Here's a roundup of the most important deals in venture capital from the past week.
Chinese tech firms went public on U.S. exchanges at a robust clip in 2017, hoping to follow in the footsteps of Alibaba, JD.com or Baidu — all companies that have drawn investor interest since their market debuts here. LexinFintech was the latest to list stateside with an IPO on the Nasdaq on Dec. 21.
The company runs the online consumer lending platform Fenquile in China, and targets college-educated, young adults who need credit for smaller purchases.
Prior to its IPO, the company was backed by Bertelsmann, Matrix Partners and JD.com, among others. It raised $108 million in its IPO, after originally seeking to raise $500 million and downsizing expectations to $120 million. The stock has risen 10 percent in the company's first week.
A maker of small satellites, ClydeSpace, was acquired by its Swedish competitor, AAC Microtech, the companies announced on Dec. 22. Founded in 2005, Glasgow-based ClydeSpace had raised equity funding from European firms Coralinn and Nevis Capital. Its small satellites have been purchased by international universities, commercial companies and government agencies, including NASA, Spire, the U.K. Space Agency and U.S. Air Force, according to the company's website.
Uber and SoftBank agreed to a tender offer on Thursday, in a long-anticipated deal. An Uber spokesperson said this deal values Uber at $48 billion, which represents a 30 percent discount on the company's prior valuation of $68 billion. The Wall Street Journal reported that with this deal, SoftBank would attain about a 15 percent stake in Uber. SoftBank is also a stakeholder in Uber's major rivals on the global stage, Didi Chuxing.
Even though a few bike-sharing start-ups have crashed and burned, Hellobike has scored a fresh $153 million in venture funding, bringing the company's latest round to a half-billion dollars in total. Hellobike announced $350 million in new funding from Alibaba's Ant Financial and other investors earlier this month. The company is seen as a distant third competitor behind China's top two bike-sharing brands, Mobike and Ofo. But Hellobike offers bikes that can be unlocked by phone and rented for short trips in smaller cities ignored by other providers. Investors in the latest round included GGV Capital and Fosun Group, the investment conglomerate that owns Club Med.
A WeWork competitor in China, Ucommune (previously known as UrWork) raised $45 million and attained a $1.3 billion valuation, according to China Money Network. Ucommune operates about 120 co-working spaces in major cities including in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, New York, Los Angeles and London. It plans to have 160 co-working spaces in 32 cities globally, with a capacity of 100,000 office seats within the next three years. The company recently changed its brand name, ostensibly to avoid legal conflicts over name confusion and trademarks, as it scales globally.
AI start-up Rizio, better known as Voicera, raised $13.9 million, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing published on Thursday. Founded by CEO Omar Tawakol, formerly the CEO of BlueKai, Voicera makes an "intelligent meeting assistant" called EVA. The company's software listens and records conversations in meetings, takes notes and helps users identify items for follow-ups after the meeting is done. EVA also helps users set up internal and external meetings.
Indian IT firm WiPro invested approximately $2 million in a U.S.-based company called Imanis Data, the Economic Times reported. The San Jose, California, start-up, founded in 2011 as Talena Inc., provides data backup services and recovery software to businesses. Besides WiPro, Imanis Data is also backed by Canaan Partners, Intel Capital and Onset Ventures.
Funds and firms
Venture firms have been taking stock as 2017 draws to a close with "year-in-review" reports on their portfolios and the start-up ecosystem more broadly. For example: Version One Ventures explained why they're betting on blockchain start-ups and taking ICO's seriously heading into 2018; True Ventures measured the success of their portfolio, in part, based on how many jobs the start-ups created — 1,100 in 2017; and First Round surveyed 869 start-up founders about everything from talent wars to sexual harassment.