China VC Weekly: DNA Tests, Semiconductor Design and EVs
Three of the most interesting VC wins of last week included Chinese DNA test company Genebox bagging a Series A+ round to expand in China’s growing test market; semiconductor design software firm X-Epic raising over $30 million to capitalize on domestic opportunities brought on by the Sino-US trade war; and EV brand Nezha netting a hefty $305.5 million first Series C tranche beating the company’s expectations.
DNA test maker Genebox raises Series A+ round
Chinese DNA test maker Genebox announced this week that it had raised “tens of millions of dollars” in its Series A+ round of financing led by Centurium Capital.
The company previously raised roughly 136 million yuan ($21 million) in its angel round led by China’s leading drug retail chain Dashenlin Pharmaceutical, as well as a Series A round led by the consumer- and healthcare-focused investor Centurium Capital.
The Beijing-based startup is one of the over 100 Chinese direct-to-consumer DNA test companies, competing in an industry that is expected to see $405 million in sales by 2022.
Founded in 2018, Genebox produces affordable tests that promise to tell customers the best weight loss and skin care strategies as well as risks of developing diabetes or cancer.
Semiconductor design software start-up X-Epic nets $30.6 million in latest round of financing
Semiconductor design software start-up X-Epic has raised over 200 million yuan ($30.6 million) in its latest Series A round of fundraising, according to the company’s announcement made Tuesday. This is the firm’s third round of investment this year, coming at a critical time as China seeks self-reliance in the semiconductor industry amid trade restrictions related to US technology imports.
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With the new round of financing, X-Epic has raised an estimated $60 million. It previously raised two other investment rounds that closed in October and November.
“X-Epic was founded less than a year ago, and it is already receiving enormous recognition from the market and industry,” Wang Libin, founder and CEO of X-Epic, said in a statement released on the company’s official WeChat account.
X-Epic was founded by a former Cadence engineer in March and is based in Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu Province. The company whose name is an acronym that stands for “accelerating EDA pioneer innovation centre”, makes electronic design automation (EDA) software, an important set of software tools used by chip designers, an area currently dominated by three US companies – Cadence, Synopsys and Mentor Graphics.
EV brand Nezha completes $305.5 million Series C tranche
Electric vehicle brand Nezha, owned by Chinese automaker Hozon Auto, has netted 2 billion yuan ($305.5 million) in the first tranche of its Series C round led by the local equity investment firm HD Capital, the company officially announced on Thursday.
According to the firm, this tranche also includes capital injections from a group of large-scale investment institutions. The company expects the total size of the Series C round to “far exceed” its initial target of 3 billion yuan ($458.3 million).
The funding round is also expected to prepare Shanghai-based Nezha financially to become more competitive and rival other Chinese EV upstarts. Its major domestic competitors include Nio, Xpeng Motors, and Li Auto, all of which are listed in the US and have seen their stock prices rally in recent months after China’s EV sales bounced back in Q3 thanks to a domestic market that largely recovered from the pandemic.
The completion of the first tranche of the Series C round came after Nezha announced on July 20 its plans to raise 3 billion yuan, and subsequently, launch an initial public offering (IPO) on Shanghai’s Nasdaq-style STAR Market in 2021.
Launched in October 2014 with an initial registered capital of 626 million yuan ($95.7 million), Hozon Auto introduced its debut vehicle, Nezha N01, to the market in November 2018.