USD1.5b Microsoft Check for the Middle East; USD200m in Africa Fund Closes

Talking Shop

Investors are finding it harder to price early-stage rounds, leading to several instances of deals falling through due to valuation concerns. There seems to be investor consensus that some founders have yet to adjust to the current market reality.

While investors and founders don’t see eye-to-eye on pricing, founders continue to raise increasingly bigger tickets on all-too-popular SAFEs (or convertible notes, for that matter). It’s important for operators to remember that these were conceived as a creative strategy for companies to get off the ground, gain initial traction and validate their core offering without immediately valuing the company. However, they were not intended to be the primary financing instrument to drive operations for extended periods of time.

Waiting until a favorably priced round at a higher valuation might not make sense in the current market, and putting off valuation conversations can have its own set of consequences. Without a cap table and ownership visibility, founders risk being left with nothing, even after leading the company through a blockbuster exit, according to Igor Piquet of Endeavor Catalyst.

A lack of price visibility also introduces additional risk during follow-on financing. Later-stage investors, particularly those with a private equity approach, are known to walk away during fundraising conversations. This can happen if a cap table is too messy to deal with or after requiring founders to maintain a minimum ownership stake to be comfortable participating, according to Tomas Denecken of 30N Ventures.

Price certainty benefits both early-stage investors and founders, ensuring they are aware of their standing by avoiding any dilution surprises brought by stacked SAFEs converting down the line.

Seems like ownership and alignment will be top of mind for investors and VC-backed founders…

For more insights on early-stage investing in global markets, check out our 2024 Global Trends in Tech report or reach out to us directly.

The Big Tickets

  • CLEANTECH | AL Capital and Yangming Equity Investment Fund led a ~USD276.5m Series D for Terminus Technologies, a China-based AIoT platform for urban management, with participation from Futian Capital, China Everbright and others.
    • Terminus Technologies previously raised a ~USD283.2m Series C in August 2019 from China Everbright, iFLYTEK, and Wanda Group.

  • UNICORN | FinSight Ventures led a USD114m Series A for Uzum, an Uzbekistan-based e-commerce platform, with participation from Xanara Investment Management. The round included USD62m in debt financing and valued the startup at USD1.2b, making it Uzbekistan’s first unicorn.

  • BIOTECH | Beijing Medical and Health Industry Investment Fund and Taizhou Huayin Financial Investment led a ~USD84m Series B for Varnotech, a China-based developer of vaccines and adjuvants, with participation from Watere Capital, Shunxi Venture Capital and 3E Bioventures. 

  • INSURTECH | PayPal Ventures and MassMutual Ventures led a USD47m Series C for Qoala, an Indonesia-based insurtech platform offering personalized and affordable coverage, with participation from MUFG Innovation Partners, Omidyar Network and follow-on from Flourish Ventures, Eurazeo and AppWorks.
    • Qoala raised a USD65m Series B in May 2022 led by Eurazeo with participation from Flourish Ventures, KB Investment, MassMutual Ventures and others.

  • FINTECH | Turkey-based retail investment platform Midas raised a USD45m Series A led by Portage with participation from IFC and follow-on from Earlybird Digital East, Revo Capital and Spark Capital.

  • BIOTECH | Medicxi led a USD62m Series A extension for D3 Bio, a China-based developer of cancer drugs, with participation from Matrix Partners China and WuXi AppTec.
    • D3 Bio raised a USD200m Series A in November 2020 from Boyu Capital, HongShan, Matrix Partners China, Temasek and WuXi AppTec.

  • EV | Windrose Technology, a Hong Kong-based EV truck developer, raised a USD110m Series B from Goodman Group, HSBC and HITE Edge Asset Management.

  • INSURTECH | BlueOrchard led a USD20m Series B for Pula, a Kenya-based provider of agricultural insurance services, with participation from IFC, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Hesabu Capital. 

  • CLIMATE | SunCulture, a Kenya-based manufacturer of solar-powered drip irrigation systems, raised a USD27.5m Series B from Reed Hastings (Netflix), InfraCo Africa, Acumen Fund, The Schmidt Family Foundation, with follow-on from EDF Group and Equator.


  • SEMICONDUCTOR | Cygnusemi, a China-based 5G IoT baseband chip developer, raised a ~USD69m Series B from China Growth Capital, Wofo Capital, CEC Data Fund, CDH Investments and others.

  • BNPL | Addi, a Colombia-based buy now, pay later platform, raised a USD36m equity round from Union Square Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz and GIC.

  • CLIMATE | Ecozen, an India-based deep tech firm providing eco-friendly agricultural solutions, raised a USD30m equity and debt round from Nuveen, InCred Capital and IFC.

  • E-COMMERCE | Kleiner Perkins led a USD30m Series A+ round for YouPinMei, a China-based cross-border e-commerce company.

  • FINTECH | Leasy, a Peru-based financing platform for ride-hailing drivers, raised a USD28m Series A equity and debt round led by Magma Partners, with participation from Grupo CAPEM, DeBa Ventures, Entangle Group and NOA Capital. 

  • FINTECH | Jungle Ventures led a USD26m round for Infinity Fincorp Solutions, an India-based non-banking financial company offering integrated commodity and collateral management services, with participation from Magnifico.

  • INSURTECH | Valor Capital and Across Capital led a USD22.5m Series A for Akad, a Brazil-based provider of B2B insurance products and services, with participation from Actyus, Endeavor Catalyst and Endeavor Scale-Up Ventures.

  • FINTECH | Accel Partners led a USD20m Series B for Sprinto, an India-based compliance automation platform for SaaS companies, with follow-on from Elevation Capital and Blume Ventures. 

  • WEB3 | Polychain led a USD15.3m Series A for dappOS, a Singapore-based intent execution network operator, at a USD300m valuation, with participation from Nomad Capital, IDG, Flow Traders, IOBC, NGC and others. 

  • DIGITAL SECURITY | MMC Ventures led a ~USD12.9m Series A for BotGuard, an Estonia-based provider of website protection software, with participation from Expeditions Fund, Stefan Lindeberg (Nordic Game Ventures) and follow-on from Tera Ventures. 

  • WEB3 | Flint Capital led a USD10m Series A for Mika Games, a Cyprus-based Web3 mobile gaming investment and scaling platform.

  • WOMEN-LED | Matrix Partners India and Blume Ventures led a USD5.5m seed round for SiftHub, an India-based AI-enabled automated sales response platform, with participation from Neon Fund, Harshil Mathur (Razorpay), Shashank Kumar (Razorpay), Arvind Parthiban (SuperOps AI), Manish Jindal (Cloudflare) and Andrew Jonhston (Superhuman).

  • FINTECH | DisrupTech Ventures and SS Capital led a USD4.6m pre-seed round for Bokra, an Egypt-based wealth management startup.

  • LEGALTECH | Alexia Ventures led a ~USD3.2m Series A for, a Brazil-based AI solution for lawyers, with participation from Canary, Endeavor Scale-Up and Grão VC. 

  • AI | Ailytics, a Singapore-based video analytics solutions provider for heavy industries, raised a USD2.7m pre-Series A led by Tin Men Capital, with participation from Woh Hup and AngelCentral.

  • CRM | Practica Capital and Impellent Ventures led a ~USD2.15m pre-seed round for Evergrowth, a Lithuania-based B2B sales platform. 

  • CLEANTECH | Foxmont Capital Partners led an oversubscribed round for Nibertex, a Singapore-based material science venture developing breathable waterproof membranes.

  • FINTECH | Africa50, Verdant Capital, Oikocredit and Injaro led an investment in Zeepay, a Ghana-based cross-border payments platform, with participation from Investisseurs & Partenaires.

For more Latin American deal activity, subscribe to LAVCA’s LatAm Venture Bulletin.


  • TLcom Capital reached a USD154m final close for its second fund focused on early-stage startups in Africa. The fund received commitments from EIB, Visa Foundation, Bertelsmann and AfricaGrow.

  • Verod-Keppel Africa Ventures reached a USD60m final close for its first fund focused on early-stage startups enabling the digital economy across Africa.
    • Current investments from the fund include Moove, Cloudline, Chari, mTek Services and others.

  • Satgana reached a USD8.6m final close for its debut fund. The vehicle aims to back up to 30 early-stage companies in Africa and Europe. 

  • Latitud Ventures reached a USD12m first close for its second fund focused on pre-seed investments across Latin America.

  • Laton Ventures launched a USD35m fund to target the gaming and interactive entertainment industries globally, with a focus on Turkey.

  • DEG committed USD15m to Wavemaker Partners fifth Southeast Asia fund focused on early-stage B2B technology-oriented startups.

  • DFC made a commitment of up to USD2.5m to ICV Delta Fund I, an inaugural venture fund focused on investing in startups based in Northern Central America; USD4m to Kamay Ventures I, a fund investing in tech-enabled supply chain platforms across Latin America; and USD4m to Regenera Ventures I, an impact investment fund focused on the rural economy in Mexico. 

  • Tiger Global Management reached a USD2.2b final close for its latest venture fund, short of the fund’s USD6b target.

  • SOSV reached a USD306m final close for its fifth flagship fund focused on deep tech startups globally.

IPOs, M&As and Exits

  • M&A | Bahrain-based Investcorpacquired the digital technology services business of India-based National Stock Exchange (NSE) for USD120m in its biggest deal in the country.
    • NSE’s investors include General Atlantic, Tiger Global, TA Associates, SAIF Partners. 

  • M&A | Thunes, a Singapore-based cross-border payments platform, will acquireTilia, a US-based payments provider for online games, virtual worlds, creator economies and in-app purchases.
    • Thunes last raised a USD72m Series C from Visa, EDBI, Endeavor Catalyst, Marshall Wace, Bessemer Venture Partners and 01Fintech in July 2023.

  • M&A | Japanese HR platform Mynavi acquired a majority stake in Awign, an India-based gig work fulfillment platform, in an all-cash deal.
    • The acquisition represents a 7x return for Capria Ventures, according to Partner Will Poole

  • M&A | DataStax, a US-based company powering generative AI applications with real-time data, has acquired Logspace, the company behind Langflow, a low-code tool for building RAG-based apps.

  • Thepeer, a Nigeria-based platform that connects digital wallets, is closing operations and returning capital to investors.
    • Investors in Thepeer include BYLD Ventures, Chipper Cash, Musha Ventures and Raba Partnership.


  • Microsoft invested USD1.5b in G42, a UAE-based AI holding company, to expand its on-the-ground infrastructure and cloud capabilities.
    • Microsoft President Brad Smith will join G42’s board as part of the deal.  

  • Salvy, a Brazil-based B2B virtual telecom operator, is the only startup from Latin America accepted to YC’s latest batch, down from 33 startups in W2022 and 16 in S2022.
    • SaaSHolic recently led a USD1m seed round for Salvy with participation from angels João Del Valle (Ebanx) and Ariel Lambrecht (Mara). 

  • AI | AI continues to fuel the ongoing nearshoring trend in global supply chains, with US big tech firms turning to Mexico for semiconductor and hardware infrastructure manufacturing. 

  • Kauffman Fellows published a sentiment survey on GP perspectives and expectations for the macroeconomic and fundraising climate in 2024.
    • In fundraising: “Notably, slightly more confidence from Non-Silicon Valley Firms versus Silicon Valley; and established managers are slightly more confident than emerging managers.”