San Francisco pension fund approves $40m investment in two Lightspeed China vehicles

A clerk counts Chinese yuan and U.S. dollar banknotes at a branch of Bank of China in Taiyuan

US pension fund San Francisco Employees’ Retirement System (SFERS) has approved $40 million in investment in two vehicles managed by early-stage venture capital firm Lightspeed China Partners.

According to the minutes of the pension fund’s Retirement Board meeting, SFERS approved a $30-million investment in LSC V, the flagship fund of Lightspeed China for early-stage technology startups.

Another $10 million was approved for LSC Select II, which mainly invests in growth-stage businesses.

Lightspeed China, an investor in Chinese e-commerce firm Pinduoduo and food delivery behemoth Meituan, is in the market to raise $450 million for LSC V and $400 million of LSC Select II, according to filings seen by DealStreetAsia.

The firm’s last fundraise was in January 2019, when it amassed a combined $560 million for Lightspeed China Partners IV and Lightspeed China Partners Select I. The total size of the two funds was later boosted to over $600 million.

The VC firm, which was spun off from Silicon Valley-based Lightspeed Venture Partners in 2011, manages over $2 billion across seven US dollar funds and an RMB-denominated fund from its headquarters in Shanghai. It also has offices in Beijing and Hong Kong.

The firm focuses on consumer Internet, corporate services, deep technology, and beyond. Its portfolio includes some of China’s well-known tech companies, such as electric vehicle (EV) marker Xpeng Motor; truck-hailing firm Manbang Group; Shanghai-based lidar maker Hesai Technology; online real estate platform Fangduoduo; and AI-based automation solutions provider Laiye Technology.

SFERS, meanwhile, said private equity and private credit generated positive returns of 1.96% and 0.25%, respectively in September but real assets, fixed income, and public equity were down -0.03%, -0.69%, and -3.96%, respectively.

For the third quarter, however, SFERS generated an estimated return of 3.01%, with private equity, real assets, and private credit returning 10%, 5.99%, and 3.35%, respectively. For the year so far, it generated an estimated return of 18.09%, led by private equity’s 49.32% gain.

Last month, SFERS approved an additional $200-million investment in the PE vehicle managed by Hong Kong-based fund-of-funds Asia Alternatives Management.

It also approved a $25-million investment in the healthcare vehicle managed by Asia-focused private equity major Hillhouse Capital Group in August.

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.