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The big reversal: from laying off staff to raising USD 360 mil | China Venture Roundup Volume 19

Written by KrASIA Venture Roundup Published on     2 mins read

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This is a preview. Sign up with our free subscription program to receive China VC/Startup ecosystem newsletters, Chinese market and industry reports, and invitations to closed-door events. Key trends

This is a preview. Sign up with our free subscription program to receive China VC/Startup ecosystem newsletters, Chinese market and industry reports, and invitations to closed-door events.

Key trends

90 private investments were made in the past week, with Industry 4.0 taking the lead. Deals in enterprise service and healthcare sectors are still favored by investors, following closely with 17 and 12 deals respectively.

Top Stories: VCs and Investments

SoftBank’s Vision Fund led a USD 360 million Series F funding round for China’s most popular workout platform—Keep. Hillhouse Capital, Coatue Management, and several existing shareholders including GGV Capital and Tencent Holdings also participated in this round. The company is now valued at USD 2 billion.

Launched in 2014, Keep was originally a workout app that provides simple and free training courses. Although the company had 200 million users by June 2019, it constantly faced monetization issues, and even had to lay off 10–15% of its staff in October that year.

The unfavorable situation came to an end with the sudden outbreak of COVID-19. With renewed attention on personal wellness, Chinese people are working out more than before. Additionally, government-mandated lockdowns force people to stay indoors, prompting more to exercise in their homes.

Top IPOs of the week

Mixue Bingcheng (蜜雪冰城)

Mixue Bingcheng is a beverage franchise operator. By 2020, it became the first Chinese beverage enterprise to have achieved the milestone of 10,000 stores worldwide.

On January 13, Mixue Bingcheng closed its Series A round, raising RMB 2 billion (USD 308.49 million) from Hillhouse Capital and Longzhu Capital—also known as Meituan-Dianping Industry Fund. This bumps the company’s valuation to over RMB 20 billion (USD 3.08 billion), putting it ahead of its opponents such as Nayuki, valued at RMB 13 billion (USD 2 billion), and Hey Tea, valued at RMB 16 billion (USD 2.47 billion).

Startups on our watchlist

MedTech 

Surgerii (术锐) Founded in 2016; Series A

Surgerii operates in the field of high-end precision medicine, with a focus on developing the third-generation systems of minimally invasive endoscopic robotic surgeries. It raised nearly RMB 300 million (USD 46.19 million) in a Series B round led by CMG-SDIC Capital. CD Capital, Shunwei Capital, Tianfeng Capital, and Hyfinity Investments also participated in this investment.

Surgerii has submitted more than 270 patent applications across the globe, and has so far successfully obtained three patents in the US and 90 patents in China. It has gained industry recognition and was named by China’s Ministry of Science and Technology as a “National High-tech Enterprise” in 2019. In an interview with 36Kr, Xu Kai, the founder of Surgerii, explained that the company’s medical device product has a compact but rigid design that gives surgeons more precise control without compromising motion flexibility.

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