Goldman Sachs, Tencent Led $450M In Chinese E-Commerce Grocer

by: VCDeals

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Chinese produce: Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) Investment Partners and Tencent (OTCPK:TCEHY, OTCPK:TCTZF) led a $450M round in Chinese e-commerce grocer MissFresh, which is majority-owned by Canadian grocer Metro (OTCPK:MTRAF). Jeneration Capital Management, Tiger Global Management, Sofina, and Davis Selected Adviser also participated with a strategic investment from Poly Capital Holdings.

The gross merchandise volume of China’s fresh food e-commerce market has reached about $20.3B, up 60% last year compared to 2016, according to iResearch data. MissFresh provides services in 20 cities in China, selling fresh grocery products through its mobile platform. The startup will use the funds to expand its supply chain, develop cold chain logistics, and invest in smart retail technology.

Competitors: Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) and (NASDAQ:JD) both compete in the fresh food e-commerce space.

Chinese sports streaming: IQiyi (NASDAQ:IQ) Sports raised $124M in a Series A round from the likes of Sequoia-backed China Sports Capital and Yao Ming’s Yao Capital, which contributed $43.8M and $7.3M, respectively. The round brought iQiyi Sports’ valuation up to $489.5M.

The iQiyi business plans to work with China Sports Capital to take advantage of its global network and industry resources. The company will use the funding to provide more content in football, tennis, and golf while working to increase its presence in the booming Chinese sports streaming industry.

Competitors: Chinese sports broadcasters include Alibaba, Tencent, and Suning’s PPTV.

Twitch competitor: Twenty-First Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOX) invested $100M in live-streaming social startup Caffeine. Greylock Partners and Andreessen Horowitz also participated. The round brought total funding up to $146M.

Caffeine focuses on gaming and entertainment and claims its interface is easier to use and more creator-focused than competitors. Caffeine has a deal with Live Nation to launch live concerts on the platform later this year. Specifics weren’t announced, but the general partnership will help Caffeine gain on the likes of Twitter, which has the rights to stream select Live Nation concerts.

Competitors: Amazon’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) Twitch and Alphabet’s (GOOG, GOOGL) YouTube.

Eye disorder gene therapy: Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) Ventures participated in a $90M financing for gene therapy company 4D Molecular Therapeutics. Viking Global Investors led the round with participation form ArrowMark Partners, Janus Henderson Investors, Mirae Asset Financial Group, The Biotechnology Value Fund, and more.

4D plans to use the funds to advance its vector platform and pipeline of treatments including lead treatment 4D-110, which treats the inherited eye disorder choroideremia. 4D-110 should enter clinical trials next year. 4D recently teamed up with AstraZeneca’s MedImmune on chronic lung diseases with 4D leading early development. The startup expanded its similar partnership with Roche on ophthalmology projects.

Competitors: 4D-110 has some advanced competition from Nightstar (NASDAQ:NITE), which has a similar gene therapy in Phase III. Spark Therapeutics’ (NASDAQ:ONCE) Luxturna earned FDA approval late last year for treating inherited retinal diseases with a specific genetic mutation.

European banking app: PayPal (NASDAQ:PYPL) participated in a $60M Series B round in European banking app Monese. Kinnevik led the round with help from Augmentum Fintech, International Airlines Group, and existing investors including Investec’s INVC Fund.

Monese claims nearly 600K sign-ups in its markets in the UK and Europe. The system combines a mobile-based account and accompanying debit card with services including deposits and withdrawals, international money transfers, and direct debits. There are a free tier and two monthly paid plans. Monese plans to hire an additional 100 employees and grow monthly new customers, which have tripled since the end of last year.

Competitors: Loot, Revolut ($336.4M in funding, Index Ventures among backers), and Monzo (£106.6M in funding, Stripe and Orange Digital backing), to name a few.

Bonus read: Axios reported on the implosion of Social Capital, the firm co-founded by Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) vet Chamath Palihapitiya. The firm raised over $1B and bet on companies like Slack. But Social co-founders Mamoom Hamid and Ted Maidenberg resigned, leading to a core business talent exodus. The replacements, and what’s seen as Palihapitiya’s waning interest, have left the Social Capital’s VC investment future in question.

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