In last week’s VC news, fast fashion e-commerce giant SHEIN set its eyes on a massive $100 billion valuation, several local AR/VR firms raised considerable investment rounds, PAG took a major stake in %Arabica, and more.
SHEIN Seeks $1B in Financing for $100 Billion Valuation
Fast fashion e-commerce giant SHEIN is said to be in talks with General Atlantic regarding a new round of financing, according to Bloomberg. Among the stakeholders currently invested in the company are Tiger Global, IDG and Sequoia. SHEIN is reportedly raising $1 billion at a $100 billion valuation.
According to 36Kr, in 2013, SHEIN received a round of financing totaling $5 million from JAFCO. In the year before its A round of financing, the platform’s sales reached 40 million yuan ($6.28 million). With sufficient cash, in 2014 it acquired ROMWE, its main competitor, and transferred its supply chain to Guangzhou to establish overseas warehouses in Europe and America.
In 2015, SHEIN completed B-round financing of 300 million yuan, with IDG and Greenwoods Asset Management serving as investors. It then began to improve the mobile shopping user experience, acquired MakeMeChic to consolidate its North American market, and established a customer service center in the United States. By 2017, the company’s sales had exceeded 10 billion yuan.
SHEIN, established in 2008, was the second most downloaded shopping app in the U.S. last year after Amazon, according to app analytics firm Apptopia. It has exceeded the sum of H&M and Zara in terms of valuation. It even surpassed the market value of Lululemon, a popular Canadian sports brand worth $46.3 billion.
Fashion Trend Prediction Startup Zhiyi Tech Bags $100M
Zhiyi Tech, a Hangzhou-based fashion trend prediction firm run by two Carnegie Mellon Ph.D. alumni specializing in artificial intelligence, said it has raised close to $100 million from three rounds of funding led respectively by GL Ventures – Hillhouse Capital’s early-stage arm, Zoo Capital, Xianghe Capital and CE Innovation Capital, according to TechCrunch.
Other investors from the round included existing shareholders Legend Capital and Yonghua Capital. The proceeds add to the “tens of millions of dollars” Zhiyi raised from a Series A round in 2018.
About Zhiyi Tech
Zhiyi works by scouring the internet for styles, including those from Instagram influencers and fashion shows, and turning them into actionable insight for designers, such as which color, material or pattern is trending. Additionally, it analyzes apparel sales on e-commerce sites like Alibaba’s Taobao and Douyin, TikTok’s Chinese mainland version, and breaks down the bestsellers.
Asian Goods Shopping Platform Yami Secures $50M in Round-B Financing
Yami, the largest online shopping platform in North America specializing in Asian commodities, announced that it has raised a Series B round of financing of $50 million. The round was co-led by Altos Ventures and Balsam Bay Partners, with participation from previous backers J.P Morgan and GGV Capital.
Yami has cooperated with more than 4,000 brands and has established deep cooperative relations with prominent brands including beverage firm Genki Forest, home appliance firm Buydeem and Joyoung, beauty products maker Shiseido and Dr. Jart. Yami is also the largest overseas partner of Genki Forest and coffee retailer Saturnbird, boosting their annual sales to over millions of dollars.
Yami was established in March 2013 and is headquartered in California. Up to now, the number of users of Yami has exceeded 2 million. Yami is a direct-to-consumer marketplace for Asian food, skincare products, and household goods, with more than 260,000 SKUs.
Huynew Technology Obtains Tens of Millions of Yuan in A+ Financing Round
AR/VR optical module supplier Huynew Technology has announced its completion of a Series A+ round of financing totaling tens of millions of yuan. The investors in this round included Granary Capital and Zelos Megatrends. Prior to this, the company had obtained several rounds of financing totaling nearly 100 million yuan ($15.7 million).
After the completion of this round of financing, Huynew Technology will continue investing in its AR and VR optical modules. The products are lightweight, high-definition and VAC-free. The firm also aims to further expand its production capacity and optimize its mass production process and efficiency.
About Huynew Technology
Since its establishment in 2017, Huynew Technology has focused on the R&D and mass production of AR/VR display optical modules. It supplies AR coaxial air-guide modules (Co-Axis, referred to as “CA,” also known as “BB” in the industry) and the “Pancake” optical solution for VR modules.
AR Tech Firm Nreal Secures $60M in Round C+ Financing Led by Alibaba
Nreal, a prominent Chinese augmented reality (AR) technology company, announced on that it has completed a Series C+ round of financing totaling $60 million, led by Alibaba Group. The fresh funds will reportedly be used to increase R&D expenditure, broaden diversified application scenarios and accelerate market expansion.
In the past 12 months, Nreal has raised a total of $200 million via multiple fundraisers. Its investors include Kuaishou, NIO Capital, YF Capital and Sequoia China. Many products of Nreal have already been delivered to Japan, South Korea, the United States and many European countries. The company also plans to expand operations within the Chinese market this year.
Nreal was founded in January 2017 and has achieved seven iterations of products in two years, from 500g helmets to 100g glasses.
Harbinger Robots Secures Investment From Sequoia China Seed Fund
Harbinger Robots has recently completed a pre-A round of financing from lead investor Sequoia China Seed Fund and co-investor Linear Capital, which also participated in the firm’s angel round.
The funds are to be allocated mainly for product approval, clinical trials, cooperation with hospitals and R&D of new robots, according to the company.
About Harbinger Robots
Harbinger Robots was established in August 2020. The company is deeply involved in core technologies such as force control robotics, telepresence compliant teleoperation, multimodal perception and edge artificial intelligence.
PAG Invests in Boutique Coffee Brand %Arabica
PAG has completed investment in gourmet coffee brand %Arabica, becoming a major shareholder of the firm, Chinese media outlet Such Bright reported on Tuesday.
According to a report by IPO Zaozhidao on Monday, PAG has submitted a prospectus to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, in which %Arabica has been included in its portfolio.
According to domestic corporate data platform Tianyancha, Shanghai Labica Coffee Co., Ltd. is the main operator of %Arabica within China, and the controlling shareholder of the company is currently listed as Lucky Ace International Limited.
One of the directors of Lucky Ace is Huang Dewei. According to PAG’s prospectus, Huang joined PAG in March 2011, and is currently a partner of PAG and co-head of private equity.
%Arabica has come a long way since founder Kenneth Shoji established its flagship store in the ancient Japanese city of Kyoto in 2014. In 2015, %Arabica became a globally popular brand and was introduced to Hong Kong with a flourish in 2017, with the opening of two concept stores. The company currently also operates multiple stores in China’s Mainland.
Smart Dishwasher Firm Qingmei Completes A-Round Financing, Baidu Ventures Among Investors
Qingmei Electric Appliance Technology Co., Ltd. (Qingmei), a smart dishwasher manufacturer based in the eastern Chinese city of Ningbo, announced that it has received tens of millions of yuan in its Series A round of financing from Borun Capital and Baidu Ventures. The funds are reportedly to be used for R&D investment, intelligent factory construction and market expansion. Previously, Xiaomi joined in the angel investment round for Qingmei.
“We believe that dishwashers are still in an early period for development. Referring to the penetration rate and growth rhythm of cleaning appliances, it is estimated that the penetration rate of dishwashers will reach 7%-10%, and the dishwasher market will usher in booming development.” said Zhao Xuegang, founder of Qingmei.
Founded in 2019, Qingmei independently develops, produces and sells smart dishwashers, and is gradually expanding to various European and U.S. markets. It has built an intelligent manufacturing facility which will be put into production in June 2022.