Top VC deals: Microsoft buys Github, Ant Financial raises $14 billion, and Airbus backs indoor drones

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  • Microsoft is buying software developer platform GitHub in a deal valued at $7.5 billion.
  • Ant Financial raised $14 billion to expand Alipay internationally, and build non-traditional financial services and technologies.
  • Airbus and Sony are among investors in Verity Studios, a company that makes drones and software to deliver indoor, aerial light shows.

Here’s a round-up of the most important deals in venture capital from the past week. 

Exits

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Microsoft CEO on GitHub acquisition

Microsoft on Monday announced plans to acquire software developer platform GitHub in a deal valued at $7.5 billion.GitHub was valued at $2 billion in its last funding round in 2015.

With its once-dominant Windows unit slipping in market share in recent years, Microsoft has embarked on a cloud-first reorganization. Its acquisition of Github is expected to help the company court a new generation of developers.

Alibaba spin-out Ant Financial raised around $14 billion in fresh funds from investors, including Temasek Holdings, GIC, the private equity firm Silver Lake and several others.

Ant Financial operates one of China’s largest payments platform, Alipay. The company said it plans to use its new found capital to speed up Alipay’s international plans, and to develop technology and financial services to serve unbanked and underbanked consumers and small enterprises, while hiring in emerging markets.

Hellobike offers bike-sharing in smaller cities throughout mainland China.

Hellobike offers bike-sharing in smaller cities throughout mainland China.

Flush with capital, Ant Financial invested $321 million in a Chinese bike-sharing venture called Hellobike. The company’s valuation is now approaching $1.5 billion, according to China Money Network. Hellobike is famous for giving users with a good credit score a deposit-free option to rent and ride bikes on their network.

CMR Surgical raised $100 million in a series B round of funding to develop robotics for use in minimal access surgeries, including upper gastrointestinal, gynecological and other applications. The company is now putting its Versius systems through a range of validation studies in the U.S. and Europe. Investors included: Cambridge Innovation Capital, the venture arm of automation giant ABB, and Zhejiang Silk Road Fund in China.

Ritual, an app for ordering carry-out food and beverages, raised $70 millionin a series C round of funding led by Georgian Partners and joined by its earlier backers: Greylock, Insight Venture Partners and Mistral Venture Partners.

The app arranges for users to pick up their own orders at a restaurant, or have their food or drinks delivered by peers heading to the same spot.

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Starship Technologies, a start-up making delivery robots, has raised $25 million in new seed funding from investors including Matrix Partners, Morpheus Ventures and several individual angels. The company also brought on a new CEO, Lex Bayer, who was formerly Airbnb’s head of business development and payments.

Airbus Ventures, Sony Innovation Fund and Fontinalis Partners, a firm founded by Ford Motors executive chairman Bill Ford, are all investing $18 million in a Swiss developer of indoor drones called Verity Studios. Verity’s drones have been used for aerial light shows over the stages and audiences attending Cirque du Soleil and TED Global talks.

Enterprise drone start-up Kittyhawk.io (not to be confused with the flying car start-up, Kitty Hawk) raised $5 millionin new seed funding from investors including Bonfire Ventures, Boeing Horizon X Ventures, Freestyle Capital and Kluz Ventures.

Led by a 25-year-old CEO, Delane Parnell, PlayVS has raised $15 million in series A funding to help high school students officially participate in e-sports– competitive video game tournaments. NEA led the investment in PlayVS, joined by Science, CrossCut Ventures, Cross Culture ventures and hip hop icon Nas, among others.

Funds and firms

Asian ride-hailing giant Grab started a VC arm, Grab Ventures, to invest in start-ups founded in South East Asia.

Eric Schmidt, former executive chairman of Alphabet

Photo by Bloomberg
Eric Schmidt, former executive chairman of Alphabet

Innovation Endeavors announced that it has closed a $333 million fund, its third overall fund but first to raise and make investments on behalf of outside partners. Innovation Endeavors started four years ago as an “evergreen” fund with capital coming from co-founder Eric Schmidt.

Later, the firm acquired another venture firm, Marker (and all its portfolio companies). Today, Innovation Endeavors invests in “moon shots,” and has backed companies in aerospace, health-tech, food and agriculture.

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Godwin Okafor is a financial journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and the Founder Naija247news Media Ltd He has over 16 experiences in journalism, which cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career in Business Day, Where he was a senior editorial graphic artist, before he left to start Naija247news, An Online Financial Newspaper in 2010. He has won series of awards and he is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.com and also sits on the board of Students In Business Awards, (SIBA).

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