The Briefing: Ant Raising $34.5B In Biggest IPO Ever, PrimaryBid Lands $50M, And More

Here’s what you need to know today in startup and venture news, updated by the Crunchbase News staff throughout the day to keep you in the know.

Ant Raising $34.5B In Largest IPO Ever

China-based fintech giant Ant Group is raising $34.5 billion in what reportedly ranks as the largest IPO ever.

The company set share prices for its offering Monday, with listings planned on Shanghai and Hong Kong exchanges. The offering will reportedly set an initial valuation of around $313 billion for Ant.

Ant Group is expected to start trading in Hong Kong on Nov. 5, according to a regulatory filing. The company has not disclosed when its Shanghai shares will begin trading.

Funding rounds

  • China’s VSPN raises $100M for esports: China-based VSPN, a provider of  esports offerings including tournaments, content and marketing, raised around $100 million in a Series B round led by Tencent.
  • Rokt inks $80M: E-commerce technology company Rokt said it raised $80 million in Series D funding, giving it a $450 million valuation. The round was led by TDM Growth Partners, and supported by other existing investors including Square Peg. The capital will help accelerate R&D and support the expansion of its client base into new verticals and geographies.
  • PrimaryBid lands $50M: London-based PrimaryBid, an online platform that connects individual investors with public companies raising capital, has secured $50 million in Series B funding. Backers include London Stock Exchange Group, Draper Esprit, OMERS Ventures, Fidelity International Strategic Ventures and ABN AMRO Ventures.
  • Celona secures $30M: Celona, an enterprise 5G company, announced a $30 million Series B round of funding led by NTTVC and Qualcomm Ventures with participation from existing investors Lightspeed Venture Partners, Norwest Venture Partners and Cervin Ventures. The new round of financing brings Celona’s total capital investment to date to $40 million.
  • KETOS brings in $18M: KETOS, a water intelligence and analytics innovator, announced $18 million in Series B financing. The round was led by Motley Fool Ventures with participation from new investors Citi and Illuminated Funds Group, and well as KETOS’ existing investors. This round takes the company’s total funding to $30 million since it was launched in 2015.
  • Linktree inks $10.7M: Tech platform Linktree, which enables customers to build a microsite that houses their digital ecosystem, announced a $10.7 million Series A round of funding led by Insight Partners and AirTree Ventures. The funding will accelerate expansion in international markets, grow the team and enable new capabilities.
  • Rune Lab secures $5M: Rune Labs, a developer of neuroscience therapeutics software, secured a $5 million seed round led by DigiTx Partners, which was joined by existing investors including TruVenturo, Moment Ventures, Loup Ventures and Sabbatical Ventures. Since the company’s founding in 2018, Rune Labs has raised a total of $7.3 million. Rune Labs focuses on treatments, including Deep Brain Stimulation and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, that help patients control their symptoms.
  • ZeroEyes raises $1.5M: ZeroEyes, an AI-based platform focused solely on weapons detection, said it raised $1.5 million in funding led by Grateful Investments with participation from Legion Capital, Backswing Ventures, Natoma Group and angel investors, bringing the total amount raised to $4 million.

M&A

  • Bayer acquires AskBio for up to $4B: Bayer AG announced that it will acquire Asklepios BioPharmaceutical (also known as AskBio), a Research Triangle Park, North Carolina-based company specializing in the research, development and manufacturing of gene therapies. Under terms of the deal, Bayer will pay $2 billion up front and up to $2 billion in potential milestone-based payments.
  • Petlove to merge with DogHero: São Paulo online pet shop Petlove said it will merge operations with DogHero, the largest pet services company in Latin America, for an undisclosed amount. DogHero, has raised $12.6 million in venture-backed funding, according to Crunchbase data. It has more than 1.4 million pets registered on the platform and offers five services: accommodation, tours, pet sitting, nursery and home veterinarians.

New fund

NTTVC launches with a $500M fund: Vab Goel and Fay Hazaveh Costa on Monday announced a new venture capital firm, called NTTVC, formed in collaboration with technology service provider NTT. The firm is starting out with a $500 million fund focused on enterprise, digital health and innovations powered by AI, machine learning and data startups. The firm has already made investments in Celona, Eko, nference, Shoreline and UDP Labs. Prior to founding NTTVC, both Goel and Hazaveh Costa worked for Norwest Venture Partners.

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