VC Roundup: Japan’s Mercari joins unicorn club; Israeli startup Deep Optics gets $4m; Kuaifawu closes $10m round

In significant venture capital fundraising in the Asian region, Japan’s buying and selling app for second-hand goods has become the country’s first pre-IPO startup unicorn after it raised $74 million at the valuation of over $1 billion. Meanwhile Israeli focal glasses startup Deep Optics has raised $4 million in its Series A funding, and Chinese on-demand legal services provider Kuaifawu has raked in $10 million in its Series B funding.

Japan’s Mercari raises $74m in Series D round

Mercari, an app for selling second-hand goods, has raised $74 million in its series D at a valuation of over $1 billion, making it Japan’s  first pre-IPO startup unicorn, according to a report by TechCrunch .

The round includes new investors Mitsui & Co, Development Bank of Japan Inc, and Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank’s Japan Co-Invest, along with returning backers Globis Capital Partners, World Innovation Lab, and Global Brain.

The latest round of funding will be used to grow the company’s services in Japan and expand in the US and Europe. Mercari had entered the American market in 2014, said the company’s chief financial officer Kei Nagasawa.

The company is also keeping an eye on potential merger and acquisition targets. The three-year-old company claims its app has been downloaded a total of 32 million times, including 7 million from the US and that its current gross merchandise value is above 10 billion Japanese yen (about $88 million) per month.

Israeli dynamic focal glasses startup Deep Optics raises $4m

Israel-based Deep Optics, manufacturer of dynamic focal glasses, has raised $4 million in a Series A funding round from Taiwan-based Atomics 14 Ventures and several private investors, including Saar Wilf, Deep Optics’s Chairman and first investor.

The round also included strategic investor Essilor, global leader in ophthalmic optics, the company said, in a release.

Deep Optics is also exploring additional applications for its adaptive electronic lens technology, including Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality systems.

The company has already started discussions with companies in this field, said Yariv Haddad, co-founder and CEO of Deep Optics.

“While first generation VR and AR systems are entering the consumer stage, and already attracting interest and expectation at a feverish pitch, it’s clear that we are just at the beginning of this promising journey. There are still many challenges on the road to an immersive 3D virtual reality experience, or convincing mixed reality scenes,” said Phil Chen, founder of Atomic 14 Ventures and ex Chief Content Officer at HTC Vive.

“Deep Optics, with its unique adaptive optics capabilities, can significantly improve the depth perception and overall authenticity of the 3D experience by dynamically matching the optics focus to the content’s simulated depth,” he added.

On-demand legal service platform Kuaifawu completes $10m series B round

On-demand legal service platform Kuaifawu announced the completion of a $10 million series B, led by China-focused venture capital fund Shunwei Capital, along with Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun as founding partner and chairman, according to a report by Technode.

Existing investor Ceyuan Ventures also participated in the round.

As per reports, the series B round of investment was closed in October 2015.

Kuaifawu provides online on-demand legal services for the public, mainly entrepreneurs and SMEs dealing with registration, taxation, patent and trademark registration.

“Using our technology, we standardize the service to enhance the efficiency and control quality. Yet, our price is one-third of the traditional service,” said Kuaifawu CEO Xia Wenji.  The company currently operates in 12 cities in China and has 100,000 registered clients, according to its website.

Also Read: VC Dealbook: Goodpatch gets $3.5m; Rakuten-Gmarket pact; iChef raises $5.6m Series A

VC Dealbook: Trendines to launch $10m in agritech fund; TopSpin’s $7m Series A investment

 

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.