Chinese Private Equity Firm Hillhouse Launches “Aseed+” Early-Stage Fund

Beijing-based private equity firm Hillhouse announced the official launch of its “Aseed+” seed fund project on September 28, which will focus on sectors including manufacturing, new energy, new materials, biotechnology, and carbon neutrality. It plans to invest in about 100 seed-stage companies within three years.

Aseed+ is led by Li Liang, a founding partner of Hillhouse, which is driven by a professional team with diverse backgrounds, including people with scientific research backgrounds, industrial experience and entrepreneurial practice. The new venture plans to invest in 100 seed projects over the course of three years, specializing in deals worth roughly $2-3 million.

Aseed+ will cover all links before, during and after investment, providing integrated services such as business incubation, market verification, business acceleration and subsequent rounds of financing, and it will provide targeted support for startups.

So far, Hillhouse has set up a number of new centers with physical spaces in Beijing, Shanghai and other cities, aiming to create a platform integrating incubation, investment and empowerment.

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“We hope to find some experienced entrepreneurs with passion, strength and industry accumulation to challenge the high technological and engineering barriers,” said Li Liang.

“Since its establishment, Hillhouse has made nearly 100 first-round deals,” said Li Liang, adding that they “have accumulated a lot of experience in seed round investment.” These projects include BeiGene, Horizon Robotics, Agile Robots, NIO, XVERSE, Neumora, MOODY, and Little Freddie, and many of these have grown into unicorns with operations on the global stage.

According to data provided by Hillhouse, the firm has invested in 20 enterprises during the seed stage so far in 2022, among which 83.6% are technology enterprises. In terms of scale, the definition of “seed” by Hillhouse is also very close to the category of typical angel round investment: a single scale is generally from $2-3 million, but no fixed investment limit will be set.

Zhang Lei, the founder of Hillhouse, said that early-stage investment nowadays has completed a transition from the stage of value discovery to the stage of “discovery + value creation.” Investment institutions need to truly go to the front line of technological and industrial innovation, and work with outstanding entrepreneurs to flourish in the innovative ecology and release its true value.