LEVER VC FUND I announces first close as $23M, debuts portfolio of 10 alternative protein startups

Lever VC, an early stage alternative protein investor, announced the completion of a first close for Lever VC Fund I at $23 million. 

Partners Nick Cooney and Lawrence Chu have been investing in the alternative protein space since 2015, and have venture partners in the U.S., UK, France, Israel, India, Hong Kong, mainland China, and Singapore. With this experience and network behind them, the team has built out a portfolio that currently stands at 10 cutting-edge, global alternative protein investments across the U.S. Asia, and Europe.

“We decided to invest in alternative protein in 2018, and started approaching a few VCs,” said Benny Pei, Lever VC Partner and CIO of Lever VC GP DFP Capital. “We were most impressed with the Lever VC founders’ long investment experience and track record in this exciting field, so we joined them to start strategically deploying assets in this fast-growing global sector.”

By 2050, the dietary needs ...

Aug. 28, 2020

J&J strikes $6.5 billion deal for autoimmune disease specialist Momenta

Johnson & Johnson on Wednesday agreed to pay about $ 6.5 billion in cash to buy Momenta Pharmaceuticals in a deal aimed at expanding its portfolio of autoimmune disease treatments.

The deal gives J & J's Janssen unit access to Momenta's experimental therapy, nipocalimab, being tested for myasthenia gravis, a neuromuscular disease that causes weakness in muscles, and other diseases where the immune system attacks the body.

J&J hopes to get the drug approved to treat several conditions and eventually bring in blockbuster sales, as the company bulks up its pharmaceuticals unit, its largest business.

Shares of Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Momenta were up 69.3% at $ 52.15 before the bell, just a hair's breadth away from the offer price of $ 52.50.

Johnson & Johnson said an estimated 2.5% of the global population have some type of autoantibody-driven disease, many of which are rare diseases.

Its drug Stelara targets an autoimmune disease called psoriatic arthritis.

J&J, which ...

Aug. 24, 2020

Duck Creek's IPO prices above expectations, to value company at nearly $3.5 billion

Duck Creek Technologies Inc.'s DCT, -2.00% initial public offering priced late Thursday above the expected range, as the Boston-based provider of software-as-a-service (SaaS) for the property and casualty insurance industry raised $405 million. The company sold 15 million shares at $27 a share, above the expecting pricing of $23 to $25 a share, which was raised from a previously expected range of $19 to $21. With 128.3 million shares outstanding, the IPO pricing values the company at $3.46 billion. If the underwriters exercise all the options to buy additional shares, the company could raise $465.8 million and be valued at $3.53 billion. Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan and BofA Securities are the lead book-running managers. Duck Creek is going public at a good time for the IPO market, as the Renaissance IPO ETF IPO, -0.66% has rallied 31.0% over the past three months, while the S&P 500 SPX, +1.00% has gained ...

Aug. 19, 2020

New sanctions deal 'lethal blow' to Huawei. China decries US bullying

The United States has cut off Huawei's access to vital, advanced computer chips, striking a deadly blow to the Chinese tech champion.

The US Commerce Department announced fresh sanctions that restrict any foreign semiconductor company from selling chips developed or produced using US software or technology to Huawei, without first obtaining a license to do so.

Restrictions announced in May had already limited companies such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSM) from making and supplying Huawei with chips designed by HiSilicon, a subsidiary of the Chinese company. New measures effectively extend that ban to all chip designers, such as Taiwan's MediaTek, whose shares plunged nearly 10%.

It is just the latest sign that President Donald Trump is ramping up pressure on Beijing, as the United States and China battle over who controls the technologies of the future. In the last three weeks, the Trump administration has threatened bans on popular Chinese-owned apps TikTok ...

Aug. 14, 2020

Biotech company CureVac aims to raise up to $245 million in U.S. IPO

CureVac, one of Germany’s leading contenders to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, said it aims to raise up to $245 million in an initial public offering (IPO) on the U.S. Nasdaq.

The biotech firm said on Monday it plans to offer a total of up to 15.33 million new shares, adding they would likely be priced at between $14.00 and $16.00 apiece.

Majority owner Dietmar Hopp, the co-founder of Software giant SAP, has pledged to inject an additional 100 million euros ($117 million) at IPO conditions.

At the mid-point of the price range, CureVac is expected to be valued at roughly $2.7 billion, based on a company filing.

CureVac is hoping to show its vaccine can works at lower doses than rivals. It started testing on humans in mid-June, behind rivals such as BioNTech and partner Pfizer, which started clinical trials at the end of April.

The proceeds from CureVac’s IPO will help fund the development ...

Aug. 10, 2020

Ant Group says it’s shooting for a record-breaking $30 billion IPO by October

Fintech behemoth Ant Group Co. will attempt the world’s largest ever IPO by raising $30 billion in Shanghai and Hong Kong, likely by October, Chinese media.

Ant is valued at roughly $200 billion, and will aim to sell 10% of its shares on Shanghai’s Nasdaq-like STAR board and 5% on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, sources told Caixin, one of China’s most reputable and independent financial publications.

Ant affiliate Alibaba BABA, +2.72%, founded by Jack Ma, had held the record for largest IPO for years until Saudi Aramco 2222, -0.45% shattered it in December, raising $26 billion. If successful, the Ant offering would not only break that record but would become a crowning achievement in Beijing’s ongoing attempt to lure Chinese tech companies back home to domestic exchanges — a goal that has only become more acute amid increasing U.S.-China tensions.

Ant’s success has been due in large part to the massive adoption ...

Aug. 5, 2020

The Untitled Ventures is raising €50 million to boost tech startups in Eastern Europe

The Untitled Ventures is an early growth stage venture capital fund that invests in tech startups from Eastern Europe. To date, the Untitled Ventures has invested into 26 companies with 15% women among founders (, SuitApp, E-Contenta), and successfully exited 3 (DPI 1.6x).

Now the Untitled Ventures firm is raising €50 million for a fund that will invest in early growth stage tech companies from Eastern Europe, with the focus on B2B AI, robotics, agritech, medtech, and data management. The new fund will be backed by European institutions and will take advantage of exceptional deal flow with revenues of €400K – €1 million. 

The Untitled Ventures operates from London, Moscow, and Riga, building the bridge between Eastern and Western Europe. The Untitled Ventures is a member of IVC (the International Venture Club), a collaborative platform of independent venture capital, corporate, governmental and institutional investors. The Club was formed in 2011 by 17 ...

July 31, 2020

Eastman Kodak to get $765 million U.S. loan to make drug ingredients

Eastman Kodak Co (KODK.N) will get a $765 million loan from the U.S. government to produce pharmaceutical ingredients in the country, helping reduce dependency on other countries by strengthening domestic supply chains.

The company’s shares were trading at $8.80 after closing at $2.62 in the previous session.

The U.S. International Development Finance Corp said on Tuesday it would sign a letter of interest to provide the loan to Kodak, a company known more for its cameras and imaging business. 

The Trump administration has been looking to bolster the ability to produce drugs and their raw materials in the United States after the COVID-19 pandemic exposed the industry’s dependence on China and India for its supply chain.

In May, the administration awarded a contract worth up to $812 million for a new U.S. company to manufacture drugs and drug ingredients in the country. New York-based Kodak, which was founded in 1888, has a market ...

July 27, 2020

Chevron picks Noble in biggest U.S. energy deal since the oil crash

Chevron said on Monday it would buy Noble Energy in a $5 billion all-stock deal, bolstering its shale presence as a plunge in crude prices have made assets cheaper.

The deal, the largest in the U.S. energy sector this year, comes more than a year after Chevron abandoned its offer for Anadarko Petroleum, outmaneuvered by Occidental Petroleum’s higher bid.

Oil prices plunged to historic lows in April as the coronavirus crisis decimated demand. While prices have recovered from their lows, they remain depressed, making assets cheaper, as a new surge of Covid-19 cases threaten to stall recovery.

The deal will also give Chevron access to Noble’s flagship Leviathan field, the largest natural gas field in the Eastern Mediterranean, which began producing natural gas late last year.

Shares of Noble jumped about 8% premarket, while Chevron was down about 1%.

The offer values Noble at $10.38 a share or 0.12 Chevron share, a 7.5% premium to ...

July 22, 2020

Rivian raises $2.5 billion ahead of launch of electric pickup and SUV

EV startup Rivian has raised $2.5 billion, bringing its total funding to date to around $6 billion ahead of the launch of its all-electric pickup truck and SUV in early 2021. $5.35 billion of that has come in the last year and a half alone, with Rivian scooping up big investments from Ford, Amazon, and Cox Automotive in 2019.

The new funding comes from Soros Fund Management LLC, Coatue (a hedge fund), Fidelity Management and Research Company, and investment firm Baron Capital Group. Amazon and another previous investor, BlackRock, also participated in the funding round, which was advised by T. Rowe Price.

The huge influx of money helps further establish Rivian’s position as what is likely the most well-capitalized EV startup in the world. It will also bolster the company’s massive growth, as it has already opened up a half-dozen offices in and outside of the US and hired around 2,400 people.  ...

July 17, 2020