Chinese media platform 36kr launches $144m venture capital fund

The 36Kr logo is seen on a laptop on a desk. Photo: DEALSTREETASIA

Chinese tech media and entrepreneur service firm 36kr has forayed in the venture capital play with the launch of a RMB1 billion ($144 million) fund, as per its announcement on Wednesday.

The fund has been operating for 11 months and has invested in nearly 25 businesses in the areas of news consumption, enterprise services and smart manufacturing.

The 36kr fund is targeting investments in the Series A and B stage and is also said to be working on a Fund of Funds model to build greater synergy within the startup ecosystem.

Founded in 2010 as a technology news portal, 36kr has expanded to data services and co-working space and aims to reinforce its position as an integrated entrepreneurship service system.

The presence of the fund “is a must-have” step to that strategy, said 36kr founder and CEO Chengcheng Liu.

China’s venture capital investment market has expanded rapidly, with at least 25,000 funds managing around RMB8.5 trillion of wealth, according to the firm.

“These signs all indicate that the future will no longer be entrepreneurs chasing capital, but capital competing for good entrepreneurs, or entrepreneurs looking for the best match. (…) In the future, a sustainable fund can’t just provide money, but must have strong resources to empower entrepreneurs,” said 36Kr fund founding partner Zhao Tian, who is a former partner of PreIPO Capital and JuPai Investment.

36kr’s media unit raised RMB300 million in a series A round led by Gobi Partners last year, while the co-working space business bagged a RMB600 million pre-Series B round in January this year.

The media space has witnessed several major players venturing into investing. In 2016, Bloomberg Beta, the venture capital arm of Bloomberg, completed a $75 million fundraising for its second fund. A lot of other Western news corporations have secured notable startup portfolios such as Naspers (invested in Tencent), Hearst, 21st Century Fox and Hubert Burda Media.