GGV-backed Chinese SaaS startup Black Lake raises $22m in Series B

Chinese Yuan notes. Photo: Reuters

Black Lake Technologies, a Chinese industrial data-analysis startup backed by US- and Shanghai-based venture capital firm GGV Capital, has raised Rmb150 million ($22.1 million) in its Series B funding round, jointly led by GSR Ventures and Bertelsmann Asia Investments, according to an announcement on Monday.

Existing investor GGV Capital, which backed the company’s Series A round in 2017, and ZhenFund, a Beijing-based seed fund launched by co-founders of Chinese private educational services provider New Oriental, also participated in the round.

Founded in 2016, Black Lake provides cloud software services to traditional manufacturers. It develops cloud-based data collaboration, monitoring, and analysis software that helps traditional manufacturers better understand how to optimize equipment use and the production process.

Its corporate clients include McDonald’s, Chinese state-owned enterprise China Resources, China-based biotech firm Walvax Biotechnology, and Belgium-based drink and brewing company ABInbev.

Its founder and CEO, Zhou Yuxiang, quit his previous financial job in 2015 to start Black Lake in early 2016 with the team hailing from leading international firms such as IBM, ABB, Foxconn, Ele.me, Ctrip and Morgan Stanley.

The company said it will use the fresh funding to recruit more engineers and sales personnel as well as for product innovation and business expansion.

Black Lake raised Rmb10 million ($1.48 million) in its Series A financing round in 2017. It closed a $1 million angel round in mid-2016, with funding from IDG Capital, ZhenFund, and China Growth Capital.

GSR Ventures, the co-anchor in Black Lake’s Series B round, is a US-based venture capital firm focused on early-stage technology companies. The firm was the first institutional investors in DiDi Chuxing, ele.me, Inke, ofo, Qunar, Shanghai DZH, and Xiaohongshu.

In 2018, GSR Ventures closed a $400-million fund to invest in technology startups. The fund came at a difficult time for China’s startups and venture capitalists amid a slowing economy, intense competition and a central government that is imposing more of its will on the country.

The close of the SaaS startup’s Series B came less than a month after another Chinese SaaS startup, Shanghai-based online HR platform IfChange, raised an $80-million Series C round co-led by US-based early-stage VC firm Lightspeed Venture Partners and Chinese insurer Sunshine Insurance.

IfChange is a SaaS startup that aims to disrupt the HR industry by developing a platform that provides smart screening, resume analysis, organization structure mapping for enterprise users. It claims to have serviced a big pool of clients including Alibaba, Tencent, Vanke and others.

Also Read:

China Digest: Korea fund backs Meixin Global; GGV Capital invests in Black Lake

Didi backer GSR Ventures closes $400m fund for early stage startups

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.