Beijing-based Snowball Finance, China’s major social investment website, has closed a US$120 million Series D financing round, with Ant Financial – an affiliate of the Alibaba Group – as a new strategic investor, according to a report by our parent 36Kr. The investment represents the largest financing round to-date for the firm, which has raised up to $53.1 million over 3 previous rounds of financing according to Crunchbase.
Investors in previous rounds include the likes of Sequoia China and Morningside Capital. This latest funding round might be part of a move to build up a cash pile to finance the firm’s new ”Internet + asset management” base model implemented at the end of 2015.
Fang Sanwen, Snowball’s founder and CEO, disclosed that investment proceeds will be targeted at product development, improving the trading system and talent recruitment to better the user experience of its users to trade across markets and financial products.
Founded in 2010 and officially launched in November 2011, Snowball Finance started off leveraging technology to provide for valuation information and interactive communication services for Chinese investors who invest in the wide range of financial products from typical stocks, to bonds and even various funds across multiple markets such as Hong Kong and the U.S.
Some of the products offered include a ”snowball” cross-platform app and an investor social networking site. The ‘Twitter-like’ features allow for the exchange of quality investment ideas amongst high-quality investors is one of its unique points.
Additionally, it has also expanded into the asset management space, with services such as Snowball Private Equity and Snowball’s Egg Roll Fund, which was launched in H2 2016 and offers different fund investment portfolios catering to different risk profiles.
The company claims these tailored strategies for ordinary investors now support more than 4,500 public fund subscriptions and transactions. Meanwhile, Snowball Private Equity has issued more than 200 private placements for the high net worth investors (HNIs)
Alongside China’s IPO wave, Snowball has also started to offer advanced trading functions for investors to trade a variety of stocks and stock options. Snowball Finance’s online community has reportedly grown to 12 million monthly active users from a community that was estimated to range from 700,000 to 1 million users in 2015.
The new partnership with Ant Financial will enhance Snowball Finance’s offerings, augmenting its ability to offer its wealth management services to more consumers.