18 November 2019 – Orbital Insight Enters $50m Series D

The Big Ones

Chevron Technology Ventures has thrown its weight behind US-based geospatial software technology provider Orbital Insight, which also welcomed back GV and Sky Perfect JSAT.

Softbank over the past few years has tended to skew the numbers and so it’s significant to hear the group has quietly completed a first close on its second Vision Fund, and according to Bloomberg, the amount investors have committed is $2 billion, a far cry from the $108 billion that it has said that it’s targeting.

Once bitten, twice shy appears to be the new motto for the SoftBank Vision Fund, which said it is now pushing companies to seek a profit rather than “chasing growth for the sake of growth”. That approach has meant the fund did agree to backing a $1bn round for fintech developer Paytm, but has put in a clause that it must go public within five years or else SoftBank will have the right to dump its shareholding. That’s a significant turning point for the fund that was previously hell-bent on scaling companies globally without any concern for high burn rates.

Funds

Salesforce forges $50m Consultant Trailblazer Fund

Heidelberg sets up new tech transfer operation

Deals

Cainiao Smart Logistics Network, a logistics services platform co-founded by Alibaba, Fosun Group and Intime Retail Group six years ago, has collected another $3.33bn from Alibaba, thereby increasing the corporate’s majority stake (which it had held since 2017) from 51% to 63%. The deal included a secondary share purchase, though the size is unclear and it is unknown which investor decided to sell. Cainiao’s investors also include government-owned investments firms Temasek, GIC and Khazanah Nasional, as well as Primavera and, according to TechCrunch, several unnamed logistics firms.

Xiaopeng Motors (also known as Xpeng) may not be much of a known quantity in the Western world, but the smart EV developer has already sold more than 10,000 of its first model, an SUV called G3. It also has some powerful corporate investors with Alibaba, Foxconn and UCar. And now it’s added another to the list: Xiaomi, which has led a $400m series C round for Xiaopeng as part of a strategic partnership. There might be a lot of Tesla cars in Silicon Valley, but globally the competition is clearly heating up.

OLX has committed $400m to Frontier Car Group (FCG), a Germany-based second-hand car marketplace operator, that it will invest over multiple tranches and reportedly includes a secondary share purchase of undisclosed size.

CapitalG has been busy. The growth equity arm of Alphabet once known as Google Capitalhas taken part in a $400m series D round for US-based trucking services provider Convoy, which will use the money to accelerate business growth.

And CapitalG also co-led a $150m series H round for CRM software provider Freshworks with Sequoia Capital and Accel. The round valued Freshworks at $3.5bn – though it remains subject to customary closing conditions, including US antitrust regulatory clearance.

Many will be familiar with password manager 1Password, but not for its funding history. In fact, the 14-year-old company has never raised equity – until now, that is, and it’s attracted a respectable $200m in series A capital from investors including Slack Fund.

Salesforce Ventures and Workday Ventures meanwhile returned for a $157m series D round for US-based education benefits software provider Guild Education. General Catalyst led the round, and its chairman and managing director Ken Chenault (who was previously in charge of American Express) will join the board of directors.

ACV Auctions – the US-based online automotive marketplace backed by telecommunications conglomerate SoftBank – has picked up $150m in a series E roundco-led by Fidelity and Wellington Management Company less than a year after closing a $50m series D round.

Avidity devotes itself to $100m series C

AMP amplifies $16m

PureLifi lights up $18m

Exits

The bad news keep on coming for We Co and the latest development is its decision to divest its stake in US-based women-focused work and social space provider The Wing and sell off US-based social networking platform Meetup. We Co owns a 23% stake in The Wing, but not only has the corporate struggled to survive its failed attempt at going public, its chief legal officer Jen Berrent is also facing a lawsuit for pregnancy discrimination, allegedly calling employee Medina Bardhi’s pregnancy a “problem” that needed “a solution” and “to be fixed,” according to the court filing. Berrent is currently a board member of The Wing, but she is expected to lose that position following the stake sale.

HawkEye 360 is one of the more successful university spinouts formed by commercialisation firm Allied Minds (which itself has had a tumultuous year with multiple executive-level changes) and that’s led the firm to sell its entire stake to family office Advance. The latter has also chosen to boost HawkEye’s series B round to $85m, following a $70m first tranche that featured Airbus and Esri this past August.

Money Forward yields Smartcamp

Considering Nikkei and Ant Financial-backed 36Kr, and in particular its news portal 36Kr Media, is sometimes hailed as the Crunchbase of China, you might have expected its IPO in the US to go a little better than it did, but the company is the latest to disappoint investors after not only pricing shares at the bottom of the range at $14.50, but also deciding to issue just 1.4 million shares instead of 3.6 million – raising merely a fifth of its targeted $100m in proceeds. Adding insult to injury, shares dropped by 10% on the first day of trading to close at $13.06.

SpaceMarket gets ready for IPO take-off

Lancers sets its sights on IPO

Makuake makes its way to TSE

Another company that’s not been very active on the funding front is OneConnect Financial Technology, a Singapore-based fintech platform that that was spun out of insurance group Ping An, two years ago.


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

06 August 2018 – $585m Series B+ Round for Xiaopeng Motors

Deals

Grab has been on a tear in the last year, raising $2.5bn from SoftBank, Didi Chuxing, Toyota and Hyundai a year ago, before Toyota invested a further $1bn in June this year. That Toyota funding has now been doubled to make a $2bn round, the new cash coming from backers including corporate funds Ping An Capital and Mirae Asset – Naver Asia Growth Fund.

Elsewhere in the Asian transport sector, smart electric vehicle developer Xiaopeng Motors has pulled in $585m in a series B+ round co-led by Primavera Capital, Morningside Venture Capital and company chairman He Xiaopeng.

Peloton, the operator of a home fitness offering that consists of a custom-made exercise bike and streamed fitness classes, is taking a big step forward.

China Diagnostics Medical Corporation, a medical diagnostics service provider that’s been around almost 20 years, has raised approximately $294m in a round featuring Ping An Ventures. Legend Capital co-led the round with China Renaissance, putting in $100m in the process.

Brandless emerged from stealth a year ago having raised a total of $50m from investors including GV, and now SoftBank’s Vision Fund has led a $240m series C round that reportedly values the affordable consumer goods provider at just over $500m.

Zhaoyouwang, the Chinese operator of a fuel trading platform for businesses, has received $150m in a series C round co-led by GLP and backed by returning investor SIG Asia.

China-based immuno-oncology therapy developer Curon Biopharmaceutical has closed a $150m series A round that included 6 Dimensions Capital, the venture capital firm co-founded by pharmaceutical research firm WuXi AppTec. Singaporean government-owned investment firm Temasek and private equity firm Boyu Capital also contributed to the round.

Medlinker, the creator of a social network for medical professionals, has secured $146m in a series D round led by China Capital Zhongcai Fund.

Judo Capital has closed what is reportedly the second largest ever for an Australian startup, securing $104m from investors including Credit Suisse Asset Management.

On Global University Venturing we have Apeel Sciences, a US-based food technology developer that emerged out of UC Santa Barbara, which has raised $70m in a series C round led by hedge fund Viking Global Investors.

Exits

Cisco has agreed to pay $2.35bn to acquire user authentication software provider Duo Security, 10 months after it raised money at a $1.7bn valuation.

Chinese media reports first suggested Didi Chuxing was in talks to buy portfolio company Ofo for $1.5bn early last week but then a source told Reuters the terms of a prospective deal have shifted, with Didi set to partner another of Ofo’s corporate investors, Ant Financial, on a joint deal that could value the bicycle rental platform at $2bn.

Arm has agreed to acquire Treasure Data in a deal reported by Bloomberg to be about $600m in size.

On GUV, Dattus, a US-based industrial connectivity technology developer assisted by the Purdue Foundry accelerator, was acquired by manufacturing automation software provider Plex Systems for an undisclosed sum.

Funds

Singapore-based VC firm Golden Gate Ventures has achieved a $65m first close for a $100m fund, with LPs including conglomerate Hanwha and internet company Naver as well as Temasek.

Patrick Eggen has left Qualcomm Ventures, where he was managing director for North America, to launch a new fund. Counterpart Ventures was co-founded by Eggen and Joe Saijo, who was formerly president and managing director of Recruit Strategic Partners, with both taking partner positions.


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

16 July 2018 – Swisscom Venture to Set Up $200m Digital Transformation Fund

Funds

Telecommunications company Swisscom has run its corporate venturing unit, Swisscom Ventures, since 2005 but has constantly looked to fine-tune its approach. Its latest move is to access external investment, for a fund sized at about $200m. Swisscom is putting in about 25% of the capital for Digital Transformation Fund, which will invest in Europe, the US and Israel as well as its home country of Switzerland.

Longzhu Capital logs $300m close

SoftBank’s Misra makes plans for $250m fund

Health Enterprise Partners hits up corporates

New Voices makes noise with $100m close

Cayuga Venture Fund targets $100m

Deals

Last week’s Big Deal focuses on Lime, the operator of an electric bicycle and e-scooter rental service, which has just raised $335m in a GV-led round backed by GV owner Alphabet and Uber, valuing it at $1.1bn.

The $14bn round closed by Ant Financial last month was the largest venture capital round of all time, but Alibaba’s financial services spinoff isn’t the only player in that space pulling in big money.

Xiaopeng Motors raised $348m in January but is in talks with Alibaba, which co-led that round, over $600m to $700m more at a valuation of almost $4bn, as it gets ready to launch its first car, a smart electric SUV.

Consumer goods delivery service Dianwoda has secured $290m in funding from Alibaba-owned logistics provider Cainiao Networks, which will take a controlling stake in the company through the deal.

Healthcare technology provider Cerner has invested $266m in Essence Group Holdings, the owner of care services provider Lumeris, in connection with a 10-year partnership meant to enhance efficiencies in healthcare.

GoGoVan merged with another China-based delivery services platform, 58 Suyun, to form a billion-dollar company last year, and it has just raised its first funding since that deal, capturing $250m from investors including Cainiao and 58 Suyun’s ex parent company, 58 Daojia.

Convene may be up against a hugely-funded rival in the form of WeWork, but it’s justraised $152m in a series D round backed by property developers QuadReal, Brookfield, The Durst Organization and RXR Realty to expand its workspace provision services.

Electronics recycling service Aihuishou has secured $150m from backers including existing investor JD.com at a $1.5bn valuation.

Lionbridge links with corporates for $150m

Compass Therapeutics has been around since 2014 but has finally closed its series A round, at $132m, having secured contributions from life sciences property developers Biomed Realty and Alexandria Real Estate Equities.

Keep offers online fitness programs through an app, and has just raised $127m in a series D round featuring existing investors Tencent and Bertelsmann Asia Investments.

Movile mobilises Naspers to raise $124m

Investors pay $115m tribute to Toast

Pony.ai picks up pace with $102m

ASR accesses $100m in series B round

High-speed internet provider Starry has secured $100m in new funding according to a regulatory filing, taking its overall funding to $163m.

University

Antiva adds $15m series C1

Exits

AT&T agreed to pay a reported $1.6bn to acquire online advertising exchange AppNexus last month, and now it’s fixed a deal to buy cybersecurity software provider AlienVault for a price reportedly around the $600m mark.

Thoma Bravo takes majority stake in Centrify

Autodesk builds with Assemble Systems acquisition

Visterra accepts $430m invitation from Otsuka

Elsewhere in China, Bytedance, the owner of a digital media portfolio headed up by aggregated news app Toutiao, is lining up its own IPO, according to the Wall Street Journal, and seeking a $45bn valuation.

Peer-to-peer lending marketplace WeLab had a good 2017, moving into profit while increasing its revenue fivefold, and it intends to cash in on that by going public in Hong Kong.

Qeeka Home floats in $137m IPO

51credit lines up $129m IPO

University

Akasol plugs into public markets


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