Silicon Dragon Digest: Softbank, Lightspeed Weigh In
New Financing Deals
Silicon Valley-based startup AISense has raised $10 million in a Series A round led by Horizons Ventures with participation from Tim Draper’s Draper Associates and Draper Dragon Fund, David Cheriton, the first Google investor, and Bridgewater Associates, among others. Bart Swanson, an advisor at Horizons Ventures, has joined the AISense board. Founder Sam Song Liang commented: “It does not happen very often when the first or very earlier VCs of Google, Facebook, Tesla, DeepMind, Siri all invested in the same early stage startup” – his own!
By the way, AISense was first featured in a tech chat at Silicon Dragon SF 2017. View video chat: AISense.
Tiger Management has led a $120 million investment in China freight logistics and distribution firm Jianmanman, in what was labeled a Series D deal in the Shanghai-based company.
AI-focused facial recognition startup CloudWalk has drawn $75 million from China venture firm Shunwei Capital and other Chinese investors, as AI continues to build oomph in China.
Softbank’s $10 billion investment in Uber could end the war with Grab in Southeast Asia. Uber and Grab share as their investors, Didi Chuxing and Softbank.
Lightspeed China partner James Li notes that the VC firm has scored with its third China IPO this year: fintech startup Jianpu Technology went public on the NYSE on Nov. 17, closely following PPDai. The Chinese lending platform Jianpu, which competes with Ant Financial, saw its IPO price at $8, slightly below the initial range, with a 5% bump in opening day trading. Lightspeed and fellow backer Sequoia Capital together own about one-third of the company shares. Investor James Li tells how the initial financing deal came about here.
Notably, this is the 12th China IPO this year in New York.
Epiq Capital marks a first close of $100 million toward its $250 million tech startup fund focused on secondary transactions. This maiden fund is run by Rishi Navani, a founding member of Matrix Partners India.
Several China deals feature prominently in an analysis by research firm CBI Insights of the top 21 VC hits of all time. Factors included pricing of IPOs and acquisitions, growth drivers and the role of significant investors. Chinese companies that were highlighted include Alibaba-acquired UCWeb, Softbank-backed e-commerce pioneer Alibaba, Capital Today invested e-commerce leader JD.com, NEA-funded Semiconductor Manufacturing International and Meitu, invested in by Sinovation Ventures.