BENGALURU: Rahul Chandra is managing director of Helion Ventures, the venture capital firm that’s perhaps the most bullish on mobile-first companies in India today — a partner once commented that he would not consider any startup that did not have a mobile app. However, Chandra himself has only 18 apps on his phone. “It is prime real estate,” the investor who has backed companies such as Make-MyTrip, TaxiForSure and Ezetap said about the space on this phone. “The people who have been incentivised with discounts may install something, but keep it for as little as a few hours.”
A former executive at Chinese smartphone and telecom equipment provider Huawei unveiled his new ecommerce venture at Beijing’s annual Global Mobile Internet Conference yesterday. Liu Jiangfeng, who spent 19 years at Huawei and rose to become the president of the company’s Glory smartphone division, says he has already secured US$100 million in angel funding, according to Sina Tech. If true, that could make it the largest angel round ever in China.
Although Google Play, the Android-based app store operated by Google, has yet to enter the Chinese market officially, it has been speeding up its efforts to help developers in China export and sell their apps to Google Play users in more than 130 countries, reports the Shanghai-based China Business News. Chris Yerga, vice president of engineering and head of Google Play in the Asia Pacific, said in an interview with Chinese media that since Google announced merchant support in China, it has set up a local team to help Chinese developers enter the global market.
Programs for civic-minded startups are few and far between. Singapore, however, is fortunate to have a number of them, and today it adds another to its number. Unframed, a social impact startupincubator, this afternoon launched a five-month program calledEnabling Change. The incubator is backed by Jan Croeni, a serial entrepreneur turned philanthropist who co-founded Deal.com.sg. For the incubation program, local telco Singtel will come on board as a strategic partner and majority funder.
Peer-to-peer lending startup Jimubox has just secured $84 million in series C funding. It comes seven months after the Beijing-based firm attracted US$37 million from Xiaomi and ShunWei Capital, a venture capital fund headed by the phone maker’s founder, Lei Jun. This time round the lead investor is UK’s Investec Bank. Haitong Kaiyuan Investment also joined in, along with new investors Mandra Capital and Zhong Capital Fund. Existing Jimubox backers Matrix China Partners, Xiaomi, Shunwei, Ventech China, and Magic Stone Alternative also threw in some cash.
Access to a whole new range of streaming movie and TV content is one step closer to viewers in Southeast Asia, as internet media startup iFlix has successfully completed a US$30 million funding round. iFlix’s parent company Catcha Group and telco Philippines Long Distance Telephone Company led the round. The funds will be used towards the continued rollout of the service throughout Southeast Asian territories, as well as acquiring the rights to more content and producing original content.
Zhiguoguo, an online legal services startup specializing in intellectual property, announced today it secured US$3.7 million in series A funding led by Matrix Partners China, according to 36kr. Legend Star, theventure capital arm of Legend Holdings, also participated in the round. Legend Holdings is the parent company of Lenovo, and it recently announced plans for an initial public offering on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. The startup says its valuation has reached RMB 100 million (US$16.1 million) after taking an undisclosed amount of angel funding in June last year.
Building a startup into a billion-dollar company is still a dream for most. While it is easier than ever to start a business, it’s harder than ever to scale one. In the tech industry, many companies are “born global” by nature, but successfully scaling globally takes a special mix. Over the past few years there has been a lot of valuable information and focus on starting lean, but little information as to how to cross the chasm and successfully scale into a profitable, global business. So, what’s the magic recipe?
Chinese web giant Baidu has wholly acquired online security startup Anquanbao for an undisclosed sum, according to QQ Tech (hat-tip to TechNode for spotting). Anquanbao is a cloud-based protection service that guards websites from malware and distributed-denial-of-service attacks. Baidu plans to use Anquanbao to protect and speed up its Baidu Cloud services. Anquanbao founder Ma Jie will head up Baidu’s cloud security unit. Anquanbao’s other clients include Amazon Web Services China, Tencent Cloud, SAE, and 51DNS. It protects websites like LeTV, Umeng, and Zhihu, among many others.
This has been a big week for the Xiaomi ecosystem, as one of the companies in the Xiaomi fold just acquired Segway. The acquisition caught the attention of industry-watchers the world over, but beyond being a big move for purchasing company Ninebot, the acquisition was also a big step for Xiaomi, as it marks the first time a company in its ecosystem has purchased a globally-recognized brand.
One of the biggest mysteries in Japan’s startup world – what will Akira Morikawa, the former Line CEO do next? – is finally solved. Morikawa unveiled his new project, a video media startup called C Channel. He also secured JPY 500 million (US$4.1 million) in funding from a banner list of investors. GMO VenturePartners, i-Style, Asobi System Holdings, Gree, Nexyz, B Dash Ventures, MAK Corporation, and Rakuten all joined the round.
Quikr, a classifieds site that’s one of India’s best-funded startups, today revealed that it has secured a further US$150 million in funding. This is its eighth major round of funding, which now totals nearly US$350 million. “The big things for us going forward are to continue to innovate for India, innovate for mobile, and go deeper in key categories where we already are leaders,” said Pranay Chulet, founder and CEO of Quikr, in a statement.
BENGALURU: Infosys is set to identify and incubate about a dozen new ideas that could potentially bring $100 million (about Rs 620 crore) each and a total of over a billion dollars in incremental revenue annually over the next few years, as part of a strategy being spearheaded by CEO Vishal Sikka to propel growth at India’s second largest software exporter.
“In the US, students think, ‘If I build something good, Google will buy me.’ In China they think, ‘If I build something good, Tencent will copy me.’” That was the grimassessment of Stephen Bell, a Shanghai-based partner at Trinity Ventures, back in 2011. A year earlier, a Chinese tech magazine was much more blunt. “Fucking Tencent,”blasted the cover of China Computerworld on its July 26, 2010, issue (pictured below). It depicted Tencent’s penguin mascot stabbed with three knives and bleeding profusely.
On Wednesday, Microsoft China announced that 100 Chinese tech startups are about to get lucky. The company is promising RMB 100 million (US$16 million) in cloud services and support to 100 Chinese startups. Reportedly, Microsoft is also partnering with Northern Light Venture Capital, DCM, and Gobi Partners to offer financial investments in addition to the cloud services and support. The first batch of 100 startups will be hand-picked by Microsoft and its VC partners.
Enterprise platform for cloud company IBM is offering up to US$120,000 worth of credits to qualifying Cloud startups in Malaysia under the IBM Global Entrepreneur Programme (GEP). “The cloud market in Malaysia remains untapped with a good growth potential,” said Balwinder Gill, IBM Malaysia Software Cloud leader. “Through IBM GEP, we plan to expand our presence among local cloud startups and help them grow as vital players in the industry, which ultimately secures the future of IBM’s business in Malaysia as well.”
BENGALURU: China’s Alibaba Group, together with Bengaluru-based mobile and analytics solutions company Globals, will establish a startup incubator in the city that will focus on mobile internet and mobile commerce. “We met Jack Ma (Alibaba founder) and his team in Delhi on Monday, and we came to an in-principle agreement on the incubator,” Globals founder Suhas Gopinath told TOI.
Microsoft has announed it plans to offer 100 million yuan worth of free cloud-computing services and software tools to 100 Chinese startups. The promotion is seen as bid to bolster its cloud-computing business in China. The new initiative will be launched in the next 6-months. Start-ups involved will have access to Microsoft’s Azure cloud-computing service, software and development tools. The move is an attempt to try to wrestle market-share from Amazon and Alibaba, who also offer cloud-computing services in China.
Philippine telecommunications giant Globe Telecom announced today it is injecting up to US$50 million into its incubator arm Kickstart Ventures, which will use the fresh capital to support high-potential startups. The amount the group dubs as “Fund 2” is possibly the largest commitment to early-stage startup investing coming out of a Philippine company, Globe claims. It will target startups expanding anywhere in the world with clear regional and global prospects.
The back-and-forth between SmartNews and Gunosy, Japan’s premier news apps that are taking their domestic war global, added a new chapter today. Only a week after Gunosy filed for a US$263 million IPO, SmartNews tells Tech in Asia that it has nabbed a US$10 million bridge round at a pre-money valuation of US$320 million. The funding round features previous investors Gree, Globis Capital Partners, Atomico, Mixi, and Social Venture Partners. Since its founding in June 2012, SmartNews has publicly raised a touch over US$50 million.