China’s Sinovation Ventures eyes $500m for fourth fund

Sinovation Ventures founder Kai Fu Lee. Photo: Bloomberg.

Sinovation Ventures, the Chinese venture capital firm founded by former Google Inc executive Kai-Fu Lee, is raising $500 million for its fourth fund to continue investing in Chinese and US technology startups.

Sinovation, formerly known as Innovation Workers, has informed the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of its plan to raise its fourth fund after garnering $302 million for its third US-dollar fund in October 2016.

The San Francisco-based early-stage venture firm also closed its yuan-denominated fund in the same year, taking the total amount under management to more than $1.3 billion.

Established in 2009, Sinovation Ventures has a presence in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Seattle, and Silicon Valley. It has over 300 portfolio companies across the technology spectrum in China and the US, including app store Wandoujia and Meitu, a developer of selfie apps.

Sinovation Ventures’ focus areas in China include artificial intelligence (AI) and Big Data, content and entertainment, consumption upgrade, B2B trade and enterprise services, and education.

In the US, the firm’s focus areas include IoT and robotics, deep software, and education technologies.

“In the US, we invest in startups at seed, Series A, and Series B stages. We evaluate the project teams and their technologies primarily on their merit for the U.S. market, but also evaluate their potential for successfully entering the China market in due time,” the company said on its website.

Sinovation Ventures’ announcement comes days after ZhenFund, a Beijing-based Sequoia Capital China-backed seed fund, also informed the SEC of its plan to raise $190 million for a fifth venture fund within the year.

ZhenFund is one of the backers of Chinese co-working space operator Ucommune, which recently acquired Shenzhen-based Wedo, along with a number of startups in China and the US.

According to data service provider Preqin, last year saw record deal activity backed by Chinese venture capital firms, although the US continues to dominate rankings.

Globally in 2017, investment deals backed by VCs hit a record $182 billion, up 28 per cent from the previous year. The number of deals, however, declined by 4.7 per cent to 11,144. Greater China attracted 36 per cent of total deal value, worth $65 billion, according to Preqin.

Also Read:

China: Sinovation Ventures leads $40m Series B in m-commerce startup Huajuan

Sinovation Ventures boosts bet on AI as China aspirations grow

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.