Month: February 2017

Formation Group raised US$357 million for debut fund to invest in early and growth stage companies

Formation Group has launched its debut fund worth US$357 million of commitments in partnership with former Facebook chief financial officer and San Francisco 49ers co-owner Gideon Yu serving on the investment team, according to filings with the SEC.

The maiden fund is set up to bridge innovation between Silicon Valley and Asia, whereby it will focus its investments on a number of early and growth stage companies.

In addition to providing capital, Formation Group will also provide operational support and relationships to bring these opportunities to fruition.

“Our investment in Bowers & Wilkins is a prime example of this strategy, in which we enabled a small Silicon Valley startup (EVA Automation) to execute an unprecedented acquisition of an established, profitable, 50-year old iconic brands in Bowers & Wilkins,” according to a spokesperson from Formation Group.

Besides, the firm’s founding managing partner Brian Koo was a former founding partner of Formation 8 and a founder of InnovationHub. He currently serves on several boards including NextVR, Memebox, and YelloMobile.

While Gideon Yu is the chairman and chief executive officer of Bowers & Wilkins. Previously, he was also a General Partner at Khosla Ventures and Treasurer and SVP of Finance at Yahoo.

The company’s offices are located in Palo Alto, Korea, and Singapore. The portfolio also includes on-demand delivery Honestbee, and ride-hailing service Go-Jek and South Korea’s Dayli Financial Group.

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media

IFM Investors to acquire minority stakes in Australian fashion handbag and accessories retailer Colette by Colette Hayman

IFM Investors‘ private equity arm has recently invested an undisclosed sum for a minority stake in Colette by Colette Hayman, a leading fashion handbags and accessories retailer based in Australia.

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed but IFM Investors Executive Director Stuart Wardman-Browne announced that IFM’s partnership with the company’s founders and senior management would help the business continue its growth path.

“We are excited to partner with Colette as it seeks to further expand in Australia and offshore. With the strong experience of its leadership team, niche value proposition, on-trend products and proven retail nous, we believe Colette is well positioned to execute on its next phase of growth,” Wardman-Browne said.

Founded in 2010 by Mark and Colette Hayman, Collete by Collete Hayman has grown to a network of over 130 company-owned stores across Australia and New Zealand as well as several franchise locations across South Africa and the Middle East.

“We feel there are opportunities to add stores to that footprint both here and in New Zealand,” Mr. Wardman-Browne said. “They’ve been quite successful in a refit program in a number of stores which has helped them increase sales.”

Owned by 28 super funds including the country’s biggest funds AustralianSuper, IFM Investors has a well-established presence in private equity and provides institutional investors with a flexible and transparent platform to access private equity investments.

Its private equity model benefits investee companies through an openness to taking minority or majority stakes, flexible investment horizons, and the ability to continue committing follow-on capital as required for growth.

“This transaction is a perfect example of how our private equity approach can benefit companies through long-term investment coupled with a partnership-style approach including pro-active support on strategic initiatives to help the continued growth of the business,” said Wardman-Browne. “It also benefits our investors as they have greater involvement in, and transparency of, their private equity investment.”

As an investor-owned global fund manager, IFM Investors has A$75 billion under management. IFM Investors’ private equity team seeks to invest in growing businesses in Australia and New Zealand with a value of between $50 million to $300 million. This transaction follows the acquisition of 50 per cent of leading contractor group ISGM in June.

Commenting on the investment, Mark Hayman, the CEO of Colette by Colette Hayman said, “The partnership with IFM represents an exciting development for us as we embark on our next phase of growth in Australasia and internationally. We look forward to working closely with IFM to realise our vision for the Colette by Colette Hayman brand.”

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media

ZongMu Technology secures US$14 million series B Round to further improve self-driving tech

ZongMu Technology, a Chinese startup which focuses on self-driving technology has recently raised a RMB100 million (about US$14 million) series B round co-led by Legend Capital and Xiamen-based private equity firm Deyi Capital.

This investment comes two days later via a private share placement transaction after ZongMu Technology became a listed entity on China’s new Third Board, a national share transfer system for small and medium-sized enterprises, on February 21st.

“Advanced driver assistance system and self-driving technology are the important future directions of the global automotive industry. It is a potentially huge market,” said Qiu JiaSheng of Deyi Capital. “We have been searching for Chinese and global automotive high-tech enterprises that have independent research and development capabilities, in addition to a strong product manufacturing capability to become the industry leader, and we believe ZongMu has this potential.”

Founded in January 2013, Shanghai-based ZongMu develops advanced driver assistance system, including 2D and 3D panoramic vision system, self-parking solutions, and driving recording systems. Headquartered in Shanghai Pudong Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park, the company also has research and development subsidiaries in Beijing and Shenzhen.

At present, the company with more than 100 employees has a number advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) products, in addition to long-term strategic partnerships with a number of original equipment manufacturer (OEMs) and tier-one suppliers. ZongMu Technology claims its products have been used by many car makers in China, including Geely Automobile Holdings and SAIC Motor, as well as parts suppliers of Chinese automakers including Yema Auto.

ZongMu Tech’s revenue grew to RMB3.2 million in 2015 from its RMB111,300 in 2014 and is expected to reach RMB42 million in 2016, increasing by 379 times in a space of two years, according to public disclosures. The company attributes this dramatic revenue growth due to the launch and increased sales of its products.

“This is the first fundraising behavior after the listing of the new board,” said Tang Rui, the CEO of ZongMu Technology. “With abundant capital support and strong board support, ZongMu will further accelerate the use of multiple ADAS products and auto-driving technology development, ”

With the latest fundraising, ZongMu Technology also plans to improve corporate operations and the R&D for self-driving technology as well as to establish a new subsidiary in Xiamen to develop and produce ADAS system-related sensors and to carry out the extension layout of the production chain.

Last month at the CES show, ZongMu along with Qualcomm unveiled the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820A to power next-generation Volkswagen infotainment systems, announcing a Cellular V2X trial in Germany, revealing a new class of high-bandwidth Gigabit LTE for vehicles and demonstrating how Snapdragon 820A can bring the next level of intelligence to automatic driving transition.

Commenting on the investment, Fan Qihui, the managing director of Legend Capital said, “We are pleased to have access to this investment opportunity. The ADAS and automatic driving technology are impoartant directions for the future development of the global automotive industry which has a huge market development space and opportunities.”

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media

Indian mobile ad platform Oglas raises angel funding to further product development

Oglas, a Noida-based mobile advertising startup announced today that it has raised its angel funding from two high net worth individuals.

The two investors were an investment banker and NYU Stern alumnus Pankaj Rungta as well as serial entrepreneur Yogesh Agarwal.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed but with the latest capital, Oglas said that they plan to use it for product development.

Founded in May 2016 by Sunny Agarwal, Raja Agarwal, Adi Ranjan, Sohit Sharavat, Rahul Chauhan and Sahil Ojha, Oglas is an application which offers a quantified mobile advertising solution running under Adove Medios Pvt. Ltd.

More specifically, Oglas is an image and video-based advertising tool for businesses. The multi-utility platform functions as a customer retention tool with inbuilt loyalty and a referral programme with customizable solutions.

Using the app, users can pay utility bills, transfer money, and pay their prepaid and postpaid bills for all major telecom operators, in addition to getting rewards for using the app to make calls.

“We use the banners on the call screen for ads, but the main difference between us and other players is that we work offline as well. We are aiming to reach two million active users in the coming year,” said Sunny Agarwal, the co-founder and CEO of Oglas.

Besides, on its website, the mobile advertising startup also claims to have about 500K downloads on the Google Play Store, with an active user base of 200K and a totaled viewership of on-call ads which amount to 27 million.

The company which currently has a headcount of 15 also claims that its customer portfolio includes Flipkart, Snapdeal, Amazon, Paytm, IDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, and Star Health Insurance.

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media

Le Young Pictures, a video firm established by LeEco founder’s wife raises US$174 million series A

Le Young Pictures, a Chinese web TV and film studio established by the wife of LeEco’s founder Jia Yueting, has recently raised an undisclosed amount for its series A financing which places the company valuation at RMB1.2 billion (about US$174 million).

Speaking on the valuation of the company, Gan Wei said, “Looking at the present revenue of the company, a valuation between RMB10 to RMB15 billion is considered reasonable. In fact, since the beginning of 2016, many investors has expressed interests in funding the company.”

Selected investors include CDH Fund, Shanghai-based Linmon Pictures, and Le Kai Hua Fund. At the same time, Le Yong Pictures also announced that it is adopting an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP), which will bring a huge benefit to its employees.

Founded in June 2015 by Gan Wei, Le Young Pictures ventures in business scopes including film production, broadcasting, investment, live film distribution, cultural and entertainment projects etc. which is related to the entertainment industry.

At present, Le Young Picture has produced entertainment reality shows “OMG! Cui” and “A Sharp Tongue” as well as television series “Xuan Yuan Sword Legend: The Clouds of Han” and “Dear Achimides” etc.

Its most popular production is the web TV series “Go Princess Go” directed by Gan Wei. It premiered in December 2015 and has reached over 2.4 billion in viewerships which generated more than US$1.5 million in profit.

Born in 1984, Gan Wei is a former actress and wife Jia Yueting, the founder of Chinese Internet giant Le Eco. She graduated from the People’s Liberation Army Academy of Art in Beijing China and has acted in a number of movies including Kungfu Cyborg, Welcome to Shama Town and The Girls which is a production of LeTV.

Le Young Pictures is currently working with Twenty-First Century Fox Inc and Korean Broadcasting System to produce a Korean version of the Go Princess Go series, an adaptation of a novel telling a story of a modern playboy traveling back in time 1,000 years to find himself in the body of a royal princess.

Commenting on the relationship between LeEco and Le Young, Gao FeiCheng the CEO of LeEco said, “Although most of the future productions will see the partnership between Le Young and LeEco, but from a legal point of view, Le Young Pictures is an independent entity, be it operationally and financially.”

At present, China’s market for online entertainment is witnessing an exponential development. Huacheng Securities Research Report believes that China’s network drama market size in 2017 will increase up to RMB42.5 billion, of which the copyright market will takeup RMB13.8 billion.

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media

Scroll to top