The trend of venture capitalists spinning out their own funds continues as former Gobi Ventures vice president Victor Chua teams up with Darren Chua to form a new venture capital fund, Vynn Capital, focused on Southeast Asia and going after a $40 million close. Gobi has inked several successful deals in the region since opening there a few years ago from its China base. Chua said the strategic-value focused VC firm is now live to work with families and corporates as well as entrepreneurs who are looking to create more synergistic value and build the ecosystem together.
The past year has seen venture partners from Sequoia Capital, Kleiner Perkins, Khosla Ventures and others go out on their own with new funds.
China co-working market continues to be red hot, as China’s co-working space giant Ucommune secures $17.4 million in new funding, barely two months after it raised $47 million in a Series C funding round, also led by the same M&A fund, Qianhai Wutong. The startup is backed by renowned investors such as Sequoia Capital, Zhen Fund, Noah Wealth Management and Sinovation Ventures. Its valuation was estimated to be $1.3 billion after the Series C round as of December 2017. Interestingly, the same M&A fund backed China’s largest co-working space operator UrWork (rebranded as UCommune) in fundraising of $45 million late last year.
DataVisor, a provider of fraud detection solutions using machine learning, snapped up a $40 million Series C round of financing led by Sequoia China, with participation from existing investors New Enterprise Associates and GSR Ventures. Rock Wang, managing director at Sequoia China, will join DataVisor’s board of directors. With this new round of financing, the Silicon Valley based startup with offices in Beijing and Shanghai plans to expand its global footprint in the fraud detection and prevention market, which is estimated to reach $41.6 billion by the year 2022, according to research firm MarketsandMarkets. Yinglian Xie, CEO and co-founder of DataVisor, called Sequoia China an ideal partner to help scale the business as it improves its technology and expands globally in the fraud fight.
New funding of $2.5 billion goes to the logistics unit of Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com, the closest rival to Alibaba. The deal was led by investment firms Hillhouse Capital Group and Sequoia Capital China, plus internet giant Tencent as well as several state-owned companies. The money is being earmarked to further develop drone deliveries and robotic assists.
Silicon Valley-based bike-sharing company LimeBike has raised a series B extension of funding of $50 million led by Fifth Wall Ventures (typically a real estate investor) and Shenzhen manufacturer Rainbow Technology Co. The connection to real estate is that Fifth Wall will work with LimeBike to establish hubs nearby buildings and local retail establishments where bikers can rent bikes, explained Brandon Wallace, co-founder and general partner at the Los Angeles-anchored VC fund.
The busy week for LimeBike was also marked by its roll-out of electric-assisted bikes in Seattle and communities in the Bay Area.
The funding follows last October’s round of $50 million from DCM Ventures, GGV Capital, AME Cloud Ventures, Stanford StartX-Fund, Section 32 and Durant Company, founded by professional basketball player Kevin Durant.
Chinese search leader Baidu is making plans to take its video streaming platform iQiyi public in New York sometime soon.
And, Alibaba is taking a 33 percent stake in its online payment affiliate Ant Financial in a deal that could lead to a public listing of the unit, which was spun off from Alibaba in 2014 as a separate entity.
China is racing ahead in AI with funding and patents, grabbing nearly half the venture capital and closing the gap on the talent race. Baidu is betting its future on artificial intelligence, launching its Alexa of China series of lamps, projectors and speakers while racing to keep up with Google in autonomous driving. Baidu just opened a second R&D lab for AI research in Silicon Valley. Alibaba is also playing its AI hand, relying on the technology to making shopping more convenient, efficient and fun. You know about its new Hema grocery stores that are fully automatic and digitalized – no cashiers, no check-out lines — just QR codes and AliPay.
If you want to be in the center of action in Tel Aviv on your next business trip, you should stay at the new boutique hotel Poli House, in 1930 Bauhaus style. It’s really cool with a panoramic rooftop pool, sun deck, cocktail bar, spa treatment room and quaint cafe for breakfast. The Poli House is one of a growing trend of boutique hotels in Tel Aviv as the city by the sea populates with newer, luxurious hotels such as the very chic Carlton, right on the beach with breakfast overlooking the surfers.
Rebecca A. Fannin is founder/editor of news, events and research group Silicon Dragon. She is an author of three books on innovation and venture trends, and is a public speaker.