Chinese EV trading platform Shenma raises $20m from KTB Ventures, Frees Fund

Shanghai-based electric vehicle (EV) trading platform Shenma Chuxing has secured $20 million in Series A funding from South Korea’s KTB Ventures and Chinese venture capital firm Frees Fund.

The fundraising, which marked the third round of financing Shenma has raised in the last six months, was completed in January, the company said in an announcement.

Shenma plans to use the fresh funding to consolidate the upstream supply chain, improve the operational efficiency of the middle and back office, deploy technical upgrades and expand its team.

The company has previously been backed by A-share listed company RedAvenue and other institutions through two funding rounds totalling nearly 100 million yuan ($15 million).

Shenma claims that its offline network covers 201 cities in 28 provinces across China, with more than 1,000 township joints, more than 300 retail stores and more than 20,000 EVs. The company is also building an online SaaS management tools to push its online-merge-offline (OMO) position.

Shenma focuses on the third- to sixth-tier market in China, leveraging its sales channels and data to drive the EV industry to the middle and lower markets. The company said, with the restriction on car purchases in first- and second-tier cities and the steady rise of wealth in underdeveloped regions, the focus of new energy vehicle consumption will be on the third and fourth-tier cities.

In 2018, about 22 million new passenger cars were sold, of which only 1.08 million, or 5 per cent, were new energy vehicles. Shenma said the proportion of new energy cars was projected to increase to 30 per cent by 2028.

“Shenma has a very deep understanding and experience in the new energy vehicle market channel and OMO retail model, as well as the Internet+ trend in personal mobility. Shenma has provided a whole set of solutions from supply chain to SaaS system, financial services and operation management to optimize the industrial chain,” commented Amy Yeh, managing partner at KTB Ventures.

Feng Li, the founding partner of Frees Fund, said Shenma had a first-mover advantage in the third- and fourth-tier cities, which, coupled with the national policies of promoting the use of new energy vehicles, will make the industry Internet platform created by the firm “feasible and promising”.

KTB Investment currently manages assets of approximately $15 billion. It has been investing in China for more than ten years and has backed companies such as Focus Media, Mindray Medical, Youku, Carsgen Therapeutics and Clobotics.

Meanwhile, Frees Fund, founded in 2015, provides both early and growth-stage investments in China and the US, focusing on broad-sense TMT, B2B and deep technology.

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