Category: Investment

Mobvista secures US$100 million credit facility from Bank of China

China’s mobile marketing platform Mobvista Co. Ltd. has on Wednesday, obtained a credit facility worth nearly US$100 million from Bank of China, which marks the largest credit facility ever granted by a bank in the mobile marketing industry in China.

“For an asset-light Internet company, the trust behind the strategic cooperation with Bank of China wasn’t easy to build,” said Mobvista’s Founder and CEO Wei Duan. “The credit facility represents not only Bank of China’s recognition of Mobvista’s past performance, but also its confidence on Mobvista’s future.”

Established in 2013, Mobvista is an Asian mobile marketing platform that focuses on providing user acquisition and traffic monetization services to mobile app developers across the world. On November 2015, the company completed its listing on China’s National Equities Exchange and Quotations (NEEQ), raising an amount of nearly US$1 billion.

Mobvista is also recognized by TUNE as the “Top 25 Mobile Advertising Partner Report for 2016“, having targeted traffic from 243 countries and regions with a daily amount reaching over 10 billion. Prior to this, the company which houses 500 employees in 12 offices spread across the world is backed by NetEase (Hong Kong) Ltd., Midas Capital, Shanghai Media Group, Haitong Securities and China Securities,

In May 2016, the company raised nearly US$80 million via its first private placement deal to finance acquisitions, buying U.S. advertising company NativeX and European mobile game analytics platform GameAnalytics for an undisclosed amount in February and July last year.

“Across the world, over 80% Internet users are connected via smartphones and the rapid growth mobile Internet over the past three years offers historic opportunities to global mobile marketing industry. This credit facility from Bank of China will further help us accelerate expansion in overseas markets,” said Wei Duan

Mobvista’s revenue reached US$118.174 million while its net profit reached US$11.525 million for the six months ended on August 31, 2016, according to disclosure filings, in which has allowed it to maintain its No.1 position in the mobile marketing industry.

Providing financial services in China and 46 other countries and regions, Bank of China within the three years period from 2012 to 2015, has increased its overseas assets by 54.06% and continued to diversify, strongly supporting its cross-border M&As and M&A financing and loan businesses in the trend to internationalise.

“Mobile marketing is an emerging industry with great momentum. Today’s credit facility is based on the recognition to the mobile marketing industry, which is in line with Bank of China’s commitment to an efficient and professional partner addressing all demands of small and medium businesses,” said a spokesperson from the Bank of China.

Bank of China is Mobvista’s largest bank partner in 2016 looking at the perspectives of RMB deposit and loans, USD loans, as well as cross-border settlement. With the support from Guangdong Branch of Bank of China, Mobvista has built a connection with Bank of China’s branches in Seoul, Brussels, Hong Kong, New York and Chicago.

From Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media

China Media Capital, SECA to invest tens of millions of Euros in FIA Formula E Championship

Chinese private equity firm China Media Capital (CMC), led by Chinese media mogul Li Ruigang, announced on Tuesday that it has partnered with its portfolio company SECA, a sports marketing company in China to invest tens of millions of Euros into Formula E Holdings, the official promoter of the FIA Formula E Championship auto racing.

Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed but CMC and SECA plan to help introduce and expand Formula E’s influence in China.

Established in 2014, the Formula E Championship is the world’s first electric powered single-seater racing series featuring electric-powered cars manufactured by makers including Renault, Jaguar, and Mahindra racing in major cities around the world.

Its third season, which started in October and runs until July, comprised of races in cities such as Mexico City, Hong Kong, Paris, Berlin, Brussels, New York, and Montreal. According to Formula E, its Hong Kong race in 2016 was watched by 488,000 Chinese viewers via the internet.

“The opening round of each season has been hosted in this region – Beijing and Hong Kong – and we have teams and drivers such as TECHEETAH and Ma Qing Hua already competing in the series. We look forward to working closely with CMC Capital Partners, and continuing to grow the profile of Formula E in key territories across the globe,” Alejandro Agag, the Founder & CEO of Formula E, said.

Formula E has also established partnerships with Chinese TV stations and online video sites including Chinese national television operator CCTV and online video platform to broadcast races in China.

“Since its inauguration three years ago, Formula E has quickly evolved into a premium global sports IP under a first-class leadership, with remarkable progress in promoting sustainability, innovation, and market penetration of electric vehicles, as well as in media partnership, sponsorship, and tourism,” Li Ruigang said.

“CMC has been focusing on investing in premium global and local sports IPs, and we look forward to working together with Formula E both in China and globally,” he further adds.

The investment in Formula E follows a series of investments made by CMC and its affiliates in sports companies, including SoccerWorld China, Lanxiong Sports, and Beijing Wesai Era Sports Technology Co. This also includes leading an angel round in a sports content startup founded by Chinese football celebrity Sun Jihai in December,

In 2015, CMC and CITIC Capital agreed to invest US$400 million for the acquisition of a 13% of City Football Group, the owner of football related clubs and businesses including Manchester City, New York City, Melbourne City, and a minority shareholder in Japanese football association Yokohama F. Marinos.

Founded in 2009, CMC was the mainland’s first media sector focused fund dedicated to media and entertainment investments in China and around the world. It has separate movie-making ventures with IMAX Corp and Warner Brothers Entertainment, as well as a partnership with Jeffrey Katzenberg’s Dreamworks Animation Skg, which produced Kung Fu Panda 3.

The company signed a deal in October 2015 for the exclusive global broadcast rights over the next five years of Chinese Super League,

Commenting on the fundraising, Agag said, “We are excited to welcome CMC Capital Partners, led by Mr. Ruigang Li, to the increasing list of investors joining Formula E and the electric revolution. China is an important player in the potential of electric vehicle manufacturing and production, and this partnership reinforces our intentions to promote sustainable mobility across Asia and Mainland China.”

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media

Nazara Games invests US$20 million to set up Indian professional eSports gaming league

Nazara Technologies Pvt. Ltd, a mobile game publisher, has announced on Tuesday, that it has launched a new eSports league in India, for which it would invest Rs 136 crore (about US$20 million) over the next five years.

The eSports league, a series of organised multiplayer video game tournaments is a project initiated to scale up the eSports ecosystem in the country over five years and will be housed in a separate fully-owned subsidiary of Nazara Technologies.

“Esports has become a cultural phenomenon in the last few years. Countries in Europe, Korea, China, and U.S. have seen massive growth in the number of players and spectators. Asia-Pacific accounts for 44% of the audience and is the fastest growing region globally. Given improving internet connectivity in India, launching an eSports league seemed the perfect way to reach out to the large group of eSports enthusiasts in India,” said Nitish Mittersain, the Founder and Managing Director of Nazara Games.

At the onset, the league will conduct two seasons each year for the single person shooter Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and multi-player online battle arena DotA 2. It also plans to add more titles in the future.

To participate, teams will have to register on the website and pass pre-qualification tournaments in which the progress of all players in the qualification tournament can be tracked by the entire Indian eSports community through live web programmes.

Founded in 2000 by Nitish Mittersain, Nazara Technologies is a leading mobile games publisher with a consumer base in India and worldwide. In addition to developing a range of branded and original mobile games, Nazara operates services such as Games Club, having customers ranging from mobile carriers as well as handset manufacturers.

Speaking on the eSports league, Manish Agarwal, the CEO of Nazara Games also said, “We are excited to provide Indian eSports enthusiasts with a solid and player/community orientated eSports ecosystem, in which players can thrive, improve their skills and become top competitors at an international level. The eSports league will not only be great for Indian players but also for fans. This platform will provide very extensive and exciting coverage of the Indian eSports landscape and will allow fans to track the careers and professional achievements of their eSport idols on a daily basis.”

Nazara is investing in building a wider eSports ecosystem, which it claims will be the firs games project of its genre and scale in India. Focusing on content based and styled on successful eSports format, Nazara will also work around three major pillars – an online content platform dedicated to the eSports community, a professional league and a network of pro-teams entirely supported by Nazara.

Currently present in 41 countries across the world, the company behind Chota Bheem reportedly has a revenue of Rs 220 crore for FY16, or US$26 million, clocking 40% CAGR over the last four years.

In April 2016, Nazara invested an undisclosed amount in London-based mobile games studio TrulySocial. Prior to that, it acquired a 26% stake in another London-based mobile gaming studio Mastermind Sports Ltd, which launched CricBet, a real-time prediction game.

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media

Israeli JOY Ventures launches US$50 million neuro-wellness fund

JOY Ventures, a new Israeli investment firm, has recently initiated a US$50 million vehicle centered on the emerging field of neuro-wellness, in addition to the inauguration of its office in Herzliya Pituach.

Founded by the Israeli-Japanese Corundum Open Innovation Fund, JOY Ventures will invest in developments offering scientifically validated technologies offering anti-stress and mood alteration solutions in addition to neuro wellness solutions, that can be turned into marketable products.

Additionally, the new fund will be headed by Avi Yaron, a serial entrepreneur, Founder of Visionsense and the inventor of a state-of-the-art instrument for complex brain surgery along with Beer-Sheva-based Incubit Technology Ventures’ Idan Katz.

Speaking on the vehicle, Yaron said, “Originally developed to make things easier for human beings, technology actually intensifies the tension we live in. For this reason, we decided to invest in neuro wellness by leveraging the large body of research and neuro developments in Israel.”

JOY Ventures will adopt a two-track approach, funding research grants of at least US$1.2 million per annum to academic research in the emerging field, startup companies, and technological incubators for entrepreneurs.

“We’re establishing a new ecosystem in the new industry of neuro-wellness,” Yaron said. “Our emphasis will be on the development of scientifically-proven products whose goal will be to help people manage and overcome chronic conditions.”

“Many years of being involved in the development of brain surgery technologies, made me realise the human need for joyful and relaxed moments and how critical they are for our health,” Yaron explains. “Many neuro researches show that the modern life intensity contributes to prolonged hostile emotions of sadness, anger, anxiety, guilt and more. These emotions, in turn, generate stress and collect a heavy toll from our health.”

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media

Chinese VC firm Legend Capital secures US$243 million for seventh venture fund

Chinese venture capital firm Legend Capital, the venture and growth capital arm of China’s Legend Holdings Corporation, has raised US$243 million last Friday for its seventh vehicle.

Based on a SEC filing, the LC Fund VII aims to raise US$374 million for its latest fund and is currently still in the process of raising the remaining US$132 million. The vehicle has begun its fundraising process about a year ago, having filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in February 2016.

Its previous sixth US dollar-denominated fund was raised in May 2014, whereby Legend Capital has attracted five new investors, raising US$500 million in a span of under six months.

Founded in 2001, Legend Capital focuses on innovation and growth enterprises with operations in China or related to China. The VC firm claims to manage several US dollar and RMB funds with its total assets under management at over RMB30 billion (about US$4.37 billion).

Additionally, Legend Capital has invested in more than 300 companies including Beijing biochemical firm Kawin Technology, Chinese gaming company iDreamSky, and digital entertainment company Happy Elements among some.

Among its investment portfolio, 50 have successfully listed on domestic or overseas capital market while around 40 companies achieved exit through M&A. Recent exits include Shandong Linglong Tyre Co., Ltd., which was listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange in July 2016.

The venture capital firm recently co-led a US$100-million funding round in Chinese boutique hotel operator AtourHotel. While in November, it had invested US$20 million along with the investment arm of Alibaba Group – Riverhill Fund in Chinese online seafood marketplace Gfresh.

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media

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