Chinese PE firm CSC inks multimillion deal with UK’s Founders Factory to invest in AI startups

Chinese investors are actively pursuing investments in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) space, the fast-growing global technology trend.

The latest to join the bandwagon is China’s third largest private equity firm CSC Group which has inked a multi-million pound deal with UK’s startup incubator Founders Factory to invest in five early stage AI startups.

“As part of the five-year deal, CSC Group will be making a multi-million pound investment into Founders Factory and together they will invest in and scale five early stage startups and co-create from scratch two new companies each year,” CSC Groub and Founders Factory said, in a statement issued earlier this week.

The companies said, the partnership will build a bridge between AI talent in Europe and China,  giving Founders Factory startups access to the Chinese market and talent the opportunity to enter the European tech ecosystem.

CSC Group, the state-backed PE firm with assets worth over $12 billion, and Founders Factory will provide hands-on support and advice to participating startups to jointly build and launch new AI products and services.

“This is not just a capital investment, this is a strategic partnership to build a bridge and help great founders access China. We believe London remains a key global centre for tech innovation and AI research and is an attractive location for startups across Europe,” said CSC Group Managing Director and CSC Union Senior Partner J. William Kim.

AI will impact all sectors built upon large data sets ranging from health and insurance, commerce and finance, even beauty and media and we are uniquely positioned to leverage that trend and attract the brightest talent, said Founders Factory Co-Founder and Executive Chairman Brent Hoberman.

CSC Group was recently reported to have made a $400 million commitment to California-based early stage funding platform AngelList as part of its commitment to being at the forefront of technology innovation.

Earlier this year, Chinese investment group Cocoon Networks had set up a $606 million fund, aimed at early stage biotech, fashion technology, and fintech startups. The same year, Beijing Kunlun Technology Co acquired 20 per cent stake in US-based AI company Woobo Inc for $800,000.

According to the Heritage Foundation and AEI, Chinese firms invested approximately $110 billion in foreign companies last year.

Founders Factory, the corporate backed, multi-sector accelerator and incubator created by Brent Hoberman, Henry Lane Fox and Jim Meyerle, aims to develop 200 early stage technology companies over the next five years across six sectors.

Founders Factory’s partnership with CSC Group represents the company’s fifth sector partnership with its other sectors being education (Holtzbrinck Publishing Group), media (Guardian Media Group), fintech (Aviva) and beauty tech (L’Oreal).

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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.