Asia Headlines — Week of 11/14

Deals

Beijing — Momenta, an autonomous driving company, raised a $5 million Series A from Zhenfund, Sinovation, and Blue Lake Capital (lead). The company’s technology analyzes one’s surroundings in real-time, high-precision maps, and possible autonomous driving decisions to create a “brain” for autonomous driving. To collect data and analyze driver behavior, Momenta plans to install its hardware kit on existing vehicles. The CEO is a graduate of Tsinghua University and previously worked at Microsoft’s Asia R&D division, where he was managing a team of a hundred researchers. More

Beijing — 当红齐天(SoReal), a VR/AR technology company, raised an undisclosed strategic investment from Lenovo’s VC investment arm. Founded by renowned director Zhang Yimou (Hero, House of Flying Daggers, 2008 Beijing Olympics), SoReal provides five services in the VR/AR space — content production, R&D, operations and management, investments, and brand and IP. In addition, the team is composed of many veteran movie and TV producers. Lenovo’s VC arm was established in March and invests in big data, AI, machine learning, AR/VR, and internet companies. More

Beijing — 大搜车 (Souche), a service provider for used car transactions, raised a $100 million Series C round from Ant Financial (affiliate of Alibaba) and 神州租车(UCar). Founded in 2012, Souche provides transaction, market, and business management services to used car dealerships on a SaaS model. It is reported that the monthly transaction value amount managed through Souche’s platform is about ¥10 billion, which accounts for 20% of all used car transactions in China. The company operates in a very attractive market as the auto financing market in China has only 10–20% penetration rate compared to the US’ 80%. Previous investors include Sequoia China and Morningside. More

Beijing — 优办网(uban), a platform to help SMEs and startups find offices, raised a ¥30 million ($4.4M) Series B round from Shunwei and Chengwei (lead). Founded in May 2015, the company partners with real estate firms including DTZ and Soufun, and Soho China. The CEO previously worked for Carlyle’s Asia Real Estate group. More

Shanghai — Yogo机器人 (Yogo Robots), a company that makes commercial service robots for hotels, malls, car dealerships, and restaurants, raised a Pre-A round in the tens of millions RMB from IDG. The company has partnered with Crown Plaza Hotel and Pizza Hut where its robots are mainly used for guidance and delivery. For instance, the robots guide guests to their hotel room after check-in and deliver food at restaurants. The robots use image recognition to avoid obstacles, and its wheels are designed to limit its noise and will not scratch any types of floors. They are fully autonomous and are the first robots in China to not have an accident for 1000 hours while in service in a commercial setting. More

The Yogo Robot

Beijing — Hotbody, a fitness mobile app, raised a Series B round of at least ¥100 million ($14.5M) from Haodao Capital (lead) and Ameba Capital. The app provides fitness plans, video demonstrations, social networking, and community events, and claims to have over 30 million registered users. More

News

China — Long Hill Capital, a VC firm launched by a team of ex-NEA China members, has raised $125 million for its debut fund. LPs include NEA, IFC, and Asia Alternatives. The firm will invest in about 20 companies, mostly in the Series A and B rounds in the healthcare services, consumer upgrades, social, and entertainment sectors in China. More

China — BMW and Baidu will end their joint research on self-driving cars. Baidu is now searching for new global research partners. More

US/China — Beijing Happy Times Technology Development Co., which lets university students pay for online purchases in installments through its app Qufenqi, is planning a $500–800M IPO in the US. The company was last valued at $1.2B. Previous investors include Ant Financial. More

China — Meitu, the photo retouch app developer, is in the final stages of its HK IPO. As of June, the app has 446 MAU. The company is estimated to have ¥2.5 billion ($360M) in assets and ¥9 billion ($1.3B) in liabilities. Investors include Qiming, IDG, Foxconn, and Tiger Global. More

China — Alibaba plans to invest ¥2.1 billion ($300M) for a 32% ownership in supermarket chain Sanjiang Shopping Club to further expand its retail presence. More

China — Guangdong Transtek Medical Electronics, a wearable devices maker and mobile healthcare firm backed by Banyan Capital, has completed an IPO offering on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange. Founded in 2002, the company’s clients include Leifheit, Taylor, Homedics, and Withings. It earned ¥629 million ($91.1M) in revenue and ¥50 million ($7.3M) in net profit. More

US — A profile of Google’s Sundar Pichai. A year into his tenure as CEO of Google, the low-key leader talks about what the company is, where it’s going, and how it gets things done. More

South Korea — Snow, a Snapchat clone that’s conquering Asia, is now setting its sights beyond the region, betting that it can attract users with stickers that sometimes border on the bizarre. Now, with more than 80 million downloads, the Snow app has been near or at №1 among downloads for iOS and Android phones this year in Japan, Singapore and South Korea. Snow has also taken off in China, where Snapchat is blocked. Snow is among the top 100 downloads on major third-party Chinese app markets, including those run by Baidu and Tencent, as well as on Apple’s App Store. More

China — Tencent has adopted a strategy of acquiring foreign companies and allowing them to remain autonomous. In its overseas expansion, the Shenzhen-based company has tried unsuccessfully to export its own videogames. Instead, Tencent’s global success has come mostly from its acquisitions and alliances in which it gives its foreign partners autonomy. More

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