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Private Equity

Venture Capital: Chinese Insurtech Waterdrop Lands $230M in Pre-IPO Funding

Waterdrop Inc raised $ 230 million in funding led by Swiss Re (SWX: SREN) and Chinese Internet giant Tencent Holdings (HKG: 0700). Existing investors including IDG Capital and Wisdom Choice Global Fund also participated.

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Venture Capital: Chinese Insurtech Waterdrop Lands $230M in Pre-IPO Funding

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Waterdrop is a Chinese online seller of insurance, an illness “mutual aid” crowdfunding platform, and a mutual fund operator.

Waterdrop Inc raised $ 230 million in funding led by Swiss Re (SWX: SREN) and Chinese Internet giant Tencent Holdings (HKG: 0700). Existing investors including IDG Capital and Wisdom Choice Global Fund also participated. (Reuters)

According to a Reuters source, Swiss Re committed $ 100 million to the funding round. The fundraising was conducted at a valuation of nearly $ 2 billion.

Waterdrop, an insurtech and crowdfunder

Headquartered in Beijing, Waterdrop sells insurance policies online through its Waterdrop Insurance Mall. It facilitates business crowdfunding via its Waterdrop Crowdfunding platform. It also operates mutual funds.

Users in the medical mutual aid business contribute very small amounts (a water drop) for funding a mutual medical benefits scheme. In case of a medical emergency, the firm pays out as much as $43,000.

Waterdrop was founded in 2016 by Shen Peng. He was a former executive at Chinese food delivery and local services giant Meituan Dianping.

On its website, Waterdrop also says it is a strategic investment by Tencent Holdings.

Its insurance business boasts of 120 million unique policyholders. They paid a premium of $ 865 million in the first half of 2020.

Use of funds

“Our long-term goal is to become a leading online healthcare platform in China with an ecosystem that includes insurers, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and drug stores, as well as nursing institutions and rehabilitation institutions,” says Peng Shen, in a statement, according to TechCrunch. “We are committed to not only helping users with financing issues but also providing them with integrated healthcare services along the way.”

Waterdrop will use the new money to develop artificial intelligence systems and big data applications for all its products and services. It also intends to expand and accelerate its current medical and healthcare businesses.

“As a leading online InsurTech company, Waterdrop is well-positioned to tackle the pain points of traditional insurance and pave the way for future breakthroughs in the industry, such as the accelerated technological innovation and digitalization of the industry worldwide that we have witnessed during the COVID-19 situation,” said Ning Zhou, Head of principal investment and acquisition for Asia, Swiss Re to Reinsurance News.

Waterdrop also plans on a US IPO. It has hired Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) and Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) for managing the issue.

Related Story:     Hippo, The Home Insurance Unicorn, Raises $150M                                             

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Source: https://dailyalts.com/venture-capital-chinese-insurtech-waterdrop-lands-230m-in-pre-ipo-funding/

Private Equity

Boston startups expand region’s venture capital footprint

This year has shaken up venture capital, turning a hot early start to 2020 into a glacial period permeated with fear during the early days of COVID-19. That ice quickly melted as venture capitalists discovered that demand for software and other services that startups provide was accelerating, pushing many young tech companies back into growth […]

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This year has shaken up venture capital, turning a hot early start to 2020 into a glacial period permeated with fear during the early days of COVID-19. That ice quickly melted as venture capitalists discovered that demand for software and other services that startups provide was accelerating, pushing many young tech companies back into growth mode, and investors back into the check-writing arena.

Boston has been an exemplar of the trend, with early pandemic caution dissolving into rapid-fire dealmaking as summer rolled into fall.

We collated new data that underscores the trend, showing that Boston’s third quarter looks very solid compared to its peer groups, and leads greater New England’s share of American venture capital higher during the three-month period.

For our October look at Boston and its startup scene, let’s get into the data and then understand how a new cohort of founders is cropping up among the city’s educational network.

A strong Q3, a strong 2020

Boston’s third quarter was strong, effectively matching the capital raised in New York City during the three-month period. As we head into the fourth quarter, it appears that the silver medal in American startup ecosystems is up for grabs based on what happens in Q4.

Boston could start 2021 as the number-two place to raise venture capital in the country. Or New York City could pip it at the finish line. Let’s check the numbers.

According to PitchBook data shared with TechCrunch, the metro Boston area raised $4.34 billion in venture capital during the third quarter. New York City and its metro area managed $4.45 billion during the same time period, an effective tie. Los Angeles and its own metro area managed just $3.90 billion.

In 2020 the numbers tilt in Boston’s favor, with the city and surrounding area collecting $12.83 billion in venture capital. New York City came in second through Q3, with $12.30 billion in venture capital. Los Angeles was a distant third at $8.66 billion for the year through Q3.

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2020/10/23/boston-startups-expand-regions-venture-capital-footprint/

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Private Equity

Alternative Investments/Real Estate: Housing Market Demand Is “Insane”

Speaking to CNBC on Power Lunch, Glenn Kelman, CEO of real estate brokerage Redfin (NASDAQ: RDFN), said he expected the current boom conditions in the housing market to last well into next year. He attributed the high demand to affluent professionals looking for remote homes as well as low interest rates. Also, he thinks some sellers will put their properties on the market only after the presidential election.

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Alternative Investments/Real Estate: Housing Market Demand Is “Insane”

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Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman says the boom could last into next year.

Speaking to CNBC on Power Lunch, Glenn Kelman, CEO of real estate brokerage Redfin (NASDAQ: RDFN), said he expected the current boom conditions in the housing market to last well into next year. He attributed the high demand to affluent professionals looking for remote homes as well as low interest rates. Also, he thinks some sellers will put their properties on the market only after the presidential election. (CNBC)

Kelman: Too good to last forever

“This level of demand is absolutely insane. I would expect it to last into 2021, at least,” Kelman said.

Recent data from the National Association of Realtors shows up the strength in the housing market.

Existing home sales shot up 9.4% in September beating expectations. Even though the median purchase price of a home rose approximately 15% year over year, there is just a 2.7-month supply of for-sale homes, showing tight market inventory conditions.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.80% for the week ending Oct. 22, down from 2.81% in the previous week and 3.75% a year ago, according to the Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey. Therefore, mortgage rates crept even lower in the latest week.

However, “there’s no way it can last forever,” Kelman warned of the bullish conditions.

Canada: Off the charts

Meanwhile, at the northern neighbor, home sales activity in September is described as “off-the-charts.”

Housing data released by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) last week showed a nationwide year-over-year increase in sales of 45.6%.

This was a new all-time monthly record for the third month in a row.

“This is starting to sound like a broken record (about records being broken), but Canadian home sales and prices set records once again in September … as they did in July and August,” said Shaun Cathcart, senior economist at CREA, in a statement.

Real Estate ETFs in the U.S.

The year-to-date performance of some real estate ETFs is shown below:

iShares U.S. Home Construction ETF (ITB)              +24.61%

SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF (XHB)                          +20.83%

Vanguard Real Estate Index Fund ETF                      -13.91%

It may be noted that despite the boom conditions in housing, real estate ETFs and stocks have declined in recent days.

According to Barron’s, this may be due to yields on the 10-year and 30-year Treasuries moving higher in recent weeks.

Other reasons could be fears of inflation ticking up in the future amidst an improving economic situation.

Nevertheless, the view is that interest rates are likely to remain low for longer. So demand may remain strong.

“Part of what is fueling this boom is that the economy has just split into two and rich people are able to access capital almost for free, so, of course, they’re going to use that money to buy homes,” said Redfin’s Kelman.

Related Story:   Mortgage Rates Set Another Record Low; Real Estate ETFs Could Benefit

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Source: https://dailyalts.com/alternative-investments-real-estate-housing-market-demand-is-insane/

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Private Equity

Asda’s new owner EG Group seeks new leadership ahead of IPO – report

EG Group is owned by the billionaire Issa brothers and the private equity firm TDR Capital, who teamed up for a £6.8 billion takeover of Asda last month

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UK grocer Asda Group’s new owner EG Group is looking for a new chairman and independent directors as it prepares for a £10bn initial public offering, The Timesreports.

EG Group is owned by the billionaire Issa brothers and the private equity firm TDR Capital, who teamed up for a £6.8 billion takeover of Asda last month.

The move comes after Deloitte resigned last week as the company’s auditor because of concerns over the group’s governance and lack of internal controls, according to the publication.

A decision on candidates will be taken before the end of this year, although roles haven’t been finalised yet as the company is in the process of deciding whether to float in the UK or the US, The Times reports.

Write to Barcelona editors at barcelonaeditors@dowjones.com

From Dow Jones Newswires

Source: https://www.penews.com/articles/asdas-new-owner-eg-group-seeks-new-leadership-ahead-of-ipo-reports-20201023

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