GenBridge Capital, a Chinese private equity (PE) firm that invests in next-generation consumer brands, has set out to raise $600 million for its second investment vehicle, GenBridge Capital Fund II, the firm disclosed in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on January 7.
Beijing-based GenBridge, an investor behind Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com’s logistics unit, kick-started the fundraising work for the second vehicle roughly three years after the final closing of its maiden fund, GenBridge Capital Fund I, at the hard-cap of $500 million in December 2017, DealStreetAsia learnt.
The predecessor fund eventually reached a size of $512 million, according to the firm’s LinkedIn page. The fund, which GenBridge had first unveiled in an SEC filing in December 2016, secured capital commitments from limited partners (LPs) including Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC; regional PE fund of funds (FOF) manager Asia Alternatives; The World Bank’s International Finance Corp (IFC), and JD.com.
Founded in 2016, GenBridge is led by Robert Chang, a former executive at JD.com and China-focused Capital Today, and Victor Zhang, a founding member of Chinese investment bank CICC’s Alpha Fund before he joined JD.com’s management team. It focuses on opportunities in “China’s consumption upgrade, including a new generation of brands, retailing and services formats, and supporting infrastructures,” said the firm on its website.
GenBridge’s latest efforts to reload its ammunition for consumer-focused investments comes amid a prevailing wave of rising domestic consumer brands in China. The sector is on a rise driven by China’s mature e-commerce and live-streaming infrastructures, as well as the new generation’s growing recognition of homegrown brands.
Investors are flowing in to capitalise on the burgeoning market. According to proprietary data from DealStreetAsia, consumer brands in China collectively mopped up $1.5 billion in financing across 80 deals between January and November 2020.
Among GenBridge’s investments in 2020, the firm led a $60-million Series C round in Chinese hotpot and barbecue ingredients retailer Guoquan Shihui in July. Just five months earlier, the Shanghai-based startup had closed $50 million in a Series B round led by investment firm IDG Capital.
GenBridge also backed a Series B3 round for online art education platform Hualala in April, besides its earlier investments in electronic products recycling platform Aihuishou and Qdama, an operator of community fresh produce shops in China.