23 September 2019 – We Company IPO Issues Ongoing + Telecoms Sector Webinar

Big Ones

We have a lot of IPO news for you this week but let’s talk about We Company for a moment, because no other company has had quite as tough a time of trying to go public (not even Uber’s failure to reach the IPO price for weeks after going public comes close). Really, We Co hasn’t found the path to its IPO very much fun but arguably even more eyes have been focused on its largest investor, SoftBank. The IPO may have been delayed until… sometime later this year after rumours that the offering could be cancelled altogether. Sources have told the Wall Street Journal that SoftBank is set to buy up $750m of shares in an IPO that will raise about $3bn when (if!) it eventually happens. The bigger shock has of course been news that We Company’s valuation is set to tumble from $47bn in January to between $15bn and $20bn when it floats.

The ongoing issues with the We Company IPO appear to be hitting SoftBank in other areas, too. The corporate is still in the process of finalising LP commitments for its second Vision Fund, but sovereign wealth funds PIF and Mubadala are reportedly pulling back their exposure having supplied a total of $60bn for the first fund. Taking big bets, as Masayoshi Son is prone to do, after all can also mean you might end up losing big.

Automattic is valued at just (just!) $3bn despite claiming to power around one third of the world’s websites, having received $300m in series D funding from Salesforce Ventures. The company is likely doing okay financially too, considering it last raised money five years ago, in a $160m series C round that valued it at $1bn pre-money and it’s fresh off a purchase of reportedly less than $3m acquisition of Tumblr, the blogging platform that Yahoo purchased for $1.1bn in 2013, before Yahoo was acquired by Verizon, Verizon banned any sexual content in December 2018 and user numbers crashed.

In a fascinating GCV-GUV crossover, robotic surgery technology developer CMR Surgical has secured $240m in series C funding at a reported valuation of about $1.2bn. The company, whose earlier backers include ABB Technology Ventures, raised the cash from investors including Cambridge Innovation Capital, LGT, Watrium, Zhejiang Silk Road Fund and Escala Capital.

Deals

GitLab has completed a $268m series E round co-led by Goldman Sachs that valued the software development and management platform at $2.75bn. The company, whose investors also include Alphabet unit GV, is aiming for a November 2020 IPO and will channel the series E proceeds into hiring and product development.

Online payment technology provider Stripe is now one of the few VC-backed private companies to have outdone that valuation, having secured $250m in funding at an eye watering $35bn pre-money valuation.

DataRobot is meanwhile also valued at $1.2bn, having confirmed a $206m series E round that included Intel Capital. Reports in July had suggested the enterprise AI technology provider was raising $200m, and the round boosted its overall funding to more than $430m.

Self-driving truck developer TuSimple has raised $120m from investors including Mando and UPS Ventures for a series D round that now totals $215m. The overall round is being led by another corporate, Sina, and the capital will go to expanding the range of TuSimple’s fleet and the further co-development of an autonomous truck for commercial use.

Funds

Data analysis software producer Splunk has been a relatively low-profile figure in the corporate venturing space but expect that to pick up following its formation of a unit called Splunk Ventures that will be equipped with $150m of capital.

On GUV, Italy-based venture capital firm Eureka! Venture has launched a €50m ($55m) fund with an initial close of $33m thanks to a commitment by investment platform ItaTech. The Eureka! Fund I – Technology Transfer will focus on the commercialisation of deeptech and has partnered a total of 19 universities and research institutes across the country, though only Polytechnic University of Turin and Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia’s Technology Transfer office were named.

Exits

A lot of huge startups have gone public this year but it’s been a mixed bag in terms of outcomes. Airbnb is one of the few decacorns ($10bn+ valuations) still to make the jump in the US, but has now said it plans to list its shares publicly in 2020.

Cloud hosting services provider CloudFlare has secured $525m in its IPO, floating above a range that it had already increased last week. Its investors include Microsoft, Baidu, CapitalG and Qualcomm Ventures, and the company’s stock closed at $18.00 on its first day of trading on Friday.

Henlius, a developer of biosimilar treatments for cancer and autoimmune disorders, has priced its shares for an initial public offering that will net the company $410m when it floats in Hong Kong next week. Fosun Pharma is the largest investor in Henlius, which was valued at $3bn when it last raised funding, in July 2018.

IGM Biosciences has secured $175m in its own IPO, floating at the midpoint of its range before seeing its shares shoot up some 50% in their first day of trading yesterday. The company, which is developing antibodies to treat cancer, counts Haldor Topsøe as its largest shareholder, though the corporate’s stake was diluted from a majority share to 39% in the offering. IGM’s market cap is around the $700m mark at time of writing.

Pfizer spinoff SpringWorks Therapeutics has raised $162m after floating at the top of its range. The rare disease and cancer therapy developer had collected $228m in funding across two rounds, from investors that also included GlaxoSmithKline, and its shares are trading around 30% higher than its IPO price at the time of writing.

SoftBank has at least done very well out of the IPO of one of its portfolio companies. Cancer test developer Guardant Health’s shares were priced at $19 each when it floated last October but SoftBank has just sold 4.9 million shares at $77 a pop to raise a total of $377m. That’s a huge return but it also comes after Guardant’s shares fell from a peak of about $110 last month. SoftBank remains the company’s largest shareholder.


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

27 May 2019 – Age of Turbulence

Thanks to everyone who came to the Global Corporate Venturing Symposium this past week.

We are entering an “age of turbulence” – the theme for this month’s GCV Symposium at London’s County Hall. Whether caused by eventual economic downturn, protectionism or regulatory concerns over the impact of technology-led disruption, the headwinds for those providing innovation capital to entrepreneurs are only likely to increase.

Deals

Parvus Therapeutics lands $800m in Genentech deal

DoorDash has had one of the fastest growth spurts in memory and has just raised $600mfrom investors including SoftBank Vision Fund, in a round that boosted its valuation from $7.1bn to $12.6bn in just three months.

Baidu and Citic Bank have jointly invested some $576m in AIBank, but the online financial services provider is now seeking up to $1bn in external funding that it expects to raise in the coming months.

Back in the outside world, payment card processing service Marqeta has secured $260m in series E funding at a valuation of almost $2bn, a huge jump from the reported $545m valuation it achieved when last raising funds nearly a year ago.

Mafengwo’s core product is an online travel reviews and information platform, but it has added a range of travel services to its offering including hotel room and tour booking.

Gilead Sciences was among the participants in a $120m series B round for cell therapy developer AlloVir that was led by Fidelity Management and Research.

Drug development software producer Schrödinger has raised another $25m to take its latest round to $110m.

Digital identity verification and management platform developer Auth0 has meanwhile secured $103m at a valuation of more than $1bn.

Unit DX marks $25.5m in portfolio funding

Funds

Salesforce Ventures launched its fifth Trailblazer fund earlier and the fourth with an international focus. Europe Trailblazer Fund is equipped with $125m of capital and it comes after the unit committed a total of $250m to Trailblazer vehicles in Canada, Australia and Japan over the past year.

UnityPoint Health, the owner of 32 hospitals and home care services, has formed a strategic investment arm called UnityPoint Health Ventures Innovation Fund, and has provided it with $100m in capital.

Corporates coax third MD Start to close

PSL Innovation Fund reaches $72.3m

Exits

Bicycle Therapeutics rides into public markets

Just Bio to jump to Evotec

Vidyo enters Enghouse in $40m acquisition

Cross-border financial transfer platform TransferWise has also overseen a jump in valuation, to $3.5bn, through a $292m secondary transaction.


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

18 March 2019 – Uber Lines Up $1bn in External Capital

The Big Ones

Uber is lining up at least $1bn in external capital for its autonomous car division. SoftBank Vision Fund and Toyota, both of which are already investors in Uber itself, are among the consortium that is in advanced talks to supply the cash. Uber is reportedly seeking a $5bn to $10bn valuation in the round.

Waymo has been operating as part of Alphabet predecessor Google since 2009 and was established as a dedicated subsidiary in 2016. Now, the autonomous driving technology developer is seeking external funding for the first time, and while we don’t know a figure quie yet, it will reportedly be at a valuation far higher than the $15bn it was said to be valued at in the past.

SoftBank revealed in January that it was relaunching its SoftBank Ventures Korea unit as SoftBank Ventures Asia with an expanded remit to invest in the US and Europe as well as all over Asia, and now its CEO JP Lee has revealed that it will also make use of a $500m capital injection.

Deals

Film and TV studio STX Entertainment launched in 2014, raising an undisclosed amount in a Tencent and PCCW-backed round two years later at a $1.5bn valuation. Now, it’s added $700m in debt and equity financing from private equity investors that will fund the expansion of its film production rate as well as strategic acquisitions.

SIG subsidiary Susquehanna Growth Equity is part of a group of investors that have spent $280m to buy shares in work management software provider WorkFront through a secondary share purchase. The company had previously raised $95m in equity financing, and SGE director Martin Anger will take a board seat in conjunction with its investment.

Content delivery network operator Cloudflare has meanwhile raised $150m in a Franklin Templeton-led series E round that took its overall funding to $332m.

Indian freight shipping marketplace BlackBuck has been raising money for its latest round since October and has reportedly set a $100m to $150m target for its close.

Kaplan-backed educational content provider Newsela has meanwhile received $50m from TCV in the form of a series C investment.

Funds

Harvard University has announced a partnership with investment firm Deerfield Management to launch a $100m research and development initiative that will focus on the development and translation of biomedical and life science research.

Exits

Cannabis producer and services provider Verano has agreed to an $850m all-share acquisition by competitor Harvest Health and Recreation, in a deal that will qualify as an exit for cannabinoid therapy developer Scythian Biosciences.

Application delivery technology provider Nginx has raised a little over $100m in funding but has agreed to a $670m acquisition by F5 that will enable Telstra Ventures to exit.

Salesforce Ventures and M12 are set to exit machine learning software developer Figure Eight in an acquisition by AI dataset provider Appen that may total $300m.

Africa-focused online marketplace Jumia has filed for a $100m initial public offering in the US that would follow flotations by other Rocket Internet-founded e-commerce platforms.

Abiomed and Trudell Medical-backed Shockwave Medical, the developer of a calcification treatment system, has raised $97m in its initial public offering.


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

15 May 2017 – SoftBank Leads Improbable $502m Investment and Much More

Deals

The $5.5bn round on-demand ride provider Didi Chuxing just confirmed was closed at a $50bn valuation that means it is closing ground with rival Uber in terms of size, and the company has indicated it will use the cash to finally expand globally.

Yixin Group, the online automotive marketplace spinout of motoring e-commerce firm Bitauto, has secured $580m in funding commitments in a round that includes both its parent company and internet group Tencent.

Indonesia-based online media, e-commerce and financial services platform Garena has rebranded itself as Sea and revealed $550m in funding from conglomerates JG Summit Holdings and Uni-President Enterprises.

SoftBank is continuing its investment spree, leading a $502m series B round for Improbable, a UK company developing software that will make the creation of large-scale virtual worlds possible.

SoftBank has also led a $360m round for Guardant Health, the developer of a liquid biopsy test for cancer diagnosis, and will help commercialise Guardant’s technology in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Modernizing Medicine had raised a total of $87m in funding as of the $38m series E round it closed in 2015, but the electronic health record system developer has taken a big jump with a $231m investment by private equity firm Warburg Pincus.

Online payment services provider PayU has invested $120m in digital lending platform lending platform Kreditech as part of a strategic partnership agreement.

There’s been more action in the on-demand transport sector, with Spain-based Cabify having raised $100m from an undisclosed single investor as part of a series D round it aims to close at $500m.

India-based mobile wallet operator MobiKwik is working on its own nine-figure round and is reportedly in talks with BlackRock, Bank of Baroda and Canara Bank over a round that will value it at about $1bn.

Music royalties platform Kobalt has raised $75m in a Hearst Entertainment-led series D round that valued the company at $775m post-money.

Signifyd has secured $56m in an American Express Ventures-backed series C round that increased its overall funding to almost $100m.

Social music app developer Smule has raised $54m in a round led by Tencent that reportedly values it at just over $600m.

Customer data software provider Gainsight has closed a $52m series E round featuring Salesforce Ventures and Cisco Investments that took its overall funding to more than $150m.

We’ve already talked about the biggest government venturing deal with Guardant Health just now, but what about the university venturing world? We haven’t had any mind-blowingly large rounds there this week, but still a few interesting ones – among these is SiFive, a US-based fabless provider of customised semiconductors based on UC Berkeley research, which raised $8.5m in a series B round that included spinout-focused investment firm Osage University Partners.

Funds

Dell has brought its corporate venturing unit, Dell Technologies Capital, out of stealth, revealing a 50-strong portfolio and 27 exits in the past five years.

China has launched a RMB17.8bn ($2.6bn) venture capital fund aimed at startups in industries of strategic importance, such as IT, energy conservation and environmental protection, advanced materials and equipment manufacturing.

International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector-focused investment arm of multilateral financial institution World Bank, has agreed to put $10m into the Stellaris Venture Partners India I fund.

BDC Capital, the investment arm of the government-owned Business Development Bank of Canada, injected C$5m ($3.6m) into the StandUp Ventures Fund I.

Exits

Ovid Therapeutics has gone public in a $75m IPO that provided exits for Sanofi-Genzyme BioVentures and Takeda, the latter its largest external investor.


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

03 October 2016 – Funding news from Canada, the EU and the UK, Exits for Nokia and Much More

People

Jack Leeney, US head of investing for Telefonica Ventures, the corporate venturing unit of the eponymous Spain-based phone operator, has left after nearly five years at the firm in order to be a partner at SP Global Capital.

Microsoft Ventures has hired Leo de Luna, previously a principal at venture capital firm Split Rock Partners, as managing director to cover California’s Bay area and New York; Rashmi Gopinath, previously an investment director at Intel Capital, as an investing partner covering enterprise software investments in the Bay area; Lisa Nelson, previously chief of staff to the head of business development and the chief financial officer at Microsoft, as a partner; and Priya Saiprasad, previously part of financial services startup Square’s corporate development team, as a principal.

Mérieux Développement has appointed Jean-François Billet, Daniel Fero and Benoit Pierret as it expands its investment capabilities in Europe and the US.

Funds

Canada could start a second funds of venture capital funds (FoF) support programme in its next federal budget allied to support for corporate venturing.

The government-backed European Investment Fund (EIF) has set up a collaboration with national promotional institutions (NPIs) or banks (NPBs) across European Union (EU) member states, with one of its first initiatives expected to be a venture capital coinvestment programme with the Netherlands, according to an attendee.

Baidu, the internet company has added another fund, the $60m Easterly Ventures, to its arsenal. This latest vehicle will focus on Brazil-based technology startups.

Line, the messaging app spun out of Naver, has joined forces with its parent company to put $112m in a fund being raised by Korelya Capital – both companies providing $62m.

ServiceNow has set up an investment division dubbed ServiceNow Ventures and launched a competition to award a total of $500,000 to startups.

Havas, the France-based advertising and PR firm, will provide capital and consulting to Australian startups.

Wayra joins UK government for cybersecurity accelerator
The Telefónica subsidiary will establish the accelerator initiative

Daimler’s Startup Autobahn accelerator reaches Singapore
The scheme, initiated in Stuttgart last year, will be replicated in Singapore in partnership with NUS

Nationwide Children’s Hospital partners Rev1 for $5.5m fund
The healthcare system has joined venture capital firm Rev1 Ventures for a unit that will invest in life sciences

Exits

One of the companies that was expected to list back in January after filing for a $200m IPO at the backend of last year was Nutanix, an enterprise cloud company backed by Sapphire Ventures, the VC firm spun out of SAP. Market conditions turned out to be less than favourable then, but the company has now finally moved ahead valuing the company at $4bn.

Nokia exits Gridsum in $87m IPO

Nokia gets out of Intermedia in MDP acquisition

One97 comes to the rescue as EduKart crashes

SoundCloud, a music streaming service popular with independent artists, is reportedly in acquisition talks again. This time it’s not Twitter, which discussed such plans in 2014 but withdrew that same year before injecting $70m in series E capital a few months ago, but Spotify.

Investments

Another maybe deal but Wal-Mart enters talks to drive $1bn Flipkart investment

FIH Mobile subsidiary has contributed $125m to Tink’s funding round, a company that partners hotels and puts smartphones in rooms that are free to use for guests.

Didi Chuxing enters Ofo’s funding cycle

Online sales technology developer Apttus, backed by Salesforce Ventures, has welcomed back sovereign wealth fund Kuwait Investment Authority for an $88m series D round that put the company’s total equity at $274m.

Bloomberg helps ship $65m to Flexport

Xiaochuan Chuhai does its series B homework

Merck Ventures takes a ride on iOMX

Line seasons $45m Snow investment

Shape Security fits $40m into series D

Instacart consumes Whole Foods funding

NS1 directs $20m to series B

Eli Lilly breaches Fortis in $18m series A

University Corner

GE and Allied Minds study collaboration

Government Department

Druva drives $51m series E


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

13 June 2016 – Cisco shakeup, Line flotation, Oxford ISIS rebranding and more.

Cisco is in the news for not so positive reasons following the walkout of its spin-in team.

Exits

Line, the messaging platform, wholly-owned by Naver, is aiming for $1bn in proceeds at a valuation of $5.5bn

Thailand-based back-office services provider Netbay is aiming for a $4.5m flotation on the domestic stock exchange.

Singapore Press Holdings is also due to celebrate an exit, with its portfolio company Smaato, a mobile advertising company, close to being acquired by Spearhead Integrated Marketing Communication for $148m.

Monster recruits Jobr.

Investments

Rylance is a company is using artificial intelligence to predict even never-before-seen attacks, stop intrusions before disaster strikes and learn from previous threats – and with a first close at $100m for its series D round, it’s well equipped to bring its software to even more clients.

Tradeshift operates an invoicing platform for companies to get paid by their suppliers and has today increased its total capital by $75m.

SundaySky, a marketing company with software that produces personalised video campaigns with real-time info such as product pricing, closed a $30m series D round.

Weka.io meanwhile welcomed Qualcomm Ventures to a series B round that increased the startup’s total funding to $32m.

A $30m series C round for Moogsoft, a software developer that’s created a platform to detect issues such as outages or failed transactions in real-time.

Qadium, backed by O’Reilly Alphatech Ventures, has attracted $20m in series A capital from Darpa, the US Pentagon’s investment division.

DocPlanner books in EBRD for $20m series C.

Funding

Merck, the Germany-based drug developer, has doubled its commitment to its corporate venturing subsidiary to $340m.

Salesforce Ventures has announced a $50m fund and incubator to help its corporate parent establish an ecosystem around its software development platform Lightning.

News from Global Government Venturing

Microsoft Accelerator partners Temasek.

Jungle returns to bare necessities with SeedPlus.

Turkey to grow with $224m fund.

Indonesia’s Bekraf draws VC support for creative upturn.

Delft offers a helping hand to $112m fund.

News from Global University Venturing

Pittsburgh joins Osage network.

Oxford rebrands its TTO.


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