Tencent, Centurium & ZWC invest $138m in Chinese e-signature service Fadada

Fadada, a Chinese e-signature and cloud contract service provider, has pocketed 900 million yuan ($138.3 million) in a Series D round of financing after seeing the pandemic accelerate China’s e-signature adoption in 2020.  

Investors of the deal include Chinese gaming and social networking giant Tencent, private equity (PE) firm Centurium Capital, and ZWC Partners, a dual-currency fund platform that invests in China and Southeast Asia.

The completion of the Series D round came after the COVID-19 pandemic served as “a catalyst” to accelerate the adoption of e-signature solutions in China and globally.

In a statement, Fadada said at the outset of the coronavirus outbreak in 2020, its daily average number of registered new users was eight times of the same period in 2019. The peak number of daily registered new users surpassed nearly 20 times year-over year.

Serving clients such as Tencent, Microsoft China, and TikTok owner ByteDance, Shenzhen-based Fadada offers a suite of e-signature solutions including one-stop Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) products, open application programming interface (API) solutions for corporate IT and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, as well as hybrid cloud solutions for local hosting of electronic contracts and process management.

With a primary focus on e-signature application and e-contract signing solutions, Fadada will continue to expand its partnership network “to promote scalable cloud contract signing applications in all industry verticals” after the new financing, said Huang Xiang, founder and CEO of Fadada, in the statement.

The firm was one of the earliest providers of blockchain-based e-signature product with enhanced credibility security features. To improve the efficiency of the legal process involved in contract signing, it also enables online data sharing and connection with judiciary bodies in China, including online arbitration institutions, online courtroom, notary offices, and forensic evaluation centres, providing technology solutions for online dispute resolutions.

Fadada also serves clients like e-commerce giant Alibaba, U.S. business software maker Oracle, Chinese food delivery firm Meituan, online travel agency Trip.com, China’s biggest hotpot chain Haidilao, sporting goods retailer Decathlon, and appliance manufacturer Gree Electric.

“E-contract and e-signature will play a more and more important role in the infrastructure of corporate activities in the future,” said Nick Tao, executive director of Centurium Capital.

As electronic platforms become more prevalent for reducing paperwork, the global digital signature market, which valued over $1.5 billion in 2019, is projected to exceed $23.9 billion by 2030 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 28.6% between 2020 and 2023, according to a Research and Markets report.

To capture opportunities in this burgeoning market, Fadada has completed six funding rounds to date since its inception in November 2014. Prior to the Series D round, the firm secured 398 million yuan in a Series C round co-led by Tiger Global Management and Tencent in March 2019.

It raised about 100 million yuan in a Series B+ round led by Chinese venture capital (VC) firm Vision Plus Capital in June 2018, following the completion of a Series B round at 60 million yuan in late 2016.

In September 2015, Fadada garnered 15 million yuan in a Series A round from early-stage VC Albatross Venture and its angel round investor, Shanghai Fuli Investment Management.

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.