Molbase, a Shanghai-based chemicals e-commerce platform, has raised tens of million U.S. dollar series C round of financing led by Sequoia Capital China and TBP Capital, according to Chinese media reports.
Existing investors also participated in this round, and these include Chinese venture firms Innovation Works, Fosun Kinzon Capital and Vangoo Capital.
Melbas was incepted as a chemicals source and database platform, before transitioning into becoming a business-to-business (B2B) channel for the RMB1.4 trillion (US$216 billion) chemicals market in China.
In a report by China Money Network, its platforms are described as possessing in excess of 80,000 active suppliers and purchasers of chemicals conducting total merchandise transaction value of RMB60 billion annually.
Prior equity financing round include a Series A investment of $10 million In December 2013 led by Innovation Works and Trustbridge Partners, while a Series B round in 2014 saw it receive ‘tens of million of dollars’ from undisclosed investors, followed by a Series B+ round in June 2015 from Fosun Kinzon Capital.
This is Sequoia Capital’s second investment in a B2B venture in China since 2014, following its investment in Shanghai-based steel B2B platform Zhaogang.com, which completed a $153 million series E round of financing from undisclosed investors. At the time, Sequoia Capital led a 2014 Series C investment valued at $34.8 million in the firm, alongside Bull Capital.
With a KPMG report noting the emergence of local champions in China with significant industrial bases and a large scale of operations that are slowly internationalising, With the reshaping of China’s chemicals market, the largest in the world, a McKinsey report notes that China’s market is “…on trajectory over the next decade to become an even larger but much more competitive one.”
With China’s market profile evolving as second- and third-tier cities become the largest contributors to economic growth in China over the next decade, combined with a shift inland and westward from the coastal regions, these emerging urban clusters are expected to represent 90 percent of China’s GDP by 2025.
As such, Molbase is positioned to provide a distribution approach catering to both international and Chinese firms, connecting Chinese and international clients, distributors and manufacturers in a market that is heavily relationship-driven and increasingly competitive.
With China’s chemical distributor landscape tending towards fragmentation at this point, Molbase is well-placed for further growth as it resolved a key pain point by consolidating various industry stakeholders onto a single platform.