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OPay, a mobile payments firm founded by browser company Opera Ltd., has received approval from Nigeria’s Apex Bank Central Bank to conduct international money transfers. OPay said the Central Bank approval would make it easier and faster for global remittance companies to manage customer transactions via OPay’s wallet. This July, IDG Capital, which also previously invested in Norway-based Opera, led a $50 million investment round in OPay. Opera has 350 million users worldwide.
Trip.com Group, a Nasdaq-listed online travel service provider formerly known as Ctrip, and TripAdvisor, a Nasdaq-listed travel review website, have entered into a global joint venture. Trip.com Group will also join TripAdvisor’s board and acquire 6.95 million shares of TripAdvisor, valued at $317.6 million. In return, Trip.com will receive exclusive rights to TripAdvisor’s Chinese brand, content license and other assets. IDG Capital was an early investor in Ctrip, based in Shanghai and now valued at $20 billion.
Castbox, a San Francisco-based podcast platform, now has 28 million users in 175 countries, supporting more than 70 languages. A competitor to audio streaming giants like Spotify and Pandora, Castbox has expanded globally, using features like community discussion and in-audio search, which are partly derived from Chinese social apps. Since 2016, IDG Capital has joined several Castbox funding rounds .
IDG Capital, a global venture capital and private equity firm, is now one of the top five investors in global startups with valuations of more than $1 billion, according to Hurun, a Shanghai-based market research firm. IDG Capital has invested in 42 unicorns worldwide to date, including five outside of China: Circle, based in Boston; Liquid Global, based in Tokyo; Pony.ai, based in Freemont, Calif.; Ripple, based in San Francisco; and Zoox, based in Foster City, Calif. Founded in Boston, IDG Capital has invested in more than 800 companies since 1992.
Firework, a Redwood City, Calif.-based video-sharing start-up raised $30 million this year in a funding round led by IDG Capital and is seeking another $20 million to expand its operations India. “We plan to cross a million users in India within the first three months and look to the next milestone of 5 million within six months,” predicted Sunil Nair, Firework CEO and Managing Director. IDG Capital was also an early investor in Loop Now Technologies, Firework's parent firm, also based in Redwood City. Firework primarily competes with TikTok and YouTube.
Club Factory, a Chinese cross-border e-commerce platform for fashion, beauty items and electronics accessories, now has more than 70 million users worldwide, of whom 40 million are from India. Club Factory also plans to add 10,000 sellers to its platform before the end of 2019 and increase its number of inventory categories. In 2018, IDG Capital led a $100 million Series C funding round in Club Factory and also joined the firm's Series A round in 2016.
News Break, an AI-powered news aggregation app created in 2015 by Mountain View, Calif.-based Particle Media, was the most downloaded Android news app in the U.S. in Q1-Q3 and the second most popular news apps in Apple’s App Store. News Break was more popular too than rival apps from CNN and Reddit, partly by using search records and recommendation technologies to personalize reader content. Previously, IDG Capital led News Break’s Series A round in 2016 and also joined its Series B round in 2017.
Klaytn, a blockchain network associated with Kakao, South Korea’s leading messaging app, has partnered with OKEx, a global digital asset exchange based in Malta. Klaytn, which is headquartered in Seoul, said the partnership will contribute to the development of a stable blockchain ecosystem and also connect its platform to other networks in the blockchain space. In 2018, IDG Capital invested in Klaytn.
Pony.ai, an autonomous driving startup headquartered in Freemont, Calif., is launching a robotaxi service with Hyundai and Via. Utilizing a smartphone app called BotRide, users can now order rides to arrange pick-ups and drop-offs. The driverless service will also include a human safety driver behind the wheel at all times. IDG Capital was a seed investor in Pony.ai and also joined the firm’s $112 million Series A funding round in 2018.
Kujiale, a China-based SaaS-enabled home decoration and design platform, raised $100 million in its most recent Series D round, propelling it to unicorn status. The firm now has an estimated valuation in excess of $1 billion. Kujiale’s platform allows users to generate interior design plans for home improvement, including a 360-degree real-time viewing experience incorporating Virtual Reality. Previously, IDG Capital led Kujiale’s $2 million Series A round in 2013 and also participated in three other venture rounds in 2014, 2016 and 2018.
Coinbase, an IDG Capital-backed cryptocurrency exchange, estimates that it earned more than $2 billion in transaction fee revenues since the company’s launch in 2012. Coinbase also said its operating profits now exceed the total venture capital which the firm has raised to date – or roughly $550 million from nine funding rounds. In 2013, IDG Capital was an angel investor in Coinbase. The San Francisco-based crypto platform is currently valued at $8 billion.
Chinese cross-border fashion e-retailer Club Factory was the most downloaded shopping app in Google Play Store in September, with nearly 13.8 million installs worldwide. India witnessed the largest number of Club Factory installations, according to data compiled by Sensor Tower, a mobile app intelligence firm. In 2018, IDG Capital led a $100 million Series C funding round in Club Factory, which is based in Hangzhou. It also joined the firm's Series A round in 2016.
Nasdaq-listed travel platform Ctrip has made championing female leaders a top priority since the CEO Jane Sun joined the firm in 2005. To attract and retain female talent, Ctrip developed a series of policies to support maternity and professional education, including fully paid egg-freezing medical services. The Shanghai-based company is now valued at $20 billion. IDG Capital was an early investor in Ctrip, which first went public on Nasdaq in 2003.
Forbes China named IDG Capital Partner Jeacy Yan to its 2019 list of the Top 50 Women in Technology in Mainland China. The Forbes list singles out women who are leaders in science, technology, engineering and math – including venture capital – and whose work contributes to domestic economic growth. At IDG Capital, Ms. Yan focuses on investments in consumer goods and services, retail and e-commerce. Prior to joining IDG Capital, she worked for the investment banking department of the Deutch Bank, Hong Kong branch.
Kr Space, an IDG Capital-backed co-working space operator in China, is refocusing its marketing strategy to cater to larger corporate customers like $12 billion local advertising giant Focus Media. According to Reuters, the firm is now on track to turn cash-flow positive by year-end, forcing several local rivals to adopt similar strategies. Since 2016, IDG Capital has participated in multiple Kr Space venture rounds, including a $145M funding round which it led earlier this year.
Bitmain, the world’s largest maker of bitcoin-mining computers, is building a new bitcoin mine at a former Alcoa Aluminum plant in Rockdale, Texas. The Beijing-based firm said the facility now has an initial power size of 25 megawatts but could soon expand to 50 megawatts and then potentially 300 megawatts. In time, CoinDesk estimates the Texas plant could generate up to $73 million in revenue per year at current bitcoin prices, making it the world’s largest bitcoin mine. IDG Capital invested in Bitmain in 2017.