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Ele.me receives over $1 billion in funding

Commentary

According to the China Internet Network Information Centre, China’s food delivery sector is the country’s fastest growing sector of all mobile apps, with around 150 million people ordering online. Leading the pack in the food delivery space is Ele.me, which delivers food from 300,000 restaurants in more than 260 cities. Last week, Ele.me secured over $1 billion in funding from Alibaba and Ant Financial in a deal that valued the company at $6 billion. According to sources, the funding will help Ele.me compete with its biggest rival, Meituan Dianping, which is heavily backed by Alibaba’s biggest competitor Tencent. Tencent holds a minor stake in Ele.me. The Ele.me investment indicates that the Chinese venture capital market remains vibrant despite the country’s economic slowdown.

Everbright-IDG Industrial Fund invests in NIO

Commentary

After getting $600 million in funding last March from Tencent, Baidu and other investors, Shanghai-based electric car maker NIO, formerly known as NextEV, has received an undisclosed sum in a Series C round from Everbright-IDG Industrial Fund. Why are investors so bullish on NIO? According to sources, China’s electric car market is the biggest in the world with more sales than US and Europe in 2015 and 2016. The Chinese government is also pushing to curb air pollution in its cities, thus electric cars are gaining traction. Furthermore, NIO is one of China’s most exciting electric car makers. Last year, its NIO EP9 broke an electric vehicle lap record at Nürburgring Nordschliefe. The company is also smart to introduce a large SUV at a time when demand for SUV vehicles is high among affluent Chinese buyers.

Unity Technologies raises $400 million

Commentary

After raising a round of $181 million in 2016, Unity Technologies, whose software tools are at the heart of Pokémon Go and other video games, announced that it had raised $400 million in a new funding round led by Silver Lake. The deal valued the company at a whopping $2.8 billion. So why is Unity Technologies attracting so much funding? Unity is one of the fastest growing game engine developers in the world today. According to the company, more than 30% of the current 1,000 top-grossing free mobile games were built with Unity software. The company boasts other impressive metrics including having 5 billion game downloads in the third quarter of 2016. Unity has also become one of the most popular platforms for creating VR worlds for both mobile and PC devices. Unity’s dominance in the VR space is one of the reasons why investors are bullish on the company.

Softbank invests $1.4 billion in Paytm

Commentary

After suffering a $350-million loss on its investments in Indian startups Snapdeal and Ola, Softbank, Japan’s telecom and internet giant, remains undeterred. Last week, the company announced it has invested $1.4 billion in Paytm, India’s leading digital payments and commerce company. The funding round values Paytm at $9 billion. The investment was made through Paytm’s parent company One97 Communications. According to analysts, the investment will reinforce Softbank’s status as a lead investor in India’s robust ecommerce ecosystem. For Paytm, the funding will help the company expand its user base by providing consumers with digital access to a wider array of financial services.