Venture capital deals of the week

New fund: Automakers Renault (OTC:RNSDF, OTCPK:RNLSY), Nissan (OTCPK:NSANY, OTCPK:NSANF), and Mitsubishi (OTCPK:MMTOF) announced plans to establish Alliance Ventures. The venture capital fund will invest up to $1B over five years in vehicle electrification, AI, and autonomous systems. Renault SA and Nissan will both pitch in 40% of the financing and Mitsubishi will finance the remaining 20%.

Alliance Ventures expects to invest up to $200M in its first year with a strategic investment into Ionic Materials serving as the first deal. Ionic Materials develops solid-state cobalt-free battery materials.

Translation platform: Microsoft Ventures (NASDAQ:MSFT), Salesforce Ventures (NYSE:CRM), and Samsung Next (OTC:SSNNF, OTC:SSNLF) participated in a $23 Series B round in Unbabel, a Lisbon-based developer of an “AI-powered, human-refined” translation platform for enterprise users. Scale Venture Partners led the round and Notion Capital, Caixa Capital, and Funders Club also participated.

Unbabel uses machine learning and a network of about 55K human translations to power the translations across any type of online communication via an API and integrations with Salesforce, WordPress, and other enterprise software.

The round brings Unbabel’s total funding up to $31M, according to Crunchbase.

Data analytics: GE Ventures (NYSE:GE), Honeywell Ventures (NYSE:HON), and ABB Technology Ventures (NYSE:ABB) participated in a $19.5M Series A round in Element Analytics, a San Francisco-based data analytics management and integration software provider. Other participants included Mitsui & Co., Aster, Blue Bear Capital, and Kleiner Perkins. The round brings total equity funding in Element Analytics up to $22M.

The startup’s Element Platform can process, manage, and integrate large amounts of data from a wide variety of sources including sensors, engineering systems, and operational systems. The Platform creates “dynamic digital representations of physical equipment and assets” for easy and accurate analysis.

Robo-taxi: Jaguar’s (NYSE:TTM) venture capital arm InMotion Ventures chipped in $3M of a $15M funding round in Voyage, a robo-taxi service. Other investors included Khosla Ventures, SV Angel, Initialized Capital, Amino Capital, and Charles River Ventures. The round brings total funding up to $20M to date.

Voyage has a license to start testing self-driving cars in California this year. The startup competes with several other autonomous vehicle projects including Uber (Private:UBER) and Alphabet’s Waymo.

Bug finder: GV (GOOG, GOOGL) participated in a $9M Series B round in Bugsnag, a cloud-based service that helps developers find software bugs. Other investors included Matrix Partners and Benchmark Capital. The round brings Bugsnag up to over $17M in funding.

Bugsnag monitors the performance of apps across environments from browser to backend and reports errors in a diagnostic report that focuses on the nature of the bug rather than the number of issues.

2017 revisited: The U.S. venture capital industry invested $84B in 2017, the highest since the dot-com boom, thanks in part to unicorns. The money went to 8,035 companies across 8,076 deals, according to the PitchBook-NVCA Venture Monitor annual report. Unicorns (companies valued at over $1B) accounted for $19.2B of the total.

PitchBook CEO John Gabbert: “While the figures are comparable to the dot-com era, the VC ecosystem appears healthy and driven by different dynamics. Later-stage companies with strong consumer traction are commanding large rounds of financing.” 

Previously: Venture capital deals of the week (Jan. 6)

Nguồn: seekingalpha.com