Kissinger Upbeat About Trump-China Relations, Arbor Inks 3rd Israeli Deal, Singapore Startup IPOs In HK, India VC Firms Sour
While a group of U.S. technology leaders were meeting with the President-elect at Trump Tower this past week, a few blocks south at the University Club on Fifth Avenue, another history-making event was happening. Here, former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was offering his views on U.S. China-relations in the Trump-Xi era.
The room was packed to hear Dr. Kissinger’s views, and they were mostly optimistic about what the future holds for U.S.-China relations at a time when uncertainties exist over policy changes with a new administration.
That was underscored by the dispute that arose shortly after Kissinger’s remarks over a U.S. underwater survey drone that was seized and later returned by China in the South China Sea. See Forbes post, Trump-China.
In an example of cross-regional Israel-Asia VC deals, Hong Kong-based Arbor Ventures has led a $9.5 million, Series A investment in EverCompliant, a cyber intelligence company in Tel Aviv that’s a leader in detecting and preventing transaction laundering. Joining in the round were existing investors Carmel Ventures, StarFarm Ventures and Nyca Partners.
Arbor’s founder and managing partner Melissa Guzy joins the board of EverCompliant. The funds are being directed toward opening an Asian office in 2017 and additional expansion in the U.S. and Europe.
This is Arbor Venture’s third investment in Israel — a $10 million, Series A round in January 2016 in TravelersBox, and a recent investment in a fraud prevention startup Forter.
It’s getting more difficult to break through on WeChat to attract customers. That’s the view of William Bao Bean, managing director of Chinaccelerator, who contends that WeChat is maturing as an effective medium to engage users. But he added that WeChat is still the best platform for monetization compared with other social networks.
In the shadow of Amazon, European challenger Zalando looks to China for inspiration. Co-founder Robert Gentz has figured out that China’s approach to fashion was more advanced than elsewhere, with chats and purchases on WeChat and online retailers and delivery companies teaming up. He’s now using a made-in-China approach to take on Amazon for his digital fashion business. Read more, NYT.
Startups in virtual reality has relied a lot on China sources of capital but an article in The Information notes there could be a pullback as the Chinese government cracks down on foreign investments and as sales have proved disappointing for VR headsets in the U.S. There’s not really any hard statistics to back this up reporting, however, though Silicon Dragon, which has been following the VR trail, knows the China connection is very strong.
Beijing issued its first smog red alert for 2016, for a period of five days beginning Dec. 15. In a red alert, issued this time in advance after controversy over last year’s heavy smog in, the government shuts down plants, only certain license plates can drive, schools close and people stay at home.
Singapore-based IT startup Anacle Systems has listed on Hong Kong’s Growth Enterprise Market. Angel investor and NUS professor Poh Kam Wong first invested in Anacle eight years ago. The startup was looking to raise between $9 million and $11.7 million with the IPO. Professor Wong, a board director, is photographed with Anacle co-founders Alex Lau and Charles Ong.
IVP wound up a successful 2016, with eight new investments and more than $2.5 billion raised in follow-on funding for its portfolio companies. In addition, IVP had several significant M&A exits, including SteelBrick (Salesforce) and AddThis (Oracle). IVP continues to invest its $1.4 billion later-stage venture capital and growth equity fund.
Ex-PayPal CEO’s wealth management startup has received a $25 million credit line from Silicon Valley Bank. San Carlos-based Personal Capital has now raised about $175 million in total, with PayPal alum Bill Harris at the helm.
SoftBank Group is investing $1 billion in U.S. satellite venture OneWeb, the start of a $50 billion commitment the Japanese telecoms and technology company has pledged for U.S. investments. OneWeb is drawing $1.2 billion in total from additional investors Qualcomm, Airbus and Virgin Group with its aim to provide affordable Internet access worldwide through satellites.
Microsoft has launched a new venture arm that is specifically dedicated to funding startups in artificial intelligence, an old technology that has gained favor and interest in recent months with new technological developments and commercialization.
Sequoia Capital India has led a $3 million round in Mumbai-based digital entertainment startup Pocket Aces.
Two of India’s most influential venture capital firms — Sequoia Capital and Kalaari Capital — have begun exploratory talks for a bulk sale of their holdings, which will include stakes in multiple companies. Kalaari could divest some portion of its stake in prized assets such as online retailers Snapdeal and Flipkart, while Sequoia reportedly is in advanced talks to sell stakes in over half-a-dozen companies in a deal that could be worth $150-200 million. These moves come at a time when the slow pace of exits continues to bedevil investors who made early bets in one of the world’s fastest-growing startup ecosystems.
Sequoia Capital-backed e-pharmacy startup 1mg is buying Mumbai-based MediAngels for an undisclosed sum to strengthen its position in the e-health space in India.