Venture investors look for the next hot thing outside India and China

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In the hopes riding on supercharged economic growth, venture investors have poured billions into hot, so-called emerging markets like China, Indonesia, Brazil, Nigeria, and India over the past decade. 

But in recent months, investors have been sending hefty rounds of venture capital funding to countries that in years past have often not emerged in rankings of most well-funded countries from a VC’s standpoint.

While the U.S. rested on Monday in observance of Labor Day, Shopup, a Bangladesh-based company for digitizing mom-and-pop shops, raised $75 million in funding in a round led by Valar Ventures—marking it as the largest round of funding for a startup in the country. Wave, a U.S. and Senegal-based mobile money provider, meanwhile raised $200 million in Series A funding valuing it at $1.7 billion. This all comes after Airlift, a Pakistan-based online delivery company raised $85 million in Series B funding led by investors Harry Stebbings and Josh Buckley in mid-August—minting that term sheet as that nation’s largest as well.

And though much attention has been spent on the minting of U.S. and U.K.-based unicorns, the duo were far from the fastest growing markets for venture capital. That crown dropped on Turkey, with dollars to the region growing 21.1 times year-over-year to $1.3 billion per as e-commerce delivery company Getir raised some $550 million in June, while another e-commerce company Trendyol would become the country’s first decacorn just a few months later.

Investors, it seems, are looking for the next big thing outside of the currently hot emerging regions. 

Part of this seems to be about the pandemic: E-commerce and fintech are red hot in this age of social distancing. Airlift for example pivoted into e-commerce after the global crisis began from its original plan of selling air-conditioned bus rides. And having seen similar business models mature in neighboring countries like India, investors are seeing how it could work in say Bangladesh.

But there may also be other dynamics at play here too that could be pushing investors to look more broadly around the world: The recent crackdowns in China have raised questions as the country’s economic growth could stall. As a result, some investors are looking for alternatives. Already, there are signs that some are now looking to India as another option rather than China.

Of course when it comes to venture capital investing, it’s not just about betting on the rise of a whole economy—but also about making the right bet on the company too.

Lucinda Shen

Jessica Mathews compiled the IPO and SPAC sections of this newsletter.


- Aibee, a Chinese A.I. startup, is looking to raise $100 million, per Bloomberg.

- Delhivery, an Indian logistics startup, raised $76.4 million from Lee Fixel’s Addition.

- DnaNudge, a U.K.-based consumer genetics testing company, raised $60 million in Series A funding. Ventura Capital led the round and was joined by investors including Bank Julius Baer.

- Quantum Machines, an Israeli hardware and software infrastructure startup focused on quantum, raised $50 million in Series B funding. Red Dot Capital Partners led the round and was joined by investors including Exor, Claridge Israel, Samsung NEXT, Valor Equity Partners, Atreides Management, TLV Partners, Battery Ventures, and 2i Ventures.

- OLIO, a U.K.-based food-sharing startup, raised $43 million in Series B funding. VNV Global led the round and was joined by investors including DX Ventures.

- H2O Hospitality, a South Korea- and Japan-based hotel management company, raised $30 million in Series C funding. Kakao Investment led the round and was joined by investors including Korea Development Bank, Gorilla Private Equity, Intervest, and NICE Investment. 

- Homage, a Singapore-based home visit and caregiving tech startup, raised $30 million in Series C funding. Sheares Healthcare Group led the round and was joined by investors including DG Daiwa Ventures, Sagana Capital, East Ventures, HealthXCapital, SeedPlus, Trihill Capital, and Alternate Ventures.

- SIMBA Chain, a South Bend, Ind.-based blockchain app development company, raised $25 million in Series A funding. Valley Capital Partners led the round and was joined by investors including Notre Dame Pit Road Fund, Elevate Ventures, and the Stanford Law School Venture Fund.

- Mooncard, a French fintech, raised €20 million ($24 million) in funding. Investors include BlackFin Capital Partners, Partech, Aglaé Ventures, and RAISE Ventures.

- Elvie, the maker of a breast pump and smart pelvic floor exerciser, raised an additional £12.7 million ($17.5 million) in Series C funding. Investors include Blume Equity, IPGL, Hiro Capital, and Westerly Winds. 

- ryd, a Bavaria-based in-car digital payments company, raised €10 million ($12 million) from bp ventures.

- Centaur Labs, a Boston-based medical data labeling company, raised $15 million in Series A funding. Matrix Partners led the round and was joined by investors including Accel, Global Founders Capital, Susa Ventures, and Y Combinator.

- Locate Bio, a U.K.-based regenerative medicine company, raised £10 million ($14 million). Mercia Asset Management and BGF led the round.

- Kalepa, a New York City-based commercial insurance startup, raised $14 million in Series A funding. Inspired Capital led the round and was joined by investors including IA Ventures. 

- ZEBEDEE, a New York City-based virtual payments company, raised $11.5 million in Series A funding. Lakestar led the round and was joined by investors including Initial Capital, New Form Capital, and TVP.

- Dukaan, an India-based ecommerce startup, raised $11 million in pre Series A funding. 640 Oxford Ventures. Venture Catalyst, HOF Capital, Old Well Ventures, LetsVenture, 9Unicorns, Lightspeed Partners, and Leopard Ventures invested.

- EveryDay Labs, a Redwood City Calif.-based startup looking to reduce student absentee rates, raised $8 million in Series A funding. Rethink Impact led the round and was joined by investors including Reach Capital, Gary Community Ventures, City Light Capital, RedHouse Education, Edovate Capital, Bonsal Capital, and Copper Wire Ventures.

- contextflow, an Austrian healthtech company, raised €6.7 million ($8 million) in Series A funding. Investors include Crista Galli Ventures.

- Mobius Labs, a Berlin-based computer vision company, raised €5.2 million ($6.1 million). Ventech VC led the round and was joined by investors including Atlantic Labs, APEX Ventures, Space Capital, and Lunar Ventures.

- GoKwik, an Indian e-commerce enablement company, raised $5.5 million (INR 40 crores) in pre-Series A funding. Matrix Partners led the round and was joined by investors including RTP Global. 

- Seqera Labs, a European maker of software for life sciences, raised $5.5 million in seed funding.  Talis Capital and Speedinvest led the round.

- Gamestry, a Spain-based gaming video platform, raised $5 million in seed funding. Goodwater Capital, Target Global, and Kibo Ventures invested.

- Portcast, a Singapore-based logistics and shipments tracking startup, raised $3.2 million in pre-Series A funding. Newtown Partners led the round and was joined by investors including Wavemaker Partners, TMV, Innoport, and SGInnovate.

- Aurelia, a financial plugins company, raised $3 million in seed funding. Blossom Capital led the round.


- Gambling company 888 Holdings and Apollo Global Management are battling to acquire William Hill’s European operations, per Bloomberg

- Corbett Technology Solutions, a portfolio company of Wind Point Partners, agreed to acquire AFA Protective Systems, a Syosset, N.Y.-based provider of fire and security systems. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- FDH Aero, backed by Audax Private Equity, acquired Madison Aerospace, a Haltom City, Tx.-based distributor of aerospace hardware. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Gen Cap America acquired Lab Products, a Nashville-based manufacturer of lab animal equipment and cages. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Quantic Electronics, backed by Arcline Investment Management, acquired Paktron, a Lynchburg, Va.-based maker of polymer film capacitors. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Thompson Street Capital Partners acquired Vector Laboratories, the protein detection business unit of Maravai (NASDAQ: MRVI). Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- TowerBrook Capital Partners and NewRoad Capital Partners made minority investments in Kevin’s Natural Foods, a Modesto, Calif.-based keto- and paleo-based food brand. Financial terms weren't disclosed.


- Avantor agreed to acquire Antylia Scientific’s Masterflex business unit, a maker of pumps, for $2.9 billion in cash. GTCR backs Antylia.

- Invitae (NYSE: NVTA) agreed to Ciitizen, a patient-consent health tech company backed by a16z, Section 32, and Verily, for about $325 million.

- TPG’s The Rise Fund agreed to acquire Teachers of Tomorrow, a Houston-based teacher alternative certification program, from Gauge Capital. Financial terms weren't disclosed.


- State Street agreed to acquire Brown Brothers Harriman’s Investor Services business, a New York City-based business dealing with custody, accounting, and fund administration, for $3.5 billion in cash.


- PHC Holdings, a Japanese medical equipment manufacturer, plans to raise as much as $1.6 billion in an IPO in the country, per Bloomberg.

- Adnoc Drilling, the drilling business of Abu Dhabi National Oil, plans to to public in an IPO that could value the unit as much as $10 billion, according to Bloomberg. Baker Hughes backs the firm.

- Goldman Sachs plans to float the assets of Petershill Partners unit, its private equity shop, in a London-based deal that could value the portfolio at over $5 billion.

- Arabian Internet and Communications Services, an internet services unit of Saudi Telecom, plans to raise as much as $966 million in a public offering, according to Bloomberg.

- Prodimeks, a Russian agriculture company, is weighing an IPO in the country that could raise as much as $750 million, per Reuters.

- Dutch Bros, a Grants Pass, Or.-based drive-through coffee chain, plans to raise up to $421.1 million in an offering of 21.1 million shares priced between $18 and $20 per share. The company generated $327.4 million in revenue in 2020 and net income of $5.7 million. TSG Consumer Partners backs the firm.

- ForgeRock, a San Francisco-based digital identity verification company, plans to raise up to $264 million in an offering of 11 million shares priced between $21 and $24 per share. The company posted $127.6 million in revenue in 2020 and a net loss of $41.8 million. Accel, Riverwood Capital, and Meritech Capital back the firm.

- Automation Anywhere, a San Jose, Calif.-based A.I. automation company, plans to go public as early as this year, according to Bloomberg. SoftBank, General Atlantic, New Enterprise Associates, Salesforce Ventures, and Goldman Sachs back the firm.


- Traveloka, an Indonesian online travel booking company, halted talks to go public in the U.S. via merger with Bridgetown Holdings, a SPAC backed by Richard Li and Peter Thiel, per Bloomberg. The company may reconsider in the future and is reportedly also considering a traditional IPO in the U.S.


- Trill Impact, a Stockholm-based private equity firm, raised €900 million ($1.1 billion) for its inaugural impact mid-market buyout Fund.

- Trinity Hunt Partners, a Dallas-based private equity firm, closed Trinity Hunt Partners VI, at $460 million.

- Flyover Capital Partners, an Overland Park, Ka.-based venture capital firm, closed Flyover Capital Tech Fund II and Flyover Capital Tech Fund II-QP with over $60 million.


- Vestar Capital Partners, a New York City-based private equity firm, promoted Ian Singleton to vice president.

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