Chinese Companies Receiving US VC Money

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Chinese Companies Receiving US VC Money - 2015

The review of available resources that detailed the top Chinese Series A startups who received funding from U.S. venture capital firms in 2015 revealed that while data was scarce, it was still possible to develop a recent list of more than 60 top Chinese startups and find three within the group that fit the request criteria. There were a few limitations within the research and solutions that I discuss below along with the findings. All requested details are provided in the attached spreadsheet.


I attempted to locate a precompiled list of top Series A Chinese startups that received U.S-based funding in 2015 and found that no such list exists. Then, I conducted a scan of China’s top startups using trusted news reports, industry perspectives, and professional blogger ranking lists. I compiled the startups listed in the following sources:
1. Business Insider (11 startups listed)
2. Tech In Asia (15 startups listed)
3. Tech in Asia (5 startups listed)
4. China Daily (10 startups listed)
5. TechCrunch (13 startups listed)
6. Wired (15 startups listed)
7. All Tech Asia (5 startups listed)
8. Forbes (18 startups lists)
9. Nanalyze (7 startups listed)
10. CB Insights (3 startups)

Please note that the various sources used different criteria for establishing their idea of best or top; some focused on unicorns, others on innovation, and still others on funding. Because these published “tops” lists are based on varying criteria, it was necessary to, next, deduplicate the lists (the full list of 63 startups can be viewed here) and review each along the requested criteria (i.e., received Series A funding from U.S. venture capital firms in 2015). To locate and confirm that information, I reviewed each startup using Crunchbase, a large database of information on startups that included locations, Series funding amounts/dates, and information on investors. Crunchbase was used because there were no reports that had specified these details (possibly due to the information being very specific and outside of the typical interests of the general public). The Crunchbase database is able to be sorted in such a way as to showcase Series A funding for Chinese startups and their investors; however, that multi-category sorting is behind a paywall and doesn’t designate whether the startups receiving the funding are all-inclusive for “top.”


The resulting list of 2015’s top Chinese Series A startups are listed below and sorted based on U.S. funding amounts (Google tools were used for currency conversions).
1. ZhongAn ($903,292,000)
2. UCAR ($250,000,000)
3. Le Sports ($124,648,000)

The data may be so limited because many of the top startups, like VipKid, had its Series A round in 2014; or startups, like Mobike, that had Series A rounds in 2015 but the $3 million in funding came from a venture capital firm in the Cayman Islands. The other reason may be because of where a startup is structurally at during Series A funding. There may just not have been enough time between 2015 and present for a startup receiving U.S. venture capital funds to generate enough waves in the press to appear on top-lists, especially amid so many already functioning, high-profile startups.


—Series A funding is usually between $2 million and $15 million, comes from “more traditional venture capital firms” (e.g., Sequoia, Benchmark, Greylock, and Accel) and Angel investors (but the influence they have in Seed rounds is not typical in Series A). There are just “a few” key players that dominate Series A rounds, which focus on scale, diversifying markets, and developing the business model to ensure maximum profits.

—“38% of Chinese startups expect their next source of funding to come from venture capital.”

62% of Chinese startups surveyed in 2015 note that they want their company to IPO, only 5% want to be acquired. Comparatively, 56% of startups in the U.S. plan to be acquired.

—Of the 140 Chinese startup survey respondents, 39% preferred to IPO in the mainland Chinese market.


Results from the search for the top Chinese Series A startups that received U.S. venture capital money in 2015 are discussed above and included in the attached spreadsheet.
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Chinese Companies Receiving US VC Money - 2016

After extensive research, we were unable to locate any “top” Chinese Series A startups who received funding from a United States venture capital firm in 2016. We manually searched 64 Chinese startup companies that were located in a precompiled list and added them to lists found in a general search. We then came up with three promising lists: Angel Startup List, Hottest Startups, and Best 10 Startups. None answered the request, however, after filtering the lists by the year 2016 time frame.

Below you will find an outline of our research methodology to better understand why the information you have requested is publicly unavailable. The 73 startups that we did find are detailed in the attached spreadsheet.

Methodology and Findings

An extensive search of the public domain revealed no information on top Chinese startups in Series A that were funded in 2016 by a U.S. VC company. The specificity of the request narrows down the search extensively. It should be noted that for our search purposes the term "top" is usually rated by unicorns, innovation, and funding. We performed a general search that returned the following 3 lists: Angel Startup List, Hottest Startups, and Best 10 Startups. Next, we found a precompiled list from the previous request entitled, “Companies Receiving US VC Money 2015” and added it to the lists above. Then we manually searched each of the 73 startups listed and cross-referenced them with the 2016 time frame to no avail. There were 4 companies on the list that were funded in 2016, but they were not funded by a U.S. VC. Those companies were Italki, JD Finance, Ofo, and UR Work. Crunchbase appeared to have a possible list, but it was located behind a paywall, so we were unable to access it for free. Crunchbase is a large database of information on startups that includes Series funding amounts and dates, locations, and investor information.


Despite manually researching 73 Series A Chinese Startups funded by venture capitalist firms in 2016, there was no information publicly available. The 73 companies researched came from a generalized keyword search and a precompiled list from a previous request that was filtered with the 2016 time frame. We were able to generate 3 lists: Angel Startup List, Hottest Startups, and Best 10 Startups. Unfortunately, none of these answered the request. The Chinese Startups that were manually searched are detailed in the attached spreadsheet.
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Chinese Companies Receiving US VC Money - 2017

There was no available pre-compiled list on the internet for Chinese firms that raised series A funding backed by United States Venture capitals. We did research for each of the data independently, although this request was not only challenged by the absence of a pre-compiled list but also, by the presence of the year (2017) and the funding stage restriction (Series A startups).
We managed to find 6 companies following the research criteria (United States, V.C. backed, Series A, 2017 and Chinese companies). The top is ranked by the amount raised at the series A funding. Also, all the funding listed did not disclose the valuation. Chinese companies include:
1. Horizon Robotics backed by Intel Capital (United States) — Horizon Robotics is a Chinese company and a leader in Artificial Intelligence. The lead investor for Horizon Robotics is Intel Capital from the United States. Based on the Crunchbase, in October 2017, this company reached $100,000,000 in funding. The valuation of the company was not disclosed.
2. Huaqin Telecom Technology backed by Intel Capital (United States) — Huaqin is ranked first in the industry of smartphones and tablet ODM. Lead investors of Huaqin are Intel Capital and Hua Capital (China). Based on Crunchbase, Huaqin reached $135,511,200 on funding. Intel did not disclose the valuation of the company.
3. DeePhi Tech backed by Xilinx (United States) — Lead investors of this company are Xilinx (United States), GSR Capital(United States), Banyan Capital (United States), Media Tek (Taiwan). Based on this article, Deephi completed a two financing rounds with the latest US $40,000,000 series A round which was led by Ant Financial and Samsung Group in October 2017. The valuation of the company was not disclosed.
4. backed by Engage Capital (United States) — Huya is an interactive broadcast platform. Lead investors of this company are Engage Capital (United States), Banyan Capital (China), Ping An (China). Based on Crunchbase, in May 2017, this company reached $75,000,000. The valuation of the company was not disclosed.
5. WeWork China backed by Goldman Sachs (United States) — Lead investors of the company are Goldman Sachs (United States), Benchmark (United States), T.Rowe Price, JP Morgan Chase (United States), Wellington Management (United States), Fidelity Investments (United States), Aleph (Israel), Hony Capital (China), Legend Holdings (China), Greenland (China). Based on the Crunchbase, the company reached $500,000,000 on funding in October 2017 The valuation of the company was not disclosed.
6. HelloBike backed by GGV capital (United States) — HelloBike was in the Series A funding stage in early 2017 by GGV (United States based firm) in an undisclosed deal. Also, the valuation of the company was not disclosed.

Please find attached the spreadsheet here.