Get Ready To Copy China: Xiaomi Leads Way (We Know)
In five years, Xiaomi has built a base of 160 million phone users, entered markets such as Indonesia and India, and challenged western assumptions of how Chinese tech companies think. Get ready to copy China. Read Wired UK’s take on a trend quite familiar to Silicon Dragon, story here.
China’s Mobvista has agreed to acquire mobile ad monetization firm NativeX in Minneapolis for $25 million in cash. The deal signals further consolidation in the mobile market for advertising aimed at acquiring new users for games and apps. In this multibillion-dollar market, bigger companies are going global by amassing operations in each regional market.
Fosun Kinzon Capital has led a series A round in Silicon Valley-based uSens Inc., a start-up providing 3D hand tracking and head tracking for mobile and tethered systems for the Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality sector. Morningside Ventures and other undisclosed investors also participated in the round, which amounts to tens of millions of U.S. dollars.
Legend Capital has led a $30 million series C round in a big data start-up founded by a former executive at Baidu Inc. IDG Capital Partners, Morningside Ventures and Chinese financial data firm Wind Info also participated in the round, which values the young start-up at US$250 million.
A total of 251 billionaires from mainland China made it to Forbes magazine’s annual list of global billionaires this year, up from 213 a year ago and second only to the U.S., which had 540. Dalian Wanda Group’s Wang Jianlin saw his fortune rise to $28.7 billion from $24.2 billion a year ago, becoming the richest man in Asia and ranked 18th globally.
Uber Technologies Inc. launched its motorbike-hailing service in the southern Indian city of Bangalore, a week after the San Francisco-based company first made the offering in Bangkok. Uber’s main competitor in India, ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd.’s Ola, also launched a similar service in Bangalore Thursday with fares lower than Uber–at 2 rupees per kilometer.
Artiman Ventures, a Palo Alto, California-based venture capital firm, has invested about $4 million in a series A round in MedECube Healthcare India Pvt Ltd.
Tinystep, a social networking app for parents, has received an undisclosed sum in funding from Silicon Valley entrepreneur and investor Matt Glickman. The strategic funding of the India startups hails from Glickman, the founder of BabyCenter, a popular portal in the parenting domain in the U.S., which claims to reach more than 45 million parents a month from every corner of the globe.
Mercari, a peer-to-peer marketplace app, has claimed the title of Japan’s first pre-IPO startup unicorn after raising roughly $75 million at a valuation of over $1 billion. This is the Tokyo-based company’s first Series D and brings its total funding to $111 million. The new capital will be used to grow Mercari’s services in Japan and expand in the U.S. (where it launched in September 2014) and the European Union.
Tokyo-based Port is preparing for the beta launch of Port Medical, a tele-medicine platform allowing chronic patients to consult a doctor online. The company has raised $7.9 million from Eight Roads Ventures Japan (previously known as Fidelity Growth Partners Japan), Mitsubishi UFJ Capital, and Global Brain.
Cloud automation service Mobingi in Tokyo raised $125,000 from 500 Startups late last year, and several hundred thousand dollars soon after from Archetype Ventures and Draper Nexus Ventures. Now, it’s topped that off with $18,000 from Digital Garage and Mobingi, totaling nearly $500,000 in its seed round so far.
Messaging app operator Line Corp, owned by South Korea’s largest web portal operator, Naver Corp, plans an initial public offering of up to $3 billion in New York and Tokyo, IFR reported on Friday, citing people close to the deal.
Singapore-based United Overseas Bank’s (UOB) will invest $10 million in an Israel-based equity crowdfunding platform OurCrowd.
Malaysia-based automotive portal Carsome has raised US$2 million in a Series A round led by existing Malaysian investor IdeaRiverRun with participation from IMJ Investment Partners and existing investor, 500 Startups. Carsome will use the majority of this capital to fund expansion into two new markets, Indonesia and Thailand.
Finance Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro issued a new policy stating that all Internet-based services must have a local presence (in Indonesia) in the form of a representative office or a full-fledged company.
iAngels Crowd Ltd., an investing network founded by Mor Assia and Shelly Hod Moyal, have taken their knowledge of Israel and their international business experience and combined it with a crowdfunding model that matches international investors with Israeli startups backed by top Israeli investors. The firm has raised a $14 million Series B round led by Australia-based Thorney Investment Group to expand.
Uber Technologies Inc. launched its ride-hailing app in Pakistan this past week, as part of the company’s $250 million investment push that also includes expanding into the Middle East and North Africa.
Souq, an online marketplace that has been described as the Amazon of the Middle East, has closed a funding round of over $275 million (with a post-money valuation of $1 billion) to continue building out its business operations in the region. Its funding comes from previous investors Tiger Global and Naspers, as well as some strategic investors, including Standard Chartered Private Equity, IFC and Baillie Gifford.
Fresh from pulling in $83 million from European insurance giant AXA last month, Africa Internet Group (AIG), the Rocket Internet-backed company behind e-commerce site Jumia, has raised $326 million in fresh funding. That sum includes a previously disclosed chunk of money from AXA — which valued AIG at over $1 billion, making it Africa’s first tech unicorn — and participation from existing stakeholders MTN, an Africa mobile operator, and Rocket Internet as well as new backer Goldman Sachs.