China VC Weekly: Edtech, Autonomous Driving and Healthcare
Last week was big for edtech fundraising news. Two of China’s largest edtech unicorns, Zuoyebang and Yuanfudao, both raised huge sums, pushing their valuations through the roof. In other news, Tencent-backed healthcare community DXY bagged $500 million for technological innovation, while self-driving vehicle startup WeRide struck up a cooperation agreement with bus-maker Yutong Group.
Online tutoring giant Zuoyebang completes massive $1.6 billion financing round
Chinese online tutoring platform Zuoyebang has completed a $1.6 billion financing round raising funds from investors including Alibaba Group and SoftBank’s Vision Fund, according to the company’s announcement made Monday.
Certain existing investors including Tiger Global, Sequoia Capital China and FountainVest Partners also participated in the round, Zuoyebang said in their statement. The company, however, has not disclosed its valuation in the round.
Zuoyebang plans to use the funds raised in the round to support its operations in regards to designing kindergarten to grade 12 classes. The company also expects to double down on education and technology investments to strengthen competitiveness, according to Chief Executive Hou Jianbin.
In June, the company, which is also backed by Chinese search firm Baidu Inc, reportedly raising $750 million in a round led by FountainVest and Tiger Global.
Founded in 2015, Zuoyebang positions itself as China’s largest online education company, with more than 50 million daily active users and more than 170 million monthly active users.
Chinese edtech behemoth Yuanfudao raises its third financing round in 2020
Chinese online education platform Yuanfudao has raised $300 million in a new funding round, reportedly bringing the overall funding of the Beijing-based company to roughly $3.5 billion.
This is Yuanfudao’s third funding round raised in 2020, led by Yunfeng Capital, a venture fund co-founded by Alibaba’s Jack Ma, according to the Chinese tech media outlet 36Kr and later confirmed by the company.
In October, the startup announced that it had raised a combined $2.2 billion in two rounds of funding that pushed the company’s valuation to $15.5 billion, making it the world’s biggest edtech startup. The new funding will take the valuation of Yuanfudao to around $17 billion.
The company’s first 2020 round of investment in March was led by Tencent Holdings with participation from Hillhouse Capital, Boyu Capital and IDG Capital. The second round in October was led by DST Global.
The company previously said it intends to use the funds for technological innovation, expansion of its services, and to accelerate product and curriculum development.
SEE ALSO: China Edtech Startups Yuanfudao, Zuoyebang Raise Billions in Fresh Funding Rounds
Founded in 2012, Yuanfudao offers students online courses and homework plans in the Chinese K12 segment. Its wide range of mobile apps – including Yuanfudao, English tutoring app Zebra AI Class, question bank Yuantiku, question search app Xiaoyuan Souti, and mathematics problem checking app Xiaoyuan Kousuan – provide students with live tutoring and homework support.
Online healthcare community DXY raises $500 million
Chinese online Pfizer-like healthcare community DXY, announced this week that it has raised $500 million in a new round led by private equity firm Trustbridge Partners.
The company’s existing backer Tencent and Hillhouse Capital also took part in the round, which pushed the firm’s total funding to over $660 million. DXY’s earlier investors included Xiaomi founder Lei Jun’s Shunwei Capital and DCM.
DXY intends to spend the proceeds of the round on strengthening the two pillars of its business — support for physicians and services for consumers to fend off competition from SoftBank-backed Ping An Good Doctor, Alibaba Health, JD Health, and WeDoctor, which is also backed by Tencent.
The 20-year-old company started as a knowledge-sharing platform for doctors and has over time added a consumer-facing aspect by providing wellness advice and medical consultation services to the public.
Autonomous vehicle startup WeRide bags $200 million from Yutong Group, partners on self-driving buses
Chinese autonomous vehicle startup WeRide made public on Wednesday that it has raised $200 million from Yutong Group, the parent of bus maker Zhengzhou Yutong Bus Co Ltd, and that the two companies are planning to develop self-driving buses together.
WeRide, which is already testing self-driving passenger vehicles in California and China’s southern city of Guangzhou, did not disclose its post-fundraising valuation.
The company’s statement confirmed that it would develop autonomous mini-buses, city buses and other commercial vehicles with Yutong.
The Guangzhou-based autonomous vehicle company is also backed by the Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi alliance.
Tony Han, chief executive of the company, told Reuters earlier this year the company was looking to expand into different types of vehicles, including trucks.
Founded three years ago, WeRide is pursuing a level 4 autonomous standard, in which the vehicle can handle all aspects of driving in most circumstances with no human intervention.