Monthly analysis: February

The world has started the new year with the hope it can fight off the coronavirus pandemic thanks to the rollout of vaccines – some from corporate backed startups. As the world recovers, an economic improvement seems on the cards and there are early positive signs  as investment activity in corporate venturing has increased. According to GCV Analytics, the number of corporate-backed deals from around the world was 274 in February, only 6% lower than the 292 rounds from the same month last year. Investment value, however, stood at nearly $10.85bn in total estimated capital –up 42% from the $7.63bn in February 2020. The US came first in the number of corporate-backed deals, hosting 97 rounds, while Japan was second with 47 and India third with 30. The leading corporate investors by number of deals were diversified internet conglomerate Alphabet, enterprise software producer and internet firm Tencent. In terms of involvement in the largest, Tencent, Alphabet and real estate developer China Evergrande Group were at the top of the list. GCV Analytics reported 37 corporate-backed funding initiatives in February, including VC funds, new venturing units, incubators, accelerators and other. This figure is more than the double the one from February 2020, which registered 16 initiatives. The estimated capital raised in those initiatives amounted to $3.04bn, considerably higher (up 106%) than the $1.47bn raised during the same month last year. Deals Emerging businesses from the health, IT, financial, services and industrial sectors led in raising the largest number of rounds in February 2021. The most active corporate venturers came from the financial, IT, health and media sectors. China-based community buying platform developer Xingsheng Youxuan has secured approximately $2bn in a funding round featuring Tencent and real estate developer China Evergrande Group. Sequoia Capital China led the round, which also featured FountainVest Partners, Primavera Capital Group, KKR and Temasek. It valued Xingsheng at $6bn pre-money. Xingsheng Youxuan runs an e-commerce business that allows local communities to club together to purchase items in bulk. The company processes more than 8 million daily orders and covers more than 30,000 towns across China. US-based data analytics software developer Databricks secured $1bn in a series G round featuring Microsoft, Alphabet, e-commerce group Amazon and Salesforce. The round was led by investment firm Franklin Templeton and included investment and financial services group Fidelity, among other investors. Amazon, Alphabet and Salesforce participated through Amazon Web Services (AWS), CapitalG and Salesforce Ventures respectively, and the round valued Databricks at…

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