B round that also featured Salesforce Ventures. Its earlier backers include fellow corporate venturing units Slack Fund and Amaranthine Fun.

Instacart has had one of the biggest years in memory for a private VC-backed company, and has now received $265m from existing investors at a $39bn post-money valuation. That’s more than double the $17.7bn at which the Comcast, American Express and Amazon-backed grocery delivery service last raised money, five months ago, and nearly three times that at which it closed the previous round, last July.

A lot of retail has moved online in recent months, and fashion resale platform developer Vestiaire Collective is among the beneficiaries. The company has just received $215m from investors including the Advance Publications-owned Condé Nast and luxury goods producer Kering, which acquired a 5% stake through the transaction. The capital will go to enhancing the company’s technology and data activities.

Humana and Echo Health Ventures have contributed to a $200m series D round for home healthcare provider DispatchHealth that valued it at $1.7bn. DispatchHealth operates in a sector that has seen increased growth in recent months as the coronavirus pandemic has led to home care becoming a more urgent option. The round pushed the company’s overall funding to $417m, its earlier investors including Optum Ventures as well as Echo Health Ventures and Humana.

Last-mile delivery service SiCepat Ekspres has bagged $170m in a series B round that included Telkom Indonesia’s MDI Ventures subsidiary. The round’s December first close valued SiCepat at approximately $736m and its existing backers include Barito Pacific’s Barito Teknologi vehicle in addition to Tokopedia.

Funds

Legend Capital was spun off by Legend Holdings as an independent venture firm but is still backed by its ex-parent. It is also one of the largest VC investors in China, and has launched its sixth renminbi-denominated fund with a target exceeding $1.5bn. It had raised $500m for the close of its most recent dollar fund, LC Fund VIII, late last year.

Crypto.com is joining the likes of fellow digital currency-focused companies Coinbase, Binance and Ripple by forming a corporate venturing unit, Crypto.com Capital, with $200m for it to spend. The unit will invest up to $3m to lead seed rounds and up to $10m for series As, and is targeting crypto technology developers. It is helmed by Crypto.com co-founder and head of corporate development Bobby Bao.

US-based insurance firm Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company has established a $50m investment vehicle called MM Catalyst Fund that will fund companies with diverse founders in its home state of Massachusetts. The capital allocation partly consists of a $25m fund dubbed MMCF Growth which will provide equity and debt financing for Massachusetts-based businesses with black founders, owners or managers. The other half of the funding will go to MMCF Tech, a fund which will provide equity funding for technology developers based in Massachusetts but outside of state capital Boston.

Exits

Okta has agreed to acquire Auth0, a developer of application identity management technology, in an all-share deal that will value it at $6.5bn. That’s more than triple the valuation at which Auth0 last raised funding, in a July 2020 series F round led by Salesforce Ventures and backed by fellow corporate venturing vehicles DTCP and Telstra Ventures. Auth0 has secured a total of $333m since it was founded, from an investor base that also includes NTT Docomo Ventures.

Digital real estate brokerage Compass has meanwhile filed for a $500m initial public offering that could allow SoftBank and Advance Publications to exit. SoftBank Vision Fund is the company’s largest investor, with a 34.8% stake, having put up $250m for a $344m round Compass closed early last year at a reported $6.4bn valuation. Its earlier backers include media group Advance Publications and it has secured about $1.5bn in funding in total.

Manbang Group, the trucking services provider also known as Full Truck Alliance, was valued at almost $12bn in November when it raised $1.7bn in a round co-led by SoftBank Vision Fund. Now, the China-based company has confidentially filed to go public in the United States, with Tencent, Alphabet unit CapitalG and Baidu Capital also in line to exit. It’s going to be interesting to see if the election of Joe Biden, a less China-hostile president, will see a rebound from Chinese companies to US markets.

Doma, the real estate transaction software provider formerly known as States Title, has agreed to list through a reverse merger with special purpose acquisition company Capitol Investment Corp V at a $3bn enterprise value. The deal is supported by a $300m PIPE financing featuring SoftBank and property developer Lennar, the latter an existing investor in Doma. Its other backers include Assurant, Scor and HSCM Bermuda, all of which took part in its $120m series C round in May 2020.

Harvard University spinout Moderna has been one of the biggest success stories not just for spinouts but for corporate venture capital too in the last year, its share price rising sixfold on the strength of it being one of the first pharmaceutical companies to get a covid-19 vaccine approved. One of its pre-IPO investors was AstraZeneca, which provided $140m in equity funding and which has sold its stake for a price likely to have topped $1bn. That’s quite a return, and one that will support plans announced by the corporate in late 2019 to launch a $1bn fund.


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

08 April 2019 – Cambridge Innovation Capital Collates $196m in New Capital

The Big Three

The fresh capital, anchored by University of Cambridge and its Endowment Fund, will enable patient capital-orientated vehicle Cambridge Innovation Capital to make new bets and sustain investments in its existing portfolio. Delighted Tony Raven joining us to share more at the Symposium as well as his peers at Oxford university.

Intel Capital has announced 14 investments (see below), the largest of which involved it leading a $150m series B round for artificial intelligence application platform SambaNova. The round also featured GV, which had previously co-led a $56m series A announced when SambaNova emerged from stealth early last year.

Precision Biosciences has gone public in a $126m IPO that valued it at more than $780m, notching up exits for Amgen Ventures and Baxter Ventures. The genome editing technology developer floated in the middle of its range but its share price has since risen, and the offering comes after more than $175m in equity and convertible note financing.

Funds

After nearly two years, SoftBank Vision Fund still hasn’t officially reached its $100bn targeted close, but it is reportedly seeking $15bn in extra capital that will allow it to keep making investments, including follow-on investments, while it prepares to raise a second $100bn fund. It may have to do it sooner rather than later, because sources told Bloomberg it has now gone through 70% of its capital and it’s investing at a breakneck pace.

Pet food and care provider Mars Petcare has launched a $100m strategic investment fund, the Companion Fund, in connection with its creation of an open innovation unit called Kinship.

Chevron Technology Ventures checks $90m for Fund VII

Corporates buy into ByFounders’ $112m debut fund

Okta verifies $50m corporate venturing fund

UT Health San Antonio loads biomedical accelerator

UTokyo IPC ignites accelerator

Exits

Thoma Bravo fires off Mailgun acquisition

TradingView takes in TradeIt

Chinese social media influencer network Ruhnn has gone public in the US, raising $125m. Weibo bought $8m of shares in the Alibaba-backed company through the IPO, which involved Ruhnn floating in the middle of its range.

NGM Biopharmaceuticals secured $107m when it floated, together with $65.9m from existing backer and development partner Merck & Co through a private placement.

Slack has reportedly selected the New York Stock Exchange as the venue for a direct listing slated to take place in June or July. The enterprise collaboration platform is backed by SoftBank Vision Fund, GV and Comcast Ventures and was valued at more than $7bn as of last year.

Life360 circles Australia for $100m IPO

Oxford Nanopore sets sights on IPO

Deals

Hellobike raised more than $580m from backers including Ant Financial at the tail end of last year and is reportedly seeking $500m to $1bn in new funding. It claims to have 200 million registered users but either way, you’d think it’s going to have to find a route to profit sooner or later in order to survive.

India-based Zoomcar operates in another part of the transport tech space, in on-demand car rental. It is also gearing up for a big leap forward, negotiating with carmaker Mahindra & Mahindra for a $500m debt and equity round that would potentially take it into unicorn territory, representing a sixfold increase in valuation between rounds.

Toast, the developer of a point-of-sale and business management software platform for the restaurant industry, has secured $250m in series E funding at a $2.7bn valuation.

Customer data management platform Segment has secured $175m in a series D roundco-led by GV that valued it at $1.5bn. The round increased Segment’s funding to $284m to date, and it follows a $64m round nearly two years ago that was also co-led by GV. The proceeds will go to marketing and a global expansion drive.

Indian grocery e-commerce platform BigBasket is meanwhile in the process of raising $150m at a valuation of about $1.2bn, according to regulatory filings. Existing investor Alibaba is set to provide $50m and will retain a 26.2% stake post-investment, maintaining its position as BigBasket’s largest shareholder.

SpringWorks blossoms with $125m series B

Fusion gets reaction in $105m series B

Gene editing tool provider Inscripta has raised a further $20m to increase its series C round to approximately $106m.

Hotel room booking platform Oyo has confirmed it has raised funding from Airbnb, an investment reportedly sized somewhere between the $100m and $200m mark.

University

NextGen Jane nets $9m in series A funding


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