China’s Cocoon Networks to launch $720m fund to invest in European tech startups

Photo: Reuters

China-based investment firm Cocoon Networks is launching a $720-million London-based fund which will invest in European tech startups.

Cocoon is backed by private equity investor China Equity Group, which was an early investor in the country’s biggest search engine Baidu, and Hanxin Capital. The fund will invest in companies which have products and services that can be successful in the Chinese market.

Such startups can be in sectors like fintech, biotech, medical devices and the UK’s creative tech industries, including fashion-tech. Apart from providing funding, Cocoon will help startups to set up operations in China by providing legal and practical advice.

Cocoon has also partnered with the University College London to set up a 70,000 sq ft incubator space for tech startups. “The fund and incubator programme will bring awareness for more Chinese investors to get into London’s booming technology sector. It will also help many companies grow and expand into China,” said John Zai, Founder and CEO, Cocoon Networks, in a statement.

The incubator will work with startups to help take their concept-stage products, and test them in its own digital labs, before launching in the market.

Chinese companies are set to invest in record amounts in London in the current financial year, according to London & Partners, the official promotional company for London funded by the Mayor of London and a network of commercial partners. Huawei Technologies, e-commerce giant Alibaba, and gaming company Rekoo are among Chinese firms that have offices there.

In the last nine months, 28 Chinese companies have set up operations in the city. One of the biggest Chinese investments in London last year was £23 million ($34million) by Beijing Kunlun Tech Co. into Lendinvest, the world’s largest peer to peer marketplace for mortgages.

Figures released last week show that in 2015 venture capital investment in to Britain’s technology sector reached a record high with London-based companies securing around 62 per cent of the £2.5 billion ($3.6 billion) raised by UK firms in 2015.

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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.