19 April 2021 – Coinbase Lists on Nasdaq

The Big Ones

1

Spend enough time in venture and you can see the transformation in startups and the economy almost as if time has speeded up.

GCV’s first article on Coinbase, eight years ago to the day, described it as “a digital wallet for Bitcoin transactions”, which “had raised $600,000 from accelerator Y Combinator and publisher International Data Group’s corporate venturing unit IDG Ventures.

“Bitcoin was set up without central bank backing but with a predetermined limit of 21 million available to be issued from its software and has seen fluctuations in its value from $9 in January to $200 on 9 April 2013 and back down to $150 a day later.”

Now, Bitcoin’s price is $63,063.90 and investors have valued Coinbase at $75.9bn after its debut on Nasdaq stock exchange on Wednesday.

The Financial Times described it as “the first listing of a major cryptocurrency exchange and a moment of validation for the digital asset class some 12 years after the creation of bitcoin”. After a direct listing of Coinbase shares – rather than the more traditional initial public offering which raises new capital – the price fell to $328 from an opening price of $381 to give a market capitalisation of $85.8bn, including options and other kinds of stock-based awards.

However, after early support from CVCs, such as IDG and USAA’s Victor Pascucci and Jon Cholak, Coinbase cashed in with a $75m series C round in 2015 including from BBVA, NYSE and NTT and not looked back. Coinbase’s big investors include venture capital firms Andreessen Horowitz, Ribbit Capital and Union Square Ventures.

Coinbase’s financial fortunes have surged with the cryptocurrency markets, producing a nine-fold jump in revenues to an estimated $1.8bn in the first quarter, translating to about $1.1bn in adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation, the FT said.

But while still primarily a business-to-consumer exchange for people to buy and sell bitcoin and ethereum based on the blockchain, financial services firms are more interested in the underlying technology than its value as a monetary store or gold equivalent.

Jay Powell, chair of the Federal Reserve, said: “No one is using them for payments, for example, like the dollar. It’s a little bit like gold . . . Human beings have given gold this special value that it doesn’t have from an industrial standpoint, but nonetheless for thousands of years they’ve done that. Bitcoin is much more like that.”

Behind the scenes, however, and the big asset managers and financial groups are working on pragmatic implementations of blockchain and crypto as platform or infrastructure to trade, price, settle and be the custodians. From there, products to deploy and engage on alternative assets and how even venture capital is affected can flow.

Similar riches are now being reaped from early investments in other emerging fields created in the past two decades.

2

Tuesday’s daily leader looked at the $25bn of cash returned from Naspers/Prosus selling four percentage points of its holding in Tencent over the past few years.

Netherlands-listed technology investor Prosus, formed out of the corporate venturing assets collected by South Africa-listed media group Naspers, has sold 2% of China-based gaming and social media group Tencent for $14.7bn.

This is the world’s largest-ever block trade – 191.89 million shares for HK$114.1bn – but leaves Prosus still holding 28.9% of Tencent, according to newswire Reuters.

The block trade – or the usually private, single trade of a large amount of securities – surpassed the previous record set in 2018 when Naspers also sold 2% of Tencent for $9.8bn, Refinitiv data showed. Its remaining stake is worth about $200bn, from an original $31m corporate venturing deal struck 20 years ago.

Bob van Dijk, CEO at Prosus, said: “The proceeds of the sale will increase our financial flexibility, enabling us to invest in the significant growth potential we see across the group, as well as in our own stock.”

Prosus, which also invests in online food delivery platforms, classified marketplaces and digital payments businesses, has built up its warchest for new and existing investments given the rapid scaling up of the innovation capital ecosystem at the later stage.

Global venture capital investments hit $125bn in the first quarter, the first time the figure has surpassed $100bn in a quarter, according to data published by Crunchbase, even though deal volumes held relatively stable.

The opportunity for social network or “platform economy” companies to dominate across sectors or verticals remains, especially as Tencent peer Alibaba’s share price rose on Monday after it was able to have the term written into law.

This is particularly the case as finance becomes embedded into media. As James Thorne, a venture capital reporter at PitchBook, noted at the weekend, Angela Strange, general partner at VC firm Andreessen Horowitz (A16Z), made the case in 2019 that most people would be working in financial services soon, even if we don’t change jobs, as finance becomes embedded into software.

At that point, media and content becomes the differentiator, which is why A16Z calls itself a media company that monetizes through venture capital.

In his annual letter last week, Jamie Dimon, CEO at bank JPMorgan Chase, said: “Fintech’s ability to merge social media, use data smartly and integrate with other platforms rapidly (often without the disadvantages of being an actual bank) will help these companies win significant market share.”
And this helps explain why even in a world where media advertising is dominated by Facebook and Google that there remains so much attention and focus on social media and networks.

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Things are heating up in Italy’s media landscape as a microcosm of wider changes in the sports and gaming ecosystem. The country’s main phone operator, TIM, has returned as a “long-term investor in venture capital” through the anchor commitment to a €100m UV T-Growth fund managed independently by United Ventures, while Nerio Alessandri, founder and executive chairman of Italy-listed fitness equipment supplier Technogym, has launched Wellness Ventures.

UV T-Growth, managed by Fabio Pirovano and Damiano Coletti, targets a wide swathe of digital innovation, including gaming. Similarly, Wellness is targeting digital projects in general but in particular in sports and fitness.
There are plenty of opportunities in sports and gaming in the digital age. Online gambling and advertising, electronic as well as physical sports and gaming and unbundling of viewers from cable or television packages are coalescing to create plenty of disruption.

The latest being Amazon, which acquired Twitch for in-game streaming and chats, paying $11bn for exclusive rights to stream Thursday night National Football League games on its Prime service.
There are now dozens of VC funds targeting games, which is a far bigger market than films. Most recently, the Games Fund has raised $50m for a game-focused venture capital fund to invest in early-stage games in both Europe and the US, according to VentureBeat.

Maria Kochmola and Ilya Eremeev started the fund having both previously worked at Russia-listed internet group Mail.ru’s My.Games division, which started a game fund called MGVC, VentureBeat said. Kochmola was the investment director at MGVC since its inception in 2017, and she led more than 35 investments (with six exits).

Deals

Cruise increases latest round to $2.75bn

Epic picks out investors for $1bn round

SambaNova rams through $676m series D

Polestar attracts $550m

SoftBank finds Better option for $500m investment

Groq locks up $300m series C

Fiture fits in $300m series B

Astranis ascends with $250m series C

Bukalapak escalates funding with $234m

Tempo works out $220m series C

Signifyd secures $205m in series E round

Clearcover coasts to $200m series D

Repertoire Immune Medicines gets $189m result

Degreed delivers $153m series D

ZJS Express zooms to $153m series B

Jaguar Gene Therapy roars to $139m

Tend drills into $125m series C

Arcellx amasses $115m in series C round

CeQur secures $115m in series C5

StoneWise stocks up with $100m

Gaussian Robotics sweeps up $100m

Hack the Box cracks $10.6m round

Funds

Axa accelerates to $295m close for second growth vehicle

Amazon shows Indian ambitions with $250m fund

TDK to deploy $150m through second fund

Exits

Grab takes reverse merger option

Tango Therapeutics arranges reverse merger

TuSimple delivers $1.35bn initial public offering

Alkami appears on public markets

MissFresh looks to deliver $1bn IPO

Brii brightens up with IPO plans

Darktrace discloses IPO plans

Vaccitech shoots for US IPO

Artiva activates $100m IPO plans

Anjuke advances to IPO stage

Hologic hoists in Mobidiag

Keyfactor turns to PrimeKey for merger

University

Schroders shifts Carrick stake at discount


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

29 March 2021 – GoPuff Secures $1.15bn in Round Including SoftBank

The Big Ones

On-demand consumer product delivery service GoPuff has experienced some major league growth of late, and has secured $1.15bn from investors including SoftBank Vision Fund 1 in a round lifting its valuation from $3.9bn to $8.9bn. The $3.9bn valuation had been achieved just five months ago, in a $380m round that also featured Vision Fund 1.

We’re still seeing a good amount of reverse merger deals being agreed but one of the biggest in recent times has just been announced by content monetisation software provider IronSource. The Access Industries-backed company has agreed to join forces with special purpose acquisition company Thoma Bravo Advantage at an $11.1bn pro forma equity. IronSource’s valuation was reportedly not much larger than $1bn in its last round, less than 18 months ago.

Japan-based medical supplies vendor Medipal Holdings has partnered SBI Investment, an investment subsidiary of financial services firm SBI Holdings, to form a ¥10bn ($92m) corporate venture capital vehicle. Medipal Innovation Fund is intended to operate for 10 years and will mainly target domestic and international startups developing technologies strategically relevant to Medipal’s business lines.

Crossover Deal

Evidation Health, a US-based health data analysis provider, has picked up $153m in a series E round co-led by healthcare consortium Kaiser Permanente’s Group Trust. The round was co-led by Omers Growth Equity, a fund managed by pension fund Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, and included McKesson Ventures, the corporate venturing arm of medical supplies distributor McKesson, as well as venture capital firm B Capital Group. The round valued it at $1bn, according to Bloomberg. So far, so normal. Evidation’s technology platform, Achievement, records raw behaviour data such as speech and video from patients’ electronic devices and analyses it to provide insights on health and disease. But its origin is where it gets unusual: the company was founded in 2012 through a partnership between Stanford Health Care, the academic health system of Stanford University, and GE Ventures, a corporate venturing subsidiary of General Electric. It’s not a type of story we see often, but with now $259m in capital, the model is clearly working out for Evidation.

Deals

Dataminr has closed a $475m funding round that hiked its valuation to $4.1bn. The company, which counts Credit Suisse Next Investors as an earlier backer, provides software that pools information from a range of public sources to detect events and track trends in real time, and will put the proceeds from the round into international customer acquisition.

China-based CasiCloud provides production automation software for the aerospace industry, and has secured $404m in funding, becoming the latest automation technology provider to raise big money, in the wake of several robotic process automation-focused companies over the past year. Its earlier investors include China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation but the latest round was co-led by China Merchants Capital, ICBC Capital and Shenzhen Capital.

Sports memorabilia retailer Fanatics has pulled in $320m through a round that doubled its valuation to $12.8bn in the space of seven months. SoftBank is also among Fanatics’ investors, as is Alibaba, and the latest round included Major League Baseball, Fidelity Investments, Franklin Templeton, Neuberger Berman, Silver Lake and Thrive Capital. It came as the company undertakes a growth push centred on China.

Crypto wallet and exchange operator Blockchain.com is growing even faster, and has secured $300m in series C funding at a $5.2bn valuation, roughly five weeks after a $120m series B round valuing it at $3bn. GV and Access Industries were among the participants in the latter round, with GV having been an investor in the company since 2017.

Airwallex is the creator of a cloud software platform that helps businesses expand globally by coordinating finance activities across multiple currencies. It has raised $100m from investors including ANZ Bank’s ANZi Ventures vehicle to increase its series D round to $300m. The extension represents the third tranche of the round, with Tencent and Salesforce Ventures among the earlier backers. Airwallex is now valued at $2.6bn.

If grocery delivery services like Instacart have experienced considerable growth during the coronavirus pandemic, Germany-based Gorillas almost makes that growth look lazy. The company was founded less than a year ago but has just secured $290m in a series B round featuring Tencent that valued it above $1bn. That makes Gorillas, by its reckoning, the quickest European startup ever to exceed a $1bn valuation. And its service is currently available in just 13 European cities.

Komodo Health, the developer of a healthcare tracking software platform, has meanwhile raised $220m at a $3.3bn valuation, in its series E round only two months after notching up $44m in series D funding. The series D round included long-term corporate investor McKesson Ventures, and it has now secured a total of $314m in just 14 months.

Funds

Japan-based financial services firm Juroku Bank has formed a venture capital unit dubbed Nobunaga Capital Village and a startup accelerator called Juroku Bank Accelerator 2021. Nobunaga Capital Village will be launched in April 2021 with ¥4.5bn ($41.2m) of capital across two vehicles, and will target developers of financial technology and local economy revitalisation projects, focusing on the Chūbu region where the bank is headquartered.

Exits

Supply chain finance provider Linklogis has filed for an initial public offering on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and set terms that will see it raise $1.06bn if it floats at the top of its range. Bertelsmann Asia Investments, Tencent, GLP, Skyworth and Standard Chartered are all among the company’s investors, and the offering will be anchored by $365m from institutional investors including BlackRock and Fidelity.

Another Chinese company, online Q+A platform developer Zhihu, is going public in the US today in a $523m initial public offering that scores exits for Kuaishou, Tencent, Baidu, Sogou and Sunshine Insurance. The company priced the shares at the foot of the IPO’s range, but it will be buoyed by a $250m private placement being provided by Tencent and fellow corporates Alibaba, JD.com and Lilith Games.

Olo has closed its initial public offering at approximately $518m after the underwriters took up the option to buy an additional $67.5m shares. The PayPal-backed restaurant ordering software provider floated above its range on the New York Stock Exchange last week and its share price subsequently increased by upwards of 20%.

Online automotive marketplace ACV Auctions raised $5m for a series A round five years ago, and now it’s gone public in an initial public offering sized at about $416m. The SoftBank-backed company priced its shares above an already increased range, and the price rose again yesterday, giving ACV a market cap around the $4.8bn mark at close of trading.

Rockley Photonics, a silicon photonic chipmaker that counts Applied Materials and Hengtong Optic-Electric among its investors, is set to list through a reverse takeover with special purpose acquisition company SC Health Corp at a $1.2bn post-merger valuation. Medtronic is among the investors supplying $150m in PIPE financing to support the deal, announced as Rockley prepares to commercially launch its unique sensing platform.

Autonomous truck developer TuSimple is still pre-revenue but has filed for an initial public offering in the United States. The China-based company has raised roughly $650m in funding and its investors include corporates Sina, Navistar, Traton, Nvidia, Mando, UPS, Goodyear, Union Pacific, CN, Kroger and US Xpress. Media reports in August 2020 suggested it could target a valuation of up to $7bn in the IPO.


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

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