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Hong Kong Startup News Roundup - 15 December 2019


WeLab raises US$156M in Series C strategic financing, completing the largest fintech fundraising in Greater China in 2019

WeLab, a leading fintech company in Asia, announced that it has raised US$156 million (equivalent to over HK$1.2 billion) of Series C strategic financing, completing the largest fintech fundraising in Greater China year to date. This round drew the backing of new investors as well as five existing investors, including Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund and China Construction Bank (International) amongst others, who made follow-on investments, validating WeLab’s accomplishments and demonstrating confidence in WeLab’s future prospects.

“This financing will be used to further develop and broaden our platform as a fintech enabler. Further investment into technology research and development will enable us to apply these innovative technologies around the region and roll out additional products and services for our customers to provide holistic financial services digitally,” said Simon Loong, Founder and Group CEO of WeLab.

In 2020, the Group aspires to further develop and broaden the platform as a fintech enabler with the following three key targets: to launch WeLab Bank in 2020; further expand China’s B2B business partners to over 1,000 and offer our proprietary privacy computing solutions to enterprises on the cloud platform in 2H 2020; and aim to enter another South East Asia market beyond Indonesia within the next two years.

SOSV Raises $277 Million In Oversubscribed Fourth Fund To Invest In Early-Stage Deep Tech Startups

SOSV has raised $277 million for its new SOSV IV fund, nearly doubling its previous $150 million SOSV III fund. SOSV, known for investing in deep-tech, is often ranked as the most active investor in startups in hardware and life sciences.

With SOSV IV, the firm will continue investing in approximately 150 new startups per year across its industry-leading accelerator programs HAX, IndieBio, RebelBio, Chinaccelerator, MOX, Food-X, and dlab. The majority of the fund will be deployed in the later rounds of its best performers.

“This year nearly $1 billion went into SOSV-backed companies from VCs and corporate investors,” said Sean O’Sullivan, SOSV Managing Partner. “On top of the $65 million SOSV invests directly into our startups every year, SOSV’s deep-tech startups are getting huge funding leverage from our syndicate of VCs, angels and corporates.”

Omnichannel jewellery startup eJOHRI pockets $1 mn cheque

eJOHRI Jewel Hub Pvt. Ltd, an omnichannel jewellery startup, has raised $1 million (about Rs 7.08 crore) in a funding round from a clutch of investors led by Hong Kong-based Rajesh Ranavat.

The startup said in a statement that the investment will help jewellery retailers in over 100 cities in India access consumer bases across the country and overseas

The company says its omnichannel approach allows potential customers to try products before they buy them, letting them book an appointment with a jeweller and visiting their store at their convenience. Some of the retailers it says who offer their products on its platform include PNG Jewellers, Ranka Jewellers, Waman Hari Pethe and DP Jewellers.

Hong Kong poised to award city’s own patents, catch up with the rest of the world in honouring innovation and creativity

Hong Kong will start evaluating and awarding patents to local and foreign inventors from this month, catching up with the rest of the world in supporting innovation and creativity at a time when new technologies are driving economic growth.

The government is hoping its Original Grant Patent (OGP) system will help plug the gap in the intellectual property ecosystem and create a new economic pillar in a city that relies heavily on traditional finance and real estate sectors for growth.

Inventors can submit direct filings from December 19 and have their designs evaluated locally by a team of expert examiners, according to the Intellectual Property Department. It should bring speed, convenience, and cost-savings to the process, analysts said.

Assured Asset Management Launches Supply Chain Finance Solution with Shui On Group

Assured Asset Management ("Assured"), a Hong Kong-based technology-driven asset manager, has launched its Traceable Accounts Payable ("TAP") platform with the Shui On Group. TAP is a blockchain-based digital payment system backed by approved supplier account receivables and contract payables issued by anchor enterprises. The partnership aims to leverage TAP to illuminate transaction flows deep within Shui On's construction supply chain.

TAP addresses a crucial pain point for business leaders: the lack of efficient, reliable and transparent methods for SMEs buried within supply chains to access liquidity. TAP leverages blockchain technology to record the transfer of goods and services and provides verifiable records of SME involvement in deep-tier anchor operations that enable access to liquidity regardless of SME size. TAP adds a new capacity for liquidity providers, banks and credit investors to access the yields of SMEs while using the credit profile of anchor enterprises through verifiable and immutable sourcing records.

Assured is partnering with the Shui On Group to integrate Assured's core competency in financial technology development with Shui On's Chinese construction supply chain to launch the platform. Together, the two firms aim to release a solution that benefits all stakeholders within Shui On's supply chain, including Shui On, SME counterparties and financial institutions.

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