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The number of Chinese companies looking to go private ramp up

August 27, 2021, 2:48 PM UTC

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It’s no secret: Chinese companies listed in the U.S. are riding a rollercoaster they’d rather not be on.

On one end of the globe, Chinese state media has called for greater regulation in everything from online pharmacies to cosmetics—adding to an existing crackdown on China’s tech industry. On the other, officials stateside have threatened to delist the stocks of Chinese companies listed in the U.S. if they do not submit to greater scrutiny.

With the pressure of two governments bearing down on the sector—and growing geopolitical tension between the two countries—investors have grown nervous of the country’s future growth, taking their capital out of U.S.-listed Chinese stocks: The Nasdaq Golden Dragon Index is down about 28% since the start of the year.

It’s led to a growing number of reports around Chinese companies listed on U.S. exchanges hoping to take themselves out. Reuters on Thursday reported that JOYY, a Chinese live streaming business, may be going private in a deal led by its chairman David Li and Xiaomi founder Lei Jun. Per the report, JOYY has traded at a value of about $3.9 billion in the last month, but held net assets of about $5.6 billion as of June 30, leading its investors to believe the business was undervalued in public markets.

Regardless of whether the deal goes through (JOYY has not yet responded to a request for comment), it is true more Chinese companies have moved away from the U.S. equity markets either by relisting elsewhere, or going private altogether. Recruiting site 51job agreed to go private in a $5.7 billion deal in June. Meanwhile in 2020, some 16 Chinese companies worth $19 billion announced plans to go private last year, compared to five deals worth $8 billion the year before, per Dealogic.

It’s a strange development when taking a historical point of view of market’s dynamics: Chinese companies have in years past seen U.S. markets as an ideal place to go public because of its liquidity and reputation. 

A16Z’S SEED FUND: They might not broadcast it in loudspeakers, but it’s well known that Andreessen Horowitz does seed deals. The firm even has a dedicated tab on its website laying out investments in the earliest stages of company formation. So why does the firm feel the need to create a dedicated seed fund? 

I posed that question to Andreessen Horowitz General Partner Martin Casado on the firm’s first seed-focused fund that had $400 million in committed capital, announced Friday. A lot stays the same for a16z—the firm that has invested in the likes of Okta, Slack, Databricks, and Stripe at seed still plans to make roughly the same number of bets on that stage of the company on an annual basis (about half of a16z’s new investments since the start of 2020 were in seed, per a spokesperson). Meaning a16z doesn’t plan to add more investing professionals to specialize in seed—but it will add operating partners that can help build a nascent startup and focus on everything from recruiting to marketing. 

“The entire industry has been doing a lot more seeds. And we followed suit because there are more seeds to do,” he says. “The resources [needed] to help large companies,” he notes, are different from those needed to “help a two-person company.”

Seed-stage companies also represent a different risk profile for limited partners, says Casado. By breaking out a specific seed-focused fund, LPs can effectively pick and choose their level of risk.

Lucinda Shen
Twitter: 
@shenlucinda
Email: 
lucinda.shen@fortune.com

VENTURE DEALS

- DealerPolicy, a Colchester, Vt.-based insurance marketplace for automotive retail, raised $110 million in Series C funding. Goldman Sachs Asset Management led the round.

- DISQO, a Glendale, Calif.-based insights platform, raised $85 million from Sageview Capital, March Capital, and Valuestream Venture.

- Overjet.ai, a Boston-based artificial intelligence company, raised $27 million in Series A funding. General Catalyst and Insight Partners led the round and were joined by investors including Crosslink Capital and E14 Fund.

- Monad, a San Francisco-based security data cloud company, raised $17 million in Series A funding. Index Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including  Sequoia Capital.

- Zeal, a San Francisco-based payroll infrastructure provider, raised $13 million in Series A funding. Spark Capital led the round and was joined by investors including Commerce Ventures.

- Royal, a Los Angeles-based maker of a platform for buying songs from artists , raised $16 million in seed funding. Paradigm and Founders Fund led the round and were joined by investors including Atomic.

- Workera.ai, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based maker of a skilling platform, raised $16 million in Series A. funding. NEA led the round and was joined by investors including Owl Ventures and AI Fund.

- Bright, a Los Angeles-based video conversation platform, raised $15 million in funding. Sound Ventures, RIT Capital and Regah Ventures led the round and were joined by investors including TIME Ventures, Globo Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners, and Jeff Lawson (Co-Founder of Twilio). 

- #paid, a Canada-based creator marketing platform, raised $15 million in Series B funding. Sands Capital led the round and was joined by investors including Ascentia, Vanedge, and BDC Capital.

- Moment House, a Los Angeles-based ticketed experiences platform, raised $12 million in Series A funding. Forerunner Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including UTA Ventures, IDEO, Halsey, and Whitney Cummings.

- Spartan Radar, a Los Alamitos, Calif.-based provider of biomimetic automotive radar solutions, raised $10 million in seed funding. Prime Movers Lab and 8VC led the round and were joined by investors including Mac VC, Alumni Ventures Group, Broom Ventures, and Gaingels.

- CoCoPIE, a Boston-based maker of A.I. for off-the-shelf mobile devices, raised $6 million in Series A funding valuing it at $50 million. Sequoia China Seed Fund led the round.

- Firemaps, a San Francisco-based wildfire management startup, raised $5.5 million in seed funding. A16z’s Andrew Chen led the round and was joined by investors including Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and Addition’s Lee Fixel.

- LOVO, a Berkeley, Calif.-based A.I. speech company, raised $4.5 million in pre-Series A funding. Kakao Entertainment led the round.

- Playbook, a San Francisco-based cloud storage company, raised $4 million in seed funding. Founders Fund led the round and was joined by investors including Abstract, Inovia, Maple, Basis Set, Backend, and Wilson Sonsini.

- Clearbrief, a Seattle-based startup focused on legal filings, raised $3.5 million in seed funding. Reign Ventures led the round and was joined by investors including Court Lorenzini (DocuSign’s founding CEO).

- Avalo, a genome analysis company focused on plants resistant to climate change, raised $3 million in seed funding. Better Ventures and Giant Ventures led the round and were joined by investors including At One Ventures, Climate Capital, David Rowan of SOSV.

- Compa, a New Port Beach, Calif.-based recruiter management platform, raised $3.9 million in seed funding. Base10 Partners led the round and was joined by investors including Crosscut Ventures and Acadian Ventures.

- Tuna, a Latin American payments company, raised $3 million. Canary and Atlantico led the round.

- Abtrace, a U.K.-based healthtech startup focused on tracing chronic and long-term health conditions, raised £2.1 million ($2.9 million) in seed funding. Faber led the round and was joined by investors including Ganexa Capital.

- Hey Jane, a San Francisco-based abortion-focused telemedicine company, raised $2.2 million. Investors included Koa Lab, Gaingels, and Foursight Capital Partners.

PRIVATE EQUITY

- Western Digital is in talks to merge with Kioxia Holdings, a Japanese chip company backed by Bain Capital, per the Wall Street Journal. The deal could be valued at over $20 billion.

- TriArtisan Capital invested $10 million into C3, a Miami-based food tech company.

- Advent International is weighing an acquisition of Swedish Orphan Biovitrum AB, a Swedish biopharmaceutical company per Bloomberg. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- ArchiveSocial, backed by Level Equity, merged with Monsido, a San Francisco-based digital governance company. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- GTCR acquired Global Claims Services, a Jacksonville, Fla.-based insurance tech company. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Vision Innovation Partners, backed by Centre Partners, acquired Northeastern Eye Institute, an eye care center in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- WestView Capital Partners invested in Invisors, an Atlanta-based consulting business. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- JMI Equity invested in Incident IQ, an Atlanta-based service management platform for K-12 school districts. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

- Granicus, backed by Vista Equity Partners and Harvest Partners, acquired GovQA, a provider of public records and compliance workflow solutions for government. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

EXIT

- Crown Laboratories, backed by Hildred Capital Management, acquired StriVectin, a maker of anti-aging products, from L Catterton. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

IPOS

- Teads BV, an advertising tech company owned by Altice, withdrew plans for a U.S. IPO.

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