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.