17 February 2020 – Revolution Medicines Goes Public in $238m Offering

The Big News

It’s been a good week for healthcare flotations, with Revolution Medicines following in the footsteps of successful IPO closures by Schrödinger and Beam Therapeutics by going public in a $238m offering that represented an increase in size of almost 50% from when it first set the range earlier this month. The precision oncology therapy developer’s shareholders include Sanofi, which took its stake when Revolution bought subsidiary Warp Drive Bio in an all-share deal in late 2018.

Beam Therapeutics itself followed another GV portfolio company, Schrödinger, in closing an upgraded initial public offering. The genomic drug developer has secured a total of $207m, its shares having risen more than 47% since it floated last week. That’s after Beam floated at the top of its range in an expanded offering.

Schrödinger had capped one of the most successful IPOs in recent months, closing the offering at $232m after the underwriters took up the greenshoe option, following an increase in share price of more than 60%. The computational software provider had already floated above its range last week, less than a year after a series E round featuring GV and WuXi AppTec.

Diversified entertainment producer Skydance Media raised a nine-figure amount from Tencent two years ago, and the corporate has returned for a $275m round that reportedly valued Skydance at $2.3bn. The round also featured a new strategic partner, the Korea-based CJ Entertainment and Merchandising, which is fresh from its triumph at the Oscars with Parasite. Skydance produces film, TV and games and is also developing animation projects.

Deals

Cross-border payment service Flywire has secured $120m in a series E round led by Goldman Sachs at a $1bn+ valuation that took its total funding to more than $260m. The deal supported Flywire’s acquisition of healthcare payment-management platform Simplee, which had raised more than $36m in funding from investors including American Express Ventures.

Outset Medical obtains $125m

Rebel Foods is one of the fastest growing companies in the relatively nascent virtual kitchen sector and is looking to raise $100m to $150m at a $1bn valuation. That prospective valuation would almost double that at which Gojek and Sistema invested a few months back, and the news comes on the heels of a $60m round for another cloud kitchen manager, Kitopi, earlier this month.

Cox Enterprises has contributed to a $126m series F round for Iora Health that pushed the primary healthcare provider’s overall funding to about $350m. Health insurance provider Humana and corporate venturing unit GE Ventures are among Iora’s earlier investors, and the cash will fuel an expansion beyond the 48 practices the company currently runs.

Meditation-aid app developer Calm raised funding at a $1bn valuation last year but it isn’t the only sizeable player in the mindfulness services sector. Headspace has secured $93m($53m in equity financing, $40m in debt) in a series C round featuring Chernin Group and Bennett Coleman & Co’s Times Bridge subsidiary, having bumped up its customer base to 2 million paying subscribers. It’s now raised $169m in total.

Funds

Carta to compete in corporate venturing

Parkwalk kicks off $260m fund

Al Faisaliah aligns with Nuwa Capital

Exits

Essential looked like a promising bet when it first emerged under the stewardship of Android creator Andy Rubin, promising a high-grade smartphone that would function as an alternative to established brands. It raised $300m from investors including Tencent, Amazon Alexa Fund, Foxconn and Access Technology Ventures at a valuation of up to $1bn in 2017, but announced yesterday it is closing operations following poor sales of its debut product. No word on the fate of GEM, the next iteration of phone it was developing.

Brandless ends operations

Etix Everywhere heads to Vantage point for acquisition

Infosys has agreed to buy sales services provider Simplus in a deal indicated by a regulatory filing to be $250m. Simplus had raised a fraction above $40m and Salesforce Ventures had been an investor in the company since its 2016 series A round. Infosys had already acquired another Salesforce Ventures portfolio company, Fluido, for $76m in 2018.

Hollar attracts Five Below for acquisition

Speaking of M&A deals, EDF has acquired a majority stake in electric vehicle charging system developer Pod Point in a deal reportedly sized at about $130m. The deal was struck through an agreement with existing Pod Point shareholder Legal & General, which made a strategic investment last May and which is increasing its stake from 13% to 23% in the latest transaction. A corporate VC investor partnering another business to take a majority share isn’t something you see that often, but it does make strategic sense.


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

19 December 2016 – $225m for BlueRock Therapeutics, Microsoft Ventures Invests from its AI Fund and Much More

Deals

Bayer and investment firm Versant Ventures have jointly provided $225m in series A funding for a regenerative medicine startup called BlueRock Therapeutics.

Symphony emerged two years ago with $66m from 14 banks and followed that funding up with a $100m Google-backed round last year. Now the company, which offers a secure messaging platform for use in the financial services industry, is in the process of raising between $125m and $200m at a pre-money valuation north of $1bn.

SenseTime, which provides deep learning technology to Chinese corporates, has secured $120m in a round that included Dalian Wanda Group and existing backer IDG Capital.

Podotree, the Kakao affiliate that deals with the social media company’s online publishing offerings, has raised $107m in funding from investors including Anchor Equity Partners and GIC at a reported valuation of about $428m.

JetSmarter has big ambitions to become the Uber of private jet travel, and has just raised $105m in series C funding at a $1.5bn pre-money valuation.

Virtual reality gaming company Survios has raised $50m across two rounds, the latter of which was led by MGM.

Sonendo, the developer of a teeth cleaning system for use in root canals, has secured $35m from investors including Henry Crown and Company affiliate CVF, bringing its overall funding to near $110m.

BillFront, a provider of finance for media companies that may face delays in recouping advertising revenue, has raised $35m in a series A round consisting of debt and equity.

Holiday accommodation rental aggregator Tripping.com has received $35m in series C funding, with investment firm Princeville Global leading the round.

Oxford Nanopore has raised additional funding after announcing earlier this month that it had become the first company to sequence multiple human genomes using portable technology.

Edotco, a Malaysia-based telecoms infrastructure services provider, has amassed $600m from investors including Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional. Khazanah Nasional made the investment via a secondary equity private placement offering of $200m, while public-private partnership Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ) contributed through a $400m primary offering.

Funds

Microsoft Ventures only resumed making direct investments in May but has already racked up 19 deals since, including contributions to rounds for Tact, Dynamic Signals (see below for both) and Element AI, the last of which is the first investment to be made from a dedicated artificial intelligence fund which the unit has just formed.

Not long after it confirmed that its $100bn Vision Fund would be headquartered in London, news emerged that SoftBank is in talks with Apple over a $1bn investment in the vehicle.

Oxford Sciences Innovation (OSI), the university venturing fund of Oxford University, on Friday raised an additional £230m ($290m) from investors including the institution’s endowment fund to bring its total to £580m.

IP Group takes Parkwalk for $12m. The intellectual property investor could pay an extra $12m to buy Parkwalk if the spinout-focused fund manager meets certain key targets.

Sigmar Gabriel, minister of economy for Germany, and his French peer Michel Sapin yesterday revealed a €1bn ($1.1bn) fund aimed at startups in the two countries.

Exits

2016 has been a bad year for a lot of people but in the venture capital space it’s been a worse year than most for Rocket Internet, which is continuing to consolidate its holdings.

Meitu, the Chinese creator of a photo modification app for social media, has raised just over $600m in one of the year’s biggest tech IPOs, giving exits to Sina Weibo, Foxconn and IDG Capital Partners.

Garena, the most highly valued startup in Southeast Asia as of a $170m round in April that valued it at $3.75bn, has reportedly begun talks with banks over a prospective IPO in the US in 2018 that could raise around $1bn.

Germany-based medical device manufacturer Gilupi was acquired yesterday by its investor and strategic partner Viroad, a China-based biotechnology company, for an undisclosed sum.

People

Maryland University at College Park (UMD) has appointed Julie Lenzer, former senior advisor to US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, to two key roles as part of its efforts to bolster innovation.

State-owned investment firm Finnish Industry Investment (FII) announced the promotion of Jan Sasse, head of FII’s Growth Investments team since June 2015, to president and CEO yesterday.


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

22 February 2016 – Campbell Soup, Statoil, landscaping in China, MindMaze, Yello, Volvo, Google, Pie and more

Fundraising

Food technology developers like Impossible Foods and Juicero have raised some big rounds over the last year or two and that’s spurring food product makers to start entering corporate venturing in a significant way. General Mills set up a strategic investment unit late last year, and now Campbell Soup has joined the fray, putting $125m into an independently managed fund called Arce Venture Partners. Like Garden Fresh, the fresh food producer it acquired in June last year, the fund will link with the firm’s Campbell Fresh division.

Statoil launches $200 million venture fund for renewables

A range of Italy-based corporates – Menarini, RottaPharmBiotech, Elemaster and SapioLife – are among the limited partenrs for the first fund to be raised by venture capital firm Panakès Partners.

One corporate taking a more direct route is China-based garden landscaping company Palm Landscape Architecture, which is teaming with investment firm Hejun Zhengde for a fund that will focus on virtual and augmented reality technology. Palm has targeted $15m for the fund’s first close, and aims to use the technology to boost its town planning activities.

Investments

China’s media sector continues to grow and LeTV Sports, the sports streaming affiliate of Leshi Internet, is set to announce a $460m series B round.

As predicted, virtual and augmented reality continues to go from strength to strength this year. Following on from the $793m raised by Magic Leap earlier this month, MindMaze has secured $100m in a round led by UK-based conglomerate Hinduja Group. MindMaze’s technology is being utilised in the rehabilitation of stroke and brain-injury victims, but the company hopes to eventually deploy it for a variety of uses.

Japan-based digital financial services group SBI Holdings entered into a strategic partnership agreement with Korea-based mobile internet services company Yello Mobile in December that will involve the two helping each other expand in their respective nations. SBI has followed that up with a $30m investment in Yello, bringing the funding in its latest round, which values it at $4bn, to $73m.

Mobi Magic, a Chinese online security app developer, has raised $100m in a round co-led by cybersecurity company Qihoo360 Technology and Frees Fund, the VC fund formed last year by ex-IDG Capital Partners investor Li Feng. Qihoo 360 was also one of the investors that reportedly supplied Mobi Magic with $80m over the course of 2015.

Jana is an internet service provider that operates in emerging markets, pursuing a business model whereby commercial partners fund free access through advertising. Jana announced a $57m series C round today in which Verizon joined existing investors Publicis and Spark Capital, and plans to expand into China to add to the 30 million users it has across Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Exits

Volvo’s corporate venturing unit invested an undisclosed amount in strategic partner Lytx in 2013, and it has now exited the driving safety technology producer through an acquisition by private equity firm GCTR. Lytx, which had raised upwards of $160m in debt and equity, was purchased for $500m.

Google today announced that it is building its first engineering team devoted to Southeast Asia and toward that end has acquired Pie, a Slack-like team communications service based in Singapore.

Metalysis is today announcing a combined investment of £20 million from Woodford Patient Capital Trust, managed by Neil Woodford, one of Britain’s most prominent fund managers, and Iluka Resources, an existing investor in Metalysis.  Iluka increases its interest in the Company to 28.8% as a result of this funding round.

Metalysis’ technology produces metal powders – primarily titanium, tantalum and bespoke alloys – at lower cost with reduced environmental impact.

Cybersecurity software developer Cylance said today that it has entered into a strategic partnership with In-Q-Tel.

University of Oxford Isis Fund II, managed by Parkwalk, has invested in Mind Foundry, an Oxford Spin-out company with technology that uses advanced machine learning algorithms to help organisations solve problems by unlocking insights hidden deep within their big data.