26 July 2021 – Swiggy Raises $1.25bn in Series J

The Big Ones

SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 and Prosus co-led a $1.25bn series J round for India-based food delivery service provider Swiggy at a $5.5bn valuation. The round also featured sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority as well as Accel, Wellington Management, Falcon Edge Capital, Amansa Capital, Goldman Sachs, Think Capital and Carmignac. TechCrunch said the round includes an $800m tranche led by Prosus’ corporate venturing arm, Prosus Ventures, in April this year. SoftBank provided a reported $450m for that close, which included Falcon Edge, Goldman Sachs, Amansa Capital, Think Capital, Carmignac and Accel.

Aurora, a US-based self-driving technology developer, has agreed a reverse merger with Reinvent Technology Partners Y. The combined company will have a $13bn pro forma implied market capitalisation and will take on Reinvent’s listing on the Nasdaq Capital Market, which was secured through an $850m initial public offering in March this year. It is sponsored by investment firm Reinvent Capital. The transaction includes a $1bn PIPE financing featuring truck manufacturer Paccar, ride hailing service provider Uber and commercial vehicle producer Volvo Group, as well as Reinvent Capital, Baillie Gifford, XN, Primecap Management Company, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Index Ventures, Sequoia Capital, funds and accounts managed by Morgan Stanley’s Counterpoint Global unit and funds and accounts advised by T Rowe Price.

Italy-based venture capital firm Panakès Partners has achieved a $180m first close for its second fund with a commitment from pharmaceutical firm Menarini. The Purple Fund was anchored by the European Investment Fund and FoF VenturItaly, a fund-of-funds managed by VC firm CDP Venture Capital. The vehicle is also backed by unnamed Italy-based banking foundations, pension funds, life science companies and the Cogliati, Colombo, Rovati, Petrone, Re and Bassani families.

University

Form Energy, a US-based grid-scale battery developer spun out of MIT, secured $200m in a series D round led by $25m from ArcelorMittal’s XCarb innovation fund. As part of the deal, ArcelorMittal and Form Energy have signed a joint development agreement to further boost the latter’s iron battery production. The other participants in the round were not disclosed.

Deals

Cryptocurrency exchange operator FTX Trading completed a $900m series B round featuring SoftBank, Coinbase Ventures and Circle. The funding was raised at an $18bn valuation from a consortium of more than 60 investors including quantitative trading firm Hudson River, Paradigm, Sequoia Capital, Thoma Bravo, Ribbit Capital, Insight Partners, Bond, New Enterprise Associates, Third Point and Lightspeed Venture Partners, Willoughby Capital, 40North, Senator Investment Group, Sino Global Capital, Multicoin, VanEck, Altimeter, the Paul Tudor Jones family, and private investors Izzy Englander and Alan Howard.

Colombia-based on-demand delivery service Rappi has secured over $500m in series F funding from investors including SoftBank. T Rowe Price led the round, which also featured Baillie Gifford, Third Point, Octahedron Capital and GIC. The cash was reportedly raised at a $5.25bn valuation.

US-based crop nutrition technology developer Pivot Bio completed a $430m series D round that included Tekfen, Bunge and Continental Grain. Temasek and DCVC co-led the round with backing from Generation Investment Management, Rockefeller Capital Management, Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV), Prelude Ventures, Pavilion Capital and private investor Roger Underwood. Tekfen and Bunge were represented in the round by their respective corporate venturing units, Tekfen Ventures and Bunge Ventures. It reportedly valued the company at nearly $2bn.

SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 led a $350m series C round for US-based alternative protein developer Nature’s Fynd. Danone’s corporate venturing arm, Danone Manifesto Ventures, also participated in the round, as did Archer Daniels Midland and SK. The participants were completed by Blackstone Strategic Partners, Balyasny Asset Management, Hillhouse Capital, EDBI, Hongkou Capital, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Generation Investment Management and 1955 Capital.

Lenskart, an India-based online eyewear retailer backed by SoftBank, has raised $220m of funding at a $2.5bn valuation. Temasek and Falcon Edge Capital co-led the round and were joined by Bay Capital and Chiratae Ventures. The company is planning to expand its operations in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Some of the cash from the round will be used to further develop its technology stack.

Cloudwise, a China-based developer of artificial intelligence-driven operational technology, secured $150m in a series E round featuring quantitative and technology trading firm Susquehanna International Group. Sequoia Capital China led the round, which included Albright Stonebridge Group, Boston Investment, CR Capital, FutureX Capital and Citic’s Private Equity Funds Management subsidiary.

SmartRecruiters, a US-based recruitment software developer backed by Salesforce, completed a $110m series E round led by Silver Lake Waterman. Insight Partners and Mayfield Fund also participated in the round, which valued the company at $1.5bn.

Funds

China-headquartered e-commerce group Alibaba’s Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund (AEF) is anchoring a HK$2bn ($258m) vehicle dubbed AEF Greater Bay Area (GBA) Fund. GBA Fund counts undisclosed conglomerates, financial institutions and family offices among its limited partners, and is scheduled to reach its final close in the first half of 2022. The fund will target developers of technologies in areas including deeptech and sustainability, healthcare, artificial intelligence and industry 4.0 technology. It is being managed by venture capital firm Gobi Partners.

Exits

Bukalapak, the Indonesia-based online marketplace, has priced its initial public offering at the top of its range and will raise $1.5bn. The share price values the company at about $6bn and Bukalapak is set to float on the Indonesia Stock Exchange next month. Founded in 2010, Bukalapak operates an e-commerce platform with 6.5 million online sellers and 100 million users, and also runs a business-to-business procurement platform as well as a digital financial services subsidiary called Buka Investasi Bersama. Emtek, Naver, Microsoft, Gree and Aucfan are all in line for an exit.

Shanghai Stock Exchange’s Star Market accepted the initial public offering application submitted by CloudWalk Technology, a China-based facial recognition system developer backed by corporates Bohai, Haier and PCI-Suntek. The company plans to raise RMB3.75bn ($574m) and filed the application in December 2020. It intends to issue up to 112 million shares, and China Securities (CSC Financial) has been appointed lead underwriter for the offering.

US-based lending software provider Blend Labs floated in a $360m initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange, representing an exit for cloud computing giant Salesforce. The company priced 20 million class A shares at the upper end of the IPO’s $16 to $18 range. Blend has developed a cloud software platform which helps financial services providers streamline the loans process. Its net loss rose from $22.9m in the first three months of 2020 to $27.1m in the equivalent period this year, while revenue more than doubled to $31.9m. The company had raised at least $685m prior to the offering, Salesforce having provided an undisclosed amount likely to have been $14m through its Salesforce Ventures unit in May 2019.

VTex, a UK-headquartered e-commerce services provider backed by SoftBank, went public in a $361m initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange. The IPO included nearly 13.9 million class A shares priced at $19 each, above the $15 to $17 range, while selling shareholders divested just over 5.1 million more shares for a total of approximately $97.3m. The shares opened at $25.10 a share on their first day of trading.

Caribou Biosciences, a US-based cell therapy developer spun out of UC Berkeley to commercialise research by Jennifer Doudna – one of the researchers that discovered Crispr-Cas9, has gone public in a $304m initial public offering representing an exit for corporate investors Corteva, AbbVie, Novartis and Heritage Medical Systems. The company increased the number of shares in the offering from 17 million to 19 million and priced them at the top of the IPO’s $14 to $16 range. It is floating on the Nasdaq Global Select Market and the share price gives it a valuation of almost $910m.


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

12 April 2021 – Food Delivery Service Swiggy Raises $800m

The Big Ones

India-based food delivery service Swiggy has raised $800m from Prosus Ventures, Falcon Edge, Goldman Sachs, Amansa Capital, Think Capital, Carmignac and Accel. The round is said to have boosted the company’s post-money valuation to $5bn. Swiggy runs an app where users can order food for delivery from local restaurants, and is one of two large players in the Indian market, along with Zomato, which raised $250m at a $5.4bn valuation in February this year. Swiggy had raised a total of $1.62bn as of a series I round featuring Prosus Ventures, Tencent, Samsung and Meituan Dianping in April 2020. Swiggy’s earlier backers include Naspers,Tencent, Meituan Dianping and Wellington Management as well as DST Global, Coatue Management, Hillhouse Capital, Accel, Harmony Partners, Norwest Venture Partners, RB Investments and SAIF Partners.

Japan-listed spark plug producer NGK has partnered US-based venture capital firm Pegasus Tech Ventures to form a $100m corporate venture capital fund. The vehicle will target developers of smart health, decentralised utility and mobility technologies in the United States, Europe, Israel and Asia. NGK has also entered into a strategic agreement with Pegasus in areas including business creation and mergers and acquisitions. Pegasus already has multiple investment initiatives in place with 35 corporations including Aisin, Sega Sammy, Sojitz, SunnyHealth, CAC Holdings, Teijin, Infocom and Innotech from Japan, as well as Taiwan-headquartered Asus and Acer.

Sarcos Robotics, a US-based industrial robotics technology manufacturer backed by Microsoft, Caterpillar, Delta and Schlumberger, agreed to list through a reverse merger with SPAC Rotor Acquisition Corp in a transaction that will value them at a combined $1.3bn. Sarcos produces robotic exoskeletons that help users lift heavy objects while preventing injuries. The merged business, Sarcos Technology, will take the spot on the New York Stock Exchange secured by Rotor in a $240m initial public offering in January. Caterpillar Venture Capital, Schlumberger and Palantir are backing a $220m PIPE financing for the deal with Millennium Management, Jaws Estates Capital, Michael Price and funds and accounts managed by BlackRock.

Crossover

Icosavax, a US-based vaccine developer exploiting research from University of Washington (UW) completed a $100m series B round led by RA Capital Management. Sanofi’s strategic investment arm, Sanofi Ventures, also took part, as did Janus Henderson Investors, Perceptive Advisors, Viking Global Investors, Cormorant Asset Management, Omega Funds, Open Philanthropy and Surveyor Capital. Qiming Venture Partners USA, Adams Street Partners and ND Capital (formerly known as NanoDimension) filled out the round, having joined Sanofi Ventures in the company’s $51m series A round in 2019. Icosavax will put the series B funds towards advancing vaccines for bivalent respiratory syncytial virus and human metapneumovirus through their first clinical studies. The capital will also support ongoing evaluation of a potential vaccine for covid-19 and the growth of a pipeline of vaccine candidates utilising its computationally designed virus-like particle technology, which stems from research conducted at UW’s Institute for Protein Design.

Deals

Dingdong Maicai, a China-based online grocer backed by Red Star Macalline and Bertelsmann, has raised $700m in series D funding co-led by DST Global and Coatue, while Sequoia Capital China, Tiger Global Management, General Atlantic, CMC Capital, Ocean Link, Capital Today and Hony Capital participated as existing backers. The round was filled out by new investors Aspex Management, 3W Fund Management, APlus Partners, Mass Ave Global and Cygnus Equity. No word on a current valuation, but Dingdong Macai was reportedly worth $2bn following its previous round in May 2020.

SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 has co-led a $640m series E round for Singapore-headquartered intelligent retail technology provider Trax with BlackRock. The round included Sony Innovation Fund by IGV2, a corporate venture capital vehicle for consumer electronics producer Sony, in addition to pension fund manager Omers, and it valued the company at $2bn, according to Globes. Trax provides computer vision and artificial intelligence-equipped technology that tracks in-store conditions and stock levels to help grocery retailers and consumer packaged goods producers make more effective decisions in real time. It has now raised $975m in total.

SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 led a $210m second tranche for US-based security and governance software provider OneTrust that took its series C round to $510m. Franklin Templeton also took part in the second close, which followed a $300m tranche featuring TCV and existing investors including Insight Partners and Coatue in December 2020. The final close came at a $5.3bn post-money valuation. The round’s close increased the company’s overall funding to $920m, including $200m raised in a series A round led by Insight Partners at a $1.3bn post-money valuation. Coatue and Insight Partners then co-led a $210m series B round in February 2020 valuing it at $2.7bn.

India-based multilingual social networking service ShareChat secured $502m in series E funding from investors including social media operator Snap and microblogging platform Twitter. Tiger Global Management led the round, which included venture capital firm Lightspeed Venture Partners and undisclosed additional backers. It valued the company at $2.1bn and increased its funding to $765m since it was founded in 2015.

Kavak, a Mexico-based used car marketplace platform backed by SoftBank, has raised $485m of series D funding at a $4bn valuation. D1 Capital Partners led the round, which also featured Founders Fund, Ribbit Capital and Bond. Kavak has built an online platform that lets users buy and sell used cars in Mexico, Argentina and Brazil. It also offers financing through subsidiary Kavak Capital and carries out reconditioning and vehicle delivery. The round increased the company’s total funding to $900m and followed a round of undisclosed size co-led by SoftBank, DST Global and Greenoaks Capital in September 2020 at a $1.15bn valuation.

Prosus Ventures, the investment arm of Prosus, is co-leading a $350m funding round for India-based online pharmacy PharmEasy. The round consists of primary and secondary funding and is being co-led by TPG Growth. It included Eight Roads Ventures – part of investment and financial services group Fidelity – as well as Temasek, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, LGT Lightrock and Think Investments. The latest round reportedly valued API Holdings, the holding company for PharmEasy, at $1.5bn post-money. It said it has closed $323m of the capital, with the remaining $27m set to be closed soon.

SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 has led a $300m funding round for India-based online reselling platform developer Meesho at a $2.1bn valuation. Facebook and Prosus Ventures also took part, as did Shunwei Capital, Venture Highway and Knollwood Investment. Meesho operates an online platform through which users can connect and sell to customers on social media. Its core group of sellers are female small business owners, and it manages payment, order management and logistics on their behalf. The round took Meesho’s total funding to $490m.

CloudMinds, a China-based robotic technology developer backed by SoftBank and Foxconn, has raised over $153m in series B-plus funding co-led by Shanghai Chengtou Group and Guosheng Group, investment vehicles for the city of Shanghai’s municipal government. CloudMinds filed for a $500m initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange in July 2019, but the SEC ruled in February this year that it be declared abandoned after the company failed to respond to requests for clarification on its status.

Funds

Egypt-headquartered venture capital firm Algebra Ventures launched its $90m second fund on Tuesday with backing from limited partners including Cisco. The European Commission, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Egyptian-American Enterprise Fund and International Finance Corporation are also among the LPs, as are undisclosed private family offices. Algebra Ventures has not disclosed how much it has so far raised for the fund but it expects to reach a first close in the third quarter of 2021. It closed its first fund at $54m.

Exits

Compass, the US-based real estate software provider backed by SoftBank and Advance Publications, has gone public in a $450m initial public offering on the NYSE. The offering consisted of 25 million shares priced at $18 each, at the foot of an $18 to $19 range cut from $23 to $26 at the same time the size of the offering was reduced from 36 million shares. As of the time of recording, on Friday afternoon UK time, shares are down by more than 17.5% and trading at $16.60. Compass has built an online platform that provides extensive listings of homes for sales. It made a $270m net loss in 2020 from $3.72bn in revenue. It had raised about $1.5bn in funding and was reportedly valued at $6.4bn as of a series G in January 2020.

Krafton, a South Korea-based video game publisher backed by Tencent, has filed for an IPO. The company was valued at $18bn in off-exchange trading yesterday, while the IPO is set to be one of the largest in the country this year, unnamed local sources told Reuters. Founded by computer game studio Bluehole as a holding group in 2018, Krafton owns multiple brands including Bluehole Studio, PUBG Studio and Striking Distance Studios. Its lead product, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, has about 55 million daily users in countries outside China and has sold 70 million copies. Tencent invested $61.5m in Bluehole in 2017 and later returned to make a $468m secondary investment the following year to increase its stake in the company to a reported 11.5%.


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

24 February 2020 – Imara to Raise Up To $86.3m in its IPO

The Big Ones

Grab had raised $4.8bn for its series H round as of mid-2019 but did not confirm a close for the round. Now however, the on-demand ride provider is set to raise approximately $714m from Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group as part of a venture where the two will collaborate on a lending and insurance app, according to Nikkei. Amazon has been held up as a prime example of tech companies growing through diversification but it’s far from the only one.

SoftBank may be having difficulty luring external backers to its second Vision Fund but in the meantime it’s putting in its own money, $2.5bn since October according to Reuters sources, one of which said it is considering another $2.5bn while the fund carries on investing. Vision Fund is also reportedly lining up backers for a sub-$2bn hedge fund-like vehicle that will make public market investments.

Imara, a US-based developer of therapies for blood disorders, has filed to raise up to $86.3m in an initial public offering that would enable pharmaceutical firms Pfizer and Lundbeck to exit. Founded in 2016, Imara is working on drug treatments for haemoglobinopathies: disorders that affect the haemoglobin, the part of red blood cells that carry oxygen. It filed confidentially for the IPO in September 2019. It’s raised some $77m in series A and B funding, according to the filing – which is actually nearly $20m less than it had previously claimed, a discrepancy that’s rare for US companies (if a somewhat more common sight in China).

And the biggest deal on GUV was OMass Therapeutics, a UK-based drug design and development spinout of University of Oxford, which added £27.5m ($35.7m) of series A funding from investors including the university and its Oxford Sciences Innovation. Syncona led the extension with a $21.6m commitment – having also led the initial $17.9m close in 2018 with participation from OSI – to bring round’s total to $53.9m. OMass Therapeutics is working on therapies for immunological and genetic disorders.

Deals

Payment technology provider Toast has secured $400m in a series F round that bumped its valuation up from $2.7bn in April last year to $4.9bn. The round was co-led by TPG, Greenoaks Capital and existing investors Bessemer Venture Partners and Tiger Global, and it increased the company’s overall funding to more than $900m.

Endpoint protection platform developer SentinelOne has reportedly secured $200m at a $1.1bn valuation, with Insight Partners leading the round. Growth equity firm Insight also led SentinelOne’s last round, a $120m series E in June 2019 that included Samsung Venture Investment.

Yimi Dida is one of several trucking service providers contributing to China’s thriving logistics sector, and it has pulled in $143m in series D-plus funding from undisclosed investors, just over a year after it raised $266m in a Prologis-backed series D round.

Swiggy is continuing to battle Zomato for pole position in India’s online food delivery sector, and has received $113m in a series I round led by a reported $100m investment from Prosus Ventures, the unit formerly known as Naspers Ventures. You don’t see too many series I rounds, do you?

Unacademy is one of several companies operating in India’s thriving online education sector, and has grabbed $110m in a series E round that includes a relatively rare corporate venturing investment by Facebook.

Tier Mobility has extended its series B round to more than $100m, adding about $40m in debt and equity financing to the $60m it raised from investors including Axa Germany last October.

Elsewhere in Germany another transport-focused company has expanded its latest round, airborne taxi developer Volocopter increasing its series C to $94m with funding from investors including Deutsche Bahn’s logistics subsidiary, DB Schenke, as well as Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance and MS&AD Ventures.

Spruce Biosciences has nabbed $88m in a series B round that included Novo, one of two named investors in its $20m series A three years ago. The company is currently enrolling patients for a phase 2 trial for a treatment intended to reduce heavy steroid doses necessary to combat a genetic hormonal disorder known as congenital adrenal hyperplasia.

Intel Capital has led a $74m round for cybersecurity software provider ZeroFox, boosting its total funding to $162m. ZeroFox has also formed a collaboration agreement with an Intel ecosystem of software vendors known as Intel AI Builders covering artificial intelligence development.

Solar energy services provider Sunseap has raised $72m from energy utility Banpy as part of a series D round that is reportedly now sized at $146m. The round’s other participants include Temasek and ABC World Asia while Chow Tai Fook Enterprises and Shell Technology Ventures are among its existing backers.

Funds

China International Capital Corporation’s CICC Capital unit has accumulated more than $229m for a biomedicine fund that follows a $1bn healthcare investment vehicle formed with AstraZeneca late last year. Corporate backers Hebei Port, Pharscin Pharma, Xiamen Fig, Fujian Sunner and Sichuan Daily Press subsidiary Xinwen Venture Capital are all among the LPs in the latest fund.

Biopharmaceutical company Walvax Technology is deploying roughly $21m for a biomedicine fund with a targeted close of about $87m that will be managed by Jinsheng Capital. Walvax is relatively new to corporate venturing but there seems to be a fair bit of activity in China right now concerning healthcare investment funds.

Exits

Mobile content discovery platform Digital Turbine has agreed to purchase US-based peer Mobile Posse in a deal reported by DC Inno to be about $66m in size, allowing telecommunications group SoftBank to exit.


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

05 August 2019 – MyBank Seeks $870m at $3.5bn Valuation

Big ones

MyBank was formed by Ant Financial and Fosun in 2015, and now the big data and AI-enhanced online lending platform is reportedly seeking about $870m in a round that could include both corporates at a $3.5bn valuation. Its other existing investors include Wanxiang, a contributor to the $644m the company received at the time of its launch.

After much speculation, Indonesian bank Bank Negara Indonesia has officially launched its venture capital unit, BRI Ventures. It has provided an initial $100m for the unit that it intends to eventually increase to up to $250m, and it will be headed by Nicko Widjaja, the ex-CEO of one of the country’s other notable corporate venturing entities, Telkom Indonesia’s MDI Ventures. That’s an interesting development considering MDI was said to be helping BNI put together the fund.

Chinese online lending platform 9f has filed to go public in the US and hopes to raise $150m in proceeds but, in an unusual move, is yet to settle on an exchange (it’s a fight between NYSE and Nasdaq). The company’s investors include Susquehanna International Group and SBI, though neither have stakes sized at 5% or more. Founded in 2006, 9f operates a peer-to-peer lending marketplace for consumers, with the loans supplied by both private investors and institutional partners. The platform also offers securities trading and big data analytics functionalities. The company had 76.7 million registered users as of March this year, 7.8 million of which have an approved credit limit. Its outstanding loan balance totalled $8.2bn at the time.

Alizé Pharma 3, a France-based biopharmaceutical startup based on research at University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill, University of Maine and Harvard University, secured $74.6m on Tuesday in a series A round led by investment firm LSP. Novo Ventures, Partners Innovation and Sham Innovation Santé, respective investment vehicles for pharmaceutical firm Novo, healthcare provider Partners Healthcare and insurer Sham, among others, also took part in the round. Alizé Pharma 3 is developing drugs that are intended to treat metabolic diseases and diseases of the endocrine system.

Deals

Swiggy is in what’s increasingly become a head-to-head battle with Zomato for dominance in India’s on-demand food delivery sector, and it’s reportedly close to raising between $700m and $750m in a round led by existing investor Naspers.

Healthcare software provider Babylon Health has announced a $550m series C round that will value it at $2bn post-money once it formally closes.

Traveloka raised $420m in a GIC-backed round in April, and is reportedly talking to investors in a bid to secure an additional $500m at a valuation of about $4.5bn.

Mobile bank operator Nubank has already sealed funding, notching up $400m in a series F round that included Tencent. The corporate had already invested $90m in Nubank last October, together with a $90m secondary transaction.

Online real estate brokerage Compass is now valued at $6.4bn having secured $370m in a series G round that included SoftBank Vision Fund, fresh from the launch of its recent $108bn second vehicle.

Mobile commerce platform Wish is now valued at $11.2bn following a series H round reportedly sized at $300m. General Atlantic led the round, without any other participanys being disclosed.

Machine learning software provider DataRobot has reportedly secured $200m in a series E round led by Sapphire Ventures at a valuation of more than $1bn.

Chinese engineering equipment rental service Zhongeng United has raised a total of about $167m in new funding, almost $22m of which came in the shape of series B-plus capital supplied by Five Star.

Funds

Utimco, a joint investment company of University of Texas and Texas A&M University, has backed a $234m life sciences fund raised by Germany-based venture firm Wellington Partners.

Exits

There’s been a lot of talk of decline in the new media sector as of late, and we could be about to see some more consolidation in the space. Vice is one of the biggest players and is reportedly in discussions to acquire Refinery29 in a move intended to diversify its comparatively masculine reputation.


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

10 June 2019 – Google Agrees $2.6bn Acquisition of Looker

The Big Ones

JD.com has agreed to lead a round for electronics recycler Aihuishou that will be more than $500m in size. The deal will also involve JD.com, an investor in the company since at least 2015, merging its second-hand e-commerce subsidiary, Paipai, with Aihuishou.

Google has agreed to purchase data analytics software provider Looker in a $2.6bn acquisition that will surely be one of the year’s largest.

SoftBank Vision Fund is still seeking out new forms of financing, and is reportedly in talks with banks such as Goldman Sachs over a $4bn debt financing package that will effectively use its stakes in Uber, Guardant Health and the soon-to-list Slack as its basis.

Healthcare-focused investment firm Deerfield Management added a partnership with Columbia University to its roster of academic biomedical alliances yesterday with the launch of an up to $130m investment vehicle, Hudson Heights Innovations.

Deals

Swiggy is battling Zomato for dominance in India’s online food delivery sector, and may be about to recruit a powerful ally in SoftBank.

Bordrin Motor is the latest Chinese smart electric vehicle developer to pull in big funding, securing $362m in a round led by a Sinochem vehicle called Silver Saddle Equity Investment Management.

Speaking of SoftBank, the telecommunications and internet group has also invested $200m in online consumer loan provider Creditas.

Hupu is still preparing to float in its home country of China, but before that, digital media company Bytedance has invested $182m in the sport-focused online media provider in return for a 30% stake.

Foursquare seems to have been around forever and has had some hiccups, but it’s raising more money than ever. Merchant bank Raine Group has invested $150m in the location-based app developer, whose existing backers include Naver and corporate venturing units OATV and Simon Ventures, and is using some of it to acquire location data-tracking software provider Placed from Snap, which bought the company for $135m two years ago.

SoftBank Vision Fund invested $100m in Brazilian logistics platform Loggi towards the end of last year and has now returned to lead another $100m round.

Endpoint security software provider SentinelOne has secured $120m in a series D round that included Samsung Venture Investment to boost its total funding to $230m.

Yellowbrick Data has raised $81m in series C funding from investors including BMW i Ventures, Siemens’ Next47 unit and Alphabet subsidiary GV to boost its overall funding to $173m.

Exits

Global Fashion Group, a consortium made up of investors including Rocket Internet, Access Industries and Tengelmann Ventures that oversees four fashion e-commerce marketplaces is looking to go public as early as next month.

Japanese digital business card platform Sansan has priced its initial public offering at the top of its range and is set to raise about $360m, including the over-allotment option, when it floats in Tokyo.

Adaptive Biotechnologies has filed to raise up to $230m in an initial public offering, following the inking of a collaboration deal with Genetech in December that could potentially be worth $2bn.

Another unicorn, fitness subscription service Peloton, has confidentially filed for an initial public offering. Its investors include Comcast NBCUniversal and Grace Beauty, and it was valued at more than $4.1bn when it last raised money, in August.


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

22 October 2018 – Alibaba Confirms Ele.me and Koubei Merger

Deals

Alibaba has confirmed the merger of Ele.me, the food delivery service it acquired in April, with Koubei, the local services platform it launched in 2015 and spun off two years later. The deal will be bolstered by $3bn of funding from Alibaba and SoftBank, and the newly formed entity will be going head to head with Meituan Dianping, the local services platform heavily backed by Alibaba’s key rival, Tencent.

Indian online food ordering platform Swiggy is preparing to raise $900m in a Naspers-led round that will reportedly include Tencent, and which will consist of $600m in equity funding and $300m in secondary share sales.

Instacart is growing like a weed and has announced a $600m round led by hedge fund D1 Capital Partners that valued it at $7.6bn. That would be some achievement in itself, but the grocery delivery service closed a $350m round at a $4.35bn valuation just six months ago.

Alibaba has invested approximately $288m in alcoholic beverages retailer 1919 Wines, taking a 29% stake in the process. 1919 sells its drinks through the combination of an e-commerce platform, for which Alibaba could surely help, and brick-and-mortar stores, and the investment comes at a time when China is learning to love wine.

LinkLogis, which uses AI to power a supply chain finance platform for small and micro-sized businesses, has received $220m in a series C round led by Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC with participation from corporates GLP, Skyworth, Tencent and Bertelsmann Asia Investments.

Ant Financial, Alibaba’s financial services affiliate, has invested $210m in Zomato, the India-based restaurant listings platform that is moving into food delivery.

Oxford Nanopore Technologies, a UK-based sequencing technology spinout of University of Oxford, has raised $66m from pharmaceutical firm Amgen that brought its latest round to $206m.

Careem has received $200m from existing investors that include Rakuten, Al Tayyar and the Saudi Telecom-anchored STV according to Reuters, capital that will likely form the first part of a $500m round that values it at $2bn pre-money.

Automotive e-commerce platform Chehaoduo has meanwhile secured $162m in a series C+ round, seven months after Tencent led its $818m series C. It has reportedly now raised a total of more than $1.85bn in total, and the city of Kunshan has provided $430m as part of a deal that will involve it being the location for Chehaoduo’s Maodou subsidiary.

Funds

SoftBank is still yet to officially close its $100bn Vision Fund, but it is reportedly arranging $9bn in debt financing for the unit, from the banks that are acting as underwriters for the IPO of its wireless division, an offering expected to raise some $27bn.

US-based growth equity firm Edison Partners closed its ninth fund at $365m yesterday having raised capital from limited partners including Rutgers University and American Family.

Taiho Pharmaceutical launched corporate venturing arm Taiho Ventures in 2016 with $50m of capital. The unit has since backed several companies, many of which are cancer therapy developers, and achieved an exit when Arcus Biosciences went public in March.

The Chinese city of Xuzhou has partnered with venture capital firm SummitView capital to launch a $433m fund focusing on sensors and technology related to the internet of things.

36Kr has long been cited as a news source for Chinese deals, but the technology news platform has been busy in recent years, adding a slate of data provision, event promotion and fundraising services to its bow.

Exits

It’s been quite a while but slowly, inch by inch, ride hailing services Uber and Lyft are moving toward the public markets.

Meanwhile, prospective underwriters for a Palantir IPO have told the company it could double its last disclosed valuation to $41bn in its own 2019 IPO.

Innovent Biologics filed for its Hong Kong IPO in June but has now revealed it is seeking $400m to $500m in the offering and has lined up cornerstone investors.

Anaplan has raised almost $264m in an IPO that involved it floating at the top of its range before seeing its share price jump some 40% immediately.


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

01 October 2018 – ByteDance in Funding Talks with SoftBank

Deals

Reports that China-based digital media company ByteDance was seeking funding at a $75bn valuation emerged a few weeks back, but now they’ve been fleshed out with news that it is in talks with SoftBank, which could provide $1.5bn of a $3bn round that also looks set to include KKR and General Atlantic.

Another Indian unicorn, ride hailing platform Ola, is reportedly in talks with Naspers and Temasek over a $1bn round that could value it at between $7bn and $8bn.

Short-term accommodation platform Oyo has raised $800m from investors including SoftBank Vision Fund and has reportedly secured commitments for a further $200m.

Swiggy is looking to establish itself as the market leader in India’s on-demand food delivery segment and has reportedly opened talks with investors including Tencent over a funding round that could reach $700m and value it at up to $2.5bn.

SoftBank Vision Fund continues to make its presence felt in the venture capital space, its latest deal being a $400m investment in real estate transaction marketplace Opendoor.

SoftBank’s Vision Fund has also invested in the latest round for online real estate brokerage Compass, which secured $400m in a series F round that valued it at $4.4bn post-money.

Butterfly Network, the developer of a handheld ultrasound device, has meanwhile received $250m in series D funding from investors including Fosun Pharma at a $1.25bn valuation.

Payment technology provider Stripe has taken a big step forward, securing $245m in a round that more than doubled its valuation to $20bn in less than two years.

Trucking services platform Manbang Group has been one of the recent success stories in China’s VC space, and now Convoy is aiming to become the sector’s market leader in the US.

UBiome, a US-based microbial genomics technology developer backed by the Stanford-StartX Fund, has raised $83m in series C funding from investors including Dentsu Ventures, the corporate venturing vehicle formed by marketing firm Dentsu.

Funds

Despite its name, SoftBank Ventures Korea hasn’t limited itself to Korean deals, and the unit is looking to establish itself more thoroughly in China with a $300m fund it has formed in partnership with TPG Growth.

The Engine Fund, a tough tech-focused VC vehicle associated with Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Engine incubator, has reached a final oversubscribed close of $205m.

Exits

2018’s really turning into a banner year for IPOs, with fashion e-commerce marketplace Farfetch the latest tech company to launch a successful offering, floating above its range to raise $885m.

Baxalta Ventures has scored one of the year’s big M&A exits, after Alexion agreed to acquire autoimmune disease drug developer Syntimmune for $400m upfront and up to $800m in milestone-related payments.

Asarina Pharma, a Sweden-based biotechnology spinout of University of Umeå, floated on the Nasdaq First North stock exchange last week after raising more than Skr142m ($16.3m) in an initial public offering.


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

12 February 2018 – Ant Financial in Potential $5bn Funding Round

Deals

Ant Financial, e-commerce group Alibaba’s financial services affiliate, is reportedly preparing to raise $5bn in funding in a round that will value it at betwen $80bn and $100bn, making it the most valuable VC-backed private company of all time.

Go-Jek has been raising a $1.2bn round over the past six months that already includes JD.com, Tencent, Google and Meituan-Dianping, and now the on-demand ride service is reportedly set to receive up to $290m from e-commerce firm Blibli and industrial conglomerate Astra International in order to increase the round to $1.5bn.

Byton, the smart electric car developer formerly known as Future Mobility, is reportedly in talks with a Chinese state-owned institution to raise between $300m and $400m of funding at a valuation of at least $1.2bn.

Grocery delivery service Instacart is also gearing up to raise funding – up to $250m according to a Delaware securities filing.

Enerkem, a producer of fuels and biochemicals from municipal waste, has raised approximately $224m in its latest round, which included Sinobioway and long-time backer Waste Management of Canada.

Joby Aviation is developing a five-seater electric aircraft that will be able to take off and land vertically, but which is intended to be far quicker than established alternatives like helicopters.

Swiggy is looking to ward off competitors in India’s app-based food delivery sector, such as Zomato and Foodpanda, and has secured $100m in a round led by Naspers Ventures.

Toyota has invested almost $69m in JapanTaxi, a ride hailing app that has signed up about a quarter of Japan’s taxi drivers, as part of a strategic partnership agreement.

AvroBio has raised $60m in a series B round featuring Brace Pharma Capital, the investment firm backed by pharmaceutical company EMS, and will use the proceeds to advance a pipeline of gene therapies for rare diseases.

Broadlink, the China-based developer of a range of connected home products, has secured $54.5m in series D funding from investors including Baidu and Libai. Its past backers include
Qualcomm Ventures, and the company disclosed the funding alongside news that it is preparing an initial public offering in its home country.

Automotive leasing service provider Fair seems like a company on the move. It acquired Uber’s leasing business, Xchange Leasing, last week and has now raised additional funding in a round led by Next47 that included BMW and CreditEase FinTech Investment Fund.

These weren’t the biggest deal on GUV, but they were the most intriguing because it looks as if MIT has spun out two companies that are developing the same technology: Lightmatter, which raised $11m in a series A, and Lightelligence, which secured $10m in a seed round, are developing computer chips that rely on light (or photonic) signals rather than electric signals – boasting orders of magnitude of processing power and having profound implications for data-intensive applications such as AI.

Funds

Insurance firm Ping An has emerged as one of the more prominent China-based corporate venturers over the past couple of years and its CVC arm, Ping An Ventures, is now targeting up to $1.3bn in capital for two new funds.

Workday formed its corporate venturing unit, Workday Ventures, in 2015, but the unit has only been sporadically active since. That looks set to change however, with the corporate committing $250m to a Workday Ventures fund that will add AR, VR and blockchain-based enterprise technologies to the AI and machine learning it already targets.

UK-based innovation platform Future Planet Capital has signed a memorandum of understanding with venture capital vehicle Eight Great Technologies Fund (8GT) for an initiative that will invest in British spinouts and companies.

And 4490 Ventures, a US-based venture capital firm co-founded by Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (Warf), has raised $49m for its second fund, according to a regulatory filing.

Exits

Acacia Pharma, a UK-based nausea and vomiting treatment developer backed by pharmaceutical firms Lundbeck and Novo, has revealed plans for an initial global offering on the Euronext Brussels market. The company has not disclosed how much it expects to raise in the flotation, which will be conducted as a private placement open to certain institutional and other investors outside the US.

Elastagen, an Australia-based dermatology product manufacturer spun out from University of Sydney, today agreed to an acquisition by pharmaceutical firm Allergan for $95m in an upfront payment.


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