07 June 2021 – Wefox Completes $650m Series C

The Big Ones

Germany-based digital insurance provider Wefox completed a $650m series C round that included online lending platform developer Creditease and Salesforce Ventures. The round was led by Target Global and included Omers Ventures, Gsquared, Merian and its Jupiter subsidiary, Horizons Ventures, Eurazeo, Mubadala, Speedinvest, LGT, Alma Mundi Ventures, Victory Park Capital, GR Capital, Mountain Partners, Seedcamp, Sound Ventures, Partners Group and FinTLV. Wefox previously closed a $235m series B round in 2019 that included CreditEase and electronics producer Samsung’s Catalyst Fund.

Toyota has committed another $300m in capital to its corporate venturing unit, also rebranding it from Toyota AI Ventures to Toyota Ventures. Toyota AI Ventures had been launched under the auspices of the company’s Toyota Research Institute in 2017 with $100m in capital. Toyota subsequently provided a further $100m for its Fund II in late 2019. The capital will be divided evenly between two funds: Toyota Ventures Climate Fund will concentrate on developers of innovative technologies to promote carbon neutrality, such as renewable energy and hydrogen production. Meanwhile, Toyota Ventures Frontier Fund will invest in developers of technology in areas like artificial intelligence, cloud computing, autonomy, mobility, robotics, smart cities, digital health, advanced materials, energy and fintech.

E-commerce marketplace Etsy agreed to acquire Depop, the UK-based social commerce platform developer backed by consultancy group Lumar, for over $1.62bn. Depop operates a mobile platform with 30 million registered users – 90% of whom are under 26 – who can buy and sell second-hand and new fashion items in addition to offering styling services. It generated $70m in revenue in 2020. The deal comes after roughly $100m in funding for Depop since it was founded in 2011, $62m coming from General Atlantic, HV Holtzbrinck Ventures, Balderton Capital, Creandum, Octopus Ventures, TempoCap and Sebastian Siemiatkowski in a 2019 series C round.

Crossover

FlixMobility, the Germany-headquartered public transport provider that counts UVC Partners – the VC firm linked to TU Munich’s tech transfer office UnternehmerTUM – and automotive manufacturer Daimler as investors, raised over $650m in debt and series G equity yesterday at a $3bn valuation. Investment firm Canyon Partners joined existing investors including General Atlantic, Permira, TCV, HV Capital, Blackrock, Baillie Gifford and Silver Lake in the round. FlixMobility runs an inter-city bus service called FlixBus which spans most of Europe and parts of the United States, and which promises efficient onboard wifi and an easy-to-use online ticketing system.

Deals

US-based blockchain payment platform developer Circle has closed a $440m round that included cryptocurrency exchange FTX, reportedly the largest round so far for a crypto-focused company. Financial services and investment groups Fidelity and Digital Currency Group also took part in the round, as did Atlas Merchant Capital, Breyer Capital, Intersection Fintech Ventures, Marshall Wace, Pillar VC, Valor Capital Group, Willett Advisors and Michael J Price and Friends.

UK-based pet insurance provider Bought By Many has secured $350m in series D funding from investors including Munich Re Ventures. The round was led by investment firm EQT through its EQT Growth subsidiary, and it also featured venture capital firm Octopus Ventures. The capital was raised at a $2bn valuation pre-money.

Delhivery, an India-based, corporate-backed shipping service, has raised Rs20.1bn ($277m) in a series H round led by financial services and investment group Fidelity. Gamnat, Chimera Investments and Pacific Horizon Trust filled out the round, and the cash was secured ahead of an initial public offering slated to take place in 2022. Two people familiar with the matter told the Times of India in March this year it is expected to value the company at $3bn. The round took the company’s overall funding to $1.1bn.

Urban Company, the India-based developer of a professional services ordering platform, has closed a $255m series F round co-led by Prosus Ventures, Dragoneer Investment Group and Wellington Management. It was filled out by Steadview Capital, Tiger Global and Vy Capital, and valued Urban Company at $2.1bn. The round consisted of a $188m primary transaction revealed last month and a secondary sale of roughly $67m of shares by unnamed individuals and early backers.

US-based sales analysis software provider Gong received $250m in a series E round featuring Salesforce Ventures at a $7.25bn valuation. Franklin Templeton led the round, which included Coatue Management, Sequoia Capital, Thrive Capital and Tiger Global Management. The company has raised $584m since it was founded in 2015.

Prosus co-led a $240m series A round for Germany-based grocery delivery service Flink. The round was co-led with venture capital firm Bond and Abu Dhabi state-owned investment vehicle Mubadala Capital. A source told TechCrunch it valued the startup below $1bn.

Exabeam, a US-based cybersecurity software developer which counts networking technology provider Cisco as an investor, collected $200m in series F funding at a $2.4bn valuation. Alternative asset manager Blue Owl Capital led the round through its Owl Rock subsidiary and was joined by Acrew Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Norwest Venture Partners. Exabeam has raised at least $390m of funding to date.

US-based sales technology developer Outreach closed a $200m series G round featuring Salesforce Ventures at a $4.4bn valuation. Premji Invest and Steadfast Capital Ventures co-led the round, which included DFJ Growth, Lone Pine Capital, Mayfield Fund, Sands Capital, Sequoia Capital Global Equities, Tiger Global Management, Trinity Ventures and Vista Public Strategies. Outreach said it has now raised $489m since it was founded in 2014.

Funds

V-Capital, the corporate venture capital arm of China-based cigarette packaging materials producer Huaxi Holding, reached a RMB1.5bn ($235m) first close for its latest fund. Local government-backed funds and corporations have committed capital as limited partners, as have new and returning other investors. The vehicle will target developers of healthcare, telecommunications, cultural services, semiconductors, IT, smart manufacturing and new energy technologies across China. V-Capital now has about $3bn under management.

Exits

Centessa Pharmaceutical, a UK-based pharmaceutical conglomerate formed through a ten-way merger involving spinouts from various universities, has gone public in a $330m initial public offering on the Nasdaq Global Select Market. Founded in October 2020 as a holding group, Centessa subsequently acquired multiple biotech developers in January 2021 – including spinouts from University of Cambridge, University of Toronto Mississauga, the universities of Dortmund and Cologne, and one spinoff from biopharmaceutical group Sosei Heptares. Vida Ventures and Janus Henderson Investors co-led a $250m series A round at the time of the official launch in February.


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

22 April 2019 – Pinterest and Zoom both Float Above Their Ranges

The Big 3

Innogy Innovation Hub was formed in 2014 and its first fund was supplied with €300m (roughly $385m at that point) from Innogy, but it has told GCV that it is getting ready to raise a second fund and is exploring partnerships with additional corporate LPs from the energy sector as well as potentially outside. In a wide ranging interview, Innovation Hub also said it has moved from an incubator/VC model to more direct investment, and detailed why its focus beyond energytech is so crucial to the future of the sector.

It’s a big week for IPOs, with two big unicorns both floating above their respective ranges. The larger offering involves Rakuten-backed visual social media platform Pinterest, which has raised approximately $1.43bn in an offering on the New York Stock Exchange.

Zoom on the other hand is profitable, and it floated in a $751m IPO in which Qualcomm sold more than $30m of shares – pretty impressive considering it first invested in the video conferencing software provider in its $6m series A round

University

Analysis: Slow and steady does it in the first quarter

AskBio pops $235m question

Exits

Turning Point Therapeutics has gone public in a $167m initial public offering in which it floated at the top of its range. The precision cancer therapy developer had raised $145m in funding from investors including Lilly Asia Ventures and SR One, corporate VC vehicles for Eli Lilly and GlaxoSmithKline, which each owned 8.2% stakes pre-IPO.
Applied Therapeutics pushes for public markets

Sonim sounds out Nasdaq for IPO

Willow Biosciences follows public path

Axcella Health accelerates towards IPO

Cortexyme craves public markets listing

Jumia has floated in a $196m IPO in the US, with almost half the shares being bought by existing investors Axa, Orange and Pernod Ricard Deutschland. Mastercard acquired even more shares through a private placement, and despite the online marketplace currently recording losses that surpass its revenue, its shares popped on Friday.

SolarWinds has agreed to buy Samanage, a provider of IT service desk management software, in a $350m deal that will represent Salesforce Ventures’ latest exit.

PayU onboards Wibmo in $70m acquisition

Salesforce locates MapAnything for acquisition deal

Vimeo has agreed to snap up Magisto for a reported $200m in order to add the company’s easy-to-use video creation and editing technology to its online video streaming platform.

Funds

Globis maps out $321m for sixth fund

Vtron takes a seat at $72m education fund

Deals

SK Group has made a $250m strategic investment in Londian Group, which is aiming to become the world’s leading copper foil supplier as it looks to nail down a prominent position in the materials supply space for products such as lithium-ion batteries and communications technology.
Shift moves series D round to $180m

Sila Nanotechnologies is preparing to commercialise its advanced battery materials, which it estimates can improve the performance of lithium-ion batteries by up to 20%, and in the meantime it has secured $170m in a series E round led by Daimler.

Lyric, the owner of a short-term accommodation booking platform for business travellers, has taken a big jump forward, raising $160m in a series B round led by Airbnb.

Outreach re-engages with investors to raise $114m

Dianrong is among the Chinese peer-to-peer lending platforms waiting to see if they will be among the companies issued lending licences from the government, but in the meantime it is seeking $100m in funding, reportedly from a group that includes existing investors Orix and Standard Chartered.

Black Sesame racks up $100m

Gen.G generates $46m round


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

28 May 2018 – Ant Financial’s Latest Round Pegged at $10bn

We are back from the annual GCV Symposium and GUV: Fusion conferences, our London events bringing together CVCs and university tech transfer leaders from around the world. Some 500 delegates gathered at the County Hall in a packed room overlooking the Houses of Parliament to network and exchange ideas. GUV also handed out its awards during a gala dinner, with Alison Campbell taking home the Lifetime Achievement Award and Indiana University Research and Technology Corp’s CEO Tony Armstrong collecting the award for Tech Transfer Unit of the Year. There are summaries about the days’ proceedings on GCV and profiles of all the winners on GUV, so do head on over there. While you’re on GUV, you should also take a look at our five-year data review into university spinouts, which has been gathering a lot of traction over the past week.

Deals

Reports last month suggested Alibaba’s financial services affiliate, Ant Financial, was set to raise money at a gargantuan $150bn valuation, and the size of the round now seems to have been pegged at $10bn.

Uber last raised funding in December, when SoftBank invested $1.25bn at a $68bn valuation, while at the same time leading a consortium that bought more than $7bn of shares in a secondary transaction that valued Uber at $48bn.

In more proof that the ride hailing gold rush isn’t over, Careem is in talks to secure $500m in funding at a $1.5bn valuation.

Grail became one of the quickest medtech companies ever to reach the $1bn funding mark, and now the Illumina spinoff has raised another $300m in an oversubscribed series C round co-led by the WuXi AppTec-backed 6 Dimensions Capital that also featured WuXi subsidiary WuXi NextCode.

Brii Biosciences has launched a company that plans to combine R&D, data technology and strategic asset licensing to provide medicines that will help Chinese patients fight conditions such as infectious diseases, lung and liver diseases.

Orbbec develops 3D motion sensors as well as 3D camera equipment, and has raised more than $200m in a series D round led by Ant Financial.

HMD Global licensed the rights to manufacture Nokia-designed and branded phones about 18 months ago, and has now secured $100m in funding at a valuation of more than $1bn.

OLX, Naspers’ classified listings subsidiary, has provided $89m for automotive e-commerce marketplace Frontier Car Group in the form of series C funding.

Outreach, a developer of customer engagement software, has raised $65m in a series D round backed by Microsoft Ventures that valued it at about $500m.

Rain Therapeutics, a US-based cancer-focused biotechnology developer based on research from University of Auckland, closed an $18.4m series A round featuring the Inventors Fund, managed by the institution’s tech transfer office Auckland UniServices.

Funds

Legend Capital, the venture firm established by Lenovo owner Legend Holdings, is going from strength to strength, having just put together its second RMB-denominated healthcare fund – its third in total.

On GUV, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, a medical research division of Mount Sinai Health System, has established a $10m fund called i3 Asset Accelerator aimed at commercialising Mount Sinai’s research.

On GGV, Italy-based venture capital firm P101 has announced plans to launch a $142m fund with support from the European Investment Fund, the investment arm of the World Bank, and private equity company Fondo Italiano d’Investimento.

Exits

Salesforce is looking toward its next IPO exit after Adaptive Insights, the developer of a cloud-based business planning platform, filed for a $100m IPO.

Neurostimulation device maker Electrocore has filed to raise up to $74.8m in an initial public offering on Nasdaq, having secured $120m in funding over the last four years.

Essential Products sprinted out of the blocks, raising $300m in its second funding round last year, at a $900m to $1bn valuation, but negative response and low sales for its inaugural smartphone have reportedly led it to investigate a sale and to cancel development of its next phone in favour of a smart home device.

FanDuel was once a bright young thing, before regulatory issues cut into its business and drove it to seek a merger with fellow daily fantasy sports operator DraftKings. That deal didn’t come off, but it is set to be snapped up by Paddy Power Betfair, which is investing $158m and merging FanDuel, a spinout from University of Edinburgh that is backed by Alphabet, Comcast and Time Warner, with its US assets, forming a company in which it will have a 61% stake.

On GGV, German public-private partnership High-Tech Gründerfonds has celebrated the first initial public offering of a portfolio company. NFon, a Munich-based cloud telecoms business, received its first investment from HTGF in 2008 and has raised around $59m from its listing.


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