China Digest: YuceBio gets nearly $43m; Alibaba invests in Helijia, OKKI

Gao Zhibo, founder of Chinese biotech firm YuceBio. Source: YuceBio

Chinese biotech firm YuceBio has secured nearly 300 million yuan ($43 million) in a Series C round while Alibaba has invested in the country’s online-to-offline (O2O) beauty services app Helijia and cloud computing-based customer relationship management (CRM) solutions developer OKKI.

Biotech firm YuceBio closes nearly $43m

YuceBio, a Chinese biotech firm that specialises in tumour immunotherapy gene detection, has secured nearly 300 million yuan ($43 million) in a Series C round led by Yuanzhi Technology Group.

The lead investor, which is backed by Chinese conglomerate Pearl River Investment, was joined by the country’s venture capital firm Puhua Capital to finance YuceBio in the new round, said the investee in a WeChat post on Tuesday.

Founded in 2015, YuceBio has developed a new antigen detection and identification platform and a  database for cancer immunology based on bioinformatics, as well as a large real-world research database of tumour immunodiagnosis.

Proceeds of the new round will be used to promote the development of its tumour mutational burden (TMB), a biomarker that measures the number of mutations found in a tumour.

YuceBio raised hundreds of millions of yuan in a Series B round led by IDG Capital in December 2018. Its earlier investors include Chinese genome sequencing giant BGI Group and BioClub, a medical and healthcare entrepreneurship platform in China.

Alibaba invests in O2O beauty services app Helijia

Alibaba has become the largest shareholder of Chinese O2O beauty services app Helijia after the e-commerce giant injected hundreds of millions of yuan into the startup through a strategic investment.

Beauty and makeup products are among some the fastest-growing categories on Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms in recent two years, said China Renaissance, the exclusive financial adviser to the deal, in a WeChat post on Tuesday.

In February 2015, Helijia raised nearly $50 million in a Series C round to reach a valuation of about $300 million, according to its website. Investors in the previous round included Qiming Venture Partners, Chinese Internet-focused fund GX Capital, consumer-focused private equity firm Maison Capital, and China’s CBC Capital, which primarily invests in the TMT field.

The company closed tens of millions of U.S. dollars in a Series B round in October 2014 and a 30-million-yuan ($4 million) Series A round in July 2014. Beijing-based IDG Capital, Helijia’s angel round investor, backed all its previous funding rounds before the Alibaba investment.

CRM solutions provider OKKI raises Series D round

Chinese cloud computing-based CRM solutions developer OKKI has raised hundreds of millions of yuan in a Series D funding round from Alibaba, according to a statement on Wednesday.

OKKI will operate independently post the Series D round while increasing investment in product R&D.

Established in March 2013, OKKI is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) firm that uses cloud computing, big data and AI to develop CRM solutions for Chinese corporate services enterprises targeting the overseas market. It was rebranded from “Xiaoman” in July 2019.

The investment will see OKKI leverage its intelligent CRM solutions to empower Alibaba’s business-to-business global wholesale trade platform Alibaba.com.

In January 2018, OKKI secured 65 million yuan ($9 million) in a Series C round led by early-stage VC China Growth Capital, with participation from Qiming Venture Partners. Its early investors included Beijing-based angel fund ZhenFund, former Tencent CEO Wu Xiaoguang, as well as Chinese investment companies Fortune Capital and 01VC.

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.