12 July 2021 – Wise Floats on London Stock Exchange with $12bn Valuation

The Big Ones

Pine Labs, an India-based digital payment technology provider backed by PayPal and Mastercard, secured over $600m in funding. Kotak Mahindra Bank and investment and Fidelity supplied the cash together with IIFL AMC’s Late-Stage Tech Fund, Ishana, Tree Line, funds managed by BlackRock and a fund advised by Neuberger Berman Investment Advisers.

UK-based cross-border wire transfer service Wise floated on the London Stock Exchange on Wednesday in a direct listing, allowing conglomerate Mitsui to sell its shares to the public. The company’s shares closed at £8.88 a share on their first day of trading, giving it a valuation of nearly £8.8bn ($12bn). It had been seeking a valuation between $6bn and $7bn before the listing, a source familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal.

US-listed advertising technology provider The Trade Desk unveiled a venture capital subsidiary called TD7 to fund technology startups focused on the concept of an open, transparent and competitive internet. Founded in 2009, The Trade Desk operates an online platform through which ad buyers can create and manage digital advertising campaigns across a variety of channels including social media, mobile and television.

Crossover

Muna Therapeutics, a Denmark-based developer of treatments for neurodegenerative diseases, closed a $73m series A round backed by VIB and its venture capital affiliate V-Bio Ventures. Novo, Sofinnova Partners, Droia Ventures and LSP Dementia co-led the round, with additional participation from Sanofi Ventures, Polaris Partners and Polaris Innovation Fund. Muna Therapeutics is focused on neurodegenerative diseases for which no cure is currently available and for which palliative care is scarce. Notably, Muna is actually the result of two spinouts that both launched only last year. The first, also called Muna, was spun out of Aarhus University with the support of Novo Seeds and later attracted a minority investment from contract research and discovery company Axxam. The second, K5 Therapeutics, was based on research at VIB and KU Leuven, with investments from VIB and Droia Ventures.

Deals

JD.com has led a $300m funding round for China-based cross-border e-commerce platform KK Group at a $3bn valuation. Citic Securities, CMC Capital Partners, Harvest Fund Management, Hongtai Capital, Ince Capital and New Horizon Capital filled out the round according to 36Kr, which contacted KK Group to verify the deal but has not received confirmation.

SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 and Eldridge Industries co-led a $235m funding round for Israel-based image recognition technology provider AnyVision. Undisclosed existing investors also backed the round. Amit Lubovsky, director at SoftBank Investment Advisers, which manages Vision Fund 2, has been appointed to AnyVision’s board of directors. AnyVision produces image recognition systems which leverage artificial intelligence to identify people through video footage.

Outbrain, a US-based online content discovery platform that counts quantitative trading firm Susquehanna International Group and publisher Gruner + Jahr as shareholders, raised $200m from investment manager Baupost Group on Tuesday. The company filed for an initial public offering on the Nasdaq Global Select Market late last month. It had been on track to merge with peer Taboola in an $850m deal agreed in October 2019, before the plans were scrapped in September the following year.

Hong Kong-based blockchain-powered game publisher Animoca Brands has closed a funding round sized at almost $139m having secured a $50m second tranche featuring Coinbase, Razer, Samsung and Scopely. The round included Blue Pool Capital, Gobi Partners, Korea Investment Partners, Liberty City Ventures and Token Bay Capital, and the capital was raised at a $1bn pre-money valuation. The initial $88.9m close took place in May this year and featured the Fintech Investment Fund run by HashKey, the blockchain-focused fund affiliated with auto component producer Wanxiang, as well as crypto trading platform developer Huobi, Octava, Kingsway Capital, RIT Capital Partners, AppWorks Fund and LCV Fund.

Funds

Artpark, an India-based non-profit commercialisation firm, is launching a $100m fund for robotics companies. Artpark was established in 2020 by the Indian Institute of Science and AI Foundry, with seed funding from the Indian government’s Department of Science of Technology and the government of Karnataka. It aims to bring together all ecosystem players – academia, industry, government and entrepreneurs – to drive artificial intelligence and robotics technologies that can improve quality of life.

Exits

Circle, a US-based blockchain payment platform developer, agreed to a reverse merger with special purpose acquisition company Concord Acquisition Corp. The combined business will be valued at $4.5bn through the deal and will pick up Concord’s listing on the New York Stock Exchange, which it acquired in a $276m initial public offering in December 2020. Circle’s existing shareholders will retain approximately 86% of the merged company’s shares. The merger is supported by $415m PIPE financing from investors including Fidelity and Marshall Wace, Adage Capital Management and Third Point as well as accounts advised by Ark Investment Management.

Heliogen, the US-based renewable energy technology developer backed by ArcelorMittal and Edison International, agreed to a reverse merger with special purpose acquisition company Athena Technology Acquisition Corp. The combined business will be valued at $2bn and will retain Athena’s listing on the New York Stock Exchange, taken when Athena raised $250m in an initial public offering in March this year. The deal will include a $165m PIPE transaction backed by XCarb Innovation Fund, the corporate venturing vehicle for ArcelorMittal, as well as investment bank Morgan Stanley’s Counterpoint Global unit, Salient Partners and Saba Capital.

SentinelOne, a US-based cybersecurity software provider that counts Qualcomm and consumer Samsung as investors, has closed its initial public offering at over $1.4bn. The company issued 35 million shares in an upsized offering on the New York Stock Exchange a week ago, priced at $35 each. The underwriters bought a further 5.25 million.

Kakao Pay, a South Korea-based mobile payment service backed by financial services provider Ant Group, is raising between ₩1.6 trillion and ₩1.7 trillion ($1.4bn to $1.5bn) in its initial public offering. The IPO is set to take place on the Korea Exchange on August 12 this year, and will involve the company issuing 17 million new shares priced at approximately $55.60 to $84.70 each. Formed by internet group Kakao in 2014, Kakao Pay Corp was spun off in April 2017, two months after it received $200m in funding from Ant Group (then called Ant Financial).

Xometry, the US-based manufacturing services marketplace backed by BMW, Robert Bosch and Dell, closed its initial public offering at almost $348m. The company raised an initial $302m the week before last when it priced 6.9 million class A shares at $44 each.

Nextdoor, the US-based social network operator that counts Comcast, Alphabet and Axel Springer as investors, agreed a reverse merger with special purpose acquisition company Khosla Ventures Acquisition Co II. The deal will give the merged business a pro forma equity valuation of approximately $4.3bn and involve it taking the listing on the Nasdaq Capital Market acquired by Khosla Ventures Acquisition Co II in a $400m initial public offering in March this year. The transaction will be boosted by a $270m PIPE financing featuring funds and accounts advised by T Rowe Price in addition to Baron Capital Group, Dragoneer, Soroban Capital, Ion Asset Management, Tiger Global Management, Hedosophia, accounts advised by Ark Invest, Nextdoor CEO Sarah Friar and affiliates of Khosla Ventures.

Planet Labs, the US-based orbital data provider backed by O’Reilly, agreed a reverse takeover with special purpose acquisition company DMY Technology Group IV. The deal will be supported by $200m in PIPE financing led by funds and accounts managed by BlackRock and backed by Koch Strategic Platforms – part of chemical and industrial group Koch – as well as Google and Time Ventures. The PIPE values the company at $2.8bn post-transaction, and it will inherit the New York Stock Exchange listing taken by DMY Technology Group IV in a $300m initial public offering in March this year.


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

24 May 2021 – Goldman Sachs Invests $20m in British Anti-money Laundering Company ComplyAdvantage

The Big Ones

1

Delighted the May issue of GCV is now out covering the media sector, a special report on AI, Israel as the innovative region, extracts from Global University Venturing and Global Impact Venturing sister titles and all the monthly data from GCV Analytics.

From the editorial:

The innovation ecosystem we find ourselves in arguably has its roots with Charles Babbage, a University of Cambridge mathematician, perhaps best-known as the inventor of computers.

His work, however, also led to the creation of the Penny Post, where (eventually) a letter could be sent anywhere in the British Empire for one penny.

The Penny Post, therefore, predates Metcalfe’s Law, which postulates the value of a network is proportional to the square of the number of users it connects.

Joseph Schumpeter’s ideas of creative destruction had innovation at its core. Ideas rather than accumulation of capital drive long-term growth. Advances in one area lead to more ideas across multiple industries.

Bring both Metcalfe and Schumpeter’s ideas together thanks to a boom in internet connectivity and computing power along with abundant, almost limitless, capital and the potential to tackle almost any challenge beckons.

2

Next month’s issue targets the healthcare sector.

The covid-19 pandemic has been regarded as the long-awaited start of the “biological century”. The rapid response to developing vaccines to the disease and the use of novel methods, such as messenger RNA, to do so has created optimism the same speed and execution is possible for a host of other viruses and more broadly to effectively create the longevity escape velocity – where people’s life expectancy increases by more than a year for each year they live.

But research and startups is just part of the challenge in a geopolitical world with concern about sovereignty of supply and requirements for manufacturing bases as well as requirements to carry our large-scale trials.

The UK plans to build on the recovery trial, which uncovered two treatments for covid-19, by streamlining research and embedding it in the health service and through fast regulation.

UK-based venture capital firm Abingworth this month raised $582m for its second clinical co-development fund.

Abingworth has previously invested through its co-development portfolio companies, Avillion and SFJ Pharmaceuticals, which both finance and facilitate clinical trials, taking on all of the clinical and regulatory risk in return for a pre-agreed return if the drug is approved.

When Abingworth first got into clinical co-development back in 2009, it primarily worked with pharma companies who only paid out if the project was successful, by which time the cost of the deal could be amortized over the sales of the product.

The market has since expanded to cover biotechs, which want to reduce the dilutive impact if they had to go out and raise the money on the public market. And there are plenty more of them.

The Financial Times noted Magdalen College was selling a 40% stake in the Oxford Science Park “after a surge of investor interest in the fast-growing life sciences sector increased the site’s value almost seven-fold in five years”.

As sole owner of the park since 2016, Magdalen has invested in new labs and research space on the site and gained planning consent for a new 165,000 square foot development to support its more than 100 businesses based there, including Vaccitech, which raised $111m from an initial public offering on the Nasdaq stock exchange in April.

Last year British firms raised £1.4bn ($2bn) of venture capital, the Economist said, which was more than anywhere else in Europe but less than the American hubs, Massachusetts (£4.7bn) and San Francisco (£4.5bn).

But the parallels between the UK and US are growing.

A few years ago, Seth Harrison, an American venture capitalist at Apple Tree Partners, was looking to open an office in Europe. The choice came down to Britain or Switzerland, he told the Economist. “I got quite acquainted with the whole UK biotech scene.

“The fantastic research ferment that occurs in the Golden Triangle. You know, the London, Cambridge, Oxford area… And I just said: ‘Wow, this reminds me of Cambridge, Massachusetts, 25 years ago.’”

To learn more about the golden triangle, our sister publication will start its review of the three university-led ecosystems, starting with Imperial College, London, in July before discussion and interaction at the GCV Symposium in November.

Medical devices and diagnostics has often been regarded as the underloved part of the healthcare venture market compared with biotech and pharma, with relatively few deals and limited exit options.

This has changed. Last year’s near-doubling in corporate venturing deal values to more than $5bn has continued this year. Most recently, this week Germany-based Smart4Diagnostics

(S4DX) raised €5m ($6m) in its series A round, including local medical technology manufacturer Sarstedt and the EIC Fund, established in 2020 by the European Commission for direct equity investment in breakthrough technologies.

The startup has developed the “digital human blood sample fingerprint”, a data-picture of all quality aspects for human blood samples from collection to arrival in the lab.

As Hans Maria Heyn, CEO and co-founder of S4DX, said: “As many as three in four medical decisions are based on diagnostic results – often blood samples. Currently, this process is being managed manually which can lead to errors and can cause many issues including slow diagnosis, repeated tests on the patient, and wasted resources.”

The covid-19 disease has focused more attention on diagnosis and whether treatment can be done remotely from hospitals. But the take-off in attention to medical devices and dianostics started beforehand with the flotation then purchase of Merck-backed Livongo, a digital diabetes management platform, which had its initial public offering in 2019 and was acquired by Teladoc for $18.5bn last year.

Livongo had been incubated by venture capital firm 7wireVentures, which has just closed its second venture fund at $150m with limited partners including health plans Florida Blue and Cigna, hospitals and health systems Atlantic Health, Wellforce, Rush University Medical Center, Memorial Hermann Health System and Spectrum Health and large employers Boeing, according to Fierce Biotech.

Similarly, E-merge Capital Partners is raising its debut fund focused on early-stage medical device companies and technologies coming out the Evolve MedTech Venture Studio.

The fund, led by managing partners Brad Klos and John Xitco, is focused primarily on class II medical devices in cardiovascular and orthopedics.

Others are also trying to use strategic ties to add value. Private equity firm Revival Healthcare Capital has closed its second fund at $500m. Revival said it would invest where a corporate strategic partner will have a structural option or right to acquire the company in the future.

Rick Anderson, chairman and managing director at Revival, said: “Consolidation has made it increasingly difficult for medtech leaders to move the needle on growth.”

Lauren Forshey, Revival president and another MD, added: “By removing the guess work and gamesmanship that often defines the relationship and instead aligning goals at the outset, target companies benefit from increased focus, speed, and capital efficiency in driving towards milestones they know they will get rewarded for.”

And the goal remains to gain scale. Venture-backed digital health company Ro has agreed to acquire Modern Fertility, a US-based provider of at-home fertility tests for women, for a reported at least $225m according to Fierce Biotech.

Ro started out four years ago selling erectile dysfunction medication and hair loss supplements to men but after raising $876m has been acquiring other startups, including Workpath to move into the home-based healthcare market.

The next Global Healthcare Council quarterly report published next month will cover the transformation of hospitals with remote care and diagnostics – insights and feedback welcome to jmawson@mawsonia.com.

3

Back in the day, money laundering used to be a relatively simple affair. Take a bag of cash to a casino, “lose” 10% to 20% and walk away with the bulk in cleaned money.

Digitalisation and global capital flows has made the scale bigger – now the laundering is more likely to be by swapping a so-called cold wallet of bitcoin or other cyptocurrency on a USB flash drive – but this also creates opportunities for entrepreneurs.

Investment bank Goldman Sachs has just invested $20m in British anti-money laundering (AML) company ComplyAdvantage.

Charlie Delingpole, founder and chief executive of ComplyAdvantage, told the Financial Times he was optimistic that it would be a precursor to a deeper partnership with the Wall Street bank. “It was more about the partnership and the brand and what they can give us as a firm than the money per se, given we are very well capitalised as it stands.”

There is more attention on finance as the sector reaps the unprecedented growth in money supply as treasuries grapple with the economic impact of the covid-19 disease.

But as Vinay Solanki, head of Channel 4 Ventures, referenced in last night’s GCV Analytics webinar on the media sector, effectively all consumer-facing businesses can create opportunities to become financial service providers – even if they are not all going to be as successful as China-based gaming group Tencent, whose first quarter results saw ballooning revenues and  the fair value of its investments in listed companies at Rmb1.4tn at the end of March, up from Rmb410bn at the same time last year.

This transformation can be done through bolting on the right payment apps, such as Stripe, but it also means the need to know your customer for AML and anti-fraud purposes will become more vital.

This could in turn put pressure on the incumbent financial services corporations to take a leaf out of Goldman Sachs and CVC progenitor, Fidelity, and engage more whole-heartedly in backing startups.

We are delighted, therefore, to be setting up the Global Financial Council, to be chaired by Jacqueline LeSage Krause, founder and managing general partner of Munich Re Ventures, a multi-fund corporate venture capital investing platform for Munich Re Group, the world’s largest reinsurance company that effectively can touch all parts of finance and business.

Do reach out to join the wider group and your insights.

4

The merger of corporate venture-backed Gojek and Tokopedia, Indonesia’s two biggest startups, has focused attention on the global success story happening in southeast Asia.

The merged company, to be called GoTo, will create a food delivery, ride-hailing and ecommerce group preparing for a $40bn public listing in Indonesia and potentially in the US this year, sources told the Financial Times.

SoftBank and Tencent are respective investors in Tokopedia and Gojek, which has also raised $300m from Telkomsel earlier this month.

The merger announcement came weeks after Singapore-headquartered Grab, which offers delivery, ride-hailing and financial services, announced a record $40bn merger with a special purpose acquisition company (Spac), while the Tencent-backed Sea Group, the parent company of Shopee and gaming unit Garena, set up a $1bn corporate venturing unit in March.

GoTo counts more than 100m monthly active users on its platforms and a total group gross transaction value of more than $22bn in 2020, according to the FT.

But already the region’s leaders are planning the next series of disruptive startups to emerge.

This month, the Economic Development Board (EDB) of Singapore, a government agency helping investors in the island state, started a pilot program, the Corporate Venture Launchpad, to support large and established companies to venture into new areas of growth beyond their core business. EDB has allocated S$10m ($7.5m) in funding for the one-year program which has partnered with four venture studios:

  • BCG Digital Ventures,
  • FutureLabs,
  • Leap by McKinsey, and
  • Rainmaking.

Singapore already has about 40 venture studios for corporations, such as Procter & Gamble, Bosch and Schneider Electric. Participating corporates through the Launchpad can receive 50% co-funding for qualifying costs, such as for manpower and other fees (capped at $377,000) and potential follow-on co-investment support by EDB New Ventures.

Deals

Beta lines up $368m

Back Market sells investors on $335m series D

Pine Labs picks investors for $285m

Extend grows its funding by $260m

Investors pump $250m into Pipe

Figure fits $200m into series D

Factory14 opens with $200m

Good Meat dishes up $170m round

Formlabs fashions $150m series E

Sunbit shines in $130m series D

Loom looks to investors for $130m

Hummingbird takes off with $125m series C

Asapp picks up $120m series C

Numab nabs Novo in $110m series C

Goldbelly fills up on funding

DST drives to $100m series C

University

Vedere Bio II sees light in $77m series A

ThinkCyte contemplates $26m in funding

Axelspace accelerates to series C

Funds

UTEC hits first close for fifth fund

One Capital 1 hits $147m close

Ulu ushers in $138m for Fund III

White Star closes $50m fund

7wireVentures sources corporate for fund close

Pi Labs lands Embassy Group commitment


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