Xiaomi Makes First Startup Deal In New China-to-India Trend

In an increasing trend of China tech investment into India, Hungama, a video and music streaming service based in Mumbai, has raised $25 million in new funding led by Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi.
This is the first Chinese investment in India for Xiaomi, which has been pushing into the Indian market. Xiaomi plans to integrate technology from the Indian video streaming service into its ecosystem of products.
Following an earlier pattern of Asian venture firms investing in related business models in both China and India, now China’s tech titans have begun investing in Indian startups with products and services that complement their offerings and help them scale outside the Mainland. For instance, Alibaba and its related financial service affiliate, have invested some $680 million in Indian mobile payments and e-commerce service Paytm. Participating in the round for the 16-year-old Indian video business are earlier investors Intel Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners and billionaire investor and trader Rakesh Jhunjhunwala. – Rebecca Fannin

Haptik, a personal assistant app that loops in artificial intelligence, has raised $11.2 million in Series B funding from Indian media giant Times Internet. The four-year-old company, based in Mumbai and San Francisco, has now raised $35 million altogether.

Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital (EVC), an investment outfit in Cleveland, Ohio, is launching an India-focused $50 million early-stage investment fund to back enterprise software, internet and mobile-focused startups. The firm, led by serial entrepreneur and investor Anjli Jain, will focus on startups operating in the education sector.

Globality has raised $27 million in new funding to build out its AI and curated platform to facilitate cross-border trade and help small businesses participate in the global economy. The funding round follows a March 2015 Series A from a group of private investors including former Vice President Al Gore.

Alibaba has dropped the paywall on the website of the recently acquired South China Morning Post, reversing its policy of limiting the number of stores that non-paying users could access on its website each month. The move is in line with an effort to drive traffic and attract additional advertising. While Alibaba’s Jack Ma has asserted the paper will distribute trusted news from China, skeptics are concerned the paper will help the Chinese government project influence in Hong Kong. Staff are being promised “cash gifts” for promising to stay on under new owner Alibaba.
Meanwhile, Ant Financial, the finance affiliate of Alibaba, has upped its funding target to $3.5 billion, in a deal that could value the company at $60 billion. The funding is being led by state-backed investors China Investment Corp. and China Construction Bank Corp., with participation by China’s four biggest insurance companies. Concurrently, the Ant Financial-operated Alipay payments platform is getting set to expand into the European market. Within China, Alipay owns more than 50% of the domestic market share in online payments, and 80% in mobile payments.

Sequoia Capital China has led a $15 million Series B funding round of Joyowo.com, a Hangzhou-based online human resources startup. Tsing Ventures, Meridian Capital China and Greenwoods Investment participated in the deal. The startup had previously raised an undisclosed Series A round from Sequoia and Meridian.

IBM’s Chinese research group is using AI techniques to develop ways to manage China’s pollution problem. The team can produce pollution forecasts that incorporate complex computer models and machine learning to calculate how pollution will spread across a city. MIT Technology Review reports on the Beijing-based project here.

Co-working spaces are rising in popularity in China, with WeWork’s funding and expansion one clear sign. Co-living spaces take the trend one step further, notes the Financial Times here.

In China today, numerous young people born in the 1980’s and 1990’s have entrepreneurial aspirations, and unlike the previous generation, are not afraid of failure. How is China’s millennial generation incorporating aspects of Silicon Valley culture with China’s political and economic structure? Author Edward Tse writes about the rise of entrepreneurship in China and the osmosis of cultures in his latest Forbes column. Tse will be speaking at Silicon Dragon’s upcoming Beijing forum on April 28.

What tips can Silicon Dragon entrepreneurs learn from Chinese startups? A focus on fast execution, big ambitions and huge scale are factors pinpointed by investors including Edith Yeung of 500 Startups and Connie Chan of Andreessen Horowitz in this Wired magazine piece.

Didi Kuaidi has raised the target on its latest, nearly completed round of funding to more than $1.5 billion, at a valuation of more than $25 billion. Didi’s soaring valuation and its ease of raising funding is in contrast with the experiences of many global startups amid a slowdown in the global economy.

Kyulux, a Fukuoka, Japan-based advanced-materials startup focused on OLED display and lighting technology, has raised $13.5 million in Series A funding led by Samsung Ventures with participation from Samsung Display, LG DisplayJapan Display and Joled. Unnamed Japanese venture funds and a Japan-government-affiliated venture fund also joined the round.

An Australian daily deals site for wine fans, Vinomofo, has raised $19 million from Aussie firm, Blue Sky Venture Capital to expand in the region, China and the U.S.

Karamba Security, a startup in Tel Aviv that makes cybersecurity software for the automotive industry, has raised $2.5 million in seed funding led by YL Ventures, with participation from GlenRock.

Africa Internet Group in Lagos, owner of online retailer Jumia, recently disclosed mega financing of $326 million at a valuation of more than $1 billion. Now it’s raised yet more capital. Mobile giant Orange has plugged around $85 million into the three-year-old business.

  • Silicon Dragon digest by contributor Ying-Ying Lu


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