30 September 2019 – Peloton Interactive Raises $1.16bn in IPO

Big Ones

Who can remember anything like the We Company (that’s WeWork) saga that’s unfolded over the past fortnight? It had been targeting $3bn to $4bn in an IPO that at one time was expected to exceed the $47bn valuation at which it last raised money. Then people started flagging up bits of the IPO filing that looked strange, reports revealed it could float at a valuation of as little as $15bn and all hell broke loose.

Peloton Interactive has had one of the year’s larger tech IPOs, raising $1.16bn after floating at the top of its range. The exercise equipment and class provider had received just shy of $1bn in venture funding but its initial market cap nearly doubles the $4.15bn valuation of its most recent funding round just over a year ago.

KB Investment, a subsidiary of South Korea-based financial services group KB Holding, has formed an investment fund with MDI Ventures, the corporate venturing arm of telecommunications firm Telkom Indonesia.

Crossover: Kandou Bus, a Switzerland-based fabless semiconductor spinout of Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), collected $56m in a series C round featuring telecoms firm Swisscom’s corporate VC arm Swisscom Ventures and its Digital Transformation Fund.

Deals

With all the fuss surrounding the really big VC-backed companies in recent months, Palantir seems to have slipped off the radar to some extent, it being four years since they raised money. Well that’s apparently about to change, with reports that the controversial data processor is looking to raise $1bn to $3bn at a valuation somewhere between $26bn and $30bn. That would mark a huge increase for the Relx-backed company, valued at just over $20bn in 2015 and substantially lower as recently as this year, according to media reports.

Fundbox has reportedly boosted its own valuation to somewhere in the $500m-to-$1bn range, pulling in $326m in financing that included a $176m equity round.

Chinese cybersecurity software provider Qi An Xin is lining up its own IPO, having already began hiring underwriters, but has in the meantime raised $210m from investors including furniture retailer Red Star Macalline. Qi An Xin, which was spun off from Qihoo 360 in 2014, is set to be one of the first companies to float on the newly launched Sci-Tech Innovation Board.

Checkr uses big data to run the numbers on job applications in a bid to cut down on systemic biases and fraudulent CVs, and it’s just secured $160m in funding at a reported $2.2bn valuation.

An unconfirmed report has stated that ETechAces, the Indian owner of financial product comparison platforms PolicyBazaar and PaisaBazaar, has raised $130m to $150m from Tencent at a valuation of roughly $1.5bn.

In China, cloud computing and big data services provider DT Dream has secured $84m in series B funding at a reported $1.5bn valuation. The company did not name Alibaba, which took part in a $70m round in 2015 as well as a $110m series A two years later, as a participant in the latest round, which will fund hiring and product development in addition to other growth initiatives.

Translation technology and services provider Unbabel has nabbed $60m in a series C round featuring M12 and Samsung Next that increased its total funding to $91m.

Kandou Bus has bagged $56m in a series C round that included Swisscom Ventures as well as the $199m Digital Transformation Fund formed by Swisscom last year. The chipmaker, a spinout from Swiss research university EPFL, had previously received about $40m in funding, and will spend the latest funding on product development and business growth.

Divvy Homes operates a business model where it buys properties in partnership with tenants who reserve part of the rent for a down payment that would allow them to buy the place in question. It has just secured $43m in a series B round co-led by Lennar Ventures – property developer Lennar’s corporate VC unit – to increase its overall funding to $83m.

Qualcomm Ventures, Itochu and Mitsui have all contributed to a $40m series D round for Spire Global, a producer of nanosatellites that are utilised for weather and aviation tracking. Spire, whose existing investors include Qihoo 360, has now raised at least $175m altogether, and the series D comes in the wake of it launching a maritime-focused division in February.

Funds

Canada-based venture capital firm ArcTern Ventures has reached a C$165m ($124m) second close for its Fund II having raised capital from limited partners including crude oil producer Suncor. Financial services firm TD Bank also contributed to the second close, along with the Canadian government-owned BDC Capital, family offices including The Ivey Foundation and an undisclosed pension fund.

Exits

Neural interface technology developer Ctrl-Labs has been acquired by Facebook for a price somewhere between $500m and $1bn, enabling investors including GV and Alexa Fund to exit having contributed to $67m in equity funding. Facebook has made a few of the largest VC-backed acquisitions in recent years, though many of them – notably WhatsApp, Instagram and Oculus VR – were not corporate-backed pre-acquisition.

Investment firm Vista Equity Partners is set to pay an undisclosed amount for a majority stake in digital content management platform Aqcuia in a deal that reportedly values it at $1bn including debt.

Frequency Therapeutics has set terms for an initial public offering that will net $107m for the regenerative medicine developer if it floats at the top of its range. The IPO comes after $147m in venture funding from investors including Alexandria Venture Investments and the proceeds have been earmarked for a phase 2a clinical trial for its lead candidate, a sensorineural hearing loss treatment.


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

02 September 2019 – ThoughtSpot Closes $248m Round

The Big Ones

Enterprise analytics platform developer ThoughtSpot has closed a $248m round that valued it at $1.95bn, though existing corporate investors HPE and Capital One do not seem to have participated.

Megvii is one of the two key players in China’s ever increasing – and ominous – facial recognition technology sector (the other being SenseTime), and it’s filed for a Hong Kong IPO that sources tell Reuters is set to raise at least $500m and possibly up to $1bn.

VIPkid has been one of the main players in China’s burgeoning online tutoring sector, but the company, which employs North American English language teachers who work with students through video, may have been indirectly impacted by recent regulations tightening up on credentialling.

US-based, blockchain-focused financial services provider Algo Capital has closed its venture capital fund at $200m – twice as much as its initial target! – having raised capital from limited partners including data marketplace Wibson and consulting firm Rokk3r.

The biggest deal on GUV was the up-to $400m acquisition of Modis Therapeutics, a US-based rare genetic disease therapy developer partly based on Columbia University research, by its peer Zogenix.

Deals

Kuaikan Manhua runs a mobile platform where users can upload original art – much of which is comic based – so it can be bought and read. It has some 40 million monthly active users, half of which are teenagers or younger, and that has attracted Tencent, which has invested $125m.

Tencent has also contributed to a $100m series C round for Whale Network, the owner of e-commerce offerings including Haoyiku. The round was led by venture capital firm Sky9 and it will fund the company’s growth in smaller Chinese cities in addition to the strengthening of its social commerce and livestreaming activities. T

On-demand car leasing service Fair has received $100m in equity and debt financing from Ally Financial, eight months after SoftBank led its $385m series B round.

Agribusiness Cargill has invested $75m in Puris, a producer of pea protein-based food ingredients, money that will be used to expand production at its main facility.

HiFiBio Therapeutics has completed a $67m series C round featuring Kite Pharma and Legend Star, and will put the proceeds toward expanding a pipeline of antibody-based drug candidates targeting cancer and autoimmune diseases.

Online life insurance portal Ethos has secured $60m in a GV-led round, at a valuation of somewhere between $400m and $500m according to Forbes. GV had previously contributed to the company’s $35m series B round just under a year ago, and the latest funding has been earmarked for product development and the strengthening of the Ethos engineering team.

Even with the recent uptick in Latin American investment, we don’t talk about too many Mexico-based companies on this podcast, but Credijusto has bucked the trend, securing $42m in a series B round co-led by Goldman Sachs Principal Strategic Investments.

Exits

Temenos has agreed to acquire digital banking software provider Kony in a deal that will involve it paying $559m upfront and up to $21m in earn-outs.

Peloton Interactive has filed to raise up to $500m in an initial public offering on the Nasdaq Global Select Market, roughly a year after raising $550m in a Comcast NBCUniversal-backed series F round valuing it at $4.15bn.

Funds

Indonesia-based venture capital firm East Ventures has closed its sixth fund at $75m with contributions from conglomerate Sinar Mas, media group Emtek and investment holding company Triputra Group.

Cybersecurity software producer CrowdStrike launched a $20m US-based investment fund on Monday in partnership with venture capital firm Accel in a bid to build an ecosystem around its products.


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

18 February 2019 – Mitsubishi Takes 20% Ovo Energy Stake for $256m

Big 3

Mitsubishi Corporation has paid $256m for a 20% stake in energy retailer and smart systems provider Ovo Energy, which plans to use the funding as the basis for an expansion from Germany and its home country of the UK into markets such as France, Australia and Spain. Ovo’s investors also include Mayfair Equity Partners, which acquired a 15% stake in 2015, but its founder and CEO remains its majority shareholder.

Evonik launched its first corporate venturing fund in 2012 with €100m of capital and now, six years on, it’s added €150m ($170m) in the form of a second fund.

Allied Minds prepares cost reductions

Deals

SoftBank Vision Fund has already gone big when it comes to autonomous driving, pumping some $2.25bn into Cruise Automation last year, and it’s now invested $940m in Nuro, the creator of a driverless vehicle designed for deliveries.

Ride hailing service Didi Chuxing has invested $100m in short-term accommodation booking platform Oyo, allowing the latter to close a $1bn round that valued it at $5bn.

Go-Jek is a little further along, the Southeast Asian ride hailing service having raised $1bn from investors including Google, Tencent, JD.com and Mitsubishi two weeks ago.

Two or three years ago it looked as if the e-commerce space may have been heading for some rough times (remember Fab.com?), but the sector looks to have largely steadied since then. Zillingo is the latest e-commerce marketplace to have raised sizeable funding, pulling in $226m in a series D round featuring long-term backer Burda Principal Investments. The round valued it at $970m and increased its overall funding to more than $300m.

Cancer diagnostics technology developer Burning Rock has completed a $126m series C round backed by corporate venturing unit Lilly Asia Ventures, which is in the process of raising its fifth fund (see below).

Six Fintech Ventures, the VC arm of banking services provider Six, has led a series A round for Tradeplus24, the operator of a service that provides debt financing to small businesses insured against account receivables, that was sized at approximately $119m.

Arvelle arrives with $100m

Reddit has meanwhile confirmed a TechCrunch report from last week that stated Tencent was about to lead a $300m round for the social posting platform, which has some 330 million monthly active users but which reportedly generated less than $90m of revenue in 2018.

University

Nuvaira shares $79m series E news

Recida rolls out from Frazier Healthcare

Exits

Euclid goes to WeWork in acquisition

DMP maps out Ushr acquisition

Stanford-backed Eero connects to Amazon

Harpoon snags public markets listing

Nan Fung fund Pivotal Beta was among the investors that provided $100m in convertible note financing for Stealth BioTherapeutics, developer of treatments for conditions related to mitochondrial dysfunction.

Huya went public in the US nine months ago, and now another Chinese livestreaming platform, Douyu, plans to make a similar move, confidentially filing to raise up to $500min a US IPO.

Peloton Interactive has now sold some 400,000 of its $2,000 advanced exercise bikes, which work in tandem with a subscription-based interactive workout service.

Funds

Evonik launched its first corporate venturing fund in 2012 with €100m of capital and now, six years on, it’s added €150m ($170m) in the form of a second fund.

Lilly Asia Ventures lifts $40m for fifth fund

MML seeks corporate commitments for second fund

Morgan Creek mines $40m fund


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