Latest EM VC+Tech Investments from EMPEA
21-22 January 2021
WELCOME: The Global VC Cache is a bi-weekly newsletter covering cross-border tech transactions and innovations with cross-border applications in a rapidly changing world. 

Geographies include Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, and other emerging venture+tech markets

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/BIG TICKETS/ 26 rounds over USD100m: Zuoyebang, Yunwang Wandian, Lalamove, Yuanfudao, DXY, Keep, Howton Group, Grab Financial Group, Udaan, Enflame Tech, Creditas, Meishubao, WeRide, MadeiraMadeira, Bolt, GCash, Vizen Pharmaceuticals, Horizon Robotics, Glance, Getir, Abbisko, Flexiv, MoMo, BoAt, Brainly, and Innovation.

/PENDING/ Alibaba, Paytm, ShareChat, and Tuhu are reportedly in talks to raise rounds from USD100m to USD8b.

/FUNDS/ Fund closes for Befor Capital, Endiya Ventures, Flashpoint Venture Capital, Access Bridge Ventures, and six Africa-focused vehicles.

/SPAC PARTY/ SPAC filings for Vickers Venture Partners and Primavera Capital.

/M&A/ While Grab and Gojek are in talks to merge, Gojek has appointed Goldman Sachs as an advisor for merger negotiations with Tokopedia.

/POLICY/ Chinese antitrust probes into Alibaba and the Huya/DouYu livestream merger.

/FUTURE/ Wooden satellites?


/EDTECH/ Alibaba, Tiger Global, SoftBank Vision Fund, Sequoia Capital China, and FountainVest Partners invested in a USD1.6b Series E+ for China-based edtech Zuoyebang. Tiger Global and FountainVest Partners led a USD750m Series E in June 2020.

/ Shenzhen Capital Group led a ~USD912m Series A for Yunwang Wandian, the e-commerce arm of China-based retailer, with participation from SenseRobot Management, Fengyun Capital, V Star Capital, Central China International Asset Management, Softfir Capital, and others.

/LOGISTICS/ Existing investor Sequoia Capital China led a USD515m Series E for Hong Kong-based on-demand delivery company Lalamove, with follow-on from Shunwei Capital Partners and Hillhouse Capital.

/HEALTHTECH/ Trustbridge Partners led a USD500m round for China-based healthtech DXY, with participation from Tencent and GL Ventures.

/ SoftBank led a USD360m Series F for China-based digital fitness company Keep, at a reported USD2b+ valuation, with participation from Coatue and Hillhouse Capital, and follow-on from GGV Capital, Tencent, 5Y Capital, Jeneration Capital, and Bertelsmann Asia Investments.

/EDTECH/ Yunfeng Capital invested USD300m in China-based edtech Yuanfudao, bringing the company’s overall funding in 2020 to USD3.5b.
  • In March 2020, Hillhouse Capital led the company’s USD1b Series F, and in October 2020, Tencent and DST Global led the company’s USD2.2b Series G, with participation from IDG Capital, GIC, Temasek, Trustbridge Partners, and others, at a reported USD15.5b valuation.
/INFRA/ DCP Capital Partners and CPE (formerly CITIC Private Equity) led a USD300m round for China-based cloud computing infrastructure provider Hotwon Group.

/ Grab Financial Group, the fintech arm of Indonesia-based rideshare and food delivery app Grab that spun out in 2018, raised USD300m from South Korea’s Hanwha Asset Management at a reported USD3b valuation, with participation from Arbor Ventures and Flourish Ventures, and follow-on from K3 Ventures and GGV Capital.

/ Octahedron Capital and Moonstone Capital led a USD280m Series D for India-based B2B marketplace Udaan at a reported USD3.1b+ valuation, with follow-on from Lightspeed Venture Partners, DST Global, GGV Capital, Altimeter Capital, and Tencent.

/AI/ CITIC PE, CICC Capital, and Primavera Capital led a ~USD279m Series C for China-based AI chip designer Enflame Technology, with follow-on from Tencent, Summitview Capital, and Redpoint Ventures China.

/ LGT Lightstone led a USD255m Series E for Brazil-based fintech Creditas, at a reported USD1.75b valuation, with participation from Tarsadia Capital,, Wellington Management, and Advent International affiliate Sunley House Capital, and follow-on from SoftBank’s Vision Fund and Latin America Fund, KaszeK Ventures, Vostok Emerging Finance, and Amadeus Capital Partners. /IMPACT/ TPG’s Rise Fund led a USD210m Series D for Meishubao, a Chinese online art education platform, with participation from Fortune Capital, Winsdom Capital, SAIF Partners, Bojia Capital, and Chuangzhi Capital.

/AV/ China-based AV maker WeRide raised a USD200m Series B from China-based bus-maker Yutong.

/UNICORN/ SoftBank and Dynamo led a USD190m Series E for MadeiraMadeira, a Brazil-based marketplace for home goods, at a reported USD1b valuation, with follow-on from Flybridge, monashees, Velt, Brasil Capital, and Lakewood.

/ D1 Capital Partners led a ~USD182m round for Estonia-based ridesharing and food delivery app Bolt, with participation from Darsana Capital Partners.

/ Philippines-based mobile wallet provider GCash raised USD175m+ from NY-based Bow Wave Capital Management, the fintech arm of Globe Telecom, at a valuation near USD1b. Bow Wave now has a 14% stake in Mynt, which operates GCash.

/BIOTECH/ Sequoia Capital China led a USD150m Series B for China-based biotech Visen Pharmaceuticals, with participation from OrbiMed, Sherpa Healthcare Partners, Cormorant, HBM Healthcare Investments, Pivotal bioVenture Partners China, Logos Capital, and CDG Capital, and follow-on from Ascendis Pharma A/S, Vivo Capital, and Sofinnova Investments.

/CHIPS/ 5Y Capital (formerly Morningside Venture Capital), Hillhouse Capital’s GL Ventures, and Capital Today led the USD150m first tranche of a Series C for China-based AI chip designer Horizon Robotics, with participation from Guotai Junan International and KTB.

/ India-based lockscreen platform Glance, which is owned by InMobi Group, raised USD145m from Google and existing investor Mithril Capital. Glance also operates social/video platform Roposo.

/ Crankstart Investments and Base Partners led a USD128m Series B for Turkey-based delivery logistics platform Getir at a reported USD850m valuation, with participation from Tiger Global Management and Goodwater Capital. /BIOTECH/ The Carlyle Group led a USD123m Series D for China-based biotech Abbisko, with participation from Warburg Pincus, OrbiMed, Lake Bleu Capital, Janchor Partners, Sage Partners, SHC, and Greater Bay Area Homeland Development Fund, and follow-on from Lilly Asia Ventures, Temasek, Qiming Venture Partners, Hankang Capital, and CICC Capital.

/ROBOTICS/ Flexiv, a China-based maker of adaptive robotics for manufacturing, raised a USD100m+ Series B from Meituan, Meta Capital, agribusiness player New Hope Group, Longwood, Jack Ma’s YF Capital, Gaorong Capital, GSR Ventures, and Plug and Play.
  • Other notable recent robotics rounds in China include Geek+, Keenon Robotics, Pudu Technology, VisionNav Robotics, Galaxis Technology, Mech-Mind Robots, and Syrius.
/ Warburg Pincus and Goodwater Capital led a USD100m Series D for Vietnam-based M Service JSC, which operates mobile wallet MoMo, with participation from Affirma Capital, Kora Management, Tybourne Capital, and Macquarie Capital.

/PE/ An affiliate of Warbug Pincus made a USD100m investment in BoAt, an India-based maker of mobile accessories.

/EDTECH/ China-based English learning platform Jiliguala raised a ~USD100m Series C from investors including Tencent and Trustbridge Partners.

/AGTECH/ Intel Capital, Africa Internet Ventures (a strategic partnership between TPG Growth and EchoVC), and the family office of Ronald Lauder and Eric Zinterhofer led a USD85m Series B for Gro Intelligence, a Kenya-based, AI-powered insights company focused on the global agriculture industry. Schusterman Family Investments, Dick Parsons, Rethink Food, and unnamed family offices also participated in the round, with follow-on from DCVC and GGV Capital.

/ DST Global led a USD81m Series C for India-based bill payment and rewards platform CRED, with follow-on from Sequoia Capital, Ribbit Capital, Tiger Global, and General Catalyst.
  • CRED also bought back USD1.3m in shares in its first ESOP liquidity program.
/EDTECH/ Learn Capital led a USD80m Series D for Brainly, a Poland-based peer-to-peer learning platform, with follow-on from Prosus Ventures, Runa Capital, MantaRay, and General Catalyst Partners.

/PE/ CICC Capital led an undisclosed Series C for AInnovation, the consulting unit of China-based Sinovation Ventures, at a reported USD1b valuation, with participation from Shanghai Guohe Capital and Riverhead Capital, and follow-on from China Renaissance’s Huaxing New Economy Fund.


/DEBT/ Alibaba, under new antitrust scrutiny in China, is seeking to raise up to USD8b through a dollar bond sale.

/ India-based payments fintech Paytm is in talks to raise USD400m from UBS Group AG, a fund run by UBS’ asset management arm, along with some of the bank’s clients, in a purchase of employee stock, according to Bloomberg.

/ India-based social network ShareChat is in talks to raise USD200m+ in Series E financing from players including Google, Snap, and Twitter, according to TechCrunch.

/ China-based rideshare Tuhu is in talks to raise ~USD200m at a reported USD4b valuation, according to Bloomberg. Goldman Sachs and Tencent invested previously.


/ Goldman Sachs led a USD50m Series C for Perfect, a Taiwan-based developer of the virtual beauty app YouCam Makeup.

/ Dunzo, an India-based local delivery platform, raised a USD40m Series E from return backer Google, with participation from Lightbox, Evolvence, Hana Financial, LGT Lightstone Aspada, and Alteria.

/SOLAR/ Denmark’s Investment Fund for Developing Countries (IFU) led a USD38m Series B for Nigeria-based hybrid solar power solutions provider Daystar Power, with participation from French impact infrastructure fund STOA, Proparco, and Morgan Stanley Investment Management.

/PROPTECH/ Colombia-based residential real estate platform La Haus raised a USD35m Series B led by Greenspring Associates, with participation from Hometeam Ventures and follow-on from KaszeK Ventures, Acrew Capital, NFX, IMO Ventures, Hometeam Ventures, and Spencer Rascoff (Zillow). / SoftBank’s Latin America Fund led an undisclosed Series C for Brazil-based online accounting services startup Contabilizei, with follow-on from KaszeK Ventures, Point72 Ventures, Quona Capital, and IFC.

/ Gojek invested in Bank Jango, an Indonesia-based banking fintech, as part of a strategic partnership to accelerate financial inclusion in Indonesia.

/ Gaja Capital led a USD32m Series B for India-based marketing automation and CRM platform LeadSquared, with follow-on from GSK Velu-led Stakeboat Capital and Jyoti Bansal (AppDynamics).

/ Sequoia Capital India led a USD30m investment in Indonesia-based robo advisor Bibit, with follow-on from East Ventures, EV Growth, AC Ventures, and 500 Startups.
  • Bibit’s clients are mostly millennials and first-time investors.
/AGTECH/ Prosus Ventures led a USD30m Series C for DeHaat, (also known as Agrevolution), an agricultural services platform for small farmers in India, with participation from RTP Global and follow-on from Sequoia Capital India, FMO, Omnivore, and AgFunder.

/ Horizons Ventures and Alpha JWC led a USD25m Series A for Indonesia-based digital stock brokerage Ajaib Group, with follow-on from SoftBank Ventures Asia, Insignia Ventures, and Y Combinator.

/HRTECH/ Salesforce Ventures led a USD25m Series C for India-based HR management platform Darwinbox, with follow-on from Lightspeed India and Sequoia Capital India.

/DEBT/ Accial Capital invested USD21m in debt in Pintek, an Indonesia-based fintech provider of credit to students and their families, educational institutions, and suppliers.

/AGTECH/ PE firm ABC World Asia led a USD20m Series C for India-based agricultural data startup CropIn, with participation from Chiratae Ventures, Invested Development, and Ankur Capital.

/HEALTHTECH/ Colombia-based digital pharmacy Farmalisto raised a USD18m Series B from IDB Invest, HBM Healthcare Investments, and Morgan Rio Capital Management.

/INSURTECH/ QED Investors led a USD17.5m Series A for Betterfly (formerly Burn to Give), a Chilean certified B-Corp insurtech providing life insurance to SMEs and incentivizing policyholder’s wellbeing with subsidized coverage.

/EDTECH/ Mountain Nazca led a USD17.5m Series A for Crehana, a Peru-based online learning platform for creative and design professionals, with participation from Endeavor Catalyst, IFC, and Salesforce Ventures. Alive Ventures, DILA Capital, and Rethink Education followed on.

/CVC/ SV Investment led a USD12m Series C for Dable, a South Korea-based content discovery platform, at a reported USD90m valuation, with participation from KB Investment and K2 Investment, and follow-on from Kakao Ventures (previously K Cube Ventures), a subsidiary of internet group Kakao.

/EDTECH/ Indonesia-based edtech Zenius Education raised an undisclosed pre-Series B from Openspace Ventures and Alpha JWC Ventures, with follow-on from the Northstar Group, Kinesys, and BeeNext.

/AGTECH/ Omnivore made an undisclosed seed investment in Agri10x, an India-based operator of a blockchain-based marketplace connecting farmers and buyers.

/ Sequoia Capital India led a USD10m Series A for BukuKas, an Indonesia-based bookkeeping app that is launching other software services for SMEs.

/DEBT/ Partners for Growth provided USD10m in venture debt for UAE-based on-demand truck aggregator TruKKer.

/PRTECH/ Oria Capital invested ~USD7.7m in Knewin, a Brazil-based news and social media analytics platform for the PR industry.

/GAMING/ Practica Capital and InReach Ventures led a USD8m seed/Series A round for Eneba, a Lithuania-based marketplace for gamers, with participation from FJ Labs and angels.

/CRYPTO/ Jump Capital led a USD6m round for Singapore-based digital assets exchange Zipmex.

/ Andreessen Horowitz led a USD5.5m seed round for Reface, a Ukraine-based app for video and GIF face-swaps, with participation from angels.

/HRTECH/ Skuad, a Singapore-based payroll platform for remote teams, raised a USD4m seed round from Beenext, Anthemis Group, Alto-Partners MFO, and Rohan Monga (Zenius Education).

/HEALTHTECH/ TLcom Capital led a USD3.75m Series A for Kenya-based healthtech Ilara Health, with participation from DOB Equity, Global Ventures, and Chandaria Capital.

/ Singapore-based fintech Volopay raised USD2.1m in seed funding led by Justin Mateen (Tinder), with participation from Soma Capital, CP Ventures, Y Combinator, VentureSouq, and others.

/EDTECH/ China-based English learning platform BlaBla raised USD1.5m in seed funding from Amino Capital, Starling Ventures, Y Combinator, and Telefonica’s Wayra X.

/ Appboxo, a Singapore-based mini-app ecosystem for developers, raised a USD1.1m seed round from Founders Fund, 500 Durians, Plug & Play, and Antler.

/ India-based freelance marketplace GigIndia raised INR76m (~USD1m) from angels Anjali Bansal (Avaana Capital) and Vineet Patni (formerly of Bajaj Allianz).

/HRTECH/ India-based HRtech Nova Benefits raised an undisclosed seed round from Multiple Ventures.


/SPAC/ SPAC vehicles are on the rise in Asia, with players from Citic to SoftBank. Recent activity:
  • EMPEA member Vickers Venture Partners filed with the US SEC for a USD100m SPAC.
  • China-based PE firm Primavera Capital filed with the US SEC for a USD300m SPAC, with a focus on “global consumer companies with a significant China presence or compelling China potential.”
  • Bridgetown Holdings, a SPAC Hong Kong telco tycoon Richard Li launched with Peter Thiel, is reportedly involved in merger talks with Gojek and Tokopedia.
/M&A/ Not only are Grab and Gojek in talks to merge, but now Gojek has appointed Goldman Sachs as an advisor for merger negotiations with Tokopedia.
  • Rivals Grab and Gojek are in contentious discussions over who would run the combined entity.
  • Tokopedia, an e-commerce platform, owns a significant minority stake in OVO, a payments competitor to Gojek’s GoPay.
  • Grab and Gojek share SoftBank as an investor. Gojek and Tokopedia share investors Google, Temasek, and Sequoia Capital India.
/M&A/ Germany’s Delivery Hero will sell its South Korean unit, which runs food delivery app Yogiyo, to secure regulatory approval for its USD4b acquisition of South Korean food delivery giant Woowa Brothers, according to Nikkei Asia. /M&A/ Chinese antitrust regulators are looking into the merger of China-based livestreaming firms Huya and DouYu, which was announced in October 2020. Both companies are backed by Tencent.


/ The European Investment Bank (EIB) approved USD156m in commitments to six Africa-focused funds, including tech-focused vehicles Atlantica Venture Capital Fund (USD12.5m) and Janngo Capital‘s debut venture fund (USD18.5m).

/ China-based VC Befor Capital reached a USD76.3m first close for Fund III and a USD30.5m first close for Fund IV. Befor invests in consumption upgrade, advanced tech, and modern services in China.

/ India-based Endiya Partners reached a ~USD75m final close for its second fund, which is focused on early-stage investments in the consumer internet services, health care, SaaS, and fintech.

/ Flashpoint Venture Capital reached a USD50m first close for its third VC fund. The vehicle, which targets USD75-100m, will invest in international companies founded by management teams from CEE & CIS, Israel, the Baltics, and Finland.

/ Access Bridge Ventures reached an undisclosed first close for its debut fund. The vehicle, which aims to raise USD25m, will invest in high-growth tech startups from Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Pakistan, and the wider MENA region.


/ The European Commission proposed the DSA (Digital Services Act) to fine tech companies for the spread of illegal content, and the DMA (Digital Markets Act) to fine or disband operators that “don’t treat business users and consumers fairly.”
  • The EU often leads global privacy regulation, as was the case with GDPR in 2016.
/ In the wake of Ant Group’s canceled IPO and increasing regulatory scrutiny of online lenders, the financial services arms of Tencent,, Baidu, Didi, Meituan, Xiaomi, and others have stopped offering similar products.

/ AVCJ: “The Hong Kong government has moved to placate private equity industry fears regarding the tax treatment of carried interest by proposing a 0% levy.”

/ Bloomberg reports India may ease rules for non-Chinese investments from Hong Kong, after new regulations restricting Chinese investment in 2020 “led to over 140 proposals worth more than USD1.75b, including proposals from China and Hong Kong, getting delayed and complicating deal-making for investors.”

/CBDC/ WSJ looks at China’s digital currency pilot and future ambitions. Unlike existing digital currencies, the digital yuan works offline and does not currently have processing fees.

/ Quartz Africa looks at the role of internet censorship in Uganda’s recent presidential election:
All eyes were on Uganda’s election this past week which started with Facebook taking down hundreds of mostly pro-government accounts for what it deemed “coordinated inauthentic behavior”. By the next day (Jan. 12) the telecoms regulator had blocked all major social media platforms. Perhaps that was because social media had given democracy a voice in Uganda. In the end, president Yoweri Museveni had seen enough and cut off all internet on the evening of Jan. 13 just hours before the polls opened on Jan.14.

/ Rest of World looks at the rise and fall of Lagos as a major city for rideshare and delivery startups, and the shifting regulations behind it.

/ Vietnam tripled its tax on rideshare companies to 10% per ride, complicating the business model for Grab and others.

/PRIVACY/ YouTube is setting up a Turkey office in a complicating situation over Erdogan’s recent social media censorship regulations.


/CLEANTECH/ Global PE managers did more deals in cleantech than in oil and gas in 2020, according to Pitchbook data cited in WSJ.

/ WSJ looks at Japan’s nascent startup scene: “Even Tokyo-based SoftBank Group, the world’s biggest tech investor, has shown little interest in funding homegrown startups.

/ Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC topped a list of most active state-owned investors in 2020, according to Global SWF, “as other investors downshifted amid the volatility brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.”

/ AC Ventures, the CVC arm of Arca Continental, looks at the central role of convenience stores in retail innovation and automation in Latin America.

/ Bloomberg features Koh Soo Boon of iGlobe Partners (and formerly Vertex Venture Partners) in How a Relentless Dealmaker Cracked Silicon Valley’s Bros Club.

/ Ozy features Kepple Africa Ventures and Samurai Incubate in a story about the rise of Japanese VC in Africa.

/ How much is your slice of that unicorn worth?


/ Netflix is doubling down on original African content as on-demand streaming in Africa is on the rise.

/ WhatsApp is launching health insurance and pension products in India.

/C19/ Rest of World looks at the Singaporean government’s C19 contact tracing program, where user data can also be accessed by the police for criminal investigations.


/GPEC 2021/ IFC and EMPEA are hosting the 22nd annual Global Private Equity Conference (GPEC) as a highly interactive virtual gathering to connect global LPs and GPs on 17-20 May 2021. Registration for the program will open soon.


/PREDICTIONS/ Economist Eli Dourado does a deep dive on the next decade of expected deep tech developments, from the promise of mRNA vaccines (“Moderna’s [C19] vaccine was designed by January 13”) to life extension, solar deployment, geothermal, drone delivery, and going to space.

/SPACE/ The Economist: A Japanese forestry firm wants to put wooden satellites into orbit.
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