This week’s VC landscape has been dominated by smaller players with the biggest round raised barely reaching $122 million. Chinese food delivery platform HungryPanda bagged roughly $70 million, while Hong Kong-based artificial protein maker Avant Meats raised $3.1 million. Another Hong Kong company, LemonBox raised around $2.5 million in its pre-A round of financing. The biggest round of the week was completed by Suzhou-based biopharmaceutical company Pegbio.
HungryPanda raises $70 million to keep serving Chinese diaspora customers
UK-based Chinese food delivery app HungryPanda, which specifically targets consumers outside of China, announced it has raised $70 million to continue its global expansion delivering food from Chinese restaurants and Asian grocery stores to customers from the Chinese diaspora.
The company’s Series C round of financing is being led by Kinnevik, with participation from 83North and Felix Capital, HungryPanda’s previous backer, as well as Piton Capital and Burda Principal Investment.
The company has not disclosed its current valuation. However, it is known that the total financing of the four-year-old company stands at $90 million, all of it raised this year.
The funding comes on the back of a surge of usage of HungryPanda. The company’s CEO and founder Eric Li said in an interview that his business is already profitable in its earliest markets in the U.K., as well as in New York City.
Targeting clients from the Chinese diaspora, HungryPanda currently operates in 47 cities across Australia, Canada, France, New Zealand, and the U.K., having grown 30-fold in the last three years.
Biopharmaceutical company Pegbio raises $122 million pre-IPO round
A Suzhou-based biopharmaceutical company that specializes in innovative diabetes and obesity treatment products, Pegbio announced on Tuesday that it has raised a pre-IPO round of financing of roughly 800 million yuan ($122 million). The round was co-led by Jack Ma’s YF Capital, private equity firm Yingke PE, and life sciences-focused investment firm TF Capital.
Existing investor YuanBio Venture Capital also took part in the round, according to Pegbio’s announcement on WeChat. On top of that, the pre-IPO financing round was joined by new investors including Qianhai FoF, a 28.5 billion yuan ($5.8 billion) state-backed fund of funds, Zhongxin Huihai Investment Fund Management (Beijing), and Yuanfeng Capital. In 2014, the early- and growth-stage healthcare-focused VC YuanBio had made an undivulged equity financing investment in Pegbio.
Pegbio expects to use the newly raised funds to support its clinical research globally, facilitate proprietary drug development, and introduce in-licensed drugs from overseas. In addition, Pegbio is preparing to launch its initial public offering (IPO) on Shanghai’s Nasdaq-style STAR Market.
Pegbio was founded by Dr. Xumin Guan in 2008. It has been engaged in the research and development of macro-molecular drugs to fight diabetes, fatty liver, constipation, cardiovascular issues, gout, and other chronic diseases. Its flagship pipeline product, the PB-119, is designed to help diabetes patients. According to a press release on November 7, it has been successfully tested on humans in a phase-III clinical trial.
Hong Kong-based artificial protein maker Avant Meats bags a $3.1 million seed round
Cell-based protein startup Avant Meats announced this week it has closed a $3.1 million seed round of funding. The round gathered investors like China Venture Capital, AngelHub, ParticleX, Lever VC, CPT Capital, Loyal VC, Artesian, and 208 Seed Ventures. PTG Food and Regal Springs Chairman Markus Haefeli also participated.
Avant Meats said in a press release posted on the company’s LinkedIn page that it will use the proceeds of the new funding round to “fuel R&D and commercialization of its cultivated fish products.”
About Avant Meats
The Hong Kong-based startup’s business revolves around using fish cells to make cultivated seafood products such as fish maw and sea cucumber. Both are considered delicacies in Chinese cuisine, and Avant consciously puts emphasis on these products to target consumers in Mainland China and Hong Kong. There are environmental reasons behind the business, too, given that fish maw is in such high demand that the species hunted for it are on the brink of extinction.
Food supplement seller LemonBox completes pre-A round of financing
Chinese food supplement seller LemonBox announced the completion of its pre-A round of financing worth around $2.5 million. The round was led by Panda Capital and followed by Y Combinator who had previously injected funds into the company during its Seed round.
“In China, most supplements are sold at a big markup through pharmacies or multi-level marketing companies like Amway,” Derek Weng, the company’s founder and CEO said. “But vitamins aren’t that expensive to produce. Amway and the likes spend a lot on marketing and sales.”
With the new proceeds, LemonBox plans to open a second fulfillment center in the Shenzhen free-trade zone to add to the one it already has in Silicon Valley. The move will provide more stability to its supply chain as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupts international flights and cross-border trade. LemonBox also expects to secure certain health-related certificates and expand to Japan for sourcing products.
LemonBox runs a WeChat mini-program allowing users to receive product recommendations after taking a questionnaire about their health conditions. The company customizes user orders by offering daily packs of various supplements.