17 August 2020 – Impossible Foods Closes $200m Series G

The Big Ones

A lot of brick-and-mortar retailers have suffered during coronavirus lockdowns in recent months but certain parts of the e-commerce sector have done very well. That includes online sports apparel retailer Fanatics, whose business is reportedly 30% up year on year and which has raised $350m in a series E round that hiked its valuation from $4.5bn to $6.2bn. SoftBank Vision Fund led its last round in 2017, and the company’s earlier backers also include Alibaba.

Israel-based medical technology fund Alive HealthTech Fund has raised $150m, including $50m from four anchor investors including healthcare provider Carillon Clinics and health maintenance organisation (HMO) Maccabi Healthcare Service. The other two were Leumi Partners, the investment banking subsidiary of financial services firm Bank Leumi, which put up $10m, and Consensus Business Group, the investment vehicle for entrepreneur Vincent Tchenguiz. Maccabi Healthcare contributed through its Maccabi Fund. Alive HealthTech is concentrating on growth-stage investments in medical technology developers and intends to lead 10 to 15 rounds by 2024 sized between $10m and $30m, providing $5m to $10m for each company. The vehicle was formed by Maccabi Healthcare, care provider Assuta and Tchenguiz’s CBG Asset Management firm in partnership with chairman Ascher Shmulewitz and Michel Habib, Tchenguiz’s Israeli representative. The founding partners jointly provided $50m for the fund.

Online lending and wealth management platform Lufax may be dialling back its peer-to-peer lending services but its user base still tops 40 million, and the Ping An spinoff has reportedly confidentially filed to raise up to $3bn in a US initial public offering. Several large Chinese companies have filed for offerings in the country which has to be a testament to the heated activity in those markets given they aren’t being put off by anti-Chinese rhetoric from the government or the prospect of regulations that will make them subject to US auditing rules.

Crossover news: Vegan burger and sausage producer Impossible Foods – founded in 2011 by Patrick Brown, then a professor of biochemistry at Stanford University – has closed a $200m series G round led by Coatue Management at a reported $4bn valuation. Alphabet’s GV subsidiary invested in Impossible back in 2014, and since then it has expanded into thousands of shops and restaurants courtesy of partnerships with chains like Burger King and The Hard Rock Cafe. It also sells direct to consumers online and it will use the latest round for R&D, manufacturing, increase its retail presence and international operations. It raised $500m in a series F round in March to be able to cope with an expected impact of the pandemic, but it’s actually achieved 60-fold growth since then as consumers avoided meat (probably in no small part due to well publicised Covid outbreaks in abattoirs and meat processing plants).

Deals

HMD Global secured the licence to manufacture smartphones and feature phones under the Nokia brand in 2016 and, after raising $100m in a Foxconn-backed series A round two years later, has added $230m in funding from Google, Qualcomm and Nokia itself. HMD is expanding from hardware into mobile carrier services, and the fact Google and Qualcomm have also recently pumped significant amounts into telecommunications operator and digital services provider Jio Platform suggests 5G is going to be the fuel for some big deals.

Gong has raised $200m in a series D round featuring Salesforce Ventures at a $2.2bn valuation, increasing its overall funding to more than $330m. The company has developed an analytics software platform for customer service interactions and is one of several in that area to have raised money of late, as more and more interactions become remote. Salesforce participated as a new investor but Cisco Investments had backed Gong since its series B round – one of three it’s notched up in the past 18 months.

Funds

Myanmar conglomerate UMG formed incubator and accelerator UMG Idealab in 2015 and it generally invests $50,000 to $1m at pre-seed to series A stage. Now however, its portfolio companies are moving to later stages and it is preparing to raise $100m for a fund that will support follow-on investments. It is looking to tap external backers and is seeking a close in 2022. That would also likely be the largest fund to be raised by a Mynamar-based corporate venturer.

Exits

KE Holdings, the Chinese company that combines real estate services providers Beike and Lianjia, floated in the United States on Thursday in a $2.12bn initial public offering that values it above $26bn. Some $330m of that amount consists of existing investors buying shares, with Tencent providing $160m of the total. SoftBank Vision Fund is also a notable shareholder while Baidu and several real estate developers are among its earlier investors.

A lot of tech companies have seen their business models validated by lockdown conditions but others are more vulnerable. Kabbage uses AI technology to process loans for small businesses, but with the wider economy in trouble it may see more and more customers default. That environment makes it ripe for an acquisition and American Express is reportedly in talks to buy it for up to $850m. That’s a lower valuation than its last two rounds but not dramatically so, and it would hand exits to SoftBank, UPS, Recruit, Santander, ING and Scotiabank

One of the most recent examples of that heat is primary care network Oak Street Health, which floated late last week and which has closed its IPO at $377m after its share price more than doubled. Health system Humana, which invested $50m in the company in September 2018, now owns a stake valued in excess of $550m.

Another Chinese company, silicon and semiconductor production services provider VeriSilicon Microelectronics, is meanwhile set to float on Shanghai’s Star Exchange in a $268m offering. Xiaomi will own 5.6% of VeriSilicon’s shares when the IPO closes while Intel Capital will own a 2.1% stake. Its investors also include Samsung Ventures.

Online retail software provider BigCommerce has shown the potential in the market, having closed its initial public offering at $249m on Friday just two days after it floated. The company, which counts Softbank Capital, Telstra Ventures and American Express Ventures among its investors, saw its shares skyrocket on their first day of trading, more than tripling in price by the day’s closed. Its share price is still around that mark today, giving it a market cap of roughly $4.9bn.

Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen spinout CureVac has had an eventful few months, pulling in $640m from investors including GlaxoSmithKline last month due to the prospect its messenger RNA technology could form the basis of a Covid-19 vaccine. The Germany-based company has now gone public in the US, in an initial public offering that topped $213m. GSK’s stake is now sized at 8.4%, and CureVac’s investors also include strategic partners Eli Lilly and Genmab.

Another China-based company, Shanghai SK Automation Technology, has gone public but unlike KE Holdings it is doing so in its home country, having raised $105m in an offering on Shanghai’s Star Market. SK Automation provides intelligent manufacturing technology and its backers include SAIC Capital, a subsidiary of carmaker and SK customer SAIC, which retains a 3.4% stake post-IPO.

As the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc throughout the world the IPO rush seems to be carrying on unabated. Xpeng, the smart electric carmaker also known as Xiaopeng Motors, has filed for an initial public offering in the US, having raised some $2.5bn in venture funding from investors including Alibaba, UCar, Foxconn, Xiaomi and Fosun. It has set $100m for a placeholder target but expect that to rise sharply when it comes to setting terms for the offering.

Checkmate Pharmaceuticals has gone public in a $75m initial public offering, floating in the middle of its range. The immuno-oncology therapy developer had previously raised $175m in funding from investors including Novo, and at a time when companies are floating above their range in upsized offerings that’s probably a disappointing result, especially with its shares having dropped from the IPO price.


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

14 May 2018 – China About to Finalise $47bn Semiconductor and Chip Investment Fund

Deals

Online medical booking and healthcare services portal WeDoctor has raised $500m at a $5.5bn valuation, securing the cash in a round co-led by insurer AIA, which is now the company’s life and health insurance partner, and conglomerate NWS Holdings.

Commission-free online trading platform Robinhood is on a tear, having raised $363m in a series D round that more than quadrupled its valuation to $5.6bn in just over a year, during which it added options and cryptocurrency trading features.

Hybrid cloud software provider Mesosphere has raised $125m in a series D round co-led by Koch Industries subsidiary Koch Disruptive Technologies that also featured Hewlett Packard Enterprise and the Qatar Investment Authority.

Moderna Therapeutics first formed a strategic collaboration agreement with Merck & Co two years ago, and now the RNA therapeutics developer has received $125m from Merck as part of a deal to enhance that agreement.

Intel Capital’s annual Global Summit has revealed its latest batch of portfolio companies, which received a total of $72m from the corporate, which was spread across 12 companies.

On GUV, Escient Pharmaceuticals, a US-based biotechnology spinout from Johns Hopkins University, launched last week with a $40m series A round backed by spinout-focused investment firm Osage University Partners.

Funds

Logistics firm GLP has set up a $1.6bn investment fund that will target technology-focused companies in the logistics sector.

China is about to finalise a $47bn investment fund focusing on semiconductor research and chip development.

US-based life sciences investment firm Foresite Capital has closed a $668m fund that included several unnamed university endowments among the limited partners.

On GUV, Yale University received a $15m grant from philanthropic organisation Blavatnik Family Foundation yesterday to expand the Blavatnik Fund for Innovation to $25m.

Exits

Walmart has confirmed its $16bn purchase of a 77% stake in India-based e-commerce company Flipkart, in what is the biggest M&A exit of a VC-backed company since Facebook’s $19bn purchase of WhatsApp in 2014.

Recruit has agreed to acquire employment listings and employee review platform Glassdoor for $1.2bn in cash, enabling Alphabet’s CapitalG to exit.

Huya, livestreaming platform YY’s game-themed spinoff, secured $180m on Friday in a US IPO in which it floated at the top of its range.

Meili, the Chinese fashion e-commerce platform formed by the merger of Meilishuo and Mogujie, has hired underwriters for an initial public offering in the US that is expected to raise about $500m.

Indian renewable power producer ReNew Power, which counts Japan-based utilities Tokyo Electric and Chubu Electric as well as a subsidiary of sovereign wealth fund Abu Dhabi Investment Authority as backers, has filed for an IPO in its home country that it expects will raise up to $386m.

Mobile POS technology producer iZettle announced plans to go public in its home country of Sweden, in an IPO slated to raise approximately $226m.

On GUV, Benevir Biopharm, a US-based immunotherapy developer based on research at New York University (NYU), is set to be acquired by biotechnology firm Janssen Biotech for up to $1.04bn.

Autolus, a UK-based cancer-focused biopharmaceutical spinout from University College London (UCL), filed for a $100m initial public offering on Nasdaq.

And one exit that has collapsed is StretchSense, a New Zealand-based wearable sensor manufacturer spun out from University of Auckland, which has had to let go 140 staff after e-commerce firm StartToday terminated an acquisition deal.


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