Vertex Ventures China leads $30m pre-Series A round for Lele Cha

Photo by 五玄土 ORIENTO on Unsplash

Shanghai-based Chinese tea chain Lele Cha has raised $30 million (200 million yuan) in a pre-Series A round to add new stores and strengthen its supply chain.

Vertex Ventures China led the round, which was joined by Zhijun Capital, Pusi Capital, Zhonghai Investment, Hina Group and Ruchuan Capital Investment.

“This financing will allow Lele Cha to gain an advantage in product differentiation and win a larger share of the market,” Lele Cha co-founder and CEO Wang Jian said.

Xu Ying, general partner, Vertex Ventures China said: “The Chinese tea market is large and growing quickly, particularly among the youth. The funds will help Lele Cha expand its network and consolidate its brand influence quickly.”

Established in October 2016 in Shanghai, Lele Cha currently runs and operates as many as 30 stores in cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Nanjing and Xi’an. Going forward, the startup plans to deepen its reach into East and North China and add close to 50 Lele Cha stores across its existing network.

Lele Cha competes with brand names such as HeyTea and Nayuki, among others. HeyTea raised $63 million (RMB 400 million) in Series B funding last April from from Longzhu Capital. Investors who have earlier infused capital in the company include IDG Capital and He Boquan – all of whom are betting big on the burgeoning tea-drinking market.

Vertex Ventures China, the investment arm of Vertex Holdings, is a $500 million fund targeting mobile and consumer tech, artificial intelligence, education, and enterprise services. Its portfolio companies include 91 assistants, IGG, Sing, Mobike and Horizon Robot.

Apart from China, Vertex Ventures also has funds in Israel, Southeast Asia, India and the US. Earlier this week, DEALSTREETASIA reported that Vertex Ventures was adding a new $250-million growth fund to its portfolio. The growth fund, its sixth and largest till date, will target post-Series B opportunities globally.

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.