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

10 February 2020 – Netskope Gains $340m in Round Led By Sequoia Capital Global Equities

The Big Ones

Sequoia Capital Global Equities has led a $340m round for cloud security platform developer Netskope at a valuation of near $3bn. Netskope has now raised $740m altogether from investors including Dell Technologies Capital. Given the propensity of cybersecurity companies to be acquired, the unit – which has already scored exits from Packet and Big Switch Technologies this year – must feel good about that increased valuation.

Lots of Japanese financial services firms are active in the country’s venture capital space but SBI Group is one of the most strategic, having also backed international fintech developers such as Ripple and CurrencyCloud. It also raised a mid-nine figure amount for an AI and blockchain fund last year, and is now targeting $920m for a new vehicle called the 4+5 Fund.

Cybersecurity continues to be one of the most reliable areas for M&A exits and the latest case is Emailage, an email security software provider that has agreed to an acquisition by LexisNexis Risk Solutions, reportedly for around $480m.

And in crossover news, another exit… Harvard University-founded genomic medicine developer Beam Therapeutics looks set for one of the most successful of recent months, floating at the top of its range in an upsized IPO that will net it $180m.

Deals

SoftBank Vision Fund has provided another $150m for Indian childcare product retailer FirstCry, following on from a similarly sized investment a year ago and doubling its series E round to $300m.

GV’s latest investment involved it leading a $100m round for Verana Health, the operator of a software platform that pools clinical and life sciences information from a range of databases. The Alphabet-owned unit had already led Verana’s last round, a $30m series C 18 months ago, and it forms part of what’s becoming an increasingly lucrative healthcare technology stable.

Moda Operandi, the operator of an e-commerce marketplace for luxury goods, has secured $100m in debt and equity financing, increasing its equity funding to $345m in the process. The company, whose earlier investors include Advance Publications and LVMH, is one of several e-commerce entities to target the high-end market.

JenaValve Technology is moving its transcatheter aortic valve replacement prosthesis towards full regulatory approval in the US and has raised $50m from investors including Legend Capital to fund that journey. Legend Capital also took part in the company’s last publicly disclosed round, a series C that closed at $99m nearly five years ago.

Sendoso, the operator of a platform that combines software and warehousing services to help businesses with their postal marketing, has received $40m in funding from investors including logistics real estate manager Prologis. The round was led by Oak HC/FT and it boosted the company’s overall funding to more than $54m.

Exits

Qorvo has agreed to acquire Decawave, an indoor positioning technology developer that had raised about $60m from investors including ST Electronics and LG, for a reported $400m in cash. The deal was announced alongside semiconductor technology producer Qorvo’s purchase of another company, for a total of $500m.

Schrödinger, which provides chemical simulation software enabling drug developers to more precisely analyse molecules, floated above its range to raise $202m. The GV and WuXi AppTec-backed company then saw its shares shoot up 68% on their first day of trading.

Cancer therapy developer Revolution Medicines has set the terms for its initial public offering and will raise $150m if it floats at the mid-point of its range, $160m if it floats at the top.

Passage Bio, a University of Pennsylvania-linked drug developer that – by a bizarre coincidence – has also raised $226m, has filed for its own IPO, setting a $125m target.

Casper Sleep on the other hand has had some of the worst pre-IPO publicity since, well, WeWork, with onlookers pointing to steady losses and what’s perceived as an (ahem) relatively sleepy corner of the consumer products sector. The Target-backed mattress and bedding brand raised a sliver over $100m, floating at the bottom of an already slashed price range at less than half the $1.1bn valuation at which it last raised funding. Ouch.


“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