31 August 2020 – Ant Group Files for Dual Listing to Potentially Raise $30bn

The Big Ones

Cancer test developer Freenome has closed a $270m series C round that included Novartis and existing backers GV, Kaiser Permanente Ventures and Roche Venture Fund to hike its overall funding to $507m. The capital will be allocated to a clinical study for a blood test Freenome is developing for colorectal cancer screening, in addition to advancing additional oncology blood tests.

American Family Ventures was formed by insurer American Family in 2013 to invest in areas like insurance, financial services, big data and cybersecurity technology, and it’s following a recent trend by recruiting external limited partners for its latest fund. AFV Fund III has closed at $213m and its LPs will also be able to gain value through a scheme called AFV Platform that will be able to link them to portfolio companies and fellow investors.

Ant Group has officially filed for a dual listing in Hong Kong and Shanghai that could potentially raise $30bn – a figure that would equate to the largest initial public offering for a VC-backed company in history. It will reportedly now speak to underwriters and other stakeholders to determine the details of the flotations, which are expected to value it between $200bn and $300bn. Apart from Alibaba, corporates including China Post and China Life are also among its investors, both having backed it at a $60bn valuation in 2016.

Crossover: Kymeta, a US-based satellite broadband provider exploiting foundational research from Duke University, secured $85m in a funding round led by entrepreneur Bill Gates, with the backing of some of Kymeta’s leadership team. Kymeta has raised more than $282m in funding altogether, satellite operator Intelsat having contributed to a $73.5m round in 2017 together with undisclosed additional investors. Media group Liberty Global had joined Osage University Partners, Bill Gates, Lux Capital and Kresge Foundation in Kymeta’s $50m series C round in 2013. And Kymeta had already secured $12m in funding from Liberty Global, Lux Capital and Gates the year before.

Deals

Consumer companies have had a mixed at best time of it during the coronavirus pandemic but eyewear e-commerce platform Warby Parker has done quite well, raising $245m across series F and G rounds while hiking its valuation from $1.75bn in late 2018 to $3bn today. The company’s earlier investors include American Express Ventures and the latest round increased its overall funding to $535m.

Viva Republica, the creator of money management app Toss, has raised its own nine-figure round, pulling in $173m in a round that reportedly took its valuation from $2.2bn to $2.6bn. The company’s total funding now stands at $530m, its earlier investors including Novel Group, PayPal and Qualcomm Ventures. The funding will help it grow Toss into a more diversified finance-focused app that includes financial product recommendations.

Mural, developer of an online visual collaboration platform, has closed an $118m series B round that included Slack Fund and returning backer Gradient Ventures. The round came just seven months after Mural’s series A funding, but its initial investment came all the way back in 2012 in a tiny round featuring another corporate venturing unit, Intel Capital.

Data collaboration software provider Daitaku has raised $100m in series D funding from investors including Alphabet’s CapitalG unit. The round followed a secondary investment from CapitalG in December that valued Daitaku at $1.4bn, and the company said it has maintained a unicorn valuation in the latest round. It has also now secured $246m in primary funding altogether.

Funds

This is going to be a quick one today: other than the American Family Ventures fundraiser we’ve already covered, it’s been a slow week for funds.

Exits

Things are really beginning to heat up as we pass through the summer lull to the traditional autumn rush and a good deal of activity is focused on the public markets. Chinese smart electric carmaker Xpeng has floated in the US in an upsized $1.5bn initial public offering valuing it above $21bn. Alibaba and Xiaomi were among the Xpeng investors considering buying $400m of shares in the IPO, and its backers also include Foxconn, UCar and Douwan Entertainment.

The sheer scale of Ant’s forthcoming listing casts a large shadow, enough to almost make you forget what a big story it is that data analysis provider Palantir has also filed to go public. The Relx, Fujitsu and Sompo Holdings-backed company is eschewing an IPO in favour of a direct listing, following the likes of Spotify and Slack. It was valued above $20bn in 2016 but regardless of whether it’s maintained that valuation (and there are doubts about that), it will be one of the year’s biggest listings in a year set to be full of them.

Cloud data software provider Snowflake is another hugely valued tech company to file for an initial public offering, six months after closing a $479m series G round at a valuation exceeding $12bn. Salesforce Ventures was among the participants in that round but Capital One Growth Ventures got in earlier, backing its 2017 series D at a reported $500m valuation. It isn’t among Snowflake’s largest shareholders but it should be in for a bumper exit nonetheless.

Although a lot of companies are filing for IPOs, lidar technology developer Luminar has taken a different route, agreeing to a reverse merger with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Gores Metropoulos that will give it a Nasdaq listing and an expected valuation of $3.4bn. The deal is being boosted by $170m of financing from a syndicate including Van Tuyl Companies and Volvo Cars Tech Fund, the latter – like fellow corporates Corning and Cornes- an existing Luminar investor. Expect more of these kinds of deals, judging by the volume of SPACs entering the public markets of late.

In fact, another company to follow the SPAC route is 3D metal printer producer Desktop Metal, which will list on the New York Stock Exchange through a reverse merger with a SPAC called Trine Acquisition Corp. The combined business is set to be valued at $2.5bn, Desktop Metal having previously raised $438m from investors including Koch Industries, Alphabet, Panasonic, Techtronic Industries, Ford, Saudi Aramco, Lowe’s, BMW and Stratasys.

All these IPO and reverse merger deals have perhaps obscured the fact the M&A market seems to be doing quite well too. Fastly has agreed to buy web security application provider Signal Sciences for $200m in cash and $575m in stock, and the transaction will come after about $62m in funding. That money came from investors including O’Reilly Media’s OATV unit, which is in for a tasty exit having backed it in every round since its $2m seed funding.

Kymera Therapeutics raised almost $174m in its initial public offering on Friday, pricing its shares above their range before seeing them soar by 66% after their first day of trading. The small-molecule drug developer had previously received nearly $220m in funding from investors including corporate venturing units Amgen Ventures, Lilly Ventures, Pfizer Ventures, MRL Ventures Fund and Sanofi Ventures.

Israeli digital X-ray device developer Nano-X Imaging has also floated in the US, in a $165m IPO that scored exits for corporate investors SK Telecom, iA Financial, Foxconn and Fujifilm. The company priced its shares at the top of the range and their subsequent rise almost doubled its valuation from its last pre-IPO funding round, which closed in June this year.


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

13 March 2017 – Airbnb Closes Series F, IPO for Snap and Much More

Deals

Airbnb has closed its series F round at just over $1bn, bringing its overall equity funding to $3.4bn.

Instacart, the company touted as ‘the Uber of grocery shopping’, has raised $400m at a $3.4bn valuation, with VC firm Sequoia leading the round with a reported $100m investment. Interestingly, none of Instacart’s corporate investors – Comcast Ventures, American Express Ventures and Whole Foods – were named as participants in the series D round.

Alibaba has spent around $250m in a secondary transaction to boost its stake in One97 Communications by an extra 4.3%, giving exits to Reliance Capital, Sapphire Ventures and Saama Capital in the process.

BBVA has led a $102m funding round for mobile banking app Atom Bank, investing just over $36m at a $320m valuation to maintain its 29.5% stake.

Baidu is said to be lining up a $100m investment in NextEV, the smart electric vehicle developer that unveiled what it claims is the world’s fastest electric supercar in November.

Liberty Global and Zain have joined existing backers including Sky and the CAA-backed Evolution Media Capital to invest $90m in iFlix, which has brought the Netflix template to Southeast Asia.

Ping An Overseas Holdings has led a series C round for livestreaming platform and communication services operator Bigo that valued it at $400m.

Spero Therapeutics, a biopharma working on treatments for superbugs, has completed an oversubscribed series C round, raising $51.7m.

Viva Republica, the Korean developer of mobile payment platform Toss, has picked up $48m in a series C round featuring PayPal which Forbes estimates values the company at roughly $250m.

Biohaven Pharmaceutical, a biopharmaceutical spinout of Yale University, yesterday closed an $80m series A round from investors that included spinout-focused investment firm Osage University Partners.

Funds

Joyme Capital, the CVC arm of online gaming community operator Joyme Group, has teamed with gaming services provider Kee Ever Bright Technology to launch a strategic investment fund that will back game developers, eSports companies and gaming ancillary service startups among others.

US-based microfinance non-profit organisation Accion has launched a $141m financial technology and services investment fund with contributions from limited partners including the World Bank’s private sector investment arm International Finance Corporation.

The Cradle Fund, an investment vehicle owned by the government of Malaysia, has announced DEQ800, an initiative that will offer early-stage equity to startups, Tech in Asia wrote on Monday.

Uniseed, the venture fund backed by four Australian universities and research institute CSIRO, has announced a A$20m ($15m) fund that will make follow-on investments in existing portfolio companies.

Exits

Snapchat owner Snap has formally closed an IPO that featured a $500m investment by NBCUniversal at $3.91bn, after its underwriters took up the option to buy an additional $410m in shares following a heady first two days of trading last week, with the company’s stock at one point up more than $12 from its flotation price.

Now that the dust is starting to clear from Snap’s flotation last week, onlookers are getting ready for the next big tech IPO, with MuleSoft setting terms for an offering that will net it $182m in proceeds and a $2bn+ valuation if it floats at the top of its range.

CA Technologies has agreed to buy cloud security platform Veracode in a $614m cash deal that will provide exits for backers including Telus, Tivo and Symantec, which spun the company out in 2006.

Otsuka Pharmaceutical has agreed to acquire ADHD treatment developer Neurovance in a deal that will give an exit to Novartis Venture Fund.


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