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.