20 April 2020 – Stripe Raises $600m in Series G Plus Audio from our Industrial Sector Webinar

The Big Ones

Digital payment processor Stripe is one of the companies that has seen demand for its product skyrocket in recent weeks as more and more commerce moves online. It has also raised another $600m from investors including GV to meet that demand, taking a series G round valuing it at $35bn pre-money to $850m. The company’s earlier backers include Visa and American Express- both of which invested at a $5bn valuation – and Sumitomo Mitsui Card Company.

There’s been no respite for SoftBank over Easter, as the telecoms giant revealed in its annual report that it expected to book a $16.8bn loss on investments from its Vision Fund in the fiscal year that just closed. That figure, which encompasses a huge loss in value for WeWork along with the disintegration of investments in the likes of OneWeb and Brandless, is staggering, and SoftBank has reportedly frozen its second Vision Fund, which was in the fundraising stage. But with most of its consumer-facing portfolio facing trouble right now, what will happen to that portfolio if those companies find their largest investor has suddenly closed their wallet?

Zomato acquired Uber Eats in a $350m all-share deal in January and now the restaurant listings and food delivery platform is reportedly in talks to buy online grocery delivery service Grofers in a similar deal that will value the latter at $750m. The transaction could hypothetically be sweetened by an investment of $100m to $200m from Grofers’ largest shareholder, SoftBank Vision Fund, though it’s unclear whether that will still stand in light of news SoftBank is freezing its second Vision Fund.

Identity verification seems to be a hot sector all of a sudden (we’ll have more in a minute for you). Onfido, which emerged out of the software incubator of University of Oxford’s tech transfer office Oxford University Innovation eight years ago, has raised $100m. The round featured M12 and Salesforce Ventures, as well as unnamed backers, and was led by TPG Growth. Onfido allows companies to biometrically verify a user’s identity by algorithmically comparing a picture of an ID document, such as a passport, with a selfie. It’s used by more than 1,500 organisations, such as digital bank Revolut. Its early backers include the Seed Fund of Oxford’s Saïd Business School Entrepreneurship Centre.

Deals

Despite suffering several outages in early March, share trading app developer Robinhood has emerged as one of the tech-based companies that have seen demand for their product intensify during the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, the company, whose backers include Alphabet units CapitalG and GV as well as Roc Nation’s Arrive vehicle, is reportedly closing in on $250m in funding. The round looks set to be led by existing backer Sequoia Capital, and to lift Robinhood’s valuation from $7.6bn to $8bn pre-money.

Elsewhere in the fintech world, cross-border remittance service Airwallex has closed a $160m series D round that included Tencent and corporate venturing units Salesforce Ventures and Anzi Ventures at a reported $1.8bn valuation. Airwallex is one of that rare breed of successful Australian startups that have elected to remain in their home country instead of moving to Silicon Valley, and it’s a useful example that you don’t necessarily have to move where the most action is in order to reach those high valuations.

China-based drug developer MabWorks has collected $160m in a two-tranche series C round featuring an investment vehicle for industrial park operator Beijing E-Town Biomedical Park. MabWorks has some 15 assets in clinical trials in China or the US, many of which are targeted at cancer, and is focusing on a monoclonal antibody approach.

As promised, more identity verification for you with BioBatch, which has netted $145m in a series C featuring CreditEase and American Express Ventures. Both corporates took part in BioBatch’s last round – a $30m series B two years ago – and that jump suggests demand for its behavioral biometrics technology has grown sharply during that time.

Consumer finance platform Paidy has raised another $48m from trading group and existing backer Itochu that it added on to the $143m in series D funding it closed in November, bringing the round to $191m. Itochu had contributed to that close, as did fellow corporate investors Visa and PayPal Ventures, and it has now committed a total of $91m to Paidy, which has received $281m in debt and equity financing to date.

Ninja Van has racked up $124m in series D funding over the past year, according to data sourced from DealStreetAsia. Corporates GeoPost, Grab, Carmenta and Intouch Holdings provided a total of $50m while GeoPost has supplied a further $79m in convertible note financing since September 2018. The series D reportedly valued the Southeast Asian last-mile delivery service at about $590m.

Cloud kitchen operator Rebel Foods also operates in India’s food delivery sector and has raised $50m from hedge fund manager Coatue Management. Rebel counts Gojek, Sistema and Northwest Industrial Logistics as early investors but while the Coatue deal may seem an endorsement, it’s worth noting that reports in February suggested it was going to come as part of a round sized at up to $150m, at a $1bn valuation. This is a space that could definitely see some more consolidation in the coming months.

Cerevance, a spinout of Rockefeller University, has created technology that helps it assess post-mortem brain tissue in order to develop treatments for brain diseases like Alzheimer’s. It has also secured $45m in a series B round that included corporate VC units GV and Takeda Ventures. The latter had already taken part in Cerevance’s 2016 series A round but its contribution to this one came in the wake of a December 2019 research agreement between Cerevance and its parent company, pharmaceutical firm Takeda.

Funds

China-based, Southeast Asia-focused venture capital firm ATM Capital has closed a fund backed by corporates Alibaba and 58.com at about $100m, DealStreetAsia reported citing sources privy to the development. Founded in 2017, ATM Capital aims to bring Chinese expertise to bare helping Southeast Asia-based startups grow. The fund is its first and it had set a $200m target for its final close, but sources told DealStreetAsia the Covid-19 crisis had impacted fundraising activities.

Corigin Ventures, the venture capital firm sponsored by US-based real estate developer Corigin, has closed its second fund at approximately $36m. The firm targets consumer and property technology developers in the US and Canada. It invests $100,000 at pre-seed stage and provides between $500,000 and $1.25m for seed-stage deals, with additional capital reserved for follow-on investments. Corigin Ventures began raising the capital in mid-2018 and the fund had a $50m target according to securities filings. It is the first to include contributions from external limited partners, according to TechCrunch.

China-based early-stage venture firm Qiming Venture Partners has closed its seventh fund at $1.1bn with investors including Princeton University Investment Company, the manager of the institution’s $26bn endowment. The fund’s other limited partners include unnamed endowments, foundations, family offices and private pensions. Princeton’s been an investor in Qiming funds since its very first US dollar-denominated vehicle.

Exits

Verizon has agreed to acquire video conferencing software provider BlueJeans for a price reported to be below (but reportedly not that far below) $500m, in a deal that will allow Deutsche Telekom’s DTCP subsidiary to exit. BlueJeans had raised about $175m, its most recent funding coming in a 2015 series E round.


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

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