26 October 2020 – Ant Group Aims for World’s Biggest Floatation Topping $250bn

The Big Ones

Yuanfudao is the latest Chinese online education provider to raise a huge amount, reportedly securing $1bn in a series G2 round led by DST Global that valued it at $15.5bn post-money. Its earlier investors include Tencent, which co-led the company’s $1bn series G round in March at a $7.8bn valuation, and which was reported last month to be taking part in a $1.2bn round that media reports state had already closed in the run up to the series G2 funding.

Ant Group has secured regulatory approval for the Shanghai leg of a dual listing expected to raise some $35bn at a valuation that may top $250bn, having got clearance for the Hong Kong offering on Monday. Which would make it the biggest flotation in history. The financial services provider was valued at $150bn when it raised $14bn in its 2018 series C round, and Alibaba, which spun the company off, is set to buy about 20% of the shares being issued to come out with a 32% stake post-IPO.

The biggest fund this week is actually a crossover: UVC Partners, the Germany-based venture capital firm affiliated with Technical University of Munich (also known as TUM), unveiled its €150m ($178m) third fund on Tuesday backed by LPs including specialty chemicals company Lanxess. The co-founders of mobility services provider Flixbus also invested in the fund, as have a range of unnamed institutional investors, family offices, corporates and family businesses. UVC Partners maintains a close relationship with UnternehmerTUM, the university’s centre for innovation and business creation. The two entities actually share leadership in Helmut Schönenberger, who is the chief executive of UnternehmerTUM and a managing partner of UVC Partners.

Deal-wise, in crossover news, AavantiBio is the latest entrant to the genetic therapy space, launching on Thursday with $107m in series A funding, $15m of which came from genetic drug developer Sarepta Therapeutics. The spinout’s president and CEO had spent some eight years in an executive position at Sarepta and its core technology is based on University of Florida research. AavantiBio will concentrate on genetic therapeutics for rare diseases and its initial focus is on Friedreich’s Ataxia (FA), an inherited genetic disease that leads to central nervous system and cardiac dysfunction.

Deals

Google has reportedly invested $300m in Tokopedia, one of Southeast Asia’s largest e-commerce marketplaces, as part of a late-stage round already equipped with $500m from Temasek on its way to a targeted close around the $1bn mark. Tokopedia’s earlier investors include CyberAgent Capital, Alibaba and SoftBank vehicles Vision Fund, SoftBank Ventures Asia and SB Pan Asia Fund.

Shouqi Yueche is one of several companies that had seen funding drop off in the wake of China’s regulatory crackdown on its ride hailing sector, but it claims to have increased its registered users by more than 30% in the last year and has also pulled in ‘hundreds of millions of dollars’ in series C funding. The investors in the round have not been revealed but the company’s existing backers include Baidu and Nio Capital.

Arctic Wolf is one of the fastest rising operators in the cybersecurity scene, the cybersecurity concierge provider having raised $200m in a DTCP-backed series E round valuing it at $1.3bn. It had secured $60m in series D funding just seven months ago and its overall funding now stands at more than $350m. It is also moving its head office from California to Minnesota amidst plans to up headcount significantly.

Online education has thrived during the coronavirus pandemic but another Chinese company, online pharmacy operator Dingdang Kuaiyao, has also seen user numbers rise significantly. It has pulled in $150m through a series B-plus round that included existing backers Softbank China and Sinopharm-CICC Capital. Both had already taken part in the company’s $89m series B early last year.

VectivBio has closed a $110m crossover financing round that included Novo to advance its short bowel syndrome treatment through phase 3 clinical trials. The company was spun off from Therachon, a Novo-backed genetic disease therapy developer acquired for $810m in May last year. Novo had also been among the investors to provide the $35m VectivBio had when it launched in January this year.

Hyperscience has developed software that allows organisations to automate back-office tasks to increase efficiency, and has raised $80m in a series D round led by Tiger Global Management. The company’s earlier backers include QBE, TD Ameritrade and Penna and Company, and the series D round took its overall funding past the $190m mark.

Funds

Spain-based telecommunications firm Telefónica has launched a cybersecurity-focused investment vehicle called Telefónica Tech Ventures that expects to provide funding for 15 cybersecurity technology developers over the next three years, investing up to $7m per deal at series A to C stage. Follow-on funding will be available for the better performing recipients.

Exits

Big funding isn’t necessarily the fuel for success however, with short-form streaming service Quibi announcing yesterday it is set to shutter its platform, which launched just six months ago. It will have about $350m to return from the $1.75bn it raised from investors including Alibaba, Sony, 21st Century Fox, Walt Disney, WarnerMedia, Entertainment One and, reportedly, Google and Facebook. Quibi itself has blamed the coronavirus for much of its trouble getting subscribers, but the low adoption rate following free trials points to a lack of good programming and, perhaps deeper, to too many execs with TV experience and not enough with online expertise.

Quibi isn’t the only tech unicorn set to call it a day however. Chinese online car marketplace Renrenche has raised $760m from investors including Didi Chuxing and Tencent and was reportedly valued at $1.7bn after its most recent round in 2018, but Bloomberg has reported it is in talks to sell its major assets to 58.com for a token amount a little over $1,000. Renrenche’s branch of the startup space has been impacted heavily by the coronavirus, but it also competes in a crowded sector. These may be just the start of several parts of the startup space thinning out as revenues dip and money gets increasingly tight.

Back to some better news: although both the US and China have been hotbeds for tech IPOs in recent months, ride hailing has been visibly apart from that as the sector’s inhabitants look to offset the damage to their businesses done by the coronavirus. Dida Chuxing was recently reported to be mulling a Hong Kong IPO, and market leader Didi Chuxing is reportedly looking at the same destination for a 2021 offering. The purported IPO is expected to value Didi at up to $60bn and investors including SoftBank, Apple, Alibaba, China Life, Tencent, Booking Holdings, Ping An, eHi and Sina Weibo would be in line for exits.

Small molecule drug developer Aligos Therapeutics has raised $150m in an initial public offering that involved it pricing 10 million shares in the middle of their $14 to $16 range. Those shares are currently (that’s Friday afternoon UK time) at $15.12, but the offering nevertheless represents exits for Roche Finance and Novo, which were among the investors that had supplied more than $230m in venture funding for Aligos.

Advanced hearing aid provider Eargo on the other hand has celebrated a bumper IPO, floating above its range in an upsized offering to raise more than $141m, then seeing its shares open at double the IPO price on their first day of trading. You know who else must be celebrating? Nan Fung Life Sciences, which participated in Eargo’s last three rounds and which is now backing a company with a market cap over $1.2bn.

Compass Therapeutics is the latest drug developer to file for an initial public offering, though the $50m target it has set suggests its aim may be lower than most. The immuno-oncology therapy developer had secured $132m in a 2018 series A round featuring life sciences-focused real estate investment trusts Alexandria Real Estate Equities and Biomed Realty, but neither possess a stake in the company sized at 5% or greater.


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

24 October 2016 – Temasek Invests $250m, SoftBank and Saudi Arabia Create a Fund and Much More

Investments

Cancer drug developer ADC Therapeutics has taken its total financing to $225m with a $105m private placement that included existing investor AstraZeneca.

Mobike has closed more than $100m in funding from investors including Tencent.

Mitsui has led a $100m round for MatahariMall.com, an e-commerce platform launched by real estate conglomerate Lippo Group with $500m last year.

Online wholesale alcohol retailer Yijiupi has also raised $100m, in a series C round backed by local reviews and group buying platform Meituan-Dianping which will fuel an expansion drive the company hopes will more than double the 72 Chinese cities in which it operates by the end of 2017.

GE Ventures, Envision Energy and Inven Capital have contributed to a round for energy storage and management technology provider Sonnen that has closed at $85m.

Oblong Industries, a gesture-based user interface spinout of MIT Media Lab, secured $65m in funding on Wednesday from investors including Utimco, the investment arm of University of Texas System.

Temasek, the sovereign wealth fund of Singapore, today invested $250m in US-based healthcare conglomerate Columbia Pacific Management’s Chinese subsidiary Columbia China.

Funds

Online media brands Thrillist, NowThis, The Dodo and Seeker joined forces last week to form a new holding company called Group Nine Media, fueled by a $100m investment by Discovery Communications.

French venture firm Daphni has launched a $165m fund with backing from LPs including corporates Nokia, MAIF and Fnac-Darty.

The government of Saudi Arabia joined forces with Japan-based conglomerate SoftBank on Friday to launch a $100bn vehicle dubbed SoftBank Vision Fund.

Exits

Quantenna, which has raised more than $200m in debt and equity since 2005 from investors including NTT, Vivint, Swisscom and Telefónica, has set the range for an offering that could raise up to $107m.

Gene editing company Crispr Therapeutics went public in a $56m IPO that was priced below its range, but which was executed concurrently to a $35m investment by existing backer Bayer Global Investments.

There’s a big new player in the Asian travel services industry, after MakeMyTrip acquired Ibibo Group in an all-share deal that reportedly valued Ibibo at $720m.

Salesforce has scored a decent-sized exit after cloud services provider Appirio agreed to a $500m acquisition by IT services firm Wipro.

Investment manager and research provider Morningstar has agreed to acquire financial data platform Pitchbook in a $180m deal that will see it buy the 80% of the company it does not already own.

Curtin University spinout ePat Technologies, which is developing facial recognition technology, floated on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) on Thursday.

General trading firm Mitsubishi Corporation purchased a 60% stake on Friday in ElectroRoute, an Ireland-based energy trading and services firm backed by government-owned export development agency Enterprise Ireland.

People

Dinesh Moorjani has become Comcast Ventures’ ninth managing director, joining the unit from Warburg Pincus.

Bruce Zimmerman, chief executive of Utimco, last week announced that he is stepping down from the position after a decade of leading the investment company of University of Texas System and Texas A&M System. Zimmerman was appointed as chief executive and chief investment manager in 2007.

Edinburgh Research and Innovation (ERI), the commercialisation arm of Edinburgh University, has appointed George Baxter as its new chief executive effective October 24.


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

10 October 2016 – Possible Snap IPO, Exit for Time Warner Investments, Investment News and Much More

Feature

GV’s new leader’s steady hand

People

Microsoft continues rapid hiring and investment pace

Leeney leaves Telefonica

Funds

Spanish VC firm Kibo Ventures has raised $79m for the first close of its second fund, which it aims to expand to roughly $110m for its final close.

Ideo designs investment firm

University Corner

KU Leuven researches $67.5m fund

Government Department

Europe sets up venture markets

Exits

Time Warner Investments had made a decent-sized exit from marketing data management software company Krux, which has been acquired for about $700m by Salesforce.

Continental picks up Daimler-backed Zonar

Snap, which rebranded from Snapchat a few weeks ago, is said to be preparing for an IPO that could take place as soon as March 2017, and which could value it at $25bn, a steep jump from the $18bn post-money valuation at which it last raised funding, in May.

Obalon Therapeutics, developer of a gastric balloon to aid weight loss, has meanwhile raised $75m in an IPO that could potentially rise to more than $86m.

Investments

Payoneer to break new ground in $180m round

Sumitomo Mitsui Card Company adds investment to Stripe

Connected device network developer Sigfox is also looking to boost its coffers and is looking to raise $100m to $200m in a round that will feature an as yet unnamed Chinese strategic backer, and which will value it at $600m, a 50% jump from its last round in early 2015.

NTT drives Druva’s $51m series E

Rover, the dogsitting marketplace backed by Petco, was rumoured last month to be raising $40m in series E capital from Foundry Group, Menlo Ventures and Madrona Venture Group. Today, the company confirmed the deal, though it didn’t say whether the estimated valuation of $300m was also correct.

Remitly, a mobile remittance services provider that focuses primarily on foreign workers in the US hoping to send money back to family, has added a combined $38m in equity and debt from Silicon Valley Bank and International Finance Corporation to its coffers.

Welltok knocks out $33.7m round

Clearpath reaches corporates for $30m

Online video publishing platform Tout has secured $26m in a series C round backed by sports entertainment provider and partner WWE, after closing a $13.4m round in 2012 that featured a $5m investment from WWE.

Grana targets $10m in Alibaba-backed round


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