China VC Weekly: InsurTech, EdTech, Artificial Meat and Robots
Waterdrop Inc. announces $230 million series D round of financing
China’s InsurTech platform Waterdrop Inc. officially announced that it had raised $230 million in its series D financing round during its 2020 Waterdrop Global Partner Conference on Thursday, confirming the speculations that started circulating last week. The round became arguably the world’s largest in the online InsurTech space so far this year.
The company confirmed that the round of financing was jointly led by Swiss Re Group and Tencent, while existing investors including IDG Capital and Wisdom Choice Global Fund also participated. Tencent has also been a long-term supporter of Waterdrop, with their relationship going back to the company’s angel round.
“We are excited about the huge growth potential that lies ahead of us,” Waterdrop founder and CEO Shen Peng said. “Our long-term goal is to become a leading online healthcare platform in China with an ecosystem that includes insurers, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals and drug stores, as well as nursing institutions and rehabilitation institutions. We are committed to not only helping users with financing issues but also providing them with integrated healthcare services along the way.”
Founded in 2016, Beijing-based Waterdrop Inc. operates three major businesses including Waterdrop Insurance Mall, Waterdrop Crowdfunding, and Waterdrop Mutual. With 120 million users as of August 2020, Waterdrop Insurance Mall expects to reach a record written premium of $2 billion this year, representing over 100% year-on-year growth.
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Children’s online English learning platform Palfish raises $120 million series C round
Chinese online English education platform for children Palfish announced that it has raised $120 million in a series C round of financing led by dianping.com founder Zhang Tao and FutureX Capital. Several existing shareholders such as SIG and Whales Capital also made contributions to the round.
“This round of funds will be mainly used to create more products to meet user needs through innovation, to optimize growth conversion and teaching services based on database and intelligent systems and strive to achieve better learning results through AI+Social,” Palfish founder and CEO Huang He said.
Founded in 2017, Palfish offers additional English learning services and products for children ages 1 to 14. The company has built a series of educational products aiming to cover all ages and scenarios for children’s English learning such as Palfish Picture Book, Palfish Children’s English one-on-one foreign teacher classes, Palfish AI class and Palfish reading courses.
Artificial meat company Starfield nets a $10 million series A
Chinese artificial meat brand Starfield announced that it has closed a $10 million series A round led by Sky9 Capital with Joy Capital and Matrix Partners China also participating.
Starfield plans to use the proceeds of the round to build its own factory in Shenzhen, and invest in product research and development, supply chain improvement, brand promotion and team operations.
Previously, in March 2020, Starfield raised an angel round from Matrix Partners China, Joy Capital, New Crop Capital, and Dao Foods Capital.
Starfield currently offers nearly 20 artificial meat product titles, divided into refrigerated lines and normal temperature lines, spanning flavors like beef, chicken, pork, seafood and others. The shapes include chunks, cakes, balls, and crumbles.
Industrial robot maker Rokae raises 100 million yuan in series C1 round
Chinese industrial robot maker Rokae announced that it has completed a 100 million yuan ($14.48 million) series C1 round of financing led by Xianghe Capital.
Rokae will use the proceeds of the round to accelerate research and development, promote the development of a new generation of intelligent flexible collaborative robots – namely, the company’s xMate series –, and invest in business development.
“With the increase in labor costs, advances in robot application technology, and people’s higher requirements for product quality, more and more new application scenarios have emerged,” said Tuo Hua, founder and CEO of Rokae. “Rokae will focus on the research and development of robotics and the innovation of applied technology, quickly launch high-quality products and services in response to market demand, create a better life with robotics, and continue to create value for customers through efficiency.”
The Beijing-based company previously bagged $6 million in a series A round led by THG Ventures in November 2017 and completed a $23.3 million series B round led by Shunwei Capital with participation from GSR United Capital, Plum Ventures, and THG Ventures in September 2018.
Founded in 2015, Rokae develops new-generation flexible collaborative robots, lightweight industrial robots and high-end intelligent equipment.