GGV Capital Continues To Bulk Up, Gobi Veers Into Vietnam
GGV Capital, a cross-border VC fund that invests in both U.S. and China-based companies, is raising $1.13 billion in two new funds: GGV Capital VI, with $880 million as the target, and GGV Discovery I, aiming for $250 million. The fund sizes represent a substantial increase from GGV’s current funds under management: its fifth fund, with $620 million, closed less than two years ago.
Several of GGV’s portfolio companies have seen recent listings. Among them are customer service platform Zendesk (May 2014) and payments company Square (November 2015). In the U.S., GGV’s portfolio includes e-commerce company Wish and home buying startup Opendoor. In China, prominent investments include e-commerce giant Alibaba, taxi app Didi Kuaidi, online travel site Qunar, and video sharing site Tudou.
Gobi Partners, a Shanghai-based early-stage investment fund with six offices across Asia, has made its first investment in Vietnam, with a $500,000 seed round for Triip.me, a platform connecting tour guides with independent travelers. The platform, founded in 2013, is positioned as a site for discovering authentic travel experiences, with a current inventory of 5000 curated experiences in 86 countries. The seed round will enable Triip’s husband-and-wife founders to expand locations and ramp up sales and marketing. Gobi has previously backed Chinese outbound package tours site Tuniu, Hong Kong-based travel interest discovery app Spottly, and Indonesian travel platform Tripvisto.
Apple has launched its mobile payment system, Apple Pay, in China through a partnership with the country’s largest clearing network, UnionPay. The timing is in line with a previous statement by Apple that its technology would go live in China by early 2016.
Though China is Apple’s second-largest market by revenue, the company is widely believed to face an uphill battle in the payments space. The market is dominated by Alibaba’s Alipay and Tencent’s TenPay, which together control more than two-thirds of China’s online payment market.
Chinese logistics firm ZTO Express, one of Alibaba’s key logistics partners, is gearing up for an IPO in New York in late 2016 or early 2017. The IPO for the company founded in 2002 is reportedly large enough to even rival Alibaba’s own mega debut on the NYSE in September 2014.
The reverse trend is clearly public companies going private. According to data from Dealogic, 34 U.S.-listed Chinese companies totaling $34 billion in transaction value announced plans to go private since 2015. During the same period, only seven companies from China went public in the U.S., raising a combined $531 million.
In a move to boost its e-commerce presence in India, Amazon has acquired New Delhi-based payments company Emvantage in a move expected to help boost its market penetration.
Founded in 2012, Emvantage enables online merchants to accept credit and debit payments on mobile. A 2015 World Bank report found that India is home to 21 percent of the world’s unbanked adults while India’s online market is predicted to grow to $220 billion by value of goods sold by 2025. A key focus for e-commerce businesses such as Snapdeal, Flipkart and Amazon in India is streamlining the payment process.
Tokyo-based sportswear company ASICS has acquired Boston-based fitness app maker Runkeeper for an amount estimated at $85 million. Runkeeper had previously raised over $11 million in funding from investors including Spark Capital, Boston Seed Capital and Revolution Ventures. This acquisition, which will make Runkeeper a subsidiary of ASICS, is the latest in a string of fitness software startups being acquired by apparel companies as tech spills out into many seemingly unrelated areas.
Google has made its first acquisition in Southeast Asia with the purchase of Pie, a local enterprise messaging app based in Singapore that had previously raised $1.2 million in funding led by Gree Ventures. The Pie team will be joining Google’s group focused on developing products for Southeast Asia, a region with high Internet activity and a population of more than 600 million people. Preparing to build out a full-fledged engineering hub in the city-state, Google also has put out a call to employees in the U.S. who want to transfer to Singapore.
Boston company Jana, with an ambitious mission of bringing unrestricted Internet to the developing world, has raised a $57 million Series C led by Verizon Ventures, alongside existing investors Spark Capital and Publicis Groupe. Founded by former Fulbright professor Nathan Eagle in 2009, Jana boasts 30 million users on its app mCent, which allows users to try out companies’ apps (sponsored content) in exchange for mobile data.
Jana has partnerships with more than 3000 brands, including Twitter, WeChat, and Amazon, and over 300 mobile carriers. The company claims that two-thirds of its business is in its lead market, India– where Facebook’s Free Basics service has half the reach. It also claims to be the second largest mobile ad platform in India, behind Google. With the fresh funding, Jana plans to launch in China.