Venture Capital: Chinese VC Investors Home In on Indian Startups

February 6, 2020 | News, Venture Capital

Xiaomi and Shunwei flag off 2020 with investments in Indian startups.

Shunwei Capital, a VC firm founded by Xiaomi founders Lei Jun and Tuck Lye Koh, has co-led a $5.5 million funding round in regional language podcast app Kuku FM, says an article in The firm manages assets of $3 billion. Interestingly, smartphone manufacturer, Xiaomi has also invested approximately $6 million in WorkIndia, an online and app-based staff recruitment network.

Shunwei and Kuku

Shunwei’s Series A funding coincides with an investment by  Vertex Ventures, the venture capital arm of Temasek, in Kuku.

Kuku FM will use the funding to beef up its content library and expand the number of languages offered on its platform.

Investing alongside Shunwei in Kuku is 3one4 Capital. “Funds like Shunwei have seen scale like few VCs manage outside of the US,” said Pranav Pai, managing partner of 3one4 Capital.

US investors no longer call the shots for Indian startups

According to data from Venture Intelligence, a financial research firm, in the first half of 2019, Indian startups raised around $3.9 billion from global investors, but the bulk of that came from Chinese VC heavyweights. US investors no longer command this market.

“The Indian market may appear somewhat disorderly on the surface, but vibrant opportunities are ready to burst forth,” said Cheng Yu, partner of Morningside Venture Capital to ChinaDaily. “The Indian market now is like what China was several years back when the mobile-based access to the internet boomed. The number of internet users in India skyrockets every time a new product is launched here,” he added.

Xiaomi and WorkIndia

Smartphone maker Xiaomi, which is connected to Shunwei through the founders, invested about $6 million in WorkIndia last month.

Xiaomi is also active in the Indian startup scene. It has invested in startups Sharechat, Zest Money and TouchTalent over the last couple of years.

Related Story:  Tiger Global: Pedal to the metal on investing in Indian startups

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