China’s ZhenFund seeks $250m for sixth venture fund

Photo: Eric Prouzet/Unsplash

Beijing-based ZhenFund, a Sequoia Capital China-backed seed stage-focused venture fund, seeks to raise $250 million for its sixth venture capital vehicle, according to its filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

The filing comes two years after ZhenFund, which currently dominates China’s early-stage venture capital scene, raised $200 million for Fund V. The firm did not disclose further details about its latest fundraising.

ZhenFund was founded by New Oriental co-founders Bob Xu and Victor Wang in 2011 in collaboration with Sequoia Capital China.

The firm is one of the backers of Chinese co-working space operator Ucommune, which recently acquired Shenzhen-based Wedo, along with a number of startups in China and the US.

ZhenFund now has a network of over 700 portfolio companies, including over 10 unicorns based in China, and was ranked “#1 Early-Stage Investment Firm” by Zero2IPO six years in a row from 2014 to 2019.

Its portfolio companies operate in various spaces such as e-commerce, consumption, education, artificial intelligence, enterprise service, mobile internet, virtual reality, healthcare, transportation, fintech, and more.

In January, the firm participated in the $88.3-million Series B funding in Nice Tuan, a Beijing-based operator of a community fresh food group purchase e-commerce platform, and in the Series A funding in MioTech, a Hong Kong-headquartered AI platform for financial institutions.

“We believe that great businesses start with exceptional founding teams. We are dedicated to helping our entrepreneurs build successful companies by providing them with mentorship and the best resources available,” the firm said on its website.

The launch of ZhenFund’s sixth VC vehicle comes as China saw a plunge in venture capital investment in technology companies in the second half of 2019.

The value of VC investment in China was $9.7 billion in the second quarter of 2019, according to financial data company Preqin. This was down by nearly 77 per cent from the $41.3 billion invested in the same period in 2018.

Sequoia Capital, ZhenFund’s early backer, raised a total of about $2.35 billion for two China-focused funds – Sequoia Capital China Growth Fund V and Sequoia Capital China Venture Fund VII – in December.

Sequoia is an investor in some of China’s most successful startups, such as Alibaba, Ant Financial, Yitu, TikTok, ByteDance, and JD.com. In the US, the firm has backed Google, Instagram, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, Dropbox, Snap, and many others.

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.