Venture Capital Deals Of The Week: WeWork China Gets $500M

by: VCDeals

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WeWork China: SoftBank (OTCPK:SFTBF, OTCPK:SFTBY) and SoftBank Vision Fund participated in a $500M Series B round in WeWork (VWORK) China. Temasek, Hony Capital, and Trustbridge also participated. The financing reportedly pushed We Work China’s valuation up to $5B.

WeWork China launched last year as a standalone entity in conjunction with SoftBank and Hony. WeWork China has 20K members across 40 locations in three cities. The main WeWork company has raised over $7B in funding with a $35B valuation.

Competition: UCommune, which has raised about $407M in funding.

Genetic medicines: GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK) made a $300M strategic investment in genetics testing kit company 23andMe. The investment begins a four-year collaboration to discover genetics-based medicines with funding and proceeds split equally. There is a one-year extension option.

23andMe is a direct-to-consumer genetic testing company that counts more than 5M customers with 80% consenting to participate in research. The company says the average participant can contribute to 200 different research studies. The startup and pharma giant hope to use that genetic database to improve drug target selection and find medicines that are more likely to be effective while also carrying a low safety risk.

Competition: Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) acquired deCODE genetics in 2012 for $415M to get access to its genetic database. Regeneron (NASDAQ:REGN) has similar reasons for partnering with Geisinger Health and the UK Biobank, which also involves GSK.

Immune-neurology treatments: AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV) Ventures, GV (GOOG, GOOGL), and Amgen Ventures participated in a $133M Series E round for immune-neurology company Alector. Other participants included Deerfield Management, Euclidean Capital, and Foresite Capital.

Alector focuses on therapies that use the immune system to treat neurodegenerative diseases and cancer. The company will use the new funds to advance its clinical programs and expand its discovery platform. The first three neurodegenerative drug candidates are AL001 to treat frontotemporal dementia, AL001 to target a triggering receptor on myeloid cells 2 (TREM2) that contributes to Alzheimer’s, and AL003 targets transmembrane receptor SIGLEC-3, which is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s.

Cross-border payments: PayPal (NASDAQ:PYPL) competitor Flywire raised $100M in Series D funding. Temasek led with participation from Fidelity’s F-Prime Capital Partners and Bain Capital Ventures. Flywire says its new valuation falls short of $1B but doesn’t specify a figure.

Flywire differs from other cross-border payment companies in that it focuses on large, invoice-style payments for clients in industries like education, healthcare, and B2B. Flywire says it has processed over $8B in payments for 1,400 clients. The startup currently has about 300 employees spread among its ten offices. Flywire expects to reach annualized revenue of $100M later this year.

Education benefit platform: Salesforce (NYSE:CRM) Ventures and Workday (NASDAQ:WDAY) Ventures participated in a $40M Series C round for education benefits platform Guild Education. Felicis Ventures led the round with assistance from return backers Bessemer Venture Partners, Redpoint Ventures, Harrison Metal, and Cowboy Ventures. The round brought total fundraising up to $71.5M.

Guild Education offers tuition reimbursement and education as an employee benefit with online programs and degrees meant for working adults. The startup focuses on partnerships with larger companies and with gig economy players like Uber or Lyft. Guild says its programs are available to 2.5M working adults and its classes, programs, and degrees are available at more than 90 schools and learning providers.

Competition: Pluralsight (NASDAQ:PS) gives employees a way to learn new software engineering skills and launched its $310.5M IPO in May. Online course marketplaces Udacity, Coursera, and also compete in this space.

Enterprise barcode scanning: GV participated in a $30M Series B round in enterprise barcode scanning company Scandit. NGP Capital and Atomico also participated. The round brought total funding up to $43M.

Scandit creates an enterprise technology platform for mobile computer vision, barcode scanning, and AR. The new funding will go towards accelerating global expansion and further developing the mobile computer vision platform to support advanced capabilities in any device with a camera.

Scandit hopes to bring IoT to everyday objects by using camera-equipped smart devices as universal sensors. Current customers range in industry from retail to transportation to healthcare with clients including Sephora, DHL, and Louis Vuitton.

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