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The Big Ones
Payment processing software provider Stripe has raised $600m from investors including Axa and Allianz X, but the key element to the story is its valuation, which has rocketed from an already huge $36bn less than a year ago to $95bn in the latest round. It’s another symptom of the surging fintech sector, even though Stripe has not mentioned IPO plans. Its earlier corporate investors are Alphabet unit CapitalG, Sumitomo Mitsui Card Company, Visa and American Express.
The drama surrounding Ant Group’s failed IPO late last year combined with Donald Trump’s exit as US president may well have served to pull more China-based tech companies to the latter country for their IPOs. Tencent-backed internet-of-things technology provider Tuya has reportedly priced its IPO above the range and will bag $915m when it floats on the New York Stock Exchange. Tencent itself has expressed interest in buying some $100m of shares in the offering.
South Korea-based conglomerate SK Group has teamed up with Chinese automotive manufacturer Zhejiang Geely Holding Group to establish a mobility technology fund with a $300m target for its final close. The corporates are each putting in $30m and will look to harness European banks and Asian pension funds among other external backers in order to raise the rest of the capital.
Vaccitech, the UK-based developer of vaccines for infectious diseases and cancer spun out of University of Oxford famous for co-inventing the covid-19 vaccine with AstraZeneca, closed a $168m series B round backed by Oxford Sciences Innovation, Future Planet Capital, Tencent, Gilead Sciences and Monaco Constitutional Reserve Fund. The round was led by M&G Investment Management. Vaccitech actually started out with the aim of developing a universal flu vaccine, and its clinical pipeline now includes assets aimed at chronic hepatitis B infection, persistent, high-risk human papillomavirus infection and prostate cancer. It will use the series B capital to advance each of these three assets through phase 1/2 trials. Vaccitech’s earlier backers include GV, which did not return for the series B round, however.
Gene, cell and regenerative therapy developer ElevateBio has raised $525m in a series C round that found space for SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2, Itochu and an unnamed insurance provider. The round was led by investment management firm Matrix Capital Management and it pumped ElevateBio’s overall funding up to $845m since it publicly launched less than two years ago.
Robert Bosch, SAIC Motor and Toyota have co-led a $500m series C round for another Chinese tech company, autonomous driving software developer Momenta. The transaction also featured Tencent and Mercedes-Benz and it’s one of several huge rounds for mobility and transport technology developers so far in 2021, a sign that investors expect the sector to continue to progress in the coming years.
GV and SoftBank Investment Advisers, which manages over $100bn in capital for SoftBank’s Vision Funds, have contributed to a $400m series C round for drug discovery technology provider Insitro. The round boosted Insitro’s funding to more than $640m and it is emblematic of the new breed of tech-enhanced drug developers getting investment right now, with GV among the most fervent backers.
PatSnap, the operator of a cloud platform that collates investment and innovation data, is a company with a business model which has benefitted from the general rise in the market, and has pulled in $300m through a series E round co-led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and Tencent. Both are of course among the most active corporate venture capital investors, which implies a strategic element to their participation in the round, which reportedly valued PatSnap at over $1bn.
Airtable has more than doubled its valuation to $5.77bn, raising $270m in series E funding from investors including media holding company WndrCo. The database software producer plans to channel the proceeds into improving its platform and strengthening its sales and marketing activities. Its overall funding is now around the $620m mark.
SecurityScorecard completed its $180m series E round, snatching up funding from investors including Intel Capital, Axa Venture Partners and GV – all existing backers – at a valuation reportedly just short of $1bn. The round boosted the cybersecurity ratings provider’s total funding to $290m, and at a time when data management software providers are raising big money, it shows the importance of securing that high-grade data in the first place.
Unite Us on the other hand has reached the unicorn stage, raising $150m in series C funding from investors including Optum Ventures and Salesforce Ventures at a valuation topping $1.6bn. The company provides a cloud platform that enables healthcare providers to coordinate treatment more effectively, and it has now received more than $195m altogether.
Identity verification software provider Socure has also breached that unicorn barrier, in a $100m series D round backed by Synchrony Financial, Citi Ventures and Wells Fargo Strategic Capital that valued it at $1.3bn. Socure has so far been mainly focused on customers in the financial services sector but will use the proceeds from the round to expand into other fields.
Andre Maciel, former managing partner at telecommunications and internet group SoftBank’s $5bn Latin America-focused fund, has extended the first close of his independent venture capital firm’s first fund to $80m. Maciel, along with Gregory Reider and Milena Oliveira, set up Brazil-headquartered Volpe Capital in 2019 with SoftBank’s backing. Its first fund also has investment bank BTG Pactual and digital bank Banco Inter as limited partners, according to TechCrunch. Maciel led an investment by SoftBank in Banco Inter he said delivered about $1bn in profits for the corporate.
Canada-based biotechnology product maker Natural Products Canada (NPC) plans to raise C$50m ($39.5m) for a cleantech corporate venturing fund called NPC Ventures. The company has secured a non-binding term sheet with an undisclosed anchor investor for the vehicle, which will invest in producers of natural alternatives to synthetic products such as plastics and preservatives. NPC Ventures aims to complete its first close in autumn 2021.
Robinhood may have had much of the publicity in recent months but it’s far from the only big player in the online share trading world. Competitor eToro has more than 20 million registered users and has agreed to list on the Nasdaq Capital Market through a reverse takeover with special purpose acquisition company FinTech Acquisition Corp V in a deal that will value it at about $9.5bn pre-transaction, and the combined company at approximately $10.4bn. It last disclosed primary funding three years ago when it raised $100m at an $800m valuation, following a $39m round featuring corporate VC units CommerzVentures, Ping An Ventures and SBT Venture Capital in 2015. That’s some exit.
Megvii has filed to go public, and the computer vision and deep learning software producer could reportedly raise up to $923m in the offering, slated to take place on Shanghai Stock Exchange’s Star Market, after fees. Its investors include Alibaba, Foxconn, Legend Star and SK Group, and its largest rival, SenseTime, closed a round described as pre-IPO funding two months ago.
Olo, the developer of a software platform that helps restaurants accept online orders, is going public in a $450m initial public offering that follows roughly $65m in equity funding. Some of that cash came from PayPal, a participant in a $5m round in 2013, and the now profitable company was boosted by a big 2020 that saw it almost double revenue. The offering was priced above a range that had been increased earlier this week.
Digital banking software provider Alkami has also filed for an initial public offering, setting a placeholder figure of $100m. The move comes six months after the company raised $140m from backers including investment and financial services group Fidelity, and a Reuters report earlier this year suggested it would seek a $3bn valuation when it looked to go public.
“Funky Chunk” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
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